Friday, October 31, 2008

The Blogger

You too can achieve this attractive effect with the simple application of an orange bag and a little pressure.
Marty showed me this trick at Kilmany Park 20 years ago and I still love it, as did Sport Boy when I showed him the other day.

I am pleased to report, to Mr Hojo, and all other misguided Gooner fans that Tottenham's revival took another step forward this morning when they came from behind to draw 4-4 against the old enemy at Emirates Stadium. I missed it but it's good to have mates like Dave who kindly recorded it for me. I will enjoy watching it some time over the weekend.

I'd planned to post a few photos from Perth tonight but Favourite Daughter borrowed the camera today and appears still to have it.

The Hair should be "home" now, at the Robinsons. He went up to Perth today to go to the Machinehead concert, his birthday present. After various dramas his ticket from ebay turned up this morning and he took the bus to Perth at lunchtime.
I've just swapped a couple of text messages with him and can report that "It was mental". I believe that means it was good/enjoyable/satisfactory/worthwhile. I daresay I would have found it none of the above!

I met the person who got the job I recently applied for today. I didn't enjoy the experience or the feelings it stirred inside me. I don't think I've fully dealt with it yet!!
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Back in Town

I'm home. Things went well in the city, I made progress on a few things, saw some people, caught up with some mates, found a few bargains and made it home safely.
Pictures to follow in the next couple of days.
Sport Boy was especially glad to see me, he's been struggling for a week or two, unhappy at school and feeling sad. Hopefully we'll be able to sort it out with a visit to the school tomorrow.

Favourite Daughter made a surprise visit home, rocking up on our doorstep just in time for dinner tonight. Everyone was glad to see her.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trap For Young Players

I've been getting into ebay lately, firstly in an effort to buy a concert ticket for The Hair's birthday, a mission that was finally successful today and at a lower price than expected. He's very happy.
The other items I've been bidding on are metal pins and badges. I've been a casual collector for years but more recently have been looking out for them in op shops, at garage sales and now, on ebay. I've bought/won a few, and been outbid on many others. The first package hasn't arrived yet but I am looking forward to that first ebay purchase thrill.
But, I got caught out today! I bid $1.99 on a set of 30 silver coins from the Beijing Olympics and as the only bidder, I "won" as ebay puts it. On the ad for the item the postage amount was not specified! No wonder! Imagine my shock upon receiving the quote from the seller for postage of $188Aus!!!!!! I looked in vain for a decimal point in that figure but there wasn't one!
So I sent off a restrained message to let the vendor, an honourable gentleman somewhere in Hong Kong, know that I would not be proceeding with the purchase!
This may result in my 100% credit rating becoming tarnished but better that than being ripped off a couple of hundred dollars for 30 pieces of silver!!
Lesson learnt: If no-one else is bidding on an item that seems too good to be true/too cheap to believe, they knew what I now know!

I had a very productive meeting with a journalist at The West Australian today who has agreed to help me with my research on the Behind the White Crosses project.
I also made good progress on securing campsite one for the CSRC.
And I attended a workshop presentation on the topic of self harm run by the Baptist church which was enlightening and useful.

I'm staying the night at the Ballajura Motor Inn with my hosts the Letches. It was good to catch up with Greg tonight and hear about what's been going on in his world the last few weeks. He's had a few problems at work recently which have been pretty stressful. He's got an interview for a job as a bus driver tomorrow so I hope he's successful.

Back to Busso in the morning, back to work in the afternoon.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday in the City

I received a phone call this morning with sad news, another young person killed themself in a car crash in Busselton on the weekend. Rhonda, who rang me, lost her son Kori a couple of years ago so she was experiencing a whole new wave of grief. I liken it to having the scab ripped off a wound that was slowly healing. I don't think I knew the boy who died, he was in his early twenties I believe, his parents are friends of Rhonda's.

Favourite Daughter and I spent the day driving around Perth doing work on the CSRC. I gave a presentation to a group of students at Shenton College to enthuse them about coming on the camp and they responded positively. I received another call this morning, from Bunbury HS asking if they too could be included in the camp. The interest and numbers are growing steadily.

We found a couple of likely campsites for the two nights but have to follow with the beauracracy to get them approved.

After dinner tonight Warren and I went to the Luna for the Monday night double to see √Źn Bruges" and "half of "Where in the world is Osama Bin Laden?", we had to leave before it ended because Warren starts work early in the morning and needed to get to bed.

Callum, aka BBQ Sauce Boy had braces fitted today and was having a lot of trouble and discomfort adjusting to them tonight, eating dinner was a slow and painful process. I told him that if it weren't for braces his Mum and I wouldn't be such close friends. When we were still at school Sal had to come down from Moora to Midland every few weeks to have her braces tightened and I would go out to Midland to meet her and hang out on those Saturday mornings. That led to visits to the Hudson family farm, I would hitch-hike up and back and stay for weekends.

Talking of close friends, Phil and Julie and their kids in Afghanistan have been having a pretty stressful time recently with an aid worker friend of theirs having been shot dead, foloowed by the murder of three foreigners a few days later. It is a difficult place to live at the best of times, let alone when you are a target for the Taliban. They have been trying to work out what to do, stay or go, and what future they have in Afghanistan. I encourage my readers to pray for their safety. You can read Phil's blog for the full story. A matter of life and death is not a cliche for them, it's a reality.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chatteau d'Taffrail

I'm staying at Chatteau d'Taffrail, aka. Sally and Warren's place. I was a bit later getting away from Busso than planned, making me half an hour late for the beach mission meeting, thankfully they're a forgiving group, and I wasn't the latest to arrive, one girl was lost for an hour!
We made some good progress at the meeting, agreeing on a theme, the material for the dramas and a bunch of other stuff. Each year as the time for beach mission approaches I have mixed feelings of anticipation and dread. We love going to Augusta and have many years of happy memories of good times spent with family and friends. But there is a lot of work to do in preparation and as one of the team leaders a fair amount of responsibility falls on me, thus the dread! The work on its own wouldn't be that big an issue, especially now that we share the roles around the executive, but it comes at the busiest time of the year for me. The Cool School Race Camp in early December is my biggest program of the year, then comes the Christmas rush before we all converge on Augusta on New Year's Day.

After the meeting I checked in at the chatteau, had a couple of games of ping pong with Warren then enjoyed a beautiful lamb roast for dinner, cooked by Warren. Then I went out to the movies and saw the Coen brother's latest film, "Burn after Reading"" which was typically off-beat and strewn with black humour and sudden violence. I laughed and recoiled in about equal measure.

Tomorrow I'm hooking up with Favourite Daughter and we're going to do camp reconnaissance together. It's always good to have company for that, bouncing ideas and suggestions around.

Here are a couple of recent pics. The first is of my cousin John and I. He dropped in unexpectedly on Wed arvo. I say unexpectedly because he lives in Shepparton, central Victoria, and he came over on his motorbike for an annual GTR ride and meet. He is a big fan of long distance motor cycling. When we were kids and all the Holt and Gallagher cousins would spend holidays together at Nathalia John was the coolest of them all. Being the oldest was only part of it. We all wanted to be like John. Years later when I was a teenager and living at Rosewood with Dad and Julie John and I used to hang out a bit. He worked at nearby Amberley airforce base and would take me to the movies there on Saturday arvos at the staff cinema.
We've lost touch over the years as often happens, catching up on mutual news via Dad and Auntie Merle but we did get to see him in Shepp last year when I took my long service leave.



This is my most recent painting which I've brought up to Perth with me to enter in an Art Exhibition at Metro Church, the church that Favourite Daughter goes to. It's a combination of a elements from a few different styles I've been doing over recent months and includes some mixed media in the shape of metal pieces, buckles, buttons, clasps etc which I bought at the auction last week. It started with ink trails and splotches followed by the square and rectangular shapes in hot glue. Then came many layers of paints of different colours and textures as I experimented and sought the "right"balance and combination of effects. I applied the metal pieces with hot glue. Finally I added the various more detailed patterns and coloured lines, dots, shapes and words to achieve the final effect. I painted over and re-worked many of the squares before I was finally satisfied. I'm happy with it, I hope the judges will be too!



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Plan B

I should be in Perth but I'm not. I changed my plans after a busy day, a long night in the taxi and limited sleep. I missed Nonna's 50th birthday party tonight but I'll see her tomorrow when I go up for the Augusta exec meeting. I'll be in the city for 2-3 days, doing some prep work for the Cool School Race Camp and possibly going to a PD workshop on self-abuse on Tuesday night.

I cruised a few garage sales around lunch time and got a few good deals: most notably a big solid work bench for the shed for $50-it used to be the front counter of the old Busselton police station! Canvasses, dvds, books, the board game Risk (which I've never played) and best of all some MS Office software which I was able to install on the new pc and laptop, the trial versions having expired and the new price being prohibitive. For all its faults, Word is a familiar and comfortable program to use and 95% of the work I do and files I create are Word docs. I had a great time talking to Mac and Susie, the proprietors of the main garage sale I went to, in fact I was there for close to an hour, talking, joking, haggling and discussing the big issues of life in Busselton.

A late arvo nap prompted the change of plans. The evening was spent playing private taxi to The Hair and his mates, picking up takeaway Thai food for dinner, painting and watching the second part of the Bob Dylan documentary on SBS. The word "unique" could have been invented for Dylan, what an interesting character!

Daylight saving kicked in about an hour ago so it's even later here now than it really is.
I need to leave for Perth by 11.00 in the morning.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Very Interesting Item For Sale on Ebay

You've got to check this out!

ebay special!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Time and God

I wrote this about 12 months ago, after a sustained period of emptiness and distance, of inner turmoil and outer chaos, when I first admitted I had a deeper problem and when I was first diagnosed with depression. I found it again today and as I re-read it some parts of it seemed applicable to my current frame of mind. After a fairly sustained period of feeling ok I crashed yesterday, the result of familiar triggers and patterns and my inability to deal with them. I have been rebounding a lot better over recent months but this was a bigger more painful crash and I'm struggling to pick myself up.

I wrote this while on retreat at the monastery at New Norcia in 2007, sitting in the grounds, watching and listening. I had found an old rusty time piece half buried in the dirt, just the inner workings not the casing or face, and it lead me into a reflection on the nature of time and God.

God is like time
Endless, eternal
No beginning or ending
God is like the big picture
Seeing everything
Recording every detail
Each second, each moment
Each instant, captured in God's eye
Kept in God's heart
Stored on God's infinite hard drive
Each day observed and noted
Not ignored, never forgotten
No day is lost to God
He sees and hears and knows and remembers
All that transpires
Every word spoken
Every bird's song or flight
Every creatures daily quest
For food and drink and peace and rest
No fly or bug too small
No action missed or life unseen
Every minute piece and creature
A part of the complete and
Intricate picture that is
God's whole creation
He is the time that marked its birth
He is the time that measures the earth
God has time, to wait
He is patient beyond understanding
He will not rush
He will not call a halt too soon
Though time is running out
He will wait till the very last moment
God uses his time thoughtfully and wisely
Setting tasks and directing paths
Coaching and coaxing and calling us out
To see him
To hear him
To taste and smell and feel him
To get in step with him
And measure time the way he does
I am like this old broken time piece
A rusty clock, seized, unmoving
Not working, not doing the job
For which I was created
A piece of machinery carefully made
But no longer functioning
Bits broken, bits missing
Damaged and neglected
The spring corroded
The hands gone
The cogs twisted and out of sync
At some point in time
I was ticking and moving
And keeping time with God
But neglect and damage
have rendered me useless
Does God have the time to mend me?
Does God have the patience
To restore and renew me?
Does God have the skill to put me back together?
To free the things that are stuck
To get the parts moving again
To repair me and help me measure
Time by his measure
He is able
But is he willing?
He is able
But am I willing?
He is able.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Hair's Birthday Tribute

 

He was such a cute kid!!
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Birthday Tribute

 

More of The Hair
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Happy Birthday Tribute

 

The Hair
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Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Son

Happy birthday to my third child and second son, The Hair, who turned 17 today.
I'll post a pictorial tribute tomorrow.
Today we went up to Bunbury with Sport Boy to see WALL-E, a very enjoyable film, then met up with Mrs HP and Mum who had been at a craft fair all day, then went out for dinner at a restaurant of The Hair's choice. A noodle bar. He would not be tempted nor disuaded. Unfortunately for him the waitress interpreted my request that his seafood mee goreng be ultra-mild on the spicy scale as meaning get him something that will burn his mouth and cause him to break out in a sweat!
Ice cream for dessert soothed the fire!
Tonight I attempted to buy him a ticket to a rock concert on ebay but we got outbid, despite timing our run to the last couple of minutes.
There's one more left on ebay that closes tomorrow night so we'll try again then.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Johnny the Grocery Bagger



This is pretty cool!

Local Blogger Plate

 


If you've been reading my comments you'll recognise the significance of this particular number plate which I snapped a couple of days ago in town!
Not much gets past us at Holt Press!
Welcome to town!

I dragged myself out of bed after 5 hours sleep and went down to the antiques and collector's auction at Rumens. When I got there they were up to item 120. When I left they were up to 270. The item I most wanted was 548!!!
Luckily a mate from the taxis, Graham was there and he agreed to bid for me on a couple of items, within the limits I gave him. He rang back a few hours later to say he'd gotten all three for a total of $42. They were bags of metal items, badges, plaques, hooks,filagree work etc. I particularly wanted the one bag that had the most filagree plates in it as I have ideas about using them in my painting.
I'd had to leave the auction to go and do an afternoon shift at the Art Geo Court House gallery, my first in several months. It was quiet so I spent the time listening to the cricket and painting.
When Graham rang to report on the auction I went round to pick up my items and it was like walking into an Aladdin's cave! He has been collecting things for over 40 years and the house was crammed with all sorts of interesting things from Matchbox cars and old phones to 45's and mannequins! I looked enviously through his collection of badges and pins!
he has plans to buy a property with a shed and open a private museum so he can put all his stuff on display!

Tomorrow is a significant day. The Hair turns 17. Mrs Holt Press is away in Bunbury tomorrow helping Mum at a craft show so we had dinner and birthday cake tonight in his honour. I'll do something special with him tomorrow.
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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday Night Drama

I had a reasonable night in the cab tonight, it started quiet but got really busy at peak hour (midnight) and didn't let up for the next three and a half hours. I had some drama about 11.30. I picked up abloke who was drunk and had fallen asleep at someone's house. When he woke up they were all gone. He complained about having to get a taxi home. He needed to stop at an ATM to get some money and while he was doing that a girl I know came running up in tears and great distress saying that her boyfriend had been hit in the eye with a stubbie and pleading with me to take them to the hospital. Of course I agreed, even though they had no money, but told them I had to drop customer #1 off first. When he got back in the car he was a bit surprised to see three new faces in the back, and being innebriated, began asking loudly who the %*&# they were and what they were doing in his cab. The bloke with the cut eye was already yelling and swearing and breathing murderous threats about the kid who had thrown the bottle at him and his girlfriend was losing it too, so there ensued an ugly shouting match in the cab as I was simultaneously trying to deliver #1 home and referee the conflict. Neither side were seeing reason, their capacity to do so no doubt clouded by excessive alcohol consumption, and in the kid's case, the anger, emotion and adrenalin of the original violence.
I finally got #1 out of the cab at which point, despite me having told him numerous times I was taking them to the hospital, he suddenly spotted the blood and gaping wound and said "What happened to you?"
We made it to the hospital a few minutes later, having endured a further stream of threats, expletives, and pleas for calm!
I did not envy the medical staff in the ER having to deal with this bloke. He was not seeing reason and he was highly agitated, a volatile mix!

The highlight of the night was getting a question right on Rod Quinn's quiz on the ABC Overnight show and going in the hat for the prize. Sadly I didn't win.
Rod gave me more latitude than normal in answering the question, perhaps because there'd been a long line of unsuccessful attempts before me and time was running out.
The question: 30 odd years before he won two Oscars, what important event did Jason Robards witness?
Think you know the answer?
Leave a comment.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Personalised Plates

 


I know they're a bit hard to read in the collage , just click to enbiggen and they're much easier to read. See if you can work out which is my favourite.

Just in case you were wondering, no I haven't given up on my hobby of taking pictures of personalised number plates, as these pictures attest. People are often bemused when they see me pull out my camera or phone and take a picture of the back of a car, especially if its theirs!
The number plates blog has been sadly neglected but the photo collection has grown to vast numbers, it's amazing how many people have their own plates.
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Poverty



Today is Blog Action Day on Poverty, thus this post is on the topic of poverty.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of God is theirs.
Jesus

Whoever among you would be great, must become as nothing.
Jesus

The first shall be last and the last shall be first.
Jesus

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus

Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.
Samuel

What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?
Jesus

A man's worth does not consist of the value of his possessions.
Jesus

The world has been in economic turmoil for the last few weeks. Banks and corporations have failed, share values have plummeted, governments have been forced to commit billions of dollars in rescue packages to stop complete melt down of whole economies.

Mankind through history has for the most part put its faith in money as the answer to all of life's problems and challenges. More money = less problems has been the mantra.
Building and holding on to wealth has been the focus of most of the western world, and now increasingly it is being adopted by the eastern and developing world.

I like money, or I should say, I like having money.

But having money does not protect against or prevent things going wrong in life.
Illness strikes the rich and the poor alike. The rich can afford better health care, but they can't insure against the inevitable, we will all die in the end.

We are relentlessly pursued by the marketers, advertisers and sellers, to buy buy buy, because our lives can't be happy or complete without whatever it is they're trying to sell us.

But this pursuit of money and things does not bring peace or contentment. It's more likely to bring dissatisfaction and discontent.

Two of the world's most famous women died within a week of one another, Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. One had a life of wealth and luxury, power and pleasure, yet lived a sad and troubled life and died a sad and tragic death.
The other lived a life of service devoted to some of the lowest and the poorest people on earth. She lived a life of joy and fulfillment and was an inspiration to millions. At her death, Mother Teresa's only reputed possession was a bucket.
We would ordinarily consider the former rich and the latter poor, but I'm convinced it was the other way round.

Jesus, who had so much wisdom, love, compassion, power and faith that his life and teachings continue to draw millions of followers two thousand years on from when he lived, had only one possession at the time of his death, the robe he wore.

Somehow, in the big scheme of things, mankind seems to have gotten it wrong. The secret of happiness and peace and fulfillment is not in how much money we have or how many things we own. It is in knowing who we truly are, discovering our purpose, and connecting with our creator.

There is a lot of money in the world. But there is still a lot of unecessary death and suffering as a result of preventable disease, unclean water, lack of sanitation, insufficient health care and unequal distribution of resources. And don't mention the war!

The saddest part is that there is more than enough money to adequately provide and care for every person on earth. We can afford it. We have the means and the technology.
But we lack the one vital ingredient to make it happen.

We lack the will to do it.

The unified and committed will of the people with the power and resources at our disposal, and that's us, to make sure that the world is fed and provided for.

We think of poverty as being a lack of money, and it is.
But do we ever stop to consider that poverty is also being poor in attitude, poor in commitment, poor in will?

I am by Australian standards, fairly poor. My income is low and my assets are few.
Yet, in world terms I am one of the wealthiest people on the planet. I have much more than 95% of the rest of the world's population. I live in comfort and safety, I eat three times a day, have fresh and hot water at my disposal, a range of gadgets and appliances that make my life comfortable, two cars, a steady job, and a blog.

Am I rich or poor?

Ultimately I believe it has nothing to do with my possessions and everything to do with my attitude.



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Scrabble Group

There was a shift in the cosmos tonight, the delicate balance of the universe was disturbed, or my universe at least. I lost my first game tonight at Scrabble Group! This is a rare occurrence and the ladies took great delight in my defeat! Sue (top right) did the damage, courtesy of two seven letter words and their 50 point bonuses, the first of them on a triple word score! I had clawed my way back into the game and was planning my next move when I was blind-sided! She had committed the almost unforgiveable sin of Scrabble moments earlier by complaining she had too many "s"es! Not only did she have two, but also a blank, and an opening on the board, and proceeded to make "GRASSIER" for 86 points and that was the ball game!!

I was bent on revenge and redemption in my next game and Gael (bottom left) was the poor victim on the receiving end of my Scrabble wrath!
I made three 7 letter words in a row, and a 4th late in the game, racking up a score of 482 and winning by over 200 points! You can see the board in the picture, I couldn't let the moment go without a picture for the blog!!

Game three was against Marg (bottom right) who refers to me as "His Lordship", and it was a dour affair, a board full of three letter words, crammed tight for space, neither giving an inch. I eked out a 20 point win with 332! I felt better! My reputation was restored!
I was back on my Scrabble throne and the universe had returned to normal!!
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday

Sport Boy's wrist is still giving him a lot of pain, it seems to get worse late in the day and toward evening. There's little we can do except give him pain killers and even those don't seem to help much. I sat and watched Wipeout with him when I go thome from work and the snuggle and laughter helped a little. He has to go back to school tomorrow but I'm not sure how he'll cope. He has a low pain tolerance threshold.

I went back to work today, thankfully it was quiet, with the kids coming back tomorrow. I had a long post mortem of the grand final with Chris, who apart from being a Hawthorn fan is a good bloke! There'll be more reminders and taunts to come over the next few days I'm sure!

I finished another painting tonight, one that I started at the retreat at New Norcia last week. It's similar yet different to other recent stuff and I'm not sure whether I like it but there's so0 much work and detail in it I'm not about to paint over it even if I conclude I don't!
I was watching/listening to Enough Rope while I was painting, what a contrast!
His first guest was Imran Khan, the former cricketer, a highly intelligent and articulate man who may one day be Prime Minister of Pakistan.
His second guest was Kevin Bloody Wilson, a foul-mouthed racist yobbo! He denies the racist tag but I'm not sure how, his songs are full of offensive terms and attitudes towards indigenous people, and many others besides.
Australia has a long history of yobbo comedians and characters, many of whom, like Paul Hogan and Sir Les Patterson are very funny without crossing the line. Wilson doesn't just cross the line, he jumps up and down on it's grave! As you can tell I'm not a fan.
Somehow, one of his albums sold 3 million copies! As Mrs Holt Press remarked as she took her leave, "That's a worry!"

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Signs of the Times Pt 2

While I was at Country Week with Sport Boy I went cruising the streets of Cockburn checking out the piles of unwanted goods on the verges awaiting pick up by the council. I found an old banana lounge which I used throughout the week to sit comfortably while watching the soccer. I couldn't resist photographing this particular pile of rubbish, a sign of a discontented footy fan!
Spotted in a shop in Bridgetown.
Sport Boy and The Hair waiting at the hospital after SB had a plaster cast put on his right arm. He's still in pain but not as bad as yesterday.
He and I took a drive this arvo, to watch some of the Moto-X, then on to the Margaret River Chocolate Company, where for some reason Winston gets preferential treatment.
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Signs of the Times




A few signs I've spotted in recent weeks. I have a long history of teasing Mrs Holt Press about the relative merits of her favourite store, Spotlight so when I saw one closed down I couldn't resist blogging it. The others all reflect the decreasing literacy standards of 21st Century Australia. Sorry the blackboard one is blurry, I was trying to take it quickly without attracting the shop keepers attention. If you can't make it out, "coming" is spelt "comming".
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

In the Wars Again!

Mrs Holt Press has gone to Northam for the weekend on a training course, leaving me in charge of the bairns.
You know this story is not going to end well.
Sport Boy went round to play with Ben yesterday.
They were riding the scooter.
He tried a "bunny hop".
His wheel got stuck in a drain cover.
He fell over, landing on his outstretched hands.
He got some minor gravel rash and badly jarred his wrists.
He's been in HUGE amounts of pain and discomfort.
Two trips to the hospital, one last night, another this morning.
The x-rays don't show any breaks but the pain is still really bad so he's in a cast for a week, feeling pretty miserable.

Mrs HP may never go away again!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Mum

Sunday October 5 was Mum's 70th birthday. The family gathered to celebrate the occasion with dinner at Elmars in the Valley, a German restaurant in the Swan Valley.
Everyone had a great time, especially Mum.
Afterwards we met back at Alan's place for coffee. The kids shared their feelings and memories about their Nan then I read a poem I'd been composing over the preceding couple of hours. It started with the idea of sharing 70 memories of Mum which The Hair listed in the car as we drove over to Bridgetown to pick up Walter. I then had the bright idea of turning it into rhyming couplets!
Here's the result.

The Ballad of Jacqui B.

A long time ago, I don't remember when
But by the calendar three score and ten
1938 was the year
That my Mum first appeared
Somewhere around the town of Hurstbridge
In a little house without a fridge
Alec and Elsie brought forth Evelyn's sister
And named her Jacqueline Muriel Burmeister
Some time later they moved to Northcote
To a house at 373 Clarke St
Down the road to school at Westgarth
Up the sidestreet to the park
A great place to play but don't be late
When Pa whistled from the gate
One day Graham copped a whack in the head
A boy had kicked him his sister's said
Up to the park stormed Nan, a neck to wring
Till they confessed "it was the swing"
In Melbourne, Footy's king of the pack
And the Burmeister family were yellow and black
Cheering on the Tigers in the rain and mud
Watching the exploits of Captain Blood
Back in the days of carts and horses
Following with a bucket awaiting nature's forces
One day a milk cart too long lingered
And crushed Mum's hand, hence her dodgy finger

A few years later Jacqui's eyes were drawn
To a handsome dark haired young man
Peter and Jacqui soon said "I do"
The day Jacqui first used shampoo! *
Not long after to Birchip they moved
A place a long long way removed
From family friends and civilisation
Not much to do except procreation
Thus first child Alan was born
Mum gave birth all alone
The nurse had retired for the night
And Father Peter was nowhere in sight
A litter of pups took his attention
While Alan made his ascension
Other towns followed as did more kids
Vicki next then Mark** and Squid***
The family moved down to Geelong
On Aberdeen St they belonged
Peter and Jacqui parted in Cook's centenary
And both headed for different scenery

Wiggs Rd Moolap was Jacqui's new home
Casa Moodella with an acre to roam
As a single Mum Jacqui worked hard
raising four kids, working at a garage
Weekends at Northcote, holidays at Nathalia
to see the Gallaghers and Nanny "Falia"
Riding bikes her back covered in flies
"Leave them there they're not in my eyes"
Collecting blue willow china plates and bowls
Replacing Mark's thirteen worn out soles
Driving the Morris Minor to Barwon Heads
Up the hill it felt like lead
After several attempts that were very stressful
In reverse she was finally successful

In 1974 Jacqui moved west with Arthur in toe
Across the Nullabor the Valiant did go
To Burnside St Bayswater rented from Neil and Joan
John Forrest High was our new school and home
From there to Watermans, West Coast Highway
Home decorating? She did it her way
With million dollar views up and down
Painted out with mission brown
New friends the Mentleins, Udo and Viv
Just up the highway from where we lived
After a year of turmoil one son was transported
To live with his father in a town called Rosewood
But another child arrived when Shannon was born
One new kid in the family and one kid gone
At Christmas one year for my Spurs obsession
She got a book signed by Spurs, a precious possession

Talking of obsessions I'm reminded
Mum was once addicted to Eucalyptus Diamonds
Her art and craft interests are myriad
I well remember her ceramics period
Now her home is over-run with bears
Family photos surround the stairs
Santas and Christmas decorations
Are just some of her fixations
On the other hand some phobias I should mention
Number one on the list the "Deadly Huntsman"
Many's the time she's been bailed up by a spider
Paralysed by fear by herself beside her
There's something else that could terrorise
Dogs, especially those BIG in size
One time on our way to Phillip Island
She and Lorna were cornered by a giant canine

Some years back Mum got the urge to see
The home of the brave and the land of the free
Off she went around the world
All on her own, a single girl
To Britain first, and Shakespeare's home
London, Oxford and the Cotswolds roamed
Then off she flew to see New York
And listen to the yankees talk
The Empire State and Central Park
Befriending Joshua and the Clarks
Seeing all the wonderful colours of Fall
New England's treasures she loved them all
Keith and Michelle said you're welcome here
In the home of John Deere
San Francison was a real highlight
The hills, the bay, the street-car lights
Then finally down to San Diego
To visit a very special amigo
Paul and Vicki were splendid hosts
And showed her the Californian coast
It was a trip jammed full of memorable places
Special people and friendly faces
The travel bug gave her a good hard bite
Twice more with bags packed she's taken flight

Without a husband, all on her own
Jacqui said "I'm not meant to be alone"
I'm the sort whose made for marriage
So Udo placed an ad for a German motor carriage
He answered the ad in the personal column
And scored a ring, a bit like Gollum
When "Poor Walter" went down on bended knee
She netted husband Number Three
They went together to Germany
To visit old friends and family
Then back to Mum's favourite place
Two more trips to the United States
Even though she's 70 now
I suspect that still somehow
She'll dip once more into the cookie jar
And go back again to America

Mum's special gift is hospitality
Her Christmas dinners have earnt immortality
Ham and pork, roast veges and trimmings
Everyone's plate over-brimming
And just when you've recovered from that
Out come the pancakes to lay you flat
You can rock up unexpected at any time
And be fed a banquet every time
She's moved around from west to east and east to west
Till finally now she loves Fridgetown best
Her beautiful little house set on the hill
With beds and bears and love is filled
The welcome mat's out, the door's not locked
The fire is warm and the pantry's stocked
Mum often welcomes travelling guests
And provides a comfy place to rest
But the guests she wouldn't trade for quids
Are her children and grand kids
Now Walter and Jacqui are the elders of our clan
Our wonderful Mum and beloved Nan
We love you dearly, we honour you
We thank you for everything you do
Your love is unconditional, it's never in doubt
Nothing we do could ever wipe it out
What's without question is your loyalty to friends
Your love and generosity never ends
You put other people first in every situation
Your commitment to family is beyond estimation
We wish you Happy Birthday in your 70th year
And many more to come, for Mum we give three cheers.


* Shampoo was a new invention, up until then people washed their hair with Velvet soap
* Marcus (that's me)
* Bruce

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Back in Town

I'm home.
I'm going to bed.
I'll blog tomorrow.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Brrrrr!!

Cold wet and miserable describes Busselton today, a good day to stay indoors and paint.

Sport Boy and Callum kept one another company all day and tonight they went to the movies to see Journey to the Centre of the Earth while Mrs Holt Press and I went to church. It was the first time I'd been in several weeks due to work and taxi committments.

Tomorrow we head back to Perth for Mum's birthday.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Country Week Ends in Victory

We're home from Country Week. Everything went really well and Sport Boy had a GREAT time.
His team won the 3rd v 4th play-off game this morning, coming back from 1-0 down to win 2-1.
There was great excitement on the sidelines and lots of emotion from the coach.

Callum aka BBQ Sauce Boy has come back with us for a couple of days so he and Sport Boy are enjoying each other's company. We're heading back to Perth on Sunday for Mum's 70th birthday celebration, then I'll go on to a retreat at New Norcia for a few days.

Meanwhile I'm taking a short break from the taxi while it's quiet to have some dinner and update the blog.

The Hair survived his solo occupation of the house for the last couple of days, although there was a sink full of dirty plates to greet us. He has since cleaned them up!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Country Week Report

Wednesday arvo in Freo, the kids are playing QZAR and I'm blogging!
Country Week is going pretty well so far. Sport Boy's team have played 6 games for 3 wins 2 losses and a draw. Their play has improved with each game and this morning's game against Albany was a ripper that they were unlucky to lose 2-1. Sport Boy has played well but gotten knocked down and injured multiple times! I'm trying to remind him that it is a contact sport and encourage him to bounce back up rather than staying down on the ground. He seems to take it as a personal insult when someone tackles him!
They play two games each day and we've had plenty of spectators. Mum, Mrs Holt Press and Favourite Daughter have all been to watch him play.
In between games there is a bit of a gap so yesterday we took them tenpin bowling. It was an expensive exercise! At one stage Adam had an 8-10 split and I rashly said "I'll give you $10 if you get that!" It's a very difficult shot, the sort of thing you might fluke 1 in a 100 times. So, you know what happened of course, he knocked them both down and the kids erupted in cheers and laughter and I had to cough up 10 bucks!!!

We kept them at camp last night while the older kids went to the movies so that's why they've come to QZAR today.
We've been working hard to get them to bed on time and keep their fluids up and their diets healthy in order to perform at their best.
Sport Boy is having a great time.

Two days to go.