'Ross Schweitzer presents' is my new column. Editor Jim [and I] believe that le plumier, as a title, has been well and truly plucked.
It will be free of anything you can read elsewhere, or see on the television 'news'. There are always other matters of interest that you never knew you cared about; or for that matter had ever heard of in the first place.
Apart from the people in East Gippsland for whom my good wife Evelyn and her sister Val are still knitting pure wool beanies. the other people with whom beanies are identified are builders. Why do they shave their heads, then?
 
When I was much younger, I went to a building site with my late father. In those immediate post - War days, a lot of homes and small suburban factories were being constructed; if you wanted furniture, clothes, or rope even , you bought Australian.
 
We were watching Fred, a brickie, working on the facade of a cabinetry factory in Oakleigh. He was two storeys up, loading a few excess bricks into a wooden barrel so he could lower the lot to ground level, via a beam and pulley system. Just then, a gust of wind sprang up and dislodged the barrel. Fred immediately grasped the rope as it went though the pulley, in order to stop the barrel. He received rope burns on his hands and jammed his fingers in the pulley.
 
Luckily the barrel hit the ground at the same time, thus releasing the pressure on Fred's fingers. When the barrel made impact, some bricks were ejected, making Fred heavier than the barrel of bricks.  Still clinging to the rope [like a drowning man to a straw] Fred descended. Half - way down, Fred met the barrel, with some bricks protruding, coming up. He received severe injuries to his ankles, shins and groin. This impact somehow caused Fred to lose his presence of mind, and although he was not quite at ground level, he let go of the rope. As misfortune would have it, Fred landed upon the previously ejected bricks. These inflicted deep lacerations to his buttocks, and further ones elsewhere.
 
Of course, the ascending barrel became heavier. After a pause, that seemed of an extended time, but was in fact a micro second, my father and I saw the barrel and its remaining bricks plummet earthward. Fred emitted a plaintive cry and put both injured hands over his head. Whether or not this act was to protect his beanie, we shall never know.
 
 
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