Colin Nichol remembers a friend from another world. Once upon a time in a faraway magical place of ancient walls and castles, fortresses and secret tunnels, I stayed with friends who had a dog and a cat. We lived together in a large apartment on the edge of the city centre and everyone except the animals spoke German, French and the local dialect, sometimes all of them at once.  The animals spoke only French. The cat was named Patate, the city was Luxembourg, capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, or in local formal style, Le Grande Duche de Luxembourg. … Continue reading A ONCE UPON A TIME CAT: Colin Nichol

SNOWFALL: Terry Finch

It shouldn’t have been such a surprise – after all it’s deep winter and we’re in Europe. Okay, not the Alps but pretty close, we’re on the northern Italian coast and the locals tell us it’s rare for it to snow. Our bones told us otherwise and so did our eyes. The ice on the trail and the evidence of our warm breath in the freezing air. Our warm, waterproof gloves; the polo tech scarves; our bulky ‘doona’ jackets. The piercing through of our chests as we climbed the steep, cobbled, dimly lit road to our tiny apartment, hidden amongst … Continue reading SNOWFALL: Terry Finch

CAMEL IN THE DAM: Roger Garwood

“Hey, Boss, quick, we got camel in the dam!” “Tiger, don’t call me Boss.” “No, Boss.” It was difficult. I was a ‘whitefella’ managing a ‘blackfella’ community in the mid ‘90s. Reversing a 200 year old programme of brainwashing was an uphill battle. I was working for these people, they were my boss – spinifex people removed from Maralinga where atomic weapons were detonated between 1952 and 1963.  The community of Coonana is 200km east of the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie. Driving dangerously fast on the dusty track the trip takes a little over two hours, most of the time … Continue reading CAMEL IN THE DAM: Roger Garwood


I talked to my dog when at home as there was no one else to talk to anyway.  “That’ll be for me Leo,” when the phone rang and it usually was. His friends didn’t phone anyway, they called in. He understood, he had me well organised, after all it had been nearly fifteen years and to a dog that’s a long time. The equivalent of about 90 human years and he realised he had to make concessions and indulge a younger bloke like me. People who say animals are dumb are dumb themselves. Anyone who has a pet knows they … Continue reading MEMORIES FROM AN OBEDIENT MASTER: Colin Nichol