‘Ian B. Still’: Friday, 30th December, 1977

We were awoken at half past two by the perishing cold. I left the inadequacy of our one sheet and one blanket to accompany Tiki to the toilet block. The ‘Saucepan’ and the ‘Southern Cross’ were both clearly visible in the night sky.

Tiki began to cry and grunt as she dreamed of having both of her arms cut off. There was little we could do other than to huddle together in an effort to generate some warmth. It was twenty past seven when we awoke for the last time. Aches had invaded my frozen joints, therefore, I headed off to have a warm shower and “thaw out” in the spotlessly clean amenities.

We left at a quarter past eight and drove into town in search of a hotel that served breakfast. When we couldn’t locate one, I mentioned the fruit that we had left over from last night. It was then that Tiki remembered that we had left it on the fridge in the caravan for which I received the blame, of course!

I drove us back to retrieve it and when the quiet, bespectacled, rustic gentleman of slightly less than average height observed our reappearance he came towards us to learn of the reason for our return. We placed a large bottle of ‘Tresca’ and another of ‘Tab’ together with the bags of fruit, in the car prior to our departure for a second time.

Tiki drove through the centre of Bendigo and out its other side so that she might see Lake Neangar, which was marked on our tourist map. It appeared to be about one-tenth as impressive as Lake Weeroona. Thence, we travelled via the Calder Highway to Kangaroo Flat where we stopped at a B.P. service station to purchase petrol to the value of three dollars. I was going to take a photograph of the ‘Fuckeye Creek’ sign which we had passed on our inward journey yesterday only to find that its first name had been removed by way of a hacksaw. When the woman at the Tourist Authority had said that she would take care of it, she obviously wasn’t kidding!

Having driven through Kyneton, we progressed to Woodend. It proved to be cooler than Bendigo, at nineteen degrees Celsius with an expectant maximum of twenty-eight forecast. Macedon and Mount Macedon came next. Athol Guy, formerly a member of The Seekers, was married at the latter about six months to a year ago. The area is wooded and secluded.

We returned to Woodend and branched off to observe the unusual hill at Hanging Rock. The rugged landscape is the subject of the film, “Picnic At Hanging Rock”. In spite of the film depicting it as a place where people can allegedly disappear, there was no shortage of climbers on it today!

As it would have cost us eighty cents to take our car into the area at its base, we pressed onwards through Newham and Lancefield to Kilmore, where we arrived at half past eleven. There I saw the post office where, six years ago, I mailed off cartridges from my ‘Instamatic’ camera to Kodak so that the photographs they contained could be developed on to slides.

I also pointed out to Tiki, the corner, at the end of the somewhat modernised main street, from whence I had obtained the long lift to Wodonga; in the company of a gentleman who drove a white Triumph sedan. We entered the milk bar-cum-bakery and bought two finger buns and two cups of coffee at a cost that amounted to ninety cents. Although the shop was supposed to be a takeaway, the lady cleared the only table in the shop so that we could use it. Perhaps, she thought that we appeared in need of a rest!

Along the street, we entered the restaurant at the B.P. service station. However, when we noticed its list of prices, for example three dollars for a T-bone steak, we departed choosing to eat, instead, at the Red Lion Hotel. At noon, we ordered two small glasses of lemon squash priced at thirty cents each, a mixed meat salad for Tiki, at a dollar and sixty cents, while my T-bone steak cost a dollar eighty. The meal was most satisfying.

I took a wrong turn and became angry at Tiki over her failure to navigate me to Broadford. Nonetheless, once there, I proceeded to make another wrongful turning, which was due entirely to the roads being so poorly signposted.

Our next port of call was Kinglake West via Strath Creek. We strayed from the main road for some three kilometres in order to reach the commencement of the Kinglake National Park, where we partook of a drink of warm ‘Tresca’ beneath a shady tree.

We pushed on through Toolangi, along a road that is in possession of tall trees and ferns on either side, to Healesville. I couldn’t locate the guesthouse at which I’d stayed three years ago during a driving holiday, nor anything much to remind me that I had even visited the town previously.

Woori Yallock came before Yarra Junction. There we branched off bound for Powelltown and the remote settlement of Noojee. We hurried along the gravel road between the two in order to stay ahead of an orange ‘Kombi’ and not receive the dust that it was creating. Noojee marks a dead-end in the road and it really was a waste of time in bothering to go there.

By twenty minutes past four we had reached Warragul, which is set amid the beautiful countryside that typifies Gippsland. I parked the ‘Galant’ outside the police station and, in the warm sunshine, deposited two cents in the appropriate parking meter to extend its validity from twenty minutes to that of forty.

Having failed in our endeavour to locate an office of tourist information, we resorted to stopping a pipe-smoker of some forty years of age, who was smartly attired in a green shirt and trousers. He was most helpful and directed us to a caravan park, which was located on the southern side of the Prince’s Highway and towards the hospital. Tiki drove there only for me to be informed by a gentleman, who had introduced himself as Gordon, that it possessed no on-site vans.

Gordon proceeded to direct me to Prices’ caravan park on the Prince’s Highway at Drouin; five miles to the west towards Melbourne. Tiki, again, waited in the car as it slowly began to dawn on her that she had been to this caravan park four years ago with her parents and Wendy on their way back to Sydney as their five months’ trip around Australia had been nearing its conclusion.

I entered the fairly new house, complete with pool table, at Mrs. Price’s request and she handed me two old blankets should we need them. I paid her eleven dollars. This consisted of ten dollars for our on-site van and a refundable deposit of one dollar on its key.

To our disappointment and abhorrence our caravan is filthy inside and its fridge doesn’t work. Adding to our displeasure was the fact that coarse, rowdy children were using the swimming pool which is situated alongside us. At a quarter past five I left to shower in facilities that could only be described as insanitary.

It is now twenty-minutes to ten, which is our bedtime. We have unwisely drunk the soft drink, ‘Tab’, despite knowing that it had spent the day in our car without refrigeration.

If my memory serves me correctly, Drouin is the home town of the former world champion at boxing, Lionel Rose.

When we noticed the sign advertising the solicitor, Ian B. Still, in Kilmore today, it brought a smile to our faces.

English IS A Second Language

The English language has become infested with a plethora of trite expressions and cliches. So ingrained are they, that even those of us who were once schooled in grammar and who presumably once possessed a vocabulary, have become nauseously ensnared to their insidious usage.

Please, allow me to offer some alternatives to just some of the hackneyed drivel to which I refer?

repeat performance (repetition, encore)

ball-park (approximate)

heaps of (numerous, many, innumerable)

flip-flopped (vacillated, wavered)

in the pipeline (forthcoming, under consideration)

up and running (fully operational)

put on hold (suspend, postpone, delay, place in abeyance)

kicked in (became effective)

a no show (an absentee, failed to appear, absconded)

cracked (surpassed, reached, exceeded)

a level playing field (equality, fairness, justness)

as of right now (presently, henceforth)

went for (selected, chose, preferred)

give it a red-hot crack (apply oneself to the utmost degree, try one’s hardest, do one’s best, produce an unmitigated effort)

call out (identify, accuse, rebuke)

back on the rise (increasing, ascending in number)

blow your mind (astonish, astound, amaze, exhilarate)

24/7 (continuously)

singing from the same hymn sheet/reading from the same page (in complete agreement)

a big ask (asking much, extremely daunting or challenging)

break new ground (revolutionise, significantly advance)

bring up to speed (inform, explain, describe, refresh)

an uneven playing field (unfairness, bias, inequitable, unjust)

screwed over (duped, unfairly dealt with, taken advantage of, cheated, discriminated against)

a must-make (imperative, essential)

not always pretty (is somehow functional/effective)

made public (publicised, informed)

doesn’t hold water/stack up (is ineffectual/invalid)

a no-brainer (obvious, commonsense)

downtown (a lengthy distance)

save big (save substantially/considerably/ bountifully/plentifully)

think outside (of) the square (be imaginative/highly constructive/inventive)

didn’t look too crash-hot (appeared unwell/unhealthy, was inferior/of a substandard nature)

off the back of (subsequently, consequently, after)

it wasn’t much chop (was unacceptable/unsatisfactory, proved to be unreliable or of an inferior quality)

it was right in the mix (in contention, viable, competitive)

the go-to person (best or highly qualified, most suitable, preferred)

on board with (in agreement, concur)

on the line (in jeopardy/peril, at risk, open to scrutiny, uncertain)

heap of changes (an array/a swathe/a significant amount)

written all over (prominent, easily detectable, obvious)

epic fail(ure) (spectacularly unsuccessful, disastrous)

blows over (passes, recovers)

a plus (advantageous, beneficial)

on the back burner (postponed, delayed, suspended, adjourned)

running hot (extremely popular, highly desirable, performing extremely well)

a knock-on effect (consequential, resultant)

bring up to speed (elucidate, inform, brief, update)

bombshell (controversial, damning, entirely unexpected, unheralded)

pulls out all (of) the stops (performs magnificently well/without restraints, impresses immensely, exhilarates, enraptures)

all over the shop (in total disarray, wildly wayward)

did their heads in (bewildered, confused, bemused, captivated, enthralled)

landmark decision (historic, unprecedented)

a must-watch (imperative/essential/ captivating/enthralling viewing

keeping it together (remaining stoic/steadfast/composed)

a game-changer (revolutionary)

touch base (contact, familiarise)

a lead-up to (precursor, introduction)

a drop-in visit (impromptu, unannounced, introductory)

not sold on (unconvinced, doubtful, dubious, wary)

back-to-back/straight (successive, consecutively)

made for (produced, provided)

check out (observe, appraise, investigate)

hold off on (suspend, postpone, delay)

ran with (supported, chose, selected, decided upon)

coming from (suggesting, intimating)

not travelling well (performing, progressing)

goes in to bat for (supports, sides with, favours)

a quick run around (survey, summation)

a forward leaning position (progressive attitude, outlook or plan)

pear-shaped (disastrously wrong, not as intended)

knocked on the head (terminated, halted)

a kick in the shins (detrimental, disadvantageous)

on the gallop (hastily, unthinkingly)

take a hit (lessen, decrease, weaken, suffer damage)

fess up/come clean (confess, admit, accept accountability)

not an easy sell (difficult, demanding, challenging)

Day 1 (the first day, commencement or beginning)

dodged a bullet (avoided dread, artfully escaped, fortuitously survived)

a meet-up (meeting, assemblage, an assignation)

a roadmap (plan of action, strategy)

over the top (outrageous, grossly exaggerated)

hit the ground running (be eagerly prepared to act, possess foresight and motivation, demonstrate vigour and purpose, display acumen and insight)

pull it off (accomplish, succeed)

hit the wall (fatigue suddenly or unexpectedly, reach an impasse)

see where we’re at (ascertain our progress, realise our situation, evaluate our success)

going gangbusters (performing or selling exceptionally well)

full-on (intense)

track record (performance, reputation)

Plan B (alternative strategy)

pulled the pin (aborted, terminated)

is swinging in the wind (in abeyance/indeterminable/undecided)

doing their thing (behaving predictably/with normality)

the way to go (appropriate action to take)

gone downhill (lapsed, deteriorated, worsened)

a win-win situation (one met with universal approval/that which is highly beneficial to all involved)

up-front (open, frank, straightforward)

ripped-off (cheated, defrauded)

suck it up (tolerate, accept)

not out of the woods (without encumbrance/impedance/hardship)

come to the party (provide support/financial assistance)

yet to play out (be resolved/concluded, eventuate)

go down a different path (deviate from, rebel against)

spend up big/blow the budget (splurge)

ticks all (of) the boxes (is ideal, suits the purpose perfectly, maximises results, performs to the utmost degree/superbly well)

holed up (in a known or secretive location, ensconced)

a tiny window (a brief moment in time, a minuscule opportunity)

made a/the call (decision)

the light at the end of the tunnel (belief that fruition/conclusion/an achievement is near)

a wake-up call (salient warning/reminder)

can’t put a finger on it (determine/detect/fathom/understand/discern/comprehend)

jump on the virus (act with expediency against)

Australian educators continue to bemoan the fact that our children’s level of literacy remains at a woefully low level when compared to that of other Western countries. It’s not rocket science (patently obvious), at least to me, that we have to return the teaching of English to that of fifty or sixty years ago.

That’s if the horse hasn’t already bolted (we can still find enough sufficiently skilled teachers to accomplish this)!

“Shouldn’t We Fold The Blankets?”: Saturday, 31st December, 1977

While it was still fairly warm when we had turned in, it became decidedly cold during the night. After we arose to visit the toilet, at twenty past four, we employed the second borrowed blanket, which meant that we were beneath three such bedclothes. The bed, itself, was short and fell away towards its middle, however, in spite of these drawbacks, I slept surprisingly well.

We awoke at seven o’clock and arose ten minutes later. Due to the state of the facilities on offer, we had already made up our minds not to shower and once the car had been packed I walked to the house to return the two old blankets while Tiki followed in the ‘Galant’. I knocked and knocked at the back door before I resorted to ringing the front doorbell, twice.

Even then there was, still, no answer so Tiki went to the back door and after she had knocked once loudly Mr. Price appeared, attired in his dressing-gown. She returned the blankets and the key to the caravan and the facilities in exchange for our deposit of one dollar.

It was overcast and cool as I drove to Warragul and thence out along the road on which I had hitchhiked six years and four days ago. We passed the farmhouse at the fork in the road where the dogs had barked at me. I observed that the countryside appeared to be not as lush — quite dry and yet still green — and that the grass by the roadside was now taller. A “slime” was also apparent on the surface of some of the dams and Strzelecki was noted to possess a new church.

Upon our arrival in Korumburra, we walked up the main street and rounded the corner to the only milk bar that served tea. After firstly being told that there was no toast on offer, someone in the somewhat run-down establishment must have had a change of mind when we didn’t order anything else. There were pictures on the wall of greyhounds winning at Warragul and Sale. Toast, butter and a cup of tea each cost us one dollar.

Tiki took over the wheel and drove to Wonthaggi where we purchased petrol to the value of five dollars from a service station that belongs to Shell. We spent time to observe the jawbone of a whale which had measured seventy-four feet in length when its carcass washed up on a local beach years ago. It is attached to the verandah of a hotel.

I noted where I had stood for an hour in cold conditions before finally securing a lift to Phillip Island, six years and three days ago.

Once I had decided that Inverloch hadn’t changed much — the youth hostel now includes a yellow weather-boarded shed — we continued on, through Leongatha. We turned off at Meeniyan bound for Fish Creek and Yanakie prior to making the payment of a dollar to an amiable young man in order that we might enter the Wilsons Promontory National Park. He stuck a green “day ticket” to the inside of our car’s windscreen and handed us some information in the form of pamphlets.

We stopped at Darby River, which was on our right, and used the ‘long-drop’ toilets. After having walked through sand for a kilometre, we located Darby Beach which was inhabited by surfers. We focused our attention, instead, on the island off the coast, and, upon our return to the ‘Galant’, removed the sand from our shoes. It became my turn to drive once more.

At Tidal River — which is as far south as one can drive — I parked in the crowded car park on Mt. Oberon before realising that I should have parked in its lower counterpart, which is set aside for diurnal visitors. To our surprise and disappointment its vicinage was overrun with shabbily dressed youths and hippies. I was, however, able to receive 7LO, Launceston, as I had done when I was on Wilsons Promontory three years ago.

After lunch, at around a quarter past one, I drove us out of the national park and turned to the right at Foleys Road. This leads one to the shore of Corner Inlet, with its pelicans and what, perhaps, were young albatross. Upon our return to the main road, and, as we passed through Foster, we heard the dismissals of Gary Cosier and Bobby Simpson in the same over. The former had scored sixty-seven and the latter, two. Earlier, India had been dismissed for two hundred and fifty-six after it had resumed on six wickets down for two hundred and thirty-four overnight. John Dyson had been dismissed for a duck and David Ogilvie for six in an earlier collapse by Australia.

I drove on via Toora and Welshpool to Port Welshpool, which lies opposite Little Snake and Snake islands, at the entrance to the huge expanse of water that is Corner Inlet. I asked Tiki if she wanted to walk out along the long jetty, but she did not. There appeared to be an abundance of black swans at Port Welshpool.

Reliant upon my memory, I correctly predicted that we would see a water-tower at the end of Yarram’s main street. We purchased two cups of ‘Dairy Frost’ ice-cream, which had been extruded from a machine, at a cost of thirty cents for each. The mixed business was nicely kept and the men who worked there wore uniforms which included maroon coats.

We departed from Yarram by half past three and, with Tiki at the wheel, travelled the forty-seven miles to Sale. We began to price motels: the Swan on the highway to Bairnsdale, the Flag near the centre of town, and, finally, the Thomson River on the highway to Melbourne. It was really a matter of choice between the Swan at a cost of twenty-two dollars fifty, which included a light breakfast, and the Thomson River — where the young chap had to look up the tariff — at twenty-one dollars, but with breakfast excluded.

The sun had appeared by this time and it was quite warm. Unable to come to a definitive decision, we began to feel somewhat discouraged and set out to look for an on-site van, instead. There was one with six berths at the caravan park just up from the Swan for twelve dollars, but I was unimpressed and decided to drive out along the road from whence we had entered the town until I came upon a caravan park on the bank of the Thomson River. We felt tired and frustrated up and settled for a four-berth van, at a charge of eleven dollars and fifty cents, in spite of the fact that I did not think it wise to be in a caravan park on New Year’s Eve. One bloke had told the young manager that he would be having fifteen people round for drinks.

Upon our arrival at our caravan, I soon realised that I needed to park the ‘Galant’ about fifty metres farther on because I could envisage a drunk’s vehicle colliding with it later on. It wasn’t until we had unloaded our belongings that we discovered that all of the caravan’s berths were, indeed, single. This fact provided us with an excuse to reject its hire and when the manager offered to refund the eleven dollars and fifty cents, I immediately accepted.

We decided that we would hopefully receive a better night’s sleep at the motel, Swan,  than we predicted we were in all likelihood to get, were we to have remained at the caravan park. Tiki entered its office and was given the key to room eleven. By a quarter to six I was watching the A.B.C.’s Channel Four and the closing minutes of play on this the second day of the Third Test from the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

India was batting in its second innings after Australia had collapsed in its first to be dismissed for just two hundred and thirteen. Craig Serjeant, who is badly in need of runs, had top scored with eighty-five. At stumps India is 1-50. Sunil Gavaskar was run out in silly fashion just before six o’clock. India now commands a lead of ninety-three runs with nine wickets in hand.

At six o’clock, we observed a British show which commemorates the one-hundredth anniversary of the gramophone. The programme incorporates the Silver Jubilee Record Awards to British artists of the last twenty-five years. The Beatles is voted top group; Cliff Richard — he sings “Miss You Nights” from last year, which is one of his favourite recordings — is the top male singer, and Shirley Bassey, the top female recording star. Julie Covington is voted the best new female artist and appears, with hair that is closely cropped, to sing the hit of 1975 by Alice Cooper, “Only Women Bleed”.

I enjoyed a warm shower, having shaved for the first time in two days. We departed, at seven, for a counter tea at the Gippsland Hotel, which is situated on a corner of the highway, about three quarters of a mile closer to town. Having parked in the middle of the street, we entered the Hibiscus Room where we were fortunate to obtain a table.

The exceptionally nice barman, whom Tiki believed was too good for such an establishment, mixed a gin and orange for her and, in the course of our stay, two rum and cokes for me. I ordered a fillet steak with salad, and a ‘Fisherman’s Basket’, which included fried fish, scallops and prawns. Both dishes cost three dollars each. As we were seating ourselves I managed to bump our table and had to ask the same barman for a cloth with which to wipe it dry.

A girl entered with her boyfriend and sat but one table along from us. The smoke from her cigarette floated over to us as we ate our meal. I inserted twenty cents in the jukebox and selected Charles Aznavour’s hit of 1974, “She”. Other records to be played whilst we were there included Abba’s “Mamma Mia” and Shaun Cassidy’s hit of this year, “That’s Rock ‘N’ Roll”.

We walked up and down the main thoroughfare, Raymond Street, as we searched in vain for somewhere to enjoy a cappuccino. All there was to do was some window shopping. Sale reminded us of a larger version of Yass, after we stopped there recently. The town has a population of thirteen thousand eight hundred and sixty and a radio station, 3TR.

It was still twenty-five degrees Celsius when we returned to our room at the motel at eight o’clock. This meant that we were just in time to see the commencement of the “That’s Carry On!” picture on Channel Ten, which possessed very few advertisements. The entertaining film features a young Dr. Nookey and stars the well-endowed Barbara Windsor, Kenneth Williams and the late Sid James, who is cast as Gladstone Screwer.

We shared the bottle of ‘Rondo’ and two ‘Golden Gaytimes’ we had bought, in lieu of our cappuccinos. I am sitting in a comfy chair as I write my diary whilst Tiki is in bed watching Eric Sykes and Hattie Jacques take off Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. The pair is being assisted in other skits by the veterans, Irene Handl and Jimmy Edwards.

This goings-on is followed at half past nine by a special New Year’s Eve edition of “Love Thy Neighbour”. It includes the appearance of Peter “The Rag Trade” Jones, who portrays Eddie and Bill’s boss.

Tiki turned the television off at half past ten and fell asleep shortly afterwards. Her light blue brunch coat was apparently wrapped up in the blankets we handed in at Drouin this morning. I had suggested that we fold them first, but she insisted that we hand them back in the manner that they were handed to us.

I retired at ten minutes past eleven.