Tuesday’s answers

February 23, 2010

Monday’s questions were:

1. Who is the patron saint of tax collectors?

2. What is a mast year?

3. Who wrote, ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ – that is all/ Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know and in which poem?

4.  What is a windrow?

5. Who said/wrote A woman, especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.?

Gravedodger got 3 1/2.

JC got two and a bonus for teaching me something else about windrowing.

Andrie got a clean sweep if I accept to rather than on a Grecian Urn and I do. 

Cadwallader doesn’t get the five s/he requested but does get a couple of bonuses for wit.

David got three right and a sympathy bonus for the hay fever story.

Paul got two right – as in his answers matched mine. His answer to 4 didn’t match mine but justifies a point and he can have a bonus for wit/satire and/or desperation for his answers to 2 & 5.

Bearhunter got a clean sweep with a bonus for being word perfect with on the urn (which I wouldn’t have picked up if s/he hadn’t pointed it out).

Rob got 3 1/2

Rayinz got 5 (I let him get away with to  rather than on  too).

PDM gets one and a long-distance bonus since he’s answering from Britain.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break: Read the rest of this entry »


Russian Jack

August 9, 2008

Friday’s poem, On the Swag, brought a comment from JC which I think deserves a post:

During the 50s and very early 60s, My parents and I were often on the road from Hawkes Bay to Wairarapa and Wellington going to all the A&P shows with my ponies and horses. We often saw Russian Jack on the road, said to be the last of the swaggers.

I remember being quite surprised at how my perception of what a swagger looked like compared to the reality. I could see very little romance in a life that required such an enormous amount of tackle that RJ carried about with him. There’s a picture of him here:

http://folksong.org.nz/russian_jack/56.html

Later, when I joined the Forest Service in 1963, I saw many older men arrive in camp who had something of the same stamp.. men, some of whom would arrive in an old pin striped suit to slash scrub and plant trees. They were good to us young guys and had many homilies to pass on.. until the weekend, and then you saw the reason.. they were monstrous alcoholics who started on Friday and then drank steadily in their huts all weekend. They sometimes became incontinent and were not pleasant to be around.

In a life of working the back country of the North Island, I’ve met many men and the odd woman with the stamp of the swagger/hermit.. people who preferred their own company who were allowed to settle somewhere, even in an old car body, and did enough local work for their beer and baccy. I suppose the most astonishing thing about them is how they were often good company, even if only for a little while.

I’ve never met a swagger, but JC’s story reminds me of Tom the fencer who came to work on Great Mercury Island when I lived there. He’d had an ininerant life, and had worked on many of the bigger farms around the North Island. He was a wonderful story teller and could yarn for hours so was good company if you didn’t mind his casual attitude to personal hygiene – although we know he washed his socks in the weeks he spent on the island because we saw him throw them over the verandah rails when it rained.


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