I travelled to London for the second time in Sept of 1979 when life was going nowhere for me in Vancouver. Toured the continent and met a great kiwi, Gordon Dickson, who taught me a lot about drinking and partying. He said we should apply for tour jobs in November. I got on with Transit and he got Autotours. After killing the winter in Egypt and Israel I came back to London to do the training tour in the spring of ‘80.
Transit went bust half way through the tour (Europe G1A-“We did Europe liquidated”) so I worked pubs in London, enjoyed the Running of the Bulls with Top Deck and survived.
Worked out of an employment agency for a while taking whatever would come up. Best job was washing pots in the staff cafeteria for British rail at Euston Station. All you could eat breakfast followed by afternoon meal where the poms would be amazed at how much I could pile on my plate. Didn’t tell them that this was all I ate because money saved on meals could be spent at the pub.
Stayed with a great group in West Kensington, just down the road from the Fox pub. The flat maxed-out at 15 in early October with bedrooms of 2, 3 and 3 a well as 7 in the lounge room. Those 7 didn’t get much sleep until the parties ended. One guy could take his shoes off in his bedroom and we could all smell his feet in the lounge room.
Enjoyed the winter in South Africa with Gordon, hitch hiked all the way around and survived. Being stupid probably helped.
Got on with Sundowners in ’81, great training tour, training buddy kiwi Derek was awesomely funny.
In 1982 Sundowners went bust late into my last tour so I fortunately got some pay.
Married Sundowners passenger Bernadette Jensen, went back to Vancouver, finished studies in education at uni, (Bern. a nurse, put me through uni) no jobs in Canada for teachers so came to live near Bern’s parents who lived on the Gold Coast, lucky me.
I teach high school here, our children are a daughter - 23 and a son -25, he’s been around the world twice and is living overseas now, she is on an LA to Miami to NY Contiki at the moment.
We are looking forward to the reunion, Bern remembers her Europa, Scandinavian and Spain-Morocco tours fondly, I remember the first tour I took out was a 70 dayer and I did some drinking for the first 35 but had to tone it down a bit after that. The 3 weekers were great.
Had some great drivers but will have to look at photos ‘cause of how bad my memory is.
Drank with Spider from Top Deck at a lot of campsites.
I’m an Aussie now but don’t sound like it. Had a Canadian woman say to me one time, “How could you ever give up your Canadian passport for any other?” so I asked, “Have you ever been to Australia?” Naturally she said “No”, so I told her, “If you visit Australia you will find out that Canada is the second best country in the world, hah!”
Thanks for your story. Just another example of how we are connected and just how many our numbers are. I thought it interesting that you are Bren and she is Bern. I bet that is not the first or last time you'll hear that.
Good to read your contibution, after knowing you all these years I still learnt a lot. As they say the devil is in the detail, but promise won't tell Bernie, she already knows too much. You forgot your many trips and time spent in Japan but you can save all that for the book, I guess. Look forward to catching up on the Gold Coast or maybe Buderim before then.
It will be unreal to see people at the
reunion that we worked with but they will have to wear a button with a picture
of them when they were a Sundowners employee.
It is a long way in the future. An earlier
one might have been fun. We’ll have a mini one…………..next
time we see each other.
From: Johnno McCabe
[mailto:[hidden email]] Sent: Friday, 29 July 2011 8:02 PM To:Brendan
Boyle Subject: Re: Great memories -
Good to read your contibution, after knowing you all these years I still learnt
a lot. As they say the devil is in the detail, but promise won't tell Bernie,
she already knows too much. You forgot your many trips and time spent in Japan but you
can save all that for the book, I guess. Look forward to catching up on the
Gold Coast or maybe Buderim before then.
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