For one of my assignments to get my photojournalism qualification I did a story on a local character, Darren McCubbin from Sale. The weekly writing challenges prompts us to describe a character who is in our life. Though I no longer live in Sale and I wrote the article on him in 1995, he is the one person I would say is a character I could describe with clarity. So here goes.


At the time of writing the article Darren had won the world title for town crying, a great achievement to say he hails from a city of only 15000 people. After speaking to Darren it is clear that the stage and town crying was something he was born to. Darren has a commanding presence even though he is not overly big in stature.

A portly frame would suggest a very rotund person but Darren is not beefy at all, he is just portly. Though height wise he stands below six foot he has the presence of a person of stature. Vivid blue eyes with an impish sparkle provide a great insight into a colourful and fun person. A genuine smile conveys a desire to make others smile.

In full town crier regalia Darren is in his element. A bright blue outfit complete with frilly shirt, white stockings and buckled shoes is topped by the incessantly ringing bell. Don’t get too close when he is in full cry, your ear drums will think they have been at a Metallica concert.

Darren was the Mayor of Wellington Shire, where the city of Sale is, and is now a councillor and putting his powerful voice and presence to good use.

English: Darren McCubbin

English: Darren McCubbin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I tire quickly of hackneyed phrases or words, one such word is surreal. Always on news reports the person indicates the experience was “surreal”, when their description suggests anything but surreal. So it is with trepidation that I address today’s daily prompt – whoa.


So to my “surreal” experience. I have never been a great partaker in alcohol or illicit drugs, though in the past I did have one or two experiences with marijuana. One such experience is my “surreal” moment.

Before I left Australia for Brunei I lived in a South Yarra apartment. My neighbours were a young New Zealand couple, the guy worked as a security guard at a prestigious Toorak hotel. One of his favourite activities outside of work was “spotting”. Not sure if this is peculiar to New Zealand or not, but it is the process of taking two kitchen knives and heating them on the gas burner. Then putting the hot knives on to marijuana buds and sucking up the smoke through a bottomless wine bottle. Sounds wacky I know, but I was up for trying most things once.

The problem was this was a Sunday lunch time and I was supposed to be going out that afternoon to help with the race car. So one hour later I was picked up to go and work on the car. The drive takes about half an hour. In my state it really seemed like it took 2 hours. The first I realised was that everything seemed to be really slowed down, even slower than a slow motion replay. We talked all the way to the place where we worked on the car, but I answered really slowly. Even when we got there I was talking to Mike and Kaye and I was sure that I was talking in extreme slow motion.

I really don’t know if they noticed, I am sure they must have, but that was the most “surreal” experience of my life. I haven’t touched an illicit drugs since then and have no intention of ever revisiting them, it was too weird.

Todays daily prompt – http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/daily-prompt-childhood/

My life is pretty wonderful now and that makes it hard to say what would you change about your childhood. The reason being that having life wonderful now, if I changed any part of my childhood would I be where I am now?

Growing up I went to 5 different primary schools and 1 high school. I didn’t have a lot of friends because of the moving around. We also lived away from the rest of our family, so growing up we didn’t have grand parents around like other kids did. These things had an impact, but I learned to cope with them. The two most significant things about my life that I would change or would have done differently are being bullied and spending habits.

I was the youngest of two by 11 months, and suffered a domineering brother up until my late teens. There was a time, at fifteen, when I fought back and dad had to separate us. After that dad said, “that had been coming for fifteen years!” Which looking back at now is astounding, like why didn’t you do something about it if you saw it for so long? But parents do what they do because they are learning too as we grow and trying to cope with their own lives.

My brother wasn’t the only person to make me a target, throughout my five years of high school I was verbally or physically bullied. Mainly by one or two people in particular. The problem started when I went to school in a uniform, one of only a handful who did, and I also had a Yorkshire accent, which made me a target being different. Also looking back I am different in many ways to others, I see things differently, I rarely conform to the general ways others do. I have never been a victim of peer group pressure. Maybe my brother’s domination was the only peer group pressure, forcing me to be his test pilot for his wacky ideas. Anyway I lived through it all and the character flaws I have now, or have corrected along the way, are from other things and not as a result of bullying, though one councillor did suggest that my being different and being how I am is part of the reason bullies bully me, they feel threatened by me. So I think these experiences made me a stronger person, so if I changed them or changed how I was to be less of a target, I am not sure that I would have the inner strength I have.

The other thing I would have changed is spending or saving habits. Again if I went back and changed them, I probably would have taken completely different paths in life. When I was 13 I worked as a paperboy, I made quite a bit of money because I had a lot of good customers who tipped well. I did this for three years, the first year I had to give half to my brother (he was supposed to do the household chores, but our parents found out he forced me to do them so that stopped). The rest of the money I just frittered away on magazines, books and music. Three years of earning quite a bit of money, that I didn’t need to spend. Then for the last two years of high school I worked with the night fillers in a supermarket and as a milk runner. All of which gave me lots of money, but I spent it before I got the next pay. Crazy attitude to money that has haunted me and affected my ability to look after what I earn all my life! So if I could go back and change that, maybe I would, but then I am sure my path would have been completely different had I not done it that way.

With my own kids, I would have preferred if they could spend half of the year living with us in Brunei rather than the entire time with their mother. Given I was not legally permitted to get their passports I had no option about that. I am glad their formative years had a positive impact and they are all pretty good people doing well for themselves, not sure how much of my influence helped that though.



I held you close for one last time, just as the funicular reached the terminus. This was the first time in our lives I had the courage to tell you how I felt. I know the timing wasn’t right, but I got the feeling this would be the last time we were going to see each other, so I just had to say it.

We were born 2 weeks apart and have been constantly in each others company for the entirety of our 18 years. I had girlfriends through high school, but soon left them when they couldn’t get along with you. Just as I am sure your boyfriends jealousy drove a wedge between you and them. None of them understood what we mean to each other.

Now you are leaving, off to see the world and study in Beijing. I know you will make good with your life and be all that you can be. I really don’t know how long it will take me to get over you, but I know that it will be equally hard for you. Though, from what you have said you have never felt anything but brotherly and sisterly love between us. I know I shouldn’t feel the way I do, but I can’t help it.

I just wish our fathers were not brothers.


Today’s daily post challenge asks us to remember what life was like at 16 and if it has turned out the way we planned.
I was sixteen in 1981, year 11 of high school. I was hoping to become a chef, so I applied for Hotel Management and Catering at the local institute. I passed all the exams with flying colors, did the interviews well, but was told I was too immature and to come back the following year. It wouldn’t have mattered if I did go back even up till I turned 35, I was immature then, so the reason for not being accepted wouldn’t have changed.
I never did get to being a chef, though I did work in a Pizza shop at one stage and I do love cooking, which you can see from my cooking posts.

I would not have imagined how my life has turned out. I finished high school the year after turning 16, didn’t get into university but I did get a job in the local bank. Hated working there, then worked as a store-man which I hated too, both were really mundane jobs for me. I then joined the Air Force as a photographer, and left after an altercation with a Flight Sargent. Then crazy me worked in a bank again, which hadn’t changed. By this time I had lived in 3 different cities in Australia. I then ended up in my current industry, Oil and Gas, working my way up from a draftsmen on a drawing board to a CAD operator and now to Regional Data Management Coordinator for Chevron back in Perth. I have worked all over Australia, South East Asia and London. I met my darling in Brunei in 2000, which has turned my life into something more wonderful than I could have ever imagined. So looking back I have come full circle by coming back to Perth, but I have traveled the world and met the love of my life and found a great job in a great international company, which should see me through to retirement…

Daily Prompt: Sweet Sixteen

*Warning – M rated – contains adult themes 🙂 No it’s not a movie.

Anthea and Simon had been married for 4 years and trying to have a baby from day one. Nothing worked. So they went to the clinic and had check ups. All seemed to be in order. The doctor suggested a new method to enhance their chances of having a baby. He gave Anthea three little silver ball bearings and said “Go home and take these with a glass of milk. Make love every night for the next five nights and then come back in three weeks.”
Anthea follows the instructions to the letter, obviously Simon enjoyed the five nights in a row part. She returned to the clinic three weeks later and the doctor did some tests.
“Congratulations Anthea you are pregnant.” This was fantastic news for Anthea and Simon so they eagerly awaited the time when they could tell the whole family. After three months Anthea had an ultrasound that showed she was having triplets. Though this was a shock they were over the moon. They announced it to their family. All progressed well and they had two girls and a boy.
The triplets grew with no problems at all.
Then on the day of their 13th birthday Melissa came screaming from the bathroom, “Mum, mum, I was having a pee and there was a pinging noise. I looked down and I had peed a ball bearing!”
“That’s alright Mel, I know what it is, it is nothing to worry about.”
A few hours later Meloni came screaming from the bathroom, “Mum, mum, I was having a pee and there was a pinging noise. I looked down and I had peed a ball bearing!”
“That’s alright Loni, I know what it is, it is nothing to worry about.”
Then an hour later Martin came screaming from the bathroom.
“Don’t tell me Martin you were having a pee and a ball bearing dropped out?”
“No, I was I spanking the monkey and I shot the cat!”

This is mix tape of different aspects of my life

50 Years – The Uncanny X-men – Always wonder where we will be in 50 years

One Love – Bob Marley – My darling is my one and only love
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for – U2 – Though I don’t mind my job I still don’t think I have found what I am looking for.
Nothing Else Matters – Metallica – I love you, you love me and nothing else matters.
I’ve Been Everywhere – Lucky Star – Just about, having moved so many flippin’ times.
Second Chance – Shinedown – Seems that it doesn’t matter what I do I am never good enough for my family.
Dick’taphone – Kevin Bloody Wilson – Sometimes I really have felt like saying this to some so called “service” providers.
Basket Case – Green Day – I think I really was on the brink in a recent job I had.
Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd – I think we need to be at times to shield us from the traditional boring mentalities.
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd – How I feel when my darling gets very introverted.
Like Paradise – Van Halen – Where I hope we are heading when we can retire to somewhere chillaxable – e.g. Luzern or Country France



I went to the movies the other day with my wife and seventeen kids.
I was sitting there watching the movie when the guy in front of me kept swaying from side to side.
I tapped him on the shoulder an said “Excuse me sire but would you mind not swaying from side to side I can’t watch the movie because of it?”
His reply, “I am sorry I am a merchant seaman and I have been at sea for six months, it takes a while for this to stop, I will try.”
So I sit back and watch the movie for 10 minutes and he starts again.
So I tap him on the shoulder again, “Sir you are doing it again, do mind stopping please?”
“I’ll try but I am a merchant seaman and it takes a while for this to stop.”
Another 10 minutes goes by and he starts again.
“Sir you are doing it again, please stop!”
“I can’t, as I said I am a merchant seaman and I have been at sea for six months.”
“Well sir, you see all the children here, they are mine and this is my wife”, as I stood up and did a pelvic thrust, “you don’t see me walking around like this do you?!!”

Mensa International

We have all seen them, those annoying pop ups that ask you if you know the next number in a sequence or can solve the puzzle, claiming you may have a high IQ. So we eagerly click in the hope that our ego will be sated and we are more intelligent than our peers. Is that really what we seek when we click these puzzle pop-ups, validation of our brain capacity? For me I just love puzzles and always have, but that is not an indication of intelligence just a pastime that I enjoy, just like my quiz show addiction.

While living in London we watched a program on the Discovery channel about Intelligence, IQ and Mensa. This show provided information on home testing and how to join Mensa, so just for the heck of it I ordered the home test. Much to my surprise I was informed that I could possibly have an IQ high enough to join Mensa. However, before I could sit the official test in London we moved to Perth. So I looked out for how to sit the test here in Perth. I sat the test and eagerly awaited my results. The letter arrived saying I had been accepted.

During my time with Mensa I have contributed to the Australian magazine, writing some profile articles and others, though I was extremely busy and was not overly happy with what I submitted. I now assist with the editing of stories submitted for the magazine. This is my only involvement and contribution.

So to the point of this post. Having been accepted to the society of genius I have not really achieved anything or contributed anything. In life I haven’t really contributed a great deal, yes I am only 47, but shouldn’t it be that someone who has a special gift that puts them in the top 2% of the population provide more, give more of their gift to benefit everyone?
This is my quandary, this is my self inflicted pain, I want to contribute, I want to make the world a better place for everyone. The problem is I don’t know what, how or where to start.
One common theme I have experienced when talking to fellow Mensans is the lack of stimulation mentally at school, in work and just day to day life. This may come over as arrogant or condescending, this is not the intention. I really do struggle to comprehend why the work I do is so easy to me, but so difficult to explain, teach or get others to do it. I find my work rather tedious and unstimulating, I have changed jobs on more than 20 occasions because of this lack of stimulation. Though now I am resigned to thinking it is always like this and just do the work and get stimulation in other ways. No not chemicals or any other physical stimulants. I get my stimulation by reading, learning languages, playing music and conversing with my love. My reading includes the posts here on WordPress, I really do enjoy reading the creativity that is here on this site from everyone. So  a big thank you to everyone on WordPress, especially those I follow who help stimulate my brain and provide some relief to the mundane existence in the work force.
So whilst it is good to have something that others do not have, it is up to the individual to use this to benefit others in any way possible. I personally want to leave a legacy behind, but not for the fame or recognition, but to help mankind, I was born with a gift that I should be using to make a difference to the world.

Dear Andrew,

20 years ago I wrote to you/me as a 14-year-old, telling you/me to not worry about changing things and to know that life works out well, up to 47.

This letter is in the opposite direction and by the time you/I read this, hopefully you/I will be long retired, and have lots of places to live around the world.

You/I will have set up lots of hospitals and schools around the world, helping to educate and heal those who have little or nothing.

As you move to the later stages as of your/my life you will reflect on the things you have achieved and provided in your/my life. Your legacy is complete and you/I can enjoy the rest of your/my life together with your/my darling.

Thank you for listening way back when we were 14.

All my love


Next Page »