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Inga and the bird

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First some essential definitions for the benefit of my new reader;
Inga is my adult daughter who lives and works as far away from me as she possibly can without having to leave continental Australia.

Birds are 2 -legged animals which fly in the sky. They all have feathers unless one happens to be a plucked chicken equipped with a GOF Mk1, 3-stage experimental rocket strapped to it’s undercarriage.
Oops……newcomer’s gone already.
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Next thing;  I now need to waste some of your time with history;

I have occasionally written about the ‘sense of place’ and connection with the land that Mrs GOF and I feel after having lived for 30 years on this soggy and secluded place which has nurtured us, provided food and water, and protected us from harm.
White-fellas in Australia have a difficult time coming to terms with the spiritual depth of connection to ‘country’ that aboriginal people feel, but I think I am beginning to understand.

I’m guessing Inga feels something similar even though she will have her own unique perspective.  She was only an infant when we arrived here and to this day she remains the only child who was raised to adulthood in this neck of the woods.  Today there are three children in the neighbourhood, but in Inga’s day there was only herself.  She grew up with Merial her pet cow, played in the mud and wandered around our 46 acres making her own entertainment. Inga’s formative years were spent being an integral part of this very special natural environment.

Something attracts her back here for holidays every year and I’d venture to suggest that there is a force at play which is greater than simply the close relationship she has with her parents.
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And finally; The main event;

parrot feeding time

Every morning either Mrs GOF or I distribute a cupfull of bird seed on the garden path as supplementary feed for the wild birds living in the rainforest.  We’ve been doing this for at least twenty years.  Depending on the season, between 50 and 100 individuals arrive. King parrots, emerald doves and assorted finches. Whenever we try to approach them, they all flock-off up into nearby trees until we’ve disappeared from view, then they fly back down again to resume eating.  We’ve made several attempts in the past to ‘tame’ some of them and failed, so they will forever remain wild birds.

Last Christmas Inga came home for two weeks. Apparently this must have been a very tiring experience because most mornings she got out of bed well after the birds had eaten their breakfast and disappeared back into the rainforest.

On the final morning she was up early making preparations to travel back home to Melbourne.  As soon as she went out onto the verandah with a small handful of seed a lone King parrot came out of the blue and landed on the roof above her head. It peered over the guttering at her before fluttering down and landing on her arm.  Then it ate all the food from her hand before taking off again into the bush.

There is only one acceptable explanation. 

Inga was offering a token departing gift to Mother Nature in appreciation of the connection she has with this ‘country‘ and the bird was accepting it on behalf of all the spirits of our land and thanking her for returning.

Until such time as science can provide me with a more sublime conclusion, I’m going to cherish this one.

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A flabbergasted Mrs GOF hurriedly found a camera to record the moment.

Ingabird 1


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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The problem with GOF (this time)

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Each year when my daughter returns home for holidays after working in that God-forsaken windblown frigid southern extremity of Australia known as Melbourne, I fritter away all my perfectly good blogging time by going bushwalking with her, visiting interesting new places, or discussing life and the condition of the planet over glasses of wine.

Furthermore, she invades and occupies The Bucket Headquarters and engages a squadron of man-hating combat cassowaries just to guard the entrance and make sure that “all this stupid blogging business of yours GOF”  comes to a grinding halt for the duration of her occupation.

The Bucket Headquarters

“Comments” for this story have been turned “off”.

We don’t want to open the floodgates for “The problem with GOF” remarks.

Do we!

Nor do we need to allow Inga the right of reply and the opportunity to modify this truthful historical record when she discovers next week what I have written today.

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A granddaughter named Roman

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Great joy.

Behold, into the GOF Family a grandchild hath come.

My family does not discriminate on the grounds of ethnicity, religion or, it would seem, species.  I now have a rabbit granddaughter.

Inga  and her most recent arrival are domiciled at the other end of Australia down towards Antarctica. The adopted grown-up bunny-child is so technologically savvy that she was able to send Mrs GOF the following communication on her mobile phone the other day.

"Hi Grandma"

What did I get?  Zero.  Zilch.  I was beginning to think that little fluffy nerd-ears had probably already accessed and discovered that Grandpa GOF half a century ago was responsible for exterminating a very large number of her ancestors.

So yesterday it was a great relief when I received the following email from little Buggalugs.

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Hi Grandpa,

Mama Inga is letting me use the computer tonight while she tries to find every one of the 534 pellets that I hid around the house while she was at work today. It’s lots of fun seeing her down on her hands and knees looking underneath the tables and couches with a torch and mumbling lots of foreign words that I don’t understand yet because I’m too little.

Everything is good here except for one thing that I don’t really understand. I was christened ‘Madonna’ and that’s what everyone at the rabbit shelter used to call me, so why is Mama Inga now calling me ‘Roman’ all the time?

Is her memory shot?
Does she do weird things like this very often?

Your fluffy little granddaughter,


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My dear little Buggalugs,

Nomenclature is a very complicated adult business.  
Your Mama Inga had to find a name for you that she liked, but which was also acceptable to the Bunny Refuge people who were looking after you before.  You see, some humans give their offspring really stupid names like;

Pilot Inspektor                (Actor Jason Lee)
Sage Moonblood             (Sylvester Stallone)
Diva Thin Muffin           (Frank Zappa)  
Audio Science                  (Actress Shannyn Sassamon)
Globet and Musmus    (unattributed)

Mostly names are no big deal and they don’t unduly influence or predict the child’s subsequent behaviour.

Johnny Cash’s boy named ‘Sue’ got up and slugged his Dad right in the moosh as soon as he was able, which was extremely unladylike behaviour.

‘Chastity’ didn’t work out too well for Cher’s little one either and the kid’s still unchastely frolicking around decades later trying to discover whether she’s Arthur or Martha or something in between.   If only Cher Could Turn back Time.

So you see, Mama Inga was faced with a difficult decision.
She couldn’t name you ‘Fridge Magnet‘ or ‘Mophead’ or  “Squeegee” or ‘Bathtub Backscratcher’ or ‘Door Stopper’ because this might have rung some alarm bells with the Refuge management.

Mama Inga didn’t like your original name because people might have confused you with a couple of other famous ‘Madonnas’ in history, although you’re not really very much like the first Madonna because you are deficient in the ‘child’ department to the tune of one.

Inga was also a little bit frightened that you might be influenced by sharing a name with the second one, and the last thing Mama Inga needs right now is to come home after a long day in the office to find her very own Madonna squatting over a mirror having risque photographs taken for publication as Wanton Wabbit Centrefold of the Month in Playbunny Magazine.

So there you have it my little one.

Trust your Mama Inga. You won’t find a better one.
Or a more loving Grandma.  
Of other family members I am less certain.

Love from Grandpa.

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