Monday, 24 November 2014

Sunday, 25th June, 1837

The situation with Widow Harvey simply cannot continue. Not only do her woeful attempts at culinary blandishment become more and more inedible (the other night she served a soup that looked like Satan's piss and tasted worse. This was followed by - if I'm not mistaken - kangaroos testicles fried in a batter so stodgy that the things could have been shot out of mortars against the Little Corsican's army.)

And every room in the house seems filled with the woman's bubbies. (And by "bubby" I do not mean her baby.) The woman flops out the lacticular appendages at the drop of a hat. I wish someone would drop two hats so she could cover herself up.

The woman has no sense of what is appropriate in a Vice Regal abode. I walked into my office yesterday and she was in there with her back to me, apparently suckling her horrid brat. At the sound of the door opening she turned suddenly and I swear before God, nearly caught me across the temple with her great swinging dug. When a man can't enter his own room for fear of being battered by breasts then action must be taken.

Worse still, when her bosom flapped about my ears I was accompanied by the Reverend Charlie Howard, Master Criminal and Moral Arbiter of the Colony. And if the Gossiping Padre saw what was going on in my office, then no doubt by now every member of his congregation has heard all the milky details.

Therefore I have asked Georgie Stevenson to quietly place an advertisement in the next issue of the Gazette and Register offering a position of cook. No names, of course and enquiries to Stevenson's office. I am paying the Mad Poisoner ten pounds a year for the chance of having her murder me, so for someone halfway decent I am prepared to go as high as sixteen. We shall see.

Charlie had come to see me about an issue that has him in the sort of tizzy that only Howard can get himself into.

It seems that word has got about that Light made provision for a cemetery down in the south west corner of the city - by the corner of South and West Terraces. Of course, just because Light stuck it on the map doesn't mean that it is actually there yet. It is on my list of things to do but the list is currently up to six hundred and nineteen items and fixing up the grave yard currently stands at four hundred and nine.

But it appears that people just can't wait. We have had a few deaths here in the colony, both adults and children, and their relatives have decided to bury them in the proper place. Howard tells me that people have been digging graves by themselves and burying their loved ones themselves.

I'm not sure that Charlie's objection isn't that people doing it themselves means he doesn't get paid for his professional services, but the chief issue seems to be that people are being too damned lazy to dig the graves properly and to the right depth. It seems that the great beneficiaries of the grave yard at the moment are a large number of very well fed dogs who have started to frequent the area. And need I mention the offensive smell?

Well, I suppose we must set about finding a sexton and perhaps start to think about regulating the cemetery. Six hundred and twenty one it seems.

The half man half rabbit has managed to get it into his head that the trees need to be cleared from the city square. With an inefficiency typical of Fisher he has set about chopping away at anything that looks vegetative with little plan or little reference to any map. Light stepped in and told him what an arse he was when he start chopping down trees in the Colonel's beloved "park lands".

Eventually Brown and Mann took him aside and suggested he try cutting down the trees in the "roadways" that are to be seen nowhere else but on Light's map. Clearly Fisher thought this a topping idea because he's been wandering about the town with a pot of paint, marking trees that need to go, I heard a rumour that he's planning to offer all comers threepence a trunk in order to get the trees cut as quickly as possible.

My remaining Marines - who have been christened The Praetorian Guard by local wags - have decided to camp out now that the Buffalo has left. They have set up a campsite in the park lands on the banks of the stream at the corner of North and East Terraces and hold roaring entertainments there all through the night. To make themselves appear useful they have taken to wandering about the place, "arresting" any poor soul who has the misfortune to catch their eye.

Last week John Hallett, who is as deaf as a plank of teak, was going about his business in Hindley Street, when the Marines accosted him and demanded to know where he was going. It seems that the Marines had decided, for what reason God alone knows, that Hallett, as upright and respectable a man as ever wore shoe leather, looked suspiciously like a desperado. Of course, Hallett,bless his soul, didn't hear a word of what they said and just ignored them. He suddenly found himself bundled off to the Marines' camp where he was manacled to a tree and left there, out in the rain, over night. (Where they got the idea for this I do not know)

I have smoothed things over with Hallett and  - with more difficulty - Mrs Hallett, but really, the Marines must learn to use some commonsense.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Sunday, 18th June, 1837

Although I never thought I'd say it, but I do believe that I was sorry to see the old Buffalo depart for Sydney this week.

All that time on board in command on the voyage out here, then the time in Holdfast Bay, living on board with the Marines and the prisoners in jail. At the time I couldn't wait to be off the thing, but I must admit to a lump in my throat at it dipped over the horizon out of sight.

I suppose that at least some of that emotion was a sense of apprehension at what the Commissioners were going to say about the expense of keeping the ship and crew here. I don't doubt for a moment that they had some money making venture in mind and I don't doubt either that by keeping the Buffalo here I have spoiled those plans right royally.

I will be hearing more of it all, no doubt.

If truth be told I think that in the back of my mind was the fanciful notion that while the Buffalo was at anchor I always had the option of packing a few things in a bag, going on board and telling Master Wood "Get me the hell out of here!"  Now, it seems, my last hope of escape has vanished.

Also vanished are most of the Marines. I have kept a small band of the relatively less troublesome ones to act as my personal guard, but the rest are headed off on board the old Buffalo.

There were tears aplenty as they left and much sharing of anecdotes. "Oh Captain," they would say, with tears running down their cheeks, "do you remember when....." and trail of into some tale of disaster and disgrace that I was meant to find amusing.

The Marines as they saw themselves

Unfortunately I did indeed remember every incident - every single one - and also remembered the inconvenience and danger all of them caused. So instead of meeting the departing Marines with a "Well down thou good and faithful servants", there was a certain froideur about me as I waved them a Vice Regal farewell..

The remaining Marines are to be set to work as guards for prisoners. At present we have few prisoners in the Colony, but then we also have few marines, so swings and roundabouts.

I am loathe to mention it, but before they left the crew took inventory and surprised us all by finding the missing sail.


I have spent the past month or so blaming Charlie Howard and believing him to be a sneak thief and a hypocrite but it seems that his story of the sail for the church being given gratis by the Captain of -I think - the Cygnet might well have been true. In which case - I am loathe to say - I may have been wrong. Fortunately I have been sufficiently restrained in making my suspicions known that I have no need to apologise to the Padre, but I admit to feeling a little sheepish about the whole thing.

And speaking of sheepish. Those damned sheep I had from Archer in exchange from naming a street after him have vanished!

Of course - do I really need to say this? - the Marines were involved. Asking one of them to care for them was clearly a mistake. James Fish - a delightful young lad, but thick as Tewksbury mustard - was appointed "shepherd" and sent out with the fifty best Dorset. That he kept referring to them as "wooly dogs" might have been a clue to his lack of experience in management of livestock and I suspect he lost them by trying to train them to fetch sticks. At any rate, within a week young Jim Fish was in my office telling me that "all them fluffy hounds have run away".
Still, leave them alone and they will come home I suppose. Either that or the natives will dine on wooly wombats.

Mad Menge has been out and about again and says he has discovered a silver mine in the foothills near the base of what Gilles has been pleased to call "Mount Osmond". Of course no-one believes the German. Not after the rush he caused last week after he declared he had found a deposit of sapphires on Wakefield Street.

Widow Harvey came to me during the week and said that "it breaks my heart yah Rexellence, but I feel I need to apologise to you."

I was stunned! There was so much she needed to apologise for and I was fascinated to see where she might begin. I asked her to continue.

"Well," she said, "I cannot help but feel that with my wee sweet little mite Harriet in the house to care for I might well have let the standard of my cooking to slip from my usual high standards."

I admit to being gobsmacked.

"But sir," she continued, "you may be assured to yourself that my collations and niceties will soon return to their usual high degree of tastefulness and delectibilty."

And to prove  it that night she pulled out all the stops and produced what she referred to as "Rutland Ragout" (she pronounced it "Rag Out") Who would have thought that our smallest county might have given us such an enormous offense!