Wednesday, January 31, 2007

HoltiesHouse Nominated for The Bloggies

My Dad's blog, HoltiesHouse has been nominated for best Australian or New Zealand Blog in the Bloggie Awards. I'm sure he'd appreciate your vote. If you feel so inclined, follow this link.
Vote for HoltiesHouse.

13 Circles

Here's the finished painting that I've mentioned the last couple of days. It took longer for me to decide it was finished than most of my other stuff. Most of them have a logical finishing point, when the pattern is complete, not so with this one and I ran the risk of over-doing it. Wilma told me tonight that she has wrecked a couple of good paintings by not stopping soon enough. There are several layers of paint, used to create texture and I re-did several parts of it before I was satisfied. It's on a 30" x 30" canvas, and is for sale for $350. Let me know if you're interested!

NB. A number of people have commented on an Aboriginal influence or feel to my paintings. I know what they mean, I can see it, but it is entirely unintentional. Aboriginal paintings all tell a story, I don't have a story in mine, certainly not an intentional one! Perhaps under analysis they would reveal all sorts of secrets and subliminal messages I've been repressing, but I doubt it. I just like lines and patterns and colours and try to put them together in ways that appeal to me.
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One Black Line, One Green Spot

One Black Line, One Green Spot

This is on a large canvas and I worked on it for several nights until I was happy with it. Several people commented on it at the markets last week and I really thought one lady was going to buy it but her husband wasn't so impressed!
It's for sale for $350.
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I started this at the PD Day last week, continued working on it at The Breakfast Club and finished it a couple of days later at home.
Sport Boy asked if he could have it.
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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How much is that Doggy in the Window?

Spotted on my travels of late.

It was back to school (work) today although it was a fairly gentle start, the kids don't commence until Wednesday.
It's been pretty hot in Busso the last few days, perfect for trying out my brand new air conditioner! My office was an oasis of cool today, very pleasant. I had a bit of tidying up and rearranging to do as a result of the installers coming in to fit the AC during the holidays. The putting things back is no problem but the thin layer of red brick dust which has settled on just about everything in my office is a bit more of a hassle.
Lunch was provided for the staff today but it was a little too gourmet for my taste, spinach roulade, gourmet pizza slices (with pine nuts no less) and things with way too much egg and vegetables for me. It was a complete contrast to the normal staff catering of sauasage rolls and carrot cake, which I tend to avoid as well. Something more in between suits me better, I'm a man of simple tastes really!
I cruised through Jacksons this afternoon and found they were having a discout sale on paints! Oh oh! Lookout!!
I left with a smallish bag of new colours and a new canvas, both of which were put to use when I got home. I've finished one and have started another, I've really got the bug at the moment, and I'm going for bigger pieces, which require more work and more paint.
I can't post a pic tonight coz I left the camera at work, hopefully I'll get it sussed for tomorrow night.

When I got home from work Sport Boy was a sleep on my bed. Turns out he slept for about 4 hours. Guess what, now it's 1.30 in the morning and he can't sleep!! He and Sophie have been playing and laughing for the last hour, and talking with Carolyn. He ran laps up and down the living room for about an hour earlier in an effort to tire himself out, with no success.
Jordan spent the day jetty jumping but came home injured having scraped his underarms while climbing back up onto the jetty after each jump, and cutting his foot on a barnacle. There's a fine line between pleasure and pain.

Things seem to have quietened down, I hgaven't heard any laughter from Sport Boy for the last 10 minutes or so, hopefully he's finally succumbed to sleep.
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Monday, January 29, 2007

Bits of Saturday, Bits of Sunday, it's all a Blur

Hazy recollections of events that may or may not have transpired sometime Saturday or Sunday.

I slept till after lunchtime, that sort of dozey, disturbed sleep that happens when the sun is up and the silence of the night is replaced by the low hum and occasional thump or crash of day time activity in a typical home. Carolyn and the kid's return from church signalled the approaching end of my slumber.

Once vertical I compromised and sat, in this case in the lounge chair to watch the tennis; Grunting Williams beating the Shrieking Sharapova! Then a dvd, Flight 93, the story of the 4th plane on Sep 11, which was quite moving. Imagine knowing you were going to die, making your final phone calls, saying goodbyes under such dreadful circumstances.

I began getting a few things ready for my imminent return to work, tidying up the study, sorting out papers while Carolyn and Sport Boy went for a swim. He got to go jetty jumping, Jordan and a couple of mates were already down there indulging in the most popular free activity in Busselton.

later we fulfilled a promise I'd made to Sport Boy ans went to see Night at the Museum, a Ben Stiller comedy with an impressive ensemble supporting cast and we all enjoyed it.
We then took a Sunday drive out to Port Geographe and Wonnerup, ending up at a garage sale where we bought an old stained glass window hanging on a chain which we'll hang in the patio and hopefully it will catch the afternoon sun.

While Roger Federer completed his inexorable conquest of the Fernando Gonzales and the Australian Open I worked on a new painting, this time incorporating a lot of texture, building up layers of paint in different patterns. The feedback from Petticoat Lane the other night suggested that people really like paitings with texture, so being a slave to fashion I'm giving them what they want!!! Obviously I'm not enslaved but having already experimented a little anyway I may as well explore the style a little further and see what eventuates.
I'll post the results in a day or two, depending on how long it takes to "finish" it.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

By the dawn's early light

The night finished better than it started, although it was the longest shift I've worked, 4.00pm to 6.00am. Made about $230 plus tips. Not brilliant, but very handy.

Good night.(morning!)

Disappointing Night in the Cab (so far)

Just called in at home to
A. go to the dunny
B. Get a Vanilla Diet Coke
C. Blog!

It's been a very quiet night, hardly made enough money to warrant the effort required!
Probably got another couple of hours to go and it's already dead dead dead!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

No Longer a Single Parent

After two weeks away visiting her family in Geelong Carolyn has returned home.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Big Sister Little Brother

Sport Boy and Sophie were happy to see one another when she got back from Planetshakers in Perth.

Today has been spent doing lots of jobs around the house.
Tidying and rearranging all three kid's bedrooms.
Doing three loads of washing.
Framing and hanging several new paintings.
Sorting out frames and canvases for new paintings to come.
Being driven around town by Sophie while each of us did messages at various places.
Doing a short shift in the taxi, it wasn't busy so I came home early.

Carolyn gets home tomorrow night, better keep on with the housework and cleaning tomorrow!
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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sacred Ground!

I took my thongs off for this shot because I was about to stand on "sacred ground"! Behind me is the exact spot where Phil stood to welcome the teams in The Amazing Race when an episode brought them to Perth, Fremantle and Rottnest a couple of years ago.
I can see the need to incorporate this spot into this year's Cool School Race Camp!
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Sunset on the Canning River

This is the view from the end of the street where Sally and Warren have bought a house, very nice. We went for a walk around the river after dinner but I was disappointed that the comet was no longer visible. When we got home we watched The Constant Gardener, a reasonable film.
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Sunday Night1s Accommodation

I found a spot where I could park and not be easily seen from the road for my night in the car on Sunday night. I appreciated having a proper bed to sleep in the following night!!
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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

PD in Perth

Apologies faithful reader for the lack of blog action at Holt Press the last couple of days, I've been in Perth for some PD days and this is the first chance I've had to blog.
The PD went well, it's always good to get together with people, and some of the input was interesting and stimulating, especially the Bible studies by Ian Robinson this morning. Ian is the brother of Bruce, a good friend of urs and fellow Augusta Beach Mission team member.

I was able to combine painting and listening which was very relaxing and also helped keep me awake. Warm afternoons sitting and listening following a big lunch are often an invitation for the para-sympathetic nervous system to kick in and send a message to my brain saying "Sleep"! The painting was a good preventative measure.

I came up on Sunday night but left later than I'd planned because of delays in sorting things out with the kids; getting Paul picked up to spend a couple of days at Ben's, and cooking a BBQ dinner with Sophie and Jordan who stayed home together while I've been up here. I wanted to leave enough food for them not to starve in my absence.
All of this made my arrival in Perth pretty late, about 1.30am in fact, and to my surprise and horror, when I got to the place where I had arranged to stay the door was locked and I couldn't get in!!!! I felt it was too late to wake anyone up so I went looking for alternative accommodation but the only place I found open, The Esplanade wanted $276 for a room (booking in at 2.00am!), needless to say I declined! In the absence of any other options I found a place to park under the trees at Phoenix Primary School, lay the passenger seat down and slept in the car. Slept is a somewhat generous term to describe how I passed the night but I must have managed a few hours because the phone woke me at 8.00am. A rinse of mouthwash had to suffice for my morning ablutions, brekfast was courtesy of the Golden Arches, and I arrived at the PD day earlier than I ever have before!

I'm glad to say that my accommodation was much more satisfactory last night and I luxuriated in a bed and enjoyed a hot shower before day two of the PD.

Tonight has been most enjoyable, a BBQ dinner with Phil, Hugh and Broadie, the members of the Breakfast Club, in fact it's the first time in several meetings that all four members have been present. We talked about taxi driving, art, travel, returning to school (work) for two of us next week, in-laws, job prospects and of course, some secret men's business.
Phil's just gone to bed, leaving me to blog before retiring.

He made 7 picture frames for my paintings today which I hope will increase my chances of selling some at the Petticoat Lane Street Markets in Busselton tomorrow night.
We're going to Ikea to check out some other frames tomorrow morning before I head south for home.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mark and Jill

The marriage of

Mark to Jill

Saturday 20th January 2007

Order of Service

Mark and Jill to greet guests as they arrive. (4:30pm)

Welcome and introduction of John Hutchinson.

My name is Marcus Holt and apart from being a taxi driver, my day job is as the chaplain of Busselton SHS. While that gives some idea of why I’m performing this wedding ceremony, the real reason is that Jill and I are old friends, having gone to school together at Carine. It’s an honour to be able to marry her and Mark today. Thank you all for coming.

This is a very special day. All weddings are special but when it’s yours it can become one of the greatest days of your life.

In honour of this special day and our long friendship I arranged a couple of extra things to make it memorable, firstly there was a parade through the streets of Busselton this afternoon with hundreds of people lining the streets,(The Busselton Festival Street Parade) and secondly, I’ve organised a special light show tonight courtesy of Comet McNaught in the south western sky just after sunset. Please accept these as my gifts to you!

Marcus: (to the audience)

To you, the family and friends of Mark and Jill, as you bear witness to this marriage, will you promise to do all in your power to uphold and care for these two in their life together?

Audience: We will

Wedding message: Marcus Holt
See Below

Exchange of marriage vows:


Mark, will you take Jill to be your wife so you can openly share your life together?

Will you give her the honour due to her as your wife and promise to love, protect and support her through all of life’s celebrations and challenges for as long as you both shall live?

Mark: I will


Jill, will you take Mark to be your husband so you can openly share your life together? Will you give him the honour due to him as your husband and promise to love, protect and support him through all of life’s celebrations and challenges for as long as you both shall live?

Jill: I will


Marcus: Please join hands and repeat after me


I, Mark, take you, Jill,

to be my wife and partner from this day forward.

I give you my hand and my heart.

I will be yours in times of sickness and health,

in failure and triumph.

I promise to love and respect you,

care for you and laugh with you

and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.


I, Jill, take you, Mark,

to be to be my husband and partner from this day forward.

I give you my hand and my heart.

I will be yours in times of sickness and health,

in failure and triumph.

I promise to love and respect you,

care for you and laugh with you

and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.

Marcus: intro to ring ceremony. (Rings presented by nephews of Mark and Jill)

It is traditional for husbands and wives to exchange rings on their wedding day. Rings are symbolic in a number of ways. They are made of precious metal representing the high value and purity of marriage; are circular, representing eternal things, and mirror one another signifying that both partners have equal responsibility in ensuring a successful marriage. They are intended to be worn at all times, as a sign to the world that the wearer belongs to another, is committed to their partner, and, as a reminder to the wearer, of the promises they have made; to fidelity, to honour and to love.

Mark: Jill, I give you this ring as a seal of my promise

and as a symbol of my love.

Jill: Mark, I give you this ring as a seal of my promise

and as a symbol of my love.

Declaration of Marriage: John

By the authority of the laws of Australia and in the sight of these witnesses, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

Marcus: You may now kiss.

Signing of the register: Music: Nick Cave Into my Arms

Conclusion: by Marcus, including a prayer of blessing.

Presentation: Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to present, Mr and Mrs Haydock.

Recessional: Music: Sail Away, David Gray

Message for Mark and Jill's Wedding

There are weddings and there is marriage. Let’s not confuse them. Weddings are big events, there are all sorts of details to organise, dresses and suits and flowers and guest lists and food and drink and cars and photos and politics and presents and so on and so on. Getting to the altar can come as a big relief after all the effort involved in getting here. Weddings can seem like fairytales with the heroes riding off into a golden sunset and living happily ever after, end of story.

Let me share a couple of little secrets with you.

Weddings are the easy part.

And, happily ever after is as rare as a comet blazing a trail across the night sky.

Weddings last a day.

Honeymoons might last a couple of weeks.

But marriages are meant to last a lifetime.

Did you spot the difference?

Marriage is one of the most profound and important institutions in all of human life.

And the reason it is so important is because like a comet, it has it’s origins in the heavens.

When God started life and created the first man and woman, he did it for a reason, so that they would be companions, friends, helpers for each other, lovers, parents, joined as one flesh, life partners.

God put a seal upon the act of marriage that carries his blessing, and his hopes.

It takes a lot of work to organise a successful wedding.

It takes a life time of work to build a successful marriage. Good marriages are no accident.

They don’t just happen. Sure some people are more compatible than others, better suited to living their lives together, yet even they don’t just sail through it without challenge or conflict, and for lesser mortals like me it is a veritable minefield of difficulty.

So, what advice would I give to the two of you as you enter into this commitment of your lives to one another?

I speak as a 20 year veteran who has been wounded in battle and is not certain I’ll have the strength required to last the distance. The first thing I’d say is neither of you should expect to get out of this alive! By that I mean, you should understand that marriage is meant to be for life, that the only way out is death! When you make your vows in a moment, the last line says, “for as long as we both shall live”. They don’t say, “for as long as it feels good” or “for as long as I want until I’m bored or have had enough or have found someone better”. Marriage is meant to last a lifetime.

We all know the reality is that more than 50% of marriages don’t last. Lots of people opt out.

The divorce rate is getting higher all the time, and many people don’t even get married any more.

Here’s something to contemplate: I suggest that 99% of people standing at the altar as you are now believe they will stay married for life, that this is the right one for them and the honeymoon and in love experience will carry them through.

Sadly, it doesn’t work out that way.

The big question is why?

And what can be done to prevent becoming another statistic?

I don’t have all the answers and I can’t make any promises, but I can offer these suggestions.


Commitment to one another and to your marriage, commitment that you won’t give up, that you’ll keep working on it and looking for ways to make it work. Commitment to one another at the exclusion of all others. Commitment to forgive. Unless you are in the tiny minority, you are going to have arguments and there will be times when one or both of you does or says something that hurts the other. At that moment you can either build scar tissue or apply healing treatment. If you forgive one another, laying aside blame and condemnation and retribution and the need to win the argument, as opposed to preserving your marriage, it will grow stronger and closer and more secure. If you hold onto your hurts and bring them out again next time conflict arises you’ll build up so much scar tissue that you’ll end up unable to feel, unable to respond to intimacy.

While I don’t know Jill that well, I have known her for a long time and there are a few things I have observed over that time. I know she is committed and I know that she has courage. When we were at high school together something happened to Jill that could have been devastating. Jill became pregnant. It was a shock to all of us and amazing to see skinny little Jill getting bigger as baby Rebecca grew inside her. Why do I say she has commitment and courage? Because I think most of us would not have made the decision she made. At 17 it would have been so much more convenient to not have a child. But Jill faced the consequences of her actions and accepted responsibility for the life she had helped create and went ahead and had a baby at a time when most kids are just that, still kids. It took commitment to have a child and courage to face up to the undoubted criticism and rumours that came with it. It took courage to be a young single mum, to raise a child, to be a parent, the biggest responsibility any person can ever have. Jill did it, she succeeded. I’m sure there were plenty of struggles and tears along the way but Rebecca stands here today as living testimony to Jill’s commitment and courage. I don’t know much of Mark’s background, whether he fell pregnant as a teenager for instance, but I can tell him this, if he is willing to show the same commitment and courage as his wife-to-be then they are well on the way to a successful marriage. I don’t say these things to accuse or embarrass Jill, I say them to applaud her, to honour her for the things she has done and the way she has dealt with the challenges life has dealt her. Jill, you’ve shown you have the strength and will to handle tough circumstances. Approach your marriage to Mark with that same attitude and you’ll be ok.

Marriage requires communication. Communication is a buzzword. We all know it. There are courses and books to help us improve our communication. We all tend to believe we’re good at it. While some people are better communicators than others, the reality is that there are specific communication skills that we can learn and practise in order to be better at it.

I’m not going to give a lecture on Communication 101, I’m just going to tell you one thing so I hope you’re listening: I hope you’re listening! That’s it, I hope you’re listening.

The myth is that good communicators are good talkers. The reality is that good communicators are good listeners. They take the time to listen, to tune in, to actively seek to understand what the other person is saying. When you stop talking and trying to get your point across and start listening to your partner, how they feel, what they are thinking, what their hopes and fears are you begin to really know them as a person. When that happens and you are less worried about pushing your point of view and more concerned with hearing and understanding you will have broken through a barrier that will open up doors of opportunity for intimacy, growth and love.

Whenever I’ve been involved in a communication skills workshop and done listening exercises aimed at helping people understand the importance and impact of listening I have received a consistent response to the question, “How does it feel to be listened to?”

“It feels good, I feel important, I feel like the listener cares and understands, I feel valued, I feel loved.”

Mark, the challenge for this one is more in your court. You have one basic handicap in life. You’re a man. As such, you’re not naturally wired for listening. It will probably take more of an effort for you. But I give you this guarantee; if you make the effort to truly listen to Jill you will be richly rewarded.

Finally, I want to say this about marriage and I speak from my personal experience. It can be challenging, exciting, difficult, joyful, annoying, fulfilling, infuriating, wonderful, exasperating, and fun.

Let’s face it, trying to live successfully with another person, learning to deal with one another’s foibles and habits, putting up with their weaknesses and fears and coping with their different moods and energies, dreams and desires is a full time job. I can tell you that but for God I would not have survived this long. While capable of good things, I’m inconsistent and fallible. It’s only with the help of God that I have the grace and mercy required to make it work. I rely on him and look to him for the help and strength I need when I can’t cope on my own. Whether you are a believer or not, God wants your marriage to be good, he wants it to last, he wants to bless it and to see it last the distance. Don’t be afraid to ask for his help, he’s more than willing to give it.

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Too Late and Too Tired to Blog Now

Just finished a 12 hour shift in the cab.

Did Jill and Mark's wedding this afternoon.

Pictures and story to follow.

Good night.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Robert McNaught of Comet McNaught Fame

An Aussie astronomer who discovered the comet last year. I bet he's stoked!
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Comet McNaught as seen over New Zealand

It's been elusive, blocked by clouds a couple of nights, but tonight Comet McNaught was unbelievably spectacular. I hope you saw it. It appeared in WA skies a bit after 9.00pm and grew in size and splendour over the next hour before setting below the horizon, though it's huge tail was still visible for some time afterwards. I'd been scanning the sky hoping it would reappear, the sky was clear and cloudless, and then it came into view and I was awed but I was not prepared for how much more impressive it would become as it traversed the night sky. I've never seen anything as beautiful or inspiring. Haley's comet was a huge disappointment but McNaught totally makes up for it.
I was telling everyone to look at it including all my taxi customers. I pulled up at the yacht club where there was a room full of bingo playersand I interrupted them, much to the bingo callers disgust! But when people realised what I was saying they rushed outside and all oohed ahhed and thanked me for telling them it was visible.
Then I started working the phones, ringing everyone I could think of to tell them to get outside and have a look. Only two of them had seen it, Letchy and Undies, the rest were just as impressed as I was when they saw it.
It was phenomenal.

It's no wonder the star of Bethlehem created such a stir when it appeared at the birth of Christ, if it was anything like this comet it would have been amazing!

If you missed it, check it out tomorrow night, in the south west, left of mercury not long after sunset.
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Friday, January 19, 2007

One man's scrap is another man's chopper ride

It all started when I spotted this collection of sofas and arm chairs in the carpark at Albie's Bar and Bistro (reputed to serve the best steak in town) while driving the cab the other day. Ever alert to a bit of unwanted lounge furniture to use in the teen tent at Augusta I made enquiries as to Albie's intentions with said furniture. As I suspected, it was surplus to needs. I offered to take it off their hands. They agreed. The deal was done. I hitched up the trailer and headed for town.

When I say it all started the other day, that's not quite right. It started a couple of weeks ago at the end of beach mission. A large group of us were enjoying the peace and rest that comes at the conclusion of 9 days of hard work. A group of people were sitting on the fold-down sofa I had bought for the teen tent, and had decided to bring home because it was pretty cool and could serve as an extra bed in Jordan's room when he has a friend for a sleepover, when one too many people sat on it (the blame was laid on Tara but she was only the straw that broke the sofa's back) and it gave way under their combined weight, the frame buckling and sinking into the sand.

I wasn't happy but what could I do, it wasn't intentional, just one of those things that happens. Walter was volunteered by Mum to take it home and fix it. Poor Walter! But, sure enough, he took the frame off the sofa and took it home to Bridgetown and a week later they arrived on our doorstep with the repaired frame in the back of the ute. Close inspection will show the support braces he fitted to it after straightening it out. It appears sturdy though the panel beating is a little rough. I'm not unhappy or ungrateful tough, I'm glad to have it back.

The only problem was that we hadn't had enough room to bring the sofa part home on the trailer at the end of the mission so we packed it into the sea container . I'd planned to go down and collect it at some stage. Now the perfect opportunity had arisen, not only could I collect the sofa for reassembly, I could also deliver several new chairs ready for next year's mission at the same time. So, I loaded up the trailer and a reluctant Sport Boy and we set off for Augusta. I say reluctant only because he was tired, swimming lessons this morning had taken a toll.

I phoned Darren to check the Birches were still in Augusta. They were, for one more night, so I set up a rendezvouz so that he could give me a hand with the changeover.

Sofa so good. (Sorry, couldn't resist couching a little pun there, oops, there's another one!)

We headed for the sea container when on the way I spotted a sign that sparked an idea.

Now when I say it all started a couple of weeks ago, what I really mean is it had it's true origin two years ago when a helicopter company started offering scenic flights over Augusta and Cape Leeuwin. I've always wanted to go for a ride in a chopper and I had asked Jordan if he'd like to go in one with me as a "starting high school" treat. (We have done something special with each of the kids when they've reached that milestone of life.) To my amazement (and disappointment) he declined saying he wasn't really keen on the idea but that he'd always wanted to spend a night in a motel so could we do that instead? And so we did, spending a night at the Kings Park motel in West Perth. As a further aside to this story I'll give a verbatim account of a conversation we had on that particular trip.

In recognition of a coming of age, the treat has also been an open invitation for the kids to ask any questions they might have about any subject: life or love or sex or whatever. However, this question took me by surprise:

Dad: Jordy, this is a chance for you to ask any questions you like and I'll try and give you the best answer I can, whatever you want to ask, this is an open invitation.

Jordy: Well, there is something I've always wanted to know Dad.

Dad: Yeah, what's that mate?

Jordy: How does a computer work?

Back to the main story. On the way out to the sea container I spotted the sign advertising the helicopter rides. I rang the tourist bureau who put me in touch with the pilot, we discussed flight times and costs and agreed on a deal, then Sport Boy and I headed out to the airport for a ride in a chopper out around the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse and back. We chose the cheapest option which gave us an 8 minute flight! Not long I admit, but, it was worth it.
We loved it, it was fantastic in fact, so different to flying in a plane, even a small plane. The vertical take off is amazing and we were very quickly skimming the trees and heading out along the ridge and down to the cape. Cape Leeuwin is in fact the most south-westerly point of Australia and is the place where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet. It was spectacular to see it from the air and to take in the cape and the surf beaches, the bays and the bush and then to fly back along the coast and around the outskirts of Augusta. It was brief but brilliant and both Sport Boy and I were ecstatic about our experience.
I highly recommend it.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sam and Sport Boy and the Rabbits

Sport Boy is always looking for company and has made friends with Sam who lives a few streets away, his Dad and I play vets football together.
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A Good Day and a Great Night

Sport Boy is fully recovered from last night's ordeal, he slept soundly and has been as bright as a button all day. He opted not to go to swimming lessons today in case the water aggravated his eyes again and triggered another incident. He thinks that the disturbance to his vision may have triggered his panic. We spent the afternoon riding into and around town. I wanted a basket for my bike to help with the junk mail delivery (I got one but it's performance was not entirely staisfactory, the weight causes it to bend down and become very unwieldy, it needs a support underneath but I haven't found anything to do the job yet). I also wanted a new seat as the original was a pain in the bum, literally! While we were there Sport Boy found a cool new red helmet which I agreed to get for him. Anything that encourages them to wear a helmet is fine by me, I see so many kids not wearing them. I know they're not comfortable, but death and head injury is way worse for those who crash without a skid lid. His friend Sam came over for a little while, they played with the rabbits and shot hoops. Then we had to race down to the jetty beach for volleyball. With my support and encouragement he has gone into business, renting himself out as a ballboy. And he was fully booked on his first night in business, earning $6, $2 a game. I know that's not much to you and me, but to a 9 year old it was pretty cool, and he had a lot of fun in the process, even getting a couple of rounds of applause for his energetic and spectacular exploits as he saved several balls from ending up in the ocean. We then had to finish the junk mail round which meant working until after dark which he didn't enjoy, BUT, we had a huge highlight while we were riding around. As we delivered in one street a man asked us if we'd seen the comet? We turned around and their in the sky was the most spectacular sight, a bright ball of light with a huge tail of firey light trailing behind it, clearly visible to the naked eye and even more impressive through the binoculars the man leant us. It was fantastic, a truly awesome sight. We'd tried unsuccessfully the previous two nights, and tonight the cloud cover was low on the horizon again so I hadn't expected to see it, but it was there and it was magnificent. If you didn't or haven't seen it, try and get a look at it tomorrow night, it is amazing, and is apparently the clearest view of a comet ever witnessed!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

$10,000 first prize winner in the Vasse Art Exhibition.

It wasn't everyone's favourite but I liked it, the triangular shapes are all pieces of wood, placed together like a mosaic. It was much better than either 2nd or 3rd place getters, shown below.

Carolyn liked this vineyard scene, and another one like it. Both were priced around $2000, sorry dear, not this year!

I liked this impressionist scene very much.

Sport Boy liked this unusual painting which was painted like a mosaic.

We all thought this portrait was fantastic.
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To Attention

The kangaroos were ignoring us until I honked the horn, then as one they all stood upright and turned to look at us, as if choreographed by the national ballet! Sport Boy laughed out loud it looked so funny.
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No Comet, but...

On our so far unsuccessful quest to see the Comet McNaught we did spot a mob of kangaroos grazing by the side of the road. This is a remarkably common scene in Busselton, around dusk each day you can find roos in a number of different places, seemingly oblivious to the passing traffic. The one in the middle was very large, and the there were two very light coloured females, not albino but certainly much lighter than the rest of the mob.
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Sport Boy had a panic attack tonight, a very unpleasant experience. I'd gone out to deliver some of Jordan's junk mail, leaving him home watching TV. At 9 years old it's not uncommon for him to be home on his own for short periods. I was out for between 20-30 minutes. When I got back he wasn't here but the phone was ringing. Sue, the new neighbour was calling. He'd gone next door very distressed, "scared" about something but unable to say what. His eyes had been bothering him, possibly as a result of the chlorine in the pool from his swimming lessons. He was crying, shaking and agitated and in a real mess. Even with two of us comforting him he didn't calm down much. He was wobbly and couldn't stand up but after some time he'd calmed down a little bit and I took him for a drive (hoping that looking for the comet might take his mind off it perhaps). We called Carolyn who spoke to him for a long time and prayed for him, both of which helped but he was still very agitated. She suggested I take him round to Noel's place and get him to pray for him. Noel and Steph are the pastor's of our church and great people. Noel taught him some scripture to help him, "God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind" and "Perfect love casts out all fear". This along with some prayers began to see him calm down a bit though it was a slow process. He lay on the sofa for a while saying the verses over and over and the more he did the more settled he became. Thankfully, after about half an hour he stopped shaking and crying and writhing and really brightened up. A little later he was smiling and laughing and back to his old self. The whole episode probably lasted a bit over an hour.
Now he is safely tucked up in my bed and sleeping peacefully.
We don't know what caused it but the prayers and scripture certainly helped it to go away.

I had to smile to myself as I listened to him talking to Carolyn on the phone. She must have asked what had happened when he went to the neighbour's house. His reply was, "She hugged me and nurtured me." Even in his distress he had an impressive turn of phrase!
I'm glad and thankful that he's ok now.

Jordan and Sophie got away safely to Planetshakers though one of them left behind their crockery and cutlery, not sure which one. I rang Big Brother the Accountant who is going to Planetshakers with my niece Amy and arranged for him to provide them with a replacement set so they've got something to eat with.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Time Warp

You know those movies where people switch between time dimensions, jumping back or forward days or years? I think I got caught up in one yesterday.

During the afternoon I drove to the shops with Sport Boy and David Bowie's Young Americans was playing on the radio. It's a good song but you don't hear it very often any more, especially in these PC days when the line "Give me a woman I can sock on the jaw" stirs much disapproval. (One example of PCness that I think is justified.) The song was half way through when I pulled in to the car park and turned off the motor.

Jump forward several hours as Sport Boy and I again set off in the car, this time in search of Comet McNaught. I turned on the car and the radio burst into song, half way through David Bowie's Young Americans! I kid you not!

Monday Morning!

I paid the price for staying up too late on the computer when I staggered out of bed to take Sport Boy to his swimming lessons this morning. I'm sure I wasn't a pretty sight as I enquired about his class. The good news came in two forms, I was able to get him into a level 5 class as he passed level 4 at school, and his class doesn't start until 11.55am each day! Wish I'd known that earlier!

Stu rang wanting to borrow some BBQsfrom work for Planetshakers, I spent about half an hour fixing one with a spanner and grease cup as an improvised screwdriver. I hadn't seen them since the Cool School Race Camp where they were assembled by groups for points and they didn't necessarily follow the manufacturer's instructions! After we loaded them in Stu's KOmbi I then spent 20 minutes trying to lock the roller door on the shed! I worked out why it is so hard to close but couldn't fix it without a grinder! The slots for the rods to slide into are too low. (I'm sure you can picture it from my technical description!) I finally managed to close it after disconnecting one of the rods. I'll borrow an angle grinder when school restarts and fix the problem properly.

Sport Boy and I then went to the movies to see Arthur and The Invisibles which we both enjoyed though I confess I did doze through parts of it! That made it tricky for me to answer Sport Boy's questions afterwards but I managed to bluff my way through the post movie review.

Sophie and Jordan are now both going to Perth for Planetshakers tomorrow, courtesy of a couple of late withdrawals. That's a good thing. Not so good is that I'll have to do Jordy's junk mail delivery. I did insist that he gets it folded before he leaves. It's half done and he's got the morning to complete it so here's hoping. He spent 3 hours at the library this afternoon. While he is typically into computers and electronic games, he has maintained a deep love for reading and has even progressed from his standard fare (Harry Potter, Matthew Reilly) to try some new authors.

Just before sunset Sport Boy and I went comet hunting. Comet McNaught is supposed to be visible above the horizon just after sunset for the next 4 days so we went to see if we could see it. We couldn't. The lox cloud cover took care of that. However, we'll give it another go tomorrow night.

Tomorrow will be tricky, I accepted a day shift in the taxi tomorrow, starting at 7.30. Sport Boy's swimming is at 11.55 and Sophie and Jord depart for Perth at 12 so I'll need to take a little time off during the middle of the day to manage those responsibilities. All I need now is someone who can look after Sport Boy for the afternnon until my shift finishes. I didn't have to take it but I'm keen to earn any extra money I can at the moment. I'm trying to build up some funds to use for my long service leave in 3rd term; whatever we end up doing is going to cost some money.

The Heir asked how the "Laying down the ground rules went".
I explained them, specifically, how to deal with dirty dishes after use, ie. rinse and put in dishwasher, not build modern art sculpture in kitchen sink, or worse, abandon them in the study.
Jordan flouted the rule.
He is subsequently banned from eating in the study.
It's a work in progress.

Watched The World's Fastest Indian on DVD tonight, great movie, highly recommended if you haven't already seen it.

Finished another painting tonight too, Sophie said it reminds her of Tetris. It's time to do a big one! I've been doing lots of small ones over the last couple of months, avoiding the 2 large canvases awaiting my attention! Can't put it off any longer, just got to be brave and bite the bullet. It's funny how much more daunting a large canvas is than a small one!

In light of tomorrow's ugly start and busy schedule, it's time for bed; now if I can just extricate myself from the computer, that good intention may become reality!

Monday, January 15, 2007


Mum and Walter dropped off Sport Boy's Christmas present yesterday, a basketball pole, they got it in Perth for us and it was too big for us to bring back at Christmas. We set it up this afternoon. That makes it sound easy. It wasn't. Now, in real terms it wasn't a difficult job, but a job only needs a few nuts and bolts and unusual parts to start stretching my capabilities. What made this one tougher was the awkwardness of it and the hot weather we were working in. We being Sport Boy and I. I did the heavy lifting, he did the holding, steadying and encouraging. Actually I was impressed with a couple of his suggestions which showed an intuitive understanding of what I was trying to do, not sure where he got that ability from, possibly his grandfather, maybe the dna for mechanical tasks skipped a generation? We finally got it erect, I dug out some lawn to allow it to sit level, filled the base with water to counter-balance it, and Bob's your Mother's Brother, we were away. He even convinced me to come out and shoot a few hoops with him just before bed time.
He's happy, and when he's happy I'm happy. He is a very easy kid to love, he's demonstrative, encouraging and grateful, all endearing traits.

We collected my paintings from Vasse this afternoon, which sadly means they weren't sold! Rats! Here I was dreaming of my burgeoning art career taking a positive step forward and my bank balance receiving a boost, but neither happened. I have booked a stall at the Petticoat Lane street markets that are part of the Busselton Festival in a couple of weeks though so perhaps I'll have better luck there.

We also retrieved the rabbits from Laurie and Sonia's place; they'd been bunny sitting them for us while we were away at Augusta. The rabbits survived but the exercise served to convince Laurie that they won't be getting any pet rabbits for their kids, something about chasing them round the yard trying to put them back in their hutch deterred them apparently!

I cooked a BBQ for dinner and we ate al fresco, the kids complemented me on the food. Sophie prepared the salad. She's looking for a new job but in the meantime may go to Planetshakers this week with Stu and Deb and a small group from Down South.

Jordan as usual left his junk mail delivering until the last possible moment, finishing it just as the (daylight saving assisted) light gave way to night. He did however find time throughout the day to read for several hours, watch Smallville dvds and chat on MSN.

I've just finished watching Mission Impossible 3 on dvd which was ok, typical Hollywood style action movie. Casino Royale was much better.

Swimming lessons start in the morning so I better get some sleep!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Is there a connection here?

Carolyn flew to Melbourne today to visit her parents for a couple of weeks.

I drove the cab tonight.

Sophie and Jordan had joint responsibility for supervising Sport Boy.

When I got home at 3.45am there were 10 lights on, the dishwasher was half emptied, the sink was full of dirty dishes, with several more carefully strewn around the rest of the house, the TV was on and the dining table has been moved to the lounge room (presumably so Jordan could watch tv while he folded his junk mail).
On the positive side, both boys are asleep, in their own beds though Sport Boy's light was on, the tv show I requested has been recorded and despite 3 of the 4 doors being unlocked we don't appear to have been broken into or robbed (though admittedly with the various dvds, games disks, headphones, remote controls and electronic devices scattered all over the floor it's a little hard to tell!)

Tomorrow we set some boundaries and establish some ground rules!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

3 Little Boys in a Tree

Does life get any better than this?
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Friday, January 12, 2007

A Happy Mistake

I just got up after a short nap, feeling groggy, and got myself ready to start my regular Friday night shift in the cab. But, a quick check of the roster revealed I'm not driving till next week so I don't have to work tonight. Now while the extra money is always handy, I'm quite happy to have a break, get more sleep and rest and take it easy. The last few weeks have been busy and pressured and it won't hurt to have some more time off. Plus, tonight is Carolyn's last night at home for two weeks. Tomorrow morning she leaves for Perth then flies to Victoria to visit her Mum and Dad in Geelong. It was going to be awkward with me working late and her leaving early on the bus so all in all this is a much better arrangement. The only one who'll be disappointed is Sport Boy because I had hoped to take him and Jed to a movie this arvo but didn't because I thought I was starting work at 6.00. Never mind, the movies are on every day! I'm catching up on some blogging over at the Beach Mission Blog, posting pictures of our last couple of week's activities, if you want to have a look, click here.