Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pete sees his name on Amazon again

Another short story of Peter Rake has made its way to Amazon. Actually this one is in the 'Fair Dinkum Yarns From the Australian View' but if you're too cheap to fork over $2.99 for the collection you can sample this one for $0.99. It's about Arthur. Some fictional conception of Pete's mind.

Poor old Arthur laments his life every day at the bar and dances with death in a bitter comedy farce which ultimately changes the course of his life. This is an original great Australian yarn told by best selling Amazon author, Peter Rake - as you might have guessed, since this is his blog!

Word count: 2900
Themes: Outback Australia, right of passage, comedy
What to expect: A ripper of a yarn, straight out of a 1960s Outback Queensland pub.
Setting: Outback Queensland pub
Published: 21 July 2013


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Silence is Golden

Have you ever been in places that become so quiet that you can hear yourself thinking?

The Outback is like that. You don't notice it much through the day when your eyes are taking in activity, and your brain is interpreting what you have seen, but when night falls, and you have finished with the chores of say, feeding yourself, hobbling out the horse, rolling out your swag and rolling your last cigarette for the night, then the silence descends upon you.

No matter how hard you listen, and I do not think that a man can listen hard or soft, regardless of what his wife may think. No matter what you do, you do not hear anything. It is confusing to say you hear nothing, as that means that you hear something, but I am telling you that you do not hear anything at all in the Outback, nuffin'.

This only happens in certain places. It won't happen near a busy highway, it won't happen near a river or a creek, it won't happen if a pocket of trees are near, and it won't happen if you have the 'trannie' turned on. It will only happen in the middle of a vast paddock that has nothing but a sparse covering of grass, and the black soil plains to try to catch your attention, and the catch is that if it catches your attention, you need some help.

The silence is such that you will be drawn to putting your finger in your ear to try to remove the “plug” that has stopped you from hearing. You will hear the squish, squish of the finger as you rattle it around in your lug, and that will only confuse you, as you now consider how you can hear the finger but nothing else.

Married men can understand this phenomenon, as they relate it to the “Silent Treatment” often encountered in the marital home; however that is a pleasant occurrence, whereas the silence of the plains is a little strange, or should I say, stranger.

This massive silence, if silence has size, will be the overriding thought of the night. You will see a shadow, you think, and then you will realise that to see a shadow you have to have light, so whilst you are discounting that one a light will appear, or seem to appear, on what you would consider the horizon, or seem to be the horizon.

“Ah! Company,” you will say and frighten the dickens out of your self at the loudness in this dead silence, so you whisper “ah! Comapny

However, it is not company, you know what it is but you will not admit it to yourself, so your mind takes over and admits it for you, "It is the Min-Min my scary little friend.” Only your own mind can insult you like this and get away with it.

You open the secondary part of your mind, the contradictory side, some say the female side – why, I don't know, but this side says, "Don't be silly, I do not believe in the Min-Min."

"Well why is it getting closer?"

"I don't know, I don't believe in the Min-Min."

"Why is it getting bigger?"

"I told you, I don't know."

Another part of your mind says, no wonder they call it the female side, but has to admit that the light is getting bigger and coming closer.

Then the Min-Min is gone, and you do what any sensible, well controlled and well balanced male would do, you jump to your feet and let out a roar and go running up to catch the horse so the two of you can go and stick your heads in some noise.

“Silence is Golden,” some fool said. All I can say is that whoever that was never sat out on the black soil plains in the dark of night and listened to........

Thursday, July 18, 2013

More from the Haughty Kulturist

I was working on a place that was just above the Black Soil Plains. Well actually, most places out there are ABOVE, the plains, but this place had very fertile soil. However, as the case usually is, it lacked water.

We had a big wet season soon after I arrived there and we couldn't do much stock work as the black soil plains is very friendly and sticks to you like that stuff that sticks to blankets. If you should walk a few hundred yards, the mud, mixed with dry grass, would end up making you several inches taller before the weight became too heavy to drag along.

Yanyrate, the water was available in copious amounts, and in tanks as well so, I being an enterprising sort of bloke, I suggested that maybe I could grow a crop of watermelons on the slope below the dam. No not under the dam, below it on the slope.

There were a few bags of Q5 fertiliser in the shed which, when mixed with Diesel and plugged with half a stick of geli', could lift almost anything out of the ground, after you lit the wick, ifn' ya' know what I mean. It's also good bait for Yellow Belly.

I went into the 'Reach (Longreach) and bought a couple of packets of Queensland melons and headed back to the patch.

The soil was kind to me and it was just at the right moisture content to plant, so being a fairly clever sort of bloke, I planted.

A few months later I could look out from the verandah of the Ringer's quarters and see this lush green growth, with large round things scattered amongst it all, up on the slope. The melons were big, huge is more the description, and I was in the process of  hiring a back-hoe and a semi-trailer to get them to town, when the boss came over with a serious look on his face.

"Pete," he said, Pete was me name ya' see, that's why he said Pete.

"Wot's the problem?" sez I.

"Look, mate, I know ya' spent a lot of time on them melons, but I have to tell ya' that they have to be gotten rid of, soon."

"Gotten rid off?" sez I  incredulously, "Soon?" sez I, not giving any credit on this either.

"Yeah! It's like this ... Yesterdy' arvo' just on sunset, the cook was going over to get a bucket of milk from the cowboy, well, from the cows that the cowboy milked, when one of your  bloody melons broke away from the vine and rolled down the slope. It flattened the dairy, the cook and the bucket, and the cowboy as it went on to flatten the wife's Mercedies in the shed. So, I reckon that we better get the rest of them out of the place, hey?"

I could understand why the  boss had a serious look on his face. Seriously, I mean I was no dummie in the costs involved in running a property, and a good stainless steel milk bucket is not cheap.

Well, I sold one melon to a bloke down the road at a garage, who put it out the back, put in a few cots and a window or two and rented it out to the Truckies!

A few were scooped out and used in Longreach for in-ground swimming pools and the rest we rounded up and pushed out to the back paddock. As it turned out this was a good idea as tourists thought they were looking at the Olgas in the Territory and paid money to see the melon coloured rocks and wrote their graffitti all over 'em.

Fair Dinkum!  We got pictures ...  I think.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Nothing wrong with a good ego

It is good to have a bit of an ego, but it is 'more gooda' to have something that boosts that ego.

'The Outback Story, Life and Loves of Tiger Williams' has gone to #3 on the best seller list on Amazon. Now that is what I call a boost, yep, sure do!

I am working on two more stories; one is a follow on to Tiger Williams, and the characters are already establishing their part in the story. Another yarn, for teenagers, did not come easy to this old bugga, as it is a long time since I was of the age; however, now that I am in the swing of it, I am enjoying trying to think what the kids would like to read.

Any author is nothing without readers, because even if I do write the stories, it is you people that read those stories that make me proud ... and, I kid you not, rich.

You keep reading folks, and I will keep trying to entertain you.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Believe it or Not!

The first blood tranfusion recorded was given to a nine year old boy.  A pint of lamb's blood was delivered in an incision in the boys arm. The lad survived for several days.

The problem was, he only went to the doctor with a sore finger.

Believe it or Not!

The first contraceptive used by women was the rind of a lemon or orange cut in half. It was a diaphram of sorts.

It put a different spin on the wanton woman and the term Lemon Tart.

Believe it or Not!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Tiger Williams Follow on

Rather than do a sequal to my first novel ,The Loves and Adventures of Tiger Williams, I am trying what I call a follow on.

The new story would be much better understood if Tiger Williams was read first; however the new follow on has some new characters, new love interests, drama with one of the old characters, and is time framed in the changing 1960 era of the Outback, a time when Television brought the rest world closer than ever before, changing ideas, ideals, lessening the time that people had to communicate with each other, and generally intruding on the family connection.

The advent of TV is not the theme of this story, but I speak of it here to remind you of that era, and the changes it brought with its introduction.

The new book should be ready by the end of this year, if I get my bum into gear, in between maintaining the Blog Site that you are reading this from and doing all the  other exciting things that a 74 year old pensioner does.  Yeah Right!

There seems to be a bit of a spurt on with the first Novel, for which I am forever grateful. and the new book should do likewise.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The wind of the outback

Of all the climatic influences of the Outback it was the winds that bothered me the most.  Being in areas where the flat plains allowed howling westerlies in the summer,  and the cold southerlies in winter to cross the land and gain force just before it hit you with a slap on the back that you would imaging came from the  hand of some malignantly minded giant mad man; these were the  times that most bothered me.

All the living quarters had gauze wire mesh around them to keep out the flies and mozzies, and the westerlies resented this intrusion on its dust billowing, debris distributing, swirling, willy willy making journey across the Outback plains.

The morbid howling of the gauze as it tried to restrain the winds to no avail, would constantly hold one note so depressing one had to be very strong so as not to cut the bloody gauze wire out of the frames.

It would catch you unprepared, the wind, every evening, around sundown, it would subside, slowly, until it became a whisper, and a cool  breeze that changed you mind on its terror of the senses.  Then, just as your fists unclenched, your toes relaxed and you mind started to think about dream time,  the beast would rise up and scream through the wire in a last ditch stand to unsettle you completely.

Loosing you hat just as you tried to light a cigarette in the day time westerlies would  be a common matter, and the following 'rodeo' as your horse shied away from the flying Akubra, and your tobacco tin emptied into he wind,  would undoubtedly give the most miserable  of work mates a great laugh, but then again the westerlies had the ability to make many miserable.

The willy willys that would spiral upwards for a hundred feet or more, would attract the Kite Hawks that  sailed in the  updrafts catching the grasshoppers that had been taken aloft.  The dust lifted from these willy willys always seemed to end up either in your pot of tea, in your eyes and ears or as you found out later, all  over the clothes and belongings in your quarters when you got in at night.

These things were a test of  one's resolve, a test of faithfulness to the Outback, and as I was mostly told, 'If ya' survive a year you will survive forever, young fella'.

And so the westerlies blow, the Southern wind gusts, and winter falls on the land like a heavy hand.

Imaginations - A Writer's Friend


Sometimes, as my body becomes aware of life, for which I am ever thankful,
My bleary eyes, my deadened brain hears the chattering die away.
Characters of the night all start to scatter, leaping from the bed, a rabble.
Those that do not run, find places in my imagination, and there they stay.

Settled, hiding until some word, some sight, something brings them to spy.
They do not haunt me, for they know my mood of the mornings;
They know I can be bright, they know me foreboding like a stormy sky;
They know I need their company, and are kind to me and fear the warnings.

Slowly I come to grips with rising, my bones creaking in protest,
Eyelids demanding to be shut, closed to the day, just a little longer.
Then one of my head riding mates speaks of things for me to investigate;
A challenge is laid, and I have to rise to meet it, to prove me stronger.

They will not let me rest if things have to be spoken, words written,
And they know my slowness, my weary head, and they take over.
Mechanical fingers hit the keys, letters appear, the bug has bitten.
Off we go, my characters of the night and me, more to discover.

Wonderful gifts us humans are blessed with, imagination, though folly-
Is more than an escape, it refreshes the brain, enlivens the mind;
Stirs the soul, solves problems that may exist, creates friends to love,
And shifts enemies to another place where once gone, you will never find.

Somewhere, whilst ever I remain on this mortal coil, this house of humans
I will find a great love, I will sense that I have been given a chance.
My imagination leads me to believe that there is some kindred spirit
That I may yet still hold in a loving, thought sharing, comforting dance.

Somewhere in this physical place there must be a life I could share,
To relegate the people of the night, my imaginations, to some other place
And a new, exciting game would begin, discoveries and moods to scale.
A different person, a woman of vast patience, able to love, a kissable face.

Maybe not, and I hear my mind folk cheer, they are my friends, they say.
These ones that I have made, these ones that are of my very fibre of life
They do take a toll for their existence, for they control the night until I wake.
Tell them to leave, to break the chain of memories, is not what I would really like.

Where else could I call upon such a rag-tag team of humoursome personalities?
Why would one not have friends that could make you laugh, tho' suffering pain?
Where would you find folk to come at your bidding, always ready to serve your needs?
For me, no other place but in my imagination, waiting release from the works of my brain.