'Arry Driftwood 

Do unto others!

But do it first and do it harder!

Penned by the late ’Arry Driftwood this last story was found in his typewriter shortly after he drowned when he fell from his dinghy a year ago on 15 June 2011.

Early morning, the roosters not yet crowing, warm and rested I put the wireless on and gazed up at fading stars through the forrard hatchway. I mused on the peculiar Australian allotrope of democracy as I listened to the ravings of the crazies in our Parliament and squirmed at the knowledge that we get the guvment we deserve and wonder what sins have earned us such.

That olde saw that “those whom the dogs wish to destroy they first make mad” slyly seeped to the fore. An Opposition vicious and negative as junkyard dogs and a teetering guvment politically inept and incapable of using effectively the anarchic media rabble, to emphasize a period of unprecedented hope and prosperity, orright some warts there I know, but never doubt the golden rule and the Light on The Hill. Er, which hill, ’Arry??

The Golden rule? “Do unto others! But do it first and do it harder!” Heh, heh!

Of course our allotrope of democracy is largely now imported, but still with some local ingredients. I am amused by that stuff in the Super Mark-ups stating, “made from local and imported ingredients”! No proportions of course are given and could be only the package is local? But for dawg’s sake when, if ever, are we going to all pull together aboard this lonely lifeboat adrift on the limitless Cosmos?

No answer received! Halloooo! Is there anyone there? Apparently not.

Wait one! While I check the paint locker. Very still yesterday and I was able to work from my wee dinghy and get an undercoat on the starboard cabin side. I am anxious to get the olde hooker looking smart ere I cark, so me mates won’t be saying, “Ah! Old ’Arry let the old Drifty go a bit yer know.”

Shaddup yer bastards! And I have let the olde dear down a bit. Mainly through pain and decrepitude but also a bit of sloth. I never said I was perfect.

Now, I ain’t saying that marine finishes ain’t really superior, but common wisdom has it that the quality is mainly, like rolled oats in the Super Mark-ups, simply the labels and I have been using Dulux Weathershield house paint for years with passable results for durability and smartness. An acrylic and a bugger to get brush-mark free, but I can do my topsides in half an hour with roller and brush behind River Quays, while standing on the hard.

I can’t stand a skite can you? Anyway there is something about a boatman’s life that fosters if not parsimony then certainly frugality and at times this is so ingrained that one needs a conscious pause to indulge in a little self-indulgence like a bottle of this or that of better quality than camel’s piss.

Of course dreams come free and there is aught wrong with being the hero in a self-scripted saga of derring-do where you save the day and win the lover and the fame and the fortune and the love and respect of all. Tiz free shipmates so hop in for your chop!

Yes, ’Arry as long as yer focus that they are only dreams. Spoilsport!

Now another good thing about me is that I dinna get colds and flu and stuff. This is prolly because of my innate goodness, and also I am one of the gods Chosen People. The Chosen People of the god deserves a ’postrophe, nay? But my plural gods would take it after the ‘s’? Hmm, this English is a foreign language to me.

However, I say, however, I am crook. Really crook and yesterday I was torn between calling for a priest or a doctor. As I have aught to confess, I chose the doctor although with about as little faith as I have in the priests.

A nasty beastly cold has me by the throat and the wheeze and rattle in my chest had me wondering if this was the legendary Death Rattle and I was foundering. But I am still here and if the rain lets up I shall sortie to the clinic for some succour.

A trip North by train and bus and foot and return last Friday. By Saturday night a dry sore throat, and morning brought a wet sore throat and the dreary future of many days of seediness. The same thing happened about a year ago as a day after return, kaboom … crookness. So it must be the bus or train and the air-conditioning spreading the germs? Perhaps Legionnaire’s Disease … but I was never in The Foreign Legion. I won’t bore yez with my travail but perhaps you could say a prayer for me or sacrifice a chook or turn around three times and recite the Lord’s Prayer; any of which are equally effective.

Rain pouring down on my saloon top again so I won’t be trying for the shore just yet. My buckets all full of lovely shiny rainwater and I have emptied the rain gauge four times and the dinghy will founder if I don’t manage to empty it soon.

And I have now run out of space …