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Things up with which I must put.

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1.   A wife whose breakfast-time summaries of TV programs she watched last night take longer than the actual programs.

2.   The only two-legged grandsomething I’m ever going to get from my daughter will most likely be a foul-mouthed kleptomaniac cockatoo or an unbalanced double-amputee wombat which she has adopted from Animal Welfare.

3.   Timmy the new kitten and Kebba our dysfunctional pig dog are shamelessly flouting the laws of nature.

It’s very fortunate that at least one person in this family is devoid of peculiarity. You may consider me to be like an electronic room deodoriser…… spurting out fragrant poofs of wisdom and sensibility ad libitum all over my fiefdom to overpower the foul absurdities which surround me.

It is hard being normal.

Now if you don’t mind I’d like to go now and finish writing my current academic gift to mankind; “Digital procedures for estimating core temperature and determining textural anomalies in fresh cassowary faecal deposits.”

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Type 72 textured cassowary poop

Type 72 textured cassowary poop




A daughter’s odyssey

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After spending three nights in the chaotic and lawless Papua New Guinea towns of Port Moresby and Lae,  Inga (age 30) will this morning commence a journey with her Mum which will inevitably change her life and perspective of the world forever.

She will step into a rugged little Britten Norman Islander aircraft at the refurbished wartime airstrip at Nadzab, and with propellor blade tips spinning just inches from her ear through the side window, fly over the spectacular mountains of the Huon Peninsula into another peaceful and intriguing world surrounding the tiny landing ‘strip at Pindiu.

She may even use an occasional expletive during the final landing approach (below) and think her life is about to end before it really got started.   (Internet gremlins are interfering with the youtube link so the only way to see this ‘interesting’ aviation exercise is to copy and paste the following URL)

I admire Inga’s courage in leaving behind a comfortable life in Australia to discover the places of  Mrs GOF’s childhood, and I am enormously proud of her for accepting the challenge.
She will suffer from culture shock.  She will be physically exhausted climbing mountains.  She will have little privacy, and have to use communal pit latrines. She will bathe and do laundry in creeks and carry water and firewood for cooking.

The rewards however will far outweigh the privations.  During the next 18 days of walking though the Dedua and Hube areas she will discover an entire extended family who will love her and care about her. She will walk through some extraordinarily beautiful scenery and meet some of the happiest and most hospitable people on Earth.

It is also coincidentally exactly 40 years since I conducted my first  ten-day walking patrol through Dedua villages on these same bush tracks in the role of a rural development officer.

Inga will return to Australia culturally enriched and understanding why those of us who had the privilege of working with PNG village people a very long time ago retain such an enduring affection for them and their country.

The following photographs of the Pindiu-Dedua area were taken by Mrs GOF in 2011.


Domestic pig Rebafu village

Afong village with Pindiu airstrip in background

Afong village with Pindiu airstrip in background

Masaweng River tributary

Mongi River suspension bridge

Mongi River suspension bridge

Mongi Valley walking track

Mongi Valley walking track

Pindiu village house

Pindiu village house

From a Dad to his Daughter

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In charge of the pump 1984

My dear Globet,

Today you celebrate 30 years of life.

Well that’s the theory.

However, judging from the phone call we received from Sergeant Plodbottol at the Frankston Police Watchhouse late last Saturday night I am led to believe that you may well have jumped the gun.

As you are aware, a lot of your present behaviour is the result of what I meticulously taught you over the years.

Today seems like a good time to apologise for all of that.

I would also like to say that I am sorry for those numerous occasions when I publicly embarrassed you right here in The Bucket, as well as all those other moments of mortification which I might have inadvertently caused you to suffer in Cairns, Ballarat, Bendigo, Butcher’s Creek, Mareeba, Atherton, Castlemaine, Newell Beach, Dandenong, Sunbury, Undara, Ravenshoe and Hervey Bay.

The symptoms of inept fathering were revealed early in your life.
I should have taken more notice.  At one year of age, while Mum and I were smoothing out the wet mortar between the concrete wall blocks of the house we were building, you, unbeknownst to us, were toodling around behind another wall gouging it all out again onto the ground with a sharp stick.

A little later in life, when you were being overtaken by the unfortunate forces of pubescence (entirely your fault after refusing to swallow any more of the hormone suppressants we were feeding you at the time) you virtually held a Cairns radio station to ransom until it gave you a backstage pass to hang out with that concert singer for whom you had some sort of peculiar adolescent raging hots  musical admiration.

One of the things I never had the heart to explain to you before now was Age Bracket Creep.
When you were 1 year old you were 3% of my age at the time.
Today you are 47% of my age.
At this frightening rate of depreciation, you will actually close the gap and be older than me in the year 2047. (Sadly you can’t argue with mathematical truths like these which emanate from your father. I am sorry to be the bearer of this bad news on your birthday.)

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Fortunately your Mum provided you with all the essential moral and ethical vocabulary necessary for you to write your own unique and exemplary book of values and life principles.
You now set examples of behaviour which I would do well to follow, and it makes me extraordinarily proud that you have chosen to become a supporter and mentor for others less fortunate.

I admire your physical courage.
Climbing to the summit of Queensland’s highest mountain Mt. Bartle Frere at the age of 10, being the first member of your group of graduating Year 12’s to leap off the bungee tower (with the rope attached), and your recent participation in the Tough Mudder are just three examples.

Most of all it gives me great joy to watch you embracing a life of independence and exploring the destiny pathways which were but
an elusive dream for most women of my generation.

Some children are given the love and respect of their parents only as an automatic and sometimes undeserved birthright.

You have earned ours by your conduct, the considerate and respectful way you treat other people, and your intelligent concern for the future of mankind and the planet.  It has been an absolute privilege being part of your life for thirty years.

I know you would expect no less, so I’m still keeping one eye on you just to make sure you don’t relapse into your old mortar-gouging mode.

Happy birthday my dear Inga.

The following little song “Dad, do you remember” by Kasey Chambers and Poppa Bill is for you, as well as all the Dads and Daughters in this world who share a special bond.

Go safely. Tread lightly upon the Earth.

With love today and always,


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Going to school 1991

Just for old times sake 2012

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Happy birthday Globet

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It is no big secret.

Whenever I appraise all of my daughters who were born in 1982,
Inga always comes up as my favourite.

GOF’s childhood was one of simplicity, unburdened by material possessions because that is what life was like for everyone living in rural Australia immediately after World War 2.

Inga’s childhood was one of simplicity, unburdened by material possessions because GOF made a completely irrational decision to throw away a perfectly good job in a mining town nine months after she was born, to follow his dream of self-sufficiency in the wilderness.

But Inga and I have shared much more than that.
Something that many two-working-parent families have chosen to sacrifice in their quest to “accumulate and own all that stuff really quickly.”

We shared TIME together.  Lots of it.

Just for starters, over a period of 11 years we shared an aggregate 2700 hours together on a motor bike, slipping and sliding our way through the rainforest, sometimes in the most appalling weather conditions to and from the nearest school-bus stop 6 kilometres away.

We both also had a healthy amount of time alone to think about life and contemplate the world around us.  Inga’s young life was not constantly stuffed full of noise and invasive electronic media.

I have a list of qualities that I like to see in young women of the world.  One of the most important is the “Usefulness On The Farm Factor.”   This is a category in which Inga has excelled par excellence.
Planting and harvesting sweet potatoes and taro in rain, hail, shine or mud, or running up and down the mountain to operate the diesel irrigation pump, or catching grasshoppers inside the plant nursery (for which she charged me the exhorbitant fee of 5c per head).   Also;

Powering pleasure craft on the dam

and cleaning up after cyclones

Inga has always given me good reason to be proud of her behaviour and achievements.  Oh….except for that one time with the train driver that I’m not allowed to talk about here……but it’s not like he drove the train completely off the rails after his eyes almost popped out of his head, so that doesn’t count against her either.

Most of all I am happy to be the father of a compassionate human being.

Mrs GOF thinks that we won the Childbirth Lottery on June 5 1982.

A sentiment which I share, but in the light of recent evidence I did decide to confiscate the chainsaw and shotgun, just in case I had come to a premature, hasty and incorrect conclusion.

Recent evidence

Happy birthday to our dear Inga.

A Childrens Story (Illustrated)

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(Parental Guidance recommended;  Contains partial nudity)


Once upon a time there was a cuddly teddy bear called Fozzie.

Fozzie lived in the middle of the rainforest with a little girl named Inga, who grew up into a big girl called Globet which is a really funny name that she chose for herself.
When she was little, Inga would dress Fozzie in nice clothes and tuck him warm and snug into bed every night.

Fozzie had another best friend called Garfield.

One day, soon after Inga had grown up into a Globet, she knew that she had to leave home because her Daddy told her to, so she flew all the way to the other side of Australia just to get away from him.

There were no more seats left on the aeroplane, so Fozzy had to stay at home with Garfield, and Inga’s nice Mummy, and the evil Grandpa GOF, who sometimes made Fozzie sit all alone on top of the wardrobe where all the cockroaches and spiders lived.

After a while Fozzie got really angry at being treated that way, so he sent messages to all his little piggy friends in the rainforest to come and create havok amongst GOF’s assets and gardens.

“Please come and create absolute havok and make a really big mess of GOF’s place” pleaded Fozzie at a meeting of their Porcine Parliament.

The pigs were very happy to help, and they dug, and they wallowed, and they shat, and they ploughed up Evil GOF’s gardens big time.

When Evil GOF found out what was happening, he got really angry and tried to shoot the pigs with a gun which is a very naughty thing to do, but Fozzie and Garfield always warned the pigs when GOF was coming to look for them, so none of them ever got hurt.

Then Evil GOF built a trap to try and catch the pigs, and it was then that some really funny things happened.

First he didn’t build the trap door properly and it fell down on his foot which made him use some words that Fozzie had never heard before.

You  $#%@   %$#&*%   @%$#   *&$%#  door” shouted Evil GOF at the top of his voice.

Fozzie laughed and laughed and laughed until tears streamed down his face as he watched the Evil One hopping around in the mud on one leg.

Then Grandpa GOF tightened some trotter trip wires to make the door fall down after the pigs came inside his trap, and then a long nylon fishing line back to his hideout in the shed so that just in case the pigs didn’t trigger the first one he could do it himself.

Then you wouldn’t believe what happened next.

In the middle of the night after he had given up and gone to bed,
Evil Grandpa thought he heard the trap go off, so he came running helter-skelter out of the house wearing gumboots, a fully loaded shotgun and not a great deal else, to check his trap.

That was a really disturbing sight for Fozzy to see, but what happened next was the funniest thing that he had ever seen in his whole life.

Evil GOF forgot all about his fishing line which he couldn’t see in the dark, so he went running into it and the door came crashing down with a really big bang.
He had caught himself in his very own trap.

Fozzie almost wet himself because it was all so, so funny.

It reminded Fozzie and Garfield of the last time they went to a soccer match together.  But this time the big scoreboard was reading;

Pigs 1 :  GOF  0.

Dear oh dear, Fozzie hadn’t laughed so much for a really long time, but Evil Grandpa heard him laughing and, as punishment, made Fozzie sit on permanent sentry duty with the gun ready on his lap.

But Fozzie isn’t really going to hurt any of his piggy friends, and all the animals still laugh at the silly things that Evil Grandpa GOF does, so they all lived happily ever after…..

except of course for Evil GOF….but that’s another story………and God help us, he’ll probably keep inflicting them on people ad nauseum for ever.

Oh God, GOF feels old today

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And is it any wonder when I have a daughter who does things like this to me?

The things up with which I have to put.  Sheesh.

Dirty rotten planks

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This is a shameful piece of cross-promotional nepotism.

Nevertheless, I should tread very carefully because I am not a member of Globet's favourite gender at the moment.

It is probably fortunate that I once philosophically inoculated her against precisely this sort of affliction.  
Back in Grade 8, when I first caught her checking out some blonde-haired juvenile Adonis, I took her aside and presented her with ;

GOF's Law #1 for Daughters;

"All men are bastards.  Don't have anything to do with them."

Now this little seed of Goffish wisdom was apparently sown upon infertile ground and it's first little growth shoot was killed off by the subversive herbicide of Mrs GOF whose main concern in life is to own grandchildren.

I think Globet is turning back towards my point of view.
With a vengeance.  And poise.  And dignity.
And expressive colourful vocabulary.      I'm proud of my Inga.

But it is time for me to announce GOF's Law #2 for Daughters;

"There are exceptions to Law #1.  Rare, but worthwhile.
Even so, they still need some supervised probation to make sure that they are not tempted to graze outside the home paddock."

Globet's latest justification for GOF's Law #1  is here

I'm sure she deserves better advice than mine.

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Happy Birthday Globet

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My little girl is 27 today.

Anyone who has followed my bloggery for a while will know that I have a pretty special relationship with Glob.  One that will survive, even after I have chosen to publish the picture of a pile of cassowary shit in honour of her birthday.

Please let me explain why it is so.

Globet was 9 months old when we moved to GOF's Paradise, an isolated, undeveloped 46 acre patch in the middle of the rainforest.  Along with Mrs GOF we had one old ten foot long caravan to live in during that wet season of 1983 until we built a little house.
Access to civilisation involved travel along 7km of deeply rutted, rain sodden logging track meandering through the jungle.  No other vehicles regularly travelled along this track, for frequently it was impassable even to four wheel drives.  In the early years we had a Ferguson tractor located at the top of the 7km….we parked the car there and commuted to G.P. by tractor.

The road had only marginally improved by the time Globet started school.  For the purpose of getting to the school bus stop she pillion-passengered with me on a little Honda CT110 "postie bike" until, after grade 7 with her long legs dragging on the ground we upgraded to a taller CT 200.

It often took more than 20 minutes to travel these 7 kilometres, and, when the road surface was too slippery or boggy, or frequently when trees had fallen across the road, we would have to make our own detour through the forest.

In her 11 years of primary/secondary school education the Glob/Gof motorcycling unit clocked up 30,000 km of slipping and sliding, and at least 495 hours of unique commuting time. 
We got very wet and we often got cold, but we had some fun along the way.  We shared stories and experiences and we bonded.
And not once did we ever fall off.
Those who ride motor bikes will know that successful pillion passengers must have both a sense of balance, and faith in the drivers ability.  Globet had both.

I commenced this piece with a paternalistic reference to my "little girl".
She is no longer my little girl, but in every conceivable way my equal as an adult.  An adult possessing far more knowledge, poise, wisdom, maturity and sensibility than I had at her age.

Just as she trusted me all those years ago, so it is that I will happily hand over to her, and all the other equally caring and concerned members of her generation, the reins of stewardship of this world.  This planet, which my own generation has so deplorably pillaged for profit, overpopulated, polluted, misused, and filled with inequality, hatred and warfare.

So today, my dear Globet, is your special day.
And mine, to remember it all.

And why the cassowary shit?
It is part of her unique life experience, understanding that by dipping your big toe into a pile of cassowary poo and estimating its core temperature a useful determination can be made of just how long ago the bird passed by.

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