The WHAT'S NEW! page contains the latest medical updates. If you're wondering how I'm going as far as health is concerned, this is the place to start. Latest: Wed 27 Nov 2013. 7.20AM

Friday, July 8, 2011

The scars around my eyes (pt 3a)

pt 1 | pt 2 | pt 3a<<<you are here | pt 3b | home | stories from my past

Some of you may recall an incident where Verdon Harrison and I made a canoe that turned out not entirely seaworthy. A few minor design flaws resulted in its swift descent to the depths within seconds of launching.

  I did finally salvage the Bismarck from its watery grave in the mud at the bottom of what we called the Blue Hole. When we were little, we thought it was so big that it reflected the sky, but I found out when I was an adult that any kid of 18 could have jumped across it with a bit of a run-up. The oceanic blueness of it was something we wanted so badly we convinced ourselves that was its tint. In fact, it was barely a billabong. But to return to the Bismarck, in a triumph of reinvention, I re-birthed the canoe as a toboggan.

  A toboggan, I hear you say? In central Queensland, where snow was something only seen on Christmas cards strung below the shelf in the lounge?

  You read that right – a toboggan. At the rear of our house perched quite high on a hill, there was a fair slope down towards the creek. In late summer in a good season, this slope was thick with speargrass.

  It was indeed late summer. The toboggan design was perfect in its simplicity. The galvanised iron, flattened in preparation for its previous but pathetic incarnation as an elegant two-man canoe, was squared off as best I could with Dad’s best tin-snips.

  Unlike last time I appropriated them, this time I put the snips back when I was finished, instead of leaving them on the creek bank. By beating one end of the iron with a claw-hammer over a round fence strainer-post, a tolerable sleigh-like curve was achieved for the front of the craft.

  Apart from that, I have to admit it was a pretty basic model. Stark simplicity was the theme. An architectural analogy between the canoe and the toboggan might be to compare Ionic with Doric capitals on the columns of an ancient Greek temple. Ummm, no, that’s stretching it a wee bit too far. It’s lunacy in fact, but when such things come to mind, what can you do but get them out of your system?

  I dragged the toboggan to the top of the steepest part of the slope, sat on it and kind-of punted it down the hill a few times until a path of flattened grass was created. Each time I did this, it got faster and faster, soon sliding at a very satisfactory speed from top to bottom propelled by gravity and my momentum.

  The toboggan was quite a hit. I even allowed my sisters to have a go, but their interest soon waned. Possibly the fact that they had to drag it back up the steep hill may have had something to do with it. I let Kay, my youngest sister ride behind me for a few turns, on the condition that she help me drag it up the hill to earn her seat at the rear.

  You don’t get something for nothing. Times is hard, as Mrs Lovett sings in Sweeney Todd. I was not above a little sibling exploitation in this regard.

  It was on the last run that it happened. The track was lightning fast and the weather fair, and the previous couple of runs were at top speed. Yet the experience was starting to pale. Novelty was lacking. I decided that a little variation would liven things up a bit.

  I had seen pictures of little Shirley Temple on a toboggan in heavy snow, where she was lying full length on her stomach, heavily clad in coat, gloves and dark curls bordering her beanie, and the caption read, ‘Who says there’s no snow in California?’

  I didn’t have a blind clue where California was, but it was a very appealing picture. Perhaps I could add some spice to my run down the grass slope by doing the same on my toboggan as she did, but in my case, minus a full Hollywood camera team.
(continued - final part - pt 3b)

pt 1 | pt 2 | pt 3a<<<you are here | pt 3b | home | stories from my past

No comments:

Post a Comment

Some iPads simply refuse to post responses. I have no idea why, but be aware of this.
Word verification has been enabled because of an avalanche of spam. SAVE or compose a long comment elsewhere before posting; don’t lose it! View in Preview mode first before trying to post.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.