Hello Everyone

I hope everyone is well and those that contracted Covid I hope you are all over it and feeling back to normal. What a time and unfortunately we had to cancel our June meeting because of Covid.

However July is another matter and we have some events coming up, Doyles luncheon on 21st July, Christmas in July in Katoomba on 25-26th July . Hopefully members will feel comfortable and confident attending these and other outings.

This meeting we will be inducting new members to our Club, so please if you are at the meeting make them feel welcome with our motto of Friendship, Fellowship and Fun.

It is with sadness that I announce that Vic Pannikote passed away during June. Vic was known to many around Breakfast Point through his work and through his involvement with our Club. He always had a smile on his face and was happy to stop to chat. It was lovely that after being absent for about 18 months he returned to the Club and everyone was so happy to see him. To Wilma and family our sincere condolences.

This month we have a guest writer (Bob Phillips) and I must say I’m still laughing. I hope you enjoy it and the photos.

Take care everyone and stay well



It was written…Reflections on the ghastly events of June 1st and my role in them.....By Bob Phillips

Dear Reader: Lyn Manitta asked me to write “a tongue in cheek article on the cruise. I read in the SMH that you are the kiss of death for any outing so thought of you.” I immediately recognised this invitation as an opportunity to expiate my feelings of guilt about what came to pass on June 1st. As my writing proceeded, I realised that I was suffering from brain fog and that some of my memories were clouded over and distorted. Real people became shadows and shadows became real people. If you find any anomalies in my reporting, if my facts do not match your own recollections, please be tolerant and put it down to the fog; yours or mine.
(Warning: The following story is only suitable for adults.)

Tasmania with Probus in February 2021 didn’t quite come about. The border was slammed down like Madame Guillotine. “A bit of bad luck ,” we thought. “Try again later.” September with Probus, and the borders to Tasmania were open. Ready to go. Will we be able to get back into NSW? Could we face a life sentence in Port Arthur? Would Jacqui Lambie take up our cause if I flashed her my defence forces’ card? Too many uncertainties. Expedition to Tasmania number 2, like number 1, was aborted.

The travel agents and airlines gave us back some small change which we determined to spend on theatre seats. That decision, and what followed, consumed the interest of Column 8 readers of the Sydney Morning Herald up to that fateful June night, when caution was thrown to the wind, and gross impulses prevailed.

Mid-April found us standing on the wharf at Breakfast Point waiting for a ferry to the Opera House to see Blythe Spirit. It was a beautiful Sunday in a long-weekend and the State Government had offered free fares. Three ferries zoomed past, sporting small children waving triumphantly, and jeering at the dejected assembled masses. An announcement from Big Brother told us that we weren’t going anywhere because the next two ferries weren’t going to stop either. “Probably those made in Indonesia without brakes,” I thought to myself.
We had just finished dragging ourselves back home when an email arrived saying that the cast of Blythe Spirit had been struck down by Covid and the show had been cancelled. We failed to get to the venue to see a play that wasn’t on. The double-whammy of the cancel culture. In high dudgeon I wrote to the Editor of Column 8, the Granny column, in the SMH, describing the experience. He published the story.
A short time later he reminded readers of this unhappy incident when he introduced the next development in our miserable attempts to break the shackles of Covid.

I wrote on May 8th, “Now I can report that we also failed on two separate occasions to see The Picture of Dorian Gray (local flooding, twisted ankle by one-person cast). Seeking a sure thing, we headed south (with Probus) to Tumut for the Falling Leaf Festival. The day that we arrived, it was cancelled due to sodden grounds. The curse continues.” How powerful was a curse that could stop falling leaves? What was the nature of this nexus between Probus, me and jinxed events?

The readers, instead of offering sympathy and succour, poured scorn on us beseeching us not to buy tickets to the events they were going to, or performing in. “I would like to invite everyone except Bob Phillips (C8) of Cabarita to attend,” wrote Graham.” I replied harshly. I told them that I did not give a rat’s (not the test) about Graham’s Rugby Union function, nor Susan’s performance as a brass sectioneer and that I had no intention of publishing my planning calendar so that readers could avoid any events I was going to attend. What a cheek!

Gerhard Engleitner of Hurstville requested: “Bob Phillips, please don’t buy tickets to the opening night of Moulin Rouge. Thank you.” I testily replied that I had no intention of going because when I failed French at the Intermediate Certificate Exam in 1951, (as if he knew what ICE was), I immediately became a Francophobe.

Readers who obviously spend too much time on the financial pages were quick to advise me: I think he has a lucrative business opportunity in soliciting payments from event organisers not to attend.” If only Probus had been alert to the situation, and passed some silver across my palms, then perhaps the fateful events of June 1st could have been avoided. But no, the Probus budget has to be balanced. Everything has to be above board, (except the toilets on a glassed-in party boat). Budget anomalies don’t seem to worry the State or Commonwealth Governments, but Probus begets probity.

People started to climb on the bandwagon of my jinxed events, surreptitiously using my misfortune to advertise their own events. The Column 8 editor wrote a piece saying that he had heard that I would be welcome in Orange. Oh, all very droll, except that Orange wasn’t welcoming at all. The cherry festival I planned to attend in a nearby town was cancelled due to “spoilt fruit”.

Meanwhile the Probus Club continued its village festivities and was flat out planning for the big celebration of its foundation. There was one amongst us who knew better than the rest. The venerable Margery Foss had a premonition which she shared with the mob in the great hall. I knew little of her so I went to the great Oracle, Google, and found record of only one Margery Foss and she was born in 1818 in a part of the old country named St Just. (I knew not that she was so old. She certainly carried it well. Hmmm. Is there witchcraft at play here?) It described her as a hat maker and I had noticed that whenever she addressed the assemblage, she would have a hat out in front to receive our offerings for poor people.

Just weeks before we boarded the ghostly galleon Margery addressed the assembled folk. “Good people ”she began. ”I have had a dream, a terrible dream.” She was shaking but continued on, although she was visibly upset. “That man there”, she said, pointing a thin, rickety finger in my direction, ”has a curse upon him. Beware the once (OE) of June . Do not sail with him or you will take upon yourselves the curse which will consume him also.” “What,” I called out, looking around, “Which man?” “Where?” Not satisfied she continued on: “Ban him from everything. Shackle him to a Coles trolley so that he may not mingle with others.”

Her words fell on deaf ears (as all words do in the Great Hall). A voice to my left where burgher Schmid was sitting; “Take him to the stocks”. Wise Ron knew that for a superannuant the mere thought of visiting the stock-market was terrifying.
Darkness promised to consume my soul and yet, a glimmer of light, a brightness beyond imagining, was on the horizon as the state government ignored its own cries to conserve, be sparse and shiver your timbers. All switches were thrown to the on position for the Vivid Festival. Our 10th Anniversary, booked and rebooked reminded me of a drive from Penrith to Mount Victoria and back again, but now it gave reason to give Netflix the flick, and rediscover reality. This took the form of an explosion of light at Cabarita Wharf as a glass party boat, a ghostly galleon indeed, hove into view.

Our screams of delight shattered the peaceful lives of the poor peasants in Edgewater, compliant with government restrictions, huddled in their kitchens, their frozen hands grasping for a place around the hot water jug. The Probus Light Brigade charged the gang planks and scrambled for seats to get the best view of the surrounding dark waters. Some seats were noticeably unclaimed and we spared a thought for those who had either succumbed to the scourge or gone down in the mad surge at the gang plank.

Heaving bodies formed a tight scrum at the bar, bidding for bottles of vin ordinaire with all the self-control of a gang of peaky-blinders placing a bet at Royal Ascot. Master cards jousted, vying for attention under the lights of the Harbour Bridge, as barmen and punters argued about the value- added worth of an $11 bottle of Cabernet from Dan Murphy’s.
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Heavy breathing, moistened lips and heaving bosoms approached the extensive buffet. It was years since we had seen so much food displayed for our consumption, in one place. We ate like there was no tomorrow! Was this a portent? Or was it just an understandable reaction to years of Covid-induced deprivation. Someone at my table referred to the wonderous buffet as a Smorgasbord. Poor dear. She had been in self-imposed lockdown for so long.

Suddenly all went quiet. A small voice filled the space. “I think I saw a coloured shape on the sails of the Opera House’. The boat erupted. “Did you see it?” “No. I was downstairs in the toilet?” “What colour was it?” “ “Who else saw it?” “Is she drunk?”

President Maria McGrath called the mob to order. She had organised the cruise whilst Senior Vice-President and all the revellers were wrapped in the idea that they could slope on down to the wharf where they lived, and be dropped back there without having to reach for their Opal Card. Maria knew it was time to remind the mob why we had assembled. (The less couth thought it was for the food and grog.) We were reminded of the beginnings, the hard work and visions of the founding fathers and mothers, and the need for us all to put our shoulders to the wheel and step-up to keep the club moving forward. (Cries of “huzzah,” from those who did the weekly yoga classes and had kept their bodies strong and flexible.) Most of the Club Presidents from the past 11 years were in attendance and they were introduced to the group who acclaimed their contributions. Col Cooksey, himself one of the legends, reminded us of the debt we owed the late Brian Lawrenson in helping to establish the framework for the club and Ron Schmid, the first President, in leading the attempts to implement the Probus aspirations. We thanked all our founders, our leaders and our legends, as well those everyday members who do the low-profile tasks that make all our lives more enjoyable. In particular we thanked Maria for staying with the protracted task of organising the Vivid cruise.

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This is but a glimpse of how the revellers celebrated the 10th Anniversary of our Club , caring little for what the dawn would bring. Many would come to regret attending this bacchanalian outing! However, the die had been cast.

Some were as sick as seadogs after that night. (Moi Aussie*) We wish them a full and swift recovery. Let the coffee shops soon be full of murmurings that are not by the heart, but from it. Let the call of Mah-jong echo around the clubhouse, and the village green be full of cavorting maidens and men burning hell out of some poor animal’s carcass. Let us have a whip around at the next meeting so that we might erect a Maypole and dance again and be jolly. Let us celebrate our past 10 (11) years and our infinite future.

Finally, good on our Outings Coordinator, Philomena Turley, who, undeterred by the fall-out from the cruise is lining up a trip to Tasmania in March next year. She has had plenty of experience doing just this. I’m going, if I can get past the gatekeeper. Anyone interested in joining us? Anyone? Anyone?

*Moi Aussie is French for, “I am an Australian”. (This note is for the information of any Probus members who did not reach the ICE Level: French Language (failed).)

Bob Phillips

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June Mystery Coach Trip.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained seemed to be the feeling on the coach as it left BP for places unknown! The driver took us via Bankstown and Padstow, over the Georges and Woronora Rivers into The Shire, before doubling back through Loftus to the Sydney Tramway Museum where Peter Kahn was waiting to show more about trams he had described at the April meeting. Everyone agreed that the highlight was catching the tram across the highway into the National Park- tickets and all. A nice lunch at the Engadine Club followed and then a stop at the E.G Waterhouse Camellia Gardens to round out the day. Judging by the enthusiasm Mystery day trips could feature more in the future!


Lunch at Doyle's 21st July

Winter warmer lunch at Doyle’s Watsons Bay is on 21st July and requires payment by the July meeting.

Menu: Fisherman’s Chowder, Fried Fish and Chips and a Glass of House Wine or a can of Doyles Lager or a Soft Drink.

10.22am depart Cabarita Wharf to Circular Quay,
11.15 ferry departs Circular Quay to Watsons Bay and arrive 11.38am.
Return at your leisure after lunch.

Payments can be made by cheque or EFT.
EFT Details: Commonwealth Bank, Concord Bank Account: Probus Club of Breakfast Point. BSB: 062145 Acct No: 10225641. Ref field to show surname, initial/s and outing abbrev; e.g. J/S Cox Doyles. For EFT payments hand in a completed envelope with the date of payment in the EFT box at a meeting.
Organiser: Phil

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