Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Cossack Rambler

Hell - Bob cancelled my shift today, leaving me with half my rent ungathered. He rang back about two hours later to say he'd found a car for me to drive but by then I'd gone off on another track with what remained of the day, so I declined. I was over in Newtown looking for the new Little Axe record, Stone Cold Ohio. Driving to Newtown reminded me that, last time I went that way, last Thursday, I got a puncture. Had seen a rug shop in Stanmore, pulled up, did a U-ee, parked, went in. When I came out the back left tyre was almost flat. There's an old-fashioned garage over the way that I'd always wanted to visit, so I went there to reinflate the tyre. But the valve was shot, air was hissing out as fast as it went in. I persuaded the grumpy proprietor to get his man to change it for the spare then carried on to Camperdown. Next day I went to my local guy, Pierre, to get the tube replaced. While he was doing it, drove back to Stanmore to buy a bamboo rug I fancied. When I came back, a fellow who lives in my street was there, waiting for Pierre to give him the pink slip for his classic 1960s Rambler. I've often watched him shuffling up and down the street, he has a peculiar, small-stepped gait, like someone moonwalking in slippers. We chatted while we waited. Turns out he's a Greek from Russia. Grew up in Russia, was educated at a Russian school, speaks the language. Remembers the Nazis rounding up all the Jews in the town and taking them away. They were the first, he said. Later he went down to Greece and later still, 1950, came to Australia. Best country in the world, he observed, a common remark here. When he was in Russia he learned Cossack dancing and it was in a dancing competition here in Sydney that he won the money with which he bought the green Rambler! Wonder if that's why he walks like he does?