the lost vignettes

It’s come to my attention that I am writing too much. I need to cut down, see if I can say what I need to say, but in fewer words. Because of my excessively verbose accounts of some recent events, a lot of great stuff has dropped through the net. Here are a few brief “vignettes” to get us all up to speed…

I met Chris a few weeks back. She was helping Marie do up the place for Barbara. She’d heard that we had been burgled. She wanted to ask me this: Did I have any friends who were punks? I said, I dunno, you mean, like with mohawks and stuff? No, she said, all in black with piercings and curly hair. I’m not sure, I said. Well, about the time of your break-in, I saw a young man who looked like that trying to jump over your back fence. Ah, I thought, that’d be Mickie for sure.

He doesn’t have piercings, but I can understand how Chris’ eye might have drawn em in.

On Monday, Chris and Marie were putting the finishing touches on Barbara’s flat. They’ve replaced the carpet, scrubbed, spakked, and painted the walls, overhauled the bathroom with every chemical known to man, and even painted the kitchen cupboards and table. It’s a rented flat, but the landlord has been so slow to act that they took it upon themselves. Barbara’s been living there fifteen years. She doesn’t have a clue what they are doing. When she gets home she will either be delighted or absolutely furious. Marie, it has to be said, is fitting all this in between two jobs – one fulltime day job, and one weekend night job. These women are amazing.


After visiting the bowlo last Friday, I spent some time with Eric at the Palace Pantry. We sat in the sun and he told me his grand plans to expand his corner store cafe into a larger place serving meals in the evening. All did not go smoothly with his development application. Plenty of mean-spirited objections. He feels that some of his neighbours didn’t understand that he, too, is a family man. He doesn’t want to have “yahoo-ing” going on til the wee hours of the morning. Just a place to eat quality food, fresh organic stuff, nothing cheap and nasty. Eric was bored just running a mixed business. He knows almost everyone who comes into the Pantry. He’s a “neighbourhood node” for sure.

On Friday arvo, Bruce called up. We met outside the RSL, and went for a walk, under the railway tunnel and over to the North side. We strolled around the cricket pitch at Petersham Park, stopping in the late afternoon sun. Bruce took off his shirt and shoes and sat letting the light fall on him. We admired passing dogs. Each time I stopped to take a photo, Bruce would quickly grab my shopping basket, so I could shoot with a steady hand. Heading home, someone phoned him up, outside the Commonwealth Bank on Audley Street. He whispered “see you soon Lucas!” We shook hands and gave each other big grins.

On Saturday, after doing our southern-border walk, Cakey and I needed a bottle of wine. At the liquor store, we got chatting with Pamela. She and her husband Anthony live upstairs. Anthony has grown up in that building. He’s spent every year of his life there, except for one. Pamela said it’s hard sometimes, living and working together, and sleeping above the shop. She’ll lie awake at night thinking about orders that need placing. Anthony was an un-corkable font of information. He knows the full history of Canterbury Road, and poured out story after story, including about the first Portuguese real estate agent / travel agent to set up, a few doors down. It was because of this fellow that the Portuguese immigrants found places to live in the area. Anthony was an accident prone child. He broke his wrist (?) at the RollerRink, and his leg, at age ten, carrying ten cartons of KB cans on a trolley. He was not so optimistic about the future of the RollerRink. The cinema idea, he thought, would be hard to get off the ground because of the heritage stuff. You can’t touch those balconies

7 thoughts on “the lost vignettes

  1. Liz Goodyer

    Well there Lucas,
    Here i am sitting Doha Qatar- probably the same size as Petersham and low and behold who do I see when I look up the Arts hub for some local news but my darling cousing rollerskating. Well done babe – reading your lblog and feeling extremely homesick. I feel like I am joining inthe experiment with you – not being able to leave the boundaries of Doha due to work and there is no Kmart here either – though a couple of Marks and Sparks and only 1 bottle shop – how do the expats live?? I will keep on reading – you should call mum and nan and drag them to Petersham – Mum told me you were in stanmore so I think they need an update.
    Lots of Love to you…..

  2. Raquel

    HI Liz Hi Lucas,

    the ‘sham project dfinalty needs a visit from Nan and Gabe. Nan should bring over one of her vegetarian food pacels which you could review. I also recome she brings a large quanitiy of meranges which i will come up and help you eat.

    Hope you find some suburban entertainment in Doha Liz!

    Where’s Drazic!

  3. Alex Broun

    Hi Lucas,

    Read about you in the SMH. Well done to you !

    I live at 2/9 West Street, Petersham – although it maybe Lewisham. I’m not sure. It’s right next to Petersham Oval but I walk to Lewisham train station in the morning to go to work.

    Am I in Lewisham or Petersham ? If I am then you might know Janine, she walks her little dog Riley in the park. She lives below me and was help run the Cracker Comedy Festival so she’s bneen pretty busy !

    I don’t go to Sweet Belem. I’m more a Gloria’s person. My favourite place in Petersham is the new Portuguese Deli near the old Portuguese butcher across the intersection from the Korean fruit shop.

    The place I hate the most is the Corner Shop near the “nude” Bowling Club. It’s never open and it is the most erxpensive corner shop in the world ! I think the owners got lost on their way to Mosman. They’ve made so much money from their rip off prices I see they’re getting renovations. Good for them.

    I can’t believe you got into the Skating Rink. Did they open it up for you ? Isn’t it closed ? Do you ever go to Officeworks ? I like that too. How boring am I. Or is that pass the borders ?

    What are the borders ? Anyway enough from me.

    Alex Broun

  4. Alex Broun

    Another thing I really hate is all the ‘tag’ graffitti. It is not art ? I’m sorry.

    And they do it on people’s houses ! Especially the white place on the corner near the most expensive corner shop in the world.

    Can’t you stop them ? They are vandals and have no respect for people’s rights at all !

    “tag” graffitti ain’t art – it’s crap. Some graffiti murals are beautiful but “tags” are just a waste of paint and time.

  5. lisa

    hi there Alex, I reckon it will depend on which side of West St you’re on, but once we know you could have the right royal pleasure of playing for your country, Petersham NORTH, in the North vs. South bowlo tournament! Not sure about the “nude” bit, but do stay tuned…

  6. mayhem

    woah alex wots tha deal with tags?
    surely there’s worse eyesores in the sham to get het up about.

    i mean they’re a bit thin and inspid – but have YOU tried doing a bit of spontaneous graffitti lately? – you gotta be fast – especially with those creepy rip of merchants next to that great white buildng

    btw – I’ve got a PRISTINE LAWN BOWLS outfit if anyone wants to borrow it. Its a laides size 14-16 – wiht a dress, hat and size 6.5 shoes. i’m not from the SHAM – but I’m sure the dress would appreciate a wear….

  7. shortleftleg Post author

    -alex, the best thing i can suggest re the graffiti tags is that i request my friend mick to write a short account of the relationship between “legal” and “illegal” graffiti. perhaps rather than thinking that tagging is a crime that should simply go away, we could think about it as a social phenomenon to do with the ownership of space…


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