Driving over to Julie's place, I peered at something at the front of the house. "What's that?" she said.
I stared vainly. "Yes, what is that?" I echoed.
As we drew up, it turned out to be a medium-sized truck on its side just off the road. The driver, a policeman and some onlookers were gathered around.
It seems, Julie's odd-job man told her, that the truck's brakes had failed as it came down the hill and he turned uphill to slow his speed. It almost worked, but the truck had overturned before it slowed sufficiently.
"I heard the air-brakes scream while I was working in the yard," he said. "I thought maybe I'd better start running if he was going to come right onto the property."
And indeed it was a close thing. The truck had come to rest just inches from the fence-line. Another couple of feet and it would have gone through the fence, probably running into one of the pine trees. In that case, I doubt the driver would have been able to scramble out unharmed with the aid of the odd-job man as he did.
We made a phone call that we would be delayed – n overturned truck in your back yard certainly counts as "circumstances beyond one's control" – and watched the rest of the affair.
A stout little tow-truck attached two sets of chains and slowly winched it out of the smashed greenery until ever-so-slowly it toppled back onto its wheels again. We left while the crew swarmed over it like mahouts examining an ailing elephant.
I calculated we had time in the afternoon either to go out and get a load of duck food or to stop at Café 73 in Moonah. In the end the Caesar Salad won out.
That evening we attended the Moonah Arts Centre for this month's concert. It was titled Fascinating Rhythm and was billed as featuring cabaret songs and jazz classics, but this was slightly misleading. If anything, the tone was closer to the Metropolitan Opera than it was to Broadway.
Soprano Charlotte McKercher and percussionist Robert Rule gave us an eclectic mixture of music ranging from Kurt Weill to Benjamin Britten – I've never heard Bach played on the marimba before! – culminating in the premiere of a new work by local composer Ian Cresswell based on ancient Japanese love poems.
Not quite what we were expecting but an interesting evening.
Fibber McGee and Molly
ABC Television have been running some interesting British programmes at the weekend this month. The new series of Doctor Who is as intriguing as last year (this week we saw Queen Victoria menaced by an extra-terrestrial werewolf), Catherine the Great is an interesting docu-drama about a historical figure I knew little about, while every episode of Bleak House makes me think this would have made a great Hammer movie.
Julie has brought home some more patients for her chicken hospital. Five young chicks who looked at death's door were rushed over to my house and placed under a reading lamp. One chick, which I thought already dead, was resuscitated with heat and massage.
This makes a total of 14 poultry she has in residence at my house. The total at her place is beyond my figuring out.