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Posted (edited)

From Yueya ;

 

" A good friend of mine took his own life a few weeks ago. We held a commemorative service for him in our community hall yesterday.  He lost everything that he'd built up over the last 40 years of living here during the massive 2019 fire and felt too old at 70 to start again. And his health wasn't good. Although I've felt deeply saddened, I know he was always a person who chose his own path in life. He thought about his options carefully and he decided he could no longer live the active lifestyle he wanted on the land he loved. He was someone who was connected to his land with his heart, belly and bones. Yet because of a complex set of reasons that involved the betrayal of his trust in an old friend, he was being forced off his land. He chose to die there rather than to leave. 

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That's him and his cabin. As you can see, he's become part of the land. The property he lived on was over 2000 acres, mostly forested. I felt a heart connection with him, because, like me, his natural temperament was to live a semi-reclusive lifestyle.  He built up a small timber mill over the years and he supplied beautifully sawn hardwood to local owner builders for minimal cost.  He worked entirely by himself and was extremely conservation minded with his tree felling. All the building work I've done here has been with his timber. He would only supply timber to people he respected and delivered it exactly according to his own timetable. That might be in a week or it could be several months. But when he delivered it he would stay and help with any building work that needed an extra pair of hands. He was never in a rush and was the least materialistic person I’ve ever met. No way could you buy his services with money. He chose who and when he’d supply.  And although he milled timber and helped many people built substantial houses, he himself was totally satisfied with his small cabin. "

 

============

 

 

 

Nungali :

 

" I am thinking of Malcolm that owned the small mill at  Gleniffer  many years back , him and his  mate ( name I cant remember ) lived a similar lifestyle and ran the mill . They mostly went in behind forestry  and did salvage . My cabin is mostly made from wood from there - 3rd grade salvage, one grade above  'firewood' yet I got   a cabin made out of it  - more than 30 years old and not a termite anywhere .

 

You could get wood by working there ,  wood instead of cash .... if you where up to it ! They where in their 70s  and back then I was a lot younger  ... NO chance of keeping up with them , he could dance over a pile of logs with a broad axe in one hand  and de bark a stingy bark log  ( the stringy bark jams up the saw ) in 5 mins with seemingly effortless actions .    real craftsman that could predict  the type of wood grain pattern inside a standing tree  . A real eco logger too  ' No, , if we drop this tree, it might damage that seedling coming up over there " or  " No, we are not going down there , mess the ground up too much . "  They destained local logging  " Its wrecking the forest  "  or  ' animals live in that tee  '  and  " You think the 'old growth' forest is spectacular ?  You should have seen it when I was a lad  "

 

 few of the houses around here have wood from that source . Nowadays ? Most people cant get it .  I am fortunate enough (as I am STILL building  ! ) to have a local mill, some light wood machinate  and know people with heavier stuff like a thicknesser ,  portable mill , etc .  But mostly, if you want a big beam, elsewhere, its going to cost a fortune and  be a   ( ugggh )  'composite  - all little offcuts glued together  - looks shit  )

 

 

Malcolm too took his own life, when it was time  and he was no longer able to live as he wanted .   

 

( Its not too bad an idea that   -   I have an unofficial agreement  with my 'specialist' about that  )

 

-  I have another one I want to honour , but  ... speaking of building ....  I should get off line and into that .

 

I hope to share another 'local gem' with you all tomorrow .

Edited by Nungali
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Losing my friend Jim still feels very raw to me. Left to my own intention, I would have been content to have that post of mine about his death hidden amongst the wild cats rather than highlighted as a separate topic.  However, I do appreciate that such people deserve wider acknowledgement and I may (or may not) have more to say about that at a later date. For now though, I’ll leave the topic with you. 

 

7 hours ago, Nungali said:

NO chance of keeping up with them , he could dance over a pile of logs with a broad axe in one hand  and de bark a stingy bark log  ( the stringy bark jams up the saw ) in 5 mins with seemingly effortless actions .    real craftsman that could predict  the type of wood grain pattern inside a standing tree  . A real eco logger too  ' No, , if we drop this tree, it might damage that seedling coming up over there " or  " No, we are not going down there , mess the ground up too much . "  They destained local logging  " Its wrecking the forest  "  or  ' animals live in that tree ' .....

 

That sounds exactly like Jim. :)

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another one is Trevor . he lives just down the road. I dont know how old he is - ancient . he looked ancient when I arrived here  over 30 years ago . He ran the last  commercial dairy farm in the valley .  I  first met him late one night, in a flood .  I was driving home late from work in my GF's little sports car - not a car for around here .    I crossed the first bridge on the road, no problems as it is high above the river .  The next one,  had water going over the top but I made it through, the next one, the one before my place and the lowest in the valley, looked risky, but I was tired and wanted to get home, so I started chugging across .... and stalled , and would not start. By now it was  on dark, I got out the car and the water was just under the door sill and lapping in . I looked around  realised how fast the river was coming up . Maybe, just maybe , if I run NOW as fast as I can, get home, get out the tractor, I might be able to get back in time and tow the car across the bridge ... or maybe  I won't make it and GF's new sports car will be washed down the river

 

Then I saw headlights on the side I just came from and someone was climbing off a tractor  and yelled  " Do you need help ? "

a saviour !    we wrapped a chain around the back and towed the car back to the other side . 'No, further up . " he said , " A flood can come up to there . "  .... No not here either , the bank could weaken and that tree could fall the wrong way on to the car . "

 

He found a safe place and we parked the car  " Who are you ? Where did you come from ? "    he told me his name was Trevor and  came from the dairy farm ; "  I just sat down to dinner, and I heard a car go past , and I said to my wife' Oh, they must have got over the 2nd bridge . I hope they dont try to go over the 3rd one it will be flooded ' . Then I got a feeling and said  " Love put the  dinner back in the oven, I better go and see if they are alright . "

 

Me;  " You got up from your dinner, and went out in the rain  and on the tractor to check if I was alright ? "

 

" Yes, and if you are okay now , I wouldnt mind getting get back to it . "   He did and I walked across the bridge and came back 2 days later and got the car .    Friend for life IMO .

 

Trevor would sell us building poles , he would go up the back of his property and snig some logs and drag back a bunch - good logs , white mahogany or boxwood ( termite proof ) , some long and solid enough to build a 3 story house - $30 each . he would even trim the sap wood off the  end so they dont rot in the ground .   So many houses here started ff as a set of poles supplied by old Trev. over the decades, never rose his price  - $30.  His property is magnificent, it buts up against the wild and steep Dorrigo Escarpment , he goes up in there to get the logs. I really wanted to check it out as it looks so amazing ( from distance ) but Trev keeps it private . One time ... once he agree to let me help him , previously he always refused and went himself .  This time, he said 'Okay, hop on the back of the trailer . ' Yes !   he finally trusts. ' me I thought . We approached the tractor track going into the dense rainforest and  down into a dark green tunnel. but he stopped there, unhitched the trailer and he said , 'You wait here ." and snigged the logs out himself .    I would love to know what is in 'Trev's secret forest ' . I have looked down into it from nearby when bush walking, higher up, along the escarpment , but its a steep  bowl with cliffs around .  It looked dangerous entering from that way, without climbing equipment  ... besides , I would have been 'trespassing' .

 

People do trespass a lot on his land , it has the road running through it and for some reason its a very abundant place for magic mushrooms .  I used to see the little buggers everywhere when I drove past. and sometimes see Trev out on his tractor slashing  ... not the grass I mean, but the mushrooms , thats how many there where . He didnt like them, they attracted all sorts of people that waltz over the fields, dance with the cows, etc .   It was amusing to many a local driving past and seeing Trev out there , sitting on his little tractor slashing the mushrooms . I thought that would just spread the spore .  He might have been right, now there hardly seem any any more .

 

And no matter the weather , even in the height of summer, you would drive past and see him out in the fields 'chipping thistles'  

and other weeds with a hoe and ALWAYS  in a long sleeve flannelette shirt  AND a buttoned up woollen cardigan .  No spraying   for him, or  fertiliser, he told me , the whole time he has been there he never used fertilizer . I remember one hell summer, early in the morning and already very hot.  I was going to the local shop and passed Trevor  out in the field ... What the HELL   :o ... I dont believe it .  There was a group of locals at the shop, I thought to warn them  "  Prepare yourself for a super heatwave .  One like we have never seen before "

 

" Why do you say that ? "

 

" I just passed Trevor out in his  fields chipping thistles ...... WITHOUT his cardigan on  .  . . . .  just the flannelette shirt .

 

" What ?  NO cardigan ? "

 

" Nope . "

 

" ...... Oh  shit .... "

 

:D

 

 

 

.When ever I pass and see him nearby I stop for a chat.  Gossip,, weather, the cows, etc .  He scares me sometimes . he wheezes,  and looks SOOO old, and seems like he is having a heart attack right now ,  yet just keeps putting along , like his old tractor .  Even if he isnt near the road , he gives a wave , or just lifts the hoe up and waves sit . Sometimes a hill obscures him, you can just see the hat and the hoe come up for a wave .   IMO he is a local shaman , he knows his patch ...    'part of the landscape '.

 

One time, this half crazy hippy was boasting to a group of people  and me how he was going to go and hassle him for slashing the mushrooms : " I will put on my cammo  gear and strap on my hunting knife  go around there and scare the shit out of him. "

.... I wont say what I said or did to him ... but apparently he was terrified of me for some time  - good    .

 

anyway, he is local gem, a really nice guy and still, somehow alive  and working the farm ( he went from dairy to stud breeding ). I do have an uneasy feeling that one day I will drive past and he will be lying down peacefully on the grass with hoe in hand .

 

anyway , its people like this that make life more enjoyable .

 

 

{ When I have more time , I would like to write about 'Old Jim' ,   Jim ,  who I lived with for some time on his  farm when I first ran away (from society) to live on a commune , back in 70s.  Jim, waas s  in hi 90s then . Some of his history included starting the first commune in Australia .... way back , and going to 3 wars   ( Boar War,  WW1 , WW2 ) }

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Apology ~ an error.

 

Edited by Limahong
Deleted ~ an error .

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On 5/3/2021 at 6:24 AM, Nungali said:

I am thinking of Malcolm that owned the small mill at  Gleniffer  many years back , him and his  mate ( name I cant remember ) lived a similar lifestyle and ran the mill .

 

23 hours ago, Yueya said:

Losing my friend Jim still feels very raw to me. Left to my own intention, I would have been content to have that post of mine about his death hidden amongst the wild cats rather than highlighted as a separate topic.  However, I do appreciate that such people deserve wider acknowledgement

 

7 hours ago, Nungali said:

another one is Trevor . he lives just down the road. I dont know how old he is - ancient . he looked ancient when I arrived here  over 30 years ago . He ran the last  commercial dairy farm in the valley .

 

 

Hi Malcolm, Jim, Trevor and other wonderful characters that build locally...

 

Thanks to Nun and Yueya ~ we have come to know you all and

 

your wonderful local contributions.

 

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A global...

 

th?id=OIP.DNbXSrpTZZBMK-cdY3DM7gHaC2&pid=Api&P=0&w=431&h=166

th?id=OIP.NVkh2cByJzbJJ3ELPPw4DgHaHa&pid=Api&P=0&w=300&h=300

- Anand

 

 

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[ I am still trying to find the  file on Jim Leacock - 'Old Jim'  , its ancient , meanwhile I dug this up  ... what people used to be like )

 

 

BILL CARPENTER .

 

For a time, when i worked at the hospital I could not sleep at night, so I signed up for night duty. Back in those days, the old style hospitals could be a strange place at 3 am. As  you know some  patients cant sleep at night either.

 

I remember one night I was walking along the corridor, past my wards and I heard a groaning sound coming from inside one of the rooms, so I stuck my head in to see what was happening. It was ... let me think ... what was his name? Mr. Carpenter I think. Anyway, I liked Mr. Carpenter, he was one of those patients that rarely complained, even though I knew he was in great suffering. So I went up quietly to his bed and asked,


'Everything okay Mr. Carpenter?'


'Oh, sorry, I'm having trouble sleeping. I didn't disturb anyone did I?' he said.


'It's alright, no one's disturbed. Do you want a sleeping pill?' I asked him.


'No thank you.' he replied. 'Actually, while you are here I might get you to give me a hand to go to the toilet.'


'Okay, or would you prefer it if I just got you a bottle?' I asked him.


'No thanks,' he said, worried that he might be a bother but then he said  'If you don't mind I might take a little walk to the toilet. I feel so stiff and heavy. A little walk might do me good.'

 

What a dear sweet guy he was. So I helped him out of bed and we walked slowly down the corridor. He went into the toilet and I went back to the nurses station . Then I heard the toilet flush and got up from the desk and walked toward the toilet just as the assistance bell rang.

 

I started helping Mr. Carpenter back towards his room but I noticed he hesitated and looked down the corridor in the other direction.


'Would you like to go for a bit of a walk and work out some of that stiffness?' I asked him.


'Oh no, it's alright, I don't want to be a bother.' he answered.

 

- There! Again ...  the guy is dying in hospital, yet he doesn't want to'  be a bother' . So I tried to ease his concern a bit by making a little joke


'It's okay, they pay me for it.' I told him and smiled. He smiled back. 'We could go down the end of the corridor and sit in the solarium if you like?' I offered.

 

 

" The solarium ,  at night ? "

 

" Sure , be better looking up at stars than a hospital room ceiling . all night . "

 

So he shuffled down the corridor into the solarium. I pulled one of the reclining chairs over to the large ceiling to floor windows for the best view of the night sky. I arranged some pillows on it, helped Mr. Carpenter into the chair, lifted his legs and placed a soft pillow under his knees and pulled over a chair for myself and sat next to him - I used to sit there a bit at night myself - when it was a quiet shift.

So we sat there and we looked out at the beautiful clear night sky and stars.


'So, how is it going Mr. Carpenter, is everyone looking after you okay?' I asked him.


'Oh yes. Everyone has been great and very patient with me, I've got no complaints. I just feel a bit ... useless at times. I just wish this blasted disease would kill me now instead of dragging everything on and on ... useless and an annoyance, that's what I've become."

 

Now he seemed to be getting more upset so I said,


'No way, Mr. Carpenter, I'd be bored stupid tonight if it wasn't for you.'


Mr . Carpenter chuckled but it caused him some pain and he winced and held his side.


'I shouldn't complain,' he said, 'I've had a good life - a wonderful life ... it's just that ... I miss my wife.' he told me.


'Oh, I'm sorry,' I offered, 'hasn't she been able to come in and visit lately?' I asked him.


'Oh no,' he said, 'It's not that, my wife died six years ago.' he told me.


'Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize. Are you still finding it hard?' I asked.


Mr. Carpenter nodded.


'What was she like?' I asked him.


Mr. Carpenter's eyes lit up.


'Oh, she was a wonderful woman,' he told me, ' beautiful, resourceful, intelligent, kind, a fantastic wife and mother. She stood by me all those years, and, you know, all that time we never had one single argument.'


'Really?' I asked him, 'How long were you married for?'


'Sixty- three years.' he told me.


'Wow!' I was pretty impressed, I mean, that's a pretty good track record, so I had to make sure; 'Sixty-three years. That is a long time! And you say you never had an argument in sixty-three years?' I asked.


'No. Not that I can recall.' And he did seem to be running through his memory.  'Perhaps we had a disagreement now and then, but in sixty -three years I do not recall a bitter or angry word. The only shouting I recall is being called in to lunch.' he said.


'How did you meet her?' I asked.


'Oh, that's a bit of a funny story.' he said.


'Good, go on,' I encouraged him, 'I like funny stories.'


So he started telling me his story.

 

''Alright then. Back in those days, in England ... I must have been about nineteen ... they would pay your fare on the boat, give you ten pounds and send you off to Australia if you wanted to emigrate. I was told it was a land of golden opportunities and I felt like changing the life I had back in England and I thought, Australia ... that sounds like an adventure, so off I went.'

 

"The old 'Ten Pound Pommie? ' I asked .

 

"Yes, that's it ." he replied . ''I had been told by others on the boat that when it docks in Sydney it was the custom for Australian families to come down to the docks and meet the new migrants. Sometimes they would invite them around to their house for dinner. But more was going on than that. These families often had a daughter of marring potential, they were actually looking for husbands, as, if an emigrant got married you could get a land grant and more funds and go out and start a farm. Well, when I got off the boat there were all these people waiting, all dressed up in their best clothes and welcoming the new emigrants. There were beautiful blushing daughters and dandified young men strutting about.

 

'I didnt have any contacts or relatives there and as you can see, I'm a pretty short little bloke and not much of a looker. I came from a poor background and my clothes weren't much but I thought, Oh well, I'll give it a go anyway.  So ... um, I was a bit of a larriken back in those days, I noticed an old tea chest off to the side so I dragged it over and jumped up on it and waved my ten pound note in the air - that was fair amount of money back then - and I called out, My name is William Carpenter and I'm just off the boat, I'm not much of a looker but I'm an honest hardworking man and I'll make someone a good husband and I've got ten pounds. Who'll give me a go?"

 

"By now I was totally transfixed, I shook my head in amazement. Mr Carpenter looked at me.


'Yes, go on.' I encouraged him.

 

'Well, then,' he continued, 'a girl, who I had previously noticed watching, came over to me and said, I'll give you a go. - It turned out she had no family, she was an orphan, that's why she was alone, she was pretty game coming there by herself ... anyway, that's how we met.'

 

"By now I was quiet incredulous. 'You met her just like that? When did you get married?' I asked him.

 

He continued, 'Well, she had a job but it was pretty bad and she lived in this little flat above a shop with one of the women she worked with. I stayed at a pub for a few weeks while we arranged the marriage.'


'And thats when you decided to commit to her?' I asked.


 'No', he shook his head, 'we already decided to commit to each other on the dock, thats when we made the decision. So we got married, applied for the farm grant, organised supplies, a bit of livestock a wagon and off we went.'


That seemed amazing to me so I had to ask, 'How did you ever set up a farm with such meagre resources?'


'How?' Now he seemed a bit confused. ' Well ... we worked hard, that's how. It got a bit easier after the kids got old enough to help.'


'Kids too!' I asked.


'Of course,' he told me, 'five beautiful children, three boys two girls, although the girls worked just as hard as the boys.'


'So you did all that and had five children?'


Now Mr. Carpenter seemed more confused at my attitude.


'Yes, thats what happened back then.' he said.


'And you never had a fight through all of that?' I asked.


'No.' he simply said.


'Well ... I'm amazed.' I told him - and I was too.


'Why?' Mr. Carpenter asked.


 I was about to explain, but the night nurse, who I assisted on the ward , stuck her head into the solarium.


'What's going on in here?' she asked.


'You should come in and listen to this story, it's amazing.' I told her.


She gave me a look, that said she wasn't interested and then she asked us,


'How about a cup of tea?'


'Yes please.' I said. I turned to Mr. Carpenter and asked him if he wanted a cup of tea.


'No thank you.' he said.


The nurse left us to make the tea.


'You know Mr. Carpenter ... ' I began again but he interrupted me.


'Why don't you call me Bill?' he asked me.


'I always call patients by their surname,' I told him, 'its just a thing I do. I think its polite and respectful. They will let me know if they want otherwise.'


He seemed to like that. Then he encouraged me to continue.


'Allright, go on.' he said.


'Okay. You know ... Bill ...' I continued and saw him smile. 'You know what I think? I think people have really lost that nowadays. People go through all sorts of things before they get married, long engagements, sex before marriage ...'  (  Oooo, he winced at that one.)
' ... living together for years beforehand and they dont seem to have anywhere near the difficulties you had back then. And now, so often, it doesnt work.'  He seemed in deep thought and then nodded slowly in agreement ... well, at least in comprehension, so I continued.
' ... So, whats the secret? How did you do  it?'


Mr. Carpenter thought a bit more so I waited for him to say something.


'Its no secret.' he told me, 'I suppose with all that work to do, a farm to run, food to produce, cows to milk, kids to raise, a busy country life, we just got on with it ... that and committent. I dont think people today understand committent. When you give your word - you keep it! Nowaadays they are all getting too spoilt and selfish ... think someone is going to hand life to them on a plate.'


'Yes, I often wonder about that,' I pondered out aloud. 'Things seemed to have changed so much in a short period of time.'


'Yes they have.' Mr. Carpenter agreed.


'I often wonder how the young ones coming through today are going to make it.' I said to him. Mr. Carpenter pondered upon that one  himself. He looked tired, like he was about to nod off. So I asked him, 'Would you like to go back to your room now?'


He  looked out to the stars and said. 'I wouldnt mind just watching the stars for a while.'


So I asked him, 'Would you like to sleep out here, I could get you a blanket and you could nap in the chair.'


He said, 'Well, I wouldnt mind sleeping out here  and just drift off looking at the stars ... if thats alright?'

                   
So I said, 'Bill, I reckon you can sleep wherever you want. You mate, are a national treasure!'  He smiled at me, embarrassed.
'I'll go and get some blankets.' I said. I left the solarium, still agog at the story and went to the linen store. I imagined Mr. Carpenter looking out at the stars, now being surrounded by stars. The stars gradually moving past him ... or was he moving through them? Thats a strange thought, I thought to myself but now I imagined Mr. Carpenter zooming through space, stars speeding past. I shook my head to clear it of the strange 'night duty thought' and got a blanket and took it back to the solarium.

 

When I got back he was asleep, so I put the blanket over him and smiled at him. I wondered if he was warm and felt his hand. It was very limp. I checked his pulse but couldnt find it. I checked his jugular pulse. There was none. I sat down in the chair next to him and held his hand. I looked into his face and closed eyes. A tear dropped from my eye and fell onto his hand  .

 

"I sat with him for a while. Then I got up and went back to the nurse's station. The other night nurse was there.


'Your tea is cold.' she said.


'Mr. Carpenter just died in the solarium.' I told her.


'What? Just now?' she asked and looked towards the emergency bell.


I said,  'Lets not bother. He's down as 'not for resuscitation ' anyway. '


She looked at me and said, 'Yes, that's right ...  he isn't.' She looked closer at me and said, 'Have you been crying?'

 

" Yes . "

 

" What, over Mr Carpenter ? "

 

" Yes. " 

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Nungali said:

 

A tear dropped from my eye and fell onto his hand. 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Nun ~ thank you for the recollection.

 

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- Anand

 

 

 

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