Your senses are bombarded by the roaring that you hear – 20th October 1994

Last night we drove back from Bathurst, over the beautiful mountains, unfortunately covered in a dense fog, scary for me to drive through, up those tight turn tracks with ten ton trucks overtaking in their haste and knowledge of the roads (poor little scared foreigner I am) straight into the city like an arrow from the mountains.

We quickly stop off at the flat to dump a car full of Broni’s stuff (more clothes, workbooks and electric piano(yeh, brush her up on her ivory work because she’s great when she gets her act together on the piano)) and then we’re off again, we don’t ever stop, to Marrickville for a family and friends meeting on mental illness.

Broni’s brother G_ suffers from schizophrenia, he was there with his elder triplet brother C_. (the triplets, C_ is the one who made good, so to speak, and has a job, wife and five kids, A_, the middle trip started the mega famous band Icehouse and could be described as on the rock and roll journey of experience and has been known to go off the rails from time to time, married and divorced and a child by someone else and then there’s G_, born tiny and recognisable in boyhood photos as the not so happy chappie, now 37 and coping with his illness)

For someone who sometimes loses control he’s quite together and the meeting tonight helped me understand a little bit about mental illness plus I get to see a bit more of G_, like all the rest of the brothers and sisters of this Smith generation are fairly simple to work out, you know where they are coming from, G_ needs a bit more time to consider.

So, the meeting’s cool and there’s more to be covered over the next three Wednesdays, so we promise to go to them for our own interest as much as for G_’s comfort. We give G_ a lift home, not far up the road and drop C_ off at the train station but we end up driving him all the way up the north of the city home cos hell, we feel like it and he promises us some food and drink, something we’ve forgotten in our long day.

We drive for miles and miles eventually reaching his place, where the promised goods are delivered, we also pick up Broni’s piano music which their kids had been using while Broni had been in England, so after this short relaxing break we trek back across the city, on the harbour bridge at midnight, wow what a sight, the city’s lights tiny beacons of life, parties happening, people working late, lights for no good reason, and then we get lost and then we get found and then we get home and get ourselves tucked up in the security of our luxurious double bed, spoonlike.

We get up early to take the hire car back, which we do with no hassle and stop off for breakfast in a beautiful vibrant but secluded cafe. The waiter is a charmer, sweet french accent, soft tone, looks intelligent and moody, the waitress, his girlfriend or wife, beautifully sexy, all in black, moody and sultry, they’re both running around like crazy at this crazy hour of the morning, their french friends sat at the end of the cafe sneaking quick snatches of conversation. The food is delicious. Betty blue sits on the wall in posterol glory no spelling error, the very definition of France and its beauty.


A cold whisper of darkness came over me as I stood waiting for service in the post office.  Both doors were wide open as normal, outside blue sky and sunshine. When I’d finished and stepped outside onto the wide clean sidewalk I saw the reason for my cold shudder. Up in the heavens something was a-brewing. The sky had divided into two, one side bright blue the other a steely grey, like the rumbling of oncoming evil and bad tidings, a low bubbling cloud so unlike the beautiful clear sky that it was now taking over.

The building on the left is the 24 hour pub, conveniently located opposite the station and usually occupied when I was catching the train at 7am.

I ran home excited and at the turn at the top of the street I saw out into the distance the enormity of the storm as it came in across the ocean. As my eyes flicked across the long horizon a bolt of lightning shot down to earth about a mile away. The wind was whipping the tall eucalyptus trees into a frenzy of excited rustling noise, deafening the low mellow tone of thunder in the distance.

Blue circle – our apartment was around here.
Red circle – the 24 hour pub

Botany Bay is directly south just a couple more blocks

I dragged Broni out to see, she’d promised me storms and here they were, and we ran back up the street, over the road and up to the train station for a better view. Things were now very grey, but still visible a line across the sky where this storm was invading our beloved sunshine.  Cracks of thunder and shots of lightning whizzed around in the distance as gradually the drops of rain became harder, heavier and more numerous. We stood in the eye of the storm, getting wet in the delicious rain, soaking our bones and then ran home to dry off in the shelter of our flat.

This photo from the station bridge is the same spot we were observing the storm.

All photos on this page found via search.

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