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The Long Journey

The story begins way back in the early 1950's when I was born. There were many ups and downs with a lot of curve balls thrown into the mix. 

My father worked hard all his life until a few days before his death. He worked cutting cane with the cane knife, not a harvester like used to cut the cane now. The cane burnt each evening to be harvested by hand the next morning, where it was cut in back breaking work to be laid on the ground in rows. Later the top were cut from the sticks before being loaded on a tram wagon to be taken away to the mill to be made into sugar. All the workers covered in the black burnt thrash left on the cane.

He also worked for the railway fixing bridges, a navvy who cared for the first class maintenance of the rail line to keep the trains moving. In his spare time he worked cutting timber which he transported to the sawmills. Cut sleeper blocks which were sent away to be cut into sleepers for the holding together of the railway tracks. Then he build his own bench to cut out the sleepers. At other times he cut fence posts and timber to build some houses. In all these years in the timber work my mother, and sometimes me, worked beside him from before sun up to well past sundown.

During these years we traveled around from place to place. We lived in many conditions. At one tine when cutting cane we lived in a house. But after that house living was a hit or miss. When I was about three years old we lived in a tent. This was first class to some other people had to use.  Our tent was closed in around the sides, had pallets for a floor so we didn't have dirt for a floor. At one end we had a corrugated iron stove recess which held a wood stove. We had a shower house that had no roof. We showered under the stars in hot, or winter weather. Sometimes a tub was used in the kitchen where we bathed in front of the stove. Everyone had to bath in  the same tub of water. Corrugated iron was used to build an outside toilet. You had to make sure neither the shower, or the toilet, were not occupied by toads, frogs, spiders or snakes.

At another time we camped in a shed which had a roof, two sides closed in and the rest were open to all the elements and the animals. My parents slept on a makeshift bed in the shed and I slept in the car. That was, until one night a carpet snake change that arrangement. The snake took a short cut over the bed my parents used, with them in it, to reach the stacks of hay bales to search for food. After that we graduated to living in a caravan for a good number of years. Then at the age of 13 my parents finally moved into a house with walls.

My father like to fish and crab. This we did when he wanted a feed of seafood. This is a past time we all enjoyed most of the time. The only problem I have on these fishing adventurers I always ended up in the water even when I wasn't suppose to. So, because of that experience, I'm not a lover of water over knee high. But I love most of the seafood. Coming home to cook the crabs in a copper over a wood fire, then shovel them out on to corrugated iron to drain and cool before tucking in to wonderful fresh crabs, or prawns. Today, I have to settle for the not so fresh seafood from the shops.

Today, when I do have time to travel I love to stay where I know I don't have to fight my way through frogs, toads, snakes or spiders.
Happy Traveling.


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