'Mother Only Wanted
Some Boiled Water'
A Funny Childhood Story

This funny childhood story comes from a time before my sister, Kim was born.

It's about how our Mother got more than she expected when asking for some boiled water.

When our brother Iain was only six weeks old we were living on the border fence at a place called Hamilton Gate we took a trip to Hungerford to visit the Flying Doctor.

The Flying Doctor had come to town for the day and Mother wanted our new brother to have a once over by the doctor.

The Flying Doctor only come to town once a month so it was wise to take advantage of his time and have everything checked.

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I was only quite young myself and going to town was a big event in the outback.

We all piled into the Land Rover and headed for town. Mother, nursing Iain on her knee was in the front with Father, while Maurice, Rodney and myself were in the back of the 4WD on an old mattress that had been put in there to soften the bumps on the dirt road.

Once the doctor's appointment was out of the way Mother needing to feed the baby went to the CWA (Country Women's Association) hall. There wasn't a meeting that day so the facilities were not available for use.

Mother asked a lady whom she knew vaguely where she could obtain some boiled water to make Iain a bottle of formula. The lady was very helpful and suggested they go around to a lady who would be "glad to oblige" and that was the beginning of this funny childhood story.

I accompanied Mother around to this lady's place.

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Just around the corner seemed to take forever and I was hungry, hot and thirsty by the time we arrived.

I remember walking up to the front garden of the house and as a child I was simply wide eyed and fascinated at what I saw. My Mother as I recall almost fainted from horror.

The front garden was a rubbish tip, just overflowing with varying stages of old tin cans and household garbage. The most amazing thing of all to me was there were about half dozen goats eating the labels off the tin cans and foraging through the garbage.

I heard Mother gasp and she grabbed me by the hand, and even as young as I was I knew she was not happy.

You could not take a pathway to the front door, due to the massive amount of waste, so we headed down the side of the house to the back.

The helpful lady didn't bat an eyelid and just kept marching on around the back of the house, beckoning for Mother and me to follow.

Well let me tell you if the front was a shocker, the back yard was chaos, there were ducks, chooks, dogs and cats everywhere.

Cat Illustration Dog Illustration

The back screen door was hanging open and the lady of this very strange house was at the kitchen table taking something out of a cooking tin. I think it was a cake!

Now it was my time to gasp, for on the kitchen table were two or three chooks, pecking, and squawking.

By now my hand was hurting, Mother was clutching me so hard and holding Iain with her other arm to her breast. His baby bag was hitting me on the top of my head.

Our helpful lady yelled over the noise of this menagerie "Mrs So and So" (I was far too young and bemused to remember the woman of the house's name) "I have brought Mrs Bell around, she needs a jug of hot water to feed her baby"

With that Mrs So and So swang into action.

I recall she had this apron tied around her, not so slim waist, which she used to shoo the chooks off the table yelling at them to, "be gone", she then used the end of the apron to clean the chooks droppings off the table area, then picking up a glass jug from a bench to the side, she proceeded to wipe the inside of the jug with the end of this obviously useful cloth and handed it to Mother, saying words to the effect "there you go love, I'll just get the hot water for you"

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By now I really knew Mother was very distressed and not coping at all. I seem to recall Mother saying all she needed was boiling water as she had her own jug and equipment to complete the task of making a bottle for Iain.

I wasn't hungry or thirsty anymore.

On the way home that evening as I was drifting off to sleep I remember hearing Mother telling this funny childhood story to Father, she told him of her day of horror and how lucky she was that she had taken everything with her for the baby otherwise Iain would have been poisoned or something even worse.

I just could not get the vision of the goats on top of the rubbish pile or the chooks jumping off the kitchen table out of my dreams.

This is one of the funny childhood stories from our days in the bush.

There are many others but Mother's day of horror has turned out to be a favourite funny childhood story to tell.

Read another funny childhood story: Give us our Daily Bread

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