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  Issue #144

Yes, it's nostalgia time again. But what angst there lies?

Mike's Pith & Wind - Manners
‘Manners maketh the man’ was a saying often bandied about by my headmaster, Harry Hornsby. Harry took me for Latin classes (that’s Latin the dead language, not the musical genre) for two excruciating years and on reflection wasn’t the most polite person himself, particularly in my case, (Latin’s very particular about cases incidentally) often musing; ‘Rudd MD – MD stands for mentally deficient, doesn’t it boy?’ before cracking me over the head Molesworth-style with a ruler.
I didn’t apply myself in Latin. Or French. Or physics. Or mathematics. In fact I was a natural born slacker with an apathetic attitude exacerbating my ineptitude for just about every subject with the exceptions of Art, English and History in which subjects I very nearly excelled and in which I might actually have excelled if I’d just put some effort in.
That I did enter the real world with relatively good manners and an appreciation of etiquette was largely due to the efforts of my mother (and my extended family which is also very big on manners), but I’ll grudgingly concede that my schooling had some input in that area as well. School and the real world got the better part of the deal because I was a surly and argumentative teenager at home. Bro’ Dick and I would alternate dropping in on our maternal grandmother, who lived in a self-contained unit downstairs, to be cheered up after some adolescent grievance, more often than not as a result of conflict with each other. read more

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Dick's Toolbox - December 2015
My wife asked me, as we lumbered the narrow road to Kinglake in the trusty Subaru, what I thought about as I rode my bike. The question was pertinent, as I ride up to Kinglake occasionally (today even), and when you think about it in the abstract your first thought is that it is a long steep hill. Well, it is long, but not particularly steep for most of the way. In fact, the steep part is a small pinch called Wild Dog Hill, which is a precipitous annoyance and probably before you would say the Kinglake climb starts.
I explained that, more than once and being in a particularly odious mood, I had sworn solidly for an hour and forty-five minutes from the start to the end of one particular ride. But normally, when not zoning out in some cycling trance, I think about what’s around me, as that’s generally picturesque. Some time may be spent wondering if there is any discernible difference between the smell of dead kangaroo and dead wombat, and a lot of time is spent wondering about why young people pass me on smarter bikes than mine with.. read more

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