Thursday, January 31, 2008

Art for Sale

A small section of the art sale we went to at the Convention Centre. Every painting was $100 and there was a very long queue of people waiting to make a purchase.
I thought about buying this picture of Marilyn for Pop but unfortunately it was already sold.
This sign, stuck on a wall in the Hay St Mall amused me.
This is a recent painting of mine, done to replace the one at The Ship which a friend is buying.
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A Beautiful Sunday

Couldn't resist posting a few more pictures from our lovely day in Perth on Sunday for Phil and Julie's recommittal. The dolphin came right into the shore chasing fish and hung around for several minutes. A bit later Phil Dave Julie and Mrs HP went in for a swim. The setting on the Swan River was truly idyllic.
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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Black Jeep

I spotted this on the back of a Jeep the day we were leaving Augusta, so naturally I took a photo.
The Heir and Fashion Boy went to Perth today for a couple of days hanging out with friends.
I had lunch with the SW chaplains, at the Ship, surrounded by my paintings which the group seemed to like.
Once it cooled down a little Sport Boy and I went for a ride on our bikes into town. We went exploring and tried some tricks before I set out a course for him to race against the clock in the park in the middle of town.
Tonight I went to see Charlie Wilson's War, about the US response to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the 80's. It claims to be based on a true story but it painted a a pretty rosy picture of the USA and I'm not sure that reflects the real truth. I'll be interested to hear what Phil thinks of it seeing he has far greater knowledge and experience of Afghanistan and its history than me.
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Art for Art's Sake

After the exertions of the last couple of days I was glad to be able to sleep in till lunchtime today. The hot weather in Perth made life a little uncomfortable, it's amazing the difference between there and Busso, just another reason why I won't move back there.
We went into the city to check out an art sale at the convention centre, a veritable supermarket of large production line original paintings, all for the one low price of a hundred dollars. Most were abstracts, few of which appealed to us. There were a couple of impressionist pieces that I really liked but Mrs Holt Press wasn't keen, nor able to be convinced, so we left empty-handed. Mind you, the paintings were so large that getting one home would have been a significant challenge.

After a coffee in the mall we headed for home and were glad to be going in the opposite direction to the majority, the north-bound traffic heading home to Perth after the Australia Day long weekend was bumper to bumper for several kilometres, especially around Mandurah.

We took the kids down to the beach and had pizza for tea before I hit some catches for Sport Boy. It was windy and cool so the older two retreated to the car and we weren't too far behind them.

School starts again in a week so only a few more days of freedom to enjoy.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Wedding Vows

We've had a lovely day in Perth. After a 5.15am finish in the taxi I came home and slept for an hour and a half before having to get up and leave for Perth. Mrs Holt Press drove and I semi-slept in the car. We needed to be in Crawley by 11 for a special event. Our friends Phil and Julie were renewing their marriage vows and had invited a small group of frieds to come an witness the occasion. I had the honour of leading the "service" which was a very casual and friendly affair, although the recommittal of their vows was sincere and meaningful. Despite my sleep deprivation I managed not to fall asleep at any critical moments. Afterwards we had a picnic lunch on the banks of the Swan River and as an added bonus to waht was already a delightfully picturesque setting, a couple of dolphins came swimming right up close to the shore and we all enjoyed watching them glide gracefully in and out of the water.

When lunch was finished and after a few people had a swim Mrs HP and I went to a movie and then onto Northbridge for dinner, a beautiful seafood platter at The Fishy Affair, before coming back to P & J's place to watch the end of the Australian Open tennis.

A great day, in the company of good friends, lovely food, perfect weather, special events and a very relaxed feel. It doesn't get much better than this.

The pace will change tomorrow, by the time we get home, P & J and kids will be well on their way to Cambodia for a week of training in preparation for a new job they hope to take up in Afghanistan!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Agnostic to the Rescue

Maven 1900 thought he had me tonight, but you’ll be pleased to hear that I outsmarted him.
It was very near the end of the game and I was about 40 points behind but I knew I had letters I could make a 7 letter word with if I could only find a spot to put them. I had SACNIO and a blank. ACTIONS was possible, SANCTION was a chance, CAUTIONS could have worked, but nothing fitted. I was trying to use all my letters for the 50 point bonus, or at the very least get on a triple word score. I sat at the computer for over half an hour playing with possibilities and then I saw it, the opening I needed. AGNOSTIC was the word!! At first I thought it could go across the bottom but it ran into SPATE. Then, another possibility presented, there was an open G but the S would have to go on the end of BIALY which of course is an onion roll! A word ending in Y usually converts to IE for an S, but, to my delight, the game dictionary informed me that the plural form is in fact BIALYS. Yeehaa! AGNOSTIC fitted and was worth 75 points, surely that would be enough to gain victory. I then had a look at the hints the computer suggests if you’re stuck. I never use the hints but occasionally have a look to see if the word I’ve come up with is the same one Maven suggests. But, the best Maven could come up with was the word ANTIC in the bottom right corner. Sure it played on a triple word score, but, it was worth a measly 24 points!!!! Maven was trying to cheat! The dirty rat!
I played AGNOSTIC to take the lead only for him to immediately respond with FOCAL on the triple word for 42 points and put him back in front by 5!Justice was done however because with my remaining two letter, O & R I made TOR on the triple word he’d tried to con me into using the turn before! The 9 points, plus 3 for his remaining letters gave me a very satisfying 10 point victory!
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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nathan's Bench Press

I had lunch with Nathan at the PD day today. Not only is he a chaplain, he's also the Asian Bench Press Record Holder. I don't know exactly what that means but I think it has something to do with being able to lift heavy stuff.
Rising to a silly challenge like, "Could you bench press me?" Nathan said "No worries" and proceeded to lay down on the floor, as a couple of hundred people had lunch and looked on in bemusement.
The trickiest part was getting hold of me with a decent grip, and getting me to lie stiff and not bend in the middle.
That accomplished he easily lifted and lowered me a couple of times. It was pretty cool, and pretty funny, and Dave managed to get a picture of most of the action.

I left a little early to get back home for beach volleyball then we wandered around the Petticoat Lane street markets for a while.
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Red Rocket Racer?

When I got up this morning, Afghan Man and Elijah were spray painting a bike which had been pink. Red with flashes of silver and gold was much better.
AM asked Elijah "What are you going to call it? Red Rocket Racer?"
Elijah: "No Dad" eyes rolling with disdain.
AM: "What will you call it then?"
Elijah: "Bike."
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I dropped in to see the Scientist and the Electrician yesterday because I needed to pick up the boxes of puzzles we'd used on the camp in December and got to have a lovely cuddle with Meg who was not at all bashful and gave me a few slobbery kisses.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

50% Breakfast Club

Blogging from Westminster St where I'm staying the night with Phil and Julie and their two gorgeous kids, Pieta and Elijah. The other two members of the Breakfst Club were not available, ironically Broadie and family are away, in Busselton! and Hugh had 16 beeps on his answering machine so I suspect he may have gone overseas for the holidays. Phil and I decided to revisit an activity from our past: go karting! We used to go quite often some 15 years ago when we worked together at Chip Inn. We went to the track in Belmont and had a great time, both qualifying for the advanced karts after impressing in our first turn on the standard karts. Hurtling around a twisting track in a fuel burning rocket 2 inches abovethe ground is an adrenaline pumping experience.
After that we changed the pace and went to the movies. We were almost forced to choose between a chick flick and Alien v Predator until we discovered that Atonement had only been going for 10 minutes so we went to see it. I'd read the book a couple of years ago so was able to fill in the blanks for Phil from the bits we missed. It is a very sad story so it was one of those movies you don't really enjoybut are glad you saw.
We came home, had icecream and talked for the next 2 1/2 hours, about life love and Afghanistan. Phil and Julie are returning to work there later this year. Phil has a blog called Itinerant and Indigent, I thinkthere's a link to it on my sidebar but I can't tell from here. If there's not I'll sort one out soon. He doesn't post often but is always well worth a read.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Moving the Shed

Yesterday we moved the small shed to the other corner of the yard, in preparation for the erection of the new shed. I wrote a witty and entertaining post about this process to accompany the pictures but Blogger in a fit of pique managed to wipe it out! I don't have the energy to rewrite it now but I can tell you it was good, very good.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

You Want to Go Where?

It's very late, or very early depending on your point of view and I'm about to go to bed after two marathon taxi shifts. Tonight's wasn't too bad but following on from last night's, when at 2.00am I got a customer who wanted to go to Perth, it made for a looonnnggg night/day/night!
In case you're wondering, the fare from Busselton to Perth was $332.
Sadly the customer was having some mental health problems and I had to take him to Graylands Psychiatric hospital (at his request) enroute he told me he was the Lord God. He was a nice enough guy but a little under-whelming for the omnipotent creator of the Universe!

It was too late (I was too tired) to drive back last night so I slept in the car for a couple of hours, then at the Robinson's for a couple more before picking up Fashion Boy and heading for home.

With only an hour's gap between getting home and starting tonight's shift there wasn't much time for anything other than watching Australia's brave but futile attempts to win the 3rd test against India.

Listening to the tennis on the radio kept me entertained, and awake, for several hours tonight as Lleyton Hewitt beat Marcos Bagdhatis in a 5 set marathon that started just before midnight and didn't end until 4.30am!!!!

Mrs Holt Press is working tonight at the Wyndham so we'll bnoth be sleeping in tomorrow and surfacing ome time in the afternoon.

Good night.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hot Hot Hot

It's been a stinker in WA today although mercifully Busso is not as hot as Perth, which is where 3 of the 4 Holt Press children are at present; well two of them are at least to our knowledge, Favourite Daughter and Fashion Boy having gone to Planet Shakers. The Heir is missing in action. He went to Perth yesterday with a friend from work with the purpose of picking up a car he's buying from a girl on the beach mission team. I thought he was coming back last night but assumed he'd decided to stay up there for the night and come back today, but so far he has not reappeared. It's not a problem just a little mysterious. He's 20 and certainly big and ugly enough to look after himself. No doubt he'll turn up tomorrow. He'd better, he has to work tomorrow night!

Sport Boy has his friend Jed staying the night. We went jetty jumping this evening, once the worst of the heat had passed, then they had a go on a bungee trampoline at the travelling fair which has set up at the beach front in preparation for the Busselton Beach Festival which starts this weekend.

Now, to the question I posed in my last post: What does OUABAIN mean?

If you check the comments you'll see that both my parents submitted answers but one out-shone the other. Sure Pop's was inventive, even mildly amusing, and not without a grain of truth, but my mother not only got the right answer, but also provided definitions for the entire list of Maven's words! Very impressive Mum! Either you have been nursing a secret vocabulary you don't use when the family is around, or you've discovered the joys of on-line dictionaries. Either way, you win the prize. Your free year's subscription to Holt Press is in the mail.

Oh, yeah, OUABAIN is a cardiac stimulant! It sounds like a drug but brand names aren't allowed in Scrabble so I presume it's some sort of naturally occurring substance.

I checked the word HAHA tonight, and to my delight found it was permissable, BUT, the definition surprised me, it does not mean laughter.

See if you can find out what it means.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sport Boy Takes the Plunge

I took the two youngest boys jetty jumping a couple of weeks ago and took a couple of action shots with my new phone's camera. Tonight I've worked out how to upload them to the computer. The main thing I've been using the camera for is to take pictures of personalised number plates when I haven't got my proper camera with me. It's very handy but nowhere near as good quality so I have to get close-ups to be able to read the plates. One day I will get around to updating my Personalised Plates blog! In the meantime there's a link to a slideshow of a few hundred on the sidebar.

I drove the taxi today which meant an early start, and a different clientele, less of the drunken yobbo brigade and more of the shopping granny crew. I actually picked up Stu the Gardener's Great Grandma!

In my spare time I've been playing a lot of Scrabble on the computer, pitting myself against it at ever higher levels. My rating is about 1750, my opponent, the annoying Professor Maven, currently operates at 1900, his maximum setting is 2100. Just so you don't think I'm wimping out playing him below his best, let me give you a selection of the latest words he's thrown at me. I defy any of my readers to give a definition to any of them without the help of the best dictionary you can find!

Maven's Scrabble Words

How are you going? Know any of them yet?
Note how many of them are 7 or 8 letter words meaning that not only has Maven played yet another word I've never heard of but he's racked up a 50 point bonus in the process!
I get about a 1 second glimpse of Maven's tiles before he plays his lightning fast mega moves.
Today I saw he had the letters AAIOUBN and thought to myself, "He won't be able to do much with them!!"

How wrong can you be?

Can you do anything with them? With some effort I could construct a 4 letter word for maybe 8 points.

Not Maven though!

Maven just casually laid out all 7 letters to form the word OUABAIN!!!!!!!



I will send a prize of a year's free subscription to Holt Press to anyone who knows what OUABAIN means!!

I'll be impressed if you can even find it in your dictionary! It's not in mine.

That didn't stop Maven racking up 60+ points with it on his way to another belting for yours truly!

I have managed to beat him at 1900, 14 times in fact, each one of them hard fought and highly prized, giving me a win ratio of about 30%.

While I was away I foolishly flirted with him at a setting of 2000 and lost 5 straight games!

Leave your definitions, real or made up (Pop, the Heir) in comments!

I'll give you Maven's definition tomorrow!
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Giants Roll the Cowboys

I've just gotten home from Dave's where I had the pleasure of watching the replay of this morning's NFL play-off game between my team, the New York Giants, and the Dallas Cowboys. Dave resisted the temptation to tell me the result, thus preventing me from inflicting bodily harm on him with a cushion. Dallas were favourites and were playing at home but the Giants triumphed 21-17 to progress to the MFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers next weekend.
It was a great win but the reality is everyone is playing for second place this season, the New England Patriots having won 17 games straight in an undefeated season so far! But it's always good to dream. Go the Giants.

Mrs Holt Press started a new job a couple of days ago, or nights I should say! She is doing night audit reception work at the Wyndham Resort at Broadwater. Working at night is a bit of a shock to her system, along with trying to learn everything she has to do which includes getting friendly with a computer. Thankfully she's been able to sleep once she gets home in the morning with the aid of a black mask and a quiet house. The rest of the family are sharing domestic tasks and looking after Sport Boy.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Gary, along with his wife Hettie, are the caravn park managers at Augusta and they do a brilliant job. They've transformed the park in the 4 years they've been there and Gary works tirelessly to maintain the grounds, gardens and facilities. Our final program event each year is a family concert and for the last few years Gary has provided the finale, playing Amazing Grace on the bag pipes. It is a stirring and beautiful way to bring both the concert and the mission to a close.
This year Mum made a calendar for them, featuring scenes and faces from the team so they have a year round reminder of us.
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While we were at Augusta we had a visit from Peter and Jean McSkimming who were the original Directors of the very first beach mission held at Augusta in 1962-63, 45 years ago! It was fantastic to meet them and hear some of their stories, and to see them syill going strong.
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Festival Faces

Some of the team from Beach Mission at Augusta.
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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Home Again

We're home again after our annual pilgrimage to Augusta. It was a good 10 days, notwithstanding a couple of difficult days for me emotionally in the middle. The weather was good, the people were great and the program went very well.
The pack-up went smoothly this morning and we got home in good time.
Sport Boy has remained at Augusta, staying on for a few more days with one of the families on the team. They have 4 kids so he'll have plenty of company. I'll go down in a few days and may stay a couple of nights with him before we come home. I'm driving the taxi Fri and Sat nights and Mon and Tue during the day.
It felt good to have a shave and shower and be back in our own home. We've got a great tent and the food is all provided while we're away so we don't exactly rough it but as everybody knows, there's no place like home.
There is something a little disconcerting brewing though; The Heir has offered to do the cooking for the next few days, not in itself a bad thing, but his first question to his mother was, "Do you have to soak lentils?"
That's not cooking!!
My protests appear to have fallen on deaf ears, and to make matters worse, with no defrosted meat in the fridge, there is a distinct possibility I'm going to be eating some sort of weird vegetarian concoction for dinner tonight!
Just as well I had a satay chicken panini at the bakery before we left!!


Tuesday, January 08, 2008


It's Monday night in Augusta and I've just printed my final newspaper for the Festival. Tomorrow is our last day of program. Wednesday we debrief and pack up, Thursday we go home.
It's been good although I've hit a bit of a low the last couple of days.
We had a very special treat at lunchtime when we were introduced to Peter and Jean McSkimming who directed the very first Beach Mission at Augusta in 1962, 45 years ago. It was wonderful to meet them and hear some of their stories. There is a strong tradition at Augusta, WA's oldest and longest running Mission/Festival. My family have been coming for 13 years; Sport Boy has been every year of his life, and loves it. Many campers return to the caravan park year after year too, one family are celebrating their 50th consecutive Summer at Augusta this year.

I pulled out the paints for the first time this afternoon and worked on a small canvas. Hopefully I'll get more time to paint over the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sand Catsle

My contribution to the Annual Augusta Sand Castle competition. Sadly I didn't win, due to the personal prejudices of the judges, but I was very happy with it and so was Sport Boy.
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Things are going really well at Augusta, the slower pace and sparser program is suiting everyone.
I'm putting in a late one tonight producing an extra newsletter for tomorrow.
I would have been finished by now if I hadn't been waylayed by a ripping game of Balderdash just as I was about to head off! Fashion Boy has arrived after finishing his job on the wheat bin and has quickly settled in to camp life. Sport Boy is having heaps of fun but tonight had a sore throat and an earache which made him pretty miserable.
The Heir and Favourite Daughter should be back tomorrow.

Friday, January 04, 2008


I finally made it down to Augusta after several jobs and delays, replacing a fuse for the indicators and globe for the headlight in my car, looking for the missing wall panels for the marquee, returning a trailer to Vasse, picking up a fresh prescription of my tablets, photo copying the newsletters, paying bills and packing all my gear took me until about 3 in the afternoon. Thankfully my late arrival wasn't a problem, I have a greatly reduced role this year and therefore am not as involved in the set-up or leading of the festival.

While Perth swelters and bush fires threaten homes in the hills, Augusta is typically cold and damp. The tents provide good protection from the weather though and I've got a few warm clothes so that's not a problem either.

The printer was a problem! Bruce R. brought the wrong one down and it wasn't compatible with any of the laptops at camp so we've had top request help from the locals. I'm at Michael's place now, about to print 200 copies of the Augusta News, and am just grabbing the chance to blog while the printer gets set up.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Happy New Year

I saw the new year in in the taxi in an 11 1/2 hour shift. It was long but it was profitable, which is just as well cause I've just paid about $1000 worth of bills over the net in an attempt to get my financial affairs up to date before we go away.
We were in fact supposed to be in Augusta as I blog but a couple of things got in the way. Some domestic turbulence and the fact that I couldn't find the marquee when I went to pick it up from Cowaramup this afternoon! I found part of it but the bulk of it was not there which creates a very awkward problem for the rest of the team who have already arrived at Augusta and are awaiting the marquee so that they can set up the kitchen and meeting area/dining hall! It will be open air dining tonight and fingers crossed it doesn't rain! (It poured for the first three days last year!)

Meanwhile I need to track down either the missing marquee or a suitable replacement first thing tomorrow morning and get it down to Augusta post haste!
Mrs Holt Press has left for camp now but I won't get there until tomorrow. There is a silver lining to this particular cloud, the extra waiting allows me time to finish working on the newsletters in the comfort of my own computer rather than at the camp site with it's many jobs and distractions! Hopefully a couple of solid hours this evening will see the job completed.

I've had a couple of pleasant surprise phone calls in the last two days, firstly from Paul in San Diego to catch up and exchange news. He is the most positive and encouraging person I know and talking to him is always good tonic.
And this afternoon I've just had a call from 2Peter, one of my faithful readers who is visiting his mum and dad who still live in Busselton. (Peter's mum Aileen is a regular reader as well, Hi Aileen). We chatted for a while and I filled in some of the missing details from the Grand Final ticket story. We'd both like to catch up in person but with me under pressure in the morning to get to Augusta and him leaving for home in Tassie on Saturday it's highly unlikely to happen.
Take care and travel safely 2Peter.
While on the topic of Peter's, I rang 1Peter aka my Dad aka Pop last night because I heard them say on the cab radio that it had turned 2008 in the eastern states (a couple of hours ahead of WA because of the time difference.) I quicly rang Pop to say Happy New Year, only to discover that I'd forgotten Queensland is the odd man out on the eastern seabnoard and does not have daylight saving, thus it was only 11.00 o'clock there and the new year was still an hour away! Whoops! Sorry Pop! Happy New Year anyway, and legitimately now!

We'll be in Augusta for 10 days so I'm not sure how much blogging I'll get to do during that time, but I'll be trying to keep my readers happy. (Some of them will be happy to hear there'll be less blogging!!)

Happy New Year!