|Interviewer: Robin Hughes
Recorded: December 8, 1993
This is a transcript of the complete original interview conducted for the Australian Biography project. Each transcript page covers one videotape (approximately 35 minutes). There is also QuickTime video of the full interview available. To play the video, click on the icon in the right hand column. In addition, each question in the transcript is linked to the video. Clicking on a question will play the video from that point. (Help with this feature.) Optionally, you can download the video file for offline viewing (approx. 10MB).
The interview has been left it in its original state so that you can get a sense of how the conversation developed. The repetition of some questions, or a question followed by another question, is often due to the end of a particular tape or some other interruption, and has been indicated at the appropriate place in the text. There has been minimal tidying up of the text so that the flavour of the encounter has been kept.
Would you have liked to have been a Mother Superior?
Heavens no. No. As I say I'm not that sort of person and I suspect that the people who make these decisions would never in a month of Sundays accept me. Because as I say I've only got certain things and the ability to co-ordinate, and indeed, the ability even to look after people in that sort of way, is not mine. And I think I am somewhat eccentric and it wouldn't be a good idea to have an eccentric in charge. And also I do ... I've got the profoundest respect for the people I live with because very many of them disagree very profoundly with me and I think some of them think I am really rather weak and rather heretical. But they accept me. They look after me. My Mother Superior's always put up with the flack that came from me. I remember years ago when I first arrived here in WA and our provincial, the person responsible for us throughout Australia, who comes around visiting and makes sure that everything's okay and I talked to her. I remember once she said to me. She said, 'Veronica, I'm really sick and tired of you'. And I said, 'Why?' She said, 'Every time I come to Perth I just spend hours on the phone with good Catholics complaining about you'. And that dear lady, you know, she defended me and respected my rights, so I don't think I'm the sort who ever will be. I remember not long after I joined the convent and someone else had been at school with me, but in a class lower down, joined the Carmelites. And lo and behold, within about three or four years she was the prioress, which was sort of second in command. One of my friends said, 'Look, she's done well, she's got rapid promotion, what about you?' [Laughs] No I ... I couldn't imagine. And I ... I mean I do ... It has to be said you see, I arrive fairly lightly on the official church, because I do all my professional work outside the church, and so I ... I really ... and I don't have much to do with Catholics in this city. I mean it cheers me up considerably. I quite often get invited to speak by Catholic organisations in the rest of Australia, but never, absolutely never in Perth. Though to be fair, I was invited to do some teaching at this new private Catholic university when I retired, and I ... I said, 'No, I'm sorry, I didn't approve of it conscientiously'. So mostly I ... as I say, I live with ordinary human beings.
Why don't you approve of it?
Because I do not think that a specifically Catholic university is a good idea. I think universities are about all kinds of ideas multiplying. I think that I'm certain that we need theology now at universities and I think that's one of the misfortunes and the consequences of the quarrel over religion in the 1870s. But many universities now are introducing theology or religious studies in this particular city. Murdoch has a fine theological school, and Edith Cowan has a good school of religious studies. The way to ... to study religion is in relation to other religions and a separate Catholic one seems to me a very dubious proposition. The next objection is that it's private, so that the students there will have to pay $1000 at least, on top of their HECS fees, and thirdly, it is ... it is an immense drain on the resources of the Catholic Church, unless it is being funded from the elsewhere. And one hates to speculate where it might be funded. But, for example, the people that ... the Catholic people of Perth were originally told that this wouldn't cost them a penny. Now, parishes ... officially it's being said they're asked to donate to the Catholic university. In actual fact, you know, their arms are being twisted. And one parish that I know of was asked and has committed itself to providing $50,000. Now as one parishioner said to me, 'There are numbers of people in that parish who are in need, and instead it's going to the Catholic university'. Perth is only one million people. We already have four universities, I don't think we need a fifth, and what else? Yes, and then ... and you see it's diverting resources from other needs, for example the ... certain of the schools, Aboriginal schools in the Kimberleys, are now short of money because the money is being is diverted to the Catholic university and its purposes. And I'm not saying people are wicked. It's just I don't see that it's a good idea. I don't think it's just and I don't think it's helpful at this stage when, if you want to work out a good theology and a good way of believing, you must do it in the light of the best contemporary culture.
Do you find yourself often in conflict with priests or the other official part of the Catholic hierarchy?
No I don't meet them mostly. I mean I have some very good priest friends and I admire very much the good theologians and Scripture scholars. And you see I think that's another thing though, the Catholic Church. You know, nobody's said to me, apart from these lay people, but no official has ever approached me and said, 'You are a wicked heretic, go', because frankly I don't think I am a heretic. I think theologically the positions I espouse are perfectly all right. And you see our particular order has the great good fortune that we're not directly responsible to the local bishop. We are like the Jesuits, ultimately responsible to Rome. So I really don't have anything much to do with ordinary priests. And I think, poor men, they're scared of me. Lots of people are scared of me. I think I'm an amiable sort of person. But I know that one phrased was coined about me, when I got into an altercation on campus about academic. We had ... we developed as everybody had to develop, an equal opportunities policy. And one of the phrases is, you know of course, that nobody was to be penalised for sexual preference. Well one academic opined that that would mean the university would be flooded - [that] was his word - by pedophiles sodomists and necrophiliacs. And in the controversy over it I mildly pointed out A. that I had a sexual preference, which was not to have a sexual preference, and that you know, how can you judge anybody else? And after all, the students are far more in danger of marauding heterosexual people, who might sexually assault them etc. etc. etc. And then our Sunday Times had this lovely headline, one of their better ones: Nun In Touchy Sex Row. However the particular academic with whom I'd crossed swords was heard to call me 'the stinging nun'. And yes I am. I think I can be a bit stinging at times and I know I'm intolerant of stupid people and people I regard as unjust, so I suspect a lot of the clergy would be afraid of me and anyway they're busy and I'm busy and our paths don't cross.
You said that you don't think you've got the right kind of personality to be a Mother Superior. And yet you have been asked from outside, in the wider world, to take on reso ... positions of ... sorry.
You said that you don't feel you've got the right qualities to be a Mother Superior, and yet you have taken on leadership roles in the world at large, like for example when you were asked to be on the ABC board. How did you find that?
Well I don't think I was good on it. I don't think I'm the right sort of person. I think I am too, too lacking the ability to compromise, too idealistic, if you like, and also I think my views about worker participation were not shared by many people in the organisation. When I got over my surprise at being appointed, and I think I now know why. I have friends who've had quite a lot of political influence and I think Brian Burke probably wanted a Catholic, and I was rung up before and consulted and it was all very proper, but I must say I was surprised, and when I got over my surprise and thought, what on Earth, what abilities have I got?' I thought, I know ... you know, I think I'm probably good with people and I will get to know the troops and I've always admired the ABC. It's one of the most wonderful things that happened to me. I thought, look, I'll find out what the actual programme makers are thinking and doing, and it was a very difficult time of change. Now that was not regarded as a good thing to do. It was apparently regarded as betrayal and treason and all that sort of thing.
By whom? Who thought it was a bad idea?
Well, the managing director at the time was a bit anxious about the troops in any case, and some of my colleagues on the board. And then I happened to ... you see I ... I think I was probably silly to side with Tom Molomby, but I happen to believe that the particular principle when Tom was ... took Geoffrey Whitehead to court ... I thought it was an extraordinarily important principle because he was the staff-elected member of the board. He was a member of the board and he was being denied documents. And no board member should be denied documents. It was also the case that as somebody who worked with the ABC and knew it very intimately, he was ... he had knowledge that the rest of us didn't have, and he thought that there might be some problems there. So, I mean, looking back on it, I suppose, well I'm sure he probably shouldn't have sued Geoffrey Whitehead. If you're a lawyer you tend to be litigious. It probably should have been covered up a bit more, but I thought the principle was right and I stood with Tom. I mean we know the disasters in the split in the board, and of course it was perfectly sensible not to reappoint me because you've got to be prepared to make more compromises than I really am, and you see I'm not a very worldly, wise woman. I know that. I mean I haven't had a very wide range of experience, so it was probably in the long run a very silly appointment, even if it was a popular appointment.
Some people of course thought that you brought to it a perspective, which in fact was broader than that of some of the other members of the board.
Well I do think that one of the good things that we did, which fell absolutely flat on its face, was Richard Boyers' initiative to draw up a statement of philosophy of a national broadcaster. Richard did nearly all the work of it and he sweated over it, and I thought it was terribly important because the ABC ... because especially at that time when there were all the pressures for ratings and the distinction between the ABC and other broadcasters was becoming increasingly blurred, and the ABC's got this unique role to do what the commercials can't or won't: to have a leadership role, perhaps, if you like, to train people for the rest of the media, to set standards, and above all, of course, it's independent news gathering. And ... and people get frenzied about the ABC being left-wing, but I always point out that the act says the ABC is part of the broadcasting system of Australia, if per impossiblé one day, all the rest of the media in Australia became left-wing, then it'd be the ABC's obligation, in my view, to become right-wing. But the ABC presents views that were simply not heard elsewhere in our media, and in a democracy you need that. So I felt very passionately about that, but alas, when the booklet was launched it was launched with about three others all about new engineering gadgets and goodness knows what. Richard was not even invited to the launch, and it simply wasn't distributed. I lent my copy to someone. I don't know where it's got to, and it simply ... and most people in the organisation never heard of it and never read it. I thought that was an important matter just to give us ... people a sense of their purpose. I mean, many people in the ABC have a sort of intuitive knowledge of what their doing, but that would have been important. And the other thing ... pet hobby ... the other two pet hobbies that I had was decentralisation. Well that was impossible for financial reasons, although it was absurd that particularly here in Perth, so far away from the rest of the continent with the satellite, with Perth being the other hinge of that satellite beam. I know about the time differences, but ... and we had a couple of good filmmakers here at the time. Why we couldn't use the talent that we had over here and also to stimulate filmmakers, local filmmakers, but no, no, that didn't happen. A little bit is beginning to happen now and the third, of course my other pet hobby, was Aboriginal broadcasting, and there the ABC has done good things. It's trained numbers of Aboriginal broadcasters, and one of the great things: I was invited up to the opening of the broadcasting station on Thursday Island and that was gorgeous because they're very religious people you see, and it was opened with a reading. I had to read, 'In the beginning was the word' and oh, I loved that. And ... and that ... that it was one of the ABC's proud records, I think.
So you brought to the board a lot of strong and good ideas, as indeed you brought strong and good ideas to a lot of other platforms. And yet you didn't achieve the goal of getting them implemented. Do you think that perhaps that's been something that has happened with a lot of the other causes: that your voice isn't heard. Why do you think that's so?
Because I'm not a good organiser. That's why I'd say that I'd never be a good superior. I've got ideas but I don't follow them through, and I'm also busy doing about sixty different things at once and I need somebody to organise things for me, and to pick things up and get them running. I'm no good at lobbying. I always feel a bit ashamed at sort of badgering people and I always think, well, if it's a good idea it ought to get through and of course that's perfectly ridiculous. And then also if you live in Perth, it's very very difficult to do the appropriate lobbying. I mean, I always say that people really get to know things by talking to somebody in the lift. Although I did then formulate Brady's first law, which is that the strength, intensity and accuracy of the rumour is in direct proportion to the distance from the centre. But that was in the old days, before they cracked down on the use of phones in the ABC. So for all those reasons I was completely ineffectual and also the little nun. And you see also I did make that terrible boo boo when I was first appointed, and the journalist was on the doorstep. I'd just heard that I'd been appointed and there was a journalist, who asked me what I thought about television, and I said, 'Oh, poo, I never watch it'. What I meant was, we've got this old Belfast Irish lady who used to hog our one-and-only television set and watch things like the Sale of the Century and so on. So what I meant was that I had a great disgust with most commercial television, but it was not a fortunate beginning. And you see I do not look before I leap, and I often make foolish remarks. And then of course I ... well I think I was set up. When we decreed that homosexual people living together - if one partner worked for the ABC and was moved interstate, that the partner will be treated, for the purposes of the exercise, as if a married person, or a partner. Now that seemed to be absolutely appropriate and perfectly right. But some fool, I think someone in the ABC who wanted to do us in - there were a lot of people there who were trying to do in the board - press-released that and it was out in glorious technicolour. And guess who was the mug who was asked to defend it on PM? I was. I happened to be in Geraldton at that time, and Geraldton was not a centre of light and reason and all that stuff, and so that ... that I think discredited me a lot. That ... many people were very frenzied about the wicked nun defending homosexual people. So in all sorts of ways I really wasn't a success, and I was jolly glad when I wasn't reappointed, because I found it absolutely exhausting. I put everything that I had into it ... I ... because I thought it was dishonest to go on, collecting my full salary since I was going to be away so much. As you know it takes three days really to go to a one day meeting in Perth, so I went on half pay, but it didn't mean I got half work. And I used to spend an awful lot of time reading papers and meeting people and visiting the ABC, and then, as you know, the flying is pretty tiring and then I used to try to stay on in Sydney and meet more people.
And you had this feeling that a lot of your objectives - it was just not possible to achieve.
Yes, and it was very stressful but ... that tension within the board was extraordinarily stressful and you know I could see how ... I could see from the outside what it looked like and I felt very sorry for Ken Myer, very sorry, because, no, I won't say what I was going to say, but now I feel very sorry for him.
He was the chairman who resigned.
Yes. And I think Wendy McCarthy did a wonderful job because she was the deputy, who was in effect the chair. And of course she had to be loyal, and of course she had to tie the whole thing together ... the whole thing together. And there were dreadful ratbags like Tom and myself and Dick and a few others, rocking boats, and I think in Canberra they probably wanted to shoot us all, because just when they wanted to get the ABC settled down all these dreadful things were happening. But then they should have realised that if you're going to change, it is a very stressful time. And I still think that that board for all its mistakes did do a great deal, and that some of the measures were taken are now proving how useful they were. But it was a disastrous time. And I can imagine politicians saying, 'We don't ever want to know anything about that woman ever again'.
Do you ever wish that you were better at playing politics, given that you're interested in policy. Do you ever wish that you were somebody who was better at judging the way to work to get things done?
No, I don't like it much. I like, you know, thinking and so forth. I mean, when ... if I'm asked to go on things I will go on them because that's my philosophy, and if people are silly enough to ask me, all right. You see even at the library board I think I'm good as an ideas person, but again I'm not terribly good at lobbying and so forth, but I've been on that library board for a long time and I think that's a wonderful thing because we ... our system here in WA is absolutely wonderful. Do you know about it? All the books are bought centrally by the library board. They're all catalogued centrally and that's all funded by the State Government with the Central Library. Then the municipalities are responsible for the buildings, and for paying the librarians, but if you live in Muckinbooden, you have the same access to that book stock as anybody in the city, and the stock is constantly turned over. And these poor old librarians are brought into this centre and trained. It's a marvellous system. And we've got a great ... We've got a woman state librarian, who's a wonderful woman, and that's my pride and joy because particularly in time of depression, people need libraries. What we have to keep an eye on is that these nasties. There're always mutterings about payment for services. Now we've got to save that.
You've lived through a period of great social change in all aspects of your life, and one of the big changes has happened in relation to the status of women, and the position of women in society. For you, as a woman and a nun, what have been the most significant things that have stood out from that period as making a difference to life?
Well the first really important one was a great scandal, I have to tell it carefully. I mean I've always been a feminist. I mean there were only two girls in the family and my father assumed that we could do whatever we wanted to do, so I ... and of course I'm a member of a community of women. And our foundress, this wonderful Seventeenth Century English woman, Mary Wood, was a feminist and she's got a wonderful speech when some priest sneered, 'Oh, they are but women', and she says, 'Ah ha, we'll show you what women can do!' One of them was the International Year of Women and it just so happened there was a young man on campus, who was deputy director of extension services, who was American, who'd stopped off in Perth on his way travelling around the world and liked it and stayed, and he had been a Jesuit novice, which is why I think he took a shine to me and he used to ask me to do a lot of lecturing and so on for him, and he went back to the States on a holiday and his ... I forget which was which, you know. He had one millionaire parent and one parent a South American diplomat, so he had all kinds of contacts. Before he left he'd said, 'Wouldn't it be wonderful if the UWA summer school was the ... [held] a conference for the opening of the International Women's Year?' And everybody agreed and said, 'Yes'. Well when he got to New York, he said to ... he got Simone de Beauvoir, who was alive at that time, to agree. Mrs. Bandaranaika, who at that stage was the ... in Sri Lanka. A dazzling array of great, great women and great feminists throughout the world and he kept ringing me up and saying, 'I just got so and so', and I said, 'Isn't that wonderful'. When he got back he was told this was all nonsense, he had no right to do that. He had exceeded his brief. He had to ring all them up. It was partly the State's rights, the great ... at least this is my theory. The great and the good Sir Charles Court wanted to spike the Whitlam Government and Liz Reed, and the whole thing fell through and he had a bad breakdown and ended up in court and all sorts of dreadful things. But that's ... that's when I first became aware of the depth of the prejudice against women. And then, of course, I've been much involved in equal opportunity in the university. And when you begin to think of it I mean, our university ... our department in the good old days had twenty-five tenured people and I think four tenured women. And I've become increasingly aware ... You see as a celibate I'm ... I'm not existentially aware of the sexual brutality of many males, because my father was such a gentle person, and I'm becoming increasingly aware now of the way women suffer. I have friends who have been sexually abused as a child, who are beaten by their husbands. These are middle class women. So, it's ... I've never actually ... It hasn't sort of been one of my causes because I think that cause is in extremely good hands, and I think some people think I'm not a good feminist because they suspect Catholics anyway, but I certainly am. I think that, you know, it's appalling, the things that women have had to put up with and I rejoice in the differences that are being made. I'm also deeply concerned about what's going on in this state at the moment. The Office of the Status of Women is turning into the office to hold marriages together, because conservatives are often very suspicious indeed of women and the needs of women. And there's ... there's ... I have an annual Christmas party, which is wonderful. There's an annual feminist frolic hosted by a leading feminist here in Perth. Wonderful. It's just a gathering. It was just last Sunday, and you you meet these wonderful women who've battled for dignity and [for the] rights of women over the years. There's some women there who are older than I am, because in Western Australia there's been a great tradition of feminism. Katherine Susannah Prichard, I think, had a lot to do with it, and then there was this wonderful old lady, who just died recently, Irenie Greenwood. Katherine Prichard in the 1930s founded a professional women's club for example. So Perth may be backward in many ways, but women here have always been very important and we've got quite a significant number of women in Parliament. Not all of them, of course ... ornaments to the cause, because they don't belong to the right party. There we are. So, yes, of course I'm a feminist, and of course ... I mean I simply assume that because I'm a woman, that I can do whatever I need to do just as any man can. That's the way I was brought up. [INTERRUPTION - SLATE]
Thinking about yourself, looking back on your life, and thinking about yourself as a person, as a human being, what do you think have been your best qualities, that you've been able to bring to the tasks you've been given?
Energy, I suppose. I've got boundless energy. The story goes that even as a baby there had to be a pig net put over my cot because I would jump out. It's a great, great gift because it means that you can keep going and to have good health. And then I think the faith that I have and the fact that I really like myself, and I'm really at home with myself. And even though I don't like when people say unpleasant things about me, because of my childhood I really do have a great deal of self-esteem, and well I think that's stiff bikkies. And I think I've got a nice imaginative, inventive mind, and I'm really glad that I've got some intelligence and I'm very grateful for that, and I'm very grateful for the education that I've had, and I know it's not everything and probably I need a warmer and more compassionate heart, but I think those are the advantages that I've had.
What was it about your childhood do you think that gave you this self-esteem, this confidence in yourself?
Well, I was so much loved. You can see the family picture book and so forth. I was the centre of everybody's world and looking back on it again, I think, it was so important to have that loving, gentle father. There are not many Australians who come equipped with a good father. I mean ... and sometimes it's simply because the poor unfortunate man is out earning the money and working ten hours a day, eight to ten hours a day and doesn't have time to be with the children. And then also I'm very sorry for many Australian men. I think they find it extremely hard to show their tenderness and be soft and gentle. Now for whatever reason, my father was, and as I say I have these wonderful fam ... early memories of being cherished and loved by my father and he talked to us and he read us stories, so that, I'm sure, if you look back at it in a Freudian way, I'm sure it's extraordinarily important to have had. So that, I ... I was believed and I respect authority, but I'm not afraid of authority, and I trust it, and I think that sort of thing does allow you to trust the world and I ... Well I always like to say that my philosophy is to expect the worst, because then you live cheerfully. You know, if it happens you can have the melancholy pleasure of saying, 'There I told you so'. If it doesn't: pleasant surprise, but basically I ... you know, I do trust things and I think it'll be all right and it nearly always is.
What do you think are your worst faults?
Oh, I'm irresponsible. I'm all over the place. I frequently become self-absorbed and don't have enough feeling for other people. I'm pretty intolerant. I have to work hard at respecting people who disagree with me. And I'm very impatient with people, and I think I've got a certain amount of intellectual arrogance. I get very cross with stupid people. But honestly, it's not their fault and they're much better people than I am, and working in a university you get a very clear view that intelligence is not ... doesn't necessarily make you a pleasant person. It's just intelligence. That, I think. And then, you see, I am irresponsible. I say something and then heavens above I've blown everything up and left a trail of ruin behind me, and then quite often I don't go back and fix it up again, so there we are. Beware of me.
In your system of values, what for you has been the most important that you needed to focus on in the course of your life?
Well I think just the things that I believe in. The really most important thing for me is my quiet prayer time in the morning. I always say to myself, you know, if you miss that chum, you're done for. I think it's like with a partner, your intimacy with one another. That's the focus of it, and you have to keep relating to one another and I really do enjoy that.
And that's your intimacy with God?
I think so, yes. And then, you know, if I really think now what do I do next? And then sort of like dropping inside you, into a pool, and I try to listen, and say, 'How ought I to do it?' Now I don't always get the right answers. Quite often I do silly things, but particularly with people, if somebody comes to me with a real problem, and I haven't got any psychological training and I haven't got much wisdom, so I try to just pray and think what ought I do now? And then trust that something will come. So that I really do think that's ... that's the centre of things. It's another reason of course why I like riding my bike. Of course I've never done yoga, but I suspect yoga is something like riding a bike. If you're just going along peaceably and there's no headwind, it's the most beautiful feeling. Your body is moving, but your spirit is sort of floating and of course here, in Perth, usually the surroundings are very beautiful. And it's ... it means a great deal to me. But some people think ... I know some people in the community think I'm just doing it for principle and I'm really killing myself and I'm worn out. Well I'm doing it partly for principle, because I really think we should stop using cars the way we do. I mean look at the hole of the ozone layer over here! However, I also love it. Because I love exercise, too. And it's ... it's just so peaceful.
Have you ever done anything you're really ashamed of?
I probably have but it's ... it's probably buried so deep.
Nothing you really regret?
I do regret stringing along that nice boyfriend that I had. That. And then I wish I'd been a bit more prudent when I was on the ABC. But I wasn't. I'm trying to think about these things. There must be things I'm ashamed of. And you see when this ... we probably need to get on a psychiatrist's couch 'til it all floats up. But for the moment I can't think of ... I mean, I've made a fool of myself from time to time, but that's not what you mean by ashamed, is it? You know I've said something silly and everybody's come down on me like a ton of bricks, or I've made a fool of somebody else.
Anything that you feel proud of that you've done or achieved?
Well I assume ... well I really don't think very much. I get on with it. Well I was proud of getting my PhD because really and truly I did it under difficulties, even though I do say so myself. Now I thought that was ... that was a good thing to do. No, I mean, I you see I'm not properly introspective in that way. I do things and I think all right, there we are, we've done it. Occasionally I've written things, which I think are quite good. It's not proud, but in the end I think, mm, that's good. And others you think, oh, it's not very good. And sometimes if you've had a tutorial or given or a lecture, and you think, yeah, that really did go well, and you feel ... you feel a sort of glow. But mostly I do get on with it, and I suppose that's the ... I mean I think it is true that I ... Everybody says that I do too much and I take on too much. While you've got the life and energy, why not? You've only got one life, which doesn't leave very much time for assessing what you've done and thinking that you should have done it differently.
What do you think death will mean?
I find it extremely interesting. I mean, I've never really been in ... well I was in danger of death when I was proceeding towards that telephone pole.
I'm going to ask that question again. If you want to tell that story again as part of it, then feel free to do that cause we just ... [INTERRUPTION]
What do you think death is going to mean?
Very interesting, I had an experience. Actually this is very funny experience, because it was the weekend the Pope was going to be in Perth and friends of mine, who had a holiday house down on the coast, invited me to come and spend the weekend with them. And the community said, 'Yes that would be a great idea, Veronica, because we won't upset you and you won't upset us', because they were all going to see him, old papa. So off I set and, on the way, I decided to do it in two stages and originally two other friends were coming with me, but at the last minute they were too busy. And we decided to do it in two stages - to stay overnight and then go on. So it was going to be a holiday, because I think it was a long weekend. Oh, no, it was ... it was during swat vac, so there was nothing much doing. And, so ... then I told my friends where we'd be staying overnight, so they rang me on the Saturday morning and said, 'Look, help'. The husband, who had two heart bypass operations, had forgotten to bring his pills with him, would I ... and where they were there was no chemist shop ... would I please go to a chemist shop, and they gave me the phone number of his doctor, and get the pills and bring them down. So I thought, well heaven, they didn't say ... He might be dead without these pills. I better hurry up. But one of my many principles is you don't exceed the speed limit. I think that it's there for a reason. So what I did, I asked about short cuts to this place, and they'd actually directed me down the wrong road. They'd said, 'First turn right', and it should have been second turn right. They didn't even think about this road. They said it was a gravel road. Well it was.
[end of tape]