My ‘A LUCKY FIND’ blog the other day sent me rumaging through my files to see if there were any other bits and pieces that recorded some of the events in which I became involved during my thirty four years as a member of the New South Wales Police Force.

What I found sent me on a journey back in time from my start as a Probationary Constable in May 1961 until my retirement in May 1995 at the rank of Chief Superintendent.

I was proud to wear these epalettes identifiying my rank.

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Wearing this insignia was a far cry from the simple number and NSW Police Force badge I wore on duty in 1961.

Way back then, a workmate took this photograpoh of me when we were performing duty on a public beach on the shores of Sydney harbour. It was every uniform policeman’s wish that a strong gust of wind would blow our summer helmet under a bus. That didn’t happen to this helmet until my wish was granted in Wagga Wagga in about 1964.2019-12-06-0001 copy.jpg     As was the process way back then, not long after I’d successfully completed my 12 months as a Probationary Constable I was transferred, without notice, ‘In the Interests of the Service’, from Sydney  to rural Wagga Wagga in the Riverina district of New South Wales. As I was a single man I was graciouslly given a week to pack, find accommodation there and complete my move.

I during my five years on General Duties in uniform in Wagga Wagga and it’s surrounding police stations I learned a lot about policing and that experience served me well when I was transferred back to the City of Sydney in late 1967.

Then, in March 1968 I was transferred to  a plain clothes investigation section at the Criminal Investigation Branch(C.I.B).

Then on Sunday, April 21st, 1968 the fun really started.

The Sydney Daily Telegraph newspaper on 22nd April, 1968 ran the following story:


The Telegraph’s coverage was followed up by this article in Everybody’s Magazine  on the 1st May, 2068

2019-12-06-0004   I was attacked from behind by a man who attempted to tear my eyes out but I was able to arrest my attacker and one other man. By that time a very large angry mob had gathered and they were eventually dispersed by uniform police who arrived on the scene in large numbers.

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Me.1968 copy 2  Fortunately my injuries were not serious and after I’d charged the two offenders I was photographed for evidentiary purposes and taken to the Sydney Eye Hospital where my injured eyes and facial injuries were treated and I was discharged.

After a week or so of ‘Hurt on Duty’ leave when my wounds had closed and I could see without too much difficulty, the Police Medical Officer cleared me as ‘Fit for Duty’ and I returned to work to continue with my normal investigative duties with no continuing anxiety or distress.

At a later date my assailant returned to court, pleaded guilty and  was dealt with appropriately. I was extremely happy with the Court’s decision.

Hoo roo for now.








A few days ago a friend and I were having a yarn about a book called, ‘Bradstow, a study of Status, Class and Power in a small Australian Town’, authored by a G.R.A Wild.

The book is about Bowral, a small town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. It’s been long out of print but used copies occasionally pop up on the net. If you feel inclined look it up on Google. It’s worth the effort.

Anyway I told my mate I’d lend her my copy. Unfortunately the volume is nowhere to be found in my book collection.

    Now, during my search for the book I came across something totally unrelated and it was indeed, A LUCKY FIND.

   My find had absolutely nothing to do with the first three paragraphs above.

Now, back  in the Dream Time.

Before I retired I was the leader of what was known as ‘The Policy Unit’. The Unit’s task was to analyse arising issues and develop appropriate responses for implementation.

On this occasion the Policy Unit was developing responses to a long list of recommendations arising from a Commmission of Inquiry into the organisation conducted by an eminent Judge.

From time to time the Unit’s responses to the Commission’s recommendations were not well received by the areas of the organisation concerned and the same applied to the personnel impacted by the responses.

Often, the grievences were made directly to the Minister of the Crown responsible to the Government of the day for the Department and this was one of those occasions.

As a consequence I was a regularly summoned to the Minister’s Office to advise on implementation progress and what steps were being taken by the Department to ensure that these specific recommendations of the Commision of Inquiriy would be implemented in full.

My frequent Ministerial visits drew the media’s attention and were often reported in newspapers and occasionally on TV news bulletins and interviews.

One positive outcome of the media’s attention was being sent for specific media presentation training that I received from a firm of consultants.

Now, back to my LUCKY FIND.

Tucked away in the index of my book collection I came across a cartoon that related to my time in the Policy Unit.

Here it is. I had to touch up the Policy Unit printing as it wasn’t clear in the original.POLICY UNIT

The Bulletin was always a top publication and one I always enjoyed reading. It was founded way back in 1880 and continued in circulation until it’s last issue in January 2008.

By the way, the Policy Unit recommendations I referred to above were fully implemented.

Hoo roo for now.


Its hard to believe that it was on the 6th September, 2018 when I last posted here on WordPress.

Things certainly haven’t stood still here at Cassa Creakingbones during that time.

Age has suddenly crept up on SWMBO and myself with the inevitable increase in health issues, both major and minor for the two of us. As a result I’m now SWMBO’s official carer and many adjustments have been made by both of us to accommodate the changes that have taken place.

One casualty of the changed circumstances was quitting my volunteer role as Photography Tutor for a class of nearly twenty mature students at the local University of the 3rd Age (U3A), an organisation for advanced learning.  The local U3A offers over sixty courses including Astronomy, German, French, Spanish, Yoga and Thi Chi for example.

A further casualty was my motorcycling. During the past four years I’ve only  travelled a mere five hundred and fifty kms on my beloved Harleys.

However, a couple of great motorcycling mates and two of my health advisors whose advice I value, have, over the past twelve months or so, gently lectured me on the need to ‘get out more’ when the opportunity presents itself.  Putting it bluntly, that meant, ‘RIDE YOUR BLOODY HARLEY.’

Once a week SWMBO has a supervised day away from home in what is known as Respite.

Knowing she is in safe hands and well cared for, the day gives me the opportunity to undertake activities that are not possible at other times.

Have I taken the opportunity to ride?

No.  Why?

Firstly the winds have been too strong to make a ride totaly unenjoyable. Secondly, SWMBO has had a minor surgical procedure with post operation attention that requires regular home treatment.  As her carer, that’s my responsibility.

Thirdly, and probably the most significant reason is that my two wheel riding confidence has severely diminished and I’m delaying my return to the road until my confidence is restored.

To assist in the process I’ve purchased a new pair of kevlar lined riding jeans and another pair of Harley sun glasses. I’m feeling more confident already and I’m preparing to venture out as soon as SWMBO can return to her Tuesday respite regime, weather permitting of course.

Here it is, my 2019 Harley Davidson FLHCS, minus the removeable touring windscreen. In common parlance, Harley owners refer to this softail as a Heritage Classic. It’s been a popular Harley for many, many years and with  its new and more powerful engine sitting on a brand new softail frame it’s sure to retain its popularity.

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Hoo roo for now.








As I was growing up, books and reading formed an important part of my life. In fact, I was surrounded by books. My father was a bibliophile, my mother was not far from becoming one and I must confess that now, I too almost fit that description.

From my father I inherited a love of the classics,  Roman and ancient Greek history, biographies, poetry and, dare I say it, Shakespeare .

From my mother I inherited a love of novels, particulalry where mystery and crime were the theme with a good plot and,  poetry.

Even with the advent of ebooks, ipads and the like, the printed volume remains my reading choice, particularly when travelling or relaxing.

Poetry has always been a source of great pleasure for me, particularly the works of the great Australian bush poets of whom I intend to make the subject of a future post.

British poets, and to some extent those hailing from the United States have also fascinated and enthralled me and that brings me to todays heading.

A few nights ago I was watching a program from the BBC about a couple who were roaming  through Shropshire looking to purchse a property to turn into a bed and breakfast.

As the show progressed and more of the delightful Shropshire countryside was revealed, I remembered how much I enjoyed A.E.Houseman’s poetry, particularly,’ A Shropshire Lad.’

I knew that somewhere in my collection I had a copy of his ‘Collected Poems’ that contained the poem, ‘A Shropshire Lad,’ and I set about to locate it.

Lo and behold, find it I did, a 1961 edition of ‘The Penguin Poets’,  priced at five shillings and sixpence, tucked away on the top shelf of one of my book cases.

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Now 1961 was an important year for me at it was my 21st birthday year and making the purchase of ‘A Shropshire Lad’ way back then must have had some significnce for me but if that was so, I can’t recall what that may have been.

Anyway, I skipped straight to reread the various sections that comprise the whole poem and I was horrified to find that page 38 was dog eared.

I’d learned from a very early age that a book lover would never, never, stoop to dog earing a page. That’s what bookmarks are for.

Here’s the offending page, image courtesy of my iPhone taken just a few moments ago.


The discovery of the unwanted dog ear gave me cause to wonder if any other pages had been so damaged and how it had occurred.

As a result I returned to the very first page of the book and made another discovery.

Here it is, courtesy of the iPhone taken just  few moments ago:IMG_0203

Now to save you searching for a copy of ‘A Shropshire Lad,’ I took the liberty of photographing, again with my iPhone, pages 38 and 43 and here they are in sequence:


Once again I was presented with something I would never do nor encourage others to do and that is make notations on a book’s pages or underline.

Now I often lend books to friends and in recent years I’ve kept a basic list of the names of individuals to whom I’ve loaned a book or books.

But way back when?  In those days I always relied on my memory.

Here we are in 2018, fifty seven years after I purchased the book.

Who is ‘Carole?’ I haven’t the slightest idea. I can only surmise that ‘Carole’ was a close friend to whom I had loaned the book. Perhaps the two stanzas on page 43 are indicators of this. The second last line on page 38 indicates that I may have been twenty two at the time of the loan.

I guess when one is young and green, Houseman’s lines,

‘ And now the fancy passes by,

And nothing will remain,’

are true indeed.

Perhaps being unable to remember can be a good thing.

One interesting memory that has come back to me after this little exercise is Palonius’s advice to his son Laertes in Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

‘Never a borrower nor a lender be for loan oft loses both itself and friend and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.’

Hoo roo for now.



It seems a long time ago but in reality it was only on 20th July 2017 that I took delivery of a new 2017 Harley Davidson FLSS motor cycle.

Here it is in all its glory:2017 FLSS _DSC6453 copy

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The bike had to be run in, 1,600 klms in all, before the engine’s full potential could be unleashed. As deliverd, this model Harley had been factory fitted with a Screaming Eagle performance motor and a few other bits and pieces to transform it into a genuine weapon.

Over the following two weeks I rode about 350 klms, adhering strictly to the running in procedure and enjoyed every minute, with a some exceptions.

Firstly, this Harley was fitted with an hydraulic clutch. After 25 years riding Harleys with cable operated clutches I felt that it would take forever for me to master this new Harley technology.

Secondly,  there was my problem with the ergonomics. The standard seat, although comfortable enough seemed to place my knees in a position that was slightly uncomfortable and my feet felt wrongly positioned on the foot plates.

Thirdly, after I replaced the original seat with an aftermarket one I found the riding position was first class, but, it was like sitting on a pile of broken house bricks. Problem far from solved.

Whilst all of the seating arrangements were being sorted out I decided to add a quick release Harley windscreen to the bike. This is where the forth problem arose.

To match the bikes colour I needed a windscreen with the connecting mechanism in black chrome. When it finally arrived, normal chrome had been supplied, minus the attachment kit.

Back to the supplying dealer, change over no problem. The new screen and all the correct attachments arrived post haste. Problem solved? Unfortunately, no, which led to problem five.

I’d ordered an 18″ screen. Only 21″ was available.  On this occasion the problem was solved by a local motor cycle expert modifyer who swiftly reduced the screen from 21″ to 18″ as perfectly as one delivered direct from Harley Davidson.

Now you might think that all of these little issues were over and done with but the seat problem still exixsted.

Finally to solve problem number three I ordered an Harley Davidson Sundowner two up seat.

It fitted the bike like a glove, looked perfect but there was only one problem, let’s call it number five.

The new seat put me too far forward towards the fuel tank, so, back to my friendly motor cycle modifyer where the seat was slightly modified and hey presto, all problems solved.

I took it for a run and after about 60  klms I found the new bike was perfect.  It not only looked great, it’s performance, even though not fully run in was subperb. And best of all, it seemed to be very comfortable to ride.

On arriving home after totting up a total of 120 klms I found it extremely difficult to dismount. My neck, lower back, left arm and wrist seemed frozen in place.

Finally I made it inside. I wasn’t cold, even though it was mid July and the outside temperature was hovering around the 8 degree centigrade level.

When I could move unaided, I got the bike back  into its shed and secured it to the floor.

Shortly thereafter,  another series of events, totally unrelated to motorcycling  took place at Cassa Creakingbones, effectively stifling my general activities, including motorcycling.

The months dragged by, my beautiful, yes that’s the correct description, Harley FLSS sat in the shed, chained to the floor and attached to the battery minder. Every time I approached, I imagined the bike begging to be taken out of the shed, ridden, shown off and returned with the oil heated, the tyres warm and the odometer proudly recording more and more kilometres.

Unfortunately the situation at Cassa Creakingbones hadn’t changed and tearing off into the countryside was still out of the question.

The final days of 2017 came and went, PC-99 still sat, unused and alone in the shed.

Then, late in March 2018 I got a call from an old motorcycling mate who told me that he’d been into my favourite Harley Dealership to kick a few tyres and whilst in there, the Dealer Principal told him that there, amongst the new 2018 Harley Davidsons was the perfect motorcycle for me.

I’ve been dealing with that one dealership for over twenty five years and I obviously value their advice and the way they look after me as a customer. Interestingly, on reflection I can recall their advice that although the customer is always right, I was barking up the wrong tree with the FLSS. How right they were.

Anyway, I had a long yarn with a local professional I respect and she advised me that I should place Cassa Creakingbones unfortunate issues on the back burner for at least one day a week, circumstances permitting, for my own good and get out and about, solo.

The very next day SWMBO and I headed down to Sydney and straight to my favourite Hartley Dealer.

There, in gleaming vivid black was the Harley my mate and the Dealer Principal had described as perfect for me.

In true Harley rider style, I threw the leg over the seat, grabbed the bars and stood the bike up. Turning to SWMBO I asked if I passed the, ‘How do I look,’ test.

Her answer was in the positive. Very positive in fact. I immediately felt relieved.

If you don’t look good on the Harley then it’s not the bike for you.

I only looked good on the FLSS because there was no chrome, just all black. Hardly the shop window test.

To cut a long story short, grasping the appropriate Harley Brochure we returned home and I studied everything I could about the 2018 Harley Davidsons and read many, many rider reviews. I was cautiously convinced that my mate and the dealer were correct and began to plot and plan for a future acquisition.

Then to my surprise I read a wonderful piece here on WordPress extolling the virtues of the new Harley Davidson engines and monoshock suspensions on the Softails, not to mention the significant weight savings thanks to the new frame.

Next day I set the wheels in motion and on Friday 13th April, 2018 my brand spanking new vivid black 2018 Harley Davidson Dulxe (FLDE) was delivered my door.

I experienced no feeling of loss when the FLSS was loaded into the back of the dealer’s van and driven away towards Sydney. All I could think of was hopping on the FLDE, tearing down to the motor registry and retreiving my PC-99 registration plates that I’ve had on my Harleys for yonks.

So here is the new pride and joy, resting on a piece of artificial grass outside it’s personal garage:

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I’ve clocked up 257 klms now and although I’m adhereing to the running in rules everything I’ve read about the performance of the new Softails is absolutely correct.

On this Deluxe model, the steering is crisp and exact, in fact the bike is far more twitchable than any of the Harleys I’ve previously owned.  The front and rear suspensions are absoluterly the ants pants, cornering is enhanced, the brakes leave nothing to be desired and, to my great satisfaction, the clutch has reverted to the cable actuation method. Good on you Harley Davidson engineers.

The standard seat is comfy and places my knees in a comfortable spot with my feet positioned correctly and comfortabley near the foot controls.

In standard form there is a toe only gear selector lever. I’ve always used the heel and toe Harley system and fortunately provision is made for conversion to the old way. Of course I’ve had that carried out. Perfecto.

A quick release windscreen is on the way together with a few other little goodies to increase the shop window impact.

Am I a happy little chappie( usually the term is happy little vegemite) and I reckon this new Harley will fulfill every one of my motorcycle expectations.

Hoo roo for now









For quite some time now I’ve been chief cook and bottle washer at Casa Creakingbones.

The reasons why I’ve become such a domesticated and sensitive new age guy(SNAG) are complicated but suffice too say they form part of life’s rich tapestry.

The other day  SWMBO and I had breakfast at one of the local cafes. After we had eaten and paid the bill I concluded that as I was such a kitchen master, from then on brecky would be served at home.

To simplify and speed up the process I visited all of the local stores and dare I saw it, Dr Google, searching for swift bacon cooking devices and multi egg poachers in gas stove top, microwave and electric format. This was in spite of the fact that over time I’ve purchased frying pans, both non stick and pure stainless steel,  in every dimension available and a four egg stove top poacher.

Anyway, after doing my ‘research’ I settled on a magic microwave bacon cooker and an four egg electric egg poacher. Both of which I must add came complete with multi page instruction manuals that even outlined how to turn the appliances on and even wash them after use.

Now, today is the day I decided to christen these magic items, having spent the best part of last night studying the instructions.

Four slices of bread went into the toaster as per usual, nothing new there.

Eight rashers of bacon, rind etc left on  went into the magic deluxe microwave bacon cooker which I placed into the microwave as per instructions, and set the the microwave on high for four minutes cook time. The instructions guaranteed crispy bacon would result.

Then, after carefully cracking four large eggs into pre buttered receptacles, I placed them into the egg poacher, poured in the required measure of water to create soft poached eggs and even replaced the list in accordance with the printed instructions.

All was ready. First I hit the toaster switch, then the microwave switch and then the poacher switch.

My timing was exact and in accordoned with the printed instructions. The toaster, that was on my autopilot setting and needed no instructions.

Hey Presto, everything finished on time.

I buttered the toast, extracted what had previously been described as bacon from the microwave and poured the runniest poached eggs ever seen onto our toast.

I took greatly care placing the bacon on the plates as I was afraid any miscalculation would shatter the china.

The only element of this breakfast fiasco that could be rated at 10/10 was my timing.

However,  visually it scored -10. Eatability, -10, taste, unable to evaluate as the content of each plate was swiftly tipped into the kitchen rubbish bin.

There was one labour saving element though. The cooking appliances did not need cleaning as they too have swiftly been delivered to the hard waste disposal bin.

Now I should point out, I have discovered  this morning that the preparation time for fruit salad and yogurt is a tad longer than preparing bacon and eggs.

On the table the fruit salad was colourful, healthy and tasty. The full cream vanilla flavoured yogurt was a wonderful accompaniment. Plates were absolutely empty as they were placed into the dishwasher. Didn’t even need rinsing.

Tomorrow’s breakfast is already planned. Cereals, fresh fruit, tea and coffee.

It’s back to basics at Cassa Creakingbones.

Hoo roo for now


Here where we live, cycling has a large following of competitors and followers. Our local cycle club runs a road race series and also track racing on the council maintained track circuit.

Our house is situate on a road regularly used by the local club for training rides and each time we see a group pedal past we contemplate regaining some fitness and joining the local club to participate in the veteran class.  Alas, common sense, advancing years and arthritis quickly remind us that our real cycling days are behind us.

However the thought of it all had me sifting through some of our photographic memories and I came across a series recording one of our more interesting cycling adventures.

Back in the dream time we were members of the Sydney Cycling Cub. After one exciting cycling weekend away with the club we decided to take a couple of weeks leave from work and go on an extended cycle tour.

It was 1982 and SWMBO’s mother had recently passed away in Goulburn, New South Wales and we decided to make her final resting place our first overnighter.

Goulburn is a little over 200 kilometres from Cronulla where we lived at the time and we knew we could cycle that distance comfortably in a day.  SWMBO’s father was delighted we were coming, we didn’t let on we would be on our touring bicycles and the look on his face when we arrived in the late afternoon was priceless. Our arrival  cheered him up no end and our visit on two wheels provided him with lots of stories to tell his mates.

Our original plan was to use Goulburn as a base and do day rides around the Southern Highlands. After a couple of day trips through familiar territory we decided to depart Goulburn and ride over to Canberra, base ourselves there and explore the Australian Capital Territory, a cyclists paradise with bike paths everywhere.

It’s less than 100 kilometres from Goulburn to Canberra and we paused for a photo opportunity at the welcoming sign on the City’s approaches.

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This image is a scan of the print I made of SWMBO on 1st November 1982. I have to remind myself it was 35 years ago.

We spent a few days in Canberra, riding around the tourist spots and on one occasion persuaded a fellow tourist to take our photo on the pathway around Lake Burley Griffin, near the National Gallery with Black Mountain in the distant background.

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The next place on our tour list was Cooma, the gateway to our Snowy Mountains, Australia’s winter wonderland. I was able to make this image of SWMBO riding on what then passed as a cycle path beside the busy Monaro Highway en route to Cooma. It wasn’t a difficult ride but the repetitive hills certainly made us appreciate that we had good road legs.

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As we travelled along, passing motorists would slow and the passengers would yell encouraging comments and occasionally bike haters would shout abuse and occasionally hurl objects. That sort of behaviour isn’t uncommon and provided the missiles miss the events just add to the mystique of long distance cycling.

Leaving Cooma, we decided to ride up to Thredbo, the jumping off point for access to the top of Mount Kosciusko, Australia’s highest mountain at 2,228 metres or 7,310 feet if you haven’t gone metric. There is a walking path to the summit and there are lifts to various vantage points in order that access is available for almost everyone, in the summer months that is.  The mountain range is known as The Snowy Mountains for very good reason, particularly so during the winter months.

After enjoying the delights to Thredbo village for a day, SWMBO and I decided to ride around the area and get a good feel for the place. Early on the morning of 5th November 1982 we set off to explore some of the tracks around the mountain. Of course our first destination was the track to the summit.


November can be quite warm, even hot in the Snowy and we were surprised to see so much snow on the higher ground. Never the less we determined to press on and see where we ended up. The weather looked pretty good, the day’s weather forecast contained no warnings so we carried on, without any cold/wet/snowy protective clothing at all. Stupid really but after all, we were much younger then.

As we rode a little higher and the going got steeper, we paused at one of the mountain streams for a refreshing drink, a breather and time for more decisions. Here is a pensive SWMBO in decision mode.

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The decision was made, all steam ahead and I took the lead. We hadn’t ridden very far before the snow was too deep for our road tyres to grip so we dismounted and pushed our bikes along through the snow. Interesting indeed. Fortunately the track was marked by the occasional post and I made my way towards one to wait for SWMBO and to take a well earned breather.THE BIG RIDE 4004 copy 11

We set off towards the summit and it wasn’t long before this sign was reached. Only one kilometre to go to the very top of Australia.

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SWMBO followed my foot and tyre tracks as the climb got even steeper.

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When we finally reached the summit, the snow was quite deep,  the wind was freshening, the temperature was dropping  and we decided to start our descent immediately to lessen the chance of anything risky taking place.

In the following image, just below the summit you can see traces of cloud beginning to roll in ands we knew that speed downhill was of the essence. This following image of SWMBO shows how steep the descent is from the summit. Not an easy task pushing the bike, keeping upright whilst maintaining reasonable momentum.

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We made it back to Thredbo without incident and enjoyed hot showers, a change of footwear and clothing before venturing out for coffee and some delicious snacks whilst we planned our route away from Thredbo the next day.

In our post mortem that night, we kicked ourselves for ignoring the safety rules we always applied when exploring isolated ares. We always told someone where we were going and how long we expected to be away, carried food and water, weather protective outerwear, a small first aid kit, torch,matches and map and compass. Apart from water, all of our emergency gear was back in our motel room. Never again would we be so absolutely stupid.

Anyway, I’ll leave the rest of our long distance 1982 cycling adventure till next time.

Hoo roo.