The Bern wandering Years ......
.................are the travel diaries of Bernard O’Brien documenting the wanderings of a rugby mad Welsh teacher from June 88 to June 95. An eventful time in world history with the Tiananmen Square massacre, the fall of the Berlin wall, The San Fransisco earthquake and the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. It documents the Lions tours of 89 in Australia and 93 in New Zealand and the World cup in South Africa in 95 –presented by Mandella himself.
I am typing them up – not in order..... But when I have the time... Hopefully I won’t offend or embarrass too many people ... it’s just what I felt at the time
USA – Summer Camp,
Old Gayts Canadian tour,
lions tour 89
5 August 89 3 Oct 89
Travelling around Australia with Pat and Paula
Book 4 October 4th 1989 – July 12th 1990
New Zealand U2
Hawaii USA UK
Book 9 January 8 1993- 1 August 1993
New Zealand Lions tour
Book 9 January 8 1993 – 1 August 1993
8th January 1993 Sydney
Presently living in Coogee in Sydney. During this diary I hope to go to NZ and make a killing on the Lions tour 93
This will hopefully finance a trip home for Kevin’s wedding and also pick up Caroline who I am devoted to!! On page 1 of my last diary I said i was very keen on her. This has now progressed to being totally in love.
“We” hope to travel through Asia in September hitting Nepal and Bali – we will see. My toe hurts. I have had an in growing Toenail cut out. Work wise I am working in a factory for DSC but I will do swimming teaching next week.
Saturday 9th January
Sunniest day in the world – Woke up feeling rough as I went out for a meal last night and drunk far too much wine. Jane (Jones) put me in a taxi cos i was wrecked. I stayed in all day because I have got an in growing toe nail cut out. A pity really as it was a cracker of a day and I would have liked to have gone to the beach, Sharon called over for an hour. I am out tonight with Jane and Fiona at Kitty O’Shea’s
Monday 11th January
Up at 6 thankfully my toe is improving but still painful. I took my camcord into work and was quite pleased with the results. I spent the morning sticking stickers on things then shifted some boxes for a couple of hours then did 3 hours overtime but stitched myself up a bit because I missed the last bus and had to catch a taxi home. Chicken for tea. Wrote a letter to Caroline, I really want to phone her but I am skint. I will ring her Saturday – her birthday. I generally festered around in the evening. I am working tomorrow, but I will have to phone in to Gerard to tell him I am finishing Wednesday to do the swimming job. What has really made me decide to do the swimming is the 200 shirts in the room that I have got to shift – please god
Wednesday 13th January
Up at 8 this morning – no work, which was expected so I did my washing over Sharon’s. Mail came and incredibly I had 4 letters off Caroline – they all came at the same time – brilliant to hear from her. I went to the post office and sent her a video tape and some T’s to various locations.
Last night dad phoned and said a Cardiff boy broke his neck at Coogee on New Year’s day. Andrew Lucas, so I went to Prince Henry hospital to see him, what a nightmare – nice bloke lying in traction – his arms are moving. There is a benefit on the 30th – I will go along to that. I will see if I can do anything.
Thursday 14th June
Quite a tiring day – weather was scorching which I didn’t need as I had a rotten hangover from last night’s mega sesh. I met “Woody” who is a mate of Giz – couldn’t believe it he was wearing a Rangers shirt. I drove to Botany pool and worked with Jody and Sue who are fine. I have got a lift in tomorrow. God I was dying this morning . I enjoyed the teaching – it was all outside – it will be hell if it cools down.
I drove to the SCG and sold 30 then came home and nursed my head – had a lay down. I wrote a letter to Ian K and one to Plucko – back to the SCG – even though it was a full house I only sold 9. Tomorrow I have got to pick up my Celtic and Rangers shirts. Pat would be grinning if I said I was very confident with these ones.
Friday 15th January 11.20
Sitting here pouring with sweat. It’s really, really hot – very enjoyable morning in the pool. I had a lift in off Sue. In the afternoon I crashed out. I picked up my Celtic and Rangers shirts – about $1,070 notes. They didn’t do the Rangers shirts correct. I ordered my Lions shirts.
Good news for Andy – British Airways are going to fly his parents out.
I went into Coogee in the evening – drinking coke!
My gums are very sore – I may have an abscess forming – I hope not. Caroline’s birthday tomorrow – I will give her a ring.
Sunday 17th January
Good night last night at Sharon’s for a meal – got in for the rugby which started at 1. I phoned Caroline and she was out. I taped the game, luckily because the next thing I knew it was ½ 5 – I had slept through it. I phoned Caroline and had a lovely chat- I really miss her (lots) Watched the game England beat France – we can beat them in 3 weeks.
Went down Coogee beach with Sharon – there is a perfect job for me in the Sydney Morning Herald (Geography teacher – St Paul’s Manly) – I will apply my CV will get typed tomorrow. I really want it. I am not as confident as I was about the other one. It would really put me on my feet if I got it – I could then go to NZ as planned.
Beach was great, very hot and sweaty – we will have a storm soon. I went to Paddington with Sharon, Jane and Andrew to Kitty’s for a beer. I am swimming in the morning so I have to be up early. I have got the car. The boys have been using my video all day – quite a good swapsie. Financially I am fairly knackered at the moment.
Monday 18th January
The georgeous weather has nearly broke. A very cloudy day but still warm – enjoyable morning swim. I took my red class into the big pool – they weren’t happy at all. Thankfully I had the car.
Fiona moved her gear around and Jane will move in tomorrow. She pointed out how small the advert was for the job. It could easily be an inside job. Sharon’s mate Sheila did my CV – it looks great so if there is a job going I will be in with a chance, but to be honest I am very pessimistic. I will phone Thursday to see if a short list has been made.
In the afternoon i went out with Jane and Sharon to the harbour and did some residency, I went to the dentist – he just returned my forms which are sorted. I went down to Coogee and picked up 15 tickets for that benefit night a week Saturday. I also had a letter off Sydney Welsh to go to a BBQ next week. I am quite tired now. Up for swimming in the morning – my gums still hurt. I wrote a letter to Caroline and one to Caroline Ferrario.
Thursday 21st January 8.15am
Up early for teaching swimming, it looks like another really hot day – we have been very lucky with the weather. Only 3 days I will be unemployed again. A horrible thought. I have applied for the job in Balgowlah – I really want it but I doubt if I will get a look in. Loads of mail yesterday 1 off Caroline, 1 off mum and dad and a Christmas card off Liz Rogers who is now in Perth. I had a rejection on the shirts and an order for 30 T’s from Adelaide which was unexpected. In the evening I went to the Olympic. I was home by 11 because of swimming today. I don’t want to teach with another hangover like I did last week.
Friday 22nd January 5
Fairly shattered – bad start to the day, car wouldn’t start – fl;at battery – taxi in. Sold the driver a ticket for Lucas do. Poured down with rain all day so dragged in my groups and gave them a water safety talk – bargain. I went for a burger with Sue and Jodie after work.
I phoned up about that teaching job. It is being advertised again on Saturday – so there is a job! Shortlist to be made Wednesday – I will phone again Friday. Sounds better the more info I get – 450 boys school – a bargain.
Yesterday I had 4 letters off Caroline which was very pleasing.
Saturday 23rd Jan 7.30
Rain drizzle – up at 7 . My last day teaching the ankle biters which I have really enjoyed.
Monday 25th January
I feel so cheesed off. I have lost my wallet – I have looked everywhere, but can’t find it. I think I may have left it in the phone box yesterday when I phone Caroline. God I am annoyed. I had such a great day yesterday and this has put a real downer on it.
Financially I feel really knackered + I feel I am trying so hard. I haven’t even got an access card now and I have got to pick up $1000 worth of gear on Wednesday. No bank cards. I am upset because it was the wallet that Caroline gave me + it had a photo of her in it. I want it.
Yesterday Caroline phoned but I was suffering from the night before – I wasn’t happy with the way the call went so I phoned her late at night. – I love her so much. Dad phoned and unbelievably St Peters beat Cardiff in the cup – what a result.
Wednesday 27th January
I lost my wallet the other day – what a mare. All my cards etc. I made it worse by phoning up Plucky and starting off with “This is not a lovey dovey call” – so stupid. Annoyed with myself. I have phoned her up 3 times in 3 days and she has cancelled my cards. She is hating school at the moment – 11 people out today.
Financially things still aren’t good. I went out yesterday for Australia day and sold 30 shirts – so I have got $300 – that has soon been taken. Rent is due and of course I have no money to pay for the shirts I have ordered today, so I will have to owe CBon about $1300. My Lions shirts are out – these are the ones I hope to make my cash on. Please God. I have said that I will give $10 a shirt to Andy at that benefit. So I will lose money on the Lions shirts but will have 50 on the streets being worn. I will only start taking orders on Saturday. I am off to Huntsville now to register for the state sector as a supply teacher. I am phoning up for that job in St Pauls Balgowlah tonight and tomorrow “Am I on the short list?” If I get it I honestly believe my financial worries will be solved.!
I went to the Sydney Celtic supporters club on Tuesday – Jacko went with his mate Pete – who is a bit of a sap “I am not going over there they will be talking soccer all the time. It was a laugh but a way out in Martindale. They took 10 shirts off me for $100 which again is not breaking even but it will in the long run. In town yesterday the Irish shop in the rocks which is a start as well – especially when I pick up 30 today and I have already got rid of 20. I can always order more. Setting up is a fortune but my aim is to be the middle man. Weather remains warm.
Thursday 28th January
Not a happy man. Nothing has gone right today – I obviously didn’t get that job as it is a set up. I got through at last to the deputy and at one stage I thought I was in with an interview but there was no job. I have got to phone him up tonight.
Then I went to meet Nicky who I last met in Kuala Lumpa. She was returning home to get married – like soul really, someone travelling around and in love but that all fell through.
I took the Irish shirts into the Rocks but had no money as no one was there. Very hot day – nothing has gone right. Also 20 of those brilliant Lions shirts are on Chinese cotton which are rubbish. I phoned CBon – not happy.
I desperately need a job – this whole dream of getting back to Caroline is slipping away. $3K in debt. I have been there before but not without a job.
Sunday 30th Jan
Welsh boys were around all day – very festering day – bit hungover from last night’s do.
I only sold 20 shirts which was a disappointment. I got wrecked talking to Jacko. Yesterday afternoon I went to the “Cross” and in the Kings cross Hotel – Ii have manged to get 10 shirts in. I will take them in tomorrow. I approach a new week now with spirits not remaining mega high. I have still got no job, and to be honest the shirts aren’t taking off and I am getting worried about even getting to NZ.
Wednesday 3rd Feb
On a mega low at the moment. On Monday I had what I thought was a productive day. I phoned Caroline on the way to the beach – she was not in good spirits so I phoned her in the evening “cos I luvs her” I sent off resumes to loads of schools and in the evening Russ Morgan phoned with 4 weeks work – I was on cloud 9 but Tuesday morning it just evaporated. I was gutted. On a mega low yesterday – up early today, showered and nothing doing. I am not winning at all.
Thursday 4th Feb
Starting to win. The difference a day makes. Phone call last night put me back in the factory today. So pleased. I am back tomorrow at 7.30 and a vague promise of three weeks – hopefully it will take me to when teachers start to go sick – Hooray !! Also the chemist in Coogee shifted a shirt.
It was the hottest day in Sydney for two years – I was unloading container trucks – very hard work, very pleased to be working though. We were taken outside and hosed down with a fire hydrant. Lovely – loads of water. Got back home and straight to the beach – had a letter from Catherine. The sea was fantastic – salad for tea. I am absolutely boiling. I hope to go to the 7’s Rugby League.
Friday 5th Feb
Nightmare of a start to the day. Got on the bus to work and left my bag on the bus stop – so bus back. Work went ok in the factory + I am working at ½ 7 tomorrow overtime. – I will be knackered – no bus to work so I will be up at ½ 5. I am pleased to be working though. I went and picked up some Irish shirts – new one with Australian map on the back and 50 Lions shirts – paid $500 I owe to CBon. Got home to a $180 cheque and a letter off my beloved. I have written back and included an Irish top.
Sunday 7th Feb
Wales beat England last night – what a laugh. I saw the game in Randwick rugby club. 10-9 - 1 lovely point.
Got up this morning at ½ 1 so I missed the replay – what a laugh. I was very rough. Went to Coogee beach and took my camcord. – left it with the boys from the flat and went for a dip. The waves were really huge – just what I wanted. Jacko phoned so I am off to the Merc now – running a bit late. I am so pleased to be working tomorrow.
Yesterday I met Toby and Mandy for an hour and went to the Captain Cook then over to the 7’s. Hit the CBH at 10 drinking with the Cardiff boys – Pete and? We went over to the Randwick rugby club and there were about 20 Welsh boys in red. I took my flag and we had about 3 others – great fun. Especially the result. It was so close. Afterwoods – stupidly in retrospect- especially with what happened to Andy – we went for a swim in the sea. Waves were huge. I walked home and phoned up the Gayts which was a laugh and then Krystoviak then mum and dad and then the girl herself Caroline who seemed in good form. This is very hard on both of us – I hope we both pull through.
Today was the sunniest day in the world. I have got to get some post cards to send to everyone
Monday 9th Feb
Up at ¼ past 6 Fiona told me that her and Jane were moving out tomorrow which was a surprise – they didn’t want to give any notice – we would have been stitched – after chats they are now giving a week. Work in the factory went ok. I am still very happy to be working. One of the other casuals is on a different (higher) rate than me so I will have to check why. I got paid $200 for last Thurs, Fri and Sat. I got back to rain – it was very sweaty all day .. and is now!
I did a stock check and worked out my finances. Basically with all the shirts and money I’ve got I am about $1000 under – my short term aim is of course to fly to NZ at the end of April, buy a car and set up the shirts. I have a hell of a lot of work to do – to say the least.
The boys wanted to review the rent – which was fair I suppose so I will be paying a little more but not the $100 what they wanted because they never considered the house just the room. Jason and Chris at least listened but Peter flew at me. He has been getting under my skin recently and I flew back. I basically decided a few weeks ago that he is a prick so in a few words I told him. A bit stupid really as it will put tension in the house. I wrote a letter to Caroline.
Sharon phoned and I will go and have a look at her new house tomorrow. If there was room in it I would move.
Wednesday 10th Feb
Raining this morning – worked from ½ 7 to 4 on picking and sorting out bags in the factory – boring but the radio helps even though I am getting cheesed off with the station. I will get in early tomorrow and alter it.
After work I went for a swim at Coogee – festered around. The telephone bill is in at last. Peter is still in my bad books – how dare he start all that foot stamping. I am still not happy with Jane and Fiona’s attitude on trying to avoid paying a weeks’ notice. A bit of a kick in the teeth really. – As Sharon said “They haven’t done me any favours at all” which is true. So, all in all not a good atmosphere in the house.
I had 2 letters off Caroline – she is not in the best of spirits either. She will be going home to see her new nephew on the weekend. I had 2 letters off Caroline – she is not in the best of spirits either. She will be going home to see her new nephew on the weekend. I tried to get her flowers for Valentine ’s Day but it was closed. I want to be with her. It seems to be getting harder and harder. I went over Sharon’s place in the evening – really nice – not as handy as Queen St though.
Saturday 13th Feb
Had a phone call this morning at ½ 8 Caroline Louisa has arrived on the scene – Helen’s baby – mum was really excited – wonderful news.
I have been in quite a lot of contact with “my” Caroline – had a few letters and written lots and phoned her up yesterday - I made a balls up of sending a single red rose to Gunnersbury on the 15th when they are on ½ term. Went to the Cock and Bull last nighr – Elton John was playing – brilliant.
Sunday 14th Feb
Feeling fairly tired after being out last night. I went to a BBQ at Cindy and Kev’s then to the Merc with Sharon and the others – then onto the Cross – out far too late. Met Andrew Korn (Acorn) who I used to teach.
Today down to the beach. Weather was great – did some T Shirt stuff then back to the beach and over to Sharon’s. Phoned Caroline who gave me loads of stick for sending her a lovey dovey card and now an early night.
Alarm set for 5 in the factory – no complaints as I am pleased to be working – hopefully do another two weeks at least. I would obviously prefer to be teaching.
Monday 15th Feb
Up at 5 but I was still late – I missed the bus as I got a paper. – An ok day in work. It went fairly steady – tried to get home for the post but missed it. I had a great 20 mins on the boogie board. Got home to a pleasant surprise. John and Martina – who we last saw in India gave us a visit – perfect timing – they are moving in tomorrow, which I am happy about – for four weeks. I went for a meal with John and Martina – they were impressed with China, but I never fancied it. I put John in touch with Mark Pluck for a job. I hope they both benefit.
Chris wanted 8 Irish shirts – I will have to order another 50 tomorrow – they are going OK with Paddies day coming up which is good news.
The Australian election is coming next month. Looks like the Liberals (Tories by another name ) looks favourites.
Wrote a letter to Plucky about boxes!
Wednesday 17th Feb
Up at 5.15 and clocked on at 6.15 – at last caught the bus. Work went ok but I was a bit stiff from training last night. Had a bit of a result in Kingswood – sold 10 shirts and Bill Cunningham has been around and got 6. Chris gave me $50 so I can easily cover the 50 Irish shirts I have to pick up Friday.
Didn’t do too much in the evening – bed by 10.20. Today’s weather was really bad – storms. Wrote a letter to Plucky and Kieran.
Sunday 21st Feb
Been neglecting this diary, - a reason being is I have been spending all my time writing to Caroline. Basically I have been twiddling on in the factory not doing too much overtime. Working from ½ 6 to ½ 3 – still pleased to be working. Caroline sent me Whitney’s tape “I will always love you” – what a woofta.
I can’t get my video to work – the editing part.
Friday night phoned Plucko – she was in good form. I went to the Grand in Bondi and had a mega sesh – ended up in the Coogee Bay Hotel and then asleep on the doorstep. I was dying yesterday. Had a good hour on the beach, did some laundry and then went to the cricket with John and sold another 3 shirts.
Straight out and met Jacko in the Captain Cook and dragged him to Coogee to see Sharon, Woody, Perigo etc. Had a few beers and went to Randwick rugby club to watch the rugby but it wasn’t on. I came home to watch it but not surprisingly crashed out so I don’t know the score. Wales were losing 14-0 at half time. The game on was Ireland/France. The frogs looked in control.
Wales got stuffed 20-0. The day was awful – went to Paddies market got myself a wallet and watch. Cooked a chilli, wrote a letter to Plucky and did some editing on tape.
Monday 22nd Feb
An ok day in work – up at 5 and did some editing on the vid. Work went smoother than normal. After woods I went to the Post Office and took the boogie board to the sea. – Freezing
We had a game of touch and had an all you can eat Monday special nosh up. I feel bloated now. Wrote to Caroline and it is time for bed.
Tuesday 23rd Feb
Knackered – just came back from training, running up and down those steps on the reservoir. Killed me. Today in work I had to unload a container which was different from my dossy little number that I have got at the moment. When pay came it was £357. I asked Gerard why I was on $10.50 and the others on $11.87 – he was really weird “This is not the time and place – phone me later” – I did and I got my pay rise – means nearly $48 a week – bit of a bonus.
I went to the beach and had surf on the boogie boards and went training. Written a letter to Caroline.
Freezing cold this morning.
Wednesday 24th Feb
Up late so I had to run to work – well, to the bus stop anyway. A quiet day in work, because the system is improving I suppose. My feet are still under the table. Got home to a letter off Catherine Buckley and a photo of her sprogs. I have written a letter home and one to Caroline. We all went out for an all you can eat Pizza – not impressed – too samey. I went down the beach, but the waves were garbage.
I phoned Helen to see how she was and everything is ok with Caroline jr.
Thursday 25th Feb
A mare of a day. Up ok but Fred told me that tomorrow would be my last day. – Talk about a kick in the balls. I was gutted. I feel like I have let Caroline down a bit. I need work to get my NZ plan in operation – not over happy at all. Spent all day with my chin on the floor.
Went in the sea – garbage waves. I phoned Plucky to cheer me up; I also had a letter from her. I really miss her, it’s all got to work. I am sending her a video tomorrow.
I went to the gym with Chris and Jason – really good fun. I will go again.
Friday 26th Feb
Now unemployed again. Gloom, gloom, gloom.
Sunday 28th February
3pm – full up with a cold. Feeling very rough. Yesterday I went to the Gay and Lesbian Mardi gras with Sharon. What a laugh – I got some brilliant stuff on the camcord – really outrageous, but bad news is that it doesn’t work now with the battery because one of the pins has broken. We are now over to Jane and Fiona’s for grub. I have said that I won’t drink so that I will drive back. I was going to see Jacko later but he jipped out.
Tuesday 2nd March
Things are not going good at all on the job front. No work Monday or today – very frustrating. Had a letter from Paula – who s pregnant, which is good news for her.
Haven’t done that much. I have a little deal with the Aaronbrook Lodge to make their T’s – I quoted them $7 a shirt so I will make a dollar on every one and I will make a few bob on the artwork and on the screens for setting them up. Not working hasn’t really worried me because it is sunny and I have a cold, but I really need work + if I am not working tomorrow I will get worried.
John and Martina are moving out on Saturday and we have two Manchester lads moving in. I don’t even know their names. I am off training now with Waverley – should be hard – GIZZAJOB.
Later 11pm. Tomorrow I will be more positive. If (as if) DSC don’t give me a job I will phone up the other job agencies.
I went training – very hard, which has got to be good for me I had a bit of luck in the evening, the Moon and sixpence pub wants 20 Celtic shirts – brilliant. I will wait for the cheque to arrive before I send them off but I will order them tomorrow.
Thursday 4th March
An enjoyable day doing supply teaching at last. I had a phone call at 8.10, quickly showered and changed and got a taxi to Sydney Boys school. What a doss – had three classes, all boys – all very well behaved. Two free periods. I will not rely on teaching as it is very limited at the moment but a real bonus for today, only problem was I had a hangover all morning.
Yesterday I registered in another agency and had a frustrating day phoning around places. – I have an interview in the morning, but hopefully won’t be able to make it as I will be working somewhere. I went to the Oceania last night and had a fair old sesh. Got back at 2. I sent off quite a lovey, dovey card to Caroline + had a letter off Kieran – I am quite certain he knows about me and Caroline, not that it really matters to me.
I sent a birthday card to Nan and yesterday sent 20 Celtic shirts to Perth. I am now out and will be picking up more tomorrow.
Friday 5th March
Phone rang at ¼ to 7. I am sure it was a school but I didn’t get to it. I phoned up the two agencies I am now in but no work. I went and signed on with Manpower so I am now in 3. These will of course be of use next year as well. From North Sydney I went to C Bon and picked up my 30 Celtic and 30 Irish shirts. They were giving the Ranger’s boy a flash of orange so I stopped it (luckily) I had to wait an hour for it. I went over Jane Jones’ house last night for a georgeous Thai meal. I want the recipe. I had a letter off Helen with some georgeous pictures of Caroline-Louise. I also had two letters from “my” Caroline who is as beautiful but a bit older.
Saturday 6th March
Not a good day on the shirts. I went to a few pubs, but little response. I phoned Plucky for a nice chat this morning, gave me a boost.
Two lads phoned up who will be in NZ for the Lions – Stuart and Adrian who I am off for a beer with tonight. Rugby is on live Scotland v England – up the Jocks. Our boys are playing Plucky’s boys in Cardiff. Up the dragons. 1.30 – back to watch the rugby. A disappointing night – I am very tired and was just not “with it” – funny, I didn’t really want to make the effort to talk to anyone really – I felt I was killing time before the game. Definitely missing Caroline so much, especially nights like tonight. I am so much in love.
Monday 8th March
Quite down now – no phonecalls from schools and no luck in any of my agencies. I phoned up Drake and I am going to register with them. I mustn’t let myself get too low as it does happen. I cried out of Canberra with Russell Morgan. Caroline phoned up to rip into me about the game.
Tuesday 9th March ½ 6
Work! – I am working in a factory job in North Ryde, which is miles away. I phoned up all the agencies at 4 – nothing, then had a phonecall at ½ 5. $13.70 an hour – the journey in is a drag but it’s work and I am very pleased. Ironically after all my lack of work I had a call off Andy Martin the deputy head of St Paul’s in Manly for a day’s teaching which I had to knock back for the factory. I would rather be teaching.
Last night played touch football – fairly hard as it was 3 on 3. My feet are playing up with athlete’s foot which I can’t get rid of. I phoned up Nan yesterday to wish her happy birthday. Woke up to a massive electrical storm. I have to get to town by 6.59 to get a bus to Macquarie shopping centre by 7.40. Hopefully I will be able to get in by train. I will try and sus it out tonight. Today I expect to be unloading container Lorries.
Wednesday 10th March 6.15
On the bus to work in N. Ryde. It took me 1 ½ hours to get back last night. The work is in a Sony factory. Yesterday I spent the day opening boxes and sticking warranties in them and re sealing them. I was also sticking plugs on tele’s. The main problem is the distance from Coogee, but some of the boys in the factory have been there for 3 months. The job is not 100% secure – when the work runs out they lay you off but here is fingers crossed for work till May – hope so anyway. I have a problem of when to get to CBon to pick up my shirts for Sunday. I will have to give them a ring from work. Of course I am happy to be working. The hours vary, usually 8-4 but sometimes they add another hour on either side.
I wrote a letter to Caroline yesterday on the bus expressing some of my feelings – the poof I am. I don’t know when I will be able to phone her on the 11th. It is important for me as well as her. I am really missing her now. I had a letter off Juddy and Plucky yesterday. She was saying we are over half way, figuring March is ½ way between September and September. That is ridiculous as I expect to be back by the end of July.
Thursday 11th March
Just got to the Sony factory ½ hour early. Didn’t do anything last night – got in about 14 to 6 – went to CBH and they won’t take the shirt – gutted. Had some grub, festered around - saw Oprah interview Michael Jackson and went to bed about 10.
I phoned Plucky today – not in. The 11th is very important for us + I need to talk to her, but I don’t want to dwell on it every year.
The job is going ok – a few people to talk to and the radio is on. Yesterday we were opening boxes and today it looks like a container lorry has arrived – what does that mean?
Friday 12th March
A very mixed day yesterday which thankfully turned out ok? Work was fine and I was quite enjoying the security of working. At 5 to 4 he dropped the bombshell that 4 of us weren’t needed. To say I was gutted was an understatement. I was back to square 1 again, I couldn’t believe it. I got off the bus and phoned Caroline – I needed to. Not much of a conversation because she was half asleep – I had woken her up. I phoned up all 4 of my job agencies. DSC said I could take down a tent on Monday and Tuesday. I got back by train, really gutted. I phoned up Andy Martin from St Paul’s – he had asked me to work Wednesday and I said No, I said that I was now available and he said what about tomorrow. YEEES. What a bargain. So I am in. Up at 6 today and phoned Caroline again. Had a laugh on the phone about her “feeling strong” Into work on the jet cat – what a way to commute. I got in far too early. – Andy said the kids were trouble but they seemed fine – only 400 in the school. I am now in two minds whether to take down the tent! Do I do those two days or do I hope for more teaching. If I go for the teaching it means I blow out DSC which is daft. But – teaching is double the money and more fun.
Saturday 13th March
Election day in Oz (10pm) and things are looking great. I was concerned that the Liberals (Henson – Tories) were going to get in but now it looks like the boys (Keating Labour) will stay in power. At last we have won an election.
Today is a festering sort of day. I couldn’t raise the $600 for the shirts so I had to grab $130 from rent. Picked up shirts for tomorrow – please god let me do ok. Missing Caroline lots. Went to the TakiToa sesh so I got back early to watch the election.
Monday 15th March 7.30
Fairly hungover – went to the Mercantile last night – got there about 9. I worked at the Irish festival flogging shirts. It started off ok but basically the competition crucified me. I was banging them out for $20 and these other lads dropped their price to $5. I had no chance at all. I brought back about $800 which will pay off a few debts and obviously something to build on for Wednesday.
In the election the boy Paul Keating won well. Brilliant news, Henson would have been a disaster. I phoned home yesterday and Peter has sent me a few tapes, I will look forward to them.
I phoned Caroline last night – funny I remember very little about the actual words spoken but I still remain very much in love and I feel very happy the call went well – what a woman. I am missing her so much and I know it’s worth it. I am working at Moore park today taking down a tent.
8.30 A tiring day taking down the big top – better than factory work and I achieved exactly what I wanted which was to avoid the cut – as two people weren’t to come in tomorrow. I was nearly late as I got on the express bus and it went miles past the stop I wanted. I would prefer teaching!!! Lifting heavy metal posts are not my idea of fun, but the boys were ok to work with.
My mind was wandering to ask Caroline to go for residency because there is less tax to pay. Worked till 7 – got back to no mail. – gutted. I was expecting quite a few cheques and there are some tapes from home due in, Sharon phoned, apologising for her drunken behaviour last night, as if I would take offence. Anyway – good news is I am definitely working tomorrow.
Tuesday 16th March
Up at ¼ to 7 – I was gutted that a school phoned. JJ Cahill in Botany – I had to turn them down – what a bugger, still what I want is work and I had some. We wanted job and finish, but were paid by the hour so basically I avoided doing any work all day. Avoided Freddy the fruit fly. Finished at 4, I could have gone on to 6 but it was raining so I thought sod it. I got home to only 1 piece of mail – a $200 cheque from Perth. I then went down and got $40 off the CBH and $12 for a Lions shirt from the chemist – I am unloading all the garbage ones on them.
A quiet night tonight – I have got about 70 shirts left. I have been fairly sensible and not ordered any more. Hopefully I will get rid of them tomorrow with Bill Cunningham. Basically Sunday meant I could pay CBON off and hopefully if I have a good day tomorrow I can pay off access. I have got two main things to save for.
1) My air fare to NZ
2) I want to front up $500 to Bill for my share of a third of the car when we get to NZ
Thursday 18th March 1993
Hungover today or what, Yesterday I worked on the shirts with Bill. Not a great day, but still brought a few dollars back. In fact I can virtually pay off all my debts now and start preparing for NZ. Not a good day on the shirts because the $5 boys were out again. I simply had no chance – gutted.
I phoned Caroline to wish her happy Paddies day. I put the phone down and saw my mail. – four letters from her.!! I got some beers and went to the Mercantile and got wrecked – a good night.
Today the phone was ringing at ½ past 7 – I was dying so I didn’t answer it. I knew it was a school but I was dead. I got up at 11 and Sharon called over. We had a meal in the pub, steak – brilliant. Good news from the chemist down the road sold 9 shirts yesterday. Good result. Gwynfor arrives in Oz today. I might go to the airport with Sharon.
I am working tomorrow in the school with a view in Manly. Had a letter off Lowie, from Romania.
Friday 19th March
St Paul’s Manly – love it. Things are starting to come together. Up this morning at ¼ past 6 to the phone. It was James Cook high in Kogaragh, Russ Morgan’s school. Am I available to work on Monday and Tuesday? Yes of course. It means I have two days defo next week. I have said that I want at least 3 to make up my labouring wages. School will of course finish in 3 weeks when the holidays are on. I did go to the airport yesterday with Sharon, but no joy as her uncle and aunt weren’t there. Gwynfor arrived in Oz so I went to the CBH for a couple of beers. Up and out early for school and had a pleasant ferry ride – not much planned for the weekend yet.
Monday 22nd March
James Cook high in Kogaragh. I have got 3 free lessons today – what a bargain. It’s obviously a tougher school than St Pail’s and obviously I am very happy to be working. I have basically 2 weeks left of school before I am back looking for labouring. I need 3 days per week to be happy. Friday night I had a quiet one. Peter had sent me 3 tapes so I was watching the twins grow up and toddling around.
Saturday I went down the beach, did some laundry then went for a bbq with her aunt and uncle. I then went to the CBH to see off Steve and Anne the Gogs.- A good laugh – ended up wrecked in the sportsman’s watching Ireland incredibly beating England 17-3. Caroline would be pleased. Wales got stuffed.
Sunday I went for an early morning swim then festered around all day. Saw the Welsh game - phoned Jacko – no answer – then Plucky – who phoned me back later which was great. I am missing her.
Today the Lions squad gets picked so I have my rough selection
(Bold means they were picked)
FB G. Hastings (Capt) Rayer
Wing I Evans Geoghan Underwood Stanger
Centre Guscott Gibbs Hastings Carling
OH Barnes Elwood
SH Morris Armstrong
Prop Leonard Popplewell Griffiths Probyn
Hooker Moore Milne
Second Row Bayfield Dooley Weire ?Irish
Back Row Teague Lewis Webster Clarke Robinson Morrison
W 6 E 12 S 7 I 5 We will see ( I had 18 right 12 wrong)
Not a bad day in school – gave a lesson on T shirts – Year 10 sole trading. No problems in school at all. The teacher is away till the end of term but only has 2 days – hence the work for Monday and Tuesday. If I play the old cards right I will get next week and even the week after which would be a real bargain. I am tempted to go to the gym tonight; I will see how I feel later.
Tuesday 23rd March
Up early – georgeous day and a definite result in school. I have been asked back for next Monday and Tuesday. It will be the same timetable so I will be able to have some continuation. It is fairly easy and I like the pay as well so a bit of pressure off for next week.
Weather today is georgeous – the Lions side has been picked. A few contentious one – Barnes and Andrew?? Two Underwood’s? I picked 19/30 which is not that great.
2.50 I managed to get out of school by 2.30 so I made it to the bank and paid off my access bill. I transferred $1250 over which came to £587
£ = $0.47
Wednesday 24th March
How bored was I today! No work is a killer. I need it, my gamble defo didn’t pay off today. At least I need to work tomorrow. I was up at ½ 7 and no phonecall. I phoned Jacko and got the number of St Pats but Michael Watsits was out. They sold another Lions shirt in the chemists down the bay.
I heard really awful news from Sharon. Her auntie and uncle, who I was out with on Saturday were in a car crash and she is on a life support machine.
I am off for a pint tonight at the Oceanic but I will be back by 11. BORING DAY
Friday 26th March
My gamble paid off – Brilliant news. No work yesterday. I went to immigration to check a few things. I don’t need any extra stamps – good. I then went down the Cross and plastered my posters everywhere. I had a phonecall but it was from a girl who would be in NZ but not following the Lions – probably unsuitable.
Saw the film the breakfast club and then gave Caroline a ring for 10 minutes which was very enjoyable. Didn’t do anything in the evening – saw Norman Gungston and went to bed to read.
This morning was the frustration of casual teaching. Because of my defo work on Monday and Tuesday I have gambled on getting 1 more day to justify not calling the agency. Nothing Wed/Thurs. Today I was up at 6.30 and wrote a letter to Plucky. I want the phone to ring between ¼ to 7 and ¼ past 7. By ½ past I was low on confidence and at 8 doomed. Phone rang at 8 – Waverly College – brilliant news, so my gamble paid off + it’s another $125 after tax to pay for NZ. Not very hard work either. Weather outside is great after heavy rain this morning so I may go down to the Sheffield Shield final later with those cricket shirts – If I sold 5 in the hour I would be happy.
Monday 29th March
James Cook school Kogaragh – up early and into school ok. Feet under the table and it looks like I have 2 days next week as well – I could have gone permanent to the end of the year – but I am off to NZ.
Friday night I stayed in. Saturday Gwynfor came around and I watched the Hong Kong 7’s all day – had ½ hour down the beach, I went to Sheila’s birthday meal down Bondi – but I felt really rough so came home early.
Sunday – watched the rugby all afternoon – brilliant. I phoned up Jim the artwork is in the post. I phoned up Ian and Caroline – Looks like Jane and Fiona told Ed about us immediately – did I know? – NO
Gwynfor let me down a bit as I was keen to go to the Mercantile but ended up in the CBH
Tuesday 30th March 3pm
Weather gone cloudy after a georgeous day. I was up early and phoned home to tell them that I had put a wedge of money in my account last week. News from home is that Nan has been very ill.
I did a day’s teaching at Kogaragh so that’s my two bankers over and I am now up early waiting for phone calls for the next three days. I only wish I get one tomorrow.
I wrote a letter to Caroline, but left it in school so I wrote a mini one on the train. I did a blind side run at 2 because I had 2 free lessons. I still feel quite tired though. I had a cheque for £250 yesterday but CBON cocked up the artwork for the Aaronbrook again.
Wednesday March 31st 7.40
I am up and shaved and waiting for the phone – fairly pessimistic as time is ticking on. Over the last 2 days I have no reports of anyone phoning around this time. So I have another ½ hour to wait.
It is very sunny out. Yesterday I got home to three letters from Plucky. I had left hers in James Cook High so I knocked out a lettergram. My camcord is still not ready. The weather outside is really georgeous. Today I am going to do a bit of a stock take, visit Andy Lucas and hopefully get an hour on the beach. I would like to go to the library for an hour and then to the honest Irishman by ½ 5 where I will see Jacko and watch the Ireland V Northern Ireland game. (I wish that phone would tinkle)
Thursday 1st April
God was I rough this morning, I still am really. A really good laugh, Ireland won the game 3-0, I got wrecked and suffered all day today. The boys set an April fool’s joke saying that a school had phoned, but I saw through it. I obviously didn’t work today so I need a phonecall tomorrow desperately. My camcord is mended YIPEE
10.45 I am working tomorrow at Marrikville – brilliant news, so my gamble for this week has paid off. I was so rough today that I didn’t really want to do any work anyway
Friday 2nd April
Mattraville High School – lesson 1 – Up this morning at ¼ to 7. I phoned Caroline for 10 minutes which started me off on a good footing. Bus to school. 7 Staff away – that is why I am in – good. First class only 6 girls – year 9 – a sullen bunch if you ask me.
Saturday 3rd April
My job I was offered was in the paper today. A fairly nothing day – I spent working on my flag. I got a letter off Caroline Ferrario and I phoned up Ian Krystofiak. Jane and Fiona are coming around and I am off to the CBH.
Monday 5th April
Kogaragh Boys – I feel a bit of a fraud taking money for this, it is so easy. Yesterday I went to Mosman oval and sold 16 shirts – excellent result. All cricket ones so I have got $160 in the pocket. I was so impressed with Mosman. I took the ferry over and it was stunning. There was a crowd of 6000 so to sell 16 is still strange but I learnt long ago that no bugger wants them. I have got about 5 left so all in all I have done well to shift them. I can’t be accused of not trying. I got back and watched the Simpsons with Tom Jones and then went to the Mercantile with Geraint and Jacko who gave me a hard time about Plucky. It was a good night but I suffered this morning. I phoned up Caroline last night but it was a bit of a waste because I can’t remember anything about the call. She is costing me a fortune but worth it if please god everything works out. I am really looking forward to getting to NZ now. Today is a doss – I wonder if I will get any more work after tomorrow, unfortunately I will have to get back in the factory.
Pete from the house is moving and given his notice. To be honest I couldn’t give a monkey’s as I will be moving on soon and I don’t like the bloke anyway.
Tuesday 6th April
Spent last night watching Witches of Eastwick which was great. We had a massive electrical storm. I am finishing here in Kogaragh boys so I will be in the land of the unemployed tomorrow – I will be on the phone to the job agencies. Georgeous day today, Hope to go to the beach later. All my thoughts are on NZ. I can’t wait to get over. Three weeks today, I have written a letter to Rhino and had a letter from Paula yesterday, so I have to get a reply to her. I got $400 deposit from the Aaronbrook yesterday so I hope to tie that deal up tomorrow.
Thursday 8th April
No work today and defo no work tomorrow. CBON let me down, the Aaronbrook job is not finished. I still have to go over and pick up the Lions. Sharon called over this morning, I have picked up some great photo’s of Western Oz.
Yesterday I worked in Mattraville High, so I got my 3 days in again. I am getting concerned about Bill Cunningham not getting in touch. I phoned him yesterday and he was cut off. He is flying out Saturday so unless he phones tonight or tomorrow all my plans go on the head. I have got to give him $500 for the car. I hope I am worrying for nothing but I am a bit concerned, Phone bill is in – I owe £189 – I have put that aside so I am ok. My rent is due today.
Last night I went out for a beer with Andy Lucas’ mum and dad. Really lovely people but I didn’t know what to say to them. Wrote a letter to Caroline.
Friday 9th April
Out last night with Jacko – saw Bill + gave him 25 shirts and 20 All Black shirts also threw him my $250 notes for my share of the car. Hurt my wallet a bit – I have now got to get my ticket soon + then my boots and I will be sorted. On the way home I tried to phone Caroline, but she was out so I phoned home.
This morning I was up early, I phoned Plucky who was in fine form. – I am really missing her!! – do things change? I then went to bed. – Up at 12 and saw some TV, went for a walk and then over to Jane Jones’ house – she will sew my flag. Spent the night watching Easts beating Souths and losing $5 for my bet. A fairly boring day. I have got to pick up my Aaronbrook shirts tomorrow.
Saturday 10th April
A fairly boring day – picked up some shirts for the Aaronbrook lodge and ordered 60 Lions shirts for Wednesday. Saw the rugby league during the day and lost another $5 bet with Gary. Gwynfor phoned, I will see him tonight, so did Jane and Fiona so I will go to the Cock and Bull where “One hit wonders” are playing. I am really itching to get to NZ now so I will drag the date forward. What is the point of staying till the Tuesday just to go to the Merc for another Sunday night. Sod it. I will go to the Andy Lucas benefit on the 23rd and fly out on the 25th.
Monday 12th April
I am off to Belmore to watch Canterbury v Parramatta in league with Jacko and Paul Quinn. On the way I have got to pop into the Tea Gardens to pick up the bag I left behind Saturday night. On Saturday I went out with Adam, Gary, Gwyn and met Fiona and Jane’s sister (who had a crack at me) in Bondi. Turned her down of course. I fought her off with my claddagh ring. A really good night – saw “One hit wonders” then went over the Tea Gardens till the early hours.
Yesterday festered all morning, watched the tele, then went to a BBQ with Sharon and Jane. I wasn’t feeling that hot and ended up in The Hero of Waterloo where I had a chat with Leo Duffy who I haven’t seen for ages. Bus home and phoned Caroline, but I was gutted she was out and phoned home. Got back to the house and tried to phone Plucky again but still not in. I am missing her.
I have got a bit of a business proposition to make to Jacko. I am going to ask him to take all my current shirts off me for $6 each – that’s what I paid for them. He can then make the money for himself and I will buy them back next November. It means I will have a cash injection of $500 there will be no arguments of who sold what. He can make a fair bit of money with Celtic on tour and the sports shops of course. He can keep them supplied. Hopefully he will agree.
So next week and the week after I have no work lined up at all. I am fairly pessimistic but I will phone the job agencies tomorrow at ½ 7. I can’t see myself drinking at all today. My confidence is very high for the Lions. I realise there will be lots of competition. – my idea is getting about 20 boys all buying shirts off me looks like falling on its face – the response hasn’t been overwhelming. I think at the end of the day just me Bill and Rob will be doing it. My aim has got to be to make $20,000 profit which would be £6000. I would be really pleased with that. Less than $10000 I won’t be going home and if I worked really hard it would be beyond belief to make $40000. What a dream that would be. I would then be leaving money in Australia to buy a Kombi in Nov 93. Caroline has already saved £2000. It is going to be very cold in NZ.
10pm Canterbury stuffed Parramatta 40 odd 6 – a real pasting. Very, very sunny. Thankfully we were in the shade.- After woods we went to the league club- v.v impressive. I saw Kev from Gilgandra who was drinking with us. Me and Jacko had a mega row with a real fascist with a Welsh jersey on. Took ages to get home. I phoned Caroline halfway through the night – I miss her dreadfully. Fairly wrecked.
Tomorrow I want to phone the agencies at ½ 7 I am very pessimistic about doing any work. Jacko is being evasive whether he wants to do my t shirt idea.
Tuesday 13th April
No work. Not happy with that at all – I want to go to NZ now. I went down the beach for an hour and had a dip. I had the artwork off Jim. It was a bit disappointing as it was a direct copy off Gren – I will use it any way. Good news from the Chemist is he will buy 20 shirts. Not that hopeful about getting work this week at all.
Wednesday 14th April.
Up at ½ 7 and rang the agencies – nothing. Back to bed and at ½ 8 DSC phoned. Work was available at $13 an hour unloading a container. Did I have any steel toe capped boots? “NO” –sorry no work – talk about gutted. I can’t stick this for two more weeks so I will move on five days early which is Tuesday 20th. I am off to Bondi to get my ticket and then the tax office, library then CBON about 3. I was so down this morning, I thought sod it – things have got to work out in NZ. I will work so hard. I am missing Caroline so much. I spent the morning putting up adverts for the flat. I am very low on money so the bond will come in useful. I owe quite a bit of money so I will actually be arriving in NZ with very little money. I feel I am doing something positive now.
1.15 Flights booked
SYD – AUK 20/4/93 CO15 7.30AM – 12.25PM
AUK – SYD 19/7/93 CO15 1.40 PM – 3PM $340
A fairly eventful day I suppose, Got to CBON and picked up the shirts and artwork which is important and then flogged 20 shirts to the chemist. This brought in $250 which will go to pay my phone bill which is horrendous – about $500 – a week’s work – virtually all to Caroline. Happens I spose. Spent the evening editing my video to Plucky and a bit to Ian. Mu god – I will be in NZ in 6 days. I am not the least bit worried about work now. I am owed 2 cheques – I hope they come in.
Friday 16th April
A very humid day. I am off to the flicks on my tod to see the crying game, which will kill the afternoon. I have also got to take back my library book. I went to collect my sheet off Jane. – she hadn’t finished it – I will get it Sunday. I had a chat with Gwynfor – he is definitely coming to see the Lions with us so our little troop grows bigger and good news on the shirts front is he is keen to flog shirts and will take 10 off me now for $100.
Festered around yesterday – had a nice half hour down the beach talking to Caroline via my camcord. I phoned her in the evening to tell her my plans cos I loves her. I want to get on that plane now.
I went to the bank and was pleased my wages were in - $750 for 6 days, - that’s so good. I have got to aim to get as much teaching as possible when we get back.
Sunday 18th April
Up at ½ 6 – the boys Gary and Adam were coming back from the cross, i suggested going to the beach because the weather was so fantastic. We took the boogie board and the rugby ball so I got a bit on tape. Yesterday I went to the rugby. NSW beat Waikato 17-16 not a good game. One of the players went to hospital. Me and Gwyn met Russ Morgan and Roger in the Pine Inn. Had a fantastic steak and a few beers. After the game we had a couple of hours in the bowling club. After that a couple in the Grand and taxi home. I was dead on my feet so I went to bed. About ½ 9 the phone rang and a pleasant surprise to have Plucky on the phone for me. I had a 5 minute chat – then went back to bed. Today I have got to start packing a bit. I am off to the Mercantile tonight on a bit of a going away do.