Waking up before my grandma early in the morning downstairs with my sister we pushed the footstool from the living room all the way to the front door. Wedged against the door my sister stand on it and helps me up to reach the top latch of the tall front door. We managed to open the front door and left the house, off down the street.
My first ever memory is from 1982 when I was one year old and me and my big sister, there’s only 362 days between us, so she was also very young, probably about 2. It was a very sunny day and I remember because we were both wearing shorts, those kind of flanellette shorts that were fashionable in the 80’s and on the door step of the front door there was this concrete step, which I am sure wasn’t very big but felt very big at the time, and we both sat there with scrambled eggs on toasts. I had a light brown plate and my sister Laurie she had a pink plate, we both had scrambled eggs on toast on that, I have no idea what happened if anything happened for me to remember it so clearly but I remember the taste of the scrambled eggs the heat of the sun, the coldness of the concrete step, just sitting there and having dinner, maybe it was special because it was just her and me as well and not my parents.
I think my first memory is from the beach and I don’t know if it’s because I am looking at the beach footage but I think it is on the beach and I remember sweating a lot, we weren’t in the water, we had a little bucket on the sand, not in the sea… bucket on the sand…and I was sitting in the bucket and I was with a lot of people I remember like a lot of I guess family and lot of family friends and I was there with my sister and I think we kept going back to the water because it was really, really hot so we were always sweating a lot and I remember that we were sitting in the bucket and having a barbecue. I was with my mum and my dad, my dad’s friends, Claudine, Alfredo, Jackie, Fernando…en la playa, I think that’s it, it must have been like 19?
I am sitting on a stainless steel high chair with a red top, I am in the eating room of our house, I think I am about 2, 2 and a half years old so it’s about 1958 and it’s hot because it’s summer in Australia and my father is beneath me and you know what, I’ve just realised, its not hot, its hot because the heating is on inside because its cold outside, and I know its cold outside because there is a wood burning stove on the right hand side and its during the day so it only burns at night and during the day my father cleans it out so he takes out the tray at the bottom that’s got all the ashes from the wood and he reaches up and puts it on the table top of my high chair and I remember he goes back down to the wood burner and my sister, who’s maybe a year old, crawls pass my high chair and I can remember very clearly, that as she is just beneath me I push the tray which has got all the ash so it falls down and spills onto her back and her face and her hands and that’s when the memory stops really. I should imagine there was some sort of chaos after that but I think I’ve blocked that bit off.
My earliest memory is being in a quarry near my parents’ house, I was about 5 at the time, they were draining the quarry to build a road through it and there was an enormous amount of fish being drawn out there, I‘ve got a terrible fear of fish. It ‘s a phobia so absolutely irrational. It ‘s a place we used to play all the time so it is like a beach, it has a lot of rocks but it’s silent water, but there ‘s all sorts of carnage going on as they try to fish out all these fish, tench mania, they supposedly got 45 thousand tench, in the meantime they also pulled out congreels, bloody great eels, I remember a man in high waist waders hoisting a bloody great eel out of a big net, the eel, biting him, flying out of his hand, flying through the air and hitting me on the head and it landed at my feet. The eel was absolutely berserk and my visual memory is this horrifying animal, sorry fish, raving around my feet. And it is still quite a profound moment for me now.