Category Archives: prose

Tanked II (haibun series)

If you’ve read my post Tanked, this picture of our new over-flow tank will be familiar. It’s 4m in diameter, weighs 400kg, and fell off the truck and tried to escape by rolling downhill into the dam when it was delivered. We stopped it, and rolled it back up to the house and tied it to a tree so it couldn’t get away.

Finally, after more than three weeks, and almost 100mm of rain (more than two months-worth in a normal year!) my husband decided it was time to move the tank into position. Now, in fairness, he had been waiting for the slab he made for it to dry, so it couldn’t have been moved a lot sooner.
But, as usual, he didn’t check the weather forecast. (A few years ago he started putting together our little timber yurt in the rain, after it had sat in pieces in the shed for months. It didn’t rain the whole time though – it started snowing just after we got the walls up. In late spring. The only day it snowed that year.)

These out-door projects –
Why does he always save them
for a rainy day?

So, on Saturday, in the drizzle, we all gathered outside to move the lawn ornament to its proper place so it could fulfill its proper function.
We rolled it, and carefully pushed it this way, then that way, to swivel it into the right direction. Sometimes we all pushed on the same side to roll it, sometimes we went to opposite sides and pushed in opposite directions (but not along the same line of action) to provide a couple moment to turn the tank. No, not the sort of couple moment other people have that involve sunsets and wine and holding hands. This is the sort of couple moment that happens to me in the pouring bloody rain with a bloody huge water tank that is in the wrong bloody place and potentially going to roll down a hill or into the house, and involves a lot of swearing. That sort of couple moment (the M = F d sort of couple moment).
Anyway, with a lot of force and some moments, the tank got past the corner of the roof without touching.

Just.

 

 

A miss is as good
as a mile, even if
its as close as this.

 

 

 

Now a bit more rolling along the side of the house, and the temporary removal of the clothes line (now in really heavy rain – I should have brought the washing in yesterday!) and the tank was half-way. And it was time to tip it over on to its base, because it needed to be slid from here.
The problem now was that the tank is 4m in diameter, so to make it tip over, we needed to be able to push at somewhat above 2m. And none of us are very tall.
So, husband stayed outside in the rain to look at the tank and think about forces and moments and leverage and friction, while the rest of went inside to dry out. Sometime later there was hammering and the sound of the electric drill.

This is the picture:
mechanical advantage
frames the solution.

He had built a timber frame, and pushed one edge under the tank using the crow-bar. Then he and the boys lifted….
“Slowly… slowly… I SAID SLOWLY!!!!”

… and the tank tipped over on to its base!

Now all we had to do was slide it down the hill about 30m to its final resting place on the concrete slab. Except the path was rocky, and there was a tree somewhat in the way with a steep drop down to the main tank not much more than 2m away from it.
So, we roped the tank to the tree, pulled the frame apart and turned the timber into rails, and slowly, slowly, with much adjustment, and tightening of the rope, we slid and swung the tank past the tree, until it was ready to drop the last few feet into the concrete slab.

A bit of adjustment to the rails, and some more pushing, and here it is!

With some ropes and boards, and child labour, almost anything is possible!

Waste not, to want not –
we’re ready to catch every
drop of rain that falls.

And, like a benediction on all our hard work, with the tank in place and ready to be filled, the sun came out!

 

 

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tanked (haibun series)

It’s been a really wet year, and relying on tank water as we do it’s frustrating to see the tanks overflowing – all that water we can’t store just running down into the gullies! So having talked about it for months, and with the La Nina starting to fade away, we’ve finally bought another tank. Continue reading

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for L_, who I trust and respect

I didn’t go to his funeral. Even if I could have, I would not have gone. Funerals are for the living, Continue reading

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some notes for Selma

Some notes for Selma on orbits, because I couldn’t put all this in a comment.

I can’t add a file other than an image, so here are my notes on orbits for Selma as a bunch of images. If they look fuzzy, just click on the image and it will display as a nice clear version. Continue reading

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confession of a physicist

So, I wrote my last post in response to the dVerse prosery prompt, which was to write up to 144 words of prose including  the line “I am bombarded yet I stand”. Then I thought I’d better actually read the poem by Adrienne Rich, “Planetarium”, that the line comes from.  And I wrote this as my proseyness instead: 

XXXXXX

XXXXXXI have a confession:

I don’t like astronomy. I find it really boring.

Go on, gasp in horror. Judge me soulless. Continue reading

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then who?

I question whether I could be kinder. Whether I should be kinder. Whether, once (twice?) rejected, I have the right to simply opt-out now.
I am tempted to say nothing, or to speak only platitudes. That would be so easy, to nod and abide by her mantra of “we’ll see what happens”.
But we’ve seen what has happened. What has happened, on the golden child’s watch. The golden child who only ever tells her what she wants to hear. Until the police and social workers are listening.
Silence might be a kindness in the moment. But his complicity in the fantasy that everything is alright is how we got to here.
So, I make the phone calls, I make the decisions, and I take her complaints and accusations. I am bombarded. Yet I stand. Because, if I am not my mother’s keeper, then who?

Written for the dVerse prosery prompt: no more than 144 words of prose including the line “I am bombarded yet I stand”.

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good things only #2

I haven’t been writing lately, because it’s marking season and I haven’t had time or head space for anything else. But it’s all done except the late submissions now, so here is an animal edition, for my second good things only:

1. Driving home from school drop-off on Wednesday (campus is still closed although the Canberra lockdown has lifted), with the prospect of another day of nothing but marking, when crossing the road in front of me:

Of course I had to stop and get out and watch it finish crossing the road and trundle off into the bush.

No matter how urgent the marking, there is always time to watch an echidna. Echidnas are egg laying mammals with an electric sense in their nose. How cool is that? Continue reading

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last on the card – September

I’m hopeless at photography, but I really love this idea of “last on the card” by bushboy- the last photo on the card in one’s camera (phone in my case), no edits, no choosing, just the last one taken in that month.

This is mine:

I was just about to sit down and start giving an online lecture when I saw this approx. 15cm long centipede just above where my head would have been. I took a couple of photos, but this last is where it crawled down behind a set of drawers.

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some thoughts on the utility of bunyips

I was reading Worms’s post about belief, “The answer is a question”. And I started writing a really long comment, and then thought it was a bit rude to take up so much space on her blog for my own musings. So I’m putting them here. Continue reading

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no loose ‘roos in here

This is for d’Verse’s Haibun Monday: The present moment. I got into the office, opened my email, my calendar, my magic pudding TO DO list, and then… though I knew I oughtn’t… checked the Monday dVerse prompt.

 

H_ opens the gate at the top of the driveway, swinging on it the last 45 degrees, though I always tell her not to. She gets back in and we barrel on down the hill. A flock of cockatoos, white against a blue sky, swoops across the road in front of me to land in a paddock among the ‘roos. “Got a ‘roo loose in the top paddock” I say, but H_ doesn’t get the joke, yet.
We lurch and bounce over potholes and gullies, until dirt gives way to gravel, gives way to bitumen and we admire the autumn colours as we trundle into the village – claret ash, golden ash, scarlet pin oak, Chinese pistachio and liquidambar… even the names speak of flames, of flaring vivid transience, of an excitability beyond tulips.
A quick hug, an “I love you, have a good day” and H_ is running for the school gate and I am heading for the highway, the parkway, past the airport where a jet roars overhead, white as a cockatoo in the sun, packed with pollies heading for Sydney. Traffic lights, merging lanes, security gate, carpark, swipe card entry so my presence is known, my whereabouts tracked. Down corridors where crimsons have been safely ritalined into placid rose, all verdant greens safely, sagely, Valium-dulled (although I think the ceiling is giving me separation anxiety).

Don’t swing on the gate,
it could come unhinged – we don’t
want ‘roos loose in here.

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