Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Drought is Over...The Cats are premiers

The long and painful wait finally came to an end today as Geelong won their first premiership in 44 years when they annihilated Port Adelaide by 119 points and sweetest of all, I was there to see it!

That's a whole post of it's own that will have to wait.

Meanwhile, a few pictures of the triumphant Cats, the team I have supported all my life, through the heartbreak of 5 Grand Final losses.

I've waited my whole life for this day, now I can die happy, Geelong are premiers.

Go Cats. Steve johnson, reformed character and star player, winner of the Norm Smith Medal for best on ground in the Grand Final.
Nathan Ablett had a great game and kicked three goals.
Brownlow medallist Jimmy Bartel was fantastic.
Gary Ablett is a genuine superstar, AFLPA MVP for 2007, Coaches Award Winner, ABC Footballer of the Year and son and namesake of legend Gary senior who never won a premiership. He was there today to share in and celebrate his son's joy and the Cats triumph.
The sight I've wanted to see my whole life, Geelong with the AFL premiership Cup.

You Beauty, Go Cats.

Saturday, September 29, 2007



Zac, if you read this in time, try the AFL website or cable TV
National Radio on the ABC.
Good luck!!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Disappointment but not Despair

My deal to buy a Grand Final ticket fell through today. The bloke gave me the run around for a while and left me hanging until tonight when he finally confirmed what I had begun to suspect all along: the ticket was gone, if it ever really existed!

So it's back to Plan B: which involves heading to the MCG tomorrow with a pocket full of cash and hoping to find someone with a ticket to sell.
I remain quite optimistic about my chances, I'm determined and prepared to keep looking until something comes up.

The Grand Final Parade was a brief and relatively quiet affair from our vantage point outside Flinders St Station, the hilight being when I called out to Andrew Mackie,
"Andrew" he turned and looked at me, "Sophie says hello" to which he smiled and waved.
The Sophie in question is not Favourite Daughter but Russell and Lucy's daughter Sophie who thinks Andrew Mackie is a spunk. She'll be pleased to know I passed on her greetings to her favourite Cat.

Carolyn and Fashion Boy spent the afternoon at the Queen Victoria Markets buying clothes and accessories while Sport Boy and I went to AFL World, the AFL's Hall of Fame and interactive museum. He had great fun with all the kicking and handballing games and we soaked up a bit of footy history in the Grand Final atmosphere.

Tonight we're at Gary and Christine's place at Doreen in outer Melbourne. Sport Boy has hit it off with Nathan and they've been running around playing all night, kicking the footy and sliding on the wood floor in their socks.

Well, tomorrow is the big day. I've been waiting 44 years for geelong to win an AFL premiership and this is the best chance they've had in all that time.
I've seen Geelong win and lose many times in my life but no game has been as big as the one they'll play tomorrow afternoon. For the first time they'll start as favourites. They've had a brilliant season and deserve to win. If they play to the same standard as they have throughout the season they'll definitely win. I believe that's what's going to happen and hopefully I'll be there to see it.

Go Cats

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Got One!!!!

I'm 95% certain I've got a ticket to the Grand Final!

The only doubt is because I haven't got it yet and until I hand over the money and get it in my hot little hand I can't guarantee it, but I have no reason to doubt, the bloke seemed genuine.
I'm meeting him in the city tomorrow to do the deal.

We left Leongatha early this morning in order to get down to Kardinia Park to watch Geelong's last training run before the Grand Final.
There was a big crowd there watching giving the team a rowsing reception as they came on and went off and clapping every practise goal they kicked.

Sport Boy had a kick on the ground after they finished. The ground announcer had a good sense of theatre, he played a soundtrack of the following 4 songs while 100's of people had a kick: Love Cats, Cool for Cats, Stray Cat Strut and cats in the Cradle! I was surprised he didn't play Year of the Cat but it's a little more melancholy than the rest of the bunch.

We called in to see Carolyn's Mum and Dad for a little while and talked about the Grand Final.
Now we're visiting Alan and Lorna who were keen to see the kids, having had a good time with them when they came over to Busselton last year.

We're staying with Russell and Lucy tonight before going up to Melbourne tomorrow for the Grand Final Parade.

2 sleeps to go!

Go Cats

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


A bit of a sleep-in.

A leisurely breakfast.

A visit to the cinema to see Surf's Up with the kids, both of whom enjoyed it.
I can't pass comment cause I kept nodding off throughout.

A trip down to Inverloch, a nice little town by the coast. Some lunch and a wander around the shops.

A drive out to "The Caves" and "Eagles Nest", a couple of scenic spots outside of town.
We spent a very pleasant hour walking along the beach, examining the sea cliffs, rocks, rock pools, shells and stones. The tide was out leaving large areas of flat rock exposed. It was beautiful and the weather was lovely too, making the whole thing very enjoyable.

Called in to visit my cousin Kerrie and her family for a little while. It was just before dinner and we were just one of a stream of visitors, callers etc so we didn't stay long, but just long enough to borrow a football for Sport Boy to kick until the replacement arrives from WA.

Home for dinner, lasagne and salad followed by lemon meringue pie, served with stories of Uncle Ken and Auntie Ev's trip to Italy earlier this year and some family reminiscinces.

There's a possible GF ticket via a contact on Big Footy that has got my hopes up a bit. Should know more tomorrow!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Cats Win the Brownlow Medal

Well one of them at least, Jimmy Bartel.

It's another part of what could be the most successful season by any football team in history, although the vital and most important component is the premiership, to be contested on Saturday.

In the bag already are:
The Rising Star Award- Joel Selwood
The VFL Premiership
The Liston Trophy, best &fairest in the VFL- James Byrne
9 All Australian Players, the most by any team ever.
The Brownlow Medal- Jimmy Bartel
The Minor Premiership- finishing three games clear on top.

Remaining targets:
The AFL Premiership
the Norm Smith Medal.

Having said all that, the only one that really matters is the premiership, without it all the rest are just bridesmaid material.

Carolyn is getting very nervous about Saturday.
I feel confident.

We have left Geelong and are now in Gippsland at Auntie Ev and Uncle Ken's place at Leongatha. We'll be here for a couple of days before heading back to Geelong.
The ferry trip from Queenscliff to Sorrento went smoothly. We spent a couple of hours looking around Queenscliff beforehand, it's a lovely little old seaside town with plenty of cafes and galleries and highly-priced gift shops. Carolyn and I spent the first two nights of our honeymoon there some 21 years ago so it will always have a special place in our memory.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Cats Win the Grand Final

The VFL Grand Final that is!

Sport Boy had a good day out at the footy in Melbourne watching Geelong beat Coburg to win the VFL flag, hopefully a good omen for next Saturday's much bigger and more important AFL Grand Final between Geelong and Port Adelaide.

There was one disappointing incident today, I lost my new Geelong tracksuit top when we left it on the train. Sport Boy had been using it as a pillow laying on the floor beneath the seats and we both forgot it when we got off. We went back for it but it was gone and wasn't handed in by the time we got back to Geelong. Rats.

We ran into a few more Big Footyites at the game, following the pre-prelim final get together at Shmik Bar on Friday night. Cam, aka Mooney d'King was there and Ablett 5, and on the train home we saw Big Drop Punt (All Big Footy Nicknames, mine is Western Cat).
People are keeping their ears open for tickets on my behalf although there's gonna be stacks in the same boat, the GFC Ticket ballot results are in and a couple of people I know have already found out they missed out.

I've budgeted a "large amount" of money for the cause of getting a ticket but even that's no guarantee, I have to fine someone with one to sell first!

It's been a bad couple of days for losing things, we went to the You Yangs yesterday and climbed to the top of Flinders Peak, a place I haven't been since I was about 10 years old, but later on when we got to Point lonsdale we realised we'd left the football somewhere, probably at the You Yangs. Sport Boy is devastated cause we've been kicking the footy together every day and at the game today he looked with envy at every kid holding a footy!
I ended up ringing Favourite Daughter and asking her to pick up another one from home (I've got several) and sending it to us by Express Post tomorrow. Hopefully it will turn up at Leongatha post office on Tuesday.

Other than that our day out on Sunday was great. It was fun to revisit the places we knew so well from our childhood, Carolyn and I both having grown up in Geelong. We watched some of the Port V Roos game at the pub in Queenscliff and then had fish and chips for tea while watching some big cargo ships passing through the heads. It also inspired us to take the ferry across to Sorrento on Monday when we head off to Gippsland. It will save us going via melbourne and will be a much prettier drive skirting around French and Phillip Ilsands.
We also went on a pilgrimage to Pearl Bay aka Barwon Heads, the seaside town where one of our favourite tv shows, Seachange, was filmed.
I also showed the family where the Banfiels used to live, along with our old house in Wiggs Rd Moolap and the school I went to in grades 5 & 6.

We've really enjoyed our time in Geelong and look forward to being back here later in the week when things start hotting up for the Grand Final.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Preliminary Final

24 hours later and I'm breathing easier, my pulse rate is lower and I'm starting to enjoy the feeling.
What feeling?
The feeling that comes when your team makes the Grand Final!
Last night was a very tense, very exciting, very stressful affair, and that was just for Carolyn!
Imagine how Sport Boy and I coped!
I'm serious actually, Carolyn couldn't handle it even in the first quarter and by the last she couldn't watch or listen to the radio!
Poor Sport Boy got very emotional and was crying at 3/4 time.
Geelong were not playing well, Collingwood were playing great and the most dreadful outcome was looking very possible.
I comforted SB and prepared him for the worst.
"We might not win"
He looked me straight in the eye and said "We're gonna win"

His faith looked justified when we got out to a 17 point lead half way through the last but when the Magpies inevitable comeback started to happen I again warned him that we may not make it to the Grand Final.

And again he looked at me calmly and said as if it was written in indelible letters, "We're gonna win"!!

I believed him, as much as I could, but the Collingwood army was in full voice as 98.002 fans roared and rocked the MCG to it's foundations and the Hot Pies kept coming.
It took all the heroics the Cats could muster to hold them off and cling to a 5 point lead as the final siren went and the pressure was finally released!
I just stood nward, glad and grateful and mightily relieved.

We had won a classic and now we're in the Big One.

The Geelong theme song never sounded so good as when sung by the delerious proportion of the MCG's new record crowd when the siren went.

I cried.
Sport Boy cried.
Carolyn just breathed a mighty sigh of relief.

The train trip home was fun even though we were sitting with a family of Collingwood fans.
They were disappointed not devastated, clearly we had a lot more to lose than they did.
In fact, my image of feral Collingwood fans was largely dispelled last night. Besides the fans on the train, we sat behind another family of Pie's supporters up in the nose-bleed section of the Great Southern Stand and we got along really well with them, all shaking hands after the game.

We are Geelong
The greatest team of all.....Preliminary Final

Friday, September 21, 2007

Preliminary Final Day

Things have improved since yesterday.

We returned the car this morning and hopefully won't be penalised.

I picked up the remainder of the tickets for tonight's game and then hitched a lift into town with a bloke who knew someone who is looking for tickets and so I'm meeting him in half an hour to sell one of them.
Looking out for a blue Camry on the corner of Brougham and Moorabool Streets at 10 past 12 for the deal to go down! Just gotta get a brown paper bag first!!

We're heading for melbourne on the train about 3.00pm.

The game starts at 7.40.

Hopefully the celebrations will start about 3 hours after that!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


We arrived in Melbourne ok, got a car and drove to Geelong, found the Caravan Park and settled in to a very nice chalet, getting to bed about 2.00am.

Not much has gone right today though.

I discovered to my horror that yesterday was the only day to register for the Grand Final ticket ballot and I missed it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


There was only a limited chance of getting aticket via the ballot, but not being in it means no chance at all!!!

I'm not giving up (should Geelong make it) but it may mean trying to buy one from a scalper or some other source!!!

I'm determined to be there if at all possible!

Meanwhile the Ticketmaster debacle took a bizarre twist when I discovered that my "aborted" order yesterday morning was actually successful!
So, instead of 3 tickets to the preliminary final I now have 6!!!!!!
At least the three of us will be able to sit together but it leaves me with three extra tickets to dispose of.
Hopefully I'll find some fans still looking for tickets at the ground.

I was pretty stressed out by all this making things tense in the Holt Press world.
The stress leves rose higher when we tried to return the hire car and couldn't find the place to drop it off as the address was wrong on the form and the peak hour traffic was making driving difficult.
So, we still have the car and will have to drop it off first thing in the morning and hope we don't get penalised.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day, and especially tomorrow night will give great cause for celebration.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Last minute blogging from Brisbane airport. Our flight to Melbourne is in 50 minutes time.
We spent a great day at Wet n Wild Water World but only after a near disastrous start. We all got out and Dad drove off and as he disappeared toward the exit I realised that the tickets were still in the car!!!! His mobile phone was turned off so I couldn't call him. I ran, chasing him up the road, yelling and waving and hoping he'd look in his rear view mirror and wonder why I was gesticulating so wildly! Alas, he did not. I waved madly at passing cars until finally one took pity on me and stopped to see what my problem was.
"Follow that car"!
I've always wanted to say that!
But, it was too late, he'd gotten away and could not be caught!
The driver suggested I tell the people at the park the story and they'd sort it out for me.
And sure enough they did.
I paid for us to get in and when Dad came back to pick us up in the afternoon I took the original tickets in and they refunded the amount I'd paid in the morning!
It all sounds so simple now but as I was running down the Pacific Hwy in pursuit of my father it didn't seem so easy!

As I said, afetr the ticket drama everything else went well and we had a great day sliding down tubes and flumes and whirlpools and vortexes.
Pictures to follow at some stage.

The trip back to Brisbane was uneventful. We stopped for some noodles for tea and got to the airport in plenty of time.

Melbourne here we come!

NB. I had mixed fortunes with the footy tickets this morning. The system froze up just before I completyed the transaction on three seats in the Southern Stand and by the time I got back on the only thing I could get was a couple of standing room tickets.
Not ideal and I don't know quite what we'll do yet but it was the best I could do under pressure.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Movie World

I got my ticket to the Preliminary Final first thing Monday morning, but not without a few hassles.
The net was overloaded so I did it by phone which was a long-winded process and not entirely satisfactory. But, at least I've got a ticket.
Tomorrow morning I'll try again and hopefully get tickets for Carolyn and Sport Boy too.

Then it was time to pack the car and head for the coast.
The trip went smoothly, with just a stop for some Famous Yatala Pies for lunch and a close encounter with a sticky-footed pigeon. When we were leaving the pigeon in question landed on the roof of Dad's car and would not be moved! Even sudden stops only sent it skidding forward so that it's tail hung down over the windscreen. It hopped about, regained it's balance and would not be budged. I got a picture but won't be able to load it tonight as I'm on a net kiosk computer.
It finally took flight once we hit the motorway but not before causing us a great deal of merriment and feathered entertainment.

We found and settled into our apartment at The Windsurfer Resort which is pleasant enough but considerably smaller than I'd imagined! Just as well none of us is claustrophobic! Still, it does the job and is nicely located on the water's edge at The Broadwater, looking out to South Stradbroke Island and the spit where Seaworld is located.

The boys are happy because not only is there a games room with pool and ping pong tables, there's also Foxtel!!

This morning Sport Boy set off for MovieWorld for our big day. He had a GREAT time and loved the rides and the stage shows. He overcame his fears to ride the Batwing which launched us into the air like a rocket, and dropped us back almost as quickly.
His favourite ride was the Wild West Rapids Log Flume which climaxed with a massive plummet into a small lake sending water cascading all over the boat occupants! He loved it so much in fact that he chose to go around again for his final ride of the day.
Even a headache during the day didn't deter him or dampen his enthusiasm or enjoyment.
The day in the sun took a toll on his father though as I'm weary and have a mild headache.
A shower, some dinner and a lie down should see me right though.

Carolyn FB and Dad went to HarbourTown to shop! Fashion Boy stayed true to his name by coming home with some new clothes, of particular note was the "ski hat" he bought. He's very proud of it! Not exactly sure why. He's becoming more like his big brother, The Heir, every day!
Carolyn got some bathers so she can enjoy the delights of Wet n Wild Water World tomorrow if she so desires.

One more day in Queensland before we fly down to Melbourne tomorrow night.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Last Night in Gympie

My last night in Gympie, before we head for the Gold Coast in the morning, was spent watching Casino Royale with Dad. The name is Bond, James Bond.

Carolyn and I went to a local church this morning which we both enjoyed, one guy in particular was pretty funny talking about pressure when you fly in the intro to communion. Not an obvious link there I know but he did it well.

After church we caught the last hour of the markets and picked up a few bits and pieces and bargains; a Tom Clancy book for Fashion Boy which should keep him occupied for at least one day, a Marilyn Monroe book for Pop who is partial to Norma Jean, a patchwork book for Carolyn which I haggled down from $8 to $5, a nut and apple cake reduced to $3 and very yummy, The Road Less Travelled by M Scott Peck, a classic (which I haven't read before) and a bag for Carolyn to pack her carry-on stuff in for the flight to Melbourne, for $4.50, the vendor assured her the same thing sells for $11 at Crazy Clarks!!

I also got a little toy for myself but I can't divulge what it is here.

More computer chat with Dad this arvo but sadly Scrabble seems to cause his lap-top to crash which is disappointing.

I dozed while watching the NRL semi-final then had one last game of kick to kick with Sport Boy in Grampa's backyard which drew a compliment from the old lady next door who was very impressed that we were out there playing together.

W've packed and are ready for departure in the morning after I have , hopefully, obtained my ticket to the football on Friday night. They open sales at 9.00am and I daresay there is going to be quite a rush for them what with there being more Collingwood fans than anyone else in the league and the Cats having such a great season, I expect it to be a sell-out. I'm just hoping we can get tickets for Carolyn and Sport Boy when general public sales open on Wednesday.

I can't let the day's events conclude without mentioning the bomb-shell news that Chris Judd has requested a transfer from West Coast back to Victoria. Half of WA must be in mourning tonight!!

Oh and I'm sad to say that Spurs did indeed lose to Arsenal last night despite leading 1-0 at half time!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday in Gympie

After the excitement of last night's footy final, today was quiet by comparison.

For the first time in a long time I made a list of tasks I wanted to complete today, (a work style approach to life I haven't had for many weeks) and I'm pleased to report I got all except one of them done.

Chief among them was finding and booking somewhere to stay while we're down at the Gold Coast next week. I used an excellent website called to track down the Windsurfer Resort at Biggera Waters (Pronunciation open to debate) who had a family apartment available for the two nights we need at a pretty good price.
Having booked that I moved onto buying tickets to a couple of theme parks. All 4 of us will have a day at Wet n Wild Water World and Sport Boy and I will also sample the delights of MovieWorld.
Fashion Boy has foregone this in favour of a day's snow-boarding in Victoria if we manage to find snow. I emailed my "step-uncle" Peter today to seek his advice and input as he works for a company who manage a couple of ski resorts. Hopefully he can point us in the right direction. We're heading up that way after the Grand Final (and hopefully the celebrations) are over.

Carolyn has opted for walks on the beach and reading by the pool while sipping iced coffees.
And even Dad has opened to the possibility of staying a night or two with us at the coast seeing as the apartment will be big enough to accommodate us all.

I then introduced Pop to the (addictive) joys of computer Scrabble and shared a few of my tips and strategies. He burned a copy of the CD in anticipation of further word-gaming.
Regular readers will know that I love Scrabble, both the computer variety and playing in real life against the old ladies in the Scrabble Club in Busso.

A trip into town was productive. Carolyn wanted a smaller suitcase than the monster model she came over with and we found a decent bag at Crazy Clarks that fitted the bill. It had some paint specks on it so I enquired about a discount. To my surprise, before said discount was applied, it was already reduced from the ticket price of $39.50 to $25, less the paint discount brought it down to $20. Betty Bargain Hunter strikes again! Not to be outdone, Carolyn also found two very nice dresses, reduced from $49 down to $10 each! Well done!

Next came the evening ritual of kick to kick with the footy with Sport Boy which continued until well after the sun went down and the only clue that a football was headed your way was the thump of it being kicked a couple of seconds before it arrived. Sport Boy's kicks became increasingly wayward the darker it got and by the time I'd hurdled the neighbour's fences 5 times to retrieve it I called the game on account of the light.

Final activity for the day was watching the Kangaroos surprise everyone, not least the Hawks, to win the 2nd semi-final tonight and proceed to the preliminary final V Port Adelaide next week.

Australia are currently playing wales in the World Cup Rugby and Pop is about to go to bed so I'll be banished from the computer shortly.
Hopefully not before I check on the result of the Spurs V Arsenal game in London. I'm never hopeful when we play the Gonners but maybe there'll be good news!!


We had a lovely day out at Noosa today. We wandered up and down looking at the shops and galleries on Hastings St, resisting the urge to buy anything although Fashion Boy added to his hat collection with a rastafarian tea cosy.
We had a very nice lunch at a little restaurant, sharing a couple of seafood platters between three of us while Dad and Sport Boy had the basic fish and chip meal.
Coffee followed for some, ice cream for the rest of us.
Sport Boy was busting to go to the toilet and was getting pretty anxious in our search, speculating to homself whether he'd wet his pants before we found one.
His luck held and we made it and he let out the biggest sigh as he was finally able to relieve the pressure on his bladder.
When he'd finished he said to me,
"I'm just going to stay here a little longer and enjoy the moment"!!

We adjourned to the famous Noosa beach but no-one ventured in for a swim. Instead we threw the Zocker up and down the beach while Dad and Carolyn sat on the sound and watched.

We got home with just enough daylight left to kick the footy in the backyard for ten minutes.

At 8:30 we settled in front of the tv to watch the footy, the 1st semi-final between West Coast and Collingwood and it was a classic game, finishing in a draw at the final siren which meant 10 minutes of extra time was played, and Collingwood ended up winning by 19 points.
We were all excited and Sport Boy was jumping all over the lounge he was "so full of adrenalin".
"I feel like I could jump over your head Dad" he said with a few minutes to go.
Carolyn incurred the wrath of Pop by daring to barrack for Collingwood!
That's what being surrounded by Eagles fans every day will do to you!!

It sets up a Preliminary Final between Geelong and Collingwood next Friday night at the MCG.
Getting tickets for the family is going to be the challenge cause I reckon the game will be a sell-out.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Backyard Footy

Poor Sport Boy just about ran out of steam tonight, and considering the abundant store of energy that is normally Sport Boy, that is saying something. The cause?
An afternoon at the Gympie swimming pool, open but not heated, followed by about an hour of kick to kick with the footy in the backyard at Grampa's.* The sun had set, it was getting pretty dark and I needed a way to signal the end of the game.
"You have to mark 8 out of 10 kicks or we're finished"
Ever ready for a challenge Sport Boy duly marked 8 out of 10.
"5 out of 5 now" I challenged.
SB duly caught all 5 kicks.
"OK, next time you drop one the game's over"
1,2,3,4,5,6,.....he took mark after mark......all the way up to 26 before one finally hit the ground.
He'd done very well but as you can see, he was exhausted by the time we came inside.

*Grampa had 4 envious onlookers as he mowed the grass in the backyard this morning, because he was driving his John Deere ride-on mower to do the job! Even Carolyn said she wouldn't mind having a go on that!

Dad cooked dinner tonight, an event I caught on camera.
"Don't let your mother see that" he warned!
We all survived, and enjoyed dinner!

Tonight we've traded stories and computer tips while I played Scrabble and he checked the stock market and calculated his current worth.

How much? Priceless!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Sport Boy bought a Mood Ring from the $2 Shop this afternoon and had me try it on when he got back from his haircut. It turned light blue which he informed me meant "peace". Carolyn commented, "Your Dad's on long service leave and Geelong are winning, why wouldn't he be peaceful?"
It sounded fair enough to me!
Life in Gympie moves at a sedate pace, whether you're on holiday or not.
Today consisted of getting up late, though not as late as yesterday, reading the paper for an hour while discussing football with Pop, making tuna and cheese toasted sandwiches for lunch, painting a picture then playing Stingers with the boys and the Zocker, a spiral shaped soft football thrown gridiron style.
If you dropped it the thrower got to take a free shot at you while you used one hand to protect your face and the other to guard your most vital/vulnerable assets.
Fashion Boy spent half the time dancing like a man having a siezure due to the ants in his part of the backyard, and the other half ducking balls he had trouble seeing. He does have some problems with his eyesight but still Sport Boy and I decided to penalise him with a free shot if he ducked one he should have tried to catch.
The darker it got the harder it became, for all of us, not just FB.
Carolyn cooked a lasagne for dinner, mmmm! lasagne! then we watched Thank God You're Here.
A peaceful way to spend a day! The ring would still be blue but Sport Boy's taken it to bed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I am now blogging from Queensland, Duke St Gympie to be precise, my Dad's place. I arrived without mishap after flying in from Melbourne last night.

It was good to see him and be reunited with the rest of the family.

Today we went for a walk downtown to look around the CBD then went to see Ratatouille with Sport Boy at the cinema on Cut Price Tuesday.

Dad, Fashion Boy and I are about to head down there again to see The Bourne Ultimatum.

Monday, September 10, 2007

1 Down 2 to Go

Today was a great day at the footy. The Cats murdered the Kangaroos with some of the best football I've ever seen. The winning margin of 106 points is the 5th highest in AFL history.

That puts us into the preliminary final in 2 weeks, against either West Coast or Collingwood.

You can read Gerard Whately's review of the game here!
A local farmer excited about the Cats getting the cream!

The good news is that my plans have paid off. I can fly up to Queensland tomorrow night knowing that we are in the prelim in two weeks and I don't have to decide whether to come back to Melbourne early for a final next week.

I've had a really good stay with Russell and Lucy and their family who have made me very welcome. Tomorrow night I'll be reunited with Carolyn and Fashion and Sport Boys, and see my Dad. It's all good!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Finals

Firstly a correction: the regional population of Colac is only 14,000 not 40,000 as I reported this week. Sorry for any confusion this may have caused. I hope I haven't under-mined anyone's plans of a move to Colac based on mis-information.
It was my left-brained mate Russell, a stats and figures man of some repute who set me straight.

We've just gotten home from the footy where Collingwood have eliminated Sydney from the finals. Contrary to what many people predicted/expected, there will not be a 3rd consecutive West Coast v Sydney Grand Final this year. In fact, with the state the Eagles are in they may well be eliminated the,selves next week with injuries taking a major toll.
Collingwood looked impressive and travel to Perth to play West Coast next week.
Hawthorn beat Adelaide with a goal from the last kick of the game this afternoon.

That just leaves the BIG Game left tomorrow, Geelong v the Kangaroos.
I'm nervous because it's a final, but I'm confident because the Cats have clearly been the best team all season. That doesn't guarantee victory but if we play to our standards throughout the year we should win convincingly.

I'm going to have a look at a cheap car at Ocean Grove in the morning, a 1980 Corolla, which may be suitable for our trip around the Garden State.
Then it's back on the train to Melbourne for the footy.

Carn the Cats!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Off to the Footy

David and I are heading out the door to take the train to Melbourne to see the Collingwood v Sydney game at the MCG, an elimination final.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Cars and Caravan Parks

I spent a disappointing day looking around for a way to fit an extra seat belt in Mum and Walter's camper van. I found a seat belt ok but the problem is not having suitable anchor points to fit it. I could see the problem leading to big dollars even if we found a way and a place to get it done.
So, back to the drawing board for a vehicle to get around Victoria for a few weeks when we come back from Queensland. Buying a cheap car is an option but getting something that will do the job at an affordable price may be difficult.
Hiring is an option but a bit more expensive.
I've been having second thoughts about driving any car we might buy home to WA, partly because of the "risk" and partly because my sister Vicki said she and Rex would happily come down to Adelaide to see us if we go that far.
We hope to visit my Auntie Merle in Shepparton and my step-mum Julie in Mildura before going to Adelaide, all in the week after the Grand Final.

I also went to check on our booking at a caravan park for when we come back from Queensland on the 19th, only to find that the CP had no record of our booking, or of the $100 deposit I paid! They took the booking while I was there, but upon further checks when I got home to the Armstrongs, it turns out I had booked, and paid, at a different caravan park just up the road!!
Tomorrow I'll have to go back and try and sort it out, although Russell tells me the one I found today is in a better location so we may stick with it if I can get a refund from the first one! If you're confused don't worry, so was I!

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Colac is a country town in Victoria, about 50km west of Geelong, with a population of about 9,000 It's quite a nice little town and I was surprised how big it's CBD is compared to Busselton considering the relative populations (Busselton has 25,000) until I learnt that Colac has a regional population of 40,000. I went to Colac today with my mate Russell for the commissioning service of a new chaplain at Colac High School, Bec. The service was good, a typical commissioning. I've had two and been to a few others, there was the usual collection of school staff, church volunteers, local ministers, students, and colleagues, and in this case, one blow-in interloper from interstate. Bec was a bit confused when I told her I was there to represent WA chaplains.
We met with a couple of other chaplains at a cafe first, for coffee and a chat, a regional meeting of chaplains in fact, something I've done plenty of times back in WA. It was interesting comparing the similarities and differences between chaplaincy in the different states. There was an initiative a number of years ago to allow Victorian and Western Australian chaplains to do a 12 month exchange which I was very interested in. Nothing eventuated but when I mentioned it today Bec was very keen on the idea. Perhaps in a couple of years time it may be a possibility.
Another of Russell's colleagues, Robert, came with us to Colac. We talked football all the way there. Sadly, both Rob and Russ are avowed Collingwood fans so there was a lot of stirring and ribbing flowing both ways on the journey. After I'd had a drink I went for a walk around Colac, browsing in the shops When I returned Rob proudly showed me the autograph he'd just got from AFL Legend Ron Barassi who had come into the cafe after I left. I was impressed!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


It always seems strange to me when I start the day on one side of the country and finish it on the other. Last night I dropped Carolyn and the boys at the airport then spent the night in Cameron's caravan in Belmont. It was warm and comfortable but the bed was significantly shorter than I'm used to. Thankfully the cupboard at the end of the bed is only half size, allowing me to stick my feet out and lie reasonably straight, leaving just the issue of keeping them warm to contend with! An extra blanket wrapped around them did the trick.
The early start, with the alarm going off at 5.50am was not pleasant but at least it ensured I got to the airport on time. Unfortunately for Carolyn, last night's flight was delayed by an hour, which was also bad news for Dad, who could have had an extra hour in bed this morning before picking them up if only he'd read his text message! For an accomplished blogger, his lack of conversance with sms'ing is a shame. They are all safely back home in Gympie although it's raining up there. The weather in Victoria however is lovely.

I took the skybus into the city then the train down to Geelong.
Allan Banfield picked me up which was a case of fortunate timing, he and Lorna had just returned from a 3 day trip to Echuca.
I'm staying with Russell and Lucy and their kids David and Sophie in Geelong. They used to live in Perth and we worked together for Fusion many years ago.
He is a fellow school chaplain now, working at Oberon High School. Despite living in Geelong for the last 10 years he remains a die-hard Collingwood fan but thankfully Sophie has not succumbed to the Magpie influence and is a firm Cats fan. I'll probably take her with me to see Geelong's last training run on Saturday morning prior to Sunday arvo's final against the Kangaroos at the MCG.
Tomorrow I'm going to visit Russell's school and in the afternoon accompany him to a new chaplain's commissioning at Colac. I'll be the second important visitor to the school this week, Leader of the Federal Opposition Kevin Rudd having been to the school on Monday!! David got to shake his hand and has already declared he's got his vote in the upcoming election.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


We're off!

Next stop Perth, then Brisbane and Gympie for Carolyn and the boys (Fashion and Sport).

Melbourne for me tomorrow morning.

Gonna be great.

Carn the Cats!!!

D-Day minus 1

One more day until we depart for our holiday. Still got some packing and prep to do but Carolyn and the boys don't have to be at the airport until 10 tomorrow night so we've got enough time to get everything done tomorrow. I opted out of the meeting in Perth tonight which freed up a lot of time and eased the pressure significantly, so much so that I was able to get the bedroom painted.
Cream on 3 walls and a blue feature wall, it looks good although mysteriously the paint hasn't masked the polyfilla underneath which we used to fill in the holes and chips, I don't know why, it usually works fine. I'll give the blue another coat in the morning and hope that that fixes it.
Then we'll move the bed and furniture back in in preparation for the girls when they come to house-sit.

I drove the cab for a couple of hours this morning, my last shift before going away, last chance to add to the bank balance, which is looking very healthy I must say.

The good news on the fantasy footy front is that I won both my Grand Finals in the Dream Team comp on the AFL website!
The bad news is that Matthew Egan has a broken foot and will miss the finals for Geelong after being a star player all season.
I bought my ticket today for the Geelong v Kangaroos Qualifying Final at the MCG on Sunday, I can't wait.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Beautiful Sunday

We had a great day in Bridgetown for the soccer team wind-up. The weather was perfect, Mum and Walter did a great job hosting the event in the park, including bringing their BBQ down because the Council have removed the BBQ's that used to be in the Boat Park, and creating the Giant Banana Split which all the kids had for dessert.

The trophies were awarded and I'm proud to say that Sport Boy won the Best & Fairest for the season. He felt a bit sick at different times throughout the day, partly as a result of the drive to Bridgetown through the winding hills road but the trophy brightened his spirits.

Sad to say also that I lost my Chaplains Fantasy Footy League Grand Final to Grant by about 3 points! And Craig Mottram fell away badly in the final of the 5000m at the World Athletics Championships which was pretty disappointing.

On a brighter note, the Cats finished the home and away season with a 7 goal win over Brisbane and now play the Kangaroos in the first round of the finals next Sunday afternoon, and I'll be there! Carn the Cats!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Busy Saturday

The Cornerstone 10's Soccer Team 2007: Played 16, Won 14 Lost 2

I was awoken by a phone call from the guy at the Trophy Shop with wonderful news; despite being flat out he had managed to do the engraving on the trophies for tomorrow's soccer team wind-up, what a champ! Next time you're ordering trophies, let me recommend the trophy shop in Fig Tree Lane Busselton!
Today was the last game of the season and it was a beauty. The wind was quite strong and we were kicking into it in the first half. Despite a number of
chances we were 1-0 down at half time but in the second half they showed how good they are by scoring 5 goals and winning 5-2. Sport Boy scored twice and was best on ground. A couple of the goals were sensational as the kids strung together a series of passes to cut through the opposition defense. All the parents and supporters were making heaps of noise and loving it and I was pretty excited too.

Tomorrow we'll introduce the team to the joys of Boat Soccer Squash, the game our family invented at the Boat Park in Bridgetown. There'll be trophies and a giant banana split along with a picnic BBQ lunch, it promises to be a great way to wind up what has been a fantastic season.

I only had a couple of hours after that before the start o
f my taxi shift (early start at 4pm). I tidied up the back patio and then we showed Sarah and Lisa through the house, explaining everything they'll need to know while they house-sit for us. Then Tina came round to pick up her painting. She told me she loves it which is very gratifying, and I loved the $300 she paid for it too!

It was a very quiet night in the cab so I finished quite early. There were the usual collection of drunks to take home safely and one bloke who loves Geelong about as much as I do so we were celebrating the Cats win over Brisbane tonight. When I told him I was going to Melbourne on Wednesday for the finals he threatened to kiss me!!! Thankfully I got him out of the cab before that unpleasant act could eventuate!!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Nice Surprise

It's 2.00am.

I'm driving the cab.

It's full of young men going home from the pub.

The phone rings. I don't recognise the number.

"Marcus Holt, hello"

"I love you Dad" says Favourite Daughter who is driving home to Dunsborough with Clare and has the urge to ring me.

"Thanks, you've made my night, I love you too."