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Blue moons and raincoats

Many years ago, when computers in schools were very new and cutting edge, Mandi Brooker of Kirrawee was the “computer teacher” of a small K-12 school. “I stood very smugly at the back of what then passed as a computer lab with the year 2 teacher while the children researched snakes on the brand-new world wide web. ‘Isn’t it wonderful that the children have access to all this information?’ we said, until one puzzled little voice asked: ‘Miss, what’s this lady DOING with this snake?’ Luckily, there was a master panic switch that I could flip. ‘Sorry, children, we’ll have to go to the library for this research after all.’”

John Pollard of Moss Vale was reminded that he also saw The Moon is Blue (C8) at a cinema near St Andrew’s Cathedral on George Street. “At the time, the Anglican Church’s General Synod was being held in the cathedral chapter house. While I have little memory of a rather amusing film, my best recollection is of the number of recognised country clergy wearing raincoats and scarves and enjoying this innocent diversion. It must have been a rainy night!”

Meri Will of Northmead recalls that when wind carried smoke from their backyard incinerator (C8) onto the sheets drying on a neighbour’s clothesline, the suburban laundry wars were ignited. “Next time my mother put washing out, the lady lit a fire, covered it with green gum leaves and fanned the smoke in our direction. So Mum put a kitchen chair near the fence and climbed up with the hose full blast. The fire was extinguished, but the feud smouldered for years.”

Jack Dikian of Mosman recalls when the backyard incinerator could also be a status symbol. “Our backyard incinerator (C8) was a rusty, makeshift 44-gallon drum, whereas many of my schoolmates lived in big houses with incinerators made of Besser blocks, often four or five courses high.”

“Is it climate change or old age?” asks Nola Tucker of Kiama. “This must be the first October I have greeted in winter clothes. I am over it.”

Not content with grumbling at the weather, John Frith of Paddington has been doing some calculations. “In the 273 days of the nine months from January to September, it has rained on 128 days in Paddington, 47 per cent of days, and that’s not including the days on which it rained less than one millimetre, which is below the lower limit of my rain gauge.”

Column8@smh.com.au

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