What would you do differently to what you do now?
Nothing really. It is too late to go back in time and change life at critical points.
Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by the ghosts of my ancestors. My parents, uncles and aunts as well as some exceptional friends.
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I am attempting to make life better for the families of emergency service volunteers whose family members have been killed/died during the course of their duties. As such, I initiated the VESL (Volunteer Emergency Services Legacy). It is on the verge of being launched and will assist the families of many who have given their lives to protect life and property in the past and present.
Favourite holiday destination and why?
My favourite holiday destination overseas is the Cook Islands. It still has an air of being unspoiled by over exploitation by tourists. In Australia, anywhere Outback as the Outback has a spirituality not found in popular coastal destinations. You really feel a part of the universe when you stand under Outback stars at night.
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The Clarence Valley has everything from beautiful beaches on the coast at places like Yamba and bush scenery further west of Grafton. Needless to say we have the Clarence River on our doorstep at Maclean, and a great place to fish. I guess our main attraction for people from the urban areas is the feel for country life in our region.
What are you currently reading?
When I have a chance between bush firefighting, I tend to read Bernard Cornwell and Ken Follent. I am currently reading Ken Follent’s massive family trilogy set from the outbreak of WW I to the end of WWII.
What are you currently listening to?
I am currently listening to my wife, Naomi’s requests for renovations around the house. But, I sneak into my office from time to time and listen to my collection of music from the 60s and 70s.
Happiness is sharing time with my brigade when we are on operations. There is a camaraderie I once knew as a soldier and cop from the past. Added to that happiness is having my health at 70 years of age and sharing time with family and friends. An old sergeant, when I was a young soldier, once said that you can only eat so much, drink so much and be out of the rain. All the rest in life as far as fame and fortune is really irrelevant as we pass through life… Okay, fame and fortune would have been nice!
What does the future hold for you?
The future is yet to arrive but, I guess, I will continue as I am – half fire fighter, half writer.
Image: Peter Watt – courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia