After preparing the house , it was time to just sit and wait for this Cat 4 Cyclone to hit, the problem with Cyclones is that , there is lot a lot of rain at first, just a lot of wind. Your survival depends on which way the wind is blowing against your house. Lucky for me , the wind† was blowing down the sides of my house. Just after I brought the house, I had a lot of trees taken out, mainly because I knew from past experience that they would cause a problem if a cyclone was to hit, I am so glad I did thisÖ.
The hardest thing was to keep the kids happy and entertained, during this event. Matt and I had planned a few things for them to do, before we lost power. I had also started to prepare some dinner, at least I had put the BBQ in the garage, so I good go out and prepare some food, I think I cook a curry for us all. I was in the garage when the full force of it hit, I have to say I thought my Garage doors were going to collapse , but the held in place. The only other thing that I was worried about was at the back of the house were the trees, the two back bedrooms had windows that good be a problem, but thankfully , the first part of the cyclone pushed them into the other direction, and over the neighbour's fence.
As the cyclone hit the first time round, it was still light, the kids were watching what was going on, and things were flying around, thankfully nothing hit the houseÖ..they thought is was funny, I was shitting myself. As night time fell, it was just a waiting game now, I managed to get everyone to bed and try and get some sleep. Matt and the Girls slept in the family room, it was the safest place for them. The problem was that this cyclone went on for nearly 12 hours, which is very unusual for Cyclones to be that long , the eye itself was nearly two hours, it just showed how big the system was. The next morning after it settled down, we all went out to have a look at the damage, lucky for me, my house survives it well, My garden was trashed, the decking was damaged , but not too badly, the clothesline was trashed, plus a few minor things, but in general , all good. I canít remember what really happened next , I think it just started raining, and big storms started, we couldnít really get anything done outside. I know the rain and storm caused most damage around the town. It wasnít until the Wednesday that we really started to get out and clean things up and access the real damage. The street looked like a bomb had hit it. Peopleís cars had trees on top of them, so many trees down, the street was blocked of, but as it was , everyone chipped in and started the clean, I was so grateful that my family members were their to help. The council were great in getting clean up trucks and mulches out to get rid of downed trees. I have to say the community really came together.
After a long week , my family and friends managed to get out of Airlie Beach. The Airports were closed until the weekend. I had to take my crew down to Mackay to get there flight. It was a awful experience, and not one that I wish to go through again.
Butto , who putís together the Music Festival each year, was putting on a fund raiser to help people out who lost everything because of Cyclone Debbie. Their was going to be a one day event at the sailing club. There was going to be some biggish names on the bill, apart from a few local acts Phil Emmanuel will be doing a set, but he needed a band, Butto asked if I could play Keys for it and rehearse the other two members from Sun Salute for the show. I did this and ended up doing the show. Phil was a great guy to play with, and very easy to get on with, my only thing was we couldnít do a full rehearsal , which is not really my style, the drummer and bass player didnít really listen to the stuff either, it was very loose, but Phil enjoyed my playing, which was all that counted. During the day , I did a couple of tracks with Kieran McCarthy. And then Kieran came up during Phil's set to play a track.
So now it was get thing back on track, I managed to get a payout of issuance to get my house fixed...which was great , I repainted it, had a new fence and decking put in . Which I was going to do anyway. Most of that didnít happen until about June, and took about 4 to 5† months to do, but got it all done.
As it was now coming up to the first anniversary of Ronís passing I was a little lost, I needed a short break from Airlie, while on line one night I noticed that Hans Zimmer was touring , he would be in Brisbane the first week of May. So I booked myself a ticket. At the same time I thought I would love to do a short cruise , before or just after the concert. Just my luck there was a short 4 night cruise out of Brisbane to Harvey Bay, which I had never been to. They only had a suit left, so I booked it and had a short holiday. I think I slept most of the time on the ship, I know I stayed in my suit for all of it, apart from a day out on Harvey Bay.
Got back into Brisbane, headed to the Hotel, checked in and had a quite day. Went to the concert that night, had a great time , it has been a long time since I had seen a live concert, and I was not disappointed . Hans Zimmer was just amazing to listen to. It would have been better if it was in a better venue. The next day spent the day with Russell, then headed back to Airlie Beach, now it was time to fix the house and start getting my life back in order.
Thanks to Kieran we got the house painted and things were looking up, I was starting to get back on my feet again. Kieran wanted to do a new CD, and asked me to Produce it, One very drunken night at his place, I agreed to do it, but I had to include a third party , which didnít really turn me on, but hey , I was doing what I wanted to do. Producing records. The album took around 4 months to do , but the end product was great, We picked some of Kieran's better tracks and did them in my style, Piano based. The Album ďOnce More With FeelingĒ come out in Nov during the Music Festival .
After the festival, I didnít really do very much, I had planned to spend Xmas once again with my family in Adelaide, which I am really glad I did. Flew over to SA on Xmas Eve. Spent about 5 days there catching up with friends and family. Then I headed back to Airlie Beach , I had a gig on New Years Eve, I think it was the first time I had work on NYE in 10 years, Ron and I where always away on a cruise. Had a lot of fun doing the gig, but I have to say, it juts reaffirmed me that my playing days were numbered.
I had planned to go to Thailand for a month to catch up with good friends Tony and Terry, they encouraged me to come over and have a look at the place, ended up in Pattaya, two days before I left I got some very sad news from home, my nieces husband had a massive heart attack and died.. I felt very sad, we had only caught up at Xmas time , I got on really well with Shaun , always had a laugh about the family and itís misgivings . Anyway got on the plane and Off I went. Again it was the first time I had been away O/S without Ron, it was very overwhelming for me. But thanks to Tony , I was very well looked after. I made a lot of new friends while I was there and really came out of my shell.
On arrival back in Airlie Beach, I had a mixed time, I have to say I felt great , really happy, and really satisfied with my life, for the first time since Ron had gone, I just felt happy. Then that all changed one drunken night with friends, or so called friends. The real truth came out. ( Thatís all I will say about the matter ). The one thing I will say, it was the next morning that I decided to sell up and get out of Airlie Beach.
I was in such a great mood when I got back I brought myself a new keyboard. A Nord Stage 3Ė88 , the best toy and birthday present I could get. It wasnít cheap but well worth it. I didnít really know what I was going to do this year.
I had for a while wanted to write and finish off some of my Piano Pieces that I had been writing over the years. With my new keyboard in hand , I started to write some new stuff.† It took a while to get the momentum together but, once I started it just came flowing out. More about that later.
Had a very low key birthday that year, didnít really wanted to do much. I must admit, the beginning of the year was really wasted in some ways. I lost the vibe on a lot of things, My mind was to get out of Airlie and head down to the Gold Coast, but the housing market in Airlie was heading down, so I really wouldnít get much for my house.
In June I headed down to Sydney to Tony and Terryís wedding, I was asked to be a witness, I was very honoured to be asked. Tony and Terry have become close friends , which I am very grateful for. The weekend was just a lot of fun. I loved being around people of my own king ( Gay That Is ). I have made some great friendship's in Sydney, Michael, Derek and Nick, Steve, Rory. And thanks to Tony, people that I meet in Pattaya: Rod, Thomas, John, William and all the Pattaya crowd.
When I got back from Sydney, the Instrumental Album project got into full swing, with my co-writing partners John Moon and Criston Barker AJC-Continuum Album was born. I am very proud of this project, it was something that I wanted to do for a long time. You can check it all out from this Link www.ajccontinuum.com
As a bonus this year at the Airlie Beach Festival of Music, Kieran McCarthy was playing on the main stage. So a band was put together for the show, it was a lot of fun, to do. It was nice to play live on a real stage again. And with some pretty good players as well. The rest of the year was spent getting ready for Xmas and My overseas trip. I had an operation early December, which slowed me down a bit , but that was ok Had to be better for 2019, I am hoping for a big year.