Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Trip Photos

Beware, there's a very nasty looking photo posted below! If you don't want to see a dislocated patella, look away now!

The owner of the patella was a kid from Albany at Country Week.

It looks bad but once they put it back where it belonged he was ok.

I offered to take a picture and email itto him, after all, it's not every day your knee bone ends up looking like this!

Remember, you've been warned!

This is not for the feint hearted!

Seriously! It's not pleasant!

Cool but not pleasant!

Brings back vivid memories of Daryn Cresswell trying to slap his dislocated kneecap back into place during a game for the Sydney Swans a few years ago.

Well, here it is!


Most of the Country Week team on the balconies at Mountway! There were some mischievous youngsters in the crowd as closer examination will "reveal" !!

Rachel with a portrait of herself painted by a friend in Afghanistan.

Me at Parramatta Stadium for my first ever game of Rugby League, between the Parramatta Eels (I kid you not, that is their nickname!) and the Newcastle Knights. It was a wet cold night so I appreciated Mike braving the elements to introduce me to the dubious pleasures of Rugby League.

One of the days when I was wandering around Sydney I happened upon this interesting brain-like sculpture at the Sydney University of Technology in Ultimo but unfortunately I couldn't get any closer than this to it. There was an exhibition advertised but the doors were locked.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

One Night in Busselton

It's 12:30am.

I'm driving the Maxi Taxi.

I'm called to an address in Dumbarton.

A group of young people want to go to Bunbury, to go clubbing.

It's a $120 fare, one way.

We'll only go back for them later if they pay the return fare in advance.

This they agree to do.

A girl in a sombrero, holding a toy six-gun says, "Hi Dad"! "Can you give me a lift home?"

"Hi Soph!" I say to Favourite Daughter, "I can't take you home cause they're paying the fare and it's out of the way, but you can come to Bunbury with me and I'll drop you home when we get back"


The excited and noisy crew climb in and we set off.

"Hi Sophie's Dad" says one young man I've met in the cab a couple of times.

He seems ok but 10 minutes down the road we notice he's got his head out the window and the disturbing sounds of vomiting echo through the cab!

Seems he drank the best part of a bottle of Tequila in the short period between deciding it would be a good idea to go to Bunbury, and my arrival to make the trip possible.

He's not in a good way.

Another young man is asleep, still clutching a half full bottle of beer.

The ring-leader of the group asserts himself through volume and acerbic humour.

He spasmodically breaks into loud and tuneless verses of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall". I pray silently that he'll run out of energy before he hits the 80's. Thankfully he does although a third attempt sees him gather a few supporters for a minute or two before good sense prevails and the "song" dies.

Meanwhile Tequila Boy is not well and the group have realised that the nightclub doormen are not going to admit him in this state.

I offer to take him back to Busselton with me. Problem solved! They get to go clubbing and I get to make sure he has some chance of getting home safely.

Ring Leader makes us all laugh by requesting that I drive close to any low-hanging trees so that Tequila Boy can get cleaned up by the combination of water, from the strong rain, and bristle motion of the passing shrubbery.

We arrive outside the nightclub.

They cough up the big bucks, $280 in the end because of the drink/food/ATM stops along the way. (One innebriated youngster managed to have the ATM swallow his card because he couldn't remember his PIN.) Another spoke out what I was certainly thinking, "This was a bad idea!" "I should be home in bed!"

Indeed they should! But they won't be for several more hours!

Meanwhile, Favourite Daughter and I transport Tequila Boy to his residence in Kalgaritch and revive him long enough to find out what number he lives at.

He staggers out of the cab and immediately lays down on the gravel driveway, assuring us he'll be quite comfortable there and we can go!

We don't!

At the third attempt I manage to walk him as far as the carport, where he insists on laying down again.
I accept the compromise and give in. He's under cover so the storms won't drown him. I put him in the "Recovery Position". His pants, already low-slung, courtesy of the fashion, are now almost completely off but I decide not to try and adjust them, his dignity is long gone!

I contemplate ringing the door bell and letting his parents know he's home but decide against it.

He's home, he's under cover, he's coherent enough to know where he is and he's already expelled the entire contents of his stomach several times over so I feel confident that he won't choke. Eventually the cold will revive him or drive him inside.

I drop Favourite Daughter off and go and park up for the night.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

12 in a Row The Cats March On

Geelong just beat Fremantle by 68 points in another awesome display.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I Really am Home Now

First game of the Footy Feast, Cats v Bombers, Fri July 6 @ Docklands. Geelong won by 50 points.
A team of internet broadcasters! This group record and transmit all Essendon games to South Africa over the net! They interviewed me after the game so I promised to put them on my blog! Modern media in the hands of the people.
Happy with the result, and also my trawling collection, the umbrella came in very handy in the lousy Melbourne weather!
The Jetstar plane I caught to Sydney from Avalon. I love discount airlines!
Rachel and Michael, rugged up and weather-proof at the Dockers v Swans game at the SCG, Sun July 8. Sydney won.

I'm back in Busselton after a 3 1/2 week absence. Sophie managed to deliver me safely home, adding about 8 hours driving pratice to her log book in the process. Fashion Boy gave me a big hug. Sport Boy woke up and was bright as a button. He loved the new Geelong jumper I bought him, and wore it to bed. I didn't attempt to unpack, just distributing a couple of gifts before going to bed. My own bed! Carolyn said to me this morning, "It's good to have you back but I'd forgotten about your snoring!" I've had a fairly quiet day so far although Sport Boy's soccer training starts in half an hour and I've got volleyball tonight. I've uploaded 895 photos taken over the last month! Unpacked my bags and started sorting through the backlog of mail that needs attending to. So far so good. Only 11 1/2 weeks of my long service leave to go!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm Home....Sort of....I'm Back in WA at Least

Just touched down in Perth about an hour ago, Letchy was there to greet me, nice to arrive at an airport and find a welcoming face.
Talked footy all the way home.

He's got an early start in the morning driving the tram so he's gone to bed. My body clock is out of whack so I won't be far behind him.

Home to Busso tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Art in Melbourne

I spent my second last day in Melbourne driving around the city discovering cool stuff.

It started at DFO, the huge direct factory outlet centre at Essendon airport. I resisted the urge to buy anything other than a new bag in order for me to carry home all the extra stuff I've accumulated since I got here!!

Next I dropped off a jacket I found at the footy the other night to it's owner who works in the Docklands area. I found him because in the pocket of the jacket was his Geelong membership card. He was very pleased and relieved when I rang him on Saturday to say I had it. He lives in Newcomb, which is where my brother went to high school.

My next intended destination was the Ian Potter Gallery but on the way there I heard an interview on ABC radio with an artist called Andre Sardone, a plumber by trade, who creates works of art out of Colourbond (a type of metal sheeting used in roofing and building). It sounded pretty cool and it turned out that the exhibition was not far away, in Fitzroy, so I went to check it out, and I'm glad I did because it was fantastic. He cuts everything out with tin snips, freehand, and the results are amazing. I've included a few pics here, and if you want to check out his website, click here.

All of these pictures, including the portraits of Bono and Marilyn Monroe, have been cut out of Colourbond steel with tin snips!! Amazing!

As I was leaving that gallery I picked up a card advertising another exhibition, the Bald Archys, at the City Museum in Spring St. The Bald Archys are a spoof of Australia's most prestigious, and controversial portrait competition, The Archibald Prize. There are some excellent paintings in the Bald Archys, with a strong streak of irreverence and humour running through the entries, and the winner being chosen by a sulphur-crested cockatoo called Maude!

This portrait of Dame Edna is in this year's exhibition.

By then it was getting dark and everything was closing for the evening so I headed back to Gary and Christine's place at Doreen.

After dinner Gary and I compared notes on relationships, mental health and depression, mid-life "crises" and the degeneration of our mid-40's bodies and discovered we have a lot in common and have been on similar journies over the last 6-12 months, and the last 20 years.

His Dad Allan and my Dad Peter were life-long friends from when they were teenagers and Gary and I are carrying on the tradition. I hope Sport Boy and Gary's son Nathan will get to spend some time together when we come back in September, who knows, perhaps the bonds of friendship between the Holts and the Davies may extend to a third generation.

I spent the rest of the night packing! A huge job which I think I've just about finished!

By this time tomorrow night I'll be back in Perth, staying the night at Letchy's, and on Wednesday Sophie and Carolyn will come up to Perth to pick me up, it will be good to see them.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

All Footballed Out .... For a Week Anyway!

My footy feast is over and I head home in a couple of days. It's been a lot of fun but the end has come. I went and saw the Geelong VFL (Reserves) team play Port Melbourne today, and had a chat to Brian Cook, the Geelong CEO, about tickets for next week and for the finals. Geelong won by 85 points.
Then I caught the last quarter of Richmond and Port Adelaide at the MCG, before my final game, the Kangaroos v Melbourne at Docklands. In 2 weeks I have been to 12 games and seen 13 of the 16 teams in the AFL play. My philosophy is "Too much football is just enough"!

Tomorrow I'll have a look around Melbourne, check out a couple of galleries and do some last minute shopping.
Tuesday I'll drop the van off back in Geelong and head back to Tullamarine for my flight home.

I had a treat last night when Gary's Mum Jan arrived. I haven't seen her for over 20 years so it was lovely to catch up. She reads my blog fairly regularly and gave me her honest opinion about my paintings! (She likes some of them!)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Happy Little Cats Fan

How good were Geelong last night?

They were awesome!

Smashed the highly rated Western Bulldogs by 75 points for their 11th win in a row to stay very clearly on top of the ladder.

My enjoyment of the game was only marred by that unfortunate modern species, the "ugly footy fan", the sort of bloke who yells swearwords and obscenmities constantly, ompletely disregarding the feelings or sensitivities of all thos around them, in this case a family with two young children sitting in front of us. Further to the swearing was a continual stream of vitriol and invective directed towards the opposition borne out of some sort of spite or hatred. It was not enough that Geelong were winning by 10 goals, this fan had to look for every opportunity to pour scorn and derision on the Bulldogs, and the umpires too of course, and even on occasion his own team!

It was unpleasant and uncomfortable, it was ugly and aggravating and I observed many people sitting in the vicinity looking around at him and shaking their heads at the continual stream of abuse.

At the end of the game the family in front got up to leave and I apologised to the mum for having to put up with the swearing. She said "no worries, they come to the game every week and their used to it." What a shame!

Football should be a safe fun family friendly event, not one where you run the gamut of this sort of abuse and anti-social behaviour.

What a shame that it has become so common-place that people are forced to accept it as the norm instead of being able to expect not to put up with such ugly attitudes.

I am not against passion or emotion at the footy, I get as fired up as anyone at the footy, but that doesn't mean you have to become abusive or swear your head off. It took the edge off a good night for me, and I daresay for other people too.

As a Cats fan I was embarrassed, as a Dogs fan I'd have been infuriated.

C'arn the Cats.

Friday, July 20, 2007

7 Hours to Go

Until the bouncedown of the big game, the Cats and the Dogs.
Pre-match nerves are starting to bubble.
We owe them one after the first game of the season, everything was doom and gloom after that game!!
Obviously things have improved dramatically since then!

It's another grey day in Melbourne, the weather has oscillated between ordinary and atrocious since I've been here! Not complaining about the rain, just the COLD!

I had a text message from Dave yesterday, seems he was missing me at the Chaplains Conference back in Perth! I usually enjoy those events but can't say I was sad to miss this one.
I don't go back to work until mid-October!!
By then the Cats should be Premiers and I'll have a permanent Cheshire grin!

A message for Fashion Boy: You're coming to Melbourne in September, don't spend all your money now! You know the shopping is much better over here! And I suggest you don't tell your grandfather you're lazy again! Enjoy your last weekend of freedom before school restarts.
Hi Sport Boy, only another week until soccer starts again!

See you all next week.

Back in Melbourne

My cousin Kerrie wasn't well when I called in at their place this afternoon so I didn't stay long, just long enough to see the kids, Stacey, Amy and Matthew. I missed seeing Matthew last time I was there a couple of years ago so it was good to meet him, he was good fun with a big smile. Kerrie came down with flu the night before and needed to go to bed to try and sleep it off.

I headed back to Melbourne, stopping at Dandenong to do some shopping (a couple of presents for Carolyn) and go to the movies. I'm back at Gary and Christine's in Doreen for the weekend.
Tomorrow I'll go and have a look around the Queen Victoria markets and a few other sites in and around the city before heading for the footy at Docklands.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mirboo North

I've successfully found my way to Shannon and Neil's place perched on top of a hill in the beautiful Gippsland country side. The green rolling hills, patches of forest, wandering livestock, narrow windy roads and stunning views make this a very pituresque place to be. If only it wasn't so cold it would be almost perfect!

Roadkill is not uncommon in Australia but I saw something unusual on the way here, a dead wombat. They are a rarity in WA but more common on this side of the country. Sadly this one was too slow and paid the price.

Shannon was home with the 2 youngest kids, Isaac and Samuel, but has now gone to pick up the other three, Alexandra, Eli and Abbey from school and Neil from Leongatha so I'm looking after myself until they return.
Naturally I turned to the blog to fill in some time.

I heard from Carolyn that my parcel has arrived at home and they have divided the spoils up between them, with Sophie laying claim to the Geelong Hoodie and Fashion Boy "wrapped" in his new Route 66 belt buckle.
I was browsing in the shops at Leongatha this morning and found some items I thought might interest Dad so I've sent off another parcel to Holties House. (I'll pick up The Duke for you when I get back to Geelong next week Pop.)

I'll return to Auntie Ev and Uncle Ken's for the night then go and visit Kerrie and Warren tomorrow before heading back to Melbourne for the footy, Geelong v the Western Bulldogs at Docklands. Hopefully they'll make it 3 from 3 for my trip. In a lovely bit of timing Geelong travel to Perth next week to play the Dockers so I'll get to see them 4 weeks in a row, something that hasn't happened since my childhood, if ever!

An Unusual Day

I didn't leave the house today. I can't remember the last time I spent the whole day indoors.
The fact that the temperature dropped down to 5 degrees and the weather was cold wet and wild had a lot to do with it but I was very comfortable and relaxed regardless.
So much so that I spent the afternoon painting and when I went to check the time realised I hadn't put my watch on. I reckon it would be 20 years at least since I've gone a whole day without wearing a watch. I did check my empty wrist a couple more times throughout the evening but the clock chimes kept me informed and I carried on relaxing, oblivious or impervious to the demands of time or schedules or deadlines. Auntie Ev pleasantly interrupted my inactivity when lunch and tea were ready. Hot soup on a cold day, mmmm!

Over dinner Auntie Ev mentioned her autograph book, dating back some 60 years, signed by school friends, teachers, family and a smattering of famous people, most notably, Jack Dyer aka Captain Blood, infamous captain of Richmond in the 40's and 50's, and the legendary John Coleman, Essendon champion and often called the greatest full forward ever to play the game.
I was very impressed!

We had fun reading the various poems and witty dittys written by her childhood friends, and the numerous references to "Arnold" who must have been her boyfriend at the time.

There is snow forecast in various places in Victoria overnight! I'm intending to visit my sister Shannon tomorrow but if Leongatha is shrouded in white when I get up I think I'll stay put for another day!

One more unusual aspect to the day,I didn't spend any money today, the first time that's happened since I left Busselton. Not that I've been spending lots of money but when you're travelling or holidaying it can be expensive so it's good to have a cheap day now and again!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Reporting in from Leongatha North

After mosying around Greensborough for a couple of hours and sending an Express Post pack crammed full of stuff home to the family (football/Geelong related mostly but also a 1kg back of choc honeycomb!) I set off for Gippsland in the campervan. Somewhere around Springvale Rd the coolant light came on on the dashboard giving me a few minutes of nervous alarm. When I stopped to check it the fluid level was about an inch below the top of the radiator, hardly a cause for panic! I poured about 300ml in, replaced the cap, and sure enough, the light stayed off! I'd hate to see what it did if there was a leak or burst hose!
I stopped at Warragul and had my favourite meal for tea, Seafood Mee Goreng noodles, mmmm! Noodles!
I also discovered that I was slightly off course so reset my compass and headed for Leongatha via Korumbura, a town where Uncle Neil and Auntie Joan and the McQinns resided for a couple of years, many years ago. My strongest memory of that time is going looking for mushrooms on the green hills surrounding the town and the old blue VW stationwagon they used to drive.

I found my way to Auntie Ev and Uncle Ken's place in the dark and was surprised to find noone home. I knew Ev and Ken were going to be out but was expecting my cousin Pene to be home. The key was in the door so I let myself in and stoked up the fire and awaited their arrival. Pene got home from work, in Melbourne, about an hour later. It's the first time I've seen her in nearly 20 years I reckon! so we had a bit to catch up on. Ev and Ken got home another hour after that, it's the first time I've seen them since Nan died, about 6 years ago, so again, it was great to see them and exchange news. They went on a wonderful trip to Italy a couple of months ago and were full of stories and excitement about their first overseas adventure. They celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary later this year so it was a significant event.

I'm grateful for the chance to blog but am rediscovering the "joys" of dial-up internet access and it's "speed"!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Another Day Another Footy Game

I joined Gary and his family today to go to the Richmond/Hawthorn game at the MCG. It was Nathan's choice of activity for his 10th birthday which is on Tuesday. He and Gary are Tigers fans so they were disappointed with the result but we had a good day none-the-less. Nathan makes me think of Sport Boy who I haven't seen for a couple of weeks, I reckon they'd get along pretty well. We'll be able to test that theory when we all come back over in September.

As a further birthday treat Nathan got to choose what we had for dinner, and to his great credit he chose ribs! Mmmm Ribs!!

Gary and I then watched a movie in his "Home Cinema" which right at the moment is also my bedroom.

Tomorrow I'm heading up to Gippsland.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Another Great Day at the MCG

The Cats won again, beating Collingwood by 16 points to extend their streak to 10 wins in a row.

It was great to be there, along with 85,496 other people.

I sat with Cam, aka Mooney d' King from Big Footy.com and a bunch of his friends, half of us going for Geelong, the other half favouring the Dark Side.

At half time I rang Nick, a mate from work in Busselton who I knew was also at the game and as I put the phone to my ear he walked up to me and said g'day! I kid you not! Amazing!

After the game I also caught up with some old friends, Russell and Lucy and their kids David and Sophie. Only Sophie has the good sense to barrack for Geelong, the other three are afflicted with the Collingwood Curse. Sophie and I were happy!

I went in to the player reception inside the MCG after the game, one of the privileges of being a member! and got a few autographs for Sport Boy.

Then it was off to Docklands for the second game of the day, Essendon v Western Bulldogs, a good game won by the latter, who also happen to be Geelong's opponents next week so a bit of scouting was useful!

By the time I got home to Doreen, an outer outer suburb of Melbourne Gary and Christine were in bed. We're all going to the Richmond v Hawthorn game tomorrow afternoon.

Life is good!

Go Cats!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Friday Friends and Footy

Allan and Lorna, friends of the family for over 40 years, with whom I stayed last night. (And did my first lot of washing in a week and a half!) I picked up Mum and Walter's campervan which I'll use to get around Victoria for the next couple of weeks.
I wandered up and down Pakington St this afternoon looking for the Word Bookshop without success (turns out it was at the other end of Pakington St, and didn't have the book I was looking for, although they reserved a copy for me to pick up from their Melbourne store) but in the process of searching I found a fantastic Antiques and Collectables shop where I could easily have spent a lot more money than I did! I bought a Gary Ablett figurine, for me, and a Route 66 belt buckle, for Jordan whose blog name might become "Fashion Boy".
I resisted the temptation to buy this John Wayne statue but figured I'd post a picture here for the owner of Holtieshouse to check out just in case he wants to part with $50 to gain possession of it. (Let me know Pop) (it's about 15" high and is a bit chipped and damaged, as befits the Duke, a little worn and torn!)

I called in to visit my in-laws, Alan and Mary this afternoon. Alan's eyesight has degenerated dramatically in the last 6 months, though at 88 he's in pretty good shape. I asked him about his memories of following Geelong and he recounted players and games stretching all the way back to 1925 when he saw them win the Grand Final. He has the had the privilege of seeing the Cats win 6 Grand Finals in his life time! Although Geelong have won a premiership in my lifetime, in 1963, I was only 2 years old at the time and was oblivious to the event. As my readers will know, I'm hoping Geelong will break a 44 year drought to win the premiership this season and am devoting a chunk of my long service leave to the goal of seeing it happen. I recorded about an hour of Alan's reminiscences, not just of Geelong but of other teams and players and games over the last 80 years.

After going to the footy tonight to see the thriller between St Kilda and Adelaide which the Saints won by 2 points I'm now out in the far reaches of Melbourne at Doreen, staying with my old mate Gary. He's just gone to bed and I'm heading there shortly now that the Tour de France is over and the blog is up to date.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Blogging from Altona

Just called in to the thriving industrial suburb of Altona to find a computer and found I had to join the Altona Meadows Library in order to blog! The flight to melbourne and transfer to Trevor and Anne's place at Greensborough went smoothly although I rejected the first hire car they gave me because of the strong cigarette smell! I'm in a little blue Yaris so everything is familiar.

This morning I rendezvouzed with Irish Jayne, see blog roll on sidebar, and we hung out for an hour. I took her to see the best house in Melbourne, at 375 Clarke St Northcote, the house that belonged to my Nan and Pa for about 50 years and the holder of a veritable treasure trove of memories from my childhood. She seemed to enjoy hearing my stories and getting a glimpse of my childhood. The house has changed significantly, an extra storey has been added and to my horror the sleepout has been pulled down! The backyard has become pretty derelict and is guarded by a large but relatively docile dog. Further amazement that the house next door, a semi-detached or semi-attached to be more exact, has also been pulled down and removed.

I dropped Jayne back at her hotel in Collins St and am now meandering south to Geelong, my "spiritual home".

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Alternative Heading because public access computers don't allow me to put something in the title box on Blogger for some strange reason!!

Last blog post from Sydney before I fly back to Melbourne tonight.
Went out to Homebush this morning for a look around Olympic Park, first visit since 2000, good memories. happened upon the Australian junior volleyball championships and watched WA go down to Vic in a close 5 setter and met a lady whose grandson was playing for WA. Turns out she's the Mum of a former teacher from Busso as well as a member of a church in North Beach that supports the chaplaincy at Carine, my old stomping ground.

came into the city and spent a couple of hours looking around the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay, lots of good stuff and plenty I didn't like and a few totally weird pieces!

Melbourne airport was closed by fog for about 6 hours yesterday so hope I don't run into similar problems tonight.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Reporting in from Sydney.

Finally I have access to a computer and the net so I can get a fix of blogging! My hands have stopped shaking!
I'm in down town Sydney, it's wet and cool outside but from here on the 7th floor of the Dymocks building on George St at the Traveller's Centre (thanks Rach for the use of your Lonely Planet) it is warm and dry and I've removed both my jacket and jumper.

I arrived yesterday morning on Jetstar which flew out of Avalon airport. I'd forgotten how far Avalon is from Melbourne, confusing it with Laverton which is closer. We used to drive past both as kids on our regular trips to Melbourne to visit Nan and Pa. Avalon is near Lara, not far from Geelong, and overlooked by the You Yangs, a small "mountain"range where I infamously got lost as a child on a picnic. Unable to find my family after taking a wrong track down from the summit I decided to set off for home along the Lara Rd but was picked up and retrieved by a passing family who had heard there was a lost child being looked for.
When we come back to Victoria in September I will take Sport Boy and Jordan to the You Yangs. Perhaps they'll have their own adventure!

The flight to Sydney was smooth and uneventful and I enjoyed the daylight views of the towns and hills and farmland below me though I was disappointed not to see any snow-capped mountains; apparently there have been good falls this week in the snow fields but it appears Jetstar flies around them rather than over them. It's certainly been cold enough to expect snow. Victoria in winter = cold wet and grey. NSW at this stage is no better.

I took the train into Central and headed for Eddy Ave and my rendezvouz with Rachel and Michael, enroute to the footy at the Sydney Cricket Ground.Rachel was chaplain at Perth Modern School for many years but has since gotten married and joined the yuppie life in the BIG city where she now manages a Gloria Jean's Coofee Shop with a community development philosophy and mandate. Michael is no recent johnny-come-lately convert to Aussie Rules courtesy of the Swans 2005 premiership, no, he discovered the joys of footy while at high school, originally barracked for Essendon, and proudly displays his Life Membership plaque to his local footy club on the mantel piece next to the portrait of Rachel painted by her friend from Kazikstan (sp?). They're now both devoted Swans fans and members and had a spare ticket for me to use at the game against Fremantle. The Dockers looked a little strange playing in blue and white as their Heritage Round strip. It was the first time I'd seen them play away from Subiaco Oval and they gave a good account of themselves until late in the 3rd quarter when Sydney kicked away and ended up winning comfortably.
The rain came down most of the game but Rachel and Michael are nothing if not prepared, not only having extra rain coats to drape across our knees to keep us warm but also a little towel with which to wipe down the seats before we sat down!
After the game we wandered around the Fox Studio precinct for a little while before driving back to their place at Melrose Park.

They've recently completed some major extensions and renovations and now live in a very nice home complete with "Holt Wing"visitor's suite!
For pics of my current accommodation check Rachel's blog on the sidebar.
As I mentioned recently, Rachel is the one who introduced me to the joys of blogging. As Michael commented yesterday, but for her I'd have a couple of extra hours everyday to do other things!
It's not an easy time for Rachel right now, her brother Cameron was diagnosed with cancer last week and today undergoes tests to determine the extent and severity of it. They are a very close family and Rachel has taken the news pretty hard, Cameron is only 33!

After dinner we chatted with the TV in the background until it was time for the tennis at which point they retired to bed. I struggled to stay awake, nodding off periodically but still managing to last the distance to see Roger Federer outlast a very game Rafael Nadal to win his 5th Wimbledon Title in a row. It was a regular sporting gourmet last night as I flicked between the British Grand Prix, the Tour de France, the late AFL replay and even the Australia v Jamaica netball game as well as the tennis.

Needless to say I slept in late this morning!
My long service leave has started.
I'm on holiday.
I'm staying with friends in an exciting city.
Geelong are two games clear (and percentage) on top of the AFL ladder.
All is right with (my) world!

Just to recap, on Saturday I went to the MCG to watch the Collingwood v St Kilda game and it was a ripper, a real thriller fought out in tough conditions, a see-sawing battle that Collingwood eventually won. Geelong play Collingwood at the MCG next weekend and the media are suggesting there may be an 80,000+ crowd at the game. It will be another good test for the Cats who have now won 9 games in a row, there best effort since the early 80's.
I'm joining a bloke called Cameron for the game, he's a Cats fan I made contact with via the Big Footy website, along with 8 of his family and friends. There'll be both Cats and Magpies fans in the group which should make it interesting!

Saturday night I joined my niece Rachel and her grandmother Vera for dinner and painted while they both knitted as we watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on tv.
The countdown to the release of the final Harry Potter book is in full swing. I wonder how long after it's release on the 21st of July before there are spoilers on the web and in the media revealing Harry's fate. Personally I think he's in big trouble and will be very surprised if he survives alive!

I'm in Sydney for another couple of days and plan to wander around a few galleries, have a look around Olympic Park at Homebush Bay, and enjoy Michael and Rachel's hospitality.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Heading for the G!
The footy feast continues.
Saints and Pies.

Cats Win Makes Trip Worthwhile!

Go Cats!
The first part of my mission was completed successfully when the Cats beat Essendon at Docklands tonight. It was a close and tense game up until 3/4 time before Geelong steamrolled home to win by 50 points.
It was a relief considering the time and effort spent in getting there.

I left the volleyball grand final at 11.30; by then it was looking likely that the Busso boys would lose to Albany. I planned to fill the hire car with petrol at the service station near the airport before dropping it off but to my dismay I discovered the petrol station had been replaced by a car park!! A U turn and an urgent search for the nearest petrol ensued, robbing me of precious minutes.

I joined the book-in line with some nervous looks at the screens in the airport. I was there "on time" but having missed a flight I thought I was early enough to get on one other time I was a little anxious.
Once checked in things slowed down, in fact they ground to a halt and we were 10 minutes late getting on board and half an hour late taking off. For some reason we flew on a Jumbo jet rather than the usual inter-state planes. Being a Qantas flight there was food served and in-flight entertainment! That didn't stop us being delayed before landing in Melbourne though as we were bumped back in the queue to accommodate a medical emergency on board another flight.

Picking up the hire car was slow as well, waiting for the customer in front of me whose booking seemed to take an inordinate amount of time. My car is a little black Yaris! The Melbourne traffic was heavy and the roads were wet and I was trying to find a way of getting an etag to cover the toll roads on the way into town, all of which slowed me down. Then came the challenge of finding a park.

The sum total of all these delays was that I didn't get into the stadium until about half way through the first quarter. As I said, it was very close, with Geelong a point up at the first break.
Docklands is a fantastic stadium to watch football at and I enjoyed the atmosphere although being an Essendon home game the Cats fans were heavily out-numbered. I sat next to a Bombers supporter who was one of the most fair-minded and unbiased footy fans I've ever met, none of the typical one-eyed ranting and argument that is so common.
I was tense until about 10 minutes into the last quarter when Geelong began to draw away and the goals started raining.
After the game I enjoyed my trawling, scoring a red and black umbrella which came in very useful in the rain as I walked back to the car, and an Auskick beanie which I'm sure Sport Boy will like.

Next came the challenge of navigating through the suburbs of Melbourne on my way out to Greensborough where I'm staying for a couple of nights at Trevor and Anne's place, Carolyn's brother and his wife, although they actually left this morning for Queensland. My niece Rachel was here to let me in.
My body clock says it's midnight but the clock says 2.00 so I'm off to bed. Tomorrow I can sleep in for the first time in a week and then I'm off to the footy again! The fun has only just begun!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thursday Night, One More Sleep

It's Thursday night and as predicted blogging opportunities have been very limited. There's one more day of Country Week to go with all the finals being played tomorrow morning. The boys and girls basketball teams have made it to the Grand Finals in their respective divisions and the boys volleyball team have made it to the Grand FInal in A Grade so we're all hoping for a few victories tomorrow. I'll only get to see the first half of the volleyball before I have to leave for the airport as I fly out to Melbourne at 1.00 tomorrow arvo.
It's been a great week but not an easy one. We've sent two kids home for bad behaviour, something we've never had to do before. It wasn't easy but in both cases we feel like we made the right decision. It will send a very clear and strong message to the other kids and especially to next year's team that we mean business and take the whole exercise seriously. I also had to facilitate an apolgy to a girl from another school from three of our boys for inappropriate comments they made toward her during a game the other day. Again it wasn't a fun exercise for anyone but in the end a very important thing to do to reinforce our expectations and requirements regarding student behaviour.

The dinner dance went extremely well last night, the venue was a 5 minute walk from the apartments, the food was sensational and the kid's and coach's speeches were as always the highlight. It's John's 28th and last Country Week so we made sure we recognised and honoured him for his amazing achievement and his wonderful character. The kids gave him a standing ovation which was very special. I've painted a picture for him to give him tomorrow, I hope he likes it.

I had another couple of hospital and illness runs today though thankfully most of the injuries are not too serious.

The kids have been out late night shopping tonight, one of their highlights of the week!
I dropped in to visit Demelza and Greg and meet their brand new baby Meg, who is typically lovely, and slept peacefully in my lap for an hour.

By this time tomorrow night I hope I'll be celebrating a Cats victory over Essendon at Docklands in Melbourne. I can't wait to get there and get amongst the serious footy atmosphere.

On the long service leave front there have been a few developments. I've booked tickets to Brisbane for the family for September to spend a couple of weeks with Dad in Gympie and down at the Gold Coast introducing the kids to the joys of roller coasters. Then we'll head to Melbourne for more of the footy finals before coming home in about the second week of October.
After umming and aahing for so long and not being able to settle on a suitable plan for my time off it feels a great relief to have made some decisions and booked some tickets. I'm sure the boys are going to enjoy the prospect of missing a few weeks of school, visiting Grandpa in Queensland and Granny and Grandpa in Geelong. And no doubt Sport Boy will be keen to come to a footy final at the MCG!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Quick snapshot

Tuesday night in Perth and the first chance I've had to blog since I left Busso. It's been very busy. I think the sport is going well, though I'm not sure as I've only seen about 2 games of anything so far. My days are spent running around town in the hire care picking things up, delivering people, collecting and distributing lunches, meeting with venue managers and trying to keep one step ahead of the game!


I'm sitting in a web cafe in town and a kid from Carine just walked in. His Mum was killed in a tragic accident a few years ago and I did the funeral. It was great to see him and catch up on his news especially as last time I heard, he wasn't doing well at all. Things have improved greatly, I'm really pleased to hear it.

No more time, gotta go and get the car so I can drive one of the injured kids home from the movies.
Another early start and long day tomorrow.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Most things went to plan today.

The soccer team won (by a cricket score!) and Sport Boy achieved the goal I set him of passing the ball 20 times during the game. He even got excited when his passes lead to team-mates scoring goals, running over to the sideline to give me high 5's!

Geelong won, beating Sydney, and stretching their winning streak to 8 to stay a game clear on top of the ladder.

I got most things packed.

The other drivers kindly offered to cover for me so I didn't have to do the late shift and finish at 6am, in order that I can get a bit more sleep before heading to Perth with the Country Week team tomorrow lunchtime. It helped that one of the driver's daughters is in the team!

So, with blogging responsibilities taken care of, albeit briefly, I'm going to bed.

I don't know how much chance I'll have to blog next week or how much access I'll have to the net, but I'll be trying to keep up to date.