Hungs Wide World of Shorts

Pic by Warrigal
Pic by Warrigal

Lillie approaches from the Vulture Street End, Boycott pads up, its bowled him, Boycott’s off stump knocked out of the ground, no shot offered, can you believe that……”, the lounge room roars into action, grown men cry, dogs bark, people flood the street tossing hats in the air rejoicing, backs are slapped, beers are poured, babies are conceived, this is summer this is cricket, this is heaven, their best batsman bowled without offering a shot, life doesn’t get any better than this, ah yes, cricket where the only thing better than cricket is more cricket.

Yes cricket, the one true national game. Forget your football codes cricket is life and life is cricket. Understanding cricket is easy. Get more runs then they do, simple. Nothin’ too hard bout that. And yes the culture, the joy, the atmosphere, its quasi-religious and coming from an atheist that’s saying something.

As a kid growing up in Wollongong all my mates played cricket and for me batting, bowling or fielding I couldn’t care less, just playing the game was all I needed. Weekends were cricket in the juniors Saturday morning, Grade in the afternoon. Sunday morning surf then when the nor’easter came in cricket in the park with me mates. Mum had to come and get me for tea as the sun had set ages ago. She’d call out from the street “Mark, get home, it’s as black as, tea’s on the table, how can you see that ball anyhow?”, “But Mum, a century beckons”, I always wondered why mum called me Mark when my name’s Hung, anyway some thing’s are a mystery.

My Dad, an Englishman tolerating us colonials, would get the bus to the bottom of Bulli Pass then from the roadside would hold up a sign “SCG”,

Pic by Warrigal
Pic by Warrigal

someone would always pull over and give him a lift. I was too young to go along at first but then my initiation came, the SCG, the hallowed turf, the smell of the freshly cut grass, the crowd, the banter between the Poms and the Aussies, always witty, never violent or abusive and supporters of both sides could sit together and barrack for their team. Mum would pack ham and mustard sandwiches and Dad would shout an ice cream, bliss.

Then as a young man going to the test with my mates, eskies full of beer, pies and hotdogs, hot chips and seagulls. Doug Walters would stride out and the crowd would erupt, “Dougie, Dougie” we’d chant. If he got a boundary the noise was deafening, all of us would rise as one, “You bewdy”. Then tragedy, Dougie caught in the covers, “Poms can’t field, how’d they catch that “.

Then as I aged a bit more and the Hill disappeared and my brother-in-law, Brad, and I would sit in the stands. One birthday, which falls in January, somewhere between the 4th and the 6th, hint hint, we went to the SCG and watched India play, Azzarudin, mate, me and Brad wanted to make him an honorary Aussie, he was brilliant. But it was against the Poms that was best, the old dart, the mother country, those were the days.

Tutu and I moved to Adelaide in the eighties and loved it. 15 minutes to the oval, no rain, 5 days of heaven. Saw the mighty West Indies, Adam Gilchrist, V.V.S Laxman, Wasim Akram and the graceful Brian Lara. In the first few years here, Tutu would bring books to the game to read but it gets hot in summer, 40 plus, so now she drops me at the Oval and goes on a spending spree on my credit card, I mean am I a winner or what.

So for those that don’t understand cricket, don’t worry. Just pretend you like it or compromise like Tutu and read a book, enjoy the fresh air, the sun, the community, being as one with total strangers, the total boredom, applauding your opponent for good play, all of these things are cricket and oh yes check the scoreboard occasionally.

Turkish Herbed Lamb Pizza

Lahmacun-(turkish-pizza)
Lahmacun-(turkish-pizza)

 

Many years ago the wonderful Tutu and I lived in New South Wales. In our town there was a great little restaurant called The Istanbul that funnily enough served Turkish food. We would go to the Istanbul usually about once a fortnight or so and after a while we had tasted everything on the menu at least twice. They also had a specials board which we sampled keenly until one day the owner approached us. He said to us hey look, you come here all the time and like our food, how about we do a deal, you book in, we will bring you the food at twenty bucks a head, as much as you want. Perfect. From then on we would take a seat, they would pour us a wine and out the food would come. Then one day we were served Lahmacun, I was already a pizza addict and yet here was a pizza with no cheese that was to die for. Tutu is coming over tonight and this is what we will have. Enjoy.

 

Ingredients.

A pizza dough – do you really need for me to tell you this bit. I use my bread machine to make mine.

Now I make enough for one large pizza given the tray I have so I’ll leave it up to you but for the topping you will need,

Lamb mince

Garlic

Onion

Cinnamon

Allspice

Pine Nuts

Tomato paste

Tomatoes, chopped and not tinned.

Chicken stock

Lemon juice

Mint

Parsley

Baby spinach

Yoghurt with some added water to pour.

 

Method.

Sandy has the Munchies
Sandy has the Munchies

Make a pizza dough [spooky music plays in background]

Fry off the lamb mince in a pan till browned. You will want to render off the fat by straining it.

Heat some oil in the same fry pan and saute the garlic and onion. Add spices and nuts. When the pine nuts are golden add tomato, paste, stock and juice. Add the mince and cook on low till you have reduced the liquid, this has to be fairly dry. Remove from heat and fold in mint, parsley and baby spinach.

Roll out your dough and top with lamb mix. 15 minutes in a very hot oven should do. Cut into pieces and in a jug put yoghurt and some water so the yoghurt runs like a gravy. Serve and add yoghurt as desired.

Anyway I work with a Turkish girl and have spoken to her about this recipe. She and her husband love it but she said to me “When I make it Hung I add six chopped red chillies. When my husband eats it he starts to sweat, and sweat and sweat but he eats it all”

“So why do you do that Woman who cannot be named for Privacy reasons?”

“Because I can Hung, because I can”. Strange but true.

Me and Bondy

ThirroulSource:  http://beachsafe.org.au Thirroul Beach

Hey, Hung here, Look my last story was about playing cricket in the back yard at mums. This is about a mate or two I made after that. For the record most of this is true, some is pure bullshit and some is artistic licence. All the names have been changed to protect the infertile or what ever.
It was my job to go to the Halfway shop for Mum whenever she ran out of anything. I mean this was 1968 and as consumers we wanted goods, well that’s what Ma would say. Anyhoo, I’d go to the Halfway shop for Ma and Pa whenever they wanted things like sugar, butter, cigarettes, blow up dollies well you know, the Halfway shop had one of everything.
One day Mum sent to he shop about four times. The kid who lived next door to the Halfway said “Hey mate, you got the runs or what”. Well I didn’t know what he meant but he was playing cricket by himself by throwing the ball against a wall and then hitting it with the bat.
“No mate” I said “Just getting stuff for Ma for our tea” I replied.
“Well, wanna a game of cricket? “ said this kid “Tomorrow down the park? Nine o’clock”
So it happened. The next morning , me and this kid turned up at the local park for a game of cricket.
I said “ Mate, before we start, I’m from the country, my dad was born overseas and worst of all I’m catholic”
“ No worries mate. I’m from Thirroul” Instantly we were mates.
I said “My names Hung” I spurted. He said in reply “ Bondy”
I enquired “What’s your first name?”
“Don’t worry about it Hung, no one ever refers to me by it so just call me Bondy”
The Halfway shop was owned by Mr and Mrs Threw or as we eventually got to know them George and Mildred. They were wonderful people and came from London. George was ex Royal Navy and was doing well until the Germans decided to blow the shit out of his boat. Many died but George survived but with many injuries and much later he and Mildred emigrated to Australia. They landed in this hell hole called Sydney. One day, on a drive, they found Austinmer and a shop for sale and they brought it.
George and Mildred were fantastic and really looked after me and Bondy. We would stack shelves and fridges for them for a few bob. Mildred had a full time job and George’s injuries prevented him from doing lots of physical stuff so me and Bondy did it for him. Mildred always finished early and when she got home George would take the dog for a walk past the Headlands Hotel and well, being thirsty would drop in for a couple of beers and then bring a few home as you do.
One day Bondy said “C’mon Hung lets smoke, men smoke, George smokes, lets smoke”. So one day after getting our wages from George, me and Bondy decided to go and get some smokes. We caught the bus to Thirroul, over Kennedy’s Hill on a Dion’s bus from Moore Street for 2 cents. The corner shop sold packet’s of Viscount 10’s for our “Dad’s” for 15 cents. We had two bob each so we was rich.
We walked down McCauley Street. Bondy pointed out a house called “Wyewurk”
“Famous house is that Hung” said Bondy “Some pommy poofter lived there”
“What’s a poofter Bondy?” I asked innocently
Bondy stared to turn red, breathing hard and making a grunting sound. Now Bondy was big, mean looking and about three times my size. Kids would cross the road rather than deal with Bondy however the whole time I knew him he did not hurt a soul.
“I don’t know what a bloody poofter is Hung but don’t say anything to your Ma and Pa because when I did I had the crap belted out of me so it must be bad, I just heard one of the big boys say it”
We walked in silence down Bath Street and dropped into the public baths at Thirroul. The Sydneysiders that were too scared to swim in the ocean swam here. We just watched them for a while from outside the fence.
Me and Bondy then went to the northern end of Thirroul beach, out of the wind, to light up our smokes. We didn’t inhale as it made us sick but we were men and men smoked. This bloke came along the shore. He had a sack and would forage around the rocks for squid and shell fish.
“Hey Hung” said Bondy “Here comes the old dagoe” Bondy smirked.
“Hey boys” said the old dagoe “ Smoking ain’t no good for you young fellas” he said
I felt guilty as. This fella had been going up and down the coast for years, hardly speaking to anyone. “Hey mate, what’s your name? “ I called.
“George, mate” he replied. From then on we always sung out hey George and he would reply hey boys. Me and Bondy had long given up smoking when one day George said “Boys, come up and see my house”. We followed George up a goat track to this beautiful house, painted blue and white, overlooking the ocean. We met Mrs George, Effie, who gave us soft drink she made from lemons and pastry with honey and nuts. It was all good.
“You boys better get going to beat the tide” George said “And come up any time you want”
“Thanks George, we will” I replied as me and Bondy headed down the goat track back to the beach.
Each weekend after that me and Bondy would head to George and Effie’s house after buying a few things in the main street of Thirroul usually toy cars that we both decided to collect. One day when we got to George’s house something was different. The house was locked up and all the furniture was gone from the house. A note was taped to the door,
“Boys, George has passed away and I have moved to Marrickville to live with my family. Thanks for you infectious company and I love you both, Effie”
We walked home in total silence. This time we went via the highway over Kennedy’s Hill past Austinmer beach. As we got to the Halfway shop Bondy turned and said “Hung, there is something I have to tell you” Bondy said in a deep tone and a sad face “ I’m moving to Bulli”.
Well I never saw Bondy again and George and Effie gone this life thingy was a funny game.
The following week school holidays started. I went down to the Halfway shop and stacked some shelves, replenished the fridges and put out the papers. Mr Threw went to give me some money but I asked for a pie and a drink instead. The shop had a table and chairs at the front and I went and sat down to eat my pie when this strange kid came in the shop. He got a pie and drink and came and sat next to me.
“You from around here?” he asked.
“Yeah mate just up the road” I nodded in the direction of where I lived.
“Just moved in mate, the names Jono, do you like cricket?”

Here’s some interesting links if you get insomnia and want a quick cure.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirroul,_New_South_Wales

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austinmer,_New_South_Wales

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HeadLand

 

Cricket in the Backyard at Mums

Backyard cricket

 

Here’s a story. Some is true and some is pure bullshit, some artistic licence, I’ll let you decide.

I was born in Tamworth, the country capital of NSW however as a young kid my parents moved down to Wollongong on the south coast or should I say more precisely, Austinmer, a northern beach suburb of Wollongong. Seven surfing spots within a 5 minute walk, how lucky was I. For anyone that has travelled down the coast from Sydney to Wollongong we lived opposite the Headlands Hotel which strangely enough is on a headland.

We were considered strange as we were from the country, my dad was from overseas but worst of all we were Catholic, what ever that was. Later in life I learned that Catholics have caused all of the world’s problems but as a kid I neither knew nor cared, as long as we could play cricket.

Strangely enough, in the small row of houses were we lived our neighbours to the north were the Bowlers, to the south were the Bettermen’s which we renamed the Batsmen so we called ourselves the All Rounders. Sadly this is a true lie.

But hey, let me introduce you to my family. My Dad was called Dad, Dad One On which turned out to be very convenient. My Mum was called Mum One On again which turned out to be very convenient. My mum and dad had doctorates from the University of New England which is no where near England at all. Mum majored in Crap whereas Dad majored in bullshit. My big brother’s name was Have, Have One On and my big sister was called Urge, Urge One On, oh and lets not forget our blue heeler, Sandy, who never told me what his last name was but Mum said a priest had given her Sandy as a pup and his name was Sandy O’Way, so I guess mum named him after the priest. Anyway we were considered strange as we were from the country, my dad was from overseas but worst of all we were Catholic.

Anyhoo, this was the mid 1960’s and I had had enough of my big brother giving me a hard time. Throughout the entire year, through scrimping and scraping I had managed to save five bob, can you imagine that, five whole bob, yes, gob smacking. Anyway, a mate of mine called Gerard who came from Holland showed me a trick with tennis balls. Remember how they were always yellow, bounced to much and had the big circular line through them. “Pump the ball half full of water Hung” said Gerard “That way they skim along the ground” Gerard grinned. Gerard didn’t seem to mind that I was from the country, my dad was from overseas and I was a Catholic. I think it mainly because Gerard was from another country, his dad was from overseas and he was a Catholic but I’m not really sure.

Gerard’s Mum and Dad had the best sausage in town. His mum would fry it and the smell was amazing. “Bedunk Mrs Van Camper” I would say, yum. The adults washed it down with beer but we were to young to drink so we had soft drink. . Gerard had five brothers, Hank, Henk, Hink, Honk and Hunk. We all referred to them as the “Vowels” although I never knew why as their last name was Van Camper. Mr Van Camper ran the local shop but it was tough going with all those mouths to feed until one day he got sick of been asked about holiday rents in Austinmer and opened up a business called Hank’s Camper Vans which was a play on his name. He is now a millionaire.

So Gerard gave me the doctored ball, my precious, my time had come. Boxing Day 1966, Mum’s backyard, “Hey Have” I called rather exuberantly “I bet you five bob I can get you out under double figures” I baited knowingly. See my brother Have was a pugilist of the first degree. As when we moved to Austinmer, being strange as we were from the country, my dad was from overseas but worst of all we were Catholic, my big brother belted the crap out of the biggest villain in miles, suddenly he was a hero. “Listen, you little prick, I belt you for a hundred then I’ll belt the shit out of you” replied Have, smirking to himself for the easiest five bob he would ever make.

Anyhoo, I put Sandy in as keeper and Urge at mid on, mum’s flame tree as mid off. The first few deliveries I let him tonk me around the place and while he wasn’t looking I threw the ball over the neighbours fence and replaced it with the doctored ball. I bowled the doctored ball and bowled him middle stump as it slid through along the ground.

Have started to come for me with a stump but Sandy realised what was happening and started to growl and bark at Have. Sandy started to bite Have just as Mum appeared, “ What’s all this noise?” she shrieked “ Have, bugger off and leave Hung alone, who owns this five bob?” Mum’s and questions hey.

Me and Sandy went down to the Halfway Shop with our winnings. I had a whole dollar. Can you imagine that, one whole dollar, ten shillings in the old. My newly found wealth was staggering, I was rich. Mrs Drew, who ran the Halfway Shop, was rapt when I told her the story, I had a pie and a can of soft drink and Sandy had some left over pork sausages that Mrs Drew got out of her fridge and I had 85 cents left over, 8 and a half shillings, can you imagine that. It doesn’t get any better that this.

Funny though, after that things changed. My big brother started his apprenticeship at the steelworks as a fitter and turner. When I asked him what did a fitter and turner does, he replied “they fit and they turn”, wow, what a guy. He never played cricket again, that was for little kids like me, he was a man now.

My sister Urge was very pretty and was a boy magnet however she went to uni and eventually married a rich bloke but she stopped playing cricket. Cricket was a little kids game, not for a beautiful intelligent woman with her life ahead of her.

Sandy got killed by a truck and mum and dad were always too busy arguing about things like thermal currents in the upper atmosphere and their effect on climate so it boiled down to just me.

Luckily Gerard came around. “Hey Hung. Thirroul are looking for players. Wanna come? Train Tuesday and Thursday afternoon at Gibson Park.” “Is the Pope a catholic?” I grinned, you know sometimes when things change it’s okay. Life just got a whole lot better.

First published at The Pigs Arms