This story is true, fair dinkum.
It was during the early 1970’s, about the time Lake Benmore was formed in the Mackenzie Country. Our family went to the northern end of the Lake Benmore for our annual holidays every year at a section they call Haldon Arm.
We had a boat and a caravan in those days and went there to enjoy ourselves. At that time, the camping area was new and formed by the Ministry of Works, as part of the lake development. The only building in sight was a typical country dunny, about four feet square, with a bit of a wing in front of a rustic door, for a little privacy.
Some volunteers to the camp had done the job of erecting this ‘Heath Robinson’ contraption over top of a large hole in the ground, again dug by a few volunteers. It had been built with a few sticks of second hand timber and rusty second hand corrugated iron. The seat was one where you never wanted to linger for too long.
Today of course, there are all mod cons abound and every man and his dog gravitates to Haldon Arm at Christmas and New Year, many of them with sole aim in life, to get pissed out of their skull.
In our day, and for several years, I could count the number of families on the fingers of both hands, who spent their holidays at Haldon and we all knew each other.
One man in particular, who was a regular visitor and a keen fisherman, was Dick Holland from Pleasant Point. A really great chap, a friend to all. He was the grandfather of Michael Holland, the T.V. One interviewer we see on screen quite often.
Well anyway, after about three years, the hole where we all made a pit stop at least once a day was beginning to pong in the hot weather, and the pile was getting higher.
According to old Dick, he was a great whistler by the way; he only had one note of course, but he was still a great whistler. But lets continue, Dick thought it was time for a clean out of the dung heap, so bring on the half gallon can of petrol, that was a sure way to heat things up, according to the whistler.
Without mentioning his harebrained scheme to anyone in particular Dick trundles away down to the dunny located behind a willow tree in the distance.
The door was closed so he knocked lightly to satisfy himself that nobody was going to come out with a half-baked bottom.
Dick removed the cap from his petrol can and poured a liberal amount of flammable liquid down the hole. Quickly he replaced the cap and placed the can outside away from the building. Rushing back in he struck a match, dropping it through the seat aperture. The petrol fumes had just enough time to rise steadily toward the seat when the match hit.
That’s when the campers all looked up in unison and shielded their eyes from the suns glare.
There was Dick, taking a few hasty, but awkward steps in retreat midst a cloud of smoke. His hat had gone; and the dunny roof was just steadying itself for its return plunge back to earth.
Shit! I heard one of the neighbours exclaim, as a wind gust from the blast ruffled his hair.
It was several days before we heard that familiar whistle once more. The dunny had its roof, although panel beaten to some extent, returned, and the door, minus a few nails and a board, was as good as new, even though the hinges were twisted somewhat.I’m sure there is a moral this story somewhere, I’m not sure where, but someone is bound to come up with one?
Perhaps next time I will tell you about when Helen got her bikini hooked on a nail on the wharf just as she was about to take off for a round of water skiing
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