THE WINNER GAVE IT ALL GIVEN YOUR ALL - NOW WHAT ? HOME ISBN 0 9577 426 7 3 CHAPTER 16 Written/published 07/01/09 - 10/01/09
16. Song No. 10
"Emmanuel !" she called out.
Had my name been Emmanuel and the house on fire, I would have understood my wife's excitement. But neither was the case. I was reclining in my armchair, snoozing. I woke up startled.
"Please, don't yell like that, I was just dozing off."
"It's Emmanuel", she repeated. Now I knew what she meant. Earlier that night I had been trying to solve the only remaining jumble-word on a Christmas puzzle-sheet, the pastor had handed out after the Christmas Day Service.
Printed on red paper, among other Christmas trivia, we were reminded that there were only 361 days left to do our Christmas shopping. (What the writer of that puzzle didn't know - our Op-shop closes in Mid-December - so I had only 355 shopping days left!)
Handing out this puzzling piece of paper, the pastor must have assumed we'd all be bored, now the Christmas rush was over. Unscrambling letters to make words was just the game we needed.
There were 20 words altogether, short easy ones like OYJ (Joy), or NAAN (Anna), or GRANME (Manger). But most of them were long and hard to decipher.
A few minutes earlier I had felt smart to unscramble one of only two left - DRIERFETI. (I give the answer in a moment). All that was left was ALUMNEEM, which my wife must have tackled, after I had fallen asleep in front of the TV. That's why her calling out.
A few days earlier (we'd been at it, part-time, since Dec. 25 - this was January 8th) I had unscrambled No. 15 - VERTMORGEN. The MORGEN bit had thrown me at first. In German morgen has two meanings - tomorrow or morning. (Answer in a moment).
I went to bed and grabbed 'Our Daily Bread' (a bible reading booklet) just for an inspiring thought to fall asleep with. On the front cover (of the current edition) I read a quote from Psalm 90, Verse 12: "Teach us to number our days that we may gain wisdom". Don't I love numbers.
So I opened my International Children's Bible to read the rest of this Psalm. My eyes fell onto the first three words on top of page 670: -
We are terrified = DRIERFETI ... (Ps. 90, Verse 7: "We are destroyed by your anger, we are terrified by your anger."
(Answer to No. 15 - VERTMORGEN = GOVERNMENT.)
From the dairy - *Sat 3/1
*As I wrote Sat 3/1 above - it reminded me:
That Saturday my wife and I sat in seats J 16 and J 17 at Adelaide Oval, near the Erwin Smith Stand. Adelaide United played their arch rivals Sydney FC, now coached by their former coach John Kosmina. The teams previously clashed a year earlier, at the same, special venue. Adelaide had lost 3:1.
Now on 3/1 a year later, in a superb night of soccer, 23 002 spectators (not 20 more or 2 less), enjoyed a superb night of soccer. Adelaide won 2:0. Where else can you go and see 23002 strangers co-operate, working together in perfect harmony to create something out of nothing, by simply standing up and waving their hands?
The Mexican wave was one of the longest I witnessed, it made it to 4 or 5 rounds. (Read on to see another football hand in action!)
So what was it that I was reminded of, after writing we sat in seats J 16 and J 17? The next morning in church, perhaps I am getting carried away with numbers, I sat in church, listening to the leader, reading the scripture verse for the day: John 3, 16.
What I actually heard him quote was not John 3, 16, as written on the sheet, but John 3, 17: "For God did not send HIS son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through HIM might be saved.
(But as mentionend, I am not sure on this. I kicked this goal from outside the box. The referee may have blown his whistle for offside?)
(Back to cycling in New South Wales).
It became obvious after Port Macquarie. Had I been able to stay two days at the family shack at Hat Head, I would not have arrived early enough to hear about, let alone attend, the 5.15 pm Healing Service at Saint Thomas' Church.
In hindsight (nice word hi.nd.sight) unforseen mishaps often become a blessing in disguise. The jammed-up door at Hat Head, which according to Isobel's brother took a locksmith to repair, I now regard as one of these.
Leaving Port Macquarie on the morning of Wednesday 26/11/08, as I reflected, I had reasons to smile. God's humour had surprised me that morning. After waking in my tent I decided to read the Word of God. Because some pages of my pocket-size bible (New Testament & Psalms) had folded over, I started reading at random as the book opened.
Just then, knowing I would be packing up my tent, it started to rain. It struck me funny that my eyes had fallen on Psalm 65, Verse 10: " ... you water [the earth's] ridges abundantly ... you make it soft with showers ..."
I quickly had dragged my tent with all my gear under the veranda of the shower block. Packing it up dry was not only more pleasant, a dry tent was lighter to transport along in my small bicycle trailer.
By 9.30 am I was cycling through the suburbs of Port Macquarie. A main road I passed was called Hindman Street. I looked at the sign and smiled: "Hi to you too"! Taking the coastal route, away from the Pacific Highway, was very pleasant riding, less traffic, more relaxing.
Boredom never was a problem, while my two legs turned and chewed up the miles. If not a thought, street name or car registration plate, perhaps a song would occupy my mind and I would sing it over and over. Why not?
One such song, on that day, came through repeatedly. It started with the word 'amazing', the same word I used dozens of times among my pages.
When I say the song on my mind started with the word amazing, I am not exactly correct. The second part of the lyrics start with: "Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my king shouldst die for me..."
As I sang these beautiful lyrics, I knew there was a part before it, the beginning of the song. But no matter how much I tried to recall, I could not remember how the song started. Not that it mattered at all. It was just this annoying thought: Why can't I think how this song starts, since we had sung it many times in church in recent years.
That night I was listening to a Christian Radio Station, one which still plays the traditional music. Unlike contemporary Christian music, (sorry, but it must be a generation thing), I could listen to such song like 'Amazing love' for hours and not get tired.
That night my brain was still unable to dig up the missing part. I did not actually pray that I would find the lyrics. It was not important. Still, my spirit expressed the thought, how amazing it would be, if this radio station were to play this song, just for me. I fell asleep.
In the middle of the night, at 1.10 am, I awoke, so I tuned into the same Christian Radio Station. Another beautiful song came over the airwaves - Above all power, above all kings. (I mentioned this song in Book 2, Chapter 31). Not long after I fell asleep again.
The next morning I had forgotten all about it. Early, before rising, I again tuned into Radio Rhema, but only briefly. Chuck Swindoll was just ending his daily message. I think there was a hymn first, then, I could hardly believe my ears, a male voice started singing: "I'm forgiven, because you were forsaken ..."
Out of the myriad of songs they could have played that morning, tears came to my eyes (they still do as I think of it) as I listened:
I'm forgiven because You were forsaken
I'm accepted, You were condemned
I'm alive and well, Your Spirit lives within me
Because You died and rose again
Amazing love, how can it be
That You, my King, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love, I know it's true
It's my joy to honour You
In all I do, I honour You -
You are my king,
Jesus, you are my king.
(The song was written by James Foote. The singer that morning may have been a singer with the beautiful name Chris Tomlin).
Please, nobody think I had mentioned the above to anybody, before hearing this song. I can't explain it. I just accept it with feelings difficult to express).
What a position to be in! Accepted by God, no matter what. I don't think I have ever felt as 'alive and well' as I did on this cycling holiday!
On the morning of writing, January 07, 2009 I was reminded of a similar, amazingly timed incident. As I did this morning, a few months ago I was driving the government van, transporting a disabled young man, Ross, to his day-care. Driving along with him I sing songs to him and tell him that Jesus loves him and wants to be his best friend.
His face lightens up, when I talk to him or sing to him. Over the months of doing so, I got to know and love this man. Even though he cannot speak, he communicates with me.
Driving Ross in the government van one morning, late last year, we were about to turn from Northeast Road into O.G. Road, Klemzig. At the time I was singing the lyrics: "When I look into your holiness, when I gaze into your loveliness ... I worship you ... the reason I live is to worship you.
At the very same second as I was singing the word ... reason, my eyes fell on the word REASON. On a stobie pole was an advertisement, a small poster advertising a concert. The band's name was REASON.
This morning, a few months later, I noticed that the poster is still glued to the post. Nobody seems to be sure what OG in OG Road stands for. The G could mean ... (Read about a G in the next chapter, G. willing).
Writing about a man I love, who can't speak, reminds me of the following incident, back in Oxley, on the first day of my long cycle, leaving Brisbane. I had stopped at an intersection waiting for the green light. Looking around I read on of those road-side pulpits outside a church: "TELL SOMEONE YOU LOVE THEM - JUST DO IT'.
(... just had an aha moment, read on).
Being the pro-active character that I am I tried to attract the attention of the motorist right beside me. He wound down the window of his red Maserati. I pointed to the sign and said: "I love you". (This was not because of the red Maserati, which was an ancient, ordinary looking sedan, anyway).
He smiled. The lights turned green. As we moved off I called out, he still heard me: "It's easy to say you love them, when you don't know them!"
Above aha moment came, because the day before this writing my friend Jack and I changed the road-side pulpit at our church. He had come up with this short gem, which fit's here perfectly:
"LOVE HEALS - BUT IT MAY HURT."
Telling the guy through the Maserati's window at the traffic lights that I loved him, didn't hurt a bit. But if I were to approach a close family member and say to them: "I love you" may bring this response: "What is it you want?"
Why are we so afraid of our emotions?
- - - - - - -
Salisbury East Church of Christ, Roadside pulpit
A retired driving instructor friend, Jack on the left, and myself just changed our roadside pulpit.
We always try and be topical. On this occasion the timing was perfect. Can you see the connection?
Text: ELECTED BY GOD FOR US, CHRIST AS KING. The date was November 5th, 08:
Minutes later, as I arrived home after above photo was taken, the first thing my son Jon said to me: "The polling just closed in the United States."
The location of our church, at the corner of Yale Street, had me intrigued some time ago. Be it Y LA or Yae or simply Why a el, all fitted into my code. They did so, long before I even had thought of attending this church.
One the morning of 11/11/08 I had occasion to email a TV Channel. I had seen a segment (sorry, can't recall the details) where the letter Y and/or L played a role. So I drew attention to the address Y a l e Street, the Church of Christ I attended.
That same evening, on the same TV Channel, the main news item reported a gas leak on Adelaide's North Terrace. Why, I don't know, but when I saw a picture of a church in the background, my brain somehow linked it to the email I had sent that morning.
A few days later I went into the city and took this picture of the location. Only then did I read the actual name of the place, above the front doors:
FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST SCIENTIST
The Road works were still in progress, when I took this photo. Days before a major gas leak was reported on TV (11.11.08), showing this church in the background.
One other incident, one I can't ignore, happened on the Day of Remembrance (11.11). My mechanic had advised me that the fanbelt in my Suzuki needed replacing. I wanted to do this before going on my holiday four days later.
My son-in-law chased the part up for me. I collected it. He had it installed in minutes. The part-number was:
15310_11AO785 (DAYCO TOP COG).
My number-conscious brain added 5+3 - voila:
...the first seven digits became the date for Remembrance Day - 11.11.08.
The very next day my ears, attached to the same brain, heard a phrase on ABC Radio: The radio host ... was chasing up ... a fan belt. Am I paranoid or what?
Perhaps Christians who work their brain so hard, linking data and thinking non-stop, ought to join the First Church of Christ Scientist, especially those who ride a push bike.
- - - - - - -
(Back on the bike)
There was a further twist to my Amazing Love song above. It all took place, while I stayed overnight at a place called Diamond Beach. I had stayed with this cousin of my wife once before, during my earlier ride down this coast. Mentioning the amazing incident, I learned that this man was closely associated, in a leading role, with the same radio station, I had been blessed with.
Earlier that day, Wednesday 26/11/08, the first major mishap with my trailer had occurred. I had just finished my lunch near the Surf Rescue Patrol tower in Laurieton. Before moving on, I noticed one my trailer wheels out of alignment. I should not have touched it, but made the mistake of bending it back to make it look straight. It did. But only for a few seconds. I went on my merry way.
I had hardly cycled one hundred metres, when I heard a crack. I stopped, so did the trailer and one trailer wheel. The other rolled happily on, overtaking me, before slowing and falling over onto the grass about 20 metres ahead.
Really, this mishap could not have come at a better place. It was on a bike track, on level ground, wide open space with only grass on either side. Thankfully there was no danger to any traffic or pedestrians. Nobody was around. What if it had happened on the busy highway, and/or a downhill stretch of road ...? Just to think of it ...
Losing this wheel could have spelled the end of my holiday. The nearest bike shop, so I was told, was in Taree, some 35 kilometers away. Another man suggested to try a lawnmower repair place. I liked the mechanic's promising name - Chris Wright. But no matter how nice his name sounded, he was not into repairing bicycle trailers.
At the Caltex Service Station a sign said - Mechanic on duty. I never found out his name, but this gentleman came to my rescue. He really was a gentleman, most helpful and only charged a minimal fee. He had the brainwave to attach a temporary axle, tied with U-bolts to the main shaft. As it turned out, this temporary repair was to last longer than the other axle.
Despite the two hour delay at Laurieton I arrived at my hosts place in Diamond Beach in reasonable time. I really appreciated the queen size bed, complete with doona and beside lamp. It made me feel like a king, minus the queen.
The next morning, feeling fit, enjoying cool weather and a slight tail wind, I sang my way non-stop to Bulahdelah, 68 kilometers away. At a small community house, adjacent to the library, I knocked on the door and asked a group of ladies for some hot water. They were doing handcrafts or something of that nature. There was no problem, since they had an urn on the boil. On leaving I thanked them, as one does.
I almost missed her comment, but I heard one lady say, tongue-in-cheek: "A piece of cake would be better". It so happened two days earlier I had bought an 800 gram square fruitcake at a supermarket in Port Macquarie. At around $ 4 (or 50 cents per 100g) it was affordable. I had enjoyed this product on previous trips.
I turned to the jovial mama and said: "OK, just wait, I'll be back in a moment". I loved the challenge. And this one was easy to meet. It only took a minute to present her, carefully balancing it the short distance with a knife, a piece of my fruitcake.
Maybe she thought I was a fruitcake? Slightly embarrassed she took it, assuring me, she had only been joking. And the moral of the story - Life is give and - cake!
- - - - - - -
A Bundaberg - c a n ...
For the first time since Montana Ave, Santa Monica, in 2005 I came across a 'Blue Plate' Restaurant.
I took this photo, thinking, how strategically placed this Bundaberg can was; right under the sign!
... and battle, sorry bottle
Inside a telephone booth - Hawks Nest, opposite Ferry Wharf and Hotel* - Bundaberg Rum and Cola bottle.
What do I see? Run - LA, OC?)
For those wondering, why my fixation for Bundaberg, I don't drink the stuff. I'm well aware that too much alcohol destroys my brain cells. And, God knows, the way I make them work lately, I need to keep them in good working order.
Near Bundaberg, Queensland, was the scene of a major train derailment - at 112 km per hour. Despite this, nobody died. Only a few passengers, out of 129 on board, received minor injuries. One rescue worker was astounded at the scene: "So many broken windows!"
Another expert: "Just from the observation, when you look at where the train is ...and that sort of thing .... you sort of ... form a view ...that ... speed was a contributing factor ... I'm not going to speculate to the extent, I'm just trying to ... be honest with you ...
(Read the full story - Book 3, Chapter 37).
Stop Press: I just noticed something, it clicked:
My email in that chapter, to the Sydney Morning Herald, concludes with a reference to Psalm 116.11.
The date of the derailment - 16.11.04 exactly 4 years, to the day, before the big storm on 16.11.08. Both disasters occurred in Queensland! (See Chapter 14).
Friends, is this how God reveals truths and exposes lies? There are many unanswered questions about the derailment at Bundaberg. (Just as there are still unanswered questions about another disaster, also in a town starting with the letter B, also with 3 syllables - Beaconsfield.
- - - - - - -
On my previous cycle tour down this coastline, I had by-passed beautiful Port Stephens and Nelson Bay. I decided to include it this time.
Cycling south the landscape changed a little; an increase in hills. I managed these OK with just a little extra legwork. Further south, however, some real hills were waiting.
On the northern end of Port Stephens lies the lovely fishing and holiday village of Hawks Nest. I stayed the night at Jimmy's Beach Caravan Park. Another cyclist camped not far from my patch of grass.
During one brief conversation I learned he was from Holland. His adventure had taken him around Europe, Africa and other exotic places. After talking to this globetrotting Dutchman I could hardly refer to my trip as an adventure any longer. And where would I start, explaining to this fellow cyclist that a small workman's truck, registration plate A0 70 DR nearby, gave me the feeling that I was on a real adventure, one of a different kind?
That night I had been trying to phone my friend Robert in Newcastle that I'd be arriving the next day. It was the first time on this trip that I had difficulty finding a phone-box, with a working phone. I cycled a few kilometers before asking someone. The person directed me to the *Hotel, the same as mentioned under the pic above. This makes me think - was I meant to see this bottle and its message?
On closer examination of above picture, the catalogue under the bottle shows the price tag $ 59. Not visible above are the digits next to it - 69 (+10) and 89 (+20).
Whilst I had no fixed schedule to meet, no itinerary to follow on this journey, on Sunday November 30th 08 I wanted to be in Newcastle. My football team played the Newcastle Jets.
When I crossed Port Stephens* on the small regular ferry service, I was right on schedule. It was now Friday 28th. At 15 Dollars, which included my bicycle and trailer, I regarded this service a bargain. Had it not been raining (again) I may have considered cycling the long way round, via Raymond Terrace. Instead I took the road from the beautiful holiday town of Nelson Bay, where the ferry had terminated, to Newcastle.
There were two positives that Friday. Firstly, there was not one hill on that 50 kilometre stretch of road. Two, I found a ten cent coin, just outside Nelson Bay. I noted the location - near a place called Sea Winds.
I would not have bothered recording this, but only a few hours later I again found a coin at Newcastle. It was a 5 cents coin, right outside a shop called Civic ... (Starts with a question - C I? and ends in a statement - I C! - Love it.
The final leg of that day's journey took me on another ferry ride, across the Hunter River from Stockton. I had had some adventures in this part of the world, without a bike and trailer. (It's in Book 4, Chapter 25, a chapter where I also felt, I was being remote-controlled).
The fare on the Stockton ferry cost $ 2.10. I had told my friend Robert that I'd be arriving at his place at Hamilton around 4 PM. I did, within a minute or two.
Beautiful New South Wales
Top: Near Camden Haven, looking towards Laurieton. Not long after this photo, the trailer mishap took place, under that hill.
Centre: Hawks Nest, near the bridge over Port Stephens*.
On the ferry, crossing from Hawks Nest to Nelson Bay. My Giant (bicycle) was on the roof. The trailer can be seen at the back.
(Looking at the centre picture - don't you think it's time they replaced the ferry and built a new jetty? (Just joking).
*Strange this! Had the same thing not happened twice I would not report it here. But the first time I had written the word Stephens (in text five paragraphs above picture) the same second the name Stephen S... (a prominent politician) was spoken on radio.
About an hour later, on the ABC News at 6.05 PM, it happened again. I had just scanned in the pictures and was writing the word Stephens. At the same second, again, the same name, the same person, was mentioned on the radio news.
Of course, I see the difference between Stephen and Stephens. But since IT happened twice, and SS in digital form is the same as 55, and God is ...
... IT all makes perfect sense!
- - - - - - -
My friend I was about to visit was the one I helped relocate, from Adelaide to Newcastle in my Suzuki, in mid 2007 (Book 6, Chapter 22). Staying in their large house, which Robert shared with four other tenants, gave me time to dry and sort out my wet gear. The repaired trailer wheel had stood up well. It looked as if it could make it to Sydney. The other wheel's bearing, however, was almost totally gone.
Robert, also a cyclist, and I went on a ride the next morning. The air in his tyre was going down gradually. Riding fast to make it back, Robert went straight over a small, oblong-shaped, green piece of ... whatever. It looked green, flat and wet.
By the colour and size my quick brain clicked. I did a U-Turn and picked it up - a ten Dollar note. Minutes later, how weird, Robert spotted a 50 cent coin on the footpath. (Not sure, if he's less money-hungry than me, or my eyesight is better).
That afternoon Robert took me to a place, where I bought a second-hand bicycle carrier. Amazing how it all linked. The address was 106 Robert Street. The long-haired young man, Daniel, who lived there was one, who hates cars and loves peace (according to the literature he handed us later).
His old, suburban house is surrounded by bicycles and bicycle parts, a wrecking yard for two-wheelers. Daniel also gives bikes away or swaps an old one for a not so old one. His workshop roof is a tree, the floor a tarpaulin.
It poured with rain during the hour we were there. I can't recall what came first, Robert and I finding the right parts, screws etc. or the rain stopping. That luggage carrier would later save my trip.
The next morning the weather had finally cleared, just right for an early bike ride. I had my first flat tyre in the two weeks I'd been riding. It was right by the railway line, in Newcastle's West.
I wasn't going to bother writing this observation., But I got a glimpse of a link, from where I got the flat tyre, to the address I was to attend church that morning.
See if you find it so: A small truck was parked right near by, registration AD 04 EN. I went to church at 15 Denison Street. (The truck cost $ 9999 or $ 999?)
The flat tyre fixed, I still got to church on time. The young, modern church (called Life Church) had a casual approach. This made me feel comfortable, even though no young lady decided to sit next to me.
Actually, I failed to record this in my diary, but a young man arrived in church late. He could have sat anywhere, but sat right in front of me, wearing a T-shirt of a certain organisation, which I can't recall. (It may have been TEAR? - Oh, the value of writing things down!)
Here is something I thought noteworthy, during this church service, to write into my diary (Extract dated 30/11/08):
Note the letters L T Y.
Text: I surrender all, was one song, when they sang
Let the earth
... these words stayed on the screen, even after the song* went on!
The word song was sung on radio as I wrote !
(End diary extract)
This phenomena, writing a word as my brain picks it up from another source, radio, TV etc. had become such a regular occurrence. I agree with those, who think it is becoming boring, but only to a point. One could also regard this as re-enforcing an issue. I will keep an open mind.
- - - - - - -
It would have only taken me three minutes to cycle from church to my host's house in Hamilton. But there was a distraction. Passing through Hamilton's main shopping precinct, Beaumont Street, out of the corner of my eyes, I got a glimpse of red. Not a red traffic light, but young men, all wearing ... it couldn't be? It was - a dozen or two Adelaide United football jerseys.
This was not merely a group of fans, who took a stroll after having travelled 1700 kilometres to cheer for their team. The shirts belonged to the real United squad. The entire team, including coach and manager, was taking a relaxing stroll in the sunshine. I recognized a few faces. But the one with the dark pony-tale stood out. It belonged to No. 4, A.C. (Angelo).
For a few moments I wheeled my Giant beside the team, chatting to Angelo, who is from Salisbury, and who, together with No. 5, *Michael Valkanis, has been the core of Adelaide's defence over many years.
A.C. found it hard to believe I was from Adelaide and had arrived by bicycle. I wished them well for that evening's match. I assured them, I'd be there, watching, hoping they would win.
What amazing timing! It is now only 4 hours to kick-off time. I have a few chores to do, then prepare to cycle to Hindmarsh Stadium to watch the Reds, Adelaide United football team, take on ... the Newcastle Jets!
- - - - - - -
(Writing continues the next morning - 10/1/09)
The boys did win. Adelaide regained the top spot in the A-League with the same match result as last week's home match at Adelaide Oval (2:0).
(*It was Michael Valkanis' fare-wall match. He is retiring at the end of the season).
The crowd was fantastic, attendance only 1115 short of 15000. The Mexican wave? Not bad, considering there wasn't much wind!
One can't help but feel sorry for the Jets. Last year's champions find themselves at the bottom of the ladder. (One consolation - Australia has no other professional league to be relegated to).
Apart from the goals scored I had two more things to smile about. One, my son Jon and his girlfriend sat next to me, for the first time; and two, the name of the Jets No. 10 striker - Song.
I smiled, because only hours earlier (in above diary extract) I had made a song and dance about a word, the word - song!
As I thought about this during the match last evening, I remembered the $ 10 Dollars I had found during my recent Newcastle visit.
This took my mind back to the very first match of the A-League. I had travelled 1700 kilometres in my Suzuki to come to this Stadium and by some miracle had snatched somebody's unwanted ticket in exchange for a 10 Dollar note.
This story is in Book 4, Chapter 25 - I just saw the magic - more to smile about: This chapter ends with a song and the word 'song' in the last line.
- - - - - - -
(Back to Newcastle)
In preparation to continue my cycling trip down the New South Wales coast, I had to do some shopping on Sunday afternoon, November 30th (Please note 30.11). Outside a large, modern hotel, again in Beaumont Street, Hamilton, I noticed a bus was loading passengers.
This was not far from where I had seen the Adelaide red shirts a few hours earlier. The team was leaving for the Energy Stadium. (They work even Sundays). Just above the front door I thought I saw a glimpse of the Hotel's street number - 131. "O" I thought, "is all that's missing to match the date."
Before the big match I had a few hours to play tourist. I spent some time at the King Street Markets, just looking, not buying. Next I cycled past busy Nobby's Beach, where crowds were bathing, to the end of the breakwater, where the Hunter River flows into the ocean.
As my eyes feasted on the blue waters of the Pacific I was aware, this was the place, where history was made not that long ago. It was somewhere here, where the huge coal carrier Pasha Bulker had been stranded for three weeks in 2007. (Book 6, Chapter 20).
Even better was the view, from Fort Scratchy. It's located right above Nobby's Beach. I was able to cycle right up to it, enjoying extensive views, beach, city, coastline and hinterland. For a moment I received a touch of this ... 'I could-live-here' feeling. But I needed to get back, kick-off for the big game was 5 pm.
Energy Stadium was less than 1/2 hour walk away. My friend Robert could not be persuaded to wear a red top. I sat near a corner flag with two other red shirts. They were United supporters, who had travelled from Sydney, where they now live. We tried to make as much noise as three fans could, among a stadium full of opposition. After Newcastle scored the first goal, the three of us had to work even harder.
The number attending was great - 7126 (loved it!). At the same time the numbers were disappointing, about half of Hindmarsh Stadium's crowd, last evening.
Adelaide played their usual fast-paced football, trying hard to score the equalizer. After normal time they were still behind 1 goal to NIL. For most of the 3 minutes extra time, every Jet supporter waited anxiously for the three long blasts of the final whistle. They were thinking that their team had won. But Adelaide was lucky. They scored a goal in the 93rd minute.
My two red fans beside me could hardly believe it. The final whistle came 10 songs, sorry seconds, later.
Top: Entry ticket - Jets v Adelaide Utd 30.11.08.
Thanks to Peter, a neighbour of my friend Robert, the ticket was complimentary.
Corner kick for the Jets. See it, another football hand?
The Jet - player's hand covers the C in Cessnock. I had made an interesting find in Cessnock during a previous Newcastle trip (Book 4, Chapter 26).
- - - - - - -
The Chapter mentioned earlier (Book 4 - 25), the one which ended with a song, has a picture of an advertisement: Dreaming of a Red Christmas? This led to my question: "Any other red thoughts for Christmas?
Recently, not on Christmas 08, but a week later, I discovered something, which took another eight days, until the morning of writing, to fully sunk in - in red.
On Friday 2/1 I woke real early. Because the clock showed 3.15 am, I probably was more alert than I would have been otherwise. Was there something God wanted to show me?
I tuned into the transistor radio. A female voice was giving a speech. I only heard the final few words of it. What she'd said woke my mind up even more.
The lady said "...we would be far better off without religion". A commentator then mentioned her name, which I heard as ... Ellison. I had come across a debate with the subject: Would we be better off without religion?
I listened as other speakers took the microphone, passionately weaving their arguments for or against religion. It was interesting radio, very stimulating. I was stirred by much of the anti-God, anti-religion propaganda.
I rose, despite the early hour and did some research. I found a few interesting facts. The lady speaker had been Lyn Allison, the former leader of the Democrats, the party which lost their last remaining Members of Parliament at the 2007 Federal Election.
Had the debate been about the abolishment of rigorous, religious traditions or endless rituals, covered in holy smoke or sprinkled in holy water, I would have agreed. But Mrs. Allison ended her talk with something like: "The God of the Bible, if God really exists, claims to be the only truth. I don't think so".
The commentator at the end of the program gave the result of the debate. (I assume this was an audience vote): 54 percent in favour ( that we would be better of without religion) and 36 percent against.
Even with the remaining 10% (that number fits in well, in more ways than one), it is alarming to think that people generally reject the concept of worshipping a powerful being, called God.
Having found the lady's name on the IQ2 website, I read the introductory comments about her. This is when I stumbled across a misprint on the webpage. It's only minor, but rather significant, as we shall see:
"Allison introduced legislation intro Parliament ..."
Can you see the spelling error? It's our code R+, as in Wagon R+.
I filled in the online comments form at 4.20 am on Fri 2/1/09:
Just noticed a spelling error in your IQ2 debate details of 1 Jan (1 r to many). It's in the description of Lyn Allison, who argued that there is no God -
Allison introduced legislation intro Parliament which would prevent Australia from using cluster bombs.
Very interesting debate - But the majority is not always right. God does not need a majority to exist. HE IS GOD, if humans like it or not.
I since found the whole debate on video online, by typing into Google: "Allison introduced legislation intro Parliament" (include the inverted commas). The podium (shown in the video) revealed that the venue for the debate (how out of place was this!) was Angel Place, Sydney.
Two little words - into and intro. Only an r difference!
Into - in my code means (somebody) in on a cross.
Intro - in two parts is in tro. Let's play the jumble letters game as we did at the beginning of this chapter. TRO = ROT. Rot is German for red.
Red is the colour of blood.
Blood, Jesus' blood, which drained from his body after his terrifying death, still is, and has been for two millennia almost, Christianity's holiest symbol. Shed blood is the Christian message in red: I am giving my all to the ONE who did the same for me, on that wooden cross long ago.
HE is the life, the way and the truth, if the majority votes for IT, is irrelevant. He is the beginning and the end.
His name is Emmanuel.