Suburban tales: BBQs, buskers and killer shrubs
Late January, and it’s time for schools to repopulate with wide-eyed kids eager to resume ignoring their teachers in favour of the psychological abuse of their peers.
Consequently, it’s also the time roads start getting clogged and the strains of tune-free music to start screeching through the air as students pick up neglected instruments again.
It’s a stressful time of year, particularly for teachers.
No doubt many of them will feel the overwhelming desire just to stay home and navigate the tenuous path of daytime television.
Presumably aware of this desire, one Melbourne principal is considering an incentive for teachers not to pull sickies. The Knox Leader reports 17 teachers at Ferntree Gully North Primary School could receive a voucher for 50 whole Australian dollars for each term they resist taking a mental health day.
The move follows a similar program the principal introduced in 2008, when kids were plied with awards and invited to a barbecue if they attended 98% of school days.
This gold star approach obviously worked on the kids, so now he’s moving the idea up the food chain.
He’s received support for his venture - though not, it should be noted, from education unionista Mary Bluett. She says the move implicitly suggests some teachers actually use their sick days as annual leave. A shocking statement, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Meanwhile, here’s the tale of one Sydney kid who probably did pay attention in music class. Meet a multitasking busker named Fluteloop, an annoyingly talented twenty-something who plays the flute and beatboxes at the same time - all while wearing baggy clothes and jumping around a lot. The resulting tunes have seen the lad crisscross Australia, earning up to $100,000 a year.
It’s not the normal “struggling artist” image you associate with buskers. And at that level of income, you expect he’s using something more voluminous than his flute case to catch loot. You’d also hope he has the ability to provide receipts to passers-by. Now that’d be multitasking.
Back in Melbourne, a similarly entrepreneurial elderly lady is sticking it to the man over daisies that protrude from her garden. Alisa Walsh was threatened with fines after the local council decided that shrubs poking through her fence onto the footpath could cause grievous harm to passers-by. The council stated that ‘facial or head injuries’ could ensue from her marauding foliage.
Instead of getting out the secateurs though, she presented the council a bill for the cost of the 15 years of maintenance she has done on the council-owned nature strip outside her house.
In Adelaide meanwhile, the locals have a case of grannies falling from the sky. Plucky 82-year-old great-grandmum Shirley Schumann jumped out of a plane strapped to a gent who was strapped to a parachute.
It’s not the first time Mrs Schumann has taken a leap. The Southern Times Messenger reports she was a recreational diver in the 1960s until her brother died in a jump - which makes her willingness to take to the skies again even more impressive.
Read more stories from the suburbs @suburbantales
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