Coming out of the Dark Closet

Nick in Shinkansen

In the midst of the 2010 Federal election, Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry has managed to place Mental Health on the national agenda. ABC’s Four Corners “Hidden Voices” dedicated a pre-election show to highlight depression, mental health: both significant factors in suicide.

Looking at the data, whilst suicide rates are falling – the rates in males 25 to 45 is still way above the norm. And more people die by their own hand in Australia than on the roads.

During the show, I tweeted the following: I suffer from Depression. There. I said it.

For me this has been a long journey. Thanks to excellent medical care, and can function in employment and society.

So, let me highlight: If you think you suffer from depression, are feeling ‘down’ – seek help. Start with your GP. Call Lifeline or similar service now. Do not be ashamed in seeking help. You are not alone.

Whilst there is still a stigma

Being depressed, and mentally unwell is still holds a social stigma.

Whilst public acceptance is on the incline: publically stating that you suffer from depression will have a negative effect on your employability. Whether working for a large organisation or as a single contractor: people around you will treat you with suspicion. Depression can be a disability that directly effects work performance; and the career prospects of individuals.

Or as is sadly all too common: no job at all..

Whilst remaining a supporter of various Men’s mental health charities. Personal donations. Growing moustaches, I am going to leave much of my personal thoughts to myself for the time being.

Not Missing, Just Resting.

I have been rather quiet of late.


  1. Day 5 of a man-flu. Just can’t shake it quickly.
  2. For the fourth time, I am taking a break from the Twitter stream. Funnily enough, life goes on without knowing everything else that is going on.
  3. Thinking. There is a rather lot of things to think about, if you permit yourself to mentally wander.

Latest from the Kitchen Renos

For the non-Australian readers, renos is short for renovations. Pronounced renOEZ

Behold: my new Zip tap.

New Zip Tap

Not only hot and cold running water, we now have filtered colderer and filtered boiling (ie: hoterer) water – right at the sink.

This is my Christmas present from Avril, and the only request I had for the kitchen renos. At current costs, this should pay for itself by 2025.

My Relative from 18th Century: George Hodge


This is page 2 of a contract between Charles and Robert Fall of Dunbar, Scotland and the fishermen of Crail, Fife, Scotland.

Charles and Robert Fall held many interests in Dunbar in the 18th Century. They also had family connections in Fife. In an agreement signed by them on the 9th November 1745, the fishermen of Crail agreed to deliver their catch of white fish to them for a period of 6 years. This shows the final part of the contract made between the Falls and the fishermen of Crail. Here, agreement is made for the carriage of fish, notably saithe, to the Fall’s cellars, to be paid by them. At the end are the signatures or ‘marks’ of the fishermen of Crail. The most easterly of Fife’s fishing ports, Crail Harbour dates back to the 16th century. At one time the village was an important herring station. The few fishermen left today fish inshore, mainly for shellfish.

On the left hand side, just below the fold, there is the follow text: “George GH Hodge mark.” In this instance, George Hodge could not sign his name, and therefore marked with a “GH”. I am related to this George Hodge.

George Hodge was born in 1717 to George Hodge (himself born in 1686) and mother Katherin Moncrief in Crail/Fife, Scotland. He was 32 when he marked this document. His younger brother was a James Hodge, where my paternal line descends.

crail harbour 1850s

Crail Harbour: The harbour was ‘new foundit’ in 1610, destroyed in 1707, and what is shown here dates from the rebuild of 1728.

The fish stocks in this area started to drop in the later part of the 18th Century, and therefore there was not enough room in the family business. As the younger brother, James Hodge left the family business and slowly drifted north to St Andrews in the latter half of the 18th Century. From 1764 in Crail, 1766 in Kingsbarns (3.5km north of Crail) and 1771 in Brown Hills (just south of St Andrews). This George Hodge is also the witness to the birth of James Hodge’s first and second children: Andrew and Mary. The third child of James Hodge is a John Hodge; again from where my paternal line descends. This John’s son, Melville, emigrated to South Australia in 1853.

In the 1841 census, Mary Hodge (daughter of James Hodge, born in Kingsbarns in 1766) is listed as living in Thorgate, Crail. Based on the position in the census, it is likey she was living with the Scotts of Crail at this time.

I suspect that James travelled north either as a farm labourer, or as a hand loom linen weaver; as was his son. Kingsbarns has a noted history of both. And golfing, but I doubt my family was of the correct glass for golfing.

Note: This information was found using the system. Scran is:

Scran – part of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland – aims to provide educational access to digital materials representing our material culture and history. This is provided through the wholly owned trading arm Scran Ltd. We are one of the largest educational online services in the UK supporting over 4,000 schools, libraries, colleges and universities.

12 O’Clock High Trivia


Amongst the ladies with perfect early 1960s hair-dos and dresses in a series set in the mid 1940s; and the eucalypts of Southern California appear the episodes of 12 O’Clock High

And there is lots of smoking: even by the combat pilots in-flight! Maybe cigarette companies were primary sponsors of the original shows as the screened on US TV? Without a doubt, there are many young American fliers chasing after English girls in pubs and the countryside.

Many of the cut-scenes are repeated; both in air and on the ground. These were genuine WW2 gun camera footage and in combat shots.

In these stock shots you can see reversed insignia, old USAAF insignia, mixture of B-17F and B-17G types. The German planes are Hudsons rather than Heinkels, yet the interior of the B-17 seems authentic.

Robert Lansing is like a Brigadier-General Superman who commands his B-17 “Piccadilly Lily” with a constant sneer and consistent coolness. Nazis in the air, nazis on the ground and evil spies; he wins against them all. Never promoted with at least 3 crash landings and near death at least four times.

Other bits:

  • Hazel Court as common love interest, “Liz”
  • Tom Skerritt starred as 5 different characters in 5 different episodes. I did not realise that he was a common star of 1960s TV Shows.
  • Sorrell Booke, who later played Boss Hogg in the TV version of Dukes of Hazard
  • Famous screen sirens of the 1950s make an appearance in individual episodes, with many minutes of women swooning: Dana Wynter (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), Glynis Johns, Viveca Lindfors, Australian-born Victoria Shaw, Barbara Shelley
  • Norman Fell: was a tail gunner during WW2
  • A young Peter Fonda, with superb acting.
  • Episode 109, Appointment At Liege: Innocent phrases such as “If I could commandeer a Jeep, could you play hookey for an hour and a half?” and “I don’t know. I’ve never run away with anybody before.” <long eye gazing> “you wait here”  (Future 2001: A Space Odyssey Gary Lockwood playing Major Gus Denver’s sweet lines to Nancy Kovack, playing a perfectly 1960s coiffured weather intelligence Lt Cooper)
    wanna play hookey 
  • Sally Kellerman, to star in the later MASH movie, had a repeated role as a Nurse Lt. Typecast?
  • Episode 118 Lorelei. In this spooky episode, a haunted B-17 named Lorelei returns to UK by itself and continues to cause havok. Stars Rip Torn and Bruce Dern: one of four he was in as a bombardier. Bruce Dern as Lt Michaels quotation on the Lorelei: “We gonna get together an’ buy this here airplane. And then we’re gonna get us some matches then we gonna have us a bomber bar-be-que”
  • “That’s the thing with loners: they tend to be outsiders trying to get back in” (said of Keir Dullea; later to play Dave Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • In Episode 124, the future 99 from Get Smart playing Lt Betty Cumming: Barbara Feldon

Onwards to Series 2 and 3, then Combat!

Oh, I love holidays

A Hole in the Wall

Kitchen Before Tiling

Yesterday, this was a wall.

Today, we are proud owners of a hole between our kitchen and lounge.

Renovations have started to pace up now. Yesterday, the bathroom was rendered. Today, the underfloor heating for the kitchen was installed by Avril and Matt. Tomorrow, kitchen tiling is completed and the new kitchen delivered. Friday is kitchen installation d-day.

Private Angus Hodge


In the recent research of my paternal family history, I found reference to David Melville Hodge signing the papers for an Angus Hodge. These papers were permission given by David for Angus to join the Australian Infantry in 1916 for service abroad. He was only 18 years and 2 months old.

Private Angus Hodge was my Great-Grand Uncle.

Based on my recent research into a Private Albert Lock, I knew I could find Private Angus Hodge’s service records at the National Archives. A few personal notes where an injured right leg from a horsing accident in 1912, and many teeth missing. He was also noted as “stocky” at only 5 and a half feet tall. His denomination was listed as Methodist.

Private Angus Hodge became a part of the 6th reinforcements for the South Australian 43rd Battalion, AIF. The 43rd Battalion made up the 11th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Division of the AIF. Landed in the UK during the early part of 1917. (note: This Order of Battle is extremely useful and the War Diaries of the 43rd Battalion are insightful)

At this stage, Private Hodge started to have a bout of Measles and Mumps and finally arrived in France 30th July 1917. He joined the front line on 24th August 1917. Just in time for the 3rd Battle of Ypres. (also known to Australians as Passchendaele)

From this time, there were many times in hosipital listed as “NYD” and “PUO” : not yet determined and pyrexia unknown origin (ie: fever)

Then there is a note from 18th August 1918 “admitted old wounded leg, slight” back in the UK ; fracture from tibia, based on the fall from a horse some 6 years earlier. Repatriated back to the UK, Private Hodge spent time getting better at the end of the first world war.

On the 23rd November 1918, exactly 90 years ago today, the Medical Board in the UK awarded Private Angus Hodge a 20% permanent disability due to service; fit for home service.  He would have limped for the rest of his life.

Discharged from the AIF on 19th March 1919 in Adelaide. Merely a year after returning to Australia, Angus was dead.

Nearly 3 years away from home, Private Hodge served his country. The records fail to detail the mental and other injuries suffered whilst in France.

Angus Hodge died ages 22 and is buried 23rd March 1920. The gravestone states “Son of DM and FJ.” Last residence is recorded as Gulnare South Australia. Where David Melville Hodge was farming at the time.

Lest We Forget.