Saturday, January 31, 2009
I had to stay awake for a start.
Despite last night's attempt to get to bed earlier, events conspired against me.
Just as I was dropping off The Heir sent a text asking me to come and pick him up after the staff BBQ. So it was after one before I got back to bed.
Today's main activity was providing lunch for all the staff. I've become the unofficial Sausage Sizzle King it seems, I'm certainly the Go-To Man whenever someone wants something BBQd at school. I tried to add some variety to the standard sausage and onions menu today by adding potato slices and a couple of big platters of sliced fruit. That proved to be popular and everyone had sufficient to eat. The Summer stone fruit season is my favourite, I've almost been living on nectarines the last few weeks.
I came home and slept for a couple of hours after work before Sport Boy woke me up with the news that I was due to start my taxi shift in five minutes!
It was a long slow quiet night in the cab, the only excitement being my frantic attempts to kill the radio whenever they threatened to give the result of the tennis. I've recorded tonight's game between Nadal and Devasco in the Australian Open semi-final. Sounds like it was a great match and I always enjoy watching something more if I don't know the result.
Whoever wins (won) I'm hoping Roger Federer wins the final so he can equal Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slams, and then hopefully go on to win at least one more.
Friday, January 30, 2009
It was a struggle!
Thank goodness the kids don't come back till Monday.
I got a few things done but my productivity rate was about as uninspiring as the global economy.
Hopefully I'll pick up the pace and stamina over the next few days.
Tonight we went to a staff BBQ at the Bayview Resort for Mrs Holt Press' workplace. It was pleasant out on the lawn eating nice (free) food and meeting a few of her co-workers but eventually the cold became too much and we headed home. How ironic that we are having such lovely cool weather here while the eastern states are sweltering in record temperatures.
I didn't make it to bed as early as I'd hoped last night but tonight is looking more promising.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Today's first task was to finish assembling a;ll the paperwork and figures for my (2008) tax return and send it all off to Big Brother the Accountant. A little later than normal, so much so that the tax dept.'s debt collectors rang him the other day to ask where it was!!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
The Festival Spirit is an efigy constructed by the local Lion's Club each year, mounted on a raft, and set alight. The large head, as pictured in the local paper, is filled with paper to make it more flammable, and rests atop a seated body built around a metal frame. The raft is kept afloat by four 44 gallon drums.
Saturday night in the taxi was pretty quiet (except for the four young blokes who were dropping brown eyes at the passing cars on Layman Rd) so I went on standby and joined the spectators down by the river. The Festival Queen entrants arrived by barge and the winner was revealed, along with the charity queen.
Then came the moment to set the Spirit alight.
The local SES crew motored out to it in their runabout and one of their crew climbed aboard the raft and took hold of the flame to do the deed.
Suddenly, disaster struck!
The raft started to lean, then to tip and finally capsize, dumping the SES bloke in the river and causing the Spirit efigy to fall sideways into the water.
The crowd were stunned, then amused in the way that only a crowd can be at someone else's expense and misfortune.
The SES plucked their man from the water but before any sort of rescue of the Spirit could be effected, it sank, fully submerging the head and body, leaving only the 44s in the air as evidence of its presence!
The announcer, who had been struggling most of the night, came out with his best line in the circumstance: "Ladies and Gentlemen. let's not let this dampen our spirits, on with the fireworks"!
Without wanting to rejoice in other people's troubles, I suspect it will be the best remembered Burning of the Spirit in the history of the Festival!
We have spent a very quiet Australia Day, not even a barbie. Just a sleep-in, watching Sth Africa disdainfully dismiss us in the cricket and the tennis on TV. I went to Bunnings and got several sheets of MDF board cut into different sizes then brought them home and prepared them with gesso so I can paint on them. I'm planning an exhibition early this year and am keen to get as many paintings done for it as I can.
The Hair submitted his resume at a local fish and chip shop who are looking for staff. Whether they're looking for one with long hair, half a head of dreadlocks and a pierced nose remains to be seen!!!! He then went up to Perth with Lauren and some other friends to see the Australia Day fireworks on the Swan River.
This evening I got a phone call from Favourite Daughter to say that the car had over-heated just near Sue's Rd and could I come out and help her. A couple had stopped to help her and when I brought out 5 litres of water she was able to get it started and drive it slowly home the last 7km to our place.
The Heir has been working, sleeping, working, sleeping the last few days but he did go to Dunsborough with some friends this afternoon.
Sport Boy convinced his mum to go and play tennis with him this morning. She slept all afternoon!!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Going to work, no problem.
Coming home from work? Problem!
It was freezing!
The seat was wet with dew.
I couldn't wear my sunnies at night so my face was cold and eyes unprotected.
I'd have needed a minimum of two more layers of clothes to feel remotely comfortable.
Thankfully it's only a five minute ride from the depot to home. Any further than that and I'd have developed icicles enroute.
I stuck my head in the fridge when I got home just to warm up!
Apart from that it wasn't a bad night. A couple of flat spots but I had some good long fares which boosted my takings. Most of the drunks were friendly enough. One bloke was mumbling incomprehensibly, and repulsive, at least that's how it appeared as the girl he tried to get to share the cab home with him refused on 4 different occasions! The final confirmation came when he brazenly threw his food wrapper out the window of the cab as we drove down the main street. Then followed an incident dripping with hypocritical irony. Someone had knocked over a wheelie bin scattering rubbish over the main roundabout in town. He got out of the cab to remove the bin and clear away some of the debris, then proceeded to criticise the "idiots in this town who trash the place"!!!!
He was too drunk to confront, too ignorant to understand and too unintelligible to make sense of.
All I could do was rejoice that he clocked up a $30 fare!!
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
One of the highlights of the Busselton Festival each year is the Petticoat Lane Street Markets. Queen St is closed to traffic and over 100 stalls and vendors set up shop selling the usual range of craft, soap, art, jewelry, honey, nuts, candles, doilies, and assorted cheap junk, as well as a range of fund-raising food stands run by local community groups. It is a good night to wander up and down the street looking at all the things you don't want to buy, and occasionally stumbling across something you do. This year it was a BBQ apron made in Cambodia by women from the Hagar project. We have two lots of friends who work with Hagar, former chaplain Wilma and her husband Bart in Cambodia and Phil and Julie in Afghanistan so it was good to be able to support their work and get a useful item to boot.
A friend through church, Pauline had a stall selling beaded jewelry and key rings who told us that she had learnt to make them at Mum's craft classes at Augusta a couple of weeks ago!
The other highlight of the night was seeing a boy wearing a T-shirt with a saying that has taken on great significance recently: "I'm Beaced as Bro" was the title of a skit that Sport Boy performed with Daniel at the concert also in Augusta on the last night of the beach mission. It in turn was a take-off of a popular You Tube clip. I will try and put a link to the original but I've had trouble embedding You Tube clips of late.
Sorry, no go on embedding, in fact I've just been wrestling with some sort of heavy metal invader playing horrendous "music" on my computer from no visible or detectable source, very strange. meanwhile, here's the link to "I'm beached as Bro" a somewhat surreal dialogue between a beached whale and a seagull. SportBoy played the part of the seagull, minus the swearing!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Barack Hussein Obama has been sworn in as the 44th President of the USA.
I joined the millions assembled in Washington and watching around the world as the new president was inaugurated.
After being tripped up by the Chief Justice who got the oath of office out of order Obama was eloquent and purposeful in his much awaited speech.
There was not the soaring rhetoric and political tub-thumping of the campaign, rather he was realistic, pragmatic and bluntly honest about the size of the challenge ahead in light of two wars and the financial crisis yet defiant and determined in stating his belief that America can survive the current dilemmas and re-emerge as a trusted world leader.
" We gather because we have chosen hope over fear"
"We will extend our hand (of friendship) if you will unclench your fist"
Obama has taken on the toughest job in the world at one of the most difficult times in history.
I hope and pray that God will grant him strength and wisdom, and protect him and his family.
It was a day of more mundane domestic activity in the Holt Press world. I drilled lots of holes and hung a broom holder and stationery rack for Mrs HP, fitted a new toilet roll holder in the second dunny, and put in several new picture hooks.
It is so good to be on holidays and able to pick and choose what I do and the time I take to do it.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
There is Docker Dave, fellow chaplain, married to Nicole, father of four including Brain Girl, who recently stayed at the Anglican campsite on the Holy Mile and kept us all in stitches while we played Balderdash.
Then there is Glass Dave, who runs a glass business and has a son named DJ, a slot car track, a truck and Foxtel.
It was Glass Dave's truck I borrowed to pick up the porch swing and it is Glass Dave who regularly records the sport I don't get to see on free-to-air TV. He has built up a backlog of NY Giants and NFL games and Tottenham League and Cup games over the last several weeks and today I finally got time to go and watch some of
them. He gave me a key to his place a while back so I can let myself in for some private viewing.
I watched last night's Spurs V Portsmouth game which finished 1-1 despite Tottenham having far more chances. The Portsmouth goalie saved several Spurs scoring attempts, then Pompey went 1-0 up before Jermaine Defoe scored the equaliser for his old club against his old club!!!
He played for Tottenham, was transferred to Portsmouth last season, then back to Tottenham two weeks ago, ironically by the former Portsmouth now Tottenham manager harry Redknapp.
I then turned my attention to the NFL game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles. Ex Collingwood player Sav Rocca plays for the Eagles while former Geelong captain Ben Graham plays for the Carinals, both as punters. It was a great game with Arizona building a big lead, surrendering it in the last quarter then coming back to win in the last couple of minutes. Ben becomes the first Aussie to play in the SuperBowl, quite a feat considering he was sacked by the NY Jets and also the New Orleans Saints and only signed for Arizona about six weeks ago!!!!
I did a few little odd jobs around the patio with the power tools this afternoon then I took Sport Boy and Favourite Daughter to the Deckchair Cinema at Signal Park down by the foreshore which is part of the Festival of Busselton. We saw Horton Hears a Who and loved it, very funny and enjoyable despite the cold weather. We rugged up as best we could but it was still cold.
All 4 HP kids are home again tonight after The Heir was the only one here the night before. They come and go frequently these days.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Before Meelup I went out for a drink with Collo who is in town until tomorrow. I took him to The Ship so that he could see my paintings as well as have a drink. As a former chaplain he well understands my job with its various challenges and we discussed the current state of YouthCare affairs.
The rest of the day was spent pottering and painting. I tried again to get the boat started , and failed again. Having had a long chat with Jacqui R on the phone talking about Augusta she suggested I contact Bruce so I sms'd him seeking his advice. He replied that he was in Utah and suggested I take it to a boat shop! Thanks Bruce!
All four Holt Press offspring are at home at the moment. The Hair has returned from the harvest, although he's going up to Perth tomorrow to go to a "Whitechapel" concert with a couple of mates. Who or what is Whitechapel you ask?
A band of some description, no doubt somewhere between thrash and death metal, who derive their name not from the Monopoly board but rather as the area in which Jack the Ripper operated!!!!
Favourite Daughter is heading back to Perth tomorrow morning also, to work in the cafe and move her gear out of the house in Maylands that she was sharing with the other two girls. She and The Heir are hoping to find a place to share together and may have a lead on a unit in Subiaco so we're all praying that will come through.
The whisper in the wind is that The Heir is thinking of applying for a very significant job in Perth. Can't say any more now but I'll keep you posted.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I went to visit Docker Dave and Nicole again tonight, partly to pick up my sunnies and partly to see if Dave had sobered up yet! He had.
Nicole had fooled me into thinking she likes Scrabble but turns out she was only joking.
That made the Scrabble set I took with me redundant.
Instead of playing games they introduced me to their friends John and Maggie and we sat chatting as the night grew darker and colder. Sadly, most of the good stories were declared off-limits to the blog!
This afternoon I attempted to make good on my vow: To take the boat out for my maiden voyage this Summer. I emptied it of all the accumulated debris, mostly fodder for the up-coming garage sale with the odd interesting or useful item scattered amongst it, brushed off the cobwebs and dirt, connected the fuel tank, found the right place for the hose calipers/earmuffs, turned the hose on, switched the engine to run, primed the tank, pulled out the choke, wondered how many other things I'd forgotten, and gave the cord a pull.
The first 4-5 pulls yielded nothing.
The 6th caused the motor to burst into life for a few short seconds before expiring- just enough to give me hope that I was on the right track.
The next 20-30 pulls resulted in failure. The motor refused to start. I tinkered with things, tried a few different settings, opened the cowling to have a look and see if anything reached out to grab me and say "don't forget to adjust the whatchamacallit" but nothing did, put the cowling back on, gave it a few more tries then gave up. What else could I do?
The brief moment of engine life was apparently just a tease.
It will require a greater marine brain than mine to get it started/work out what's wrong.
The lack of activity for the last two years could have something to do with it I guess, though I don't know what. Maybe the fuel is past its use-by-date? Perhaps it has developed land-based dementia. Or possibly the two year time-span since I was given my one and only lesson on how to start/run/maintain/not sink the boat was too great an encumbrance to overcome at the first attempt.
I would have rung Bruce, the previous owner, and benefactor, for a fe but he's away in America somewhere and not knowing the time difference or his exact location, decided not to call in case he was asleep somewhere.
Plan B is to go looking for someone "boatie" tomorrow and see if they can set me straight.
You can be sure that if I manage to get the HoltPress Vessel afloat you will see and hear all about it! Ahoy!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Rhys requested that his name be highlighted in this report of proceedings, so here it is!
We had gone down to visit them for a BBQ and met up with Geoff W who was also camping there. He joined the game, with his bottle of red, and plenty of high spirits flowed.
They were planning to get up and play golf at 7 this morning but Mrs HP and I were very dubious about their chances of making it.
We had spent the afternoon touring a few galleries around Vasse and Yallingup. I entered two paintings in the Vasse Art Show but was disappointed to find that they had only hung one of them in the exhibition!
I have found another outlet though, the HoJo's cafe in town. I finally met them today in the flesh, having gotten to know them over the net via our respective blogs. They are keen to develop the cafe as an outlet for local artists to display and sell their work so I'll take a few paintings in this week and give it a go.
We had a surprise but welcome guest arrive tonight, Favourite Daughter has come "home" for a few days. She and The Heir are planning to move into a house together up in Perth next week, they just need a third person to share with them.
I cooked a BBQ for dinner and we sat outside amidst the candles, eating and talking.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I'm hoping this budding interest might open up some career thinking for her.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
All went very well in Augusta, one of the best missions we've ever had, especially for me personally. No emotional crashes or major conflicts to derail my involvement.
The weather was perfect.
The team were exceptional.
The program was executed exactly as planned.
I couldn't be happier with the impact and outcome of our endeavours.
As usual there was lota of hard work, but the way we spaced out the activities and built in time for developing relationships was way better than the frenetic pace and endless activity we used to be caught up in, and it showed in the greater depth and significance of conversations with campers.
I was happy and satisfied with the things I had personal responsibility for:
The daily newspapers took a lot of time to produce, sometimes well into the early hours of the morning and on one occasion not finished until 4.30, but were well received and appreciated. Achieving the right balance of news headlines, sports updates, puzzles, comics, humour and jokes, pictures, editorial comment and low-key Christian input in order to make an attractive publication is the goal. Wrestling with the vagaries of mobile desktop publishing and unco-operative printers made life trying but by the end all was working well and I even had the last edition finished before midnight!
I lead the drama team for the first time and despite a patchy beginning was happy with how it went. For several years we've had highly rehearsed original dramas with very high production values but it was my suggestion to try and simplify things this year, therefore we adapted Max Lucado's Wemmick stories featuring Eli the wood carver, Punchinello and Lucia into dramas with a narrated style and getting kids involved as characters and extras. As the instigator and in the absence of any other volunteers, I became the Narrator/Eli character which meant having to be ready for the riverside program on the four mornings it ran during the week and rehearsing and organizing the kids. They did a great job, especially Jerome as Punchinello who was very diligent in his committment. I made life difficult for him on the first day by trying to improvise some of my lines, unfortunately I failed to deliver the cues he was waiting for and thus left him stranded a couple of times. After that I stuck to the script and the dramas ran pretty smoothly. There wasn't as much humour as I'd have liked but the few jokes I did write or ad-lib all drew a laugh, especially from the parents watching from the coffee shop.
I ran the quiz night which is always popular and it went well, except for the customary tecnical problems. I had the questions all displayed in a powerpoint presentation but when I attempted to do some editing of questions on the run the projector and the computer didn't want to talk to each other. We got there but it was a little frustrating and of course there were the small number of questions with controversial or multiple answers to stir up the competitive souls in the crowd. The initial non-appearance of the vanilla slice booby prize and subsequent mystery disappearance of the substituted cheese cake put back in the cool room by the over-efficient kitchen team were all just minor impediments to a good night.
As Co-Director of the Festival and up-front leader I have a big role in setting and maintaining the lines of communication within the team and creating the temporary community/family atmosphere that is so essential to the over-all success of the whole event. I was very happy with how this all went, especially the lunch time sessions where as well as the normal business and house-keeping issues to deal with time is given to acknowledging and affirming individual's contributions as well as bloopers and blunders in a "Brickbats & Bouquets" session known as "Lolly Time". People report the good the bad and the funny incidents of the day to me and I then recount the stories to the team, accompanied by a lolly as a "reward". This is often funny, sometimes touching and emotional and on occasion inspirational.
The other element of Co-Directing is dealing with the multitude of day to day decisions regarding what we're doing, when and how, as well as dealing with rare but important issues of concern or discipline within the team. We have an executive leadership group who share responsibility for policy and decision-making before and during the festival and we met a couple of times to keep track of how everything was going.
I'll leave the rest of the update on Augusta until tomorrow, and add some pictures.
A lot of the initial unpacking has been done but presently the PA gear that lives in my office at work is crowding out the study and needs to be reloacted and a few other tasks need to be done to re-establish some order.
I had only been home for an hour and a half when I had to go to work driving a taxi last night, Gavin had called a couple of days before saying they were desperately short and could I drive on Saturday night. I needn't have bothered, it was the deadest night I've ever had in the cab and bearly worth the effort for the 8 hours of my time it took up.
Sport Boy has gone to Perth with Graeme and some kids to watch Perth Glory play tonight.
The Hair has returned to Corrigin to work on the wheat bin.
Favourite Daughter is in Perth and will shortly be followed by The Heir, they have found a house to share together and will both be looking for work.
The English crew have all departed for home, leaving behind cards and gifts of thanks and many mutually shared wonderful memories of their time in Australia.
The only down point of the Festival was the urgent departure of Mum and Walter half way through. They had to go to Perth to look after Walter's daughter Wendy's family because she is seriously ill in hospital, first having had her gall bladder removed and then learning that part of her pancreas had died and may require further surgery.
Mrs Holt Press is unpacking and creating some order and cleanliness in the house after various Holt Press offspring have left a trail of mess and disorder in their wake in transit.
Tonight, if we're awake, we are going to see "Australia" at the cinema.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
I'm back in Busso briefly to pick up some printer cartridges. Sadly the new laser printer I bought for the specific reason of using it at Augusta is playing up. Just as well I'd taken a back up printer. I've also picked up another 20 bench stools, part of a replacement drive to phase out the old plastic chairs.
A couple of other little errands and I'll head back to Augusta but being this close to home I couldn't pass up the opportunity to blog!
Thursday, January 01, 2009
5 hours sleep. 3 hours packing. And we're about to depart.
In qualification I should say that Mrs Holt Press is not ready but seeing as we are taking 9 people, three cars, two trailers, enough gear to equip a medium sized army, and a partridge in a pear tree, that's not bad. The Heir, Sport Boy, Ian and I are heading off in the advance troop carrier, Mrs HP and Sammie will follow once she's packed, and Emma & Megan will come tomorrow once they've finished their Uni assignments. Favourite Daughter will also follow some time today, and Dave has left to pick up the marquee and deliver it to Augusta for me.
Now, if only I'd had time to eat something other than the caramel deluxe chocolate Sport Boy brought home from the Mitchell's new Years Eve party and the nectarine pit that I'm still scouring for morsels of flesh! No time now, the deadline awaits.
Tally Ho! Augusta Family Festival here we come.
Blogging will be spasmodic at best for the next ten days, see if you can get by without me!!!!
happy New Year
But, all of that will have to wait because right now my priority is sleep. If I don't get some of that now the day will be a write-off!
Keep praying for me!!