Working Like ‘Dogs’: Sunday, 23rd October, 1977

I awoke at 5.00 a.m. and arose by half past five because I couldn’t regain sleep. I jogged and walked to the first newsagent on Kiora Road to buy a copy of “The Sun-Herald”. The telephone rang at a quarter to eight as I was reading the paper in the lounge room.

It was an enthusiastic “Dad”, asking for my permission to come and commence to dig the post holes for the side fence. He was disagreeing with “Mum”, as to their time of arrival. “Mum” kept insisting that it would be ten o’clock while he was just as insistent that they would arrive in ten minutes.

Between 8.00 and 9.00 I listened to 2KY’s tribute to Bing Crosby, which was narrated by John Burles. Bing told of his early days, when he was an alcoholic and of how he was sentenced to sixty days’ gaol for driving whilst drunk.

I was washing last night’s dishes when “Dad” knocked at the back door. He and I dismantled what remained of the old fence and dug the first of an estimated ten post holes. While this was easy, the digging of the second was far harder. We struck impenetrable rock at a depth of eighteen inches. “Dad”, recognising that such holes would not suffice, decided that we should alternately extend the holes by two feet on opposite sides and he would call upon his brother-in-law to weld a metal support to the bottom of each of the lengths of sturdy pipe, which we propose to use as the posts.

Despite having dug four holes with a crow-bar, I still was called upon to ask our neighbour, who had been just standing around and observing us, to relieve me. Without stating as much, it was obvious to us that he did not want a fence constructed. Presumably, because it would deprive his children of the run of the two backyards.

We knocked off at a quarter past eleven to enjoy a cup of tea and biscuits. “Dad” and I continued to dig, as the neighbour, a schoolteacher, cut up a few of the old palings for his barbecue.

By lunchtime my hands had developed numerous blisters and I was employing and discarding sticking plasters with rapidity. “Dad’s” old military shovels only exacerbated the situation in this regard as they were guilty of pinching the skin on our hands.

He had shown me how to dig holes in rock by rotating the crow-bar a little with each blow and when we stopped for lunch, only one and a half holes remained to be dug.

Our neighbour’s lack of assistance was only surpassed by his young son’s rudeness. He informed “Dad” that he was going to bury him and kept referring to the pair of us as “dogs”.

We mercifully finished the digging by half past two and after having placed the pipes in the back of “Dad’s” ute, gratefully entered the lounge room and sat in front of “The Bellboy”. The film, which bears the copyright of 1960, features Jerry Lewis and Milton Berle.

I chose to have a cup of tea while “Dad” opted for something stronger: a Scotch and dry. Tiki provided me with some cream, ‘Skin Repair’, to rub into my painful hands.

“Dad” and Wendy left at four o’clock as the A.B.C.’s live telecast of the latest qualifier in soccer’s World Cup was commencing in Seoul, South Korea. The match became a drab affair, with neither South Korea nor Australia able to find the opponent’s net.

“Mum” departed at ten to six and, at half past the hour, we witnessed ‘The Secret Of The Pond’, which comes under the mantle of “The Wonderful World Of Disney”. An hour later and it was the turn of “The Bionic Woman” on Channel Ten. It was followed by the opening episode of “The Moneychangers”. It stars Kirk Douglas, Christopher Plummer, Jean Peters, Anne Baxter and Timothy Bottoms.

Formerly Mrs Howard Hughes, the appearance of Jean Peters is only her second since her marriage, in 1957.


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