A double dollop, of codswallop

After receiving many requests; three, or maybe it’s been four; one of which bordered on the bullying, but I won’t mention who that was from, because Yvonne mightn’t agree, regarding an incident in Hawai’i a few years back, which seemed to arouse some curiosity.

What surprised me most, was the not so gentle hint that I’d dropped in another post, being completely ignored, or overlooked, and to save you from scratching your heads wondering what on earth I’m babbling on about this time, I’ll copy and paste the bit and scratch my head instead!

Since then, whilst flopped out, doing precious little, I’ve been toying with all the little episodes to regale the faithful, some funny, some not so funny, all true. Like the time I aided an escaper from jail get clean away, and got paid $40.00 for my effort,

The Hawaiian episode I can probably knock off in a couple of paragraphs, which I’ll tack on at the end, so if you don’t want to be bored with the escaper story just skip to the end.

Back in 1980 I was pushing a cab round Sydney and one of T.W.O. relatives who lived up in the country told of a cab for sale in town, that might suit me/us and our now growing family, a life in the country, In 1980 we had two girls aged 2 years and 3 years. The War Office, who at the time had not been dignified with, or earned her title, was a bit sceptical, but I liking the country she agreed to give it a go.

So off to Cessnock we went!

Cessnock is/was a coal mining town; it also has a rather large jail masquerading as a “Correctional Institute’. There is also a fairly large hospital. which at the time had Kerry’s Aunt Kath, as Matron. and Uncle Bill was the Chief M.O. The hospital catered for much of the Hunter Region of N.S.W. The Hunter Region is a renowned wine district in Australia; producing some of the best wines in the country. and for someone like me that hates adverts and advertising, that’s really saying something. Damned if I know what!

It was certainly not what I was used to. Cab driving in the big smoke was a highly regulated and governed business; up here in the bush it was Rafferty’s Rules; the drivers did not need a ‘Taxi-cab Drivers Licence”, so I was the only one at Cessnock Cab’s who actually was a real cabbie, all the other blokes, and their wives who’d relieve, them had just the ordinary every day licence. My wife couldn’t relieve me, she didn’t get her licence until the girls started high school.

Sunday mornings  in Cessnock were very quite, so much so that we only had 3 or 4 cabs rostered on to handle the rush, to the pubs and clubs at opening time, It’s a coal mining town, they’re not off to church!

I can’t recall the date; which we’ll all agree is pretty unusual for me. it was very early one Sunday morning around 8 or 8.30 and the base sent me to do a pick up in Aberdare, one of it’s suburbs, no details of who or where I was going; just to pick up some bloke on a corner.

So off I went. Got to the pick up spot and there was this bloke in a blue tracksuit, kind of jogging up and down on the spot. ” You the bloke called a cab? ” I call out, “Yes” says he and comes on over and doesn’t get in, “How much to go to Newcastle?” he asks, “$45” says me; “I’ll give you $35″ says he ” I’ve only got $50 on me and I need to get down to town”; ‘I’ll do it for 40″ says me; “Done”  says he and climbs in next to me.

“Out for an bit of a run were we?” I ask, ” Yes’ says he ” I usually come up here for a bit of training for the marathon, good clean fresh air”; don’t ask me what marathon I never asked, do we even have one? He told me one of his mates dropped him off at Maitland, and he’d run across from there, but the mate had car trouble, and couldn’t get to him to pick him up and take him back to Sydney.

After about five or ten minutes he asked if I minded if he had a smoke; I said no go for your life; I’d been puffing away, I used to smoke like a chimney until September 1991, gave it up one day not smoked since. I said to him something along the lines. ‘How come you’re smoking when in training for a marathon?” to which he replied, “I don’t smoke much and all the clear air and deep breathing gets rid of the stuff” ‘ Fair enough” says I. Who am I to argue with a paying customer?, When he’d finished smoking he asked if I’d mind he had a bit of a snooze ’til we got to Newcastle. No worries” says me, (getting a bit sick of says I).

Coming into Newcastle I gave him a nudge and told him where we were and he was wide awake ready to go. It isn’t that far from Cessnock to Newcastle, a bit over 50 km, but it’s a slow trip in places as you climb up and go through the dense forests and hills, takes a bit over an hour, or did back in the 80’s.

I dropped him off at the railway station; note I say railway station! On sweeping my way back I noticed him wandering along beside the station having a puff on a ciggy, thought no more of it, and high tailed it back to Cessnock, even though I was a registered country cab I could not operate outside the Cessnock city and suburbs, such as they are.

Around noon, note I say noon (not 12 pm cos it ain’t 12 pm, there’s no such time, something else that bugs me like train stations, be quiet Yvonne!) sitting around the rank chatting to a couple of the other blokes and the news comes over the radio, seems there’s been a break out from the jail. This is followed by a description of said escaper, “5’9″ slim build swarthy, possibly wearing a blue track suit, not seen since previous nights roll call”; or whatever it is they have. “Hello sounds like that bloke I took into Newcastle this morning” says YKW; “You better go round to the cop shop and let them know” says one of my fellow cabbies, stating the obvious.

So off I go to the local cop shop.

“G’day Sarge” says me to the bloke in charge, “that bloke that escaped from the jail; I think I drove him into Newcastle this morning!”

“What bloke escaped from the jail?” asks Sarge.

“I don’t know his name, but it’s just come over the radio, someone escaped last night, or early this morning and the description sounds like some bloke I picked up in Aberdare and took to Newcastle Station first thing”

“Hey any you blokes heard anything about someone busting out the jail?” the Sarge calls out to the other cops out back, “No” came back,

“Well it’s just come over the radio, and I thought I’d better let you know” says me, doing my civic duty and feeling a bit stupid.

“Don’t worry about it” says Sarge, “those clowns up at the jail never bother telling us if they have a breakout, they reckon they can handle it themselves; if we hear of anything and they call on us will catch up with you”. That was the last that I heard about the jailbreak. For a few months.

All true, would you believe it?

Another Sunday, a few months later, sitting on the rank, having a read of the Sunday paper,s and I picked up one and there he was. My passenger to Newcastle front page, telling of his escape from Cessnock  Correctional Centre, the full story; how he negotiated a fare of $40, his nap on the way in to Newcastle.

His name was Raymond John Denning, and he was listed as one of “Australia’s Ten Most Wanted”, note I use the past tense he is no longer with us, I may well fill you in on that at the end of my ramble.

Mr Denning apparently had made an habit of escaping from prison, I seem to recall he busted out of Long Bay at one stage, which is supposed to be bust proof and here he was giving an interview to one of the Sunday Mirrors reporters the full story, I seem to recall that he was pushing his book/let on how to escape from prison, what to do, and what not to do.

His advice to fellow guests of Her Majesty was; always take a taxi. always pay the fare. always ask permission to smoke, always be polite. He was all of / did those things.

He told how when he got to Newcastle he bought a ticket for the ride to Sydney, how on the way he met a nice young lady, who invited him home, she lived in Hornsby, on the outskirts of Sydney and on the Newcastle line. He stayed with her a couple of months before deciding to move on; obviously biding his time waiting for any heat to cool off, I assume the police knew of his escape by this time. He was one smart fellow, must admit I had a sneaking admiration for him.

I did get to thinking, after reading this article in the paper that Sunday, that he could, had he have wanted to, got me to stop out in the bush to take a nature break, walloped me over the head, cut my throat, dumped my carcass into the bush, never to be found; it’s pretty rugged up there; driven off in my cab, wearing my clothes, I stood 5’9” same as he did, back then, and was of similar build, he have got away with it, no worries. But he was much too smart. Too smart.

Here endeth the first ramble; now to knock off the bit that seems to have aroused more curiosity, I’ll drag it out as long as I can.

Back in 2008 our youngest daughter, Emma, turned 30, and wanted to go to New York to celebrate her birthday at some restaurant frequented by those ladies in a TV series aptly named ‘Sex and the city”; a complete load of rubbish but there you go, Emma liked the show and wanted to go. so off we all went and I mean all.

To break the travel time down, I do believe out of deference to me it was decided that we’d break the journey over, with a stop off in Hawai’i; I thought it a bit stupid but I do as I’m told, and I was rather keen to go to Pearl Harbor; I was in ’08 actively engaged as a Volunteer Guide at the Australian National Maritime Museum, which you all know anyway, and if you don’t then you haven’t been paying proper attention to the codswallop I serve up!

It was decided that we’d do the same on the way home after said birthday party, which went on for several enjoyable days doing many different things.

The trip over occurred without any problems, I went to Pearl Harbor with the War Office and wandered around mostly by myself, it doesn’t interest her one bit.

On the return trip, however my son Nathan expressed an interest in going to pearl Harbor and having a look over the Big Mo. He had watched the USS Missouri sail out of Sydney through the Heads many years ago as a very young boy, and now he had a chance to actually go walk over the ship he grabbed it, a family friend, Candace, who had come over to joint the party for Emma, also expressed interest in going over the ship, of course I was tickled pink, I now had two souls, willing to put up with my  incessant talking and attempts at educating them.

On the journey back from the naval Base, the bus on which we were travelling, was somewhat packed. I was seated on the side fitted seat behind the driver and Candace and Nathan were sitting on the first seat, beside me which was an ideal position for me to continue my lecture. I noticed that a young man with a very large Afro hairstyle had seated himself beside me. It was a rather slow journey back into the city, and after a while I decided to finish the lecture take off my glasses and just sit there.

I removed my specs, put them into their case, and shoved it into my shorts pocket;

Just a few minutes later the bus came to a sudden/roaring stop, I leaned forward and there in front of the bus was an Hawaiian Police Car blocking the bus; the police vehicle had come across the onto the wrong side of the road to stop/block the bus.

The bus door was opened, and the young man with the bid Afro hair style jumped up and off of the bus quick smart, I suppose those in back thought the police were after him. However that was not the case. He had called them on his cell phone.

Two police officers boarded the bus, approached me and very politely asked me to step off the bus, one does not argue with police officers who carry guns so I just as poliyely said certainly officer. Naturally Nathan and Candace alighted too, somewhat amused and sending text messages off furiously.

I am then informed by the police that I am to be charged with sexual assault; “I beg you pardon” says I (here I go again) He repeats so I ask what am I supposed to have done? I am informed that I’d touched the young man with the big Afro hairstyle, inappropriately and he was pressing charges of sexual assault.

I told the police officers that I had not touched this young man as far as I knew, I may have accidentally brushed against him when putting my glasses case into my pocket but otherwise there was no contact at all, my attention had been given to lecturing my son and Candace; both standing there grinning from ear to ear.

To emphasise the point that I’d  put my glass case into my left hand pocket, I reached down with my left hand and produced them. Candace and Nathan now butted in to confirm what I said, and about this time Emma and Luke (they weren’t married at this time) came rushing up, somehow Nathan had sent them a text message, to join the festivities.

One of the policemen then went and started questioning the young man with the you know what, after several minutes he came back and spoke quietly to his partner, they then apologized to me, and said that this young man had confirmed what I had done, that is shove my glasses into the pocket and that they would be charging him for something or other instead.

The bus had long since departed, but as it was just a short walk, to the bar, where we three were supposed to meet up with the WO and Emma and Luke we just strolled around where I was greeted with much merriment, seems the word had got around, this rather crowded bar that some silly old Pommy/Australian had got himself picked up by Hawai’i 50.

I did wonder; did this young man, with the big Afro hairstyle, imagine that I was a rich English traveller and he could sue me for million?

To finish I’ll go back to my escaper friend Raymond John Denning.

After either getting caught or giving himself up Ray decided to start squeezing, not it appears on fellow crims like himself but on what he claimed was corrupt police officers.  back in the 80’s there was quite a lot of problems with some members of the constabulary, There are some still in jail for murder, and Ray wanted to blow the whistle.

Trouble was he was found dead up at the Cross, an overdose of heroin apparently.

Raymond John Denning, never dealt in drugs, would not have a bar of drugs and had never used drugs. He knew who did.

I haven’t been over this lot to check for mistakes, so I don’t want any nit picking from Yackandandah or Wangaratta or anywhere else in Victoria come to that. I might check it tomorrow or the next day.




40 thoughts on “A double dollop, of codswallop

  1. Entertaining as ever, especially the bit about you doing as you are told

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I always do; when it suits me Derrick, don’t you?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Irena Kowalski 07/06/2019 — 19:44

    Fascinating, as usual.
    I note that before the highly awarded Madam War Office received her honours, she was known as Mrs Lord Beari of Bow.
    There is a story just waiting to be heard, which I would love to hear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well she certainly wasn’t Lady Beari of Bow, I have to draw the line somewhere Ira.


  3. The varied incidents in your life never cease to amaze me — as well as entertain!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve always thought I’ve had a pretty boring life, Leslie. As a child all I really wanted to do was learn to play the violin, and it’s my greatest regret that I never did,

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That requires real dedication unless one is a natural genius.
        I soon realised that I was a musical butterfly, who needed to be satisfied with flitting and sipping. Thus I ended up with basic skills on piano, violin, clarinet, recorders, harmonica, and a few guitar chords, but nothing done really well. Still, that provided the background for my composition ability.
        In the same way, you had other fish to fry!


      2. It’s never too late, so I’ve been told!


        1. If you saw my hands and fingers you might not believe all you’ve been told

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Quite a romp here – such characters find you…a magnet of sorts? Cool (I’ve heard about that wine district – one of the nephews actually wandered that way and got a job in one of the vineyards after college to learn as much as he could about wine and vineyards – he came back and worked for a couple in CA before starting the family one. He loved Australia.)
    Denning’s end is suspicious.
    We’re still having issues of questionable practices by law authorities – the most recent was a no-knock raid on a supposed drug house/dealers (turned in supposedly by neighbors) where supposed (not proved now) buys of black tar heroin had happened – and as the door was kicked in by undercover cops the dog tried to protect his owner and was shot, then the owner a disabled vet tried to protect his wife and home against what he surely thought were the typical houston kick door criminals – pulled a handgun, but he was shot and killed first – then as was his wife, an older, ill cancer patient who was diving for cover against the barrage of police gunfire. They called out multiple task forces and closed streets all round (said there were more people inside) for hours. You should have seen the police chief’s tweets boasting. It was all a lie. All of it. The “evidence” never materialized..although some that had been bought 15 min before the raid was found in one of the original officers’/detective’s car…actually the owner’s gun they talked about was never found or marked into evidence. If on reporter and the entire neighborhood hadn’t protested loudly that the cops made a big mistake -a nd one man stood in front of the police station with a sign “Cops murdered these two old innocent people and their dog”, it would all have been swept under the rug. There’s a huge investigation. The original cops have “retired” but nor charged…yet. Over 2,00o cases those 2 cops were involved in are in question and many dismissed as the allegations of planted evident…and actually murder of several other victims. And Bozo is still police chief. Here’s a bit of it: https://www.click2houston.com/news/they-all-should-have-done-their-homework-neighbor-of-shootout-victims-on-hpd
    (And people wonder why we fear not being able to defense ourselves…sad.)
    Sorry, this is so long – but hey – something to read over the weekend?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My god I followed that whole link and could not believe what I was reading, what sort of place is America in general and Texas in particular coming to?
      I read how the Texas governor/government like to execute killers, now’s the time for putting into action what they preach. Tie some of those “police” to a gurney, stick a needle in their arm and inject a lethal dose, no one is above the law seems to be preached in the US except of course potus HA HA.
      The news of that policeman in Minneapolis who’s been sent down for 12½ years seems to be reasonable, a life sentence here in Australia usually is 15 years, unless for never to be released is added by the sentencing judge,
      He probably would have been cleared had he have been a white policeman; but the reports we received of the attempts at a cover up were disturbing; they don’t appear to have any qualms about lying in their teeth to protect one of their own.
      I do feel it was wrong that the girls parents were awarded 20 million dollars, they suffered no financial loss and it strikes me as obscene that they sought and were awarded such an amount, they sold their daughter for 20 million, it disgusts me.

      I’ve never really given much thought to the things that have happened to me and that I’ve stumbled across over the years, Things just happen and I go along with them and enjoy the experience if possible. Must admit I haven’t had that much excitement or fun in the last 40 years though, The first 40/45 were good; I think

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea, I always feel a bit uneasy about lawsuit settlements. Do the awards really make a difference? At one time big judgments were supposed to shock and force behavior change, but over th past few years, its seems more like the survivors more think like “Hmm, how much can I get them to pay me over this….”
        Civilization only works when everyone agrees to follow the rules. And they don’t any more. (One Dad who was tried last year for killing his daughter in an honor killing, along with several other people he thought lead her away from his faith had to be gagged /removed during part of his trial as he kept shouting he did not recognize the judge or the laws of this country – and only his religious laws mattered – this judicial system had no right or authority over him. He was found guilty – wife, older son and older daughter still await trial for this part…and for fraud stealing from the social security system using other people’s names/numbers). It’s not just new/ recent arrivals either – some of the local youngsters have no fear of the law, Hell, or anything, so they do what they want. (That’s a big can of worms to open)
        Oh, by the way, the TX gov. has no say or role in executions. Juries decide the sentences – judges rarely put the voted on sentence aside and make a ruling himself/herself unless it’s really stupid. (It takes between 12-22 years to go thought the legal system exhausting all convict’s appeals to the death sentence verdict – appeals are mandated in the death sentence cases.) A board of pardons determines if someone deserves a pardon, not the gov. The Gov. is allowed to stay an execution if there is a legal reason and it is a short stay until the legal issues are either proven, resolved or not applicable. I know. The movies have given TX such a strange Hollywood image. Mad dogs that are a danger to the community are put down – those who choose violent anti-social behavior and are a proven threat to the public, well, they should be permanently removed from society ( and maybe not allowed to have a expense paid for life with tv, gym, libraries, opportunities to get college degrees and law degrees – all at public taxpayer expense?)


        1. It seems odd that the Gov of the state doesn’t have the power to show mercy, that was one thing the King or Queen of England was allowed to do when capital punishment was in force in Great Britain. The Royal prerogative I think it was called. The only one they had left, They got nothing now.
          A life sentence in Oz usually means about 15 years unless a completely horrendous case when the guilty can expect a never to be released sentence.
          I know of, and was slightly involved in, a case here in Sydney some years ago, when one of my fellow cabbies killed his girl friend. I might write about that, if I do anymore on my cab life and beyond.


  5. Lisa H Perkins 08/06/2019 — 05:43

    I will repeat, you have lived a very interesting and exciting life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Only for the first half Lisa, the second half has been controlled by the War Office 😈


      1. Poor, poor you.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t know how you managed to get into so many interesting situations! But I’m particularly glad that your escapee happened to be so polite.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It all seems natural and normal to me Susan; I could never imagined life in any other way, must admit as I’ve said to a couple of others , the last half; 40/45 years; has been quite boring mostly, still I can’t don’t and won’t complain, there’s quite a few more tales that I could tell; perhaps a bit self indulgent on my part if I go write about them


  7. I googled[ I guess googled is now a verb] all about Raymond John Denning. He wasn’t a nice man and you could have been ‘done in’. And of course he could have been murdered or just overdosed. At least you weren’t.


  8. I googled [I guess it is a verb nowadays] all about Raymond John Denning. He wasn’t a very nice man. You could have been ‘done in’. Not a nice way to end up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was a tough nut that’s for sure but apparently he was a master at escaping, Goulburn and Long Bay are NSW maximum security supposed to be bust proof, he beat them both. Cessnock was at that time very low risk so how or why he was there I don’t have a clue. Think I better do a follow up with more detail.


      1. Now you’re talking. Hurry up and do it.


  9. Another very good read Brian and I’m so glad you chose to write about this. I agree with many of the other comments, you have indeed led a very interesting life, albeit as you say during the first 45 years of it! 🙂


  10. What an enjoyable read, Lord 🐻 iOfBow!!! 😀 Thank you for sharing! I know I’ve said this before, but your life stories would make a great movie! 🙂 So glad you escaped so many situations, so you could tell us about them! Keep adventuring!
    HUGS!!! 🙂 :mrgreen: 😀 🐻 😛 😎 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s not much of interest left to tell Carolyn, 😞😖 well from my perspective anyway, nothing out of the ordinary; then again it hasn’t been exactly an ordinary life, few more ups, 🛪🛪 and downs, 🍻🍻 than some; with some twists and turns thrown in, 🐶 🐾 🐩😊😅

      Must admit I’ve enjoyed it though, not much I would change. 🙂 😀 🐻 😛 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  11. “railway station” … what is that???


  12. Imagine anyone nitpicking on the codswallop that my tame old curmudgeon dishes up. Mind you, I am now on my second notebook of notes that I have taken while reading your blog posts. One day, I may publish them and take a first class flight to Italy, to celebrate.

    PS It’s Myrtleford, about 40 km to either Yack or Wang, depending on whether you travel at noon or mid night. (See, we agree on something.)

    How’s the brandy therapy going?

    PS I really, really, genuinely enjoyed both yarns you have spun for us, it was worth encouraging you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay, and as for the brandy, I still can’t get used to it, I must admit though, that it seems to do some good.
      At least you could get to Italy on my stuff, I’d be lucky to get to Bondi on yours, and Bondi’s only a bus ride away from where I reside, still I might just make it Senior Citizen fare $2.50 all day, be scrapping but you never can tell may just scrap in.


      1. And so, as I retire to my comfy sofa with cheese, crackers and red wine, I bid you a pleasant evening.

        Insiders on ABC Sunday mornings won’t be the same without Barry. Sniffle.


        1. I’ve never watched TV in the mornings, and don’t watch much in the evenings either, I cannot stand ignorant people pretending to be clever people.
          However if I do watch anything it’s usually on the ABC, where intelligence abounds and makes me feel rather ignorant like those on the commercials,

          cheese crackers and red wine? Wot no prosciutto?


        2. Prosciutto is lovely, but is meant to be shared, I think. My cat only drinks a tiny sip of milk. She’s such a snob.


  13. My son had a decent run in with Hawaii 50 when he was an exchange student there. I might write about that one day. Maybe not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Get him to write about it as a guest writer


  14. 🙂 :mrgreen: 😀 🐻 🐶 🐾 🐩😊😅 😛 😎 😉


  15. A great adventure! I loved reading it. My keyboard is slow as molasses today…so much for long comments.


  16. Once again on a marathon to catch up with backed-up emails, so I’m late to this party. Can’t add more to the comments here, but WOW, just WOW!~

    Liked by 1 person

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