|At times when I have related a few episodes of my life, my listeners have responded sceptically, their scepticism ranging from ‘Bullshit mate!’ to ‘Come on, how could one person have done so many things?’ More than once I’ve been accused of being a Walter Mitty type character, one living in a fantasy world. Many have asked, ‘So when are you going to write a book?’
Being by nature a shy, even reclusive person, although willing to talk about my various escapades and experiences, I have been reluctant to write about them simply because it seems to give them an unwarranted importance. In other words, to me, it seems quite all right to fill in a few minutes at the local hotel or over dinner relating some of my life’s experiences in response to questions or to other people relating theirs, or to illustrate a point, but to write my life story implies an ego that I do not have.
The following pages contain a chronological record of those episodes in my life which I judge to have a level of interest or entertainment value high enough to keep you interested. In addition, perhaps the cumulative record will reveal some sort of purpose or moral, some sort of core meaning of which not even I am yet fully aware.
We might look at our lives as a continuous flow, a number of episodes or events, or as a series of cycles. Say I choose a seven year cycle for my life.
I was born in Whyalla, South Australia; seven years later we moved down the coast to Koppio; when I was fourteen years old I left school; then at the age of twenty-one I was accepted into the Royal Australian Air Force to be a trainee pilot. Seven years later, when I was in my twenty-eight year, I went broke for the first time. In my thirty-fifth year I met Dick Smith and began a new cycle, which had its highlight seven years later when I assisted him with the ground support for his solo helicopter flight around world. In my forty-ninth year I started another business and seven years later began to write a novel and so it goes . . .
But trying to fit a life into discreet cycles is artificial and restrictive because the period of the cycles is necessarily arbitrary–why choose seven years?–and there will always be the suspicion that there are other cycles that are being ignored. This is borne out by the fact that the seven year cycle I used above does not include the first time I left home, my first motorcycle, my first girlfriend, by first trip overseas, the fact that I served in the Royal Australian Navy, my marriage and children, my subsequent divorce, many years of geophysical exploration, the fact that I was the mayor of North Sydney for four years, started university in my sixty-first year, and so on . . .
To avoid the artificiality of imposing cycles, I think it's much better to relate that life as series of episodes in chronological order and let the cycles take care of themselves.
No doubt there will be disputes as to the accuracy of my recording, but that would happen anyway so I’m saying now that what follows is the way I recall these episodes as having occurred—after all, it is my recall of them that has determined their impact on my life.
So, let’s really enjoy ourselves, let’s live it up! It’s not raining inside tonight!