Dedicated, with love, to my wife Zaira,
a remarkable woman in every way.
John Scarbrow was born in London and immigrated to
Australia in 1972. He has been married for 30 years and has five grown-up
He is now retired, having been a sales and marketing
manager for a large clothing manufacturer.
John moved to the Bundaberg area in 1990 where he and his
wife hobby farmed, which increased to growing and sending vegetables and fruit
to the big markets in Sydney and Brisbane.
Just John and his wife, Pride and Pain with little profit,
15 years in beautiful, pristine Deepwater.
READ A SAMPLE:
I have known Tim Jackson all my life, or truthfully, since
the age of six. His father’s name was Jack, and he was Jack’s son. He had a
daughter as well but in name derivation there was no record of a Jack daughter.
From that early age we had become best mates, via a
football, I suppose. We were great football fans, and it was a ball that brought
Just after the war the kids used to play football in the
streets, amidst the wreckage caused by German bombers. At that time, playing
football, I did not know Tim Jackson. That’s before he kicked the ball that
knocked me down. I saw red! I jumped up, approached him, said a few words and a
scuffle started. It was broken up by a passing policeman.
Tim’s lip was bleeding and he had a graze on his forehead.
I had a swelling under my right eye and blood coming from my nose. We looked
daggers at each other!
“Now, boys, it’s over,” said the policeman. “You both won
so shake hands, say sorry and smile.”
Tim and I have been smiling ever since.
We went through school together, every Saturday we watched
Millwall Football Club together, we went through university together and we
graduated together. That’s friendship! Mind you, we have had fights, but always
in support of one another.
I lived in a flat with my parents at that time. It was only
a one-bedroom flat and since our conception, my two brothers and I had slept in
the front room, a couple of us in a pull-down couch and the other in a pull-down
cabinet. You can imagine it was very crowded. When Tim’s sister got married,
there was a spare bedroom in their house. His father, Jack, knowing my
situation, offered accommodation to me. I spoke delicately to my parents and
they saw the advantages of me accepting Jack’s offer.
“As long as you visit at least once a week,” said my
So I moved into their house, and I had my own room. It
looked out onto a well-tended garden, with flowers one side and vegetables the
My name, incidentally, is James, James Whittaker, a
recently qualified solicitor.
I insisted on paying board but Jack would not hear of it.
“Just give me £1 a week to cover your food, son. Do you
“I used to help my grandad with his vegetable garden when I
was six years old. I loved it. He got me to follow the milk carts when they were
drawn by horses. He gave me a bucket and shovel to pick up the horse dung.”
“Okay then, James, as I’m getting on, and have a dodgy
back, you can look after the vegetable patch. Is that okey-dokey with you?”
“I’ll be delighted, Jack. Okay calling you Jack?”
“As long as you don’t want me to call you Mr Whittaker,” he
replied with a chuckle. Then we shook hands to seal the agreement.
I looked at the vegetable patch from a distance. It was a
large area but mostly bare soil and weeds. The only plant showing a bit of life
was a climbing bean, with scarlet flowers and unpicked bean pods. Perhaps I had
underestimated the work ahead, although I’d call on Tim in a crisis.
Each morning, we two unemployed solicitors took turns to
visit the nearby newsagent to purchase The Times newspaper. The agent’s
name was Fred, a friendly bloke, always smiling, showing tobacco-stained teeth
with lots of gaps. He had bad acne. It was rumoured that his face frightened
some women and kids.
“Still looking for work then, Tim? I suppose that James is
in the same boat. Talking about boats, why don’t you look at positions overseas?
The trouble is, Tim, with all the dodgy money made by these lawyers, everybody
is trying to get a piece of the action. Too many lawyers, mate.”
I gave him a weary smile and, with the paper tucked under
my arm, set off back home.