Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Esperancades Are Ended

Our time in Esperance has come to an end, we're packed up and ready to head for home. Just the lazy eight hour drive away!!
The weather is cooler and breezier today, yesterday was a real stinker, 43 degrees apparently and it didn't ease off much at night which made sleeping very uncomfortable.

Favourite Daughter is staying on for a couple of extra days to hang out with her friend Beth and the local crew. Hopefully the Kombi will do all the right things and get her home safely. She's planning to go via Albany, Walpole, Pemberton etc and meet us in Augusta.

Sport Boy has had a pretty good time but is currently asleep with a headache. He is a notoriously bad patient so I really hope A. he goes back to sleep when we put him in the car and B. his head gets better or it could be a mournful journey (for all of us).

Mrs Holt Press has had a really lovely time but has been a bit stressed worrying about things going on elsewhere the last couple of days. We've got a busy couple of days, getting back to Busso today and getting packed and ready tomorrow to go to Augusta on New Year's Day.

I am relieved to report that I have completed the pre-mission newspapers. They are ready for photocopying and thenI'll add the current news and events to them each day while we are at Augusta. It's a relief to get it done, it is a big job. I'm already thinking about how to improve and streamline the process next year.

Last thing to report is that when I get home I'll be ringing to say I'd like to accept a job that was offered to me just before we came away with the local coach line company. More details later but if all goes to plan I should commence work mid-January.

Update: Sport Boy has woken up and is moaning and crying, not a good sign!

Time to hit the road and hope we can get him back to sleep in the aiconditioned car.

See you in Busso

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Esperance Escapades

Life continues on at a relaxed pace in Esperance. Trips to the beach and the shops, fish and chips, drawing, watching dvds, sleeping in, checking out the local art gallery, playing with Sport Boy, going to see Sherlock Holmes at the movies, breakfast at the jetty Tearooms, riding the miniature train etc etc.
We are having a lovely quiet time.
But we've only got a couple of days left before we have to head home to Busselton on the 30th.

I spent a fair bit of time today working on the daily newspapers for beach mission at Augusta. I'm the editor and this year I'm planning my most ambitious target ever, 7 newspapers. It's a fiddly process putting them together but I've been collecting material for them throughout the year which has certainly made the task easier. I've done four, got three to go!

I think we're off to have a look at Cape LeGrande tomorrow. If it's anything like the rest of the Esperance area it will be beautiful. It is a very picturesque town set on the Bay of the Isles.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Christmas

We've spent a very low key and enjoyable Christmas in Esperance. Just the four of us and an absolute minimum of presents yet each of them truly appreciated.
I was very surprised, and overjoyed to be given a new digital camera by the family, a perfect gift! And coincidentally I had been looking at cameras yesterday and the guy recommended the very camera I was given! A Lumix by Panasonic. I have felt naked without a camera the last few weeks, it will be great to be "armed" again.

I gave Mrs Holt Press a digital photo frame which she loves. We managed to get it going despite the battery in the remote control being flat and soon had a disk of Favourite Daughter's pictures playing.

For Favourite Daughter herself I got a DVD of Simon & Garfunkel in concert which she was rapt with. We had been to see them live in July and it brought back lots of great memories and of course their music is superb.

Sport Boy is also very happy; he received a new scooter and a Diablo (spinning toy) and has been playing with them constantly.

We rang The Heir and Spike to wish them a happy Christmas, both sound like they're doing well.

For Christmas lunch we had marinated prawns on the BBQ along with chicken, steak and ribs with salad and it was fantastic. The only thing missing was Mum's traditional Christmas Plum Pudding.

The rest of the day has been spent watching movies and drawing, a very relaxing and enjoyable Christmas. I hope you had a great day as well. Best wishes from the management and staff here at Holt Press.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Esperance At Last!

We made it OK (sort of)
To far-off Esperance
Less by good planning
More by good chance

The cars both ran well
No problems or drama
But the trip was eventful
With a touch of bad karma

No mechanical trouble
Just driver related
A navigational stuff up
Saw us get separated

Busso to Bunbury
All went well
Next stop in Collie
No problems to tell

Arthur River was next
On the Googled route
Both arrived safely
Both cars running beaut

Favourite Daughter leading
Sport Boy the co-driver
Mrs Holt Press and I
About 5 minutes behind her

A fuel stop at Wagin
Next on the agenda
Then on to Lake King
Lest assistance need be rendered

Then things went awry
No Wagin showed up
Next place we came to
A servo in Kojonup

Oops, that's not right
We're heading south not east
We missed the turn off somehow
Mrs HP wasn't pleased

Where were the kids?
No sign of the VW
Did they go to Wagin
Or had they missed it too?

Tried ringing the mobile
No reception out here
No way of knowing
Were they anywhere near

Mrs HP got stressed
Worried the kids might be missing
I tried calming her fears
Using logic and reason

A new route was plotted
We'd head for Katanning
Gave the mobile a work out
And the horizon a scanning

No sign of the Kombi
No word from the offspring
No way of knowing
No news, not a thing

Time to call in
Reinforcements at home
We need some help
Get Spike on the phone

"Hey mate we got lost
Took a wrong turn and missed Wagin
Try ringing your sister
She'll be worried I'm gauging"

"Let her know where we are
And to head for Ravensthorpe
We'll rendezvous there
In a couple of hours we hope"

"No worries Dad
I'll ring and I'll text
When I get in touch
I'll tell you what's next"

Gnowangerup, Ongerup
We drove on as night fell
Rang again at Jerramungup
But no news to tell

We figured our messages
Would get FD's attention
But our plans were thwarted
By her lack of reception

Our next concern
Now became our own fuel
Would we make it to Ravensthorpe
With the tank under half full?

A 24 hour
Card system we found
Filled the tank and set off
Till finally the sound

We'd been hoping and praying for
My phone started to ring
Favourite Daughter on the line
Asking us where we'd been

Oops, sorry
We missed the sign
Went to Kojonup
Instead of Wagin

Where are you?
And are you OK?
We're at Lake King
We went the right way

That's great news to our ears
Head for Ravensthorpe keep going
We'll meet you there in an hour
No more to-ing and fro-ing

By midnight we'd found them
Safe sound and happy
Mrs HP much relieved
Sport Boy a bright chappy

We drove on for a while
Lightning storms lit the way
Till FD was too tired
Time to call it a day

Two girls in the Yaris
We two boys in the Kombi
Uncomfortable sleep
Woke up feeling like zombies

A coffee and toilet stop
At the next roadhouse
Before finally arriving
In cold windy Esperance

Got the keys from Beth's Mum
Found the house of our friend
Went to bed, slept like logs
Our long journey at an end!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Ditty

Our bags are packed
We're ready to go
Will we make it?
I don't know

The Yaris will make it
No problems there
The Kombi's the vehicle
Running on prayer

Favourite Daughter is home
And wants to take the Vee Dub
As a test run for when
She takes off for the scrub

The battery was stone dead
When we tried starting it up
The jumper leads burnt out
Maybe a push start...nup!

A transplant was called for
Pop the bonnet on my wagon
Disconnect the battery and
Replace the one that's flaggin'

Hook it up, turn the key
It burst instantly to life
With some luck and some prayer
Hope there's no more strife

Esperance here we come
Turquoise ocean is awaiting
A friend's house to stay in
Good for peace and contemplating

A long trip to get there
Two cars in a convoy
One for Mrs Holt Press and I
The other for FD and Sport Boy

Spike is staying home
To work and to ...........
Hmm let's not give him ideas
Just hope he's hale and hearty

Merry Christmas everybody
Readers, family, friends
2009 like this verse
Is fast coming to an end

A good year for the Cats
And for my family
Will 2010 be as good?
We'll have to wait and see

God bless you all
at the Saviour's birth
Good fun and good cheer
And peace on earth

Monday, December 21, 2009

Garage Sale Continues

The garage sale has been a great success, in fact it's still running and it's Monday afternoon. One of the things that annoys me most is people who close their garage sales at 12 on the dot Saturday lunchtime. Why? You've gone to all the trouble of getting it set up, why not just let it keep running all day or all weekend or in my case, all week!! You don't have to hang out in the garage all the time, we've proved that by going about our normal business. If we see people we go out. If we don't see them they knock or call out. The whole point of a garage sale is to get rid of stuff you no longer want or need so it makes sense to give yourself the maximum opportunity to do so, and that means extended trading hours! In fact, Mrs Holt Press sold a couple of old push bikes to a couple of drunk guys on Saturday night who wanted to get to the pub quicker!! Even on flat tyres they were happy to part with $10 for some two wheeled transport!

We've sold lots of stuff and so far have made just under $500 with three more shopping days till Christmas. We've even had return customers like the lady who bought $10 worth of stuff, half of her weekly garage sale budget apparently, then on finding nothing of interest anywhere else came back to spend the remainder of her money with us.
I've been selling surplus puzzles and games cleaned out of my office. People have commented on how much there is not knowing that I've kept 5-6 boxes of the best stuff that I don't want to sell!
There's been some spirited haggling and plenty of laughs along the way and some very pleasant customers. A few have been invited in to see the more private collections of badges, art and watches. One older bloke sheepishly asked if I had any old watches? Do I?!! Come in and have a look!
His eyes lit up when I produced two boxes of them! He repairs old wind-up and mechanical watches and found 9 of interest in my collection. He will swap me some quartz watches for them along with a few dollars. For my purposes I just need watches with faces and hands, no digitals, quartz or mechanical doesn't matter.
A couple of people liked my paintings and one of them may end up purchasing one and one lady expressed interest in getting her bin decorated by FunBins!

I'm off to the bank to deposit the weekend's takings which included a 12 hour shift in the cab on Saturday night.

Sports Update:
Spurs have found form again having beaten Manchester City 3-0 midweek and followed up with a 2-0 win away to Blacburn Rovers on Saturday night.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ideas & Possibilities

School's out, Sport Boy is on holidays, Summer is really here.

I had an official farewell from the school yesterday, along with the many other staff who are leaving or moving on. I've even almost finished clearing out
my office! Dealing with 16 years of accumulation has been a BIG job.

I have applied for a few jobs but haven't got one yet, so it's just the odd taxi shifts bringing in any income at present. For the first time in a long ti
me I'm not driving on a Friday night, instead I have a shift starting at tomorrow, hopefully it will be a busy Saturday night in Busso.

Tonight I'm going round to Dave's to watch a NY Giants NFL game he recorded for me last week.

We're thinking of having a garage sale tomorrow, we've certainly got plenty of stuff to get rid of, especially since I've been clearing out the office, it's just a matter of energy to get it set up.

I have just printed up a couple of hundred flyers to do a letter box drop for a little business idea I've been thinking about for a while. It's called FUN BINS, a mobile rubbish bin decorating service! I recently brightened up our big (boring) green bin using brightly coloured adhesive vinyl and it has attracted a bit of attention. For $20 or $35 for two I'll come to your home and decorate your bins in the colours/designs of your choice! Hopefully people will like the idea of adding a bit of colour to the neighbourhood on bin day! email me at if you'd like to give your bin a makeover!

Next job is to set up an art exhibition for January.

Meanwhile with finances getting pretty tight we are reviewing our plans to go to Esperance for Christmas. We still want to go but if I can find some work before then I'll need to take it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Tuesday and I remembered to put the bins out

Apparently Christmas is only 10 days away.

Sport Boy only has one more day of school for the year!

We enjoyed our day trip to Bridgetown on Monday to see Mum and Walter (and their new kitchen) and Vicki before she left to go home to America (today). The kitchen remodelling has transformed the house and Mum is rapt with it. All the more impressive as they did it themselves. The addition of a dishwasher is also welcome. We caught up on and exchanged family news and also received a phone call from Paul F. while we were there. He told me he just keeps reliving his fishing experience in NZ, I think he is obsessed! No, sorry, that's not fair. I know he is obsessed!
I'm keenly awaiting a copy of their photos from the trip so I can post some here. Not having a digital camera at the moment is quite a handicap.

I'm doing a shift in the taxi tomorrow, with a more friendly start time of 10.00am and another couple of shifts on Thursday and Saturday nights which will bring in some much needed cash as we'll be leaving for Esperance on Monday or Tuesday. We're going to spend Christmas there and come home on the 30th, just in time to go to Augusta for Beach Mission on New Year's Day.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday Night

We had a great trip to Perth. Most of Thursday was spent at Adventureworld with Favourite Daughter, Leo, Casey and the kids from Halls Creek (not Kunnunurra as I stated the other day!). Everyone had a good time there and it was really good meeting Leo and going on a few rides with him and the other kids. Sport Boy was in his element and even Spike hooked up with some Cornerstone kids who also happened to be there for the day. The weather was good and it wasn't too crowded, a handy combination.

We checked in at Chatteau d'Taffrail and collected some keys from Sal before heading over to Leederville. First stop was The Heir's place to deliver his new washing machine. Mrs Holt Press wisely decided against entering the "house" which is due for demolition in the near future! A 21 year old male may be able to handle it but there are some things it's better for a mother not to know.

We collected Favourite Daughter from SIDE where the Halls Creek mob were staying and went to look for a place to eat. The Malaysian place was booked out, the Mongolian place was empty but didn't grab us so we chose the Cinnamon Club, a very nice Indian restaurant around the corner. The service was ordinary but the food was delicious and even Sport Boy found something he liked. Spike ordered the prawns but found them a bit hot to handle and had to ask for a glass of milk to help him through dinner!
It was a lot of fun having the whole family together for a meal and there was lots of laughter and discussion, including our plans for Christmas. We're going to Esperance for 8-10 days over Christmas although it looks like work will prevent either The Heir or Spike from joining us there.

For dessert we moved on to a huge and very popular cafe in Oxford St and sampled some of their huge range of cakes before I played a game of pool with Spike. Several of FD's friends turned up so we left her in their happy company and set off for "home" at the Chatteau.

Friday morning we went to Galleria in Morley and I collected a large bag of old and broken watches from a guy called Ali who I'd met there a couple of months ago in a watch repair booth. After a quick look in the AFL shop to drool over all the Geelong Premiership merchandise we drove over to IKEA in Innaloo. The kids wanted food, Mrs HP wanted a washing up bowl and a towel rail and I wanted frames. We all left happy and satisfied.

Because we were so close I suggested we drop in to visit our old friend Miriam who lives in a retirement village nearby. She turned 90 this year and has some health problems, including the loss of sight in one eye, but she was delighted to see us and catch up on all our news. When she hugged Spike, who recently turned 18 she said "I remember when you were born"!!
I told her about my foray into art and got one of my paintings from the car to show her. As she seemed to like it I offered to loan it to her and we hung it on the wall. I hope to enter it in an art competition at some stage but it has found a happy home in the meantime.
Miriam and her late husband Jan adopted our kids as surrogate grandchildren when we lived in Warwick and I worked at the Chip Inn drop in centre and for many years would visit us at Christmas time and give presents to the kids. We were all really glad we made the effort and took the extra time to visit her, even though it meant I was late back to Busselton for last night's shift in the taxi. I let the boss know and he was fine about it but as soon as we got home I had to head off to work and a 10 hour cab shift. It was steady rather than busy.

When I got home it was nearly time for Mrs HP and Sport Boy to get up and get ready to go to Bunbury for a tennis tournament he was playing in so I stayed up to share breakfast with them. After they left I felt fresh enough to go garage saling and managed to find 16 garage sales over the next couple of hours. I bought several frames and a few other bits and pieces for my art, a couple of CDs, a book and 4 good towels for 50c each!
By the time I got home I was well and truly ready for sleep and with the house empty and quiet enjoyed a good long sleep until about 5.00 this afternoon.

We're off to Bunbury in the morning for day two of the tennis then on to Mandurah for the last Beach Mission team meeting before we all meet in Augusta on New Year's Day, which is only three weeks from now, a scary thought!
On Monday we're going over to Bridgetown to visit Mum and Walter and see Vicki before she flies home to California.

One more piece of good news, the high school have offered to employ me on a contract basis to run some of their special events, starting with the Beach Carnival in February. Not sure about all the details yet but it could be the beginning of my new "career" working for myself and offering services and programs to schools, organisations and businesses.

Sport Update: With 6 minutes to go Spurs are trailing 1-0 to Wolves at White Hart Lane, not the sort of result I was hoping for. Way back in 1973 I became a Spurs fan after watching a game between them and Wolves (Wolverhampton Wanderers) on TV with my neighbour and best mate Anthony Long. My Spurs obsession grew and at times has rivalled my love for Geelong.
This is the first time they've played one another in a very long time following Wolves' promotion to the premier league this season.
Drat, Final Score, 1-0 to Wolves!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Adventureworld Awaits

Tomorrow we're off to Perth to see Favourite Daughter and the kids from Kunnunurra, at Adventureworld! Sport Boy is very excited. A day off school AND his first time at Adventureworld AND seeing his favourite sister, woohoo!

We're delivering The Heir's new washing machine too, which may well make him excited.

We'll have a family dinner in Leederville then stay the night at Chatteau d'Taffrail. I have a gift for Sally and Warren that I bought on ebay, I hope they like it.

Sadly the winery requested I come and collect my paintings; they had a wedding in the gallery room on Saturday and had to take them down. They liked them but can't accommodate them on an ongoing basis. One of the staff told me how much she liked them though!
My plan is to have an exhibition of my own in mid January when there are still plenty of tourists and visitors in town. I've been talking about it for a while but the experience at the Art Fair last week has encouraged me to believe that enough people like my art to make an exhibition viable.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Nowhere Better to Be

Some days it's just good to be alive.
Busselton is a quiet and unassuming little piece of paradise here on planet earth and this evening Mrs Holt Press, Sport Boy and I enjoyed a taste of its good, simple life.
We bought some fish and chips and drove down to the jetty to eat our dinner sitting on the wall in front of The Goose, overlooking a beautifully calm Geographe Bay and the backdrop of a stunning sunset. The sky lit up in orange and pink and red and purple and blue as the sun sank down below Cape Naturaliste away to the west. The flake (shark) was delicious, mine was traditionally fried in batter, Mrs HP and Sport Boy who are both on gluten-free diets had theirs grilled. After we'd eaten we took turns to hit catches with the tennis racquet while SB threw himself around the beach.
On the other side of the jetty we admired the restoration of the beach achieved by the placement of "geo-fabric" sandbag groynes constructed about 12 months ago. Prior to that the beach had been washed away so badly there was barely room for one beach volleyball court between the wall and the water. Now there are two courts side by side. People are always ready to criticise or condemn the local council but I say bravo to them for fixing what was a serious problem.

Busselton has been home to the Ironman Triathlon this weekend which saw a huge influx of visitors, both competitors and supporters as well as the army of officials who ran the event. Although the weather was uncomfortably hot yesterday, pushing 35 degrees, the race went off very well. I was driving the cab last night but Mrs HP and SB went down to watch the last competitors make it home before the cut off time of 11.00, 17 hours after the start. They saw a 73 year-old lady finish the race; and for those not familiar with the format, an ironman consists of a 3.5km swim, a 180km bike ride and then a 42km marathon to finish off! That anyone finishes it is commendable but a 73 year-old, that's amazing.

I had one of the busiest nights ever in the taxi on Friday night. Typical average takings on a Friday night are between $350-450. This week the cab took $699! It included two big Dunsborough jobs, a trip to Margaret River, a drop off in Capel and a pick up in Bunbury. All up I drove over 500km. I earn a percentage of whatever the cab makes so the more I take the better off I am. I have been driving day shifts all week as well, filling in while the boss is away on holidays which has been very timely. I have one more shift on Tuesday then it will be back to looking for a job.

We are a one child family at the moment. Spike has gone up to stay with The Heir for a few days in Perth. Some sort of brotherly bonding experience to celebrate Spike's recent passage to adulthood. Hopefully they are not partying too hard!

We had a special visitor during the week, Mum and Walter brought over Vicki, Paul's wife, with whom I spent a week in New Zealand recently. Paul had to return home to work but Vicki flew on to Australia and will be here for three weeks in all. One day this week we will go over to Bridgetown for a visit. Walter is very keen for us to see the kitchen makeover.

Talking of visitors, Favourite Daughter is in Perth this week, on a school camp with all the kids from Kununurra. They're staying in Leederville, just down the road from The Heir's place and we are going up to Perth on Thursday to see her and meet all the kids, especially Leo with whom she works most closely. The whole family will go out for dinner that night as it's the first time we'll have been together since both Spike and Sport Boy's birthdays.

Finally, thanks Aileen for your comment and encouragement to blog more. I know I have become sporadic of late. The change in employment status has affected my motivation a little but I am keen to keep Holt Press chugging along and will post as often as news and energy allow. Ongoing computer problems have also hindered my output a little.
Thank you to my small band of faithful readers, it's good to know you're out there.

Which reminds me of an amazing coincidence that occurred at the Art Fair last weekend. One of the people who came through my exhibit liked my work and asked for my contact details. I proceeded to give him my numbers, email and blog address. When I wrote the URL for this blog he said "I know that blog, I was looking at it a couple of days ago"!! Stunned, I asked him how he came to be reading Holt Press and he said that he had googled Busselton and my blog came up on the list so he had a look. He told me that he'd read about me going to the Grand Final!
It's only the second time I've met a random stranger who has read my blog, the first being 2Peter, whose mum is the very same Aileen I just mentioned and who lives in Busselton. I haven't heard from 2Peter in quite a while so Aileen, please pass on my best wishes to him.