Riverbend Cottage **  Bougainville Copper Project **  Trip to Samoa **  Kingdom of Tonga
The Road Less Travelled ** Early morning at Nelligen **  It all began in 1965 ** Property for sale
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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

More than just a river

 

Journey down Australia's longest rivers, the Darling and the Murray. Catch a glimpse of their past, present and future through the lives and stories of the people who live among them.

The River Murray, in particular, is much more than just a river. It plays a central part in the lives of many Australians. People depend on it for their food and water, culture, traditions, livelihood, leisure, as a natural landscape and a place of great beauty.

However, the River Murray is in trouble. Listen to the different opinions of people along the river and discover their shared passion for finding ways to protect its future.

For me, the Murray will always mean the Coorong, and the Coorong means Storm Boy. Enjoy!

 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Just an update

 

We haven't been swimming at the Ulladulla pool since they banned me for doing a Number 1 in it. "But lots of people are doing it", I pleaded. "That may be so", they said, "but not from the top of the diving board".

Only kidding; the Ulladulla pool doesn't even have a diving board. We haven't been going because we've both suffered from bouts of coughs and colds. Nothing seemed to help: not batteries of bottles of cough mixtures, nor throat gargles and nasal sprays.

Finally, I schlepped off to one of Batemanns Bay's many foreign-born doctors. His name may be even less pronouncable than the antibiotics he put me on but I've been impressed by his diagnostic skills from a couple of previous visits and now feel I might be on the mend.

 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Another white-knuckle ride in the dentist chair

 

Back in the days when I thought "Deep Throat" was a movie about dentists, going to one seemed to be a lot cheaper than it is now.

Padma and I clocked up five visits over the past six weeks (three to her; two to me), and our wallets are almost two thousand dollars lighter. For the same money we could've had a fully-paid two weeks in Bali - airfares, accommodation, the lot - AND get all the dental work done in one of Denpasar's excellent dental clinics equipped with all the latest doodahs and run by foreign-trained dentists. It's worth hopping on a plane for when a filling costs you $40 instead of $400 and an extraction $50 instead of $500.

Mind you, it's a long way to go when you're in pain and so I had a tooth extracted by a local dentist and paid the $495. And that should've been the end of it but she found something else which had never bothered me before but obviously bothered her.

And so I went back for a second visit, had a filling done on the "something else" and paid another $400 --- and I have been in almost constant - a low but constant - pain ever since.

I'll be back in the Bay on Monday for another white-knuckle ride in the dentist chair and a shaky-handed entry of my PIN into her EFTPOS terminal because I very much doubt she does free "warranty work".

 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Some airport statistics

 

Thankfully, during my days of circling the globe on business, there were hardly any x-ray machines at airports. If there had been, I might've finished up glowing in the dark for the rest of my life.

Those x-ray machines really took over in a big way after the word 'terrorism' entered our politicians' vocabulary. Strangely enough, not one single terrorist was ever discovered through all that scanning.

However, statistics kept at one particular airport reveal that they detected 133 transvestites, 1,485 hernias, 3,172 cases of haemorrhoids, 8,249 enlarged prostates, 59,350 breast implants, and 3 natural blondes.

Oh, I almost forgot: they also discovered that 308 politicians had no balls - but we knew that already, didn't we?

 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Santa is a lie

Dr Kathryn McKay, Doctor of Philosophy (Griffith), B.A(Hons)(Griffith), B.A(Griffith), B.Law(Hons)(Griffith)

 

This fine specimen of a woman, Dr Kathryn McKay, Doctor of Philosophy (Griffith), B.A(Hons)(Griffith), B.A(Griffith), B.Law(Hons)(Griffith), has just published an article in the Lancet psychiatry journal, suggesting that children can be traumatised when they discover their parents have maintained the magic of Christmas with stories of a jolly, bearded man in a red suit.

She bizarrely claims that Santa is a “lie” and that parents are damaging their children by telling them St Nick is delivering their presents from the North Pole because children are forced to “reconceptualise everything” when they eventually find out that Mr Claus is a lie. "If all of a sudden you have that ripped out from under you, there is the potential to question ‘if my parents lied about this what else are they lying about?’ ... and having to all of a sudden reconceptualise everything can be very traumatic when everything you know becomes unsettled." Can you see a class action coming up?

And to prove her point, she adds that she currently works on Nauru where children are quite happy not believing in Santa Claus. I seem to remember that Nauru also has the world's most obese population. So, extrapolating from Dr McKay's, Doctor of Philosophy (Griffith), B.A(Hons)(Griffith), B.A(Griffith), B.Law(Hons)(Griffith), "research", does it follow that if you don't believe in Santa Claus, you finish up looking like him?

It's part of our tradition, our cultural heritage, Dr McKay, Doctor of Philosophy (Griffith), B.A(Hons)(Griffith), B.A(Griffith), B.Law(Hons)(Griffith). Why, even in India they believe in Santa:

Open several YouTube screens of this jingle simultaneously
as background music to your next chicken tikka masala ☺

I'd like to know how many taxpayer-dollars were wasted on that "research". And I'd like to know how many (Hons) she would receive if she sat for a Degree in Common Sense.

With academic "research" like that, is it any wonder the rest of the world thinks we're a bunch of sissies and walk all over us?

 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

"Is the property still for sale?"

A - Main Residence; B - Guest Cottage; C - Workshop/Carport; D - "Pizza Hut"; E - Vehicular Shed and Workshop; F - "Clubhouse"; G - Library/Home Entertainment Centre
This aerial photo shows less than one-third of the whole seven acres

 

The phone rang. I nearly didn't answer as my voice was gone after a night of coughing and sneezing and, anyway, it was probably the wife phoning me from the Bay to tell me what else I had to do or not do.

The ringing persisted and in a phlegm-laden voice I managed to say, "Hell-o". "Hello", said a woman's voice, "is the property still for sale?" "Yes", I said, "email me and I'll send you a link to the website."

And that's how it all started, and we're now already into Day 2 of a very animated email exchange during which it transpired that she's from Canberra and previously lived in the Bay and loves Nelligen and he's a German who came out - to Australia, I mean! ☺ - in 1969.

They've lived in inland Victoria for the last twenty years where they're running a 35-room motel and convention centre which keeps them working from morning 'til night seven days a week but they are sick of it and want a seachange.

When they saw "Riverbend" on realestate.com.au, it was an instant YES!!! It's a little more than they can afford but they're working on it, with the husband ringing the bank and a real estate agent today. "If we want to purchase your paradise, we have to push this ahead quickly", they insist.

"Riverbend" is outlined in yellow; the area outlined in red sold for $1.7 million

"Take your time", I told them, "it's not going anywhere", and mentioned the many gatecrashers we've had and the other sales that got away - see here and here. I encouraged them to ask me as many questions as they liked, to either save them a trip altogether or to make them so keen that they drop everything and be up here next week ☺ And so the questions came in:

"How many weeks of the year roughly would the rental property be let?"

"We always kept it low-key as we didn't want it to become a motel. We always insisted on weekly bookings. If we had accepted shorter bookings or even one-night stands, we could have been booked all year round but who wants that? We had a good run for many years but last February (or was it March?) we had the guests from hell! Nearly burned the place down, brought their own ghetto-bluster and had it on full volume past midnight, had two 'puppies', giant Lousiana swamp dogs, whose poo was the size of a football, and allowed them to sleep inside the cottage! Next morning I ask them to leave and gave them all their money back. Then they had the audacity to put a real bad comment on the stays-website. When I ask the stayz people to remove it, they said they couldn't but I could reply to it. I wouldn't waste my breath! I said to my wife that this was the end of our holiday lettings and, for the first time in fifteen years of marriage, she agreed with me!"

"Can one of the blocks be sold? That would definitely help us along."

"Originally, 'Riverbend' was part of the Nelligen town plan, with seven houses to be built on the seven (twice-as-big) building blocks along the river (hence today's slightly incorrect address 35-39 Sproxton Lane). Of course, things changed and all riverfront land in Nelligen is now deemed a flood zone which means if it hasn't already been built, it probably won't be allowed or at least not for the vast majority of us who don't know how to grease palms. The seven separate blocks are all on separate freehold titles and can be sold as such but who'd buy them if they can't be build on? If they could, each block would be worth at least a million dollars. But who knows what might happen in the future? For now the seven acres of 'Riverbend' are my buffer against the outside world."

"Has your land ever flooded?"

"I've been at 'Riverbend' for twenty-three years in which time it has never flooded. I'm told that even in the 'Big Flood' in the 'seventies the house was never under threat. The river acts like a huge sluice gate and even if it floods, it would all be gone again on the next low tide unlike inland Australia where water may stay for weeks. The topography of the blocks is also a bit up and down and the house is in the up-part. The worst it ever looked was like this when I took some precautions."

"Why do you want to leave such a paradise? I don’t understand it and it's none of my business, but please tell me."

"Having been chronically peripatetic all my life, after 23 years 'Riverbend' has become the only real home I have ever known. Yes, I will miss this place! And I don't even want to contemplate all that packing-up I have to do."

Stay tuned for Day 3!

P.S. Here is the sequel!

 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Remember Poseidon?


Nickel Queen, released April 1971

 

It was the summer of '69. It was a time of 'free love', the Vietnam War and ... a nickel mining boom. The company was Poseidon – Australia’s legendary boom stock. Poseidon’s shares went above $280. Poseidon tanked. It went from zero to superhero to bombed-out crater, all in six months.

I'd just come back from South West Africa, rejoined the ANZ Bank in Canberra and then gone to Papua New Guinea to escape the hand-to-mouth existence of a banking career. I was totally ignorant of the Poseidon boom but my new colleagues in the chartered accounting firm of Hancock, Woodward & Neill in Rabaul talked of nothing else - when they weren't drinking which was most of the time!

First out of sympathy and then as a convert, I spent what little money I earned on VAM and Kambalda shares which, after I had bought them at several dollars each, went down to just a few cents and then to nothing.

The address says it all: PO Box 187, Rabaul, New Guinea

All this came back to me as I watched NIckel Queen which I've just discovered on YouTube. It's loosely based on the Poseidon boom and worth watching, if only for those sounds and scenes from a bygone era.

PO Box 12, Kieta, Bougainville, New Guinea

As they say, "I started out with nothing and I'v still got most of it left".

 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The face of a dying Europe

 

Italian Police have forced the elderly owner of the Hotel Lory in Ficarolo (Rovigo) to house and provide for fifteen African illegal Immigrants on his property against his will.

The footage, released by the Italian news outlet Servizio Repubblico, documents the desperate attempts of Luigi Fogli as he blocks his door to protect his hotel.

Fugli, who has been in charge of the hotel since 1972, clings onto the door frame and shouts that "the government does not own this place" and that he might end up in hospital from all the stress.

His daughter tells the police that they are responsible for the damage the migrants will cause and that they will be accountable should her father be hospitalised due to excessive stress or refugee violence.

Their efforts to keep out the police and migrants remain futile.

After the owner is overpowered, the migrants stream into his lobby, make themselves at home on the sofas, demand the keys to their rooms and ask what's for dinner.

Fogli mockingly replies if they "want him to give up his private apartment for them" as well.

He insists that he'll never give them the keys, that the hotel is his and he will not tolerate these people on his land. The police "ought to stay with these people for a while to see how they live", he says, alluding to the destruction African migrants cause to property.

The owner previously made an agreement with the government to house genuine war refugees for fair compensation as his business is in crisis.

When he was denied both fair compensation at just 7€ per migrant per day and was to receive 50 African males rather than Syrian families, he tried to bail out of the contract but couldn't.

Fogli is now worse off than ever before. There is no way he can survive on renting out his rooms at 7€ per day. In a later interview he says that "this is a sad day for all entrepreneurs of the hotel sector in Italy as there have been many cases where the owner's rights were trampled on".

Confiscations of private property in European countries that are victim to mass immigration and asylum fraud are commonplace. Many landowners are forced to rent out their premises, such as empty warehouses or vacant hotel rooms, to illegal immigrants - against their will.

Most landowners are terrified of the idea of housing migrants as they leave a trail of destruction wherever they go, often leaving hotel rooms trashed and uninhabitable within days. Hundreds of cases of fires in refugee shelters or hotel rooms have been documented - either due to carelessness or deliberate arson to receive apartments at better locations.

And this is happening all over Europe! As Muammar Gaddafi famously said, "We have 50 million Muslims in Europe. There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe — without swords, without guns, without conquest — and turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades."

 

The Three Princes of Serendip did it again!

 

They were always making accidental discoveries of things they were not in quest of. As did I when, just after I had read and watched Gavin Maxwell's book and movie Ring of Bright Water once again, I was standing in my favourite second-hand bookshop and serendipitously found myself gazing at the spine of a book that read, "Island of Dreams - A Personal History of a Remarkable Place - Dan Boothby".

Dan Boothby had been adrift for more than twenty years, looking for but never quite finding the perfect place to land. Finally, in July 2005, quite unexpectedly an opportunity presented itself to live on Eilean Bàn where Gavin Maxwell had installed himself in some splendour in the converted lighthouse keepers’ cottage after a fire had wiped out Camusfeàrna.

Dan worked for his rent – as warden, tour guide, curator, caretaker - and must've fallen in love with the island because he stayed for two years. His book Island of Dreams is an enthralling literary pilgrimage to the memory of Gavin Maxwell.

 

Monday, November 21, 2016

"Thank you" to Rod McQueen of Bluewater Auto Electrics

 

As a fully YouTube-qualified car mechanic, I was tempted to do the job myself when the starter motor in the Ford Focus packed it in. I mean, you can buy a new starter motor on ebay for a couple of hundred dollars and installing it doesn't look exactly like rocket science, does it now?

Still, in the end I let a local repair shop do the job. Not the one I used to go to, after I had caught them out charging me brand-new retail price for replacement parts they had scrounged off the wreckers, nor the unafFORDable FORD dealers I had bought the car from in May 2010 who sell their "genuine" FORD parts at several times the price of identical parts which do not bear the "FORD" sticker - read more here.

Instead, Rod McQueen of Bluewater Auto Electrics did the job for $545 which I didn't think was all that cheap either. That was until I walked into the FORD dealership this morning to ask what they would have charged for the same job: $857 for a "genuine" FORD starter motor plus $125 for labour!

So I drove straight back to Rod McQueen to thank him for having saved me over $400. How did he do it? As he explained to me, he buys after-market parts which are as good but not as expensive as "genuine" parts. You learn something every day!

 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Otters got on top of Lady Chatterley's Lover

Watch the trailer of the movie 'Ring of Bright Water' here

 

I've forgotten when and where I discovered Ring of Bright Water but I'm so glad I did. It is one of the most wonderful wildlife books ever written, a classic account of man and wildlife, which even outsold "Lady Chatterley'Lover" and was made into a movie with Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna of 'Born Free' fame.

 

 

Gavin Maxwell wrote several other books - Harpoon at a Venture; God Protect Me from My Friends; A Reed Shaken By The Wind - a Journey Through the Unexplored Marshlands of Iraq; The Ten Pains of Death; The Rocks Remain; The House of Elrig; Lords of the Atlas: Morocco, the rise and fall of the House of Glaoua; Seals of the World; and Raven Seek Thy Brother - all in his incomparable style, but none was as successful and made him as rich - and us richer for having read it - as Ring of Bright Water.

 

 

It's the kind of book you can read again and again, and I will read it again as soon as I have finished watching the equally beautiful movie.

 

My "Cabooltier" Past

What makes Caboolture real fruit yoghurt so much tastier?
Well out here the birds are chirpier, the air is cleanier
The grass is greenier, the cows are happier
They make it much creamier, with fruit that’s fruitier
In bits much chunkier, the breeze blows gentlier
The whole world’s friendlier, and things are less hastier
That’s why it’s tastier. Caboolture real fruit yoghurt.
There’s nothing artificial about Caboolture.

 

Before the internet, vacant positions were advertised in newspapers, and for financial positions none were better than the big display ads in the Australian Financial Review.

They were the only ones I responded to. The bigger the better! I mean, why reply to a small classified? If that's all they could afford, they couldn't afford me! ☺

Indeed, the only classified that ever got me a job was the one I placed myself in an issue of PIM, the Pacific Islands Monthly, in 1969. From memory, it ran something like this: "Young Accountant (still studying) seeks position in the Islands." (decades later I visited the National Library in Canberra and had all twelve 1969-issues of PIM sent up from their archives, but I couldn't find the ad again).

That tiny classified got me my first job in the then Territory of Papua & New Guinea. The rest, as they say, is history because from then on it was display ads all the way through until 1979 when, having returned to Canberra from my last overseas assignment in Malaysia and finding life in suburbia wanting, I started a working holiday caravanning up and down the Australian east coast.

I travelled as far south as Melbourne, as far west as Mt Isa, and as far north as Cairns, and found myself in Brisbane by mid-June 1980. An old friend from my PNG-days, Noel Butler, had just bought himself a small acreage near Caboolture north of Brisbane, so when I saw an accounting job advertised with the Caboolture Co-operative, I applied even though the ad was not 'display' nor was the job.

Noel (on right) visiting me at my 'mobile home' in the Northern Star Caravan Park in Brisbane

This dairy co-operative, owned and operated by the cow cockies in the district, had started its life as the Caboolture butter factory in 1907 which was also the age of its Dickensian office to which I was invited for an interview at the crack of dawn.

The interviewing panel was a bunch of cow cockies still wearing their cow-something-splattered wellies from the morning's milking. This was the real deal; there's nothing artificial about Caboolture!

They must've been wondering why this bright spark who'd just done a consulting job in Malaysia and been senior-this and chief-that in the past, wanted to be the accountant for an outfit whose only claim to fame, apart from their rightly famous yoghurt, was the production of a cheddar cheese speckled with peanuts and aptly named "Bjelke Blue". (Joh Bjelke-Petersen was the longest-serving and longest-lived as well as most controversial Premier of Queensland and also a peanut farmer - or, some might say, just a peanut!)

Mercifully, the cow cockies turned me down which, for a fleeting moment, made the birds sound a little less 'chirpier' and me feeling a little more ‘saddier’ as I would've had liked to hang around for a little bit 'longier' with Noel who'd been my best friend since our chance meeting on a Europe-bound ship in late 1967.

Still, before long I was once more responding to display ads and soon after roaming the world again, and Noel remained my very best friend until his untimely death in 1995.

 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The X in Xmas

Joyeux Noël (English: Merry Christmas) is a 2005 French film about the World War I Christmas truce of December 1914, depicted through the eyes of French, Scottish and German soldiers. A rare moment of sanity in an insane war.
To watch the full-length movie, click here.

 

Preceding Generation X, I know nothing about the X-factor, don't own an X-box, possess two unambiguous XY chromosomes, and stopped watching X-rated movies a long time ago.

However, I do know all about the X in Xmas which predates today's gaudy advertisements by many centuries as it was first used in the mid 1500s. X is the Greek letter “chi,” the initial letter in the word Χριστός. And here’s the kicker: Χριστός means “Christ”. X has been an acceptable representation of the word “Christ” for hundreds of years and is known as a Christogram.

Having learned about the meaning of the X in Xmas, you may also want to reflect on the deeper meaning of Xmas in the few weeks left before the 'silly season' is upon us again. And a Merry Xmas to you and yours!

 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Cargo cult

 

Some economists have called communism "the largest cargo cult the world has ever seen", but we needn't look as far as the former Soviet Union to see cargo cult in practice.

The term 'cargo cult' was first used by Australians in the then Protectorate of Papua & New Guinea after patrols into the central highlands of New Guinea had been resupplied by air drops.

The natives, having observed this, built rough air strips, imitation radio antennas made of rope and bamboo, indeed whole dummy planes, to attract their own cargo from the sky after which all the harsh demands of life would miraculously disappear.

Don't judge them too harshly. We have our own 'cargo cult' in Australia. We call it Centrelink.

 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Mr NBN Co called this morning

 

Actually, his name is Jack and he runs Cowley Electrical out of Moruya Heads. He was quick and efficient and had the antenna on the roof and the box on the wall before I had even finished my breakfast. Thanks, Jack!

And this is what the new "communication centre" looks like:

Is it working? The answer is a "no" and a "yes": the phone line is still not working (who would want to ring me anyway?) but the broadband is working perfectly well, with great reception as far away as the guest cottage and the "Library" and even right down to the "Clubhouse" by the pond.

And visiting yachties can use it even if anchored on the far side of the river (after they've joined the Nelligen Yacht Club, of course!)

 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The NBN has come to Nelligen

For an alternative demonstration, click here

 

Australia's National Broadband Network has come to Nelligen and I'm joining it on Thursday when a Telstra technician will visit "Riverbend" to instal the NBN Utility and Connection Box.

Then it's over to me to self-instal my Telstra Gateway modem and connect my computer as shown in this video clip:

For an alternative demonstration, click here

If you don't hear from me after Thursday, it can have only two reasons:

  •     the Telstra technician didn't believe I was over 18; or
  •     I stuffed up the self-instal

Here's hoping!

 

Round Ireland With A Fridge

Ignore the long commercial at the beginning; it gets better after that

 

A long time ago, when I revisited my old "home" Thursday Island, I put up at the island's Federal Hotel (and 'put up' are the operative words as my lodgings were decidedly sub-standard: the bed was lumpy, the television didn't work, the fridge was rumbling, and a single light-bulb hung from the high ceiling).

Sitting on the Federal's verandah looking down on T.I.'s beachfront - a setting Graham Greene would have revelled in and Somerset Maugham did - , I was joined by Alan, an Irishman on a working holiday in Australia who looked a bit like an extra from the movie HAIR but was really quite a decent chap.

He was reading Bill Bryson's A SHORT HISTORY OF ALMOST EVERYTHING which I had read too; so we started talking about this book and some of the other big questions in life, such as 'Why is there a light in the fridge but not in the freezer?' and 'How come the Americans choose from just two people for President but fifty for Miss America?'

He was well-read and of a serious turn of mind, having also read George Orwell's "1984" and "Animal Farm". As he was working on the island and would be staying for a while longer, I was happy to furnish him from my book-bag with another George Orwell volume, and Camus' "The Plague", and a copy of Joseph Conrad's stories.

In return, he gave me a book he'd just finished reading, "Round Ireland with a Fridge", a slightly surreal tale of a stand-up comedian who, for a bet, resolves to hitchhike around the circumference of Ireland with a fridge. Luckily, he’d undertaken his voyage in a country which understands and empathises with the average idiotic quest, so much so that the book has since been made into a movie.

Watch it if you must but, please, don't send me any hate-mail!

 

Life in the Mundane

 

Mundane has come to mean dull and boring, but it really shouldn't. It should mean the opposite because it comes from the Latin word 'mundus', meaning the world, and the world is anything but dull, especially when you have a toothache which is what Padma developed yesterday.

She couldn't ring the dentist as our phone is still not working, but a quick dash into town secured her a white-knuckle-ride in the dentist's chair. Several hundred dollars later she was the proud owner of a brandnew filling. The story should have ended there, but the fickle finger of fate - which organises things on the basis that no one shall be very happy for very long - was pointing squarely at the car which suddenly wouldn't start. The hastily called mechanic thought it may need a new starter motor and, in anticipation of a large repair bill, graciously gave her a lift back to "Riverbend".

Meantime, back at "Riverbend", the crew of "Atmosphere" had upped anchor and motored downriver to get their onboard meterological gismo within range of wherever they get their forecasts from, to spy out the next clear weather-window for their dash down the coast.

They must've found one - or perhaps Captain Donald was impatient to get going - because they never returned to their "Riverbend" anchorage where I had meantime rummaged through my collection of books and DVDs to stock them up for their onward journey. Never mind, Donald and Megan, you can pick them up on your return voyage when you will no doubt call at "Riverbend" again.

Ready for pick-up: a couple of DVDs, including TRAVELLING NORTH, Somerset Maugham's Collected Short Stories, Erskine Childers' "The Riddle of the Sands" for Donald, and "The Dressmaker" for Megan, and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Sea Wolf" for young Shay, and a stainless-steel shipboard barbecue left behind from my previous shipboard life

Of course, meeting people off cruising yachts is absolute poison to me as the old 'wanderlust' kicks in every time I listen to their stories and I think back to 1974 when, while setting up AIR NIUGINI's internal audit department in Port Moresby, I saw a yacht advertised for sale at the Royal Papua Yacht Club. It was an ex-lifeboat from Nova Scotia named "Spirit of Barbary", converted to a cutter-rig, and lying off Popondetta on the north coast of New Guinea.

I flew across for an inspection with Brian, a friend from my days on Bougainville Island, who was also dreaming of sailing around the world. She was a wooden boat, wooden hoops around the mast, wooden deadeyes, wooden everything, but the price was right. Or perhaps not because when the time came to kick in the money for his half-share, Brian blinked. And that was the end of my dream to sail around the world because six months later I was in Burma - and the rest is history, as they say.

To keep those old memories flowing, an "almost"-ex-boss has just now discovered my blog entry of my last Christmas on Bougainville Island and emailed me, "Peter, WOW….what a great website…..I stumbled across this today……I’ll contribute and be in touch…..Nice Work. Tks, Roger Brandt". He emailed from California which is worlds away from "Riverbend", thus giving 'mundane' back its original Latin meaning.