YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW, part 17. How my Mum upset the Minister for Defence and Inspiration for my first novel.

How my Mum upset the Minister for Defence. Mothers can well – be mothers, bless them. I won’t go into the relationship I had with mine, other than she reminded me of a lioness who would tear shreds off anyone who hurt you. Yet at the same time would shred you too. So I felt sorry for the Minister, Malcolm Fraser. I may have mentioned the Sergeant in charge of our RAP, the aid post. He didn’t like me, why? I don’t know, what I do know is he was a disagreeable son of a bitch sort of a bloke. When I returned from Brisbane and handed my medical documents to him, I informed him that I had an appointment with a specialist and had to go to physio a couple of days a week. I do believe he binned filed them and I went on my way. I had been happily rationing away for a few weeks when El Capitan bellowed from his office. Hobbling manfully down the hallway I stuck my head around the door. He lounged back in his chair, his silvered head stuck above a copy of the latest Playboy magazine,
“Err, you called Sir?” – magazine lowers a fraction – “You’ve pissed somebody off young Smithy, the OC wants to see you.”
From the Macquarie dictionary-Trepidation /trepa dei sen/ noun.1 tremulous alarm or agitation; perturbation.
Laurie’s translation-SHITTING BRICKS./ v. shit ting bricks/

I’d only ever been called up before the Colonel-once and that was for my stripe. Before this it was trying not to stare at what was left of his neck after he’d had an argument with cancer. Monday mornings he would stop and talk to every person on parade, some small comment or a well done. The man was one of life’s gentlemen. That’s okay out there amongst everybody else, not in his office. I know he wasn’t too happy with the Troopers on Confined to Barracks who took his antique Cavalry sabres off the wall and played swashbuckling pirates all over his office desk. That ended badly indeed. The condemned man walks a mile to the gallows, it only felt like three steps and I was there. The Orderly Room Sergeant and Corporal both smirked at me while I waited uncomfortably to be ushered into the inner sanctum. I stood there doing a mental checklist: are my boots clean, did I spill orange juice on my tank suit – again, is my beret straight?

“Lance Corporal Smith – in here.” I could see my hard-won lonely stripe being flushed down the toilet. I made a grand entrance coming to a slam-bang halt, whipped my arm up in a salute that would have made the Queen quiver with excitement, flashed it down and bellowed,
“Sir.”
“At ease young man,” he lifted a white sheet of paper, “do you know what this is?”
The temptation to reply, “A sheet of paper,” soon evaporated. Instead, “Err, no Sir.”
“Tell me, do you think that we here are unapproachable?” I looked quizzically around, we were the only two there. “Hmm, no sir, I, we don’t.”
“So can you tell me why you complained to your mother, instead of going through the rank structure and talking to me about a lack of care and medical aid for your knee?”
“Me Sir, I didn’t complain Sir. She asked me last week if I had been to the specialist or if my physio had started.”
“And?”
“Well, it hasn’t. I should have had them weeks ago.”
“Stand easy.”
My knees buckled a little and he yelled into his phone, “Get me Sergeant (I forget his name, let’s call him Todd) down here now.” Crunch! He slams the phone down and pics up the paper, “This is something no officer ever, ever wants to receive.”

John Malcolm Fraser, Minister for Defence. became Prime Minister. Thanks Wikipedia for photo.

John_Malcolm_Fraser_1977[1]

“It is a Ministerial. It comes from the Minister for Defence, this man can make or break the careers of Colonels like myself. As of now I am on his radar. He also spoke to me on the phone not twenty minutes ago, on my phone and he is not a happy man.” His face had become purple around the edges, the huge scar on his throat throbbed and his eyes had taken on a look obviously used for shrivelling people. My Adams apple bobbed up and down and I stared at the picture of the Charge of the Light Brigade on his wall. I remember that it was a debacle too. His phone rang, he answered it and sat back. Sergeant Todd entered, glared at me and gave the boss a salute and something resembling a snivelling smirk, “Sir?”

Thanks to Wikipedia for image.

220px-CatonWoodvilleLightBrigade[1]

“Sergeant, did this man give you his medical records?” – “Yes Sir.” – “In those records were there appointments for a specialist visit, plus requests for further physio treatment?” – “Yes there was Sir.” – “And you didn’t follow through?” – “No Sir I thought…..” The colonel held his hand up, “Lance Corporal Smith, you may return to your duties and close the door behind you.” I gave a wicked salute, about turned and was off.

Lurking in the Orderly Room I listened with the rest of them as Todd received the bollocking of a lifetime. It was loud, fearsome and I loved every minute of it. Todd came down the hallway like a man possessed, if eyes were lasers his would have been set to kill. He stopped and snarled, “RAP in ten minutes, I’ll have your appointments made.” – “Thanks Sarge.”

The post script to this tale is worthy of a mention. The following morning when I reached my office a Land Rover was waiting in the car park for me, with a driver. So twice a week I had physio at 2nd Military Hospital at Ingleburn. The following week I went to see an orthopaedic specialist at Macquarie Street in Sydney. So what I hear you cry? Well, Macquarie Street medicos are the equivalent of Harley Street specialists in London or Mayo Clinic types in the US. Such is the power of Mothers and Ministers of the Crown. What rubbed Todd’s nose even deeper into the shite was I ended up back in plaster. The surgeon was not impressed; it seems the actual joint hadn’t healed properly, which hastened the arthritis. Terribly unstable, I ended up with it on for another fun-filled itchy month. Forty two years on, three operations and it still isn’t any better. I’m leaving it until I’m seventy or so for a knee replacement.

Blatant plug for my novel Inspiration for my first novel. You may have guessed by previous Army blogs that I loved Sydney. Every city has its own unique feel and Sydney is no exception. Personally I think it’s the harbour, one of if not the world’s finest. Fantastic views of the city scape, the history – it started as a convict settlement and the people. When the wind blows up Macquarie street, then whistles and blusters down the streets that run off it, the smell of the sea mixes in with the gritty aroma of exhaust fumes. Magnificent old sandstone buildings, museums, gallery’s, the first hospital, all add to its texture: travelling the underground, rubbing shoulders with the pot pourri of humanity, from business men to tramps, achingly beautiful women to bag ladies, and people from every culture. I immersed myself in this heady concoction, drank it in with every salty/fume laden breath. Even now when I visit there it’s like going home.

Enough verbosity Laurie – You can see that it made an impression on me though. In my new job I worked a four and a half day week and didn’t go out bush, do guard or kitchen duties, the bliss. I went everywhere I possibly could by foot, train or bus. Wandered through museums, strolled through Hyde Park and watched people. Sat in pubs down by the docks whose interiors resembled a public toilet, the walls were tiled as high as you could reach. It was easier to wash the blood off. Into the heart of the city to chic bars with rich oak fittings topped in brass. Uniformed bar staff pulling on brass handled levers used to draw cold, sharp beer from deep in the cellar. Barristers and Articled Clerks huddled at small tables, chatting over martinis. A hum of conversation would run through these places, like a bee hive in spring. The carpeted hallways led to private bars and smoking lounges hidden away behind ornately carved doors with fine frosted glass in them. Obviously for those in the know. While I sat quietly sipping on a scotch listening to the exclusive click of ivory snooker balls in play.

This is me 5 years ago doing some *research* in a pub in Sydney.  No it is not sarsaparilla.

The Wrier

The art in people watching is not to be spotted doing it, especially in Kings Cross. I have mentioned it before and it stars in my book, Mountain of Death. For my international readers think of the centre of sex and sin in your large cities and this is what the Cross is all about. It’s a brisk walk up William Street from the city, at night the Coca Cola sign is like a beacon to the faithful. Or you can hop on the underground railway at Museum Station for a quick ride up there. Then you had to push your way through the throngs of Hippies that crowded the long, sloping concourse leading out onto the street. They were either selling weed, themselves, begging or painting placards. Of course they didn’t seem to believe in washing, right on man, peace is love. Well I wouldn’t mind a piece love if you washed it.

I’ve been back over the years and always head there to see if it has changed; it has, for the worse. It’s somewhat reminiscent of an aging Tart that’s having a hard time applying her makeup, and keeping her nether regions healthy. It may be that I’m looking back through rose-coloured beer bottle bottoms, I’m not sure but it had something in the late 60’s and early 70’s. That is what I try to capture in my writing. Naturally I investigated every alley, back street, nook and cranny. The houses were beautiful, once. The elm tree-lined back streets had that late Victorian feel about them, some alleys were cobbled. One step off the main thoroughfare and it was another world. Hurried, impersonal sex against a wall, drug deals and bashings. God alone knows what transpired behind those shuttered windows in dimly lit rooms above strip clubs and cafes. Decisions made by faceless crime bosses that changed the lives of those who crossed them. Young women with the sparkly light of stardom fading from their eyes, ending up in the porn trade after a few years working the clubs and streets. If they were strong they survived, if not they became addicts, or were to start with. The Cross didn’t care, it chewed people up and spat them out into the condom strewn gutter, to lie amongst the used syringes and butt ends.

The best places to sit and watch were at the rear of the coffee shops or at a table outside the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar. The coffee shops attracted the rich and famous, and the not so rich and famous, i.e. me. Rock stars, prostitutes, gunmen, drug dealers, soldiers, sailors. Every night you had a different cast of hopefuls and front-runners all treading the streets. Fights would break out at a moment’s notice, sometimes between the girls. Go behind the clubs and you would see the strippers, usually in thin dressing gowns, giggling and laughing as they hurried to the next gig down the road. Everybody had something to sell, you could walk along one street and get a message from God at The Wayside Chapel, go next door and get sex and a massage from a goddess. Around the corner and into an Adult shop, where the main attractions were the private booths with their porno loop machines, twenty cents a go, more for Kleenex tissues. The cheap alternative to the working girls.

There was something about the Cross, up to the 60’s it was mainly a hangout for crooks and beatniks a fringe element, Bohemian in nature. Drugs weren’t a real problem, drinking clubs, prostitution and standover men were, and it changed with the times like any good business does. Maybe I was impressionable, I’m not sure. I know that I craved the scene, that something about belonging, being a part of a piece of history in the making. Albeit a seedy, crusty, tarnished piece of history. Being part of the narrative of a place, somewhere where a tiny part of you lives forever in the fabric, the very memory of a city. That is what I was about. In retrospect I hoovered up the experiences, drew them in and catalogued them into little slots marked future books. It’s late at night as I write this and I can smell the fresh pizza, real pizza with its handfuls of topping. The perfume worn by the prostitutes, not always cheap, The brittle smell of sweat and adrenalin on the small gangs of thugs shouldering their way along the sidewalk. Unburnt fuel from the hotted up cars. Old spice aftershave and Brylcreem. The smells of a place that bring it back in vivid, living colour.

Next week: Have you ever wanted something so badly it makes you hurt deep inside? That you know if you don’t get it then life will never be the same? That’s how much I wanted to go to Vietnam. So pop back next week and see what life has to offer.

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43 thoughts on “YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW, part 17. How my Mum upset the Minister for Defence and Inspiration for my first novel.

  1. Jane Risdon

    I made it! Hope you feel better too. Loved this and loved all the episodes. Wish my Dad were alive as I am sure he would have loved reading all these stories. I can relate to the way things were back then, coming from a long line of military. However, the last member of my own immediate family left the Army about 10 years ago after doing more than 25 years and he was glad to go. It has changed so much now and has a 9-5 mentality and ‘elf and safety is paramount (not that I| am not for safety etc) but to the point where you need someone to hold your hand in everything you do so he says. No discipline either. So no standing ‘Shitting bricks’ these days, more like the CO is!! Terrified to say the wrong thing, not PC enough, or invoking Civil/Human Rights etc. Oh well, at least I can read your wonderful exploits and remember when ‘those were the days.’

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    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Well done that woman. good to see you back on board Jane. I’m glad you are enjoying my army blog. I’m feeling a tad better, still coughing. It would be a nice day if your dad were back, we do take our loved for granted in as much as we think, ‘They’ll always be here.’ I like to think he would approve of my scribbling’s. Yes the army isn’t what it used to be, a bit sad really you have to have discipline. ‘Elf and safety doesn’t quite fit with war. ‘I can’t go out there, they’ll shoot at me.’ PC has a lot to answer for, it will put the western world in more peril in the years to come because we haven’t got the guts to stand up and say enough. Bowing down to pressure groups and minorities will do us in. At least I’ll have my memories of when times were more straightforward.
      Cheers
      Laurie.

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      1. Jane Risdon

        Glad you are getting there slowly but surely. Look after yourself. Yep PC and the little Elves have ruined life in general I think. No risk takers, no adventurers and no heroes these days, all calculated and assessed and in some cases, prevents people doing what we consider is human.
        I don’t know where it is all going. Keep smiling 🙂

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      2. laurie27wsmith Post author

        Working at it. I’m sure the world would still be smaller if the great explorer’s mothers wouldn’t let them leave home, or some committee came up with this, ‘We are very sorry Christopher but the map clearly shows that there be monsters. So we have decided that not to offend the monsters or giant squids, they have feelings too, you can’t go.’
        That’s all we can do Jane, keep on 🙂

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  2. kathleenjanzanderson

    I was doing my daily run through tweets when Raani had one that caught my eye and brought be here. I’ve dropped in at the middle, but glad I did. So very interesting. What a great writer you are. Wonderful descriptions. I’ve read some of your stuff on Linkedin, but haven’t been there for awhile, although I keep telling myself to drop in. I’ll be interested to hear about Vietnam. My former husband was their twice (he’s passed away now), and wish I would have known what I do now about the effects of the war.

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    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Hi Kathleen, I recognise your smiling face. Thanks for dropping by and for your kind comments on my writing. There are so many blogs out there that it’s only through recommendations from friends that we tend to find what interests us. Yes my Vietnam days will be up next week, yet I have references to the effects of that time in my Policeman’s Lot series. Vietnam played a huge part in hastening the end of my career there. Don’t worry I aim to show what war can do to people. I post three times a week, main blog on Tuesday, poetry Wednesday and photos Friday. So there is always something to see here.
      Cheers
      Laurie.

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    2. Raani York

      Hi Kathleen, Thanks for stepping by and reading Lauries’ blog. I’m sure you’ll be fascinated by each one of them!! 🙂

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  3. Raani York

    This is another fantastic blog post Laurie – and I do try to spread out word about what a great talent you are. I really think you do need tons and tons of followers reading all this!!!

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      1. Raani York

        Dear Laurie,
        I do this for several reasons: First: I do this for a friend: second, I do this because this particular friend is a hell of a great writer – and third: This friend made me laugh when nobody else could and is a great friend to me as well!!
        Thanks for everything you do for me Laurie!!!

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      2. laurie27wsmith Post author

        Dear Raani, what can I say? Except that you are a great friend. One of your tweet followers, Kathleenjanzanderson, has dropped in and commented. As to making you laugh, well somebody had to step up to the mark. It’s always a pleasure being in contact with you, you’re a nice lady and well, you love cats what else can I say? You’re welcome now I’m going to stop writing here before I bubble up.
        Cheers
        Laurie.

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  4. bgbowers

    Another great read, Laurie. I love your description of Kings Cross in Sydney. I passed through on a tourist bus a few years ago, but resisted the temptation of actually spending time there. It’s interesting that Kings Cross in London is exactly the same.
    I’m looking forward to reading about Vietnam. Like Gigi, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to go, but I have known soldiers in the past and understand the need to be in the midst of the action.

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    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      You are really catching up on your blogging Bianca 🙂 Thanks, as you may have gathered I have a connection to the place and to do it justice you have to dig under the veneer and tell it like it is. A lot of people fly on through in the bus, it can be a dangerous place. Funny about London’s KC being a red light district too. probably just as bad. 🙂
      As for Vietnam, I guess it’s a man thing. There’s a war on, *Yay, come on let’s go.* I give my reasons in the blog so I won’t spoil it here.
      Cheers
      Laurie.

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  5. Jane Dougherty

    It’s funny how places you revisit always seemed to have changed for the worst. Looking back on childhood places, they were a bit scruffy and run down, and there were always kids and dogs running about in the streets. But it’s the antiseptic feel of these places that I hate now that everything is tidied up, gentrified and modernised. Give me scruffy anyday.

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    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Nothing is ever the same when you go back, times were different, people lived their lives without being led around by the nanny state we have today. I agree, scruffy is good.

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  6. patgarcia

    Hi,
    The power that a mother’s scorn can wield is amazing. That sergeant will never cross another soldier. I am quite sure that whenever he thought about doing it again, he thought about you and your mother. That was definitely a plus advantage for you.

    What can I say about Mountain Of Death that I have not already said. As you have said, in every big nationally known city, you will find a Kings Cross. Whether it is in Sidney, Australia, New York City, New York, Frankfurt, Germany, Rome, Italy, or Paris, France. You name the big city and you will find the same kind of happenings going on. Unfortunately, the scene has gotten more brutal.

    When the people in government talk about cleaning up an area, they are actually talking about transporting it to another section of the city or moving it to another city. As long as the mankind follow the depraved desires of our hearts, we will have Kings Crosses’ all over the world.

    Very informative article, Bro. I enjoyed reading it.
    Shalom,
    Patti

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    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Hi Sis thanks so much for dropping in. I hope he did think twice before making decisions he had no right to make. He’ll never forget the Colonel neither. Yes every City has a Cross and they’ve been around forever. This one has a certain air about that drew me in. People will always want what these places have to offer. Politicians will always make mileage out of them and servicemen will always be drawn to them. I’m glad you enjoyed it Sis. take care,
      Cheers
      Laurie.

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  7. Owls and Orchids

    Bloody predictive text, that’s what happens when you don’t check before posting! Blame it on the meds and a raging temp/brain fog. Still you should know morse code or sign language so we should understand each other. 😉

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      1. Owls and Orchids

        You’re a peach… I should curl up with embarrassment – and yeah, strange but true, I was shy… my time in the police was trial by fire. I was so determined to ‘do the job’ and not be an office girl that the blokes tried to see how far they could go before I fell apart. Somehow it seemed different with a uniform on… as opposed to civvies. Looking back it was hilarious though and the Valley wasn’t in the same league.
        Ciao, Susan x

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      2. laurie27wsmith Post author

        I’m king of mistakes when it comes to using predictive text. I bet many a relationship has gone south with spelling mistakes. Women really had it tough in the job back then, hmm maybe it’s improved a little now. Putting the uniform on I used to feel different. It’s like a new persona, some blokes were worse when they did it. We must talk one day about the failings of certain elements within the job. This won’t deteriorate into a my Dad can beat your Dad thing will it? 🙂 Not on here though.

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      3. Owls and Orchids

        Nope, reminiscing is good but only if you focus on the good or funny stuff. The rest is there but you have to get that balance or it eats you up. Toowoomba was just a strange place for me. Of all the stations/ postings my ex had, which meant me too, it was the only one with this peculiarity. Country station maybe? It was as country as it got for me. Who knows, but there were some hilarious things that happened…. I choose those to remember, mostly. I know you’ll agree.
        Ciao
        Susan

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      4. laurie27wsmith Post author

        It would definitely be about the good old days, the funny and stupid. It must have been a unique place, the funny is always good though even if it happened to yourself. Time is a great healer especially if you can laugh about it….except maybe a swift kick to the testes. 🙂
        Cheers
        Laurie.

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      5. Owls and Orchids

        Ooh, you read my mind! I was told I was a little umm, harsh, in my method of …defence, but I found it most effective for recalcitrant…. Males who refused to do as they were told.
        Me, I’m only a poor wee lassie and I have to defend myself! 😈😇😆😮

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      6. laurie27wsmith Post author

        Yes a quick kick to the vitals settles many a blue. So you are in effect from what I can gather, a shy, retiring knacker kicker from the Yorkshire dales? 🙂

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      7. Owls and Orchids

        I’ve never kicked a knacker in my life 😮 I found my issue handbag, complete with baton, cuffs and gun more than effective and I could keep a respectable distance from groping or flailing fists.
        It might be unorthodox but it worked well for me. 😇
        Yes, a wee Yorkshire lassie, from Bradford no less. The moors were my second home, spent nearly every weekend we could there if Mum didn’t have some castle or ruins in her radar, so it was a mixed bag with outings. The stuff of legend! History, where would we be without it? I must get my old postcards out now……
        Ciao,
        Susan.

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      8. laurie27wsmith Post author

        Yikes, not the issue handbag? Of course there was also a change of clothes, small socket set, makeup, spare ammo. I would have preferred the tip of your issue, blue court shoe. sounds like quite the fun time as a kid, I love ruins. Furness Abbey was only a couple of miles from where I used to live. I haunted the place. Get those postcards out, ahh memories.
        Cheers
        Laurie. xox

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      9. Owls and Orchids

        Now Laurie, be reasonable, I wasn’t about to wreck my make up smacking a miscreant! As for a change of clothes, the bag wasn’t that big, though at times I wished it was.
        You guys had it easy, everything on your belt, although that was the excuse so many used or the drooping trews. 😈

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      10. laurie27wsmith Post author

        Susan I’ve seen some women’s handbags, they are like the Tardis. I miss my old Bat belt, I would have loved the gear they have today. I had a problem at times with droopy trews, until I put some weight back on. 🙂
        Cheers
        Laurie.

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      11. Owls and Orchids

        Jeez Laurie there are a few things I could do with today, but I think I might get into a little hot water. Being spiritual hasn’t really abated the temper – if it gets riled- doesn’t happen too often, but…. maybe I’m becoming more inventive as I mature.
        Tell me something… were you working out Oxley way when John McBean had a mishap?
        Curious… he was part of F Troop.
        Ciao, Susan x

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      12. laurie27wsmith Post author

        You can always tell how spiritual you are when some idiot cuts you off on the highway. I’m sure you’d have a good temper, pain doesn’t help. I only knew a Peter McBean.
        Look I have a couple of things I want to talk about re what I see and this forum is way too open to discuss it. My email is
        l27wsmith@gmail.com, if you want you can drop me an email. I won’t spam you or anything. It’s up to you.
        Cheers
        Laurie.

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  8. Owls and Orchids

    Thanks for another fabulous instalment Laurie. I was in Sydney in ’78 so I probably missed mot of the fun. I well remember my intro to the Cross, do different by day.
    Arriving there my other half came down with a super cold, thought he was dying. I went for a walk up into the Cross for…… A juicer and lemons. Go figure! Seemed ok then. A few days later when the manful had abated we walked back up therein the evening. Change! I could hardly believe it was the same place. Being very shy (really!) I was mortified by the salacious comments aimed my way as we walked holding hands up the street. Sheesh, back home I would arrest someone for saying that to me!😈😮
    I understand your sentiments about Nam. What’s the point of joining up…army, police, etc and then shining a seat ad nauseum.
    I know laughter is the best medicine,but you have to give me time to catch my breath… In my condition it’s no good fir me.
    Was Old Tom still at the Academy when you went through?
    Ciao Susan.

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    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      You’re welcome Susan, once R&R finished the Cross really changed. Oh that’s funny, if you asked one of the working girls for a juicer and lemons you’d probably ended up with tequila and a threesome. Yes it certainly changes by nightfall, all of those shadows hide the wrinkles and chancres. I always loved the way they whispered, some where like ventriloquists, ‘Wanna girl love?’ I’m sure someone was speaking from the window above, crazy. They weren’t bashful about soliciting the ladies neither. I can’t believe you were shy though, little shrinking violet you. 🙂 About Vietnam, very true you have to go and look at the elephant at least once in your life. (saying from an old movie about going to war.) Good grief the woman’s going to laugh herself to death I think Old Tom had just left when I started there or they hid him in a cupboard somewhere. Wayne Bennet seemed to be running things then. Although I think some cranky old bloke did drill. We’ll talk soon Susan and don’t laugh until next time.
      Cheers
      Laurie.

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  9. rayjamieson

    Hi Laurie,
    This is the first of your posts I have read in full – took a while how to work out how to get from the links to the post. I know, tekkology and me aren’t the best bedmates!

    But a great read! Brilliant! I feel the same way about Sydney. I completed my mechanical apprenticeship there in 75 and got to drive a tow truck around parts of it too. As for central Sydney and the CBD/Cross, nothing like driving the old Fiat down William, George or Pitt Streets late at night, manual gearbox, turn off the motor while in top gear and let the exhaust fill with unburnt fumes, then turn the motor on…. BOOOOM! Scattered people everywhere! Those up against the wall became part of it! Nowadays, that would be a terrorist act and I’d be in Gitmo or the Aussie equivalent!

    Cheers,
    Ray

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    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Hi Ray, thanks for sticking at it. Does my post come to you via email or do you pick it up in the wordpress reader? You’re here that’s all that counts.
      It’s good to talk to someone who knows Sydney and can appreciate it. If you had done that in the late 60’s early 70’s three quarters of the men would have been hugging the ground shouting incoming. I like that, ‘Those up against the wall became part of it!’ You wouldn’t know whether or not you were coming or going. I wouldn’t try it now, you may upset a few sensibilities at least. Thanks for stopping by Ray.
      Cheer
      Laurie.

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    1. Pagadan

      Oh, I like your mom, Laurie! I know guys don’t like that kind of thing usually, but hey, you needed her!! Great descriptions of the confrontation and Sydney. Always an entertaining and interesting read. I hope some day to read the book.

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      1. laurie27wsmith Post author

        Thanks Joy, I hated copping the rough edge of her tongue believe me. She made things happen though. Thanks for the nice comments on my writing, I like to make it interesting.
        Cheers
        Laurie.

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    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      All wars are horrible. I joined the army because it was expected of me and once there I wanted to be in one place, Vietnam. A professional soldier doesn’t want to spend his career always on the verge of doing it. My feelings about it all will be revealed in coming weeks. 🙂
      Cheers
      Laurie.

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