Go bananas!


Each summer I watch as the banana plant next to the Donald Street bridge develops a healthy crop. Who on earth planted them there? Is it someone from those houses in Baird Street, the ones that back onto the sloping piece of waste ground that separates their back yards and the bridge? Someone did: you can’t just go to a nursery and get a packet of banana seeds.


Equally as mysterious as their arrival is that, every summer (around late February or early March), they disappear. Are they harvested by the person who planted them? Knocked off by a rogue banana trader?

The urban foraging movement has gained a bit of momentum in Australia in the last couple of years; for places to find “Redfern celery” or “mental institution Illawarra plums” go here. I’ve been having a look around Hamilton North and Styx Creek to see what I can find. I think I could rustle up quite a feast.

This morning I found the ingredients for Drowned Rat Goulash.


A schnitzel requires some flattening out, but in Ham North we pre-flatten our animals for your convenience.


Those pesky pescetarians are catered for with a variety of fish dishes. Fruits de mer, anyone?


I had this fellow pegged for a bouillabaisse but now I’m not so sure; I think he’s looking at me.


I came across this duck egg sitting on a bed of water hyacinth. I suppose that even ducks get caught short every now then, the urge to lay overwhelming the ability to waddle back to the nest, but mother ducky’s loss is the urban forager’s gain. Yummo!


To finish off our urban forager’s repast we need a dessert. I have the perfect dish to end such a meal: Cat-Killed Mousse.


Bon appétit!




God bless ’em. I really did think that they’d be onto the newly painted wall of Opalescent Signs much more quickly than they did, but in spite of their appalling Gen Y work ethic they eventually they got there.

I was walking back up the creek with Old Mate the other evening when I heard a load of yahooing and shouting coming from Chatham Road. Not surprisingly, Old Mate takes a cautious approach to mobs of teenagers running around in the creek. To my relief, my phone started ringing and it turned out that one of the yahoos was my son: “Is that you with Old Mate?”. I got him and his buddy to give us a big wave; not all teenagers are thugs!

This adolescent, however, was pretty full of himself. He was in the casuarina in my front garden, strutting around with his chest all puffed out and singing at the top of his voice. I walked up and took his photo; his parents were calling out to him from the safety of the red gum but he wasn’t fazed. Not one bit. He just stood his ground, gave me the eye and warbled a bit more. I can almost see the speech bubble: “You want some, granddad? Huh?”

The other truth about teenagers – that they’re permanently starving – was proved about two seconds after I took this photo of a dead bream. The four-legged teenager in my life, Jambo, appeared from nowhere and scoffed the lot (head, tail, entrails) in about two gulps before swaggering off all pleased with himself. He’d just had breakfast!

Before they’re teenagers, they’re children. I came across this olden-time baby’s highchair amongst a stand of dead lantana in the gasworks. I know someone who knows someone whose father was the manager of the gasworks in the fifties and who grew up in the house (now part of the ELGAS admin area) that was the manager’s residence. I doubt that this was his, it looks too recent (sixties or early seventies maybe) but I do wonder who it belonged to, and how it ended up here.

The highchair reminded of something else I came across last November, another sign perhaps of the social side of life in the gasworks. This old-style golf caddy still had tees, balls and a score card in the wooden storage box. Was it part of a works thing? Did guys hit a few balls around the site of a lunchtime? Guess I’ll never know.

Finally, me and Jambo took Murray, Django and Trigger the dog out for a tour of the creek and the gasworks. Visitors always like hamming it up by the old pull-shower. Get in that bath, boy!