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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

30 days

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Good news, I cruised into cyberspace, wrestled with a black hole, and rescued my lost post from the dark forces of the empire. And here it is:

A busy day in Busselton. YWAM ran 6 sessions in the school today and the feedback from staff and students is positive. At lunchtime there was a Phat Phriday planning meeting which I was going to until I discovered I had a Country Week coaches meeting on at the same time. Several of my soccer players are in danger of missing out on Country Week because of poor attendance/uniform compliance/performance in class/attitude problems!!
Then I would have gone to two sessions of Rock and Water had I not been called on to provide counselling support for a depressed teenager.
When their world looks black and hopeless there is not much you can do except acknowledge their pain and encourage them to hang on. I did tell her she is special and loved and that what gives me hope and comfort when I'm struggling is knowing that God loves me no matter what. She accepted my offer to pray for her and I sought God's help and comfort. I've committed to pray for her every day for the next 30 days. (This does not mean God only has a month to fix her, just that I want to consistently intercede for her for the next month.)
The end of the day meant soccer training and trying to convince the afore-mentioned wrong-doers to mend their evil ways!!
Now I'm off to the new house where Carolyn has been patching holes and cracks all day in preparation for the painting which begins tomorrow.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Predictable pain

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I had a good weekend in Perth all except for one small detail, Geelong lost to Fremantle and I was in a room full of Dockers fans and anti-Geelong fans at the time. Brad Ottens had a chance to win the game and kicked a point, Paul Chapman had a chance to win the game and kicked a point, Kent Kingsley had a ... you get the drift of what happened. Love is a bitter-sweet experience and Geelong have long been brilliant at providing the full range of experience for those like me who love them!
On a brighter note, the two beach mission meetings I went to were successful and enjoyable and the wheels are starting to turn very slowly in preparation for Augusta 2006. If you're not busy in the first week of January come down and visit and see what all the fun is about.
I called in on Alex at the Wanneroo Hotel where he had just finished his gig, in a couple of week's time he will play his 500th show at the pub, quite an achievement. I finished the night off at my niece's engagement party, I missed the speeches but there was still plenty of food and drink and I caught up with the family for a while before we all departed and left the hard partying to the under 30's. Jenna and Craig are getting married in 2007, nothing like a long engagement! By then they'll have built their house, also in Wanneroo.
On Sunday morning I moseyed round a pretty average swap meet, buying only pens to satisfy my stationery craving, and several sets of stamps commemorating different Olympic and Commonwealth Games. I scored at a garage sale later when I got 72 small make-up sample pots for $3! While that may not impress you, for me it was a real score for a project I've been thinking about for a long time and which has been hindered only by the absence of something suitable, such as 72 small plastic make-up pots!
Last stop before heading home was the Piccadilly cinema for a cheap movie. I saw an unusual film called "Birth" starring Nicole Kidman. It was slow-moving and a little disturbing and did not answer all the questions it posed, leaving me wondering what it all meant.
I got back to Busselton in time for us to go round and have a look through the new house which is now empty and awaiting painting.
We've decided to repaint all the walls while we've got the chance and the house is empty. The big move happens this weekend!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Another doodle Posted by Hello

Friday, May 27, 2005

A combination of a doodle and some computer colouring tools Posted by Hello

Ego counter

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I'm stumbling in the dark trying to edit and adjust my site and add a hit (ego) counter and a few other things. What annoys me is how the simple free stuff you can get on the web isn't! The instructions start out easy then they say something like insert this code on your web page and I think" how and where do I do that?" So, if a hit counter mysteriously appears on the site sometime in the next few days just know that it has been the result of fluke or divine intervention and not tecno-wizardry on my part!

Hit counter code

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internet black jack

After the ring came off and the pressure was released Posted by Hello

My dislocated finger before having my wedding ring cut off. Posted by Hello

Big Day & Big week coming up

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I've got a big day tomorrow which reads like this:
9.45 Coach Paul's soccer team
10.30 Final whistle-Leave for Perth, 280km away
1.00ish Meet with the boys for the Chaplain's Fantasy Football mid-season draft at Letchy's.
3.30 Meet with the Executive leadership team in Shenton Park to begin planning for Augusta Beach Mission 2006
5.30 Attend Scripture Union Mission Networking Dinner at Mt Hawthorn
9.00 Attend my niece Jenna's engagement party at Wanneroo

Sunday: Sleep in, mosey round a swap meet before heading back to Busso after lunch.
Welcome YWAM team to Busselton in prep for a week of seminar presentations at school.

Next week our new house will be vacant and we'll spend the week painting and preparing to move.

Long weekend, June 4-6, we move in to our new home in Cloisters.

Expensive relief

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Yesterday I went to Bunbury with the school athletics team for the inter-school carnival. It was a good day which I spent as head timekeeper, recording times in races from 100m to 1500m with my able and amiable team of helpers. Though not arduous it was pretty constant work which meant I didn't get any real breaks during the day. So it was with much relief that I headed for the toilet after the final event. My relief turned to puzzlement upon exiting the dunny when I couldn't see any of the Busselton team, distinctive in their blue and yellow tracksuits. Knowing we were under pressure to get back on time I presumed that they were already on the bus and I was holding them up. I headed for what I thought was our bus only to see it pull out and drive off with a bunch of kids who were not from Busso. Hmmm! What's going on? Then it hit me with a mixture of disbelief and stomach dropping realisation! They'd left without me!!
Thanks very much!! How could they? What am I gonna do now?
I was due back by 3.30 to take soccer training so this was not a good scenario.
My phone rang and Patesy asked innocently,
"Where are you?"
"Still at the track, where are you?"
"We're heading out of Busselton and the driver won't turn around coz he's got a school bus run he has to get back for"!!!
"Great, what am I supposed to do?"
"He says hitch a lift with the Margaret River bus"
Hmmm,that could work! Thankfully the MR team had stayed for the presentations and were happy to help me out of my predicament.
They dropped me off on the bypass opposite Cornerstone where soccer training is held. One of the team mums gave me a lift back to school after training so I could retrieve my car. All's well that ends well!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The finger & the stomach

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My finger is getting better, the swelling and colour are both subsiding but it is still pretty tender and i suspect volleyball tomorrow night will be a considerable challenge. I suspect I will be hitting a lot of digs and avoiding blocks and sets. I wish I could blame my finger for my pitiful showing at squash on Monday night but as it is on my left hand and I play with my right it is of no use to me as an excuse. I lost in straight sets and managed to only score 5 points in three sets! I was hopeless and provided no competition to my opponent Dean. Neither of us got our money's worth but least he got the premiership points, all I got was a dose of frustration and humility. I didn't even get up a decent sweat for my trouble. My weight loss has plateaued at the moment, hovering between 97-98 kilos. I have succumbed to the lurid temptations of the evil seductress, chocolate, a few times in the last few weeks. Thinking back it may well have been the hot jam donuts at the MCG on the big footy weekend that halted my weight loss momentum. Time to get back on track and push on to the 95kg target before preparing for the final assault on the 90kg summit I'm working towards.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Footy is better than soccer

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Good old Collingwood forever, they know how to play the game...
I'm happy to sing along with the magpies theme song following their great win over the West Coast Eagles on Saturday. Always nice to see the Eagles lose, all the better when it's to the bottom team. The papers this week had been running stories on the odds of the Eagles going through the season undefeated, so it was very enjoyable seeing them crash in Melbourne. As I've always said, "No Judd, No Eagles". Let's just hope he gets rubbed out a couple more times during the season!! And of course, the Eagles will have to play in Melbourne 5 more times this season, having not played there at all in the first 8 rounds. The footy got better yet on Sunday when Geelong thumped the Kangaroos by 85 points. I had to go to the pub at Dunsborough to watch the game on Foxtel but it was worth it. The Cats are purring along very nicely, with Freo at home this weekend, perhaps another percentage booster? (As a loyal and long-suffering Geelong fan I know there is probably an unexpected horrible loss just around the corner waiting to trip us up, but so far the signs are very good and I'm making hay) And why is footy better than soccer? Because in footy the best team wins and nobody wins a big game by luck, unlike the FA Cup Final on Saturday night when the best team (By a country mile) Manchester United, were beaten by lucky lucky Arsenal despite having 23 shots on goal to 3 and completely outplaying the Gooners, only to have the game finish 0-0 after 120 minutes and be decided in a penalty shoot-out 5-4 in Arsenal's favour. Ironically Arsenal were the top scoring team in the league this year and won their last game 7-0 but they never looked like scoring on Saturday and hung on by the skin of their teeth to force it to penalties. A hollow and undeserved victory Bolders, and you know it!!

Wedding ring blues

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Ouch! Sometime in the last quarter of Friday night's game against Manjimup I emreged from a pack, looked at my finger and thought, "That shouldn't look like that"! The last joint was dislocated and sitting at an odd angle. I pulled it back into something like normal position and carried on playing. (Me and Dermott Brereton, we're both tough footballers, playing on through the pain!) After the game, which we lost, though as you know nobody keeps score, my finger started to swell and to hurt and to turn purple. I put some ice on it which had no effect whatsoever. By Saturday morning it was fully swollen and my wedding ring was acting as a tourniquet not allowing the blood to flow away. After coaching duties for Paul's soccer team were finished I called in to the hospital to see about getting my ring cut off. (I haven't been able to get it off for many years but now it was a matter of medical importance). The nurse and i between us managed only to inflict a tiny groove in the surface after 10 minutes effort. She referred me to a specialist, the jeweller in town! So I set off back to town. Busso as I've observed before is a small place, so small that when I got there the jeweller was closed so she could go to the toilet. When she returned we set about the task but had great difficulty getting the ring cutter to cut without wrenching my finger off or increasing the pressure /swelling/pain. Finally I managed to get it working and then it cut through with relative ease. Pried apart with jewller's pliers my finger was free. The inscription on the inside of my ring saw the light of day for the first time in years, "Marcus Carolyn and Jesus". The jeweller assured me it could be rejoined, but I'll need to get it sized up a bit before I can get it back on.
My finger is still sore and bruised but the swelling is subsiding. My main concern now is what impact it will have on my volleyball game on Thursday night.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Friday Night Football

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Friday night means Friday night football and the big game this week is Busselton v Manjimup in the Superrules clash under lights at Busso Footy Stadium. The predicted storm fronts haven't arrived yet so hopefully the game will be played in fine conditions, allowing the two teams to display their finely honed skills. It will be my second game of the season and despite some tightness in the achilles region and a sore lower back, both courtesy of this week's squash and volleyball games, I'm looking forward to the game. I've been down to the chemist to get my regular packet of caffeine tablets, and a bit of heat rub before we run out should see me right.
Both volleyball and squash were one-sided affairs resulting in 3-0 victories but I don't expect the boys from Manji to be such pushovers.
I'll have a few extra supporters there tonight with the arrival of Birchy's Balcatta Boys who are staying in Busso tonight before heading off on a 4 day hike on the Cape to Cape track in the morning. They're sleeping in the school gym tonight and I'm their emergency response officer for the weekend. Hopefully the weather will remain kind and nothing too bad will happen to them.

Book recommendation:
I've just finished Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods" about his adventures on the Appalachian Trail in the eastern USA. It is a great read with a nice collection of hilarious anecdotes and character studies interspersed with some revealing history and environmental background. I've read a few of his books and never been disappointed, very readable. 4 stars.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Tom wins and so does Ian

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For those who care(!) Tom won Survivor and I'm happy, he deserved to win. For the cynical and dismissive there was a very interesting moment which elevated the show from reality TV Melodrama to a level of genuine value and enlightenment. Tom and Ian were in the final immunity contest, clinging to a couple of poles on buoys and had been there for almost 12 hours, a feat of impressive endurance if nothing else. They were in dispute because Ian had betrayed their alliance, the loser would certainly be voted out, the winner would have a 1 in 2 chance of winning a million bucks. Tom offered Ian a deal to step down which he rejected. Then, Ian offered Tom a very different deal, "I'll step down so long as you vote me out and take Katie to the final two"!! She had given in after 2 hours and was effectively dead and buried until Ian offered to "resurrect" her! Why did he make the offer? To redeem his name and honour and Tom's respect which he considered more important than the million dollars. I think that's impressive, someone prepared to give up a good chance at a truck load of money for the sake of honour and integrity.
Sure you can dismiss Survivor and it's ilk as manufactured melodrama, but every now and then you find a pearl amongst the dross.

Beer and Crayfish

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How do you get 33 Aussie blokes to come to a meeting in a church on a wet wild Wednesday night in Busselton? Answer, invite them to a Beer and Crayfish Night, charge them $15 a head, have a few quiz questions and prizes and feature a guest speaker talking about the F word-Fathering.
That's where I was tonight and by all accounts it was a thorough success. The man responsible was Steve Heron, chaplain at West Busselton Primary School, originator of BUZ -Build Up Zone, resources and programs for supporting and encouraging kids, parents, families and the community. Steve runs BUZ camps, BUZ discos, BUZ seminar presentations and now BUZ Blokes nights. He's a visionary sort of bloke who has turned his vision into reality and is a highly valued member of staff at West Busso, and he drives a very cool new yellow Commodore.
The unsuspecting punters got me as the guest speaker and I told stories about bringing up my 4 kids, the mistakes I've made and the things I've managed to get right. Nobody fell asleep and several blokes shook my hand at the end so I'm taking that as a positive response.
BUZ Blokes will be a regular event, once a term, and if the first one is any guide I reckon there'll be even more blokes next time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Who will win Survivor?

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Call me shallow if you like, despair at my lowbrow taste if you must, but I will not be daunted. I'm hanging out to see who wins Survivor in the big two hour finale tonight! I love Survivor (and The Amazing Race, and I have a soft spot for The Apprentice) Before you write me off completely, I can't stand Big Brother, Average Joe and the host of other reality pickings, but give me a desert island, a bunch of scheming money hungry Americans, some cool challenges and some gross eating contests, top it off with a tribal council and someone's torch being put out and I'm a happy man!!

So who will it be tonight? Skinny Ian who only opens his mouth long enough to change feet? Kate the flip flop girl who blew her chance to win it for the women? Jenna (I can't remember if that's her name! but she's flown under the radar the whole way and even outlasted her BF Gregg?) Or Tom? Personally I'm barracking for Tom, the NY Fireman, he's strong and smart and has played a pretty good game. Sure he got a bit heavy in the last episode but the pressure was on!! I like him and I think he deserves to win, so therefore I'm expecting him not to! The good guys seldom win the reality TV jackpots! cf. The Amazing Race a couple of weeks ago! Oh well!

Go Tom I say!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Soccer saga

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I'm coaching Paul's 8's and under soccer team, which is not a straightforward task at the best of times, let alone this weekend. Let me walk you thru the timeline of events!

Thursday arvo, training, went OK apart from the challenge of getting a bunch of 8 year olds to sit still, listen and not run away before hearing your complete instructions. Remember the game is at Margaret River this week, kick off at 11:30.

Thursday night: Received amended fixtures due to a team dropping out of the competition, game now at Dunsborough at 9:00, earlier but closer.

Friday night: Arrange to take two other kids to the game, Deb negotiates an 8:30 drop off for Emily.

7:30 Saturday morning: Urgent phone call from league committee member informing us that the amended fixtures are wrong and the game is at Marg. River as originally scheduled. Phone all team parents to tell them about the change to the change, sometimes requiring 3 phone calls, many thanks to Carolyn for doing the ring around. One kid previously unavailable coz he's staying in M.R. now available.
NB> Don't get to sleep in on Saturday morning, not happy Jan.

10:30: Head for Margaret River with three high pitched 8 year olds playing the most animated game of I Spy in recorded history.

11:15 Arrive at Margaret River just as the heavens open. Search for pitch 2. Informed by M.R. parent that our opposition, the aptly named Margaret River Storm have just gone home having waited for an hour as they were told the game was at 10:30.

11:30 Ask coaches of other 8's game about to start if they'd like a second game when they finished. "Yeah, no worries" Good. Kids warm up on adjacent pitch until light rain becomes torrential and I discover that my Gortex jacket is considerably more waterproof than my cotton trousers!

12:00 First game ends, wet cold miserable parents take their kids home to dry, leaving us opposition-less. (I'd have done the same)

12:10 Announce plight to assembled parents and assorted kids taking shelter on the clubroom verandah, "any takers for a qick scratch match?" Yes say about 10 kids ranging in age from 7 to 13. OK, let's do it.

12:30 Scratch match kicks off with Cornerstone in red and black and opponents in green netball bibs I have in my car for training and emergencies such as these.
Our kids fail to comprehend or obey my oft-repeated instruction to "spread out!" but win 2-0 anyway.
Stand-in referee and School Principal Graham encourages kids to celebrate by going mud sliding on their bellies at the end of the game.

1:00 Spend 15 minutes getting 3 kids clean, dry and changed before stopping for some hot chips and another noisy ride home.

Kids happy. Parents happy. Farmers happy.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

We took Zac to the footy in Launceston, Hawthorn v West Coast, a pretty boring game compared to the drama and excitement of the Cats win the day before. After the footy we visited Cataract Gorge, a lovely spot just a couple of km from downtown Launceston. We took the chairlift, featuring the world's longest single chairliftspan, (apparently!). It was cold but not unbearable in Tassie. Mind you it was a shock to the system arriving back to 28 degrees in Perth. Posted by Hello

One of our main reasons for going on the trip was to visit our eldest son Zac who is studying at a place called Poatina in Tasmania. He's doing a certificate 4 in youthwork in a course run by Fusion, a Christian youth and community organization which originated in Australia and has now spread to England, Ireland,Canada, Greece, some of the Pacific islands and South Africa. Fusion was started by Mal Garvin who has been a radio presenter for many years who's short program "Breakthru Generation" is heard all over Australia. As you can see we successfully delivered a gift from his Nan purchased on a recent trip to the USA. The coonskin hat goes well with his mutton chop sideburns and fledgling dreadlocks! Posted by Hello

While doing some reconnaissance in Melbourne in preparation for the Commonwealth Games trip I visited Box Forest Secondary College in Glenroy. I spotted this shop and can only speculate what NQR stands for. Being a grocery clearance store the best I can come up with is "Not Quite Right". Any other suggestions? Posted by Hello

While I was in Melbourne it was great to catch up with an old mate, Gary Davies and his family. His Dad Allan was a lifelong mate of my Dad's until his death a few months ago. Gary and I hung out together in Melbourne in our late teens. He's just had an operation on his back in an attempt to alleviate the chronic back pain that has troubled him for the last 3-4 years. They've just built a lovely house in the outer suburb(read semi-rural) area called Doreen (I kid you not!) He's also enjoying the Tiger's resurgence this season though with his back problems hasn't been able go to games, hopefully the op will be successful and free up his lifestyle a bit. Posted by Hello

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Cats celebrate their great win against St Kilda.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Cats triumph

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Saturday afternoon at Docklands Stadium, Melbourne, big game between Geelong and St Kilda, the two emerging Victorian teams most likely to challenge for the premiership, and we were there.
We took advantage of some discounted flights on Virgin back in December and booked a weekend over east. I picked the date according to the best footy fixtures and the Cats V Saints always promised to be a big game, and so it was.
I love going to the footy, especially the rare opportunities I get to see Geelong play, though the last several times they've played in Perth have been very disappointing. It's always a combination of excitement and nervousness and Saturday was no different. The Cats started well but StKilda got on top and looked the more likely winners till deep into the 3rd quarter when all of a sudden Geelong flipped the switch and completely overran the Saints. It was a pretty amazing turnaround which left us (Carolyn and I) stunned and happy. Geelong powered home and StKilda, depleted by injuries, ran out of legs and replacements. We had some interesting company at the game with StKilda fans either side and Geelong fans in front and behind. The bloke on my right was loud in his support for the Saints then surprised me by confessing that he wasn't a StKilda fan, he actually barracks for Collingwood! When I said he was giving a pretty convincing impression of a StKilda supporter he said, "when you've got a lot of money riding on the game you tend to get pretty passionate"!! Later in the last quarter when Geelong were clearly going to win we had this exchange, Him "hard to win from here", Me "I've lost all respect for you", Him, "You thought I was a real diehard didn't you!" He took his double loss fairly graciously, unlike the bloke on the other side sitting next to Carolyn who was the typical ugly football fan. Full of vitriol, criticism and swearing, nothing the opposition did was good or skillful, instead it was just luck or the umpires favouring them, no decision against his team was ever right, no decision the umpire made was correct, even if it favoured StKilda it was met with "What about the last one you #$@%*ing idiot!" or some such obnoxious outburst. He looked on me with a combination of disdain and disgust, and when StKilda started losing he became aggressive and nasty. Thankfully he left before the end of the game, not prepared to stay for the final siren. I'm not suggesting this is exclusive to StKilda supporters, there are people like that who barrack for all teams, including Geelong, and it's always ugly. I'm a passionate footy fan and Geelong supporter who takes losses hard, but I'm also willing to acknowledge other team's, good players, and good and bad umpire's decisions. At the end we were left with the Cats fans, the family and older ladies behind us who shared their home-made hedgehog, and the ladies in front. one of whom, a Kiwi, was at her first AFL game. What a beauty she chose and what a great team she picked to barrack for. "I loved it" was her response when I asked her what she'd thought of it.
I loved it too, though I was still a bit breathless at the end, and my voice still hasn't recovered!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Home again after a successful trip east.

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I'm back from my long weekend in Melbourne and Tasmania with lots to report but not much time to do it right now. I'll add a few short posts over the next week or so. Suffice to say we had a fantastic time, the highlights being seeing Zac after 5 months away at Poatina, seeing Poatina itself after so many years of hearing about it, finally seeing Tasmania after being an Australian for the last 43 years, and of course being there to see Geelong beat St Kilda at Docklands on Saturday afternoon.
5 days, 4 flights, 3 football games, 2 states and 1 son, plus an old mate, 2 Melbourne high schools, a Victorian chaplain, 2 hire cars, Cradle Mountain (sort of!) and a long long day getting home.
Mum and Walter looked after the kids while we were away, I'm solo till the cavalry arrives - Carolyn gets back on Thursday arvo!
Gotta pick up Sophie from volleyball, Jordan from squash, and go home and cook tea, cheers.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Here it is Cam, the first skin fold pic. It's not pretty I know but you should have seen it 6 months ago! Posted by Hello

Good news bad news

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The good news: in my continuing battle to diminish in size, I stepped on the scales this evening and weighed in at a respectable 97kg, my lowest weight in many years. Stay tuned for photos. Diligent readers will know that late last year I was pushing toward 105kg and set myself a goal to lose 5kg and get below 100kg. Now that I've achieved that I'm pressing on, first to 95kg and then if I can all the way to 90kg. The funny thing is that my pants are starting to fall down! For years I have bought clothes with the thought in mind "if I just lose a couple of kilos these will fit very nicely". And now they do! The shame is that when we moved I threw out a number of pairs of pants etc that were too small for me!
The bad news: I lost my squash game tonight. This despite having bought a new racquet. I couldn't get into it and despite saving 4 match points I just couldn't get any rhythm and lost 3-0. The only positive was that I worked up a bit of a sweat, which of course is a significant contributing factor to the good news! So even my bad news is good news, sort of!