Cracker Night no more.

Here’s a link to a post I wrote two years ago! I noticed it was getting a bit of traffic so people must be looking for stories about Cracker Night.

This weekend is the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend again. As was the case two years ago, there’ll be no fireworks tonight. COVID restrictions are almost all lifted but large gatherings are still prohibited. Even without COVID19, I doubt I will hear many crackers tonight.

It’s no longer a thing. In my childhood, it was a huge event, eagerly anticipated. We would save up to buy crackers for weeks. It was not without its problems. This article from the Sydney Morning Herald points out the inherent dangers.

The Sad Case of the Vanishing Cracker Night

 

The Sunday Post 2

My Favourite Television Shows.

The Sunday Post will be a weekly short, casual chat about trivial matters. (Perhaps that’s no different to my normal posts??!!)

I recently (and about 5 years after the rest of the world) discovered the historical bodice ripper, Poldark. I binge-watched Season 1 on a long haul flight, interweaving it with another British series Line of Duty. Both series were recommended to me by the hosts of a podcast, Chat 10 Looks 3.

I am now racing through the Poldark catalogue. It ends at Season 5.

It got me reminiscing about the shows I used to love to watch.

  • Thirty Something… does anyone remember that?
  • St Elsewhere? I am still really, really careful about cleaning out the bath after one of the main characters died by hitting their head on the bottom of the tub. Stars a very young Denzel Washington.
  • A Country Practice… An Australian favourite – people, well people my age, still talk about the scene where Molly died.
  • The Bill – the original series – it got a bit weird after a while.
  • ER – George Clooney….swoon….
  • NYPD Blue – Bobby and Andy with a sweet spot for John Kelly!
  • LA Law – think shoulder pads.
  • Law and Order before the splinter shows.

More recent favourites have been

  • Offspring– Nina Proudman’s brain is as noisy as mine.
  • Grace and Frankie – perfect demographic for old chooks
  • The Handmaid’s Tale – will Aunt Lydia turn? That’s the big question!
  • Alias Grace
  • The Crown
  • Virgin River – when IS Season 2 coming!!!!
  • Sex Education – thank goodness it’s made by the British and not the US.

I didn’t get into Game of Thrones – I have not watched one single episode. I might yet crumble on that one. One day.

I got bored with Outlanders after staying up ALL night watching Season 1. The staying up all night part didn’t bore me. Season 1 was great, but the next season did not hold my interest.

The Good Wife! How could I forget! I never understood how she had time to be so well put together! You NEVER saw her go shopping.  How could she have such fabulous hair and clothes?

Sea Change! Another great Aussie show. Now the memories are pouring out. Sigrid Thorton and David Wenham. I’m still waiting for my Diver Dan. This was a 1990’s show but they resurrected it in 2019 with a spin-off featuring the now grown-up children…I don’t think I will watch that.

The Sopranos – so much of that watched through fingers half-covering my eyes or my fingers in my ears blocking out the scary bits.

Way, way back when I was still at school, I remember waiting till my dad had gone to bed so I could watch Banacek with George Peppard.

What are your favourite shows from the past? Let me know in the comments below.

PS: Re Poldark. I have now watched every available episode of Poldark. The internet is screaming out for Season 6.  Spoiler alert! In Season 4, there is a bare-chested-getting-out-the-cold-water-scene to rival Mr Darcy’s in Pride and Prejudice.

 

 

Ob-la-Di-Ob-la-Da: bringing up memories

It’s funny how your memory gets sparked and where that memory will take you. Down rabbits holes of forgotten actions, people and secrets.

When I saw words Ob-la-Di-Ob-la-Da tattooed on the arm of a colleague, it made me fly back to 1969 when I was in Year 3, eight years old, blond and tiny. It took me back to the time when eighty students crowded around a  TV borrowed from the local department store to watch the moon landing. It took me back to playing elastics and jacks. To skipping ropes and sour milk.

roby n on a scooter
Scans of a scanned 35mm slide – terrible quality – but heh! It’s a pump-up scooter!!

Those particular words from that jaunty little Beatles tune brought back a mix of fun, embarrassment and guilt

The Fun Bit.

My class was preparing to sing Ob-la-Di-Ob-la-Da for the weekly assembly. This was a BIG deal! We had been rehearsing with our hip and gorgeous teacher Mr Chinner for weeks and weeks. Our class, 3A, were doing a new song! A chart-topper! Not a choir of screeching descant recorders, but a grooooovy Beatles hit! It was a top-secret mission. We were not allowed to tell anyone! We were asked to bring a towel to wear around our shoulders like a Mexican poncho.

The Embarrassing bit.

Because I was small, I was scheduled to be in the front row. Because we were sworn to secrecy, I didn’t tell my mum why we needed the towel. Thinking it was for art clean-ups, and without a better explanation from me, she gave me a faded tatter of a towel. When Groovy Mr Chinner saw my faded rag, I got relegated to the back row. I couldn’t see over the tops of the bigger kids. My bubble was well and truly burst. I felt humiliated by my family’s lack of bright Mexican-like towels.

The Guilty Bit

In the same class, but in a different episode, I am simultaneously ashamed and amused to confess that I committed a fraudulent act. Our class had been chosen to go on an excursion to the Herald’s newspaper printing factory. Only 25 could go although our class had 43 students. In the spirit of fairness, Mr Chinner decided to pull the names out of a hat.  As the names were called out, the lucky ones were clapping their little hands with glee. In the middle of all the excitement, the end of the day bell rang and the draw was not completed. It was declared that it would continue the next school day – Monday. I was heartbroken that my name had not yet been called out and even back then I realised the odds were not looking good.

When we returned after the weekend, Mr Chinner admitted he had forgotten to write down the names of the children who had been pulled out and no longer had the strips of paper. He asked us to raise our hands if we had been selected.

A few classmates put their hands up confidently. As I looked around at the remaining faces of my peers and saw them faltering.  They either couldn’t remember or they didn’t seem too fussed about whether they went or not. I took my chance, I shot my hand in the air. Mr Chinner wrote my name on the list.

robyn on water
Again a scanned scan – from around 1969

For the next few days, I expected to be challenged. For someone to remember that my name had never been called out and that I was a fraud, that I had lied. No one did. I went on the excursion and had a fabulous time. This is only the second time I have revealed this story! The first time was to the tattoo owner! (Sorry mum another thing you didn’t know!)


I guess Mr Chinner could still be out there. I have never forgotten him. He was young in 1969. Perhaps he’s out there, somewhere between 80-100 years old, thinking about his time as a teacher. I know he won’t remember me. There are too many children that pass through a teacher’s life. Even so, Mr Chinner, I apologize for my deceit.

As I look back on him and the lessons he taught us, I realize I don’t remember the specifics of one single scrap of the maths or spelling or grammar he may have taught us.

But I do remember the moon landing.

I do remember his laugh.

And I remember being a faded Mexican con man.