Five Ways to Remember: Prologue

What do you do when you come back? Upsweep the old linoleum? Waste untold hours over the underlays of newspapers bespeaking of the relief of Mafeking or of Bill Lowes £3 suits – the identical to which he always wore to Randwick and exulted places. It all gets as screwy and symmetrical as a Rorshach blot. An accident of happening into which you read what you will or wish. A vortex wherein everything is valid – heliotrope or mid-brown paint – moss or rubber plants – white ants or quarry tiles. Expensively reconstructed pull bell systems or rich men’s electronic sifters of the knocker at the door. Of peeling plaster or blasted sand-stone brick – of a garage where the drawing-room was or a motor bike in the hall? Of the fly door butcher or the bulk meat purveyor? Of the horses pooh collector or the distributors of filth into lanes and alleyways. Of neighbourliness or even of a quorum let alone a collection of devotees of St Georges Church?

Not even good old operatic killings.

There’s a haze of culture and the pensioners manage to get the Labor boys re-elected.

The fish and chip shop is strangled by take-away pancakaries and quicharies and pizza plazas.

Children have nowhere to play in Glenmore Rd School. After hours offers them safety from the traffic. The elegant potters vie with antique shops which trade in boarding-house has-beens.

The old pub you should not have been seen alive in is classified A1 by the Trust.

The Paddington Society who made the realty values cannot raise enough for a home.

Pubs are full of exotic grogs for the dine-at-homers while serving a one beer choice to the old and steady.

Mercedes and Jags clutter the Art Gallery tiny lanes while bombs are dumped in noble streets.

You can buy a sandwich at one joint for 50c. and a counter lunch big enough for two at another for 60.

It’s all getting too bloody democratic?

[W.E. Pidgeon c.1975]

Caravanning with Wep – Sunday, 14th July 1937, Maleny, Qld.; a description of Brisbane traffic, other caravans and a visit to a local art gallery

14th July Maleny

Night on a razor edge saddle of the mountain.  Monstrous earth billowing and fading away to the distance. Far to the left lay those jagged tusks of rock blackly stabbing grey sky.

Brisbane burst on us about 11 a.m. Tuesday 13th morning in the guise of a tram & ice cream capped driver. Such trams! Sedans, tourers, town cars of all models antediluvian up – literally swarming to along the tracks. Policemen in white candle-snuffer helmets & ill fitting bum freezer coats, and simple cow like faces. And the smell of the river at night. The dreary looking wenches & general absence of dress style.

Camped at White Swan Camping Ground Upper Mt. Gravatt 8 miles out for night. Found way into city more by good fortune than anything. Finger posts being scarcer than ——. Bought much map in city & with aid of same & Cadbury’s cartes found camp. Infested with caravans. 4 of the b—— things! All from Victoria & such monsters! Fellow next us with a Stutz & a Chev caravan trailing 5 dogs! And a couple of boxes of canaries! Another chap with dog & 3 kids and enormous trailer he had to chock over Murrurundi in easy stages. Left him trying to sell it in Bris. so as to avoid taking it back.

Mild spring weather, – shirt sleeves weather. Balmy!

On way north (per favor map) pulled in to art gallery and looked over local treasures(?). What junk! Worse than Sydney. Nevertheless interesting etched cartoons of Dysons and good reproductions of old masters but some appalling jobs presented by their creators. I don’t suppose anybody else’d have them!

Arrived back to Jess to find her in conversation with buck tooth fellow – rather he was the conversation. Made caravans – took us to see one. Very fine indeed. Oh – balls to this.

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