I would like to take a few minutes, before we share in this Eucharistic celebration of John͛s life, to share some memories with you, more than the more public achievements listed in the booklet. You will all have recollections of John, as colleague, doctor, friend of many years, recent acquaintance. We hope these few words will deepen those memories and call to mind his wit, his wisdom, his laughter, his compassion and his commitment to a better world.  

I have photos of young John Bounds in his school uniform in England’s west,  many of them featuring rugby and athletics gear. Mum met this young scholar and sporting star in their senior years at adjoining grammar schools, but there was more to him than football boots and the scholarship to study medicine in London. Deeply rooted in his family and his countyr’s history, Dad would recall incidents from the war – the sound of Spitfires and Hurricanes and their Merlin engines would instantly take him back to those difficult days; he was an Air Training Cadet, flying as a passenger in Lancasters and Ansons and gaining a gliding license. He dabbled in many past-times and I found out recently that he was even a train-spotter on that most English of lines, the Great Western. He bicycled to the sea, to meet Mum in Budleigh Salterton, exploring the country that we came to associate with Ronnie Delderfield’s Valley in A Horseman Riding By, a family favourite for that reason.

Growing up, we discovered his medical school notebooks, meticulously annotated and illustrated, his microscope and stained slides. I’ve always been in awe of the drive and intelligence that took him far from Exeter, to London and King’s College Hospital. Leonard and Alice Bounds – his parents – were by no means well-off, so Dad had just his small scholarship and a vision of a professional future, not even enough for textbooks. Medicine meant long nights in the Library and extra hours of study. Those of you from the Brighton will have known him as a still-competent card player, despite his failing health, and he was very good at whist and bridge, but the family legend is that Dad used his small change to play poker so, if the cards fell kindly, he could afford the odd pint and a date with Mum.

John and Jenny make a very handsome couple in pictures from a Coronation Ball in 1952, and in their wedding photos they are the promising professional couple. They still looked wonderful even at their Sixtieth Wedding Anniversary only a few months ago. John and Jenny’s partnership in life has been enduring, but I think it needed all their love and strength to leave their families in a still-grey England and emigrate to Australia in 1963 with two tiny children. Apparently we are here today because New Zealand House and South Africa House were closed on the day Dad went up to London from Wales to enquire. Some functionary at a fortunately-open Australia House saw a chance to recruit a doctor to address the country’s medical short-comings; and with a twinkle in his eye sent us from Bargoed, South Wales, to Moree, New South Wales. It seems now like crazy adventure few would attempt today.

Beneficiaries themselves of excellent educations, Mum and Dad invested everything in their children; but I have no idea how Dad did this while starting from almost nothing, to build a practice, a home and two-hectare garden, a life in Penrith that saw deep involvement in building community and cultural institutions, and still living a full and rich life. And yet he was a wonderful father to all of us. He encouraged us with steadfast patience. He constantly opened doors to me in talking about history and literature; for each of his children, the expression of an interest in an activity would see him encourage us and find opportunities to participate. We were taken to opera, ballet – Carolyn and I got to see Nureyev and Fontaine and were probably the youngest in the audience – Shakespeare, cinemas (well, mostly Penrith drive-in, but always something worth seeing). We grew up in a house full of books.

Growing up, I thought that Dad could do anything. As a doctor, he seemed to be the wisest and most respected man in town, although he famously misdiagnosed my appendicitis, something I don’t think Graham Dinning let him forget! He replaced all the fences using a hand post-hole digger. He made his own concrete blocks to build a windbreak for the rosebeds. He had a go at making his own wine, although perhaps we should pass over that attempt. He could sing, he seemed to know all about opera and drama; he was an amateur photographer; every now and then he would sit at the piano and play Fur Elise. Mum would start community organisations and Dad would be the treasurer that made them financially viable. He was a skilled and admired member of his profession. He held to a generous, intelligent Christianity and would always add the phrase, ‘ever mindful of the needs of others”, at Grace. He loved company, and good food, music, wine, scotch, golf, his children, grandchildren and mum.

Mum is the great poetry lover in our family, but Dad’s Oxford Book of English Verse (the ‘Q’ edition, of course, as Rumpole would say) was bookmarked at Keats’ ‘The Devon Maid’, perhaps celebrating his association with the Westcountry and his own Devon maid. He had two great literary loves, however: Shakespeare and Marvell. Perhaps to complete the legend of his life, his response to a nurse’s request to write something on his last Wednesday was “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears”! I told him something more poetic might have been appropriate and, sick as he was, he immediately quoted the opening of Marvel’s ‘Coy Mistress’. For a life so rich and so full, lived which such generosity and compassion, it is hard that time must now pass him by; but Marvell’s words challenge us to use every day as well as John Bounds used his. 

Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run. 

We’ve had three days to explore Alice Springs and, sleepy town that it is, it has a unique charm. It’s quite a big place and, if your ideas were formed by Joe Harman describing it as a ‘bonza place’ in Nevil Shute’s A Town Like Alice, you might get a shock. It’s quite a bustling place, with nearly 30,000 people living in and around the town. While we had a nice resort pool to lie around, there was a lot to see and do.  

The place certainly has a history going back before World War 2; we discovered that it had actually been part of a centrally administered territory for a while, when the Commonwealth took the area from South Australia. The McDonnell Ranges, which sit just outside our window at the hotel (Double Tree), glow with colour, particularly in the late afternoons, and the desert birds are everywhere. After the deadly dry red around Marla, Alice is surprisingly green.

Of course, this is the quintessential outback town, with John Flynn’s grave on the outskirts, and the various missionary churches through the place. We didn’t get to go near the MSC/OLSH mission that is out to the east, but that kind of pioneering is still under the surface. Of course, for decades it was the Ghan railhead and the centre of the cattle industry for all points north. A reminder that it was a key base in the War is up on Anzac Hill – I probably should remind the kids that their maternal grandfather was based here. Now it is tourism central, but walking through the town are the original owners, with the whole range of types of people but – an unusual condition to those of us who see indigenous people in urban settings – speaking local languages.  

We are shopping for a piece of art for the dining area at home, and I think we are pretty committed to a piece of indigenous art from the Lands or other indigenous communities. The dominant style we see are dot paintings, but we are seeing many styles and learning as we go. It is interesting to see art that is becoming even more eclectic and syncretic – it’s not a dead tradition; but the stories behind each work and the history of the artist, often part of an extended clan of painters, is interesting to hear.

Tuesday was a lazy day around the pool, enjoying company before a nice Italian up the road; but Wednesday was the full-on road trip out along the West McDonnell’s to Glen Haven Homestead, stopping at the various points of interest along the way and swimming in the waterhole at Ellery Big Hole. Stanley Chasm was stunning to photograph, but the whole drive was a procession of sights as we drove between the ranges, which were like stone ripple parallel to our track.  

Then back through town to think about our ‘artistic investment’ – and, being us, we changed out minds. The one we liked was more than we wanted to pay, and Paula’s radar starting firing about value for money; so by trial and error we found our way to one of the better places, made friends with the owners of the gallery, and started rumbling around in the stock room. More on the painting later, but we were as charmed why ith the the story as with the painting. Bush food budgerigars will now hang over the dining room table!

  
It will be an early start tomorrow, dropping Aidan at Marla before the long, straight line drive to Woomera. Hope we get there in time to see the missile park!

It may be a hell of a drive, but there is something irresistable about Marla. It would never be a tourist spot, but to be in Aidan’s house and hear his stories of derring-do in the remote communities, while the outback sky arches overhead, is a special experience. Just impressions:

There has been rain north of Coober Pedy in the last month, so the drains on the edges of the road are full of green pick and every now and then, standing water is somehow incongruous. The arid lands are a stunning green that will fade to grey brown in a month or two.

Aidan says that the flat lands flooded to the edge of the bitumen: there is nowhere for the water to run, because it is so flat. You can differentiate the flat from the hills, because the creeks in the gullys are a brilliant green.

The couple of flowering shrubs in Aid’s garden are full of crimson flowers and a hundred butterflies are hovering around them in the late afternoon.

  

I don’t expect to write much of a blog about this trip, because a large part of it will be spent in a car at 110 km/hr. There will be a few photos, however, so perhaps a few moments are worth recording.

This morning we are in Coober Pedy, which has a landscape bearing a greater resemblance to that of Mars than any other place on the earth’s surface. To get here, we’ve driven for two days, eleven hours per day (probably ten hours of driving in total each day), which does take it’s toll, but is considerably more comfortable than a trip to Europe. Given the accident statistics, however, it is definitely not as safe! But the roads, in daytime at least, are well-maintained and we have been limiting the drives to two-hour stints, which has worked well.

It has been the usual fascinating trip through rural Australia, and you really get a sense of the winners and the losers in our agriconomy (ooh, that was a clever neologism!). From the Highlands to Yass, there are the sheep and wheat of the old country, with old towns clinging to respectability as the Hume bypasses them while old villages wither. The bigger centres like Wagga look great, and in the irrigation areas everything looks prosperous (well, not Balranald!) and Mildura seems to have found even more money from somewhere. 

  
We had one of the best road-trip meals at Mildura: one of the local cinemas converted to a micro-brewery and cafe. Not so micro, either, with five seasonal brews and a page full of regulars. To accompany my amazing lamb ribs I had a wheat beer flavoured with coriander: most impressed. The middle of town has a great restaurant strip, with most of the joints busy. It makes a change from the usual mixed grill or Chinese at the local services club.

The Golf is a great road car, with the wagon giving us room for luggage and Aidan’s birthday present, a nice little gas barbecue. We split the driving into shifts, so there is room for some reading, the crossword and some puzzles on the iPad. Today (Saturday) took us cross country, off the Sturt and west across the dry-lands of South Australia, passing over the major north-south highways and north of the Clare. Abandoned railways and Cornish names suggested the tin mines of the 19th Century, and the towns remain in a stupor, struggling with the regular droughts and the few good years to wrest a living from the dry hills. None of the laser-levelled paddocks of the Hay Plains here.

Then north up the highway past Port Pirie to Port Augusta, with the smelters to the right and the Flinders Ranges to the left: perhaps another trip when Aidan is a bit closer to Adelaide. Oddly, the temperature in SA is cooler than in the Riverland, closer to 25º. Port Augusta turned into a refuel and seek-and-destroy shopping expedition, so that we could have barbecue meat on Sunday night. The number of aboriginal families around Woolworths surprised us – Aidan later explained that this was because of the welfare and alcohol crackdowns in Ceduna, off to the West – no a problem but a different look in what is normally a very conventional industry town.

Six hours in and we were off on the last four and a half hours to Coober Pedy, now a pretty familiar road and, after half an hour, pretty featureless. The salt lakes, particularly Lake Hart, come along midway through the trip, and I would like to stop on the way back to get some photos. It’s greener, so there’s been recent rain, and the roadkill shows that it’s a good season. On and on through the sunset to Coober Pedy, where the apartment at the tourist park is a triumph but the service at the restaurant is a disaster, inciting a defamatory review from Paula on TripAdvisor. We should have settled for the road house, which Aidan recommended when he heard our story.

  
Today, it’s two hours to Marla and a catch up with Aidan. It will be good to be out of the car, and tomorrow is four hours to Alice and some time out.

We were out early after a good breakfast, enjoying the winter sun and the quiet of Bath on a Sunday morning. The grey clouds on the hills were threatening, so we were anxious to take some photos, and we weren’t disappointed. The river Avon was overflowing and the rushing water, patches of blue and the early morning light set the Abbey, town and bridge off marvellously. 

Our goal for the day was to see as much of Bath as we could squeeze into a day. We had already been realised that this would be a great place to spend a week in spring of summer! But needs must, so we had found one of Bath’s hidden treasures to help up out. The local council arranges volunteer tour guides, so we met our guides outside the tea rooms in the Abbey court and discovered that the spirit of volunteering triumphs. The guides were passionate, knowledgeable and local and we spent nearly three hours wandering around the city and hearing its history and admiring the buildings of the two Woods.

   
Avid Jane-items, we were thrilled to be on the gravel walk and relive bits of the novels. We went to the Combination Rooms and, rather nicely, there was a tea dance going on, so we had a glimpse of whirling dancers in the magnificently restore rooms.

 

 


The Roman Baths occupied most of the rest of the day, walking down through the 18th Century structures into the remains of the medieval and Roman baths. It was quite inspiring to take pictures which had the tea rooms, the Abbey and the baths in one frame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And then it was over, all to soon, because we had realised how much more there was to do and see in the surrounding countryside. Perhaps it as a gesture of defiance to find the town’s only Morrocan restaurant for dinner and leave all the other eateries for another trip. Farewell, Jane; see you soon.

Saturday came, another grey and mild day. We left our comfortable flat, very silent after Graeme and Sal’s departure, and headed for Paddington. It has turned out to be a most worthwhile way to stay, whether with friends or on our own: apartments give you much more than you get with a hotel and a much better price, and these two weeks have been brilliant. We are holidayed and rested, and the two don’t always go together.

Last night I managed half an hour of night photography, and Docklands proved an ideal place, particularly around the basin and the locks of Limehouse.

  

Paddington beckoned, and we made it to the station without the need to drag our 30 kg suitcases up stairs, a marvel of foresight and planning, given our past history one public transport. We had an hour or so at Paddington, and I wandered around looking at the surviving features of Brunel’s train sheds, which have survived neglect, nationalisation and new ownership remarkably well. There are marvellous minor features in the iron work which would never be contemplated inn a more utilitarian age. The ghost of Great Western lingers – especially in the toilet department, where the conveniences are hidden near the First Class Waiting Room (what?) and cost 50p. I prefer to pee for free, so I waited for the train.

It’s remarkable that you can belt across England in 90 minutes to Bath, in comfort and relative quiet. I think the English are rather getting the hang of rail again, after 50 years of ruining it. The trains are full, fast and frequent. We alighted at Bath, letting the express fly through to that magic terminus, Temple Meads (no one does names better…). A short taxi ride and we were in our hotel, Henrietta House, redeveloped from an early 19th Century row house. Thank God, a lift… but no, sadly awaiting repair, so up two and a half flights to our room – large and comfortable.

  

We did the standard reconnaissance mission, with a quick trip to the outdoor shops for new shoes and some warm gear, for which we were grateful the next day as the temperature dropped, the in to the Abbey. It was truly marvellous, and – for some reason – I didn’t have my camera, so the record of the good and great of King George’s forces were somewhat lost in the iPhone. But here was Arthur Phillip and a host of Admirals, Generals and Archdeacons, all retired to flush their kidneys after a lifetime of bully beef and bad water.
  
We decided to do God in the local Catholic parish, which was a nice neo-Gothic pile with a pleasant parish priest who turned out to be a card carrying activist for the anti-abortion movement. Rather uncomfortable with campaign for finances for for the rights of the reproduced, we slipped past under the disapproving eyes of two young true believers waving baskets and walked 15 minutes to a nearby village for a very good dinner.

For all the toughness of the Coast to Coast, both of us have amazing memories of the countryside – in between swearing at some of the ascents and descents that the fells sometimes threw at us. While I would love to do a couple more big walks before I check my knees in for a set of titanium joints, Paula is not so keen on the sheer grind that real trail walking entails – and at our age, it is strictly voluntary. But the memory of sharing a path in the country remains, and the best we could do this trip was to walk over a wintry and muddy Hampstead Heath for our last day in London.

It’s quite a little miracle – a large open space, still farmed in part, set amidst the high-priced outer suburbs and complete with all the things one associates with London open-space. None of your Olympic swimming pools, no… when you could have mixed swimming ponds (fancy); none of your dog-free zones when the well-behaved English dog would want nothing more than a romp in the woods and the chance to come back – after a dip in what I hope wasn’t the mixed bathing pond – wet and muddy to lie in a warm spot.

Of course (Mr Taxman), we were really there to see the Keats House and pay a bit of homage to the lad and his young lady. The area now is quite gentrified, but stunning with it.

 
 

We wanted a really good hit out, even with the mud, so we planned to walk about ten kilometres through the morning and finish up with a nice lunch in Hampstead. Our London walks cards had suggested Kenwood House as a possible destination and turn-around point, but all this went to pot when we realised just what Kenwood was – a stately home within greater London, actually open unlike every other stately home we wanted to visit.

  

We had not done our homework and so were completely unprepared for the history of the house, which really centred around Lord Mansfield and included the story that has been turned into the movie Belle, and the obstinacy of the Iveagh family who refused to allow it to be demolished in the Twenties for flats and bequeathed it to the nation – I suppose the start of English Heritage. The preservation of the house is immaculate and the various collections that fill its public rooms are quite exceptional (and sometimes a tribute to the quirkiness of the various collectors, in the best English tradition). So it is that a matchless collection of Old Masters and English 18th/19th Century portraiture shares the house with eclectic cupboards full of enamel miniatures and shoe buckles (and much more).

  
I could rabbit on a some length about the Dutch Masters (a Rembrandt self-portrait and some excellent maritimes) or pretend I really know what I am talking about with the Gainsboroughs and Stubbs (but I love his dogs!), but the real treasure is Mansfields Library, restored to something like the condition it was in during his lifetime. I remember Mansfield from Legal Institutions in first year of Uni., but seeing this beautiful room with its perfectly English views rekindled my interest in his work, so I will be chasing down a biography in the near future.

We spent far more time that we thought we would on the Heath because of this gem.
 

A very satisfactory lunch at Hampstead followed before we tidied up the appartments and started the packing process. It was a very quiet evening after the company of the past couple of weeks, but it looks like Sally and Graeme have found the snow!