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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

# 6

The 6th painting off the Holt Press production line, completed late last night. I like it.
I know they're not sophisticated and don't take much skill or artistic ability to create, but I'm really enjoying the whole experience and process and I love bright strong colours and geometric shapes and designs.
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# 4

My 4th painting and I am really pleased with how it turned out. Posted by Picasa

# 5

Painting No. 5. This is the first one I wasn't happy with, I tried putting blue in the gaps and it didn't look good so then I went over the blue with some white which improved it but!
Ironically Carolyn and Sport Boy really like it!
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A True Hero

28 February, 2006

A True Hero

Holt Press
I tried putting a new phone number in my phone yesterday and a message appeared saying the memory was full. (Just as well human memory banks don't work that way!) So today I went through the list on my phone and deleted some numbers. I started with people I didn't recognise or can't remember (Message appears on forehead: "memory is defective") then removed the numbers of peopleI never see or ring any more, then duplicates and numbers I know have been changed or are wrong. This freed up a reasonable amount of space, but now I can't remember the number of the person I was trying to add! The reason I'm mentioning this is that as I scanned through the list I came across the number of a man named Steve. I've thought about Steve many times over the last couple of years, wondering how he is and how he is coping with a tough situation he found himself in a few years ago. I decided to ring him, and I'm really glad I did. Not because it was a light or pleasant call, it wasn't, in fact it was pretty much full of bad news and accounts of struggles and difficulty but afterwards I knew it had been the right thing to do.

Steve's story goes back to a time when he went out with a lady called Anne. Anne had three kids who went to the school I used to work at. She herself was a teacher. Sometimes simple actions and everyday incidents go from ordinary and mundane to bizarre and tragic. That's what happened to Anne. One day she drove home from work and pulled the car up into the drive the way she always did, but for some reason this particular day she forgot to put the handbrake on. As she got out of the car it started to roll backwards down the driveway. In a panic Anne ran to the back of the car and tried to stop it rolling away. Unfortunately she fell and the car ran her over. Her children were home and her eldest son ran to her aid after hearing her screams. Tragically, Anne died from the injuries she sustained, right there on the road at the bottom of the driveway, in the arms of her shocked and horrified son. It's hard to imagine how it could have happened and it's so easy in hindsight to see what could have been done differently that would have completely changed the outcome, leaving it as an almost comical accident, rather than the dreadful tragedy it became.

In my role as school chaplain I became involved with the family and ended up conducting the funeral service as well as seeking to offer some on-going support and care for the bereaved family.

This is where Steve comes in.

The kid's father was no longer on the scene and although he came to the funeral, inexplicably he has had no further contact with the family, not even replying to letters cards or phone calls from his children! I find that horrific and struggle to feel anything other than condemnation and contempt for him, for his callous disregard of his children's needs. I won't say any more. I am surely not without sin and I don't know the full story, but ...!

Thankfully there was Steve to enter the story.

Having been a partner to Anne for several years he knew and loved the kids and purposed in his heart that from that moment he would do everything he could to look after and care for them. And that's what he has done for the last 3 years. They are not his kids, but he has taken on the role of father, provider, supporter, carer, taxi-driver, chief cook and bottle-washer. He left his own home, coming to live with the kids in order to look after them, sleeping on the unfinished back patio extension.

When I spoke to him today I asked him how he is coping and was struck and saddened to hear how much of a struggle it has been. His own health has suffered, it has cost him a great deal financially, he has sacrificed his time and energy totally in caring for the needs of the kids. Sadly, his own Mum, whom he described as his greatest source of strength and encouragement, passed away 6 months ago, leaving him heart broken and lonely. The eldest son in the family has not coped well at all with his mother's death and has gone "off the rails", making him very difficult to live with. His behaviour and attitudes have caused Steve and the other two kids a great deal of pain and upset, so much so that they don't want him to live there any more because he is so difficult. (His behaviour, as described to me by Steve is anti-social and destructive, but in his defence I ask, "How would you cope and deal with the trauma of holding your mother in your arms as she died after a tragic and avoidable accident?")
Before you play the "What about counselling ?" card, Steve reported that they had a couple of disastrous attempts at counselling after the incident and were so shocked and disgusted at the poor service and support offered that they are completely burned and innoculated against counselling. He described one "counselor" as having chastised the kids "for still being upset about their mother's death"!!!!!

The one constant in these kid's lives the last three years has been Steve. He has loved them with determination, compassion, commitment and total dedication to the task. It has cost him a great deal but he has not given up or looked for a way out, he has stuck with them.

He said, "All the support is gone now. It was there at first, after Anne died, but now people have gone back to their normal lives, to their own families and we are on our own." He wasn't bitter, he understood that people need to move on and have their own lives to live, but there was a tinge of sadness and disappointment that he was on his own, bearing a heavy burden with no family or community support.

I was deeply moved by Steve's story. There wasn't anything else I could do, but as I said, I'm glad I rang.
I told him he is a hero, that I have huge admiration and respect for him and for the amazing job he has done in raising these kids who are not his and who he could quite legitimately have walked away from, that he has been a rock of strength and support for them and that I appreciate the lengths he has gone to in caring for them. It wasn't much but I felt good at being able to verbally affirm him for his sacrifice and love offered freely and at great personal cost.

Steve, you are indeed a hero, and I salute you.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Sunset over Subi

As we walked away from Subi after the footy we were treated to this beautiful sunset, Nice one God! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sport Boy at the Footy, Go Dockers

We've just gotten home from our trip to the footy in Perth. The car ran beautifully and is extremely comfortable, the boys loved it. Admittedly Carolyn was a little obsessive about the number of bugs that hit the windscreen and kept a constant verbal vigil on the readout of the digital speedometer, but as it's the first time she/we have ever owned a new car we'll forgive her OCD tendencies. We've clocked up 560 kilometres already and with the likelihood of another trip to Perth this week for Bill's funeral, we'll be taking it in for it's 1000km service within a week of getting it! Not exactly how we planned it!

The footy was great, the Dockers gave the Eagles a shellacking. They were on fire and the Eagles certainly didn't look like Grand Finalists, but, as I've said before, the pre-season means nothing once the real deal begins, and West Coast have a huge psychological advantage over Fremantle when it counts.
We ran into some familiar faces, including the daughter of some friends from church sitting next to us, a fellow chaplain, Doug and his brother sitting behind us, Simon Robinson sitting in the next section and Scott Underwood came and said g'day at half time.
I love the footy and it was good to be back at Subi, with a big crowd, seeing the good guys win and Sport Boy had a great time, getting very excited with each goal the Dockers scored and their growing lead over West Coast. Ben Cousins received a loud chorus of boos every time he got the ball, the Freo fans taking every opportunity to goad him following his drink-driving debacle last week where he abandoned his car and ran away from the police in order to avoid being breathylised by a booze bus. There were signs and T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase "Run Benny Run"!

We stopped for tea with Jacqui and Geoff before heading home. They'd been to St Matts this morning and seen a lot of the mission crew and friends of Bill. Naturally everyone is shocked and saddened at the news. Geoff told us a little about Bill's work at the hospital where he worked as an orderly and apparently had a real ability to minister to patients others put in the too hard basket, showing great patience and care for people with conditions like Alzheimers. Jacqui described how invaluable Bill was on the adult team at mission this year and his willingness to do whatever was needed. Truly he lived out his faith in servanthood.

Sport Boy fell asleep on the way home which left us plenty of time to talk to Jordy about lots of stuff. He'd had a good time visiting Zoe and Shiloh, going for a swim at the Robinson's and hanging out, buying junk food and being teenagers. We talked about his time at Poatina doing Youth Foundationsns, about how funny Dave Hammond is, about the kids at school and about his need for a haircut! I challenged him to step up and take opportunities for leadership when they present, at school, at church and elsewhere. He's a smart kid, a thinker, with good awareness and social skills and definite leadership potential. I'd love to see him use those gifts and abilities and not just drift along doing teenage stuff.
I told him about my own adolescence and how I'd craved leadership positions and opportunities, not always finding them but wanting to grow and develop those skills and understandings. I didn't realise it at the time but that was the beginning of the path that led me into a career in youthwork and to the position I have now as a school chaplain. Our eldest son Zac, aka The Heir has begun moving in a similar direction with his studies and practical experience gained with Fusion.
I don't have an expectation that Jordy follow suit but I'll be watching with interest to see how he responds to my challenge.

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Gone home to Glory

Bill Read died last night.
I got a phone call early this morning letting me know that Bill died after a heart attack last night. Bill was a member of our beach mission team at Augusta and along with his daughter Louisa has been a regular at beach mission for about 5 years. Bill loved beach mission. He worked tirelessly and really put in a huge effort every year and revelled in the "family" atmosphere at Augusta. He loved dressing up and joining in the spirit of whatever was happening, especially at the carnival where he ran the rocket launcher stall with much energy and attention to detail. In partnership with his partner in crime Bill Gamel-B1- Bill became B2 and they worked in the kitchen managing the dish washing, a huge job three times a day for 80 people. A couple of years ago they donned Bananas in Pyjamas suits and truly became B1 and B2. At mission in January this year Bill was part of the Adult team and loved being able to serve people, whether it be coffee and cakes at the coffee shop or wine and cheese at the sundowner or just moving gear, setting up tables or attending to any one of the myriad tasks that needed doing each day. Bill's eyes sparkled at beach mission, it was a place he felt totally accepted and at home, where he was able to offer his service to God in an environment of love and generosity and care. On reflection it seemed that Bill struggled more this year with the physical demands of mission, but was more at peace, more settled in his spirit.
His sudden passing is that bitter-sweet mixture of sadness and joy. His wife and children are left behind and my heart goes out to them in this time of sadness. But I also rejoice that Bill has gone home, his spirit is with the Lord and he has arrived at his final destination, his true home. Bill's death was mercifully quick, surely better than the long slow suffering that many people have to endure before their final release.
I rejoice too that Bill was part of the mission family, and that right up until last month was fully immersed in doing something he loved with a group of people that he loved and where he was loved and cared about and where his work will bear eternal benefit.

Rest in peace Bill. Posted by Picasa

Kingsley on fire

Holt Press
A quiet day at Holt Press. Slept in. Got up. Read the paper. Painted. Took the new car for a drive. Painted some more. Then settled back to watch the footy. Yes the footy is back. OK not the real footy, just the pretend stuff in the pre-season, but it's close.
And, the good news is not only did the Cats start with a win but they did it against the third most hated team in the AFL, Carlton. Even better, that gives me bragging rights over Stu aka The Gardener who is a Carlton tragic. Even at this early stage of the season Stu knows he's in for a bad year, why else would he decline my invitation to come round and watch the game! Highlight of the game was Geelong full forward Kent Kingsley kicking 9 goals!!

In honour of the new footy season and the new car we are going up to Perth tomorrow to see the game between the Eagles and the Dockers. I got some free tickets through work and I hate passing up opportunities, so despite the distance, we're going to the footy. Sport Boy's going to the footy so he's happy, Jordan is going to visit some friends in Shenton Park so he's happy, and everyone's looking forward to the first decent drive in the new car. Carolyn said "Driving the new car feels like flying a plane" so she's happy. And the Cats won, so it goes without saying I'm happy.

Friday, February 24, 2006

A busy Synoptic Friday

The Big Brekky is back, bigger and better than ever now that we've got The Green Monster to run it from. After a cautious start this morning, our first Big Brekky of the year and in fact the first since 2004, went off well. The kids were hanging back at first but once a few joined in the crowd arrived and all the food was consumed, even when we ran out of white bread and they had to eat their sausages in raisin bread and fruit muffins! Despite being on crutches and having only a fork to work with (note to self, get tongs for next week) Stu was able to do a good job cooking the snags on the barbie. I kept the supply of toast coming and Rod maintained the cereal milk and juice supplies. The Green Monster is good value, not just for it's storage capacity but also for it's high visibility factor; Stu did a great job spray painting it.

After brekky I went on my ill-fated bike ride with the yr 10's, see blog below for more details and graphic pictures.

Then it was off to the supermarket to buy supplies for Phat Phriday. I had plenty of time shen I started so wasn't worried, until the checkout staff informed me that the school's card wouldn't work cause the account has been frozen! Something about the bill not having been paid! That left me in trouble, I lost half an hour while this was all dealt with and in the end I had to pay with my own card, not ideal!

Phat Phriday had a food theme and seemed to go very well, the kids were well behaved and enthusiastic, the games worked and the volunteer helpers did a good job supporting the program. The "Rank Sandwich Roulette Race" worked even better than I hoped and you can see the kids eating, or trying to eat, the sandwiches they spun for themselves. One combination contained passionfruit, mayo, corned beef, apricot jam and sultanas, another one had the delightful mix of ham, jam, spinach, M&M's and the mystery item which turned out to be creamed corn. Most of the contestants struggled, no surprise there, but one girl powered through hers as if she had passionfruit and mayo sandwiches all the time! She won a block of chocolate for her troubles. A couple of kids couldn't finish theirs. That's the problem with kids today, no appreciation for what they've got, wasting food, not completing things they start!!!
The SalVital and lemonade in the mouth challenge was predictably brief as one after another contestants sprayed and spewed the contents of fizzing foaming froth unable to hold it any longer. The best effort lasted about 90 seconds. If you don't think that's impressive, try it at home sometime!

After all the intensity of the day I was relieved to have some time to myself to eat lunch and veg out for the last 2 periods. I wasn't disappointed when my 2.30 appointment didn't show up!

After picking up the car I went to footy training where my leg held up OK but my kicking was ordinary at best! I'm taking a few minutes to blog but am about to go back and watch the second half of the footy. Yes, the footy is back! Well the pre-season anyway, with Brisbane playing Essendon tonight. The footy is back, yeah!
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WARNING: This Blog Post contains Graphic pictures and BLOOD










































All Smiles in the new car

Come on down! You've won a new car! Posted by Picasa

Yippee! The Yaris has arrived!

After a wait of nearly three months our new car finally arrived and we took delivery of it this afternoon. It was on order and had to be shipped from Japan. Yarises are selling like hotcakes apparently and when we ordered it back in late November the next two boatloads were already sold out, thus the delay till late February. But the wait is over. Carolyn got the keys from Bart, the salesman and husband of another school chaplain, Wilma. For those with good memories of my blog, Wilma painted The River of Life painting I blogged about in January.
Carolyn chose the colour, officially called Tuscan Sunset, but commonly referred to as orange! She likes it, others are less enthused or indifferent. I'd like permission to drive it so I'm going on record as saying it looks fine to me! We have never owned a brand new car so it's a strange feeling to get used to, a car where everything works exactly the way it's supposed to, no scatches or dents, a stereo that works and even plays MP3's, that new car smell etc etc. One of the main attractions in choosing the Yaris is it's safety and great fuel economy which is good news with the price of petrol, currently about $1.20 a litre in Busselton.
Best and most amazing of all is that the car was a gift from Carolyn's parents. We are very grateful and blessed to receive such a generous gift. It is 1 month until our 20th wedding anniversary so this is a wonderful present to celebrate the milestone.
Carolyn's Dad had to have tests and exploratory surgery yesterday. The good news is that the doctor gave him a clean bill of health and said he's in top condition. Considering he's in his 80's that is very encouraging news.
I aspire to one day being able to show the same sort of generosity to our kids as our parents, on both sides, have shown to us.
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Thursday, February 23, 2006


I painted my 3rd picture tonight. I'm not as happy with this one compared to the original doodle design it's based on, I didn't get the colour contrast quite right. Having said that I think it's OK and I can improve on it. I'm enjoying the process and the creativity of painting. Posted by Picasa

2nd Effort

This is my second painting, completed yesterday. I'm happy with it. Posted by Picasa

The Monday after the Grand Final

Holt Press

A lot happened in September so I'll choose a couple of posts to republish. This one was a collection of bits and pieces written from Melbourne after seeing Sydney beat West Coast in a classic Grand Final at the MCG.

Monday, September 26, 2005

13 reflections on the trip so far

More reflections and highlights from my trip to the Grand Final.

1. Getting a ticket on Thursday morning was great, my early travel plans were made worthwhile. I'm in Melbourne for some Rock and Water training next week but was free to travel when I wanted to, so of course I grabbed the chance to be in Melbourne for the last Saturday in September.

2. Despite the 13 extra planes from Perth to Melbourne, with ticket prices reported to be $1800 one way, the coach loads and cars full of people driving across the Nullabor and the intrepid pilgrims who flew via Darwin, Singapore and New Zealand etc there were at least 2 empty seats on my flight at 3pm Friday, I know because one of them was next to me.

3. I started talking to the passenger on the other side of the empty seat and discovered that he was a Judge. Further discussion revealed that he was the son of Fred Chaney Snr and brother of Fred Chaney Jnr, both of whom were much respected members of parliament. We agreed to share a taxi into the city to cut costs but made the mistake of revealing this detail to the taxi driver who upon arrival at our destination insisted that we pay 75% of the fare each!! Being a judge, my companion was not willing to fight the issue or try to get around it. Lesson learned!

4. The Qantas pilot on our flight introduced himself as Terry Doyle and proceeded to give the most erudite, witty and entertaining in-flight address I've ever heard. Several people were smiling and laughing as they listened to him.

5. It was always going to be tight getting to the airport on time with a three hour drive up from Busso. I had to meet my brother Alan to sign some papers then he was dropping me at the airport. Roadworks on the freeway slowed me down a bit, then I made the mistake of not turning right at Abernethy Rd, only to discover it was impossible to turn into the street I needed and the nexr set of lights had a no right turn sign! With time rapidly running out I risked it by attempting a right turn, only to have a plain clothes police officer pull up next to me and tell me not to turn right! What could do, going straight ahead would take me further away from where I needed to be with no prospect of making a U turn and less than 45 minutes till my flight left! I told him I was going to the Grand Final and running late then I turned right! The cop was not impressed and pulled me over. I attempted to justify my actions but he shut me up and said "Don't ignore a police officer's instructions, now get going and enjoy the game"!! Relieved I raced off to meet Alan and managed to get to the airport on time! (I've missed a flight before and it's not a pleasant experience!)

6. I took the Glen Waverley train and am staying with my brother-in-law Charles and his son Simon. The rest of the family are away in Adelaide. They have a beautiful house in Glen Iris. This afternoon I went for a bike ride along a trail beside the Yarra river all the way into the city and was reminded of how green and beautiful a city Melbourne is. (pics to follow when I get home)

7. I met up with Ian and Dave from Perth outside the MCG. It was Ian's brother Trevor whose membership enabled me to buy the ticket and I needed his card to collect it. Another mate Kent Morgan was also at the game and I rang him once inside. His seat was in the second back row behind the Punt Road goal so he wasn't happy to hear that I was sitting about 3/4 of the way back on the half forward line. He'd have been even less happy after the game, being a diehard eagles supporter. I resisted the temptation to ring him after the game, although once the pain has subsided a little I'll be sure to let him know how much I enjoyed the game. Don't be fooled into thinking that would be harsh, he was responsible for me having to stand up in the staff room on Friday morning in an Eagles jumper and publicly state that "The Eagles are better than Geelong and always have been"! due to a bet we made at the start of the season about which team , Geelong or West Coast, would finish higher on the ladder! Needless to say the pro West Coast crowd in the staff room loved it! You can be sure i'll be wearing red and white upon my return to school next term!

8. I exchanged several SMS's with Chris in Broome during the game. She was always nervous and I know how disappointed she'd have felt at the loss. As I said in one text, "I know how she feels" having suffered thru Geelong losing 4 Grand Finals between 1989 and 1995, two of them at the hands of West Coast. I also texted Gaultie to say how much I was enjoying the game, his brief reply simply read "Go Eagles". I'd left sveral messages stuck up around his office before I left all of which read "Go Swans". The best thing about Sydney winning is not having to put up with all the bragging of the Eagles fans back in WA.

9. Talking of Eagles fans, there was one particularly obnoxious member of that species sitting behind me at the game. Now, it is fair to say that I am a passionate fan and have been known to get heated or excited at games, but I make every effort to be fair and objective about things like umpiring decisions. It is a huge bugbear to me when people criticise and condemn every decision the umpires make against their team. It is ludicrous and short-sighted/one-eyed in the extreme to believe that your team never gives away free kicks. All teams do and when mine does I accept it as part of the game. The bloke behind me was the sort of fan who refused to accept this basic truth of football but that was not the only example of his obnoxiousness. When O'loughlin and Hunter jostled with one another he kept yelling out "Hit him Hunter, hit him" Why? Football is a hard physical game and there is plenty of legitimate "violence" allowed without urging players to do the wrong thing. Sure they sometimes do it, eg. Barry Hall last week, but that doesn't mean it should be condoned or encouraged as this bloke was doing. What made it sadder was that he had his little boy sitting next to him who looked about 7 years old. Some less than helpful role-modelling there! His other annoying behaviour was when celebrating an Eagles goal to "deliberately" wave his West Coast flag in our faces. When he did it again I'd had enough so I turned and said to him if he was waving the flag to celebrate a goal that was fine but instead of waving it in our faces why didn't he wave it up above his own head. I'm pleased to say that he took this feedback well and refrained from this practice again. We did exchange a couple of comments about the relative merits of some umpire's decisions but at the end of the game we shook hands and agreed it had been a great game.

10. There was lots of actyivity going on outside the ground before the game including some live TV and radio broadcasts. I stopped at the Triple M tent and watched a bit of their "show". The panelo included Sam Kekovich, Brian Taylor and Sam Newman who I usually find detestable. While I didn't appreciate all of his humour and comments I have to confess I did find a few of his jokes amusing and he was wittier than I expected. I sat next to an older couple who turned out to be Geelong fans from Colac. I saw a bloke in the ground in a Geelong jumper too.

11. I don't admit this publicly but something I enjoy doing is looking for stuff left behind after football games! I call it trawling!There is always mountains of rubbish, but usually some interesting stuff too and the Grand Final was no exception. I refused to pay $12 for the Grand Final Record (program) but found 3-4 in reasonable condition left behind after the game. Amongst the other stuff I found were a a folding seat cushion, an abandoned Eagles banner, a mustard soaked Swans flag!, a canvas bag with two rolls and a bag of peanuts, an inflatable Messages on Hold hand and a football shaped stubby holder with the Geelong logo on it, not a bad haul!!

12. As I was walking thru the carpark after the game I spotted former Geelong stars Barry Stoneham and Liam Pickering having a beer with a few mates so I stopped to say G'day and get a picture taken and ended up talking to them for about 20 minutes. My nephew Daniel played in Liam's number, 23, for Geelong after he retired and they both spoke highly of Daniel. Liam is now a football manager and one of his clients is Darren Glass from West Coast who I happened to coach briefly when he was at Carine High School. Talking of Carine kids, Mark Nicoski who kicked the first goal of the game was a Carine kid who I coached for 5 years. I know Mark Seaby as well, he comes and helps at our Footy Camp every year. The only comfort I'd have taken if West Coast had won would have been to see these young blokes I know win the ultimate footy prize. Ironically Nicoski had a half chance to kick the winning goal in the last minute of the game when the ball spilled off a pack into his path in the goal square but the Sydney backline managed to stop him getting a kick at it.

13. There was a big celebration for the Swans back at Punt Rd after the game but it was full by the time I got there. I chatted to a deleivery driver waiting to get in and he ended up giving me a lift to his next stop, Crown Casino. I wanted to watch a replay of the game on Foxtel, or more specifically the desperate last quarter. I found a bar with a big screen and joined hundreds of other celebrating Swans supporters in reliving the excitement. Then I did something I've never done before, I bought $10 worth of chips and had a few bets on a roulette table. Betting $5 at a time I won a few and lost a few, just betting on red or black and above or below 19. I had set a $10 limit and ended up with $30 after about an hour. Here comes the gamblers sob story part of the story! I should have quit then but instead went to try my hand at Pontoon on a table with a $10 minimumn bet. Four hands later my money was gone! (One was a "draw") Oh well! It was fun while it lasted!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Bombie Comp

One of the great Australian traditions is the Bombie, a jumping entry to the water intended to create the biggest splash possible. There are many styles and varieties, the horsey, the belly flop, the nutcracker and my bombie of choice, the layback. At today's swimming carnival the blue ribbon event was The Bombie Competition and pictured here is a selection of action shots capturing the excitement and drama, the fun and the splashing that makes the Bombie such a crowd pleaser. The young man in the middle with the blue rashie on was the clear winner, sending a splash metres into the air and emptying many litres of water from the pool in a matter of seconds. Posted by Picasa

St Matts Shenton Park

I don't know about you but I'm a sucker for stained glass. Not the old style, pictures of Jesus and things, more like this style, patterns and stuff. Beautiful. I'd like to put some stained glass in our french back door. We have a stained glass feature of an Australian bush scene just inside the front door which is quite nice. The house was originally a display home so it has a few little extras like that which we wouldn't have otherwise. I love bright colours and patterns. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

My knee hurts

My knee is sore. I'm filthy and frustrated. My bike has a flat tyre. And it's all because of a watch. The watch pictured below in fact! It all started innocently enough. This morning I set off on a bike ride with a group of year 10 students and although it was the hottest day of the year so far it was pleasant and enjoyable riding along the bike path beside the beach on Geographe Bay. I rode at the back to keep an eye on the stragglers. It was a good chance to meet some kids and have a chat. One girl, who I'll call Stephanie to protect her reputation, was the slowest of all and had a constant line of complaints and whinges to accompany her lack of speed. Don't get me wrong, she was a nice kid, just not built for speed. The main group reached the turn around point and came riding back past us with the news they were stopping at Dolphin Rd for a swim. Stephanie wanted to swim but at the pace she was travelling it didn't look likely. Sure enough, as we arrived at Dolphin Rd the rest of the class were coming out of the water, some of them complaining about the stingers. (A sad aspect of life in Busselton is that Geographe Bay is home to innumerable small jellyfish stingers which leave a painful red welt. Vinegar relieves the pain but it's a nuisance and makes swimming hazardous).
Two of Stephanie's friends were rinsing under the outdoor shower and suggested she join them to cool off which she did.
We were now in danger of being late back to school so I was hurrying the girls up and pushing them to get back on their bikes and head back to school. By the time we set off most of the class had departed and even Stephanie's friends left her behind. We got about half way back to school when all of a sudden Stephanie exclaimed, "I've left my watch behind!" "Marcus, can you help me please?" She had taken it off at the shower and forgot to put it back on before setting off. I gave the group strict instructions to return to school and follow the rules about crossing the road then turned around and sped back to Dolphin Rd to retrieve the watch.
It was still there thankfully and I turned round again and headed for school but bad luck struck. I got a flat tyre! I had to walk the last kilometre back to school, making me hot sweaty and late by the time I got there, and my knee started to hurt from walking and pushing my bike.

Fast forward to this afternoon. After I got home from taking Sport Boy to his Kanga Cricket I got the bike out of the back of the car and began fixing the puncture. Getting the wheel off was easy enough but there was a small bolt and nut I had to undo with which I was not familiar and a vague thought passed through my mind that it may cause trouble later on! There was nothing stuck in the tyre but when I pumped the tube up it was easy to find the puncture, even without a bucket of water. I put a glueless patch on it. I've never used one of these before so I'm just hoping it will do the job. Then came the fun part, trying to put the wheel back on! The rear wheel has the deraulier gears and I could not figure out how it was supposed to go back together. Getting the wheel and chain in the right place was ok but I just couldn't work out where the small bolt and strange shaped nut were supposed to go, although I'd worked out from the lack of cooperation of the gears that they were of vital importance! Even looking at another bike didn't solve the nystery for me. I plead in my defence that everything was upside down while I was working on it and the spring-loaded gears were very difficult to hold and manipulate into the right position while I tried to figure it out! Eventually I had a gestalt moment and realised where and how it was supposed to go back together. From there it was relatively simple to reassemble the rest of the gear mechanism and get the wheel in place but as you can see by this time my hands were totally filthy and encased in grease and oil. 10 minutes scrubbing with laundary detergent under the back tap fixed that problem but close inspection revealed I had spots of grease on my feet too. Having just had the (white!) carpets cleaned today I did not want to get them dirty before they'd even dried so an awkward foot- in-the- trough- with- more -detergent performance followed until I was satisfied that they were clean enough for re-entry. The whole puncture fixing episode took the best part of two hours and as I said at the start left me filthy and frustrated. It remains to be seen whether the glueless patch will work!

I've been riding my bike to work every day so I hope it holds, although we are supposed to take delivery of the new car tomorrow so at least we'll have two decent sets of wheels to get around in again. Posted by Picasa

100 things about me

August was a busy month on the blog but I couldn't go past my 100 things post as my selection for the 12 month review.

I’ve borrowed this idea from Dad, who borrowed it from someone else who…

100 Things about me

  1. I’m 44 years old, a tale end baby-boomer/early Gen Xer

  2. I’m a middle child, (in order I have an older brother, older sister, younger brother, younger sister)

  3. Both my parents have been divorced twice

  4. I went to 2 primary schools and 5 high schools

  5. I’ve lived in Victoria, WA, Queensland and England

  6. I love football and am passionate in my support for Geelong

  7. I discovered English soccer when I was 11 and developed a life-long love for Tottenham Hotspur

  8. I dreamed of seeing Spurs win the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium and my dream came true in 1982

  9. I am 6’2”, the tallest in my family

  10. I have 4 children, 3 boys and a girl

  11. I’ve been married for 19 years, to Carolyn

  12. I have a pierced ear. I did it myself when I was 17, with a block of ice and a needle

  13. I became a volunteer camp leader with the YMCA while I was still at school, the first step on the road to my career in youthwork and now school chaplaincy

  14. I drive a Toyota Corolla but the best car I ever owned was a 1983 Nissan Pulsar

  15. My first car was a 1964 Wolsley 24/80 which we paid $100 for

  16. I worked at a cinema in Melbourne as an usher and saw Breaker Morant about 50 times and can quote large chunks of the dialogue. The last line is “Shoot straight you bastards, don’t make a mess of it”.

  17. I wanted to be a journalist when I left school but gave up when the first couple of doors closed on me. I sometimes regret not pursuing it further

  18. I saw Geelong lose the 1980 and 1981 Preliminary finals to Collingwood at Waverley. It was a terrible experience both times

  19. I went to the 1980 VFL Grand Final with Gary Davies and saw the Tigers thrash Collingwood, always a joyful occurrence

  20. I have a goal to write a book (I am not actively pursuing this goal but I hope…)

  21. I have a Kodak LS753 digital camera which I love and with which I take 100’s of pictures

  22. When I was a kid we lived at Moolap in Victoria, quite close to a drive-in and we played there all the time. I climbed up inside the screen one day and got swooped by an owl. Another time we got busted trying to drive the old ute they used for cleaning up the rubbish.

  23. My mate Anthony and I got busted one night at an R movie and he gave his name as Phillip Morris. The bloke looked at him in disbelief and said “What are you, a cigarette?”

  24. I loved climbing things, trees, towers, buildings etc. I once got busted climbing a tower above a building in the Hay Street mall with my mate Tom

  25. When I was a kid I got lost at the You Yangs (a small mountain range) on a company family picnic and unable to find my family started walking home to Geelong, about 15 miles away. A family from the picnic found me on the road and returned me to Mum and Dad

  26. When I was about 9 I ran across a road on the way to school, straight into the side of a car, and broke my leg

  27. 4 days after getting it out of plaster I fell off a bike at Nan & Pa’s place and broke it again

  28. I could go almost as fast on my crutches as I could run normally

  29. We spent many school holidays at my Nan’s place in Nathalia in northern Victoria and spent hours everday playing with our cousins, the Gallaghers

  30. We once dug a fort with a connecting tunnel behind their shed. I would be horrified if my kids did that now!

  31. When we played cowboys and Indians we younger kids would make all sorts of sound effects with our guns but my eldest cousin John would be completely cool, sneak up on you and quietly say “bang”

  32. My cousin Geoff taught us a great game called Releaso

  33. Another cousin on the other side of the family once set fire to a train

  34. I got into trouble at school once for lighting a fire in a desk during class

  35. I got chased and belted by a teacher at John Forrest HS after taking his glasses case cause he refused to return my confiscated tennis ball

  36. The first footy team I played for was called the Toughies and every week we would play the same team, called the Terribles. We were about 6 at the time

  37. I got my picture in the paper one day having my hand compared with Bill Ryan, a Geelong player who had taken 20 odd marks in a game the previous week

  38. I love pizza, ice cream, lasagne and chocolate

  39. I detest Brussel sprouts and don’t like olives or sun dried tomatoes

  40. As a kid I hated cauliflower and cabbage. I still don’t like cauliflower but have learnt to like cabbage if it’s cooked right, ie. Not boiled to death and turned into seaweed

  41. I have never had a cup of tea or coffee in my life

  42. The last time I drank milk, was the second day of prep at school, I was 5, it came in little bottles and we all had to drink it before recess. After I threw up the teacher said I didn’t have to drink it any more

  43. One night when I was a teenager I took a bottle of water out of the fridge and had a big drink only to discover I’d picked up a bottle of milk by mistake. It was just as bad as I’d always remembered it to be

  44. I did drink a small amount of milk as part of a game of challenges and dares we played as a family one night last year. It hasn’t gotten any better

  45. The first LP I bought was Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the Beatles are still my favourite band.

  46. I got really into Graham Parker and the Rumour in my teens and had many arguments with my mate Graham about who was better, Graham Parker or Status Quo

  47. Graham and I played pool for hours at his place in Year 12, he was slightly better than I was

  48. I once bragged that I could beat my mate Nick at chess 10 games in a row. I won the first 5 but in the 6th made a fatal error and though I fought for over an hour to save the game he eventually beat me. I don’t think we’ve ever played chess again

  49. My Dad and I learnt to play chess at the same time. He usually won but one night I beat him in 5 moves. He spent about an hour analysing the game working out how he could have stopped me

  50. I once pranged my brother’s dragster at the safety road cycle park in Geelong and thought I was dead! A bloke at a garage straightened the forks and I was able to ride it home, much relieved

  51. Another time I rode his bike down the hill in Newtown only to realise it had no brakes. Rather than fly out on to Aberdeen St and get killed I deliberately crashed into a vacant block of land and went flying into an apple tree

  52. I love nearly all sports except “The Nonsense” (Coodabeen champions name for basketball)

  53. I play football volleyball and squash at the moment and am intensely competitive

  54. I once drove a bus load of kids from Perth to Sydney to go the Blackstump Festival and we had 6 flat tyres on the trip

  55. I have hitch-hiked across Australia about 10 times

  56. I have hitch-hiked around America twice

  57. I ran with the bulls at San Fermin in Pamplona

  58. I got arrested in Madrid for not wearing a shirt on a train

  59. I went to the 1982 World Cup Soccer Final in Spain, Italy beat Germany 3-1. In a crowd of 90,000 people I ended up standing next to bloke from Fremantle

  60. I have a mole on the side of my head which has been getting bigger for several years and if my hair keeps receding will emerge and frighten animals and small children

  61. I have smoked marijuana twice in my life and found it had no discernible affect on me

  62. I have never smoked a cigarette and consider smoking to be one of the supreme acts of stupidity available to man

  63. I have been drunk many times

  64. I was drunk in London after a night at the pub with some mates and in an effort to run and catch a train hit myself in the chin with my thumbnail, making myself bleed and producing an embarrassing scab. Needless to say my mates laughed

  65. The first time I went skinny dipping was at Cable Beach in Broome while on a school bus trip, there were 4 of us, two guys 2 girls

  66. Skinny dipping became a regular event for the next year or so, at Swanbourne and elsewhere

  67. I lived in a town called Rosewood when I was 13 and myself and two other kids, Glen Haley and Ian Robinson started a tennis club which grew to have about 40 kids in it and played twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays

  68. I have a fascination for snakes

  69. I have caught a few red-back spiders and kept them in jars, putting other insects in with them to see what happens. I released one red back on top of an ants nest. It beat the first 2 before being overwhelmed by weight of numbers

  70. I worked on a summer camp in New York state for 8 weeks in 1983 and 1984 and had a fantastic time

  71. I have two friends who can speak fake foreign langauages, Malcolm and Alex. At the start of one RYLA seminar I introduced Alex as a Russian exchange student and translated his “Russian” into English before we both cracked up

  72. I’ve led or directed approx 100 camps in my life, for the YMCA, Fusion, Rotary, Scripture Union, churches and schools. Needless to say I love camps. (I’m running another one that starts tomorrow)

  73. I claim at least part responsibility for launching the AFL career of Digby Morrell

  74. I love having a study

  75. I love computers and love blogging

  76. I have brown hair, brown eyes, a fairly big nose and size 13 feet

  77. I am not mechanically minded. It once took me three attempts to successfully close a train carriage door while saying goodbye to my girlfriend in London. As the train pulled out the bloke in the carriage with her said, “he’s very technically minded your boyfriend!”

  78. I love playing Trivial Pursuit

  79. I also love Scrabble

  80. I love games in general and always play to win

  81. I bought a board game called Wembley in a 2nd hand shop for $6 and it’s an absolute classic game

  82. I have a huge collection of toys, games, puzzles and novelty items in my office and have over 40 mobiles, planes and flying machines hanging from the ceiling

  83. I hate the West Coast Eagles, even more than I hate Collingwood. (Yes there is psychological scarring there)

  84. I can’t sing or draw but find some artistic outlet in screen printing and doodling

  85. I’ve read the whole Bible twice and some parts of it many times over

  86. I became a Christian in 1985 which came as a big surprise to me and an even bigger one to the people who knew me

  87. Carolyn and I got engaged 3 weeks after we started going out

  88. I ran away from home as a teenager and slept the night in a cave at the beach over the road from where we lived

  89. My Dad lives in Queensland which is too far away

  90. My younger sister lives in Victoria which is also too far away

  91. My older sister lives in South Australia and although it’s closer, it’s still too far away

  92. One of my best mates in the world is Paul Frederickson who comes from San Diego and that is beyond too far away. We met in Cairns in 1980, he was the best lumper at CSR

  93. I have been through over 30 states in America but never been to Uluru and only went to Tasmania for the first time this year

  94. I went to Carine High School in year 11 & 12 and went back to work there as chaplain 14 years later. I worked there for 11 years before moving to Busselton in 2004

  95. I love swap meets, garage sales, auctions, 2nd hand shops and bargain hunting generally. I love to haggle

  96. The most spectacular place I’ve ever seen is the Grand Canyon, the most amazing place is Mt Rushmore

  97. I have many many weaknesses which cause considerable pain and heartache at times, to me and to others, especially my family

  98. I am not good at resolving conflicts or arguments

  99. I am not good with money

  100. I once wrestled a Grizzly Bear to win a $100 bet

NB. One of these statements is not true.
posted by Marcus @ 10:30 PM 7 comments

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sports Update

Holt Press
Sport Update

I played squash tonight against a kid from school who called me Mr Holt. That's guaranteed to make you feel old. Thankfully I beat him 3-0 to restore some sense of youth.

Spurs drew 2-2 with Wigan Athletic last night. I'm not sure why they would even allow a team in the competition with a name like Wigan Athletic!

For the footy lovers out there (Aussie Rules that is) you may like to follow the misadventures of our fantasy football league on my new blog, CFFL2006. It's pretty much a die-hards site but I've set it up to be a team blog so all 8 of us in the league can blog on it, should be a lot of fun.

I've also included a link for Sport Boy's blog for the Commonwealth Games, Sport Boy Goes to Melbourne. He/we will be reporting each day on news and events from Melbourne so that his classmates can follow his adventures on the internet, pretty cool huh?

A rare event

The weekend before last we went to the beach mission reunion at Bruce and Jacqui's place in Shenton Park. It's always a lot of fun but this year there was a special bonus. Jacqui pointed out this flower which is one of those rare species that only flowers one night each year. We just happened to be there on it's special night to see it in all it's glory. We had some friends, John and Tracey, who had a similar plant in their garden years ago. They called it Hector and each year on the night it was due to flower they'd hold a Hector party. This one doesn't have a nickname and I have no idea what it's botanic or common names are, but I was suitably impressed. I think it's a type of orchid.
I hope whatever insect is responsible for helping it carry on was on hand for the big night. Posted by Picasa

Holt Press: July 2005

More from my blog year in review, this time a light-hearted science experiment!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Blow Fly V Microwave

Holt Press
I had an interesting experience at lunchtime. As I took my lasagne out of the microwave a blowfly was buzzing round the kitchen. I opened the door to see if I could lure said blowfly into the trap. In it flew, I shut the door and turned the dial, wondering how much micr-waving is required to kill a blowfly, and whether at some point it would burst and splat all over the inside of the oven. I know you too are curious to find out the answers.
The fly continued living up to it's name for about 15 seconds and then became still. I gave it another 5 seconds before opening the door. Thereupon I discovered the fly, legs in the air, dead but intact. I was satisfied, the pest was dead but I wasn't forced to call in Harvey Keitel to do a Pulp Fiction style clean-up.
The lasagne was very tasty.

I spoke to Zac today and Anne from Fusion who is helping him prepare for the trip to England. All going well he will leave Perth on August 8. That is if he's got his passport by then! I checked a website today and their is a fast processing service (One Hour Passports?) for an additional fee. I think we may have to avail ourselves of this service if he's going to make it!

It's Friday arvo, footy training in an hour, Friday night footy on TV, flicking between it and the cricket, kids soccer in the morning and Geelong v The Bulldogs tomorrow lunchtime. Bring it on!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Two funny stories.

Holt Press
When my Dad started his blog, Holtieshouse, he began by posting lots of jokes. He still posts some jokes but nowadays there are more personal stories and interesting feature series about places he's lived, the story of my Grandfather's life, Australian history and culture, people he admires etc. I don't normally blog jokes, there are too many of them to choose from, but I did hear a funny one at the quiz night last night which I thought I'd share in my Dad's honour. (Not that it has anything to do with him, I just know he'll laugh, hope you do too.)

I'll also post an interesting story I read in this morning's newsletter at church.

The quiz night joke first:

A man went to the doctor to get the results of some tests.
The doctor said "It's bad news I'm afraid, you've got two serious illnesses."
"First, I'm sorry to say you have cancer."

After a brief pause to allow the man time to take in the news the doctor continued,
"You also have Alzheimer's"

"Shit, that's a relief "said the man, "I thought you were going to say I had cancer!"

From the church newsletter:

A man spent most of his life working hard to get rich. Then one day he heard that you couldn't take your money to heaven when you die. So distraught was he at this news that he began praying and pleading with God for an exemption so that he wouldn't lose his great wealth.
So insistent was he that eventually God relented on the rule and agreed to allow him to bring whatever he could fit into one garbage bag.
For the next few years the man accumulated as much gold as he could, carefully placing it in the garbage bag.
The fateful day came and the man died. As he arrived at the Pearly Gates he was told by the angels on duty that no possessions could be brought in. The man protested, insisting that God had given him special permission, so they called St Peter and asked him to deal with it. After checking with God Peter called back and said, "It's alright, God say's it's ok, he can bring in the bag."
Surprised but obedient, the angels granted the man permission to enter but, curious to find out what could be so important, asked to see what's in the bag. The man agrees to their request.
As he opens the bag the angels exclaim in disbelief, "Pavement!"

Broken Heart

Holt Press
My job has many highs and many lows. This post from June 2005 recounts my contact with a broken hearted year 8 boy, the victim of teasing and bullying.

What's wrong with people? What's wrong with kids? I had a heart breaking experience this afternoon, a little kid in year 8 was brought to my office in tears. What made him so sad? Kids picking on him. Kids being cruel. Kids being bullies. Kids with no idea how much pain they cause by their teasing, name calling, picking on and unnecessary behaviour. He's a nice kid, inoffensive, small, no obvious reason why anyone would give him a hard time, but unfortunately somewhere along the way he was labelled "target" by someone and now his life is miserable.
Each time he fought back the tears and tried to compose himself another wave of sadness washed over him. "Nothing ever goes right, it's too hard, it hurts too much, why can't something just go right?" I wanted to wrap him up in a hug and tell him someone cares about him but of course that's not acceptable! Bullies can get away with their destructive behaviour but carers are prevented from reaching out to kids in need, it's a sad reflection of the modern world. I silently prayed for him as I listened to his sad story and tried to find out what good things he has going on, if he has any friends, what is OK in his world. Thankfully there are a couple of friends, but sometimes you need more than that to get you through. He needs some help and some protection. I'll work on that, in the meantime I gave him some chocolate to cheer him up and walked with him to his pick up spot after school to keep an eye out for a particular bully he was afraid would be looking for him.
I ask again what's wrong with people that they are so cruel, uncaring and insensitive that they make a game or a pasttime out of making other people unhappy? For all the good in the world and all the good people trying to make a difference, there is something very dark in the heart of man and we see it expressed through pain and destruction at every level.
"I have come to give peace, not as the world gives" was one of the things Jesus said. The contrast is pretty stark at times like this, there are two ways to live, one that cares and gives and loves and respects and reaches out and builds up and supports and encourages. And one that destroys. God help me to be one of the first type. posted by Marcus @ 5:26 PM 3 comments

Holt Press: June 2005

Holt Press: June 2005: The first year of Holt Press in review.
One of the "highlights" of 2005 was the stranding and subsequent rescue of a large pod of false killer whales on the beach at Busselton. I, and the rest of the town, went down for a look. The rescue was remarkably effective, with just one animal dying.

Last I heard they were well out to sea and being waved goodbye by the many local school kids who came down to witness a special and memorable moment. One of these kids is my son Paul, guess which one!! Posted by Hello

posted by Marcus @ 12:43 AM 2 comments

When I arrived at 2:00pm the beach was covered in whales but by 3:00 o'clock they were all in the water and about to swim away. A fleet of boats came round behind them and herded them out toward deeper water, making lots of noise so as to deter them from heading back in and beaching again. Posted by Hello

posted by Marcus @ 12:40 AM 0 comments

As each whale was pulled into the water the volunteer teams would nurse and stabilise it until finally they were all in the water so they could all move off together. Posted by Hello

posted by Marcus @ 12:38 AM 0 comments

Teams of people using slings and timing their efforts to coincide with the waves managed to move the whales from the sand to the water in about 3-4 goes. The media were everywhere. Posted by Hello

posted by Marcus @ 12:37 AM 0 comments

There were about 140 whales on the beach, in two places about 1 km apart, and thousands of people there to rescue, support or watch what was a quite amazing scene. It was a cold rough day on Geographe Bay, more well-known for it's calm waters. Posted by Hello

posted by Marcus @ 12:35 AM 0 comments

The only casualty from yesterday's whale beaching and rescue in Busselton, a false killer whale, ironic really. Posted by Hello

posted by Marcus @ 12:32 AM 0 comments "

A Saturday of Serendipity

Holt Press
I didn't get to sleep in as long as I'd have liked this morning due to noise and conflict waking me before I was ready; the joys of living with teenagers. Of course if I'd gotten to bed before 4am the lack of sleep wouldn't have been such an issue! After playing cards last night I sat up blogging and playing around with some of my pictures on the computer and before I knew it it was 4 o'clock, time flies when you're having fun!!

After the conflict was resolved and I had a shower I went to a garage sale I'd heard about, but there was nothing of interest to me so I kept the $5 I'd borrowed from Carolyn's purse and headed for Rumen's Auction rooms for their Saturday morning auction. Again, there wasn't much to attract me but I did buy some serving trays that should be useful at beach mission, and 2 golf bags, in reasonable condition for the bargain price of $2! Mine is going mouldy and falling apart so being able to choose the best of a pair for $2 was a pretty good deal!

Carolyn and the kids went down to the beach at the jetty intending to take Sport Boy on the water slides at The Nautical Lady amusement centre but the prices were a bit expensive so they settled for a swim and a play on the beach. Sport Boy was disappointed but he recovered ok.

I came home and started working on my painting. It was very pleasant sitting out on the patio, painting and enjoying the lovely weather. Mum and Walter arrived for a visit, they are setting off for Victoria early Monday morning so this was there last opportunity to see us before they went away. We sat and talked while I painted, very peaceful and relaxing. Walter told me an amazing story about a friend of his who is sick in hospital with a broken neck. He's an elderly man whose wife died a few years ago. Walter visits him from time to time. I'll write a little more about him and the story in question at a later date.

I finished the painting, my first, and while it's no masterpiece, I am pleased with it. It feels good to have had a go at something I've never tried before. I chose a fairly safe style to begin with, based on one of my geometric doodles. Playing around with the shape, colour, balance and design was fun. I'll be buying more canvases and playing around with it some more for sure.
You can judge it for yourself from the pic here. It doesn't matter whether you like it or not, I do and I had fun doing it and it's encouraged me to keep experimenting and having a go.

I cooked a BBQ for dinner although Mum has fully embraced Vicki's rabbit food diet so she stuck with her bowl of salad while we ate sausages and kebabs. She's lost 5kg already and is feeling good about it and about herself.

After tea Mum and Walter headed home to Bridgetown. I tried unsuccessfully to get them to stay the night and come with us to a quiz night but Walter's homing pigeon radar was in full flight and there was no stopping him. Carolyn and I went to the quiz night on spec, hoping to pick up a team and were pleased to find a team of 4 in need of some extra help who welcomed us as the quiz was about to begin.
We had a great time, lots of fun and laughs and we ended up 2nd, sort of! Quiz nights have a tendency to go a bit feral at times, the combination of a big mob of people, lots of alcohol and plenty of noise and commotion seems to bring it out of people but this was a first even for me, a regular quiz night afficianado. A woman came out to hand in her answers and fell over. When she got up she started staggering a little and next thing you know she'd lifted her top and exposed her breasts right in front of our table! As you can imagine this produced a raucous response from the crowd and a lot of raised eyebrows and stunned expressions!

Despite this bizarre interruption the quiz flowed well until about half way through, then it started drifting off the rails, taking longer and longer to get through each round before it finally ended at 11.30. We had been doing well, at one stage leading by 2 points but a bad round 9 saw us fall behind the leaders. We scored 9/10 in the last round and were pretty confident we'd take 2nd place so we were a little confused when a team who had been 8 points behind us with 2 rounds left were announced as 2nd place getters and awarded the prizes. When we queried the result the scorers discovered they had made a mistake in their adding up of the scores, wrongly giving the other group 18 points instead of 8 in round 9 and elevating them wrongfully into second spot. The judges were apologetic but we weren't fussed about it or missing out on the prizes, it was just good to find out what had gone wrong and why we'd been overlooked. They couldn't do much about it by then anyway because the prizes had been awarded and people were leaving but they did dig up a few consolation prizes for us which was a nice gesture. The beautiful irony of this was that amongst the prizes they gave us were 4 free passes to The Nautical Lady! Sport Boy will be pleased!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

May 12 2005: Cats Triumph

Holt Press
As I search back through my first 12 months of blog posts I'm choosing 1-2 from each month to republish. This post was written after Carolyn and I went to Melbourne to see Geelong play St Kilda in round 7 last season. We visited family and also went down to visit our son Zac, aka The Heir, in Tasmania. We had a great time on the whole trip, not least at the footy.

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!

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Case of Good Timing

Sport Boy asked me last night if I could come and watch his Beach Carnival today but I knew I had a very busy day so I said I wouldn't be able to. However, things turned out in his favour because the bike ride I went on with a yr 10 phys ed class this morning happened to go past the beach front where the kids were competing. I got there just in time to capture this race on the sand. Jack won the race, he wins every race cause he's the quickest little kid around. Sport Boy had a lovely time regardless of the results. Posted by Picasa

Country Week, Canvass, Camp and Croup

Holt Press
I had a mixed day which included beginning to sort out the various tasks I have to do now that I've taken on the job of being Country Week Manager for the school. It's a big job. There will be about 150 people in the team including coaches and we'll spend a week in Perth, primarily playing sport against all the other country high schools in WA, but also going out each night, to dinner, skating, shopping etc.

I bought 3 tickets to the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games via the internet. The girls on the trip had the option to go and in the end only 2 of them wanted to (or could afford to!) the tickets are over $400!! It's a lot of money but as I said to the girls and their parents, it's going to be a very special event and a once in a lifetime opportunity. Of course it would have been a lot better if we'd been allocated tickets in the first and second ballots when there were still seats for $100 and $200 but we missed out both times. I don't know how it will compare with the opening of the Sydney Olympics but considering the rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne I reckon they'll be trying their best to match it.

After I got home from work I started on my long-awaited art project, my first painting. I've had the canvass for several months, and bought some paint before Christmas, but it has taken until now to start. I've got no idea whether it'll be any good but I'm just gonna have a go! Rest assured I'll be posting a picture of it on Holt Press when it's finished.

Tonight I drove down to the Venison Farm campsite near Margaret River to run some team building games for the kids on the Student Council and House Captains camp. Gaultie is running it, with Penne, the new events coordinator, they're both good value so the kids will have a great time. The games seemed to go pretty well, especially the high performance sequence games with bean bags. I learnt them while doing a couple of terms at a drama school before I got married and I still use them for leadership development and team building. There is a great group of kids on the camp which made my job easier, it's always fun working with motivated students, not having to deal with discipline stuff and being able to get into challenging and constructive activities where they can begin to grow and shine.

I would have been going to bed now but Sport Boy has woken up pretty distressed with an attack of croup, we've given him ventolin and steam and he's settled down a lot but we may still need to take him to the hospital if it flares up again. The joys of parenthood.

Brush With a Blogger #3

Holt Press
An occasional series inwhich I interview random strangers and publish their stories on my blog. This interview with a 20 year old uni student called Jess occurred on the bus from Perth to Busselton.
(I have expanded the Brush With a Blogger interview questions which will explain why this post is twice as long as previous BWAB's)

What is one of your clear and strong childhood memories?

Being towed around the farm by my brother on a motorbike, sitting in a wheelbarrow without wheels . I was about 6 or 7. I got hurt but I ended up tough.

What is something that you regret?

Starting smoking. It's a waste of money and I can't give it up, it's the worst thing I've done.

What are you proud of?

I'm proud of being a nurse, it's really good, I love it. And I'm proud of my family, we're a big family, I'm the 5th of 6 kids. I'm close to my parents, and we're all still together, they're really cool. I'm proud to be from my family and to be an Australian.

What is your dream for the future?

I have a five year plan. First I want to finish my nursing degree. Then I want to travel in Europe and the UK and work in Scotland. After that I want to go and work in a 3rd world country because I'm selfish and it will help me feel good.

Who has been a significant influence on you and why?

My ex boyfriend Dave, he taught me a lot without meaning to. We only went out for a year. He was the first person to break my heart, he showed me who I am, made me a different sort of person. He taught me to like myself.

What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?

A weakness is making decisions for other people, they don't work out. I'm a good friend which can be a strength and a weakness.
A strength is that I can laugh at any situation.
I am sensitive and can be cut down because I take stuff to heart and worry about what other people think.

What are the best and worst decisions you've made?

The best was moving to WA from Victoria and from uni in Adelaide.
The worst was to form a tavern crew at uni! I missed a lot of classes and failed a lot of subjects because of that tavern crew, even though it was fun.

What is your concept of God?

I'm unsure. I'm open-minded as to what's out there but I believe there's something out there.
I believe if you do good you get good in return, karma, you get what you give. I don't believe or agree with religions, they just start fights.