We have not had much winter weather so it is hard to realise that it is now February and that means it is "Dave's GEN" time again. Once again I first list some of our former colleagues who sent me Christmas cards, for which I thank you.
Brian Bale, Mike Bettenson, Ted Blanden, Cliff Bourne, Chris Broome- Smith, Eric Clarke, Dave Coles, Brian Conroy, Alee Collyer, Jim Cross, Ron Cooper, Stan Coleman, Tony Darby, Ken Denny, Steve Dickens, Andy Ellen, Mel Ellis, George Emberson, Denis Fisk, Roger Glover, Terry Griffiths, John Hammond, Paul Hindell, Frank Kehoe, Norman Lawrence, Roy Lawrence, Paul Mathew, Brian Martin, Bert Mead, Frank Miller, Stan Mitchell, Arthur Monk, Barry Moore, Joyce Muir, Joan Nye, Dave Oliver, Muriel Parr, Keith Parker, Alan Portch,Keith Rich, Cyril Rose, Cyril Seabrook, Brian Shillum, Arthur Snewin, Dave Stanford, John Sutton, Ken Stinton, Ron Tattam, John Towler, Glen Travell, Roy Trussell, Hedley Warner, Len Wise, Jim Wise, Vie Ware, Geoff Wigley, Derek Young. Also a Derek, a Ray/Roy, a Walter.
Here are extracts from your letters and the notes on your Christmas Cards.
Frank Helmore ... I'm now ninety and feeling a little frayed at the edges but otherwise O.K. ...
John Knight ... Still gardening and darting and keeping quite well. A little arthritis creeping in but otherwise OK. Will try again for the March Albion. Time just keeps slipping by - Pension next year ...
Biddy ... Thanks for keeping the Newsletter going - I do appreciate it with progressively less of the old ones about. Madge Jordan was with us for a Christmas meal on the 4th, of course like us she is experiencing some of the 'indignities of Advancing Years' Glad to hear that you are keeping well ... The Basement lads and most of the old 'uns were kept go- ing in Studd Street from Ma Hughes' with Ham & Cheese Rolls and Rock Cakes and Raspberry Buns from 102 Upper Street (Bakers) and when I married their daughter in 1945 they said I did it so that I could knead the dough; ...
Mike Tamblin ... Please note that I have moved to Ely to be nearer relat- ives. It was a long horrendous job to clear up, pack up, move and then set up a new home and I am glad it is now done:...
Walter ... Life is still very busy. My wife and I are both active Bowls Players. It certainly takes up a lot of time but we thoroughly enjoy it...
Fred Petrie ... Joan and I are both well and getting on well. I am in- volved in helping my son to make Rocking Horses but he has found it imposs- ible to make a living doing it and he is working me into the ground trying, I keep telling him I am too old to work in a cold workshop and will he please put the job on hold until the Summer ...
Reg Hooker ... I hope you are keeping reasonably fit. I pulled a ligament or something, in my chest digging up a bush to replant. Years ago it would have been OK in a week. As one gets older it takes longer - 4 weeks in this case. I'm still studying with the OU, 13 years starting in February. It's like a drug - horrible withdrawal symptoms between the end of one course and the start of another ...
Frank Skinner ... What can I say? Perhaps all I can do is to hide behind my rapidly advancing senility and get Freda to vet all my actions. Whilst I can reimburse you for the cost of printing, I am unable to compensate for your trip to the Sorting Office. A thousand apologises ...
Arthur Monk ... not much of cheer to report this year. Apart from regular treatment for the prostrate cancer I am also on tabs for unsteadiness and I don't even have the pleasure of a casualty drink; Youngest son's inlaws both have advanced Parkinsons Disease, and had a phone call from an old childhood friend this afternoon to say her husband dropped dead on the golf course a few days ago. Yesterday, a cousin of my wife rang to say he lost his wife in August. Following that we set out for lunch and the car broke down (Britannia Rescue got us going - of all things a fractured battery clip on the +ve post - mechanic had never seen this nor had I - untouched from new but unfortunately just outside warranty;) So, Christmas shopping suffered a setback and we had no food between breakfast and 6.30p.m....
Pete Perry ... Thanks for continuing with the GEN. It is really much app- reciated. Have seen quite a bit of Vic Ware. Mike Tamblin has now moved to Ely,following the death of his wife. Seems to be happy and settled in ...
lan Ransome ... Thanks to you, we manage to keep in touch with the Test Section 'mob' and to think that so many are still enjoying retirement is great news. It was good to see you at the 'farewell Studd Street' event organised by Mel Ellis - it is a pity we all live 'out in the sticks' as it would be good to get together more often ...
Ossie ... Keep up the good work Matey. I met up with Mel and Wally Spooner for a game of Golf at their Club. It was great to see them again and we may possibly do the same in the Spring ...
Les Knightson ... Thank you for producing the GEN. It is interesting to read about the exploits of many of my former colleagues ...
Tom Halsey ... Hope you are in good health and enjoying life. Things are not too bad here, although Chris's health isn't the greatest. Still an event to read the "Gen" so keep up the good work ...
Harry Vincent ... It's good to keep in touch with everybody. I've been meaning to go to town for drink up at the Albion. With any luck I should make time next one ...
Chris Pettit ... Happy New Year .. appreciation for all the 'Club Gens' you have sent me over the years. I will endeavour to send you an article...
David Eyre ... Thinking back to the days at Studd Street, with half hour tea breaks morning and afternoon, plus lunch from 12.00-1.30 - those were the days. Nowadays it does not seem to stop from the time I get in until I leave. I must be doing something wrong. Keep up the good work with 'GEN'...
Doreen Tilley ... It's good to hear of people I worked with and brings back memories. I don't get about a lot now that age has crept up. I heard from Bob Carter, seems to be doing O.K. ...
lan Boniface ... I am still soldiering on even after all the exercises the medics insist are necessary. I have had a short holiday from the gym as I had to have a lump removed from my Salivary Gland. They practically cut my throat to get at it so it was a good excuse to be lazy. I am recovered now and so have an appointment to learn how to exercise again. Having spent 70 years avoiding anything like that it comes very hard; Never mind they had to catch up with me eventually I suppose and they tell me it does you good..
Michael Stanton ... Fortunately my health has been much better this year, only a few twinges, old age I think. I know of your interest in buses, during my travels in and around London, there appears to be double the num- ber of buses than there were some years ago, so many that they block each other. So many. different types as well, I don't like the Snake Double Buses. (I have a picture of the single decker articulated bus on Route 18.Ed) I was interested in the article on Friends Reunited web page. I have been a member for about 1 1/2 years for my Secondary School. Using the information provided I tracked down the sections on BTQA, LTS, Studd St.etc.they should be co-ordinated into one section, any volunteers? ...
Dennis Laing ... Just a few lines to say I hope you are keeping well and your legs are not too bad. I still ring Mitch now and again and hope to see you and the others at a reunion ...
Mike Petrie ... Thanks again for your "Dave's Gen", every one eagerly aw-
aited. Not so welcome is the bad news which they sometimes bring of the
passing of old colleagues. But also of course news of others who have
crossed our paths over the years, and of whom we have fond memories.
In the former case I include the sad news of the passing of Bert Turtle(but
we couldn't call him that to his face) was the Training AE when I joined
LTS in 1956, together with his TO, George, who was a lovely man, but whose
surname I forget.
Bert made a great impression on me, as the font of all knowledge, at least he stood out front of our "class-load" of Y2YC's. But I bet that he didn't know even then that I had already decided that, one day, I would have his job; But it took me 14 years. It was all downhill from then. But, that day in 1956, I also calculated that, on current trends, I still had 49 years to go from August 1956 until retirement. In the end I only served 34 years, opting for EVR in 1990.
Some years later, in 1973-ish I came across Bert again, he came to work on the Defective Stores Report Duty in Old Street, where I was working with Bert Cooke and George Waldren. On his second day Bert sought my criticism of a letter he was sending out to a Region, replying to a DSR Report. He couldn't understand when I said it was not possible for me to criticise his work,as, to me, he was the mast- er and I was the pupil. Psychology - it's a funny thing, ain't it?
The other aspect of your "Gen" is, however, very welcome. I was particular- ly pleased to hear of one of my "role models", also from the DSR Duty at Old Street, viz. Eric Broadbent. Often revelling in his reputation as a "grump", I learnt a lot from him, particularly in the use and beauty of the English language, but also in the need for a senior level to be kept in reserve. On the second day I was at Old Street I took a call from someone on a Design Group wanting an answer to a query I knew nothing about. I tried to refer it to Eric, who told me to deal with it. Afterwards he ex- plained, "I didn't know the answer either, but if you cocked it up I could retrieve the situation and pass it off as your inexperience" I felt aggr- ieved at the time, but time brings understanding. A better memory was of some of his (Blackberry?) homemade wine, absolutely fabulous;
Nice to hear from you and I wish you and all others - good health; ...
Frank Rogers ... Many thanks for the latest Dave's Gen. I get a great deal of pleasure reading it. I hope you are able to carry on with the good work..
Andy Ellen ... Marina and I are still fairly active and I'm still in con- trol of the Daibetes, circa 1962. I have not allowed it to interfere with my bowling activity, and am still able to play well enough to represent my Club in the league matches, both indoor and out. I still remember, when young and cheeky, remarking to one of our retirees, Ted Morgan, that I thought bowls was a typical old man's pastime; I wish now I had paid more attention to his enthusiasm and knowledge of the game, maybe I could have become an expert ...
Terry Clements ... it's good to hear all about old colleagues and their act- ivities, I must contribute to it one day ... Will you apologise to all the Albionites for me, that I am sorry I didn't get up to anil; of the reunions last year, hopefully I will be able to attend at least one next year. It's all Gill's fault really, as we are now members of our local Kent Active Retirement Association and at the monthly meeting, she keeps booking us up for holidays, days-out, pub lunches and trips to all the breweries, which of course I am totally against; ...
Neil Caldecourt ... Time just flies by and it's soon another year ...I look forward to the issues to find out what everyone is up to and those that have moved on. Something which comes to us all. I'm not sure if you heard from Len Shipman's wife about his passing away this year ...
Ray Potter ... Thanks for the 'Gen', it is always a pleasure to receive especially when some old names I had almost forgotten are mentioned. We have just got back from a cruise around the Med starting at Barcelona and finishing 12 days later at Venice ...
Jim Beard ... It's always a pleasure to receive your "Gen" so my thanks
once again. I wonder how you manage to give it so much time and energy it
must be quite an effort getting the "Gen" on the road. (without a word of
lie, I only type with one finger; Ed) Sorry to hear of the passing of Bert
Turtle and Nell Wallbank and of Ron Cooper's sad loss.
As you say in your first few words we really have had some warm weather but the lack of rain has left the gardens looking very sorry for themselves. I don't think I have seen the lawns looking so brown but if we want a lovely summer we will have to do without green grass. I hope you can understand my scribble - I suppose I should get myself a PC and associated bits, but I have enough problems managing the VCR etc. anyway I don't know whether I could give it enough time to justify the expense. I'm pleased to say Gwen and myself are okay and "looking forward" to the Flu jab which I trust will ward off the worst of the Winter ...
John Neil ... Thank you for the Gen, it's good to keep in touch with retir- ed colleagues and those still in service. For domestic reasons I have not been able to attend the re-unions at the Albion since the final Studd St. re-union in March 2003 which was very well attended by Old Studdonians of all generations. I am still involved with the Connected Earth Museum at Amberly in W.Sussex. B.T. finally handed over the museum to the Amberly Working Museum in May 2003. All the Connected Earth volunteers and their partners were invited to a 'thank you' reception at the B.T. Tower in May 2003 at which a presentation of the history of the Tower was given in the film theatre. Refreshments and Dinner were served in the revolving rest- uarant. As the 'local boy' I was asked to point out landmarks as we rev- olved. As we entered the high speed lifts, who should step out but Steve Belemore and his party ...
Les Roberts ... During the past year I have spoken to Steve Conrad, lives locally, also to Paul Quinn, he apparently is based at Potters Bar Exch- ange and I believe he lives at Cuffley. I am still making Gauge 1 steam locos although at a slower rate than before. I started my present one al- most 2 years ago: What with a spell in hospital 12 months ago and not feel- ing too well last Winter plus the hot Summer I am still only halfway through it ...
Peter Stroyan ... Just a short note to advise you of my new address (now in Perth) It's a smallish Victorian semi (state built) with bay windows at the front for afternoon and evening sun and also on one corner at the back for morning sun. There's a manageable garden and an enormous garage. The latter is unusual due to the small number of cars in Victorian times. It's been a very long Summer up here too and the reservoirs in the Ochil Hills are very low, exposing old farms and buildings which have been submerged for years. We're off to Australia for January, so don't plane them; ...
Gerry Bhagat ... (Gerry sent a photo of the Factory at Brimsdown showing
Lou Lynch, Brian Bale, Jimmy Jupp, Tubby Issacs, John Knight, Gerry Bhagat,
Terry Clements and John Roberts the CA. However, I do not think it will
copy well so I have omitted it, sorry .. Ed) The CA named the AEE as Wild
Bill Hickock. This was because of the suit he was wearing. I recall that
when the AEE came around near the end of the leave year he would ask how
many days each person had left of his A/L. John would always quote his as
so many days A/L plus so many Whittles (These were the unofficial Sick
days) much to the annoyance of the AEE.
Does anyone remember the days when we worked night at Brimsdown? There was a programme running for the under- water repeaters that were fitted in the cables linking America. They had to operate for continuous use. It transpired that in one of the houses that backed onto the Factory, a woman would get undressed with the light on in her bedroom. We would go to the Canteen building and look across to the house and watch the strip show each night. Brimsdown was the place where the Test Section staff would repair electrical items for the factory staff who would do favours in return. I recall having my car engine cylinder head "milled" down to increase the compression ratio. Does anyone remember the Government Training place across the road? There was a section that trained barbers and you could go and get your hair cut for free. I remember some rather awful bad hair cuts; ...
Len Bovingdon ... During a recent trip to London I had a quick trip down
memory lane and was amazed at the changes in Brimsdown. I had intended
a quick look at the Enfield factory but got sidetracked into looking at
what seems to be almost a new town built at the end of Ordnance Road.
Enfield Island Village I gather. I think this must be on land that belong-
ed to the Royal Small Arms factory. There must be hundreds of new house
and flats there but unlike most modern estates some older buildings and
bits of canal basin have been retained. It all looked very nice but the
area all around looks a bit run down.
I heard from Mel Ellis that the Studd Street site is to be redeveloped into no doubt very expensive apartments, there was a goodbye tour arranged but owing to my wife's ill health I couldn't go. Pity, as the photos Mel sent were interesting, it's amazing how many signs of our time there were still visible. There are now 17 of us on the Friendsreunited web site, how about a few more; ...
Brian Shillum ... Once again the year has been a busy one but without any
overseas holidays. We are saving up for a month in New Zealand next March
and so had our holidays in Yorkshire using the flat as a base. Because we
pay rates we get a bus pass that gives us half price travel in the whole
of North Yorkshire. This enabled us to visit the Dales, Whitby and other
interesting places. The bus service is frequent with many good connections
and in the summer months they run special services to places not normally
accessed by public transport ....
We celebrated our Ruby Wedding this year the actual date being while we were staying in York and bought a digital camera as a joint present ... thanks also for the latest copy of Dave's Gen ... we have embarked on digital photography and were amazed on the quality of the prints. We did have to buy a better printer as ours was nev- er intended for such tasks and the results are better in some way than con- ventional prints and as good as commercial prints ...
Joe Molloy ... We have had a very busy year, having sold our house in Rom- ford after 40 years and as you can see from the address (Sleaford/Lincs) we have moved out into the "sticks" We have bought a new bungalow in a village of some 800 souls, a pub and a post office. We actually moved into the bungalow after living with our daughter and son-in-law for 6 months. Life here is more leisurely, although we still have a few boxes to unpack. I still travel to London once a month to meet up with old colleagues Don Phelps, Cyril Seabrook, Brian Phillips occasionally Sid Misra and very occasionally Mike Parish together with ex members of CN Branch. We meet usually on the first Tuesday of the month in The Masque Haunt in Old St. some of the group play Badminton at the Finsbury Leisure Centre then we all meet for a few drinks, put the world to rights and have a meal, then a few more drinks. Once again thank you for your efforts over the years ...
Norman Froggett ... My wife Anne and I here in Honiton still thrive and
enjoy the atmosphere of East Devon, although now near ing the big 80 I am
still able to keep well occupied and very busy with many interesting pro-
jects. Mostly with music played on our beautiful Technics G100 Organ with
recordings now captured on to CD via a couple of computer programmes. After
about 12 years committee work with the East Devon Organ Club I was elected
President and now keep tabs on the running of the Club in that capacity.
I still keep in contact with Harry and Betty Jenn who, in the 70's I emig- rated to South Africa with. They are now on their own in that country as their two daughters have emigrated to Canada.
Any ex Test Section folk visiting Devon are invited to 26 Kings Road, Honiton for a refreshing cup of tea and a chat; Just phone 01404 43173 ...
Dave Walton ... It has been especially interesting to hear from some new yet old names if you get my drift. It was good to hear in particular from Joan Nye. Other B.T. groups have their get togethers of local "bashes" but we have the "DAVE'S GEN" to keep us in touch and to hear also of sub cells of our old colleagues that meet together. Many years ago Stan Brede asked me if I would put in an article about my time in Brazil, I could pen a few lines or put in something along different lines if you like? ...
Mick Watson ... I have been meaning to drop you a line for some time, but
only have just got around to it. Also enclosed is a picture that might in-
terest you. I found it in a book that was hiding in a box of junk in my
loft. The book "The Inspection and Testing of Materials, Apparatus and
Lines" was published in 1923.(The A4 size photocopy is titled "Buckton 30
ton Testing Machine at Studd Street, London, Testing Branch". Unfortunat-
ely is not suitable for me to include in the GEN.. Ed.).
Not much news from me, I am still working as a science tech. at the local school but may give it in the near future as it is taking up too much of my time. I am also the local branch membership sec. of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust. Our aim is to re-open some 60 plus miles of canal from Seming- ton on the Kennet & Avon to Swindon, then to Cricklade to join with the Thames & Severn canal and to Abington to join with the Thames.
All good fun going to canal festivals and supporting the beer tents, scrub bashing, lock rebuilding and generally supporting fellow members at the nearest bar. Well, you need a couple of pints when you have watched a JCB move a hund- red or so tons of hard core to back fill a new lock wall.
Re-reading the last GEN I was interested to read Pete Cleavers tale of the Beachley-Aust ferry across the Severn, as last week we hosted a talk by The Avon & Wilts Branch of the IWA on the "Severn Princess Restoration Project" which may have been the ferry Pete was on. I have a video of old film shots of the ferry at work but cannot see Pete or the young lady in any of them. The Severn Princess has been recovered from a beach in Ireland and now being restored as fast as time and funds allow.
Anyway, must sign off now as I have to go to a Trust meeting about the next National Canal Festival to be held in August at Burton on Trent. It looks as if I will be stuck with beer duties again, it is a hard life; ...
Here we are again: Happy as can be: All good friends and Very Good Company;
Perhaps some of the senior readers will remember this song used by Concert Parties and the like as an opening number. It fits my state at the moment.
My experience in Hospital during the very hot days in August would need a lot of space, but let it be personal history. I am feeling much better now but domestic routines have altered. Details later. The writer has now entered his 90 this year and is appreciative of his good fortune. I am driving the car again but unless it is urgent, not in the dark.
Under this heading it may surprise many readers that here lies my greatest change in routines. I have had to give up my allotment(10 rods) part of which I have had since bhe early 1940's. Incidents of being near a light- ning strike many years ago and watching "Doodle Bugs" during W.W.2 are still clear memories. Allotments of course are now titled Leisure Gardens. Before my hospitalisation the weather had caused much damage with many of my crops. Lack of rain and intense sun heat and a personal restrain on the local water supply caused havoc. This fact was not shared by many others with hose pipes on very extended drip.
Another hazard was the increase in Squirrel population, which is also a menace at home. A near neighbour (pensioner and gardener) supplies them with nuts on a regular time-table. They do not eat or bury them in his area but adjacent gardens. Later many are dug out and eaten, others germinate and have to be dug out by fork. Words do not fail me but are unprintable in case you leave this laying around at home.
It is convenient to write about the experiment I started with two gift Solar Powered Lamps mentioned in a previous issue, at this point. To be fair I based my previous conclusion on the period each Sep- tember and Autumn. The Summer of 2003 was a very different period espec- ially during the long evenings. Sample A was very much brighter than B and was active for a very much longer period. They will however only give of their best in direct sunlight so position is very important. As I write they are in the best position inside the Greenhouse, but they are dormant.
With the loss of the allotment I have had little use of the bike but in- tend to start again soon in the better weather. Because we live with a small garden I am still able to cope with it's maintenance.
A short list of memory jerkers which may take you back to the past: such as Protective Clothing. Does anybody now remember the Khaki Dust Coats which were issued. I claim some influence for these to be changed to White Coats by providing my own, which was noticed by a visitor from Head Office.
The Rota. Outstation work unofficially run by the POEU on a points system in the early days. 26 weeks or 13 weeks detachment for Automatic or Trans- mission Apparatus and Manual Apparatus respectively. A system which lasted many years but died a death with the permanent transfer.
The Relationship Executive and Staff I do not recall anyone being dismissed there were some cases of leaving of their own volition. I do recall a few, very few, who were downgraded for disciplinary reasons. I was privy to one example of compassion during Staff Appraisements review when the verdict was noted as "coasting his way to retirement" In good health everyone reached 60- they were the days
Finally, for this issue,can you recall the size of I Branch and all its outstations in its heyday? The Editor reproduced a copy of a collection of notes by Jack Balcombe our S.E. in the Autumn '86 GEN. The staffing figures were in the order of LTS 375; CTS 110; HQ 28 and other Sections of course, happy days. This information is from my collection of GENs from early 1970's when I retired at 60.
We had a very varied staff when in its heyday and to use a catch phrase, used often by a Union colleague - I am always amazed - at the talent and experience of our colleagues. It humbles me, but then again we must be ourselves and hope that we contribute something positive to others. So for now, I hope to contribute copy until I am old.
Keep taking the tablets.
Well, its come around to that time of year again. Not much has changed
since last I wrote. Beryl and I are still waiting on the procrastination
of authority. But then if the UK had operated such all those years ago
would we have been looking to live elsewhere? I think not. The only con-
solation is that we are that much closer to our dream.
We were over in the UK in June, for our compulsory annual expedition out of Australian waters. Although I had many grand ideas of meeting up with the lads in various old haunts, the time went so quickly that even the family only got short stopover visits. Next time I will make the time. We had a visit from Dave Sheppard, some of you may know him from Enfield Factories/Fulcrum/Fujiwhatsit, He and his good lady were passing through on a whistle stop tour of the world.
A friend of ours who has settled in Australia owns a large boat and I've had to take a boat license test to allow me to drive it, just another feather to the cap. I've also got to retake the driving test once resid- ency is granted, I'm not looking forward to that, too many bad habits. I'm only just getting the grasp of gardening where the grass needs cutting more in the winter than in the summer (dry season). But it never stops growing. I get carnations all year around and loads of them. Then there are the strange native plants. It's so difficult for the novice(me) to distinguish between good plants and so called weeds, even some weeds are looked upon as favourable by many people. Some people grow a vigorous form of grass weed as lawn just because it is so vigorous. Heaven forbid if you let it get to your flower beds.
Earlier in the year Beryl and I went out for a drive, exploring our new countryside and we came upon "Wilson's Promontory" a National Park. Driving through this beautiful scenic area, we spied a "wild" Kangaroo, our first sighting of a wild one, we've only seen them in zoos and the like. Now, I still qualify as a tourist and as such, stopped the car and got out camera in hand to photograph this discovery. It wasn't until I was fairly close up to this kangaroo that it suddenly dawned on me that I was now face to face with a six foot dangerous animal with nothing between us but a plastic box as defence. Ask yourself, if you were in Africa would one have done the same thing to a lion or other similar sized animal? Well, I got my picture and the damm thing posed and then hopped off. I put it down to an experience of the intrepid explorer in me (stupid Pome).
We are looking forward to Christmas this year (2003) We will be having a BBQ and then to the beach. We've done the traditional English Xmas, cook- ing roast turkey in 35-degree heat wave, so this year we're giving the traditional Aussie Xmas a go. Chuck another Shrimp on the Barbie Bezza I've finished this so I'm coming out now. Stay good and live long. Best wishes from the other side of the world
Last year. Honor my partner and I, decided to take a trip to Australia one
of the reasons being, on her part that is, to revisit all of her old
friends. She was an original ten pounder back in 1952 and during the ten
years she spent there, it seems she made friends all around the coast as
well as holding down a job as a D.J. in Radio 6VA, Albany, West Australia.
So, with the help of the travel agents, we drew up an itinerary for three months starting in Adelaide where we picked up a car, a very nice Holden exec. with auto, cruise, and climate control. Apparently, we should have had a medium class, however the lass behind the Avis counter gave us an up- grade. Pays to smile.
In Adelaide we visited Victor Harbour which has a small island joined to the mainland by a half mile causeway over which runs a tram drawn by shire horses. The island is home to a colony of pen- guins which we were told were all out feeding, only coming in at night. On to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Highway built to commemorate the dead of World War 1, past the Twelve Apostles and Cape Otway the most southerly point of Oz, to our hotel, the Carlton Crest. Thoroughly recommended.
Canberra was next taking in Phillips Island, Lakes Entrance and Mirumbula, very nice fish and chips there. Drove out to the Snowy Mountains, did the War Museum very impressive. Then on to Sydney. Here we made a reluctant farewell to the Holden Commodore for a Hyundai Sonata which would take us to Brisbane eventually, but first came the usual tourist spots Opera House Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and finally the best of all, the harbour cruise with a seafood platter luncheon aboard the catamaran Majestic. Not to be missed.
Sydney also boasts a circular monorail which covers the centre of the city and I could not help but wonder why London could not have something similar. Would solve the Oxford Street problem. However, with the Sonata it was over the bridge to the next major stop Brisbane calling at the wine country of Hunter Valley, Nelson Bay, Coffs Harbour and Byron Bay. Whale watching was on the agenda, so off to Hervey Bay for a six and a half hour trip on the catamaran Jerry Bailey. The whales were so close, in fact a mother brought her calf right under theboat to show it off. Such wonderful trusting creatures after all the harm done to them in the recent past.
Must mention that by now we were beginning to look at properties. The idea over there is to find a plot of land then visit the show homes. When you have picked one, the builders will then place it on site. Not very unusual until you realise the cost. For 250,000 australian, approx. £100,000, you get a four bedroom, two bathroom and in some cases a cinema room. With rates and utilities a fraction of what they are here, I am much tempted. Quantas took us on our next leg to Cairns Holiday Inn. There it had to be the Barrier Reef, Karunda rail and Skyrail and a 4x4 safari drive to Cape Tribulation. After all this exertion, we headed for Palm Cove to relax. Here, the buildings on the seafront are built around the trees with the trunks emerging from the floor and exiting through the roof. Conservation; Back to Cairns for a flight to Darwin. Very hot and humid. Booked a three day coach trip to the Kakadu National Park to see the crocodiles on the Adelaide River, aborigine paintings and Katherine Gorge. Would have been enjoyable but the heat and FLIES.
Thankfully, Perth was next. Here, we borrowed Honor's friend's car, a 600cc three cylinder Suzuki for a tour of the southwest part of Oz. It was in this area namely Busselton that I saw the bungalow of my dreams. If only I had my residential visa ...
The trip by now was, apart from a three day stopover in Singapore, over and it has left me very impressed with the friendliness of the people their pride in their country and the way they keep their streets and surroundings spotless.
P.S. We are going back in early November for another 6 weeks.
MISC NOTES ... Roger Hoy was due for retirement in December but was made
redundant. Now works at Capel Manor in north Enfield.
Paul Barulis to go in March but was also made redundant.
Lou Leonedis(?sp) took redundancy.
Only Les King, Pete Key and Ray Martin are still at Bilton Way. Graham Fowler also made redundant.
I understand that Pete West has got Parkinsons Disease and has also lost the sight in one eye. On Wednesday 21st January Cliff Bourne lost his wife after 45 years together. Had a brain tumour.
Roy Trussell, who lives in Southend, gets his hair cut in Enfield; popped in and mentioned he sees Andy Ellen, who lives at Downham Market.
According to her sister-in-law Olive Hart,88, has Alzheimers Disease.
For those who might be interested "Dave's GEN" will be reprinted on the LTSSAC website together with some pictures of the past at:- www.ltssac.org
Dave Fairhurst, 31 Roedean Avenue, Enfield, Middx. EN3 5QJ Tel:020 8804 1959
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