Monday, 27 August 2012

Webber BBQ's,Bat Cave- China Town,Rebirthing, Castaway Beach Resort.

Webber BBQ's, BatCave Chinatown, Rebirthing, Castaways Beach Resort

Janice was on a twelve months working visa which expired so she had to return to Calgary, Canada - much to our disappointment as we were both in love. Also at this time I decided I had had enough of restaurants and Barnacle Bills, to much booze and dope was starting to get to me and I was starting to fuck up.There was an opportunity to sell my share, for what i had paid for it, to Arthur Basha (who I think still owns it) with settlement in twelve months.

So I took the offer and got a job selling Webber Barbeque's until the money came through.This came about through some friends in Cairns. Who owned prawn trawlers in the Gulf of Carpentaria, decided to take on the Webber Franchise for North Queensland as they knew the bloke who had the Australian franchise. They had a container of Webbers amounting to three hundred of differing sizes, shipped over from the States.  As I had finished at Barnacle Bills, I put my hand up as their new salesman, and as there was no one else I got the job.

My territory was from Rockhampton to Cooktown, the method of selling was called 'belly to belly selling'.Webber had their selling and marketing strategy worked out.Their strategy was that you booked space into the regional shopping centres. Their, we set up the range of Kettles, normally about three or four,in colours of black, green,red and blue. A- frame graphics boards and signage alerting prospective customers to what was happening, as in the eighties, Webber Kettles looked a little alien and space age, especially in FNQ. 

 Myself and an assistant would cook on two to three kettles, so as to show the different way they could cook roasts - which was called indirect cooking, and sausages, steaks and chops  - which they called direct cooking. It was all in the way you arranged the coals : 
in the middle of the base of the Kettle for direct cooking and 
arranged on the sides for indirect cooking,with drip pan under roast for fat,with air vents top and bottom open, with the round kettle shape - what you had was fat free convection cooking.

Turkey was the big pulling card, Webbers cook turkeys sensationally - moist and juicy.As people walked past, you would lift the lid of the Webber and they would see a big turkey being roasted, "would you like a taste" invariably people would say "yes" after carving a slice and getting their comment on how succulent and juicy it tasted, then you would explain the different methods to cook, take a deposit and ship them a Webber which came in different sizes.The largest, called a "Ranch" which could cook half a lamb or small pig appealed to the country people.

Another strategy was to demonstrate the Webbers at the regional shows, of which there were eight. I booked space at all the shows from Rockhampton to Port Douglas and over a three month period I became a "showie" selling Webbers at all the shows. They normally went for three days, then you would pack up and move onto the next. I had a specially made trailer built in sheet metal by a welder in Cairns and then had it painted white,  a sign writer drew the Webber logo all over the trailer, which looked like a white box on wheels.

I would pull up at the show ground  and find my space and set up my tent, together with the guys who were setting up the 'big top', and  the other space holders in side show alley.  I had one of the most popular stands, because once I started cooking the smell and aromas would drift around and I found myself cooking for half the stakeholders as much as show visitors. Often the 'showies' would come over and ask us if we cook a steak for them.That was OK as everyone reciprocated and I sold a few to some of the "showies". 

As we had trawlers in the Gulf catching prawns, which were exported to Japan.I would when I went back on weekends to Cairns, raid the Freezer and bring back to wherever I was, a seven kilo block of Tiger Prawns and often do "Chili Prawns" on the wok attachment, which was more popular than the Turkey. 

I sold the container load of 300 Webbers in six months and we decided not to order again.So finished, my job as a "belly to belly salesman".

 I had enough of FNQ and went to visit Janice in Calgary. Where I stayed for a week, meeting up with her extended family, as both brother and sister were married and visiting their cabin in the Rockies. We  then flew to Puerta Vallatta in Mexico for three weeks, which was a great trip falling in love again with Janice and Mexico. The trip brought back memories of when I lived in Canada and worked at Chateau Lake Louise.   When we returned from Mexico, I went skiing with Janice's brother- Alton, which was memorable,as that was where I first learnt to ski. Mexico I love, in fact one of my favourite countries,I could easily live there. Pity how the drug cartels have now ruined so much of it. Janice was putting herself through Calgary University doing a degree in Marketing and I had monies to collect in Australia.We both knew that this would be the end, as she loved her country especially the Rockies and her family.As they say parting is a grief.

 I went back to Sydney, moving into a mates small apartment above a "Dojo"( martial art studio) on  Broadway in China Town.  Friends of mine had enlisted to do a rebirthing course over a three day / night period. I joined up as it sounded intriguing, different and maybe a way to stop some old habits that were creeping in.

The course was called Loving Relationship Training,the main facilitator was Sondra Ray, an American Lady who grew the works with Leonard Orr another American,who was the founder. It was amazingly about breathing and healing traumas, such as the birth trauma with breathworks and affirmations. They were assisted by some other Americans who came over from the States for this course.There were about 150 people who attended the sessions held in the function rooms of the Sebel  Townhouse.

One of the sessions was in the evening, where everybody brought their own pillows and eiderdowns or blankets - they set set the stage with very soft instrumental music like Evangelis's- "Alpha", which was soothing to the ear and soul. We all made ourselves comfortable, each in our own space, lying down.They then had us all,  with the help of facilitators moving through out the room, breathing in a connected fashion. The breathing was the most important part. Merging the inhale with the exhale in a gentle relaxed rhythm in an intuitive way.Sometimes when a person would stop breathing in a rhythmically way, they would quietly and unobtrusively jog them back into a connected breathing pattern until it reached the connected rhythm . It was extremely moving as during the evening you would hear people weeping and yet you would be in your own world.I remember thousands of thoughts spiralling through the mind, spiralling was the right word as it seemed as if you were going down some type of  funnel or shaft, kaleidoscoping back through my life. I was told later that I had one of the most powerful sessions of anyone, and that I cried for a very long time.

Another experience that happened two days after this.. before I go on - Very few people knew where I was, as I had not been back from Canada for more than ten days and of that I had been in the course for three days.

I was sitting in this small flat early evening,reflecting on the rebirthing course and what to do with myself. I decided to do an affirmation on what I wanted to do at the time,I had never done any such task before.During the course Sondra Ray spoke so positively on how she lived by affirmations and how they had changed her life around.

 I found an A4 pad and then thought out what I wanted. When it was sufficiently tight to put into words, it went something like this: " I want to be involved in a creative role that includes travelling with an ambitious group that has vision".

 I then settled in for the night and commenced writing it out. Line after line, page after page, into the night and into the morning until my hand ached and my brain was numb dead from writing out the same sentence hundreds of times. I then went to bed. 

The following night I was back in the "bat cave", after having a cheap feed in an  Asian restaurant  in George Street. I was broke, there was no social life of meeting up with friends in one of the pubs in Paddington.I still was waiting for the money from "Barnacles Bills" and what money I had, was spent on the course I had just finished.I had been home about an hour or so and the phone rings, which was so rare as no one knows I'm there. I answer and the voice at the other end says"what are you doing right now" I replied "waiting for this phone call" He then asked "can you get yourself up to Cairns tomorrow" I replied "sure" He then said there will be a ticket for you at the Qantas ticket counter, see you tomorrow", I asked, "how did you know where I was?" I'll tell you later. He never did.

My joy at that phone call was boundless. I just sat there for a long time thinking of the last few days. There was no one that I could ring and share with what had just happened. Because they would not understand.Which did not  worry me as I found plenty of contentment knowing what a powerful tool I had been given and I gave thanks for who ever was looking after me.

The caller was Peter Miller who I had done all the interiors for  at Tuna Towers in Cairns. 

So the following day I flew back to Cairns to meet with Peter.

Peter had joined up with a group from Townsville. They had bought a beachside site on Mission Beach opposite Dunk and Bedarra Islands and they wanted me to design and do all the decor for the interiors for a resort that they were building called "Castaways Beachside Resort".I then meet with his new partners, a lawyer and a quarry owner, and we drove down to Mission Beach to look at the partially constructed property, that was to be a resort, they were building on the beach.After we worked out suitable payment arrangements. It was back to work,  deciding what the owners required internally in design and decorative details. I gave them two options for the interior design concept :

  •  Beach side Contemporary 
  •  Contemporary Indigenous. 

For each concept  I would design a prototype room.

For the Indigenous concept, I flew  to Darwin and then by boat over to Bathurst Island and met with the art  coordinator for the Tiwi People.

As I was there a small private jet flew over the Island and the guy I was seeing said, 'that's some Lord from the British Parliament who has just bought all that stuff in the corner of the shed over there, he's arrived to pick it up for a resort he's building in Broome"It turned out to be Lord Alistair McAlpine who was the treasurer for the English Government and was building the Cable Beach Club in Broome. 

I gathered my small  collection of artefacts and fabrics which had been screen printed with indigenous designs, which fitted into a suitcase and returned to Mission Beach.

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