Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Few Catch Up iPics

 At the footy one night at the MCG I passed a young bloke who looked familiar. He turned out to be an ex-Carine kid now living in Melbourne with his partner.
 Another ex-Carine kid was there that night: Mark Nicoski who plays for the Eagles. I coached Mark as a junior in the school team.
 At another footy game, this girl found a creative use for these inflatable hand giveaways.
 On the flight back from Queensland when I went to visit Pop I spotted a fellow Spurs fan. Admittedly he was hard to miss!
 I finally made it to an auction at Leskis a few months back where they were selling the first ever Brownlow medal, won by Geelong champion, E. G. Cargi Greeves in 1931. I thought about putting in an early bid just so I could say I'd bid on the original Brownlow but the starting price was $175,000 and there were only two bids! It sold for $200,000 to an anonymous buyer who has since given it back to Geelong FC to go on permanent display at Kardinia Park.
 This is the bloke who made the first bid but didn't go any higher. He did buy the other medal on sale though, won by Stan Judkins from Richmond, for a more modest price of $45,000. I talked to him afterwards and learned that he now has two Brownlows, having previously bought Len Thompson's medal.
An interesting attendee at the auction was iconic actor William McInnes. This picture was taken by his wife Sarah whom, I was very sad to learn, subsequently died of cancer just a couple of weeks ago.

 My mate Broady was in Melbourne recently for a TEAR conference and I went up to meet him. We took a trip out to see the old VFL/AFL Park at Waverley then had dinner at a little Chinese restaurant in the suburbs. To our surprise, there were autographed dinner plates on the wall from previous diners, Venus and Serena Williams and several other pro tennis players!

 One of the subtly decorated houses in Ocean Grove post-the Grand Final.
 Sport Boy on a "home-school excursion" with me. We went to the Immigration Museum in Flinders St, and then onto IKEA to buy picture frames. I entered some of my work in a recent art show in Ocean Grove. Sadly none of it sold.
 Attentive readers will know that I love personalised number plates. This one really took my fancy, especially with Pop in tow, taken in Dianella while we were in Perth for Bruce and Paula's wedding.
 I dropped something off for Cam while on my way to the airport but he wasn't home. Instead Louise and the girls were happy to receive it and say a quick g'day. Cam is at present visiting Phil & julie in Kabul. I wish I was there with him. One of my goals is to go to Afghanistan and visit Phil and his family.
 While walking down High St Northcote last week I spotted an older lady with what looked like her own anti-mugging device!
I went up to Northcote for the release of the 2011 Footy Almanac, edited by John Harms, pictured here with his baby daughter, and Paul Daffey. I am an avid fan of The Footy Almanac but my interest was personal this year: One of my pieces was published in this year's edition, a match report for the round 11 game between the Cats and the Bulldogs. My first piece of published writing! Woohoo!  Get your copy at a good bookstore or via the FA website. I met several other footy writers at the event which in turn stoked the fires under my modest writing ambitions. The other bonus is that John is a well-known Geelong fan!!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Trip to WA Part One

I had a fantastic trip to Western Australia a couple of weeks ago.
Except for a bit of a stuff-up over arrival times/car-hire with Pop everything else went well. The short story is he managed to get where he was going without my navigational skill. For the long story check out his post on Holtieshouse.As well as the recounting of his train travel tales on the trip back to Brisbane here.

At least I managed to arrive in plenty of time for the main event, Bruce & Paula's wedding, unlike his favourite daughter but more of that shortly.

As previewed last post, the trip to Perth lead to sleep deprivation and a three hour time zone shift so I was pretty wrecked when I got to Perth. The Heir picked me up from the airport and took me to his home, slum. Think student share house, add a slice of Young Ones decor and remove all thought of normal hygiene.
I carefully picked my way through the debris and saying a prayer lay down to get some desperately needed sleep in what passes for Spike's bed, a mattress on the floor, despite there being a serviceable looking bed against the far wall as far as I could tell.
"Refreshed" I got up a couple of hours later and took the train to West Leederville to have lunch with Spike. He showed me around his work place, a large child care centre that costs $200 a day!!! He loves working there and the owner told me they love him so it's all good. It was great to see him. He's been having a few struggles over the last few months and has decided along with The Heir to move over to Victoria at the end of the year. He realises he misses us more than he expected, and of course we miss both of them so the prospect of them joining us in Vic. thrills us.

I spent the rest of the day looking around Fremantle and hunting for football books in op shops. You'll be delighted to hear that I found a copy of "Origin of the Speccies" by Nathan Jarvis which Cam has been recommending to me for a long time. He was right, it's a great book.

Returning to the slum I was greeted by an odd noise, the bleating of a sheep which the Heir informed me was destined for the BBQ at a school camp he was helping to run on the weekend. Spike tells me his big brother has become quite a "Bushman", which explained the red-dust encrusted ute he picked me up in.
Apparently the original plan involved teaching teenage boys the life-skill of killing and butchering a sheep. Was I the only one who wondered about the wisdom of arming troubled teenage boys with sharp knives? It seems not, as the revised plan, suggested by other staff, saw The Heir do the dirty work and deliver the carcass ready for the barbie. Meanwhile, on a Thursday night, in suburban Perth, an unhappy sheep presented other dilemmas. I only surmise it was unhappy because of the constant bleating, though perhaps it had a premonition of the fate that awaited it, I don't know, never-the-less I figured the neighbours would be less than impressed.

Leaving the boys to their sheep problem I took the train to Maylands to meet Hugh. From there we headed up to Broadie's place for dinner with The Breakfast Club. Just as well I sent Broadie a text half an hour before we got there otherwise not only would he have forgotten we were coming but would have had a mate round for a beer!! He was apologetic in the way only Broady can be, that is, making his complete stuff-up out to be someone else's (read my) fault. Further to his woeful ineptitude in hosting the first Breakfast Club meeting in a year, he had already had dinner! Hugh and I got takeaway from the local Thai restaurant and Broadie watched us eat. Then, in a further breaking of Breakfast Club "Rules & Traditions" Tammy came home, and joined in our discussion! Despite these set-backs we had a great time and talked long into the night before I took pity on Hugh, who tends to crash around 10pm, and we headed home to his place in Inglewood for the night.

On Friday I finally hooked up with Pop and relieved him of the driving duties. We did a few pre-wedding messages, cruised a few op shops, had messy Subway for lunch then arrived at Bruce and Paula's in the quaintly named "Hellfire Way", urban planners with a sense of humour perhaps!
Leaving Pop to learn exercises to help his Bells Palsy from the bride's mother I took the hire car and drove over to Letchy's for the 2nd biggest event on the program, the CFFL Winners Dinner! I'll spare you the detailed descriptions of the night, suffice to say that this year I and my FF team The Cat's Whiskers won the premiership so it was especially sweet for me.

While we are a bunch of blokes who love footy, the reality is we are a bunch of close mates and the footy gives us a vehicle/excuse to get together/stay in touch/talk/stir/joke and muck around. The fact we've been running the competition for 10 years means we now have a shared history and many many great stories which get trotted out, and added to, each year. It will be lost in translation but the funniest moment of the night came when Letchy declared that "It wouldn't have been a problem if Wazza hadn't violated my bus" prompting me to spray a mouthful of Coke all over the ground!
As I said, you had to be there, but for those of you who were and also read the blog, I'm sure you'll agree and smile at the memory!
Despite 6 years in Busselton and the last 12 months in Victoria, my closest friends are still largely in Perth. Further to all of this footy camaraderie, the reality is that for me, this bunch of blokes represent some of my closest mates and being with them again for a night was like a tonic.

Saturday dawned and the plan was that as custodian of the hire car and driver most familiar with Perth, I would pick up my sister Vicki from the airport at 10.40 and we would have plenty of time to get back to Bruce's, change into our wedding clothes, and get to the park where the ceremony was to be held at 2.30.
Perhaps you've spotted the flaw in these plans? No-one told the airline company how important it was that they deliver this particular passenger on time! An oil leak lead to everyone disembarking and a 2 1/2 hour delay before they finally took off.
Once she landed we made a bee-line for the wedding, eschewing any stops for unimportant things like changing clothes and just as well because we arrived as the bride was getting out of the wedding car!
Only once the ceremony had started was I jolted back to reality when the celebrant said my name and called me up to do the reading!!! I had completely forgotten about this particular responsibility! Not quite looking the part in my shorts and Geelong shirt, I tried to cover my embarrassment by saying "I was told it was casual dress!". Thankfully no-one cared what the bit part player looked like, they were there for the main attractions, Bruce and Paula, and it was a terrific service in a lovely setting.

Vicki and I used the gap between service and reception to get changed  and then repaired to Alan and Lynn's for short sojourn, during which Big Brother and I greatly enjoyed watching some of the Grand Final and recounting stories and anecdotes about the Cat's premiership.
The reception, at Gordo's on The Vines was equally good and I had the privilege and pleasure of making a speech in honour of the happy couple and proposing a toast to absent friends.
Bruce thanked me afterwards and said he concurred with everything I had said which was a nice affirmation to conclude the day's celebrations.

To be Continued