ON THIS DAY...
By Elizabeth McClintock (Stuarts defacto partner)
We woke up together to get ready for work but as usual I would lie in bed a bit longer while Stuart would have his shower. From our bed I could see and talk to Stuart in the bathroom, I remember asking him where he was going to be working that day as he was always needed on different sites all around metropolitan Adelaide. He replied that he would be working at Pasadena, which was a site he was working on spasmodically over the last 3 months or more.
I started to get ready for work and we had a bit of a joke about him turning on the hot water to rinse off his toothbrush while I was in the shower which would effect my water temperature. The last words we spoke to each other will remain with me forever but I do not wish to share them other than to say I asked for a kiss 'one last time'. Why I chose that particular wording I will never know but I would have never guessed the relevance at the time. Off to work we went.
I distinctly remember on my way to lunch which was after 1:00 pm, as I walked to my car with my work mate that I stood frozen and thought - He shouldn't be at Pasadena today - and reached for my mobile phone to call him and ask him why he was working on that job today. What a crazy thought, I had no influence in where he would be working. Besides this I had nothing else to speak to him about so I thought I would leave it until I got home.
Unbeknown to me, Stuart's accident occurred at 2:30 pm and was reported on both the radio and the news that evening. Had I heard it on the radio, I would have known in an instant, 34 year old male at Pasadena shopping centre. No room for error there. My elder sister had tried to call me at this time but I was not in the office, she was unaware of the accident and was just calling to chat. I never got her message to call back. My younger sister had heard two of her colleagues discussing the accident and was disturbed by it unlike other accidents that had occurred in the past but was unaware that it was Stuart.
On my way home I stopped off at the shops and collected the ingredients for our dinner, came home and started to make tea, beef stroganoff (which I refuse to eat or make ever again). Stuart would have normally been at home before me but as his mother was on a holiday in Europe he would often go to her house to feed the chickens and water the plants. I assumed that was where he was and was therefore not too concerned that he was not home yet.
Stuart's brother Clive who lives with his wife and three sons in Pt Pirie rang to speak to Stuart. I suggested he call his mobile as I believed he was at his mother's house. I also asked Clive if his son Austin had received the birthday present we sent him (a King Kong figure) through the post. I had been on at Stuart to call Austin to ask if he had received it but Clive had said he should get Austin to give Stuart a call to say thank you instead.
I decided at about 7:00ish that I was getting hungry and decided to eat my stroganoff on my own, and I would heat Stuart's when he got home. I sat down and started flick through the Foxtel channels and came across Brother Bear on the Disney channel. I had seen it once before but decided to watch it again. I watched it from start to finish and when it did finish about 8:30ish I looked up to see a white car pull in front of the house. I had immediately thought that being so close to Christmas that maybe Stuart had been at a Christmas party, had too much to drink and caught a taxi home so I jumped up to meet him at the door. What a mistake!
I opened the front door and expected to see a taxi but instead saw a police car, out of which came a male and female police officers who walked slowly up to the front door. My heart sank.....
(to be continued)