author William Russell Andrew was born in
a brilliantly successful career, he and wife Helen and three children went to
the Gold Coast in
Read a sample of the book:
Tom Lovemuscle Jones is my
name, women my weakness and it started in primary school.
assembly on break-up day I gazed at the sky, the anthem was sung, and then the
headmaster stepped to the rostrum and read out my name. The other students
gasped for I had won a prize. My marbles dropped to the ground and I looked
around the courtyard. I was being stared at. Me! A prize!
clever girl in pigtails looked at me in a way no girl had ever done before. I
wondered why, and at that tender age how indeed could any boy know the mind of a
girl, when the headmaster suddenly appeared before me.
you decided where to go, what school, young Tom, when you finish here,” he
said. His stomach bulged over his pants, his hands tugged his braces, and he
leant backwards to balance his weight.
dad is a draughtsman, sir, so I’ll go to the technical school, sir, and be
like him, sir.”
Why? Go the High School, Tom, where you can learn French and Latin.”
want to do practical things sir, rather than talk to the French or the Latins,”
I replied conscious of the eyes of the girl on me. Had the headmaster had any
brains, which he did not, all the pompous man had to do was point out that the
girls went to High Schools where-as I had chosen a boys only technical school.
days I ran to school to use up my energy and I knew that the clever girl lived
in a house on the main road. Her garden was huge, and her mother was forever in
occupation armed with hedge clippers, and her father always raked the leaves
from the trees in the late afternoon, and he watered at weekends, and her big
brother played with bows and arrows after school.
afternoon I heard a female voice call out my name. I stopped running, looked to
where the voice seemed to come, but saw no-one. I was about to resume running
when I heard the clever girl say in a loud whisper, “here I am, beside the
I zipped into the garden through an open gate and indeed she was beside the garage, in the space between it and the fence, barely one foot wide it was, with asbestos sheets on one side and rotten timber palings on the other. There I grasped one of the basic rules of life, one that few people ever learn: grab the moment to kiss and cuddle whenever and wherever you can, even though usually it is in cramped spaces where danger lurks.
I was a gangly lad and
practised athletics in our backyard. The sand pit I had once used to make sand
castles became the landing pit for the long jump. It was in the corner near the
back fence: I drew a line to show the spot from which I would jump, and then
marked a track across the lawn and along the clothes line, and then to get a
longer run-up cleared a path through the pumpkin patch. Father said nothing for
he was a tolerant man.
school there I would be, jump after jump, striving with all the earnestness of a
world record holder, until one day I became conscious of a spectator. A girl was
looking over the paling fence to the house at the back.
she said which to me did not need a reply.
do this every day,” she added.
do,” I agreed and why she should say such a silly thing amused me, as I
already knew that.
should do the high jump,” she said and without waiting for my reply she
climbed to the top of the fence and clambered down to face me. No wonder she
suggested the high jump. What a streak she was, skinny and at least two inches
taller than me.
we don’t have a bar to jump over.”
was the first time I had been commissioned to build something. Tall she might
be, but I noticed she had rosebuds where I did not and never would
shrugged her shoulders as if to say I was the male and that carpentry was my
department. I said we needed a long bar and two posts, or only one post if one
of us could hold the bar steady without cheating. By good fortune we found an
old curtain rail in the old backyard bungalow, and then I nailed a series of
nails down the fence post.
can be the other post,” I said.
what I mean, that you hold the other end first.”
she said, “I want to jump first.”
looked at her rosebuds and for reasons I did not fully understand, I graciously
put the bar on a nail to make the bar three feet high and then held the other
went first, and each day she would climb the back fence and we would rake the
sand pit and rig up the bar, and I would let her jump first. We would strive to
outdo each other until the inevitable happened: in fact it happened in the
of us fell awkwardly onto the rake, twisted an ankle and grazed a knee. It was
me, and I stood carefully and then hobbled into the bungalow. She followed, and
that was the day I sat on the bed and she showed me her rosebuds.
not her parents or mine, would wonder at the time we dedicated to our training
for the high jump. They expressed no concern that each day whether it was
raining or not, the girl clambered over the back fence. They did not seem to
notice that we spent a lot of time in the bungalow. If it rained, it was into
the bungalow. If the ground was still sodden after rain, it was the same, into
the bungalow and out with the rosebuds. It also happened if it was too hot or
day I raided my savings and bought a camera and took a photograph of the tall
girl, and kept it.
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