Monday, September 29, 2008

One Small Consolation

Despite the disappointment in the footy yesterday, we were able to celebrate one victory. Sport Boy took out the handball competition held at half time in the front court of The Esplanade Hotel, where we watched the game. He score 44 points which not only won him the kids section but the adults as well!! The prize for the adults was a carton of beer so they gave that to the runner up. Sport Boy won a medal, gets his name on the perpetual trophy on display at the pub, and best of all, $50!!
He was pretty stoked about the prize!
"That's an answer to prayer Dad, that's how much spending money we're allowed to take to Country Week!"

Personally I'd have traded it for a Cats premiership!

It's Sunday night and he's sound asleep which is just as well because in 5 hours time we have to be up in order to catch the bus to Perth at 5.30am!!
Country Week starts tomorrow, at Beale Park in Spearwood. His team's first game is at 10.30 so they'll be getting straight off the bus and running out to play!!

I asked him how he was feeling about it when I put him to bed.
"I'm pumped Dad!"
What more could a little boy who loves sport want than a week of soccer games in Perth?
Mrs Holt Press and I are both going up to watch him play and I'll be staying at the campsite with the teams, helping supervise. There are 5 teams going from here, from U12's to U16's, all staying at Woodman Point, a campsite I am very familiar with, having run numerous leadership camps and footy camps there.

I'm not sure what the computer access will be like and therefore with what regularity I'll be able to update the blog. I'll be trying hard.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Not the Result I was Looking For!!!!

Rats Rats Rats!

The Hawks beat the Cats!

You can't kick 23 behinds and expect to win a Grand Final.

Hawthorn were good but Geelong let themselves down badly in front of goal.

Pity The Heir who was at the MCG, his first Grand Final and his team loses.

I'm disappointed but not devastated, perhaps because we won it last year.

I've never liked Hawthorn and I like them even less now!!

Hopefully this loss will burn deeply inside the Cats and drive them on to victory next year.

To go through an entire season with just one loss and not win the premiership is a very disappointing result. Gerard Whately was unequivocal on the ABC, the Cats choked when it mattered most! I tend to agree. They had some very good players but it's about the whole team getting the job done and they failed.

It will be a long wait for a shot at redemption but bring on 2009!

D Day

My 12 hour shift has just finished.

Dawn has broken outside.

The Grand Final Breakfast has started on TV.

In 6 1/2 hours time my beloved Cats will take on the Hawks in the 2008 AFL Grand Final.

Before that I need to get some sleep!

GO CATS!!!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Six Pack are Premiers

We won the volleyball grand final tonight but little thanks to me, I did not have a great game. It didn't help that I was subbed off and on throughout to play only in the back court and struggled to find my touch or get into the game when I came on. It got a little better as the game progressed but it was not a very enjoyable game personally. But, we won and I played my role so I'm pleased with that.
No more volleyball for 6 months though. It's disappointing when the season finishes.
There'll be beach volleyball over summer, if the shire manage to fix the beach!

Tomorrow is the last day of term and I'm going on a year 8 excursion, mountain biking through the Boranup Forest near Margaret River.
I've got the all night shift in the cab on Friday night so I'll only have a few hours sleep before the Grand Final.

Go Cats!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Film Director catches cab in Busselton

I had a brush with fame recently when I picked up Peter Carstairs in the taxi from the finale of Cinefest Oz, a French-Australian Film Festival held in Busselton a couple of weeks ago.

The finale party was at The Goose and I took him to Dallyellup, near Bunbury which gave us plenty of time to chat about making movies and the Australian film industry. Peter directed the film "September", a coming of age story centred around the relationship between two friends, one black, the other white.

I haven't seen the film so I can't comment on it, but I did like the director!
He lamented the fact that the movie lost money despite being well received critically, but confided that almost all Australian films lose money.
He was staying at his parent's place in Dallyellup which backs up this fact.

There's just two days to go until the end of the school term, and three days until The BIG GAME. Lots of people seem to be tipping Hawthorn to win. They're in with a chance for sure but people should not quickly forget how dominant Geelong have been this season, having lost only one game. Carlton in 1995 and Essendon in 2000 had similarly dominant seasons and both went on to win the flag. It's no guarantee but it should provide the best guide as to the likely result on Saturday. Two teachers at school, Chris and Cam are both Hawthorn fans so there's a fair bit of ribbing and repartee happening at the moment.

The second biggest sporting event of the week occurs in Busso tomorrow night, the A Grade Volleyball Grand Final between my team, Six Pack, and traditional rivals Breakaways.
This will be my first A Grade GF. Two seasons ago I fell and broke my ankle when my team were two sets to nil ahead in the preliminary final and went on to lose 3-2. Hopefully this time I can make amends.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's on its way

After a few dramas with Ticketmaster and a few phone calls to sort it out, Mrs HP picked up the sacred object (Grand Final ticket) in Bunbury and later this afternoon delivered it into my hands.
It was not easy to part with!
But, I steeled myself and put it an an Express Post envelope and mailed it off to The Heir.
It could arrive (in Geelong) tomorrow.
It should arrive by Thursday.
It better arrive by Friday!!

QOTD: "Sorry, we didn't know it was invisible" - Placards held by Belgraders celebrating the downing of a NATO stealth bomber.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Close But No Cigar

I feel very disappointed for Gary Ablett who for the second year in a row was favourite for the Brownlow medal and didn't win. Adam Cooney from the Bulldogs beat him by 2 votes.

Considering Ablett effectively missed 5 games with injury it was a great effort to get so close but the look of disappointment on his face as the final votes were read spoke volumes. In the end, too many other Cats players scored highly and took votes off him. Jimmy Bartel did worse than everyone expected but Joel Selwood, Joel Corey, Cameron Ling and Steve Johnson all got lots of votes. Just one more game would probably have been enough for Ablett to at least share the medal.

On the plus side, it may well spur him on to even greater heights in the Grand Final on Saturday and make him and the team more determined (if that were possible) to win the premiership.

At this time of year football becomes very personal!

Mrs Holt Press arrived home safely at 4.00 this morning after a very cold and uncomfortable journey in the Big Blue Beast. Consequently she slept for most of the day.

I had a psych appointment this afternoon then refereed a volleyball preliminary final before coming home to watch the Brownlow.

The other big news is that I got a ticket to the Grand Final in the Geelong member's ballot, that's what the previous post depicts, my successful number, 14615839.

However, in a twist of irony, I'm not going to Melbourne for the game! I can't afford it.

So, in possibly the single most sacrificial act and magnanimous gesture of my entire life, I am giving my ticket to The Heir! He is already in the eastern states, currently visiting Pop at Gympie, and flies to Melbourne on Wednesday. Half his luck!!

Go Cats!

Monday, September 22, 2008


Not Long Now

Mrs Holt Press will be home in a couple of hours and I think we'll all be glad about that. I looked around at the things that hadn't changed since she left a week ago, like the dishes in the sink, the clothes on the line, the gas bottle unordered... I'm going to plead my case on the basis that I was sick! Wish me luck!

Favourite Daughter is also coming home for a visit, she has a break from her course at the end of her first term. Sport Boy had to move back into his own bed, which meant having to relocate the pile of clothes, shoes and recipe books that had accumulated on it over the last month.

He woke me early this morning in order to take him to Bunbury for a country week round robin, the team's last major practice run before the big event in a week and a bit's time. It was COLD, WET, WILD and WINDY which didn't deter the kids but had the parents rugged up and huddled into whatever shelter we could find.
Being woken early was bitter-sweet. I'd only had 4 hours sleep after a very ordinary taxi shift on Saturday night, I started at 4.00 and by 10.00 had only had 7 customers!! Thankfully things picked up after that but the night ended on an unpleasant note, with the worst smelling customer I've ever had, man he stank!! I had to drive all the way to Dunsborough with my window fully down just so I could breathe and considering that the foul weather started last night that wasn't an attractive option, but, the stench was worse!!

The soccer went well even though the Leewin kids didn't win a game, the coaches were upbeat and positive and the kids enjoyed themselves, all looking resplendant in their new, personalised, over-sized tracksuits!!

At the end we headed back to Busso in time for the Cornerstone club presentation awards. Sport Boy missed out on a trophy this season, partly perhaps because he missed a number of games through illness, but in a very pleasant surprise result, The Hair won the trophy in the 16's team for best team player of the season. All the trophies were awarded on the basis of parent's votes throughout the season so it was a most impressive achievement.
My focus on the presentations was seriously disrupted by a succession of phone calls to and from Mrs Holt Press and others as a result of Favourite Daughter running out of (lpg)gas on the way to work this afternoon (in Perth). Thankfully Greg and Demelza live close by and were able to come to her rescue and get the car going again so she could get to work. It certainly pays to have friends all over the place!

All things being equal, the two boys will both go to school tomorrow and I will return to work.

And the countdown to the BIG GAME begins tomorrow night with the Brownlow Medal. I'd love to see Gary Ablett win it but I have a sneaking suspicion Jimmy Bartel may just get up again.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

And so it comes to this, the final two...

It's the Cats v the Hawks!

Geelong v Hawthorn in the biggest game of all, the 2008 AFL Grand Final.

Bring it on!

I find out on Monday whether I got a Grand Final ticket in the member's ballot. Fingers crossed!

Go Cats!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008


The Cats are in the Grand Final!

It was a close game, high intensity, low scoring, nerve wracking, but ultimately rewarding. All that mattered was winning and Geelong did that. Sport Boy was a fidgeting jumping bean, at certain stages of the last quarter he couldn't bear to look. I wasn't as worried as him but I still had moments of discomfort and if the Bulldogs had kicked straighter it could have been much closer, and more uncomfortable.

We can relax now, at least until Saturday! I expect we'll be facing Hawthorn who have been the next best team all season and with the mercurial Franklin pose a genuine threat. But, they've still got to beat St Kilda tomorrow. Hopefully they'll bash the daylights out of one another!

Friday, September 19, 2008


Both The Hair and I were feeling a bit better today although my tummy is a bit tender and unsettled. I went into work for a couple of hours and did a couple of tasks that needed doing.

After arguing with their website and their staff I finally managed to change Mrs Holt Presses flight home from Tassie, at a price of course!

Sport Boy wanted to go to soccer training at Margaret River this arvo but I had volleyball commitments at 6.30 and no other way of getting him there.

Tonight was the first night of finals at volleyball. I reffed the B Grade game then played in the A Grade semi. We started slowly and lost the first set but hit back strongly and won 3-1 to go straight through to the Grand Final. Apart from a couple of trips to the toilets in the breaks to cough up muck I got through the game ok.

I should make it to work for a few hours tomorrow. I'm doing a couple of interviews with some people for the White Crosses project.

Tomorrow night is a BIG night, it's the AFL preliminary Final between Geelong and the Western Bulldoigs. The Cats are hot favourites to win but I have strong memories of last year's prelim final when we nearly lost to Collingwood. Mrs HP, Sport Boy and I were at the game and it was incredibly nerve-wracking. I hope they are more convincing this time. Having only lost one game all season they deserve to be favourites and their form has been great so I'm pretty confident. I was at the game in Rd 16 at Kardinia Park when we kicked 10 goals in the last quarter to win comfortably. Finals are more intense, there's a lot more to lose, but it was a convincing victory, especially without Gary Ablett and Cameron Ling.
In the past I'd have been very worried before such a crucial game but nowadays Geelong are a different entity, which is not to say they can't lose, but I'll be very surprised if they do.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Holt Press Health Report

There's not a lot to say when you spend most of the day in bed! My sickness is lingering, not severe enough to really incapacitate me but just enough to make me dangerous (contagious).

Every now and then I have a coughing episode and up comes a nasty blob of yellow-green substance with an unpleasant taste and odour.

The rest of my symptoms have settled down, or perhaps migrated!

All the way to Tasmania!

Mrs Holt Press rang today and her croaky voice immediately revealed that she is not well. She was missing her course and spending the day in bed and feeling pretty miserable. She asked me to rearrange her return flight, bringing it forward a few days. Originally she was going to go and visit her parents after Tassie but she is very mindful of not giving them her sickness, especially considering their advanced age and declining health. It's a real shame the way the trip has turned out, she's been looking forward to doing the Fusion course for 12 months, and also taking every opportunity to visit her mum and dad.

Looks like she'll be home Saturday.

The Hair is still not well but I did at least manage to get Sport Boy to school today!

There've been a few stories on the news about the ever advancing march of the Cane Toad across the top end of Australia and into WA. Another example of human interference leading to global swarming. I watched a documentary on Kakadu National Park tonight in which they said that the arrival of the cane Toad will lead to the certain extinction of a water monitor in the park, amongst other devastating effects. I know Pop's method of toad warfare works, spraying them with Dettol! But I don't think there'll be enough Dettol warriors to stop the plague spreading all the way west. And as you can see from the picture, not even snakes can defeat them!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dad's Day Ditty

It was Fathers Day a couple of weeks ago and Favourite Daughter couldn't be here to celebrate it with me, but she did write a poem in my honour and entered it in a competition at a bookshop.

She didn't win their comp, but she certainly won in my eyes.

Here it is.

My Dad is quite a knowledge wiz

a human encyclopedia my dad is!

My dad doesnt drive a Merc

but he does some wicked sick art work

My dad will often go out of his way

to make me laugh, it makes my day!

My dad is often running late

but i reckon he's just great

My dad is someone i look up to

and not just cos he's tall

He is supportive of the things i do

and i love him most of all. :-)

Pretty cool huh?

All Are Not Well at Holt Press

Woke up with a throat made of sandpaper and decided to keep my germs to myself rather than go to work.
Sadly, both Sport Boy and The Hair weren't well either and both stayed home as well. SB slept until 2pm!
He was bright enough when he did wake up but tonight had trouble getting to sleep, a headache and strange feelings were bothering him, he found it hard to explain but it sounded as if all his senses had been cranked up, vision, hearing etc he was quite unsettled.
The Hair hasn't been feeling well for several days as a result of a misadventure at the school sports carnival where he and his mate Zac decided to roll rather than run the 100m. Since then he's been suffering dizziness that won't go away. The Dr gave him some tablets for it but they have a limited effect.
Sport Boy should make it to school tomorrow, not sure about The Hair.
I had a quiet day spent watching TV and trying to avoid swallowing.
I did manage to cook dinner on the BBQ for the boys, some very nice steak, mmmm!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Home Safe and Sound

Home again after a good couple of days in Perth. Mrs Holt Press got away ok and has already begun her course in Tasmania. She says it is very cold there. No surprise there.

Unfortunately, I have been struck down by the same flu bug that afflicted first The Hair and then Sport Boy. My throat is sore, my head hurts, I have a painful cough, shivers and aches. It's not as bad as the flu I had a couple of years ago which was the sickest I've ever felt in my life. Hopefully this one won't get that bad. I won't be going to work tomorrow.

The kids and I went down to Fremantle for lunch at Cicerellos this afternoon, then the boys went and hung out with Favourite Daughter while I went to the Augusta team meeting.
My condition deteriorated during the meeting and I contemplated staying up in Perth for the night but Paul and Sheryl offered to drive my car as far as Bunbury which enabled me to rest/sleep and be able to drive the last 50km home to Busso.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bon Voyage

Mrs Holt Press is packed and we're ready to go.

First stop Perth, then she flies to Launceston via Melbourne. She'll be in Tassie for a week at a Fusion course followed by a few days with her folks in Geelong.

A month ago there were 6 of us living in the house.

Now we're down to three. 3 blokes in the house on their own for 10 days.

You know what that means!

Dial a pizza, footy on the tv, paper plates etc etc

BTW, today is the maiden run with the new GPS!

PS. Thanks for the comments and words of support following my last post, I appreciate it, especially you Phil, great 2nd and 3rd effort!
My mood has improved. I feel OK so long as I don't think too much about it!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I'm feeling very low, lower than I have for months.

I applied for a job recently, a job I really wanted, and for which I think I was well-suited and amply qualified.

I got a phone call today telling me I didn't get the job.

I feel disappointed, depressed and mad.

Mad at the employer for not choosing me, mad at God for not letting me have the job, or not moving the employer to make the right choice (me!), mad at myself for getting my hopes up when I should have known better. (There is a history and politics involved that I'm not going to go into but it really shouldn't have surprised me to miss out.)

Yet, I really wanted the job. I really believe I'd have been good at it. I believe the timing and circumstances were right. It is very disheartening to be rejected.

It's hard to be philosophical right now about something this significant. Perhaps I'll feel more acceptance of it in a few days but right now I'm just unhappy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Role Reversal

I had to play house dad today, Sport Boy is still off school sick and Mrs Holt Press is working this week at the resort so I stayed home and took him to the Dr. He has an ear infection as well as the flu.
I managed a couple of hours at the office this afternoon but was so tired when I got home I slept for about three hours.

Tomorrow is a very important day. It's the one day when Geelong members can register for the ballot for a chance to get a Grand Final ticket. I'm not sure if I'll go to the game if I get a ticket but I'm really hoping I get one so I've at least got the choice. Plan B is to give it to The Heir who flew to Sydney last night and will be away over east for a couple of months and plans to be in Melbourne for the Grand Final. Wish us luck.

BTW, The Heir has reignited his blog, The Posse House so perhaps there'll be a few stories of his travels for us to read.

And with September being AFL Finals month, for those who are of that persuasion I have posted on the Footy Blog tonight.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

"Many Paths"

Patrons of the taxi become patrons of the arts.

This is Alison and Jason who I picked up in the taxi on Saturday night. (See yesterday's post)
They came back today to pick up and pay for the painting they'd chosen. It was a semi-commission. They liked the look of this painting but preferred the words on another one they'd looked at at The Ship. So, I offered to do some more work on it and change it to the words they liked. They agreed so I did the work on it last night and they picked it up from me at school at lunchtime. They have a place already picked out for it in their home where the colours match the wall it will hang on. They were happy customers and they made me a happy artist.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day to me! And to you Pop. And happy stepfathers day to Walter.

It's been a good day. It started well when the hot water servcie was still working this morning and I listened to the footy preview while I had my shower.

Clean and refreshed I settled back to watch the Cats demolish the Saints as expected.

Mrs Holt Press prepared a lovely lunch, followed by chocolate pudding and chocolate mousse!

The Hair gave me a great picture he'd drawn of me as an anime styled Cat-Man, very funny. The Heir gave me an art book.

After the football a young couple came round who I met in the taxi last night. I had dropped them off at The Ship Resort so I mentioned my paintings hanging in the pool room. When they rang me later for the return fare they said how much they liked them and I invited them round to see some more. The upshot of all that is that they have decided to purchase a painting and will pick it up tomorrow morning before they head home to Perth!

Favourite Daughter rang and we had a good chat, she is loving the course she's doing at Tabor College and life in Perth is going very well for her which is very gratifying for us as parents.

Happy Fathers Day!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Shock Losses

It's been a day of shock losses.

Adelaide lost at home to Collingwood.

North Melbourne lost to Sydney.

Alan carpenter is on the verge of losing government to Colin Barnett.

And in the biggest loss of all, the Cornerstone U11s lost to the Busselton Redbacks in today's knock-out semi final, 2-1, with the winning goal being scrambled home in the last 30 seconds of extra time!!!!
It was a very disappointing way to finish the game and the season.
Sport Boy had staged a somewhat miraculous recovery this morning and seemed fit enough to play. He did play and played a major part in our goal, but clearly he was struggling and exhausted and that hurt our chances of victory.
So, our season is over. I can have my Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings back!
Sport Boy still has Country Week to look forward to so all is not lost for him.

I'm taking a quick break from the taxi while it's quiet. I'm looking forward to sleeping in on Fathers Day and then watching the Cats play the Saints.

Wacky Hair Day

It was Wacky Hair Day today, organised as a fund raiser for the Breast Cancer Network. A few of the girls got into the spirit of the occasion and received half-melted Mars Bars for their efforts.

I spent the morning at The Times newspaper office going through old papers on their computer system looking up stories on road crash fatalities in the Busselton region. It was both helpful and enlightening and has given me a number of leads to follow up in my "Behind the White Crosses" project. A couple more media outlets have picked up on the story too; a journo from The Weekend Australian rang me this morning and a reporter on ABC Stateline rang me this afternoon, keen to follow up the topic and to see how far advanced my research is. "Not very at this stage" I told each of them but I'm making some progress and the publicity helps to generate the contacts and information I'm looking for. One of the reporters even found my post on the blog and sought me out from that! Ah! The far reaching influence at Holt Press!!!!

My important meeting went well this afternoon (as far as I could tell!) No more news yet but I feel cautiously optimistic.

I took advantage of a rare trip to Bunbury this afternoon to buy a GPS from Retravision who drew me in with their clever advertising, large signs stating "WARNING We will serve you!". I've thought about buying one for a while and have been watching as the prices drop so when I found one today for $99 it was time to bite the bullet. It's obviously at the cheap end of the market but the delivery driver from Retravision who uses the same type in his truck, and bought one for his car recommended it!! I figured it was worth it at the price.
Shame I didn't check out my car's lighter/power socket first! It doesn't work! Or rather, it is dysfunctional! So, I had to find my own way home unassisted. Mrs Holt Press was very pleased with it, and her car's power socket definitely works! I'm also going to give it a try in the taxi, it could/should make life much easier! We'll see.

The footy finals have started and Hawthorn confirmed their status as main challenger to Geelong with a comprehensive thumping of the Bulldogs tonight with Lance Franklin kicking the lazy 8 goals! I didn't watch the game though; tonight I went to see the opening night of the school's performance of "Guys and Dolls". It was good and bad. There were some nervous actors, mistimed dance routines and weak singing voices, but there were also some exceptional performances, with the standout being Anne-Marie in the lead role of Miss Adelaide. It was enjoyable and a good start but I hope they can tighten up on a few things like lighting and sound for tomorrow night's show. They've done a huge amount of work to put the production on, the sets and costumes are excellent and there's a huge cast. Hopefully with the first night out of the way they can do some fine tuning and make it really go off.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 05, 2008

Checking on Pop

I heard on the Triple J news at lunch time that three people had been killed in a car and truck crash just near Gympie in Queensland. Dad lives in Gympie so I thought I'd better check he was OK. I wasn't too worried but felt the need to call just in case and when he took a long time to answer my pulse rate rose a beat or two. Thankfully he answered the phone then said ironically in response to my question, "How are you?", "I'm still alive"!! I was very glad to hear it. With the critical question dealt with, we embarked on a good long conversation, ranging from Vicki's health to family relationships to house properties and (inevitably) blogging.

Pop professes to hate telephones but I'm not sure why, I invariably have good conversations with him on the phone, punctuated with much laughter at both ends. With only a little bit of hinting he also encouraged me to wish him an early Happy Fathers Day as he will probably be at Greenies on the day.

Not a recent picture but the first one I could find on the computer!
Is this a preview of me in 10 years I ask myself?

Sport Boy is not getting better, in fact he's possibly getting worse, making the likelihood of him playing soccer on Saturday getting slimmer and slimmer. He did come with me to watch the team train this afternoon which was probably more cruel than comforting. The team have trained well this week so at least they'll be well prepared for the game, but with Sport Boy and Ben A sick and unlikely to play the task will be tough.

My volleyball game tonight was very probably a rehearsal for the Grand Final, between us (Six Pack) and Breakaways. There's a pretty intense rivalry between the teams and with the finals only two weeks away it was a close tense game. We lost the first set but came back strongly to take the second then held on in a tight finish to take the third set and win the game. Stu, the captain, said it was my best game of the season so I must have done something right! I did feel pleased with my game and even got 3-4 spikes in for winners, no mean feet when it requires getting this hulking frame airborne at the net!!
I reffed one game and got someone else to do my second one so I could come home and keep working on my current painting. I'm in the groove at the moment so I like to keep going when the creative juices are flowing.

I have a very important meeting tomorrow afternoon at 2.30. You know the drill, can't say anything more at the moment, but I will give details as soon as I can.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

What's Up Doc?

I had to come home from work early today to look after Sport Boy who is very sick and very miserable. If his health stays like this he won't be playing in the soccer semi-final on Saturday, and if he doesn't play, the team may well not progress to the Grand Final!

There is good news though. The Hair returned to school today for the first time in a week and a half!

I rang my sister Vicki today and we had a good long chat. Her health continues to be a problem and she's had a tough couple of years but she and Rex celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary this weekend which is fantastic.

The Heir is interested in going over to the farm to help work on the harvest and I rang to discuss it with her. He leaves for Sydney on Monday and is planning on spending a few weeks in the eastern states. He's also hoping that A. Geelong make the Grand Final, B. I get a GF ticket in the member's ballot, and C. That I'll give it to him rather than go over myself!!

It doesn't hurt to dream!!!

I also rang a couple of mates, Letchy and Cam to ask their advice on something important coming up shortly. I can't say any more right now but will let you, my faithful reader, know when there's news to report.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Busselton Road Deaths: Behind the White Crosses

As my Dad says, "Click on photo to enbiggen"

I was on the front page of the local paper, The Busselton Dunsborough Times, this week in a story about a project I'm working on called "Behind the White Crosses".
It stems from my frustration and heartache over the increasing number of young people being killed in car crashes. Three boys from Busselton wrote off a car two weeks ago but miraculously survived. Three kids in Perth weren't so lucky on the weekend, all three are dead and two more seriously injured. I've done a number of funeral services of young people killed in cars. It's a terrible task. The sadness and grief caused by the death of a young person is overwhelmingly tragic, especially when it could have been avoided. A combination of one or more factors ranging from inexperience, immaturity, speed, alcohol, other drugs, tiredness, excess passengers, distraction and over-confidence born of feeling invincible all contribute to the deadly toll. All of these things can be avoided. There are very very few genuine accidents. There are instead, innumerable crashes, and as a radio talk back caller said today, cars don't crash, drivers crash.

I am hoping to find out as much detail as I can about the lives behind the many white crosses on the roads around Busselton erected as memorials to people killed in car crashes; who they were, their background, family details, age, occupation etc, who they were as people, and also the circumstances of the crashes, what the contributing factors were that lead to their deaths.

Once I've done the research I will put it together in a powerpoint presentation and take groups of students, those about to get their licenses and those who've recently started driving, on an excursion to visit a number of the crosses and crash sites, and try to connect them to the realities of the lives that were lost, to let them see the people not just the monuments, and to tell them about the grief and pain and sadness that their deaths caused and still continue to cause. I've asked for information from people who know details about the various crashes or who were personally touched by a road death and have already received a number of calls and text messages from people in support of my idea. One lady called today to tell me about the death of her brother near Peppy Grove, not far out of Busselton, who was killed in 1991. Even 17 years on she and her family are still feeling the effects of their loss and the trauma they went through.

As a result of the newspaper article I received a call from ABC local radio this morning asking if they could interview me about the project. I spoke to them for about 10 minutes describing my motivation and reasons for initiating the idea and what I hope to achieve. I again asked for information and had more calls from people in response to the interview, affirming my intentions.

Unfortunately, although the local police are willing to assit me with information, the crash unit in Perth where records of all fatalities are kept are not allowed to give out names of victims because of privacy laws. They are going to give me as much information as they can and the local newspaper has also agreed to allow me to search their files for information.

I will commence the excursions once the research is done which I expect will take me a couple of months. Already a number of staff have expressed their support, suggesting it should be mandatory for all upper school students.

All I want to do is try and stop kids killing themselves and other people on the road. I want them to wake up and realise how dangerous driving a car is and how vulnerable they are. I wnat them to understand the risks and think about their actions and choices before it's too late.

I don't want to keep doing funerals for wasted lives.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hot Water

We were awoken early (and after a very poor sleep!) by Sport Boy shivering and complaining there was no hot water and he was freezing. One of the few drawbacks of life in this particular part of Busselton is not being on mains gas and having to renew gas bottles every couple of weeks in winter, less often in summer. Mrs Holt Press bravely crawled out of bed, where her place was taken by chilly Sport Boy with the electric blanket cranked up to thaw him out, and mumbling something about gas bottles and pilot lights, staggered off to attend to the hot water service. Before all you readers become indignant just remember that I held the fort and attended to family duties all weekend while Mrs HP was swanning around Northam with her friends!
She returned with a grimace saying she couldn't get it lit and was waiting the mandatory 5 minutes between attempts as stipulated by the instructions on the HWS.
Attempts 2 and 3 also failed and the minutes were ticking by.
After the 4th failed effort I knew there was no other choice, we were going to have to call a plumber!

Rather than blow our meagre hard-earned cash on a tradesman I decided to give it a go myself.

Half an hour later, most of it spent on my hands and knees peering hopefully into the underbelly of the HWS, we were no closer to having hot water. I had actually managed to establish one feeble pilot light on about my 4th try only to accidentally extinguish it with my sigh of relief!!
I checked the gas bottle, tried different settings, even the ones the instructions warned me not to, tried poking a burning piece of paper in to the general area required, grunted groaned and prayed. On my second check of the gas bottle (we have 2, when one is empty we switch to a full one and order a replacement, Mrs HP is very diligent in this particular matter) I discovered that although it was quite stiff the tap hadn't been fully opened. Perhaps that was the problem? I doubted it but was willing to try anything by then.

Lo and behold, four flicks of the ignition switch later we had a pilot light! Sadly, it went out before the gas kicked in but it was the most encouraging sign in the last hour and I persevered. Sure enough after a couple more tries the system was alight and the Holt Press hot water supply was being replenished. The delay and subsequent waiting time until the water was hot enough for a shower meant I was late for work. I considered going without a shower until I looked in the mirror and saw that my hair had suffered some sort of epileptic seizure during the night.
Lateness was preferable to the ridicule such a bad hair day would have prompted.

"There's no problem in eating red meat. Now, eating blue/green meat, that's a problem"
Trevor Stillbone

Monday, September 01, 2008

Bring on the Saints

Now the fun really starts, the FINALS! And St Kilda surprised everyone by belting the Bombers today and knocking the Crows out of 4th spot. That means it's Geelong v St Kilda next week for a place in the preliminary final.

On the domestic front Mrs holt Press arrived home safely this evening and reported that the weekend in Northam had gone very well.

Sport Boy returned from his sleepover/soccer excursion tired but happy.

The Heir worked all day and has been in bed ever since.

Unfortunately The Hair is still not well and I can't see him making it to school tomorrow.

Mum has returned home after her trip to Geelong to be with the Banfields in Allan's illness and has been flat out since she got back so it was good to have a good long chat and catch up on all the news, some good, some bad.

I slept late, watched some footy, dozed, cooked hamburgers for dinner then went to a chaplaincy commissioning service at the Uniting Church for three new primary school chaplains in town.
A low key relaxed day of rest.

"The trouble with Italian food is that 5-6 days later you're hungry again."
George Miller