Adrian Hanks – Psychophonetics Therapist

Interviewed by Prue, edited by Mick.

“… we had a swim in the ocean in the middle of July … and that completely sold us.” – Adrian Hanks

1 Intro pic

Oh my goodness. I have just come back from interviewing Adrian Hanks and had so much fun with him and his wife, Arleen, that my attempt at keeping our chat to two hours was an epic failure. Arleen cracked me up with her version of events on how she and Adrian got together – she was adamant she wasn’t going to have a relationship with him. She had already had two husbands and wasn’t planning on a third. Eh hem! Together their stories are amazing, but Adrian’s in particular is so varied he had me continually back tracking, trying to keep up with what he has done in his life.

Our chat started over a water filter, of all things. Well, not exactly a water filter, but an alkalising system. This gadget sat on the kitchen bench and told you, complete with mock Japanese/American accent, the ph level of the water you were about to consume. Apparently, novice alkaline water consumers should begin their experience on a pH level of 8.5, graduating to level 9.5, the optimum level, after a couple of weeks. Talk about fast track high achieving – I like it. The reason for this graduation is apparently due to the detoxification qualities of alkaline water. If the novice water drinker starts on 9 it could give them a bit of a toxicity rush… it’s too intense. But once the body detoxes a bit, one can graduate to level 9. Woo hoo. As it turns out, Adrian sells these systems… and there I was thinking he was a plain old psychophonetic therapist…

Formerly from Armidale (approximately 500kms north of Sydney), I asked what brought them to this beautiful neck of the woods? 
Well, we had a swim in the ocean in the middle of July … that completely sold us. Think about it… Armidale and ocean??? …and Armidale in the middle of July? Actually what really happened was Arleen was running a week-long course in Tweed and we decided to check out Byron on the way home. After that dip in the ocean, we were almost convinced to move here.

Arleen is originally from Cape Town in South Africa, and when we married (in 2005) and moved to Armidale, it was a bit of an affront for her. She never liked the place. Basically we were there because my kids were there. So when we proposed moving to the Byron area, three of them moved with us.

What, you have more than three?
Yes, we have six between us. You know… blended families and all that.

2 Family picsArleen’s mother (Granny) with Adrian (is it me, or could she pass as Adrian’s mother?), and Arleen with Timeeah – one of the six kids

Crikey, six kids! And only three came to Byron. What did the others do?
Well, Arleen has two kids and I have four. One of Arleen’s, Travis, lives in South Africa with his father, and the other one, Timeeah, lives with us. She’s 12, but moved to Australia with Arleen when she was five. Travis is about to come and visit us for a month because he’s just finished year 12 and is taking a gap year. In the past he has come and stayed with us twice a year. I have Solomon who is 24. He has just come back from being deployed in Afghanistan…

So he’s a soldier? That appears to me to be quite a contrast to how you have lived your lives, given your earlier mention of Rudolph Steiner. Were all the kids educated in the Steiner system?
Yes, and Solomon was the first. He was my intro to Steiner, but he’s always had leadership qualities and he’s taken that through to the army.

What would Rudolph Steiner have to say about producing a soldier?
I think he would say it’s his Karma. It’s his passion, it’s his mission.

As a father, how do you feel about it?
My take is… I support him to follow his life’s journey… I support and follow him but I don’t have to like his choices. I also see the army as an initiation for him. It takes courage to go to deployment.

Oh absolutely. We could obviously talk at length about what it is like to have a ‘child’ deployed but there are three others to cover here, so, back to the other kids…
So the next one is Alexander, who just had his second child and my second grandchild.

Whoa, a grandfather twice and not yet 50! How does that feel?
Interesting, because for a while I struggled with what to call myself, then I spoke with a good friend and she asked, ‘Why don’t you own it’? You know, own the title of being a grand dad and call myself ‘grand dad’. I couldn’t argue with that, so I’m really stepping up to the plate with the ‘grand’ aspect of my life.

Then there’s Oliver. He’s just finished year 12, then Genevieve who’s 16. All the kids have lived with us at some point, but predominantly with their mother.

Ok, so you moved to Byron Bay, did you have anything in place on the business or home front?
Well, first up we found a house on Friday Hut Road, closely followed by studio space in Byron. Then we put the kids into Cape Byron Steiner School.

What did you need a studio for?
We offered a range of healing modalities- counselling and psychotherapy, life alignment and massage.

2 Office details
Office and studio details

Wow. Who did what out of all that?
We both did Psychophonetics. Arleen is the life alignment practitioner and teacher and I’m the massage therapist.

So tell us a bit about Psychophonetics and Life Alignment
Yehuda Tagar founded Psychophonetics at Persophone College in South Africa… it is based on the work of Rudolf Steiner .

It’s a form of coaching, counselling and spiritually based psychotherapy. The essence of the work is working with sound and movement (if needed), hence phonetics. For example, if a client came to me because he/she felt they were struggling to move forward, we would ask them to describe visually how it feels, we call it a gesture… we ask them to gesture the feeling of the experience with their hands and/or full body. Then we might ask them to step away. We call that ‘enter, exit and behold’ so you enter into the process, then you step out of it, take a look at it and observe it. This is beholding it. Our role is to help people find their passions and restore their full potential.

6 Playing the didjThe master didjeridoo maker, and player, carrying out some healing work.

I’ve steered away from counselling to some degree and stepped up coaching with Conscious Life Development Foundation. I have put all the work I do under one umbrella ie my mens work, my eco soul bush experience and coaching and counselling. As you know Prue, I have a regular monthly newsletter which usually discusses a particular topic, for example, endings and new beginnings.  We support local businesses by posting free ads and we do an events page as well. I also do a book review and a people profile.

Wow that sounds like a lot of work. Do you do it solo?
Yes, but I also encourage and accept other peoples articles.

And you also have a blog?
Yes, called ‘The Boy and the Cake’ which is about Little Adrian and Master Adrian. It’s a take on how we can easily get pulled into the emotions, reactions and actions from – if you like – the needy inner child. Through stories I share how I have personally overcome those challenges.

7 CakeThe boy… and the cake… Adrian, you haven’t changed a bit!

So it seems you eat, breathe and practise what you preach?
Yep, I try very much to walk my talk.

I also have a book coming out in mid 2013 entitled ‘Where Am I Right Now’. It’s part personal development, part life story, and it also has exercises and tips on how to stay present and reach one’s full potential.

I understand this is your second book because you self published a kids’ book a couple of years ago.
Yes, that’s ‘Wendy and the Fairy Ring Secret’ which I distribute through my website and locally in Byron Bay at outlets such as, Natures Child and Essentially Byron. My second book however, has been picked up by a publisher, which is really exciting.

8 WendyThe author with his first book, ‘Wendy and the Fairy Ring Secret’ – what an achievement.

Seven years down the track, you are clearly set up in business and in home life. What then are the joys of living in this area and what are the challenges?
I love the warmth, I really love it. And I really love living in Bangalow… it has a different energy to Byron and the village atmosphere in Bangalow is really gratifying. In this area there is always something to do whether it’s music, plays, workshops, the beach, bushwalking, snorkelling… there’s just so much.

And the challenges, do you have any?
I think working from home instead of a regular nine to five work place is challenging… although I don’t see what I do as work – more a passion and vocation – living in a holiday and beach environment does make it challenging to focus and requires a fair bit of discipline. For example, when I go down to Byron for a meeting and see the beach, it takes some discipline not to stay.

Oh yes, I’m sure we all get that. But hey, you hold your meetings in cafes, that surely aint all bad? Do you have a fave?
Yes, it’s either at Utopia in Bangalow or Why Not in Byron – they make the best LSD (Latte Soy Dandelion). I also love the Conscious Café in Byron. They are organic, dairy and soy free… and their salads are phenomenal… the colour, the taste, everything. If Arleen and I go out for lunch we struggle to go past the Cardomon Pod and we like The Balcony for their tapas. You can always get good vego with tapas.

Do you eat out much?
No, mainly at home.

I have discovered working from home entails preparation of three meals a day. Do you ever tire of cooking like I do?
Well, we have a live-in cook… everybody calls her Granny. Her name is Eileen, and she’s Arleen’s mother, and she cooks five days a week and we cook on the weekends. Sunday is often pizza night … I was a baker in a former life.

9 garden pics
Adrian has also studied Bio-Dynamic Agriculture… is it any wonder his veggie patch is thriving? And check out  where the path leads to…
5 shed pics… to his shed… complete with pool. Some shed! I’m sure there are thousands of blokes out there with massive shed envy.

What style pizza base do you do?
I have my secret pizza… it’s one word. Basil! When I make my dough I add basil… generally thin bases and tonnes of garlic.

Whats your fave combo topping?
Slices of tomato, with fresh basil leaves tonnes of sea salt, so the toms soak it up and plenty of garlic and cheese.

So you are total vego… where do you get your protein from?
Eggs… and the natural proteins in organic vegetables.

I am so jealous of Adrian and Arleen with their live-in cook – what an amazing arrangement. Lucky them. There was so much more to explore with these two warm, open, honest people, like Adrian being a master didjeridoo player and maker, how Arleen is Adrian’s psychotherapist (how scary would that be, living with your psychotherapist???!!!) and the story of how Adrian wore down the very adamant Arleen and married her. Perhaps there will be a part two? Thank you Adrian for your time and enthusiasm… it was a complete joy.


Shaz the other half of Baz – Fruit & Veg

Interview and pics by Prue. Edited by Mick.

Very Mick and I first moved to Sunrise Beach back in 2002 where we were amazed at what you could buy at the so called ‘fruit and veg’ shop known as Ozigo’s, near the BP. Apart from your bog standard types of milk and bread, it stocked a huge variety of sourdoughs, gluten free spelts, kamuts, etc, stuff we had never heard of.  On the adjoining shelves sat handmade soaps, incense, buckwheat flours, and everything in between. Formerly from Melbourne, we used to lovingly mock the quirky stock necessary to cater for the average Byronite.

After 12 months we moved to hillside Suffolk and assumed we would lose our quirky, local shopping experience. We were pleasantly surprised, however, to discover a funny little fruit and veg shop at the caravan park opposite the golf course – it had no signage but was parochially known as Crosby’s, apparently the name of the former owners. It wasn’t long before we came to know the new owners, Shaz & Baz.

Shaz with her other half, Baz.

These two managed to surpass the old Ozigo shopping experience with their higgledy piggledy, make shift shop that stocked EVERYTHING. The shop was tiny, with customers climbing over boxes and each other as they surveyed the overstocked shelves. Friendly, tolerant smiles exchanged as customers unintentionally nudged and bumped their way around the two tightly packed aisles. They queued patiently at what was apparently the check-out, a piece of bench the size of a postage stamp, as the incredibly friendly staff juggled weighing and packing the purchased goods.

Two years ago, Shaz and Baz moved from the Crosby location to a far bigger premise, and as luck would have it, it’s at the end of our street! We now have a massively stocked ‘pantry’, literally a stone’s throw from our kitchen. We have watched what was an empty, soulless, mothballed shop, stocked with last year’s vegies and week old bread and run by unmotivated tired owners, morph into a buzzing thriving shopping haven with shelves filled to the brim… everything a reasonable cook could wish for and all served with the usual warmth and friendliness that is Shaz & Baz. We are blessed… and this cook even loves the prices!

I recently met with Shaz who shyly requested if daughter Dani could also attend the interview. When I enquired as to why, she replied very coyly, ‘I’d just feel more comfortable’. No problem, but was surprised how shy Shaz really is, especially since Very Mick and I are in the shop up to 3 times a day. My first question was a no brainer…

How does someone so shy work 12 hours a day dealing with the public?
I don’t feel so shy when I’m working. I guess I can hide behind the role of serving people.

How many daughters could work with their mothers all day, then book regular date nights with her – both leaving their boys (Luke & Baz) at home. Clearly Dani and Shaz are incredibly close

You are always smiling, polite and happy  are you sure theres nothing in the vegies youre not telling us about?  Don’t you tire of the public and the constant demands of we punters?
Well, I guess I would if everyone wasn’t so nice and lovely. We really do have very nice customers.

I’m guessing you must hate socializing then?
Yeah, well, work is my social life. I certainly don’t need one outside of business hours.

Are you aware of the sense of community you have created by moving your business into hillside Suffolk?
I guess… you see people chatting here all the time. We’re aware how we’ve changed it but we were also aware of the potential… the change was inevitable. And we benefit from the community as well. For example Mel, who lives across the road, she lets us know if we’ve left lights on or if there is anything she feels we should know about. She has our phone number, and we have hers, so I can call her if ever I’m here at night by myself and need company. And Sardia over the back is the same…  we’re not just a business next door, we’re their neighbours.

It’s one of the best things we’ve ever done, but we wouldn’t have done it without the help of Dani and Luke. (Luke is Dani’s loooonnng time partner. They met at primary school.)

Notice BoardYet another sign of the sense of community Shaz & Baz have supported.

How did you get into this line of business?
Baz was doing wholesale fruit & veg and used to deliver to the caravan park shop (Crosby’s). He came home one day and suggested buying it… yet another one of his crazy ideas… but we all agreed. (We, being Dani, Luke, Shaz & Baz’s son Aaron – who initially worked with them until he moved interstate) Initially I kept my job at the nursing home (St Andrew’s in Ballina).

You actually live in Wardell. Was the driving from there to Byron ever a concern?
Not really… it’s better than driving in Sydney.

Who could argue with that? When did you live in Sydney?
I was born in Sydney and met Barry when I was 18. He was born in Lismore, but grew up in Bonalbo, a tiny town west of Casino.

What did you do in Sydney?
A million jobs… we owned a gift shop for a little bit, we did courier work and Barry was a car salesman at one stage. We moved up here when Dani was five. Barry wanted to come back to the Northern Rivers area and we thought it was a good place to bring up kids. We worked for ten years in a variety of jobs before going into the business at the Caravan Park. We were there for ten years before purchasing here in Beech Drive.

How has the shift in location affected you and the business?
It’s a lot busier here. The shop is open longer but we do the same hours as before… 60 hours per week.

Santosha, Amanda and Joal
These pics were taken on a Thursday when the shifts cross over for an hour and all staff are on board to help with the deliveries. Amanda top, Santosha left and Joal right.

Does everybody work 60 hours?
No. Santosha works five days a week, Dani and Luke do five six-hour shifts and one 12 hour shift

And Baz?
He’s doing all the behind the scenes things like going to the markets and ordering… and we’ve got a few hundred chickens… so he packs the eggs.

Baz and his eggs
Baz and his eggs

Gosh, that’d be a job in itself, wouldn’t it?
Yeah, there’s a lot to do… change their bedding, keep the feeding up, but it’s good because all the scraps from here go to the chooks.

Now that ‘s sustainable living! Is that something you guys are concerned about?
Oh, definitely. We also installed all those solar panels on the roof when we moved here.

Dani & Luke are about to go on a European holiday so how do you structure things when key people are away?
(Dani laughing, says… Shaz doesn’t get a day off! ) We’ve got really great staff and we’re taking on another guy who will take over Luke’s role while he’s away.

Is that the market gig?
No, that’s Barry’s job. He goes up once a week and we get deliveries five days a week. Baz loves going up. It’s his day out of Byron… he has lunch and keeps up with his market contacts… that’s why we can do the specials we do, cos he knows a lot of people and maintains those relationships.

Independent grocers are notorious for high mark ups, yet you keep your prices down. Why don’t you follow suit?
We don’t believe in doing that. Byron Bay has so many beautiful products and whilst some of our supplies come from the  Brisbane markets, we also stock a lot of local products and believe everybody should be able to try them… so we do our best to make them affordable. Like the Brookfarm muesli… it’s normally sold for $25 plus, but we sell it for $20… it’s beautiful muesli and really popular.

Some of the popular produce sold at Baz & Shaz's
What type of salt would you like? And the spices on the shelves to the left are not even half the choices we have.

Has the lolly aspect of the business changed things? Does it annoy you serving all the kids?
No… they’re mostly good. We have had to ban a few so that keeps the others on their toes. We do get lots of kids from the skate park asking for glasses of water and wanting to use the phone to call their parents after skate accidents.

What do you love about living and working in Byron/Suffolk?
I love being able to walk to the beach and seeing people I know. Everybody is so friendly… especially here in Suffolk. We went to the pub recently to watch the Rabbitos play and some of our customers came up to say hello and invited us to join them… it was really nice to see them outside of the shop.

What are the challenges for you living/working here?
Hmmm… I ‘m trying to think…

So what’s your fave restaurant?
It use to be Hot Rock but it’s closed now. The food was great and the owners are lovely. We felt really comfortable there. We have lots of others we love but we also supply a lot of the restaurants with wholesale… so they’re all equally great (she says chuckling).

And your favourite shop?
Well, we don’t shop anywhere else so it has to be ours! But for clothes and other needs we always shop locally because we have so many businesses that support us.

The team
Leaving the shop unattended, we had to make our team shot snappy. In descending order: King of the egg castle, Baz, followed by Luke, Joal, Santosha, Dani, Amanda and shortie Shaz.

It took some doing to drag Shaz away for this interview but is it any wonder when she devotes 60 hours each week to satisfying the culinary callings of Suffolk Park. Energy is a thrashed word in Byron Bay, but if you want to experience the best of it just pop into our Beech Drive ‘pantry’. Shaz, Baz, their kids and staff (Santosha, Joal, Amanda and newbie, Joel) exude a fun, fabulous energy, a commodity Woollies can only dream about… old style, friendly service where nothing is a problem and every effort is made to accommodate patrons’ needs, no matter how Byronian. Through passion and a work ethic that would make Kevin Rudd jealous, this humble family’s investment has created a heart and soul hub in a suburb where there was none. We, and all of our Suffolk neighbours, are immeasurably grateful.

Verry Happy Verry Merry Very Byron Xmas!

Very Prue, Very Melinda and Very Mick celebrating their Very Byron Christmas at the very divine Fig Tree Restaurant in Ewingsdale, Byron.

What a gorgeous lazy lunch we had last weekend at Fig Tree! It has to be one of the best locations for a restaurant in the Byron shire… and don’t they capitalise on it? Offering beautiful food, a beautiful environment and sensational views looking east over Byron and beyond to Julian Rocks and the lighthouse. One can only relax with that mix… and well, relax we did… with a capital R! We hope you get to Relax over the festive season too!

Thanks to all of you who have subscribed and commented on both the blog and facebook and generally offered support to our little venture to help get it off the ground – we really appreciate it. Special thanks also must go to all our interviewees, for giving up their time and sharing their lives with us. Without their generosity, Very Byron would still be a simple idea. The first six months has been a big learning curve, starting out of the blocks a tad hard and fast, however next year, we plan to pace ourselves more sensibly and possibly post one interview per month. We’ll be kick starting the year with an interview with local and international surfing legend and administrator, Alan Atkins. Followed hopefully by our favourite local store owners Shaz & Baz – we have never met such hard working, smiling, people and we really enjoy having our own extended personal pantry just around the corner. Then we have Michelle from Bangalow Coffee waiting in the wings. So lots to look forward to!

Catch you then for more (hopefully) entertaining chats with our locals. Cheers and Byron love to you all, Prue, Melinda and Mick.

Very Byron Very Broken

Recent adventures inland to interview another fab local took Melinda and Prue along St Helena Road. Now we all know this road is a pothole ridden disaster and we do promise, we were driving very byron, very slow… but alas our first love (Prue’s newly acquired VW Golf) fell victim to one of them. STOP!!!!… well the car did of its own accord and left us stranded. A knight in ‘not so shining’ four wheel drive armour, aka Matt the turkey man (from the Byron Farmers Market), thankfully stopped to give two bloffers (fluffy bloggers) roadside assistance. A few hours later, with lots of laughter, we bring you a bit of video fun and our first You Tube post. (Note… the delicious muffins were from Byron Muffin Men)