‘Black Caviar’ Remains Undefeated, Yet Again!: Saturday, 28th April, 2012

I awoke for the last time at half past six to the sounds of ‘Jasper’ (twelve and a half years) and “Zed” (not her name by pedigree) each demanding to receive their respective biscuit. I left the pair downstairs, as I wanted to see what musical content I had managed to record overnight from the ABC’s programme, “rage”. The show had celebrated its ‘Silver Jubilee’ some weeks ago. “Catch Us If You Can”, a British film from 1965, in glorious black and white, screened from 9.30 a.m. on the channel, 9GEM. It features the rock group, The Dave Clark Five, a seller of more than fifty million records in its time.

“Weekend Sunrise”, which screens from seven o’ clock on Channel Seven’s Studio 52 in Martin Place, Sydney, has Samantha Armytage, who is thirty-five years of age, and Andrew “Deal Or No Deal” O’Keefe (forty years) as its presenters. The ultra-slim Jessica Rowe read its news bulletins, and the weather reports today came via James Tobin (thirty-two) from the Farmers’ Markets in the suburb of New Farm, in Brisbane, where, unfortunately for the farmers, it was raining. Simon “It’s Academic” Reeve (fifty) presented the reports on sport from the Olympic equestrian trials, in Sydney.

KFC says that it will appeal against the decision that was handed down yesterday in which a young girl was awarded eight million dollars in damages plus the cost of her family’s legal fees. The family had claimed that she had received severe cerebral damage after she had consumed contaminated chicken, which had allegedly been served in a ‘Twister’. Her family has fought the legal battle for three years, especially as she requires continual medical care for the remainder of her life.

Australia has won the series of three Tests, that concluded overnight in the Caribbean. The Third Test, played in Dominica, was won by seventy-five runs and the series by two Tests to nil. Wicketkeeper, Matthew Wade, received the award for ‘Man Of The Match’. The West Indies was dismissed for 294 runs. Its captain, Darren Sammy, scored 61 runs; Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 69 and Dwayne Bravo, 45. Australia’s captain, Michael Clarke’s left-arm spin claimed 5-86 while the off spin of Nathan Lyon took 3 wickets for 87. This means that the latter is the leading taker of wickets in this series with thirteen to his name. It is only the second occasion in his career that Clarke has claimed five wickets in an innings.

At least nine people have been killed in suicidal attacks in Syria.

Last night, Manly narrowly defeated Canterbury by twelve points to ten. The game of rugby league had been described on Channel Nine by Ray ‘Rabbits’ Warren, who is sixty-eight years of age. Manly was coached by Des Hasler last season, when the club won the premiership. However, this season he is the coach of Canterbury, with Geoff Toovey occupying his former position at Manly.

The Brisbane ‘Broncos’ — or as I prefer to call them “Drongos” (tongue in cheek, of course) — defeated the Gold Coast ‘Titans’ by twenty-six points to six at Suncorp Stadium, which was formerly known as Lang Park, in Brisbane.

Thousands of people have been found to have been exposed to asbestos during and after the floods in Queensland, last year.

A man has been arrested after he held four people hostage in central London, just three months prior to the scheduled commencement of the Olympic Games in the English capital. The perpetrator, who is fifty years of age, walked into a building in Tottenham Court Road with cylinders, that contained gas, strapped to his body. Objects were thrown from windows during the siege, which had a duration of three hours.

The retired American space shuttle, ‘Enterprise’, has ridden on a so-called ‘Jumbo Jet’ airliner as it flew across New York City. The United States is in the process of ceasing its programme in regards to the use of space shuttles. The craft is to spend a few days at JFK Airport prior to its settlement at a museum in New York.

The Dow Jones has closed the week at 13,228 +24 points; the NASDAQ at 3,069 +19; London’s FTSE 100 at 5,777 +28; while Frankfurt’s DAX finished at 6,801 +61. Gold is trading higher at $US1,663/oz and oil(W.T.I.) at $US104.50/brl. The $AUD is the equivalent of $US1.o4, 84 Japanese yen, 79 euro cents, 64 British pence and $NZ1.27.

An English primary school has released a photograph from 1951 which shows Mick Jagger and Keith Richards when they were in the same class. Although they attended separate high schools, it is, of course, musical history that they were reunited in the formation of The Rolling Stones. The photograph of the pair, at the age of seven, has been released to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the group.

Morphettville Racecourse, in Adelaide, is officially sold out, for this afternoon, at twenty past four, the champion of sprinters, Black Caviar, is to attempt to win her twentieth race. The mare is yet to taste defeat. She is trained by Peter Moody and is to be ridden by Luke Nolen. Should the mare of five years be successful this afternoon she will become, globally, the first horse since the 1870s to have achieved such a feat.

There are fears that India and Pakistan are on the verge of conflict. Both have tested their latest ballistic missiles. The two countries have fought three wars since 1947. India and China fought a war fifty years ago and the former’s latest missile possesses the range to reach Beijing. Globally, India is reportedly the largest importer of arms.

Channel Nine’s “Weekend Today” coincides with Channel Seven’s “Weekend Sunrise” between seven and nine o’clock. Its co-presenters, this morning, are Cameron Williams (forty-nine) and Leila McKinnon (thirty-nine) who is pregnant with her first child to Bruce Gyngell, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nine Network.

Deborah Knight (thirty-nine), who was allegedly shown the door at Channel Ten to reportedly make way for Sandra Sully to read the “TEN Eyewitness News” between 5.00 and 6.00 p.m., reads this morning’s bulletins. The sport is covered by the ursine Tim Gilbert (forty-four) and the weather by Emma Freedman (twenty-two), who is at the Sydney Observatory atop Observatory Hill that is located in close proximity to the Harbour Bridge. The observatory is hosting a display of some historic telescopes.

The rumours, that were muted yesterday, pertaining to Prime Minister, Julia Gillard’s position becoming evermore tenuous, continue to exist. Only now, it would appear, that she has but a month to reverse the growing disquiet that pervades her leadership.

The crowd of 30,000, in Adelaide, watches in awe as ‘Black Caviar’ wins easily, and pays $1.04 for a unit of $1.00 placed on the tote to win and $1.04 to place, on the N.S.W. T.A.B. These dividends mirror those of Super-T.A.B., whilst on Tatt’s tote the respective dividends are $1.10 and $1.00 (which, of course, is tantamount to no profit). Her twentieth win has come in the Robert Sangster Stakes, at the level of Group One. Even against opposition of quality she still had a margin of four and a half lengths to spare. Broadcaster, Hilton Donaldson, who called the race, became quite emotional in describing what he had just witnessed.

The races at Eagle Farm, in Brisbane, as well as the meeting at Southport on the Gold Coast were cancelled due to heavy rain.

As many as 50,000 people have demonstrated in Malaysia against what they believe is a flawed electoral system. The crowd gathered in Kuala Lumpur, only to be dispersed by the use of water cannon.

On Monday, Australia will finally be declared to be free from drought. Such conditions have persisted for the past decade.

Ms Georgie Gardner (forty-one) read “National Nine News” from five o’clock this evening. The report on sport was presented by Erin Molan.  At seven o’clock Felicity Davey reads the “ABC News” in its entirety, to viewers in New South Wales.

The Western ‘Bulldogs’ 15.12 (104) defeated the fledgling Greater Western Sydney ‘Giants’ 9.8 (62), in Canberra, this afternoon. The latter is still seeking its first win of the season after, this, the fifth round of competition, in the A.F.L.

Telephone boxes in London have become redundant due to the advent of the mobile. The company, BT, is selling off its boxes for approximately three thousand dollars each.

“Getaway”, screened on Channel Nine between 5.30 and 6.00p.m. Its reporters are Natalie Gruzlewski, who helps to sail a yacht in New Caledonia; Jason Dundas, who visits Jakarta; Jules Lund, who experiences sheep shearing near Wilpena Pound in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges on the sheep station, Rawnsley Park. Catriona Rowntree visits a French villa at Howden near Hobart, Tasmania, and Giaan Rooney visits Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour.

“The Sydney Weekender” on Channel Seven and screened simultaneously to “Getaway”, features its host, Mike Whitney and his appearance at the Hawkesbury Vegetable Farm. The programmes other reporters are Erica Davis, Rose Kelly (the wife of Channel Nine’s presenter of the weather, Steve Jacobs), Darren Coggan and Karen Ledbury. It is followed for an hour by “Seven News”, read by Mark Ferguson, who left Channel Nine towards the end of 2009. Matt Carmichael presents its sport before Mark Ferguson returns to present the report on the weather.

Between five and six o’clock, the “TEN Eyewitness News” is read jointly by Matt Doran and Natarsha Belling. The segment on sport, ‘Sports Tonight’, is presented by Mr Rob Canning and the weather, by Ellie Southwood.

The enquiry on Thursday, into whether the suspended Speaker of the House, Peter Slipper, misused government funds to travel by limousine, has reportedly raised more questions than answers. The Australian Federal Police is now investigating. Mr Slipper’s driver of twelve years has allegedly faced charges of having forged dockets in the past. Mr Slipper denies his fares are excessive, claiming that travel by limousine is cheaper than the hiring of one of the Government’s  cars. The Opposition has stated that Mr Slipper cannot return to the position of Speaker until the claims of sexual harassment, that have been levelled against him, are also resolved. A male member of his staff has levelled these accusations against him.

Global air traffic is predicted to double by 2030. To cope with this problem Airbus is already planning an even larger version of its already massive airliner, the A380. When it takes to the air in 2020 is will be capable of carrying an extra one hundred passengers. That could mean that there will be six hundred people on a single flight. The newest aircraft are lighter than ever, with carbon fibre plastic reinforced fuselages and frames made from advanced aluminium alloys and titanium. Composite materials provide for safer aeroplanes, for such combinations do not corrode and, secondly, there is no fatigue.

China and the United States are said to be in secretive talks over the escape of a Chinese activist who is said to be hiding in the American Embassy in Beijing. He reportedly angered the Chinese government when he allegedly exposed a policy of forced sterilisation and abortion.

The presence of cane toads in parts of Sydney’s Sutherland Shire has become such a problem that the local council has hired the use of dogs that can detect their whereabouts. The toad is highly toxic and its inexorable migration across a large swathe of the Australian mainland has decimated much of the country’s predatory wildlife. The toad was introduced to Australia from Hawaii, in 1935, to consume the destructive beetle that was such a pest to farmers of sugar cane in Queensland. However, this proved to be unsuccessful when it preferred another menu. South America was the toad’s continent of origin.

 

 

One Card Becomes Two: Wednesday, 30th November, 1977

We awoke at half past six to another sunny, warm morning and by eleven o’clock — really ten, as we are under daylight saving — it was already twenty-seven degrees Celsius. Tiki had had a further sleepless night due to the severe pain she has been experiencing in her left shoulder and arm since last Monday. It really must be sore, for she woke me several times during the night!

Tiki washed last night’s dishes and at a quarter to eight she received a telephone call from “Brutus”, as he was about to depart from Central Railway Station bound for Melbourne. He told her that he had left some garbage that included eggshells, in his unit and asked that if we happen to be over that way would we dispose of it for him.

We endured a long wait for Tiki to see her general practitioner and, as she suspected she has to have her left shoulder X-rayed. We arrived home at five minutes to twelve, just one minute before Bill Collins introduced the film, “Three’s A Crowd”. In this offering, from 1969, Larry “I Dream Of Jeannie” Hagman plays a chap who is married to two women. Norman Fell is cast as the liftman who assists him in his endeavours to keep the two women (played by Jessica Walter and E.J. Peaker) apart.

Tiki tore an old Christmas card in half in order to make another one. I hadn’t seen such a thing done before! The ‘new’ card is intended for an elderly friend of the family.

Having done this, it was time for her to ring the radiologists’. She was surprised to receive an appointment for a quarter past two. I drove her to the building that bears the name of ‘Wyoming’, which is located near Caringbah’s railway station. I sat in the waiting room while a gentleman, who appeared to be about six feet five inches tall, with fair hair and glasses, took X-rays of her left arm and shoulder.

In the meantime a young surfer, sporting a moustache of bum-fluff, wandered out attired in a smock of light blue. It displayed his bare back as well as his swimming costume, which was adorned in stars and stripes. No sooner had he appeared, than he was verbally dispatched back to his cubicle.

It transpired that the radiologist had overestimated the size of Tiki’s small shoulder and this had resulted in the initial X-rays being out of focus and, therefore, having to be retaken. I wrote out a cheque to the amount of forty-three dollars and ten cents and then accompanied Tiki to the third floor of Waltons to claim on it, in addition to this morning’s bill of eight dollars and seventy cents which had paid for her consultation to see her doctor.

We each enjoyed a glass of icy pineapple juice at the far table of the milk bar at the top of the stairs that lead from the Kingsway to the railway station. Sixty cents the poorer, I drove home by ten past three having not failed to notice the queer mushroom-shaped cloud during our short journey.

I watched the remainder of “The Mod Squad”, which concluded at four o’clock. Today’s edition centred upon a revolt at an educational institution and how the siege that ensued became right out of hand. Fortunately, Pete and Link, the male members of the Squad — played respectively by Michael Cole and Clarence Williams III — were on hand to bring the situation under control.

The ominous thunderclouds had made it so dark that, shortly after four, I was writing my diary — which has come to consume more and more of my time — with the light on.

We left for Tiki’s parents’ to give “Nan”, who is ninety years of age, her Christmas present. It consisted of stockings, ‘4711’ perfume and ‘4711’ refresher towels. In return she presented us with a cover for toilet rolls. It is in the form of a doll dressed in a flowing yellow dress, and was crocheted by her.

“Mum” insisted that we stay to dinner. “Dad” had elastoplast and six individual sticking plasters on cuts which were inflicted to his left shin when he rolled his rideable mower on the hilly front lawn, at the weekend. His mother experienced her second fall within a week, at 3.00 a.m. today, this time in the toilet of her home.

According to Channel Seven’s ‘News’ this evening, read by Roger Climpson, Terry Page, a bookmaker who is based here in Sydney, has been losing heavily over the past eighteen months and was allegedly near collapse after the first four races last Saturday were won by favourites or near favourites. He, also allegedly, had to stand himself down from fielding at today’s races as a consequence.

Tiki’s sister, Wendy, washed the dishes and after “Willesee” we departed, in the rain, to drive home. This evening’s edition of the programme, which is based upon current matters, featured the Adelaidian boy, Anthony Nolan, who at the age of six, appears to be losing his will to live in his fight against a disease of his bone marrow. Debby Boone — Pat’s daughter of twenty-one years — who is in Sydney to appear in John Denver’s TV Special, after her first single, “You Light Up My Life”, spent eight weeks atop the American chart, was also interviewed.

The last half of “Cousteau’s: The Sleeping Sharks Of Yucatan” was viewed from eight o’clock, followed, at half past the hour on Channel Seven, by a programme of the series, “Hunter”, which features James Franciscus, Linda Evans and the veteran actor, Ralph Bellamy. Tiki fell asleep on the floor with a pillow beneath her sore left shoulder.

New Hebridean Loss Becomes Our Loss,Too!: Friday, 17th August, 1979

Alas! Our first international holiday together, concludes today.

Having donned the clothes that I had worn on our flights from Australia, I began to carry our suitcases upstairs to the first floor. Once there, there was the walk along the corridor that led to the hotel’s foyer. Leaving the suitcase there my job was to descend and repeat the process, this time with our second case. My third transferal of our remaining belongings also involved that of Tiki as her limp remained noticeably quite severe.

I sat her down on the lounge and placed her leg on an attractive, polished table, in the hope that this might ease the pain that emanated from her left knee. However, when the pair of chain-smokers arrived, I moved away. The couple had been on our cruise of the lagoon, a week ago.

When the time came for us to depart for the airport, I made sure that our suitcases were loaded on to the utility by personally handing them up to the native gentleman who stood in the rear of the vehicle.

Upon boarding the minibus, along with the smokers and others, it soon became evident that space was at a premium. So much so, that one woman complained about the lack of it and moved to sit in the aisle.

It was then that the large native driver offered her a seat near to him, only to have her nastily reply that she couldn’t be bothered. “I’m sorry I asked!”, he retorted.

Our vehicle ascended the rocky hill of dirt, for the last time, as far as we were concerned, and deposited us all at Port Vila’s airport at approximately twenty-five past five. I led Tiki to a seat, prior to taking care of the usual formalities. The official, behind the desk, neglected to charge me the two hundred New Hebridean francs in tax upon our departure, and I was certainly in no mood to draw his attention to the oversight.

As dawn was breaking, at six o’clock, a Fokker Friendship departed, also bound for Noumea. Half an hour later our 737 twin-engined aeroplane, that bore the livery of ‘Air Nauru’, did likewise, with us seated about half of the way along, on its port side.

Our bags had not been searched to any degree, but a native man who appeared to possess a square hand, did move a metal detector about my body, as a woman did the same to Tiki.

Once aboard, Tiki occupied the seat by the window to my left while a native chap occupied the seat to my immediate right and next to the aisle. The pilot’s accent sounded as if he were an Australian. The hostesses, in their uniforms of yellow, served each of us with a plastic cup of weak orange cordial in addition to a sweet, wrapped in cellophane, that came to my aid as I sucked on it during our descent in to La Tontouta Airport, which is located some thirty-five miles to the north of New Caledonia’s capital and largest town, Noumea.

We obtained quite a clear view of that part of the island, which appeared to be mountainous while possessing a swampy coastal plain. The mountains could be described as generally being relatively barren in appearance with their coverage, at best, being scrubby and stunted.

Our flight had only just managed to arrive before that which had departed from Port Vila half an hour beforehand. The pilot, obviously aware that there was a couple of Aussies on board, had performed a sweeping turn of one hundred and eighty degrees, which provided us with an ample view of the small barren islands that lie just off the coast.

During our check-in we were allocated our seats for the considerably lengthier flight to Sydney. Owing to the fact that Tiki was finding it more difficult to bend her injured knee, we were afforded about a metre of space in which to stretch our legs aboard the considerably larger DC-10 of the French carrier, U.T.A.

We hadn’t been in the New Hebrides for long when we were informed, hopefully in jest, that the airlines initials were an acronym for ‘Unlikely To Arrive’. As if that hadn’t unnerved Tiki sufficiently, all DC-10s had been grounded globally, just a few months ago due to concerns in connection with their reliability.

Prior to inplaning, we had decided to wait until the queues had disappeared and only then walked through the gate and slowly made our way across the tarmac, a distance of perhaps two hundred metres. I supported Tiki as she struggled to climb up the front stairs of the aircraft only to then find that we virtually had to locate our seats without assistance.

The aeroplane ascended above the clouds and into the dazzling sunshine. The flight was to be a smooth experience and possessed a longevity of two hours and forty minutes.

A diminutive French steward. with dark hair, had somehow extracted my table from the right-hand side of my seat, whereas he poked a tray into the holes of Tiki’s to my left.

Breakfast consisted of a bowl of mixed fruit, followed by a serving of corn flakes, another of bacon and fairly watery scrambled egg, and a bread roll that would have given a rock a run for its money, a bun and a French fruit roll that was served in the shape of a discus. I literally ate the jams, namely orange marmalade and cherry, from the two, flat, small containers, with a spoon.

Despite what might appear to be a fairly scathing critique on my breakfast, I must say that I found it to be a satisfying one!

Afterwards, I helped to pass the time by looking through a copy of Britain’s broadsheet newspaper, ‘The Guardian’, which, in this instance, was dated as Wednesday, the fifteenth. Its headlines were dominated by the wild storm off the English county of Cornwall, that had claimed seventeen lives during the prestigious Fastnet Race. Yachts have to reach the rock of that name before returning to from whence they had come. Australia happened to win the race this year and in doing so, the Admiral’s Cup of yachting. In stating this, I in no way wish to detract from the gravity of the disaster.

A man, not far from us and shortly prior to the plane beginning its descent, took it upon himself to light a cigarette, in spite of the area in which we sat having been designated as being for non-smokers.

Sydney’s smog, despite us not being in the best position to observe it, appeared to be ashamedly dense.

As we had moved through the cabin en route to the exit we passed through an area where the stench of body odour was so intense that, should we have been seated in that vicinage, we would most assuredly have been induced to vomit!

I was the last person to remove suitcases from our allotted roundabout. “Mum” awaited our exit from customs, at approximately 11.30 a.m., and, as she drove us home, complained of how she had not been able to park her yellow ‘Rover’ in our driveway because birds had eaten purple berries from three of our trees and then proceeded to deposit their similarly coloured droppings on her car.

This afternoon, I walked to the bank where I attempted to exchange our remaining four hundred New Hebridean francs for some usable notes, only to be informed that because the French-British condominium is due to receive its independence next year, here, they are tantamount to being worthless.

It would appear that the New Hebridean official’s loss at the airport, this morning, has become our loss, too!

 

‘Some People’: Tuesday, 12th January, 1988

Although I didn’t awake until eight minutes to eight, I remained in bed, as Tiki had wanted to serve me with breakfast there. She placed the following on my four halves of toast: Vegemite, Sunny Cane’s golden syrup, IXL’s melon and lime conserve, and Home Brand’s pure Australian honey.

Steve Blanda read the ‘2WS News’ at eight o’clock, prior to Bill Woods’ presentation the news in sport. A man of twenty-three was to appear in court, in Kogarah, this morning charged with his alleged murder of a woman of nineteen years. She was allegedly stabbed twenty-two times by her attacker, in the early hours of yesterday morning, at the rear of her home in Penshurst.

A baby girl drowned yesterday, in the suburb of Summer Hill, whilst allegedly in the care of her babysitter, who is now being treated for shock. The woman has claimed that she left three children in a bathtub for just a few minutes, however, when she returned the baby was floating face down.

Australia’s Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, has surpassed the tenure of Andrew Fisher to become the Labor Party’s representative who had held the position for the longest time. Only the Conservatives’ (Sir) Robert Menzies and Malcolm Fraser have held the title for lengthier periods.

Ivan Lendl and Martina Navratilova are full of praise for the new stadium of tennis, in Melbourne. They are in agreement that it is the world’s finest such venue.

Russia is to compete at this year’s Olympic Games, in Seoul.

Between 8.09 and 8.13, I heard Cliff Richard’s latest single, Some People, on “Steve Matters’ Breakfast Show” that is also on 2WS.

Tiki asked me to accompany her to the shops, in our hunt for groceries. Upon our return, she began to express the feeling that she was not appreciated when it is considered just how hard she works. Then it was time for her to remind me, yet again, of how much she despises her job; for which she departed at twenty-five minutes to one.

Later, I began to type more of my ‘book’. Continuing on from where I had ceased yesterday. This I did for much of the afternoon, covering that period from the first to the eighth of October, 1977.

I did take a break, in order to purchase a copy of ‘The Sun’ newspaper at a cost of forty cents. Four lamb loin chops ($2.73) and five hundred and sixty grams of topside mince cost two dollars and seventy-nine cents. The chops, disappointingly, were not tender when we did our best to consume them at dinner.

A gusty nor-easterly breeze kept the air quite fresh and the temperature bearable. Sydney’s Observatory Hill recorded a range of twenty-two to twenty-eight degrees Celsius, with the maximum being two above the seasonal average. Liverpool, a south-western suburb, experienced a range of 19-31, while in Richmond, in the north-west, it varied between 19 and 32. Katoomba (20-28), a popular town with tourists, in the picturesque Blue Mountains and only about eighty kilometres from the centre of Sydney, was almost as mild as Observatory Hill.

Sydney’s pollution was classified as being in the medium range at twenty-eight;  but, please, don’t ask me to explain this!

Mark Warren, at 6.26 p.m. on Channel Nine, noted that the highest maxima in the state had been forty-four degrees at Wilcannia, and the lowest minima had been recorded at Bathurst where the mercury had dipped to eleven. However, this latter claim was to be disputed an hour later by the ABC’s presenter of the weather, Mike Bailey, on Channel Two, when he stated that the lowest temperature recorded had been that of twelve degrees, at Taralga. He added that in the twenty-four hours to 9.00 a.m., Bega had recorded twelve millimetres of rain and in the six hours after that, Murwillumbah received one.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, has reportedly stated that disaster will follow should his programme of reforms be halted. He claims that should his drive to restructure the Soviet Union succeed, the Union would become the world’s primary democracy.

The International Olympic Committee has declined to comment on North Korea’s announcement that it will not compete in the Summer Olympics, in Seoul, unless it is given the status of co-host.

Two weeks after having been officially recognised as being the world’s oldest person, Florence Knapp, an American, died yesterday at the age of one hundred and fourteen. Born on the tenth of October, 1873, Florence had lived for one hundred and ten years in her parents’ farmhouse in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Her successor to the title is Maren Torp, a Norwegian, who is one hundred and eleven.

A survey, conducted by the Australian National University, has reportedly shown that Australians’ religious beliefs have not changed significantly since 1966. Eighty-two per cent believe in God, while sixty per cent believe that there is a heaven, thirty-seven per cent, a devil, and thirty-seven per cent, a hell. However, the number of believers conflicts with that of those who are actually attending church.

More than two hundred police, in eastern Sicily, have reportedly staged a number of raids at dawn after magistrates ordered that sixty-six alleged gangsters be arrested in connection to the scores of killings since 1979, reportedly at the hands of the Mafia.

A new breed of actors and actresses, it is said, are soon to replace the so-called Brat Pack of 1987. Those of whom it is believed will be toppled are Judd Nelson, Matt Dillon, Andrew McCarthy, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Rob Lowe and, Bruce Willis’s new wife, Demi Moore. Their touted replacements are said to be Kiefer Sutherland, River Phoenix, Charlie Sheen, Lou Diamond Phillips, Robert Downey, Esai Morales, Holly Hunter, James Spader, Elizabeth Pena, Jami Gertz, Ione Sky, Martha Plimpton and Jennifer Grey, who is the daughter of the famed star of ‘Cabaret’, Joel Grey.

Channel Seven is televising competition in the Australian Open of tennis from Flinders Park, in Melbourne. Players who are listed to compete include Stefan Edberg, Pat Cash — who has drawn the ire of anti-Apartheid demonstrators and has consequently had black balls thrown on to the court during matches in which he is involved — Joakim Nystrom, David Pate, Martina Navratilova, Henri Laconte, Steffi Graf, Wendy Turnbull and Hana Mandlikova.

The list of commentators includes John Alexander, Sue Barker, Evonne Cawley, John Barrett, Peter Landy, Allan Stone, Dixie Marshall and Garry Wilkinson.

Channel Seven’s “News And Weather” screens between 6.00 and 6.45 and is delivered by the tall Ross Symonds, with Susie Stenmark then presenting the report on the weather. “Sports Today”, occupies the remaining fifteen minutes of that hour and is presented by Garry Wilkinson.

The following half an hour, also on Channel Seven, is occupied by the investigative programme, “Terry Willessee Tonight”, in which the host is assisted by the reporters: Maurice Parker, Emily Booker, Jim Maher and Alex Smith.

The index of the Dow Jones on Wall Street closed this morning (in Sydney) on 1,928.55 points, which is a fall of 16.58, on a relatively light volume of one hundred and sixty-four million shares.

Freddie Mercury, the leading singer in the band, Queen, has reportedly followed the lead of the fellow rocker, David Bowie and sought to be tested for A.I.D.S. Freddie, 41, who was born as Farrokh Bulsara on the African island of Zanzibar, it is claimed, was compelled to seek to be tested after a friend died from the disease.

“Sole Manure”: Saturday, 1st October, 1977

It has been a humid day with a maximum temperature of twenty-seven degrees Celsius. This afternoon we transported Tiki’s birthday cake to Bernardi’s Restaurant, which is located on the Prince’s Highway at Kirrawee. The owner gave her the choice of having the party inside the restaurant proper or ‘outside’ in the enclosed patio. At first she opted for the former, but I helped to change her mind. She wrote out the seating arrangements on a brown paper bag and left them with the gentleman.

“Belmura Lad”, trained by Bart Cummings, won the A.J.C. Derby, which was run at Randwick Racecourse this afternoon. The Epsom Handicap appeared on the same card and was won, in record time, by the imported English grey, “Raffindale”, trained and ridden respectively by the South Australian combination of David Whitney and John Letts.

My sisters drew our attention to three large privet trees, which are growing in our backyard, and, to our complete surprise, a fully matured macadamia! Its leaves are particularly spiky.

We sat in the kitchen and consumed tea and biscuits while Tiki began to open her presents. In her excitement she knocked over her cup and I instinctively tried to arrest the hot, flowing liquid with my hands.

Channel Seven’s News, at 6.00 p.m., was read by Barry Freedman, and, it was during “The Muppet Show”, which followed, that we dressed for the party. Tiki and her mother had led me to believe that her new dress was purple, but it is, in fact a black one with tiers and comes with a pink artificial rose attached.

We arrived at the restaurant by seven o’clock. I began the night by consuming two glasses of Bacardi and coke while Tiki had two gin and orange. Everyone was asked to sign a twenty-first autograph book.

As we were perusing the menu, Tiki yelled out to everyone that I had referred to sole manierre as “sole manure”. We both ordered the delicious seafood pancake for entree, and, for the main course, a huge Neptune platter to share. It came with lobster, oysters, calamari, prawn cutlets and scallops, and made us the envy of the others.

Those seated near to us helped us to eat it but, even then, it was necessary to call upon guests seated beyond them to finish what still remained. Of course, we still found room to accommodate dessert and for this we selected crepe suzette for two. In all, we each consumed approximately six glasses of asti spumante. Most of the others preferred white burgundy.

The band, and a group of young people, sang “21 Today” to Tiki, before the band dedicated “Killing Me Softly With His Song” to her.

‘Hardie-Ferodo 1000’: Sunday, 2nd October, 1977

I watched short periods of the ‘Hardie-Ferodo 1000’, which was telecast live via Channel Seven, from the demanding Mount Panorama circuit near Bathurst. The eventual winners, Allan Moffat and Jacky Ickx, were leading. Allan Moffat is an Australian racing driver who was born in Canada and the Belgian, Jacky Ickz, formerly drove at the level of Formula One.

Two years ago, Tiki took me for a spin — almost the operative word — in our small sedan around this very circuit. At times I nearly pushed my imaginary brake pedal through the floor, especially when she traversed ‘The Top Of The Mountain’ and negotiated the resultant downhill ess-bends.

“Ask The Leyland Brothers”, at 5.30 p.m., transports the viewer to Carnarvon Gorge in central Queensland, before also having a segment on cicadas and another on the marble that is being extracted at Gundagai. We also began to watch the film, “Scorpio”, that bears the copyright of 1973 and features the veteran actor, Burt Lancaster, the French actor, Alain Delon, and Gayle Hunnicutt.

When I began to doze off at ten past nine, we decided that it was time to go to bed.

Royal National Park: Monday, 3rd October, 1977

We awoke at five past seven to a sunny sky and relative warmth. It was hard to believe that the airport, which is perhaps only twenty kilometres or so distant, as the crow flies, was closed due to fog.

I drove up to Miranda where Tiki and my brother-in-law, Roger, left my sister, Susan, and I in the car while they went to buy two half cartons of beer. The bar attendant must have presumed that they were husband and wife and took it upon himself to give the change to Tiki, as he pronounced, “This is the only opportunity you’ll get!”

Thirteen of us, in all, boarded “Dad’s” launch, “Ocean Swell”, which is thirty-one feet in length. We headed up the Port Hacking River to the causeway at Audley where I suddenly experienced the insuperable urge to announce that it was near there, on the river’s bank, that I had first told Tiki that I loved her.

From there we travelled back down the river and anchored near the old rusty shell of a small boat, which is located just off the eastern shoreline of South-West Arm in the Royal National Park. Declared to be a national park in 1879, it became only the second in the world, after Yellowstone.

After lunch some members of our party set off in what the family term the ‘Quintrex’ and later others went for a row in the dinghy. When everyone was accounted for we weighed anchor and, with Tiki and I seated at the bow, journeyed to Bate Bay at the Port Hacking’s mouth prior to our return to the in-laws’ via Burranear Bay, Dolan’s Bay and Great Turriell Bay.

It had been an appropriate day to be on the water as the mercury reached thirty-three degrees Celsius. This meant that it has been Sydney’s hottest day, in October, since 1969. In fact, the city recorded the highest maximum of any Australian capital, being one degree warmer than Darwin’s.

Roger and Susan packed their bags by six o’clock and left us with a map of Melbourne. We intend to spend Christmas Day with them.

At half past six on Channel Seven’s News, read by Roger Climpson, I learned that the late Perc Galea’s horse, “Sir Serene”, had won the prestigious Metropolitan Handicap, which was run at Randwick Racecourse this afternoon.

 

No Piano: Tuesday, 4th October, 1977

John Burles played Mark Holden’s current hit, “Reach Out For The One Who Loves You”, and the late Johnny Horton’s classic, “North To Alaska”, from the year of 1960. Today presented us with fine weather and a maximum temperature of twenty-two degrees Celsius.

“Country Road”, at 6.00 p.m. on Channel Two was hosted by the singer and pianist, Jade Hurley. It included footage of the Welsh singer, Bonnie Tyler, performing her recent hit, “Lost In France”. Jade even had Tiki voicing his praises when he performed Jerry Lee Lewis’s classic from 1957, “Great Balls Of Fire”.

I left at seven o’clock to walk to the house of Tiki’s grandparents, only to come upon the scene of a nasty accident at the intersection of Port Hacking and Burraneer Bay roads. The front of a yellow Datsun had been stoved in and a woman’s head was being bandaged. I reached the house by eight and stayed until a quarter to nine. Her grandmother gave Tiki, on this her actual birthday, the usual choice from a number of crocheted doilies while her grandfather, whose eighty-fifth birthday falls due at the end of the month, handed her an envelope that contained twenty-one dollars. Tiki had expected more, as her cousin for her corresponding birthday had been presented with a new piano. Although I walked home bearing a feeling of tiredness, I also, quite incongruously, felt very much alive.

Cook It Yourself, If You Can!: Wednesday, 5th October, 1977

It is supposed to reach thirty degrees Celsius today, but there is a heavy overcast and it is relatively cool. “Dad” surprised us with the news that “Mum” will have to enter hospital to have her troublesome neck manipulated.

This evening, we dined at the restaurant, The Golden Phoenix, in Miranda Fair. Having perused the large menu, we decided to have the special for two at a cost of nine dollars. We each received three dim sims, nasi goreng and sukiyaki.

The ingredients of the sukiyaki were served half cooked and we had to complete the process at our table by placing them in a solution of broth, which was supposed to be heated over a small stove that was fuelled by methylated spirits. The only problem being that the flame kept going out. This called upon the pleasant waitress to use matches to continually relight the stove. Finally, even she recognised the futility of her repetitious actions and replaced the stove with another. The bill totalled ten dollars and ninety cents.

We watched the televised film, “The Virginia Hill Story”. Produced in 1974, it stars Dyan Cannon. The knob was then turned to Channel Ten and the last hour of “Valley Of The Dolls” (1967). Its cast includes Patty “The Patty Duke Show” Duke and the late Sharon Tate.

 

Bert Bryant Calls It A Day: Thursday, 6th October, 1977

John Burles, the annoucer at breakfast, on 2KY, stated that the uniquely witty Bert Bryant has officially retired from his job as a broadcaster of horseracing. Bert last worked for the Melburnian radio station, 3UZ. Earlier this year, a blood vessel burst behind his brain.

Tiki had her hair washed, conditioned and then styled with a blow-dryer at a cost of six dollars and fifty cents at the Gerrale Salon on Gerrale Street, in Cronulla. The salon is located opposite that suburb’s R.S.L. (Return Soldiers’ League) Club.

“Country Road”, this evening, included footage of performances by Donna Fargo, Australian country legend, Smoky Dawson, and Johnny Chester, who ‘butchered’ Tom T. Hall’s “Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine”.

At seven o’clock, on “Willesee”, Paul Makin spoke with Bert Bryant in an interview that was fittingly recorded at a racecourse. Bert is fifty years of age, but looks more like sixty-five.

It has been a cold, windy day. Rain began to fall by 8.30 p.m.: the starting time of “Bless This House”, the British series which stars the late Sid James. At five minutes to nine — and also on A.B.C.-TV’s Channel Two — a programme from tonight’s “Stuart Wagstaff Playhouse”, which is entitled ‘The Lover’. Its cast includes the English pairing of Patrick Allen, Robert Swales and Vivien Merchant. It was written by Vivien Merchant’s husband, the playwright, Harold Pinter.

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