MONDAY, MAY 11
Sad day in Townsville, with the funeral or former Kirwan High principal, John Livingstone, who was in charge when our eldest son, Damien was on staff. A great man, says Damien, who now teaches at Beenleigh. George Bartlett, now deputy principal at Beenleigh, flies to Townsville for the funeral. George, a foundation Cowboys’ player, also taught at Kirwan.
TUESDAY, MAY 12
To QRL offices, where I chat to managing director, Rob Moore, who reminds me that he worked at Peter Connell’s Sports Store in Toowoomba at one stage. Peter is a league legend on the Darling Downs and one of the toughest men to have played the game. He represented Qld in 1975.
Solicitor and league media identity, Lyle Beaton is a guest at our place – for dinner – and shows amazing footage of French rugby league from the 1950s, most notably the side stepping skills of lightweight centre, Claude Teisseire. Lyle is more of a French Rugby League ‘tragic’ than me, and that’s saying something.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 13
My youngest brother, Stewart, turns 50 today. Can that be? Stew is a Manly rugby league nut and loves of FI motor racing. He played in the Murwillumbah under-8s (with another sibling, Andrew) who beat Tweed Heads in the 1971 grand final at the Tweed Recreation Ground. Yes, they had grand finals in under-8s in those days, and I was the coach. We won 3-0, and afterwards my little heroes asked, ‘Did we win?’ Stewart went to St Laurence’s College in Brisbane, and somehow avoided playing rugby union, a game he detests. In 1997, Stew accompanied me on a whirlwind, month long European trip, which began in Madrid and finished in London, via places like Nice, Heidelberg, Hawick and Galway. He now works as a head storeman in the liquor industry.
This week marks the 70th anniversary of Bar Felix in Carcassonne, a real rugby league hangout, where Stew and I enjoyed an ale during that Euro trip. A former licensee was Rene Duffort, who coached the 1964 French side in Australia.
FRIDAY, MAY 15
To Kirra on the Gold Coast, via Tony Currie Tyres at Morningside – nail in tyre. The purpose of the Coast trip was to visit Ray Sorenson, a friend of the family, who was admitted to palliative care earlier this week. I arrived at Kirra Haven just a few hours after he passed away. I kept his widow, Pat company while family members attended to the necessary arrangements. Pat (nee Bindon) was my mum’s best friend at St Mary’s College in Lismore. Ray, a prominent rowing coach at The Southport School, was Pat’s second husband. Her first husband, Merv Beddoes, was electrocuted while working at Clunes near Lismore. Ray and Pat were members of my 1990 Kangaroo Supporters’ Tour, along with my parents. They all had a marvellous time. Ray even went for a swim in the English Channel at Dover, on a freezing November day. I also remember him being fearless with the video camera, at Eton School and also at ‘The Ship Inn’ at Lower Fishguard in Wales.
SATURDAY, MAY 16
Family dinner – lamb shanks. Youngest boy, Lliam tells amazing stories about how he would drive fork lifts around ‘Peppertown’ (playground construction firm) at Virginia (North Brisbane) back in the late 1990s, when he was just 14! Glad we didn’t know it at the time.