Camp Fire Tales...(Not taking life too seriously)

Thursday, Feb 11, 2016 at 07:58

Baz - The Landy



Story and photos: Baz - The Landy

XPLORE: thelandy.com

How good is hearing one of your favourite songs played on the radio, a long time favourite unearthed to tickle the airwaves once more.

I’ve long held a view that music has the ability to move your emotions – it can motivate you, take you places, make you laugh, cry, perhaps reconnect you with distant memories…

Or just make you sick!

Uh?

Recently, TomO and I were Out and About in "The Landy" and one such song came on the radio…

“Most People I Know (Think That I’m Crazy)” by Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs.

Go on, you’ll remember them, a great Aussie rock-band.

I was growing up in Townsville and heading into puberty faster than a bunch of flies swarming towards a bit of fresh cow dung when this song was released.

Strewth, remember those free and easy days?

You could head off on your push-bike with your mates in the morning with strict instructions to be back for dinner.

In reality we were usually back by lunchtime to refuel…

Anyway, TomO says…

“So Dad, you like this song, hey?”

“Sure, it is one of my all time favourites” I said.

Laughing out aloud, TomO exclaimed “that's funny ‘cause mum and me think you are just a little bit crazy, that’s for sure.”

I reminded him that he was a chip off the old-block and he might just be a little crazy as well…

Adding, “it takes me back to a time when I was around your age, maybe a touch older.”

“Were you going through puberty”, he asked?

“Yeah, sure buster, I love that song, but it makes me feel sick”

I avoided the invitation to discuss puberty, not that Mrs Landy and I shy away from those discussions, but I was too engrossed in the song to pursue it!

“How can you love a song and say that it makes you sick at the same time, see you are crazy”

I had stirred an interest that would have the Crown Prince hunting down an answer like a bull terrier nipping at your heels.

The song had finished and I vowed to find a quiet moment up in “The Shed” later in the day when I could crank it up on my iPod and disappear into the moment.

Humming along to myself I got to thinking this would be a good time to share a story from my younger days…

Perhaps a good opportunity to reinforce the evils of smoking, at least that is what I was thinking.
As I drove, he listened…

I’d heard some mates talking about how they had tried smoking, but I was shying away from these discussions as I was too scared to give it a go.

Mind you, I wanted to, but didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of me mates.

I mean what if I threw up, or coughed, or whatever? I’d be the laughing stock of class 6E and maybe risk getting dropped from the footy team.

It was about mid-term when that fateful day arrived. Mind you I didn’t recognise it when I got out of bed that morning and headed to school, after all it was the same as any other day, at least I thought it was.

On the way back from school I passed Leong’s corner shop.

You’ll know the place, a shop full of lollies, ice creams, chips, all stuff I couldn't afford, but still, I passed by most days just to check out what was happening.

I was hanging around outside the shop on me bike and there was the usual banter going on as the older boys paraded amongst the girls like peacocks about to nest. I was still another year or so away from taking a more active interest in the girls that hung out there.

Anyway, I see this bloke pull up in a flash car.

Well I thought it was flash, a new Holden Kingswood sedan, and as he gets out he tosses a half-finished cigarette onto the ground.

Now, the next couple of moments were a bit of blur really, they were certainly impulsive!

And isn’t that the story of my life!

I swooped on that smouldering cigarette, “durries” as the older boys called them, with all the zest of two seagulls fighting over a lone chip.

Extinguishing it quickly, I hid it in my pocket and mounted my old red postman's bike with more enthusiasm than a bull in a paddock of cows…

Maybe that is where my athletic prowess started, if I can call it that, I peddled faster and harder than I had ever done so before, and probably ever since.

Sweating profusely, I swore the whole world had witnessed the 10 seconds of my life that had just passed. The police would be on to me before I got home, sirens blaring, me handcuffed and dragged before my parents and the inevitable strap!

The risk I was taking of being caught with this solitary piece of contraband was far to great too contemplate.

Luck though was seemingly on my side; I got home unchallenged by the law.

But there was still mum to navigate past as I headed for the kitchen cupboard that stored the matches.

Would she miss a box of those redheads?

My mind was racing, but I needn’t have worried. I should have been in the military as the task was completed with precision, I had the matches and the durrie, there was an air of subterfuge about the whole thing; a tinge of excitement…

Feeling like a fugitive running from the law I headed down to the old sawmill a couple of miles from home.

In hindsight, I’m not sure why I didn’t just light the bloody thing up behind the shed in the backyard...

Anyway, I scaled an old sawdust pile and slid down the other side, careful to remain well out of sight.

Fumbling, I took that used durrie; yep the one covered in someone else’s saliva and put it in my mouth.

For crying out loud, this thing had been between the lips of someone I didn’t even know. But it was far too late to contemplate that now as the flame of the match was licking at my fingers like an out-of-control bush fire…

This was supposed to be a pleasant experience, or at least that is what the Marlborough Man in the ad on the telly had you thinking.

I tried to be sophisticated about it…

Sophisticated?

Hell, who was I kidding? Here I was covered in sawdust and drawing back on a discarded durrie.

Despite numerous advances from our next-door neighbour, I still wasn’t willing to press my lips against hers, mixing all those salvia juices together for fear of catching girl germs.

And here I was with someone’s used fag, durrie, whatever you want to call the damned thing, jammed between my lips and smokin’ more than a clapped-out Landrover.

Yep, it was gross!

But strewth, give me a break; I couldn’t even afford a packet of lollies from Leong’s store, let alone a pack of 10 Craven A's!

...I coughed my way through that cigarette, enveloped as I was in the blueish-grey smoke!

Laying back in the sawdust and dragging on that half-a-durrie I got to thinking that snogging Sally O'Keefe might just be more pleasant than smoking someone else's fag and maybe I should stop resisting her advances…

And let me tell you, by this time I wasn’t feeling one way or the other on this smoking thing as I sat there itching from the feel of sawdust...

I was indifferent at best!

Anyway, about halfway home it hits me, my head starts spinning and I felt the whole world was about to end.

I felt sick…

I mean really sick!

To this day I’m sure mum was wondering how I came to be covered in sawdust, but she never asked as I rushed past on me way to my bedroom where a spinning bed awaited my arrival.

Perhaps she thought I was stealing a kiss from Sally O'Keefe down at the old sawmill – having a good old snog as our tongues danced in a sea of saliva.

If only that had been the case perhaps I would have a cheeky grin on my face each time I heard Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs singing this classic.

TomO listened on intently, a wry smile sneaking out the corner of his mouth.

Perhaps he was weighing up what he would have done, a snog with the next door neighbour, or the durrie…

You see as I lay back on my bed, my head spinning faster than an out of control merry-go-round, Billy and the Boys were belting out that song on the radio…

And I felt so sick, so very sick…

But that song, a long-time favourite of mine, takes me back to that sawdust pit every time I hear it, preserving fond memories of my teenage years even if it does make me feel just that little bit woozy in the head!



And in case you were wondering… “Baz - The Landy” came about as a consequence of owning three Land Rover Defenders, but as you can see this has now changed and yes, thank you, I've recovered fully!

And whilst I'm reluctant to refer to the new vehicle as “The Landy” that’s for sure; the owners’ of either brand would never forgive me!

But “Baz - The Landy” reference has stuck, so “Baz - The Landy it is!

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
“Those who don’t think
it can be done shouldn’t
bother the person doing it…”
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