Bits and pieces

21. Nov, 2020

     And then a scratchy old voice interrupted all this, saying, ‘Well … I’ll be a Shuck’s shiver. What have we here?’

     Allan opened his eyes to find himself being closely scrutinised by a wrinkle-faced old man wearing a scraggy beard that seemed to be home to several beetles and a small fieldmouse.

      Orion had since fainted. He wasn’t coping well in this new environment.

     ‘Well, little fellow …’ the face insisted, ignoring the boy on the ground.

     ‘We’re sorry,’ Allan babbled. ‘We were hungry. We didn’t take much … honest. I’ll pay … if that’s what you want …’ He started digging about in his pockets.

     The old man put a weathered hand onto Allan’s shoulder. ‘There’s no need, laddie. I’m not wanting to hurt you. I just want to help.’

     ‘Help! But why?’ Allan probed. ‘Aren’t you one of the poachers?’

     ‘No … not a poacher … but I’ve been watching … always watching.’

     ‘I see,’ Allan said, not really sure if he did or not.

     Orion decided to regain consciousness at that moment and sat up, rubbing at the small bump on his head that he had received when he’d hit the ground. ‘What happened?’ he said, his voice unsteady. ‘Are we captured?’

     ‘No,’ Allan answered, ‘it seems we have a helper.’

     ‘A helper?’ Orion was wondering if he had heard correctly.

     ‘Yes … that’s me,’ the old man grabbed Orion’s hand and pumped away like he was trying for water.

     Orion pulled his hand free and backed away to the edge of the platform.

     ‘I’m the Magic Man, but you can call me M, if we are to be friends. I ran away, you know,’ his voice dropped to a whisper. ‘I got into loads of trouble when I first arrived here … indeed. People chasing me everywhere. But I learnt how to hide, I did.’ He giggled, then did a little jig. ‘Can’t catch me … I’m the gingerbread man … see.’

     Orion gave Allan a look that said it all. He thought the man was crazy from all the heat and sand. He wasn’t sure that this oddball of a fellow could be trusted. Did Allan know how to get them out of this dilemma? Help! I think I’m going crazy.

     ‘Are you alright?’ the man asked of Orion. He had noticed the look on the boy’s face and his own reflected concern.

     ‘Yes … it’s just we’ve had a bit of a hard time of it, that’s all … all this heat. And we’re not even meant to be here. And then there’s Ernest … our friend. He’s been taken prisoner by the poachers.’

     ‘Ah!’ Magic Man exclaimed. ‘Those pilfering pirates … a bad lot. They go about killing people and capturing animals … willy-nilly like—’

     ‘What!’ Allan and Orion said together, interrupting Magic Man’s speil.

     Magic Man looked at the boys’ pale faces. ‘Something I said?’

     ‘Yes … you said the poachers kill people,’ Allan replied.

14. Nov, 2020

I don't know about anyone else, but the TV (my one and only) is more a entertaining companion to me than anything else, therefore I get very fed up with the constant repeats of repeats of a select few programs and movies that the networks foist on us. (yes ... I know I could always turn it off, but then who would I talk to) These, of course are interdispersed with ads for all the great new programs one would like to watch ... which can only be found on apps that are on phones, iPads and Tablets. What's the go with that?

Personally, I see it as a means of fazing out TVs altogether, so that the little devices will almost become a part of our make-up, like a bionic extension. Nobody will be able to detatch themselves. Why should you when everything you could ever need is in one small gadget? Right?

Technology, in many ways, is a good thing, yet when it becomes part of who we are I think it's time to take a long hard look at where our lives are heading. It could be straight over the nearest cliff.

Just my thoughts for the day. Have a good one, folks, and don't forget there is a big wide world beyond that glass screen. I know we're in iso but you can always check out your own back yard.

3. Nov, 2020

On Sunday night I watched a great Australian movie. Most people tend to underestimate the Australian movie industry, and it's a pity really as it puts out some great stuff. Aussies have a great way of looking at things differently and it shows in their films.

With nothing but repeats of repeats showing this particular night I decided to look at a new DVD I'd purchased some time back - Judy and Punch. It's a rather dark take with a twist on the Punch and Judy show of bygone times (a seaside entertainment that I don't like, and never have, I will hasten to add) But this film has a cameo of Australia's champion jousting horse so I wanted to add it to my collection.

Apart from some of the darker - as in night time scenes - I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It took the basic story of Punch and Judy and made it into a human story of murder, intrigue and revenge. While it was quite violent at times, these scenes were filmed in a way that were not too graphic, and as I feel there is no need for such I appreciated the nature of the scenes and what they imparted. 

I gave this fabulous Gothic tale four and a half stars, and recommend it, as it does impart an important message.

20. Oct, 2020

Arthur’s next moment came when he was hiding down beside the couch. I don’t know what his game was that day; whether it was a change of view or whether he had taken up spying on me as he seemed to be peeking over the armrest. It could have also been a mere token of intimidation because, when I looked closely, I could see he was sitting there with one back leg sticking out like a tail, giving him the appearance of a rather large scorpion. Statistically, he wants to thank his lucky stars that I was wearing my glasses at the time otherwise he could have copped a slipper to the back of his head. It was an extremely cunning disguise and there was no doubting that he could have been bashed, with me lamenting the decision later as there would have been no questions asked when the swipe was swung.

     It was at this moment I began to wonder about how dangerously Arthur liked to live. If he’d been human, he would have been classed as a right daredevil.

     This was not to be the case I found out a week later.

     It had been a couple of months since Arthur had graced me with his presence. We were getting along just fine, and we had a daily routine that gave life an interesting start to each morning, with me doing the come out, come out, wherever you are thing with him when I hit the lounge room.

     On this particular morning, I found him on the wall near one of my bookcases. It was the first time that he had ventured to this position and I applauded him on his literary stance. He sat there as he usually did - hardly moving, (he’d stopped waving good morning weeks back) even when my brother Terence and my sister-in-law, Tonya dropped by for a quick cuppa on their way back to Riverbend.

     We were enjoyed our visit together, chatting away about this and that when Terence’s mobile phone rang loudly, playing an upbeat song that sent Arthur rushing off to hide behind the nearest bookcase. We all laughed at his obvious lack of appreciation for modern technology and continued with our conversation.

     It was only later, when I noticed Arthur’s continuing absence that I wondered at where he had gone. I was to keep on wondering for several days as he refused to show his furry face.

     When he finally made a reappearance, it was in the spare bedroom nearest the lounge, on the wall under the window. He’d clearly decided that he no longer wanted my company. Was it the phone, I often speculated? Or was he just fed up with me? So be it, I thought eventually, hoping that he’d miss me and change his mind.

     But it was not to be as some months later, when doing a bit of a spring cleaning, I found Arthur again. His little dried up carcase was lying on the floor, still and inanimate. Sadly, I realised, he had come to the end of his short life. I was not to have the pleasure of his company ever again. If anyone in the past had said to me, I would miss spiders if they didn’t exist, I would have laughed heartily, but the last laugh would have been on me, because I did miss my little friend. I missed him more than I could ever have imagined. So here’s to Arthur, spider companion, and entertainer.

Cheers, and thanks for the memories.


28. Sep, 2020

     The next time I sighted Arthur he’d found a little place next to the microwave. I didn’t notice him for hours, even when I was spending time at the bench making coffee and cups of tea, and my salad sandwich for my lunch. I was completely oblivious to his hairy existence as it sat in the darkened wooden alcove. He must have chuckled his way through the morning thoroughly enjoying my ignorant bliss.

     It was as the light and shadows shifted throughout the day that the unusual shiny duo of his two front eyes could be seen high up on the left-hand side.

     At first, I wondered what on earth it was it that sat there unblinkingly quiet, staring back at me as I peered with a frowning face into the enclosure. It was when I finally identified my arachnid friend that I’m sure he winked at me. I had to give him 9 out of 10 for this hide-out as he’d been sitting there for most of the day and I hadn’t spied him. But the game was now up, and I guess he no longer felt a thrill in seeing me come and go throughout the day without knowing of his presence. Within minutes – when I wasn’t looking - he’d moved to another location with all the stealth of the Scarlet Pimpernel. I wasn’t to see him again for three whole days.