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Almanac Life: Masked Melbourne and a Swans thought

I had thought a footy story might have been forthcoming this week, but alas, a loss hasn’t inspired me to write much at all. I don’t mind losing, especially this year, but what is there to say about this game against St Kilda, in Brisbane.

Our young team tried, and but for unbelievably inaccurate kicking for goal especially in the first quarter, we could have have been right up there with a chance. We completeley dominated in the third, missing golden opportunities, and, as happens so often, the opposition carried the ball to their forward line for the first time all quarter, and goaled.

With only a couple of goals behind at that stage, we were eventually completely blown away in the final term, as the Saints did as they pleased.

Young footballers need time to develop consistency, and what better opportunity for the Swans cygnets than to get game time into them this year, one that doesn’t really count. With many of our experienced guys still out injured, now is the perfect opportunity for our stars of the future to experience and enjoy the wins when they come, and learn from the disappointing losses.

Before the game at 5.30, Marshall and I went for a walk. Beautiful 17 degree sunshine in Melbourne today, and with footy on the agenda, we strolled down past Lake Oval, which always brings fond memories from decades ago. And the multitude of swans on the lake brought a smile to my face, albeit hidden behind my mask.

This old tree, sitting on the edge of the lake and decorated in 2020 artwork, caught my attention. It also triggered a sort of science fiction fantasy.



At times this past week or so, with no facial expressions to be seen on anyone in Melbourne, this fantasy has in fact become a reality, and it is taking some getting used to.

As I walked alongside the lake, runners were the exception. Everyone else, masked. No friendly smiles, no intimate exchanges, just eyes, meeting or otherwise. I instinctively smiled at a few people, imagining I was reciprocating, but I’ll never know.


Mask, Oh, protective mask,
How pleased I am that you adorn my face,
I can wander the streets without worry or fear,
And greet others with purposeful grace.

The only problem I have,
Is my smile can’t be seen,
And the eyes must express,
Just what it is that I mean.

The eyebrows rise up, the crow’s feet expand,
I expect a greeting and think I’m in luck,
But they walk straight past me, with no smile in sight,
All because my bloody glasses fogged up!


That’s it for this week. Short and sweet.


Go Bloods!




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About Jan Courtin

A Bloods tragic since first game at Lake Oval in 1948. Moved interstate to Sydney to be closer to beloved Swans in 1998. My book "My Lifelong Love Affair with the Swans" was launched by the Swans at their headquarters at the SCG in August 2016.


  1. Nicole Kelly says

    Thank you, Jan! I loved the sentiment and the photo of that tree. Fabulous. It’s a new world behind the mask.

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Despite the mask, that’s a good looking tree!

  3. Debby Ross says

    A very moving and prophetic piece Jan, with definite undertones of sadness .. take care both of you/
    Cheer cheer,

  4. Lynn Baker says

    Thank you Jan ! You brought back such happy memories of Lake Oval , the lake , and Swans swimming around.. I smiled but no one could see my joy behind my mask !
    Take care and stay healthy Jan and Marshall.
    Cheer Cheer . Lynn Baker

  5. Rhonda Carson says

    Cheers Jan … It is indeed a sad old Melbourne Town and you have captured the mood around town beautifully.
    Our boys are certainly in need of our support and encouragement ?????
    Sending best wishes to you and Marshall… Stay safe and stay well
    Cheer, cheer,
    Rhonda Carson xx

  6. Rhonda Carson says

    Hi Jan , I am not sure why the Question marks appeared …It was actually a Red and White Heart and Swan
    Maybe the Gremlins are at work .?
    Cheers, Rhonda

  7. Many thanks Nicole, Luke, Debby, Lynn and Rhonda. All very kind with your words, and a big cheer cheer – although Luke may not appreciate a Swans greeting!!

  8. Jan all the best poignant and totally appropriate thank you

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