|[ Red Brick Tattoo
There's a park a little way
south that's close to the beach.
It's rimmed on one side by that
'please keep off - re-vegetation' vegetation that I assume we'll have to
keep off forever because the sign's have been there for at least 25 years.
On the park's top end is about the millionth creek that runs from the escarpment
to the ocean, under main roads using culverts and inadequate drains. It's
a broad one this time and, if your lucky, you'll see plump fingered Italians
plying the currents with their exquisite, hand-built, motorised models
of liners, tugs and jet boats.
Like most parks down here, the
majority of space is taken over by playing fields that, invariably, only
get used on frantic Saturday mornings when mums and dads throw their booted
kids out the station wagon doors into the waiting arms of red faced coaches
and on infrequent week nights when desultory team 'training' takes place.
And, anyway, they're usually bogged down with mud and excess water trickling
towards the stream.
The main feature of this park,
however, is a decrepit brick structure that, at one stage, must have been
used as a family eating area after the snags had been overdone on the now-rusted
barby. Inside it's like the remains of that house years ago that got burned
to the ground by a careless and addled old woman - twisted metal struts
mingling with blackened timber pieces that may, or may not, be the remains
of tables and a heavily sooted ceiling that's so black you'd swear it was
night time in the middle of the day. Of course, the council that built
this happy, happy house only put in one entrance which happens to also
be the only window which, you guessed it, faces away from the ocean.
As a guard, no doubt, against
evil spirits, the local youth have spray painted a handsome sign that takes
up the whole of one outer wall. It's a huge marijuana emblem with the word
"mull" in a scroll across the bottom twiggy end. In the early morning light
as you first encounter this image it looks just like a massive tattoo on
the upper arm of a resting sun tanned giant.
Perception can be seen as a
tricky social issue.