Home | Words From Adelaide

April 03, 2009

Bible Jack

John Powell recalls characters who regaled the crowds at London’s Speakers’ Corner.

To read more of John's columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/words_from_adelaide/

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October 12, 2008

Gran's House

John Powell recalls in hilarious detail the day he got stuck in a 'dumb waiter' lift at his grandma's house.

For more of John's brilliant words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/words_from_adelaide/

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September 28, 2008

The Meteora Monasteries

John Powell is impressed by the Meteora monasteries, which are set atop 1,800 ft peaks – but he fails to find meditative peace and quiet.

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September 14, 2008

Bonkers Parents

...I knew a London family with the surname of Flowers. So what happened? Yes, you've guessed it; they called their unfortunate son, Chrysanthemum and their daughter, Violet, and, wait for it, a second daughter, Bluebell...

John Powell, aghast and amused in equal measure, tells of the crazy names imposed on children.

For more of John's columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/words_from_adelaide/

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August 31, 2008

The 4WD Safari

...We all set off in his 4 wheel-drive, along the dusty, unsealed road, a cloud of dust 100 metres long trailing behind us...

John Powell is taken for a little drive in the Australian bush.

To read more of John’s columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/words_from_adelaide/

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August 17, 2008

Climbing the Bridge

...In I went to be ushered into a waiting room with serious, silent people, mentally debating which to do first; bolt for it, say their prayers or go to the toilet as apprehension took hold. Our party of twelve was then formed and taken to a briefing room, given an alcohol breath-test and asked to sign a paper, which said something about if I fell off the bridge and was killed then I promised not to come back and sue them...

John Powell climbs the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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August 03, 2008

The Flying Safari

...What a huge country is Australia! Lovable in its harsh desolation...

John Powell views the vast Australian outback on an air tour.

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July 06, 2008

The Old Lebanon

John Powell weeps for the Lebanon he knew fifty years ago - a place where people of all religions mixed socially and were at peace with one another.

To read more of John's amiable articles please click on Words From Adelaide in the menu on this page.

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June 29, 2008

Remote Controls? Yeah, Right!

...So, here it is, another damned Manual, obviously dictated by a Japanese to a Mongolian migrant in Spain by the looks of it. When they don't know how to say it in English they use fluent gobbledegook. For example:

Turn the SEL to digital, (Note; this does not apply to models CCD-TRV208E/CCD-TRV408E nor TRV model prior 1999)...

John Powell tells of the joys of the Remote Control life.

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June 15, 2008


...Thankfully, my walk through the Siq was in solitude; I was able to wander with my thoughts and to lose myself in atmosphere and imagination as I walked in the footsteps of history. Encased within the majestic, beautifully picturesque, red-brown cliffs towering above me I heard the sound of chariot wheels clattering on the stone paving as the charioteer braced himself for balance and slowing as a camel-train carrying silks, brocades, incense and spices, stopped for him to pass: then a party of Roman Legionnaires marched up the Siq for guard duties….It was magic...

John Powell visits Petra, a city that was the central point for controlling the Spice and Silk Routes.

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June 01, 2008

The Perfect 'Con'

...Clutching a supermarket plastic bag very possessively, he squeezed his huge frame, with some difficulty, into the narrow airliner-seat which, as we all know, is designed for the dimensions of a six-year-old kid. At once he overflowed. His flabby arm buried mine, hitherto resting quite peacefully on the arm-rest. It was like being engulfed by a tsunami and, hastily, with a gigantic tug, I relinquished my territorial claim...

John Powell tells of of an outsize airline passenger with nasty habits.

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May 18, 2008


...The urinals were dripping water with such energetic spurts that one would have had to wear a salmon fisherman’s waders to be able to utilize the facility. The attendant stood there, proudly, showing a mouthful of gleaming teeth below his walrus moustache, and armed with a large plumber’s suction pad to signify his area of expertise...

John Powell goes on a day trip to Mexico.

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May 04, 2008

Falconry With Sakers And Salukis

John Powell tells of falconry and hunting gazelle in the deserts of Syria and Iraq.

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April 20, 2008

Music Lessons

When the ebullient John Powell decides to again try his hand at musicianship, you are guaranteed a chuckle with every drum beat.

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April 06, 2008

I Left My Heart In Santorini

John Powell paints an enticing word portrait of a Greek island.

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March 23, 2008

Handyman Husbands - (An Oxymoron?)

OK, so you have the right words to bedazzle colleagues in management meetings - but you need more than words when it comes to hanging a picture?

John Powell tells how the not-so-handy can still get the better of a handyman.

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March 16, 2008

Gallipoli - Dawn Service

John Powell visits the Gallipoli battlefields on Anzac Day.

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March 02, 2008

Carnival - Part 2

John Powell continues his memories of joyous boyhood days while on holiday in Herne Bay.

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February 17, 2008

The Carnival - Part 1

...Our feet soon became accustomed to running on the pebbled beach; we found that when we let our young feet sink into the pebbles it didn't hurt that much anyway. Who cared? We were with our friends again and taking out the rowing boats; riding our bikes; climbing trees in Blean Woods; climbing the cliffs at Westcliffe or fishing off the Hampton jetty, catching nothing but such fun throwing our lines out; or it was decided, by unanimous vote, to ride our bikes to the park to fly our model aeroplanes. ..

John Powell tells of happy family holidays at Herne Bay in the 1930s - an age when children made their own entertainment rather than waiting for it to be provided for them.

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February 03, 2008

Come Triking With Me

John Powell finds out what it is like to be airborne in a "flying Go-Kart''.

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January 20, 2008

What's In A Name?

John Powell reveals that there's more to a name than meets the eye - or a well-aimed pepper pot.

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January 13, 2008

Amman Adventure

John Powell tells of fraught times and excellent hospitality during a visit to Jordan.

To read more of John's entertaining articles please click on Words From Adelaide in the menu on this page.

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December 30, 2007

Feng Shui

John Powell, with literary tongue firmly in cheek, applies Feng Shui to do-it-yourself furniture.

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December 16, 2007


...Athens is still a traffic-congested cement city with high-rise apartments in every available space, each with a balcony, many being enhanced with pleasing green shrubs breaking the monotony of the everlasting cement. Unfortunately, the habit of shaking blankets, curtains and tablecloths from the balcony can lead to minor dust storms on those below...

John Powell tells of expansive experiences in the Greek capital.

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December 02, 2007

El Suprema

...She shouted at the top of her screeching voice, for the whole store to hear, “Melissa! MELISSA! THIS MAN WANTS TO BUY HIS BRA, CAN YOU COME AND HELP HIM ?” About 50 pairs of female eyes were now staring at me, and 25 mouths, all talking at once, as they discussed this transvestite pervert—me...

John Powell, fulfilling his duties as an errand boy for his incapacitated wife, ventures under potest into the bra secion of a large store.

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November 18, 2007

Come, Soar With Me

...And then the magic moment: I had been keeping my hand on the dual-controlled joystick, feeling Roger's movements reacting to the sailplane, when he said, ‘Right, John, take over for a bit if you like.’ If I like? My oath! I liked...

John Powell experiences the joy of taking to the air in a sailplane.

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November 10, 2007

Cello Lessons

...For the first ten minutes Tom would sit, very seriously, applying resin up and down the bow explaining to me, in learned fashion, that this improves the tone of the instrument. I wondered how it sounded without it. Next, Tom would struggle to adjust his crotch area, in embarrassing fashion, so that he could then stretch his little legs sufficiently and beyond the normal call of duty, enabling him to wrap them around the huge cello...

The irrepressibly good-humoured John Powell recalls having to sit-in on his brother's cello lessons.

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November 04, 2007

Birthday Indulgence

...I was puzzled by the Hipsters. There is no opening in the front. (Men, as you may know, or should know, have openings in the front). This absence calls for the most ridiculous contortions; knees bendings and leg liftings together with facial grimaces beyond belief, when the occasions call, indeed, manoeuvres so demanding that I inevitably get severe cramps before success is achieved...

John Powell - no slouch he - went out and bought himself some Hipsters to celebrate his 82nd birthday. But South Sea Island Aqua? And Golden Sunburst? Colours such as those could only end up in one place.

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October 21, 2007

Ancient Greeks

John Powell, writing with great gusto and good humour, considers the debt we owe to those ancient Greek thinkers - Mr Archimedes, Mr Pythogaras, and that ilk.

John's entertaining words will now be appearing fortnightly in Open Writing. Do watch out for them.

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