How an airconditioning mechanic working in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain. – Part 10.



The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘sacrifice’ as, “an act of surrendering a possession or slaughtering an animal as an offering to a deity”.

We sacrificed  a lot in 1993, so that I could study full time at the Australian Film Television and Radio School. I quit my job and without my wages, it meant that we had to get by on what Julie made at the one-hour photo processing shop in Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building.  Developing and printing tourists’ photos of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House didn’t pay as well as my air-conditioning job so we now couldn’t afford the rent on our lovely two bedroom North Shore flat. We were paying $230 a week.  We managed to find a one bedroom ground floor flat in Lane Cove for $160 a week, so we moved.

We found out pretty quickly that we weren’t alone in the new flat. It was infested with cockroaches. We saw them, running along the skirting boards in the tiny kitchenette/living/dining room. You couldn’t miss them, Australian cockroaches are brown and about an inch and a half long. They’re fast runners and if they get fed up of being chased by a shoe wielding human, they take off; literally, they have wings and can fly. The supermarket at the end of the street sold “roach baits” made by a company called “Mortien”. Roach baits look like little round ice hockey pucks on a square base. They’re plastic and have poison inside that’s mixed with something cockroaches are attracted to. There’s entrance holes cut into the plastic so cockroaches put their ugly heads inside, eat the poison and eventually die. Cockroaches are cannibalistic, so more of them are killed when they eat the dead carcass because it’s full of poison.  I bought a twelve pack and placed them all over the flat.

One night we were lying in bed and heard what sounded like crunching. It was too loud to be a cockroach so I got up to investigate. I found one of the plastic roach baits near the sink bench. It had been moved and a large chunk of the plastic had been chewed away. There were droppings nearby and they were bigger than mouse droppings. It quickly became clear, we had rats.

I went back to the supermarket and bought three rat traps. They looked like giant mouse traps, like something out of a cartoon. I baited them with chocolate. We were woken three times the next night as each trap snapped on a victim, it was horrible. The last one wasn’t even a clean kill; we heard it flap around on the lino for over a minute. The next morning, I found two BIG rats and one smaller one dead on the traps. I put each dead rat/trap combo in the bins outside, went back to the supermarket and bought three more traps and a bar of Cadbury fruit and nut.

So for me to be able to go to radio school we had made sacrifices. As it turned out the Oxford English Dictionary was spot on. As an offering to whatever deity controlled our destiny, we had surrendered possessions AND slaughtered animals.

Craic on!

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