As I adjust the settings of the electronic bike in my living room to “mountain climbing” for target resistance, and “450” for target calories, I have difficulty in changing the age setting to “61”. I am not quite there yet, I remind myself. This morning, I intended to write about the creek I designed three years ago. It starts from the rear of the garden where the Adelaide Hills loom large, and meanders down a gentle slope revealing its three small waterfalls as the water glistens against the warm morning ray, and makes that soothing, healing sound of water falling softly on smoothen pebbles that cover the waterproof lining of the creek’s bed. Once upon a time, I wished I would reincarnate into a river pebble. To me, that is eternal peace in a tranquil, beautiful and unspoilt natural setting. Older folk tend to think they are sagacious with their choices in later life. We vote in the right governments, do we not ? It is those disinterested in politics, economic and environmental policies who vote in the wrong side, such as the rednecks of America in the 2016 presidential election. I digress. “Why call it a creek and not a brook?” Keith asks. Knowing my peculiar inclination to use words that rhyme, he continues to sell the idea of blogging about my brook. “You can blog about your chook by the brook, whilst you write a book in the nook. Share with us about the “water-feature expert” crook who strung you along. She invoiced you for expert advice that did not fix your string algae blooms.” The creek winds down across a bedrock of local Adelaide Hills moss stones and ends in a 12’ x 4’ pond. Fung Shui rules were unknowingly followed, the pond is a central feature of the garden; it also lends itself as a very beautiful water feature for the U-shape living quarters of the house. Keith, it’s a creek to me and not a brook. A daily reminder not to be “ Up the creek without a paddle”. We are sagacious, remember? At our age, especially, we cannot be up shit creek. We will not be afforded a second chance now if we get into financial difficulties or get entwined in an awkward predicament without any clear easy solution. Never be without a paddle! Not at our age! I did consider myself in deep shit and up the creek without a paddle for the past two months. The sudden loss of pond water during late winter baffled me. It had been raining regularly yet the water level kept receding slowly but surely. But, exactly a month ago, the notion of “normal evaporation” as the days started to warm up after winter was pronounced as fake news by the property’s owner. She hauled me over and questioned my nonsensical theory of why water was continually been added to the pond by the floating system. “There has to be a major leak!” she announced. For the past month, I had been busily scrutinising the flow of the creek, measuring in millimeters the rate of “evaporation”, and examining every single square centimetre of pond lining. “Where is the leak? Is it from the creek? Please, please, do not let it be from the pond!” The water-feature “expert” told me “you might as well start all over again if the main pond is leaking.” The sense of foreboding was intensified when another “expert” gave me his conclusive evidence that this is “all too hard to fix”. “Even if the leak is in the creek, and you found where it is, you’d never be able to fix it. It would be a nightmare to remove the rocks to re-line the creek”. That sounded like a death warrant for the creek and pond. Where will I find a new home for my koi fish? Some say desperation is the mother of inventions or in my case, creative thinking. With no one willing to take on this job to fix the leak, I was soon on my knees, not begging, not praying, but doubling down with serious intent to find the leak! I imagined I was a crime scene investigator. The weather had been kind, the short, dry spell made it easy to look for damp patches on the ground, a clear indicator of the presence of water! Unfortunately, the meticulous combing of every millimeter of land adjoining the creek found no such evidence. Time to plead regret to the owner. As I was leaving the creek, I felt a stone was out of place. Aesthetically pleasing but strategically wrong, I felt. All I did was move it 2mm away from the edge of the big rock. Since then, the pond does not leak anymore! Sagacious, aren’t I?
Last night, there was noisy chatter in a chat group of sagacious old men. Somehow, the discussion about the health benefits of having a foot massage turned salacious. What’s-his-name refers to his favourite masseuse as number 8, short for 008. He is a numbers man, tends to strike it lucky with lotteries, Powerball and Tatts lotto. Or do they call it Empat Ekor over in Malaysia? Lucky with numbers, he is undoubtedly also a “ladies man”. He regularly visits his favourite number 8 for what he calls a “foot” massage. It’s usually his left foot, he elaborates. Although he is not prone to ignore his right foot, it too gets serious attention by number 8 sometimes. Not wanting to appear ignorant, I do not dare ask him what “serious attention” means. What’s-his-name, the salacious one, soon diverts the health discussion to one with sexual connotations. He would, of course, strongly disagree. Sex, and lots of it, is a prerequisite to good health for men. ”Have you not kept yourself up-to-date?” He enquires incredulously. We have to clean and clear our “pipes”, he implores. “We, men, are bedevilled with the threat of prostate cancer. Yes, foot massages are vital for our organs.” he spruiks. “and we do not ignore the other ‘leg’. With intense massage, if we are lucky, it may even grow to a foot long”. Salacious. Fallacious! Urghhling.