It was just and incident — so to speak.
Peter, there was one story you started, but it never got completed.
What was that?
The one about the accident you had with your rifle. You started telling me a month ago, but every time I mention it we seem to get diverted onto some other topic.
We were pretty careful with guns. Dad taught us well, and how to be safe.
I had mentioned that Kathi had accidentally fired our air pistol inside the house and the pellet danced around a bit but nothing got damaged. You indicated …
Well, just like Kathi’s story there wasn’t much to it. No great harm was done. It was just an incident, so to speak. I was always keen on guns, and my pride and joy was the repeater, my lever action. You’d fire off one round, a single shot, then work the under-grip, below the stock, and it was a hinged mechanism that ejected the spent cartridge and slid the next bullet into the breech. So it was BANG — work the lever — BANG — you’d get a repeat shot.
Well it turned out I was at the old College Street house one day, sort of just messing about with my lever action, and without intending to I fired off a shot from right there, sitting in the lounge. Fortunately my gun was pointing upwards so the bullet went through the ceiling and straight on through the tin roof. I guess it landed in some paddock off in the distance.
You got a few comments?
Well, not much was said. People were a bit used to those kind of noises. Just a loud BANG. After all, us boys were always up to something.
But a hole in the ceiling probably took a bit of explaining away.
Old Phil, or Dad — can’t remember exactly which one it was — it’ll come back to me — I suppose one of them thought we’d better get it repaired in case it rained, but in those days we did that sort of thing ourselves, so there’s me, up on the roof with a bit of solder, fixing a patch in place. Do you know about solder?
I’ve seen and heard about it, but never used it.
Well, it’s a metal alloy of sorts — lead with a flux in it, and you heat it up and it melts. So there was me, up on old tin roof with a metal patch, a length of solder and the blowtorch. You needed a thing called a soldering iron, and you’d flow the solder around the edge of the patch to seal it onto the roof. So the only real consequence to the whole affair was me having to clamber up and fix the bally hole.
Was that lever action rifle a version of the pea rifle?
No, no, not at all. The pea rifle was a small caliber, a 22. My lever action was a heavy caliber, bigger than a 303 — it was a 45.
A 45! That’s a bit ‘Wild West’ isn’t it?
It was only a bullet hole in the roof. Just an incident.’