Cota’s Morning Tea

Council On The Ageing

I was looking at the wicking boxes of free vegetables growing at the station platform. It was trying to rain as the silver train slowly stopped to pick up more commuters heading to the mysteries of Melbourne. Ken and I said goodbye to David as he went to do battle with Centrelink in Greensborough and we continued on to the big smoke. It was now a typical scene on the train with computers, iPhone’s and not a newspaper to be seen and as we chatted we felt like aliens among robots.

Arriving at Flagstaff  Station at about 9-30, a bit early, we walked down a cobblestone lane way to view a blue-stone building wall and to our amazement there were several two tone brown Sparrows waiting to dive down and check out the menu in the open rubbish bins, there was a man sitting there also, with his shoes off, eating some kitchen offerings. Back into Lonsdale St and up to level 4 a different world, clean bright and cheery faces of all the invitees to Cota’s Volunteer’s Morning Tea.

What a very impressive attendance of mixed cultures and volunteers both men and women who support all those aged in need of direction. Cota knits many services together and helps the aged in their golden years. A 100-year-old man gave a heartfelt speech and support for both Cota and OM:NI. After the awards and speech’s Cota put on a wonderful morning tea enjoyed by all and networking was further fertilized among Melbourne and Geelong volunteers.

Leaving, we stopped for a while in Lonsdale St, amazed at the variety of people’s dress from Barristers wigs and all, office attire, workers, shoppers and a homeless man huddled under a thin blanket with a skinny dog shivering from cold and hunger – a street displaying the wealthy and the homeless.

Like two rabbits heading for home we scurried down the staircases of Flagstaff  Rail Station and boarded the Eltham train, you never know who you may meet on a long silver train, it’s very random which carriage you get into and who you sit next too but a smile can engage the most amazing encounter and enter Olaf, an amazing young man with technical skills and a great personality in conversation we found he lived at the end of the same street as Ken in the same suburb!  

Arriving back home I felt so humble, a warm home a welcome from my wife, cat and a comfy lounge chair to sink back into reminisce over the day’s experience and watch the log fire turn into red embers as I slipped into a welcome warm slumber time.

Autumn at Robe – SA

We are having a restful Autumn break away in South Australia, good to get away from the routines at home.

After Warrnambool the weather gradually improved as we drove west. The weather has been mostly overcast but some blue skies and the cold wind has gone despite our unit over-looking Hooper Bay.

A Chance Encounter

The ride had started nicely. It was a sunny Tuesday afternoon, my solo riding day; I can ride where I like, explore trails, without having to follow the wishes of the Thursday cycling group. That day I had suddenly decided to explore a new trail, branching off from the main track to Warrandyte, reached by a wide gate.

To my delight it began well; the track was a gently winding dirt one, following the river on my left, so according to my calculations I could casually ride back to Fitzsimmons Lane, a fairly short distance.

However, the track steadily became rougher, steeper and rocky, seeming also to veer away from the river. After a while I lost my bearings, but hoped the track would eventually head back to Eltham. But the track petered out into a steeply hilled area, with power lines leading in a straight line into the distance. Definitely lost, but feeling safe, I reasoned it would be too far retracing my steps, the power lines must lead to somewhere familiar.

A rocky four wheel drive trail followed the pylons. I had to walk up the steep rises and carefully ride down the descents. The thought flashed into my mind about what was I doing here, a seventy year old man in a deserted location, with no help around if anything went awry. My Cyclo Cross bike was certainly designed for severe off road riding, but maybe the rider was not designed for this purpose.

The outcome was predictable. On a really steep descent, I took a chance and began to carefully ride down but lost braking control, started skidding and finally crashed. Fortunately I came to rest on top of a four metre high embankment leading into a steep gully. One metre more and I would have been in serious trouble.

The bike was undamaged, but my knee was badly swollen and painful, I must have knocked it on a rock. The only option was to keep following the trail to civilisation. Finally a fence and house appeared, then another. To my relief, the trail then ended at Beasley’s Nursery, and I rode slowly and painfully home, where after checking the Melways I realised I had gone the wrong way, upstream rather than down, straying into a Parks Victoria reserve. Heading away from Fitzsimmons Lane.

Later that night, I reflected on the event, ruefully realising that it had happened entirely by chance — Why?

Because two months earlier, on the same ride to Warrandyte, at that gate, I had answered my mobile. As I remounted my bike, a man walking past suddenly stopped and started a conversation, mentioning that past a nearby gate, over a bridge, there was a track along the other side of the river that cyclists used. In all my years of cycling this area I had never seen that track, nor seen cyclists on the other river bank, so I thanked him and rode off, convinced he was mistaken.

So on that sunny fateful Tuesday a month later, as I was passing this same bend heading to Warrandyte, on a pure whim, thinking about what the stranger had said, I stopped at the gate, which was normally locked. Now the padlock had been changed to a latch. Naturally I passed through the gate and rode to the bridge. To my surprise, I realised the stranger had told the truth, because a bike trail began. Naturally again, I decided to follow it, as every good cyclist would, with my crash being the unexpected end result.

If my phone had not rung at that exact moment; if the stranger had not appeared at that precise time, if the gate had been locked; I would have remained blissfully unaware of that bloody trail, would have casually continued to Warrandyte and safety home, looking forward to the Thursday ride with the guys.

Instead, as directed by my doctor, who diagnosed a knee hematoma, and prescribed rest, I have been dolefully sitting inside on the healing couch, leg elevated, ice compress in place rather than being cheerfully perched on a bike seat, eagerly traversing familiar and safe trails with the Thursday peloton.

Curiously enough, the topic for the week’s writing group was the expression “chance would be a fine thing.” A fine phrase, meaning ‘it would be lovely if something was to happen, but it most likely won’t.’

It sadly occurred to me that this definitely applied to my unfortunate episode. As I was precariously riding down that steep rocky hill, the thought furiously flashed into my mind was that it would indeed be a lovely thing if I could not crash, but this looked more unlikely the further and faster I descended.

Hopefully, I should be back on the bike shortly, having fun with the Thursday peloton pedalling on our familiar safe trails. The lesson has finally sunk into my

Septuagenarian brain that sometimes it’s not worth taking a chance.

Daryl Morrow

Nicknames: Dazza, Turner, ‘o’ wise one, OD.
DOB: 2/2/1941 – born in Colac. Victoria, Australia.
Parents Names: Mary – Mum
Les (Leslie) – Dad
Siblings: 2 Brothers – William (Bill) and Skeet (Terrence)

Story line of Daryl Morrow circa 1941

 

 

GROWING UP
It was very difficult growing up. We had no electricity, no radio, no TV and didn’t even know about TVs until back in 1956. When it did arrive it was Black and White reception. We had a tin bath on iron legs and bath water from the tank was heated by a wood chip heater. The pipes would fracture if too much steam was created. Even our refrigerator was powered by kerosene. Our toilet was outside, up a long dirt path in a separate tin shed with a black billy container which had to be emptied once per week. To get there at night we used a candle which often blew out in the wind. Toilet paper was torn up paper and speared onto a nail that had been hammered into the wood noggin.

When we got a valve radio we could only get one station – 3CS. To listen to the radio we had to take a 6-volt battery out of the 1948 Ford truck and put it in the radio. I grew up on the family property of 110 acres of bush-land that we cleared to grow grass for the start of a dairy to milk cows and to produce pork from pigs. Growing up my main chore was milking the cows in the muddy yard and rain. This was done twice daily seven days a week for ten months of the year, also splitting and taking wood up to the house for Mum’s stove for heating and baking High Tin bread. The meals were mainly stews, spuds and Roly Poly puddings. Sometimes we had a bread and butter pudding. I had to go out in my spare time and hunt rabbits or go fishing for meals, although I was lucky because living on a dairy farm meant we produced all our milk, cream and butter, as well as some seasonal veggies.

Later bread got delivered to our house twice a week. Phil the delivery man delivered bread throughout a large part of the Otway Ranges. He used to eat his sandwiches whist driving. He died one day whilst driving. He was on his way to a delivering some farmer’s bread. His wife had poisoned his sandwiches.

My family and I lived six miles from town so we only went to town once a week to get food and farm supplies. We went to town every Thursday because it was market day, where farm stock was sold by auction. I attended Barongarook primary school. The school had six grades in one room. There were twelve children in the whole school, with one teacher for all the classes. The school’s heating was just one big wood open fire.

We never had very much sporting gear so we relied on running, long jump, tunnel ball, high jump and pole vaulting, using a cut bush stick for a pole. Most sports were competed in bare feet. When competing with other remote schools we only had hard ground, with no grass or sand. We had to take a cut lunch, but cordial was often provided. Raspberry cordial! What a treat!

After primary school I attended Colac High school. I walked along a gravel road for two miles to get to the bus stop and then I would go to school six miles away in Colac. I went there until Year 9. It was very upsetting having to leave school. On 2nd February the following year I actually broke down and cried because my schooling was over.

I left school when I was 15 and worked on our family dairy farm, cutting wood in the forest and growing potatoes, but I made no personal income. I wanted to carry on with school but our family’s economic situation would not allow this to happen.

I had a beautiful red Kelpie, which was my hunting dog. His name was Red. We hunted rabbits and went fishing for trout and eels together along the Barwon River flats. Sometimes we slept out all night together under our old green army coat to awake with a white frost on us.

When I was sixteen I started boxing and was quite successful in the Western District. I wanted to continue with boxing and thought of it as being a possible career, although I didn’t have any family support and it was a twelve mile bike ride to training. My bike never had mudguards or any lights, so I had to give it up.

I was driving cars and tractors around before I was 18 although I didn’t end up getting my license until I was 19. A nice gentleman offered to come with me in his car – a two door Morris Minor – to get my license. The policeman got in the back seat told me to drive around the block, whilst he talked to the owner of the car. On arriving back to the station the policeman said “Okay, come in and sit down”. The only question he asked me was “Have you got a 10 shillings note?” Lucky I did have 10 bob. And that was it – I was licensed to drive.

The Korean War was during my primary school years. I believed that this war was going to be the end of all world conflict. The Vietnam War was also fought while I was growing up, although I was lucky and missed out on the ballot system to attend that war. I have

ANZAC dawn service – Watsonia

always believed that ‘that war was what tore America apart and split the country’. I am very thankful never to have had to go to war and I believe the citizens should not be accountable and be involved in the war. The leaders are the ones that got the country involved, “why should the citizens sacrifice their sons and daughters”.

 

When I was in high school at age 14 I made an iron snake statue in metal work classes. I am 77 now and still have my beloved black snake.
For three years my best friend in high school was David Balcombe. It was difficult to remain friends when we left school, because there was no electronics like mobile phones or iPads. It was only in the late Fifties the late that we got a wind up wall phone. Even then you had to ring the telephone exchange and ask to be connected to a particular number, and the exchange closed at 9pm. The only other way of contact was to ride bikes or walk miles in order to see friends. Many a time they were not home. Strange as it may seem we both married girls named Florence.
David’s father was a shearer and he got me a job as roustabout in the sheds, sweeping the floors and penning the sheep as well as throwing the fleece. I learned how to control the Kelpie work dogs. it was a great learning curve that I loved. I worked 5 days and got £20 a week ($40) plus keep. After traveling and working around Western Victoria and parts of NSW and SA I wanted to become a shearer because the money was so good and you only worked five days a week. On my first full day, from 7.30am to 5.30pm I shore 77 Merino sheep and I was so exhausted that I could barely walk to the shearers’ quarters or eat my evening meal. I met many hardened true Aussies around the shed. They were hard as nails but with hearts of gold. It was here I learned the value of drinking long neck cold beer after a hard day’s work. I also learned it was a lonely life as a shearers’ cook. Men are so hard to please! At Penshurst the team sacked the cook and on Monday a person from Tattslotto came to the shed looking for him as he had one won first prize of £10,000 ($20,000 of today’s money). Boy, was the team pissed off about all that free beer they had missed out on!

OLDER YEARS
Sheep and cattle were in my blood, so after Florence and I got married we worked on farms and large acreage stations. We got $36 a week and we were provided with our house, eggs, milk and meat. Bear in mind you worked six days a week from 7.30 am to 6 pm and got half a day a month to go shopping in town some forty miles away.

In February 1966 decimal currency became our new currency, replacing our Pounds Shillings and Pence. Monetary values were: one pound =2 dollars; one shilling = 10 cents; one pence = 1 cent. We went to a family owned grocery store in Hamilton run by an elderly mum and dad who asked us to work out the amount we owed them, you may laugh but many people found the change over hard to adjust to, and even harder when metric measures replaced Feet and Inches.

In 1970 I managed a cattle farm in Kangaroo Ground (750 acres). One day I went out to round up cattle and the horse – a 17 hand Arab – lost his footing and crushed me onto big rocks and broke some of my limbs, jaw and teeth. I was concussed for 48 hours and spent many days in the Austin Hospital. This was the time Whitlam was Prime Minister and he offered adults free education to further their skills. The Whitlam program of further education was offered to me because of the accident. I took up this offer and completed my leaving certificate and a 5 year course in Real Estate at Prahran College, where I achieved my full Real Estate license. At the same time I was working in real estate at KG McGorlick Real Estate in Eltham.

FAMILY
I had my first date with Florence who worked at the market. I would see her on Thursday, the market day. Boy, could she carve up a pumpkin with that meat cleaver! She was working in the fruit and veg market. She was a pretty good looking sort, with big flashy eyes and a smile like the sunrise. Anyhow, I went on to marry her when she was 18 and I was 19 and we are still together now. I used to ride my bike six miles to get to her to go to the movies which only cost 1 shilling. I met Florence at the market as I held up the chooks and ducks for the auctioneer to sell and she worked amongst the cabbages and pumpkins on the other side of the arcade walkway. We never really concentrated on our jobs on Thursdays for some reason. Later my Dad told me he delivered wood to her family home. What luck! Even Dad thought she was a good looking Heifer.

Florence and I married in Colac. It was a small happy ceremony with just both families in church. We had our honeymoon in Mount Gambier and Adelaide.
Florence and I went on to have two children: one boy, Steve, who was born in Casterton on 1 January 1961, a New Year’s Day baby, and one girl, Cindy, who was born in Willaura on 13 December 1962.

We went on to be grandparents. Cindy had two children, Kathleene and Luke, and Steve had three children, Kimberly, Jacqueline and Monique.

I have always said I loved having a daughter as I never had a sister and having a son was so self-fulfilling. We had replaced ourselves as the Government had advised people to do so as to avoid over population. Looking back now, that didn’t work!

Cindy attended Kangaroo Ground Primary School for three years. Steve and Cindy attended Hurstbridge High School and Eltham High School.

CAREERS
I have worked in real estate since 1973 and still work now and then as I have a full license. I am now 77 and semi-retired, but I have retained a keen interest in Real Estate.

I decided to work in real estate when we moved to Eltham and spoke to a real estate company who then offered me a job. Norm Baxter was my mentor and he trained me in the basics of real estate.

My very first auction was in Pryor Street in Eltham. Before it sold I was down to $50 bids. The property was owned by the Education Department.

My most memorable real estate moment was when I dressed up as a Policeman with an English Bobby hat and all and auctioned off Diamond Creek Police Station. I threatened the crowd if anyone misbehaved I would have them locked up for the night with no bail being offered.

Real estate was a lot different back in those days. The women did all the typing and took all the phone calls, but as time went by and computers and telephones came in, men had to learn how to use them. The women that usually did all the work for the men started to refuse to do all the typing for them.

HOBBIES & ACTIVITIES
I love photography, golf, table tennis, deep sea fishing
and story writing.

GREATEST ACTIVITY
Finding out about OM:NI in Diamond Creek – a group of like minded men over 50 who have retired or lost direction and connection – has been a highlight. It is now almost seven years that I have going to meetings and I have seen some very great gains and friendships made here. Sadly we have lost two valued mates through sickness. They were 89 years of age but still running on 20 – active mates. In 2012 our group won the Australia Day Award for Community Service in Nillumbik and in 2018 our founding Father won a Community Award for Jagajaga which was presented by Federal Minister Jenny Macklin. In May 2011, I was awarded the Sir Kelvin award and duly Knighted Sir Daryl by the group.

GREATEST INFLUENCE
My greatest influence in my life was my Mother and Father. “They taught me how to survive, to enjoy what we had, and they also taught me respect and honesty.”
Now both Mum and Dad have travelled on.

…………Now Lady Florence holds my lantern and I’m 77 and still going strong.

**** To read all other stories posted on this blog by Daryl  https://omnidiamondcreek.wordpress.com/author/daryl1941/

Ya Gotta Get In

Progression                                                                    Bruce McCorkill November 2017

Conceived, formed, born

Mystical gateway gently opening

A turmoil of forms, spilling

Onto the carpet, answering the call

Seeking the distant door

 

The lucky ones run

Fleet of foot, fast and sure

Dancing, bouncing, playing on the pile

Deft scampering from door to door

Positive pleasurable progression

 

The hopeless hapless try, intend

But get mired in the mud

The carpet can be treacherous

Sticky tentacles reaching up

To suck the unfortunate

Down into the morass

A miserable angry sodden trudge

To a mean shabby sunken exit

 

The middlings – a great messy mass

Strive to do their best

A confusion of aimless ants

This way, that way, diversions, tangents

Crawling and scrambling, sometimes dancing

Striving to avoid the suction of the bog

A journey to some meaning somewhere

 

Is there a purpose, any rhyme or reason?

Who cares, all end at the final portal

None can escape, like it or not

The snuff man is nigh, gently beckoning

Patiently waiting, waiting, waiting

So start the race, begin the journey

It’s the only one that counts

Life’s a bitch and don’t we know it

Way too short and way too hard

The bad is bad, but the good is good

You gotta get in to get out

Jenny Macklin MP honours’ Ken Ramplin


26 January 2018
Australia day awards 2018 for Jagajaga

It was a lovely summer’s day when the awards were presented in the fully renovated mud brick community hall in leafy Eltham. Hundreds of locals and dignitaries attended to witness the awards being presented on this uplifting and inspiring occasion. In recognition of the efforts and sacrifices of ordinary people for the betterment of all other needy persons in Jagajaga.

106 awards were presented to individuals and groups for their long standing efforts some for more than 30 years.

The Australian National Anthem and Waltzing Matilda were both expertly sung by Mandy Lyn Brook, her renditions were riveting.

Ken (now 78 ) had 26 invitees and family attend to celebrate the presentation of his award for establishing the OM:NI groups in Diamond Creek, Eltham, and Hurstbridge where now over 70 men attend on a fortnightly basis to make new friends, reunite with community and build their confidence again.

Ken also has built a riding group to raise funds to eliminate Prostate Cancer known as “Ken’s Pedal against Prostate”

Many photos were taken with family, friends and council reps, and Jenny Macklin MP.

At day’s end Ken went home had an hour sleep, got on his bike rode to town for a pizza and sat with Lorraine to reminisce about what a beautiful community we live in.

We all congratulate you Ken.

Australia Day Award For Ken – 2018

The Jagajaga Community.
AUSTRALIA DAY AWARDS 2018

Diamond Creek OM:NI Ken Ramplin, awarded Australia Day honours by Jenny MacKlin MP for …..
…..”his work in the community including the founding of three groups of OM:NI in Diamond Creek, Eltham and Hurstbridge.”

Well deserved, and congratulations from all your OM:NI mates Ken.