Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Way back in 2009 i began to tell the story behind the SOAR song called THE OLD BACK YARD. It is a long story so i broke it into parts and told each part at a different show - but yes, i did have to retell the earlier parts of the story at every show because not everyone at every show had been to every show and heard every part of the story. Erm, you know what i mean :) And then one day i just gave up telling the story. But now i have a blog and i can retell it all.
When i was a kid we lived along way away from my nanna, but, this did mean that we got to spend Christmas holidays with her just about every year. And in her backyard, growing over a carport pergola thingy, was a wonderful grapevine. These grapes ripened mid to late February (i now know) but when i was a kid i spent much of late December and January every year wishing for them to ripen. I would check on them every day, morning and night. These grapes were very important to me :) 
I learned a lot about the world from these grapes ya know. I would close my eyes and say - ok if there is a god up there here is your chance to prove yourself to me by making these grapes ripen as i open my eyes. All gods and potential gods such as Father Christmas and the Easter bunny all failed this test.
And so - i ate alot of grapes that weren't ripe when i was a kid.
But i decided that when i was all grown up and stuff that i would have a grapevine of my own. And i did grow up - erm, well, in a physical sense, but i didn't have a permanent place to plant my grapevine for a few years. But when i did i went and purchased a bunch of baby sultana grape vines, and planted them in a neat row. The first year they just did growing and stuff. The second year they grew impressively. The third year they had a couple of massively impressive bunches of grapes that i tended with utmost care. I even determined to resist the temptation to eat them before they were fully ripe and i let them grow on the vine until late in February. One morning i woke up and discovered that birds had eaten every single grape :(
This tragedy coincided with the need to move from this farm and so in the winter i took a bunch of cuttings from these grapevines so i could grow them again somewhere else. I didn't have anywhere else for a time so i left these big tubs (old washing machine tubs) of grapevine cuttings at my Mum and Dads place. And for almost ten years these cuttings survived with hardly any care - some died - they hardly grew at all because they were stuck in their tubs, until one day i accepted that i may not have a suitable place of my own for a while yet and so it was time to plant the surviving vines in my parents garden. Yes i know what you are thinking. I'm thinking the same. If you think taking ten years to get to this conclusion was dumb - read on :)
I dug two big holes and put each tub into the ground, figuring that the tubs would rust in the ground and i wouldnt have to disturb the vines to replant them, and i began a serious watering and fertilising program. In the first year they looked good but didn't grow. You guessed it - the tubs - the stainless steel tubs that were never going to rust and allow roots out to grow properly. So i carefully hacked away at one side of each tub until i could pull back the steel and finally free the roots of the vines. Covered them back over with soil and waited for the next spring and summer.
Well the next summer they grew fantastically. The next year they grew even better and had a couple of bunches of grapes. WHEEEEEE. And so now came the year to prune the vines properly to encourage the formation of bunches of grapes in the next year. Now i know that sultana grapevines have to be pruned in a specific way, unlike most varieties of grapes, and yes, i admit it, i pruned off all the parts of the vines that would have bunches on them the following year. So that year the vines grew fantastically but there wasn't a single grape to be seen!
But, all stories should end happily, and this one did, after sooooooo many years. The next year the vines grew fantastically, there were hundreds of bunches, i put up netting to stop birds eating them, and whenever i visited my mum and dad i could sit in the shade of the grapevine on their verandah, and eat as many grapes as i wanted (and i ate many), and think about my wonderful nanna, and all those gods who missed out on the chance to make me one of their own :)
And so there was a reason to write a song about the sign posts along the road of being a boy and a teenager, even if it proves that i'm not as bright as Bright thinks he is :)
Hope you enjoyed it.


  1. Ohh what a fun and enlightening tale of determination, hope and childhood memories. But it's having that lil piece of your past still with you that makes all the more special!

  2. Mmm...Love your story telling Mr B! Now I'm eagerly awaiting the story of your teenage exploits in the VW.