Did I mention the choko vine; this vine vegetable was is a fairly bland thing, shaped like a pear, green with prickles and greenish flesh. Cut in slices and boiled as a rule and served with a hot meal it helped to supplement the plate and nourish one.

Sneaky companies used a recipe borrowed from my Grand Ma, (fibs), the choko was skinned sliced and boiled, sugar syrup was prepared using sugar, water and some treacle. The chokos were cooled, covered in syrup and placed in the ice cabinet, served with plumb pudding and custard; one was hard pressed not to say they weren’t pears. Hence the reference to “sneaky companies”.

Now, I have a recipe you might like to try;

Par boil fairly small-halved vegetable / fruit until just firm. Add some hot sauce, Wooster of course, to the hollow area where the seed came from.

Prepare some bacon by cutting into pieces so as just to cover the slices, place the prepared chokos under the griller and heat until the bacon is just cooked, you had grated some spicy Bega cheese, sprinkle the cheese over the bacon and return to the griller, cook until runny and a little brown, pepper and salt, Farley’s Kilpatrick, enjoy.

For supper, Grand Ma would heat water on the vent top of the black upright kerosene heater, prepare some ARNOTT’S “Sao” biscuits by slicing garlic knobs and the spicy Bega cheese. To the hot water she would add Cocoa, that’s supper, Palmer St. fashion.


Must tell you about the medicine cupboard, about every week or so a preparation of sulfur and honey was administered, this was to keep away the coughs and colds.

When the plumbing got blocked you got to take Epsom Salts, Condies Crystals in a solution of warm water helped with mobile dandruff, iodine was used for scratches and abrasions, boils were treated by application of calico bandage with a small hole cut in it, you pull down on the boil to extricate the mess.

For relief from the “morning after”, a dose of bi-carbonate and citric acid helped with an aspirin, foot problems? Salt water and Condies Crystals, copper sulphate. So Grandma could cure “coughs and colds and itchy holes and pimples on the knackers”.


The bird, the bloody Galah. We came home from Bundemar Sheep Station with our pet bird, I was about 10ish and it ruled the tenement for several years. Although its wings were never trimmed, “squawker” never flew away it simply fluttered and walked everywhere leaving odd jobs here and there.


He had a cage and seed and water but the door was seldom closed accept at a night time when a cover was placed over it. Basically the bird lived on the nearest shoulder in particular Grandma’s.

There is photo in the newspaper archives showing her and the bird in the Domain Park on Sunday morning, a place she would frequent often to listen to the radical left and right wingers orate standing on a box.

Sydney Domain Spruiker, orator and radical commentator

Sydney Domain Spruiker, orator and radical commentator

All types of people would voice their opinions on any matter they felt strongly enough; it was great to hear the mixed audience heckle and cajole the speakers. There would be several speakers within meters of each other all with a small crowd of onlookers.

The bird would sit happily on Grandma’s shoulder as she circulated through the assemblage, no doubt thinking what a bunch of wankers, the bird that is wanker was an unknown adjective to her, put simply its indicates a person of doubtful intellect, some of these people were actually very out there.

One-day “squawker”, simply put, fluttered his wings and flucked off over the back fence in the direction of Kings Cross these days Galahs are quite coastal, his precedence? Is out there, he left us with broken heart but with a legacy of remembering some of his tricks, like rolling up a pencil in a piece of paper and then proceeding to shred the pencil and the paper into tiny pieces, remembering his peculiar pigeon toed way of walking, loved ya.


Thursday, October 11, 2007, have just completed two long shifts during a State Emergency, Lismore City NSW was trashed on Tuesday by a violent hail storm, it caused heart breaking damage to houses and cars and infrastructure and crops. Our area of the Byron Shire suffered as well and we went “Operational” dispatching SES crews and NSWFB and RFS and VRA people to fix the mess at about 20 locations, Lismore had over 500 calls for assistance. Hailstones were tennis ball size.

By an in creditable coincidence as a trainer I had been present at Lismore during a Storm and Water Damage course the previous Saturday, we had taken our candidates for a walk discussing various roof structures and how we would provide temporary repairs.

One of the buildings we observed was the Splendid Catholic Church resplendent with a very steep slate roof and the beautiful lead glass, regrettably no more.


Back to past, going fishing on Sunday with Uncle Chris. We loved to fish for Luderick, a blackfish with light vertical stripes. We had three piece split cane rods and a small reel, fishing bags with floats and spare line and split sinkers and the secret green weed and cabbage weed collected around the harbor, aaaannnndd the wonderful black Harley Davidson and sidecar. And a bottle of “Nellie” for Chris.

We traveled far and wide in search for the Luderick, like Watsons Bay, Nilsson Park, The Spit, Lady Macquaries Chair / Point, Lillee Pilly, Lugano, Bobbin Head, Manly and many other places around Sydney. Chris has decided Watsons Bay is the go.

Date: Sunday, possibly Feb. 1952, about 7am, loaded the Harley, packed some sandwiches and cordial and the “nellie”, intrigued? And off. Out the double gates drives Chris while I close them and clamber into the cocoon of the sidecar and proceed on our journey to Watsons Bay. We will travel up William St to The Cross, down Bayswater Rd., past Rushcutters Bay, Potts Point, Double Bay, Elizabeth Bay, Rose Bay. We pass close by Neilson Park where we also fish, {some times catch the ferry), through Vaucluse past the infamous “Gap”, down the hill to Watsons Bay and park the Bike.

That didn’t take long will it, time frame about 25 mins. from home. We grab our gear and head for the ferry wharf, we set up our position and assemble our rods, commence to bait the hooks, bugger, forget to describe the “burley”.

Now any fisher person will tell you that the fish need enrichments and burley is the secret, and Chris will forgive me for letting the cat out of the bag, no you cat lovers, no cat fur! We would mix beach sand and finely shredded green weed and cabbage weed in a canvas sack, I dread to say our secret addition was some rock crabs pulverized and added and all was keep moist, so now you know why the older man and the young fella would catch fish 4:1.

Several hours were spent fishing and talking, Chris never talked about war things, however we would chat away and exchange banter with visitors enjoying the sights of Sydney. Of course we had hand lines and would fish for other species if the Luderick were slow, using our secret burley.

“PLONK, IT WARMS YOU UP”, Quote: Christopher Lovegrove.

From time to time the observer will notice the older man sipping from a bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag, it’s the “nellie”. All right, try Penfolds Brown Muscat, a nourishing and warming drink good for the health, so Uncle Chris said.


When we have had enough, and that could be several hours because fishermen are very patient, it would be time to head home to Palmer Street. We would wander down the wharf, clean our fish, pack the gear in the boot of the sidecar and the the big leather bags attached to the “power unit”, gently place the dismantled rods in their covers beside me.

It was then or maybe another day I noticed the distant look on Uncle Chris’s face the “nellie” had taken effect, as a young boy trust was inseparable from respect although wise in the streets. Half way up the hill from Watsons Bay was a very sharp left hander, I realize now that Chris took the corner forgetting about the sidecar and its young occupant, we struck the gutter with the sidecar tire.

Up in the air goes the sidecar with me hanging on with great trepidation, and for an eternity the bike and I am airborne. My grammar is crap but you have the picture, down we came and we proceeded home at a slower than usual pace and had fish for tea. This experience did not faze me from other fishing experiences; in fact we went too many fishing holes later including The Spit Bridge.


Before the bridge piles were flashed with copper sheathing huge colonies of a bi-valve thing called mussels grew on the wooden piles, Chris and I would collect a harvest and bring them home to provide a meal for the family, want a recipe?;

A large heavy skillet is needed, some butter, some garlic, pepper and salt, flour and Wooster and mustard and some chives, home grown. Add the Mussels’ and the sauce heat until the valves open.

Previous; prepare a sauce of plain flour and Wooster and salt and pepper and mustard. and spoon the sauce on and add chopped chives. Oh yeah, Chris and I had been to Bennelong Steps, that’s where the magnificent Opera House is now, and caught several small yellow tail, preparation; brush the small scales off with a small wire brush, cook the fish with heads and guts lightly in olive oil and add with the mussels.

Don’t use these ingredients from the harbor now.

So that the CIA, ASIO and the THOUGHT POLICE don’t monitor our conversation we must observe secrecy for the following foray into the “Big Bang” story. Somewhere I discovered that some Nitrate substance and Sulfur as a mixture would produce a colorful blue explosion. We would use a hollow key and a nail, fill the key with the concoction, attach a string and belt the explosive against the wall.

Hang on I have an Email, Mr. Farley be careful, signed Mr. Bush, CIA, FBI, NCIS, ASIO

Before they come to take me away a large bolt and a nut was prepared in the back yard of 112 on the ground with a quantity of this substance inside the nut, a yard broom of a triangular dimension was used to drive the bolt into the nut, BLUE BANG, RESULT; no broom head, no bolt, no tea. What was the question? Oh last cigarette?


Get out of here! I think my head is dislocated. These experiences were in a period between 1947 / 1949 I think; the memories have been consistent in my minds eye so that makes it all authentic and largely true.


Prior to and in between these adventures we lived in the city, these are other stories. At this stage I will try to relate some facts on my schooling which conversely will demonstrate how much we travellllllllled.

In some sort of order Plunkett Street Woolloomooloo was my first school, followed by Blackfriars Correspondence School, then Plunkett Street, and then; Katoomba Catholic Primary, St Bernards College Katoomba, Bega Primary, Milton Primary, Coolah Primary, (how am I going), Nambucca Heads primary, Yamba primary, Plunkett Street, Darlinghurst Junior Technical School, Telopea Park High (ACT), Carrathool Primary, (that can’t be right) slip it in between before “Darlo”.

My schooling concluded at good old “Darlo”, that’s near Kings Cross, year (9) was as far as I got, the Intermediate Certificate and plenty of “new boy scars”, don’t worry I gave plenty back, incidentally all of these schools are in N.S.W., good old OZ.

At no time then and certainly not now did your writer hold any remorse to any person for the constant upheaval, particularly my Mum and Dad, bullies and yes, there is a step father in there. These were times to remember and relish, can’t tell you every story but here goes, remember we are still in THE BUSH.


I’m thinking Katoomba is the go, for one thing that’s when I last saw Captain Denis Payne Farley, ex WW#1 RFC, AFC fighter pilot, probably much decorated world wanderer, and he was my dad. We lived in Katoomba for some time where I can see a small Garage Store and Post Office near Bell, a “Devonshire Tea Shop” and residence at the bottom of the high street down near the Three Sisters, you have to live there sorry, I will describe.

3 Sisters, scenic attraction Katoomba

3 Sisters, scenic attraction Katoomba

This period in my life had many physic experiences, the least being told to “wag” school by a mysterious voice. Eventually I was punished and sent to St. Bernard’s Catholic Boarding School where the treatment was just ordinary, AND I must say mighty irregular, something I forgave, lots of kids didn’t.

After the preceding comment please note any opinions directed to any person of a derogatory note are not intentional as are any suggestions of improper actions, I have set out to tell my story and not my history, boy, leave the head jobs to Freud.


Strange things happened at Katoomba, the Three Sisters do exist and for anybody who has observed the wonderful scenery of the area including the Megalong Valley, the Minnie Ha Ha Falls, and the Devil’s Railway and Narrow Neck including scenery from the poignant Australian film “Jedda”, you will attest to its beauty.

But, I shot a crow with my digit finger, it dropped like a rock, I saw misty visions of my father standing beside my bed when he was miles away, he talked to me and consoled me, I have this apparition to this day.

Don’t dwell on it, how about the “real” vision of seeing Jack Frost peering and beckoning from behind a tree at the service station mum and dad owned at Bell, I saw him, fair dinkum, it had nothing to do licking the frozen liquid that had accumulated on top of the 44 gal. PETROL drums.

I can describe Jack, but you will say I was a petrol sniffer. Katoomba is a mystic place. The Boarding School, well I can’t go there except I met a boy from Plunkett Street I knew, he looked after me, I was one of the lucky boys. We left there; never saw Denis Payne Farley again.


Then there was a place I know not where, very young my earliest memories? I can see Nuns and kids and beds and Gremlins.

Running by outside the windows grimacing and calling, but only after eating mashed potatoes. Imagination is a kids best friend, my little buddy Michael, (my son), had a friend, never got to meet him, diet may play a part, we all had dreams, and nobody can take them from us.

Importantly, keep the thoughts in the context of a young mind and protect the innocent little people who grow up to be us. Holy mackerel brother, you deviated something dramatic.


Bega Primary seems a good school to re-visit, the south coast of N.S.W. is incredible, the dairy country is renowned for its rich harvest and the close proximity to the coast.

Soon after leaving Katoomba mum dragged me to the Bega Valley, if she hadn’t of this adventure could not have happened, thanks mum.

Mum worked at a hotel in Bega, she was pretty good looking and took up with the son of a dairy farmer, Clive was his name. They formed a tumultuous partnership for many years and again they carted me all over.

Moon Bay, Tathra, what a beautiful place.

Moon Bay, Tathra, what a beautiful place.

For a period mum and I lived in town, had already commenced school at Bega Primary then found ourselves on Clive’s’ Parents dairy property (3) Miles north of Bega, 90 plus milkers plus Bill and Grace the loveliest people I have ever met, Peter became my step brother and we had some interesting experiences, wonder if Peter can remember the day Grandma Snowdon asked us to go and fetch mushrooms in the north paddock.



We set of with “Grannies” basket, a slingshot each and pride in our step; the plovers were “Stukas” protection of their young was by brute force, equipped with spurs on their elbows.

As one picked musshies the other let off, who’s my proofreader! I mean, shot a missile in the direction of the diving plover. Now it’s my turn with the anti-aircraft weapon and lets go a rock to protect Peter, the bloody stone hits Peter and he drops, well, like a rock. In between helping Peter, (Prof. Peter Snowdon now!), fighting of dive-bombers we did have mushrooms for dinner.


Must linger with the Peter saga because we shared many stories as farm kids, the poor bugger had some ill health as a boy but he survived, just like most things in my life I lost contact, however, I do know he is a very respectable member of scientific community.

He won’t mind me relating the story regards climbing out on a tree limb over the creek below the farm. You see we were looking for Wood Duck nests, and eggs, yum, yum.

Peter has clambered along the overhanging branch and slipped into the creek, splash and help me!. in that order, he flails and displays obvious panic, I leaps into the water to assist my friend and, and, and, “Peter you goose stand up the water is only bloody waist deep”. Had to get Peter home soaking wet to his mum, Grandma Grace was quite displeased.

Me because of Peter, became a “Conso”, we grew green frogs from slimy bunches of eggs collected from the creek, we transposed the egg sacks to a water filled small corrugated tank with suitable furniture, like rocks and water foliage.

As they became tadpoles and grew into frogs Peter the note taker would record their progress, smart bugger. To supplement his need for edifying information we would take the .22 and shoot eels in the creek. Clive, (Peters older) had an obsession to hunt and we wandered through adjoining properties on occasion in search of rabbits.

I must relate that mostly all rabbits suffered from “myxomatosis”, this syndrome were an incredibly painful human induced method to combat a problem we established in the bloody first place. Let me tell you how two young boys intended to solve the problem.

Firstly. Peter and I used to chat a lot, Peter talked and I would listen and argue, the hunting expedition commenced with Clive in the lead. Peter and I would follow constantly discussing various issues; there were many polite requests for silence from the lead, “shut up you little pricks” was his favorite expression.

During one hunting trip as we stumbled behind we came upon a warren and discovered several small kittens, (baby rabbits) in hiding.

With great innovation we stuffed several weeping bunnies into our shirts and said naught to the “great white hunter”, our intention was unclear expect for their survival. When we arrived back to the Farm House Peter and I discussed our plan for their future existence, Clive’s sense of hearing, remember his survival skills, was exemplary.

“What have you little bastards got hiding in those shirts”, the game was up! No intention was deliberated into regards relating “off” stories so don’t read further. One by one the kittens were disposed of by this farmer’s son.

Clive was a dead shot, a good fisherman, a returned serviceman and a carpenter, he had the same inherent problems every returned service person has, “you sent me, now let me forget with dignity, at least respect me”.


The Bega Valley Snowdon’s are well respected, they are Scottish and proud and will have a similar hierarchy to my Lovegroves. Graham Lovegrove, my cousin, may help me. God I love the Bega district, Tathra is a seaside town about (11) miles east, it was a Port in the past days of coastal maritime traffic.

Loading produce on to small steamers was no small feat on a wharf built inside a partially protected headland, Tathra Wharf south coast N.S.W., go and see, in fact don’t hesitate it’s got a great Pub.

Tathra Beach, Mum, Me, little girl friend

Tathra Beach, Mum, Me, little girl friend

Will not bring myself to say “step”. Grandparents Grace and Bill Snowdon were the best people who ever milked a cow, preserved in a “Fowlers”, worked from dawn to dusk, suffered hardships but never complained, Bill worked for the council, he died for the council, he was hospitable and I am biased, why, he would take us to the wharf on a Sunday to go fishing.


Oh yes the payoff; 0530 start, help with the milking the Jerseys, in the old Ford and off. Grace always smelt like butter and cream and flour and cow shit, things like country mothers should smell like, she also smelt just like my mum and together could churn butter and brand a calf.

Tathra Sea Wharf

Tathra Sea Wharf

Incidentally Betty Isabella Matilda Elizabeth Farley / Lovegrove is still waiting to return to “Rosedale” and Bega; I have her ashes with me, THEY WILL GO WITH ME.

My problem is a separation thing, if some of her ashes are spread at each place can she “join up”, don’t hate me for this, that’s mums humour / humor.


I have read several stories relating to women from the country, some are suspiciously biased and sexist, let me tell you country girls have been holding their head high forever, they have contributed and are largely responsible for the generation of our country values, they were capable of any task and willingly contributed, any person who denigrates their contribution or questions their equality, male or female should have lived then and so get a  life.

Your truly has got emotional with these memories and no, we can’t produce a video of our inner thoughts, baby you live your life, these happy days are ours, (thanks Fonsie?), join me soon ’cause this place has personal thoughts and things only a expectent mother should know.

So there you go, a very brief overview of a bloke’s life on the farm. Might help to give credence to the crappy poems, you know, ‘been there, done that’, no big deal. I have mentioned many times:

If you relate mate, and you will, you can enjoy re-writing my poems so that you get some sense from them. But I wager this, the essence is based on first hand life, all you will change is the grammar, if your game, regards john f.


There is a poem that covers me from litigation, “GIVE OR TAKE A METRE”, I know in my piss-poor brain that great poets have a professional duty to uphold ‘correctness’, I have tried that. From the above stories have come; “MOON BAY, ARAGUNNU”, “MOOSEFACE”, others.


So we move to Milton a small but worthwhile community south from Wollongong, N.S.W, just north of Ulladullah and the Marlin Hotel and a girl called “Moose Face”, another pub mum dragged me to.

Fact; as soon as I started school here the most chronic migraine pains commenced, you bloody wimp, went to the chemist and he prescribed eye drops all gone in days, maybe you medical folk will have an explanation.

Not many memories remain; maybe the guilt factor has entered the agenda.

OK we broke into the Showgrounds offices and chappied some soft drinks and got bilious from the CO2. Or was there a problem during the school holidays, explanation; a local farmer came to school and asked if any kids would like a job over the holidays picking beans, several friends including myself went “pick me”.

Now the money by the bushel was great, but the bushel by the kid = hard work. Beside the bean patch was a paddy melon field, when the overseer left the scene and we had eaten our fill of melons some of the skins found their way into the bean sacks.

Who knows what attracts us to the opposite sex, an affinity developed between me and this lady of twelv seems to have happened, she was a good swimmer and pretty, and when we went to the swimming baths at Ulladullah we enjoyed each other’s company. My friends called her moose face and I do not know why to this day, while I can’t see her face, I can see her smile. We left Milton soon after every boy in town came down with a strange illness.


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