DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 19 2017
MONDAY, MAY 8
Hermitage Gardens manager, Harry Moore says the company that erected new fences here, wont be back. The work was too hard, and there are easier jobs in Central Queensland. My wife and I had to get them to come back several times to get things right, with our back fence. HG Body Corporate Committee member, Margaret Ramsay recalls hitchhiking from Brisbane to the Tweed Valley in northern New South Wales in 1952, only to be confronted by major flooding. Former Murwillumbah High school mate, Rob Swales tells me our former Geography teacher, Anne Butt, lives in Brisbane.
Photo 1: Rob Swales (centre) with former league internationals, Dan Stains (left) and Allan Langer.
Dinner tonight at Montrachet Restaurant, Paddington courtesy of our youngest son, Lliam and his wife, Channelle, to thank us for having them at our place, while their Paddington house was renovated. Our waitress is a Kiwi. ‘Still pecking away,” she says on one occasion, when she sees I have not finished what is on my plate. Our cabbie is from Kashmir in India. He agrees with me that the Nawab of Pataudi probably was chosen as skipper of the 1967 Indian side in Australia, because of his station in life, rather than his ability.
TUESDAY, MAY 9
Lovely chat to former classmate, Robyn Furness about our friend, Eleanor Scott (nee Riddell) who died late last year. Robyn is a former principal of Canterbury Girls High in Sydney. Robyn’s father, Bede was a life member of the Souths and Old Boys’ rugby league clubs at Murwillumbah. Her sister, Judy, married stalwart Murwillumbah Old Boys’ halfback, Wayne Lack, who helped build 54 bridges in the Tweed district, the last one at Kingscliff. They now live at Dum Dum in the Tweed Valley. (There IS such a place). Wayne played league until he was 39. Robyn’s brother, Barry was a top hockey player. Her great, great grandfather came from Yorkshire in England and was an early settler of the district around Warwick, on the southern Darling Downs of Queensland.
Our nephew, Paddy Lynch installs our new Foxtel box. Foxtel delivered it, but we had to pay extra if we wanted it installed.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 10
Coffee at ‘Edge’, Caloundra with Rob Swales and his lady, Sue, before Rob and I have lunch at ‘Alfie’s moo Char and Bar’, with former Australian rugby league forward, Dan Stain and the man himself, Allan ‘Alfie’ Langer. Rob arranged the lunch to send a 40th birthday video message to his son, Kris, who is working as a senior news editor at MSN India. Kris is a keen rugby league man and student of the media, and Rob knows how much a video of his former junior league coach, (Stains); league legend, Alfie and yours truly, would mean to him. Rob gives me a copy of his book, ‘Broken Symbolism’, which is a compilation of ‘words and rhyme by men doing time’. Rob, a former banker, facilitated creative writing classes in two men’s maximum security prisons in Queensland. Alfie says his former Ipswich coach, the great Tom Raudonikis, along with former Ipswich teammate, Ray Kelly are coming up later in the week.
FRIDAY, MAY 12
There is a party at Coronis Real Estate, Lutwyche to celebrate opening of their new building. The Courier-Mail’s rugby union writer, Jim Tucker sends me a pic of the Rugby League World Cup, which is on display at Queensland Newspapers’ staff cafe, Bowen Hills. There was no smart alec comment with the photo. Amazing. The League World Cup preceded union’s World Cup by 33 years.
SATURDAY, MAY 13
Our eldest boy, Damien backs Gold Coast Titans to beat Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium and is proved correct, with centre, Konrad Hurrell scoring the winning try for the Coast near the death. Titans 38 Storm 36.
The Pope visits Fatima in Portugal. Marie and I went there during our 1978 Kombi van trip around Europe, and did not find it inspirational, whereas we thought the Lourdes experience (in France) was very moving. However, both places are far too touristy.
Today is the Anniversary of the First Fleet leaving Portsmouth, England, in 1787.
SUNDAY, MAY 14
Family day at Eat Street, Portside, for Mother’s Day. The grandkids love the live music.
Hull’s soccer team has been demoted from the Premier League. Their two rugby league clubs, Hull FC and Hull KR, are in Super League and the Championship respectively.
Jarred Tuite is captain of the Canberra Raiders’ under-20s. I wonder if he is related to my former gym training partner (way back), the late Jeff Tuite, who was great mates with former top rugby league hooker, Billy Johnstone. Jeff came from Charleville and Billy from Cunnamulla.
Ali George has been chosen as Cornet (Leader) for the annual Common Riding at Hawick in the Scottish Borders. My wife and I had the honor of attending the 2014 event, courtesy of a our Scots friends, Elliot and Linda Gibson. The Hawick Common Riding is the first of the Border festivals and celebrates the capture of an English flag by the youth of Hawick, at Hornshole, and the ancient custom of riding the marches, or boundaries of the common land.
Former Queensland wicket keeper, Lew Cooper turns 80. I remember when he was in charge of the Queensland Cricketers Club restaurant, and I had a wonderful meal there courtesy of ‘The Courier-Mail’. (I had to write a review).
Photo 2: 1970 Murwillumbah High English class (part of it anyway); Backrow, Robert Baker, Andrew Clarke, John Lack. Middle row: Sue Darby, Robyn Furness, Eleanor Riddell, Wendy Petherbridge, Stephen Ricketts. Front row: Gail Howard, Pauline Dunn, Anne Dawson, Sheryl White.