12 January 2023
R J HAUSER
We often heard Dad walking the long way home
from heavy farm chores through the winter dusk
clearing his sinuses with a snort and a spit in
the gutter and slipping into a bold hillbilly yodel
his spirits elevated by a day’s exacting labour
and prospects of a family meal and a warm kitchen.
In stifling summer heat no-one wanted to move
but he would drag his unwilling brood and a few
old stagers out into the humid midday glare
to dodge redbacks and snakes in the pumpkin patch
or screw the tops off heads of bleeding beetroots
mouthing maxims of worn wisdom he found there.
Sometimes we worked in welcome shed shade
racking onions, picking over spuds, bagging pumpkins
and maybe kidding him to tell us a few old yarns,
taking us on a verbal tour of dour Depression days,
wending our way through rationing and the war
and bouncing on horseback to dances in barns.
His simple lunchtime fare, meat and triple veg,
was sandwiched between his paper and his nap
against the soundtrack of a usual wireless sally
into vegetable market reports and daily news
topped up with another episode of Blue Hills
like those always watching from up the valley.
In later life he would limp in from a day’s work,
survey his aching limbs and pronounce approval
of the legs which had “trod many an honest mile”.
Mum would mould for him a vanilla skyscraper
out of multiple scoops of shining ice cream in a cone
which he devoured with the relish of a spoiled child.
I remember the secure sensation when I was little
of him sweeping me up from where I dozed on a couch
or under the seats at a dance at the Blenheim hall.
And then decades later watching at his bedside
as he faded and shrank and battled for his last breath
and I felt large and strong, and he looked incredibly small.
My poor old Gran never ever missed an episode of Blue Hills.
Even if she was visiting someone else and the Blue Hills theme music was due to play, she would ask if they could switch on their radio.
Born and bred country girl habits die hard, I guess.
It's a wonder that someone in the media world has never got around to doing an expose on this topic.
If you want to immerse yourself in nostalgia for a bit, Harry, here are a few links to Blue Hills and the serials of old - KJ
Posted by: Harry Topham | 21 February 2023 at 01:08 PM
I remember visiting Hilalon Plantation and staying with 'Tiny' Tim Wilson in 1971 having ridden our Honda 90 from Madina in Central New Ireland to Hilalon.
We were sitting around talking when we heard a tractor approaching in the distance. Eventually it crossed the creek and made its way up to the house, the driver being a red bearded fellow with a handkerchief knotted at the four corners protecting his balding head from the sun.
Tim made his way towards the tractor to be greeted by the words, "What happened to Fleur?".
The driver had evidently missed an important episode of Blue Hills. Once Tim filled in the details he waved and turned the tractor around and chugged his way back to his plantation.
I think we all were addicted to Blue Hills back then.
Posted by: Peter Comerford | 19 January 2023 at 09:30 AM