Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Night in a Cab in Busselton

A fare by fare break down of last night's shift in the taxi. I was driving 1016, the new station wagon.
6.00pm Start.

1. To Monaghan's corner, an Eagles fan, the less said the better. $20

2. From Boyle to the Ship Hotel, young guy. Saw a car crash enroute, a little old lady pulled out onto the highway, straight into the side of a newish purple ute. The young guy driving did NOT look happy. $15.70

3. Dotterill to Bussell Hwy, two young girls, very quiet. During this trip the odometer clocked 155555 kms. $15.80

4. Albie's to the Esplanade (the Nade), hardly worth the effort it's such a short ride. "I could have walked" said the customer. I agree. $5.90 (Flagfall is $4.60)

5. Albie's to Carter St. Bloke. $9.30

6. Wattlebird to the Jetty, young couple, going fishing, rods and gear in the back. $13.70

7. Lindsay to the Vasse Cafe. Couple going out for dinner, very long driveway. Good tip. $11.30

8. Carey to Bayside. Grandmother and Grandson, regulars, very good tip. $10.70

9. Harris to the Nade, short trip, couple, "She didn't want to walk". A tip was vaguely hinted at by the woman but I didn't push it, just gave back the change. As they left the cab he said, "He didn't want to take it, he's a Christian." Curious comment as nothing on this subject had come up in conversation. $7.80

10. Clover to the rank in Queen St. Young woman. Geoff (the controller) was looking for one of the drivers with increasing fervour, "John, got a copy?" "John, do you copy?" "Johnny, are you there? Johnny G____? Johnny G_____?" all met with stoney silence except for the customer and I who both laughed. $9.70

11.Bus terminus to Hester, old lady off bus from Perth. "Locky booked the taxi for me" $9.40

12. Carey St to Bayside, the rest of the family, complete with wine cask. Very big customer, had trouble getting seat belt done up. Upon arrival two police cars parked in street, girl being taken away, no relation. Tip. $10.70

Grabbed some food in between fares from my favourite eatery, the Noodle Bar. Couldn't het out of the cab so beckoned one of the staff to come out and take my order, Seafood Mee Goreng, Mmmmm! Food was delivered with chopsticks, not suitable for in-taxi dining. Asked kid walking past to get me a fork. He said yeah then disappeared. Did a U-Turn and asked couple with teenage daughter crossing the street if they'd mind getting me a fork. No problem, brought a serviette too, very thoughtful.
The gentleman then asked me if I knew of any where to stay, their motel booking had been cancelled on them and they had been unable to find a place to stay. I offered to have them stay at our place. He was surprised but grateful and said he'd ask his family and call me. (I gave him my card and number). He, Phil, rang back to thank me for my offer but said they had decided to drive home to Perth. I commented that in light of the season it was very disappointing there was no room at the inn, he laughed.

13. Town to Gleneagles, Irish couple, lived here 34 years, "Best town in the world in the best country in the world". Good PR person! $11.60

14. Geo Bay Rd to The Ship. Aunt and nephew. Going partying. $10.60

15. Albies Bar to Ringtail. Bloke, first innebriated customer of the night. "How ya going Cobber?" Similar stories re our Christmas Day's, ie. BBQ Brunch, one person had to work(his wife as a nurse, me as a cabbie) finished at friend's places. $11.20

16. Clydebank to Busselton Villas. Older couple and adult daughter, English, flying home to England tomorrow after three weeks in WA, family in Busselton. Used to live in Victoria. With permission stopped enroute to get a Vanilla Diet Coke. Got confused and took them to wrong address, Busselton Holiday Village (an easy mistake to make!) Felt bad and embarrassed. Restarted the meter. Got them to the right destination without further incident. $10.60

17. Derek to Ford. Very quiet girl. $13.80

18. The Nade to Comfort Glen via Cloisters. 3 women, merry, one in particular talking about her "prospects" at the pub, the others adamant they'd rescued her just in time. Upon arrival at first drop-off, customer offered to do her magpie call for me!! Much laughter, even more when she actually did it, very entertaining. Remaining two customers social work students, discussed our day jobs. Told them about the blog, gave them card. (If you're reading this ladies leave me a comment!) $20.90

19. Pub to Captain Gilbraith. Two young guys. Crude conversation. Good tip! (Felt guilty accepting it!) $16.10

20. To Dunsborough for pick-up. (Yeah!) (20km-$30+ fare) Young bloke down staying with family. 3 other blokes asked to share cab for short trip to Commanage, "We'll throw in $20" ok. Dropped them off then continued on to Busseltonl. $32.20 confusion over payment, may have given me $20 too much but I couldn't work it out for sure!

21. Kalgan to Clover. Brother and sister, Cade and Jessica, he recognised me first as former chaplain at Carine, she freaked out! "I used to baby-sit your kids!!" True, she did, when we lived at Hamersley. She used to live in Busso but has moved back to Perth, has a 3 1/2 year old daughter and has studied youthwork "because you inspired me!" Wow! "You were a real influence on me at school"! Wow! Great to see them and exchange stories. She in particular was really spun out seeing me. $10.40

22. Rank to Coates. 3 drunks, talking rubbish, massive overkill of the word "like" as is the modern way! $11.80

About 1.00am, the pubs were closing, start of rush hour.

23. The Nade to Quail. 2 guys 2 girls, whispers in the back "it's the chaplain" followed by query, "Were you the chaplain at Carine?" Twice in one night!!! Another ex-Carine kid, though I didn't know her so well. Blokes were from Melbourne, funny, stirring me about the "reunion". $12.00

24. The Nade to Kookaburra via Broadwater, ex Busso kid , with his brother and brother's girlfriend who tried very hard to convince him to stay the night at their place. He declined. Talked about volleyball on way to his place. $26.10

25. Hail from Bussell Hwy to the 24Hour Caltex garage, the only place to get "food" in Busselton after midnight. Two young guys. $8.80

26. The Nade to Cookworthy, two fares, very drunk. $19.20

27. The Nade to Belltonia, guy and girl. $16.30

28. 24 Hour to Alpha, 5 guys, with food. $ 10.90

Roundabout now Geoff signed off for the night leaving me, as the last to finish, to man the phone and manage the calls and 4 remaining drivers, Andy, Steve, Rob and I. My notes became even scarcer at this point.

29. Breeden to Alpha, can't remember who. $10.90

30. Town to Geo Bay Rd, bloke. $8.10

31. Somewhere to Knapton. $9.70

At this time, around 2.00am I got a lovely text from Phil to say that he and his family had arrived home safely back in Perth and thanking me again. Really wish they'd have stayed but I understand their decision. (Carolyn agreed when I told her about it this afternoon.)

32. Post Office to Adelaide (St), in the confusion of managing the calls I'd forgotten about this one but he called back and I was able to get hime home. $12.70

Andy knocked off around now, "Park it up thanks Andy".

33. William Carey to Dunsborough, two young blokes who watched the meter nervously then confessed they only had $20 between them. Dropped them at the first roundabout in Dunsborough, owing me about $7. They still had a bit of a walk but not as bad as if I'd dropped them off at the Broadwater when their 20 bucks ran out.

34. Alpha to Armstrong via Chapman Hill Rd to drop the girlfriend off. Long and expensive way to do it, ain't young love sweet? $29.90

Steve parked it up.

35. Yacht club to Fairbairn, 3 women who'd been at a school reunion for the class of 1975 at Busso High. $8.70

Rob parked it up at about 4.30am

36. Back to the yacht club to pick up 3 blokes, drunker and ruder than the ladies, to Duke via Dumbarton. $24.60

37. Huntress to Taylor, young bloke, going to visit a girl (!) $ 10.20

38. My final fare of the night, at about 5.10am, to Wattlebird, 3 young blokes, going home. $12.40

The last hour was spent sitting in the carpark at McDonalds reading tomorrow's paper, the headline being the imminent execution of Saddam Hussein.

5.55am Sean signed on for the morning shift and I called it a night.

I did 404 km in a 12 hour shift, grossed $493.80 and by the time I added the $1 call-out surcharges and tips, earned about $270 for the night, before tax, my best ever return, with the company's share being $271.60 for my night's work.

Parked it up at 6.00am, came home with the sun well and truly up, did my figures, wrote a note on the blog, checked a couple of blogs, Dad's and The Heir's, brushed my teeth, startled Jordan coming out of his room to go to the toilet, put my blindfold on and went to bed about 7.00am.

7 Crooked Lines

Painted at Bridgetown.
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Painted at Bridgetown

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Guns Don't Kill People ...

Jordan's taste in unusual hats was indulged with this latest gift from his Nan, a coonskin hat brought back from America.
His mother bought him the shirt which appeals to and suits perfectly his warped teenage sense of humour.
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Very Long Night

Just finished a mammoth 12 hour shift in the cab, the sun is up and I'm just going to bed. I decided to record something of interest about each customer I had tonight in order to blog "A Night in a Busselton Taxi". I chose a good night because there were lots of interesting people and incidents, including two former Carine High School students, one of whom used to babysit our kids when we lived in Hamersley! I don't have the time or energy to post the full run down now, hopefully I'll do it tomorrow (today!). Time is precious though, it's only two days until we leave for Augusta and the beach mission and there's still heaps of packing and preparation to do for that, plus I'm driving the cab again on New Year's Eve which will be one of the busiest, and latest, nights of the year.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Cooling Off

It was stinking hot in Bridgetown yesterday so the only place to cool off was the pool, especially after a hard fought game of soccer squash at the boat park, a Holt Family Tradition.
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Jordy the Caffeine Addict!

It's pretty sad when you get a jar of coffee for Christmas, and you think it's the best present you got!!
The batteries are rechargeable so he has a constant supply for the controller on his Nintend Wii, his main present. Actually, he paid for most of it, we put in the extra money he needed as our present.
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Carolyn with her Opera Singer Figurines, entitled "In Harmony"

She mentioned how much she liked them last time we were down at Art Geo so I went back a couple of days later to get them for her.
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Sport Boy on Christmas Morning

His main present was a free-standing Basketball Hoop which he saw when we got to Bridgetown but won't get until sometime in January. He was very happy with his presents, he's always enthusiastic and grateful.
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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Boxing Day in Bridgetown

We packed and departed right on schedule at 11.00 and arrived in Bridgetown an hour and fifteen minutes later. Bruce and Cody were already there and Alan and Lyn arrived an hour later, Mum had prepared a wonderful, traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmings and we ate to our heart's content. After the turkey and pork we had a brief interlude to open the presents. I got two very cool puzzles from Craig, neither of which I already had, in itself a minor miracle, and neither of which are easy to solve. In fact I solved the first one without even looking at it! Literally! I reached over to get something on the table and when I looked down the two pieces were apart! It took me another half an hour to get them back together! And still I wasn't sure how to do it!!
Then came the highlight of the day, Mum's home made Christmas pudding made to Old Nan's traditional recipe. Yum! It doesn't get much better than that!

People then watched the cricket or a movie, "Cars", dozed or played on the computers. I painted for a while then we went for a walk around the hills of Bridgetown.

Dinner was help yourself to leftovers, then Jordan got his wish in the shape of a game of cards, Emporer and Scumbag.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day

8.00 Gave in to Sport Boy's requests for permission to wake the rest of the family up so we(he) could open the Christmas presents. Pretty civilised starting time.

Got very appropriate T-shirt with caption "I don't do mornings" amen!

Also got blank canvas and frame for future masterpiece, camping towel and torch, all good, plus Toblerone, always a winner.

Sophie's comment upon opening gift with neclace "That's the most random thing I've ever seen"
Carolyn- crushed! (She has such good and ernest intentions but sometimes misjudges what someone else will like!) Source of much amusement for the rest of the day.

9.00 Dad rang from Queensland, good long chat about Christmas, blogging, wedding plans (2 nieces/grand-daughters getting married a week apart in March) and my on-going quest to encourage him to go on a trip to the States before he is too old.

10.00 BBQ Brunch, prawns, bacon, hash browns, kebabs al fresco, Christmas in Australia style.

10.30 The Heir rang from cold foggy England, spoke to all the family. He is staying on in old Blighty for another 6 months so won't be home for the holidays. His Mum is missing him, several comments and hints about coming home. I said, stay away as long as you can, travel, see the world, see and do as much as you can while you can.

12.00 Started taxi shift (First time in my life I've ever worked on Christmas Day) Deadly quiet for first 2-3 hours then all of a sudden it got busy, compounded by me taking the phone calls via the Two-Way for the first time, added a new dimension of stress to the job. Less drunks, more families, lots of wheel chair taxi jobs.

5.30 Knocked off from cab, came home, Carolyn wanting to leave for BBQ at Stu and Deb's right away. She went with the boys, I stayed and had a nana nap in my Christmas present recliner chair.

7.30 Jordan came home to get me.

7.45 Got to Stu and Deb's to find no-one else had arrived yet!
Karas turned up few minutes later. Stu cooked feast of prawns, steak, chicken etc, more Aussie style Christmas al fresco dining.

9.00 Went to pick up Sophie from work, she reported they'd been "flat-ouit" and it was "nuts".
Quick stop to update blog, now heading back to the barbie.

Merry Christmas everyone.l

Happy Jesus' Birthday

Got home just before Santa, a fairly quiet night in the cab but still added $150 to the Christmas coffers. The kids are all asleep, the presents are all wrapped and waiting under the Christmas tree for tomorrow morning's unveiling. Christmas is a special time of year but there's no doubt it's the kid factor that makes it that much more fun. Many of the young adults I drove home in the cab tonight were ambivalent about Christmas, but with kids in the house there is always extra excitement and expectation. They all know already what their "main" presents are, but there should still be a few surprises for them, and maybe even for me too! I got Carolyn something she doesn't know about, and I know she'll like it. Pictures tomorrow!

Sport Boy and I went to see Charlotte's Web this afternoon and both loved it, it's a really sweet kid's movie, based on a classic children's book. Sport Boy gave it 4 1/2 stars out of 5. (I gave it 4!)

Well, no doubt the kids will be up early in the morning so I better get some sleep now in preparation!

Merry Christmas everyone.
Happy Jesus' Birthday.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Tis the night before Christmas

Christmas Eve, always a time of ecitement and anticipation, for kids especially but adults too.
Unusually for me I'm about to start work, driving the taxi on Christmas Eve. I wonder how the night will go. I always hope it will be busy, to maximise my earnings and to avoid boredom.
I'm driving for a few hours tomorrow afternoon as well. Our main Christmas gathering won't be until Boxing Day in Bridgetown, tomorrow we'll open presents, have prawns and kebabs on the BBQ for brunch and reagther at Stu and Deb's place for a BBQ tomorrow night after I finish my shift. Sophie has to work as well tomorrow evening.

Church was good this morning, Noel gave a great message about the comparisons and contrasts between his attitude to Christmas and giving and God's. He's putting his sermons on MySpace now so I'll post a link to it for those who are interested. He makes me laugh which is a good quality in a minister.

The Cramers have just dropped in for a visit which is great, just a shame I have to go and drive the cab! Maybe they'll still be here when I get back!


Newly arrived in town, Danny was my second last taxi fare last night and we got chatting about life and work and God.
Quote: "You drive pretty fast for a Christian"! hmmm! Always in a hurry to get to the next job! An insufficient excuse I admit!
I noticed he had a personalised plate when we pulled into his driveway so I took a picture of it for the number plate blog! Check it out here.
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Saving Daylight

Carolyn and I made our first official use of daylight saving this evening with a walk along the beach. The bay was calm, the evening was still, the temperature was balmy, the scene was idyllic. Did we need any more convincing about whether the move to Busselton was the right choice? Hardly, but that would do it!
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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Another Friday Night in the Cab

Another collection of drunks and yobbos safely transported home! It was quite a good night, measured from a dollars perspective, and at this time of year, that's a pretty good perspective from which to measure.

I slept in this morning then spent most of the afternoon working on, and finishing! our annual Christmas letter. I just have to photocopy it now and send it out, almost as big a job as writing it!

I have made the first tentative steps towards editing my video footage of our trip to Sydney for the Olympics in 2000! Yes I know that's 6 years ago, but it's a big project and I've been putting it off! However, with the DVD recorder and hard drive, I should be able to do something with it. The funniest thing is seeing how young Zac looks and sounds. Sophie hasn't changed that much but Zac looks like a completely different person! We stayed with Marty and Jenny in Sydney for the games and Marty has been on at me ever since to put it together. We tried to make a documentary of our trip and recorded lots of interviews with people on the street, on trains and at events but sadly the microphones played up and a lot of the sound was lost. Thankfully, the best bit of all, Zac commentating while Cathy Freeman ran one of the heats in the 400m came out perfectly, it is brilliant. I won't have that much time to work on it now but perhaps after beach mission I can get my teeth stuck into it. Once I've edited all the good bits together I hope I'll be able to add some music tracks. I'll keep you posted on the premiere!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rude Shock!

I've just finished driving the taxi, it started quietly but picked up and became a reasonable night. I had one fare to Margaret River which helped. There were a few Christmas parties happening and I took various people home from those.
The most bizarre incident of the night happened on the footpath as I pulled up at the lights at Queen St. There was a group of young people, some on bikes, one of which was lying half on the road, and one girl in a shopping trolley. As she stood up to get out of the trolley her jeans - the hipster variety favoured by the modern teenager - came half way down her bum, revealing her bare backside and black g-string as she bent over and climbed out! There were empty cans scattered around the group and on the road, I can only assume that she was innebriated beyond the point of noticing or caring about her semi-exposed immodesty. Not surprisingly there were several boys paying her attention at the time and later on when I again saw the group, this time on the park bench opposite the taxi rank.
The rest of the night was uneventful by comparison!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Who did I spot in Busso today?

Josh and Janet. For the uninitiated, Josh became chaplain at Carine SHS upon my departure for Busselton in 2004. We worked together closely on the Cool School Race Camp. He and his family are holidaying at Dunsborough. We chatted for a while, catching up on stuff about the camp, my new found interest in art, and taxi driving. Like me, he's enjoying the break from school very much. He and Janet were doing some Christmas shopping. I was on a mission photographing number plates!
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Letchy's parting gifts

Greg was a little jealous of our naturally occurring wildlife, ie. the possum in the patio and the frogs in the carport. He's been trying to entice and breed frogs at home in Ballajura with fancy ponds and ferneries while ours just show up and hang around. I like frogs but what worries me is their position on the food chain, the next link up are snakes and I don't particularly want them to come hanging around the carport! I offered this one to Letchy but having done research on the subject he informed me that frogs don't do too well out of their natural environment so moving this one from Busselton to Ballajura was not likely to succeed.

So, he had to settle for a painting. He had told me he liked this one so I gave it to him.


My latest painting, trying another different style. (I copied it from a book!!) But I like it and see potential in developing the style for myself. Sophie and Sport Boy both commented on how much they like it, perhaps it will appeal to the youth art market? If there is such a thing!!
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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Back to Normal

The Letchies returned home this morning after a lovely weekend, and took Jordan with them so he could go to drama rehearsals for beach mission tonight. He'll come home on the train tomorrow, no doubt after shopping and spending all his money in Perth. I tried to get some of the paperwork for beach mission done but started to get sleepy so went back to bed for a nanna nap. I also tried to debug the computer of a winantispyware pop-up that has been plaguing me for a few weeks. No success yet so I'll have to keep trying. I finally got to do some painting tonight, I've been wanting to for days but haven't had time. Consequently I'm up too late and will be sleeping in again in the morning. Thank goodness for holidays!
Sport Update. Tottenham beat Manchester City 2-1 away from home last night for their 4th win in a row, a rich vein of form for the often inconsistent Spurs.
Sadly, the NY Giants lost to Philadelphia and are in danger of missing the play-offs after starting the season so well.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Carolyn, Sheryl and Sharon

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Letchy lapping it up

We've been bugging Greg and Sheryl to come down and visit us for the last two and a half years and they finally made it this weekend. We had a great time and Greg got a real taste for the country life. He loves the bush. Hopefully we'll see them more often in future. Posted by Picasa

Good Friends

Letchy (Greg), Rod, Carolyn, Sheryl and Sharon at one of the little beaches west of Meelup. Posted by Picasa

BBQ @ Meelup

We had a BBQ for dinner at Meelup Beach, shared with Greg and Sheryl, Rod and Sharon and about 1000 flies! They are prolific at this time of year and remain so until the Dung Beetles kick in! Despite the little black visitors we had a lovely time. After we'd eaten we went for a walk around the point to a couple of beautiful little white sandy beaches edged with granite boulders in deep earthy red tones. When we got back to sleepy old Busselton, just before 9 0'clock, only one of the 7 cafes in town was open and they wouldn't serve us dessert because their kitchen had closed! We eventually persuaded the Mexican restaurant to sell us some chocolate mousse in takeaway tubs before we went for a drive to check out the Chritmas light decorations around the suburbs.
Great food, Great setting, Great company = A Great Day.
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50 Going on 15

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Paul's 50th Birthday Party

A slightly unusual affair, with the guest of honour dressed in a Shrek outfit and the main entertainment being Paul wrestling his youngest son Jeremy (dressed as Earl from My name is Earl) in sumo suits! and his son Brayden singing The Big Rock Candy Mountain! We had a good night. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sport Boy's Dilemma

We went down to The Goose for a coffee this afternoon. Sport Boy had been bugging us for a while to hit him some cricket catches so before we went home we found some shade on the beachfront and I hit him some catches. All was going well until a high ball got stuck in one of the Fir Trees. I threw the bat up in an effort to dislodge it and the tree saw it's opportunity to completely thwart our game by grabbing the bat too. No ball, no bat, no game.

I lifted Sport Boy up so he could climb the tree and get them down only to discover that he had never climbed a tree before!!!

How can this be?

How can an active little boy reach the age of 9 never having climbed a tree?

Greg and I both commented that we spent much of our childhood climbing trees.

I took it for granted that my kids climbed trees too but obviously I was wrong.

This was a call to arms. An immediate response was required to further my son's education and broaden his horizons.
I hoisted him up into the tree and he began his tentative ascent, questioning whether the branches would break and what if he slipped and various other comments borne of nervousness and lack of experience.
We coached him further up until he reached the branch he needed and he hesitantly began shaking the it in order to dislodge the ball. We persuaded him to move a little further out from the trunk in order to get more leverage and pacified his concerns with reassurances that the branches would not break. Sport Boy weighs about 20 kilos ringing wet so there was no danger of his weight being too much for the tree to bear. Eventually he knocked the ball and the bat free.

How do I get down he asked?

Same way you got up, climb and I'll lift you out when you get to the bottom branch.
He managed quite well, even pausing to pose for a photo as you can see.
Back on terra firma he exclaimed a number of times and confided his fears and his excitement at his adventure.

I won't assume again my kids are familiar with the value of such a simple childhood pleasure as climbing a tree.

A pox on you PlayStation!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Razzle Dazzle Jordy

Greg, Sheryl, Carolyn and I are about to go to Paul's 50th birthday in Bunbury. This is Jordan getting ready for Lauren's 14th birthday party, a Phantom of the Opera theme, the other night feeling very swish in his top hat and tails. He had a great time. By the time I got there to pick him up most of the kids had changed out of their finery and were playing spotlight in the backyard! Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Letchs are coming

I've just spent the last few hours working in the office, firstly in endeavouring to save my email files so they don't disappear in the upgrade due to happen shortly. I bought a 250 gig external hard drive which should solve the problem for the forseeable future and Phil gave me some helpful technical advice over the phone.

The last half an hour has been spent moving things and taking down pictures etc in readiness for the installation of my new airconditioning unit! Yeah! I had enough money left in my school account to get it put in, and the two offices next door as well!!! So the heat of a WA summer need no longer bother me, and the reverse cycle will provide heating in winter too! Bonus.

Any one whose ever seen or been into my office will know that moving things and finding space can be a challenge. There are now approx 100 aircraft and flying machines, mobiles etc suspended from the ceiling.

We have special guests coming down for the weekend, the Letchies arrive tonight and are staying till Monday morning which means we'll have plenty of time to catch up and hang out. BBQs and coffeess and wineries and walks on the beach are all on the menu.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Holt Blog Empire Grows

Look out world, I have just launched three new blogs. That's right, three new blogs!

Augusta Family Festival a pictorial chronicle of the goings on at Augusta each January when our family joins a team of about 80 volunteers to run a week long family festival: a Christian outreach at a caravan park by the Blackwood river in the beautiful south west.

The second is a quirky little blog that pays tribute to personalised number plates!
Guaranteed to capture a unique little fragment of cyberspace on a topic that no-one else is paying any attention to!! Laugh or scorn if you want to but before long I'll have cornered the market in personalised plate pictures and the world will be beating a path to my door.
Feel free to send me pictures of personalised plates you have taken in your travels. Don't tell me you haven't wondered about the origin of people's personalised plates, tried to decipher unusual letter configurations, imagined who "SMOOCHY" and "CURVES" are, or applauded the wit and inventiveness of drivers with plates like XLR8 on their cars.
By now you are saying to yourself, "Why didn't I think of starting a personalised plates blog myself?"

That's right, it's art on wheels, wit in motion, literary limos, and clever cars.

The world of personalised plates is about to open up in a way never thought possible!

Remember, you read it here first at Holt Press!

And finally, in recognition of my new found passion for painting, and to my amazement, the trickle of sales that has accompanied it, I introduce my Art Blog, a chronicle of my paintings and creations from the very beginning right up to the latest works fresh off the easel (the kitchen bench actually but easel sounds much more artistic!). All paintings pictured are for sale unless already sold or in a couple of circumstances too loved to part with. Details of size etc by request.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Quicksand Victory

We won our first game of beach volleyball tonight! We being "Quicksand" a team comprising Myself, Carolyn, Gerard and the newly adopted Simmo, plus Laurie if he ever turns up after outrigger canoeing which happens at about the same time. We lost the first set but came back well to win the second and third and record our first win of the season. Sport Boy did a fantastic job as ball boy, retrieving the ball before it rolled into Geographe Bay. For more updates and action shots visit bussobeachvolleyball. Carolyn and the others have stayed on to do duty while I came home for dinner, now I'm off to drive the taxi for a few hours. I said I could do some extra shifts over the holidays so I'm driving on a Wednesday night for the first time, not sure how busy it will be but apparently there's a busy period when the pubs shut around 11.00pm. The extra money will be handy coming up to Christmas.

One more thing before I go, we are getting some sort of system upgrade on the computer network at school and have been told that all of our email history will be wiped! This has sent a few of us into a mild panic, both the registrar and the principal were trying to save their email accounts today when I called in. I've bought an external hard drive to store stuff on but none of us is sure how to do it other than by transferring each folder over separately. If anyone out there has a short cut they can suggest please leave me a comment.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Reference Saga

Phil under the bonnet.

About a month ago my mate Phil asked me to write him a reference for a job he's applying for in Afghanistan. Because I've been pre-occupied with the camp I hadn't done it and he was getting a little anxious, based on the frequency and tone of his emails asking how I was going with it. It was a fill in the blanks/respond to the questions type of reference, not just the typical one page of attributes and qualities I'm used to providing for students etc. Finally yesterday I sat down to do the job. It took a few hours of thought and word-smithing spread over the day but I finished it by late afternoon. I proof-read it and printed out a copy then attached it to an email and sent it off into the cybersphere and ticked it off my list of things to do in the holidays. I was dismayed then to discover an email from Phil this morning saying it had not arrived, or rather, that the template had arrived but all my text was nowhere to be found! Hmm! That's a nuisance, I wonder what happened to it? No problem I thought, I saved a copy of it I'll send it again. Hmm! No I won't! It wasn't there!! Yes the template was there but no, the four pages of reference material were not! Not in any of the three versions I could find of it on the computer! Gone, vanished, disappeared, vamoosed, not to be found!!! Thank God I had printed out a copy of it because that is the only record that remains of the whole episode! I scanned it, and sent it off to Phil as Jpegs, 4 separate pages due to the size of the file and the slowness of my emails when I attach anything more than a paragraph of text! The good news is he appears to have received it, though how useful it will be as a series of jpegs comparred to a Word doc is anybody'e guess, but I was just rejoicing that I didn't have to type the whole thing again. (The typing isn't that big a deal, it's the thinking of all the stuff I said in the first place that would have taxed me.) On the up side, Phil is apparently quite taken with one of my new paintings, Silver Bark, and we have negotiated a deal where he gets the painting in exchange for making me some frames. The age of bartering is alive and well.

Phil and Julie's 2 kids, Pieta and Elijah

Purple Square

Further experimentation following on from Enmeshed. This canvas was not as smooth and thus the ink didn't run as freely, causing the lines to be less straight edged. I wanted to add some colour but not too much. I'm trying to keep them simple and sometimes I can go overboard with the colour and overwhelm a picture. Posted by Picasa

Silver Bark

I was playing around with colour combinations but not satisfied, then I added the jagged lines in turquoise and it looked a lot better (to me at least!) Posted by Picasa