Who Let The Geist In?
.... It was believed that whatever was in 4 Margaret’s Avenue, Seaford, Victoria – stayed there ….Who Let The Geist In? Part 6
I don’t know exactly what year it was when l started saying ‘What else could go wrong?” But l have a sneaking suspicion, it may have started in 1977 on the cruise back to England, having left Australia in our wake. I might be wrong … but l don’t think l am. It’s taken me all these years on to where l type today in 2020 to finally, stop saying it. This year was the official year l did stop using that term … because every time l have uttered those 5 words in that string … disaster strikes!
The cruise was fascinating, after we left Melbourne, we berthed at Sydney, then Auckland, followed by Tahiti, we then travelled through the Panama Canal, then onward to Curacao, then it was Puerto Rico, with Vigo to follow and our final destination was to be Southampton.
From Melbourne all the way through to the Panama Canal literally was plain sailing – there was a small incident in Auckland involving my mother who upset some of the local Māori people, she never told me what it was, but her actions confused my father who had to try and soothe things down a bit. He brushed it off with ‘she’ was apparently looking for something ‘special’, BUT whatever that meant, it had upset the locals? My mother, despite causing the ruckus, explained nothing nor her actions to anyone.
However, we still managed to carry out the usual touristy visit, saw a few the attractions, went on a tour of Māori culture, which is where the incident occurred. we were only in Auckland for 6 hours or so, and for 2 of those, my father had to use his experience as a copper, a policeman to negotiate with the New Zealand forces, whilst my sister and l sat in the back of a taxi wondering if we were going to get back to the ship before it departed? But we did .. there was a couple of conflictive spats on the way back between my parents and another argument back in the cabins before going up for dinner in the restaurant.
However, from the time we left Auckland and then arrived in Tahiti, things between my parents had calmed and were more relaxed, and whatever it was in New Zealand was forgotten about. I wasn’t that bad, l still was experiencing very strange dreams, very unusually odd dreams really – involving a lot of darkness, willowy dark figures and when l awoke during the night in a sweat my mother was seemingly always there .. asking … what l had dreamed about, did l recognise any of the figures?
To say it was a little spooky would be the understatement of the year …. l just found it odd, that she was always there! I remember once during the time between Auckland and Tahiti, asking her if she experienced any bad dreams or nightmares herself? Why did she never discuss that night back in Australia? Why did she lie about the events of that dreadful night? She never answered with anything solid, but cryptic statements … “One day you’ll understand my actions Rory, one day!!”
I can tell you now, that those words didn’t help me one iota back then, they didn’t calm my dreams, nor the occasioned sleepwalking incident. All the trips we had, the sightseeing tours in Sydney, Auckland, Tahiti were great, life on the ship was great – excluding the occasional parental argument – l felt that as bad as my father was back then, he would never have been able to please that woman even if he had of been a good man. My mother was an exceedingly difficult person to please. She was simply NEVER happy.
Travelling through the Panama Canal in the later 70’s was an incredible experience – it was still being constructed, and it comprised of the Australis liner passing through a series of canal locks and l had never seen anything of the kind before where a ship of such a huge size could be bobbed up and down like an apple in a barrel and is lifted 85 feet above sea level with extraordinarily little disturbance! 40 years ago, it took all day and some to pass between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean along the canal, but it slices time and thousands of miles off vessels that otherwise would have had to travel more dangerous waters. These days it can still take between 8 – 10 hours which is still a long time but still beats the 20+ hours it took our ship to pass through the locks in 1977.
I was awake for most of the journey and taking lots of photographs – my mother decided to stay in the cabin for most of the day … l remember it was a grey day weatherwise and her mood was the same. But, my sister and my father ignored her and stayed on deck for most of it until daylight forced us to return to the cabins and prepare for dinner.
Once through the Canal, we were informed we were on our way to a strange placed called Curacao and to follow that was to be San Juan, Puerto Rico and it was around this time, that my mother started to become very strange indeed and throwing darkened looks at me and muttering ….. do you know how very strange that reads today as l type? Well try and imagine that as a 13 year old boy struggling with odd parents, a bizarre mother and dreams that had escalated into horrific nightmares immediately after leaving the Canal and then you might start to appreciate my overall discomfort with life!
Thanks for reading … Part 8 – Soon.