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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Mates

I bought some blank calendars at Socrates last week and have been busy the last two nights printing photos to stick on them. The first had a family theme and came up very well. Tonight I made one with a mates theme. I went through the several thousand pictures stored on the computer and pulled out all the photos I could find of my mates, current and past, dating right back to high school. The calendar looks great and I was so impressed that I printed out a collage of the whole group, a very impressive bunch of blokes who I'm proud to call mates. I'm going to frame this pic and hang it on the wall of my study as a reminder of the value of mateship. There's a story behind every face, perhaps one day I'll get around to telling a few of them, or all of them even, after I've retired! Let me know if you spot yourself in this portrait of good blokes one and all. If you missed out it's probably not deliberate!

First day back at work today and it was all going quietly until Elaine rang to say that she'd discovered a change in the excursion policy and that as a result the risk management documentation we needed for the Commonwealth Games trip had to be lodged at district office tomorrow!! That caused my heart rate to escalate, considering Rae's warning at this morning's briefing that late excursion applications would not be approved by the dept under the new regime!! Not good news! Thankfully a lot of what we needed was already done and just needed to be collated and we managed to get it in on time this afternoon.
As you can see from the countdown, it's only 41 days until we leave for Melbourne. As yet our billets have not been finalised, we're waiting on Box Forest High School in Melbourne to let us know if it's arranged. They are happy to host us but were having a little trouble getting families to host us when last I spoke to them late last year. We have a Plan B but I'd really like the billets to work, it will add an extra dimension to the whole experience for the kids.
I emailed the school this afternoon so hopefully we'll get some good news shortly.

Rebel Daughter talked to us tonight about going back to school and re-enrolling in year 11. She's discovered that working full-time in dead-end jobs is not much fun and that getting some educational qualifications could be very useful. I hope it works out and she has a better year than last. She's got the brains and ability, it's just a matter of application. We talked about all that will be required if it's going to work and she sounded pretty positive, then we prayed for her that it will all work out ok.
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Monday, January 30, 2006

Guest Blogger: Capt. Laurie

Holt Press
You may remember that I wrote acouple of weeks ago about my maiden sailing voyage with my mate Laurie. We made our way from Quindalup to Cape Naturaliste then back to Bunker Bay where I disembarked and he spent the night in the company of a vast multitude of flies and unfavourable seas for sleeping.
He sent me a summary of the whole 5 day voyage and a number of pictures. I'm reprinting his story here because it's well written and interesting and it's nice to hear from a guest blogger once in a while.



Hi there salty sea dogs…
Five days at sea does well for the soul… the first leg to Quindalup with Andy involved battling a headwind, however the reward was enjoying the hospitality of the cruising fraternity with a BBQ on one yacht and after dinner drinks on another while watching the full moon rise. Marcus on his maiden voyage sailed and motored around the Cape with me in light winds and calm seas. The lunch at Meelup attracted some local friends to swim out and say hello and have a dive off the yacht.
Malcolm, John and I had a particularly eventful voyage to Bunbury with a challenging boarding of the tender at Meelup following no sleep at all for me at Bunker (Bumpy) Bay with an easterly blowing very strong! Due to light airs, a slow start to the crossing made it look as if it would be an all day voyage until we got wind… then it all happened within minutes. We landed a 3kg Bluefin Tuna and while admiring our catch with all eyes on the cockpit floor the yacht accidentally gybed causing the boom to clip me on the head and rip the side stay deck fitting out! Fortunately the head injury wasn’t serious and the fitting was replaced in Bunbury.
Having been welcomed by Gil at Koombana Bay Yacht Club we set out to prepare the catch of the day. The tuna fed the hungry crew and a few extras. Wednesday was a lay day involving domestic duties, great food and lazing on the yacht. A lunch time sail around the bay prepared us for the twilight race and became educational – unjamming an override on one of the winches while hove to was a useful lesson near the shipping lane. A highlight was the twilight race where we had a faultless race and put “Seescape” through her paces – finishing around the middle of the field for yachts of our class.
An early departure from Bunbury in light winds forced us to repair the number one jib and fly her to gain headway. Again the sea breeze lifted our speed in the afternoon and we arrived back at the mooring in Abbey in good time.
Overall, great companionship and the opportunity to take time out and enjoy the environment made it a trip to remember.

Fair winds and a following sea…
Laurie

From Under a Leaky Roof

Here's Phil, aka Afghan Man, with a copy of his book about the experience of Afghan refugees and their struggle to make a new life in Australia. The book's title, "From Under a Leaky Roof" refers to an Afghani proverb which is similar in meaning to our saying, "Out of the frying pan and into the fire". We caught up at The Breakfast Club on Wednesday night, something we've been doing for about 12 years. Yes, I know Breakfast Clubs shouldn't meet for dinner. The name comes from the fact that the group met for breakfast and mutual support one Saturday morning a month for the first 9-10 years of it's existence, usually at Hugh's place at Lisle Lodge, a retirement village in Mt Claremont where he was the weekend on-call person and got free rent for his troubl;e. After Phil went to Afghanistan and I moved to Busselton breakfasts didn't really work, so now we get together for dinner when I go up to Perth, not monthly unfortunately but as often as we can manage it. It is great to be part of a group with such a long and committed history and to have shared so many stories, struggles and experiences with each other. Broady and Phil were both single when we first started, now they're both married with 2 kids each. There have been a couple of other members along the way, Kerry aka Beaker aka Khristo who now spends his time as a full time activist and was arrested at Baxter Detention Centre for a peaceful protest against mandatory detention, and Terry who only came for about the first year and disappeared after the notorious dumping of Matilda incident. Matilda was Hugh's aged and beloved cat and Terry's thoughtless treatment of her so angered Hugh I thought we were going to have fisticuffs! Matilda has since gone to cat heaven and Terry never came back.
Phil's book is available from Fremantle Press and discerning bookstores. It's sold about 1000 copies so far which we're all very impressed about.
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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sport Boy playing tennis on Australia Day

I don't think Marcos Baghdatis has anything to worry about from Sport Boy's technique at this stage let alone Roger Federer, but he had fun. How cool would it be to have a grass tennis court in your backyard? No wonder Birchy and his family make for Neerabup whenever they have the chance. They would like to build a home of their own on the property, and with 5 acres of land space is not a problem, but at this stage council zoning laws prevent them being able to have more than one dwelling per property. There are changes to the laws being discussed apparently but no real time frame for it to happen. Neerabup is about 10 km north of Wanneroo, which is itself a far-flung outpost of the Perth metro area so getting there is time consuming, but once you're there it's a real oasis, set amongst the market gardens, complete with their familiar aroma of fertilizer!

Sport Update
The Cypriot fairytale burned on for a set and a half in the Australian Open Final tonight before Roger Federer finally put his foot on the gas and powered away to win it in 4 sets. His tears upon receiving the trophy from tennis legend Rocket Rod Laver were very touching and helped compensate for having beaten sentimental favourite Baghditis in the final.
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At the Country Club at Neerabup

Birchy, aka The Full Quiver, invited us up to his in-laws place on Australia Day to play tennis and have a swim. They have a fantastic 5 acre property including a grass tennis court. I didn't get to play Birchy because we had to get back to the city to go the fireworks which as I told him is just as well for him, I was starting to get my eye in and he's got more of a load to carry around the court than me! Sledging is an important part of any Aussie backyard sporting contest! Posted by Picasa

The Gamble's pool

Sport Boy spent two great days at Trevor and Rosie's place in Joondalup. The pool got a thorough work-out, with several neighbourhood kids also joining Chris and Madison. Trev took full advantage of the Australia Day public holiday to take a nap in the hammock.
I love living in Busselton, it's been a great move for us, but one disappointing aspect has been moving away from good friends like the Gambles. I tried for a couple of years to convince them to join the Augusta beach mission team but they prefer the hotter weather to be had up north to the cooler climes of the south-west. Therefore it was nice to have a week in Perth and to be able to spend a bit more time with them than usual. I even managed to get Trev out on the golf course for 9 holes on Friday morning, with Nathan joining him. I made a point of thanking Trev for the use of his Eagles membership which enabled me to get my ticket to the Grand Final! Strangely he didn't enjoy the game as much as I did! Go the Swans!
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Cool Busker

We enjoyed a day in town, at the movies, visiting the Art Gallery and watching a talented busker performing for the crowd. He did a very funny slow motion routine set to the music from Chariots of Fire. I have no musical ability but I love buskers and have often thought it would be fun to have a go at. Posted by Picasa

It doesn't take much to make him happy

True to his blog name, Sport Boy informed me that the highlight of his day had been beating me at air hockey, coming from behind and scoring the winning goal with 4 seconds left on the clock! I have no idea where he gets his competitive spirit from. Posted by Picasa

Kim Beazley Snr

At the chaplain's PD day last week we had a special guest speaker, Kim Beazley Snr. former Labor MP, Minister in the Whitlam govt, and father of current leader of the opposition, Kim jnr. What we didn't know was that school chaplaincy came about largely due to the recommendations of a parliamentary committee inquiry into education haeld in the early 70's. Beazley snr chaired the committee and identified the establisment of school chaplaincy as a key strategy in dealing with pastoral care needs in state high schools. He is quite elderly now and seldom speaks in public, there is a chance that his address to the 100-plus school chaplains on Monday will be the last time he speaks in public. He expressed pride and satisfaction at the inception and subsequent growth of school chaplaincy. He referred to the example of Jesus and the high priority he placed on the proper care and education of children, quoting from the gospels Christ's warning "that it would be better to have a mill stone tied round your neck and be drowned than to be held responsible for leading children astray" Mark 9:42. The message was clear, that as chaplains called to serve in schools we need to take seriously our responsibility to properly care for the children we work with.
Mr Beazley joined us for lunch and allowed me to take his photograph. Posted by Picasa

Home safe and sound

Holt Press
It's 2.40am and we've just gotten home from Perth. Unfortunately Carolyn's flight was delayed by an hour so we are even later home than expected but it was a smooth and uneventful trip home. Carolyn talked a lot of the way about her experience at Foundations, the many people she met and the impact of the teaching, clearly it's been a very significant time for her. She's even talking about going back to do the Certificate 4 course at some stage, it runs for 6 months so she must have thought it was good value. Jordy also enjoyed it and made lots of friends with kids from all round Australia, there were 320 people in total doing the course including many from overseas. Perhaps I'll be able to persuade her to be a guest blogger on HoltPress to tell you more about it. She's notoriously difficult to get onto the computer so it may take some reader persuasion, if you'd like to hear some first-hand accounts of her time in Tasmania, leave a comment here.
It's nearly 6am by her body clock so she's going to be pretty wrecked tomorrow, don't think we'll be making it to church.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Holt Press

Holt Press
It's only 45 minutes till Carolyn and Jordan's plane arrives. After 12 days away it will be good to see them both again. The plan is to head straight home to Busselton tonight but it's been complicated a little by the arrival of my sister Vicki, aka Mrs Farmer, who has come over to Perth to see a pain management specialist who goes by the name of Harvey. It would be great to stay another day and for Carolyn to be able to see Vicki and vice versa, but I don't think it's very practical trying to stay another night at late notice. I've spent the afternoon with Vicki, including taking her into the city for her first consultation with Harvey. He treats Walter, aka Number 3, for chronic back pain and offered to see Vicki when he heard about her situation. She has suffered ill health for years including migraines and this was exacerbated further when she fell out of a truck at the farm a few years ago. Since then she's had no sense of smell to add to her health problems. She's hoping Harvey's treatment may bring even some improvement even if he can't cure her. Although she'll be here for about 2 weeks it's very much a therapeutic visit so I'm not sure we'll get to see her down at Busselton or Bridgetown, it will depend very much on how she responds to the treatment.

My extended holiday is just about over. I can't remember a more relaxing holiday in my life, I'm not sure why this one has been so good but it has, even the busy-ness of Beach Mission was relaxing and enjoyable. Having these last 12 days just with Sport Boy has been lovely as well and this week in Perth has gone very well, I've seen lots of people, done some fun things and been able to take it easy. Term 4 at school last year was very busy and intense so it's been pretty good timing to follow that with a very restful and recuperative break.
Come Monday it will be back to work and into the busy-ness of school, with the Commonwealth Games trip looming on the horizon and plenty still to do to get it organised.

Gotta go and hook up the trailer, load the sleeping Sport Boy in the car and head for the airport.

Friday

This morning we drove up to Heathridge to see if Sport Boy's friend Sean was home so that they could have a visit but unfortunately for us he wasn't there. From there we headed for Hamersley golf course to meet Scott, Trevor and Nathan for 9 holes of golf. It was a beautiful day and although the standard of golf was below average, the company and enjoyment were excellent. My slice reared it's ugly head on all but one hole and although I flirted with pars and had a couple of quadruple bogies, I didn't manage a par until the last hole which enabled me to tie with Scott on 51. Sport Boy was not happy with a tie so we went to a play-off on the putting green. I went first and Scott commented that he had the advantage of watching my line on the 10 metre putt I was lining up. Sadly for him I sank it, and he didn't manage to read my line and duplicate the feat. Trev sprained his finger catching a footy yesterday so he found it painful to play therefore Nathan played a lot of shots for him and did quite well. Sport Boy used my 5 wood to hit a couple off the tee and he sent one low trajectory drive about 80 metres down the middle of the 6th fairway. I had to keep convincing both of them not to try and hit it so hard, relax, it's all about timing, a fact it's only taken me 30 years and a retirement from golf to learn so what hope have they got?!

After golf we went to Karrinyup shopping centre for some lunch, he had a Jesters Ned kelly pie and I had a burrito from the food hall. When he finished his pie he said he was still hungry so I said have some chips from the plate that had been left on the table by a previous diner when we sat down. I thought he had seen them and knew I hadn't bought them but he picked up a chip and ate it! Then complained that they were cold!! Needless to say he didn't eat any more!!
We spent about half an hour in a really cool shop called Socrates that is full of games and puzzles and all the sorts of toys and novelties I love and that my office is full of. I found a couple of tricky puzzles to add to my collection and a couple of blank calendars to which I'm going to add a series of photos, they were reduced to $5 each, another Betty Bargain Hunter moment.

Next stop was YouthCare to drop off my fringe benefits payment forms and invoices then back to Shenton Park to pick up the trailer so we could go to Balcatta and buy an outdoor setting which is the main reason I brought The Gardener's trailer up to Perth. The cheap one they'd had was sold out which may turn out to be a blessing in disguise because I ended up buying an aluminium setting which is not only more comfortable but won't rust and is better quality. Of course it cost more but in the long run should last longer. Al Fresco eating is one of the simple pleasures of life and something we can do in Busso for several months of the year so it will be a good investment. That's how I'm justifying the extra expense anyway! A quick stop followed at the Peters factory to see what specials they had; a bag of assorted ice creams for $7.95 which provided dessert for everyone was a good buy.

When we got back to Shenton Park the Hotchkins were home from Rottnest so we swapped stories and caught up on one another's weeks. Michael ordered some delicious pizzas for dinner, then came the ice creams. While the kids watched Mary Poppins and Belinda headed for bed, Mike and I played snooker for a couple of hours, with the tennis on in the corner. As Mike said, "this is the life". I spent many many hours playing pool with my mate Graham when we were in high school. The old skills are pretty rusty these days but I still managed to play a few nice shots. Federer won the tennis, setting up the final against the unseeded Cypriot Marcos Bagdadits who has completely captured the nation's attention and affection. I doubt very much he can win but his success so far has been a wonderful fairy tale and he is so happy and charismatic and such a good sport he's made the tennis fun to watch.

I rang Carolyn tonight, the first time I've been able to get through to her in several days. The course finished this afternoon and by the sounds of it it has been a very significant and valuable time for her, a life-changing experience even. She was very enthusiastic about the whole thing, the content, the process, the people, the experience and the way it all starts to become congruent with day to day life. Jordan also had a great time, though his may have been made that way by a growing friendship with one of the girls on the course! I don't know any details but while we were on the phone Carolyn was walking around the village looking for him!
They've got a long day ahead of them tomorrow, flying to Melbourne then on to Perth, losing three hours in the process because of the time zone, arriving at 10.00pm (1.00am there time) then having a three hour drive back home to Busselton. It will be 1.00/4.00am by the time we get home!
Thankfully the kids don't go back to school until Wednesday so they'll have a couple of days to catch up before everything gets busy again.

Australia Day Post script
After playing tennis and having a swim at Birchy's familie's place yesterday arvo we high-tailed it back to Shenton Park to meet Alex then the three of us walked up to Kings Park to watch the Australia Day fireworks, a very spectacular show. We sat near the war memorial so the fireworks display was framed by the illuminated stone memorial with a cross on the side which made my photos look very dramatic. Sport Boy kept waiting for the BIG one to go off and asking repeatedly, "Was that it? Was that it?" When the BIG finale finally happened there was no mistaking it, "That was it!"

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Australia Day

Holt Press
Two whole days without blogging, I was starting to scratch and shake! Tried to log on at Hotchy's place but their computer was slower than a Scott Cummings lead, the rest of the house is magnificent but the computer needs some attention!
I'm at Rosie and Trevor's wonderful new house in Joondalup, Sport Boy is in the pool with half a dozen other kids, we've just had a nice lunch and I'm catching up on the last couple of days, just the highlights, pics to follow when we get home to Busso.

On the way to drop off the gear in Shenton Park we were driving up Hay St when I spotted an old friend Chris, had to stop in the middle of the road and yell out to attract her attention. We had a very quick chat, couldn't stay longer cause I'd promised to take Sport Boy to the movies and we were tight for time. She lives and works at Hall's Creek in the far north west of WA and is down on holidays. I had plans for the following day which were later changed and Chris sms'd on spec to see if she could take us out for lunch which worked out really well. After the tennis (Keifer V Grosjean) we met up in Leederville and had seafood at Kaillis Brothers, she had char-grilled calamari and I had a Thai Green Prawn Curry, mmmm! Catching up was a bonus and seeing as she was shouting lunch I didn't give her too hard a time about the Eagles losing the Grand Final, not until we were saying goodbye anyway. She and her mates showed me no mercy 10 years ago when the Eagles beat Geelong in the big game so it was fun returning the favour!

Being close to the Luna in Leederville I went to the movies to see a great little Australian film called 'Look Both Ways' with William McInnes of SeaChange fame. It was written and directed by Sarah Watt who also did the animation which featured throughout. I discovered later that she is married to McInnes. The main theme is dealing with death and grief so it was also ironic to learn that Watt was diagnosed with breast cancer half way through the making of the film. I highly recommend it if you spot it at the video shop.

Going back a day, I dropped Sport Boy off at the Gamble's for the night. He's been here the last two days, having a ball in the pool, playing with Chris and Madison etc. Tuesday night I then went to meet with Greg and Demelza to work on plans for their wedding ceremony, wich is only about 7 weeks away! I hadn't realised it was coming up that quickly so it's a good thing that we were able to meet and discuss it. Demelza is very determined and focussed and thus the wedding has her very clear impramatur on it. They still need to write their vows but the service is shaping up nicely and I'm really looking forward to it. Greg is more laid back about the whole thing but I'm sure on the day he's going to be nervous and excited. They grew up as neighbours and friends, it was only in their 20's that romance blossomed, they are a great couple and I feel very confident and positive about their future. We talked about the seriousness and comittment of marriage and the fact that about 50% of marriages fail in Australia, they are going into it with their eyes open and pretty well prepared.

Last night, Wednesday, I met with 75% of The Breakfast Club, Hugh didn't show up but Phil was there this time which was great, the first time I've seen him since he got back from Afghanistan. He, Julie and their kids Pieta and Elijah spent 5 years in total in Afghanistan so it's a bit of a shock readjusting to western life in Perth. He has written a book called 'From Under a Leaky Roof', telling the story of the experience of Afghan refugees in Australia and has finished his second book, about life in Afghanistan and is hoping to get it published this year. I haven't read the first one yet but did get a copy from him last night, signed too !
As is normal for The Breakfast Club there is no set or pre-planned agenda, we just talked about about all sorts of stuff, general and personal, much of it to do with their transition back into Australia, his time working for the U.N. and his plans for the future, which include teaching a course to Masters students at Curtin University and seeing if he can make a living writing books.
The most interesting part of the discussion was when he recounted an incident in Pakistan when a man had grabbed Julie's bottom as he was walking past her and how Phil had chased him down and apprehended him. The police attended but let the guy go. Phil and Julie were both upset at the incident and at their lack of a suitable response. We asked the question 'What would Jesus do in that situation?' and some interesting ideas were floated but no conclusion was reached. there are so many difficult issues and grey areas that it is very hard to know what to do to fully reflect the values and attitudes of Christ in everyday life. The topic came up after earlie discussions centreing on obnoxious behaviour in public places, how do you respond to people who act inappropriately or immorally in a way that offends or intimidates you, or your children, or other people when you're in public. There is a strong compulsion to impose justice and to chastise perpetrators, but that is usually ineffective and unsatisfactory. People don't seem to respect authority or recognise the need to modify their behaviour around other people very much at all, thus open swearing at school, in trains, at shopping centres and so on is common place and largely accepted or at the very least unchallenged. It is topical for me because it happens frequently at school and I feel frusttrated and agitated about it, not wanting to let it go but not wanting to get into confrontations either. Somehow, in my role as chaplain, representing God and the values of his kingdom, I need to find ways to show love and mercy not just justice and judgement. One of my aims this year is to explore and hopefully develop positive ways to respond and intervene in such situations. Pray for me!

Gotta go now, we're off to Birchy's familie's place to play tennis and hang out on Australia Day before heading back into town this evening for the big Fireworks over the Swan River. Al and his mate Joe are going to meet us in Shenton Park so we can all go to the SkyShow together. It's the biggest event that happens in Perth, somewhere around half a million people are estimated to attend every year.

Sport Update.
Justine Hennin Hardenne defeated Maria Sharapova in the semi-final of the Australian Open. She's a pretty girl but I like to see the squealers and grunters lose I'm afraid!

Pop Culture Update.
94.5Fm have just finished counting down 'The Essential 2006' songs (the biggest music countdown I've ever heard of)
Here's the top 17.
17 Run to Paradise-The Choirboys
16 Unchained Melody-The Righteous Brothers
15- Boulevarde of Broken Dreams- Green Day
14 Piano Man- Billy Joel
13 500 Miles- The Proclaimers
12 Working Class Man- Jimmy Barnes
11 Wish You Were Here- Pink Floyd
10 Copperhead Road
9 Hey Jude- The BEatles
8 The Voice- John Farnham
7 American Pie- Don Mclean
6 A Beautiful Day- U2
5 Stairway to Heaven- Led Zeppelin
4 Down Under- Men at Work
3 Imagine- John Lennon
2 Bohemian Rhapsody- Queen
1 Khe San- Cold Chisel

Monday, January 23, 2006

The world is good

Holt Press
We enjoyed a lovely BBQ tea with Sally and Warren sitting on the patio, swatting the occasional mosquito and watching Sport Boy go through his (un)usual eating routine; meat first liberally dipped in tomato sauce, followed reluctantly by a spartan salad, one piece of lettuce, one segment of capsicum and a few carrot sticks, again dipped in tomato sauce. He refuses to eat meat and vegetables in the same mouthful and even gets cranky if they are touching on the same plate!! Before you parents, and grandparents, get too self righteous about such culinary fussiness, let me say we've made great progress from the days when his entire diet consisted of baked beans, toast and chicken enchiladas! Not your typical fussy eater's combo I know but that was the best we could do. Now he eats a much greater variety of foods, just in unusual or at the very least, slow ways! It's frustrating at times, even annoying on occasion, but he's a happy kid who seems healthy enough and there are much more important things in the world if you feel like getting upset about something. And there's always "Old Faithful", the number one strategy in the parenting manual of getting your kids to eat, "No sweets until you eat what's on your plate!" A guaranteed winner, especially when there's turkish delight ice cream on offer like there was tonight.

After he went to bed we watched Sam Stosur lose in the tennis and discussed art, blogging and memories from our teens. Sally knows more about me than most people and tonight divulged that she still has all my old letters, sent from my travels overseas and around Australia 25 years ago. She even threatened to post them on the net if I didn't stop taking pictures of her and putting them on my blog! Sadly in an episode of zealous decluttering and moral cleansing many years ago I threw away all my old letters, a whole trunk full of them, collected since childhood!!!!! Oh how I'd love to have them back now, just think about the blogging potential in that! But they're gone forever. One day when I think I can bear the embarrassment of re-reading my old correspondance and re-living my youth I'll read my old letters to Sally. We have been friends since 1979 but were never romantically involved, even as teenagers, so there are many layers and wonderful memories in our friendship, with no nasty skeletons waiting to be discovered.
One day Sport Boy will get to hear the story behind my most notorious gift to sally, the giant Peters Ice Cream cone that now hangs on her son's wall, the sort that used to adorn delis and milk bars all over Australia, complete with a light inside. She reminded me that my mate Nick had delivered it to her at Rotary House, WAIT after bringing it back from Victoria for me. It's pretty cool, and the story of it's procurement is worth hearing but it will have to wait.


Carolyn sms'd to say things are busy and the course is ïncredible" so it sounds like they're having a good time. Rebel Daughter worked today and the house is still in one piece so I can sleep easy tonight. Tomorrow we re-locate to Shenton Park and Sport Boy will be going for a sleepover at Chrisés place while I meet with Greg and Demelza to plan their wedding service.

PD Day

Holt Press
As usual I had a good time at the PD Day, I love getting together with the mob of chaplains and even though a lot of the old crew have moved on there are enough friends and mates to hang out with plus the new generation of youngsters!!!
Joined Cam, Sev and Karen for a drink at Little Creatures on Freo Harbour afterwards.
Am grabbing a blog moment while I pick up Sport Boy from the Vee Dubs, then we're back to Sally and warren's for dinner.
It's very hot, way hotter than Busso, just another reason I'm glad we moved to Busso.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Holt Press

Holt Press
It's 10 to 6, the plan was to leave for Perth by 6, so much for the plan!
Still got a few things to pack, bikes, clothes, maybe the golf clubs. Just borrowed The Gardener's trailer so I can bring home the outdoor setting I want to buy while we're in the city.
Rebel Daughter is home, back from 3 good days at PlanetShakers, tired but happy. Shame we're about to head off and be gone for a week. We're staying at Sally and Warren's tonight, Sport Boy will go to Nonna and Rolf's tomorrow while I'm at my PD Day then staying at the Hotchkin's the rest of the week, not sure how much access I'll have to the internet, so blogging may be difficult, we'll see.

Washing and Mowing and Relocating, all in a day's work

Holt Press
The day turned out less busy than I predicted. I slept in, always a pleasant way to start the day, then spent the next several hours doing domestic chores. Josh came over to play which kept Sport Boy busy and they've now gone back to his place for a sleepover so the house is quiet, just The Eagles playing, the tennis on the TV, the premier league being monitored and the blog being added to as we speak.

We have a small laundry. That's a hassle cause we have an inordinately dirty family, at least I figure we must have considering how much clothing accumulates in the laundry every day seeking to be washed. It makes gaining access to the linen press or storage cupboard difficult and at times getting to the toilet becomes an olympic event. In light of this, I decided to do some washing.
Towels first. How come we have so many towels? There are only 5 of us living in the house on a regular basis but by my calculation there are enough dirty towels to provide each family member 3 per day.

Observer's Note: "Don't you have a teenage daughter?"
Yeah. Oh, now I understand.

Next, a load of sheets, pillow cases, doona covers and a couple of pairs of undies.
So far so good.

3rd load, 2 doonas and a load of odds and ends, bath mats, hand towels, more undies etc.

Stand by for report of domestic divine intervention. Having adjusted the water level I thought I'd check that it was all working properly. Open the lid. Hmmm! That's an interesting shade of pink starting to spread from that deep crimson bath mat! Perhaps that shouldn't be washed with anything else! Sure this intervention doesn't rate up there with the biggies, the salvation of mankind, the comeback by the Sydney Swans in the Qualifying Final, the time I gave back the extra $5 I was given in change at the newsagent; but in terms of salvaging my tenuous domestic reputation and preventing a complete load of non-pink items being inexorably and permanently changed for the worse, this ranks right up there.

The rest of the load proceeded without incident, the doonas are on the line as we speak and look just like they did on the pack, (white and clean, not wet and dripping).

Having cleared the domestic debris I moved on to bonus washing, the box of Cool School Race Camp lanyards that have been sitting in my office since early December waiting to have the sweat and DNA of 170 grimy teenagers removed from them.

With the washing out of the way I turned my attention to the bedroom. There are small pockets of the bedroom which have had a makeover, been cleaned, tidied and decorated with a variety of pictures, ornaments, candles and unidentified female knick-knacks, stuff men throw out and women find attractive. No that's harsh, the treated areas look good, it's the untreated areas I wanted to concentrate on, specifically the several boxes and crates of "stuff". Old magazines, clothing in need of repair, odd socks, school newsletters, payslips, books, old diaries (1989 would you believe, and to my surprise, there are names mentioned who we still see, Hi Steph) manilla files with pre-surgery briefing notes, hand-made Easter cards dating back to just after the original resurrection, dilapidated shopping lists, warranty cards for items I don't recognise and suspect we no longer own, Christmas decorations and most intriguing of all, an old suitcase full of plastic garbage and shopping bags. Now, as a sensitive new age husband, I know most of this "stuff" is priceless, treasure that can't possibly be disposed of. But, it does not belong piled up in the bedroom, especially on my side of the bed.
So, I commenced "operation Rationalisation and Relocation". Now, I know some of my female readers are starting to sweat. Relax, I only threw out the "stuff" I was 100% rock solid confident was absolutely and positively rubbish. Yes I kept the Easter cards. Once I'd placed the jiffy bag full of superflous "stuff" in the bin I packed everything else in boxes and took it out to the carport to store. From there, the owner has 7 years to claim it and after that it goes to the shed. 3 years after that if it remains untouched, as I expect it will, it will be consigned to the Busselton Shire Refuse Repository for retraining as landfill. Roll on 2016!

By this stage, two things are patently obvious.
1. My beloved wife is away, at a very safe distance, interstate in fact, and although she does read this blog, she will be powerless to intervene in my dastardly plan to rid my/our life, or my/our bedroom at least, of "stuff". If this were not so, I would not have been able to get away with such a drastic domestic overhaul.
2. For the purposes of entertainment I have slightly exaggerated some details of this cleaning exercise. There were in fact no payslips amongst the items removed and relocated.

The bedroom looks much better, there is space to walk around the bed without risk of injury, the carpet is 90%visible. Good job Marcus, once she gets over the grief associated with the loss of so much "stuff" I'm sure Carolyn will thank me! Surely!...

Disclaimer: In the interests of preserving my marriage I wish to state clearly for the record your honour that my wife does a fantastic job running our household, is a very good cook, washes 1-2 loads of washing a day on average, and works in three part-time jobs, all while keeping a close and caring eye on the progress of our three children in residence and the Heir via the internet.
Any similarity to a person of lesser domestic and familial ability is entirely coincidental and unintentional, other than for the previously stated purposes of entertainment.

And just in case Joshy lets her use his computer to check on my blog; Hi Dear, relax, it's all under control, I'm sure you'll be able to find whatever it is you're looking for! eventually! ;)

Having dealt with indoor tasks I turned my attention to matters in the yard. The grass needed cutting so I got out the multi-purpose gardening tool. Others with more time and disposable income than me may have a variety of garden tools, and certainly The Gardener has tools which not only don't I own, I don't even recognise, not them, not their purpose. For me, the multi-purpose gardening tool suffices, just add petrol, pull the rip cord and start walking in ever-decreasing circles, stopping only to empty the bag or clear small toys and children out of the way.
All was going well until I miscalculated the distance between the blades and the top of the sprinkler head, most of them can safely be driven over without incident but this one is on a slope and was sent hurtling across the yard in a flurry of plastic sparks. Hmmm! I don't know much about gardening but I know that's not good. Not a major drama, I think I've I got another one in the shed. The shed, that's another story I don't have time for in this lifetime. Thanks to my brilliant system of shed organisation I went straight to the right box, the one with anything associated with water or plumbing in it. Old sprinklers, hose fittings, washers, laundry taps, thread tape, drinking flasks, boogie boards etc. Just as I thought, there was a sprinkler head buried in there.
First flush the pipe of all the sand after digging out the broken piece. Easier said than done, which zone of the reticulation is it in? I'll just turn them all on, that should do the trick. Yep. OK, screw in the new sprinkler, turn on the system and see if it works. No! Rats. Just dribbling. Why? No idea. What to do? Can't ring the Gardener, he's in Perth with 100 kids at PlanetShakers! Check the watch, 1/4 to 6, just enough time to race round to Bunnings and get a new one.

Fast forward to Bunnings. Retic aisle. Wow, look at all those different pieces of reticulation, a bloke could have some fun with all this stuff! Top shelf, sprinkler heads, $7.70. Hmm Middle shelf, sprinkler heads $4.45, that's a little better but... bottom shelf, sprinkler heads, $1.50, now we're talking, get 2 just in case I need another one some time!
As everyone knows you can't leave Bunnings without buying something and even if you've got what you came for there are plenty of other seductive little hardware temptresses to trap you before you get to the checkout. Get some Rawl plugs, used the last one last night hanging the lighthouse picture. Better get some extra hooks as well, always need those on hand.
10 minutes and $10 later I headed home, armed and ready for anything the reticulation system wanted to throw at me. Shook off that strange and entirely misplaced feeling of over-confidence. I suspect they spray testosterone through the air conditioning system at Bunnings, what else could prompt such unwarranted feelings of masculine ability in someone as patently unqualified as me?
The good news: I fixed it, it worked, the garden won't die from lack of water. It will probably die from other causes, or at the very least neglect, but at least it won't die of thirst.

That fixed, I went back to the mowing, just the front yard to go, and it's so small nothing could go wrong. I was wrong of course. The wheels fell off! Well, wheel singular that is! I kid you not, one of the wheels fell off the mower!! I've mowed plenty of grass in my time but this is the first and only time I've ever lost a wheel in the process! ThereI was , holding a three wheeled mower, looking incredulous! It's a sign! God may have called Adam to be a gardener, but it definitely ain't my vocation! Closer inspection upon removing the hubcap showed that the bolt holding it in place had come loose. Are you like me, amazed at the very idea that a mower has hubcaps? I'd never noticed them before! Only then did I realise that one of them was missing! My mower was starting to look like it had been stripped by a bunch of gardening tool vandals. A spanner did the trick of restoring the offending wheel. Checked the rest but they were all fine.
Third time lucky? You'll be happy to hear that the rest of the mowing passed without incident, though I noticed that the accelarator cord has come adrift of the mounting which may account for the low revving. It will need fixing but not today, I've had about as much gardening and associated tool work as I can handle for one day.

Sports Update:
Spurs 0 Aston Villa 0. Not a great result but better than losing. Still 4th in the Premier League. I can't remember the last time Tottenham were this high on the ldder this far into a season!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Today in pictures

Top, L to R: Although Carolyn is away and Sport Boy and I are batching, we are not suffering. Dinner tonight comprised lamb chops, mashed potato, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, carrots, peas, onion and bacon, all of which I managed to serve hot at the same time! SB declared it to be the best meal he's had in ages. This was followed by BBQ'd banana topped with maple syrup and ice cream. Mmmmm!;
You may remember my attempts to improve our TV picture by installing an antenna booster. It was partially successful in that WIN is fantastic but GWN which had previously been good was now unwatchable (just as well most of their programs are too). Several trips back to Hardly Normals to query the reason for the problem met with a range of suggestions. "Adjust the gain, check the cable, what sort of aerial do you have? etc" None of these remedies cured the problem. Finally the guy said bring the booster box back and we'll swap it over and see if that helps. I present the picture in the middle of the top row as evidence that we have found the problem, and fixed it! The new booster did the trick, suggesting that the other one was dodgy, even though it did improve reception on WIN out of sight. Something to do with VHF/UHF signals I'm told! Whatever the reason, I'm happy the problem is finally fixed and I can watch the Australian Open Tennis, not to mention the footy when it returns home to 7/GWN in 2007, you bloody bewdy!;
I went round to see the Birches tonight at the 4 square camp site to join them fopr a game of cards. They've been playing some serious poker, even buying sets of chips and a shuffling machine from King Kong for the purpose. I played with reasonable success, the table mood was jovial rather than competitive. For the last two hands we dispensed with the betting limit. In the last hand I drew a below average hand, not even a pair, but figured I'd stay in, keep an ace and a 10 and see what I drew from the dealer. The pot grew a little before the discard and extra cards were dealt. You can imagine my pleasure at the discovery that the deal gave me another 2 aces and a 10 to turn my nothing into a full house! The betting started modestly but continued to the point we're I went all in, staking my "$89" worth of chips against Brian and Phil, Darren having folded. Brian and Phil both had two pair I think but were unable to match my aces and 10's and I won the biggest pot of the night, taking my total winnings to over "$400". If only it was that easy when you bet with real money!
Middle left: Darren's younger brother Phil with his shuffling machine. Darren is in the bottom right corner, his Dad Brian is next to him. They are a great family and have had a good holiday but are going home tomorrow. With just the two of us at home I offered them a place to stay at our place for an extra night but they have a commitment in Mandurah tomorrow lunchtime so couldn't take us up on the offer.
Middle pic: 12 months ago Carolyn gave me beautiful photo of the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse which is near Augusta. Ever since then I've been looking for a suitable frame for it, without success mainly due to it's unusual dimensions. I was delighted then when I found this frame at Red Dot which I figured was about the right size and shape. Even more pleased when I saw the price, just $2.99 Betty Bargain Hunter strikes again. I had to add a small segment of mounting card, to which I added the Title and hung it in the study this afternoon. I'm very pleased with the whole deal, especially after taking so long to find what I needed.
Middle Right: Another long search was completed today when I found a suitable diary. I've been hunting for a while and even in Perth was unable to get what I wanted. I'm a bit particular when it comes to diaries, it must be A4 or foolscap, have a day to a page, appointment times down the left hand side that don't stop at 6.00pm, lines not to big, and good planning pages. This one, although not exactly what I was looking for was the best I've found so it had to do, I can't survive long without a diary, it is my "bible" when it comes to work, meetings, appointments etc etc. I like the red cover. Sport Boy was very relieved I found one having accompanied me on the hitherto fruitless search. When I expressed the view it was not quite what I wanted he said matter of factly, "You can't always have everything you want, sometimes you've got to put up with things that aren't quite the way you want them, that's part of life"! Thanks for the lesson in philosophy and humility kid!
Bottom left: While buying the mounting card at Jacksons I asked about acrylic paints for my art project and was delighted to be pointed towards these brightly coloured tubes which were a very reasonable $1.60 each. Two Betty Bargain Hunter moments in the one day, it doesn't get much better than that!
After we got home from the poker game I watched the tennis while folding the junk mail. In Jordan's absence I am the delivery boy! That's just one of many tasks and activities scheduled for tomorrow, including mowing the grass, Josh coming for the day, Sport Boy sleeping over at his place, playing in the Doubles Boules comp at the Busselton Festival tomorrow afternoon, and maybe getting to the Festival Queen quiz night at the RSL tomorrow night!
In light of all that, and the time, I'd best sign off and go to bed.
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You know he's tired when he sleeps most of the way home and misses out on Hungry Jacks

Tiredness finally caught up with SB on the way home and he curled up and slept most of the way home. Thank goodness for reclining car seats. He missed out on junk food for tea but had 2 serves of baked beans when we got home. He's very pleased with his necklace which was made by his friend Josh who is a budding entrepeneur, he sold this one to SB for $4. Posted by Picasa

Sport Boy outside the Piccadilly

Most parents have a biased view of their own children, we tend to think they are cuter, smarter, better, superior to other people's kids. I confess therefore that I am guilty of this same behaviour. In fact, I deliberately put Sport Boy on a pedestal, but only for the purposes of blogging! He had overcome his disappointment at missing out on Valiant and we were off to see nanny McPhee.  Posted by Picasa

In Perth with Sport Boy

From the top, L to R: Dropping Jordan and Carolyn off at the airport; The Letchy's, our hosts, not at their best in the morning; My best mate Greg; Sport Boy in mid flight on the bungy trampoline ride at Galleria; Posing over lunch-calamari and chips; Swimming at Bayswater Waves; Green spiky hair; All wrinkly after too long in the pool; Attempting to beat his record time in the channel traverse!
We had a lovely couple of days in Perth, he is enjoying having his Dad all to himself and in the main I am enjoying it too, but he has started to ask persistent questions which are taxing me. I know it's just his "little professor seeking data" but there's a limit to how many questions you can answer about the number of goals The Heir kicked at Footy Camp when he was 12! How would I know? I wasn't counting even if I could remember! Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 20, 2006

Power cut destroys priceless blog post

Rats! I had just written about 5 paragraphs of a post when the power cut off for about 3 seconds, closing down the PC and wiping out all I'd written! Now I'm too tired and annoyed to try and write it all again, which is a shame coz it was high quality blogging!

Will just mention the main point; that it doesn't matter how cheap the movie tickets are if you get the session time wrong! We only missed it by 1 3/4 hours! Tip No. 2 Don't rely on Saturday's paper for session times for Thursdays! Sport Boy tried to be brave but he was very disappointed and had to fight back his tears at the news we weren't going to be seeing Valiant today! Thankfully I found a paper (today's!) and discovered a screening of Nanny McPhee starting 10 minutes later so we went to that instead.

We're home again in Busselton, he slept half the way home, revived long enough to have some baked beans for tea and wash his feet then went to bed. I read him a chapter of Jack and Harry before he fell asleep.
Rebel Daughter has gone to Perth for PlanetShakers but left a note apologising for the mess left behind! I tidied up, did a couple of loads of washing, and watched a DVD before hitting the blog. It's time to go to bed, I'm on solo parent duty at present so can't afford to sleep in too late in the morning. Hopefully Sport Boy can make a piece of toast and turn on the electronic babysitter by himself so that I get some sort of sleep.

Carolyn and Jordan have arrived safely at Poatina where the Foundations course starts tomorrow. The Heir was there to meet them having arrived about a week ago.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thank you Homer

Holt Press
Holidays. Relaxing. Mmmmm!
Homer's contribution to the lexicon of human expression is assured with that catchphrase. Homer Simpson that is!
Sport Boy and I hung out at Galleria for a couple of hours, doing messages, having lunch, looking at a few shops and then the highlight for him, having a go on the Bungy Trampoline, a very cool bungy ride. When I get home I'll post a couple of pictures which will make it easier to understand.
Then we went to Bayswater Waves for a swim. The waves come on every half hour for a few minutes and to be honest are more hype than substance, more like a choppy sea than a rideable wave. He had more fun riding the water slide then trying to beat his time for walking/swimming the water channel course. He loves a time trial challenge and managed to bring his time down from 3.01 to 2.17! Not quite Olympic qualifying times but he enjoyed himself.
I had my first go at a new blogging project I'm planning for 2006, Brush With A Blogger, short interviews with random strangers which I'll begin posting shortly. My first "victim/subject" was a lady called Susan who was waiting for her sons to finish swimming lessons. She was a little reluctant and uncertain but warmed to the idea as we talked. I'll post her story when I get home.
Last night was The Breakfast Club, but it was a bit of a stuff-up due to "a failure to communicate". Phil, the guest of honour didn't show, probably because he wasn't told the details and then wasn't contactable at home or on mobile! That was a shame but the three of us went out for dinner at the scuzzy food hall anyway, it took about half an hour to order a curry combination. By the time I got my meal Hugh had finished his! Just as well it tasted good. After that we went to a coffee shop in Beaufort St for coffee and dessert. It is always good to catch up with the guys, just a shame Phil wasn't present. In light of that we've scheduled another get together for next week when I'm back up in Perth. First priority will be sorting out the details and communicating them efficiently and early! I'm in holiday mode, that's my excuse!

We're currently at my little brother Bruce's place, delivering Cody's Christmas present, two Captain Underpants books, which got inadvertently left behind when we came up for the family Christmas gathering.
We're not in any hurry to get home so will do a couple more little jobs and go to a movie at Piccadilly before we leave. Here's a tip, the cheapest movie tickets in Perth are at Piccadilly Cinema, at the the Hay St mall end of Piccadilly arcade. We're going to see Valiant, a new cartoon adventure, for $6 each! Bargain!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ballajura Motor Inn

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Carolyn and Jordan have arrived safely in Geelong and caught up on their sleep. Sport Boy and I are hanging out with Letchy and I've hijacked Daniel on the computer for a couple of minutes. We're off to Bayswater Waves for a swim.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Headed for the heat.

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I've spent the day cleaning and tidying the carport and the house while Carolyn and Jordan have been packing and preparing for their trip to Tasmania. We're just about to leave for Perth to drop them off at the airport. They're on the Red Eye Special which gets in at 5 to 6 tomorrow morning. Luckily for them they've got 2 days in Geelong with MIL and FIL before going to Tassie. Haven't heard from The Heir but I presume he too is on his way home from the UK. Jordy is pretty keen to see him while they are at Poatina. They're going over to do Fusion's Foundations course, a discipleship training course that runs in three streams, Knowing God, Knowing Others and Knowing Yourself. There will be several hundred people there to do the course, all living in community for a week. Having just spent 10 days in community at Augusta for Beach Mission Carolyn and Jordan should be prepared for that aspect of the experience but the content of the course will be interesting and challenging. Fusion's training is excellent and very suited to personal growth and cultural understanding. They've specialised in knowing and understanding the Australian mindset and culture. Mal Garvin, the founder of Fusion wrote a best-selling book called Us Aussies upon which much of the teaching material is based.
Hopefully Jordan won't go in with an anti-school attitude and will be open to listening and learning new things. Many young people find it a great starting point for a more focused Christian discipleship and even pursue it further into Christian ministry, ala The Heir who first did Foundations 2 years ago.
Carolyn has been a Christian for a long time so for her it's more of a refresher and rev-up. I think she's hoping it will inspire and motivate her to take on some new challenges. There are opportunities for her to take on if she is willing. Confidence is the only thing that holds her back, and of course having had 4 kids to raise for the last 18 years.
Sport Boy and I are going up with them and will spend a couple of days in Perth. I've got Breakfast Club tomorrow night with Diesel, Hugh and Phil aka Afghan Man. They have returned home from their time of working in Afghanistan so it will be interesting to hear what their thoughts and plans are for the next few years. I think there's a fair chance they'll return to overseas work at some stage but I'm not sure where or in what capacity.
I plan to take Sport Boy to the beach tomorrow, or if it's too hot, to one of the big indoor pools with the water slides and play stuff.
We're staying at the Letchy's place tonight so I've packed the ping pong paddle so I can renew battle with Garred and Greg, it's been a while.
Only another week of holidays left and 2 weeks till school goes back, got to make the most of my remaining time. Got to get my painting experiment under way!

The Cruising Life

I'm glad to report that I made it home in one piece and did not fall victim to the dreaded Mal de Mar. Laurie and I set sail from Quindalup at 10.30 in light winds and anchored at Meelup for lunch at 12.00 with no ill effects. We took a refreshing dip, snorkelled briefly and ate cheese and tuna rolls for lunch, washed down with room temperature lemonade. We were visited by 7 kids and 2 mums from Laurie's church who were swimming/holidaying at Meelup. Once they'd finished doing bombies off the bow we hauled anchor and set sail for Cape Naturaliste, via the HMAS Swan dive wreck site and a sail by inspection of the seal colony that lives on a reef beneath the lighthouse. The wind dropped right off as we neared the cape so our brief flirtation with the Indian Ovean was under power of the steel mainsail, an Evinrude 5hp outboard motor. The swell was building but the wind remained absent so we returned the same way and gave up on the original plan of anchoring at Meelup for the night, settling for Bunker Bay instead. Bunker Bay is not as protected as Meelup and the arrival of an easterly breeze had Laurie concerned that he'd be spending an unpleasant night rocking and bobbing aboard the Seascape. The flies also discovered that the boat was within flying distance and descended en masse so I was not unhappy with my decision to disembark and return home for the evening. (My main motivation is that tonight is Carolyn and Jordan's last night at home before setting off for Tasmania for 9 days).
We had one very brief visit from a dolphin, saw a large stingray and the afore-mentioned seals as well as a variety of birds and even a couple of flying fish. The only disappointment was that Laurie failed to hook a Benito with his trailing line and lure, meaning he'd be eating packet pasta for dinner tonight rather than fresh fish.
I won't be taking up sailing in any serious way but it was a pleasant way to spend the day and a good chance to catch up with Laurie and talk about home, family, work and the future.
And despite his concerns and my observation at some time in the past, it was not too "pedestrian" a day.
Best of all though, I did not end up chundering over the side!
Darren and Jerome came and picked me up from Bunker Bay and returned me to my car at Quindalup, saving Carolyn the trip.
She played beach volleyball tonight and I made it home in time to go and have a few games of squash at the first grading night for the season.
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Monday, January 16, 2006

Holt Press

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The day has finally come! I'm about to leave for a day's sailing on Laurie's yacht! I'm a land lubber through and through and have been resisting aquatic invitations for a long time. Visions of chundering over the side of the boat are taunting me.
Wish me luck!
Bon Voyage.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Holt Press

Holt Press
We went to church this morning for what seemed like the first time this year. It was good to be there although sitting still in the steadily warming building had the predictable effect of giving me the nods. Noel's message was good but I confess there were bits of it I missed. He talked about the importance of "the church" (global not just local) and the rich heritage we are a part of, dating back to Jesus' own teaching and direction.

Darren aka The Full Quiver, and Katherine are staying in Busso this week with their 5 kids plus their own parents and darren's younger brother Philip. We invited them all round for a BBQ this evening. Yes, another BBQ! Good food, good company, good weather, good fun, does it get any better than that? I don't think so.

Sax player

This Rastafarian sax player was made by Paul Cole, a local artist who creates fantastic things out of metal. We bought one of his roosters last year. Posted by Picasa

Bark Stump

This large painting was highly commended. I didn't think much of it at first but grew on me, the detail and tone are amazing, very Australian feeling. It's a funny idea, only painting the stump of a huge tree. I think it was priced at about $8000! or $3000, sorry I can't remember, other than it was well outside our price range! Posted by Picasa

Joint winner

The judge couldn't decide on a single winner and ended up splitting the prize three ways. This was one of the joint winners. I like it but I don't think it was the best in the exhibition. (But what do I know?) Art is subjective and taste varies so obviously I won't like everything the judge does, and vice versa. This has an Aboriginal feel to it but I don't know anything about the artist. Posted by Picasa

Wilma's Tryptich (sp?)

As I've said before, I love bright colours so this painting by my friend Wilma really appealed to me, and was also Carolyn's favourite from the exhibition. I want to find out what sort of paint she uses as it has a real 3D textured effect. Call me naive but this sort of shape pattern and colour lookseffective yet simple and while I don't know how well I could do it, I can certainly have a go. I think this had a price tag of just under $500 (which is the reason we didn't buy it! much as we liked it)
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Holt Press

Holt Press
Just got home from the pub at Dunsborough where I watched Tottenham play Liverpool on Poor Man's Foxtel. Despite dominating possession and having a number of chances Spurs lost 1-0 thanks to a screaming volleyed goal by Harry Kewell. I wish I could say I was happy as an Aussie to see Harry score but I'm not. The risks of supporting a soccer team! Strangely, the only 2 people who spoke to me at the pub both turned out to be Arsenal fans! Their GPS's most have been tuned to Spurs fans! The second guy is over from Britain on holiday and told me his brother plays for Wigan and the Republic of Ireland, David somebody. He was very friendly and chatty, and touchy feely, he kept grabbing my arm, poking me in the ribs and tickling me! Must have had something to do with the amount of alcohol he'd drunk. In the end he started barracking for Spurs on my behalf! He'll be happy when he reads the paper on Monday, Arsenal beat Middlesborough 7-0 tonight!!

We had our open house BBQ today which ran in two stages, one group for lunch and the other for tea.
Michael & Belinda came for lunch along with Mum and Walter and Steph dropped in for a while. The flies were bad so we ate inside, Mike bought some beautiful fillet steaks and some gourmet sausages from Wraggs butchers and carefully monitored my cooking to ensure they were done just the way he likes them! Rare! After lunch we took the kids round to the park at McKillop to hit cricket catches, Ben is like Sport Boy, he can't get enough of that sort of thing so the boys were in their element and both took some great diving one handed catches. I dropped as many as I held but got a little better as I warmed up.
Walter had typically itchy feet and they headed for home before we even got back from the cricket. He hates straying too far from home for any longer than is absolutely necessary.

After the lunch guests left there was just enough time to replenish the salads and have a quick look at the paper before the Robinsons, the Cooks and the Haynes' all arrived within 5 minutes of each other. We fired up the barbie for the second time and this time the flies left us alone so we stayed out on the patio. What a wonderful institution the backyard barbie is! The kids played on the trampoline and amused one another while the adults ate and talked. I gave a pretty big plug for beach mission, singing it's praises as a great way to invest in your family. I'd love to see the Robinsons get involved but there is some resistance, Hi Deb! Laurie and I reminisced and told old war stories from the first WIP (Wilderness Intervention Program) we did through the Stirling Ranges in 1996, a very eventful expedition that included 2 kids running away and having to be chased and intercepted and convinced to rejoin the program, and a sudden rush of blood to my head that saw me go hurtling, tumbling and falling down a rocky hill, landing flat on my back and breaking my arm, saved from worse injuries only because I landed on my backpack! The boys thought my injury was their ticket home but we put my arm in a splint and a sling and carried on for the remaining 2 days of the expedition, much to their dismay and disgust!

I'm joining Laurie for a day's sailing on his yacht on Monday, part of a 5 day cruise he's taking around Geopgraphe Bay. I'll join him at Quindalup, sail around Cape Naturaliste (dubbed the Cape of No Hope at the BBQ) then back to Meelup to camp for the night. I've been resisting Laurie's invitations to join his aquatic adventures since we moved down here but I figured I'd better say yes and take my medicine! As you can probably tell, I'm not much into boats or water sports,(he's also mad keen on out-rigger canoeing and keeps trying to rope me into that, thus far without success). Mind you, with the lack of sporting exercise at the moment and the extra kilos I gained courtesy of Jenny's fantastic food at Augusta, I may need to take up a paddle just to try and get back in shape.
I suspect I'll feel sea sick on the yacht which I'm not looking forward to! There may be some technicolour blogging to report upon my return.

Carolyn and Jordan leave for Tasmania on Tuesday night so there's a bit to do to prepare for that. I've got a PD day in Perth on the 23rd as well which means I could have three trips to Perth and back in 9 days. I'm not that keen on that idea, and with petrol prices tipped to soar cause of Iran's nuclear developments making the oil market unstable and forcing the price up, again, my bank account is not to keen on the idea either. I may combine at least 2 of the trips and stay up in Perth with Paulie. The Hotchkins offered us there place to stay at while they're away at Rottnest so we may take them up on the offer. However it works out it will be a busy period. Jordan is very excited about going to Tasmania, the Foundations course they're going to do is excellent so he'll get good value out of that, and he's also keen to see his big brother The Heir who will be back from England to be involved in the training.

It's late and I've got church in the morning so it's time to sign off.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The River of Life

Wilma's painting,The River of Life. I had no idea she painted, let alone that she was so talented. Wilma is the chaplain at Vasse Primary School, and her husband Bart is the car salesman at Toyota who sold us the new car we're getting in a couple of weeks.  Posted by Picasa

Vasse Sculptures

These small pictures don't do justice to the many large and interesting sculptures at the exhibition, but they do give a taste of the scope and variety on display. Posted by Picasa

Busselton Beach Scenes

The ocean, the beaches and Geographe Bay are popular subjects for local artists as this selection from the vasse Art Exhibition shows. I'm amazed at peopl'e ability to paint water in their pictures, and I love the bright colours. The Busselton Jetty is also heavily featured in local artwork, being the main icon of the town. Posted by Picasa

Chronological breakdown of the HoltPress Day

Holt Press
7.00am in the HoltPress household. Rebel Daughter started her first full day in her new job at Supa Valu and I headed for the golf course for my first game of golf in about a year. I used to play every week for years until frustration got the better of me and I gave up. Now it's a very occasional experience and that makes it all the better. I've stopped worrying about my game and just enjoy the company, the surroundings and the occasional decent shot scattered amongst the many average and poor ones. I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed for the 7am tee off, I am on holiday after all, but I'm glad I did. I played with Hotchy, from the beach mission team, and his mate Matt. The course was not busy, the rain only sprinkled for 10 minutes round about the 12th-14th holes, and we had a good time. I almost got a couple of pars! I did hit an 8 but my most consistent score was a 7! Tiger's got nothing to worry about. My slice is still there, right where I left it, and I still shank most of my long irons, but I chipped and putted reasonably well. Hotchy belts the ball long and low, worm burners!

2.00pm. Carolyn and I went to have a look at the Vasse Primary School Art Exhibition which was twice as big as last year. I asked one of the organisers how come and she said "We offered a $10,000 prize this year and they (artists) came out of the woodwork!" There were lots of great pictures, paintings and sculptures. Sadly most of them were out of our price range this year.The average price was about $5-600, the most expensive piece was an amazing huge wood carving priced at $30,000! One we both liked that was under $300 was actually painted by a bloke I know, Colin Pratt, who used to teach at Busso but unfortunately it was already sold. There were a couple of really good, brightly coloured acrylics that we liked, including a large painting called The River of Life and to my surprise and delight they were painted by a friend of mine Wilma who is actually a primary school chaplain. So may talented people in our midst. I'm inspired to bring out the canvas I bought and have a go. I'm not expecting anything special but it will be fun to play around and see what I can create.

4.00pm I took our old sofa and a couple of other small items down to Rumens, the auctioneers, to put in their next auction in a couple of weeks. They're not worth much. I got talking to Dave, the auctioneer, about football, and the Grand Final. I knew he'd gone to it cause I spotted him on The Footy Show. He had a great time and although he was barracking for the Eagles he's actually a Dockers fan so he wasn't unhappy with the result. I've been to a few of his auctions and like his style, he's relaxed and friendly with a dash of humour or comment. We talked for over half an hour and it was the same style, he just seems like a good bloke, in the perfect sort of job.

4.30pm. Went round to Noel's place and loaded up the stage we used at Augusta on the trailer to return it to the high school. It was no easy task, it weighs a ton and fitting all 6 segments on the trailer was a challenge but Noel was determined to do it all in one hit so we perservered till we found a way to fit them all on. Noel is a laid back Maori with a big grin and a ready laugh. It was good to catch up while we were working and he was interested to hear about how the mission went so I told him a few stories.

5.30pm. Tried unsuccessfully for an hour to print a photo from mission! There's something wrong somewhere but I haven't been able to fix it. I interrupted a preview of the picture and no matter what I do I can't delete the task from the task manager!! The troubleshooting menus have not solved the problem, nor has disconnecting or turning off the printer or computer! I can't even get a test page top print!
While on the subject of computer hassles, the CD Drive won't play or recognise CD's for some reason although it's quite happy to accept and play DVDs, and there's a file glitch somewhere that is preventing me reading any files with Acrobat Reader such as the itinerary for Carolyn and Jordan's trip to Tasmania sent via email from JetStar. Not happy Jan!

The rest of the day was spent tidying up some of the stuff in the carport, making phone calls and inviting some people over for a BBQ tomorrow. We're having an open house, some people are coming for lunch, some for dinner and some in between, hopefully the weather will be good and we can sit around talking eating and drinking all afternoon. Feel free to drop in, BYO meat.
Before the guests arrive I need to clean up and dispose of the carcass of the microwave oven I've been dismantling in the carport. After many years of faithful service the old one died so I replaced it just after Christmas. I decided to salvage what I could from it. There are some very strong magnets in microwaves so they were my main prize but I've collected about 100 small screws, bolts, nuts, washers and odds and ends, as well as a few interesting cogs, wheels and bits of metal which may just find themselves in a piece of art if I can figure out how to stick them together! There is one huge metal block and copper wire coil that weighs several kilos that I'm curious to see what is worth at a scrap metal yard. You would not believe how many pieces there are in one microwave oven! Whoever invented/designed it is a genius but I still can't work this out: How come you can't put metal in a microwave yet most of it is made of metal, including internal screws, plates etc?

Today was Friday the 13th. I'm not superstitious so I don't get phased by things like that but spare a thought for Rebel Dave who not only had to go to his aunt's funeral today but also had to go to the dentist!

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Sport Boy and Ben got along really well most of the time this year, playing cricket, soccer and table tennis. I happened to catch this sequence of photos as they were having a hilarious game of cards. Posted by Picasa


We took the teenagers to Giants Cave near Margaret River one afternoon. It's a fantastic cave, lots of long winding stairways, the huge ballroom, the squeezy chimney climb, slides and climbs and stalactites and stalacmites. Best of all it has two entrances so you go in one end and come out the other. It has been sanitized a fair bit now with defined pathways and steel steps and ladders. In the old days you had to find your own way through and it was very challenging, we often took groups from RYLA and other camps there for team building exercises. Now we play games in the ballroom and have a lot of fun with giant shadows on the walls of the ballroom, creating special effects and mock shadow fights. We always get the kids to turn their torches off and experience total darkness for a couple of minutes. They find it pretty hard to keep their trigger fingers off their torches and even more so when we get them to try and be completely silent as well; they usually last about 20 seconds at the most before someone laughs or talks or makes a farting noise! While I ran some games, Scott went on ahead to create the cross made up of tea-light candles. As the kids came over the top of a ridge they turned their torches off and descended several flights of stairs with just the glow of the cross as their source of light and the hand rails as their guide. It was beautiful and also a wonderful illustration for Scott's talk about his faith as the kids gathered around the candles in a small chamber. Posted by Picasa