Friday, February 17, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger Award

Dear Cindy, "Just Me", of  Just North of Wiarton and South of the Checkerboard who has recently been following my ravings, has nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award.  Thank you Cindy (I think) for this "Award," I am so honoured to receive it, as well as honoured to know I have inspired you.  Your kind words have been taken to "heart".

The rules of the prize are: 

1. Thank the person who gave you the reward
2. Link back that person 
3. Select blogs that you've recently discovered (and think deserve it) and nominate them
4. Tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Would you believe that I find it easier to speak generally on a range of topics and very difficult to speak about myself ( although I have written a short blog about my early days, growing up in Sydney – New South Wales, Australia - Bugger of a kid )

1)  As young teenager I used to go with my mates to the northern beaches of Sydney. On one occasion we were at Queenscliff Beach, the northernmost part of the strip of sand that makes up the Manly beachfront, riding rubber inflatable floats in the surf. We noticed that the surf was running up an old rusted drain that emptied onto the beach. It was about four feet round and lined with marine encrustations above and had a bed of beach sand on its floor. The waves would rush up it, hold, and then surge back out again but we also noticed it had a continual stream of water running out of it. We traced its source to a reservoir, the Manly Dam on the Golf links across the road 500 yards from the beach where the overflow was running into this drain and travelling (mostly) underground and exiting into the surf. I was dared to ride my inflatable float down it, so, I did. It was a harrowing trip – sometimes pitch black, sometimes beams of light shining through rusted holes in its exposed top. I heard the on-rush of the surf coming up the pipe and I knew it would fill the pipe with enough water to lift my float up until my back would drag on the marine growths around the top. I used my feet as brakes and slowed the float down until the surge had passed me and then waited for it to turn and flow out. Off we went, rapidly gathering speed and I prayed I had judged the interval between waves sufficiently to allow me to get out before the next wave rushed in.

I had!

Out I ‘popped’ into the blazing sunlight and blue-green surf and absolutely astounded some surfers nearby. After that it became common for us to all do the trip at least once a day when we were at Queenscliff – until someone told the float hire guy what we were doing and he refused to hire us any more floats!

2)  Reading the above, you will show no surprise to learn of the fact that I have a personal medical history that is four A4 pages long. I keep a copy available to save time whenever I have to go to a new doctor or clinic.

3)  When working as a mental health nurse I was listed with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as an ‘escort nurse’ and I did several trips overseas either taking tourists home or retrieving ill or injured Australians from overseas locations and bringing them home. I had one Greek lad from a very rich Greek family who smashed both his legs in a car crash, was bed-bound, and had to go home on a cruise ship (couldn't be flown home). His future father-in-law refused to let a female nurse attend to him on the trip home so I got the escort – free cruise ship trip to Greece and my air fare home. I brought a little old lady, a Serbian-Australian migrant, home from Vienna after she had been locked up in the "das Krankenhaus" after she attacked two guards in a museum when she tried to take pictures from the museum walls, claiming the Nazis had stolen them from her family home during WWII. The food in the asylum must have been crook 'cos she devoured double portions of airline food and slept most of the way home! I bought several Australians back from Bali who had ‘bad tripped’ on hallucinogenics whilst tourists on the island.

4)  As a nurses union representative and organiser I was one of the persons responsible for organising the “Equal Pay for Equal Work” campaign to stop the discrimination between male and female rates of pay. I also “led” the case (advising the union’s legal counsel) for mental health nurses undertaking a general nursing course in Canberra to be paid a registered nurse's wage and not a student nurse's wage – which we won.

5)  I am absolutely not the person to be told that I cannot/am not allowed to do something I feel I would like to do. My boss told me I could not take a year’s leave of absence (without pay) to complete a graduate diploma in education – a course I had been accepted for by the Canberra University – so I quit on the spot and walked out! I completed my degree and taught in various colleges for two years.

6)  I grew up in an area of Sydney that (at that time) was semi rural with market gardens, orchards and dairy farms. I was driving a tractor on my ‘uncles’ mixed dairy and produce farm at eight years of age. At 15 years and 10 months, being eligible for my road licence I went to our local police station to do my driving test.
“What do you want?” the Senior Constable barked!
“I’ve come for a licence test, sir” I replied!
“How did you get here” he snapped!
“Drove, sir” I replied!
“I know you,” he said, “You’ve been driving for years but I’ve never caught you!”
“Yes sir!”
“Well, get out there, drive around the block, pull up on the hill outside my window and do a ‘hand-brake start’ on the incline!”
“Yes, sir”!
So off I went and did as he said. When I came back in he was gone. I asked one of the other officers where he was? “Gone home for lunch,” he said, “left this for you”! It was my licence and the ink was even bone dry on it!

7)                  My first job when I left school was working in a lime quarry, breaking up lumps of lime with a four pound wooden mallet into powder, bagging it in chaff bags, tying them off and putting these onto the back of a lorry. We were paid a shilling a bag and we could fill twenty bags a day – a Pound a day, five pound ten shillings for a five and a half day week. Good money in those days but every day I’d arrive home looking like a snow man and my mum made me stand outside while she hosed me down, fully clothed, then strip off and put on clean clothes before I was allowed in the house. At the end of the week I decided it was not the job for me, however, my two friends who started with me decided to stay-on. They reckoned the money was worth it. One died twenty years ago from ‘Dust Disease’ and the other ended up on a disability pension and carrying an oxygen cylinder around with him wherever he went. I think he’s dead now as well!

Sad really!

There, I don't suppose that was too exciting, was it ?

Here are three (3) blogs I have discovered and follow.  I find all three thoroughly fascinating.  I therefore pass on the "Versatile Blogger Award" to each of the following:

 John Gray’s Going Gently blog

The blog of Cathy, a ‘stay at home mum’.

Jo’s very interesting blog Crafty Joe


North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard said...

That was great, John! I absolutely loved the read; very interesting, and amusing. You must have been quite the 'DAREDEVIL' at a bit in your younger years? Good job you quit that Lime Quarry, or you might not still be telling the story. Nice you have been able to travel some.

Sharon said...

Your folks must have turned gray long before their time...

JohnD said...

LoL Sharon, I think so - actually, they just let me go at my own pace. Dad reckoned I could look after myself and my mum was just pleased to see arrive home!

John Gray said...

Facinating snippets of info there Jon... Will have to give mine much thought.
Many thanks

Brian said...

Seems to run parallel to my youth some what, you have two years on me and I grew up out Liverpool.
Off topic but can you still get Clyde River oysters in heshen bags At BB.

JohnD said...

Yep - Sure can - there is also now a 'Growers Shop' in BB where you can buy the bags, or plates of graded oysters either shucked or in the shell.

We can buy Nelligan oysters and Narooma oysters at the fish market in Belconnen Markets - makes it worth the trip over there from home.

Gill - That British Woman said...

love the police/driving story. You have led an interesting life John.

Gill in Canada

JohnD said...

Proper bugger of a kid! Should've been drowned at birth like the Romans did to unwanted kids! LoL!

JohnD said...

Look forward to reading your accounts!

JohnD said...

Senior Constable Harry Paddock - rode a sidecar outfit on one man patrols with his size 12 boots! Knew every kid on his watch! Hard man, reall old-style copper who dealt with wayward youth on-the-spot!

Maria said...

You are sort of a fascinating man, now...aren't you!

JohnD said...

Well, it helps to keep me in the company of some nice ladies LoL