Bev Fitzsimmonds

That Old Fence

‘Aagh! That old fence – it needs to come down!’

Joe Crawford said, as he peered with a frown.

‘It’s as old as the stock route

That went thru’ town:

No use to anyone, now …

‘Out with the old, and in with the new!

Ya gotta have progress – that’s What We Do.

If my old great-grandfather only knew

That it’s no use to anyone, now …

‘Still, it keeps the sheep in; keeps the motorbikes out.

Yep, it still holds together, without a doubt,

An’ it’s been thru’ many a flood and drought …

So, it’s still kinda useful, now …

An’ ya don’t get barbed wire like that any more:

It’s thick and it’s strong ‘n‘ that’s for sure!

An’ the posts were trees: not bought in a store:

There’s some history in that, now! …

A link to the past, this old fence is …

T’ my grandfather’s father and all his kids.

All ten of them helped; each did their bit …

An’ it’s still kinda linking us, now

Yeah, it’s a good old fence, so here it’ll stay;

My great grandfather’s legacy to us today.

An’ it wouldn’t matter what sort of price you’d pay,

‘cos it’s part of my history, now.

©Bev Fitzsimmonds  2019.



My Dad’s Overcoat

‘Shut that door! You’re letting the cold air in!”

That was my mum, in the kitchen. I swung the door shut with all the gusto my eight-year-old arms could muster. And I stepped nimbly backwards, to avoid the whoosh of my dad’s overcoat, as it swung in ever-diminishing arcs …

Whoosh … whoosh …whoosh … whoosh … whoosh … whoosh …

Always the same pattern. Then it would stop.

My father’s overcoat was mushroom-brown, and made of soft, thick gaberdine-like fabric … and it smelt like my dad … Old Spice aftershave and Sapoderm soap … Brylcream and Rexona … pine wood-shavings and white wood-glue …

I could vaguely remember my dad wearing it ‘out … to church or to the shops. But now, it hung on the back door, almost as a fixture, along with the plastic-coated string bags, belonging to my mother. The bags held a lot of shopping, but they caught on everything – both on the goods they held, and other people’s clothing buttons, and the clasps on women’s handbags at the shops. So, for weekly shopping, my mother now avoided them, preferring the large brown-paper bags, or the cardboard boxes, supplied by the supermarket. The string bags were only used for trips to Adelaide, for the Myer Bargain-Basement Sales, twice a year.

The bags hung from a hook I couldn’t reach, and it was these that slowed the swinging of my dad’s overcoat, when we came in and out. If my sister or I were coming in with our hands full, we’d shut the door by backing up to it and shutting it with our backsides. I  can still remember the feeling of leaning back into the soft and slightly dusty folds of that long garment, and thinking that I could be leaning back against my dad. A lovely thought!

The overcoat spent much of its life on the back of that door, because a 1040’s overcoat, good English fabric though it may be, was beginning to look a little old-fashioned, by the end of the 1960’s – even to my dad!

In a recent Myers Bargain-Basement Sale, my parents had each bought for themselves a nylon quilted parka. We girls had also been bought one each, and mine was blue, with white fur around the hood – I thought it was smashing!

But, nylon quilted parkas, even though they kept one warm, were not very cuddly to someone else, looking to be hugged … the shell was cold and slippery, and it made loud swishing noises in your ear. It just wasn’t the same …

   Wasn’t the same as my dad’s old, English,

       Mushroom-brown, cotton gaberdine,

            Soft-and-cuddly overcoat that

               Hung on the hook of the back

                   Door, swinging in

                        Ever-diminishing arcs …

Whoosh … whoosh ….


… whoosh … whoosh … whoosh …

©Bev Fitzsimmonds 2019.