Always take the spoon out of the sink before you, turn on the tap. Bryce Courtenay used this homily several times in his classic, spell binding novel Four Fires. He credits it to author Elizabeth Stead who allowed him to appropriate the inspirational catchphrase:

The following is an excerpt from Bryce Courtenay’s book Four Fires:

Nancy didn’t believe in feeling sorry for yourself. ‘Shit happens,’ she would say, ‘can’t help that, but there’s one thing we can all do, eh?’ She rose from where she was sitting and said, ‘Follow me.’ We traipsed into the kitchen after her, whereupon Nancy took a large spoon out of the drawer and placed it in the sink directly under the tap. ‘Righto, everyone gather around.’ Then she turned on the tap hard and the jet from the tap hit the curved spoon and we were all splashed in the face and over our clothes. ‘lt’s a lesson for life, what’s called a metaphor,’ she then said. ‘Maybe we can’t always plan things perfectly, but what we can do is to make sure we take the spoon out of the sink before we turn on the tap.’

This saving became our Maloney motto: Always take the spoon out of the sink before you, turn on the tap. lf one of us was planning something that could have been a bit dicey, someone in the family would always ask ‘Taken the spoon out?’ You know, looked at every possible angle, anticipated every possible problem before going ahead with the project.

Two pieces of advice he had to offer:
1. Never leave the spoon in the sink when you’re going to turn on the tap (in other words, think ahead).
2. Listen with your eyes.

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