Chapter 11     Written / Published 13.1. /15.1.17       Pics by author, unless indicated

       HOME       THE  WINNER  GAVE  IT  ALL      Given your all - Now what?


As in previous books, extended travel spreads over various chapters. We continue our road trip across Australia later in this chapter. We observe things, we think about them. The mind never stops. God forbid it ever should. 

Before hitting the road, some peculiar numbers emerge; again at a check-out, another in a football stadium. We are also inspired by an active member of the dinosaur generation, who proved that old age is no excuse!



11.  Vine - set apart 

The previous chapter began with two quirky incidences, which had taken place at the check-out in a store. Here is another to make it a hat-trick. Because this time the number 11 plays a central role, a third check-out incident, written on (Jan.13 - 1.13) makes for a good start.

The day before at a hardware store I purchased a 15m length of water hose. I chose not the cheapest, but a good, well known brand. The price on the shelf was clearly marked as $17.94. At the check-out it came up as $11 flat. 

Not wanting to gain from a pricing error, I double-checked inside the store. The price tag on the shelf was correct. Nowhere did I see $11.00. Staff still assured me that I had paid the correct price, thanking me for my honesty.


<<<  On 12.1 at approx. 2:15:55 seconds, I paid for my purchase at check-out R18.


The discrepancy

6.94 made me think.

<<< $11.00, not $17.94 ??

 6 9 (0) had made a check-out appearance in the previous chapter. But only after scanning the above did I notice the product code, read backwards - 6 0 9 4 ...

Besides buying a 12mm garden hose, for 11 Dollars on the 12th, another most amazing 12 twist happened that same evening. It came after a soccer match. Considering, in the previous chapter you read that Adelaide played 1:1 on the 11th, take a look what happened on the 12th. (Not sure which is more amazing - Adelaide managing to win, or the score / date match?)



Pic. below: Jan. 12th - 7.20 PM, kick-off time at Coopers/Hindmarsh Stadium; excited fans under the big screen. 

The Reds played their second home game in Hindmarsh in a week. It was a hot, humid evening. That night the team won their 2nd game in the current season (12), beating Melbourne City 1:2. Love it!


Unlike the week before, when 10036 fans went home disappointed, this time 10607 soccer lovers had something to cheer about after the final whistle. 

But there was more. Note the writing on the big screen above. (Pity, from the other end of the arena, my phone camera didn't pick up the text clearly). The line in the Club's theme song, which played just before kick-off, reads: "'re gonna be the one that saves us..."


Walking to the gates at Hindmarsh one parked vehicle caught my eye, a Victorian registered SUV, registration plate:  JC 6901 (number sequence changed for privacy). How interesting! In the previous chapter 6.90 showed off on Jan 1, the day someone had a birthday. 


Something else came in the night: The scripture in the Old Testament, Isaiah 9,6, points to the birth of The One, who is "gonna be the one that saves us..."  


Still more: One of Adelaide's best players (sh) is a midfielder. He wears jersey No.8, but really should be wearing No.96. His name - Isaias.


(My diary mentions another parked vehicle near the stadium: a Queensland registered hire van ... 486.)  

- - - - - - -

Changing sports - the name Robert Marchand made headline news at the beginning of 2017; on the 4th of January to be precise. In Australia it was already 5.1, the day after publishing the previous chapter. This is why I took particular notice, when I learned that Robert was not only a cyclist, but 105 years old. He broke the world record, in his age group, for riding the longest distance in one hour.

How many oldies would have been inspired by this member of the dinosaur generation? Let all those who think they are too old for ...? Think again!


Pic: TV Channel Ten

<<<    Robert Marchand, 105 year-old cyclist,  celebrating his achievement.

On Jan. 4th the Frenchman, riding in a suburban Paris velodrome, covered 22.547 km (approx.14 miles) in one hour.

Not only did the date (5.1) match Robert's age (105) there was more, which matched those numbers: 

I had woken real early that morning. As I listened to Vision Christian Radio I happened to notice a mispronunciation. The reporter spoke the word fold, before correcting it to hold. The clock showed 5.10 AM. 

When a few hours later Robert's record was broadcast the word (f/h) old fitted in perfectly.  

- - - - - - -


While cyclists are engaging in a healthy, enjoyable activity, there is one other spin-off - they barely notice when the price of petrol (gasoline) rises to astronomical levels. This happened shortly after I uploaded Chapter 9 with the story of car registration plate 143. The displays outside service stations suddenly showed $ 143.9 for unleaded petrol (ULP).

As if there was an (illegal) arrangement in place between service stations, from what I noticed driving around, all outlets retailed at this price, and still do at the time of writing! 


<<< Heartache by the numbers (NOS):


Normally, soon after a huge, inexplicable (20 cents) price hike, the price drops gradually to a more acceptable level. Not so this time, in the early days of the year 2017. 

Most retailers also charge the same prices for Diesel (136.9) and LPG (72.9) (Liquid Petroleum Gas.) 

 - - - - - - -


(Back to Nov. 2016, burning fossil fuels in the Hyundai)

The district around Beechworth in Victoria has much to offer tourists, who love historic villages. The hour and a half around Beechworth was far too short to really appreciate it. Taking the C 315 west our lunch stop for the day was Wangaratta. The M31 freeway was easy to find; after a few minutes we exited into another historic town, Rutherglen, 

The town map showed a nearby lake - King Lake. Nice name; why not a short walk out there? It was a hot November day, the son blazing from a cloudless sky. We soon were back in town, window shopping under the shade of wide verandahs, which are typical in Australian country towns. 

A few miles down the road, following the C 377, we arrived in Chiltern, another gem of a village, where many buildings go back to the 1850's and are classified by the National Trust. Pity the Grapevine Museum was closed, but through the gate I could see and snap a photo of the famous grapevine, said to be the largest in the southern hemisphere.


Main Street intersection, Chiltern, Victoria, Grapevine Museum far left. 

Below: Famous, record-breaking grapevine.

This Chiltern vine is 148 years old. It was planted in 1867 from a cutting of the Baxter Sherry variety. It has never had fertilizer, nor is it watered. In 1936 it produced a bumper 2.5 ton crop. One bunch weighed 6.5kg.     (Source:


The grapevine is a very biblical plant. In John Chapter 15 Jesus used it as an object lesson:

"I am the true vine and my Father is the vinedresser. (John, Chapter 15, Verses 1).

(Unplanned, perfect timing in Bk.15.11, published on 15.1.) 

Verse 2: "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it bears more fruit."

HE goes on to urge His disciples to stick with HIM, so that they may bear much fruit. But how arrogant does this sound, Jesus telling HIS followers, only if you abide in me and I in you, will you will bear fruit? "Without Me, you can do nothing..." (Verse 4).

Is Jesus boasting about HIS magical powers? God forbid! HE continues to reveal to HIS inner circle one of the biggest, most misunderstood, promises in the bible:

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." (Verse 7).

Those who love HIM and HIS Word, will not desire anything, but what is good for them, that which is HIS will. (Only for a very few would this include a brand new Mercedes Benz; a new bicycle, more likely).


Whilst in Rutherglen we only spent a few minutes by Lake King, Lake Anderson, right in  Chiltern, was the prefect place to enjoy a balmy evening, just sitting by the water's edge among God's creation, forgetting the time.


Isobel relaxing (flat out).

- - - - - - -


Before reaching our first major destination, Australia's Pacific Coast, we met up with friends we had known since our days in Tasmania, nearly four decades earlier. On Friday November 18th, we met up in the New South Wales regional center of Wagga Wagga.

As we walked briefly through Wagga I noticed a man wearing a sports jersey - Rose 1. I had heard of a defender, Rose, who plays soccer in the A-League. (He played days ago, in above mentioned football match at Hindmarsh, wearing No.3 jersey). Number 1 on a soccer field is normally only worn by a goal keeper. 

Anyone thinking this is bull, they are correct. Jersey Rose 1, according to Mr. Google, refers to Chicago Bull's No.1 basket baller, Derrick Rose. Mystery solved.

- - - - - - -


Lawn mowing   >>>

can be fun. If my memory is correct, this was the first time I cut grass with a ride-on mower. 

Less fun was the invasion by millions of tiny insects, which somehow got inside the house and decided to be our companions all evening and during the night. 

All during our escape to the country Isobel kept thinking of, and watching out, for snakes; they're not her favourite pet.


Homestead near Bethangra NSW >>> 

- - - - - - - 

Motoring on toward out destination I recognized various places from previous trips, both by bicycle and motor car. We only stayed briefly in Canberra, having lunch beside Lake Burley Griffin, before leaving for our final leg down to the coast. At Braidwood, approx. half-way between Canberra and the coast, the weather turned much colder. It started to rain, just as I had experienced three years earlier, riding my bicycle along this route, the Kings Highway!

Hey, just checking this chapter with that story (Bk.12, 5 - published on 15.11, how amazing!) it contains a remarkable message 'in a blade of grass' (u r w). Our chapter here, in a moment, will find a similar message - i victor. (Read on).

The final descent from the highlands down to sea level became very hazardous. Visibility, due to heavy fog, dropped to a few meters in places. Thankfully, we arrived safely at Tomakin, just south of Batemans Bay, where we spent almost a week at a resort called The Moorings.



<<< Tomakin NSW, Beach 15 km south of Batemans Bay.

The first morning at the Moorings, Sunday Nov. 20th, 16, one couldn't wait to get out of bed and explore the district by bike. Within a few minutes I reached this lovely beach, took a few photos and rode up Melville Lookout.

The way back from the lookout was (revealed by Google Maps) via Red Hill Parade. For the name of the next street I didn't need Google Maps. It's recorded in my diary - Yarralumla Cres. Right in the middle of the road lay an aluminum can. It didn't somehow fit into this very clean, sleepy village, where, I could imagine, many retired people from Sydney lived.


<<< VB (Beer)

As I cycled along I caught a glimpse of the label. Victor sounded good.

Readers must have noticed that in recent years I have picked up far less trash off the road than in my earlier books.

Should I turn and take a picture? The question was answered for me by the name of the side street, right there: Kingston Pl. 

Kingston and Victor go well together!

- - - - - - -

There was a church in Batemans Bay, which I wanted to visit that Sunday morning. Right at the beginning of Book 12, early in the first chapter I made mention of a lady preacher, who I heard speak in Adelaide. She was visiting  from Batemans Bay at the time. She and her husband lead a church at nearby Surfside.

Isobel and I arrived about 15 minutes late. No drama, we just missed a few songs. A leaflet handed to us on entering announced the theme for that day - Set Apart.


'Set apart - chosen by God.' The supporting text was 1. Peter 2:9: "But you are a chosen generation ..."
The sermon that Sunday, Nov 20th, was meant to explore the reason why we sing Christmas Carols? Pt.2 - Oh Holy Night.


One Carol immediately springs to mind - a reporter, who sat next to me in a court room one sad day in 2001. Her name first appeared in Book.1, Chapter 18 and had followed us, in various places and at different times, right through my many books).


Hey, I just found a link to an entry in my diary. It had puzzled me, why a lady during above church service would mention numbers. During a brief exchange I thought I had heard  her mention 5 and 20. But why?

The answer came, looking at above picture, top left corner - NOV (No.5) 20. (See also below).

I had looked forward to a talk on 'Oh Holy Night'. However, the gentleman who preached spoke on a completely different subject. His text, shown on the screen at the front, was from Hebrews 3, 1 - 6:  

"Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus ..." 

The theme of his message that day focused on the two words: 'Consider Jesus'.

- - - - - - -

Writing this last paragraph, early in the evening after having sat on the P/C all day, became a struggle. Doubts entered my mind as to what was it all about? Why would anybody be interested in such trivial matters? This line of thinking enters my mind in every chapter, almost, at some point. It was time for a break. So I shut down the computer and went for a bike ride.

Riding a bicycle is a good time to think and pray. Anybody, from a 4 to a 105-year-old can do it. Thinking and praying are closely linked. I often do both. Only a few hundred meters from our place I pondered, and prayed about the doubts I felt, writing the above. Why did I bother scanning parts of a two months old church handout? 

The answer came in a nanosecond. Had I taken a closer look into my diary entry I may have seen it earlier:

Diary Nov. 20th, 2016:

Text: Heb. 3, 1 - 6, I saw 316! - Consider Jesus -  Talked with 2 ladies in front of us... I thought I may have heard code 5 / 20 but forgot!


The abbreviation of the word Hebrews is Heb. Be HE. 

Who is there to consider, when we see the number 316?

During my short bike ride I passed a parked vehicle. The registration number made me turn back and take a photo. It all will make sense, God willing, in the next chapter.


Chapter 12