MONDAY, APRIL 13
Have a haircut in Toowoomba. The female barber, Emma, is a good conversationalist and says she has only ever cut men’s hair. Walk a bush circuit at Picnic Point, my wife hoping to find some ‘wild’ gooseberries, as she had done on a previous walk, but the Rangers have largely eradicated the tasty ‘weed’. To Spotted Cow pub for a steak, and to watch the Rabbitohs play the Cowboys. Bloke near us has a Roosters’ tattoo. I don’t like tattoos, but make an exception for those supporting the mighty Chooks. Johnathan Thurston has a blinder, scoring two tries and kicking six goals as the Cows demolish Souths 30-12.
TUESDAY, APRIL 14
On our way to breakfast meet Adelaide poet, Geoff Goodfellow, who, among other things, has written ‘Waltzing with Jack Dancer’. His red shoes match his red suitcase. Walk to ‘Coffee, Tea and Me’ where I have a nice, strong coffee and Marie buys Marco Polo Tea. Home via Ravensbourne National Park, where a Muslim group is having a picnic, and a couple of their kids chase a goanna. Then to Esk, where horse riders are negotiating the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. Back in Brisbane, I walk along Kedron Brook where two males of Asian appearance are netting for turtles. I have seen that before and phoned Fisheries, but was met with indifference. My former sports editor, Neil Breen, now with Channel 9, phones re. an alleged rort involving NRL Premiership rings. Wants to know if I have heard of one of the alleged ring leaders. The answer was ‘No’.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15
Huge ‘Men of League’ ‘Kick-off Club’ lunch at Broncos Leagues today, with local author/historian, Murray Barnett’s book, ‘For the Love of the Game’ officially launched. The book features chapters on former internationals, Pat McMahon, Mick Crocker, Des McGovern, Brian Davies, Dud Beattie, Jim Paterson, Frank Drake, Lionel Morgan, John Gleeson and Col Weiss. Present at the lunch were Paterson (who flew down from Townsville), Beattie, Drake, Morgan, Gleeson and Weis, with radio personality, John McCoy and yours truly sharing the interview roles. McMahon, Crocker, McGovern and Davies had passed away, but were represented by family members. Drake stole the show, given he is such a great story teller. Naturally he reminded people that he had worn white boots onto the field long before St George fullback, Graeme Langlands in 1975. It was September 6, 1958 to be exact, and Drake received an official reprimand from the NSWRL after the match – a preliminary final – in which he played for Balmain against St George.
FRIDAY, APRIL 16
To the musical ‘Wicked’ with Marie; our daughter, Melanie; daughter-in-law, Channelle; my sister, Gay and her husband, David. One drink at ‘Music on the Green’ first, then dinner at ‘The Charming Squire’. The play is OK – a left wing version of ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Three inspectors on our council bus – lucky I topped up my Go-card.
SATURDAY, APRIL 17
Attend Brothers v Wynnum-Manly Second Division fixture at Gibson Park, with Brothers winning convincingly in a match refereed by 67-year-old, Ian Irwin, a former top class whistle blower. Have a chat to him after the game and he is shocked to learn that former Yorkshire Post league writer, Ray Fletcher has died. Ray was a good friend to Ian when he travelled to England back in the 1980s, and refereed a number of matches.
A book on the history of famous NSW bush club, Gerringong is launched. Written by former Rex Mossop (Channel 7) sidekick, Barry Ross, it tells the story of a club which produced the likes of internationals, Mick Cronin, Rod Wishart and the Sims brothers, Ashton, Tariq and Korbin. I visited Gerringong in 1974 on my way home from the Melbourne Cup, and the great Mick Cronin poured me a beer. Thirty years later I attended a match at Gerringong (surely one of the prettiest league grounds in the world), and there was Mick on the sidelines watching the locals do battle with Kiama in a derby match.
SUNDAY, APRIL 18
Today we begin a short break at Lennox Head. Once we cross the border, roads are lined with people protesting about coal seam gas. The Southport School rowers are leaving Lennox as we arrive, after a training camp under the supervision of my former Brisbane Brothers’ teammate, Graham Herlihy. To Lennox Bowls where excellent live music is provided by ‘Horace and His Harem’. To ‘Shorty’s’ for dinner, where there is more live music – from ‘Ratbags’. Shorty’s is one year old. A real musical day which started with Bill Simpson, the drummer from ‘Signs of Peace’, calling into Macca’s Show on the ABC. I remember ‘Signs of Peace’ from my Tweed days, and they still play – at Condong Bowls Club.