Saturday, 6 January 2018

Morte Calabria


I just finished reading Christos Tsiolkas’ Dead Europe which I loved.  As a second generation Australian I found the novel confronting and difficult to read at times with its haunting depictions of past-generational traumas.  This book acts as a conduit toward my coming to some better understanding of what my parents went through as individuals in 1930s-40s Calabria, Italy.  Anna Maria Dell’oso’s Songs of a Suitcase did similarly, however that book is more impressionistic in tone, something of an Italian-Australian Anais Nin minus the erotica.  Tsiolkas by contrast is harsher, he is direct and unflinching in his expressions of violence, bigotry and bloodlust.  The author conveyed Europe as a continent of insurmountable burden, of which every player, every person, had to bear some or much of that leaden psychic load.  This is the Europe that my parents, and their parents, knew, or more precisely, the god-fearing, superstitious ultra-catholic and xenophobic southern tip of the mainland peninsula of Italy, Calabria.

I often wonder what it’s like to enjoy the open, embracing company of parents and grandparents.  Facebook friends gush about their fathers and post loads of happy photos of father and daughter, father and son (“the best father in the world!”)  I sit in cafes and glance over at families gathered around tables.  I observe grandad enjoying his eggs, his coffee, the company of his extended family.  Lovely, jolly old grandparents.  I only ever knew one of my grandparents, my sweet-faced mother of my own mother.  She lived with us in that house.  She died at age 79 when I was four years old.  She had the same cat-shaped face that come down the line to my mother, although she wasn’t as pretty as my mum.  I recall that she wore black constantly and emanated an aura of superstition and liturgical rites.  I’m sure she wore the rosary beads.  She used to bring me Freddo Frog chocolates from the local fruit shop.   I accidentally hit her with a belt, mum told me years later.  She died of a stroke in 1974.

I also recall my own father’s grandmother on the maternal side.  She lived in Griffith and died in 1978.  I recall her as a sweet and hardy soul living alone in that small fibro house.  I was scared of her food and only ate Arnotts biscuits when visiting.  My dad’s grandmother and mother-in-law seemed to have had a calming influence on my father, one would have hoped.

My mum’s father was a distant figure to my own mum, his youngest daughter.  He wanted a son and instead had to come to terms with a fourth daughter, so my mum was treated by her father, and to some extent her older siblings, as the runt of the litter.   He finally shuffled the family off to Australia in 1950 as my mother was turning seventeen.  She had no say in the matter, of course.  Like the young, female Greek travellers in Tsiolkas’ book, my mum stayed put in a ship’s dormitory shared by her sisters and other young Italian women.  By her own account she was sick for most of the journey and had to have food brought to her, just like Reveka in Dead Europe.

My mother is not well-travelled, and nor was my father for that matter, but he did make one trip abroad back to Italy and Germany in 1971 to visit his abusive old father in Calabria.  I don’t know when my ‘grandfather’ passed away but it must’ve been in the few years after I was born.  No one spoke of it and I never knew anything about it.   And I don’t know why my dad visited Germany after Italy, but I’m kind of glad he did so.  I remember him saying that the streets in Germany were very clean.

My father would promise to take my mother around the world after he retired, and she has never gotten over this travesty of justice, that he was taken from her before his 'retirement'.  All this talk of overseas holidays was horseshit really, all bluff, just the ramblings of the inebriated, another form of alcoholic irresponsibility.  I wonder if the organisational considerations of traveling with someone who was so ensconced in living their lives to drink and smoke copious cigarettes occurred to my mother.  She was in denial then and incredibly remains so to this day.  My sister told me that years earlier they won an overseas trip together but he created an excuse for not going.  All drinkers want to do is to stay home and drink, it's that simple.  My dad's universe was centered around the three local pubs, and that's how I've known him all my life.

A few years ago in discussing a trip I had to Melbourne I’d asked mum if she’d visited.

-Yep.

Did you like it?

-No.

Why not??

-Because.

What do you mean, ‘because’?

-Because I no like it.

But what did you see?

-Nothing.

What do you mean you saw ‘nothing’?

-Because my father wouldn’t let me off the boat.

Well, how long were you on the boat for in Melbourne?

-Three days.

… *oh*

My mother was brought to a small, farming town called Hanwood in the middle of New South Wales.   Hanwood was a satellite town to the larger centre of Griffith and part of an irrigated parcel of land that had its genesis in the Snowy Mountains irrigation scheme project of the late 1940s.   To my understanding Hanwood and Griffith attracted mostly Calabrian immigrants who were seeking out farming opportunities in the new land.  And in small and growing ways, opportunities for a hard but sustainable and even comfortable life were there to be had for the honest batch of new settlers.

My mum cried for 18 months after settling into this strange and foreign land.  She hated it, but there was no choice for her than to toughen up as there was little sympathy to be shared around, least of all from her father.  She just had to get on with it with little or no support from her older siblings, all sisters.

I visited Hanwood numerous times as a child but haven’t been back since.  I never liked the place; the flat, tiny town seemed dank and oppressive to me and I recall the feeling of always wanting to get out of there quickly.  I believe the place carried lots of ghosts from the past.  Hanwood was a mini-Calabria shipped over to a new land.

My father said that there weren’t that many available women around when he was young, and that you had to fight for your girl.  He met my mum when she was probably eighteen or so and barely out of mental nappies.   She in turn met a handsome, larger-than-life figure who serenaded her with his deep baritone over a simply strummed guitar.  They met, and married, but not until he’d worked in Far North Queensland cutting cane to save some money.  It was here he discovered the art of carousing, drinking and smoking and he prided himself on making friends with everyone, the local black and white populations along with the other migrant workers. 

My mother had fallen ill with pleurisy at this time.  My dad came back to find a very sick young woman who was given no support from her diffident father and lazy doctors.  My father immediately marched up to the town doctor in Griffith and forced him to come to the property to diagnose and treat my mother.  She ended up in hospital for nine months, some of it in Griffith and some of it in Randwick in Sydney. 

My parents eventually married in 1953 with my dad at 23 years old and mum three years younger at 20.  They bore two children and lived in the Griffith area, finally moving to the big city as the new decade crept in.

Two-and-a-half decades later and we’re in Sydney and it’s the 1980s.  There seemed to be a carefree optimism in Sydney of the 1980s despite all that had gone before in this place of the ‘first settlement’.  Sunny, beachy, ultra-liveable, Sydney was the ‘Emerald City’ as depicted in David Williamson’s 1987 play.  We were in ‘the lucky country’.  Enduring rock albums by The Church and Go-Betweens, Heyday and 16 Lovers Lane, reflected the energy and spirit of 1980s Sydney. 

The positivity of these times assuaged to some extent the palpable familial negativity that had been carried over from the past.  These negativities weren’t minimised, but rather smothered over just enough to enable a deteriorating alcoholic to maintain the appearance of functioning ok.  We functioned, yes, and the appearance put out to the outside world was passable, and often celebrated by those who enabled the alcoholic, being pretty much everybody.   Bob Hawke, after, all was Australia’s Prime Minister.  A notorious boozer and carouser, my father actually resembled him with the big silver hair and personality, and I suspect - although I can never really know this - that my dad modelled himself on Bob Hawke.  Having Bob Hawke as a role model may have encouraged my father to further indulge his bombastic and drunken tendencies with his other drunken associates; such was the spirit of the times with Hawke as our Prime Minister, a man my dad seemingly admired.

Many migrant Italian men who I’d known were stolid and quietly proud individuals.  They carved out simple yet satisfying lives for themselves in their new home.  They may have lacked formal education, but they were smart enough to settle into a lifestyle that incorporated the old ways with the new.  They ignored the habits of the Australiani with their pubs, drinking and larrikin ways, instead preferring a quiet beer or wine over dinner with the family.  These men wouldn’t be caught dead in pubs.  They owned their small houses with small gardens from which they grew produce whenever they could, and made batches of home-grown tomato conserve, affectionately branded by author Melina Marchetta as ‘National Wog Day’ in her coming-of-age novel Looking for Alibrandi.

Some first generation Italian-Australian men were roguish, wayward and violent towards their families.  Others were fixated with money, viewing Australia as a property bargain centre, which it was in the 40s and 50s, snapping up properties at any given opportunity.  My father was none of the above.  He was aggressive and angry, verbally and sometimes physically abusive towards his children, but to my knowledge he never hit my mother.  He seemed to behave “better” with her than with his own kids.  I heard he punched out his brother-in-law for hitting his own wife – my auntie – berating him on “what kind of man hits a woman”.   Another time he punched out a copper and won the court case, the police man had called him a ‘dago’ or something.  These events happened in the early 50s, way before my time.  And of course he saved my mother’s life by insisting the doctor come to consult her at her bed in Hanwood as she was suffering from undiagnosed pleurisy.  Yes, my father was possessed with lots of fight and vigour in his youth, long before the booze slowly and perniciously sozzled his senses and his spirit.  The tragedy is that my father was in essence a regal and magisterial man, he would have made a great barrister if he hadn’t pursued his first love of opera, his voice a wonderful baritone, and he was also better looking than all of his Calabrese comrades.  Talk about pissing everything you have and are up against an old brick wall.

If the eighties felt like a party that would never end, it suddenly came to a halt as we turned the clock into 1990.  I recall the sombre mood as the 90s commenced: the pop music noticeably worsened and our economic joyride of the 1980s was coming to an end.  In my household any vestige of faux joy de vivre (and there was extremely little) had vanished.  Dad was drinking more on weekends now, coming home wrecked and stumbling on a Sunday after a full day’s drinking disguised as lawn-bowling.  I’d come home of an evening and a damp, dark, wave of in-the-air depression would swamp over me as I opened the door.  That ‘wave’ was the spirit of alcoholism, as depicted in an article going around the net right now, the basis of which being that the word “alcohol” comes from the Arabic ‘al-kuhl’ which means…. ‘body eating spirit’.   Chemically alcohol is used to extract the soul essence of an entity, hence its use in extracting essences for essential oils and for sterilising medical instruments.  When it comes to constant, heavy human consumption of alcohol, the “good” natural of the spirit submerges or simply flies out around the perimeter of the auric zone while the ‘wrong’ spirit of alcohol infests its host and surroundings with its depression and darkness. 

When I opened the door of my family home in the evenings back in 1990 and 1991 I psychically saw that blackness come at me.  It was terrible and I wished things were different.  The place stunk of cigarettes and stale beer mixed in with petrol and brake-dust fumes from the busy, congested road we lived in.  One evening I caught my dad pouring poison onto the kitchen floor from an old beer bottle undoubtedly given to him by one of his mates at the pub, it was "for the cockroaches".  Christ only knows what was in that bottle other than to say it smelt decidedly poisonous.  I was left wondering who he was trying to kill, us or the cockroaches.  Suffice to say I was angered yet again by this base, crude and inconsiderate action.

My dad turned 60 in February 1990.  Looking at an online calendar recently I discovered his birthday was on a weeknight.  As I remember it clearly, my mother told me soon after that none of us kids wished our father a happy birthday.   She was probably disappointed and wanted to make a passive-aggressive point about it but she was a blue-ribbon enabler and there’s really not much that anyone could have done – after all she didn’t actively organise a celebration, she probably told him ‘happy birthday’ after he came home blootered from the pub, with nothing else said.

It’s tragic for a family to not celebrate their father’s 60th birthday; happy celebrations, a lovely party, the cake, laughs, joy, speeches, all of those wonderfully enriching family activities were out of our sphere.  Us kids were flung out mentally, spiritually, and even geographically in the case of my brother and sister as a consequence of our family’s extreme dysfunction, and none of us were travelling at all well as I remember it.  But dad would have been at the pub that night; those drunks he surrounded himself with would doubtless have wished him a “happy 60th” and bought him loads of beers.  The opportunity to wish my father a happy birthday was lost on me: he presented himself in such a way that the pub and his drinking comrades were enough for him.  And I was too much in para-alcoholic torpor to notice his birthday.  As you give, so you receive.

My mother tells my sister that bad luck runs through our family which curiously is something she never tells me.  This isn’t strictly true in the sense that we’re not the Kennedys or the Gettys.  Alcoholism in the family, along with compromise and the enabling of the alcoholic, will spread through karmically into the lives of the generation growing up with that: illness (I have diabetes), relationship difficulties and traumas, financial stresses and ‘poverty mentality’ are some of the things my siblings and I have had to contend with and fight our way through as adults to varying degrees over the years.  Alcoholism, and all of its attendant negativities and dysfunction that course through a family, is the curse, and not whatever happened back home in the land we sailed from almost 70 years ago.

1990-1991.  I’d be walking home mid-afternoon down the busy car-infested road where our house is.  On a couple of occasions I remember crossing paths with my father on his way to the pub across the road.   I’d say hello and he’d offer back a small smile and say hello himself as he passed by.  I remember his clothes and walking manner.  He was a dishevelled old man with an utterly careworn appearance: old bastard trousers, any old chequered shirt and blue cardigan.  But at 60 or 61 he was hardly an old man; the alcoholic gait that compromised his physicality gave off the energy of a much older, defeated, man.

1991.  The Oliver Stone Doors film came out.  I’m not a huge Doors fan but seeing the film must have coincided with having the ‘best of the Doors’ cassette on rotation.  I was in my room upstairs.  My parents were, unusually by this point, outside together discussing the garden.   ‘The end’ happened to be playing.  At that crucial point, at that climacteric ‘oedipal’ moment of the song, I felt the rage, I grabbed that line – the bone - and pointed it at my father.

His decline accelerated within a matter of four months or less.

Ultimately it was my father’s own responsibility to have taken heed of his health and wellbeing, and knowing how he treated his body decade after decade I remain genuinely surprised that he lasted into his early 60s.

But I had to be careful.  I was a para-alcoholic with a venomous rage which could manifest as a snake in the eye, and I recall moments where I killed people with my looks.  My friends back at school said I used to glare.  How awful.  And looking back I’m sure I used the ‘evil eye’ on people whether with friends’ friends or on the street or at uni.  I even glared at my father but he was too drunk to retaliate by that point.  Once he asked me “why are you looking at me like that for?”, a typical question asked by the alcoholic in response to the cool, disapproving gaze of the non-drinker.  I didn’t respond to him, just kept staring.  Thankfully that ‘evil-eye’ behaviour ceased the time I reach 22 or so.

A Faustian pact was made when my father saved my mother’s life back in Hanwood in the early 1950s.  From thereon my mother enabled my father throughout all of his rotten behaviour: his toxic scapegoating of his children, his profligate spending on booze, cigs and horse-gambling, his spontaneous anger and verbal abuse.  Whether my mother enabled him because of his life-saving action, or because of her own virtue of character, or upbringing – she never disputed a man – the fact was that a supercharged vortex of negativity and trauma spun itself throughout the family, playing itself out in difficult circumstances and illnesses over the years to come.

Friendships borne out of the migration process were highly institutionalised in those days.  These friends seemed to be friends for life and each had roles in baptising or confirming each other’s children within the Catholic rites system.  Relations were formal in the sense of needing to be careful “not to offend”.  My father would place these friends’ children on a pedestal - the broad smiles, the big laugh – while at the same time treating his own children like shit.  This is emotional trauma playing out.  My father was in so much emotional pain that he could only do his best: to put on a good front.  But it doesn’t excuse insane behaviour, and nor doesn’t it excuse my mother silently or passive-aggressively enabling every rotten thing he did.

Years later when I was a late-teenager my father would sometimes call me a ‘snob’.  He was pissed, so I ignored him.  ‘Snob’ was his way of recognising that I objected to his lifestyle, which I certainly did and still do.  He also called me ‘Uncle Scrooge’ to my nephew seeing how uptight and strangulated I was.  This is scapegoating.   Unlike my father I just couldn’t put on a happy front, I always sought to be genuine and real.  My cousins, as a good example, would see my dad all smiling and jolly and drinking and I would be snarled up and difficult in turn and seen to be the ‘snob’, ‘thinks he’s better than everyone else’, and so I internalised my hurt and anger as a way of coping because I wasn’t into pretending and I wasn’t into drinking either.  Even my brother became a scapegoater, following in his father’s footsteps – for a time.  Unbelievable.

Late at night in those shadowy unguarded moments I would occasionally encounter my father in the living room and he would begin pontificating to me about Italy.  He didn’t invite conversation, instead he would begin talking about the past giving off no eye contact or introduction.  This behaviour increased over the years leading up to his passing.  The man was so obviously haunted by his brutal upbringing, although sadly hadn’t discovered the tools to deal with or cope with his burdens; alcohol as we know only exacerbates and enhances emotional pain.

From what I can recall my grandfather punished my father constantly, physically and verbally brutalising him under the enabling gaze of a silent mother.  My father must have had some years of respite when my grandfather was banished to Corsica as a form of political punishment, but upon returning home from the war my own father ran away at fifteen years old.  He never really had a father, and as the sins of the fathers fall upon the grandchildren, so neither did I.   This is why when to this day people speak lovingly of the grandparents I always do a double-take, it’s a concept that takes me a few seconds to register.

My father was helped and assisted by uncles and extended family members and worked as a kitchen-hand in Genoa, as I recall.  He offered me one piece of wisdom in life, relating it to an event that happened to him as a young man in Genoa.  He told me to never be shy when eating in public, just eat.  He bought himself a plate of pasta in a restaurant and feeling self-conscious he ran outside and scoffed down a piece of bread with salami in the nearby laneway.  After that he never felt self-conscious about eating in public again.  Just eat.

And eat I did to the point where my weight would balloon on and off for 14 years before it sickened me.  I resembled a blimped-up Brian Wilson.   My illness when it manifested actually offered me relief from that physic – physical – weight of negativity, so there’s always a silver lining somewhere.  I felt a lot freer once I suddenly lost my weight due to diabetes.  I was sick, but I was freed.  It was a good feeling despite the constant thirst.

There’s a photo of my dad at age two.  He is with his youngest uncle who happens to be nine months older than he.   My dad’s uncle looks solemn, yet sturdy.  My father, the darker of the two, appears strong also hapless and needy.  His similarly-named uncle left Calabria at age three for Australia.  His upbringing was altogether more conventional and the educational opportunities offered to him in Australia allowed him the freedom to follow the career path of his choice.  He did well with his life, and he still lives with his wife of almost seventy years in a lush retirement village on the leafy northern outskirts of Sydney.

My father was a defeated man.  His Bob Hawke / Oliver Reed act could only last so long.  Omens abound.  In 1990 Bob Hawke was re-elected as Prime Minister with a reduced majority.  By mid-1991 his treasurer Paul Keating was making attempts at “going” Hawke to take the Prime Ministership for himself.  My dad’s physical sickness began manifesting by this point.  It interests me how much my father resembled Bob Hawke just as I resembled Paul Keating: I the dour, dark-haired, angular, one-pointed son facing up to my silver-haired, garrulous, drinking, people-pleasing old man.  Paul Keating deposed Hawke of his Prime Ministership in late 1991 at which point my dad was on his way out with diagnosed terminal illness.  He died in June 1992, at precisely the same time give or take three or four days that my partner gave up her promiscuous drinking.  I feel that it was all meant to be, but this doesn’t negate the tragedy of it all, a man of immense promise destroyed by the burden of deep-seated and unfaced trauma, alcohol, cigarettes and emotional pain.

2011. It’s a hot and sunny Aussie Christmas Day.  My then 15-year-old nephew is showing Google Earth to my mother on his iPad.  He is showing her Plati.  My mother is overwhelmed on seeing the familiar streets, the church and piazza around the corner, and what appeared to be the terrazza she grew up in.  Plati looks quaint and pretty, and my mother had a settled time growing up there before the disruption at the tail end of the war when food suddenly became scarce with advancing German soldiers threatening lives and livelihoods, leading through to permanent resettlement in Australia in 1950.

Cinquefrondi, or “five fronts”, where my father was born, appears differently to Plati when looking at it through Google Maps.  It still has the same highland feel about it, but the place otherwise exudes a solemn, eerie vibe.  I can imagine my dad being a frightened little boy tottering around those curved, sinister laneways, but then my father’s three uncles and aunt were probably raised there too and they all had solid, hardy lives in Australia without the traumas that my own father seemed forever burdened with.

I’m not like the protagonist Isaac in Dead Europe.  I’m not going back to Calabria, no fucking way.  Whatever familial ties remain there I’m not touching.  My mother has no desire to go back, partly because she is now an old woman, but really it’s because she feels the same way as I do.   My mother herself is a good source of family history but sadly remains tight-lipped over the story of her late husband.   My sister knows a lot, and often shares stories.  My last remaining great-uncle, the one who is nine months older than my father, knows a lot too, and one day I will make the pilgrimage to the leafy outer northern outskirts of Sydney to take in some family history.  He has lived a good life, and I’ve no doubt he’ll live past 90 years.

Here in Australia I am free.  If I remained in Calabria I wouldn’t be quite so free.  From what I’ve been told, Calabrese are stigmatised in Italy, with territorial prejudices befallen onto the Calabrese.   But here, as an Australian, I am essentially an emancipist.  I walk, live and eat freely among the bounty of this land’s produce, sunshine and natural landscapes.  I’ve lived my life without pressures to marry or to go down any particular line of work or career path.  I avoid class stigmatisation and am free of Catholicism.  It’s not been plain sailing though.  I’ve made many sideways decisions stemming from growing up in an alcoholic household and an atmosphere devoid of demonstrable love and support, but at least I’ve been able to live and make mistakes and learn from these as part of life’s journey.

My father had principles.  He wasn’t into the easy corrupted money as quite a few of his Calabrese compatriots were.  He worked (physically) hard and allowed himself to be screwed by bosses, but his philosophy was about the basics (“food on the table, drink, a roof on your head, that’s all that matters”).  A couple of times, very close to the end of his life, he said he just wanted to give us kids the opportunities he never had.  He said this standing up, fuelled on drink, with his hands in his pockets, and looking askance as always.  While I appreciated these backhanded sentiments, I also observed boatloads of uneducated immigrants who flocked from Calabria that managed to make good lives for themselves despite their lack of education.  That my dad took readily to the dowdy aspects of the Australiani lifestyle was ultimately his chosen path.  Looking back on it I suspect that during those the last two years of his life he was dealing with looming and overwhelming sensations of regret, of lost opportunities for a decent, happy and sharing life.  I could tell this by the look of doomed intensity in his face as he sat sozzled in his chair.  He was caught in an irreversible malaise, well aware that his lifestyle was beginning to devour him both spiritually and physically, and with no one around him to help or to share his predicament.    Devastatingly he was left alone to confront his own psychic terror and the horrible physical diseases that finally overcame him.

Loved ones may signal their presence after they pass in the most subtle and sweetest of ways.  I sensed my father’s presence once, about two or three weeks after he passed.  As I was falling asleep I was awoken by the clamour of the piano smashing to the ground downstairs.  It was an aggressive, cacophonous noise.  I walked downstairs to investigate anticipating a vicious display of shattered wood, strings and keys, so real was the sound that startled me.  But the piano was intact, along with a heavy, pregnant sensation in the air.  My poor father; I gave the piano all of my attention and he none at all, but, as is often said, as you give so you receive.  Sadly my father didn’t give of himself to us.  He wasn’t interested in engaging or knowing his own family, so there was nothing for us to reciprocate.   When he died I was more concerned about losing piano practice than the death of my own father at 62.  I wish that circumstances had played out a lot sunnier, but they didn’t.  That’s life.

And now, after many years of living with negativity and swirly-dark circumstances, I am freer than I’ve ever been.  I do not carry the burdens brought down by my father.  The burdens of generations past have died on the vine in this new land – it’s taken a while, but it’s happened.  I have not come through unscathed.  I have chronic albeit manageable illness, and sadly the opportunity to have a family of my own has been denied me.  But the abuse of my grandparents and their grandparents no longer carries over, that trail is severed irrevocably.   Calabria is now well and truly buried away in the vaults of the past.  Dead Calabria.

I acknowledge my parents and their role in my life, for by the momentum of living and circumstance they brought me here.   I love the land I live in, the Gadigal land of our First Nation peoples.  I look out onto the vastness of the Pacific Ocean Blue from beachside cliff tops.  Summers are hot and leafy, the days are long and family Christmases are warm, languid and drama-free.  There is daily opportunity here to be made fresh and new.  So thank you to mum and dad.  You lived hard lives.  You left Calabria and here we now are in Australia.  You gave me much.  Life gives us much.

Another thing I heard about the old land: they don’t speak the Calabrese dialect anymore.  Calabrese children are now taught and speak the proper, formal Italian in school.  It’s only the colonising Calabrese in Australia and elsewhere who carry the dialect over to varying and ultimately lessening degrees.  Essentially, Calabrese is a dead language.  I myself am happy to continue speaking it; along with my siblings and cousins I sometimes talk to my mother in Calabrese.  Mainly though I use Calabrese for comic effect.  For instance, I tell my partner loudly what our ‘sausage’ (dachshund) dog is doing and what the ‘sausage’ dog is eating in Calabrese with forced Italianate diction.   I call the dog “mussoni”, meaning ‘mouth’, or ‘snout’.  We always have a big laugh over this.  Even my mum cracks a smirk.




Acknowledgements to the author of the 'al-kulh' article.
Acknowledgements to my family.

Copyright rossmusician.blogspot.com.

Paul Hewson shooting star

i'm in the sunshine A mate of mine produces a monthly songwriter newsletter which goes out to a hundred or so mainly Sydney-based...