Friday, September 28, 2018

These amazing works are by Michigan artist Andrea Kowch.

From the top: 'Apple of my Eye', 'The Happy Wanderers', 'The Watch' and 'Unexpected Company'.

Sandbar Breach

And that's a happy bloggy birthday to A WineDark Sea. Ten years old this month xxx

Big Sky Town

Monday, September 17, 2018

A dignified ending

Dad had a mate call him tonight, just as we'd served up a pizza.
'Dave! How are you mate?'
' ..... '
'Oh dear. Clove oil, you say? Well, I don't know. Have you tried the 24 hour pharmacy?'
' ... '
'That's ridiculous. I don't think the supermarket would have clove oil either.'

It was about seven o'clock. I went to his go-to medical cabinet and had a rummage. I knew I'd seen a few Bonjela tubes in there, back when the babies were teething. Fancy, a dread toothache at night and no one selling clove oil in town.

'Have you tried packing the tooth with tobacco?' I heard Dad say. 'I know that works.'
' ... '
'Oh! Oh dear. Well I don't know if we've got anything for that.'

Then I found the motherlode: TOOTH-ESE FOR DENTAL EMERGENCY. The old cardboard box looked from the era of laudanum or pink pills for pale people. I raced back to the phone where Dad was wrapping up his commiserations. Dad threw aside the Bonjela, put on his glasses and said, 'Wait Dave, we might have something here. Now let's see. Yes, 19 percent clove oil. The rest is Benzocain.'
Crikey,' I thought, that would go beautiful on my breakfast.

Dave said that if he couldn't get clove oil at the shop, he'd drop in on his way home.
'Poor man,' I said when Dad was back by the fire, pizza balanced on his lap. 'Toothaches are the worst.'
'He's an interesting one,' said Dad. 'He's a spiritual sort, like a Buddhist but not.  He doesn't like harming animals or seeing them suffer. Well none of us do, but once he took a rabbit home that had been hit by a car, nursed it back to health and now it lives with him in the house.'

I was wondering where he was going.
'You see, his goldfish is really sick. It's dying. Apparently if you rub clove oil on a fish it just ... passes away gently. So he was out and about tonight looking for some clove oil to euthanase his fish.'


A found object in a strange place. Maybe it is a survey peg? It's been underwater for two years and with the breaking of the bar, revealed for its curiousness.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Nothing to see ... oh wait

There was once a man who sailed from King George Sound to the west where he found some headless bodies buried in a sand dune beside the inlet. But more about that later. Firstly, duelling in colonial Western Australia. The practice of back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other was still going on here, a decade after the overlords had banned duelling in the home country. It was seen as a gentleman’s recourse to insult, slander or cuckoldry, and long before being called ‘gentleman’ meant a drooling old man in a lazy-boy and a dressing gown.

So it was that in 1832 in Fremantle, a rather wealthy merchant and a handsome Scottish firebrand who seemed to get away with a bit fought a duel for the favour of a woman. George Johnson was in love with Anne Lockyer. He had bucketloads of money but he was decades older than the 17-year-old girl. She in turn was in love with William Nairn Clarke, who returned her feelings. The spurned merchant set out to ruin his rival (because that’s what you do when some uppity bint wants to sleep with someone other than you) by buying all of Nairn Clarke’s debts. He intended to subject Nairn Clarke to a credit squeeze so that he would be gaoled for his debts.

In court Nairn Clarke claimed he had some money coming from England (because gentleman) and won a reprieve. So now Johnson had less money, more debts and no girl. Some ugly scenes occurred between the two men on the streets of Fremantle over the next few weeks and finally Johnson challenged Nairn Clarke to a duel. On the evening of August 16, Johnson’s second visited Nairn Clarke to work out the fine details. Dawn the next morning at the grounds of Richmond House.

At dawn, the two men, their seconds and a doctor gathered at the spacious residence. Johnson and Nairn Clarke chose their weapons. Apparently, the pistols were of poor quality and probably bought specifically for the occasion. The men loaded their guns and then walked away from each other, guns at the ready. When one of the seconds gave a shout, they turned and fired at each other.

Johnson died 24 hours later in Richmond House, attended by the same doctor. Nairn Clarke and the two seconds turned themselves into a Justice of the Peace and they were all tried for murder. Nairn Clarke, with not a scratch on him, was acquitted, along with the seconds. Three weeks later he married Anne Lockyer. It was called Australia’s most romantic duel, as much as a rich old man and a dashing solicitor slugging it out over a woman is romantic.

Coming up next - headless bodies.