not to be confused with “Batman”.
On the Sunday just past, I met up with my chum/mate/buddy (that covers the lot) Neill, at ‘The Vic’ a local pub for a couple of hours of chat, beer & stout, trouble is I’d just eaten my lunch and there was no room ‘at the inn’, or more precisely my pseudo stomach, when I got there, so I settled for a coffee.
Unfortunately dear Ira couldn’t make it, I think she had an appointment with her special chum Pope Francis, anyway after hogging the conversation for sometime I’d worked up a small thirst, I got Neill a schooner (15 Imperial oz ¾pt – 444mls) of Peroni, an Italian beer blessed by Francis, (Neill not the Pope) and me a Middy (10 oz, half a pint or 275mls) of a black beer that was on tap, by it’s name it must have been German.
Our chat naturally turned to the Maritime Museum, where we both are enrolled in their ‘Corps of Volunteer Guides’; I suppose I should resign but I’m always hoping that I’ll come good and be able to get back there, probably a forlorn hope but still………
The sad news was that one of my good chum guides, Russell had died a couple of months back. Russ and I got on well at the museum (we didn’t have a social life) we pretty much had the same interests when it came to things ‘naval’; and our guiding preferences were the same which meant we met often and hit it off very well.
We were of the same age and both did our National Service/ Conscription/Draft at the same time. Different services, different states.
Russ liked to wear the ribbons of the medals which we received for our service, on his guides uniform, something which was encouraged by the Museum directors. I think, they think, it gives the guides more credibilty when they wear medals to show they were ex-servicemen. I wore mine just once, then they went back into their boxes and that’s where they stay. I felt embarrassed when I wore them.
His death was very sudden and unexpected. He was diagnosed with cancer/leukemia and he was gone in just a couple of months.
Which brings me to the title of this post/blog/essay, or whatever the hell these things are really called; “The Catman”.
Neill happened to then call me ‘catman’ or Mr Catman’; one or the other, I’m sure when he gets home from the museum, he’s guiding there today, Tuesday, he’ll set me right. I queried this, after all I’m a dog man which is a well known fact; and then he said something along the lines, “You had prostate cancer which you beat, then a stroke ditto, and then the stomach cancer ditto ditto ditto!” and that I seem to have more lives than the proverbial cat.
This made me think he may be right; when I thought deeper I recalled that when I was just a few months old I had pneumonia and the doc, Doctor Caplan gave me up for dead,then a couple of years later beating polio,it makes it five times that the ‘Grim Reaper’ came to call, and I’ve sent him packing.
So Mr. Catman I am, I still have four to go, I wonder what’s next, hope it’s a bit nicer than the last little lot!
Neill was in an especially cheerful mood on Sunday, he went to a funeral of a 94 year old aunt during the week, and teed up a gravesite for himself, so he also had a productive week.
All sound rather morbid? No indeed it was great fun and we had plenty of chuckles.
Here’s a picture of my good mate Neill in his Museum uniform complete with silly hat and dressed for a cold blustery day at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney. NSW, and that’s a plug for the best museum in Oz, well it is to me!