A sunny spring Saturday saw Tiffany and myself seated at a table outside the Guildford General Store. What had brought us here you may ask – it is not generally well known but this humble establishment makes the finest chocolate milkshakes in the land.
A gourmet milkshake requires the milk to be chilled, the ice cream well beaten, but not too much, and a generous slurp of chocolate syrup. Of course it must be served in the genuine aluminium mixing vessel and if possible the straw should be of gaily striped cardboard, not plastic. I have my own supply of such straws which I bring with me to consume the milky nectar. On the question of malt I say no but Tiffany says yes.
What Tiffany was wearing is irrelevant to the discussion but if I don’t describe her attire (or lack of) I will be flooded with questions from the fashion officianados of the blitz website. For this warm spring day she basically favoured a Daisy Mae outfit as featured in L’il Abner comics – short raggedy shorts and a polka dot blouse, tied not buttoned. However her feet were not bare but were encased in high wedge sandals and her hair was tied back with a simple red ribbon.
Does Guildford have anything to recommend it other than fine milkshakes? Yes and no. If you are not careful you might get trapped in the pub during the annual Blue Grass Banjo Jamboree which ranks only behind piano accordian music for assaults on the senses. Ron Barassi spent his childhood here but left to play football and probably to evade the banjos.
On the yes side of the ledger they have the biggest tree on public land in Australia, which they have imaginatively called “The Big Tree”. For the statistically minded it is a River Red Gum about 500 years old with a circumference of eleven metres.
Tiff said, “The biggest tree is fine in it’s own way but it’s not as if the Guildfordians are responsible for the accomplishment – they didn’t even plant it.”
She had a point there and my thoughts turned to Aararat .
“Tiff did you know that a survey showed that Aararat had the fattest teenagers in the state?”
“That’s nothing to be proud of” she replied.
“Maybe not but the whole town contributed to it so maybe they have more right to be proud of having the biggest something than Guildford.”
This conversation died out into a companionable silence as we reached the noisy stage of finishing our shakes.
“Begbie contacted me the other day – he’s writing a book on the toll the saga took on the supporters.”
“Good idea” said Tiff “Are you going to contribute something?”
“I have been thinking about it and I thought perhaps I could suggest something about the end of the saga because without an official ending people can’t really have closure.”
“That shouldn’t be too hard” said Tiff looking up inquisitively.
“It’s not as easy as you might think. Lot’s of events in history have no clear ending. Take World War Two for example. General Macarthur took the signing of the surrender document by the Japanese on the USS Missouri and said, “These proceedings are closed.” This looks clear cut but you could argue that the war didn’t finish until the Nuremburg Trials were completed or the occupation of Japan ended years later.”
“What about the saga then” said Tiffany, now giving me her full attention.
“Well, some people would say it ends when the sanctions are lifted, others might point to Jobe Watson’s return speech at St. Bernards, while others might think it continues at least until a decision is made on Jobe’s Brownlow.”
Tiff said, “Those are all possibilities but what’s your personal view Jackie?”
“Yesterday, Friday 28/10/16 at Tullamarine. Cale Hooker was leading seven of the suspended players in their first group training at Tullamarine. At 9.47 (I looked at my watch because I thought the time was important) Worsfold strolled onto the oval with hand outstretched to shake with Hooksey and said
“Hello boys, good to see ya.”
For me this was the date and the time and the words he uttered were the equivalent of Macarthur’s “These proceedings are closed.”
Then in the afternoon he sacked Dempsey, Hams and Gach which kind of emphasised the changing of the guard.”
Tiff leaned across and took my hand “ “Hello boys, good to see ya.” 9.47 Friday 28/10/16 sounds right to me. It’s been a long four years and if you are saying for posterity this was the time and these were the words that ended the saga I won’t argue with you. But you know bomberblitz is a strange world I think you might get a lot of argument.”
I nodded in agreement.
Tiffany brightened. “Well Jackie if you are declaring the Saga officially over let’s do something nice to celebrate I’ve got that special spring joie de vivre.”