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A Bunch of Battlers

Chapter 5 – A Beaut Christmas
Peter pushed the billy of water closer to the coals as small flames
leaped and crackled. It was just before dawn on Christmas Day.
He had woken early to lay out Billy's presents and now a fine new
sleepingbagandastockingfulloftoyswerewaitingbesideBilly’s
bike.
Throwing a handful of tea leaves into the boiling water Pete lifted
the billy from the fire and fetched his mug. He sat drinking his tea
and thought about the past few weeks.
Things had gone pretty well for them. The money from the paper
rounds had built up into a large sum that Pete had put into the
Commonwealth Bank. It had cost them less for food then he had
originally thought. Day old bread from the bakers was less than
half price and best of all they'd found a way of getting fruit and
vegetables for nothing! Each Saturday morning they went to a
street market in Richmond, and picked up the produce that had
fallen to the ground during unloading and could not be sold.
Sunday was the day for collecting aluminium cans. During the
week they picked up any they saw lying around but on Sunday
they really went out hunting them! With boxes and bags
strapped to the bikes the children searched the inner city parks
for cans.
ItwasBilly’sfavouritedayHeenjoyedspendingthe$200that
Pete gave him each Sunday afternoon. But most important to
Billy was that there was no paper round on Sunday so Pete could
come with him to the farm and watch how well he did his job
with the hens. Billy was very proud of himself.
On Monday afternoons they took the cans to the recycling centre
and Pete banked the money. On Thursday evenings they went to
the free meals place run by the Orange People. Along with the
food went some lectures on some way-out religion but this was
only for the adults - the kids were just given some food and sent
outside to play. No one ever noticed that Peter, Robyn and Billy
belonged to none of the adults there.
 
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