Much the same . Ten years since June 2003.


Fifty Years..... Now Sixty.

Our Golden Wedding anniversary celebrations on 21 June 2003 went

well. Mary and I were very pleased. I thought Mary looked very

beautiful. She was complimented by most of my former shipmates, who

suggested she looked more like my daughter. The dinner was excellent

and our friends and relatives were well turned out and very polite to one

another. The reason for the niceties was the imposing presence of my ex naval

friends and their partners, who did their level best to be as pleasant

as was possible. My good friend, Harry delivered a complimentary

speech. Every one enjoyed the good quality dance music. Mary danced

with all five sons and every other male person at the party. Our sons

were photographed with us displaying happy smiles, although their

shaven heads and dark clothing reminded me of the TV family ‘The


I was quite surprised when Bruce turned up at the club looking quite

fit and healthy. Bruce told me he had met his wife, Shirley at the Lady

Jane Nudist beach in outer Sydney, where he said she had fallen in love

with him at first sight. He said it was a match made in heaven, as Shirley

was young and beautiful, owned a logging business in Tasmania, and

was ‘stinking rich.’ Bruce told me that he and Shirley had been married

nearly eleven years, and had three daughters aged ten, nine and eight.

This had apparently kept him celibate six months out of twelve during

the first three years of marriage; however, visits to the logging sites to

check out the female office staff were always rewarding. He had heard

that they referred to him as ‘Mr Whopper’ or ‘Hoss the Boss.’

Bruce told me that he intended to stay a few days, as he was

interested in learning a few new dance procedures that Miss Twinkletoes

had promised to teach him. If his energy permitted, he would also call on

a few other ladies to whom he had been enamoured in the past.

My beautiful Mary put on a sporty smile and introduced Bruce as Mr

Bruce Kranski from Tasmania, which raised a few eyebrows and a lot of

giggles. After eyeballing our five sons who looked as tough as nails,

Bruce told me he would keep a low profile in their presence. Mary later

told me Bruce had said something quite explicit but complimentary to

Fifty Years

240 – Waving Goodbye to a Thousand Flies

her and that his mere presence and past reputation left her weak at the

knees. I have not heard from Bruce since our 50th.

George our son stayed to the end of the celebration but his family

members left early.

At midnight, the house was filled with family members and friends,

but by two o’clock, only relatives remained. This was when Henry and

William had a minor disagreement after they had indulged in a smoko

session. I would like to mention that all of our sons are on good terms

with us, although they are aware I disapprove of some of their goings on.

Christopher, our eldest son, is very philosophical about it all. He is

dedicated to his computer and his music and enjoys the company of fresh

lips rather than long-term involvement with the available ladies.

Although Christopher loves his brothers, he objects to the pot smoking.

George’s brothers have described Brother George as a trifle irritating

at times, particularly when he constantly explains to all and sundry about

the value of his house and land. They say it’s a pity George’s mind

doesn’t have the same values, referring to his silly pornographic jokes.

Despite everything, however, his brothers have told me they love George

as brothers should and would defend him to the end (although Steven,

being gay, is not too sure he should say, “I love you, George.”)

Having been divorced twice, George lived with several women in the

gaps between his marital disasters, one of whom I had heard was ‘bi

lingual!’ George’s current partner, Rachael has stood by him for about

nine years. Although I must admit Rachael has had a steadying influence

on him, I am not privy to their domestic scenario. The lady in question is

now a compulsive non-drinker due to her unsociable tendencies when

overcome by alcohol, but her present responsible attitude to her past

problem is to be admired. However, it seemed at the time, her brief kiss

on the side of my cheek last night was about as welcoming as a bite from

a black widow spider. Rachael who was dressed in a stunningly beautiful

creation, looked very attractive for her thirty-five years; with her new

blonde-by-choice look. Although I would have loved to have told her

how beautiful she looked, I was reluctant to tell her so in case of a

possible rebuke. Rachael is well supported by George, who is certainly

not a slacker and apparently loves his on-site underground sanitary

engineering job with the city council.

George is currently at loggerheads with his younger brother, Steven,

who after seven years of marriage, two children, and a divorce is now

gay. Steven has had several affairs but has settled down to a business-like

Fifty Years

John Leonard Spencer – 241

and friendly partnership with Adrian, who I know to be a very pleasant

person from a very nice, supportive family. At first, Mary and I were

unhappy about Steven’s decision, but now we are more tolerant and


Steven’s ex-wife, Marie refused to allow her two children to attend

our 50th bash. Since I have known her, I have never been rude to her and

have made every attempt to be nice to her. Now, Marie still owes me

about $12,000 and still borrows from time to time. Her decision to attend

a barbeque party instead of our 50th could have jeopardised our

‘diplomatic friendliness; however, access to our beautiful grandchildren

might be at risk if we don’t impose the patriotic art of lying to protect our

interests, so I shall continue to be courteous to Marie.

Steven and Adrian sent photographs of themselves dressed up at a

gay party to George’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Coral Rose. George was

concerned that the photos would corrupt his ‘pure’ daughter. (I thought

the photos were harmless and quite modest, as no genital or body parts

were on display.)

Beautiful much loved Coral Rose arrived at the reception with her

Mentor – none other than Rachael, George’s quite attractive live-in lover.

I was permitted to kiss only one cheek so that I wouldn’t ruin her make

up. I said, “Hallo, darling granddaughter. It is nice to see you again. You

look so beautiful.”

Coral Rose replied, “Hallo” and walked off. She had been well

indoctrinated. It would appear Coral Rose has lost the art of intellectual

conversation, in particular being able to say “thank you.”

George, a man of strong family principles as mentioned earlier,

describes his younger brother being gay; as a despot unworthy of his

family’s recognition. Yet, George is aware that his very young daughter

is on the pill and possibly having relations with a male friend.

I am having difficulty deciding whether George is the ‘Kettle or the

Pot’. Then again, George may be trying to stem a flood of new arrivals.

Kimberly, his eldest daughter who we love dearly, is very pregnant with

our great grand daughter, the father of whom I have never met and who

has shot through to the outback far beyond the black stump. It is a pity

one cannot teach wisdom to the young. Nevertheless, I love George and

all my sons equally, as a good father should. George is a good supportive


Mary and I have had two very pleasant visits to George, Rachael and

Kimberly and her baby, beautiful Polly, at their home three months after

Fifty Years

242 – Waving Goodbye to a Thousand Flies

the party, where all differences of opinion were shelved and we left on a

happy note; after burying our hatchets six paces north of the hills hoist

clothes post! However, at the party earlier, Steven and George eyeballed

each other. I warned them “One word and out you go.”

It was after midnight when we returned home. Most of our guests had

travelled far and were staying at local motels. Our family members

continued to imbibe.

Having had little sleep overnight, Mary and I arranged for Steven and

his partner Adrian to do the barbeque breakfast, they being employed by

the best firm in the business; ‘ Barbeques Galore’ at Kotara near

Newcastle NSW, and they, knowing only too well; how to make your

sausage sizzle! By one o’clock pm, we were at last on our own to spend

the rest of the day recovering.

We received many cards and beautiful presents from well-wishers,

among them a card from that little baldy bloke who is our nation’s leader

and one from our Federal member, Ken Ticehurst, who is deserving of

our thanks for his good work. Thanks, mate. There was another from our

liberal Senator, Dr John Tierney; a splendid fellow and always busy, and

a card from our temporary stand-in Governor General (who is also the

Governor General of Tasmania), Sir Guy Green, Administrator of the

Commonwealth of Australia, and his lovely wife, Lady Rosslyn. The card

we really treasured, (not to demean the others which were are all very

nice) was the card from The Honourable Sir William Deane and his

lovely wife, Lady Helen Deane, (formerly Gov Gen Sir W. Deane and

Lady Deane) who described us as old and valued friends of theirs.

Thanks, Sir Bill and Helen. There were many occasions that Mary and I

would have morning tea with Helen, during which time we would

discuss family issues and I would tell her son jokes. I firmly believe that

Bill and Helen Deane were the finest people to grace their exalted

positions of Australian representatives of the British Monarchy.

There was no mention from Bob, who held the State’s top job. Maybe

it was because of that nasty letter that I sent him in January when I was

enraged over some stupid political nonsense. It seems his memory

extends further than most political leaders. Bob is really a nice bloke, but

his advisors are constantly getting their sums wrong.

Two years ago when our leader was in the USA, an American

journalist asked one of his minders about his name.

“Mr Hunt, isn’t it?” enquired the journalist.

“No,” said the minder.” But don’t worry, you almost had it right.”

Fifty Years

John Leonard Spencer – 243

I must ask the secretary of our association to get back to the Prime

Minister again to raise the issue of the Gold cardwill give us former

Brits a real feeling of acceptance as citizens of Austr


Families are complicated animals are they not? A lot of work, delicate diplomacy and almost always worth it.
Major. Holsworthy. said…
You must have an astonishing power of command.
Vest said…
Thanks Elephants child. i agree families in the main have their own individual responsibilities to maintain , with some guidance available from the heirarchy but it is their choice which direction they take.I for one look on and wonder, too often in dismay.
Vest said…
M H: Power of command as you put it is a great motivator - except for the unknown intellectual factor of the recipient of such command.
A long time ago I had a ceremomial guard of honour to provide from local Chinese Sailors and those of the Royal Navy. The rule of thumb was that, each rifle movement would be
carried out at the speed of 120 paces to the minute. but the Chinese guys didn't get it and were never likely to. So to compromise the R N Brits were put in the rear rank to follow the speed of movement of the Chinese sailors, about 160 PPM similar to that of the Somerset light Infantry.
However, extra drill over the following days eventually bought the Sino chappies in line with the norm.
Student, at Wyong. said…
Mr Vest , did you ever become involved in a war or something like war you must be very old. so did you.

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