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14th May 2022 Farewell Mr Positive.

Goodaye all, here I am in rainy Brisbane, got in last night, waiting to find a way north west, or north then west. Seems some roads are closed again. I know it is my fault for the rain, getting the truck washed last week and not even a photo to show for it and then it rained on the way home Saturday night. Tomorrow will check the maps and see where and when I can go. This morning, cleaned out the toolboxes, the cab, caught up on paperwork and this afternoon, had Simon from Atlas Balance bring me out some late lunch and some stickers for the truck.

Years ago, Ken Wilkie had balance rings on his Kenworth I think, plus Cats Eyes for the tyre pressures and a special oil filter, so he was keen to look at what was then, a bit outside the norm. Simon, after years of having them made overseas, bit the bullet and now has them made here to his spec and they will fit all trucks.

I was visiting Dubbo during the week as I do occasionally, got a couple of minor gate repairs done, fitted some hooks for EIPs and had the trailers serviced. Then got the steer tyres rotated and fitted the balance rings we could not do last week. The truck was at about 57000 k then and my first impression was that I could “feel” the road more and having driven to Moree, unloaded and reloaded then back to Newcastle to get a service, it felt more secure in the bucketing rain I drove in nearly all the way. Down the track we will do the drive and see what else changes.

A big week-end next week-end, Dubbo show, election and I am to talk at the Putty Road Memorial, if I can get there or anywhere with this rain, so another week-end away from home and family, but that is what we do. With this rain, I am only getting wet and messed about, others have lost everything and some, more than once in two months.

I have had an approach about attending a caravan show in Queensland, someone has seen our videos on truck rest areas and Caravans and Roadtrains, highly recommended viewing for all (and the drone footage of a triple overtaking a triple is awesome) at www.whitelinetv.com.au

If you visit the whiteline site, you may see some videos about Mr Positive, Chris Harmer. I knew Chris for over 30 years and whilst he was on and off the road and in different jobs over those years, his last with Burkinshaws and before that Shearers in Wagga, he had a love for trucks and life I have seen in few people.

I had hoped to be able to take part in the interviews, but was always going the wrong way when it could be arranged with Chris. He went to work on a Tuesday, had a headache on the Wednesday and was in hospital with a brain tumour by the end of the week. There are three videos, “Mr Positive” “A Catch up” and the last, an “Interview with Mr Positive”. Having raised this site, I have just watched the last one. Chris passed away in February. I did speak with him the week before he died and as always at the end, he would tell me to stay safe.

Over the last 5 or so years before his illness, we would talk weekly, sometimes just a catch up, he would be on the road and call me, or vice versa. We would discuss the world’s problems, then our own and he was often a good sounding board for ideas, or simply to get the weight of the world off my shoulders. Our longest chat I think went for well over 3 hours and there was little we did not discuss. To have a friend like that to talk to, is something we often need, but don’t always have.

I miss him and mourn his passing, but in watching the videos, you cannot fault his faith, his positivity and his resolve. He had children with special needs and that weighed on him and put pressure on him and his wife. He had changed his jobs over time to be home more, Burkinshaws went out of their way to support him and I would like to recognise and thank them for that. They bought him a 700 HP Volvo, their first, they specced the SAR for him before he was forced to retire, but I think it was a very special relationship, again, one few drivers have with their employer. From where I sit, each thought the other a part of their family.

So Goodbye Mr Positive, I do hope you have found peace in heaven and to all us left on this earth, I hope you have a friend who is as special. If you don’t, perhaps you can be that special friend to another. I miss our chats and hope you travel safe Chris, farewell for now. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.  

By truckright

An Australian truckie aiming to improve both how the road transport industry is seen and understood by the public and to improve road safety for all.

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