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“It was a delight to know you”

Marking the life of George Jeffreys (1934 to 20 July 2013) born and died in this small area of Port Melbourne.

The front yard in Farrell St where George Jeffries spent so much time

George loved classical music, his bike and sitting in the sun in the front yard of his home.

A modest sign attracted me to a garage sale in Farrell St, Port Melbourne. Have you found that the least interesting garage sales have the most sophisticated signs? As I turned the corner I realised that the signs led to the home of George Jeffries who died recently.

There was the verandah. But no George, no radio, no bright umbrella. Only the red bike looking like a dog that had lost its owner. Gone was the rainbow windmill that used to whirr as he rode, and the radio blaring classical music down the street.

How strange and intrusive it felt to enter his house which I had never done when he was alive. I went in uncertainly but was glad to get a fuller sense of George’s life and interests of which some glimpse had been given at his memorial service.

Over the fireplace was a framed black and white portrait of Nelson Mandela. How far and wide Mandela’s influence has penetrated to be central in this man’s living room and in mine.

Some classical music – a boxed set of Beethoven piano sonatas. Imagine riding down Bay St with classical music blaring! Not sure I’m ready for that.

A timer. When I do one of those exercises that requires the discipline imposed by a timer, I’ll think that George knew those struggles with discipline.

His linen was perfectly neatly stowed in the cupboard. A cotton sheet will shade the garden on these hot days.

His distinctive hats – uniquely George – remained on the bed, bringing his presence to mind.

The bike is one of the few in Melbourne to have been showered with rose petals at a ‘Blessing of the Bikes’ service. That’s pretty special.

George Jeffries

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