Copyright 2002 - 2007 I Text and Photography by Dieter Rolf Fischer, unless indicated I Above photos: Telstra
23. Mainly about 19 & 4
Minutes before commencing this chapter (on 5/12/07) the funeral service of Bernie Banton concluded in Sydney. The 61-year old gentleman had for years fought to gain compensation for the victims of the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma, the decease which finally took his life on November 26th. Bernie lost his life, but won his David against Goliath battle. His Goliath could hardly have been bigger - James Heardie (first e added), who had manufactured asbestos in the 60s and 70s.
The grey-haired gentleman spoke out strongly on behalf of the multitude of asbestos cancer sufferers. The eventual compensation payout, 4.5 billion Dollars, is the highest amount ever to be granted in Australia's history.
Bernie was seldom seen without tubes coming out of his nose, connecting to an oxygen bottle, which he had to carry with him everywhere. Bernie Banton had become very popular with the media, and therefore with people in general. Everybody loves a David, who takes on a Goliath, and wins. I am sure Bernie drew strength to battle on from the same source as the original David.
Two items from The Age Newspaper online made me ponder:
He (Bernie Banton) had been diagnosed in August with peritoneal mesothelioma, a secondary abdominal cancer that experts say leaves victims with an average of 153 days to live.
Mr Banton worked for former James Hardie subsidiary, Amaca, at a factory in Camellia in Sydney's western suburbs from 1968 to 1974.
To my code-filled mind the data surrounding Bernie is all so familiar. Bernie's case struck a cord with many. His funeral attracted big names. The (newly-elected) Prime Minister even gave a tribute to Bernie, taking the opportunity to praise the Trade Union movement and the role they played in Bernie's victory.
According to Sky News online Bernie's widow Karen described her late husband as ...
"...a quick-witted and deeply religious man, who she hopes will inspire others. "Bernie used his God-given gifts to secure justice for thousands of people against the greed of a corporate giant. Fittingly his favourite old testament character has, for many years, been David. The never take no for an answer attitude of Bernie Banton brings hope nationally, and globally that good will always triumph over evil.'
I wished on earth I had a Bernie Banton to help in my fight for truth and justice! But both Bernie and I rely on another helper, one who is eternal and more powerful than any force in heaven and on earth.
I saw HIS power again, unusually displayed yet so real, immediately after uploading the previous chapter No. 22. It was on November 22. On the News that evening I heard that Adelaide's maximum temperature that day had reached 22.1 degrees centigrade.
(I am sure, if there were instruments, which could measure two centigrade decimals, the real temperature that day was 22.11 degrees C.)
That same evening two most interesting names were in the News. The names were Shaw and Kelly*.
*It's happening again. The second I typed this name (1.25 PM 6/12/07) on Radio 891 an interviewer addressed a lady with her surname, Kelly.
Ms. Shaw is a female judge, who was criticized in the news that night by a Member of Parliament. He called for her removal from office, because she is too soft on convicted drug dealers. One statistic I recall the MP quoted on television went like this: "Out of 1000 drug offenders before the courts, only 60 actually go to jail." (The rest is released, of course. Who else would go and water their marijuana crop?)
The other lady, a retiring-MP with the surname Kelly, also was in the news that evening. Her husband was alleged to have produced and distributed anti-Islamic material, warning of an organisation, which did not even exist. (This was two days before our Federal Election, hence the outcry).
I observed these two names, Shaw and Kelly, with much interest. Judge Shaw in 2001 was the defense council for Peter Liddy. Ms. Kelly (a different person to above) was one of the prosecutors.
As I type on TV (in the other room) Jerry Seinfeld is being interviewed on Oprah about his Bee Movie. (The movie is being released in Australia today - 6/12/07). During the brief moment, watching earlier, I noticed two ladies, dressed in lavender - Oprah and Mrs. Seinfeld.
- - - - - - -
Three ladies and two junior football players, Moseley Square, Glenelg, South Australia
After picking her up from the airport, my wife and I spent a relaxing hour strolling around the seaside town of Glenelg (See chapter 21).
I saw five gemstones - a pretty lady with her two sons (top), the prettiest gem, my wife (bottom) and a lady wearing lavender.
What struck me most, however, was not the ladies, but the two boys. One wore jersey No. 9, the other No. 10.
The date was 9.10. (Photo with permission, at least from one of the ladies).
- - - - - - -
(Continuing our trip to Newcastle)
Since I was familiar with F1 Motels (Formule 1) my friend Robert didn't mind us staying in one in Newcastle. It was located in Wallsend, the suburb where on a previous trip I enjoyed an unexpected free lunch. We easily found our way to the motel that Sunday afternoon, July 29, 07. The street address was - Aha F1 in - 3-5 Thomas Street?!
That Sunday in July 07, I stayed awake and watched the final 50 kilometres of the Tour de France. For the first time in 22 years, an Australian stood at the podium in Paris, after coming 2nd place overall. Young champion rider Cadel Evans finished 23 seconds behind Spain's winner Alberto Contador. (Had to happen in Chapter 23 !)
The next day we spent most of the day searching for accommodation for Robert. I had advised him to start looking before arriving, since the district was still recovering from the devastating floods less* a month earlier. Many had lost their homes, which led to a shortage of accommodation. He wanted to wait until we get here.
*Correction, read: ...a month and a half earlier.
An ad in the paper, a room in Wallsend, sounded suitable for Robert. It was in Nelson Street, which we found easily. But the house number didn't exist. The address was meant to be Nielsen Street. Now my thinking-linking brain recalled the names. (A lady named Nielson works in a Rathaus (Council Chambers) in Northern Germany).
After checking another place in Brooks Street, Bar Beach, Robert secured a room in the suburb of Hamilton. He would be sharing a house with four other people. Since he knew nobody in Newcastle, this was good for him.
My 'Winston' mind found Robert's new address interesting - Everton Street, Hamilton, just beyond Lambton. The main street in Hamilton is Beaumont Street.
Having secured a place to move to the next day, Robert rested that evening. He was happy for me to take his bicycle for a ride. There's nothing like exploring a new place on two wheels, powered by two legs. Add two watchful eyes, connected to a Da Ninci brain, something was bound to happen. It did. I found 15 cents.
The full story goes like this: A shiny silver coin on the roadway made me stop pedalling. I turned the bike around, which off course led me to the other side of the road. Before I was back to pick up the 10 cent coin I had spotted, I saw a 5 cent coin right opposite. How interesting! Picking up 15 cents was something I had done a number of times before. But I always look for more. Not only more coins, but more clues.
Was my clue posted to the telegraph pole, right above the 10 cent coin? Judge for yourself:
St. Patrick's, Macquarie Street, Wallsend
Seeing 0197 IT on the pole convinced me, I had come to the right place.
It could have been the name of the other Parish Our Lady of Victories? Which real man doesn't like ladies and victories?
Only now, scanning the photo four months later, I see how it all fits. In St. Patrick's opening times at least three times the digits 5 & 3 are shown.
The Mass/Confession times, besides 3 & 5 are the digits 4 and 9. (Did I not pick up 35 cents once during a short bike ride?)
But I see more: The digits 3 and 5, together with those on the pole 197 are all odd numbers. (For more 19 numbers read on).
To top off the magic, I do not know how, moments after picking up these two coins, I again spotted a five cent coin on a roadway. It was in Bunn Street, not far from the modern Wallsend Library. When I returned the next day to take above photo, I found a clean pair of scissors, right where I had found the 10 cent coin, under that telegraph pole.
There were still many signs of the destruction caused by the Hunter River floods in June 07. Before returning to the Motel I visited the local Centrelink office. (This Department deals with all aspects of employment and social welfare). In the back of my mind I was thinking; I could be staying on and help as a volunteer to clean-up the mess.
Wallsend, Newcastle, Hunter Region, New South Wales.
Six week after the devastating floods, debris was still everywhere. As above photo shows, the water level reached above the bridge.
Checking the database at the Centrelink office I didn't find any voluntary work, cleaning up the flood damage. Instead I came across an ad on the database for Helping Hand, whoever this organisation was. Something struck me about this advertisement. It may have been the street address and suburb - Verulam Street, Lambton?
On my way to transport a table Robert had bought (he was not with me at the time), I went to investigate Helping Hand. As I was driving right near my turnoff, listening to the radio, I heard a reporter on the ABC speak the words 'Helping Hand'.
The place was hard to find, because Verulam Street is on both sides of the main road. I had to drive around the block. One Street name, Christo Street, freaked me out, almost.
(How ironic, as I was writing this chapter, I had occasion to phone a gentlemen by the name Cristos, a Greek Orthodox Priest. I had never ever known anybody by that name or phoned before).
After a few more minutes driving in circles, I finally came to the building, where Helping Hand was meant to be. I still saw no sign of any Helping Hand. I needed help, so I parked in the carpark of a business and asked at the reception. I had entered an electrical business called Lear & Smith. Strange, I thought, Lear - the letters for Real?
Helping Hand was at the rear and next door to Lear. I enquired about the position advertised at Centrelink. Nobody at Helping Hand was of any help. Nobody seemed to know about a volunteer vacancy. I didn't want to press the point and left.
On the way back to the main road, turning the corner, I read in huge letters another business name - The Computer Wizard. I liked that.
On another occasion. closer to Newcastle, in King Street, I spotted the letters CA .T ..N SNOOZ. The large bedding store is well known all around Australia. I knew the letters P AI were missing. The second word should have had an E at the end. Whatever had happened to the missing letters? Was there a message?
Before leaving my friend Robert to start his new life, he took me to lunch in Beaumont Street, Hamilton. This was Tuesday 1/8. We sat at an outdoor table, eating our large portions of Chinese Noodles, while watching the traffic go by. It was nice and sunny, despite being middle of winter. After a while I realized the restaurant we were sitting in was No. 53. Casually I looked across and into the side road, Cleary Street, I saw in large letters another No. 53.
I mentioned this to Robert and asked, just out of interest: "What is your favourite number?" (I can't recall, but I may have said, choose a 2-digit number). He answered: "19". Just then, a second after he had said that, a small hatchback, displaying the registration number 19T drove by. I am not sure, if Robert understood, when I tried to explain. My diary calls it simply - magic.
The hobby of reading and having fun with car registration plates, is not very common. Neither is the practice of phoning people, after hearing their phone number on the radio. In Newcastle that day I did.
Early that morning I had just caught the tail end of an interview with a lady, Michelle. She tried to get a support group established for people, like herself, who had lost a child. The new organisation was to be called HOPE. Their first meeting was to be held on 7.8.07, contact phone number 0413 ... It may have been the contact name, Michelle (surname AM IT), which tickled my brain. I gave the lady a quick call.
Just now writing about it, by changing one letter, I see the word TIME in her new surname. How do the lyrics go? ... we had joy we had fun .... seasons in the sun .... Goodbye Michelle, it's hard ... ??
Leaving Robert that Tuesday afternoon I had mixed feelings. On the one hand I felt sad for him, not knowing anybody. On the other, I recalled the time when I faced the same challenge arriving in Sydney. There was an element of excitement, the challenge of the unknown, the freedom to create yourself. If love is the nicest four-letter word in the English language, the word free comes close second.
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The Pacific Highway between Newcastle and Sydney is wide and fast. Before crossing the Hawkesbury River via Brooklyn Bridge, it slices spectacularly through deep rock. Driving south to Sydney I felt as free as I had been, driving on this freeway 30 years* earlier in my 1962 Vauxhall Victor.
*This is weird, friends. The moment I edited this sentence, a gentleman, John of Modbury spoke on the ABC's 5AN, 891 talkback program, about a dream he had 30 years ago". (10.21 AM 7/12/07).
How weird again - I just saw it - my Vauxhall Victor had registration plate 712! I can't help but type and marvel. Perhaps my dream is coming true?
- - - - - - -
Two houses, Numbers 30, Modbury and Adelaide.
Left: No. 30 AL.... Cres. Modbury.
I had written in Chapter 14: ...I am happy to return the thirty Dollars. If you live in No. 30* .....Street ...." About an hour later I had occasion, for the first time, to go into above home. (My wife is walking from our Suzuki to the front door).
Right: Days after the above incident, on 3/10, I drove into the city to attend the first day of the trial of care-worker Mr. Tom E, who had been charged with 20 sex-offences.
I was looking for a car park. A lady in a small, silver car pulled out - rego number ...007. I reversed into her spot. After parking I saw it was exactly outside No. 30 ...
The Good News: On 23/11/07 Tom E. was found NOT GUILTY of all charges against him! Media reports later revealed that young men had been paid to claim abuse. What a scandal !!!
We shall hear more about this case, and that of another innocent man, God willing.
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My plan was to stay another two nights with my daughter Michelle and her partner Darin, in Dee Why. Since they were both working, I had a few hours to spare, before I could arrive in Dee Why. Where should I go? An unresolved issue I had written about, came to my mind. There was an address I wanted to check, in Parramatta, the huge satellite city in Sydney's west.
A gentleman, Mr. Ross Cameron had been the Federal Member for Parramatta, until he lost his seat in the 2004 Election. Just prior, a story about an extra-marital affair by the MP made me suspicious. Did this really happen? Seeing the article in the newspaper, I could read between the li.n.es. One aspect of the story I found hard to grasp. The adulterous gentleman was a founding member of the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship in Canberra. (Full story - Book 3, Chapter 3).
While in Sydney, why not pay a visit to the new MP's Parramatta Office, and ask what happened to the ex-MP? My wife would call this being nosy. I call it simply information gathering.
I found two hours free parking in Grose Street. Walking into Parramatta was a pleasure, after three hours driving the Suzuki. Outside the beautiful old Town Hall I detected some life. A citizen ceremony had just concluded. It was just the place to ask for direction to the Member of Parliament's office.
As it happened, both the New South Wales State Member and the Federal Member of Parliament were in the same street - George Street. My informant at the Town Hall had given me the address as No. 100. This was incorrect. Still, I had some fun with the name (George) and the numbers. If you're an outside-the-box thinker, you may see the connections. I saw them. They led to the US.
1. George is a famous name in the US. Who doesn't know the name of the man who is getting into trouble every time he opens his mouth, and therefore is very unpopular. You guessed who it is, George, Jerry Seinfeld's co-star.
2. The actual addresses of the two MP offices were No. 90 and No. 110. (This may be a little harder to link to the US - Clue: TV Series, 11 = 2 1).
My first stop, the office of the Member of Parliament at No. 90, was not the one I was going to enquire at. I still took the Member's business card from the receptionist. (I have glued business cards of convicted criminals into my dairy; why not that of a female Labor Party MP?)
At the correct location, No. 110 George Street, I asked at the reception about the previous Federal Member of Parliament, Mr. Ross Cameron. Of course, the staff member could not give me his contact details, which is understandable. (Privacy bulldust). I found out, however, after losing his seat in Parliament, he started working for a bank; a very big bank. (Later I tried to make contact, unsuccessfully).
The Federal Member of Parliament, as was the other lady, was a Member of the Labor Party. She also handed me her business card. It surprised me that both their business cards looked almost identical. Both the layout and colour schemes were the same.
The State Member at No. 90 had an interesting neighbour, which shared the same address, but worked from next door. The gentleman, a physician of Chinese origin, displayed a sign above his front door. It clearly shows, who he builds his life on:
No. 90 - JESUS Lord and Saviour
An inspiring gem in George Street, Parramatta.
Why is it, the name Jesus had so much bad publicity over the centuries. Why are people ashamed of IT?
Having two hours to fill in I continued my walk through the centre of Parramatta. I found myself in Chinatown. It brought back memories of Singapore. I resisted the temptation of entering the bakery. At the railway overpass I said to myself, I'll walk one more block, then turn back toward the car. Glad I did.
At the other end of the block, just a little off the main road, I noticed the name, Jesus, again. This time it was on a church building - TRUE JESUS CHURCH. The phone number on the sign outside started with 963. I dialled it on my mobile phone. There was no answer. I would have liked to ask somebody, why the name? Why true and why Jesus? Are not all churches about Jesus and truth?
On the way back, walking via Ross Street, I admired the beautiful structure of All Saints Church. Their website claims it is one of the most beautiful churches in Sydney. Had I read this beforehand I may have spent more time and taken a closer look.
Traffic was very heavy as my Suzuki crawled his way through the suburbs of Epping, Ryde and Crows Nest, through to Cremorne and Mosman and over Spit Bridge. The structure of this vital link across Middle Harbour may not be inspiring, the name equally plain, but the area is spectacular. Houses with million dollars views and double that figure price tags are everywhere.
I was glad to not having to hurry, but was able to take it all in. The heavy traffic didn't bother me. When your hobby is reading car registration numbers, the heavier the traffic, the better. I arrived at Dee Why within three minutes of Darin coming home from work.
That night Michelle and Darin took me to a movie theatre. We watched the Simpson's Movie. I must have been the oldest viewer present that night. Unless it was my imagination, I saw parallels to my story. The incident, where a character used a leaf as writing paper, was the most outstanding in my mind (Book 5, Chapter 26). But then, according to my daughter, I dozed off a few times. (This is not meant as a reflection of the quality of the entertaining movie, only of my age and my brain's heavy workload that day).
I loved the joke at the very end. The acknowledgment that "No animal has been hurt in the making of this movie." My daughter Michelle, soft-hearted, when it comes to animals, liked that too.
On two separate occasions, while watching Channel Ten television at my daughter's flat, an amazing trail of thought rushed through my brain. An advertisement flashed across the screen. During a women's netball match player number 8 came off, suffering from a headache. Her replacement came on. I distinctly saw the substitute wearing shirt No, 15.
My brain linked those numbers (1.5.8) to the amazing Tomato story, which happened on 18/10/05. I had bought 8 tomatoes, not 5, weighing exactly 1000 grams. (Full story - Journey-so-far 2).
This ad, of course, had nothing to do with tomatoes or tomato sauce. (That came next). It was for PANADOL headache tablets.
The ad immediately following was for tomato sauce. It really struck a cord, when I saw the screen fill up with a huge tomato. As television ads do, one tomato lead to another, and in the end everybody was into the sauce - Old EL PASO. (Old L P... SO?)
On the breakfast program Sunrise, the next morning, a memory champion, Simon Orton - love the name - gave a demonstration of his skills. His amazing feat, filling your brain with dozens of items, after only hearing them once, brought back memories, if you pardon the pun.
When I was around 30 years old I had a particularly monotonous job. To keep my mind active I did memory training, which I had learned from a book. (The original inventor of this method of remembering by association, is a gentleman name Harry Lorayne).
As a demonstration, one nightshift a co-worker laid out a whole pack of cards on the table. I remembered each card, which and where he put it. At the end I could tell him exactly where each card was. He was surprised and wondered, what I was doing working in a Zinc factory. Looking back, I think, he asked a valid question. (Of course, unless you keep practicing, you lose the skill. I did).
While my daughter Michelle and Darin had to work that day, Wednesday August 1, I had a whole day to look for adventure in Sydney. I don't know what adventure means to you, but I find fun and excitement in many things, and it doesn't have to be expensive.
After buying a pair of joggers (sports shoes) at Warringah Mall, the huge shopping complex in Brookvale, I passed the ABC Shop. I decided to do some browsing. On display were 4 copies of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, priced at $ 35 each. I asked the male salesman, who looked more like the manager, how much he would sell me all 4 copies. He said there was no discount for buying all four. Before he could ask, I answered his question, why I would like to buy all copies. I said: "I'd burn them all."
It was a glorious winter's day in Sydney, just like I had experienced when I first moved there in July 69 - sunny skies, the temperature in the low 20's (Centigrade). Why not take a long walk in my brand new shoes? I parked the Suzuki in Almora Street, Mosman, just south of Superba Lane, and why not?
During my long, most enjoyable walk through some of Sydney's most scenic suburbs, I saw more Da Ninci than I could remember and record. (To keep a notebook and pencil would be over the top, obsessive behaviour). And much of what I saw, what made sense to me, may or may not be linked to my journey. How will I ever know?
For instance, walking past a vacant block of land for sale on Military Road, Cremorne, made me think, it must be worth a fortune. A sign gave the contact phone number and the name CJ LIM. It bugged me. I phoned the number on my mobile and asked how much the vacant block was. Silly, really, or was it?
The next day, on leaving Sydney, I passed the same block in the car. Out of the corner of my eyes I noticed that it was right across the road from No. 144. The letters were huge, I wondered, why I had not seen them the day before.
Did you know: Using the simple method of giving each letter a value - A1, B2, C3 etc. the little words and & dna receive a score of 1 14 4 = 19? End equals 23. (After this chapter 23 I shall write 1 more chapter to end this book).
I did not have a specific plan, where to walk to on that first day of August. I just followed the general direction to the famous Harbour Bridge. Two addresses on the way are worth mentioning. One was the corner Yeo and Bent Streets. (Earlier I had spotted registration plate BEN 511). It was the address of the Chapel Isobel and I were married in, which is now an Armenian Cultural Centre. (See photo last chapter).
The other place I called on was an address in Mosman. After debating with myself if I should, I decided to check, if anybody was home at Isobel's brother's place. As expected he was at work, but his wife L., originally from Christchurch New Zealand, was home. After she recognized who I was, she invited me in for a coffee, as relatives do, who only see each other every few years.
Then something unusual happened, as we were chatting. The doorbell rang. L. seemed surprised, since she didn't expect another visitor. She answered the door to a young man, exchanged some words with him, then came back into the kitchen. She explained, it was a botanic student, who had noticed a bush in their front yard and asked, if he could help himself to some cuttings.
I expressed a little suspicion: "What if he just wanted to check, if anyone was home and later ...?" L immediately recalled, how a serial burglar had done his evil deeds in the district some time ago. Their neighbour and a few others had been burgled, before they finally caught the culprit.
Having said that, we both went outside to check on the plant expert. The bush he was cutting looked very ordinary. His transport was a little motor scooter, parked on the footpath. Talking to the clean shaven, friendly, good looking young man, it was hard to imagine him as a burglar. I liked the badge on his jacket he was wearing. It had a Da Ninci name - Egmont.
Mount Egmont is a 8,260 ft high volcano in New Zealand. Wikipedia also tells me, it's the title of a work by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It also is the name of a publisher of children's books in the United Kingdom.
Do I have to go on, or shall we give the young man, busy sorting his cuttings on the footpath, outside L's residence, the all clear? Wearing an Egmont jacket, he was not a burglar.
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Footpaths in the neighbourhood, where I walk Becky, my Fox Terrier.
Top left: At the corner Nelson / McIntyre Roads, nine sections of the original footpath are left, after repaving.
Top right: One Sunday afternoon I was walking Becky, when I noticed that 8 sections of the footpath, right by the bus stop shown, had been marked to be replaced! The bus stop number was 57. Then the date struck me: 5/8/07.
During the same walk I picked up an empty bottle of Kristov Vodka Cruiser Passionfruit. Those with a good memory recall that I had picked up an identical label during a bike ride in Manly, Sydney, exactly one week earlier. (Details previous Chapter).
But there is more: As I wrote my diary about above dog walk, on Channel Ten News the subject was: Alcohol abuse on the streets of ... Manly, Sydney !?
Bottom: Footpath being repaired on Goodall Road, Para Hills. This is where my wife tripped over earlier in the year. The ironic part of this story had not yet been told. My wife, a few years earlier, was one of a group of residents, featured in our local newspaper, calling for improvements in our footpaths! After her fall and having to spend a night in hospital, action was finally taken.
How timely to report the following in this chapter 23: Whilst much of the footpath on Goodall Road has been repaved, some sections between the next corner (Kimba Road) and our premises, No. 24, had not been repaved.
I counted 23 original sections on our footpath: 1 + 7 + 5 + 5 + 5.
Plus 1 leads to number 24.
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To reach the Sydney Harbour Bridge I had to walk via North Sydney. There was one address in North Sydney I had in mind to check out, No. 5 Blue Street. It is the office block of one of the major sponsors of the Hyundai A-League. On the way to finding the place, without map, I came across two interesting places. In Berry Street I entered an office block and noticed that the BBC Offices were located there - code 5011.
The other surprise event I felt I was meant to be at, was a Christian Business Men's Forum. The group meets every week in a room of the elegant *Greenwood Hotel, a stone structure, formerly hospital. The Bible Forum happened to be on that Tuesday from 1.10 - 1.45 PM (4 - 1115?) I'm glad I spotted the sign walking around North Sydney.
*On the morning of writing this I happened to open my bible at random and started reading. It was from Mark, Chapter 13, Verse 28: "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When it's branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near."
I could not help myself thinking of Green-wood. (More in moment).
In the casual atmosphere of the forum, while office workers came and ate lunch, I spoke to a few people, Pastor Joe W, who also gave a brief talk, Ken W. and Alvin, an nice Indian man. I found out that this bible forum was organised by the Anglican Cathedral in Sydney, next to the Town Hall, where I had experienced magic in the past. At this place, at this time, I felt once again - I had come to the right place.
Incredible timing: Within minutes of typing this I received this organisation's newsletter in the mail (Australia Post). I can't recall ever having received any mail from them. Their name is short and to the point: E-COM. The organisation aims to spread the Good News to the business community.
- - - - - - -
Rest stop on the way home - Kerang, Victoria.
Why do I see things when I take a walk through a town I am passing through?
Who holds the key - LA or 4?
Unless it's Arnoldt & Greenwood?
(More of Kerang later in the Chapter)
- - - - - - -
When everyone went back to their offices to work, I went through a short passageway, and found myself right across the road from the A-League-football sponsor, Zurich. You could not miss the connection: On the eastern side of their office block was a huge, at least ten times the life-size figure of referee, Mark Shield and three linesmen. Football, the round ball variety, has come a long way in Australia. Where would we be, if the top Australian stars played at home?
It looked like there was a view to be had from the southern end of the building, overlooking the harbour, the bridge and the city. I strolled below the towering referees to have a look at the view.
However, I got more than expected. As I was standing admiring the panorama, at a loading bay, down a lower level, I could not help reading the registration plate of a white van, arriving or leaving: XTL 963. (Letters slightly changed). If Mark Shield were on duty, would he allow this goal, or call it off-side?
Another find during my ad hoc exploration through North Sydney were two phone numbers on telegraph poles. They were the kind, where you tear off the number to take with you, to phone later if you wished. One was for Thai Chi classes (Hi to you too). I recalled walking into one of these classes, during a previous visit, in the Sydney suburb of Cromer. (Book 4, Chapter 29).
The second tear-off phone number was just around the corner from the first. It advertised a job: Earn $ 22 per hour, phone Marc ..24 846. In the number for the Thai Chi classes, putting two and two together, I saw ...4... 846?
Continuing toward the Harbour Bridge I took a passageway, which looked more inviting than staying on the main road. At the other end I found myself in a lovely, tree-lined street, which sloped down toward the water. It was aptly called Walker Street. A notice on a sign outside the Lavender Bay Gallery had a spelling mistake: ... 9 fiends ...?
Googling the Gallery later led me to royalart.com and the name Picton. I sent an email, joking: "Perhaps the spelling error is not an error at all, but an expression of art? This would explain a lot of art I have seen around the world."
Only later did I think. I should have returned with the Suzuki to complete the artwork. Since there was a R missing, why not park my Wagon R+ right outside the Gallery, next to the misspelled notice?
The motto: Even a parked 'ar, can be a work of ar' !
Walking on foot across the Sydney Harbour Bridge was the highlight of my long walk that day. What a joy!
Since the following item about the early history of the Harbour Bridge arrived in an email as I am writing this, I include it here:
(Extract from the Maverick Spirit - 11.12.07):
Did you know that in 1932, Francis De Groot, a retired cavalry officer, managed to get himself selected as part of the honour guard at the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. When the ribbon was about to be cut, he galloped forward on his horse and slashed the ribbon with his sword, declaring the bridge open in the name of 'the decent citizens of New South Wales'. The ribbon was then tied back together and the ceremony continued. De Groot was carried off to a mental hospital, declared insane and later fined for the replacement cost of one ribbon.
(If Francis had made a clip for You Tube, and called it - cutting a helpless ribbon with a mighty sword - a work of art, he may have gotten away with it?)
More modern art was waiting for me at the MCA. MCA stands for Museum of Contemporary Art. It's located at the Western End of Circular Quay. To me the three letters MCA were a work of art. My creative mind, as it does almost automatically, interpreted the exhibits in my peculiar way.
For example: One large masterpiece featured the letters INHERENT VICE in various colours. I grouped them by colour to read: HR ET IN E VIC N. The N drew attention to itself. It was written in mirror image.
I spent another 1/2 hour or so around Circular Quay, soaking up the international atmosphere from a bench seat. My new shoes needed the rest. One last photo (the Sailor's Home - shown in the previous chapter) and it was home via the Mosman Ferry.
Next to crossing the harbour on foot, the most spectacular way is via ferry. (Actually, no - crossing the harbour on foot without bridge or ferry would be more spectacular). I did - take the ferry. How lucky are those city workers, who start and end their day riding on one of these ferries. Another short bus ride, a walk back to my Suzuki via Mandalong Road and I was on my way to Ilikai Court, Dee Why.
The next morning, after our farewells - "See you in Adelaide at Christmas" - I purposely chose to drive the slow route, via the Sydney Harbour Bridge, to start my journey west back to Adelaide. It took almost an hour. But the beautiful music of Radio 2CH 1170 made the drive so much more pleasurable. (On 1/1/70 I tuned into 2 CH for the first time ever on my P/C. The frequency matched the date).
When we lived and worked in Sydney, in 1973 'Top of the World' and Perry Como's 'And I love you so' were my favourites. As I crawled with a million other motorists over the Spit Bridge, through Mosman, I heard the lyrics coming out of the radio: "... love you, you're the best ..." or " ... never doubt you're number one". I must have liked them. I remembered to write them into my diary later.
Listening to the radio as I was leaving Sydney, I sensed that not only these songs, but even popular talk back host John Laws was hinting at IT. This sounds weird. It may just be my strange mind working overtime. But one story John Laws told pointed right at the place where I had migrated from: "A fake bear was scaring walkers in the Black Forest in Southern Germany...." (The walker's name was Little Red Riding Hood, just joking).
That morning John Laws, the recently retired (on 30/11/07) talk-show host, broadcast from Albury, a large regional centre, halfway between Sydney and Melbourne. So why not head that way home, I thought? There were two other places I wanted to check out in Northern Victoria. Albury is in the same direction.
My first stop after Sydney was Picton. Earlier that morning, googling 'royal art', I had come across the name J.J. Picton. This was my excuse, after some initial hesitation, to detour a few kilometres and say Hi to this small, pretty town. I wished I had taken more time to explore it further, and many more along the way.
Driving back to the Highway, after a stroll and a little shopping, I paid a brief visit to the railway station. (There was something, probably, what else, a registration number, which prompted me to do so, but I never wrote it into my diary).
The next stop, a place called Holbrook is dominated by the huge, 90 metre long structure of HMAS Otway (HMAS has nothing to do with XMAS. The letters stand for Her Majesty's Australian Ship). The relic submarine was moved to the town to attract attention to the War Museum. During my brief stroll around the sub I found another children's shoe, just as I had in Wagga Wagga a week earlier.
It took me until evening to reach Albury. My Suzuki once again ran like clockwork. I found a space to park near the Regent Theatre and was ready to exercise my legs. I had forgotten all about the Commercial Club, where John Laws had broadcast from that morning. A few minutes into my walk I remembered it. A second later I looked across a car park and saw a big building. In large letters it said - Commercial Club.
I walked toward the front entrance. Looking to my right, in a corner of the carpark, I read the name on a refuse bin - J.J. Richards. After a brief visit to the members-only Club, chatting with a security guard in the foyer, I left again. I ate a take-away meal in my car, listening to the radio.
On the ABC's current affairs program PM (I think it was this program) I heard the name Richardson twice.
Sign outside an Adelaide business. Here is good place to display it.
The little word on played a major role in my story. So did it's variation AN.
Together with No. 5, if you can see 5 as S, it's amazing how a little word can become big. It must be Christmas soon.
The first Mr. Richardson was the (then) South Australian Federal Member for Kingston. The second Mr. Richardson was the man, filling in on the ABC Radio that evening, for the reporter who normally takes this segment.
Mr. Richardson, the MP, was interviewed regarding the plan by our Federal Government to take over a hospital. It would have been an Australian first; the Federal Government stepping in and taking over the running of a struggling regional hospital. Health and hospitals are normally state matters. The name of the hospital was the Merci, no Mercy, no Mersey Hospital (All sound the same).
Aha, now I get it - I just googled their phone number - it all makes sense - 486 and 1115, the town Latrobe - postcode 7307. My phone number at home ends in 7303 - the difference is 4. Very creative! (More 4 to come).
My destination for the night was Shepparton, a large town in the Goulbourn Valley, famous for it's canned fruit industry. A few kilometres before Shepparton was a sign to Winton. (Not to be confused with the much larger town in outback Queensland). I drove into Winton, just for the fun of it. I saw very little, because it was already dark; not even street lights. There were a few rabbits scurrying away as I turned my Suzuki around, near the Winton Oval.
The caretaker at the Shepparton caravan park didn't mind me sleeping in my van. After I had blown up my airbed and crawled into my sleeping bag, there would have been only one difference between the Suzuki Hilton and the Winton Hilton - about $ 150.
While in Shepparton I was going to check out a Ford Dealership. Long time readers can guess, which one I mean. (Book 2, Chapter 34). I had passed it on my way into town the night before, but not seen it. The next morning I asked a person in the street. It was easy to find. I took this photo, which is hiding a surprise:
Twitt Ford, Shepparton, Victoria
The long story started one night when I awoke around 2am and heard that the speaker on the radio was going to be MC at a function. I went to the place at the specified time, but couldn't find the event. Instead I got amused by a Victorian-registered vehicle. The numberplate frame read: Daryl Twitt Motors - I had been framed. (Full story Book 2, Chapter 34).
Hidden behind my Suzuki are two Fords, registration plates UTU 190 and UTU 191. Was I expected? If so, it all made sense.
It's almost a sin to travel through a top tourist town, like Echuca, and only spent half an hour. Tourists from far and wide visit the famous Port of Euchuca, with it's historic wharf on the River Murray. The town is called the Paddle Steamer Capital of Australia. One is called MS Adelaide. I saw it on a tea towel in a souvenir shop.
I must have been out of film, because my diary says, I stopped in the next town Cohuna, and bought a film and took a few photos:
Cohuna is on the B 400 Route. The postcode is 3568 (Am I seeing things, or does a 4 fit into it?)
During a short walk, beside the B 400, I spotted a Ford KA, registration plate OTS 316. It was registered until 15/6. I don't know why, but I doubled 156 to arrive at 312, which brings us back to 4 ...
The town of Kerang was the second place in Victoria I wanted to check on. (The first was Shepparton). A train crash outside this town was reported have claimed 11 lives at a level crossing. A truck driver had ignored the warning lights and, according to media reports, tried to get his rig across, before an approaching train.
I asked a lady at the office of Radio Station *M I X X for directions and how far it was to he fatal crossing. She said 10 kilometres (as do some media reports). It was only 6, (but 10 days before August 13).
*This is awesome, friends! What number had I just seen in Shepparton? 190 and 191! The letters M I X X in Roman Numerals equal 1019!
But there's more - To be sure that MIXX equals 1019 I googled and clicked on the first website, with a conversion chart - IVTECH.com.
The letters VTECH has surfaced before in my hunt for justice for an innocent man! Not only in the word V ECHT, but in the name of a witness in the Peter Liddy trial.
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Railway Crossing, six kilometres from Kerang. Date: 5/6/2007, 1.40 PM (000, but no 3).
L WAY AI + R = RAILWAY
(I cropped this photo before scanning).
Something about the whole story seemed not in order. I sensed it. Was it the name of the German tourist, Helena, or the way she spoke on TV ? She did not show any shock, but grinned and laughed into the camera, as if it was all a great joke, a holiday adventure to write home about.
Here are a few extracts from online news reports and my questions:
"Bodies will be left overnight inside the wreckage of a horrific train smash in northern Victoria in which at least eleven people died. State Emergency Services (SES) personnel decided to wind up their rescue operation for the night after police advised them that it was "too dangerous" for them to continue in the dark."
I hope a qualified medical expert made sure the dead were actually dead. To do this he or she had to crawl into the wreckage. Why was it regarded as dangerous to enter the train wreck?
Can SES workers not work overnight with modern equipment? If there had been injured passengers left in the wreckage, would the crew not have worked on into the night to free them? (Unless there was something exciting on TV that night? (Perhaps the latest episode of: "Thank God you're here).
"Witnesses said the truck slammed into the second carriage, peeling it open and exposing the passengers inside, before separating the third carriage from the rest of the train and forcing it off the track."
Is it not normally the other way round? The train wrecking a truck? Which was it - slicing the side of the train open, or cutting it in half? How did the truck driver survive this horrific scenario without major injury? He was later charged with dangerous driving.
"Local SES crews will be rotated with teams from Newcastle and Woodend who will make their way to Kerang."
I did not find a postcode for Newcastle (in Victoria) or a place by that name on the map in that district. The Newcastle, postcode 2300, where I had just come from, was a day and a half drive away. Checking the map Woodend is 223 kilometres away, beyond Bendigo and Castlemaine, on Route 79.
Five days later the authorities transported the train carriages to Melbourne to be thoroughly examined. Why did the train wreck need to be checked over? It was clear that the truck was to blame for the collision, when it failed to stop at the signals. Checking the truck over would make more sense, or if the signals were operating normally.
There was a farm house right near the railway crossing. I can't recall any report, involving residents who lived near the crossing. They would have been the first at the scene to give eyewitness account (unless they were not home).
One witness, Ms Fyffe, a survivor of the crash, believes the afternoon sun could have been to blame for the collision. (How unlikely is that at 1.40 PM, even in winter?
Something certainly happened at the Kerang level crossing that Wednesday. But what? Which news media is going to tell us the full details and, hopefully, the full truth?
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BE A STAR - Our Daily Bread 10/12/07:
"Those who turn many to righteousness [shall shine] like stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)
How timely: The digits for the scripture reading in Matthew 2:1-12 are those of the date as I type (in the UK).
Plus 1 (the digit 1 and one more day) and the digits of the scripture in Daniel are those of the date in Australia - Dec. 13.
On December 10, 07 for the first time ever, I watched an episode of the British TV program, called STAR Portrait. Australian-born mega-star Rolf Harris hosted the program, in which three artists, who had painted a portrait of Michael Parkinson, presented their work. He was to select one of the three, which he wanted to keep. (The show was a repeat, first screened in the UK in 06).
In my opinion, he chose the worst, a contemporary style portrait. In a rare show of solidarity, my wife also agreed, Mr. Parkinson should have chosen the photographic-like masterpiece by the long-haired, handsome painter. His was by 'ar the best!
I recall one comment by the (also recently retired) talk-show host, Michael Parkinson: "It makes me look 23 again". (Oh, the inexplicable, surreptitious power of CA - Contemporary Art).
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Since I needed neither fuel nor food I was going to continue straight through Ouyen. However, on purpose I made a 30 second detour. I wasn't searching for any clues, but perhaps registration plate ...414 and ...138 at a location I was driving past on purpose, were it?
Pinnaroo was one place I had never stopped at and taken a walk. It was just the right time of the day, late afternoon, to take a stroll. One free attraction I often ponder and look over is the local noticeboard. The many types of notices and announcements say a lot about the life of a town and it's fabric. Among the For Sale, To Rent and Mother's Play Group messages, one handwritten notice stood out: Wanted Menager!
I made sense of the word Menager. It was not a misspelling. They were looking for more than one and preferably aged.
What I couldn't figure out, how mothers would have time to form a group and get together to play twice a week? (This explains why there were so many notices: Babysitters wanted twice a week!)
One notice of an event, however, topped them all. The very next day was to be a wedding. You could actually buy tickets to attend the wedding, 40 Dollars from the Football Club Secretary or 45 at the door. The invitation was by Mr. Horrie and Mrs. Valerie Hornbag.
No doubt they were the grooms parents. Because the other name sounded like the bride's parents - Mr. & Mrs. Fridget (= F GET ID + R).
The dress was to be Op-shop formal, the music by Fifth Avenue World Band, playing all-night hymns! The wedding was to take place on Saturday 4.8 6.30 PM.
If only I had travelled through Pinnaroo a day later! The event would have suited me perfectly: I do wear second hand clothing. And when it comes to hymns (with all due respect to Hillsong) I could sit and sing hymns - all night.
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Below: Central Information Exchange - Main Square, Down Town, adjacent to the entrance of the Metro (Supermarket with 3 isles, 5 shelves, 1 check-out, stocks-it-all).
Top right hand corner: "Volunteers don't get paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless." Love it!
Above photo was actually taken in Macclesfield, South Australia. What took me there? A run-away school bus, where the driver was up the creek, which made his bus roll down the ditch.
(Please note: Photo taken without permission. No animals were hurt in any way when taking above shot ....)
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Walking away from the notice board I saw car registration plate XLE 050 (slightly changed). Was this a sign I should be at this wedding? (There are crazy people in the world, who would take this as a sing (sic) that they ought to hang around, just for the all-night-hymns, perhaps?)
But I was not that silly, letting a number keep me from moving on. I was on my way home to my bride of 37 years.
At the same time I was travelling, chewing up 100 kilometres every hour, my wife was meeting with her monthly Coffee Club friends. They were a mature mothers group, who got together monthly to talk. Coffee was just the excuse.
That Friday 3/8 they had arranged to view a video of a historic place in Wales - POWIS Mansion, outside Welshpool.
Until that day I had never heard of the name POWIS. But I know what a POW is.