Now she’s really cruisin’ when the plums take effect – 27th November 1994

Later on after writing yesterday’s piece, we jumped on the train into the city to pick up a hire car at King’s Cross, hurray for the train, cos when we got in the car we were stuck in the peak hour Friday traffic and watched as our little Cherry car and all the other bombmobiles contributed their efforts to the smog, now hanging a hundred foot above all the city like the Turin Shroud, white and ghostly.

It was an hour before we made the open road, north of the city, on our way to Newcastle, a couple of hours away under normal conditions but three for today. Once you leave the city behind the beautiful landscape of bush takes over completely, hiding other roads and train lines from sight, the trees grow in only a couple of inches of soil and up to enormous heights. The freeway has cut through large long chunks of rock and you can see the strata as you flash by and at the top of the ridge gums balance precariously, seemingly rootless. They even grow out of crooks and crannies out of the sheer side of the cutting. The road is divided by a wall of rock a few feet high, left as a safety barrier against the totally fuckin’ insane drivers here, there’s a dickhead every other mile or so.*

Either side of the road valleys dip and plunge out of sight, completely grey/green with trees, all liable to go up in smoke in the blink of an eye. As you approach the Hawkesbury River you slowly descend to the bridge which suddenly appears, shot out from the rocks onto the bridge and a magnificent view overwhelms on either side of the road, flying along about twenty feet above the water level, over and up and on through the mountains til things level off and become more plains like, with ocassional views into the distance, farms visible on the horizon and home made billboards nailed to trees ‘hubcaps 5km`, five k’s brings you through a tiny outpost with a couple of houses, one of which presumably sells hubcaps.

Forward, forward, as the sun descends slowly to our left, that side of the sky still fiery, the other side in pitch, the clouds above, still visible to the sun, glow in a nuclear red haze reminiscent of dreams, we sit and wonder and awe, keeping one eye on the road of course!

Up and into Newcastle, to the university, which is set in the most beautiful grounds you’re ever likely to see a learning establishment set, buildings dotted around in the bush land, the place is huge but hardly any is visible because of the trees and the landscaping, we eventually find the building we are looking for after the mozzies have a feeding frenzy on our blood.

We’re here for an art exhibition which includes an old friend of Broni’s work, he’s also an old flame, so I feel a bit funny about it but not so bad that I couldn’t be friendly but you can imagine I viewed him in a slightly different way and as it turns out he’s a pleasant unassuming character, but of course what the hell did you expect, very polite and friendly and proudly showing off his nine week old son, his girlfriend, also an old pal of Broni’s, is just as friendly and I start to relax and from the chitter chatter it seems like this area would be a preferable place to live and there’s a possibility of Broni getting work here as she has an interview on Tuesday for one of the hospitals here.

So, things are going well and we head into the town after studying the weird and wonderful sculptures on display and find ourselves a beautiful Vietnamese restaurant which still deigns to feed us at ten thirty at night.

The drive back to Sydney is uneventful and we’re relieved to be in sight of our bed at half one am. Big emotional day it’s been.

But hark the birds are singing and we’re up again, this time with more adventure in mind, to head out west to the start of the Blue Mountains to Warrimoo (I’m used to the unusual places names now, they don’t make me laugh any more, most of them being aboriginal in origin, they have a peculiar authenticity) to go and visit my cousin Jan, who I’ve only spoken to a couple of times to on the phone since getting here, so I’m discovering a new strain of the family, her gran was my gran’s sister.

24th Mar 2021 – Of course, eventually I became one of those dickheads too – fully assimilated.

All week long you’ll fret yourself – 25th November 1994

What’s your problem Shaun, hey? One minute you feel so big and happy the next so small and sad. Is that brave face crumbling under the pressure? Are all the good things dissolving? No I don’t think so. But maybe I don’t get to see those good things so clearly sometimes, we recognise that it is easier to see the bad things don’t we? Me and you, old buddy.

Ok, I’ve been a bit grim these last couple of days, grim as in Steve Burgess ‘grim’ with a big growling ‘jee-arh’ and a quick to finish ‘im’. Reason? Oh, usual stuff, you know, just missing people and missing that security that I used to have (ha, the security I wanted to get rid of, of course, like my shitty job!)

I find it difficult to describe, I think I said I feel a bit directionless at the moment and wasn’t so sure who I was, man that is the worst thing in the world, not knowing who you are, don’t you think? Most of us like to think we know who everyone else is without ever knowing ourselves, easier to judge others than to look at ourselves, oh but that’s a big generalisation and really I’m talking about myself.

But today I feel better about myself, more able to cope with the difficulties I face each day becuase they are not difficult at all, you can make a big deal out of them if you want to but why waste more energy? I think I’ve talked myself round to feeling good, hmm, excellent!

Not much to recall about the past few days, I went into the city one day which was good fun but I’m sure I choked on some exhaust fumes that has now brought on this minor cold I’m suffering with, cities are dirty, shitty evil places, even nice ones have some lurking dark corners or maybe my eyes were more open to accept that train of thought on that day, there’s something to think about.

Found this photo at – There were a lot of holes in Sydney in 1994 – I think most of the filled by 2000 and the Olympics – World Square seemed to come later.

Just a fly (Outwardly we’re lying, inwardly we’re crying) – 24th November 1994

Sorry if this seems just a bit disjointed to you. It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything like this. It must be experienced. It is not something that you can plan. It just happens, flows. The experience is quiet now. Try not to induce the experience with drugs. Drugs can cloud the memory, therefore disposing part of the experience. Drugs can increase the awareness of the experience as it is happening, please be careful.

So she read on the side of the bottle of small green and purple capsules. Shit, maybe she ought to take them, looks like dust had been gathering on the bottle for a few weeks at least. What did she need them for? He walked into the room, sat down and collected his thoughts. ‘Fuck!’

He started eating the toast. Imagining he was a fly in the room watching himself, envious, eating the toast. The radio breaks his concentration. Something about people dead. But he’s heard that one.

Walking towards the window, toast in hand, the fly bangs his head. Slowly he lifts the net curtain. The sky is blue and white and black. People get on the waiting bus. ‘Two to town please.’ ‘£1.50.’

Sat down in the sideways seats, the vicar and the whore talking about world domination. Falling up the stairs stupidly, a blind man, two boys with hands in his pockets. The coat a sort of grey/green checked affair, made of that weird shit material you ‘normally’ associate with old people. Use the word normally carefully. Use the word carefully normally.

The boys laugh at the girls for liking flowers because they just like their guns. The boys laugh even harder at boys liking flowers. Well it’s just not natural is it? Fucking laugh. Ha ha ha ha ha. Can’t fathom the feelings you’re feeling. Really screwing with my head. Don’t want to take no shit but keep in touch with sense because of love, because something feels right and in them thar bones. Can’t talk to you sometimes but I’m glad I haven’t got a diary. I finally get off the bus. Wonder what the vicar was saying? Only heard the whore’s side of the story. Can’t imagine it was all true.

Walking to the shopping centre being chased by chip wrapping paper tapping my ankles in the wind. Black girl on opposite side of road looks happy. Don’t see many round here, especially not happy. But you mustn’t cry. Something will happen to make you laugh, so just be happy waiting for it. This feeling is so intense. It is encompassing the whole of my brain. When I am away from you, I try to see through your eyes without having any idea of what you might be looking at. I want to be inside your head.

Pass the record shop, kicked the habit years ago. That’s a lie – I just keep it a secret now. I know, I know – no secrets. So I shall have no secrets in the search for trust and truth. But when I get to heavens gates will they refuse me entry? Whose decision is it and why? My feelings are from the heart – my emotions are often stupid and derelict – please try to ignore them, for they are not important. I have violence in my hands but restrained. Prefer to do constructive things.

Walking onwards I could see it coming.

Hey. Wait. Don’t. Step. Out. Oh. Shit. Too. Late. The. Lady. Hit. The. Bumper. Now. Her. Blood. Decorates the road. Pollock style. Single colour. Walk away. Try to see through the crowds eyes. No need to watch in horror in person. Like a prison inside their minds. So easy to get in but so hard to let out. No imagination.

Long, long green fields on a warm day with a sprinkling of clouds to add a bit of variety. I can imagine it and I know I’ve never been to that particular place although there are certain places it could be. The mind is a wonderful thing. Use it. It’s Friday lunchtime. Free from all forms of addiction for nearly a week now. Constant barrages of noise infest the brain – self-inflicted though. A change in patterns and waveform varies the mundanity. A true eternal worrier. Don’t get pissed off with it for me. See it through and I’ll be as good as I can. Sometimes it would be nice to talk without laughing. Sometimes the laughter seems like riddles. But I don’t know if it’s just me imagining me imagining me imagining things, if you can sort of understand?

The skies turn blue, pink, purple and white. So vivid he thought. The street lights at night though seems so cold. I seem depressing. Walking back from work onto the housing estate, everything quiet, he gets so depressed. Just sits down, eats his tea, watches telly. Lost. No stimulus on the nerve endings in the brain. Dead to the world. Seems like a government plan to me. Gentle, subtle persuasion. The fucking mind games seems so obvious sometimes but it just can’t be real. Which leads to doubt. Complicated stuff.

Focus your thoughts on one particular subject. Little, minute, stupid – any subject, no matter how irrelevant. Work your mind around it totally. Examine its structure, how it formed, its purpose. If it has none to be seen, invent a purpose. Wrap yourself in your thoughts, become the subject. See from the inside. New perspectives. New concepts. New beginnings. One day you will die. Do you wish to spend from now till then with me? Or is there something you would like to do? Don’t laugh at me because I may feel hurt. Laugh with me and we can rock together. There is nothing sinister in my urges.

Trapped inside his own bubble. His own space. Pushing against the sides. They stretch forever. Never near a breaking point. Sits down quietly and contemplates a strategy. Wait. People stare at you in the avenue. What could they want? What could they see? What makes them think they’re so great?

So the story continues although it was never a story. More of a gut feeling. An explanation of intent. There is no flow at the moment. Something close to me as interrupted the patterns in my mind. So easily distracted sometimes. But I can rest assured the thoughts shall return. Life is usually stranger than the drugs you can use to help you find your reality. Could we be addicted to life? How can we give it up? Some people look at you like you’re a freak. They suck and I won’t let them get me down. The people in the minority are the survivors.

“Head colds are bad for the memory, darling” she whispered sweetly in his ear. What was his name? Not darling for sure. “You lay there and I’ll get you a cup of refreshing tea. Maybe that will revitalise your energy. It won’t clear this stinking headache. Substitute the word ‘fuck’ with ‘freak’.

She rolled out of bed. It seemed empty and cold now. Lacking security, as the monsters gather. Whimpering cowardly. Ain’t it good to be alive? Here is a box marked confidence. It isn’t a trick. Open and see. The world and his wife rushed out like a Spielberg special effect. All over the goddamn room.

He finally woke up and got up. Scaly teeth – brushed clean. Someone died on the pavement. Someone is happy. Someone is making love in the flats opposite. Someone is pouring milk on their Weetabix. Someone is racing in an ambulance to hospital. Someone else is driving the ambulance. Someone is on telly. I don’t wish I was someone else. I am someone else.

6th May 2021 – Not sure of exact date of writing. Pages were stuck in the 1994 diary. The title “Just a Fly” got me thinking about the Thatcher on Acid song ‘Fly’ but I couldn’t find any lyrics from it to use as a title here but whilst searching I found this other ToA song title which seemed to suit perfectly.

I won’t ever slack up, punk you better back up – 21st November 1994

Got the cuddles I sought and even though Friday night felt like Friday night those endomorphins were still shooting through my brains and little restless Shaun decided to open up all fourteen crates downstairs in the garage and bring up all the contents into the flat which was another two hours running around, and I was bouncing up and down the stairs two at a time with boxes of records and tapes and comics and clothes, so pleased to have them back in my possession again and yippee, we found the Deep Turtle tapes straight away but by the time I’d finished rushing about we weren’t in the mood to hear them, Broni unable to cope with my activity rate watched TV and relaxed herself for the evening which was fine with me. Dripping with sweat I jumped in the shower for the second time that evening and fell into bed dead dog tired.

Deep Turtle – I love my air guitar!

Stayed there for quite some time too despite the urge to get up at five in the morning again and when we finally did make it out of bed Broni headed into the city while I unpacked some boxes sorting out CDs and generally jumping up and down with my air guitar to Deep Turtle at full blast, this, of course, proved fatal to my over worked body, my brain not fully realising quite how exhausted I was and I found myself in bed when Broni came home knocking on the door.

Sometime later we headed up to Hurstville to go and see The Nightmare Before Christmas, an animated tale of the folk from Halloween town taking over Christmas and abducting old Santa, some corny bits didn’t help but it is Disney so what do you expect but it was the animation that really stole the show, brilliantly done with so much going on on screen at one time.

We couldn’t quite get it out of our heads some article on the radio Broni had heard earlier in the day that detailed the beginnings of Christmas and how it had evolved over the years and where the Santa figure came from, apparently in the early part of this century Santa had all but been forgotten when Coca Cola used him for an ad campaign and that’s where Santa’s current red and white colours originate from.

The film had put us in high spirits so we picked up a bottle of champagne and got drunk watching another movie in the comfort of our beautiful home, sat curled up together on the lounge. We made it in to bed and again slept the sleep of the dead.

Sunday morning was cold and quiet except for the paper boy blowing his whistle at eight in the morning, with thoughts going through my head about where best to shove his whistle, sometime later actually getting up when the sun decided to come out and stay out and fry our socks, up to thirty six degrees today, we’d arranged to meet P_ and the kids after their visit to the church in the city but arrived too late due to our error on the trains and Broni fell about in hysterics, the heat and the pressure getting too much for her, I tried to comfort as she flopped on the cold ground in Hyde Park saying she wanted to be a leaf, I stayed calm and kicked her butt into gear and got us on a train up the North Shore to Hornsby where we ended up about an hour later, the sun still ferocious not a cloud in sight.

At P_’s we kept the kids occupied, later taking Ben and Damien up into the town to the olympic size outdoor swimming pool where we all swam about playing diving games and me getting better every time I touch the water, this time managing to do handstands and sitting on the bottom, so pleased with myself I am about that.

The pool is on the edge of bush land and gum trees tower over the stands at the edge of the pool. The sky was darkening and the trees swaying and swishing in a medium wind, although warm in the pool the wind chilled the skin as you surfaced the water and slowly the clouds got darker and darker and the air became still and oppressive. The temperature taking a big increase as we walked back, the sky watching us, the clouds following closely behind.

Back at the house we sat on the verandah as thunder grumbled gently in the heavens and brief flashes lit up the dull leaves of the trees, a few drops of rain descended making little dusty balls of liquid in the dirt then as if someone had given a signal, rain cascaded in sheets and everyone made their way inside execpt for me and P_, sharing a love of the weather whatever it’s like, marvelling in it’s magnificence.

About ten seconds later, again it was impossible to believe because although the rain was heavy there was not a whiff of breeze, but bang, the wind was a rage, big trees were in danger of breaking in half and the rain blew into the verandah soaking us in an instant, we couldn’t see the trees on the opposite side of the street, white sheets of water obscuring our view, we headed inside to watch it out the back, thunder louder now and lightning more frequent, we watched the trees whipping the ground, watched the fence blow over bending the iron bars in the ground, waited to see if the guinea pig cage would survive, watched it all pass over and a minute later the sun started peeking out, brightening the storm’s destruction and soon after we fixed the fence and were back out playing basketball.

We hit the train again at about eight o clock and made it through the door a couple of hours later realising that it would take us two hours to travel between Poole and London, a hell of a lot further, and we promised to get ourselves a car as soon as we got some full-time work sorted out. And of course, we’d gone through the sleep barrier and into our second wind and stayed up into the early hours before long and beautiful sleep.

Searching for photos shows that a new Aquatic Centre was built in 2010 and these were the only pictures I could find that show a little of how it was in 1994.

It smells just like me and it smells just like you – 18th November 1994

After work, the Dublin dude – whose name is possibly Pete – they’re all calling me by my first name because they only have my one name to remember but I have all their names to remember – anyway, he is driving the works minibus to the train station so I gratefully accept a lift not realising what a mad bastard driver he is (should’ve guessed!).

Some hour or so later I make it home where my beautiful baby chatters her beautiful head off to me about all she’s been up to while I’ve been slaving! (ha) And she’s even got dinner all made and, yummy it is and then she rubs my feet in Vitamin E and lavender oils and it’s all too much, I have to go to bed and catch up on lost sleep!

Bang! The alarm clock wakes the dead – out of the cloak of shadows, the depth of dreams, the grace of angels, it’s quarter to five (man, the hour has a four in it – I can’t understand why I am awake – a common problem for the working population) and ah hell, I’m on the train again. Wish me luck.

A-ha! Back on the train, etched with pathetic graffiti and dirty from a decade of to and froing up the North Shore.

Work was work and lunch was lunch but I found out I wouldn’t be needed next week which is some relief (our 14 crates arrive today, yippee!). And after the grind I walk to the train (some distance, dude) via golf course and foreshore trail (smells like shit, that unmistakable estuary whiff) up some roads, still running and gunning after nine hours on my feet, just try and stop me! And I, happy and singing cos for the first time in Australia it feels like a Friday and it feels like anything is possible tonight (even though sleep is probable and probably preferable – leave the Friday night life to the youngsters and wish ’em all the best).

I walk via a storm drain, stopping to watch golfers practice on the driving range, noting there’s a ‘hole-in-one jackpot’ and I reckon I could do that, no worries! (No worries mate! I’m even writing my new language). Then up the street some more to witness a fistfight in the street, holding up traffic and passers-by. Ego! Oh yes, bruised male ego – some guy dinked another guy’s car – big fuckin’ shit, man!

A passer-by says to let ’em get on with it (Jeez – what a wasted life!)(Shaun sits in judgement over all, by the way). What a spectacular life I’m having though, on the train again, homeward bound, leafy in love, seeking Broni cuddles.

25th Mar 2021 – I’ve used this Van Pelt image before but the mention of the golf course in the text brought it to mind again. And of course, now I’m listening to them!

Take a little bit of everything you see – 17th November 1994

Don’t you know it, old Shauny went and got himself a job, across the city, on the river, in Cabarita and fuck all if it doesn’t start at 7.30 in the morning which sees me writing this on the train at 6am with the song ‘9 to 5’ buzzing around my head, like, I wish!

Sure was a shock to get a phone call at 4.30pm yesterday and realise just over 12 hours later I’d have to get up and go to work. On the day our tea chests are supposed to be delivered too.

It’s just packing work, pharmaceuticals and maybe only for today and tomorrow but with the possibility of being kept on if they like me (ha ha!). Guess I’ll have to pack those boxes with more than just skill and dexterity but also with some style and flair! (Man, that alarm woke me up during some wild dreams)

Well, that’s the morning gone and it’s gone ok. People are friendly and helpful but I won’t talk about the work ok, cos work isn’t what’s important but people are.

I’m working with three ladies (I call ’em ladies cos they’re older than me!) on a production line in a room of about six lines. It’s noisy and I don’t understand what people say. Everyone else is used to it or second guesses what’s being said. Everyone is pretty cool though and because I didn’t know what to do yet I’d spend time just sitting around waiting for instructions.

I met some of the other workers in the canteen. A guy from Dublin who married an Aussie girl and loves it here. A guy from Edinburgh who seems to have done the same and also talked to an Aussie who told me he’s travelled Europe and has relatives in southern Italy and was surprised at my query about Mafia presence there, saying it’s not visible to yer average person living there.

It’s cool that people are friendly and talkative and I tried explaining that to them, that people are a bit more wary in the U.K. (maybe half trying to explain my difficulty in meeting new people and being open, honest and forward with strangers, I think the more I practice being like that or around people like that, the more it will rub off on me – an old Fusion lyric sits in my head at that thought ‘Take a little bit of everything you see/Roll it into one, into something you can be’)

Something’s gonna crack on your dreams tonight – 16th November 1994

Woke up this morning all excited because last night was the first time since Steve died that I’ve dreamt about him. Not some mega fantastic meaningful dream with some deep message (well, maybe not) so this is what happened.

I’m in the front room of a wooden shack type house and the front wall isn’t there, it’s like a big verandah and immediately outside it’s like a BMX dirt track, all rolling mounds and hills and there’s Steve riding on his bike up and down and around. We say hello and talk to each other like nothing has happened and I’m really pleased to be able to talk to him again.

It’s time for lunch and I turn around and Chrissy and Broni are sat at the table with lunch all prepared so I go to sit down grabbing an extra plate for Steve on the way. Chrissy realises what I’m thinking immediately and says “Steve’s not really here, you know”.

I woke up then and thought about getting up and writing it all down but opted, in my laziness, to try and get some more dreams in, which I did but no more about Steve. It could mean something, it could mean nothing but it felt great just having a moving image of Steve in my mind again.

This was after an exhausting day yesterday which involved us going to the pool, which we found is only a quarter of a mile away, to practice that thing I’d vowed never to learn some years ago, thinking why would you need to know how to swim in England, not knowing then my future and heading towards such wild and pretty beaches and rivers and ocean in Australia.

So for an hour we swam up and down and under and round just having fun, getting our bodies slowly into shape, not some long haul 100 length job, god forbid, I can’t even manage one length in one go yet! But I will, just you wait. And maybe all that exercise jogged my subconscious that Steve used to play football and do some weight training and always looked incredibly strong. In fact I’ve got some lead for taking up indoor soccer (yes, it’s called soccer over here) which I may persue when I get a bit more stamina.

I flashed it once and I was inside with a drink – 12th November 1994

Pic: First passenger train to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge – I love finding old photos like this online.

Today we went up to the north of the city, getting a train over the Harbour Bridge, up to see Cathy in Artarmon, again up to the north the views from the train are a bit more pretty than our usual journey.

Her friend Robert comes round and we head off in the car, this time back into the city to go to St Mary’s church to see a friend of theirs get married, not officially invited we just sit at the back.

We watched the big limo pull up and the bride had to faff around waiting for photos to be taken of her and her bridesmaids, then she walked up the steps and into the church and then a few minutes later down the aisle. It felt really voyeuristic to watch and it was odd seeing Japanese tourists come and go while the priest was mumbling away.

The echo was awful (remember how I described how big this place is?) and they set up a microphone and a couple of speakers for the priest which may help in some parts of the building but at the back it just turned into an echoey mumble, we left about halfway through, slightly disappointed that such a magnificent building didn’t seem to make for a good ceremony. We got a few ideas from it in that it showed us a few things that we don’t want at our wedding.

Kathy drove us all the way home and it was good to have someone else in the house for a change. It was teatime* by the time they left and we realised we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, so whipped up some food and alcohol and lazed away the evening watching crumby TV and playing games on the computer, which Broni was proud to win.

17th Mar 2021: It’s funny seeing the word teatime now. Definitely a hold over from English culture and something I no longer use.

Hello tomorrow, today – 11th November 1994

We make today a special day (oh, very holy) and decide to head to the beach for the first time in this fair land. We look forward to it all day but its about 4 o’clock by the time we get there, heading south to Cronulla, through the bushy suburbs of the city to what seems like the outskirts.

My eyes are stuck to the windows of the train, our usual journey into the city is lined with factories and industry and where it is suburban all the houses are visible, but here all you can see is trees with the odd corners of houses sticking out or braking the skyline. Some houses are built on steep embankments above small tree infested valleys, stilts sticking out of the floor of the construction, going down twenty, forty feet til finding ground to support from.

Over a bridge over a river with a peninsula in the foreground standing high, along the waters edge, small boat buildings and above, up the windy steps, huge houses nestle in the bush, the wealthy cats must hang out there.

Cronulla, last stop on the line, this train terminates. It’s a blistering hot day but the cool breeze is blowing off the sea to the station and we follow our noses to the beach, past a hardcore record shop where skaters hang out outside listening to the music blasting away, what more could you want? It briefly reminded me of Black Flag coming from Redondo Beach, but with a blink my mind was captured by the sight of the beach, beautiful warm yellow sand in a tiny cove lined by slippery slimy rocks which went off one way round the corner and out of sight and the other leading to the main beach, apparently the longest stretch of sand in the area.

We walked round, past ocean baths, swimming pools built into the rocks and watered by the ocean, a safe swim and if you go to the ocean edge of the pool the wave will bash up against the side and over your head. We carried on, to our left, blocks of flats towered on the small cliff but trailed off as we walked round the corner and the sand started again. We laughed and played like kids in the sand and remembered the times we used to go down to the beach after work, with John, when we lived in England, it being a similar time of day (despite the lateness the sun was still high and hot).

We ventured into the water, very slowly, it was freezing to our little hot bodies, slowly letting it envelope us, but after a few metres the waves became bigger and we didn’t have much choice about getting wet. Once in though it began to feel warm, our bodies adjusting. We watched the other kids body surfing, catching a wave and swimming with it and we attempted to imitate them with little success at first but after a while I caught a wave and frightened myself as I was riding this wave, my head was in front of it and all I could see in front of me was bare sand, no water! I was flying along about two feet above the ground, but the wave broke and cushioned my fall to the sand and I got up, huge grin and back out to try it again.

The next time though we were both stood awkwardly and we got dumped, I went under for about five seconds and all I could see was the white wave all around me, when will I come up!? I found Broni and she got hit bad, dragged along the sand on her back and tumbled into a somersault, she retired hurt and slightly embarrassed, but it did make us realise the power of the water.

I went back in and the waves grew stronger and stronger, one minute the water was knocking round your ankles, the next it was too deep to touch the bottom, big waves which we would never see in England, I managed a couple more rides before getting out and drying in the sun as it slowly set over the other side of Australia.