Ben James

Spring has Sprung

When I was little my mother liked to say this poem every time spring arrived:

The spring is sprung, the grass is riz.
I wonder where the boidie is.
They say the boidie’s on the wing.
But that’s absoid. The wing is on the bird.

I can’t exactly remember who it was that wrote it at this point in time, but I’ll try and google it and find out after I post this up. It’s a cute little poem that I think about now because without hesitation Mum would always say it as we walked out the door on the first day of spring – regardless of whether it was sunny, or belting down with rain.

Its one of the things that I miss about her being gone. She always had some little poem or saying that was perfect for the moment, and I never understood how she remembered them all. She wasn’t a literacy professor or anything like that, but she did delight in reading and I guess that is where she came across a lot of these sayings and such.

When the first of September hit last week, I kind of expected to see Mum looking out the kitchen window, humming to herself as she did while she made coffee for her and Dad, before turning to me and asking how I slept.

It’s still strange that I’ll never be able to see that play out any more.

Like everywhere else in Australia, Spring has hit Nariah and I was expecting a lot of strange things to begin to happen, but nothing did. Everything has been super quiet on the weird front, especially since the appearance of the new scrub on the north east side of town. You know, the one that purrs. People have actually taken to seeing if they can take cuttings of the trees and grow their own miniature versions, like bonsai trees, so they can have a smaller version of the purring trees in their house. So far all reports that have been going around town have shown that there is no way to get a cutting out of the scrub, home and re-potted before the cutting dies and turns to dust. I’m still waiting to see who will be the first to realise that their cutting may actually live if they bring all the materials that they need to the scrub instead of transferring the plant home. So far my money is on Eric’s Grandmother, who has been talking to everyone and finding out what they have been doing so she can be the first with her own potted purring tree.

Other then that everything has been really quiet around town. I’ve been told that this is normal and once it really starts to warm up I’ll start to see things get back to the way they normally around town, but in all honesty I’m not looking forward to it. I’ve been enjoying the way things have been and I’m not counting down the days until summer comes and something else starts to happen around town.

Dad just got home and showed me the community calendar for the next couple of months and I didn’t think that Nariah was going to have so many community events. For example:

September

  • 11th – The Beach reopens for the summer season
  • 12th – Market Day
  • 16th – Spring festival
  • 26th & 27th September – Nariah Show

October

  • 3rd – Market Day
  • 6th – Book Fair at St Mary’s Church
  • 10th – Clean up Nariah Day
  • 17th – Market Day
  • 23rd – Community Production of Hairspray Opening Night
  • 31st – Market Day

They’re just the community ones. Dad told me that there are a number of council meetings and committee stuff that hasn’t been put in the community calendar because final dates have yet to be finalised. I can’t see why it’s taking so long, other then the fact that there are numerous people who make it their business to be on ever little committee in town. I don’t know where they find the time honestly.

I’ve got to finish up now. We’ve just hit preliminary exams for Year 11 and I’ve got one for Maths first thing tomorrow that I need to study for.

Before I go I thought that I would share with you this music track, it seems appropriate given that spring has finally arrived.

– Ben

The Purring Scrub

We’ve just recently had a new addition appear on the boarder of Nariah, and it’s unfortunately not a Mall.

About a month ago, when we started to have some trouble uploading to the blog, people started to notice that the treeline was starting to get closer. No one thought anything of it, it’s not uncommon for the Nariah Beautification Committee to suddenly start planting things unannounced and for flower beds and trees and various other items that can be used to beautify a community to pop up out of no where. Everyone just believed that this was just another one of their projects that they were doing when they weren’t working on the lake in Centennial Park and left it as that.

Then Yesterday everyone looked out their windows and we noticed that the treeline was no longer just a treeline. It had become a secondary scrub-land on the outskirts of town and no one had noticed it creeping closer. I suppose because we all thought that it was a project by the Nariah Beautification Committee that we put it out of our minds, until it was suddenly there in our faces, like a clown at a birthday party.

Anyway, the council was not happy (to say the least) and got in contact with the president of the Nariah Beautification Committee (Harold Flint) and started to ask all these questions like “What were the Nariah Beautification Committee thinking about putting a new scrub-land to the North East of town?” and “How did you get the funding for something like this” and “Well we’re not going to look after it, it’s your responsibility” and “Where are we going to put the new arcade, movie theater and indoor swimming pool complex?“. The Nariah Beautification Committee however has completely denied any involvement in the sudden appearance of the new scrub, saying that they have been far to busy trying to work out whether or not they want ducks, swans or geese to live on the lake at Centennial Park once it has been completed.

The Council agreed that that was a very hard decision to make and conceded that the Nariah Beautification Committee had nothing to do with the sudden appearance of the new scrub-land to the North East of town.

No other groups have come forward either to claim responsibility for the scrub-land since it’s sudden appearance across the road from the Hospital, and all the local youth group have claimed that they have had nothing to do with it, that it is in no way a prank that has gone horribly wrong, and even if they did do it they wouldn’t tell you!

Ben commented saying that his Dad is going to have to add negotiator to his resume because he was the one that was sent out to the scrub-land to find out more information about it, and we were luck enough to go with him when he did.

You would think that this place would dark and scary but it’s not.It actually reminded me of the illustrations from the Gumnut Babies or Blinky Bill, not at all like the forest from Disney’s version of Snow White. I was actually kind of upset that we didn’t think ahead and bring a picnic with us.

As Ben’s Dad started to roam around and look at the trees and their root systems to see how long ago they had been planted, the rest of us were more interested in seeing if there were any good trees that we could climb, because the scrub on the other side of town has really weak climbing trees and if this scrub didn’t then all the kids in town would be in favour of keeping the scrub around. Regardless of who planted it.

Grace lost her footing at one stage and used one of the trees as a way to balance herself, so she was the first one to notice it. The Trees vibrated when you touched them. It wasn’t the kind of vibrating that you could feel if you touched an old fridge or if your mobile started to ring, It was the kind of vibrating that a cat would make if it was being petted. Actually, that is exactly what it felt like. It felt exactly like the trees were purring.

None of us believed Grace until we all gave it a go and found out that she was right. Ben’s Dad was amazed when we showed him as well and started to mutter about getting a scientist out to have a look at the trees to see if they were stable.

As a result the new scrub-land has been cautioned off, at least until Ben’s Dad or the council comes to a decision about what they are going to do with a purring scrub.

I don’t know whether they know this or not but the four of us discovered that the trees in the scrub were totally better for climbing then the other scrub and we’ve spread the word around town. We’re trying to get a committee together to see if we can save the scrub and not have it sent back to where it came from. We have a few good arguements, but we all agree that our best on is: Who has been hurt by a purring tree before?

– Juliette

A Note on Wednesdays

I hadn’t been in Nariah more than a day when I started to notice how strange the town was, not just because of the strange goings on and the ghosts that live in Eric’s Grandmother’s B&B or the animal that lives next door to Eric’s Grandmother’s B&B that is surely part werewolf. It was all that but I really noticed that Nariqh was strange because of Wednesdays.

Wednesdays outside of Nariah are considered to be Hump Day. The day in the middle of the week that seems to drag on regardless of if you are a student or an adult at work. Wednesdays are just a horrible occurrence.

In Nariah they took it one step further and completely removed the day from their vocabulary. No one in Primary School says: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

It’s more like: Monday, Tuesday, the day we refuse to recognise, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. 

Which, between you and me, doesn’t have the same ring to it as the original.

I can, however, understand why they would want to do this.

Wednesday is one of those days that always seems to drag on and never end. On Mondays you groan because the new week has begun and you need to go back to work or school. Wednesday is that horrible day in the middle of the work/school week that just seems to drag on and be a pain in the neck. Teachers seems to be extra slow at explaining things and slightly short tempered, Students don’t have the same attention span that they had at the beginning of the week, employees go about things at a slower pace and employers sneak back to their offices and play Candy Crush Saga in order to pass the time.

Even clocks seem to go extra slow on Wednesdays.

So I can understand why they wouldn’t want to acknowledge it, but they’ve taken it to the extreme. All the calendars had Wednesday wiped from their pages and with each new calendar or planner bought, you get a free pen so you can rename it whatever you want it to. When we got our new calendar, it came with a whiteboard marker and now Dad has made up a list of names that Wednesday can be called and rotates them so every Wednesday isn’t the same.

With no one calling it Wednesday however, it does get a bit confusing when you’re trying to make plans to meet up with someone on that day as everyone calls it a different name and no one knows what everyone else is calling it.

The only place that is consistent and lets people know what they have renamed Wednesday to on their calendar is the Council, who renamed Wednesday to Chocolate Fudge Sundae which everyone agrees is confusing, with there already being a Sunday, but no one has brought it up at a council meeting yet so no one has started the momentum to have it changed. Plus if you go down to the Flying Fox Cafe, opposite the Council, and say that it’s Chocolate Fudge Sundae you get a Chocolate Fudge Sundae for $1.

Trying to keep track of what everyone calls Wednesday is next to impossible because they are constantly changing what they have called it. Apparently we weren’t the only household to get a whiteboard marker with out calendar, and a lot of families like to change Wednesday’s new name. Grace’s family is one of these and she said that they even have a challenge where the best new name doesn’t have to wash or dry up the dishes for a week. So far she is on a roll with six weeks off drying duty and another four owed to her whenever she wants to claim them.

I’m actually considering suggesting this to Dad, but I’m worried that he may rig it so he wins each week.

– Ben

Welcome to Nariah: Part IV

Nariah has got to be one of the weirdest places that I have ever lived in. Sure I’ve only ever lived on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, but it never got as weird as what it does here in Nariah. I’ve been here a month now and this whole place is very strange – at least to me it is. Dad, well, he’s not too worried. He doesn’t get too worried about most things, that is just the kind of guy he is. Even when Eric’s Grandmother invited us to dinner on night in the future and said that the ghosts would be on their best behaviour he took it in his stride and laughed, promising that they will get a treat if they do.

I don’t think Dad believes that Eric’s Grandmother wasn’t joking. I don’t think he believes that a lot of the things that have happened in Nariah are true. Like the sink holes over near the Pre-School, he was asked to go out and see if there was anything that could be done about them. When we got there the Giant Clawed Hand was walking around, and by walking I mean using two fingers to imitate legs like Thing does in the Addams Family. It went completely still when it saw (sensed?) us and didn’t move again until Dad started laughing and commenting on how creative some of the local pranksters are. The Giant Clawed Hand then started waving enthusiastically at Dad before disappearing into the hole that it came out of while Dad did his job.

Good news is that Dad thinks that he can do something about the sink holes. Bad news is that the Giant Clawed Hand and whatever it is attached to might have to move away from the Pre-School. Dad’s still working on how to fix the sink hole problem so for now it’s fine where it is as long as it doesn’t snatch any more cars.

Dad thought that he move to Nariah would be good for us so we could get out of the funk that we seem to have been in since Mum died. I’m not too sure how moving out here was supposed to do that, but it has diverted my attention away from the sadness I feel whenever I think about Mum. I wonder if any of the ghost’s at Eric’s place can crossover and see Mum? I’ll have to ask next time I go over.

I also want to get a look at his neighbours animal. Eric doesn’t call it a dog. Apparently while it does have some resemblance to a werewolf there are parts of it that aren’t canine at all. When I asked him what he meant he said that it didn’t matter and then muttered something about scales.

Despite all the strange happenings that take place here in Nariah it’s a nice town. Everyone seems friendly and so far I haven’t come across someone who is particularly horrible or cruel, so I suppose despite everything that has happened so far this place is alright. It could be worse.

A lot worse.

Dad works for the council, as an engineer/environment manager or something to that degree. I’m not exactly sure what he does, I’ve never been to his workplace or really had an interest in that kind of thing, but from what I understand his job here in Nariah is to look at things, like the sink hole across from the Pre-School, and figure out how to fix them or improve them. Once he’s figured out the sink hole problem, Dad says that he’s going to look into improving the football oval so that when football season finishes this year they can get it ready for next year.

That has got to be the worst part about moving in the middle of the year, everyone is already in their sports teams and can work really well together, so at least until the summer sports start up, I’m not going to have much to do – unlike Grace, who plays Netball, and Eric, who plays Rugby League, both of which play for the town teams and are pretty good at it. I watched Eric last weekend and I can see why his Uncle is considering driving down to Canberra for the team trials that they have. I don’t know whether or not Eric wants to go and try to play football full time, but it would be an interesting experience all the same. And he would be just one of the many people that I have learnt have gone on to play football professionally from Nariah.

It’s getting late and I need to go get ready. Dad is taking me to the Chinese restaurant down the main street that is supposed to be really good, and if it’s as good as we’ve been hearing about then I don’t want to miss it.

Until next time.

– Ben.