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As a preface, the All Ranks Club was a bar run by the airforce at Raaf Base Bringelly, this Bar was frequented most nights by a lot of the local folk. 

Hedley was one of the usual crowd, which included the late Joe Grogan, the late Roger Knight, Gary Groote the local butcher and Mr. Benson (Beno). (sorry can't for the life of me remember Beno's first name). 

As the name suggests, unlike normal military messes which segregate the offices from the troops, the RARC was open to all.

Me Ol' mate Hedley.

I wanted to write a bit about me old’ mate Hedley White.  I first met Hedley as one of the regulars at the RARC back in 1990. 


Hedley was one of those tough, funny old buggers, a typical Aussie with a load of stories to tell about his life.  Liked the boxing and enjoyed a beer, worked hard all his life in many varied things.


I worked with Hedley for a time, helping him round the property and working doing the concreting.  Hedley used to make concrete plumbing fixtures like bolted trap screws and concrete slabs for eagles plumbing supplies (aka Roger Knight).  I can never forget the secret of a good concrete plumbing fitting was to first coat the PVC fitting in the plumbing glue and liberally sprinkle with sand, and a good 12,6,3 mix of Gravel, Sand and cement. That made the fittings tough, unlike the normal ones you’d buy where the concrete would crumble after a while.


I could barely move a full builder’s barrow of cement (most brickies will tell ya how heavy a full barrow of cement is), yet Hedley and Adam Benson could run with them…  and Hedley was in his seventies.


Some of Hedley’s warries:


The Chain Gang,

He told me a story about when he was draining in North Sydney.  Where he was working there was also a chain gang of prisoners working with picks cutting through the sandstone.  Hedley got himself in trouble with the prison guards several times for taking the prisoners picks and sharpening them.




 Hedley had the idea of growing mushrooms to make some extra $$.  He had them growing in the cool under the house where he lived, and one day went to grab some as he’d promised them to a fella, only to find his wife Joyce had beaten him to the punch and went and sold his crop down the local pub.


The Hotdog Van,


Hedley had a mobile hotdog stand where he sold hotdogs, pies and mushy peas on the weekends down along the river in Penrith.  There was one fellow that would come in every weekend and ask for the hottest mustard he had and would then jokingly have a go a Hedley saying it “isn’t hot at all, was that the best you could do”.  At that time Hedley was working for a soft drink factory, and got hold of some pure capsicum extract they used to make the soft drink.  This was liberally applied to the fella’s hotdog the next time he showed at the van.  Hedley said he could see the steam coming out this guy's ears and he NEVER asked for a HOT hotdog again after that day.


The Dodgy Brickie,

 At one time he was building brick fences for a company, and employed a bloke who was supposed to be a top notch Brickie, only to find that after a whole day brick laying, this guy had used less than a quarter of a bag of cement in the mud he was making.  The entire fence fell with one push, the guy was sacked and Hedley had to redo the whole lot by himself.


Those Damn Goats,

 The next door neighbours had about a dozen goats, and helping old’ Hedley chase these critters out of his Pumpkin and Melon patches was akin to keystone cops, Pumpkins flying and goats running in all directions.  Even with an electric fence ….  Pinching his Tomatoes and eating all Joyce’s Flowers round the house, we even found one that had died, choked on a coke can – goats really will eat anything…


Parramatta Road,


For those of you who know Sydney know that Parramatta road is one of the busiest roads in the place.  Yet Hedley remembered a time when he and 3 other fellows where piled into a (it think it was) model T ford with the top down, zigzagging up Parramatta road playing the accordion and singing at the tops of their lungs.. Not a car in sight.

(Picture of Parramatta Road dated 1950)


The Pine Trees,

 One day I went over to Hedley’s place, and he excitedly told me he was going into the Christmas tree racket.  On the back of his Ute where e over 2000 baby pine trees all about 1 ½ foot tall.  It took us days to plant them all.  Unfortunately he never got the chance to harvest any of them, and if you go past the old place now the trees are all pushing 30 feet tall, it’s like old growth Forrest.



 I went with Hedley one weekend up to Bathurst to lay some piano wire snares on a property to catch some “rarebits”.  We set the snares around the burrows and retired to an old train carriage that was left on the property as a feed shed.  After about an hr there was an almighty racket and we raced over to find the biggest feral cat I’ve ever seen caught by its paw.  This thing had a head the size of a soccer ball –no joke – and we had to wait till it tired itself out before we could free it.  After a few Hrs it finally faded.  We thought it was dead, but the Cat jumped up with a hiss and ran off into the night.  Frightened the bejasus out of both of us.


Mushroom compost,

 Old’ Hedley always on the lookout found a mushroom farm in Londonderry that was giving away it’s spent peat mushroom compost.  Off we go with the 6 foot hungry sides on his old Ute and brought a load home – all light as it was fresh from the kilns where they dry it to kill off any remaining spores.  The second load was WAY more interesting as it had rained overnight.  That poor old Ute limped home at a top pace of 40km’s an hr with the mud flaps dragging parallel to the ground.  Was the last load we ever took from there...


Fireworks at the Brin (slightly off track)

 We had a couple of Blokes who got their cracker licences and where letting off fireworks at one of the do’s we where having at the RARC.  Watching all of us scramble as the 4 inch starburst mortars vibrated out of the clay ground and lay down prior to going off was the funniest thing I’ve seen.  People diving in all directions as these things wher e taking off horizontally – showering sparks in all directions. Lesson learned, always use sand to mount the big fireworks J


I miss the old fella and I’m sure I’ll think of some more warries to add to this list.


RIP me old mate, still thinking of ya.


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                                 Walking for Exercise


    Summer is a time when we tend to be more active and to spend more time outdoors. Naturally this is a good thing. But our exercise shouldn't be confined to simply periods of good weather or consigned to a gym. Nor does it mean that to be healthy, we have to lift weights, run for miles or go to other physical extremes. According to a recent study on physical activity conducted by the University of Missouri, just moving regularly throughout the day appears to be the key to good health.

    The American Heart Association says we should all strive to take 10,000 steps a day, but many of us get less than half that amount. This is because today so many people are confined to desk jobs. The problem with being so sedentary is that your blood sugar levels spike more after eating than someone who is getting up and moving a lot. And blood sugar spikes are definitely not good for us. Associate Professor John Thyfault of the University of Missouri who led this study on movement and health concludes that, “Spikes and swings in blood sugar after meals have been linked to the development of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.”

    There are lots of ways to enjoy the health benefits of movement, even if you are shut inside due to the weather or your desk job. You can start by:

  • avoiding the elevator and taking the stairs,
  • parking farther away and walking to work or the store,
  • wearing a pedometer to see how many steps you are actually taking.
  • try sitting on an exercise ball at your desk
  • Get up at least once an hour to move around
  • Fetch a drink of water,
  • make that trip to the bathroom
  • walk those files to the person they go to right away

These are all great ways to boost your activity levels.  The key is to be up as many times as possible during the day getting those steps in.

    Whether at home or in the office, make it a point to go for a walk when the weather is good, even if it's just around the block. If you are stuck inside at home, turn on the radio and dance to a few tunes, or pull out your favorite exercise video and give it a go, even if it's just for a few minutes. If you have stairs at home, make sure to use them frequently. If not, get up frequently and move around your house.

The key is to never sit too long in any one place.

    Being healthier is only steps away. Get up and get moving. 
You'll feel more energy and be doing good things for your body.

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                          Where did "Piss Poor" come from?


Interesting History:

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot. And then once it was full it was taken and sold to the tannery... if you had to do this to survive you were "Piss Poor”. But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't even afford to buy a pot...They "didn't have a pot to piss in" and were the lowest of the low. The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be.


Here are some facts about the 1500's

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell, Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.


Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water. Then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children, last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"


Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath.
It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs."


There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings. Could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor."


The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery. In the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, It would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)


In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme:“Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old”.


Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.


  • Those with money had plates made of pewter.
  • Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
  • Bread was divided according to status.
  • Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.
  • Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom; “of holding a wake”.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave.

When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, “saved by the bell” or was "considered a dead ringer”.

And that's the truth.

Now, whoever said History was boring!!!

So get out there and educate someone! ~~~

Share these facts with a friend.

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, 'What the heck happened?'


We'll be friends until we are old and senile. Then we'll be new friends.

Hydroponic vegetables

Hedley and i worked on a number of Hydroponic setups, these where for growing beans, tomato's and Lettuce.  I will draw up some plans of the gear we set up.and put them here.  Well worth the effort as the vegetables from Hydroponics are very tasty.

 Here is a E Book worthy of Note along the same vein - Food4Wealth. The New Craze Of Growing Food At Home With The Launch Of A Break-out Quality Product. This is something Hedley was Greatly into.  And there is NOTHING like homegrown without all the pesticides and growth hormones / steroids of the commercial vegies.

Click Here!

The Diags for the Hydroponics and also Aquaponics we had set up are in  Progress, Bear with me as I do bits and pieces on this site :-)

For those that dont know, Aquaponics is similar to Hydroponics but MUCH cheaper as you do not buy nutrients.  The idea is to have fish in a tank, and filter their water using the plants.  The Plants grow and thrive on the waste from the fish and the cycle goes round.  Very easy to implement.

How To Help Someone Cope With Grief eBook.

Its Awful When Someone You Love Goes Through The Pain Of Bereavement But Theres No Need To Feel Helpless In The Face Of Grief. This Book Is Full Of Little Ways (and Big Ways) You Can Help Someone You Care About Cope With Grief That Little Bit Better.


Click Here for more information!


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