My Story, the beginning.

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Tim was a great father, probably partly because he had never had a proper father although his Uncle Bill (Sandialands) who had fought in WWI was a useful substitute in some respects, and partly because he never expected to survive World War Two, and for the first year of it at least expected they might end up as Nazi slaves. He told me that every day was long, and surviving it the objective, but he made light of his experiences and told me very little as they had been instructed to keep silent about it at the end. He had been a sapper, part of the Royal New Zealand Engineers and his number was 40118. He achieved the rank of corpral on the troop ship on the way over, and said that corprals got to carry out the dirty work ordinary soldiers didn't. One of these was making sure everyone had gone on deck in an emergency or drill, and I gather he wasn't too keen on tight spaces below decks. (October 23 -November 4, 1942)

After the war he bought a ballot farm for three thousand pounds at 3% interest over thirty years and paid it off finally in 1977. It had nothing on it at first, not even a good boundary fence or a water supply. He'd take a tin of petrol across the road annd about half a mile to the spring in the neighbour's place where the pump was, and start it up and let run until it ran out. He started milking cows, and ran sheep, improving his fences, putting in a bore, laying the pipes, and every day after milking he would make a concrete block using a mould he had. Eventually he made enough to build a proper cowshed, and a woolshed and an implement shed. The cowshed has now gone, but the implment shed still stands. All the concrete was mixed in a hand mixer, and the sand was gathered from the road way after a good rain. He also made concrete posts and split battens for the fences out of the gum trees which grew around the top of the 250 acre farm. He made tracks, put in troughs cleared the manuka, and did the farm work with the help of his dogs.
Two important World War II battles were fought in the area. At the First Battle of El Alamein (July 1 – July 27, 1942) the advance of Axis troops on Alexandria was blunted by the Allies, when the German Panzers tried to outflank the allied position. At the Second Battle of El Alamein (October 23 – November 4, 1942) Allied forces broke the Axis line and forced them all the way back to Tunisia. Winston Churchill said of this victory: "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." After the war, he wrote: "Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein, we never had a defeat."

El Alamein (or Al Alamayn) (Arabic: العلمين‎, which means "the two flags") is a town in the northern Matrouh Governorate of Egypt. Located on the Mediterranean Sea, it lies 106 kilometres (66 mi) west of Alexandria and 240 kilometres (149 mi) northwest of Cairo. As of 2007, it has a local population of 7,397 inhabitants.[1]


Some time shortly afterwards his mother Gig came to live with him. The house was modest, consisting of three approximately ten foot by twenty foot two roomed huts connected together into a kitchen -bedroom, dining room -bedroom, and sitting room (slightly extended by about the width of a door -masterbedroom arrangement. There was an old fashioned open fire at one end in the middle of the wall, with a wood box built onto the outside of the house, with small doors inside and a wetback stove (connected to the hot water system), at the other end on the eastern wall. Being only ten feet by ten feet, with my bedroom door in  the south-west corner, the dining room door in the middle of the western wall, and the back door to the house in the north-east corner, the room was cramped. Behind the door was the old Moffat electric stove with a thermometer in the door, but standing on four bowed legs underneath the windows which faced north and looked out over the garden and the spindleberry tree. Mum always longed for a new house, or even new lino on the kitchen and dining room floors but only  managed the lino in about 1968 when the kids went to boarding school.

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 One thing my father left me when he died, or rather I inherited from my mother after her death because all his property belonged to her after he passed away, but which had belonged to his father was a gold ring with the Baker family crest on it. It has a tower, symbolising Strength, with a laurel wreath on either side, and a twist of rope, or bread in this case, underneath. The meaning of it is "Strength through Honour", meaning  strength through keeping one's word, or honouring one's word.

This term derives from The Book of Common Prayer, 1549:

"O lorde... Bee vnto them a tower of strength."

Shakespeare later used it in Richard III, 1594:

'The king's name is a tower of strength."

When I saw the film Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe, I suddenly recalled the oopening scene where he is walking through falling snow, getting ready for the opening battle. There had been a last minute change of plan, and instead of falling to the German tribes, he had to go and rescue some of their leaders as Rome was going to win. It struck me that I had been in the film, and must have lived Crowe's whole life, although I understand that he is still alive. My thought as I was thrust into the scene was, "Is this real, or is it just a film?" It was a film, although it is based on the true story, as far as I know.
When the Shaolin Monks visited Auckland n2008 they brought with them and presented me with a Roman Gladius. I couldn't be 100% certain, but I think it is the actual one used by Maximus to defeat Commodus in the arena (Colosseum).

 One Psychiatrist I know, Dr Hock, would probably say this is some confused memory I have conjured up in my deluded mind. There have been a number of medical reports prepared about me over the years, but I would just say, that it is a wild coincidence that Maximus (Crowe said in the film that his family motto was "Strength and Honour". Maximus looked like Crowe, whereas on the other hand I look nothing like him.

There is only one other thing I remember clearly from Crowe's life, and that is teh drive innto (London) to be on the Holmes show. As I recall it was a long four hour drive in the dark, and I could see almost nothing. My thoughts were, "well it can't be too bad, sitting in a warm car for four hours, just to be on television for about fifteen minutes, even if it is completely black outside". I'm not even sure that Crowe did drive far to be on holmes, or that it was dark. It was night in New Zealand. Maybe somebody should ask him if he remembers.



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