Jambo vs Godzilla

30/10/2011

Sometimes Nature throws things or events into my life that run so contrary to the laws of Science that scientific explanation seems inadequate and I find myself questioning my otherwise secular worldview. I mean, the Big Bang theory. You are kidding. It requires such a massive suspension of disbelief and a preparedness to place your trust into the minds of a few people that I just can’t grant it without feeling a little foolish. Duped.

Patterns in Nature is one topic where Creationists and Evolutionists appear willing to offer a nod of recognition to the enemy. Similarly, things appear in the creek in patterns in a way that is beyond my ken. These patterns can probably be explained away with a bit of rational thought but when I’m walking along and I see one then two then three then fifteen Nerf bullets I have to stop and think: Hold on, something is happening here.

OK, cynics might say that a bunch of kids were firing Nerf guns at each other somewhere up the creek, so maybe that wasn’t the greatest example. But this week has been The Week of Toys. A toy rolling pin from a cookery set. A toy golf club (replica seven iron, I’d say). A toy drill. Among others.

Toy drill

There was one day where it was all bees. Plastic bees, toy bees, bee fridge magnets.

Bee

Then dinosaurs.

Dinosaur

What is happening? Non-rational explanations gratefully accepted.


Bert the Flirt

27/10/2011

Lots of aerosol cans in the creek lately, but not much in the way of your actual graffiti. Where is it all happening? Looking back up the creek here, along with the ubiquitous Ironlak cans bobbing in the oily water you can see (on the western banking) the last three letters of the word/name POAS.

Aerosol cans in oily water

For some reason I like this huge graffito and his/her others. I think it might be the pure audacity of POAS’s work. There’s never any variation in the presentation but it’s always carried out on a huge scale. This one must be forty feet long [but take this with a pinch of salt; I’m absolutely useless at judging distances and weights], as are the ones on the gasworks tower. Others, on fences, aren’t quite as massive but are still pretty impressive and require so much more effort than those hurried, dreary hieroglyphs that kids bang out most of the time.

POAS on fence

I imagine POAS in overalls, staggering under the weight of roller, tray, 10-litre tub of paint, dropsheet (OK, maybe not dropsheet!), down the creek or up the rail tracks. If I saw POAS at it I’d assume it was someone actually working because this isn’t some 10-second throw up; it’s a job of work. Just look at the S of POAS on the gasworks tower: that requires dedication! (You can also see the CU of CUBE, another master from the blockbuster school.)

POAS on tower

The oldest graffiti that I’ve come across around Hamilton North is nearly as old as me. If you look underneath the Chatham Road bridge there’s the usual chalk, paint and spray stuff. Where the concrete banking ends there’s an earthy gap and, in here, there are two messages: “PP 20-10-62” and, next to it, “Bert the Flirt” (same date).

PP 20 10 62

I’ll bet it was pretty racy, back in the day, to call yourself Bert the Flirt, though time has robbed it of its menace. It now has the same kind of olde world charm as anything once-but-no-longer-menacing, like pirates or Keith Richards. Next year, on 20 October, I’m going to take a couple of beers under the bridge and and raise them on the 50th anniversary of PP and Bert the Flirt. And POAS and CUBE and all you horrible, dreary little taggers. Respect!


Simple equation

26/10/2011

Rain + creek = trolleys.

Trolley October 2011


Treasure

25/10/2011

This is the time of year beloved by The Wife. She has a fetish for busted chairs. We have a shed full of Fifties bucket seats, Seventies cane chairs, various stools of indeterminate age and style. They all have one thing in common: they have been brought home in the back of the car during previous Council clean ups, and all they need is to be “fixed up”. Quite when this fixing up will take place, and who will do it, has yet to be determined.

I came across this billy cart and thought, “That won’t last”. By the time the shutter on my paparazzi-quality phone camera had clunked shut it was gone.

Billy cart

Here’s a selection of my favourites. Anyone want a keyboard?

Street collection junk

I watched the rugby final over at the Stag & Hunter. On the way back I came across this very inviting setting. Under the street light it looked rather like a cocktail lounge, though looking at it now it doesn’t look all that inviting after all. Perhaps it had something to do with where I’d been.

Junk sofa, night time


Collect the set!

24/10/2011

Where are they coming from, all these Disney princesses? Well, this one isn’t a princess, it’s Snow White. I know that because I thought it was Snow White and then I thought, in a moment of existential crisis, could it be possibly be Sleeping Beauty? Of course not. Thank you, Google Images.

I’ll put Snow White with my Princess Jasmine. She came down in the early September flood, so at this rate I’ll have a full play mat by the time my daughter’s graduating from university.

Snow White


Love God

24/10/2011

I’d been banging on to The Wife about my disappointment with the Youth of Hamilton North. We had crews replacing broken footpath slabs for about a fortnight yet there’d been no attempt to draw goofy pictures, scrawl initials, put footprints (human, dog or other) or in any way deface the beautiful, smooth, begging-for-it surface of newly laid concrete.

Luckily, Showbag brought this effort on Clyde Street to my attention. It’s not quite what I was hoping for, and I get the sense that this wasn’t written by a 12-year-old boy. Perhaps kids don’t do that any more, or is there an app that does it for them?

Love God


Egg

21/10/2011

I grew up in the country, in England. I played outside all the time, in the fields and the woods and the shore, and the best times were spent in, as Australians call it, the bush. I was interested in all the things around me – trees and rocks and frogs and hares and foxes – but my main interest was in birds.

I collected birds eggs. These days in Britain the RSPB has got bird-nesting into a place in the public imagination somewhere between fox hunting and live veal exports but there was a time when bird-nesting was seen as a normal way for a lad to learn about nature. Where do owls nest? Curlews? Corncrakes? I loved the nesting season and didn’t see any conflict between my collecting birds eggs and being a member of the Young Ornithologists Club, the kids’ version of the RSPB proper. My dad made a tray with sides about two inches high and filled it with sawdust and I set each egg so that it nestled into the sawdust as comfortably as it had in the nest, before I got my hands on it, pricked a hole in either end and blew the yolk out.

I knew all my birds and all their eggs: small, big, round, mottled, plain. My two most thumbed-through books were The Observer’s Book of Birds and The Observer’s Book of Birds’ Eggs. A long time was to pass before I started to question my egg collecting, about the same age that kids begin to wonder why we kill animals to eat them.

birds eggs

I’ve written elsewhere about having to come to terms with Australia’s birds. They’re on a continental scale and everything’s so much BIGGER over here. In Britain you learn to identify a wren; Australian bird books have pages and pages of wrens. Ditto robins, and any number of other LBBs (little brown birds). So when I found this egg at the end of the driveway I was stumped.

Egg

I think it might be a magpie’s egg. (If you look around the Net most are shown as blue with mottling, though the Museum of Victoria has a collection of 4,200 eggs donated to it in 1927, including an entire tray of magpie eggs in a cabinet) They nest over in the fig trees in Richardson Park; at the moment it’s cuckoo season and the channel-billed cuckoos predate on the magpies and crows. My guess is it’s been taken by a cuckoo, punctured and dropped away from the scene of  the crime.