A blizzard blew as the ship, loaded with migrants bound for Australia, sat at its moorings awaiting clearance to cast off and begin its epic journey halfway around the world. Streamers thrown optimistically between ship and shore were blown off course by the wind and lost in the driving snow, denying those parting their symbolic breaking of the bonds. Not that it made any difference to him, personally. There was no one in Southampton to bid him farewell. His goodbyes had been said a day earlier on the railway platform in Aberdeen. He was already en route to the Antipodes.
The Beatles had recently released an album to catch the Christmas market and one of its tracks, I’ll Follow the Sun, seemed particularly appropriate for this shipload of migrants. One of the young people on board the vessel had brought with him a copy of the album but had no means of playing it until the ship docked at Port Said and was surrounded by a flotilla of vendors in Bum Boats selling all manner of goods from food, to clothes, to souvenirs, to watches and electronics. He bought a portable record player and from that moment onwards, the ship followed the sun to the sound of The Beatles, through the Suez Canal, down the Red Sea and across the Indian Ocean.
After voyaging for a month since leaving wintry England, they finally docked at the port of Fremantle in Western Australia. It was 106 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale as he stumbled down the gangplank and as the hot, stifling blanket of air enveloped him, almost suffocating him, he vowed to quit this inhospitable land at the first opportunity.
Needless to say, this vow, like so many others sworn on the spur of the moment, was not honored. But he never quite became acclimatized to the rigors of the Australian summer. And every year thereafter, as winter’s chill abated, The Beatles would taunt him with another of their songs: