Today November 5, 2023 is Guy Fawkes Day.
On November 5, 1974, when I was four years sober, I met my darling wife and friend of 45 years, Lyndal Moor.
This occurred at a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.
My longtime friend Barry Humphries had asked would I go there because Lyndal, who was living with his manager Clyde Packer, planned to attend her first AA meeting.
My first words to Lyndal after the meeting were, “If you only knew what could happen to you if you stay close to Alcoholics Anonymous.” Lyndal, who would have fallen over at the thought of marrying me, stayed entirely free of alcohol from then until she died in January 2020.
During her first year of sobriety, when we regularly went together to AA meetings, Lyndal’s nickname was “Adequate from Arncliffe.” This was because at her home group Arncliffe she often spoke about trying in her life and work for adequacy and not for perfection. When I was drinking I thought that I was a writer.
But the truth is that then I scarcely wrote a note to the milkman. Indeed, as a perfectionist, my motto was “If at first you don’t succeed, stop!”
But it was only after listing to Lyndal, and taking heed of James Thurber’s saying, “Don’t get it right, get it written”, that I actually began to write. And, although they’re not War and Peace, many of my books are on library shelves. Indeed, on Tuesday November, 14, the fourth Grafton Everest political satire that I’ve co-written with my non-AA pal, Ian McFadyen, Pandemonium, will be launched at the Olsen Gallery in Woollahra in Sydney.
Darling Lyndal changed my life in so many ways.
As it happens, we became lovers on November 5, 1975. And we were married, in the garden of Lyndal’s lovely terrace in Paddington on November 5, 1976.
So Guy Fawkes Day is very special to me, and also to our only child Emerald, and to our granddaughter Ava and our grandson River, all of whom live in Los Angeles
Em and many of my AA friends find it extremely amusing that, when Lyndal ditched Clyde Packer to team up with me, Barry Humphries quipped, “Lyndal went from diamonds to boiled lollies.” After three years coping with cancer, darling Lyndal died in Sydney on 22 January, 2020. Believe it or not, such is my sheltered life that she was the first dead body I have ever seen. In death, as in life, Lyndal looked utterly beautiful.
The truth is that I miss her more and more each day. But aren’t I fortunate that I met Lyndal Moor on Guy Fawkes Day 1974 and that I could share my life with her for 45 years?