It’s May the 8th 1956.

It’s my birthday and I have absolutely no idea who some of these people are.

That’s my first girlfriend on my right.

In about two years time we will get into trouble for playing doctors and nurses.

I love her ‘space ship’ party hat.

I remember being reasonably miserable on the day, although I look happy enough in this shot.

The girl in the back was my next-door neighbour.

Her dad had a station wagon and it was a great cubby house when he wasn’t actually driving it.

I’m wishing I knew who the other kids are but my mum is no longer around to fill in the blanks.

Thanks for throwing the party mum……. every little kid should have a birthday party photo.

I’m guessing the boy on the far right grew up to become stock broker or a used car salesman.

The little girl next to him became a cook in a big hotel and had five kids; non of whom still talk to her, but they will be there when the Will is read.

The boy on the far left would have become a doctor and specialised in plastic surgery, if he had not been drafted and went missing in action in the Vietnam War.


I grew up and did many things including making shit up about people in very old photographs.


Have you ever wondered how they got there?

People, I mean.

People who flash into your life and leave just as abruptly.

They leave their mark. If we never see them again, we are forever changed, if only in a small way.


A wise man once said, “The more I see of people, the more I like my dog.” There are times when this is hard to argue with.

We almost didn’t get to meet Jessy. She was coming out of the BP service station on Burwood Highway in Tecoma, and I nearly missed seeing her weave through the busy traffic.


My attention was taken by an old lady who was also taking her life in her hands trying to cross this busy highway. She was trying to get to the bus stop on the other side, and Jessy was trying to cross from the bus stop to get to our side.

The difference between these two ‘old ladies’ was that one of them was human, and should have known better, and the other was canine and was in the hands of the traffic gods as she continued her quest to find her way home.


Honey, Zed and I were out for a walk when I noticed this daredevil old lady who looked like she wanted to cross the highway at a particularly dangerous spot.

It crossed my mind that I should offer to help her, but it also occurred to me that we were going to make quite a sight. Most probably Zed would want to give the old lady a good telling off for getting too close and I could see myself with two flailing dogs and an old lady in tow trying not to get us all killed!

It was at this point of pondering what to do that I noticed the dog coming towards us. It crossed my mind that the crazy old lady and the crazy old dog might be connected.

The old dog had her head down and was moving resolutely in our direction, and I judged that there was no chance of her making it as a large four wheel drive headed her way. I looked at the driver and could see that she had not seen the dog so there was nothing to do but wait for the bang.

There we all were, the old lady, my two dogs and me all waiting for life’s drama to play out. In a split second available to me I thought about calling out, but I knew that this was likely to have the opposite effect as dogs tend to come when you call to them so I just held my breath.


At the last moment, the old dog stopped just as the four-wheel drive whizzed past her nose.

After this moment of hesitation, the old dog continued her perilous journey. Her chances had improved but only marginally. Somehow she managed to avoid cars coming in both directions. Then, Jessy just sailed past both of us and continued her search. It wasn’t hard to work out that she was lost. Her grand adventure had now turned into an anxious search for familiar ground. She walked up the driveway of the nearest house, and I hoped that she had found home. But it quickly became obvious that this wasn’t her home.

I looked up because a young man was coming towards us and I hoped that he might be the owner, but sadly I was wrong. He had seen Jessy dicing with the traffic and had come across to help.

I asked him to grab her (if I had tried, Zed would have made a big fuss). We located her tag hoping that it would reveal a phone number. The young man asked if I had a mobile phone as his didn’t have any credit.

There was a sense of panic in his voice, and I was yet again amazed at the various things that worry people. The number on the tag came up as disconnected. I dialled again as I’m famous for having poor dialling skills.

Still disconnected.

“What are you going to do?” the young man asked. He wasn’t the only one who was wondering.

In the end, I connected both my dogs to the one lead (they were less than impressed) and connected Jessy to the other lead, and off we headed towards my house, some ten minutes away.


Jessy seemed quite happy to be on a lead, but Zed had had enough by this time. Being closely attached to Honey and with this large dog (Jessy is a Border collie cross) so close he decided it was time to bite someone. I kept him away from her as best I could, but Jessy wasn’t at all bothered by the noise, so off we went.

As we walked away, I told the young man that I would take Jessy to the Belgrave South Vet, and if anyone was looking for her, that is where she would be.


I looked back and noticed that the old lady had managed to cross the road unscathed and was sitting waiting for the bus to arrive.



Along the way, we ran into a neighbour and her little girl. Up until then, Jessy had been happy to walk along on the lead, but the lure of a little girl holding a half eaten cup cake made it difficult to convince her that we had to keep moving.

When we arrived home, I had to work out how to get everyone into my car. I corralled Jessy on the front verandah while I got my keys from inside and put my two dogs into the car. By the time I got back to her she had bowled over the barricade, I had set up and was galloping towards me across the verandah.

Getting her into the car proved to be interesting.

Zed obviously thought that the whole ’big dog incident’ was over and here I was trying to get this same big dog into the back of ‘his’ car. It was more than he could stand. In his enthusiasm to make his feelings clear he jumped up onto the rear parcel shelf and slammed his head into the rear window. He went quiet for a few seconds, and I thought that he had knocked himself out. Pretty soon he regained his composure and resumed his protest.

I opened the back door and suggested to Jessy that she get in. She quite wisely decided to wait until I had this furious fluff-ball under some kind of control.

After I had forcefully moved said crazed fluff-ball to the front of the car Jessy was happy to get in. She sat on the back seat in a way that suggested she was used to this form of transport.


A few minutes later we arrived at the vet and Jessy seemed quite interested in the place. The receptionist quickly gave the impression that she thought I was unloading an unwanted dog.

To put it mildly, after all, that I had been through, this made me somewhat annoyed. I’ve got muddy paw prints all over my leather seats, and this ‘person’ thinks that I’m dumping this beautiful, friendly old dog!

“You can ring in a few days, if you are interested, and see if she has been picked up.”

“Screw you lady, and yes I am interested to see if she is picked up as I’ve got the feeling that Jessy has indeed been dumped”. No Council tag and a phone number that has been disconnected along with her advanced age, and it didn’t look good for Jessy. My two dogs were very happy to see that I had returned to the car without the ‘big dog’.


We all went home where I made up a couple of posters. I put one up on a lamppost near where we had found Jessy, and one at the local general store.

If she was micro chipped, she had a chance.

Maybe someone would see the “FOUND” poster and ring the vet. I wasn’t going to wait for ‘a couple of days’.

I needed to know.

I rang the vet the next afternoon. The much friendlier woman who answered the phone needed a few minutes to search out Jessy’s fate.

“Someone came and collected her”. Those few words brought this story to a close.

Best sentence I’ve heard in a long time.

(Just to let you know; we never saw Jessie again, and we never heard from her owner which I thought was a bit rude. This was our third ‘rescue’ spread over a couple of years. One person, who was obviously sick and tired of their ‘Houdini’ dog, kept us waiting for an hour before they came and collected their dog which we had rescued from traffic in the main street of Belgrave. They lived about five minutes away! The other two owners just collected their dogs from the local vet and said nothing. A small thank you would have been nice.)

ImageThis is not Jessie, but it does look a lot like her. I was too busy wrangling dogs to get a photo.

If They Didn’t You’d Be Out Of A Job.


It’s occurred to me before and it occurred to me again when I was out walking my favourite quadrupeds; why do people complain about the behaviour that keeps them in work?

We were walking past the little playground that nestles into the corner of a street that leads up to the forrest. I used to take the boys there when they were little. It’s an unusual site for a playground as it is very steep and required that it be terraced into three parts. During the day mums bring their little ones to play on the swings and slides and at night the local teenagers use it as a meeting place. Mostly the teenagers are just looking for some privacy and hang out harmlessly with their friends. They are always friendly and don’t mind saying hello to the ‘old bloke’ walking his dogs. But every now and then you get one who needs to immortalise himself (do girls need the immortality thing as well?) by ‘tagging’ some part of the equipment.

This morning my entourage and I were approaching the playground when I noticed the council’s ‘anti graffiti truck’ pull up. As we walked by I spoke to one of the workers saying, “You’ve got a job for life there mate”. He agreed but added, “It’s a bit frustrating, but”.

I knew what he meant, you clean it up and a few weeks later some half wit who feels that he will pass through this life unnoticed if he doesn’t scrawl his initials on the side of a piece of playground equipment marks it up and the process starts all over again.

He wouldn’t be human if it didn’t annoy him at least a little bit but equally, he might be out of a job if the little blighters stopped scribbling.

I feel the same way about all those TV cops who constantly complain about crime.

No crime, no job!

Be thankful that there is a never ending supply of neerdowells out there keeping you in work.

I know what you are going to say, I’m confusing TV with real life and frankly even I’m not sure which I prefer, but in my defence I would like to say that I have spoken to ‘real cops’ and they complain just as much as their imaginary colleagues do.

So what’s the story here?

Is it just that people love to complain or are most people just a bit thick?

When I was a teacher I never once complained that the human race kept procreating, as a matter of fact I engaged in a bit of it myself.

When I fixed things for a living it never upset me that people kept breaking things.

I guess you get the idea, as long as people keep doing stuff other people get to earn a living, so seriously; enjoy it, encourage it, but don’t complain about it.



It just lay there.

I noticed it as I was leaving our street for a walk with our dogs.

Normally I’m as curious as the next bloke but on this occasion I could not be bothered. I wish I had.

My mind was elsewhere and I just wanted a relaxing walk and to continue the dog’s re-education.

I seem to remember thinking that it might be a large dog poo that someone had left for later collection, but in hindsight that doesn’t make a lot of sense, why take a ‘poo bag’ and then baulk at carrying it. In any case most ‘poo bags’ tend to be old supermarket bags or those swish blue ‘made for the purpose’ bags. This bag was heavier weight clear plastic.

About an hour later we had completed our walk and were approaching the top of our street when I noticed a small blue sporty looking Peugeot pull up just past the entrance to our street. The driver was a bloke wearing dark glasses and he was illegally parked on a dangerous part of the main road that intersects with ours. Suddenly a female, late twenties maybe, jumped out of the passenger side and ran across the road and collected the plastic bag, got back into the car, and they zoomed off.

The whole thing was just slightly strange and my imagination immediately went into overdrive.

As you probably know I do a bit of writing, mostly non fiction but I have put the occasional bit of fiction on paper and besides, I have watched a lot of movies, so I find it difficult to believe that I cannot come up with a reasonable explanation for what I witnessed.

I have already dismissed the ‘poo bag’ theory. Who comes back by car to collect a poo bag after dumping it on the side of the road?

I know what you are thinking; drugs.

My devious mind went there also but it doesn’t stand up. For starters, they weren’t driving a black Range Rover and everyone knows that drug dealers drive black Range Rovers; or is that Rap singers, I get mixed up sometimes.

A drug minion perhaps? Probably not. There aren’t that many Peugeots out there so you are going to be identified too easily. Some form of Mitsubishi seems to be the go if Underbelly is to be believed.

If it had been drugs it would have been hidden a little more professionally. ‘Hidden in plain sight‘ works for some things but not clear plastic bags.

Whatever it was, someone dropped it off and someone picked it up and I have no way of knowing if they were the same person.

If only I had been a bit more of a sticky beak we would not be having this conversation.

Any thoughts?