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The Christmas newsletter 2015

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This year, as an antidote to the rampant scourge of cynicism and sarcasm which pervades our beautiful world, I would like to share with you the following heartwarming newsletter that I received today from my Cousin FOG;

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Hello dear friends,

Seasons greetings to you all.

Two thousand and fifteen has been our annuss anus horrabillus a pretty rotten year for us down here on the farm.

The purebred line of large-boned Charolais beef cattle we’d been developing for 40 years had their exquisite genetic constitutions sullied by that runt of a Jersey bull from Uddermans Dairy Farm next door. The randy little bastard apparently got into 23 of our prizewinning cows some time in January although we didn’t find out until later in the year when our lovely girls started dropping ugly and stunted diarrhoea-coloured progeny.

Sadly the FOG family is functioning like our local municipal garbage dump at the moment. Brand new crap is being generated at a faster rate than I, as patriarch, can bury it or transfer portions into someone elses backyard. Patriarchy is a very demanding and stressful business.

I know you’ll find it hard to believe that the twin girls are now 27 years old. Goodness gracious me how time does fly. Sophie Isabella Nosegay , who we’ve always just called ‘Sin‘for short, eventually took her vows of silence and chastity last June and remains cloistered in the Pirelli Convent near Milan in northern Italy. We no longer hear from her and barring the magic of immaculate conception or some other mistiming of rhythmic ecclesiastical intervention we probably won’t ever be blessed with grandchildren sprouting from her branch of the family tree. A bit of a waste really. She was very good breeding stock.

Lazy‘ Susan is more than making up for her sister’s carnal deprivations. The latest boyfriend from America seems to be a pretty good sort of chap though. Lance apparently used to be a reasonable cyclist back in the day and he’s been busy helping Susan and her kiddies with some dietary supplements to help them all cope better with their busy lives.
We do still worry about her a lot though. Whilst Australia’s policy of multiculturalism is very good in principle we feel that Susan is shouldering way too much responsibility. The fathers of her five children all returned to their respective places of origin in Chad, Bahamas, Mongolia, Oklahoma and Tasmania before my friend Winchester and I could intervene and negotiate some child support money out of them.

Normally at this time of year, even though it’s very hot here in Australia, as a service to the community I squeeze into my Father Christmas costume and dispense yuletide joy and happiness to all the feral rugrats wonderful children who gather in the airconditioned Swindling Spigot Shopping Centre.  Unfortunately I’ve been banned from doing it this year just because of some stupid appointment I’ve got down at the Magistrates Court on the ninth of December.
I think I can prove what I did was justifiable spontaneous retribution after that inconsiderate fat kid leapt onto my Santa lap last year and ruptured both of my anterior cruciate ligaments. Just because his father happened to be that toffee-nosed Crown Prosecutor Sir Archibald Wrigley-Basemetal I am now in a wee spot of bother. Upper class gits.

Another team of lawyers is also flat out parasitising another member of our family.

Uncle Bart, who spent most of his life training thoroughbred horses in Victoria is facing doping charges. As you might already know, Bart’s successes on the racing track were few and far between, although his gelding Knackery Boy did come a creditable 17th behind Rising Fast in the 1954 Melbourne Cup. Eventually the horse’s name proved to be quite prophetic.
Uncle Bart is now 91 and he recently moved into the Our Angel of Necrosis home for the chronically ancient. The doping incidents apparently involve at least two rather sprightly 87 year-old women living just down the corridor from Uncle B. Unfortunately the nurses and police discovered an incriminatory stash of veterinary drugs and other paraphernalia hidden in Bart’s wardrobe so it’s not looking too good for him. Goodness knows what he was planning to do with his old eartag pliers and elastrator.

It’s been a superb year for growing stuff here on the farm. The Back Paddock down by the creek was especially productive. Accordingly, Shantibelle Clover (my sixth wife who I hadn’t got around to telling you about yet) and I were in high spirits for most of the year….well at least until my birthday in October when she shot through with some tattooed Hells Angel and all three tons of our surplus trading stock.

Oh well, easy come, easy go.

Just like the years.

Seasons greetings and best wishes for 2016.

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2014 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

A special thank you to all my loyal friends who contributed so much to The Bucket and tolerated all my nonsense during the last 6 years.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Is my bum too big?

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My Love’s an oceanographer,
On the sea which is my mind.
Sampling wit and truth and wisdom
For the enrichment of mankind.
She tests my depth of knowledge,
And breadth of cognisance.
Before basking on the deck
Of my apparent omniscience.

“What’s the speed of light?” dear GOF,
My Love didst ask of me.
“Well it’s really frigging fast my dear,
More than the eye can see.”
“I think you’ll find” she corrected me
“When it’s traveling at it’s limit,
That your ‘frigging fast’ is approximately
Eleven million miles a minute”.

Chastened and chastised I star
Ted heading for the door.
“Not so fast Smarty Pants”
I’ve got one question more.
If your repertoire’s so full
Of erudition to discharge,
Then perhaps you can tell me
If my bum’s a bit too large.

I scarcely could believe it.
The question all men dread.
If you get the answer wrong
You might just as well be dead.
First I feigned some hearing loss,
Then cramps and diarrhoea
Before bolting to the bathroom
My confus-ed head to clear.

I emerged aglow with truthfulness.
“Within parameters it fits
‘Tween Tyra Banks and Roseanne Barr”
Thinkin’ she’d be thrilled to bits.
Now I’m sleeping in the doghouse
But having avoiding my demise,
If I’d empirically measured it
With an axe handle for size.

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A plague of enyots

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Warning;  Contains one naughty word necessary to tell the story.
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Mrs GOF’s father was caught between two worlds. Born in a remote village in New Guinea he was deprived of a formal education so he chose to relocate his young family by overland trek to Pindiu, a Government outpost where all his children could attend an English curriculum school.

He had extraordinary linguistic abilities. Speaking five languages fluently he also had a working knowledge of two more. After moving to Pindiu he started adding a few English words to his vocabulary. Most came from overhearing his kids chattering after school, or listening to the more colourful language being used by the Australian Patrol Officers for whom he worked as a labourer and translator.

He did not understand the dictionary meaning of these words and sometimes his pronunciation went awry. For example ‘idiot’ always came out as ‘enyot‘. I suspect the older siblings might have been complicit in ensuring the mispronunciations continued because they still tell funny stories about it today long after their dad has passed away.
“You enyots” was his reprimand for minor childhood transgressions, but more serious breaches elicited a bellowed “You fukkin enyots“. In his mind, these words meant simply “You naughty children”.
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For nigh on twenty years Mrs GOF and I have had a market stall selling plants at the annual Father’s Day street carnival at the Cairns Botanic Gardens. For most of this time the smooth operation of the event was a credit to Betty, a matronly volunteer who toddled around with a clipboard, pen and a welcoming smile. Life was good back then.

A few years ago the Cairns City Council took over management of the event and replaced Betty with an assortment of overpaid tertiary-educated bureaucrats who abolished common sense and progressively turned administrative stupidity into an art form.

This year, applications and communications could only be made online.
We will not be allowed to participate unless we take an entire day off from our farm work and drive four hours to Cairns to participate in a mandatory induction course to learn about the workplace health and safety implications of setting up a market tent.

It’s being conducted this morning.  Goodness gracious me we’re going to miss out.
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I refuse to enable any of these fukkin enyots to gain a foothold in my life.
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A pubic nuisance

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(Inspired by an allegedly true story (here) about a lady who had a car accident while she was multi-tasking…. driving while doing some downstairs shaving at the same time.)
Warning;  Contains adult themes and an implausible act of chivalry by one bearded old farmer.
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Helene was stuck in peak hour traffic
On a city bound commute
When she felt a strange sensation
Around her private parts hirsute.
The itchiness was quite intense
And scratching made it worse,
So she grappled out the razor
Hidden deep inside her purse.

But then the traffic lights turned green
And the cars began to flow
Which was seemingly the signal
For her pubes to quickly grow.
Shooting faster than the beanstalk
That Jack was wont to climb,
They sprouted every which way
Like a labyrinthine vine.

They curled around the gearstick
And the accelerator too.
The clutch was hard to operate.
And they blocked the mirror’s view.
When she looked down at the pedal
She could not believe her eyes
It was like ten Irish Setters
Were camped between her thighs.

Pubes grew right through the firewall
And wrapped around the fan,
Pulling, tugging, wrenching
Until her tears welled and ran.
The hair caught fire on the manifold,
So the cabin filled with smoke
And more wrapped around the tailshaft
Until it weakened, cracked and broke.

She parked the car and knickerless
Shaved the hair off at the roots,
In front of passing executives
All dressed in business suits.
Then I arrived in the nick of time,
And to sweet Helene I gave
A rub with herbicide lotion
To make her follicles behave.

I untangled all the flowing locks,
Fixed her car and doused the fire,
Then carted off the fuzzy thatch
In a nearby truck for hire.
I’ve turned it into yarn and felt,
With élan and aplomb,
And now it’s all for sale on
Toupeesforgirls dot com.

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Anthrax. Another New Guinea memory.

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The portly government recruiting bloke in Australia warned me that the job I’d applied for as an Agricultural Officer in Papua New Guinea would involve unique challenges and responsibilities.
And so it proved to be…..time and time again during my 12 years working there.
I’d only been in PNG for a few weeks when this event happened;
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I was nineteen years old when I found myself in charge of one of the most remote agricultural extension stations in Papua New Guinea. Lumi in the West Sepik District. No roads to the outside world, and all supplies were flown in from Wewak once a week on a chartered Piaggio or Cessna ‘push-pull’ aircraft.

No telephones either. Just a crackly HF radio sched each morning which delivered the following telegram from my boss in Vanimo;
“OUTBREAK OF ANTHRAX IN PIGS REPORTED AT RAUIT, BOGASIP AND ANGUGANAK VILLAGES STOP PROCEED AT YOUR EARLIEST TO VACCINATE ALL DOMESTIC PIGS STOP VACCINE ON NEXT GOVERNMENT CHARTER STOP’
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Pigs are a highly valued asset in PNG village culture.
My journal entry for Monday 24 June 1968 reads simply;
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“Departed 10.30 am to Rauit village for anthrax vaccination of pigs. Arrival Rauit 6.30 pm. Overnight Rauit.”
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Now God knows what the village elders thought of us earnest well-intentioned lily-white overgrown children from Australia who were scurrying around their tribal lands ineptly pushing forth barrows full of Western superiority and magic potions delivered with administrative aggrandisement. My own ineptitude on this occasion;
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1. I hadn’t been in PNG long enough to acquire a working knowledge of Melanesian tok pisin, the lingua franca necessary to tell the good folk of Rauit that I was about to poke holes in their pigs with sharp objects. Fortunately a Persian anthropologist was living nearby and able to translate.

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2. I’d never previously administered an injection to anything or anybody, but I thought I’d once seen a vet do it to a cow somewhere.

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3. I had zero knowledge about anthrax. Obviously a rare failure of the Australian agricultural college curriculum. No books or library to look it up. No internet. To this day I do not know if pig anthrax can be spread to humans or if I should have taken any personal precautions whilst administering the vaccine. I spent three days from sparrow-fart to sundown ‘shooting’ hundreds of domesticated pigs with my new fancy veterinary equipment, so I’m assuming either the disease was relatively harmless or I have natural immunity to anthrax.
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Now, one more little thing…… “Departed 10.30 am to Rauit….arriving 6.30 pm” is a statement which totally overlooks the degree of technical difficulty involved.

Getting to Rauit village was not some sort of air-conditioned cruise down the freeway in a Mustang with a Camel cigarette hanging out of my mouth and Hank Marvin and The Shadows twanging away in the quadraphonic speakers. It was a project best left to idiots  people like me who were being adequately remunerated for all the effort and inconvenience. Fifty six dollars per week plus 65 cents camping allowance for every night when we didn’t make it home again.
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Stage One; Lumi to Anguganak. Anguganak Missionary Station was 25 kilometres from Lumi on what we sarcastically referred to as the Sepik Highway. In fine weather it took one hour riding the Government issue Honda 90 motor bike, but on this day, like many others, the journey took several hours.
With every shower of rain the wheels jammed up with sticky mud until they would no longer rotate. The rocky fords at the four major river crossings were so deep that water flowed back up the exhaust pipe, instantaneously killing the engine. Recovery procedure as follows;
Curse and gesticulate.
Push bike over slippery boulders to other side of the river.
Curse extravagantly. Arms too tired for gesticulating.
Dismantle engine and pump water out of cylinder with kick start.
Curse with greater originality and cranked-up volume.
Spray Jesus Juice (CRC) on all parts and reassemble.
Repeatedly push bike up nearest hill and roll back down in gear until engine eventually fires up again. (allow 30 minutes to 1 hour for each river)
(Travel tip; Stop swearing and referring to CRC as ‘Jesus Juice’ before arriving at any missionary station.)

Stage Two; Walk to Rauit.   Leave motor bike with the good missionary folk at Anguganak, then zig-zag walk for an hour up the vertical escarpment behind the station before sloshing through the jungle for another hour to Rauit village.
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I treasure all these memories of what was a wonderful chapter in my life.
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Pictures below; Apologies for crap quality. Not my fault. Almost half a century of fungus and fading did it.
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'Sepik Highway' near Lumi 1968.  Many years later is actually became a graveled highway to the coast at Wewak.

‘Sepik Highway’ near Lumi 1968. Many years later is actually became a graveled highway to the coast at Wewak.

Rocky ford at Keifangu River. Motor bike on far side.

Rocky ford at Keifangu River. Motor bike on far side.

 

Walking up the Anguganak escarpment.

Walking up the Anguganak escarpment.

 

On top of the bluff...mission station far below near the river.

On top of the bluff…mission station far below near the river.

GOF the Masterchef

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My small country town held a Masterchef competition last week. It was a fundraiser at the church for our beloved Bishop Risotto Parmagiano. He is suffering from depression and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome after he scored an incredible 99% in a paternity test of the Rawlinson quintuplets.
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Our talents are for giving
As philanthropic deeds
To the destitute, and spawn
Of Bishop’s holy seeds.
There were nine young contestants,
Plus me, I tagged along
With ‘old age and treachery’
Whistlin’ Willie Nelson’s song.

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Seven of ’em exited
Before the show began.
I uncorked my flask marked ‘Anthrax’
And they all took off and ran.
So as I surveyed pots and woks
And lentils, nuts and ghee,
There remained just the three of us;
Gaylord, Fat Anne and me.

.

Next to go was gourmand Anne
With a loaf of sourdough bread.
Golden brown and shaped a little
Like Bishop Risotto’s head.
Smiling wide with nostrils flared
Fat Anne was thrilled to bits,
But I’d laced her flour with Epsom Salts
And the judges got the shits.

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Gaylord mortar-pestled with
An alcoholic grin,
From vodka in his drinking glass.
How the hell did that get in?
He fell down drunk and went to sleep,
So now I’m here to boast,
‘Bout how I won the Masterchef
With canned baked beans on toast.
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