Saturday, May 12, 2012

So things are different here

When I came from the wet walk early this morning, I took off my waistcoat to put in the wash, emptied the zip-pockets. Half a dozen .22 bullets, and a large lock-knife... and as i took the bullets - relics of the morning's walk to see if I could spot any game back to the gun-safe it occurred to me that I could very easily have gone into town etc. having missed those, and always with the knife -- I basically put it on with my trousers, there's always work for it. I'd guess about 85% of the guys coming in from the farms would have something similar in their pockets. It's normal here. Yet, when we went over to Melbourne, a friend was having fits about Barb's Gerber multitool on her belt - because it has a knife (and a saw and a useful thing for taking the stones out of elephants toe-nails, and a million screwdrivers, pliers, wire cutters...) It's about half the size of my normal knife. You can't take a KNIFE with you into a shopping center! Horror.

Here they're working tools. For me, for cutting bailing twine today. I doubt if a day goes past without Barbs using hers (lot of elephants with sore toe-nails here) In the city they're for cutting people I suppose. Here waving one around might cause a mass crocodile Dundee moment 'You call that a knife?' I daresay it's all city laws still here where they are totally meaningless and counterproductive - and totally illegal for all those solid citizens going in to Roberts or Walkers or the library or Post Office. I think we should demand quid pro quo, and have someone at the airport demanding to know if visitors had a bladed implement with a minimum 4 inch blade, and fining them for failing to have essential safety equipment.

It's raining, miserable and wet out. Going up to do the horses was not much fun. Jed (big gelding) hates the wind and was very grumpy. The other two were their normal good-natured selves. Interesting how horses have such different natures.


  1. Now, that was funny, Dave.

    An irony. I frequently use a machete to shorten long grass prior to mowing. Back a few years, last home, we were 3/4 surrounded by an old caravan park, 2.5 metre sword grass everywhere.

    One day I took it into the local shopping centre to be professionally sharpened - sword grass blunts blued steel knives quickly. That's why its so good at making you bleed.

    Anyway, a local copper grabs me, "What are you doing here with an illegal weapon?" or words to that effect. I'm talking a knife that is forty cm long, from six to ten cm wide, weighs about 10 kilos and cuts gumtrees faster than an axe.

    I explain I weekly clear the old caravan park so my kids can walk to school without having to walk on the roadway at the bridge. He says, "OK", and lets me go. If I had been carrying a folding knife with a six inch blade, which I did in the Scouts and Army cadets / military trainee for about 15 years, I'd have been arrested on the spot - he wouldn't have had a choice in front of so many witnesses.

    We are a rural, highly industrialised, small city. No one was scared of my machete, people would have been terrified of my flick knife. Yet the machete is FAR more dangerous. Its all in the perception.



  2. Related but total aside.

    People talk about modern stuff as if its always better than old stuff. This was given to me 51 years ago by my Grandfather, who'd got it from his Father or Grandfather. The lecture on having to sharpen with a file and never a stone, because if its too sharp bits will break off and chipped blades don't work, well, Grandad told you until he saw you "believed", or else. I was his youngest grandchild, so he must have seen my awe at his woodworking tools.

    The professional sharpen was because my manual jobs over the years had left the sharp edge all skew whiff - it needed to be straightened. The guy had been working on farming gear most of his life, he understood my request and high regard for it and did a marvelous job.

    Unfortunately I cannot yet call it a "grandfather's machete", it still has its original handle and blade. The wood has shrunken about 15% over the years in length and breadth, but if "it ain't broke, don't fix it".

    My younger son turned 18 today - Yeehaa!! - and is losing his lunacy and become a personable young man. I've been training him on and off over the years, and his will be the next hand to hold it.


  3. Related, but even further aside. The 51 years reminded me.

    When I was 51, I was demonstrating the {braggart} {idiot} "Dance of Death", flicking and throwing the machete around my neck, between my legs, around my legs etc. (No wonder DEMON is the first part of the word demonstration. There's a phrase for your wonderful books).

    I suddenly realised I wasn't 21 any more. So I stopped and that's one stupidity I haven't repeated.

    I almost crushed my left foot this morning, knocking over an 80Kg block being used to support a fence. So, in some aspects I'm still stupid. At least my wife established a rule a few years ago, "Ian, if you hurt yourself, take the day off from whatever you are doing". Thanks Susie, 'cause its true, if I'm in clumsy mode, STOP is the only solution. I'm really not keen on any more broken ribs, let alone a crushed foot. Two chunks of concrete initiated blood loss, 4 mm saved me from the crushed foot. Thank you Murphy for being on my side this time, it makes up for the ladder you removed, dropping me 30 feet on top of it, breaking six ribs.

    signed, the Clutz

  4. I found it's all how you are dressed. Carrying a bare theatre claymore (from The Scottish Play) slung over one's back, whilst wearing monks robes and a gas mask - no problems all day. Carrying the same sword (wrapped) three blocks from my office to the theatre whilst wearing an expensive suit. Stopped four times. And this was well before the maniac with a sword wandered about Melbourne (with the police scratching their heads as to how to deal with him without the media circus).

    [Although admittedly they changed the law a few years ago in South Australia so that a weapon was officially defined as whatever a police officer thinks is a weapon is considered a weapon, rather than trying to explicitly define what a weapon was. And requiring that anything weaponry be officially licensed and stored securely - which as a law has obvious problems (technically when people bring a set of kitchen knives into the state without first personally visiting a police station to obtain a licence for them they are in violation of the law).]

  5. "which as a law has obvious problems (technically when people bring a set of kitchen knives into the state without first personally visiting a police station to obtain a licence for them they are in violation of the law)"

    Thanks Reverence. Sheesh.


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