When Christmas is over and the sounds of the city quieten and there is no one around, then there is little to do but lie on one’s bed and think of days long gone. I did. And now I have to make a confession.
I have been told, that I did not complete my early angelic childhood without on at least one occasion being actually bad. But I was very young.
The incident that I need to tell was a day of supposed infamy in our family. I will attempt to portray the said incident with the total objectivity that comes from old age and a certain degree of forgetfulness.
It was about 1947 or 48 and we had a little farm just south of Melbourne. We did not have a car but my father bought an Army disposal motor-cycle. It was an Indian. Every day my father rode his motorcycle up to Melbourne where he taught. But when the weekend came he was a farmer – of sorts.
We had quite an idyllic life but I must get to the confession. It was summer and the hay had been cut. No tractors were involved, only an old draught horse dragging a mower behind…..
……..and then the next weekend the hay would be raked and then the hay would be gathered onto a cart and heaped up into a stack.
There was no baler, the hay was just piled up in a big stack in the yard. It was a wonderful stack but we didn’t play near it – it was too important.
There were other jobs to do and one was clearing the rubbish from the creek and making a pile and when it was dry it would be heaped in a pile and burnt. We all helped.
Did I mention I was only little. Anyway near the haystack was some untidy straw lying around and so I collected some of it and built a little rubbish heap of my very own. I went over to Daddy’s fire and I got a stick with red coals on the end and took it back to my little rubbish heap and I blew on the stick and it made my little rubbish heap start to burn. It burnt quite well actually. In fact it crawled along the ground, burning little bits of loose hay as it went until it reached the haystack.
And it burnt the haystack down.
And I got sent to my room without dinner because mummy and daddy were very cross with me.
But you must try to remember that I was only little.
The photos are from Mr Google’s collection.