Straight From Rubbish Tip To You

One of my favourite Bloggers, Life in the Boomer Lane, recently wrote about her trials with flies around the house.

This prompted me to remember how trigger happy mum used to be with fly spray. I honestly don’t know if the fly sprays of the sixties and seventies are exactly the same formula as those of today but their smell was way stronger it seemed. Certainly by the time mum got through with it we were nearly choking.

When we were children  in the mid sixties fly spray was dispensed from a different type of container, aerosol cans were just coming on to the market I think.

By Georges Jansoone (JoJan) – Self-photographed, CC BY 3.0, Link

In Australia the most well known brand was Mortein which was advertised on television with a catchy little jingle sung by “Louie the Fly”. Everyone knew it.

Louie the Fly, I’m Louie the Fly
Straight from rubbish tip to you.
Spreading disease, with the greatest of ease.
Straight from rubbish tip to you.
I’m bad and mean and mighty unclean.
Afraid of no-one, ‘cept the man with the can of Mortein.
Hate that word Mortein.
One spray and Louie the Fly,
Apple of his old mother’s eye was Louie,
Poor dead Louie, Louie the Fly a victim of Mortein.

Out of curiosity I looked up Mortein and learned some interesting bits of trivia about the advertising campaign.

Mortein was first developed in Australia in the 1870s by German immigrant J. Hagemann, the name being a combination of mort (French: “dead”) and ein (German: one). Mortein was manufactured by Samuel Taylor Pty Ltd from 1937. The company is now owned by the British company Reckitt Benckiser.

Louie first appeared in 1957, the year I was born. He was drawn and animated by Geoffrey Morgan-Pike.

The famous jingle was created in 1962 by none other than Bryce Courtenay during his time at advertising agency McCann Erickson.

Louie was voiced by Australian actor Ross Higgins. Australians will remember him from “The Naked Vicar Show” and especially for his character “Ted Bullpitt” in “Kingswood Country“which was a popular sitcom in the early eighties. It might not be considered very PC now but David and I found it hilarious although like most sitcoms the later series are not as funny as the early ones.

As an aside I remember seeing Ross Higgins advertising rival product Pea-Beu in the eighties. Pea-Beu also had a catchy jingle.

At the end of this post you can see an early Mortein jingle from the sixties and one of the many commercials Ross Higgins did for Pea-Beu from around 1980. I  can still remember all the words to the Louie the Fly song. Only a year or so ago Mortein did an advertising campaign based on whether or not they should drop Louie.They didn’t and here is a piece about him on the Mortein website.


Ragtag Daily Prompt: #5 Sitcom

Just for a Laugh

My mum used to like to tell a story about a mishap she and her younger sister had during the war (WWII). They decided to go to the pictures one evening and because it was the blackout and there were no street lights they tumbled into a hole left by some workmen who had not covered it when they finished work. Neither of them were hurt and once they got out of the hole both seemed to regard it as a funny incident. Certainly the story was retold many times over the next forty years. Life really is a sitcom at times. My grandmother had her share of mishaps which mum always found funny. Falling off an embankment and getting stuck in a door in her nightie are two I recall being told about. When her father told her off for laughing she’d point out that if you saw someone do the same thing in a film you would laugh at it. These were the days of Laurel and Hardy and similar films with a lot of slapstick  of course.

charlie chaplin ceramic figurine
Photo by Pixabay on

I can understand this. I think I must have inherited bad coordination from my grandmother. When I fall over or have some klutzy episode Naomi always laughs herself silly just as I laughed when she once slipped on a banana skin when we were out. It is not that we are laughing at another’s misfortune or that we don’t care if they are hurt. It just looks funny or the situation is funny.

Everyone’s sense of humour is different.  David used to like “Hogan’s Heroes”, Naomi and I like “Dad’s Army” but our mum didn’t like either of them; maybe it was too soon after the war for her to find them funny or maybe the situations just didn’t tickle her funny bone. Many TV sitcoms received the thumbs down from her because they were “Just plain stupid”.

In the eighties and nineties two popular sitcoms in Australia were “Acropolis Now” and “Allo Allo” . The first, an Australian show, was a Greek Australian sitcom, the second another WWII based sitcom set in France . Our European born workmates loved both of them as much as the Aussies did and were not offended by the stereotypes at all. Mum would have said both shows were just plain stupid.

Sometimes we laugh at things because we, or people we know, have been in similar situations. The popular Australian sitcom Rosehaven is full of such awkward humour. Frankly I watch the show because it was filmed in Tasmanian towns and I like location spotting but the lead character Daniel, played by Luke McGregor, is so awkward that I often have to look away in embarrassment. I don’t really find it funny. I keep hoping he’ll get over being such a doofus because I am sympathetic towards the character.

Luke McGregor after a take.

One last comment; if the producers feel the need to include canned laughter in a TV show it probably isn’t that funny. I don’t need to be told when to laugh.



Daily Prompt: Don’t Panic

via Daily Prompt: Panicked


Douglas Adams first wrote “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” for BBC radio in 1978. It became a TV series and several books.

I never heard the radio series but read all the books and loved the television series. I did not bother to watch the more recent movie as I  rarely enjoy remakes.

Douglas Adams would tell a story about how he first thought of the idea of writing a story about hitchhiking round the galaxy when he was hitchhiking in Europe in the early 1970s.

However, sometimes I wonder if he was influenced indirectly by another British television comedy from a few years earlier. “Dad’s Army” 1968-1977.

British people of a certain age will remember the show which was about a British Home Guard platoon in a fictional seaside town. One of the main recurring characters in the show was Lance-Corporal Jones a WWI veteran who was very excitable. In the event of a mishap Jones would run around waving his arms and yelling “Don’t Panic!” although usually he was the only one who was panicking.

Clive Dunn-1973.png
Link – Clive Dunn as Lance-Corporal Jones “Don’t Panic Captain Mainwaring.”

Although the humour in Dad’s Army was very different from Hitchhikers both shows were absurd and amusing and I enjoy watching reruns.

Did Douglas Adams have the phrase “Don’t panic Captain Mainwaring !” running through his head when he was creating the guide which had “Don’t Panic!” inscribed on the cover in large friendly letters? I wonder.

Sweet Dreams

Last year, about the time I started this blog, Hubby and I bought a new bed. It was the third one we’d owned in 36 years of marriage. I’ve read that ideally you should get a new mattress every 10 years but our first one lasted us for about 25 years although that was definitely several years longer than it should have been.

It wasn’t a new bed when we bought it just before we were married. I got it from a relative; I can’t remember what we paid for it. It was a couple of years old when we got it. We had the normal arguments about who was hogging the bed covers in winter. In summer we sweltered under a ceiling fan which did little more than create a warm breeze. We shared the bed with an assortment of dogs and cats and over time it grew saggier and more uncomfortable despite me regularly turning and flipping it.

Eventually I found that I was waking up stiff and aching every morning. I bought a wool underlay and that helped for a while but when we moved to Tasmania the old bed went to the dump. We would start our new lives with a nice new bed.

The new bed had a wooden slat frame and a wonderful cushiony pillow top mattress. I thought that when we needed a new mattress again we could just replace it and keep the bed, saving us money. I reckoned without Hubby though.

For several years everything was fine, we shared the bed with Tessie our old dog until she could no longer jump onto it, we got two more cats that also slept with us. After Tessie was gone and we got Cindy I said “No more dogs on the bed.” Cindy is a much larger dog than our previous ones and as both Hubby and I were putting on weight I didn’t think there would be enough room for all of us. Cindy would still sneak up to the bedroom if Hubby went to bed early though and I would have to chase her out. I relented one cold winter after I’d stopped working; the house was so cold at night that I didn’t like to think of Cindy sleeping in the back porch so she joined us on the bed. That left a bit less room for my feet but she was good and didn’t fidget unlike Hubby who had gradually commandeered more and more of the available real estate. The fights over bed covers were still going on too.

There was another problem though. One night I was woken up by a thump, followed by swearing. The bed frame had broken on Hubby’s side. I was able to repair it, Hubby has bad knees and can’t kneel so I get those jobs. Some months later it happened again so I added an angle bracket and a block of wood to act as an extra leg. I’m not a DIY person really, neither of us is but I thought that would do the trick. It did for some time but the force of Hubby sitting down on the bed eventually weakened it and when it broke for a third time we had had enough. By this time our mattress was 11 years old so it was time for a new bed.

We had a lot of discussions about what to buy. I looked on the internet to see what sort of beds and mattresses were suitable for heavy people. I now knew that anything that involved a base screwed to a bed head would not work for us. I also knew that we needed a bigger bed. One night after Hubby had gone to bed I measured the space left for me. It was about a foot and I had to share that with Cindy! I was horrified to find out how much a good bed and mattress cost but obviously a cheap one would not do it. It’s worth investing money in a decent bed considering how much of our time we spend in it.

Our new bed
Our new bed

Eventually we settled on a king sized ensemble which the helpful manager of Forty Winks in Hobart helped us choose. We even lay on our chosen mattress in the store for fifteen minutes or so to see how it felt and Hubby was in heaven. He likes a firm mattress, I like a slightly softer one but the softer the bed the more it costs so it’s back to the wool underlay for me.

Now you would think our troubles would be over. We have a nice new bed that shouldn’t collapse in the night, plenty of room for both of us and Cindy when she chooses to join us. Then the other night Hubby asked me. “Do we have any more blankets?” “No.” I told him. We have a warm doona but no king sized blankets. “Why?” “Well, “he said. “You seem to be pulling all the covers to your side.”

Sweet Dreams! Our old bed, repaired for the third time and recycled as a spare bed.
Sweet Dreams! Our old bed, repaired for the third time and recycled as a spare bed.

Pavlov’s Dogs – Funny Things Pets Do

Cindy has two beds, one at each end of the house but she still prefers ours.
Cindy has two beds, one at each end of the house but she still prefers ours.


This afternoon I had to go out for a short while and as I was about to leave the house our dog Cindy came and sat on her dog bed and waited expectantly. As usual she was waiting for a treat. When Cindy was a young dog she used to get very upset if Hubby and I went out without her. As soon as we’d shut the glass sliding door at the back of the house she’d start leaping up and down and getting very upset. In order to calm her down we did what we’d found worked with our previous dogs, we gave her treats. We soon found that the treat she liked best was a handful of  “Goodoes”. It worked and over time she came to associate our leaving the house with her getting a treat so she would rush to the back door then sit waiting for it.  It was only supposed to  happen if we were leaving her alone but after a while Cindy decided that it should happen whenever either of us left the house even if the other one was still at home. So that’s why, when she realised I was going out, she was there waiting  for that handful of treats. I don’t like her to have too many treats as she is part labrador and will eat anytime so usually she only gets them if we’re going somewhere.

I can’t help finding this little trick of Cindy’s amusing and it got me thinking about the other things that our pets learn from us. Most dogs know the meanings  of several words apart from the ones we teach them like “Sit”, “Stay” etc. Who hasn’t tried spelling out “W.A.L.K” only to find that the dog knows what that means as well. They seem to learn words like “Sausage” and “Biscuit” very easily. Cindy’s vocabulary also includes “Letterbox” because she considers it a huge treat to go to the end of the driveway with me to get our mail.

Of course dogs can recognise non verbal cues too. Dogs always seem to know that putting on shoes or wearing certain clothing means you are going out as well as the obvious picking up of bags and keys. My sister, who wears a uniform to work, says that her dogs know if she puts on the clothes she wears around the house that she is staying home with them. Recently we bought a new letterbox which we keep padlocked and Cindy quickly learned that when I pick up a certain set of keys we’re going to get the post. She is eight now so apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Most pets, cats as well as dogs, seem to know that a suitcase means that their human is going away. Dogs get mopey, cats, well I don’t know if it upsets them but they know. I can remember one occasion when Hubby and I were going on a trip when we sneaked out of the house with our suitcases because one of our cats had the habit of following us to the railway station meowing piteously all the way. He might have been saying “Don’t leave me!” but it could also have been “Where’s the can opener?” I guess. This particular cat, a big ginger named Peter, also worked out how the trains worked. He’d sometimes follow me to the station in the morning, once even coming onto the platform and rubbing himself up against waiting passengers. (I pretended I didn’t know him.) In the afternoons he would occasionally be waiting for me on the platform on the opposite side of the tracks. How he knew that was the one I’d arrive on I don’t know.

Cats are smart and they quickly learn the behaviours that get our attention. Honestly sometimes I wonder who is training who? We used to have canaries at one time and the cats were taught, mostly by means of squirt bottle of water, that they must not go after the birds. Mostly they didn’t but one of them, if her cries for dinner were ignored for too long would jump onto the kitchen bench near enough to get to the cage. She was obviously saying “If you don’t give me something to eat soon I’ll get my own.” because it was the only time she ever did it.  She also learned, this was in the 80s, that food came out of microwaves so instead of meowing at the fridge she’d meow at the microwave. My sister has a cat with a sense of humour, when I visit he likes to jump onto my chair the minute I get out of it. Last time I was there he came into the room unseen by either my sister or I and jumped onto my seat which I’d vacated for a few minutes. I nearly sat on him!

 Further Reading:

If our Great-Grandmothers would’ve had Facebook and Twitter when they were young mothers…

Reblogged on “My Other Blog”. This is so funny I had to share it.
Please read all the comments afterwards ‘cos they are nearly as good!

The Minivan Princess

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