Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

2010 has been a BIG year at Holt Press. 

A move across the country.

A new job.

A new life in many respects.

I'm looking forward to 2011, hopefully a year of consolidation.

All the best to you, your family and friends. May God bless you in whatever you do.

See you next year.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in Ocean Grove

We decided to keep things pretty low key this Christmas but there were a few presents to share.
Sport Boy did Santa duty. We visited Alan in the afternoon and after church today we called in on Fran & Bruce.

 I got a couple of books: We Are Geelong, the history of the Cats and one by Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear, as well as a great little guide to all the op shops in the Geelong region!

Mrs HP got a cute purse and the complete set of Seachange DVDs.

Sport Boy got a webcam and a Skating Monkey T-shirt.

Favourite Daughter got a funky wallet, a rug and some money.

Last night Favourite Daughter and Mrs Holt Press made a beautiful meal, turkey and veges, prawns and pavlova or plum pudding for dessert. Yum! 
Today I successfully bid for a table tennis table on ebay, from someone in Ocean Grove! Sport Boy is very happy.
Not so good is the cricket! We are off to the MCG tomorrow for day 2 of the Boxing Day test. Methinks we shall spend the day seeing England secure the retention of the Ashes! Favourite Daughter and Mrs HP are spending the day shopping in Melbourne.
I hope and trust that you have had a safe,enjoyable and blessed Christmas and I wish you well for the approaching new year.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Excitement Brewing at Holt Press

Favourite Daughter arrives today!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Guests From "Home"

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thanks George

Sport Boy has been going to the church youth group since we got here and has made a number of friends. At their end of year wind-up a couple of weeks ago the kids gathered at the beach for a "Messy Night".
The results speak for themselves. Needless to say a good time was had by all (depsite the cold stormy weather on the night).

Mrs Holt Press and I went to the work social club Christmas Dinner last weekend. You can have a smile or eyes open but not both!

 On Saturday I hired a trailer and drove up to Melbourne to pick up some bedroom furniture from Trevor and Anne. It is for Favourite Daughter's bedroom and seeing as she arrives in a week the job had to be done.
On the way I stopped to have a look at the South Melbourne markets but because of the trailer I had to park a long way away. It took me about half an hour to walk a couple of kilometres through the streets of Albert Park, a beautiful leafy suburb of Melbourne, to get to the markets. 
A missed text and phone call exchange with Trevor meant I needed to hurry back to the car and head over to Thornbury to collect the load so as not to hold him up. Knowing it would take quite a while to walk back to the car I was thinking about how to get there quicker when opportunity knocked: in the shape of George. That's him in the convertible BMW. 

He was stopped at the lights outside the market so I asked him if he was going my way. He leaned over to open the door and generously offered me a lift in his sports car, his "toy" as he described it. I had taken note of several landmarks on my journey to the markets, a park, a tram line, a particular shop etc, even taking photos of some of them so I was fairly confident I knew the way back to the car. It turns out my confidence was sadly misplaced! The streets of Albert Park melded and blurred and although we passed a couple of things I recognised, for the life of me I could not direct him back to the car. This was doubly frustrating as the big green trailer on the back of it should have made it easy to spot. George was very friendly and obliging and we chatted happily but as the time ticked by and we began to drive up and down the same streets for the second or third time he politely confided that he needed to get back to take his son out for lunch! I was feeling pretty bad: he was doing me a huge favour and I was holding him up and still the whereabouts of my car remained a mystery! Eventually he was forced to give up the quest and dropped me off somewhere in the "general vicinity" of my target! 
Thanks George, sorry to stuff you around, although I did enjoy the ride in your very cool car. 
I walked a couple of blocks, took a couple of turns, saw something I thought I recognised on the other side of the road, figured I must be close, then looked at the cars parked on the side of the street and what did I see sitting right in front of me? My big blue car and bright green trailer! Relief. The worst thing is that I reckon we must have driven past it at least once but in my disorientated state I was looking for it in a different location!
I had rung Trevor to say I was lost so he at least knew what was causing the delay. I sent him a text to say I'd found the car and was finally on my way!

 I hurried over to the rendezvous point, loaded the bed, dressing table and chest of drawers and set off for home!

 A couple of the landmarks I had noted while walking to the markets, neither of which I could find on the return journey!!
This is "James Service Place" in Albert Park, one of the widest streets I've ever seen. Despite its size, we couldn't find it either.
I'm generally pretty good with directions and finding my way around so this was an uncomfortable and disconcerting experience. Hopefully not a sign of things to come!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

RIP John

Sport Boy was away on a school camp at Queenscliff for the first three days of this week. Today he's at home with a very bad sore throat. Any connection? Maybe.
He can now stand up on a surf board though so there was some good to come out of the experience.
I don't start till 10 past 3 today so am getting stuck into a piece of art that has been formulating in my mind for a long time.
Mrs Holt Press is in Geelong visiting her Dad.

John Lennon, 1940-1980

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the death of John Lennon, Dec 8, 1980.
I will never forget that day. It still counts as one of the worst days of my life. I was working at a menswear store in Cairns when the news came on the radio, first that Lennon had been shot and sghortly after that confirming that he was dead. I was stunned. I couldn't stay at work and told the boss I was taking the rest of the day off. I went and bought a copy of Double Fantasy, the album he had just released and spent the rest of the day listening to it and trying to comprehend the terrible news.
I love The Beatles. I grew up in the 60's but really fell in love with their music as a teenager in the 70's. I was surprised to realise that I knew all the words to their songs. I suspect I absorbed them sub-consciously through hearing Alan, aka Big Brother the Accountant play their records constantly. Sgt Pepper was the first album I ever bought. My favourite songs were/are Paperback Writer, Come Together and Get Back. I watched The Beatles Cartoon show on TV and the opening bars of Hard Day's Night always bring it to mind.
I didn't have a favourite Beatle, they were all great in my eyes. I always hoped that some day they would get back together but John's death put paid to that ever happening.
Rock stars have a tendency towards self-destruction and many have died prematurely as a result of their own actions but John had emerged intact from that lifestyle and was living an idyllic domestic life with Yoko and their son Sean in New York. He had campaigned for peace and been pursued and persecuted by J. Edgar Hoover and Nixon who tried to have him kicked out of America. He had survived the crazy life of turmoil, mega-fame, adulation, the madness of Beatlemania, the drugs and parties and all of the excesses that went with being a Beatle, only to be gunned down on the streets of New York, shot in the back outside his apartment building by a demented "fan". It was a dreadful way to die and a sad and tragic waste of a life that shone brighter than most. Thankfully we have his music as a permanent reminder of his talent. John's music post-The Beatles was the best ot the four of them and Paul in particular seemed to lose the edge and brilliance he had had when co-writing and collaborating with John in the band.
A lot of people have been critical and cruel about Yoko Ono and her influence on John and the break-up of The Beatles. I prefer to think that they found true love, that they were kindred spirits, artists and lovers who were good for one another. If John was happy with Yoko that was good enough for me: who was I to judge someone else's choice of partner.

When George became the second Beatle to die, of cancer, many years later, I felt sad but it had nowhere near the impact that John's death did. Perhaps John's death signalled the end of an era, the end of The Beatles and the end of the dream, the end of childhood and innocence. I had never met him, never seen him in person, but it felt personal, like a family memeber had been killed. I've probably had worse days since but not many and none of them stand out so clearly in my memory as that dark day in December 1980.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Qatarstrophe for Aussie Soccer

The news from Zurich was not good...for Australia that is.
On the other hand if you are one of the 1.6m Qatarites in the world, the news was great!

Not only did Australia not win the the right to host the 2022 World Cup, we only got one vote and were the first country eliminated!! I blame Elle myself! Gotta blame somebody!

The Poms were equally disappointed, losing the 2018 WC to Russia and suffering the same ignominy, being first eliminated in the vote.

I would have loved to have seen the World Cup Finals played in Australia but putting it in perspective, soccer is poorly supported in this country. Lots of kids play it but once it gets to professional level soccer is at the bottom of the totem pole beneath Aussie Rules, Rugby League and Rugby Union. "A League" soccer crowds average less than 5000 a game and over 10,000 is considered a great crowd whereas AFL games regularly attract 30,000+ for "ordinary" games and up to 90,000 for the big games. Rugby League still holds sway in NSW and Queensland but their crowds are unimpressive by comparison, with 20,000 considered a great crowd.
On the world stage, soccer is definitely Number One, but here in Australia it runs a long way behind the indigenous game and as a result of this morning's decision, probably will for a very long time to come.

Tragedy in the Kimberley

Meanwhile, in news from the family, Favourite Daughter sent a very sad text this morning letting us know that a teacher from Halls Creek High School and two young men were killed in a horror car crash last night, with two other children badly injured. FD is in Halls Creek at the moment, visiting her friend Casey and the kids she worked with at the school last year so it is particularly devastating for her and the town.
Having dealt with families and school communities in the aftermath of tragic deaths many times while I was a school chaplain, I know how terrible this event will be for all the family and friends concerned and what a pall of grief and sadness will have descended upon the town and the school. We are praying for them.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Big Decision

By the time I get up for work (at 4.30) tomorrow morning, we will know whether Australia has won the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

I sure hope so.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Reasons to be Cheerful

I get to sleep in tomorrow morning.
I don't start until 10 past 6!

NB. Image unrelated to post!