Rod Williams, Bush Poetry

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It was great to be returning to work with Kids — and Dusty was overjoyed as well.
Although we were both a bit nervous (I passed my doubts onto Dusty) at the beginning of the library tour as it was the first performing we had done since the severe Bradycardia I suffered in September and was about two–thirds along the road to recovery.

We began at Mansfield (to a packed Library room) and the wind had been blowing and the rain was pelting and we unloaded in a deluge and two wet people, (me and Leah Walker from Wangaratta Library) wet gear and a saturated Dusty, who had decided to tear around the Library to see where he'd been taken on this wild morning, to stake his claim.

Dusty Back At The Library
The Mansfield Courier announces our visit to Mansfield Library
The accompanying article reads:
“Bush poet and performer Roderick Williams and his trusty canine companion Dusty will be at Mansfield library at 11am on January 13.
Roderick was due to visit in October, but his tour was cancelled at the last moment due to unforseen circumstances, so it is pleasing he has been able to reschedule his visit.
After many years of entertaining school children around Australia, Roderick and Dusty recently settled in our local area.
A born and bred country boy, Roderick's poetry is drawn from his vast experiences as a shearer and stockman travelling to remote parts of Australia.
He has also spent time on stage, but now prefers to spend his time writing poetry and performing to school children, at bush festivals and in retirement homes.
His time spent with children gives him the most delight and he is truly looking forward to visiting High Country libraries to entertain them.
At the 2013 Man from Snowy River Festival, Roderick won six awards for his original poetry, and has published a book for children; Frogs and Dogs and Kids, and a CD by the same name.
Both will be on sale when he entertains the children at $15 each or both CD and book for $25.
Make sure you book for this event with Mansfield Library on 57752176”
(Mansfield Courier Jan 7 2015)

The very severe attack and heart blockage (there had been three attacks prior to this over a three week period) happened that very early morning on the third week in September when we were to previously begin the tour.
But, the Ambulance crew who kept me alive until Wangaratta hospital, the team of doctors and nurses who brought me out of the smothering ‘Black Holes’ and managed to raise my heart–beat rate in order to board me on a plane, the fabulous Chinese/Malaysian female doctor who sat by me on The Flying Doctor trip to Melbourne, the doctors and nurses who inserted the pacemaker into the left side of my chest and those who cared for me post-op - were all absolutely marvellous.

I owe my life to all these wonderfully, dedicated professionals and after recovery I dedicated The High Country Tour, the performances at Barwidgee and Myrtleford Lodge aged care, and my performances at The ABPA Championships in Corryong, to these great people.

Bright Library
With the Kids and Mr. Dust at Bright Library
(Photo courtesy Bright Library)

Anyway, Dusty and I had a great time entertaining and having fun with the Kids towards the end of January 2015 school holidays and with Leah, we visited Mansfield, Benalla, Wangaratta, Myrtleford, Bright and Mount Beauty.

Outside Wangaratta Library
Myself and Dusty outside Wangaratta Library
(Photo courtesy Wangaratta Chronicle)

Dusty had over a million pats and hugs — though he did get stroppy a couple of times on the first day, but I blame myself for that and everything worked out OK.

It was funny though, after Leah, Dusty and I had lunch in the park at Mt Beauty, we went around to the Library, unloaded and were ready to begin when Dusty spotted the lake and took off like a rocket and spear–dived into the water.
Well, kids had jumpers and scarves off all ready to dry Dusty down, that was lovely of them and one of the kids raced to the kitchen and came out with a couple of tea towels.
But we had a couple of towels in the little bus and Dusty got lots of drying rubs from the children and we went in and had a great time together — singing, dancing and performing poems.

Playing guitar
Singing at Wangaratta Library
(Photo courtesy Wangaratta Chronicle)

Dusty and I gave our Swaggie and Dog performance at Barwidgee Lodge.
We go there regularly of course, but this happened to be a special surprise.

It was a very lovely afternoon and we were there for about two and a half hours.
Most of the residents who needed to go to their rooms for medication — didn't want to go as we were all having such a great time — and that meant the day nurses were late knocking off and going home — being well past
But no one worried because everyone (including staff) had a ball.

Barwidgee Lodge
Dusty and I entertaining at Barwidgee Lodge
(Photo courtesy Justin Jenvey & Myrtleford Times)
The caption in the Myrtleford Times read:
“Local performer Roderick Williams made a grand entrance during his latest visit to perform for the residents of Barwidgee Lodge, last week. Dressed as a swagman and accompanied by his Border Collie Koolie, Dusty, Mr. Williams entered the room singing My Old Black Billy before entertaining the residents with a number of other Australian outback songs and tales.”

The surprise would not have happened so smoothly without the help of Pompea who took my bag, guitar, water bottles, water dish for Dusty — in ahead of us — so we could make a big entrance singing that lovely song ‘My Old Black Billy’.
Pompea (who first asked me up to Barwidgee), has not been well since just after that visit and our very, very Best Wishes go out to her and I do hope her smiling face greets Dusty and Roderick at Barwidgee Lodge very soon.

So “Happy Days” all you “Great Kids” and my “Lovely Friends” at Barwidgee and Myrtleford Lodge.