Tag Archives: romance

The Perfect Crime…Friday Fictioneers.

As the plane touched down at Sydney Airport, Jamilah knew she was safe and they’d never find her working at Macca’s Woy Woy, wishing the world a “nice day”.

Quiet and unassuming, Jamilah passed right under the radar, barely the shadow of a shadow.

Then, she met Jerome.

Of course, she’d never planned to fall so deeply in love, fusing into one exulted flesh. Giving herself to someone so entirely, that she disappeared, engulfed by the flames.

It wasn’t her fault, or was it? That he got caught in the flames and burned. Yet, now she was a wanted woman.

…..

100 Words.

Sometimes, I like to provide a little background into my flash fiction efforts. However, this week I wanted to leave it open to interpretation and see what comes back. Initially, I was tempted to write about when I was in Europe as 21 year old back in 1992. However,  this story took on a life of its own.

I set this piece in nearby Woy Woy, which is a bit of a backwater with a funny sounding name, as a tribute to Spike Milligan and the Goon Show. Spike Milligan’s parents and younger brother moved to Woy Woy and Spike was occasionally jocularly referred to as “the boy from Woy Woy“.

“Woy Woy”is a corruption of the indigenous term apparently taken from the local Darkinjung Aboriginal people, and reputedly means ‘big lagoon’ or ‘much water’, referring to the deep tidal channel adjacent to the town centre.

“Macca’s” is Australian for McDonald’s and is where many of our local teens find their first job and is a popular after school hangout. I also found myself hanging out at McCafe when our kids were young and the play area with it’s locked high gate was heaven-sent.

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields, where we write up to 100 words to a provided photo prompt. PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

 

Stumbling into the Great Chev Mystery…Friday Fictioneers.

There was something eerie and chilling to the bones about finding this old dead Chev dumped deep inside the woods. While Jane had seen deceased, decrepit vehicles rusting into the dirt on local farms, she’d never seen something like this in the woods before. As she cautiously edged towards the car, she almost leaped out of her skin, as leaf litter crunched under foot and she remembered a story about young lovers  who disappeared without a trace. She thought they’d been driving a Chev, but how had it resurrected from the dead? Why now? Where were they?

97 Words.

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields, where we write up to 100 words to a provided photo prompt. PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Going Barefoot…Friday Fictioneers.

Eloise had chosen every man she’d ever loved by his shoes. After all, she was very discerning herself, and had decided long ago that the shoes maketh of breaketh the man

Yet, somehow Hamish had squeezed under her discerning radar. The lifeguard at the local beach, he was barefoot when she met him, and barefoot he remained. He didn’t even own a pair of shoes.

Eloise couldn’t resist. Had to buy him a pair of matching boots. However, Hamish wasn’t about to be owned by any woman, and gave them back. He walked his own path.

…..

100 words exactly

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields, where we write up to 100 words to a provided photo prompt. Photo Copyright – Adam Ickes

I thought I might just remind you of my Australian context here and that’m actually sweltering away in the Summer heat at the moment. We’re a short walk to the beach and have quite a casual dress sense around here, especially during Summer. That said, I’ve known a few friends who have dated men who are always barefoot and some of those friends have been what you could describe as “posh” themselves. Sometimes, you’ve got to wonder whether cupid’s arrow missed its mark!

To get into the Christmas spirit of things, I’ve posted a photo of Elf with the lifeguard, a friend of mine who I’m pretty sure has to wear shoes on the job.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

Fighting War on A Different Front…Army Dentists WWII.

While it was all very well for our Australian Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies to follow Britain’s lead and declare war on Germany on the 3rd September, 1939, the reality was that our troops were far from ready to go.

Indeed, it appears that our young men had stuck their tooth brushes where the sun don’t shine, and their teeth were just as black. Just to give you some idea of the full scale of the problem, in September 1939 in regional Victoria of 2,477 men examined, only 301 were classed as dentally fit and many of those had upper and lower dentures.That’s not a lot of pearly whites!

With the army struggling to treat almost universal dental annihilation, the NSW branch of the Australian Dental Association set up a clinic at the showgrounds where a team of 80 volunteer dentists worked in relays of twelve. These volunteers included my grandfather, Bob Curtin, who had a dental practice in Macquarie Street and you can see him hard at work in the photo above.

By the time the clinic closed in September 1941, 66,991 teeth had pulled out along with giving 97,763 fillings and supplying 19,318 dentures. I can’t help wondering what happened to all those teeth and whether they’ve all been stashed somewhere in one of these construction holes you see in the ground. I’ve never thought of teeth as landfill before but given those numbers, disposing of all those teeth must’ve been a consideration. Or, perhaps the tooth fairy took off with the lot. In that case, leaving a penny under all those bottles of beer, must’ve cost her a pretty penny.

Army dentists cartoon 1940

Not unsurprisingly, the soldiers themselves were less than enthusiastic about fronting up to the dentist. Indeed, one soldier we’ll just call “Jack” spilled the beans on what was known as the “Dental Clinic Racket”. This was not only a way of avoiding the dentist. It had the added bonus of getting them out of all sorts of duties so they could head off to their “bung-hole” (bed) instead:

“To secure, immunity from distasteful tasks by this means a soldier would first make an appointment with the clinic. He would show the appointment slip to the sergeant and be sent away from the kitchen, or some other fatigue to keep the appointment. At the clinic he would plead some excuse for delay, and the dentists, always willing to oblige, almost invariably agreed, to make an appointment for another day, The soldier was then free to go to his”bung-hole” and rest. But we have a checking system from today which will kill that dodge. Of course, in a day or so, the boys will think up a new one.”

Jack then goes on to say that the dental clinic made a raid on his unit that morning:

“All the boys were examined for dental defects, and if extractions were required, hustled straight over to get the works. I’ve seen some of those boys rush up a hill with fixed bayonets, yelling like madmen. The enemy was only imaginary, but I know that they would, and-will, do tho same when shot and shell are flying. But when these men were told to face the Dental Corps they paled, and almost had to be driven to the clinic. If the Dental Corps, had the same effect on an enemy, they would make ideal front line troops.”

Eunice & Robert Wedding

The marriage of Eunice Gardiner & Robert Vincent Curtin at St Mary’s Cathedral 1940.

As it turned out, 1940 was a busy year for my grandfather. That photo appeared in the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday 2nd July, 1940. While my grandfather was flat out trying to maintain his dental practice while volunteering out at the showground, a young concert pianist had returned from London to tour Australia with the ABC under famous English conductor, Sir Thomas Beecham. While I’m not exactly sure of when they arrived in Australia it would appear they arrived in March, 1940. At some point along the way, my grandmother was in Sydney and had a toothache. Her brother Les had gone through school with my grandfather and I’m not too sure if that’s how she ended up there with that toothache. However, that was the beginning of a new chapter in our history. They were engaged n the 23rd August, 1940 and married in December.

Well, wrapping this up has been a bit of a rush job as I’m off to a concert at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music tonight and I want to potter around for a bit while I’m down there.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

Tales from University 1929…The Lad Paying for the Girl on the Tram.

What goes around comes around. While our kids are still a way off leaving school, quite a few of my friends’ kids are currently doing their HSCs or final exams at the moment. While they’re currently fully immersed in their exams and seizing hold of current friendships, they’re all about to embark into the great unknown of new beginnings.

Who knows whether any of these kids will find themselves walking along the same old path we trod into Sydney University. Catching the train to Redfern Station and then walking down Lawson Street, onto Abercrombie and into campus…albeit clutching a map and potentially loads of trepidation.

Starting anything new is such a melting pot of horrid anxiety and exhilarated excitement that it’s surprising any of us can actually put one foot in front of the other and actually emerge from the other end with that precious piece of paper in hand. All I can say to the new ones is that the paths well trod, but there have also been a lot of casualties and not to take anything for granted. That you need to carpe diem seize the day but also make sure you don’t burn up along the way. Light all your matches at once and have no story to tell.

Anyway, while some people waste their lives hunting down the mighty dollar, I live in pursuit of the story. Consequently, as soon as I found out that the archives of Sydney University’s newspaper, Honi Soit were online, I dived in and I haven’t come out. What’s added zest and excitement to this journey, is that I’m a third generation Sydney University Graduate and I also have aunts, uncles, brother, cousins who’ve also been through the place. While our names mightn’t be etched in stone in the Main Quad, we’ve definitely been part of the action. Some of us more than others.

It was only natural to want to check out the very first edition of Honi Soit and see what it was about. Then, I realized that my grandfather had been studying dentistry at the time and that he would’ve held that paper in his hands all those years ago. Been a part of the action. Born in 1910, he would’ve been 19 in 1929 and possibly in second year. I’ve got to try and nut that out.

So, when I found this fabulous letter to the editor written by a Fresher, I had to think of him. I didn’t think of him as the Fresher, but more as one of the wise owls offering this hapless young man a bit of advice.

Here it goes:

Trams 1920s

Letters to the Editor May 3, 1929.

Dear Sir,—

Now I am only a Fresher, Mr. Editor, and consequently am  not very well up in ‘Varsity ways and this is what’s worrying me. Every morning I meet one of the women of my year at the tram—she’s always there first and so I can’t dodge her—and we ride in together and I pay her fare.

Now that’s it—should I pay her fare seeing that I only met her a few weeks ago? You see it makes quite a big difference in this way: When I ride with her I don’t like to use my cram pass and as it is a three section journey that means 3d. extra plus 5d. for her—making 8d. extra altogether.

This means 3/4 a week in the morning and there’s also one afternoon which brings it up to 4/- a week. This is £ 2 a term and means £ 6 a year.

As we are both doing MED. we will travel together for six years and that means £36. Further since everyone fails in Third Year we will have to stay seven years at the ‘Varsity and that makes it £42.

It doesn’t seem a bit fair to me that this girl should cost me so much money, but as I am only a Fresher and don’t know much I would like to have your opinion as I am certain it will be a good one.

Hoping that I haven’t caused you too much bother.

I am.

Yours Very Truly,

M.T. Honi Soit, May 3, 1929 pg 3.

The Replies

Honi Soit, May 10, 1929

To the Editor,— The touching plea of a Med. Fresher in the shape of an extremely ingenuous letter to your paper, must surely have touched all hearts. Even the Women Undergraduates must have been moved to pity ere they passed judgment. My first feeling was one of intense astonishment. That a Med. Fresher would actually consider the possibility of paying someone else’s tram fare was a possibility not dreamt of in my philosophy.

The puzzled fresher would have us believe the following facts:

(a) He is very worried. (I would suggest nerve nuts at stated intervals —notably during lectures).

(b) It is impossible for him to dodge the “woman.’ (I’ve heard that one before).

(c) He has calculated expenses over a period of seven years with terrifying results. (At last we are on familiar ground).

Naturally enough the Age of Reason has little time for the Age of Chivalry.

It would seem on the face of things that the question, ”Should Men pay Women Students* tram fares?” is as fruitless as “Should women stand in trams?” But there are a few considerations which make the former question a matter for controversy.

In the first place we find it difficult to believe that the puzzled fresher catches the same tram—literally speaking—as the troublesome “woman” on every occasion. Apart from the sheer miracle of a Med. student paying someone else’s fare, the misfortune must be on the fresher’s own head. Either he is organically lazy, or he is proving that even in the tram a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. We are thus faced with an interesting psychological contretemps. As yet the innocent fresher cannot analyse the strange force which compels him to seat himself by the “woman” and bravely ignoring his shameful tram pass, to drag forth the sum of eight-pence. On the other hand the financial instinct struggles fiercely.

No wonder then the poor fresher is worried.

I think that if the fresher continually meets the “woman” in the tram, she should hand forth the plebeian coppers as naturally as she might stroll in minutes late for a nine o’clock lecture. The whole question really hinges on the problem of to show or not to show the humble pass, and my opinion is that it should be treated as an academic privilege to be taken advantage of on every occasion. And so, let the “woman” take the initiative and keep her tram pass as she does her powder puff—

within easy access. Surely then the fresher will be worried no longer when he sees “the treasured” privilege—-her

pass—”come sliding out of her sacred glove.”

A SYMPATHETIC WOMAN UNDERGRADUATE.

Honi Soit, May 10, 1929 pg 4.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Those Tramfares

(To the Editor.)

I read with amazement the piteous appeal for guidance from M.T.G. (“H.S.,” May 3). That he should even consider, let alone worry over, paying a woman student’s fare is quite beyond my comprehension. His blunder for to my mind it is an egregious mistake is all the more apparent when the reason why women come to the ‘Varsity in general, and do Medicine in particular, is taken into consideration.

Of course it is well known that women only come to the ‘Varsity to “catch” a husband. As “Med.” has the best “catches” and is the longest course, they have greater opportunities to carry out their nefarious schemes.

If, however, M.T.G. finds that, having commenced, he cannot cease paying the siren’s fare, I would suggest the adoption of any or all of the following:—

1.—Buy (a) a car; (b) a motorcycle (with pillion) ; (c) a bicycle.

2.—Miss the first lecture.

3.—Make a certain proposal to the woman.

4.—Have a row-with her.

5.—Leave the suburb.

6.—Leave the ‘Varsity.

Hoping this may clear the air for  him,

ARTS III.

Honi Soit, May 22, 1929 pg 4.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Reading this letter 90 years later, what would I advise the young man?

Probably, my greatest piece of advice to that young man is that you should only give what you feel comfortable giving. As it stands, paying for the young woman’s fare seems like more of a tax and all he’s really concerned about is how much it’s going to cost him. He hasn’t mentioned whether he likes the girl, finds her attractive, it’s just about how much she’s costing him and that’s counter to the real spirit of giving. You should give with a full heart, without building resentment. Yet, at the same time, I also feel for him because once he paid for her a second time, he’d established a pattern which would be very difficult for anyone to get out of. I’d really love to hear how the story panned out. Was there ever romance with this girl on the tram? Or, perhaps she read his letter and decided to pay her own way. After all, it was a fairly pointed letter. Indeed, that makes me question whether the letter was genuine or just a story line devised by the editors? I guess we’ll never know. However, it all made for an entertaining read and a huge sense of relief, that my fresher days are well and truly in the past.

Best wishes,

Rowena

What’s Become of The Honey Badger???

Last night, I was perched on the edge of my seat watching The Bachelor Australia waiting to find out whether Britt or Soph was about to run off into the sunset with the Honey Badger, when an epic twist unfolded. I was dumbstruck.

You see Nick “The Honey Badger” Cummins didn’t choose either of the girls, and was left standing  by himself all alone on the beach. Indeed, I could almost hear cupid’s nemesis playing: All By Myself. He looked guttered and even though it was his own decision, I still felt sorry for the bloke.

Bachelor 2

However the show didn’t end there. Despite having her heart broken, Brittany’s first thought was to find Sophie and let her know what had happened. That neither of them had been chosen. The two girls have become great friends and soul mates while the Honey Badger is hardly winning the popularity stakes. Indeed, he’s skipped the country and is off walking the Kokoda Track, leaving a lot of people asking him to: “Please explain”.

Just to put you in the picture, this year’s Bachelor was Nick “The Honey Badger” Cummins, who plays rugby for the Wallabies and also appears in a series of funny commercials for Tradie Underwear. Meanwhile, the field of women had narrowed down to Brittany and Sophie. I couldn’t really work out which was going to be the one, but he seemed to have a connection with both of them. Sophie was the first one to arrive, and we knew from past years that she’s about to be given “the talk”. However, there was no happy ending for Britt either and she was pretty much given the same spiel. In hindsight, something didn’t seem right, and I should’ve picked up when the host, Osher, didn’t ask Nick whether he’d fallen in love.

Of course, I have my own theory.

Right from the outset, it was clear that the Honey Badger wasn’t your regular Bachelor. That was probably why the producers chose him. He’s really funny and has even developed his own language or dialect simply known as  “Honey Badger”, which is a distinct variation of the Australian vernacular. Clearly, someone who speaks their own language, has their own mind and is going to be anything but a conformist. In addition to his linguistic idiosyncrasies, the Honey Badger’s also got this curly mop of hair and mustache which look straight out of the 1970s. Clearly, he’s resisted considerable pressure to get it fixed. He’s obviously his own person.

However, that doesn’t make him a bad person. Indeed, ethics seems very important to Nick not just throughout the show, but also in real life. He repeatedly says that he doesn’t want to break anybody’s heart. Nick is one of eight kids and large families like that have a dynamic. Your siblings knock you into shape and you also stand up for each other. Another detail about Nick’s family which didn’t come up during the show, was that his mother left at some point and his father was left to raise the kids on his own. Two of his siblings also have cystic fibrosis and his father was diagnosed with prostate cancer and isn’t going to be around forever. So, Nick put his career with the Wallabies on hold and played in Japan for awhile to get a nest egg together for his siblings. To help his family out. So, while I’m not saying that the Honey Badger’s perfect, he does take his responsibilities seriously and doesn’t like to let people down. Indeed, he repeatedly talked about not wanting to hurt any of the girls and seemed much more prepared to be hurt himself.

Bachelor 3

Lastly, when you’re watching at home, you’re removed from the pressures of being on such a show and the difficulties of dating so many people at the same time on TV and in front of each other. During the finale, the Honey Badger was looking stressed and out of his depth. He mentioned that he was finding it really difficult to make a decision and how he couldn’t get a clear head. From that roadblock, his default was to choose neither. I think he quite genuinely didn’t want to hurt anyone and that bailing out was better than getting it wrong and really breaking someone’s heart.

Naturally, despite the Honey Badger’s conspicuous absence, the shock end has generated some discussion. Has the Honey Badger just become the Greatest Australian Bastard or did he do the right thing? What is going to be the fallout? Apparently, he’s giving one exclusive interview to Lisa Wilkinson on the Sunday Night Project. I’m not her greatest fan and hope she doesn’t serve the honey badger up a platter. He might not be perfect, but he doesn’t seem like such a bad bloke, especially if you’re not trying to win his heart.

Have you been watching the Bachelor? What are your thoughts on the grand finale? Should we roast the honey badger and serve him up on toast or simply leave him be? 

Best wishes,

Rowena

PS: This clip should’ve been a warning for anyone trying to date a Honey Badger: Click here.

Cupid’s Last Stand…Friday Fictioneers.

Cupid was watching his latest targets with great anticipation. Being the Roman God of love, he didn’t need a computer. He instinctively knew Matt and Sophie were perfectly suited.

However, despite his match-making prowess, the humans kept shooting themselves in both feet, screwing up their chances of love. Indeed, Matt who was the personification of Superman without a hint of Clark Kent, reeked of garlic breath. Too paranoid to wear her glasses, Sophie had almost walked past him blind as a bat.

“That’s it!” Cupid fumed throwing down his bow and arrow. “I quit! You humans are on your own.”

……..

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields. PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

It’s been years since I’ve been on the dating scene. However, I’ve been watching The Batchelor tonight where I suspect Cupid’s been in overdrive. Bows and arrows shooting all over the place. At least, the was it seems.

Best wishes,

Rowena