Please note, this is not part of my Travel Blog. It’s part of my personal history, check it out if you wish.
Believe it or not
Bizarre outrageous true stories are some of the memories throughout my life that are either bizarre, unusual, hilarious or just plain crazy. A few years ago I intended to put these few recollections into an autobiography, however common sense prevailed so instead they will just be included in my blog. They are in no particular order, but I can assure you every word is true.
New Years 1981 Sydney Harbour
NYE 1981 and 15 of my friends boarded my Bertram 25 and headed for a seafood restaurant near the “Spit bridge” on Middle Harbor in Sydney. On-board were some of my best friends, Wolf Wottke, Harley Bradstreet, George McEwan & Graham “Biff” LaRoche from Melbourne and 6 or 7 gorgeous girls. My boat was licensed to carry around 10 or 12 people however it was New Year’s Eve so who really cared?
We moored on the edge of the sand at the rear of the restaurant and at 8.30 pm sat down and ordered a feast. Here is where things started to go wrong, we hadn’t factored in the NYE crowd and the food was very slow to arrive, in fact it was after 11 pm by the time the waiter started to serve our meal. By then we were well along the road to intoxication as we had started drinking late afternoon at my apartment in Drummoyne.
We faced our second problem re-boarding the boat as the tide had come in and the boat was now floating 30 meters from the shore. Our only option was to wade out carrying the boxed up food in water almost up to our backside. The good news was our nice view of the girls hiking up their skirts waist high, which endorses the phrase that every cloud has a silver lining.
Now “Biff” was a huge man as the name implies, & Harley was almost a midget, sometimes we would cruelly refer to him as an ariel photograph of as human being. So with Harley clutching a cardboard box filled with oysters “Biff” tucked him under his arm and carried him towards the boat.
I’m not sure why “Biff” dropped him, when only 2 meters from the boat, perhaps Harley wriggled or maybe “Biff” was feeling the effects of too many beers. Anyhow Harley briefly disappeared underwater along with the box of precious oysters, which I’m please to say we did recover.
Harley was our own human disaster area, if something was going to go wrong he was usually at the centre of things, in fact it was Harley who coined the memorable phrase“anyone can have a bad decade”.
By the time we all got on board it was around 11.30 pm and is was a good 30 minute journey to the Opera House so I gave the boat full throttle and sped toward the Harbour Bridge.
We arrived in record time about 11.55 and I was weaving through the 1500 or so boats like a drunken sailor, which of course I was, searching for a spot to anchor that was not too close to any of the hundreds of spectator craft. Hallelujah, what seemed to be a minor miracle unfolded before my eyes. A clear circle of water right in the middle of all the boats, so naturally I gave out a cheer and dropped the anchor just as the first fireworks explosion sounded right above us.
Elation quickly turned to fear as huge smoking wooden rods started raining down upon us. It was like we were caught in a Beirut bomb zone with huge sky rockets peppering the overloaded boat causing some of my friends, in particular Harley, to dive overboard in the middle of the harbour to escape the carnage. In the mayhem & panic it suddenly occurred to me we were smack bang in the middle of the fireworks “drop zone” which the water police had cleared in readiness for the show before retreating out of danger themselves.
I sprang into action like a drunken super hero and pulled up the anchor in record time, then fled the danger zone. No mean feat as my boat lacked an electric winch, so I had to manually pull the damn thing up by hand while standing on the bow.
We moored safely out of harm’s way and assessed the damage, naturally Harley was the most wounded, soaking wet with minor burns on his arm, plus a few small cuts from the smashed champagne bottle he was holding when hit by the first rocket.
Well we settled down and watched the rest of the fireworks reliving the experience that would be told many times over in the coming years, our own personal “great escape”.
Later we motored along the Parramatta River to Habberfield to drop off some passengers, and finally returned “drunk as skunks” to Drummoyne at dawn. Later that day George, Biff & I on impulse flew to the Gold Coast to continue our New Year celebrations.
Carol Aboud was my girlfriend from 1977 to 1980
Even though Carol was the mother of four young children she was the ultimate party girl. She came from a wealthy eastern suburbs family, her father was the managing director of Century batteries & in his eyes she could do no wrong.
We really had some great times together, although it was one of those on & off relationships that ran into quite a few road blocks along the way. Talking about roads Carol loved her little red Ford Capri, it was her pride & joy. One Friday night she was driving me home to Longueville after a typical night out at the Americas cup bar and San Francisco grill at the Sydney Hilton. For some unknown reason we started to have an argument with culminated in her pulling over to focus better on our disagreement.
Now bear in mind we both had consumed lots of alcohol so the argument was escalating, then for some stupid reason I grabbed her handbag and threw it out the window of the car. Well Carol let out a piercing scream and aimed a beautiful left hook at my jaw. Luckily I leaned back and the punch missed me my a fraction of an inch, however the follow through caused her fist to connect with the windscreen.
Now I forgot to mention Carol always wore lots of jewellery, necklaces and lots of rings, consequently her rather large ring was the first thing to connect with the windscreen which immediately shattered into thousands of pieces of toughened glass. Now I mean the whole damn windscreen, not just a small section, well after a moment of shocked silence we looked at each other and burst into laughter.
Naturally I retrieved the handbag, drove the car home with no front windscreen, then spent a couple of hundred dollars the next day having it replaced. Just another page in life’s rich pageant.
Here I am in Adelaide in the 70s, more Bizarre outrageous true stories.
I have often told friends that two of the best years of my life were in Adelaide in the mid 70s. I met so many fascinating people there it really made life interesting. One such character was David Morgan, tall & wiry and a deep thinker, who had I believe spent some time behind bars. Anybody when they first met David would think he was a rather quiet person, in reality though he had a “short wick” and an explosive temper.
We would spend hours playing chess, during this time I tagged him with an unusual nickname, “Still Waters”. The first of two stories I want to tell involves a game of golf with a group following Dave & his friends. This group were rather impatient and on two occasions “hit up” before David was out of range. Showing great tolerance the 2nd time it happened David strolled back and requested they take more care as they were not at fault for the slow pace, it was the group in front of David causing the problem.
Well you guessed it, a couple of holes later the group hit up on them again. This time when David strolled back he took his five iron and beat the guy senseless putting him in hospital.
David of course fled the scene assuming he would not be caught as it was a public course and he was not known there. Now the story does not end there, David was a well known dog trainer who owned two magnificent Great Danes. The following week he was a guest on one of the Adelaide day time TV shows with his dogs to discuss training methods. Well, you guessed it again, who should be watching the show from his hospital bed? The victim of course who quickly rang the police who promptly took David into custody. 🙂
This must certainly rate as one of the best Bizarre outrageous true stories in this photo blog. For no particular reason I thought I would add a photo of two Great Danes so you know what we are talking about. Photo credit to Herb Ritts.
The second David Morgan story is 100% true because I was there. A mutual Phil Forsythe threw a small party at his home somewhere in the Glenelg area.
A few of us were enjoying a few beers on the back lawn when suddenly David and his heavily pregnant wife Ali came rushing in looking a little distressed. He shouted “hide us, hide us, the police are coming.” Well of course we had no idea what the problem was, however we concealed both of them in an unused “chook yard” at the back of the property.
Within a couple of minutes two police officers turned up and asked us if we had seen a guy and his pregnant wife around anywhere. We all looked suitably confused & asked why they thought this person would be here. The police then stated the person in question had an argument with a taxi driver that was supposed to bring them to this address. The argument apparently escalated to such a degree the alleged perpetrator tore the drivers door off its hinges and beat the driver unconscious with it then fled the scene.
Our host Phil looked the two police in the eye and said “do you really want to find this guy“? They looked at each other for a moment and said, “you have a point there“. and quietly left. 🙂
Tim Bristow was what the press used to call a colourful character.
Tim was a friend of mine so I visited him on several occasions when he was doing time in Berrima Jail, the one time that really sticks in my mind was Boxing Day 1986 or 1987, I’m not sure which. I signed into the jail as a visitor and Tim asked in his deep gravelly booming voice “listen Dave I have a friend who does not get any visitors would you mind signing him out of his cell?”Obviously I was not going to refuse this simple request so I did. I have forgotten the guy’s name so let’s just call him John. So the three of us were sitting on one side of a table with his friend between us enjoying our BBQ lunch. Tim leaned his huge head forward and asked “do you know what John is in for?”
Three things to note here are, 1. Years ago Tim suffered a minor stroke and one side of his face had fallen slightly and had no feeling, 2. He didn’t just speak, “he roared.” 3. He had quite a warped sense of humour. So repeating his question “do you know what John is in for?” I answered “no Tim, I don’t have any idea.” Then in his loudest booming voice he said “AXE MURDERER, HE KILLED TWO PEOPLE WITH AN AXE”, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! So picture this, here I’m sitting next to a guy with a steak knife in his hand after being informed he was a double axe murderer. I sort of lost my appetite for the rest of my lunch. I kept thinking on my drive home from Berrima how the authorities probably now had my name associated, not only with the notorious Tim Bristow but a double axe murderer as well.
Tim does a job for Sanyo
Shortly after I stopped working for Sanyo Office Machines I was at Coolum with Ross Radford & John Sprouster two of my old bosses. Ross told me of some problems he was having in the Melbourne office. He recently fired his manager who was now terrorising the staff with obscene phone calls and intimidating them when they arrived in the office car park. I told Ross I would talk to “Big Tim Bristow” to see if he could help.
Tim flew down to Melbourne and back in one day & reported that the problem was solved. Naturally I was keen to hear the details, Tim said he waited at the Sanyo car park for the guy to arrive, then opened the door of his car, leaned in and had a quiet word with him, that’s all it took.
Now I can only guess what the “quiet word” was, however with Big Tim’s huge head a couple of inches away from this guys face, suggesting what may occur if the problems continued, it’s not difficult to understand why this fellow “saw the light”. 🙂
Another of my Bizarre outrageous true stories was 1989 in Surfers Paradise when my current girlfriend & I attended the wedding at Marina Mirage of Reg “Sir Reginald” Biddings an ex NBL basketball star. Now Tanya was a rather crazy lady who would totally lose control after too many drinks. This evening was no exception, once she was past the point of no return she would throw herself at various guys on the dance floor in order to provoke a reaction from me.
I got rather bored with these antics and decided to leave alone, of course I had forgotten that Tanya had my boat keys in her handbag so I had to double back to retrieve them. She saw me coming and took off in the crowd. (there were around 1000 people there) Finally I cornered her and after a tug-of-war with the handbag managed to retrieve my keys.
To calm my nerves I had a couple of drinks at a favourite bar overlooking the broad-water. Feeling more relaxed I wandered down to where the boat was moored only to discover somebody (guess who?) had untied the rope and the boat was floating 200 meters away in the middle of the channel. I finally found a guy who took me out to rescue the boat so I could finally go home and put this madness behind me.
The story wasn’t quite over, I found Tanya had beaten me home and removed certain items including my camera, this however was a small price to pay so after a year of drama I was happy to never let her darken my doorstep ever again. 🙂
Reg “Sir Reginald” Biddings and the boat in question.
Bizarre outrageous true stories
Can you imagine anybody having a DC3 in the backyard of their Box Hill home in Melbourne? Well this was 1989 and my friend Dion did not do anything in a small way. His girlfriend was an Ansett hostess and she used to fly on this actual aircraft, so naturally Dion bought it as a souvenir. 🙂
Dion also like classic cars, here is Tanya with his 1960 Cadillac four door sedan.
Roger had a stainless steel throat
This is Roger “Ramjet” Williams who could always be relied upon to put on a show. Two of his party tricks were drinking a Bloody Mary containing 1/2 a bottle of Tabasco sauce. If a normal person had one sip it would set your mouth on fire. His 2nd trick was to take a raw onion and eat it like an apple, this man obviously had no taste buds. 🙂
Home invasion at 106 Upton St Bundall aka “Dueling baseball bats”
It was May 2010 and I had only returned from Asia 48 hours ago & was still a little jet lagged. It would have been far safer staying in Bangkok or Cambodia than my home on the Gold coast, as I was the victim of a violent home invasion & robbery at 1am in the morning. I took a very solid hit from a lunatic with a baseball bat, but luckily was not badly hurt, I managed to fight the bastard off, & when I finally got through to 000 5 cop cars turned up within about 7 minutes. It may well have been the most terrifying experience of my life. There was an 18 year old girl renting a room in my house so when I heard some strange noises in the early hours of the morning I thought it was just her banging drawers etc.
Then a loud male voice from outside my bedroom door said “GIVE ME YOUR MONEY AND YOUR JEWELLERY OR I WILL SHOOT YOU” I jumped out of bed, put on a pair of shorts, grabbed a baseball bat from my wardrobe and opened my bedroom door, I was only halfway through the door when this wild man rushed me swinging his own baseball bat straight at my head. It all happened so fast, and bear in mind I was half asleep, luckily I came awake fairly quickly and held my bat at a 45 degree angle in front of my head, the bat took the main force of the blow. His bat bounced off and caught me on top of my right shoulder which made my whole arm briefly go numb. Needing to gain a little time & to get the feeling back in my arm I slammed and locked my bedroom door & called 000, (I also hit my house alarm button and the bloody thing did not work) as soon as I reported to the police I knew I had to go back out and front the bastard again because I could hear the young girl sobbing in her bedroom, my biggest worry was that he was not alone.
Luck was with me, the coward had bolted with only Alison’s old laptop, her new iPhone and $15 cash. On the same night he robbed at least 2 other places near my house, mine was the only one that included violence. Across the water a couple were asleep on the lounge downstairs while the intruders went through their upstairs bedrooms, one of which contained 3 children under 6 years old. I have absolutely no doubt had I not been able to block the vicious blow aimed at my head I would more than likely have wound in hospital or the morgue.
John Martin aka Pothole
I’m guessing it was around 2003 when we were travelling to Thailand every chance we had. Pothole ran a successful real estate office in Sydney and regularly lost thousands of $$$ playing the slot machines at the Oaks Hotel in Neutral bay. I had travelled through many countries with him, Brazil, Vietnam, Thailand etc, & he had one main weird ambition. Any time he would come across a gorgeous babe he would immediately say “I would love to walk through the Oaks hotel with her”.
Friends & I finally worked out what was behind this strange obsession. He craves the limelight and would do anything to be the “centre of attention”. Thus his ultimate high was to be able to parade in front of his friends at the Oaks with a hot babe on his arm.
Finally he found Apple who was working in a bar in Nana Plaza Bangkok, he bought her to Australia a couple of times & paraded her through the Oaks to satisfy his strange obsession. The love affair escalated and the subject of marriage was on the table. Some friends & I urged him to have her sign a pre-nuptial agreement to protect his extensive assets, which to his credit he did.
So Thursday evening at home he presented her with the agreement showing his assets of about $2 million aud & hers at $16,000 worth of jewellery which he had previously given her. Friday morning he went to work and came home around lunchtime to find the jewellery laid out on the bed with a suicide note. He looked around the area & found no sign of her, then wound up in tears at North Sydney police station reporting the incident.
When he phoned me my advice was simple, change the door locks, pack her suitcase and leave it outside the door. Here is Lee, his best friend’s version of what happened;
I went to his place that Friday night as we were going out when he told me she was missing and going to commit suicide, well, he had me first searching all the green bins in the unit and then he suggested that she could be down the park ( don’t know the name) which is by the water. So we went down there and thoroughly searched the area and couldn’t find a body. We then decided to go up the pub as usual.
I found out later that night she had come home and had been with a guy that Pothole had introduced her to up the pub. While he was at work at Avalon she was around this guys place at Neutral Bay near the old Café Royal, porking him.
So there you have it, his crazy obsession backfired on him, yes he paraded her at the Oaks in front of his friends to achieve his goal & one of them hooked onto her & did the dirty deed. Pothole moved on with his life then made the exact same mistake again, he imported another bar girl from Pattaya & at the age of 60 fathered two children with her in Thailand. Naturally, as expected he has split with the mother but looks after his 2 boys very well & pays her a fortune for doing very little. Sadly some people will never learn.
Apple was a fantastic cook
In fact she cooked the best Thai food I have ever eaten. An extra element makes Apple part of my Bizarre outrageous true stories, while she was with Pothole she was conducting relationships with several other punters from all over the world, (Pothole discovered details after hacking into her Hotmail account) one was a retired London policeman who she subsequently married in 2008, and gave birth to a lovely daughter. The highlight of this story came when this clever bar girl from Nana Plaza accompanied her husband to Buckingham Palace to receive his MBE or similar award. Hats of to you my dear you have come a long way from Soi 4 Nana, nobody does it better. 🙂
OK, there is one final twist to this story, Apple fell pregnant because her husband John had his sperm frozen in 1991. She now actually has two gorgeous young daughters.
Pothole & his progeny
It’s December 2015, Pothole is 66 & the boys are 7 & 5. He is now a year older in September 2016, & is an excellent father who spends lot’s of time with his boys.
Wood St North Melbourne, the house next door has had a fire.
I purchased a delightful terrace house in Wood St North Melbourne for $45,000 from a nice lady who owned the whole row of terraces in that street. Although North Melbourne was not as trendy as the South Yarra and Windsor area it was close to the office and my favourite piano bar at the Old Melbourne Motor Inn. The nearby Victoria markets were also a great attraction in the area.
On grand final day 1975 Collingwood were playing North Melbourne, however that event was far from being foremost on my mind. I had flown back early from a business trip in Darwin after receiving word from reliable sources that my girlfriend (I use that term loosely) and her friend had been forced to fly to Thailand by her ex-boyfriend who was a well-known Sydney gangster known as Bruce McCauley.
The tip off I received over the phone in Darwin was that a “contract” was on my head and that two Yugoslav heavies were keen to carry it out. Now this is not the sort of phone call I would wish on anyone, however some of my friends certainly stepped up to the plate. A couple of indigenous boys I occasionally went Barra fishing with, one a well-known footy player named Bubba Tye insisted I sleep in their house rather than my hotel while they sat on the front steps with a few cans of beer and a couple of 303 rifles.
Another example of friendship came from one of my best friend of many years Wolf Wotke who lived in Adelaide, I rang Wolf and told him briefly about the situation and asked him to see if he could acquire a gun for me to protect myself with. Wolf didn’t ask any questions he simply flew to Melbourne the following day with a small 32 calibre automatic, met me at Tullamarine airport and we caught a taxi home to Wood St North Melbourne.
On our arrival I had an uneasy feeling that someone had been inside my home which was a beautiful terrace house in a row of six. My red E type Jaguar was parked in the backyard and I guess my paranoia took over because I was sure it had been tampered with. Wolf laughed at my stupidity and said “give me the keys I will start the car”, I said “OK go right ahead” however I bravely stood around the corner of the house out of harm’s way.
Of course the car didn’t blow up which made Wolf laugh even more at my nervousness, but I was still sure someone had been inside the house so I stashed the pistol in a handy location behind the bar in the 1st floor lounge room overlooking the street. We then made a unanimous decision to head off to the pub and discuss the situation, it was around 1pm Saturday (grand final day) when we arrived at the piano bar at the Old Melbourne motor inn, my favourite local drinking hole, little did I realise I would be spending a lot more time at this establishment over the coming months.
The girl, the friend & the car
That’s the girl in question Di Parkinson, Wolf is the dark dude with the beard.
I should explain one thing about my friend Wolf, he was well known for his marathon drinking sessions and today would prove to be no different. At around 11pm that night we were totally smashed and decided to head home to Wood St, which thankfully was only a few blocks away giving the fact I foolishly elected to drive. Upon turning left from Abbotsford St into Wood St we ran into total chaos, there were flashing lights everywhere from several fire engines and police cars so I parked directly across the road from my home and made a classic statement I will never forget:
“The house next door has had a fire.”
If you are familiar with the layout of an E type Jaguar you will know they are a difficult vehicle to extract yourself from, even more so when you are plastered. So when two detectives ran across the road and opened my driver’s door, I stumbled getting out and fell on the road at their feet. Instead of arresting me for driving under the influence they politely enquired “was I David Herd a resident of the terrace house directly opposite?”
After answering in the affirmative they informed me my neighbour’s house was quite Ok, it was mine that unfortunately had the fire.
I must say I have never sobered up so fast in all my life, and overcome with rage I was striding back and forth amongst the fire hoses on the footpath bellowing curses at Bruce Michael McCauley who I knew had instigated this act of terrorism. My language was rather offensive as you can imagine, and looking back I can appreciate what a funny spectacle it was seeing the detective following me two steps behind asking if I would refrain from using such bad language.
I certainly didn’t hold back and told him about McCauley’s details and where he could be found. The next two or three hours seemed to fly by, the police had left and only one or two fire engines remained. I asked one of the firemen if I could get to the 1st floor to retrieve an important item, (the pistol) he said “the staircase is gone so there is no way up”. Now drawing on my experience as a trainee fireman some 10 years ago in Sydney (I resigned after 2 weeks), I pointed out a large % of their equipment came in the form of ladders, so if he would be so kind to place one in the appropriate position I would utilise my balancing skills and retrieve my important package. He agreed and with the help of a small torch I climbed up the ladder to the lounge through the smouldering ruins and terrible smell of smoke, and then stuffed the small pistol down the front of my jeans. I also retrieved another important item, a “Goon” of Jim Beam (a 4 litre bottle) which was totally black and sitting on the bar, then returned to the street where for the next hour or so Wolf & I sat on the front mudguard of the fire engine sharing the 4 litre bottle of bourbon and cursing my new arch enemy, the Sydney gangster Bruce Michael McCauley.
Later on deciding we were rather hungry and remembering a terrific little breakfast cafe called Mittens in Avoca St South Yarra, Wolf & I arrived there at 6.30am Sunday morning, we were rather puzzled why people seemed to be staring suspiciously in our direction until finally we understood, my clothes, face & arms were blackened by soot collected when I retrieved the two important items from the bar in my smoke damaged lounge room at Wood St North Melbourne.
For the next 3 or 4 nights we slept on the floor at a friend’s (Mike Bridge) home in East Melbourne until I sensed he was getting very nervous given the circumstances, so I struck a deal with Alan Johnson who managed the Old Melbourne motor inn, and lived in a room there beside the pool for the next 3 months. That hotel room seemed to get smaller as each week passed; at least I only had to walk upstairs to my favourite piano bar. My neighbour directly opposite was Pixie Frew who was separated from her husband George who built the hotel, most people would recognise her through the next guy she married, the infamous Christopher Skase.
I must point out that I was a very angry young man at this point in time and made the decision that when McCauley returned from Thailand I would arrange a meeting, with the intention of causing him a reasonable amount of physical discomfort. (That is of course if I was still alive).
Getting off the subject for a moment I want to describe an embarrassing moment which occurred around the pool at the Old Melbourne one sunny Saturday, I know it was a Saturday because I was sun baking and reading the huge Melbourne Age which is one of those big awkward broadsheets that are hard enough to handle indoors where there is no breeze to play havoc with the pages.
The Old Melbourne attracted many celebrities other than me, (only joking) and this day was no different. Sitting around the pool were Ian Chappell and his wife, and a very famous “bug eyed” English comedian Marty Feldman. So naturally I am playing it very cool reading the paper and ignoring the various celebs when a gust of wind blew some of my newspaper towards the pool, quick as a flash I leapt to my feet to retrieve the wayward pages before they hit the water.
Big mistake, I forgot I was on a very smooth slippery sloping lawn which surrounded to pool, so after two quick steps my feet lost traction and I wound up flat on my back for all to see. It was one of those moments when you hoped the ground would open up and swallow you, instead, while lying prone staring at the sky the wild eyed face of Marty Feldman appeared above me and politely enquired “are you OK”? I recall mumbling “yes, I’m fine thank you” to which he replied “it wasn’t a bad fall really.”
Anyhow I gingerly got to my feet, gathered the scattered pages and slunk off head down to my room, so much for acting cool.
It’s now 2017 and here is Glenn Frey to tell you exactly how I feel today.
That’s all folks
Stories to come;
Anzac Hwy air gun
Morris Minor loose coil wire
Jumped fence Wood St
John Farquhar getaway car
La Marea checking the fuel
The spook super glue
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