Starting From Scratch: Thursday, 17th November, 1977

I met a Cypriot at work today. He asked me if I knew anything of Cyprus. “Nicosia, Famagusta…” I replied. He told me that he was from Famagusta. With the thought that I’d done rather well, I pushed my luck by volunteering to draw a map of the island on a sheet of paper. He, however, was unimpressed with my effort and drew a detailed one that showed the Greek and Turkish parts.

He is from the northern territory where he had owned twenty-three flats — in two blocks, each six storeys high — before he lost the lot in the Turkish invasion. He is starting all over again, here in Australia!

We gave a workmate of Tiki’s a lift home to Ramsgate as clouds threatened to storm. En route I told him of how, in 1970, it had cost me but two dollars to see The Beach Boys play for ninety minutes as the audience sat on the extremely hard wooden floor of the disused bowling alley in Corrimal. Even he stated that that had been “unreal” value.

It began to rain as I opened the doors to our garage, but it was destined to only continue for half an hour. I watched some of the Colgate ladies’ tennis on Channel Seven. Jeanne Evert, Chris’s plump sister, won her match. On “Willesee”, at seven o’clock, presenter, Paul Makin, interviewed John Denver, who is in Brisbane.

During our walk we stopped at the Gymea Hotel and purchased a bottle of Kahlua coffee liqueur at a cost of ten dollars. The hotel is owned by the former boxing champion, Vic Patrick. We tried to dodge the puddles on the way home, as stars shone above.

Sylvania Waters: Thursday, 1st December, 1977

Tiki’s left arm and shoulder were no longer causing her discomfort and allowed her to sleep quite well last night. However, this situation had changed by the time I arrived at her place of work this afternoon and she asked for permission to leave early.

I drove her to the building which bears the name of ‘Wyoming’, in order that she could collect her X-rays. She cheekily opened the large envelope, in spite of the fact that it was addressed to her doctor, and read the report which states that the series of X-rays had not detected anything out of the ordinary.

Following an early tea we left for the doctor’s surgery only to discover that it is closed on Thursday afternoons. We walked for four miles around Barcoo Island, Captain Cook Island and the length of Belgrave Esplanade to the entrance to Murray Island, in the humid overcast conditions. Some of the houses at Sylvania Waters are impressive, but they are more often than not jammed together. There isn’t any room on the nature strips to walk as they are devoid of footpaths and possess a mixture of wiry and bushy plants. Additionally, the murky man-made canals emitted an odour that wasn’t pleasant.

It was seven o’clock by the time we returned to the ‘Galant’ and used its odometer to measure the distance of our walk. Upon our return home I wrote my diary at the dining table in the kitchen as Tiki watched “Space 1999”. The musical theme, which normally opens each edition of the series, has changed. At the conclusion of the second episode of “Cop Shop”, the humidity remained at an extremely oppressive level.

Moth Plague: Friday, 2nd December, 1977

Having awoken at twenty past two to go to the toilet, I also partook of a glass that contained ‘Eno’ for my upset stomach. I remained up until five o’clock, as I read “The Sun” and viewed “The Magus”, a movie on Channel Nine, which stars Anthony Quinn, Michael Caine, Candice Bergen and Anna Karina. A thunderstorm passed above our house, but not before it had emitted one particularly loud clap of thunder.

Within scarcely an hour and a half, we were awoken by the alarm and arose to ready ourselves for work. The sky began to clear by mid-morning and, at lunchtime, the temperature was twenty-nine degrees Celsius.

After work, Tiki talked me into continuing on into town to see the latest film to feature the secret agent with a ‘licence to kill’, James Bond, namely “The Spy Who Loved Me”, which screened in Cinema 5 of the new Hoyts Cinema Centre. We purchased our tickets and crossed George Street to McDonald’s where I consumed two Fillet-o’-fish burgers, a chocolate shake and an orange juice while Tiki did likewise to a Fillet-o’-fish burger, a Cheeseburger and a vanilla shake.

“Free Skiing 1977” preceded intermission. It was filmed in New Zealand and includes scenes of skiers wending their way down Mount Ngauruhoe, an active volcano on the North Island. During intermission, we moved farther down towards the front of the cinema because a band of young children had moved in behind us. “The Spy Who Loved Me” stars Roger Moore, as ‘007’, and Barbara Bach.

I handed the stubs of our cinema tickets to the attendant at the parking station and he deducted fifty cents from our fee. This reduced it to two dollars and ten. It was thirty degrees, which equated to ten above the average, at nine o’clock as I drove through a plague of moths in Sussex Street and on through Newtown.

This afternoon, the left-hander, Tony Roche and John Alexander gave Australia a lead of two rubbers against Italy in winning their respective opening singles matches in this year’s final of the Davis Cup, which is being played on grass at Sydney’s White City.

‘Pyjama’ Cricket: Saturday, 3rd December, 1977

Thankfully, conditions cooled overnight! “Mum” rang after breakfast to say that she’d meet us at the foot of the stairs that lead to The Fair Restaurant. Tiki left at nine to walk to Miranda Fair and buy my anniversary/Christmas present, as well as Christmas presents for others. Meanwhile, I listened to 2KY’s “Turf Talk”, which is presented by Ian Craig and Max Presnell, on this near perfect summer’s morning.

I left at a quarter past ten for Miranda Fair via the T.A.B. “Mum” had already arrived at the foot of the stairs and was intently window-shopping at the jewellers, Angus and Coote, when I patted her on the back and cheekily enquired, “Excuse me ‘Gorgeous’! What are you doing tonight?”

Tiki arrived shortly afterwards to be light-heartedly informed by her mother: “Your husband just tried to pick me up! I’d watch him if I were you!”

The three of us adjourned to ‘The Fair’ for a cappuccino each. Tiki paid for the bill of one dollar and sixty-five cents with her inclusion of about fifty-cents worth of copper coins, which she had painstakingly removed from her purse and stacked on the table.

Downstairs in Myer, I bought a C-60 Hitachi blank tape for one dollar and eighty-nine cents whilst “Mum” spent twenty dollars on purchasing us an ironing board for Christmas. The board is covered with an orange, yellow and white floral material. Patiently, I stood and held it while the two women went off in search of presents to give to others.

When we did, finally, reach “Mum’s” Rover sedan in the car park, the traffic was so continuous that we decided to sit and chat. However, after fifteen minutes the traffic still hadn’t eased and so we joined the queue, anyway. It was half past twelve when she left us at the front of our house with arrangements to meet her later.

Briton, Peter Skellern, sang his sizeable hit of 1972, “You’re A Lady”, and The Drifters: “Under The Boardwalk” and “Save The Last Dance For Me”, from 1964 and 1961 respectively, on the British pop series, “International Pop Proms”. At one, there was a replay of a part of yesterday’s second rubber in the final of this year’s Davis Cup, which is being contested at the White City Stadium in Sydney. John Alexander of Australia defeated Corrado Barazutti of Italy in four sets: 6-2, 8-6, 4-6, 6-2. Tony Roche had won the opening rubber against Adriano Panatta in straight sets: 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Upon Tiki’s suggestion and also at one o’clock, we opened our respective anniversary/Christmas present to each other. I was able to guess that mine was a clock radio: a National Panasonic FM-AM digital. She was to become a little disappointed that I wasn’t taking a little more interest in it. Nevertheless, she approved of her pendant necklace.

It was twenty past two when we left to walk, in our thongs and heat of thirty-three degrees Celsius, to her parents’ for a swim. Later, “Dad” shouted us to a takeaway from the Fountain Inn Restaurant. Tiki and I shared our combination chow mein and fish cutlets sweet and sour. The flies were unbearable on the patio and so we adjourned to the lounge.

Although Italy won today’s doubles rubber, it still trails Australia in this year’s final of the Davis Cup by two rubbers to one. The pairing of Paolo Bertolucci and Adriano Panatta defeated John Alexander and Phil Dent, in straight sets: 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

The four of us viewed the Australian documentary, “The Dolphins”, from half past six and sixty minutes later a programme of the series, “Barnaby Jones”, which has an elderly Buddy Ebsen cast in the title role and Lynda Day George as its guest star.

Tiki and I arrived home by ten o’clock. This meant that I could watch the highlights from Kerry Packer’s “World Series Cricket”. Screened on Mr Packer’s own network, which includes TCN Channel Nine in Sydney, the footage came from the ground at Mount Waverly, in Melbourne, where Australian Rules is normally played. The size of the crowd at the match was totally disproportionate to the calibre of the players involved and it remains to be seen if this form of ‘pyjama’ cricket, as it is quite often derisively referred to by its detractors, can survive.

At half past ten Tiki chose to watch the film, “Our Mother’s House”. Introduced by Channel Seven’s expert on all things cinematic, Bill Collins, it was made in 1967 and stars the celebrated British actor, Dirk Bogarde. A picture of a similar vintage, “A Guide For The Married Man”, with Robert Morse, Walter Matthau and the late Inger Stevens was screened simultaneously on Channel Ten.

The El Dorados

Having formed in Chicago, in 1952, this American doo-wop group named itself after a model of Cadillac. Nonetheless, it had to wait until 1955 in order to make a name for itself.

This came in the form of the single, “At My Front Door”, which reached No.1 on Billboard’s rhythm and blues chart and No.17 on the national pop chart.

As was the custom then, African Americans would release a record and a white artist, who was invariably known far more widely, would promptly cover it and collect much of the cream. In this particular instance, Pat Boone was that artist.

The group’s only other hit came in early 1956 when “I’ll Be Forever Loving You” reached No.8 on the rhythm and blues chart.

At the time of its success The El Dorados consisted of leading vocalist, Pirkle Lee Moses, Arthur Basset, Richard Nickens, Jewel Jones and James Maddox.

Ovine Trait: Sunday, 4th December, 1977

I was stunned to think that I had slept in until half past eight! The appearance of the paperboy did not eventuate and I found it inconceivable that I had slept through his passing.

A terrific traffic jam of about a mile in length greeted us in the heat as we neared Kurnell. Impatient motorists were driving along the road’s gravelly verge in their attempts to overcome it. Eventually, just like a sheep, I did the same!

The lady at the fruit market told Tiki, in a foreign accent, that motorists had been queuing since half past seven to enter Captain Cook’s Landing Place. And to think that we’d only decided to visit Kurnell to buy some fruit! During our return, I drove through a crowded Cronulla and bought an edition of “The Sun-Herald” at a milk bar in Caringbah.

Between one o’clock and two, I watched coverage of the First Test which is being played at the ‘Gabba in Brisbane. Australia was battling — to put it mildly — in its second innings having been three for seven at one stage yesterday. The Queenslander, David Ogilvie, scored forty-six, in this his first Test. Bob Simpson, meanwhile, passed fifty before he too was dismissed on eighty-nine.

We departed for Tiki’s parents’ where I helped “Dad” to carry an old television from downstairs and place it in his ute. I also assisted him to move the old fridge and an old freezer to their respective positions beneath the stairs and then sweep clean the area upon which they had stood. “Mum” confessed to Tiki and I that her neck was “killing” her and that the recent manipulation appeared to have been a failure.

Tiki swam underwater for the circumference of their above-ground pool and passed between my open legs. Although the water was warm in comparison to yesterday, the wind was a cool one in spite of today’s maximum being twenty-eight degrees Celsius.

Each of us drank the contents of a KB ‘keg’ stubby and our takeaway tonight is from McDonald’s. The West Indies defeated Australia by three wickets in the World Series Cricket.

John Alexander clinched the Davis Cup for Australia for the first time since 1968, when he defeated Italy’s Adriano Panatta, at Sydney’s White City Stadium, in five gruelling sets: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 8-6, 11-9.

At seven we left on our walk and jog through Gymea and Miranda, arriving home at five past eight. Channel Seven, at half past the hour, screened “The Destructors”, which includes in its cast Richard “Empire” Egan and Patricia Owens. The film’s content is pretty dull and the movie, itself, visually appeared to me to be old-fashioned in spite of it having been made only eleven years ago.

Ten minutes to ten heralded a preview into the making of the latest addition to the series of films to feature the secret agent with a licence to kill, James Bond. We viewed this latest offering, “The Spy Who Loved Me”, last Friday evening.

At twenty past the hour I turned the dial to Channel Nine to watch the highlights of today’s play in World Series Cricket’s clash between Australia and the West Indies.

The Neglect Of Minutes: Monday, 5th December, 1977

When we awoke at the usual time of twenty-four minutes past six, I was immediately made aware that Tiki had tuned my new digital clock radio to 2UE and the unmistakeable voice of Gary O’Callaghan, which really grates on me. Upon making my feelings known, she became most upset and rightfully claimed that I don’t know how to operate my new present. This led her to conclude that I, therefore, don’t like it!

At least she is now in agreeance that its lighting favours the digit or digits that display the hour while it almost totally neglects those which signify the minutes.

“Skippy” appears on Channel Nine at half past five. This evening’s programme is from 1968 and has Colin Croft cast as the thief of a horse, and Ross “The Naked Vicar Show” Higgins as the horse’s owner. The first in a new series of “Doc”, at six, isn’t as humorous since the ‘death’ of his wife, if this edition is typical of the remainder.

“Willesee”, at seven, includes an interview with Leah Lynch — the wife of the hospitalised, former Federal Treasurer, Philip Lynch — who speaks about politics and next Saturday’s federal election. Don Chipp, who leads the Australian Democrats, has his say in another segment. Lastly, and on a lighter note, strongman, Paul Graham, along with some of the other muscular entrants in the forthcoming contest that will decide just who is adjudged to be Mr. New South Wales, makes an appearance.

After our walk around the “block” we watched the third episode of the Australian serial, “Cop Shop”, which screened on Channel Seven at half past eight.

The Top 40 Fantasies: No. 15

  1. Those Were The Days (1968) Mary Hopkin
  2. The Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum) (1981) The Funboy Three
  3. Home Of The Brave (1965) Jody Miller
  4. That Chick’s Too Young To Fry (1946) Louis Jordan
  5. Right Back Where We Started From (1975) Maxine Nightingale
  6. The Power And The Passion (1983) Midnight Oil
  7. Another Saturday Night (1963) Sam Cooke
  8. I Apologize (1951) Billy Eckstine
  9. Sail Along Silvery Moon (1957) Billy Vaughn
  10. Paloma Blanca (1975) The George Baker Selection
  11. Candy (1945) Johnny Mercer, Jo Stafford and The Pied Pipers
  12. (Old-Dogs, Children And) Watermelon Wine (1972) Tom T. Hall
  13. Look Wot You Dun (1972) Slade
  14. If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked A Cake (1950) Eileen Barton
  15. White Lightning (1959) George Jones
  16. A Very Special Love (1958) Doris Day
  17. How Can I Be Sure (1967) The Young Rascals
  18. Paper Cup (1967) The 5th Dimension
  19. Rock Me Baby (1986) Johnny Nash
  20. Love’s Been A Little Bit Hard On Me (1982) Juice Newton
  21. Caterina (1962) Perry Como
  22. South Of The Border (Down Mexico Way) (1939) Shep Fields and his Rippling Rhythm Orchestra; vocalist:Hal Derwin
  23. Jai Deux Amours (1953) Josephine Baker
  24. Take A Message To Mary (1959) The Everly Brothers
  25. That Lovin’ You Feelin’ Again (1980) Roy Orbison and Emmylou Harris
  26. So Long (1949) Ruth Brown
  27. That’s A Man’s Way (1965) Wilson Pickett
  28. Quicksilver (1950) Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters
  29. You Don’t Know What You Mean To Me (1968) Sam and Dave
  30. Everything Is Fine (2007) Josh Turner
  31. Open The Door, Richard (1947) Louis Jordan
  32. Believe Me (1957) The Royal Teens
  33. I’m Going To See You Today (1952) Joyce Grenfell
  34. Bip Bam (1954) The Drifters
  35. The Last Round-Up (1933) Gene Autry
  36. The Watusi (1961) The Vibrations
  37. Lightning’s Girl (1967) Nancy Sinatra
  38. No (1972) Bulldog
  39. Dead Skunk (1973) Loudon Wainwright III
  40. I Don’t Like Mondays (1979) The Boomtown Rats

‘The Restless Years’ Premieres: Tuesday, 6th December, 1977

The early overcast cleared on what has been a humid day. After work, I watched the closing stages of the First Test, which was played in Brisbane. The opening batsman, Sunil Gavaskar, who is of a short stature, was dismissed for one hundred and thirteen and India fell just seventeen runs short of the total that it was required to score for victory. Australia, therefore, won by sixteen runs.

Having watched the American series, “Doc”, at six, we walked via the usual route through Gymea and Miranda. Our return allowed us the time to watch the first episode of another new Australian serial, “The Restless Years”, which screened on Channel Ten from half past seven.

Mickey and Sylvia

Mickey Baker and Sylvia Vanderpool was an American duo, which recorded under the title of Mickey and Sylvia. In late 1956, the pair released the song, “Love Is Strange”. The recording rose to No.1 on the rhythm and blues chart and No.11 on the pop chart. In doing so the single sold in excess of a million copies.

“Love Is Strange” was introduced to a new audience when, in 1987, it was included on the soundtrack to the motion picture, ‘Dirty Dancing’. In 1993, it appeared in the British television series, ‘Lipstick On Your Collar’, and, two years later, the movie, ‘Casino’. Pitbull’s hit of 2012, “Back In Time”, from the film, ‘Men In Black III’, is based upon “Love Is Strange”.

Mickey and Sylvia’s only other entry to the Top Ten also came in 1957 in the form of “There Oughta Be A Law”. While the duo continued to record it could not replicate the success generated by these first two singles and, by the end of 1961, the entries to the charts were no more.

Regardless, Sylvia, who by then bore the surname of Robinson, unexpectedly reappeared on the scene, in 1973, when her recording, “Pillow Talk”, just like “Love Is Strange”, sold more than a million records.

Sylvia died in September of 2011, at the age of seventy-five.

Icy Finger!: Wednesday, 7th December, 1977

The alarm of our digital clock radio awakened us as per usual at twenty-four minutes past six. An overcast, sultry morning greeted us. Although the temperature was only nineteen degrees Celsius, the relative humidity registered at ninety-five per cent and this made conditions uncomfortable. Once I’d washed my hair, Tiki dried it. She looked well, but wasn’t keen to go to work.

Light sporadic rain at midday didn’t develop into anything more. Therefore, at six o’clock, I decided to follow a variation from the usual route and extend my walk beyond Gymea, to Kirrawee. There, I returned from the Prince’s Highway via the Kingsway. This has brought my tally of miles walked to seven hundred and nineteen.

At a quarter past seven I viewed the former Prime Minister and current Leader of the Federal Opposition, Gough Whitlam, as he stated that he’ll win next Saturday’s election for the Labor Party.

Channel Ten played the second episode of the new Australian series, “The Restless Years”, at half past the hour. Actress, Tina Grenville, is a member of its cast. The hour passed and then we sat through the dark comedy, “A New Leaf”, which was released to cinemas about six years ago. It stars Walter Matthau whose character marries a plain Jane played by Elaine May. Not only did Elaine May write the movie’s screenplay she directed the film, as well.

The index finger on my right hand became stuck fast to one of the icy bars that are affixed to the “ceiling” of our fridge, as I reached for the five-litre container of orange juice at a quarter to eleven. Tiki just laughed at my pleas for help, believing that I had my finger stuck up a tap in the bathroom.