Chapter 10      Written / Published  18.11./25.11.15    Pics by author, unless indicated

      HOME        THE  WINNER  GAVE  IT  ALL       Given your all - Now what?

This chapter concludes the 2015 Europe trip. Before we do, we sing from a special place on our song sheet, which leads us to an encounter with an ambulance. 

Justice is still begging, having let down the innocent, both in AUS and in the USA. But God's Word stands forever. Nobody, who trusts in HIM will be disappointed.

"But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets". (Daniel 2, 28.)

 

10.  Two Ten - barn born! 

Before I create a new chapter I carefully read through the previous one. In the process I correct any typing errors or bad grammar, which I may have overlooked on editing. (Sorry, if any remain). While doing this at the start of this chapter, Wednesday 18th Nov. 2015 I played a CD in the background.

This was not merely for entertainment. It was rather to learn the songs of our 2015 Christmas Choir, which I again joined this year. The leader had given each singer this CD and encouraged us to play it often. As in previous years, this gave choir members more confidence and made her job easier.

It so happened, as I was reading and correcting Chapter 9, I arrived at the Ride-On song, sung at the church service in Bath, UK. In amazing timing, that very nanosecond, I thought I heard the words ride on sung on the CD.

Did I hear really hear the words Ride on? I wondered. I fetched the song folder and looked through each of the lyrics, if any song included these words. (We only had had two practice sessions, and it was the first time I listened to the CD.)

So it was. It took little time to find the place I had heard on the CD. But not merely the words ride on, but another phrase also came as a total surprise. I felt so excited, I took a scan: Take a look:

Lyrics from Hail to the King!

"Bright Morning Star, King of all days, reign in our heart, ride on our praise. You are crowned in majesty."

 

Only on scanning the above did I notice - Bright Morning Star, the very phrase in the scripture I had included at the end of chapter 9, the one I was editing!

But there was more, another surprise, only a few hours after the above. It came right at the beginning of the Christmas choir practice that evening. The very first song we practiced was Hail to the King; but not from the start. Our leader commenced not only with above song, but chose to begin at Bar 20, which happens to be exactly on the lyrics Bright Morning Star... 

In my mind I'm asking - did our song leader know what I had scanned that afternoon? It would mean my P/C is monitored and she somehow received the information? How could that be? Would I not sound totally paranoid, if I were to ask her that?

Some will say, co-incidences happen, so what? But I say: "God knows the beginning from the end". (Isaiah 46, 10). His Holy Spirit leads and guides. How else can any rational mind explain this, or indeed find an explanation for all those quirky links that have become the hallmark of my writing?

The day after uploading the previous chapter came another. On Channel Nine TV a lady was wearing a large necklace. It was in the shape of the letter U. How could I not remember that a picture showing the letter U, and the letters C U, had featured in my writing only the day before?

At first I merely smiled at the 'co-incidence'. Only when a few minutes later another TV presenter, on TV Channel Seven, also wore a U-shaped necklace, did I fetch my camera and take a picture:

TV Channel Seven, Lifeguard and U necklace.

(Pic. TV Channel Seven)

 Only on scanning for this writing did I notice an oddity - the colours of the U-necklace.  Blue, white and red had been dominant colours the world over, on buildings, flags or wherever people wanted to show solidarity with the hurting people of France, following the Black Friday (13.11) terrorist attack.

However, the above photo could not have anything to do with that. I took it four days before! The date Nov. 9th, or 9.11.

Every one's mind time-travels to New York 2001, when they hear the digits 9.11. Mine did also, but on this occasion it went back four more days to 9.7 (Sept. 7), when a magistrate received a long, long jail sentence! I've been praying, thinking and writing about his case ever since!

 - - - - - - -

On Nov. 6th 2015 on the front page of our Adelaide Advertiser I noticed a fat headline. It had nothing to do with the magistrate's case, but expresses exactly what I think happened to that unfortunate man!

LET DOWN BY THE LAW.

I go one step further and claim that evil doers have in the past, and they still do, used the law to conduct their dubious activities, pretending to do right, when their motive is evil! It's nothing new. Verse 20 of Psalm 94 expresses just that - corrupt authorities using the law to justify injustice!

"Shall the throne of iniquity, which devises evil by law*, have fellowship with you? (Ps. 94, 20). 

How ironic here, that it's in Verse 20, where the psalmist points to corruption at the centre of power!

In Book 1, Chapter 9 (how could I ever forget?) I read this Psalm in front of a stunned congregation, at the beginning of a long, lonely walk. Lonely, but never alone!

 *A classic example of this misuse of the law is before a Tasmanian Court at present (Nov. 2015). As I understand the matter, the Green Party, together with Labor, have blocked a motion by Senator Abetz. He wanted to ensure the Catholic Church has a the right to distribute material, teaching their ancient theology about marriage - that it is between a man and a women.

The very foundation of free speech, for standing up for what real Christians believe, is being undermined using all kinds of complex laws, and the demanding of human rights. (Source: Australian Christian Lobby).

- - - - - - -

Nobody knows better than Father Gordon MacRae that bad laws can bring evil, and fail to bring justice for the innocent. In previous Books (7, Ch.27 and others) I have written about this hero of the faith. The clergyman had a choice between telling a lie, that he abused a boy, and receive a 3-year jail term, or insisting on the truth that he is innocent, for which he received between 33 and 67 years jail!

He already has served 21 years in a New Hampshire Prison. As I understand it, the US legal system is so flooded with crime that over 95% of cases are settled by a plea bargain - just admit guilt and walk away with a light sentence. Truth does not seem to matter! 

On the day before editing, a news item on TV suggested that we in South Australia do exactly the same - a lenient sentence (up to 40 % less punishment) for an early guilty plea!

What a farce - in the USA and AUS - countries that call themselves democracies, whose troops will fly to the end of the earth to fight for freedom, but deny justice and freedom to their own people! Hyporites! Free Father Gordon MacRae first!

Patheos.com reports that fresh legal moves are under way to reopen the Father's case. But will the experts of the law humble themselves and admit that they wrongly jailed an innocent Catholic priest for 21 years, and an unfortunate Australian magistrate for 14 years?

- - - - - - -

 

How can this be? Inexplicable NOS magic: On the evening of 19.11. after this writing, I jumped onto my Giant for my daily exercise. As I turned from McIntyre Rd, before Kings Rd, into Main North Rd a brief glance behind revealed overtaking traffic; among it an ambulance.

My mind reflected what I had just written about. The above Bar 20 story immediately popped into my head. I wondered: "Would it not be strange, if that ambulance was ambulance No. 20?

AMAZING: Within a few seconds ambulance No.20 overtook me. Many sceptics reading my pages may think I was dreaming. But there it was, in large yellow letters on the side window I saw 20. The time was exactly 20.13 hrs.

 

Bar 20 didn't stop there! The next morning, Nov. 20th, I did my regular volunteer work with the German Seniors group. As I showed some folks selected photos I had taken on my Samsung, casually scrolling through the hundreds and hundreds of snaps in my camera, I suddenly saw the picture of an ambulance. I remembered having taken it about eight months earlier. The number immediately grabbed my attention - No.20.

What amazing timing, after having been spooked by this vehicle the night before, it crossed my path again 15 hours later! There's a story to it:

Ambulance No. 20

I had taken this photo on March 18th 2015 during a rather sad episode involving a friend.

This man, who had had suicidal tendencies in the past, out of the blue sent me a one-word text message: "Good-bye". I immediately tried to phone him. No answer. Within minutes I arrived at his address. He did not respond to my loud knocking and calling his name at the door.

One of his neighbours had received the same text message. We had no option, but to call police. They eventually succeeded in entering the house and, under great protest from the 'victim', he was taken away in the above ambulance. He appeared to be unharmed. His action had been a cry for help, since at the time he was having serious problems. 

The next evening, when I visited him in the hospital, he acted as if nothing had happened. He was discharged that evening. To this day, whenever my friend and I have contact, he insists I should not have called the police.

When I asked, what he had expected us to do, after receiving his one-word text, he answered in one word - nothing. "But why did you send us the word Goodbye at all?" His answer: "I didn't want to leave without saying goodbye. I just wanted to be polite!" 

If it weren't so serious, it could be humorous. I pray for my friend every day. He needs waking up. If only he spent 20 minutes a day, praying earnestly, it would change his life!

- - - - - - -

Let me repeat the lyrics of the song Hail to the King (the first scan on this page) and continue onto the next phrase:

Bright Morning Star, King of all days, reign in our heart, ride on our praise. You are crowned in majesty; awaken us now, set us ablaze, let your kingdom come.

The Boundless bible reading for November 20th, the day of writing, links perfectly to these lyrics. The day's chapter is 2nd Peter 3. In Verse 1 the Apostle writes:

"...in both my letters I have tried to waken you up!" (German Bible for Today).

Friends, if this chapter in God's Word does not wake up the sleepy, nothing will. Peter in this chapter could well have written about today's unbelievers and their attitude toward Almighty God. Scoffers, who are mocking God and HIS Holy Word, existed 2000 years ago and nothing has changed. 

Young people are no longer taught that there is a God, who created the earth and loves it and has it ALL in HIS hand. No - it all happened with a great big bang, pure co-incident, no designer, no controller, no destination. All evolved by itself. Why then could not another bang occur, ending all in a moment? 

This is just what Peter in this chapter predicted. "... the heavens will pass away with great noise, and the elements will burn with great heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up" (Verse 10).  

But God wants to rescue each of HIS creation, keeping HIS children safe from the destruction that is going to happen: "... [God] is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (Verse 9).

There is hope for the future. It's found four verses further in this chapter. Without Verse 13 this disturbing chapter would only cause despair and depression. A new and better life is available to all, whose sin is forgiven, whose life is under new management, who trust in God without reservation. 

The Apostle gives hope to the innocent, who suffer for their faith, for standing on the truth. The day is coming for God's truth to be revealed. HE promised it:

"Nevertheless, we according to HIS promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2. Peter 3, V. 13). 

 

This is where we all belong! LiFe. 

Sign outside a suburban Adelaide church. But why two capital letters L & F, and why the letter i in italic?

- - - - - - -

 

Time to Travel - let life take us to Cornwall, UK, June 2015.

Stunning Cornwall coastline, looking toward the ruins of Tintagel Castle. On right Camelot Castle Hotel. 

The little twist at the end of the previous chapter, the close proximity of our house to Somerset Rd and Cornwall Dr, came out of the blue. It was not planned in any way, certainly not a contributing factor in the decision as to what part of the UK I should be visiting. There was a reason. I wanted to visit a little Cornwall seaside village called Port Isaac. 

Better known as Port Wenn, Port Isaac is the location, where the popular TV series Doc Martin was filmed (and to the best of my knowledge still is). My wife and I love watching this show. She, like many women on and off the show, is fascinated by the grumpy, very obnoxious, local doctor, played so brilliantly by Martin Clunes.

When I watch the show, I enjoy the scenery as much as the drama, which always includes medical emergencies. How can one not watch the outdoor scenes, without imagining to one day travel there? 

My daughter-in-law had visited this coastline in 2014. She had stayed in nearby Tintagel in a youth hostel on a cliff top, which she described enthusiastically as the most scenic hostel she ever stayed in. 

On June 30th 2015, after leaving the Royal Dutchy train at Bodmin Parkway, the closest train station to Port Isaac, I rode my Giant on the B3266 through the lovely, green Cornwall countryside and reached the YHA around 6.30pm. There was plenty of daylight to explore Tintagel, about ten minutes away on the bike. Fish and chips never tasted better.

I spent two nights a the Tintagel YHA, which was run by a voluntary caretaker that week. As is often the case with volunteers, Mike went beyond his duty to take care of the place. He arranged for me to have my own room, because of my snoring. When it started raining, as I was away sightseeing, he brought in my washing off the clothesline. Hail to our dedicated volunteers!

 

Cornwall's coastline, looking across south to Port Isaac. I had had great expectation and was not disappointed!

Life doesn't get better than this - waking up in the top bunk of this youth hostel, drawing back the curtain and thanking God for HIS wonderful creation! 

Nor would there be a better place in all of Britain to watch the setting sun over the Atlantic Ocean, while dining or sharing tales with fellow hostellers, or reading a book. (Picture, caretaker Mike).

The book I was reading was an autobiography of John Newton, the writer of the famous hymn 'Amazing Grace'. Reading again in the train two days later I came across the passage, where "young Newton was arrested for deserting. He was brought back to his ship in Plymouth."

At just that same time my train was crossing the River Tamar, as it arrived... in Plymouth.

 

My only full day on the Cornwall Coast was going to be spent at Port Isaac. The weather, unfortunately had changed. While London was having a severe heatwave, according to news reports, the first day of July looked rather moist and overcast. I spent all morning trying to arrange the next day's accommodation and train ticket.

Thankfully, the staff at the Tintagel Library was very helpful, allowing me to use their computer. (The public's P/C was out of order). All went well and within budget. Only the rain was getting heavier. Still, I had little choice but to don my yellow wet weather jacket and cycle those 12 kilometres to Port Isaac in the wet.

At Treknow I made the mistake of turning toward Trebarwith, because it looked shorter on the map. Shorter maybe, but a very steep ride down to the Millhouse Inn and just as steep back up to the plateau. In the early afternoon I reached Delabole, the only village before my destination Port Isaac.

Meanwhile, after a thunderstorm had passed over, the low cloud and fog became thicker and thicker. Back on the main road, the B 3314, I felt a little uneasy riding; not so much that a vehicle might hit me, but by avoiding me could get into trouble with oncoming traffic. The Cornwall roads, as were those in Somerset and Devon, were very narrow.

I spotted a shelter, which looked like a bus shelter. It was. Where there is a bus stop there must be a bus? There were only three buses all day. I happened to have arrived about 15 minutes before a bus was due to leave. All worked out perfectly. I left my Giant at the petrol station in Delabole and got to Port Isaac soon after.

Harbour Port Isaac, Doc Martin County, Cornwall

Everything in that famous village is in walking distance. Because houses and shop fronts don't have the wide verandas we have in Australia, there was little space for tourists to shelter from the intermittent rain. Despite this, it felt awesome to be walking on those narrow lanes, where I had watched so many dramas take place - on our TV screen.

 

 

Mrs. Tishell's Pharmacy, otherwise Souvenir Shop, where I spent my tourist Dollar, sorry tourist Pound Stirling. 

It was only natural on my part to be imagining: Any moment I could be bumping into the Doc or his pretty wife Louise; or could it be that the policeman will be roaring by in his 4-wheel drive jeep? I had been told that an episode of the show was being filmed at the time. But considering the weather it was doubtful.

As I casually strolled down to the harbour between the white washed houses, trying to take photos without getting wet, I suddenly spotted a man, sitting in the undercover area outside a restaurant. It was right by the harbour, across from Mrs. Tishell's shop. I recognized the person immediately, an actor who plays a prominent role in the TV show.

This was an opportunity I was not going to let pass. I politely asked, if I was allowed to take a photo. The gentleman readily agreed, when a lady, dining on the same table asked, if I wanted to be in the picture? She did a splendid job. (Much appreciated, Madam). 

 

Ian McNeice interrupting his lunch to have his photo taken with a fan from Australia.

The professional actor, born in 1950, not only has a nice name, his date of birth fits perfectly into our 20 chapter: Born 2.10.

In the TV Series Ian plays Bert Large, the village plumber and publican, who is constantly getting into trouble. What scriptwriter would give someone the name Large ...? 

On leaving I commented: "Australia loves your show". In reply Mr. eNice gave a double thumbs-up sign.

- - - - - - -

Back at the youth hostel, there was still plenty of daylight left after dinner. The rain had stopped, the clouds had lifted, a great time for an evening walk along the Great Southwest Coastal Track, which runs right beside the YHA. The views are spectacular. The path runs right by the Tintagel Parish Church, said to be 1400 years old in original condition.

Just beyond are the ruins of the Tintagel castle, near the Camelot Castle, shown in the picture earlier. They are a major tourist attraction. King Arthur, it is believed, was born there. That evening I had this magic, ancient site almost to myself, as I wandered among the old stone walls, climbed down steep stone steps and back up to Tintagel village.

Just below the Camelot Castle Hotel was an old bench seat. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed one word, scratched into the wood:

FANTA

Who would be resting on a seat and, instead of admiring the best views in the world, get out a knife and scratch the word FANTA into the wood? (And who would be so silly and take a picture of it, and use it on his blog?)

Just at this point in composing this chapter an unusual name featured on TV - Zanta ... ?  The rest of the story is weird, perhaps for another chapter?

- - - - - - - 

 

As I left the coast of Cornwall and the YHA Tintagel the weather on Thursday 2nd July, again was wet. I had little choice but ride on and hope that it would improve as the day went on. Like the day before, it did, thankfully. It was also safer riding, because there was no fog.

At Wadebridge I had considered taking the Camel Trail to Bodmin. But on advice from the bike hire people, my tyres would not be suitable for this recreational track, especially when wet. I took the A 389 instead, which took me back to Bodmin, from where I continued on the A 38 to Liskeard. 

At one point this main road runs close to the River Fowey. There was absolutely no space between the roadway and a wall of thick, green vegetation to the left. My speed of approx. 25 km/h must have frustrated traffic, unable to overtake the pedal cyclist. After a tourist bus had followed me for some distance I stopped and squeezed my bike and myself into the bushes, so traffic could pass. 

The accommodation I had booked at Liskeard was one of the cheapest, self contained rooms available in the town. At 40 it was perfect for me, but very small. (Mr. Large might have ... )

Liskeard, Elnor Guesthouse

 Did anybody think I chose ELNOR because of the code?

RE: NO L, or NOEL+R, (thinking of Christmas?)

 

Hey, I just noticed in my diary their email address:

 .... elnorguesthouse50. There may be a Roman (L) connection?

 

Below: Looe, seaside town, South West Cornwall.

 

By mid-afternoon the sun came out, which left a few hours of daylight to take one of the quaintest little great trains I've been on. The short, half hour ride over 14 km through lovely Cornwall countryside took me from Liskeard to Looe, a quaint fishing and tourist town on the South Coast of Cornwall. (Fare 4.20 return).

At Coombe Junction, about half way through the trip, the train goes through a V-shaped switch point, entering on one side and reversing out on the other; a unique feature of this popular tourist train, which first transported passengers in 1879. 

From Looe Station, beside the Looe East River, it was a short walk to the town centre and onto the beach. The place was crowded with tourists, enjoying the mild evening in an outdoor cafe, or just sitting by the riverside, watching fishing vessels return from their day's work. 

After finishing my short visit with a meal at the Black Swan Hotel, I felt a little sad, having to return so soon from this relaxing place. Next time, who knows when, it will be an overnight stay.

- - - - - - -

The train to London the next morning, Friday 3rd July, was crowded. It took 3 1/2 hours to Paddington Station and arrived almost on schedule at 13.38 pm. I felt a little old (and silly) having to ask a railway employee, where to find the exit from this huge, covered train station. It was busy - holiday time and weekend!

London was hot and sunny. Many locals and visitors were out that afternoon enjoying summer. It was my first time riding a bicycle in London - loved it. En route to the Thamesside YHA I had ample time for a little sightseeing. London held many memories, going back to 1968 (more later) to the most recent trip in 2007.

At Buckingham Palace I asked another tourist among the crowd to take a picture. Of course, I took theirs. Just before crossing the River Thames I paused near Big Ben, the Landmark tower at the Houses of Parliament. As I snapped a photo I noticed other people taking photos too, but not of the famous building, but a phone box.

There was a reason. A group of young people was applying their youthful, creative energy trying to cram as many as possible into one of the iconic British red phone booths.

 

Big Ben, London

From among the crowd somebody called out: "Twelve!" Hard to imagine, but the record, to the best of my knowledge, is a few more than that. 

It has been known that for this prank somebody will just enlist any bystander. Our Doc Martin plumber, born on 2.10, once wanted to be part of a squeeze mob, but was rejected! He sued the organiser for discrimination. (Source: Wicked Media, ha ha). 

- - - - - - -

 

That same evening I attended one of only two ticketed events of the Boundless Congress 2015, the Salvation Army's 150th anniversary celebrations, held from 1-5 July. The milestone event attracted 15 000 delegates from all over the world. (Lots of 15's here!) That Friday I went to the famous O2 Arena ...

 

Hey ... ! This is just...  Another surprise ...!

Having written all this (20) chapter over the previous five days, only now I see how O2 fits in perfectly, (if you dare to think backward.)

 "O Lord it's so hard to be humble, when you're perfec in every way!" 

 

That night the Army celebrated its global heritage, with artists from five continents performing. Among them were the Hong Kong & Macau Praise Dancers, the Hawaiian Hula Dancers, the Kenyan Watula Choir, the Indonesian Bamboo Orchestra etc. The Melbourne Staff Band provided the brass music. Another Aussie, Silvie Paladino, sang a lovely rendition of "Jesus paid it all."

The sermon was by a Belgian preacher, David; spoken in French and translated into English. Another highlight was the story a South American teenager, who gave testimony to a miracle healing:

At age 11 Ariana was diagnosed with leukaemia. Over a three year period she had to undergo 135 treatments of chemo-therapy. On top of that she developed diabetes and complications in her pancreas. At one time the doctors gave her 24 hours to live! But, as Ariana put it: "God is the Doctor of doctors". HE answered prayer.

I can only speak for myself, but how could anyone have listened to Ariana's story without a lump in their throat, or a tear welling up in their eyes, as she ended her talk with the words of Jesus, which he spoke to a girl he had just healed:? Talitha cum* - little girl get up." 

*There is an Australian TV personality by the name of Talitha. Her parents must have had the bible in mind, when they gave her that lovely name. Her surname starts with Cum. 

- - - - - - -

Picture in tourist brochure - London's Piccadilly Circus at night.

... love it - light      ... rules the world.

How profound! - The one who said: "I am the light of the world", indeed rules the world. (John 8+12).

- - - - - - -

It was already late, for an old bloke anyway, when after the meeting I met up with some folks from our Australian Ingle Farm Corps. It was nice to share travel experiences over a coffee or ice cream in one of the many Cafe's at the Millennia Dome. The huge complex was opened on 31.12.99  to mark the third millennia. The opening of the London Olympics was staged in that arena.

The only other ticketed event I had booked for was the musical Covenant, which was especially written for this Congress. The excellent multi-media performance by a cast from Southern California features the aged William Booth reflecting on his Army and its legacy all over the world. 

The 2 1/2 hour presentation at the O2 that Saturday morning was excellent. My lack of sleep at the YHA, however, cause my eyes drop a few times, struggling to take it all in. Afterwards I happened to bump into a fellow parishioner from Ingle Farm. He knew where to buy lunch at a reasonable price - Tesco. We found a cool, shady spot outside the Dome and enjoyed a great time of sandwich fellowship.

Since Greenwich was en route between the O2 Arena and the Thamesside hostel I made a point of finding London's Ground 0, meaning the 0 Meridian Line. It's the point on earth, which divides the East from the West, just as the equator divides the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. World Time and distances are measured from this 0 point in Greenwich.

There were crowds of people and long queues. Looking on I watched visitors stand on a wide, solid line on the ground, while somebody took their photo. I'm not a fan of long queues, unless necessary, and I didn't want to spent the cash for an entry ticket, so I didn't walk the line. Just the superb views right over to Thames into central London made this short visit to the Royal Observatory Hill worthwhile.

- - - - - - -

Sunday 5th July - Salvationists preparing to march down The Mall

This colourful group came from the Caribbean. Above flags include Haiti, Grenada, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.

The culmination of the week-long celebrations was the march down Pall Mall on the afternoon of Sunday July 5th. The 2500 participants had been pre-selected from each of the 126 countries, where the Salvation Army is active.

Six bands took part from various countries, among them Angola, Australia and the USA. I could not help thinking that this multi-national march may have seen the highest number of nations marching in London since the 2012 Olympic Games? How magic will it be, when one day - on that day - all of God's children march together into heaven.

ALL will gather before God's throne, not in colourful costumes any more, but wearing white robes, a symbol of having been cleansed from sin, through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus. They will come from the East ... and  from every tribe, people and language, and will cry with a loud voice:

  "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and unto the Lamb. (Rev. 7, 10).

 

Huge crowds from many nations, outside Buckingham Palace, London, where the 2015 Boundless March ended. 

- - - - - - -

Monday July 6th was not only my final day in the UK, it was the last day of my mega trip 2015 in Europe. There were mixed emotions, as expected, on such a day - sad that the end had come, but looking forward to home.

It was a long track home, from leaving London on  Monday morning to arriving  in Adelaide Wednesday evening. I had planned it that way.

Before saying goodbye to the Thames that morning I revisited the major tourist sights - Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, No.10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace (minus the crowds) and the Tower Bridge etc. This landmark, especially,  I wanted to add to the list of the world's famous bridges I had crossed by bike or on foot.

During this two-hours walk down memory lane, my mind often time-travelled, not only to 2007, but back 47 years to August 1968. Back then I was young and carefree. During the summer holidays I ventured from home with very little funds, aiming to reach the magnetic mega city in Britain, which I had only known from school or television. My mode of transport was 'thumbs up for a ride'.

Money had lasted until London, but ran out while there. And you can't hitch a ride across the English Channel easily. Stranded with O cash I was lucky to meet 2 young men from near my hometown. (This O 2 was fully intentional!) The two chaps from Koengen became my saviours. They lent me 50 Deutschmark, quite a sum in those days.

The author (far left) - London 1968 and one 'saviour'.

For this chapter I dug up this photo from my first ever photo album. On the back I had marked it in blue ink:

London 1968 - 10 C

Text: "Trafalgar-Square (Ich lese gerade eine Zeitung, die auf der Titelseite den gekreuzigten Jesu* zeigt. Christus wird darin oeffentlich verlaestert. Darum meine ernste Mine."

Translation: "Trafalgar-Square (I am reading a newspaper, which on the titlepage shows the crucified Jesu. Christ is being publicly blasphemed. Hence my serious facial expression"). 

(*Please note - no s !)

10 C denotes the position in the album - Pic. C on Page 10.

Interesting that here, in Chapter 10, I am using this picture for the first time in nearly 1/2 a century.

 

- - - - - - -

Riding my loaded Giant to Gatwick Airport, about 50 kilometres away, took all afternoon. But it was a relaxed ride; the weather was fine and I had no particular schedule to meet, since my plane didn't leave until the next morning. Looking back, I think, I did not find the shortest route, but I found something else on the way.

Readers may have noticed, when compared to my earlier crazy writing, in recent books I have refrained from picking up trash and making a song about it. However, on my way to Gatwick, somewhere in Surrey, a broken registration plate beside the roadway made me do it. But I only took a picture:

LV 10 - G U

Besides ISSO there are many codes that can be created here. (Plus e = I LOVE etc etc.)

I'm glad I had stopped and turned back to take a picture of LV10. WJ King came as bonus. Had the plate not been broken I might have brought it home for my collection.

 

The one thing I needed to find, before my flight to Munich very early on Tuesday July 7th, was a box to transport my bike in. Enquiring on my arrival 9 days earlier, I had been told there was no guarantee of a box at the airport; and if there was one, it would cost 25. I need not have worried. A kind man at the bike shop in Horley, a former champion bike rider, sold me a box for 5. ( I save ...! Many thanks.) 

From his shop I actually could walk my bike through the back entrance into Gatwick Airport, juggling the giant box at the same time. All went well, except a few problems, trying to fit the bike into the box. It was too small. But, besides sliced bread, plastic packing tape is the No.1 invention of the 20th century. It saved the day.

Having arrived at the airport early in the evening I found a comfortable recliner chair in the terminal, which was my bed for the night. Later more and more travellers arrived, who soon filled all available resting places. Obviously, like me many were booked on early morning flights. By 4.30 am the airport terminal was already a hive of activity. The six hours lay-over in Munich were much quieter, so was Dubai, from where I caught the final flight back to Australia.

I did not take many photos during that long track, but one Departure board at the Dubai International Airport virtually begged for my attention. While every other passenger's destination was listed on that board, somebody forget to list Adelaide? Take a look:

Emirates Departures Dubai International Airport. 

                           6864                                                             228

Numbers and more numbers, enough to drive a man to think! 

It so happened, the only places on the board, where my wife and I had been to - Mahe, Sydney and Washington - were listed together. In December 1972 we spent three days on Mahe, the main island of the Seychelles. The International Airport was opened by HM The Queen earlier that year, on March 20. 

In above board I did not erase the word Adelaide. It was not displayed. However, four lines down, I did erase the letter s from Mahe Island. 

NO S   >>>   I am he, L dna.

It felt great to be finally landing back home.

 

Chapter 11

Index

(God willing, the next chapter will appear around Christmas 2015)