Boomerang

(Yes folks. It came back).

The Kimberley Hotel has two garden bars. One is out the back, beside the pool.  On the sunny cooler days of the dry season, when there is no need for air conditioning, it is a popular place for patrons to sit and drink.  There is an open passage past the restaurant dining room to the main bar.  There, the pool tables are populated by players, who bet money, cigarettes or beer on the outcome of the games.  In the front, there is a veranda with tables where bar meals are eaten and another garden bar where on Thursday nights the weekly trivia quiz is held.
This particular Saturday afternoon I was out on the veranda drinking my usual lemon lime and bitters.  I was only there on the off chance of a conversation with someone interesting.  My bike was parked outside and I was hoping to have a chat with any bikers passing through. I figured the best place to meet them would be the hotel.

The pub was noisy as usual with the buzz of conversation, the knock of billiard balls, and the occasional shout of victory, or a cry of “unlucky!” after a missed shot.  On a high stool at the bar behind the pool tables, an old aboriginal gentleman sat quietly alone, sipping a beer. He stepped out onto the veranda for a few minutes to smoke a thin, carefully rolled cigarette. Then he returned to his stool with his beer.   He was a handsome old man, with white hair and beard, bushy eyebrows and a weathered face from which his dark eyes twinkled with cheerful humour. He looked for all the world like a kindly old blackfeller Santa.

Outside, a tourist bus pulled up and disgorged its passengers. There seemed to be dozens of them, mostly retirees, by the look of it.  They all made a rush for the bar and ordered enough beers and glasses of wine to keep the bar staff busy for a full fifteen minutes.  Some also ordered meals and went to imbibe their drinks on the veranda as they waited for the food to arrive.  The noise of conversation doubled.  One of the tourists, an elderly Englishman with a northern accent, eyed the old Aboriginal gentleman for a while. He seemed to make up his mind about something.  Picking up his beer he sidled over and sat on the next stool.

“G’day” he said. “Are you local?”

“Yep.” Said the old man.

“And you’re Aboriginal, right?”

The old man held his arm out beside the Englishman’s. His black skin was answer enough, but “yep” he said laconically.

“Can I ask you a favour then?” said the Pom. We’ve just come up the Tanami from Alice Springs. I bought a boomerang down there. I did not get a chance to ask anyone to show me how to throw it.  And I’d like to get a few shots of a real indigenous person throwing a boomerang, to take home. Will you throw it for me?”

The old man looked dubious. “I don’t think so mate” he said.

“I’ll buy you a beer”.

“Alright then. Where’s the stick?”

The Englishman went out to the bus and returned in a few minutes with an enormous boomerang and a digital camera.

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The old man took the boomerang and walked out past me to the edge of the veranda.  He raised it and threw it towards the bus.  Then he turned round and walked straight back to his stool by the bar.  He finished his beer in a few swallows, in anticipation of the promised fresh one.  The Englishman had started clicking with his camera as soon as the old chap stepped on to the veranda.  He walked out, still clicking, following the boomerang with his lens as it veered left away from the bus, lifting and spinning through the air. Over the bus it flew, out over the road beyond and back around high over the trees beside the pub.  He ran around behind it, trying to track it as it flew.  Chasing it, he disappeared from my sight around the corner of the building.  I expected the projectile would land in the pool. I waited to hear the splash, but I was surprised at what happened next.

The boomerang came flying down the passage from the back of the hotel and skittered past the old man’s feet, coming to a halt under the pool table, not more than two metres from where he sat. The pool players went silent looking at it, and at the old man sitting calmly on his stool.   A few seconds later the tourist followed it, gushing with enthusiasm.

“That was incredible! That passage is only a few feet wide!” He took a few shots of the boomerang where it had landed and picked it up. Then he went over to the bar and bought the promised beer. “Could you do that again?” he asked. “For another beer?  I didn’t get a shot of it flying around the back of the hotel”.

The old man shook his head. “I only do that once a year” he said. “Come back next year.”

The tourist looked disappointed, and for a moment seemed about to try to persuade the old fellow, but it was plain the old man was resolute, so with a sigh of resignation the tourist accepted the decision and patted the old man on the shoulder.  “Thanks again. That was really amazing. Wait till I tell them about this back in Kettlewell.”

He went over and sat down with his fellow travellers.  He showed them the pictures he had taken on the screen of his camera.  There was a murmur of appreciation as he told the story of what they had missed.  A few of them raised their drinks to the old man, but he was not looking their way.

After a minute or so the old gentleman rolled himself another cigarette, picked up his beer, and came out onto the veranda to light the rolly.

“That was a great throw” I said.

“Bugger that” he said. “I was taken away when I was eight. I was raised at the mission.  That is the first time I’ve ever thrown a bloody boomerang”.

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What?

66

… And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death
Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over
Thought I’d something more to say…

 Gilmour/Wright

Flow Softly

Sweet Thames Flow Softly

I met my love near Woolwich Pier

eneath the big crane standing
And all the love I felt for her it passed all understanding
Took her sailing on the river,
Flow, sweet river, flow
London town was mine to give her
Sweet Thames flow softly

Made the Thames into a crown,
Flow, sweet river, flow
Made a brooch of silver town,
Sweet Thames flow softly

From Shadwell dock to Nine Elms Reach we cheek-to-cheek were dancing
Her necklace made from London Bridge her beauty was enhancing
Kissed her once again at Wapping,
Flow, sweet river, flow
After that there was no stopping,
Sweet Thames flow softly

Gave her Hampton Court to twist,
Flow, Sweet River, flow
Into a bracelet for her wrist,
Sweet Thames flow softly

At London yard I held her hand. At Blackwall Point I faced her
At the Isle of Dogs I kissed her mouth and tenderly embraced her
Heard the bells of Greenwich ringing,
Flow, Sweet River, flow
All the time my heart was singing,
Sweet Thames flow softly

From Rotherhithe to Putney Bridge my love I was declaring
And she from Kew to Isleworth her love for me was swearing
Love! It set my heart a-burning,
Flow, Sweet River, flow
I never saw the tide was turning,
Sweet Thames flow softly

Limehouse Reach I gave her there,
Flow, Sweet River, flow
As a ribbon for her hair,
Sweet Thames flow softly

But now alas the tide has changed. My love she has gone from me
Winter’s frost has touched my heart and put a blight upon me
Creeping fog is on the river,
Flow, Sweet River, flow
Sun and moon and stars gone with her,
Sweet Thames flow softly

Swift the Thames flows to the sea,
Flow, Sweet River, flow
Bearing ships and part of me,
Sweet Thames flow softly.

Ewan MacColl 

Lonely Places

“Seek lonely places and be still, listening, hearing the songs and cries of the winged ones, the sounds of the four-leggeds, and the cries of the insect people; feeling the breath and touch of the earth, of leaves, of bark; for all have messages for you… “

Sees-Beyond-The-Lightning, of the Sioux.

 

This year I am going to find out what a night out camping in a lonely place can do for the young ones.

In the Mane

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.

clyde

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.

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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.

horselaugh

John 8:32

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Starting the year with this resolution, formulated for me by Annie Reneau.

A belief, opinion, or viewpoint based on verifiably false claims is not worth my consideration. Period. Refusing to entertain them doesn’t make a person intolerant, it makes them reasonable and intelligent. Tolerating lies is ridiculous and illogical. And if your opinion is based on lies, it is invalid and it should be called out as such.

A viewpoint based on verifiably false claims is not worth my consideration.  Period.”
Especially when that opinion causes or permits harm to others.
With so many opportunities to learn the facts, crosscheck and verify them from independent and expert sources, it takes a particular combination of stupid and cognitive dissonance to continue believing bullshit.
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Even an atheist can quote the book.
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