For a few days I was plagued by a periodic beep in the kitchen area. It was driving me mad.
The voices were suggesting that if it did not stop I should burn the house down.
After three days of beeps every fifteen minutes or so, it was a tempting proposition.
At first I thought someone had planted one of those annoying intermittent beepatrons that are available from ThinkGeek for a modest sum. The only suspect of such a heinous act assured me not. He had lost his. He sounded genuine but could I believe him?
After positioning myself at various locations around the room and patiently waiting for the next beep, by triangulation I thought I had determined the source. I was sure it was coming from inside the “smart” refrigerator. Or from somewhere very near it.
I searched the refrigerator inside and out and at first found nothing untoward.
Then a deeper, more exhaustive probe at last revealed a clue.
A pack of Xmas mince pies had slipped out the back of the dairy compartment. The air circulation from the freezer to the refrigeration compartment was blocked. The vent had iced up. The poor machine was trying to tell me it could not breathe. Pies removed. One eaten. Vent cleared of ice. A tense wait for the next beep. Another mince pie eaten. The tension was palpable now. The minutes ticked by. Yet another mince pie. Then one more. The pies were all gone now. Only the foil dishes and the cardboard outer with its clear window gave evidence they ever existed. The voices were hushed. Expectant.
Suddenly, nothing happened.
I told the fridge that if it could beep, it could also give some indication of what the problem was on its display panel. It remained silent. It had nothing further to say.
The voices laughed and said they had known what the problem was all along. They just wanted to see if I would actually burn down the house.
If I could figure out how to leave them inside, I would.
When I was a kid of eight or nine I lived in a wee town called Bunnythorpe in NZ. I had a friend named Billy Smith who lived on a farm up the road at the end of Maple Street.
I used to go there a lot and we would ride around on a huge Clydesdale draught horse which pulled a sled around from which we would feed hay or choumolier out to the cows. The horse was really gentle and docile, and we had a lot of fun with her.
Then one spring a pair of starlings started building their nest in her mane. Every afternoon we would brush out her mane and every morning the birds would start again. Old Mr Smith was getting quite pissed off about it because he hated starlings. He said if it was fantails he wouldn’t have minded.
He tried putting fly spray, lemon and titree oils and similar things in the horse’s mane to put them off, but nothing worked.
He called the vet and asked if there was anything he could use as a bird repellent. The vet suggested rubbing some brewer’s yeast in the mane.
He tried it and it seemed to work, because the birds did not come back.
He called the vet and told him the idea was successful but he didn’t understand why yeast worked when everything else didn’t.
The vet told him…
Yeast is yeast, and nest is nest, and never the mane shall tweet.
Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named “Man (Person) of the Year.”
I told them I would accept the honour, which is well deserved and long overdue.
To save them the trouble of sending a team all the way to the Kimberley, I prepared my own photo.
Paper boy, diver, sailor, explorer, water supply engineer, writer, editor, humourist, conservationist, health inspector, investigator, chicken farmer and child-minder, Alan Freshwater’s working career spans fifty five years in thirty five jobs. Known for his cooking skills, animal rights activism and charitable causes, he was once a contender for the highly esteemed Pullet Surprise. He now lives the life of a recluse in the outback of Australia, turning down constant invitations to give after dinner speeches, and teaching indigenous children to fly kites.
… Sixty seven swallows, sitting on a wire
Sixty seven swallows, sitting on a wire
And if one of those swallows
Accidentally should catch fire
There’ll be sixty six swallows sitting on a wire….
Sixty six swallows, sitting on a wire…
We did not find Franklin. But we did find a clue. An Arctic Tern.
It looks as if he took the wrong one.
“In polite society, one does not discuss the relationship between a man and his camel”
T E Lawrence
Actually he never said that. But someone should.
Sadie the Kurrurrungku Camel and I are just good friends.