Friday, November 30, 2007

Faith Hope Love

We're home again after 2 days in Perth on camp business. I found time tonight to put some finishing touches on my latest painting. I hope to hang this one at The Ship, near the entrance to the restaurant.
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Thursday, November 29, 2007


The drive to Perth was uneventful although the increase in temperature the further north we drove seemed to bother the kids. My view on weather has pretty much always been, it is what it is, I can't change it so I just have to adapt to it. Of course, it would be good if the the air con didn't need re-gassing and if the car wasn't so old that that didn't mean a major modification rather than a quick injection! But the sea breeze came in later and that helped.

I went to the briefing at Shenton College, to find that only the kids from Mirrabooke were there! The Shenton kids have bailed from the camp. That's a shame but not necessarily a surprise, every year there is a drop-out rate. The camp will be smaller than I'd hoped but I will still make it as good as it can be for all those who are there.

Next stop Freo to deliver some clues to detours and check-points. I ran into 3-4 of the Carine groups on their camp and asked how they were going and everyone seemed fairly happy. They knew where they were camping for the night which is a major part of their work done for the day.
I borrowed a scooter from Gem at Scoot Freo to zip around to the places I had to get to, he's a great bloke, very generous and sccommodating. His daughter came on one of the first camps when she was at Carine so he has some idea what it's all about.

Favourite Daughter and The Heir picked me up after their shopping expedition to Harbourtown and we delivered a few more clues to people in strategic places.
In the course of this I was talking to a young woman behind the counter who saw my name badge and said "Marcus Holt! I'm Candace!"To say I was spun out was an understatement! This was a girl I hadn't seen in about 15 years and the last time I had seen her she was suicidal following the murder of her best friend! (Probably an understandable reaction!)
It was great to see her and learn that she is doing really well, is happy, in a good job and enjoying life. It is a very nice feeling to run into a kid who was at risk and who is now doing really well.
I ran into at least two other people who knew me from previous years as I was travelling around the city today, it is sometimes an occupational hazard.

We dropped The Heir at the train station so he could go off and join Alex at a karoake night!!
FD and I called in at the Shenton Park Motor Lodge to drop off our gear before heading out for dinner. Just as well we got there early because Bruce and Jackie were just about to leave for dinner and Bruce had set the alarm. If we'd walked in then it would have been quite a commotion!!!!
We had Noodles for dinner then re-joined the Carine kids at their campsite, Challenge Stadium because Josh had invited me to speak to them for a few minutes. I told them to always take any opportunities that presented themselves, to take care of one another because there are no guarantees of long lives, and, using my venture into painting as an example, to be willing to try new things because they may be surprised what skills they may unearth and what doors may open for them.

When we got back to Shenton Park Bruce was still up and we've spent the last couple of hours talking. He showed me the Fathering Project DVD he helped produce recently and it's excellent. So much so that I think I'll try and put it to use at school, it's a great resource and stimulus towards helping Dad's be better Dads.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cool School Race Camp 1

The Carine version of the Cool School Race Camp started today so I'm heading up to Perth with TH and FD to check how it's going, and to do the briefings for the two Perth schools who'll be joining our camp next week. We'll finish off the prep, drop off clues etc ahead of next week. I'm not ready yet but I'm making some progress.

I went to the Dr at Dunsborough today and he confirmed what I suspected, I have tennis elbow. Voltaren and a bandage are supposed to help. I had a blood test to check on my testosterone levels, and discussed starting some medication to help address a chemical imbalance and hopefully stabilise my emotional health. We'll see.

Dunsborough was full of school leavers and I felt decidedly over-dressed! Bikinis and towells and low slung shorts were the dominant attire! Hopefully they'll keep themselves out of trouble!

I had a YouthCare meeting tonight, followed bya catch-up over a drink with some of the other chaplains. We went to the Ship and sat in the bar where my paintings are hanging which was a nice feeling, the others liked them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


You probably know that this month is Movember and blokes all over Australia have been growing mo's to raise money for men's health issues like prostate cancer. A mate at work, Patesy, has been leading the charge and sent this reminder to everyone the other day. I liked the picture so much I decided to blog it (and to make a donation).

The value of the blog was shown again today. While I was watching the soccer with Dave last night he said, "I read on your blog the other day that you've bought a shed, if you need a truck to move it you can use my work truck". Dave runs South-West Glass, behind Bunnings in the LIA, so this afternoon The Heir and I borrowed the truck, which has those handy stands for transporting glass, and headed down to Quindalup to pick up the shed we dismantled on the weekend. We managed to heave it all over the fence and load it successfully without mishap or bloodshed, although that run ended when we got home and in the process of unloading it I re-opened a cut on my finger whilst digging out one of the retic pipes we need to move in order to get the shed into the space between the carport and the fence. That will be it's home for a few weeks until I manage to recruit (con) a few mates into coming and helping me put it up. Mid-January is looking most likely!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Rock-A-Bye Baby

Favourite Daughter bought me this hammock chair for my birthday. She and the Heir set it up the other day. Looks comfy doesn't it.

My Sunday consisted of Church, painting, junk mail, cooking a BBQ for tea and going round to Dave's to watch Spurs play West Ham. It finished 1-1 but Tottenham missed a penalty in the last minute that would have won them the game!

On Friday afternoon I conducted the funeral of the young bloke killed in a car crash last weekend. It went pretty well but like all funerals of young people, was underscored by the feeling of tragedy and waste.

This is what I wrote on the order of service:

Garry, Carol, Brad, Josh and Rebecca and all of Jared’s extended family thank you for being here today to remember and celebrate Jared’s life and to join them in saying farewell.
Jared was a happy, easy-going, kind natured young man. Always willing to help out or lend a hand.
Quick witted, with a quirky dry sense of humour.
A quick learner, a good worker, a loyal mate and a much loved son.
There are no words of comfort adequate to console the heart-break his family feel. Theirs is a tragic loss of a young life, barely begun and brimming with potential It is a stark reminder to us all that we are fragile and that our time on earth is neither promised or certain.We should remember this and make certain that we value the time we have. We should prize our relationships with family and friends.
We should not take for granted any opportunity to show care, to do good and to express our love for the people who mean the most to us.
We should recognize that we are only a small part in God’s creation and that we have both freedom and responsibility in the way we live, the things we do and the way we treat other people.
It is no cliché to say life is short and we must make the most of it.No day should be wasted. No chance to love or be loved should be passed over. Our lives are fragile. Do whatever you can then to look after yourself and to take care of those

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Local Heroes

The Heir and I have just returned from fighting a fire and saving the neighbourhood from going up in flames, or a small patch of bush near the drain at least. Mrs HP went to pick up Fashion Boy from a party (One of those wild moustached drawing parties!) when she rang to say there was a fire burning down the street and that we should go and put it out. The "little" fire she reported was well alight by the time we got there so I called 000 to report it then with the help of another bloke who'd stopped the three of us managed to beat it out with tree branches. It wasn't near any houses but it would have burnt a significant area if we hadn't extinguished it. The fire brigade arrived a few minutes later, took a look, then put their lights and siren on in a peculiar piece of timing.
They proceeded to give it a good soaking to deal with the remaining coals and embers.
Our good deed done for the day we headed for home.

We had been out at a quiz night at the hockey club and came from 5th with one round to go to storm into 3rd place. That scored us an assortment of prizes which we had to divvy up. We got a digital camera that will make a good present for one of the kids.

The big news of the day is that we have a new government in Australia with the Labor Party winning and Kevin Rudd becoming the new Prime Minister. The most amusing part of the whole deal was that the sitting PM lost his own seat, only the second time it's happened since federation!

I spent the afternoon dismantling the shed in Quindalup. Stu aka The Gardener and The Heir helped. Stu was the brains of the organisation, with me happy to follow his lead. The Heir provided material assistance, going to buy me a new key chuck when mine broke, and then when that one broke! going to get a stronger one from Bunnings back in Busselton.
While he was away I managed to fall off the wheelie bin I was standing on drilling out pop rivets and cut and scraped myself in a few places. The bleeding has stopped but my leg and arm are aching.
We managed to get the whole thing apart. The next stage is transporting it back to our place. We'll need a large trailer to do that.

Unfortunately there's been no progress on getting Sport Boy's bike back. Mrs HP did get busted inspecting a couple of bikes laying on the front lawn of a house around the corner though! The lady in the house was very nice once she explained what she was doing!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Terrible News for Sport Boy

One day after celebrating his 10th birthday, Sport Boy's day ended terribly. He came out of the rec centre after his basketball game to find that his new bike had been stolen!!!

He was understandably distraught and heart-broken, not to mention "furious".

We all went out in two cars and spent the next 2 hours scouring the neighbourhood and surrounding areas looking for it but sadly didn't find any sign of it.

We'll check out the local school bike racks tomorrow and report it to the police.
Hopefully with a letterbox drop and letters to the papers someone may be able to tell us where it is.
Sport Boy has offered all of his savings as a reward!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Exciting News from the Holt Press Art Department

On Monday I had another phone call from Ramesh, the restaurant manager at The Ship Hotel and Resort concerning my paintings. You may remember that he first called me while we were at Surfers Paradise a couple of months ago expressing an interest in having my paintings on display at The Ship. When we got home I went and saw him and we discussed it further but by then another artist had brought some paintings in and it was uncertain whether they still wanted mine.
It turns out they did!
So on Monday night, I loaded up the car with 11 pictures and a drill and along with The Heir and Favourite Daughter went down to The Ship to show them my work. To my amazement they liked all of them and gave me free rein to hang them all!! As you can see from the photos, they are principally in a large function room. A couple more hang in the bar and the restaurant.

Tonight we took Mum and Walter down to show them how it looked. Ramesh was there and treated us like "Royalty" bringing us complemetary nibblies and a plate of appertisers as we had a drink and enjoyed the ambience in the hotel! Wednesday night is Curry night and although we couldn't stay for dinner because of Sport Boy's birthday, Ramesh insisted on giving mum some curry to take home with her.
He introduced me to the owner of the hotel who told me they are very keen to redecorate the lobby and invited me to hang another half a dozen paintings as soon as I'd like! They are in the process of seeking a 4 1/2 star rating for the Resort and apparently consider my art will help them in achieving their aim!!! That along with the extensive renovations and building plans currently going on!

This picture is entitled "(There are) Many Paths (but only one way)" and the family and I enjoyed the humour in it's placement, on the wall nearest to the sign pointing to the toilets!!

The paintings will be available for sale. I don't expect to sell many through this, most people go to a pub for a drink, not to buy art, but it is great exposure for me in getting my pictures seen by a wider audience and perhaps the odd visitor or tourist may like what they see and decide to take one home as a souvenir!! Whatever happens, it is a buzz to see my art on the walls and to see it appreciated by more than me and my family.
(Prices available on request!!)

Birthday Boys

Nov 21 is a double celebration in the Holt Press family, being a birthday shared by Sport Boy and (Poor) Walter. He and Mum came over from Bridgetown for the special occasion, and to deliver SB's main present, a bike they've been storing at their place since I bought it in March. We had fish and chips for tea, a birthday request, followed by delicious chocolate cake.
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It was Mad Maths Day at Sport Boy's school today and family were invited to come and join in the maths games and activities. I was in Dunsborough on a family visit to prepare for the funeral on Friday but Mrs Holt Press, The Heir and Favourite Daughter all went, and appeared to enjoy themselves. The basketball was one of Sport Boy's birthday presents so naturally he wanted to take it to school, and spent a couple of hours after school shooting hoops!
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Delay Ahead

Not tonight (Josephine).

Sorry, the big exciting post will have to wait one more day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bed or Blog?

I was torn between bed and blogging tonight, and blogging won, but only for a minute. I'm catering for a breakfast for the school cleaners tomorrow morning so I need to be there early and considering I struggle to get there on time, early will be quite a challenge!

Just want to give a heads up about a very exciting post tomorrow, won't reveal details here but it's got something to do with a ship.

It is only two days until Sport Boy's 10th birthday!! Our last child is about to enter the age of double digits! Only 7-8 years until we're "Empty Nesters"!!

It was an unseasonally cold and windy day in Busso and that brought some greater than usual feral behaviour out of some of the kids. I've observed Windy Day Syndrome over many years. You can guarantee the kids will be rattier if the wind is up!

It is also just a few days before we vote in the federal election and tonight I explained to favourite Daughter, who will be voting for the first time, what's involved in the process of voting. I know there's a tendency toward cynicism about politics but I believe the democratic freedoms we enjoy in Australia are one of the things that makes our country so great.

I was contacted by the funeral company in town today with a request to conduct the funeral service for one of the kids killed in the car crash on the weekend. It will probably be held on Friday. That will add to an already busy week.

I don't normally blog about Mrs Holt Press but there was an amusing incident this afternoon worthy of sharing. We went into town so I could pick up a painting from the gallery and Mrs HP said she needed to go to the supermarket to buy a lasagne for dinner. I adjourned around to Jacksons to buy some rollers and a couple of tubes of paint, under instructions to return when it came time to pay the bill as she'd left her purse at home. (A little trick she learnt from her father-in-law!) Once I'd paid for the groceries, about $120 worth, and we headed out to put them in the car she turned to me and said, "Oh, I forgot to buy the lasagne"!!
Glad to say that it was very tasty and worth the effort of a return trip through the check-out!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Disturbing the Peace

Dragged myself out of bed and made it to church this morning and was glad I did. The preacher was 79 years old and full of the joy and love of God. BB and Aimee came too which was nice.

I had a frustrating afternoon. I'd loaded up the bike to begin the junk mail round then discovered I had a flat rear tyre. The rear wheel with it's deraullier gears and bike rack is considerably harder to remove. I found the puncture but without an adequate repair kit had to get a lift down to Bunnings to buy one. I repaired the puncture and refitted the wheel with Fashion Boy's assistance only to find we'd somehow managed to break the valve stem and the tube was rendered useless!
There ensued a fruitless search around the shops of Busselton, those that were open, looking for bike tubes. No go! None were to be found! Giving up I returned home and in desperation pulled an old tube out of a wreck of a bike behind the shed that hasn't been functional for years. To my utter surprise, it was intact and stayed inflated, passing the bucket test with flying colours.
With "new" tube fitted and the wheel back in place I set off to deliver the consumer's companions. I needed to get it done because Fashion Boy needed the bike after me to go and do his new round in Peppermint Park. The lack of money has prompted desperate measures in the Fashion Boy economy, thus he has re-embraced the joys of junk mail.

Tonight I went to a commissioning service for two new chaplains in the local primary schools. At one stage there was some lovely orchestral music playing, accompanied by pictures of sunsets and trees. The presentation was chosen by one of the new chaplains and entitled "Deep Peace". I had to laugh when half way though the reflection the sound of the churches answering machine could be distinctly heard throughout the auditorium. Not to be outdone, a banner in the foyer then blew over, the wooden pole crashing noisily onto the slate tiled floor! It seemed an apt metaphor, a school chaplain's peace being noisily interrupted by a telephone and a jarring unexpected crash!

After the service I got a lift home with an old couple, Len and Eunice who were our neighbours at Harvest Rd when we first moved to Busselton. They are a lovely old couple, full of stories and fun and the kids and Carolyn were all pleased to see them. Eunice stayed for a visit on the proviso that I recorded the final episode of Rain Shadow and gave it to them on a DVD!

I have a meeting at school in the morning to discuss the possible impact of the weekend's car crash and double fatality on the school. In light of the ages of those involved we don't expect a huge impact but no doubt there will be some.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Good and Bad of life in Busselton

Ah the joys of sleeping in on the weekend! I reckon more people would go to church if it started later and they didn't have to get up early on a Sunday morning. I've got no proof, it's just a theory, but I'm pretty confident about it.

After my leisurely rising I turned on the radio and heard some very sad news. Two young people from Busselton were killed in a car crash last night. They were standing up in the back of a ute which rolled over. Alcohol is suspected to have been an influence. No names had been released at that stage so I rode into town to see what I could find out, fearing the worst, that they were kids from school. Finally the grapevine started to work and one of the kids from school rang me to let me know who the victims were. I didn't know the kids but I do know the driver as he was at the high school when I started there. Favourite Daughter knows him as they were at school together.
It is a terrible tragedy and another reminder, as if we needed any, that young people cars and alcohol are a deadly cocktail and the Superman Syndrome, the mistaken belief kids have that they are invincible, is just as prevalent as ever.
There will be at least three devastated families in the town and the shock waves will reverberate for a long time. Another girl who was in the car has serious injuries and is in hospital in Perth.

The rest of the day was much brighter, with a number of interesting vignettes.

As I rode through the McDonalds carpark this morning, three young girls asked for my help. Their bikes were all locked together and the key wouldn't work. Closer inspection revealed that the lock had, to use the technical term, crapped itself, and was no longer serviceable. I borrowed a pair of what turned out to be well past their use by date bolt cutters from the tyre business across the road and after a good deal of effort was able to cut through the lock and release the kid's bikes. My good deed for the day done, I continued my mission for information about the crash.

I stopped a couple of girls I know from the school to ask if they'd heard anything and was then verbally accosted by a bloke sitting on a park bench who was intent on me asking him for whatever help I might need and when I declined his "offer" he continued a stream of low-level invective in my direction. When the girls walked away and I explained what I was doing he settled down and apologised.

Then I ran into Graeme, the principal at Fashion Boy's school and told him we weren't happy with their school policy and it's insistence that he have matching piercings in each ear which had resulted in him being excluded from a lesson yesterday. Consider the strange logic wherein a conservative Christian school insists that one of it's students gets their ear pierced, in order to match the other ear! He was both bemused and diplomatic. While I was talking to him Carolyn arrived, which got me into trouble because she had told me to stay out of it and she would talk to the school on Monday because she didn't want me to get mad at them! I was very measured and polite! Nothing for her to worry about at all!

At 1.00 o'clock I headed down to the gallery to do my rostered shift on the desk, only to find Sharon, the manager, there because she thought my name had been crossed off so she was going to cover the desk. I decided to stay, allowing her to paint in a back room while I painted at the front desk. It's a good way to pass a few hours while "on duty" and I was encouraged by the news that another one of my paintings had sold during the week, a large picture I called "Google Earth", for $350! It still amazes me when people like my paintings enough to want to buy them. I called Carolyn and asked her to bring down another one to hang in it's place. May as well strike while the palette is hot!!

I sometimes ask visitors as they leave if they'd seen anything they liked and was chuffed to get a response from one little girl today who was there with her parents when she said she had liked the one with the green squares. "I did that one" I said proudly but even when I offered her a discount she wouldn't part with her pocket money! It was a fun exchange and reminded me of how enjoyable repartee and customer service can be. I wouldn't like to be a salesman but I have thought at times a job in customer relations could be fun.

The Heir and Favourite Daughter surprised us all this afternoon by cleaning and tidying the patio! They were very industrious, sweeping and raking and cleaning and blowing and rearranging and by the time they were finished it looked so good we decided to get fish and chips for dinner and eat out there! The only sour note was when they lifted Sport Boy up so he could stomp down the sweepings in the bin and banged his head on one of the rafters! He was not happy and took a good bit of consoling and snuggling before he regained his normal good humour. He is nursing an egg on the top of his head.

This evening BB the Accountant and his daughter Aimee arrived to stay for the night. Aimee is clocking up hours on her log book for phase two of her driver's license so a 4 hour drive to Busselton and back tomorrow will give her a good chunk of what she needs, as well as valuable experience on the roads.
BB brought our tax returns down for signing so he can submit them next week, a service he provides for which I am deeply indebted and appreciative. There was a nice bit of serendipity with mine.
Prior to going away on my LSL trip I had worked hard to save as much money as I could to pay for all the airfares, hire cars, accommodation, theme parks, football tickets and associated costs incurred in 6 weeks away from home. By the time we got home the balance in the holiday savings account was down to $507.
While I usually get a tax refund, this year because of the taxi driving I knew I would get a tax bill, I just didn't know how much. I had put money away for it, in the holiday savings account!
When BB gave me my papers to sign they revealed that my expected tax bill is $505!

We finished the night with a game of cards. Our standard family card game is midnight and I managed something I don't ever remember doing before; going through all ten rounds without busting! A "perfect score" so to speak.

We played musical beds tonight. BB is on the fold-out sofa bed. Aimee is in Sport Boy's bed. Sport Boy is on the other couch. Favourite Daughter was not feeling well so she's asleep in my bed, next to Carolyn, who I'm glad to say has finally shaken the migraine which has severly afflicted her for the last three days. All of which which means I've been relegated to sleeping in Fashion Boy's room, with all the olfactory risks that entails! Somehow in all the rearranging and accommodating, the Heir managed to retain his own, double, bed.

Last word goes to the Australian Netball team who this afternoon defeated arch rivals the New Zealand Silver Ferns in the final of the World Netball Championships and managed to get me excited about watching women's sport. I don't mean to be sexist, but it is rare for any women's sporting event to get my pulse rate going. I'm glad to say this afternoon's netball game achieved it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Buster the Fun Bus

While I was in Perth last weekend doing preparation for the Cool School Race Camp I searched for more examples of Public Art which forms a key part of the camp, with the kids having to travel all over Perth searching for things and taking photos to score points.
I went looking for a sculpture I'd heard about of C Y O'Connor at South Beach.
O'Connor was the engineer responsible for building the water pipeline from Perth to the Kalgoorlie goldfields in the 19th century. It is a tragic story. On the day the water should have flowed into Kalgoorlie it didn't arrive on time and in a rash and heart rending decision, O'Connor, in despair, rode into the water at South Beach and committed suicide. The ironic part of this story is that just a couple of hours later the water started flowing into Kalgoorlie and has been flowing ever since, a testament to his vision and skill that sadly came just too late. This unusual sculpture pays tribute to a West Australian legend.

As I was looking for the sculpture I happened to find Buster the Fun Bus, a mobile play van that operates in the Fremantle region, providing resouces and play-leader for pre-school play groups in the morning and after school games and activities for primary schoolers.

The reason this is significant is that in a former life, I created the original Buster the Fun Bus!
When Fremantle hosted the America's Cup defence in 1987, money was given to the Fremantle Children's Service to establish a mobile play van to operate in the Fremantle region. Thanks to Dennis Conner, Australia lost the Cup at the first opportunity, but Buster is still going strong.

I was employed as the co-ordinator of the project and had the job of outfitting the van and supervising it's preparation, and painting which was done by the prisoners at the Fremantle Prison, which has since ceased operating as a prison and is now a popular tourist attraction. They based the images on various characters from children's books but a few of them looked suspiciously like they were the product of hallucinatory substances! I'll never forget the feeling of driving Buster for the first time, I had a grin from ear to ear! You couldn't help but feel happy driving such a cool looking vehicle. I got to spend lots of money buying games and toys and art equipment and all manner of fun things to do with kids.

I had two part-time staff working with me, one in the mornings with the little kids and another in the afternoon with the bigger kids. Buster the Fun Bus, a name I came up with, was an instant success and we attracted large crowds of kids wherever we went.
I was very pleased then to see that some 20 years down the track, Buster is still running and still attracting lots of kids.
The present Buster is the 5th incarnation and as you can see is not quite as colourful and psychadelic as the original.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Paintings done at the Men's Gathering

I took a few small canvasses with me on the weekend so that I'd have something to do in any spare time. It also gave me an option when I didn't want to go to any of the workshops on offer! The workshops tended more towards the bare-chested drum thumping end of the spectrum. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not for me.
So I painted. Gary, one of my room mates observed my progress and on the last day asked about buying one. He chose the blue one.
I gave the diagonal striped one to Andy, a farmer from north of Geraldton who has been doing it tough because of the drought. The other one I gave to another Gary, who I met on the first night and developed a bit of a bond with over the course of the weekend. He dropped me at the train station at dinner time on Sunday night so I could get to the Breakfast Club.

The Breakfast Club is so named because we started out meeting for breakfast once a month about 15 years ago. Everyone had to bring something to share, I was the bread and spreads man, Hugh provided cereal, Broadie brought juice and Phil was the something exotic (weird) man! I think he grabbed the first thing he found in the fridge or the pantry, regardless of it's suitability as a breakfast food.
There have been a couple of other members along the way but Hugh, Phil, Broadie and I are the long-standing members of this august institution.
When breakfast became too difficult because of family commitments we ventured into night time get-togeters but retained the name. Now, because I live three hours from Perth, we only get together 3 or 4 times a year. It's always good when we do. We have shared a lot of one another's lives and journies over the distance and I hope we keep meeting in some form, for the rest of our lives.
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Thursday, November 15, 2007

My New Shed (to be)

This is my new shed! Anyone who has visited the Holt Press Homestead knows that we are desperately in need of a bigger shed. Despite repeated attempts to de-clutter our lives, we are still surrounded by "stuff" and the tiny tin shed in our back yard is woefully inadequate for the purpose of storing this "stuff", thus it accumulates around our back door and throughout the carport and makes life messy. Of course the unexpected arrival of a boat early in the year didn't help, although it has made a suitable place to put "stuff" and considering it hasn't been in the water since we got it, that at least is useful.
This one as you can see is bigger and sturdier, and the truly observant amongst you will have noted that it currently contains a spa and a sauna.
That's the good news.

The bad news is we haven't got it yet, it's in a backyard in Quindalup and in order to make the transition from there to here, it has to be dismantled, and re-erected. (The spa and sauna do not come with it!)

This does present a bit of a challenge for the notoriously under-skilled proprietor of this blog. Under-skilled in things mechanical and manual I should add. There are many things I'm adequately skilled in; kicking a footy, running camps, riding a bike etc, but working with my hands is not one of them.

That's why I'm putting out a call for help in the blog-o-sphere! It's time for all those tool-guys out there to come and strutt their stuff! If you've got a drill and a rivet gun and can tell the difference you're just the sort of man (or woman) I'm looking for!

The dismantling is scheduled for Election Weekend.

The re-erection will hopefully happen in mid January.

The therapy will be on-going.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Kevin, Phil, Gary, Joel Peter, Andy, Andrew, Me and Bernard, with Derek at the front.

These are the blokes in my Affinity Group at the Men's Gathering on the weekend. We had a really good time in the group, with a range of personalities and backgrounds, and a significant level of personal sharing and connection.

It was my first day in the office for 5 days and I'm pleased to say I was quite productive today, getting a lot of work done on the photo book for the camp. With any luck I'll be able to take it to the printers tomorrow. Time is going to go very quickly over the next few weeks so I have to keep picking up the pace and then maintain it down the straight. I have a lot invested in the camp, it provides me with one of the most satisfying experiences of my calendar year and is just starting to look like it could be a profitable exercise along-side or post-chaplaincy. I need to do some serious developmental work on a business plan before that could happen but the first signs are encouraging.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Quick Report before I take the train

Thursday: Camp preparation- Went OK, found the CY O'Connor statue at Fremantle and set up a few checkpoints and detours for days 2 and 3. Favourite Daughter was my chauffeur and did not enjoy the Perth traffic. Spent some time with Josh at Carine preparing for their camp and settled the financial arrangements which I'm quite happy with.
Stayed at Alex's place for the night and had an in-your-face taste of Maddington at a mate of his place.

Friday: Professional Development, aptly on the topic of mental health.- Not a bad day of PD on a topic of some interest both professionally and personally.

Fri night to Sunday: The WA Men's Gathering at Araluen.This will be my first taste of a Men's Gathering event, not sure what to expect but am willing to check it out and see. - The weekend Men's Gathering was a predictable mix of weirdness and intimacy. About 100 blokes were there and football sex and beer were not the vernacular. Overall it was a serious event with men who are interested in changing their lives or improving the quality of same. There were drums and bare chests for those who were into it (not me) but also small groups that involved quite deep and personal sharing as we discussed various topics raised by the keynote speaker. I was impressed with the sincerity and resolve of many men and made some good contacts with blokes who've been through a range of experiences, many painful. I felt a bond with a couple of blokes in particular and hope to stay in touch with them, and found myself able to talk about how my life has been over the last year or so. I also found time to do a few paintings. One was bought my my room mate and I gave the other two to the blokes I just mentioned.

Sunday night: Possibly Breakfast Club.- We got together at the Mekong Vietnamese restaurant in Mt Lawley and had a really good night of stories and laughter. Phil is leaving for Afghanistan on Wed for 16 days work and felt a little nervous about returning there considering the levels of violence there. He and his family are going back there in April to work full time.
I stayed the night at Hugh's, in the sweltering Perth heat. The temp. was another reminder of why I don't want to ever live in Perth again! As if I needed any!

Better get going, got a train to catch.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


I'm on the roller coaster again and not enjoying the ride.
The ups are fun but the downs are unpleasant.

I'm leaving for Perth early in the morning for 4 days of work related activity.
Thursday: Camp preparation
Friday: Professional Development, aptly on the topic of mental health.
Fri night to Sunday: The WA Men's Gathering at Araluen.
This will be my first taste of a Men's Gathering event, not sure what to expect but am willing to check it out and see.
Sunday night: Possibly Breakfast Club.

Which means coming home Monday morning, possibly after some more camp preparation.
Blogging ? Dunno.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


While surfing the net the other day in preparation for the camp I found my way to the Coodabeen Champions website and what should I find?
Click on the link to see for yourself.


While continuing to work on it today I found another site of interest, Amusing Church Signs!
There's a couple of rippers.

Have a look: Church Humour (not an oxymoron!)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Getting "Stuff" Done on the Weekend

It's the weekend and we all know what that means. Lounging around dozing in front of the TV, at least one take-away meal, kids late to bed and a distinctly low-key feel to the days.

But, in an act of weekend defiance, I've broken out of that lazy ambience and DONE some stuff.
Suff I've been intending to do for a few weeks. Not BIG earth-shattering stuff I admit, but still stuff, and therefore worth passing acknowledgement here at Holt Press.

Firstly, I mowed the! It really is remarkable how much better weeds look when they've been freshly mowed! I admire nice gardens but as anyone familiar with the Holt Press abode knows, they are other people's gardens. As I've often admitted, I do all my gardening with the one tool, and this weekend, I rolled it out of the shed (thereby, coincidentally doubling the available storage space in the pathetic structure that pathetically masquerades as the Holt Press shed), poured in some unleaded petrol, and set to doing the gardening. Samll children and animals are well-advised to clear a path in front of me when this happens as I endeavour not to stop until the job is done. Why pull the rip cord twice if you can get away with only pulling it once?

A quick "garden based observation" before I move on. There was a clear demonstration of culture clash in our street as I rode home today, In one front yard a Mum and sons were tidying, digging, cutting, wheel-barrowing and SWEEPING the driveway. Next door at the same time, one man HOSED his driveway! Hello! We live in an age of drought and water restrictions. One of our most precious natural resources is under severe threat, and nincompoops still insist on pouring hundreds of litres of it down the drain to remove grass and garden litter that could be just as effectively removed with a BROOM, or if you insist, a BLOWER!
When are we gonna learn?!!! Here endeth the rant!

No. 1 item of "Stuff requiring doing" dealt with.

I folded all the junk mail, 11 items of useless literature advertising useless consumer products, although one particular pamphlet did catch my eye, the one advertising the World Wrestling Association Federation Champioship Extravaganza of fake blood and mayhem, scheduled to occur in that mecca of the wrestling world, Bunbury! How many of the elderly residents and young families who comprise the Cloisters demographic will be making the trek to Bunbury to witness first hand the madness of American wrestling right here in SW WA is anybody's guess, but mine is "not many". Now, if the flyers were being delivered to Padbury a certain mate of mine would probably be licking his lips, buying tickets along with his brothers and introducing his two boys to the dubious pleasures of this melodrama pretending to be sport.

I spent a few hours on roster at the gallery where my time painting was only interrupted by a dozen scattered visitors, none of whom troubled the cash register. I've finished a couple of paintings this weekend so am feeling satisfied with my creative output. I even "framed" a 4 piece miniature and packed it off to Bridgetown with Carolyn who volunteerd to go and spend the afternoon with Mum at a craft and garden fair. The Holt Press men all found better things to do and declined the opportunity to accompany her. I think we'll all go out paint-balling or jetty jumping and eat hot chips in defiant masculine celebration!

Next on the list of achievements, I sent a long email to my mate Skip in California. I haven't kept in very regular contact with him the last few years, especially since he and his family moved back to America but we've swapped a couple of emails lately and in response to my message last night he's already sent me a long reply updating me on all he's been up to the last couple of years. Two of my best friends in the world, Skip and Paul both live in California so I hope one day I'll get back over there for a visit.

Then, I bit the bullet and finally updated the Volleyball Association website, something I've been putting off for well over a week. It's strange how I can blog so habitually but struggle to feel motivated to wotk on the volleyball website, which I was instrumental in getting established. There's something far more satisfying about blogging. Anyway, procrastinating over, the latest info about volleyball goings-on in Busselton is out there in cyberspace and if you feel inclined you can check it out here:

I dragged my tired old body out of bed this morning and went to church and it was good. Sport Boy protested on account of tiredness but was made to come anyway, the same tactic could not be successfully applied to Fashion Boy or The Heir! (I'm sure The Heir will claim in his defence that he worked late last night the poor boy! He did a night behind the bar at a function at one of the Resorts with Favourite Daughter and reports that they have offered him a job! Good news, I think!) (Getting work definitely is, serving beer? Maybe.)

I then finished off the last section of the junk mail round on my bike so Carolyn could get away to Mother-in-Law-ville. Seeing as I was on the bike, and it is a BEAUTIFUL day I continued riding round to have a squiz at a garage sale. Ha! Should have known that even though all the signs were still out, it was after 12 and therefore the sale was closed! Not even a late-trading concession for daylight saving!!! Busselton Garage Sale proprietors have a religious zeal about closing down on the dot of noon, if not earlier! I rode home the long way, through the bush that runs along "the drain", one of several canals that cut through Busselton to the beach, keeping a close eye out for reptiles! I found one dead sleepy lizard.

My list of stuff is almost exhausted, just the hanging of a couple of paintings and a few games of Scrabble on the computer while monitoring Tottenham's latest disappointment, a 1-1 draw at Middlesborough last night.

Finally, something cute sent on an email chain this week. I don't normally etc etc.... but this one is fun and the human prayer bears more than a passing resembalnce to Gary's son Nathan with whom Sport Boy had so much fun while we were in Melbourne.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Excitement at the Busso Show Art Competition

Imagine my surprise and delight to find my name on the certificate for 1st prize in the Art competition, (Acrylic or Oil, Any Subject Category) at the Busso show this evening.

Then imagine my confusion at finding the certificate attached to someone else's painting!

What had happened we all wondered?

Did I win and they put the award on the wrong picture?

Or did someone else win and they put the wrong name on the award?

We found a steward and asked her to clarify what had happened.

Imagine my disappointment to be told they'd made the mistake at my expense and inadvertently put my name instead of the actual winner's name, Esther, on the winning picture!


My first big break into the art world dashed by administrative incompetence!
Oh well! For a couple of minutes there I thought I'd been discovered!
Turns out I was discarded!

I asked them if I could keep the certificate anyway!
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The Busselton Show

The Heir and Sport Boy came with us to the Busso show tonight. As you can see, they flirted with danger on the dodgem cars then SB flew solo on the Super Trooper. Throw in some show bags and Sport Boy was happy although we were all disappointed that our friends of the last couple of years, Jack and Harry, were not there. We bought their book, "Jack & Harry" the first year and SB listened enthralled as I read it to him each night for the next few weeks. Last year they gave him a hat and a T-shirt and said they were working on a sequel. Unfortunately, neither they nor the sequel were at the show this year.
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Friday, November 02, 2007

Scrabble Bonanza

Regular readers will know that I am a big Scrabble fan. As well as playing on the computer I also play in the flesh against a members of the Busselton Scrabble Club who meet once a month.
Allow me to blow my own trumpet for a moment!
Tonight I played Proffessor Maven, the resident computer player, at a rating of 1600, somewhere between expert and champion mode. I have built my rating up to 1630 and have a win percentage of 63 at this level.
But tonight was one out of the box!

I started with a 7 letter word, TOILING, and the 50 point bonus that goes with it to score 70pts
On my 3rd turn I made SPITTLES for 68.
With my 5th turn I made SEEDLING for 72 points and a progress score of 259.
My good run continued with my next turn, making COURTIER for 61, my 4th 50 point bonus of the game!! I was on a roll!

Later turns produced SOFTIE for 45 and HAZY for 62 before going out with YAP and a final total of 549 points, smashing my previous best by 83 points, and thrashing the professor by over 300 points in the process!!
Needless to say I was very pleased with myself and announced to the family they were looking at Scrabble Royalty! Surprisingly, they seemed unimpressed with my magnificent achievement and carried on with what they were doing!
A prophet is not without honour except in his home town!!

I know my readers will appreciate seeing the pictorial evidence of my triumph blow by blow.
And, if you want to come round for a visit, I've saved the game in the computer's memory so that you can relive it with me any time!!

NB. I obviously bruised the proffessor's pride because he proceeded to beat me the next couple of games before I regained the ascendancy!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

At the Movies

Carolyn and I went to the movies tonight. We started out watching The Brave One with Jodie Foster but the violence and predictable story-line prompted us to switch and go and see Fracture instead. It was a good move as we both enjoyed it. I always enjoy a good court room drama and this one had a couple of interesting twists, with Anthony Hopkins trying to get away with murder.
It's not brilliant but it was entertaining and had me thinking a bit. The thing that intrigues me is how movie makers are able to manipulate their audience into barracking for the bad guy. In this film, the good guy becomes the bad guy and vice versa.

I spent the rest of the evening working on a painting. In fact I entered 4 paintings in the Busselton Show this morning. The show is on this weekend so perhaps I'll get a ribbon or a commendation, or maybe I'll get passed over for yet another landscape of the jetty!