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This one’s for sunshine

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During recent years I have maintained a habit of taking time out
every day just to be thankful for the blessings I have in this life.
Occasionally I will share one with you.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

Golden gumboot at Tully

Most Australians are probably unaware that there is a tiny part of this dry continent which receives an average annual rainfall well in excess of 150 inches.  The coastal towns of Babinda and Tully bicker and snort at each other every year in their race for statistical rainfall superiority.

Mrs GOF and I live high up on the mountainside behind these two towns taking the full brunt of the powerful moisture-laden south-easterly trade winds after their trajectory across the Tasman and Coral Seas.
Because of the altitude and geographic location we would win hands down if ever a ‘miserableness factor” was applied to rainfall figures.

I never look forward to April, May and June. The blowing fog and heavy drizzle is relentless….day and night….. on average for 25 days per month, and unlike the coastal towns we never even get glimpses of the sun during these days.

For only the second time in 30 years this April has been different.  Whilst we have still received our average 500mm (20″) of rain, it all fell during 6 days, and for the remainder of the time GOF’s Paradise looked something like this;

The mansion

Not a neighbour in any direction

Pathway down to the "office"

One half of my "office"

The other half

A choice of excuses…..

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….for this blog having recently been in hibernation.
Please select whichever one takes your fancy.

One excuse;

Transcript of Parole Board proceedings Monday 24 October 2011.

Mr GOF, you are sitting before us today prior to being released after serving your four month custodial sentence for perjury.

You will recall that this situation was brought upon yourself during the damages trial instituted against a garment manufacturer by former Miss Australia and Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins who had suffered an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction whilst wiggling her way down the catwalk.

Miss Hawkins had invited you to accompany her to this gala event in the dual capacities of Chief Bodyguard and Senior Backstage Lingerie Fitter.
As such, you were very close to the incident when it occurred.

Perhaps this photograph will jog your memory Mr GOF.

The presiding judge correctly refused to accept your testimony that
“I know nothing Your Honour.  As soon as it appeared to me that something was going awry I immediately averted my eyes and saw nothing.  You see I was raised as a Methodist Your Honour”  noting that it was the most blatant lie he had ever heard during his 40 year career.
“Let this sentence be a warning to other witnesses that perjury will not be tolerated in this court.”

You are also extremely fortunate that your sentence is not being increased today Mr GOF, considering the “Character Reference” that this Board received last week signed by no less than 29 members of an obscure group known as “Friends of The Bucket.”   All twenty nine signatures bear a remarkable resemblance to that of your own Mr GOF, and the Governor has since discovered a draft of the letter on the prison library computer.

We wish you well returning to a life of freedom Mr GOF and suggest that if ever in the future you happen to observe partially disrobed young women in public places you should immediately take cognizance of all the circumstances surrounding them just in case they might be required as evidence in a court of law.

Another excuse;

I have painstakingly spent four months working my way from one end of the shade house to the other replacing flood damaged weedmat (and gravel eroded from beneath it)  as well as restoring each potted bromeliad to it’s pre-cyclone Yasi condition.

Two photographs taken soon after the cyclone;

And three more taken yesterday.


The bastard’s ** back up again

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(** For those unfamiliar with the many and varied uses of the word “bastard” in Australian English, I highly recommend PeterMcc’s recent Users Guide.)

The following is a rough pictorial account of how GOF managed the magnificent achievement of rebuilding his cyclone damaged shade house in 6 weeks instead of two.

After Cyclone Yasi

Step One

Oh bastard!

Step Two

Oh bastard and #@%&

self explanatory

I don't want to talk about it


A little toast to the shade house

I don't want to talk about it

One day at a time

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My friend Snowy recently addressed the wonder of just being alive in a recent  Friday Night Philosophy. (here)
I highly commend it to anyone who has not read it. 
It is a philosophy which takes just two minutes to read and understand on an intellectual level, yet for me, only late in life have I really come to appreciate what it means on a practical daily basis.
The following are snippets from one mans journey of discovery.

I am reminded every day, as I spend time in my "office", of the simple joy of my "being".

No people bother me. (apart from my own occasional stupidity)
No telephones ring.
The air that I breathe has just travelled 5000 kilometres across the Pacific Ocean and Coral Sea since the last human exhaled or otherwise polluted it.
I work, potting and weeding my plants or simply sweeping the grunge off the weedmat floor.
Sometimes I just sit, wonder, and appreciate my good fortune at being able to earn a modest living in this beautiful place.

The present is even more precious when I briefly consider the long and occasionally difficult road which brought me to this moment.

A ten year old boy, in 1959, stood in a paddock on the family dairy farm in rural Victoria and determined that his future would lie in agriculture and horticulture.

Three years later, the country boy, a little fish out of water in suburbia, treasured his backyard garden of succulents and geraniums as a place of refuge, biding his time before going to agricultural college.

Agricultural college taught us that to gain respect from peers, you should be the first to volunteer to jump into the pig pen with a shovel and clean out the shit. 
Now aint that a lesson which should have a broader application in life.

At times during the last forty years I have laboured hard just to put food on the family table.
Jobs that some would consider menial, but to my way of thinking, farming, producing food for people, is the most honorable of professions

I have often been shat and pissed upon whilst milking other people's cows…..working 14 hour days in all weather for minimum wages.

My Mr Puniverse body lugged 15 litre backpack sprayers, filled with 2-4D and 2-4-5T (agent orange) mixed with diesel fuel, up and down hills poisoning tobacco bush weeds, (and I shudder now to think what else) for dairy farmers.

Mrs GOF and little Globet spent days, weeks and years with me, up to their arses (literally) in wet season mud and torrential rain hauling taro and yam tubers out of the ground for sale.

I even spent one day working in a milk factory coldroom, packing bottles of milk.  Only one day.
The very next day I returned my free issue of eskimo clothing, advising management that having to punch in and out on a timeclock was an activity that contravened my Contract with the Cosmos, and I immediately returned to milking the cows who at least respected me as an individual human being.

Over 20 years we gradually built a plant nursery and collected bromeliads (plants native to South America).

Then, exactly three years ago today, the 20th March 2006, Cyclone Larry completely erased the nursery and relocated most of our farm buildings to places where they did not belong… in the branches of trees 100 metres away.
It prompted me to also rearrange a few of the priorities in my life, and recognise that life itself is a miracle.  We have no control over its commencement, nor, perhaps unfortunately, its moment of termination.
I committed to honouring the magic of life itself, with daily appreciation of my "existence".

I acknowledge all the elements of good fortune which have also accompanied me during the first three quarters of this journey of life, including good health and being born in Australia.
I regret not a single day of my working life.
Not even the milk factory.

For now I have daily happiness and contentment, and I will not let myself forget it or take it for granted.

The little boys dream has been lived.

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