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I just off the phone from talking to my Mum, Redhead. We were talking about how some older neighbours had relocated to another state to be closer to their daughter. While waiting for their house to be ready, they are living with their daughter. It has been months now. 

The conversation turned to how it is nice to have visitors but they, like fish, start to smell after two days. Redhead said that she could never understand why I was so reluctant to move in with her, seeing as she had a big house and lived alone " We get on so well, don't we? " she asked.

"Yes " I replied. " Because we don't live together. "

And so began the conversation and the story of Bombay Gin, getting up at sparrows fart, noodles and The Crooner.

Some time ago, we decided that if we ever felt so disinclined to continue living, we would prefer to do what the old eskimos did and just call it quits with some dignity. Of course, walking out into the snow when we couldn't chew our own seal blubber was out of the question. We live in Queensland and there is no snow and seal blubber is not on the menu anyway. Not to mention that if the mercury goes below 20 degrees C ( 68 F ) we find it too nippy and turn on the heating.  

So that was out of the question. 

Jumping off a bridge was also not an option - I am afraid of heights and Redhead suggested that, in order to find a tall enough bridge, she would have to drive to Brisbane and, well, that traffic is a nightmare. 


Death by hanging involved piddling yourself and that would be so embarrassing. Plus neither of us can stand on a chair without getting dizzy these days.

It was decided that a bottle of Bombay Gin and a few tablets might do the trick. Whenever we visit Dr Dan's these days ( Dan Murphy's is the local liquor store and is known as Dr Dan because we go there to get our medicine ) we both check to see if either one of us has a bottle of Bombay Gin in the trolley. So far, so good.

Redhead likes to eat different things to me. She likes instant noodles. I hate them. She likes those chunks of chicken shoved on little skewers and covered in some bloody awful " foreign muck - ( as Artful Dodger calls such things ) and I prefer slow cooked lamb shanks with a hearty helping of mashed spuds and gravy. She loves a curry and all things chilli. My lips swell up and I look like I have had a bad collagen injection and I get a dose of what were called " juju " lips before that was considered racist.


I get up when my bladder calls me to attention in the morning. Redhead gets up around 4.30 am - 5 am and has her household chores done ( and dusted ) by 8 am. 

BUT the clincher is the crooner. 

My late father was an amazing singer. Mum has over 500 of his recordings which I have loaded onto USB sticks for her so that she can listen to his voice all day. He starts to sing when she arises and doesn't stop until she calls it quits in the evening. His voice gives her comfort and she loves the feeling of having him near. 

For me, hearing his voice makes me incredibly emotional and I start to reflect on things he did, stories he told, and the love I felt and feel for him to this day. So much so, that when I play any of my father's songs, I have this need to reach for the chardonnay and I " overindulge " because I want to hear just one more song. 


One of the stories he told was of my brother, who, when seeing one of my father's co-workers hung over back in the early sixties said " Big party last night, Mister? "  From that day forward, it became a family saying. 

Every morning, Redhead and I send each other an email called " All OK. " It is to let each of us know that we have survived the night and didn't die in our sleep or are lying helplessly unable to raise the alarm.

If ever I send an " all OK " email saying " BIG PARTY LAST NIGHT MISTER " Redhead immediately knows that I have had a session with Dad and listened to one too many of his crooning songs. Of course, it is all HIS fault. Honestly. 

So I realised that the real reason I could not live with her had nothing to do with " foreign muck " or early mornings. 

It had everything to do with the Crooner. 

If I lived with Redhead, I would die of cirrhosis of the liver within 2 weeks and Dad would be waiting at the Pearly Gates to greet me and say 

" Big Party last night Mister? "


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