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Imaginary friends

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On my mother's side of the GOF family I do not know any living relatives, and there is only one older cousin on my dad's side.  
She has a large clutch of children and grandchildren, most of them living within downwind spitting distance of her in Victoria.

Whenever she has an advance warning of my visit she gives them all  a cautionary warning about the black sheep of the family who, whilst still a teenager, nicked off and ran away to New Guinea, and
"if any of you lot choose a similarly rebellious attitude you will also end up living a life of squalor in some North Queensland jungle"

Cousin Liz has memories about me which pre-date my own memories about me.

Apparently in 1951 alongside the country road between Castlemaine and Daylesford there were three ramshackle unoccupied cottages.
Relics from the 1850's gold rush.
Liz's fanciful story relates that I had an imaginary friend living in one of the old houses.  His name was Uk.  Uk apparently had a very productive and interesting life, and my stories about him often entertained my parents during the one hour drive between the two towns.

As that great Prince of Pontification would have it;

"The best predictor of future behaviour, is past behaviour."

Yes Dr Phil, you nailed it.  
I indeed have had a couple of imaginary friends since then, and I would not have wished for it to be otherwise.


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The last provedore

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                                     provedore  n. someone who provides supplies for a ship.

My role models in life have always been men with no frills who do not hesitate to get their hands dirty in the process of making an honest living.  This is a brief tribute to one of them.

I once knew a Provedore.
An occupation proudly announced on his simple business card.
His name was Arthur.  A large, quiet, and amiable gentle man, who, in his seventies, would never have entertained the idea of retirement from his one man business.

Arthur would never be seen without his trademark well-worn khaki shorts and shirt, greengrocers apron, two-wheeled trolley, a limp, and a rusting and rattling little flatbed truck which, on the outside, looked  almost as old as Arthur himself but was probably not.

He would come to the Saturday Rusty's markets in Cairns looking for the best quality fruit and vegetables from Atherton Tableland growers which he would then take back to his little warehouse stacked high with recycled vegetable boxes, before sorting it all out and delivering orders to ships berthed at the wharf.

Small ships.  Coastal trading vessels which ply the channel inside the Great Barrier Reef serving all the remote communities North to the tip of Cape York Peninsula.

We were proud that he chose to buy our sweet potato, taro, cassava and yams.

Occasionally his payment cheques would bounce, because you see, Arthur was, first and foremost, a Provedore.
Accounting and the management of money came in a very long last in his list of priorities.  We were always eventually paid the full amounts, including the $20 bank bouncing fee, in cash.

One day around the end of the last century he collapsed and died, surrounded by fruit and vegetables, in his warehouse.
A body worn out by a life of hard work which just refused to travel any more miles or carry any more boxes.

I think he would have liked the final curtain to fall like that.

My Collins Dictionary no longer includes the word Provedore.

R.I.P. Arthur Dun, role model, friend, the last, and the very best of Provedores.

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Nibbling at the corruption cake

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My little Scrap Bucket as you no doubt have discovered, contains errors of spelling and grammar, and an occasional lack of diligent research.  
I would like to claim however that most of my writing follows a period of serious thought and contemplation, and reveals a rationale, flawed though it may often be, which appeals to my sensibilities.    
Accordingly, after some weeks of deliberation I am now ready to pass comment in the matter of a high ranking Australian politician who had accepted airfares to China paid for by a Chinese businesswoman.  

Of course, being a naive, innocent and trusting lad, I was initially astonished and amazed to know that this sort of behaviour existed amongst our revered parliamentary representatives.

Explanation;  "It was important for me to go and develop a good
                        working relationship with China"  and
                      " she was my friend".

Yeah,   right!

If it was important for Australia, why did he not pay for it himself and in the process earn a few patriotic brownie points?
And, why do I not have friends like that?  Let me explain.

I have not been offered even a local bus fare by any of my friends.
Not because they are a tight fisted lot, but because they realise I am a fiercely independent old bastard who does not wish to be, or be seen as, being in anyones debt.

I have friends because I enjoy their company, intelligence, conversation and wit. Included are some very special friends who have proven to me over a long period of time, that they comply with my "trustworthiness trifecta".   
That rule states that I would unhesitatingly trust them with my money, my wife, and my property, and not necessarily in that order.

In 60 years, those who have qualified for the latter status are numbered less than the full complement of fingers I have on a single hand.
And I feel blessed to have found so many.

They would neither offer me, nor expect me to offer them a free flight to anywhere.  

But please forgive my little digression.

Why would any politician presently in, or aspiring to high office be so dumb as to accept large gifts which are bound to resurface in political debate as evidence of compromised integrity?

I happen to be a great admirer of Australia's current Government and Prime Minister.

However, lets call a snout, regardless of its political colour, a snout.
Those who provide swill for the trough from which it feeds, will, sooner or later, come dreaming of a little bacon.

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