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Today's quote:

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

"Don't sell Riverbend; that would be the ultimate sin."

Noel's framed message, a postcard, is standing on the far left in front of the Burmese harp


Thus wrote my old mate Noel Butler back in April 1995. Eighteen months earlier, in a sudden rush of blood to the head, I had bought Riverbend even though I barely knew the business end of a spade, let alone what to do with it on an acreage.

Of course, we all have such dreams. Many years before, I had already bought DIY-books on how to build a cabin in the woods, on how to milk a cow, and how to build a chicken coop. They never made it to the top of my bookshelf which was occupied by 'The Practice of Modern Internal Auditing', 'Petroleum Accounting: Principles, Procedures & Issues', 'Ship Operations and Management', and 'Pick Basic: A Programmer's Guide', and other esoteric works on accountancy standards, IATA rules, laytime calculations, charter parties, and case studies in forensic auditing.

Noel, too, on coming back to Australia after a lifetime spent in New Guinea, had tried to follow his dream of a bucolic life in the country, first at Caboolture, then at Mt Perry, and finally in Childers. He knew as much - or rather, as little - about it as I did, since he'd conveniently forgotten that in New Guinea he'd never held more than a cold beer in his hand as he oversaw a small army of haus bois doing the hard work.

I, too, had conveniently forgotten that life in the country does not mix easily with computer code, spreadsheets, internal rates of return, and public rulings by the tax office, and had toyed with the idea of selling up again almost as soon as the ink had dried on the settlement cheque.

Noel had known of this, and as his life slipped slowly from autumn into winter and, just a few months later, into permanent hibernation, his last message reminded me not to give up on the dream because, as he so clearly foresaw, "... that would be the ultimate sin."

To this day his message sits on my mantelpiece to remind me of a wonderful friend, a wonderful friendship, and a wonderful piece of advice.

Googlemap Riverbend