WEEK 46, 2015
Visit my uncle, Bill Ricketts and his wife, Nola at Ballina. Bill, a former Queensland policeman, is my late father’s younger brother, his only sibling. Bill, whose police postings included Mt Morgan, Home Hill, Mundubbera, Cherbourg, Mackay, Kingaroy and Warwick, tells a great yarn. I had the honour of attending a function at Government House in Brisbane when Bill received a medal for bravery, after disarming a shotgun wielding man at Munduberra. On the way to his place I had coffee at ESP Alstonville (very good) and checked out Light House Beach and Shelly Beach at Ballina (my parents lived briefly at the latter). Alstonville has an excellent monument to local Victoria Cross recipient, Paddy Bugden, who was killed at Yypres, Belgium in 1917. Marie and I attended a moving Remembrance Day service at the Menin Gate, Ypres, in 2002.
At Lismore Golf Club I catch up with former North Coast rugby league representative forward, Mick Davis (he played against Britain at Kempsey in 1966); local businessman, Toby Daley and others.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10
Back to Brisbane via a lovely bush walk at Minyon Falls in Byron Shire, where the ‘Green Army’ has been working on the track. In the car park there is a vehicle, loaded with ‘junk’, and with four flat tyres. The ‘owner’ is a fit looking bloke in his 40s, who plays the guitar. He obviously has set up camp at Minyon. Next stop, Mullumbimby for an ice cream from 76 year old Empire Cafe. A band plays outside the local RSL club. Dinner at Domanis, Main Beach with our oldest son, Damien and wife, Emma. Hear news there has been (another) shark attack at Ballina’s Light House Beach!
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14
Wake to news of terrorist attacks in Paris, and then a loud clap of thunder scares the living daylights out of me! The Paris attacks happened not far from where we stayed last month.
I finish the book ‘Vietnam. A Reporters War’ by Hugh Lunn. Excellent stuff.
There is a new barman at Bandits/Brothers – Barry, a Londoner, who is married to a Kiwi lass. He is a Tottenham soccer supporter, and does not have much truck with rugby league, that ‘northern’ England game.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15.
Our 40th wedding anniversary and I give Marie a ruby pendant, which I bought from a family jewelry business at Stafford. The husband and wife team were wed 25 years ago at St Pats in Fortitude Valley, a church which now appears in need of some love.
Our big gift to each other is a week on Lord Howe Island. At one stage it looks as if our flight will not leave Brisbane, because of windy weather at the island, with two flights from Sydney already having been cancelled. But we get there. Our steward is so efficient, a gem, and the landing is perfect, despite strong winds. Our room at East Anchorage is not ready, so we are shouted drinks at the Anchorage Bar. Tonight we dine at Pandanus Restaurant – octopus and local kingfish. Very good.