The Antipodean Adventures of Jack the Lad.

Doggerel Dave


The train stops, starts but never picks up speed for long. Still, gives me a chance to nut something out. Except I’m distracted by the bird’s thigh, firm but soft against mine when the train rattles along.

I’m not always like this, you know – I have got other things on my mind as well – who wouldn’t in my situation? Sydney trains not like the tube though. You wouldn’t read about what you can get up to in the standing room near the doors during rush hour. Actually I did read about it – in an old text book in the library of a hospital I was staying in – frottage they called it. Me – I call it the most fun you can have with a willing stranger standing up with all your clothes on.

Anyway, shouldn’t get all nostalgic. What does dear old London town hold for me really? Face too well known. There’s not much chance of a peaceful life there anymore. Too many people with scores to settle and debts to call in. Better go up north for a rest. I balk at it – if you have to go to foreign parts, you might just as well go where the weather’s warmer. Comes to the point where Aussi seems like a more ‘viable option’ as my bank manager once said. Kid brother reckoned it was alright when he was there.

And so I trot off to Australia House and because I’m still just the right age I get a six month working visa – “ no worries” as they say there.  No worries? No bleeding worries? Been nothing but worry almost from day one.

Felt quite promising too, at the start. Sometime before I was due to go  - just formulating a plan in fact – met this Aussi bird at a party one night. Seemed to hit it off – one thing lead to another - well you know how it is – won’t go into gory details. Following day though she’s due to fly back to Aussi. Bit of a disappointment in one way. But then, in another – one good night and no complications. Still, since we are parting on such a high note, she gives me her address in Sydney, “if you are ever passing through“ and all that. So I slips it into my wallet and forgets all about it – until I find myself there and decide to look her up. So was she pleased to see me when I popped up on her doorstep or what? “Or what” is right – anyone would think I was the wages of sin as one of those old movies would have it. But took it well enough to offer me two nights on her sofa. Was I losing my touch, even then?  Next I was out because her current boyfriend was due back.

And things didn’t seem to get any better. “Sun, Sea and Surf” the glossy brochures promised.

One swim was enough. First big wave tossed me up down over and over and sat me on my arse with half the Pacific ocean in my lungs. The sun turned me into a lobster with nothing but blisters, and it having done me over, disappeared and let the bleeding rain have a go.

And so on, bit of partying occasionally I admit, but never managed to pull anything. Bit of work here and there, but not enough. Even tried fruit picking in Queensland but the back couldn’t take it. Quick trip to Carnes, or Cairns as they say, but too many bloody mosquitoes and sand flies up there. Chewed me half to bits.

Nah – city boy me – I need a well tamed environment in which to operate – bit of this – bit of that – know what I mean? No record, of course – that’s for mugs. Be careful and obey the eleventh commandment. Keep your nose clean.

Not doing too well now though. Seem to have blown my savings here – such as they were. Definitely short of the readies. Bit of a relationship at the end of my visa might have lead somewhere – like marriage for a little while, if she hadn’t started picking on me and then backed out.

Decided I might as well give the Immigration Department a bash again. Hah! Prick behind the counter says no extension possible – You’d already got an extension on grounds of potential marriage --- now what? Sat there all pleased and complacent with himself – regular hours, no strain, regular tea breaks, superannuation piling up.

Bottom line: there’d be no social security, no permission to work here, but don’t forget to obtain a tax file number anyway! Was he taking the piss, or what?

Went to the British High Commissioner’s office. REPATRIATE? The woman didn’t actually laugh but felt sure I saw her quiver a bit and had the feeling her legs were well and truly crossed under the table.

Where to now? Time to do a Psych hospital I think. I need to get out of all this rain, catch my breath with a roof over my head and some free food. And I am depressed – who wouldn’t be with these problems? But is it going to be enough? Some Suicidal Ideation would help – only watch the language. “I keep on having these thoughts of suicide, Doctor” much better. “Suicidal Ideation” smells of knowing the system.

Usual long wait in Admissions. Doc who sees me seems harder than I thought she would be. Try to pour my guts out. Put my heart into it.

Doc absents herself at colleague’s request, an emergency consult for a few minutes, and I sneak a look at her notes. “Social admission” seems to leap out of the page. This isn’t going to be a long one.

I get the close observation area. Bed in the corner really went off as I’d just managed to hit the land of nod. Nurses had to slow him down with a chemical straight jacket and shuffle him away into a locked ward during the early hours. Not much sleep.

Even my ask for an interview with the Social Worker the next day a big disappointment – dead loss in fact.  Thought I might at least get a sweet young bird  I could chat up a bit – but got this old tired looking bloke with a bit of grey facial fungus, a sympathetic tone but nothing much to offer.

Out the following day, discharged – “bed shortage” or something.


Train’s been stopped a long time. Bird left at the last station. Looked quite tasty. Said “Excuse me” - Sounded very nice actually – Was she? Did she?----who knows. One time I’d have known – I am losing my touch.

Speaking of which, bumped into Jenny the other day – the girl I stayed with first in Australia. Seems her boyfriend left her. Not sure but felt she might be open to a move by me. Lord knows, I need a roof and a bed.   Well, only one way to find out. “Give it a go” as they say here.


  • Author: Doggerel Dave (Pseudonym) (Offline Offline)
  • Published: March 5th, 2021 22:19
  • Comment from author about the poem: An unsavory tale….Set roughly mid 1990’s; NB: I don’t identify with Jack – he’s on his own.
  • Category: Unclassified
  • Views: 15


  • FredPeyer

    Great read Dave, you should turn it into a novel and get published!!!

  • Doggerel Dave

    Don't think so Fred - how would you like to be in that bloke's companty for 400 pages!? Glad to get shot of him now.
    You have been very brave - I hope you are not damaged irreparably 🙂

  • Neville

    I reckon Fred P is right .. but then you know that already .. dont ya 🙂

    • Doggerel Dave

      Dunno Neville - this is probably my last long form effort - one has to draw the line somewhere. If to continue what kind of hideous situation/person might emerge? Short but occasionally not so sweet from now on....

    • MendedFences27

      Well it kept my interest for a long while and when it ended I said to myself this could be a book. Why not give it a go. A few more writes and you'll have a few chapters and then you can decide. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was different, readable, and interesting. The style was its own attraction. Keep this character alive and send him out exploring. - Phil A,

      • Doggerel Dave

        Thanks Phil - I'll give it, ah, active consideration..... Get him lost in the desert? Who knows, he might decide to stay there....trouble is there's a lack of 'birds' out there... still if he's lost his touch...

      • sorenbarrett

        This was a great read. It read like a book, was short as an article, smelled of a poem and tasted of a short film. With all that said I leave satisfied and full until the next visit. Thanks for the meal.

        • Doggerel Dave

          You are welcome, Soren, He is a mix of characters, all of which I've had dealings with over a lifetime.

        To be able to comment and rate this poem, you must be registered. Register here or if you are already registered, login here.