Australia

From the safety of a billycart



Having two older brothers, near-death experiences (C8) had been frequent for Carole Dawes of Randwick. “One of the better ones (of which there were hundreds) was when my brothers put penny skyrockets in my ears and lit them, calling out to my mother, ‘Look, Mum, we’re using Carole’s ears as launchpads.’ My poor mother nearly fell off the balcony in her haste to save my hearing.”

Shirley Whybrow of Balmain recollects when her “seven-year-old brother was gifted an air rifle for his birthday and I became the four-year-old object of his target practice (C8). This included being made to ‘walk the plank’, which was precariously balanced on the bathroom windowsill two storeys up. I was rescued by panicked neighbours using a stepladder, as I hung from the window sash by my vest. I’ll save the crossbow story for another occasion.”

Billycart brakes (C8)? What are they? According to Patricia Egan of Blackheath, “foot power was the only way to slow down, and younger sisters, used as ballast, had to contribute our shoe leather”. But the assassination try Patricia recollects most vividly from 70-odd years in the past “was being stood up against a wall and used as a darts target – somehow Robin Hood was invoked – resulting in a dart embedded in my head. I lived, and I didn’t tell Mum.”

Having come near unintentionally bumping off his pesky sister on a number of events, the older brother (C8) of Judy Howarth of Neutral Bay “volunteered to escort me on my first bike to the end of our street, where there was a busy main road. ‘Do not go on the main road’ from our mother fell on deaf ears. Mum was watching. We survived. But Dad removed the front tyre of my brother’s bike for a month. Tough lesson.”

Frans Boot of Gregory Hills regrets not seeing the synchronised bobcat present on the Camden Show (C8) however was “always mesmerised by the chainsaw races, where large diameter posts are turned into six smaller ones using said chainsaw, sledgehammer, wedges and a crowbar”.

Lindsay Somerville of Lindfield is envious of the journey luck (C8) of Vince Russo. “Having just flown from Sydney and, with an SAS pilots’ strike on, we had no alternative but to drive 1750 km from Oslo to Tromso to join a cruise. We did it in 23 hours, driving through the dusk of the northern summer. Adrenaline alone kept us awake.”

Column8@smh.com.au
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