<font color="#ff0000" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">63rd BIRTHDAY</font></p></div>
FOOD AND DRINK
I am a hamburger eater. Over the years, I have eaten all sorts
of food, in many different restaurants and dives. Some of it has been too sophisticated
for words, and some of it the almost-barbarous dingo stew. So, you might expect that when I say the good old fashioned hamburger
is about my favourite foods, then I am not speaking from complete ignorance.
it has to be the old-fashioned hamburger. It
cannot be a fast-food burger. It cannot be a plastic bun, with its hunk of still-frozen meat paste, dill pickle, and a
scrape of mayonnaise, pushed out in under a minute. With shredded lettuce, would you believe. Let
hamburger, a la 1955, has to be made in a small shop, probably a milk-bar, run by an Italian or Greek family, with the mum
and children often sitting on stools out of the way. The dad has to be sweaty,
standing over a hotplate, taking orders over his shoulder, while a son or daughter chops the beetroot, tomato, and onion,
and wraps up the end product. The meat has to be proper minced meat, with real blood dribbling off the wooden cutting-board.
The beetroot is essential, and it has to be so fresh that its juice will dribble down onto your shirt at the first bite. No
hamburger is complete without burnt onion rings.
include a wait of at least 15 minutes, so that you have the time to drink a small Coca Cola, in its classic shaped bottle. The burger must be eventually wrapped in newspaper, and it must be eaten quickly
so that the grease will not soften it till the burger sticks to the paper. A
juke box is important, with “Rock Around the Clock” played at least once each visit.
it is getting difficult to find anywhere that sells such delicacies. In the City of Newcastle, 50 years ago a mecca for good burgers, I can count current vendors on the fingers of one hand.
It seems that the need for speed, and the not unnatural desire for cleanliness, has allowed US chains to out-sell the
local Italian and Greek boys.
much for good food. What about good
drinks? Here I am not talking about alcohol, or fizzy sweet stuff. Rather
I mean beverages, hot beverages, the drinks that everyone sips throughout the day, and without which the world would stop
In 1955, I can only be
talking about tea.
Not instant tea, in a little satchel, that you steeped directly in your cup. That came later. No, I mean real tea, the tea that you bought in a quarter-pound packet at the grocers.
The excerpt below is taken from my
item on the Russian invasion of Hungary in 1956.
....The Russians only stayed away for
a few days. There was no way they were going to let some pip-squeak nation like Hungary create a hole in the defensive ring
they had built up over the last decade. If one country went, then others would want to follow, and that was not high on Russia’s
agenda. So on November they stormed back in, and within two days had 200,000 troops and 6,000 tanks in the Budapest region.
Many brave souls fought against them,
but they were simply killed. Resistance was useless here, and in the countryside as well. In six days, the revolt was all
over, and the purge of the dissidents was under way. Thousand upon thousands of men were arrested and trundled, without any
sort of trial, into railway wagons, and sent off to Siberia. Many thousands more crossed the border into Austria, arriving
there with nothing but their clothes, and thus began another world refugee problem.
Our own government said it would take
3,000 refugees, and it declared that the Hungarian athletes at the Games could defect to Australia if they chose. No one initially
took up the offer. The athletes continued to compete at the Games, and insisted that every time their flag was called for,
that the old pre-Russian flag was used. A nice gesture of defiance from afar, but the reality was that their nation had again
been over-run by the dominant Russians, and they as a nation would stay in subjugation until the Iron Curtain came down.
The UN made loud noises in protest.
But in the Security Council, where it mattered, the Russians had a veto and could stifle any sort of combined action against
her. Again, the veto powers of the UN showed how easily world politics could negate the howls of outrage from the vast majority
of the world’s nations.
Again, Letter writers were very vocal
The "Herald" in its leading article of November 5 has rightly said that Russia has struck at the counter-revolution in Hungary
with the speed and venom of a cobra.
Once again the rule of the most ruthless
tyrants that history has ever known – of tyrants equal to at least, if not worse than, the Gestapo and the Kempei Tai
– is being imposed on a proud and fearless people.
There can be no doubt that the commander
of the Russian troops will sooner or later be able to tell his masters in the Kremlin: "There is peace in Budapest." But it
will certainly be the peace of a churchyard, as it was the case once with Warsaw in Poland.
It is not exaggerating to say that,
by butchering the Hungarian insurgents, Russia has put the clock of civilisation back for centuries.
As a former student of Hungarian civilisation
and culture, I can testify that Hungary is one of the countries in Europe that have always been bulwarks of Christianity and
civilisation, and I want to pay a tribute of the highest admiration to the defenders of Budapest, the heart of the Hungarian
bulwark. I think that it is not to be wondered at that the fiery national credo of the Hungarians, translated into English,
is: "I believe in one God; I believe in one fatherland; I believe in the eternal justice of God; I believe in the resurrection
My wife is an Hungarian and proud of it, as well she may be. During these tragic days of her heroic country’s martyrdom
she has kept on saying, "Will the free world help? Why is nothing being done?"
UNO has talked and talked and talked,
"We will not fail you," they have promised. If they do, they may as well put up the shutters.
And what tangible proof of sympathy
has this fortunate Australia given? The Press has written a few articles, praising the immortal heroism of this proud people;
there have been meetings and talks, attended mostly only by Hungarians and other New Australians from Iron Curtain countries;
and Mr Menzies and Dr Evatt have referred to Hungary as though it were almost a side-show in comparison with Suez....
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EXTRA READING -- COMPLETELY OPTIONAL
YOU WILL NOT BE EXAMINED ON ANY OF THIS
ABOUT THIS SERIES … But after that, I realized that I really
knew very little about these parents of mine They had been born about the start
of the Twentieth Century, and they died in 1970 and 1980. For their last 50 years, I was old enough to speak with a bit of sense. I could have talked to them a lot about their lives. I could have
found out about the times they lived in. But I did not. I know
almost nothing about them really. Their
in the pits? The Lock-out in the Depression? Losing their second child? Being dusted as a miner? The shootings at Rothbury? My uncles killed in the War? Love on the dole?
There were hundreds, thousands of questions that I would now like to ask them. But, alas,
I can’t. It’s too late.
Thus, prompted by my guilt, I resolved to write these books. They describe happenings that
affected people, real people. The whole series is, to coin a modern phrase, designed to push the reader’s buttons, to make you remember and wonder at things forgotten. The books might just let nostalgia see the light of day, so that oldies
and youngies will talk about the past and re-discover a heritage otherwise forgotten.
Hopefully, they will spark discussions
between generations, and foster the asking and answering of questions
that should not remain unanswered.