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Today's quote:

Monday, May 25, 2015

Visits always give pleasure -- if not the arrival, then the departure

Parked outside Ian's office at Nambucca Heads
when I was on my way to Mt Isa in 1979


My neighbours knocked on my door this morning at 2:30! Can you believe that? 2:30 in the morning! Luckily I was still up playing my button accordion at full bore. But that's not all the news. I also just now received this email:

"Bought a small tent and been to RACQ and armed myself with all the camping sites in NSW. Now trying to build up the courage to head off. Steeling myself against the bloody winter elements. As far as I am concerned, winter can be inserted up somone's back passage. Mate, I AM not far off taking a deep breath and heading south. Drop you a line when I am on my way. Ian"

Ian and I were fellow-accountants on Bougainville in 1973, he for Arawa Enterprises, the operators of the Panguna and Arawa supermarkets, and I for the holding company PDF Holdings. We occupied adjoining cubicles in a large and windowless warehouse at Arawa. I had just come from a cushy job in the British Solomons - click here - , so when I saw my new workplace, the rhyming phrase 'clucking bell' sprang to mind.

Ian seemed like the archetypal accountant with a wife, mortgage and 2.3 kids (well, two cute little daughters and one son, actually) who stayed in that windowless cubicle for four long years whereas I stayed just long enough to undergo an urgent appendectomy at Arawa Hospital before moving on to Port Moresby, then Lae, and then Rangoon in Burma.

Back in Australia, I met Ian again in 1979 at Nambucca Heads where he had opened an accounting practice and in the eight years he was there spent more time helping out-of-work cow cockies fill out Centrelink forms than doing actual accounting work. We lost contact again until a couple of years ago when he wrote, "Mate, I could not drag myself away from your web site the other night - you put so much thought and work into it and deserve the praise you received from all around the world. Bougainville did leave an indelible impact on everyone." Read more ...

In reply to his self-invitation to come to Riverbend in the depth of winter I simply emailed, "Make sure your tent has an inbuilt heater!"

Of course, we'll accommodate him in the luxury of "Riverbend Cottage", free of charge and with all the trimmings. I mean, flattening out a nice little spot for his tent is far too much work ☺

Only time will tell if it was the worst decision since someone said, "Yeah, let's take that suspiciously large wooden horse into Troy".