Sunday, May 26, 2013

Painter laments trend to white but it's still tops in cricket

Image: Courtesy of fellow bloggers at Hue Color Consulting.

HOLD your breath and steady yourself for the coming announcement but the lid's not being lifted on anything here. In fact, the lid is going back on the can. One of Redland City's most experienced painters, Barry Short, has revealed his retirement plans. Barry is a longtime advertiser in our Trade Services section where he describes himself as "your friendly, reliable local painter". He's proud that he has been able to conduct his business totally within the Redland boundaries for the past 20 years.
A TRUE 'gentleman painter', Barry estimates he has worked on thousands of houses in the district since he moved from Sydney with his wife Linda and their sons Bradley and Mathew. His grounding in his trade came from a painting and decorating apprenticeship with the Waltham Forest Borough Council in north-east London before he and Linda married in 1967.
"We were married in March and came to Australia in June – two young people looking for adventure," he says.
WHEN the Shorts tired of the urban pressures of Bondi, they headed straight for the then Redland Shire, rented a unit then bought an Alexandra Hills home where they still live.
Although Mathew opted for a career as a chef, Bradley has followed his dad's footprints and the pair happily work together. Barry says he has seen a lot of change in his trade: "When I started it was all with oil-based enamels but now the modern acrylic paints make it so much easier and people can have fun with colours."  He still prefers what he terms 'solid' colours despite a trend to lighten shades by addition of big percentages of white.
IN FACT, he says white is so much in fashion that one manufacturer's latest colour cards display 135 different 'whites'. However, cricket whites happen to be a favourite for Barry, who played with the Alexandra Hills club some years ago and now looks forward to his former countrymen holding the Ashes in the coming series against Australia.
WHEN discussing his retirement plan and reflecting on his life, "Barry" Short has revealed his driver's licence bears a different spelling of his Christian name – it is "Bari". "My father served in the Royal Horse Artillery in World War II and after he was wounded he was taken to the Red Cross in Bari, Italy," he says. "That's why he named me 'Bari'." A painter needs to get on with the job without wasting time talking, so the solution has been to 'Australianise' his name, and all those happy clients will remember him as "Barry".

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

On the tradition of trust

Image: Times certainly have changed since this style of telephopne was the norm (courtesy fellow bloggers at MUSH Home Decor).

THE phone sounds with a smirking twist of what we formerly called a 'ring'. Once upon a time we could answer with a friendly 'Hello ...' and even end with an intimate "Have a good one". However, the chances nowadays are that a phone call brings an insult. Common scenario: The caller ID will say "overseas" or "private". The foreign accent struggles with English but the tone is friendly enough.

TWICE, I have heard that politeness change with a clear sharp edge that seems to say: "Beam me up Scotty – we've got a live one'. It was the sharpness of a predator that has found a victim. After using the phone as a tool of trade for decades, I think I'm pretty good at hearing the tones and inflections. These voices had the smell of criminal. The callers were, in fact, 'cyber criminals' pretending to represent Microsoft and warning that the company had identified my computer as infected with a virus.
MOST times I have simply said 'No thanks' and hung up but twice I played along and, with my best 'old man' shakiness', thanked them profusely, portraying trust and ignorance as they led me to the background set-ups of my computer. The first time, when the woman from 'Microsoft' had led the old man to the point of 'enter' on a string of numbers, he suddenly jumped off his mobility scooter and spoke with the hardness of Dirty Harry: "I wouldn't do that for a criminal like you. Why don't you get yourself a decent job?" She started to argue but faded into disappointment and the phone went dead.
THE second time, just before that crucial stage, I bailed out in a similar manner. He argued, insisting there was no con, but at least I had the satisfaction of 'putting one over him'. The scary bit really was the change in their voices when they hooked an apparently gullible Aussie. I do not want to denigrate anyone who has pressed 'enter' when under such direction but it's an insult to the nation that the scammers even target us.
UNFORTUNATELY, the calls reflect a long period of social change that has instilled suspicion and even fear into the phone lines. In local papers such as the Bayside Bulletin and Redland Times, we have watched the change. When we call, the voices will often be that of a friend, neighbour. a connection from your club, school or church involvement – someone's mother, daughter, father, brother ...
YOU will know where to find us. Most have long family and other cultural connections with the Redlands, some over generations. You will find us sticking with the local-paper heritage of service in providing relevant news and advertising that gets results – all based on trust. Thank you.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.