Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Woop I Was Lucky And So Was She

What are you boys doing? asks Captain Bruni.

He can see what they're doing.

Dropping things from the top of the Lighthouse.

An experiment, says Jerry.

Dropping Spew Balls, says Terence.

What are they doing? asks Mum.

A experiment, they claim, says Captain Bruni. Perhaps you should stop them.

Jerry! says Mum. I thought you had run out of Spew Balls.

I had two left, says Jerry. I was saving them for the Lighthouse.

What's going on now? says Dad.

Jerry and Terence have been dropping Spew Balls through the railing, says Mum. But they've run out, thank goodness.

Just as well, says Dad. A falling Spew Ball could turn out to be a lethal weapon if it hit someone directly.

Woop! says Terence.

Terence, says Mum. I didn't expect you to be flippant.

What's flippant? asks Terence.

Disrespectful, says Mum.

I wasn't disrespectful, says Terence. I meant woop I was lucky. And woop so was the other person.

What other person? asks Mum.

The person down there, says Terence. I was thinking about dropping my steak knife

A deadly experiment, says Dad.

Thank you, says Terence.

But Dad looks disapproving. So does Mum. So does Captain Bruni.

Captain Hawkins has no idea that a steak knife has nearly been dropped from the top of the Lighthouse.

He continues to explain to the tourists how the light works and why it was needed. Then why it is needed no more.

But trouble is brewing.

A tourist who has not climbed the circular staircase due to health issues has only narrowly avoided being hit by the falling Spew Balls.

She is waiting downstairs.

The tourists begin descending.

Who did it?

She would not be surprised if it was those two boys who went up the stairs first.

But you can't just assume these things. She will complain to Captain Hawkins.

Captain Hawkins comes down the stairs last.

She approaches Captain Hawkins.

Captain, I have a complaint to make.

Yes, madam, says Captain Hawkins. What is it?

A person or persons threw these two sweeties down from the balcony and I was almost hit, first by one, then the other, says she.

But you weren't? says Captain Hawkins.

That is not the point, says the woman.

You would not say that if you had been hit, says Captain Hawkins.

I might not be here at all! says the woman.

Dad comes up.

Apologies, ma'am, our son and his friend were doing an ill-thought out experiment. They've been told off severely.

Humph! says the woman. All right. I'll withdraw my complaint. But let there not be a next time.

There will not be a next time, says Dad. I assure you.

He holds out a hand to the woman.

She shakes it.

A good outcome.

We can all be assured there will not be a next time.

She's keeping the Spew Balls.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Difficult Birds

The parrot which has landed on the top railing of the Cape Bruny Lighthouse is....would you believe it.... P. krameri!

About time! says Terence. Where've you been?

Where haven't I been! says P. krameri.

With me, says Terence.

I've been doing my job, says P. krameri. Chasing difficult birds. You have no idea! Why are you here?

I went independent, says Terence.

You don't look independent, says P. krameri, blinking at Jerry.

We're here together, says Jerry. I got bored, so Mum and Dad let me ask Terence.

Nice to be some people, says P. krameri. I suppose Jinjing's doing something cushy.

He's helping Arthur build a trap, says Terence.

That's not in the spirit of our mission, says P. krameri.

Not a real trap, says Terence. It makes bird calls and the birds come and then Arthur counts them.

Tch! says P. krameri. Sounds like bad eco-science.

I'm good at science, says Jerry.

So what do you think of it? asks P. krameri.

Depends, says Jerry.

It is always good to start with depends.

On what? asks P. krameri.

On why you want to count them, says Jerry.

To see how many there are, says Terence. Are you stupid?

It's more complex than that, says P. krameri.

Now Captain Bruni appears at the lookout, having climbed up the circular staircase.

Aha! A reunion! says Captain Bruni.

Yes, says P. krameri. If only forty spotted pardalotes were as easy to find as you are.

I am hardly ever here, says Captain Bruni. I only came across to recover my dinghy.

Nevertheless, says P. krameri, I've been here, there and everywhere. Not a forty spotted pardalote in sight. Not a swift parrot or an orange bellied parrot either.

This is as good a spot as any to see them, I'd say, says Captain Bruni.

I see you know nothing about difficult birds, says P. krameri.

P. krameri flies off before Captain Bruni can contradict him.

It could be an embarrassing situation, but no. Terence and Jerry have lost interest.

They are taking things out of their pockets, and dropping them over the sides.

Captain Hawkins appears, leading the tourists. They have binoculars and cameras.

Is that Adventure Bay? Over there?

Is it?

It is, says Captain Hawkins.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Up And Down With Alacrity

Captain Bruni and Captain Hawkins approach the Lighthouse.

The tourists are waiting outside.

This is outrageous! says one of the tourists.

I'm leaving, says another. And I'll demand a full refund!

Look! says a third tourist. Lobsters!

We're in luck! says Dad. One of those lobsters is our friend Captain Bruni. The other will be Captain Hawkins.

The tourists murmur. A come...?

Sorry about this, folks, says Captain Hawkins. It rarely happens that a volunteer doesn't turn up. It's not my day, but I'll show you through the Lighthouse.

Cool, says Jerry. Can we go up to the top first?

No, says Captain Hawkins. It's a lighthouse. We start at the bottom. Now, where are my keys?

He fumbles in his pockets. Pretends he can't find them.

He usually does this. It's funny. But today's not the day.

Hurry up, says Captain Bruni. Their mood's turning nasty.

Captain Hawkins finds the keys and opens the door to the Lighthouse. The tourists shuffle in.

Gather round, says Captain Hawkins.

You are standing in the second oldest extant lighthouse tower in Australia. For one hundred and fifty eight years it was constantly manned. I myself was its longest serving keeper, from 1877 to 1914.

Manned? says a tourist. You mean lobstered.

That is not what I mean, says Captain Hawkins. How do you think I could get up and down these stairs with alacrity, as a lobster?

Good question, says Dad.

Which brings me to the stairs, says Captain Hawkins.

Can we go up them? asks Terence.

Not yet, says Captain Hawkins. The stairs are cast iron, and replace the original staircase.....

Terence nudges Jerry. Come on. Let's sneak up.

He makes for the staircase. Jerry follows.

Clang clang. Terence 's cement feet make an obvious sound on the cast iron staircase.

But someone has asked about sperm oil, and when did it stop being used, and what did they use as a replacement, and Captain Hawkins wishes to answer this question, so he nudges his friend Captain Bruni, indicates Terence and answers:

In 1892 sperm oil was replaced by colza oil, which is otherwise known as rapeseed.

Sperm oil replaced by rapeseed! The tourists are impressed by this fact.

At last it is time to ascend the circular staircase.

What a good view there will be from the top.

Terence and Jerry are up there already, looking out, when a parrot lands on the railing.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Longtemps No See

A group of tourists waits outside the lighthouse.


Where is their tour guide? They've paid fifteen dollars.

Ignore them, says Captain Bruni. Come around to the side.

Mum, Dad, Jerry and Terence follow Captain Bruni around to the side.

There appears to be no other entrance.

Never mind, says Dad, We'll do it the proper way.

Captain Hawkins will be down on the rocks, says Captain Bruni. I'll go and find him.

We'll wait here, says Dad. And if the tour guide turns up, we'll go in.

D'accord, says Captain Bruni.

Can I go with him? asks Terence.

No, you're staying with us, says Mum.

Captain Bruni makes his way down from the lighthouse, via a track that leads to the rocks.

He is now on the rocks.

Giant waves splash and crash. Yes, it's dangerous, but not for a well seasoned lobster.

He shouts, in case Captain Hawkins in within earshot.

He is.

Bruni! cries Captain Hawkins.

William! says Captain Bruni. Longtemps non voir.

None of your French nonsense! says Captain Hawkins. Welcome to Cape Bruny. Long time no see.

I expected to see you up at the lighthouse, says Captain Bruny. Don't tell me you've retired?

Not at all, says Captain Hawkins. Well, partly. I just do odd days now.

I'm here with a family, says Captain Bruni. I was hoping....

Say no more, says Captain Hawkins. I'll come up with you.

The two lobsters scrape their way over rocks, catching up on their news.

Controversies galore here on Bruny, says Captain Hawkins. Not a dull moment. The volunteers think the council plans to sell off the National Park. Privatise everything.

Tut, says Captain Bruni.

And you? asks Captain Hawkins.

Did you know, says Captain Bruni, that eating oranges, lemons and limes prevents scurvy?

Probably heard it somewhere, says Captain Hawkins. Why?

Vitamin C, says Captain Bruni.

I meant why does it concern you? asks Captain Hawkins.

If I had known it at the time, I might not have died of the scurvy, says Captain Bruni.

But you would have died of something, says Captain Hawkins.

Perhaps not at sea, says Captain Bruni. And then, who knows, I might not have become immortal.

Over-thinking won't help, says Captain Hawkins.

They are on the track now, having crossed the rocks successfully.

You know what I mean, says Captain Bruni.

You need a stiff rum, says Captain Hawkins.

I itch sometimes, says Captain Bruni.

Probably starting to moult. says Captain Hawkins. I do too. Nothing to worry about.

You're a bon ami, says Captain Bruni.

Whatever that means, says Captain Hawkins.

Piece of apple? asks Captain Bruni, offering his friend a piece of Terence's gouged apple.

Urrr.... Captain Hawkins looks doubtful.

There may be some Vitamin C in it, says Captain Bruni.

There may have been, once, says Captain Hawkins.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Buried At Sea As A Human

It's another half hour to the Lighthouse at Cape Bruny.

They have finished their coffee.

Eaten their sandwiches.

Passed Lunawanna.

I suppose we'll have to pay to go into this Lighthouse, says Dad.

Not if Captain Hawkins is there, says Captain Bruni. He'll show us around it for nothing.

Is that allowed? asks Mum.

Oh yes, says Captain Bruni. I could do it myself, but he knows the history.

And you say he's a lobster, like you, says Mum. How does that work? When we die, do we all become lobsters?

Ha ha! laughs Captain Bruni. You don't. But in any case, you wouldn't like it.

I might like it, says Mum.

MUM! says Jerry. I wouldn't like it. What about footy practice?

I''m not ready to die yet, says Mum.

Me either, says Dad.

Lobsters can't die, says Terence. Ageless told me.

We can, says Captain Bruni. But only by accident

Let me understand this, says Dad. You were a French sea captain, Captain Bruni?

Captain Antoine Raymond Joseph de Bruni, chevalier d'Entrecasteaux, says Captain Bruni.

A human, says Dad.

Captain Bruni nods. Yes, in those days.

And you sailed around these parts, naming places, says Dad

As well as making scientific discoveries and surveys, and checking Dutch charts, says Captain Bruni.

And you died here? says Dad.

Not here, off the Hermit Islands, says Captain Bruny. I died of the scurvy.

And turned into a lobster, says Dad.

Yes, says Captain Bruni. They must have buried me at sea. But don't ask me the ontological details.

Scurvy? says Mum. There's a lesson.  Jerry, do you know what the lesson is?

Use special shampoo, says Jerry.

It's not dandruff! says Captain Bruni.

Scurf, says Mum. Jerry's thinking of scurf. But good try, Jerry.

So what's the lesson? asks Terence.

Keep up your intake of Vitamin C, says Mum. Oranges, lemons and  limes.

Is that so? says Captain Bruni.

You didn't know? asks Mum.

Hey ho. No use knowing it now, says Captain Bruni.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Split Crack Crumble

They are approaching Alonnah.

Mum checks her Trip Advisor. Not always wise.

Oh! says Mum. It seems the two ladies who run the general store can be rude.

We'll be fine, says Dad. Best behaviour.

Oh no, wait, says Mum. Some people say they're helpful and lovely.

There you go, says Dad. Some people have a hidden agenda.

But we don't know which people, says Mum.

At least we have Captain Bruni with us, says Dad.

Are you suggesting I do the shopping? asks Captain Bruni.

That would be good, says Mum. I'll give you a list. Sardines, bread, tomatoes.

And takeaway coffee, says Dad. I'll come in with you.

By now they are here.

Mum takes Jerry to find a bush.

Dad, Captain Bruni, and Terence enter the store.

Some tourists are being told off at the counter.

That's far too many chips!  Can't you see we're really busy. No, don't sit outside. The tables aren't wiped. Oh! Captain Bruni!

Everyone turns to look at Captain Bruni.

Some are surprised that he is a lobster.

Some knew it already.

Captain Bruni scrapes up to the counter. Bonjour, dear ladies! May we trouble you for bread, sardines and tomatoes?

Of course, Captain Bruni, says one lady. Would you like us to make up sandwiches? Butter or spread?

Too kind, says Captain Bruni. Butter. Will it cost extra?

For you, no, says the lady.

Coffee, whispers Dad.

And two takeaway coffees, says Captain Bruni.

Coming up, says the other lady.

What can I have? asks Terence.

Do you like cheese, dear? asks the lady doing the sardine sandwiches.

No, says Terence. I like Spew Balls.

We're out of Spew Balls, says the lady. How about Bull's Balls?

I don't think so, says Dad, foreseeing trouble.

Terence has to settle for a Wagon Wheel.

Five minutes later they leave the shop, with their sandwiches, coffee and Wagon Wheel.

That went well, says Dad.

They get into the car.

All good? asks Mum.

Yes, says Dad. We lucked out bringing Captain Bruni. The ladies fell over themselves to be helpful.

They are wise to keep on my good side, says Captain Bruni.

Would you kill them if they didn't? asks Jerry.

O yes, says Captain Bruni. I'd split them asunder.

Captain Bruni is joking, says Mum.

Jerry and Terence know better.

Terence splits the Wagon Wheel asunder.

Crack, crumble!
sticky white stuff,
blood red jam.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

When We Become Lobsters

Phone numbers, says Katherine. This one is for Gaius. This one's for Arthur.

Thanks, says Dad. Are you heading back to the mainland?

Yes, says Katherine. More cheese shops to visit. Enjoy your trip to the Lighthouse.

We will, says Mum. I'm glad you let us borrow Terence. Jerry's been getting so bored.

She looks into the back seat where Terence is prising chunks from his apple with his finger, and handing them to Jerry.

To the Lighthouse! says Dad.

Don't eat those, Jerry! says Mum.

They're not for me, says Jerry. They're for the lobster.

I'm sure Captain Bruni, doesn't want them, says Mum.

As a gift, I shall accept them, says Captain Bruni. I shall keep them until they go brown.

Would you like something to put them in? asks Mum.

Thank you, no, says Captain Bruni. I have capacious pockets.

Now my apple's ruined, says Terence.

Let's throw it out, says Jerry. Dad, can we open a window?

No, says Dad. Give it to Mum, she'll deal with it.

We could stop and buy snacks in Allonah, says Mum. There's a food store and post office there.

True, says Captain Bruni. You should stop there. No snacks in the next town, Lunawanna. Only Bruny Island Premium Wines, a public toilet, community hall, jetty and post box.

What lovely names, Allonah and Lunawanna , says Mum.

Lunawanna-allonah is the Tasmanian aboriginal name for Bruny Island, says Captain Bruni.

They should have kept it, says Mum. But perhaps I shouldn't say that, as it's named after you.

No offence taken, says Captain Bruni. When we old sea captains become lobsters, as we all do eventually, we become philosophical.

Like Captain de Kermadec, says Terence. He stabbed Arthur.

How is that philosophical? asks Dad.

He had been downing large amounts of my rum, says Captain Bruni. I can only say, there are always exceptions.

How is Arthur? asks Mum. How's his knee?

He went up a tree, says Terence.

That's good, says Mum.

Are we there yet? asks Jerry. Terence and me need a toilet.

Which place has the toilet? asks Mum.

Lunawanna, says Captain Bruni.

That's the one with no shop, says Dad.

Is it just a wee? asks Mum.

Don't ask me, says Terence.

A wee, says Jerry.

You can go behind a bush in Alonnah, says Mum.

Most problems can be solved by lateral thinking.