The Woodpecker Toy Fact and Other Stories
"To read these stories is to look into a kaleidoscope - or a peepshow where, against bright backdrops, people and their passions shift and slide with a mysterious dark daring."
"The Woodpecker Toy Fact is my sort of book." - Gerald Murnane
"The Woodpecker Toy Fcat"
"A Taste of Earth"
"I Was as Dumb as Dorothy McGuire"
"The Quince Tree"
"Kay Petman's Coloured Pencils"
"The Right Stuff"
"Buttercup and Wendy"
"Seeking Its Level"
"Introducing Your Friends"
"The Best Thing to Do"
"Buff Orpington and the Disasters of Middle Life"
"The Enlargement of Bethany"
"Cherries Jubilee or Whichever Way You Look At It"
First Paragraph from the Title Story:
My mother was a magger.
A paling fence divided our garden from the garden next-door, and over the back fence lived Mrs Back-Fence. My mother and Mrs Back-Fence might have been posing for a cartoonist as they stood on either side of the fence, magging. Behind each woman was a rotary clothes-line. We had striped tea-towels, white sheets, woollen singlets, pink pants, and knitted socks all hanging from dolly pegs. Some things were patched and darned, the mending being more obvious when the clothes were wet. It was unsafe to hang anything damanged but unmended on the line, for this would be noted by other maggers as a sign of degeneration in the family. And once, when a torn, unmended nightdress had got through the washing and as far as the line, our rabbit attacked it and shredded it so that it had to be thrown out. My mother and Mrs Back-Fence had floral aprons, and often their hair was set with metal butterfly wavers, covered by a chiffon scarf knotted at the front. They did not wear fluffy slippers. Instead they nearly always wore rather thick stockings and brown lace-up shoes, like nurses.
From the McPhee Gribble hardback edition, 1987.
This page and its contents are copyright © 2005 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to Carmel Bird Page.
Last modified: January 17, 2005.