Fred & Olive’s Blessed Lino

First published: 1993

Fred and Olive's Blessed Lino

This book has had many titles, publishers and covers. It is also known as More Over the Top with Jim and More Over the Top with Jim Stories.

It came about in this way: Hughie wrote Over the Top with Jim and an ABC Radio host, Ian McNamara, decided to serialise it on his national Sunday morning radio programme, Australia All Over. The serialisation was a marvellous success, and so Ian McNamara – known as Macca to his fans – asked Hughie to write some more episodes. He would ring up and say: “You haven’t written about Christmas in the Cakeshop!” or “Write an episode about backyard cricket in the 1950s!”

This book is the result.

For reviews, while I am finding them, please see the Over the Top with Jim section.

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The two windows of our cake shop were filled with Fred’s cakes next to signs which said: “Take Vincent’s APC with confidence and a hot bath” and “Peters Ice Cream – the Health Food of a Nation”.

Inside the shop, the glass-fronted stainless steel Jack Frost fridge contained soft drinks of every size and colour, plus drums of ice cream to make malted milk shakes with.

My father Fred was always taking cheques from certain customers which Olive said bounced all over Annerley Junction. Olive called these people “black snakes” because she said they bit the hand that fed them. But Fred would still get caught again a few months later. “The poor fellow,” Fred always said, “if he needs it badly enough then let him have it.”

But Dad would never lend them money.

Whenever one of these men waited until Olive had gone home and asked Fred to slip him a pound to tide him over – Fred just cupped his hand around his right ear and kept saying: “What’s that? I can’t hear you” until they gave up asking.

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