Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Esperancades Are Ended

Our time in Esperance has come to an end, we're packed up and ready to head for home. Just the lazy eight hour drive away!!
The weather is cooler and breezier today, yesterday was a real stinker, 43 degrees apparently and it didn't ease off much at night which made sleeping very uncomfortable.

Favourite Daughter is staying on for a couple of extra days to hang out with her friend Beth and the local crew. Hopefully the Kombi will do all the right things and get her home safely. She's planning to go via Albany, Walpole, Pemberton etc and meet us in Augusta.

Sport Boy has had a pretty good time but is currently asleep with a headache. He is a notoriously bad patient so I really hope A. he goes back to sleep when we put him in the car and B. his head gets better or it could be a mournful journey (for all of us).

Mrs Holt Press has had a really lovely time but has been a bit stressed worrying about things going on elsewhere the last couple of days. We've got a busy couple of days, getting back to Busso today and getting packed and ready tomorrow to go to Augusta on New Year's Day.

I am relieved to report that I have completed the pre-mission newspapers. They are ready for photocopying and thenI'll add the current news and events to them each day while we are at Augusta. It's a relief to get it done, it is a big job. I'm already thinking about how to improve and streamline the process next year.

Last thing to report is that when I get home I'll be ringing to say I'd like to accept a job that was offered to me just before we came away with the local coach line company. More details later but if all goes to plan I should commence work mid-January.

Update: Sport Boy has woken up and is moaning and crying, not a good sign!

Time to hit the road and hope we can get him back to sleep in the aiconditioned car.

See you in Busso

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Esperance Escapades

Life continues on at a relaxed pace in Esperance. Trips to the beach and the shops, fish and chips, drawing, watching dvds, sleeping in, checking out the local art gallery, playing with Sport Boy, going to see Sherlock Holmes at the movies, breakfast at the jetty Tearooms, riding the miniature train etc etc.
We are having a lovely quiet time.
But we've only got a couple of days left before we have to head home to Busselton on the 30th.

I spent a fair bit of time today working on the daily newspapers for beach mission at Augusta. I'm the editor and this year I'm planning my most ambitious target ever, 7 newspapers. It's a fiddly process putting them together but I've been collecting material for them throughout the year which has certainly made the task easier. I've done four, got three to go!

I think we're off to have a look at Cape LeGrande tomorrow. If it's anything like the rest of the Esperance area it will be beautiful. It is a very picturesque town set on the Bay of the Isles.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Christmas

We've spent a very low key and enjoyable Christmas in Esperance. Just the four of us and an absolute minimum of presents yet each of them truly appreciated.
I was very surprised, and overjoyed to be given a new digital camera by the family, a perfect gift! And coincidentally I had been looking at cameras yesterday and the guy recommended the very camera I was given! A Lumix by Panasonic. I have felt naked without a camera the last few weeks, it will be great to be "armed" again.

I gave Mrs Holt Press a digital photo frame which she loves. We managed to get it going despite the battery in the remote control being flat and soon had a disk of Favourite Daughter's pictures playing.

For Favourite Daughter herself I got a DVD of Simon & Garfunkel in concert which she was rapt with. We had been to see them live in July and it brought back lots of great memories and of course their music is superb.

Sport Boy is also very happy; he received a new scooter and a Diablo (spinning toy) and has been playing with them constantly.

We rang The Heir and Spike to wish them a happy Christmas, both sound like they're doing well.

For Christmas lunch we had marinated prawns on the BBQ along with chicken, steak and ribs with salad and it was fantastic. The only thing missing was Mum's traditional Christmas Plum Pudding.

The rest of the day has been spent watching movies and drawing, a very relaxing and enjoyable Christmas. I hope you had a great day as well. Best wishes from the management and staff here at Holt Press.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Esperance At Last!

We made it OK (sort of)
To far-off Esperance
Less by good planning
More by good chance

The cars both ran well
No problems or drama
But the trip was eventful
With a touch of bad karma

No mechanical trouble
Just driver related
A navigational stuff up
Saw us get separated

Busso to Bunbury
All went well
Next stop in Collie
No problems to tell

Arthur River was next
On the Googled route
Both arrived safely
Both cars running beaut

Favourite Daughter leading
Sport Boy the co-driver
Mrs Holt Press and I
About 5 minutes behind her

A fuel stop at Wagin
Next on the agenda
Then on to Lake King
Lest assistance need be rendered

Then things went awry
No Wagin showed up
Next place we came to
A servo in Kojonup

Oops, that's not right
We're heading south not east
We missed the turn off somehow
Mrs HP wasn't pleased

Where were the kids?
No sign of the VW
Did they go to Wagin
Or had they missed it too?

Tried ringing the mobile
No reception out here
No way of knowing
Were they anywhere near

Mrs HP got stressed
Worried the kids might be missing
I tried calming her fears
Using logic and reason

A new route was plotted
We'd head for Katanning
Gave the mobile a work out
And the horizon a scanning

No sign of the Kombi
No word from the offspring
No way of knowing
No news, not a thing

Time to call in
Reinforcements at home
We need some help
Get Spike on the phone

"Hey mate we got lost
Took a wrong turn and missed Wagin
Try ringing your sister
She'll be worried I'm gauging"

"Let her know where we are
And to head for Ravensthorpe
We'll rendezvous there
In a couple of hours we hope"

"No worries Dad
I'll ring and I'll text
When I get in touch
I'll tell you what's next"

Gnowangerup, Ongerup
We drove on as night fell
Rang again at Jerramungup
But no news to tell

We figured our messages
Would get FD's attention
But our plans were thwarted
By her lack of reception

Our next concern
Now became our own fuel
Would we make it to Ravensthorpe
With the tank under half full?

A 24 hour
Card system we found
Filled the tank and set off
Till finally the sound

We'd been hoping and praying for
My phone started to ring
Favourite Daughter on the line
Asking us where we'd been

Oops, sorry
We missed the sign
Went to Kojonup
Instead of Wagin

Where are you?
And are you OK?
We're at Lake King
We went the right way

That's great news to our ears
Head for Ravensthorpe keep going
We'll meet you there in an hour
No more to-ing and fro-ing

By midnight we'd found them
Safe sound and happy
Mrs HP much relieved
Sport Boy a bright chappy

We drove on for a while
Lightning storms lit the way
Till FD was too tired
Time to call it a day

Two girls in the Yaris
We two boys in the Kombi
Uncomfortable sleep
Woke up feeling like zombies

A coffee and toilet stop
At the next roadhouse
Before finally arriving
In cold windy Esperance

Got the keys from Beth's Mum
Found the house of our friend
Went to bed, slept like logs
Our long journey at an end!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Ditty

Our bags are packed
We're ready to go
Will we make it?
I don't know

The Yaris will make it
No problems there
The Kombi's the vehicle
Running on prayer

Favourite Daughter is home
And wants to take the Vee Dub
As a test run for when
She takes off for the scrub

The battery was stone dead
When we tried starting it up
The jumper leads burnt out
Maybe a push start...nup!

A transplant was called for
Pop the bonnet on my wagon
Disconnect the battery and
Replace the one that's flaggin'

Hook it up, turn the key
It burst instantly to life
With some luck and some prayer
Hope there's no more strife

Esperance here we come
Turquoise ocean is awaiting
A friend's house to stay in
Good for peace and contemplating

A long trip to get there
Two cars in a convoy
One for Mrs Holt Press and I
The other for FD and Sport Boy

Spike is staying home
To work and to ...........
Hmm let's not give him ideas
Just hope he's hale and hearty

Merry Christmas everybody
Readers, family, friends
2009 like this verse
Is fast coming to an end

A good year for the Cats
And for my family
Will 2010 be as good?
We'll have to wait and see

God bless you all
at the Saviour's birth
Good fun and good cheer
And peace on earth

Monday, December 21, 2009

Garage Sale Continues

The garage sale has been a great success, in fact it's still running and it's Monday afternoon. One of the things that annoys me most is people who close their garage sales at 12 on the dot Saturday lunchtime. Why? You've gone to all the trouble of getting it set up, why not just let it keep running all day or all weekend or in my case, all week!! You don't have to hang out in the garage all the time, we've proved that by going about our normal business. If we see people we go out. If we don't see them they knock or call out. The whole point of a garage sale is to get rid of stuff you no longer want or need so it makes sense to give yourself the maximum opportunity to do so, and that means extended trading hours! In fact, Mrs Holt Press sold a couple of old push bikes to a couple of drunk guys on Saturday night who wanted to get to the pub quicker!! Even on flat tyres they were happy to part with $10 for some two wheeled transport!

We've sold lots of stuff and so far have made just under $500 with three more shopping days till Christmas. We've even had return customers like the lady who bought $10 worth of stuff, half of her weekly garage sale budget apparently, then on finding nothing of interest anywhere else came back to spend the remainder of her money with us.
I've been selling surplus puzzles and games cleaned out of my office. People have commented on how much there is not knowing that I've kept 5-6 boxes of the best stuff that I don't want to sell!
There's been some spirited haggling and plenty of laughs along the way and some very pleasant customers. A few have been invited in to see the more private collections of badges, art and watches. One older bloke sheepishly asked if I had any old watches? Do I?!! Come in and have a look!
His eyes lit up when I produced two boxes of them! He repairs old wind-up and mechanical watches and found 9 of interest in my collection. He will swap me some quartz watches for them along with a few dollars. For my purposes I just need watches with faces and hands, no digitals, quartz or mechanical doesn't matter.
A couple of people liked my paintings and one of them may end up purchasing one and one lady expressed interest in getting her bin decorated by FunBins!

I'm off to the bank to deposit the weekend's takings which included a 12 hour shift in the cab on Saturday night.

Sports Update:
Spurs have found form again having beaten Manchester City 3-0 midweek and followed up with a 2-0 win away to Blacburn Rovers on Saturday night.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ideas & Possibilities

School's out, Sport Boy is on holidays, Summer is really here.

I had an official farewell from the school yesterday, along with the many other staff who are leaving or moving on. I've even almost finished clearing out
my office! Dealing with 16 years of accumulation has been a BIG job.

I have applied for a few jobs but haven't got one yet, so it's just the odd taxi shifts bringing in any income at present. For the first time in a long ti
me I'm not driving on a Friday night, instead I have a shift starting at tomorrow, hopefully it will be a busy Saturday night in Busso.

Tonight I'm going round to Dave's to watch a NY Giants NFL game he recorded for me last week.

We're thinking of having a garage sale tomorrow, we've certainly got plenty of stuff to get rid of, especially since I've been clearing out the office, it's just a matter of energy to get it set up.

I have just printed up a couple of hundred flyers to do a letter box drop for a little business idea I've been thinking about for a while. It's called FUN BINS, a mobile rubbish bin decorating service! I recently brightened up our big (boring) green bin using brightly coloured adhesive vinyl and it has attracted a bit of attention. For $20 or $35 for two I'll come to your home and decorate your bins in the colours/designs of your choice! Hopefully people will like the idea of adding a bit of colour to the neighbourhood on bin day! email me at if you'd like to give your bin a makeover!

Next job is to set up an art exhibition for January.

Meanwhile with finances getting pretty tight we are reviewing our plans to go to Esperance for Christmas. We still want to go but if I can find some work before then I'll need to take it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Tuesday and I remembered to put the bins out

Apparently Christmas is only 10 days away.

Sport Boy only has one more day of school for the year!

We enjoyed our day trip to Bridgetown on Monday to see Mum and Walter (and their new kitchen) and Vicki before she left to go home to America (today). The kitchen remodelling has transformed the house and Mum is rapt with it. All the more impressive as they did it themselves. The addition of a dishwasher is also welcome. We caught up on and exchanged family news and also received a phone call from Paul F. while we were there. He told me he just keeps reliving his fishing experience in NZ, I think he is obsessed! No, sorry, that's not fair. I know he is obsessed!
I'm keenly awaiting a copy of their photos from the trip so I can post some here. Not having a digital camera at the moment is quite a handicap.

I'm doing a shift in the taxi tomorrow, with a more friendly start time of 10.00am and another couple of shifts on Thursday and Saturday nights which will bring in some much needed cash as we'll be leaving for Esperance on Monday or Tuesday. We're going to spend Christmas there and come home on the 30th, just in time to go to Augusta for Beach Mission on New Year's Day.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday Night

We had a great trip to Perth. Most of Thursday was spent at Adventureworld with Favourite Daughter, Leo, Casey and the kids from Halls Creek (not Kunnunurra as I stated the other day!). Everyone had a good time there and it was really good meeting Leo and going on a few rides with him and the other kids. Sport Boy was in his element and even Spike hooked up with some Cornerstone kids who also happened to be there for the day. The weather was good and it wasn't too crowded, a handy combination.

We checked in at Chatteau d'Taffrail and collected some keys from Sal before heading over to Leederville. First stop was The Heir's place to deliver his new washing machine. Mrs Holt Press wisely decided against entering the "house" which is due for demolition in the near future! A 21 year old male may be able to handle it but there are some things it's better for a mother not to know.

We collected Favourite Daughter from SIDE where the Halls Creek mob were staying and went to look for a place to eat. The Malaysian place was booked out, the Mongolian place was empty but didn't grab us so we chose the Cinnamon Club, a very nice Indian restaurant around the corner. The service was ordinary but the food was delicious and even Sport Boy found something he liked. Spike ordered the prawns but found them a bit hot to handle and had to ask for a glass of milk to help him through dinner!
It was a lot of fun having the whole family together for a meal and there was lots of laughter and discussion, including our plans for Christmas. We're going to Esperance for 8-10 days over Christmas although it looks like work will prevent either The Heir or Spike from joining us there.

For dessert we moved on to a huge and very popular cafe in Oxford St and sampled some of their huge range of cakes before I played a game of pool with Spike. Several of FD's friends turned up so we left her in their happy company and set off for "home" at the Chatteau.

Friday morning we went to Galleria in Morley and I collected a large bag of old and broken watches from a guy called Ali who I'd met there a couple of months ago in a watch repair booth. After a quick look in the AFL shop to drool over all the Geelong Premiership merchandise we drove over to IKEA in Innaloo. The kids wanted food, Mrs HP wanted a washing up bowl and a towel rail and I wanted frames. We all left happy and satisfied.

Because we were so close I suggested we drop in to visit our old friend Miriam who lives in a retirement village nearby. She turned 90 this year and has some health problems, including the loss of sight in one eye, but she was delighted to see us and catch up on all our news. When she hugged Spike, who recently turned 18 she said "I remember when you were born"!!
I told her about my foray into art and got one of my paintings from the car to show her. As she seemed to like it I offered to loan it to her and we hung it on the wall. I hope to enter it in an art competition at some stage but it has found a happy home in the meantime.
Miriam and her late husband Jan adopted our kids as surrogate grandchildren when we lived in Warwick and I worked at the Chip Inn drop in centre and for many years would visit us at Christmas time and give presents to the kids. We were all really glad we made the effort and took the extra time to visit her, even though it meant I was late back to Busselton for last night's shift in the taxi. I let the boss know and he was fine about it but as soon as we got home I had to head off to work and a 10 hour cab shift. It was steady rather than busy.

When I got home it was nearly time for Mrs HP and Sport Boy to get up and get ready to go to Bunbury for a tennis tournament he was playing in so I stayed up to share breakfast with them. After they left I felt fresh enough to go garage saling and managed to find 16 garage sales over the next couple of hours. I bought several frames and a few other bits and pieces for my art, a couple of CDs, a book and 4 good towels for 50c each!
By the time I got home I was well and truly ready for sleep and with the house empty and quiet enjoyed a good long sleep until about 5.00 this afternoon.

We're off to Bunbury in the morning for day two of the tennis then on to Mandurah for the last Beach Mission team meeting before we all meet in Augusta on New Year's Day, which is only three weeks from now, a scary thought!
On Monday we're going over to Bridgetown to visit Mum and Walter and see Vicki before she flies home to California.

One more piece of good news, the high school have offered to employ me on a contract basis to run some of their special events, starting with the Beach Carnival in February. Not sure about all the details yet but it could be the beginning of my new "career" working for myself and offering services and programs to schools, organisations and businesses.

Sport Update: With 6 minutes to go Spurs are trailing 1-0 to Wolves at White Hart Lane, not the sort of result I was hoping for. Way back in 1973 I became a Spurs fan after watching a game between them and Wolves (Wolverhampton Wanderers) on TV with my neighbour and best mate Anthony Long. My Spurs obsession grew and at times has rivalled my love for Geelong.
This is the first time they've played one another in a very long time following Wolves' promotion to the premier league this season.
Drat, Final Score, 1-0 to Wolves!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Adventureworld Awaits

Tomorrow we're off to Perth to see Favourite Daughter and the kids from Kunnunurra, at Adventureworld! Sport Boy is very excited. A day off school AND his first time at Adventureworld AND seeing his favourite sister, woohoo!

We're delivering The Heir's new washing machine too, which may well make him excited.

We'll have a family dinner in Leederville then stay the night at Chatteau d'Taffrail. I have a gift for Sally and Warren that I bought on ebay, I hope they like it.

Sadly the winery requested I come and collect my paintings; they had a wedding in the gallery room on Saturday and had to take them down. They liked them but can't accommodate them on an ongoing basis. One of the staff told me how much she liked them though!
My plan is to have an exhibition of my own in mid January when there are still plenty of tourists and visitors in town. I've been talking about it for a while but the experience at the Art Fair last week has encouraged me to believe that enough people like my art to make an exhibition viable.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Nowhere Better to Be

Some days it's just good to be alive.
Busselton is a quiet and unassuming little piece of paradise here on planet earth and this evening Mrs Holt Press, Sport Boy and I enjoyed a taste of its good, simple life.
We bought some fish and chips and drove down to the jetty to eat our dinner sitting on the wall in front of The Goose, overlooking a beautifully calm Geographe Bay and the backdrop of a stunning sunset. The sky lit up in orange and pink and red and purple and blue as the sun sank down below Cape Naturaliste away to the west. The flake (shark) was delicious, mine was traditionally fried in batter, Mrs HP and Sport Boy who are both on gluten-free diets had theirs grilled. After we'd eaten we took turns to hit catches with the tennis racquet while SB threw himself around the beach.
On the other side of the jetty we admired the restoration of the beach achieved by the placement of "geo-fabric" sandbag groynes constructed about 12 months ago. Prior to that the beach had been washed away so badly there was barely room for one beach volleyball court between the wall and the water. Now there are two courts side by side. People are always ready to criticise or condemn the local council but I say bravo to them for fixing what was a serious problem.

Busselton has been home to the Ironman Triathlon this weekend which saw a huge influx of visitors, both competitors and supporters as well as the army of officials who ran the event. Although the weather was uncomfortably hot yesterday, pushing 35 degrees, the race went off very well. I was driving the cab last night but Mrs HP and SB went down to watch the last competitors make it home before the cut off time of 11.00, 17 hours after the start. They saw a 73 year-old lady finish the race; and for those not familiar with the format, an ironman consists of a 3.5km swim, a 180km bike ride and then a 42km marathon to finish off! That anyone finishes it is commendable but a 73 year-old, that's amazing.

I had one of the busiest nights ever in the taxi on Friday night. Typical average takings on a Friday night are between $350-450. This week the cab took $699! It included two big Dunsborough jobs, a trip to Margaret River, a drop off in Capel and a pick up in Bunbury. All up I drove over 500km. I earn a percentage of whatever the cab makes so the more I take the better off I am. I have been driving day shifts all week as well, filling in while the boss is away on holidays which has been very timely. I have one more shift on Tuesday then it will be back to looking for a job.

We are a one child family at the moment. Spike has gone up to stay with The Heir for a few days in Perth. Some sort of brotherly bonding experience to celebrate Spike's recent passage to adulthood. Hopefully they are not partying too hard!

We had a special visitor during the week, Mum and Walter brought over Vicki, Paul's wife, with whom I spent a week in New Zealand recently. Paul had to return home to work but Vicki flew on to Australia and will be here for three weeks in all. One day this week we will go over to Bridgetown for a visit. Walter is very keen for us to see the kitchen makeover.

Talking of visitors, Favourite Daughter is in Perth this week, on a school camp with all the kids from Kununurra. They're staying in Leederville, just down the road from The Heir's place and we are going up to Perth on Thursday to see her and meet all the kids, especially Leo with whom she works most closely. The whole family will go out for dinner that night as it's the first time we'll have been together since both Spike and Sport Boy's birthdays.

Finally, thanks Aileen for your comment and encouragement to blog more. I know I have become sporadic of late. The change in employment status has affected my motivation a little but I am keen to keep Holt Press chugging along and will post as often as news and energy allow. Ongoing computer problems have also hindered my output a little.
Thank you to my small band of faithful readers, it's good to know you're out there.

Which reminds me of an amazing coincidence that occurred at the Art Fair last weekend. One of the people who came through my exhibit liked my work and asked for my contact details. I proceeded to give him my numbers, email and blog address. When I wrote the URL for this blog he said "I know that blog, I was looking at it a couple of days ago"!! Stunned, I asked him how he came to be reading Holt Press and he said that he had googled Busselton and my blog came up on the list so he had a look. He told me that he'd read about me going to the Grand Final!
It's only the second time I've met a random stranger who has read my blog, the first being 2Peter, whose mum is the very same Aileen I just mentioned and who lives in Busselton. I haven't heard from 2Peter in quite a while so Aileen, please pass on my best wishes to him.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Art Exhibition

My first art exhibition was moderately successful today. It was only one day; at Happs Winery's Annual Art & Craft Fair but the response and feedback from the punters was very positive. The many favourable comments were only backed up by one sale, but that in itself meant the venture was worthwhile. I had a great location, a long walk through gallery lined with wine bottles on one side and the other available for hanging once we removed the collection of framed photographs that are normally on display there. I was able to hang over 20 pieces along the wall.

I sold a painting called "Green Spiral" which I did a couple of years ago. It had been in storage at the Courthouse Gallery so I brought it home yesterday. Mrs Holt Press proved remarkably prophetic when she said, "I reckon that will sell for sure". Way to go Mrs HP.

I did sell a number of postcard prints of my art to a couple of different people, and one of my framed drawings at a discounted price to a fellow artist we were talking to late in the day. She, a glass artist, "Glass with Class" and her Mum, an art curator both had some useful tips and observations regarding displaying my work and useful materials I might be able to use.

The "moderate success" assessment is not based on sales only but also on the consistent praise and admiration offered by people coming through and the enquiries by a couple of people wanting my contact details. You can tell sometimes whether someone is genuinely interested and a I won't be surprised if I end up selling one or two more pieces to people who saw them today.

Art of course is highly subjective and one man's masterpiece is another man's rubbish. The couple who eventually bought Green Spiral asked their little boy if he liked it? "No" was his unequivocal reply! I was impressed that they came back later and bought it anyway.

Certain pieces attracted a lot more attention than others, none more so than a piece called "Moments in Time" (the painting that won first prize at the Busselton Show recently) featuring 55 of the watches that I have been busy collecting over recent months. It was easily the most popular exhibit and drew multiple comments but not everyone was impressed however! One lady who waxed lyrical about it went and found her husband and brought him in to look at it. He made no comment until after a minute of his wife's praises turned around and looking behind him said loudly "Nice table" in reference to the beautiful Jarrah table I was sitting at! End of discussion!

Another lady, noticeably pregnant, came back a second time, to show her husband a piece I call "49 Squares" but Mrs HP calls "The Tablecloth". He took one look and gave a short sharp judgement, "No". When pressed by Mum-to-be he repeated his assessment, "No" "No".
Elaborating he added, "It's wrong for us". Curious by this time I gently enquired what he didn't like about it. "Too symmetrical". Fair enough. I appreciate a man who knows his mind and can make a decision!

Well known local artist Jenny Taylor came through and was very impressed. In fact she said "If I still had my shop in Fig Tree Lane I'd be getting some of your work in there for sure"!

The extra bonus at the end of the day came when Jackie, the winery owner, invited me to leave my paintings hanging in the gallery. She couldn't promise how long they'd be able to stay there but said she'd like to keep them on display and for sale on a commission basis. That is a great outcome for me. Happs is one of the most beautiful, and popular, wineries in the Capes area and considerably more people will be able to see my work there than they do in their current location, our living room walls!

Having thrown the exhibition together in a couple of hours last night and improvising titles tags and prices this morning I need to do a bit of work to smarten up the display. After that, hopefully the "product" will do the rest.

Mrs HP took Sport Boy to Bunbury to play tennis this morning but once they got home she came out to join me at the winery. The plan had been for her to help me pack up at the end of the day but the change of circumstances made that a much simpler task than setting up had been.

Past Present & Future

9 hours in the cab Friday night.
6 hours sleep.
2 hours of garage saling.
2 hours of setting up a display at Happ's Art & Craft Market.
10 hours in the cab Saturday night.

That brings us up to the present time.

3 hours sleep.
6 hours at the Art market tomorrow (Sunday) hoping to sell some paintings .

Friday, November 27, 2009

RIP Polly

I heard some bad news yesterday. They're not going to make Polly Waffles any more!

Let's take a moment to silently give thanks for the Polly Waffle and reflect on the many good times we had together.

Just as I was recovering from my trip to NZ I was called upon to do a taxi shift last night. It's school leavers week and Busselton has been inundated with former school students intent on partying. It was a long night and by 2.00am I was wrecked, unable to drive safely due to tiredness so I excused myself and came home.
As my only form of employment currently I am grateful the taxi season is hotting up. I've got shifts on Sat and Sun and next week the boss is on holiday and asked if I wanted to work his shifts while he's away. Yes please. That will help to pay the mortgage.

Meanwhile I sent an application for a job today and there's another one advertised in this week's local paper that I will go for as well. Hopefully I'll get something soon.

Spike is away at school leavers with a bunch of friends from school at Denmark, in the company of one of his teachers so it should be a fairly sensible affair and not fuelled by alcohol and lust.

Sport Boy is an only child this week but as usual is busy: swimming laps after school, playing table tennis last night, squash and tennis on the weekend.

Mrs Holt Press and I have just gotten home from home group at Stu and Deb's.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Home at last after a very long night.
4 1/2 hours flying time, minus three hour time difference followed by 2 1/2 hour drive. I was too tired to make it all the way so pulled up to sleep at the weird Bull sculpture just before Bunbury.
Thought I was OK to go when I woke up but only made it to the other side of Bunbury before I realised I wasn't and pulled over again.
Finally got home about 6.00am.
I stayed up long enough to see Sport Boy and Mrs Holt Press when they got up and to check the job ads in the local paper.
I need a job, the money won't last.

Monday, November 23, 2009


It's a long story but I didn't make it home last night, only managed to get half way. I'm in Sydney, flying to Perth tonight (hopefully!!) I slept at Christchurch airport until check-in at 4.ooam. Departed NZ 6.30, arrived Sydney 8.30. Depart again at 8.05 tonight.

Have spent the day wandering around Sydney somewhat aimlessly. Until I spotted Spurs playing Wigan on Foxtel at a pub at lunchtime. Managed to nurse my lemon squash all the way through a stunning game, a 9-1 thumping by Tottenham with Jermain Defoe scoring a lazy 5 goals!! Awesome. I've been following Spurs since 1973 and it's the best performance I've ever seen!

In my wanderings I did manage to get one of the elusive crochet hooks Mrs Holt Press has been looking for, a 3.5mm, from a shop modestly calling itself "Australia's Largest Needlecraft Store".
Now I have a second mission, to find some special yarn she needs. Got to to do something to get back in the good books after not making it home on scedule.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Sport Boy

Sorry I'm not there mate but I hope you have had a great day.
I love you.

PS. I'm in Christchurch for the night.
Flying back to Australia tomorrow night.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nearing the End

Another beautiful day in New Zealand awaits. The weather has been fantastic all week, Vicki said they didn't have a single day like this last time they were here, this time we haven't had a day not like this.
We camped the night at Settle Campground on the Motueka River, a great little spot with terrific hosts. We've struck up a friendship with a couple of English travellers, Steve and Lisa and had a lot of laughs and good conversation. We may even see them in WA in a couple of months time.

Paul and I fished for a couple of hours last night without success even though we could see a few trout swimming around where we were, they were not interested in anything we had to offer, not even Paul with his year's of experience could entice a hit.

I have one more day of fishing/hiking/camping today.
Tonight we'll stay in Nelson and on Saturday morning I take a bus to Blenheim then the train back to Christchurch. I'll spend the night there and on Sunday afternoon fly back home to Australia.
The daily bus and train both arrive after my flight time so I have to go back a day earlier to Christchurch but I'm looking forward to having a bit of time to look around the city on Sunday.

Paul and Vicki are wonderful company and we're all having a great time. I've only managed to do a couple of drawings since I've been away but the long (daylight saving assisted) evenings mean we don't usually finish dinner and the washing up until after 10pm.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Zealand

Wow, New Zealand is a beautiful place! Every bend and corner reveals another stunning view of beautiful scenery, endless rivers, snow-capped mountains, rolling green hills and pastures, craggy peaks, pine forests, wide river valleys, bays, tunnels, winding narrow roads snaking up and down mountain passes, bridges and even glimpses of the north island across the strait. It is a land of endless beauty, green and well watered. It is also cold admittedly, but not all the time. We've had warm sunny days followed by chilly breezy nights. Last night is the first time it has rained and my tent did not fully withstand the precipitation but the two sleeping mats kept me above the water line.

We are travelling about in a brightly painted camper van and have reached a happy compromise: Paul navigates and I drive which makes everyone way less nervous. His first encounter with a round-a-bout coming out of Christchurch airport had all the makings of a T-bone crash, by luck or miracle we escaped unscathed. My familiarity with driving on the left hand side from the right side of the vehicle has proved a winning formula.

We've stopped at some lovely campgrounds and are thoroughly enjoying our joint adventure. Vicki is well accustomed to Paul's fly-fishing obsession and smiles good-naturedly each time he requests we pull over so he can check out the river and look for the elusive trout he is chasing.
A few unsuccessful forays were quickly forgotten yesterday when he caught 5 fish on the Polorus River near Canvastown. I told Vicki, "I can see Paul from here and he is radiating happiness".
He is the very incarnation of excitement, joy, enthusiasm and gratitude. Never was a man more in his element than Paul up to his knees in his waders casting flies into the stunningly clear and icy waters of a NZ river and landing an 18 inch trout. Not for eating but just for the challenge and the sport. Relieved of the hook they are affectionately farewelled back into the stream, hopefully wiser and more wary fish.

Today Vicki and I dropped him off back at the Polorus and drove over to Nelson, a big town on the coast at the northern end of the south island. We stocked up on supplies and looked for shoes for Paul at op shops as NZ customs had confiscated his fishing shoes to prevent the potential spread of "snot algae" and he's been wearing his sneakers in the river.

Like everywhere else I've seen so far, Nelson is a lovely looking town perched above the bay.

We're about to set off back to pick up the fisherman and camp for the night at Pinedale campsite with mine-host, 12 year old James who offered to take us on a glow worm tour.

I can see why Paul has been to New Zealand 6 times, it truly is an unspoiled paradise. I'll be back.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Sunday Night

Friday night: Busy in the cab, business has picked up a little with the warmer weather coming.
Pretty handy considering my employment status.
I'm doing a couple of days bottling at a winery tomorrow and Tuesday.

Saturday: Beach mission meeting at Baldivis. Went very well. Several of us then went and had fish and chips for tea on the beachfront at Rockingham. Michael encouraged me to seriously think about starting my own business, something I have been contemplating. He says working for yourself is the greatest feeling.

Sunday: Sport Boy and Mrs Holt Press went to tennis in Australind, I stayed home and did a few jobs around the house, mainly to do with putting up picture rails and hooks to accommodate the burgeoning art stocks and framed photos I've brought home from the office.
I also put a few badges on ebay for sale, some Tassie badges and three fire brigade badges which are pretty collectable, one has received a bid already.

Over the last few days of last week I set about the serious task of packing up all the stuff in my office at the school! Anyone who's ever seen it will know just how big a job that is. There were well over a 100 aeroplanes, helicopters and various flying craft hanging from the ceiling for a start.
I am feeling better and more positive about finishing as a school chaplain, I'm more relaxed, less stressed and feel like a weight has been lifted off me. All good signs I think.

Spurs won last night, beating Sunderland 2-0, a welcome return to form after last week's drubbing by Arsenal!

Only 6 days until I go to New Zealand! Cool az bro!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Change of Scene

The world of post-chaplaincy employment has started, sort of.
I did my first day as a casual worker at a vineyard today, "thinning vines".
Cab Sav grapevines no less.
It wasn't that hard once I got the hang of which bits to break off and which bits to leave.
The 6.30 start in Margaret River was challenging.
The sore back is an unwelcome side effect.
The stories of fat Tiger snakes lurking near the dam at the end of the rows were unnerving!
It is only temporary, something to bring some money in before I go to New Zealand on the 14th.
Not that it was very well paid! Contract piece work, 30c a vine and I didn't do that many!
It was good to get out and do something in the fresh air and may even constitute some sort of "exercise" which may in turn have some effect on my stomach!

The "serious" job hunting will begin when I get back from NZ.

BTW: One of my paintings won first prize in the mixed media section at the Busselton Show on the weekend.
Marcus: "Award Winning Artist"! :)

Spike's TEE exams start tomorrow, he's a little stressed.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Big Changes

There's a good reason why the blog has been quiet lately (in case you were worried!).

After 16 years as a school chaplain my time in the position has come to an end. I have finished up at Busselton and am officially looking for a new job.
There have been some issues and concerns along the way over the last couple of years and a certain level of unhappiness in the job. A recent dispute with the employing body could not be resolved and thus we have parted company. It was nothing to do with the school who were disappointed with the outcome, as was I, but I am looking ahead with a positive attitude and already feel a sense of freedom as if some weight has been lifted off me. I enjoyed my time as a chaplain and have some great memories and friendships as a result but it can also be a stressful and draining job and I have found it more of a struggle recently.

I am going to New Zealand in a couple of weeks to spend a week with my good friends Paul and Vicki so I can't really get a full time job until after that, therefore I'm just looking for some casual work at the moment. I'm also going to talk to a bloke at the small business development centre shortly; I've had some ideas brewing away for a while and now is a good opportunity to do a little more thinking about it and see if anything can be translated from idea to reality.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

To the Dump

I load up the trailer with rubbish and debris from around the house and head out to the tip.
Upon arrival there are half a dozen other cars & trailers/utes emptying their loads.
As I start throwing stuff off the trailer I spot a couple of interesting looking things amongst the mounds of refuse. I also notice that I am not the only one scanning the tip with more than casual interest. Several other blokes are doing the same. It's as if we're meeting for secret men's business, not saying much but clearly thinking the same thing: "I'll just go and have a closer look at that..."
Encouraged by this unspoken cameraderie I start poking around. The first thing I do is load up a TV, printer and a few old radios for relocation to the electronic goods recycling section. Their dumpers were obviously too lazy or in too much of a hurry to separate their junk. Then some car batteries which too have their own section. Good deeds done I can now focus on genuine scavenging. The greenie mantras include "Recycle" so it seems only right that I should rescue the unopened tube of glue, the police video, the lotto barrel toy and the Trivial Pursuit set from becoming landfill. A more speculative retrieval is the electric hedge trimmer. Surely it musn't work or it wouldn't have been thrown out (ha!). I bring it home and test it and sure enough it doesn't work. Curiousity satisfied I put it in the rubbish bin. The challenge is to go home with less than I came with. I manage, just.
Sport Boy programming Mrs Holt Press' new phone, a task so technologically demanding it requires an 11 year old to do it.
Monday was Spike's 18th birthday. We only have one child left! It was a low key celebration. Favourite Daughter is in Halls Creek and The Heir was sick and unable to come down so five of us including Spike's girlfriend Lauren went out for dinner at the Jade Chinese restaurant.
The food was average but the company and the occasion were good.
My second son and third child is officially an adult. Happy Birthday.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Recent Drawings

Gold Squid
Purple and Blue
Purple Circle
Orange Flower
36 Squares

I'm Back

I didn't plan to go blogless for a week but computer problems and other more important issues lead to it occurring.

I had a very long shift in the cab last night and have had a bad headache for much of today. I'm feeling OK now but my body clock is out of whack. On the plus side it was the busiest night in the cab for several months so the hard work was at least profitable.
The customers varied from a couple with a 10 week old baby and a labrador whose car had broken down and needed to get to the holiday house they were staying at in Yallingup to three young women who at best could be descibed as feral! More so on the way home than on the way out.

I dragged Sport Boy out with me for a while to go garage saling where we found a few watches, a snorkel and mask, a free Dockers bag and one very grumpy proprietor who I'm sure must have charmed his customers all morning. To be fair, his ad had warned that "Early birds would be charged double"!
We ended up close to one of Sport Boy's friend's place so we "abducted" him for the afternoon, which has now stretched into a sleepover with fish and chips for tea.

I've spent the rest of the evening catching up on recorded TV, reading the paper and drawing.
And monitoring Tottenham's progress resulting in a 2-1 win away at Portsmouth.

I'm looking forward to the day of rest.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The retreat finished this afternoon and was a resounding success, rave reviews all round.

Caught a lift up to Perth with Steve and Cam, good to debrief on the way, and talk footy. And other more serious topics like marriage and relationships.

I met up with Sport Boy and Favourite Daughter who had driven up early this morning in my car. We bought some dinner at Goreng Goreng in Mt Lawley then Sport Boy and I went to see Perth Glory play Adelaide United in the A-League. The first 70 minutes were pretty boring but the last 20 were flat out and exciting with Glory scoring the only goal of the game, having a player sent off and surviving a wave of attacks through brilliant goal keeping, stout defending, and downright luck.

SB and I are staying the night at Letchy's before heading home tomorrow morning, after we take Favouriter Daughter to have a look at a Kombi campervan in Parmelia.

It's been a very good day and a great week, except for Shane Mumford being traded to Sydney!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Go Cats

In case you hadn't noticed, I haven't blogged for a few days. Surprisingly the world hasn't come to a stop, the internet hasn't gone into meltdown and most people appear to be carrying on with life regardless!
I've been laying low and doing a lot of drawing. I had planned to show you the results but my pc is not cooperating with very much at the moment. My virus protection expired and even though I renewed my subscription I am having a LOT of trouble installing the update. Thus, anything that needs signing into, like Blogger, is inaccessible. I am using the laptop in the meantime. I think I'll have to get a PC geek to come and fix it but it will have to wait a few days.
I'm going on a retreat tomorrow, I'm hosting about 20 chaplains who are coming to Busselton for three days.

I've been hunting for old watches recently and I hit the jackpot at the Scouts op shop in Geelong. There were none on display but when I asked if they had any one of the ladies (above) went out the back and re-emerged with a box full of exactly what I was looking for. I bought the lot! They asked what I wanted them for and when I told them they are for a new mixed media painting I'm planning they said they'd like to see it. I haven't started it yet but in the meantime I promised to put them on my blog. So here they are. Thanks ladies.

Scott Darlow is a BIG Geelong fan too, in a previous life Scott was 1/2 Cat the Cat's mascot, so when the two of us met up at the Grand Final it was hugs and celebrations all round. He told me it was one of the greatest days of his life, on a par with the day his kids were born.

That reminds me of something I heard the other day. Unrelated but very funny. It was an Irish bloke at country week, the coaches and parents sitting around one night having a few drinks and the subject of marriage came up. "My wife and I would have divorced years ago but neither of us wants the kids"!!

Cam Mooney is one of my favourite players, he's a real barometer for the Cats. If he plays well and kicks goals we almost always win. He's had problems kicking at goal at times but he kicked two in the GF, as did Tom Hawkins who has also had accuracy issues. Everyone stood up when it counted.

Another one of my favourites is Paul Chapman, he is gutsy and tough and a real big-game player. He could easily have won the Norm Smith medal in 2007 and for that reason I put $5 on him to win it this year. He duly won the medal and I picked up $35 woohoo!

A sampling of the colour and support for the Cats in Geelong for the Grand Final. Most businesses were displaying Go Cats signs and blue and white colours and nearly everyone was wearing a Cats jumper or shirt or scarf or beanie. It is suggested that when Geelong win a game the local economy is boosted by a million dollars. Who knows how much a premiership generates but anyone selling anything blue and white was on a winner.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Country Week

Sport Boy's country week team, LNJSA 13s, won both their games today, 5-0 against Karratha and 2-0 against Goldfields which means they will now play off for third and fourth spot against local rivals Bunbury, CCJSA, tomorrow at 12 o'clock.
He's had a great time, not just playing soccer but making friends and having fun. He's hardly got any voice left. He'll need the second week of the holidays to rest and get over it!
I'm looking forward to getting home tomorrow and seeing Mrs Holt Press and the rest of the family.
I'm not looking forward to the early start in the morning!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Au revoir Melbourne

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go. It's been a great trip.
Time in Melbourne, exploring, shopping.
Time with good friends, catching up and chewing the fat.
Time with family.
And of course, the highlight, the footy.
A great Grand Final.
A great result.

I'm about to head for the airport.
Perth here I come.

Going Home

This is my last night in Melbourne before flying home tomorrow afternoon. I spent the last couple of nights staying at the Armstrong's place in Geelong; the town is a sea of blue and white and everyone is celebrating the Cat's premiership.
Yesterday I went for a drive on the Great Ocean Road as far as Lorne. I'd like to have gone further but time didn't permit; it is a very beautiful part of the world.
I also had a very fruitful search for old watches, the Scouts op shop in Belmont coming up trumps.

I visited my in-laws this afternoon, they're both in good health and good spirits and were happy that the Cats won.
Upon arrival back in Melbourne I went looking for a place reccommended by Mrs Holt Press, the Chapel St Bazaar. She had seen it on the Collectors on ABC1 and new that I would like it. She was spot on, it is a collector's paradise, a veritable Aladdin's cave of interesting treasures, although most of it was out of my price range, not necessarily a bad thing probably.

I rang Sport Boy for an update on the soccer team's progress at Country Week. They've had two wins and two losses so far and he sounded as if he was enjoying himself. I will see him tomorrow night and be with him and the team for the rest of the week.

Gary and Christine got ribs for dinner in my honour tonight, very tasty, then we set about "de-banding" all the watches I've accumulated. They even hunted out several of their own old non-working watches to add to my haul. Gary took me out to his shed and showed me something quite interesting; all my old letters which he has kept from as far back as 1981!

The rest of the night was taken up with answering his questions and queries about the Bible. As ever, he is inquisitive and open-minded, it was good to discuss faith and belief with an old mate.
I value Gary's friendship very much, especially due to it's origins, his Dad Alan and my Dad Peter were life-long friends up until Alan died suddenly a few years ago. And there are signs that our respective sons, Nathan and Sport Boy may carry on the friendship into a third generation.

As usual it's late and I need to go to bed. Thankfully my flight doesn't leave until 2.25 tomorrow arvo so there won't be any mad rush or panic getting to the airport.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Geelong Win the Grand Final

What a game! What a Grand Final! Easily the most tense and stressful game I've ever been to. I started the day believing Geelong would win and the opening gave me confidence but from that point on St Kilda were fantastic and as the game went on looked more and more like winners, especially when they kicked goals at the end of the first second and third quarters to lead at each change.
The weather was awful, cold grey and showery with blustery winds to boot. At 3/4 time I thought we were gone. The last quarter took everything to a whole new level, PRESSURE, INTENSITY, FANATICAL DETERMINATION, DESPERATION like I've never seen, heroic acts from both sides, but in the end the Cats kept St Kilda goalless and kicked three themselves to win the game.
I was an emotional wreck by then but when the siren went I gave the policeman standing next to me a huge bear hug!!
It took me several minutes to compose myself enough to join in singing the song!
What a game!
What a Grand Final!
The mighty Cats are Premiers!
And I'm just about to watch the replay!

Grand Final Day

I'm off to the G.
The day is here.
It's Grand Final day.
The Cats and the Saints do battle for the biggest prize in Australian sport.

Hopefully by the time I next talk to you I'll be celebrating Geelong's premiership victory.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Melbourne Turns on a Grey Day

As predicted, it's been a very wet grey day in Melbourne, making the Grand Final parade a damp and subdued affair. The players rode in the cars rather than on the back as they normally do. The crowd was noticeably pro-StKilda, perhaps the Cats fans weren't too fussed about getting wet seeing as it's Geelong's third Grand Final in a row? When the opposing captains jointly held aloft the premiership cup I yelled out "That's the last time you'll get to touch it Nick" and a few Saints fans looked at me with a mixture of pity and incredulity!

the parade I went to the MCG to collect my ticket. That's what I thought at least! It seemed a natural conclusion to draw that Grand Final tickets would be available for pick-up at the venue where it is played! Not so! There were no ticket windows open at all and instead I had to go to the Ticketek outlet outside Rod Laver Arena. But, regardless of where and how, I'm happy to report that I now have the ticket in my possession. It is only a standing room ticket but no matter, I'll be there!

I spent the rest of the afternoon looking around Swan St and Bridge Rd Richmond in my on-going search for sports badges and old watches. I found a few badges but had no luck with watches (at the price I'm willing to pay for them that is, which isn't much!) They don't have to be working but even with this generous condition I wasn't able to find any today.

Once the Grand Final and hopefully the celebrations, are over I'll continue my search.

While on the subject of post GF activity, if the Cats win I'll join the throng of celebrating Cats fans at Fed Square and beyond, hopefully catching up with Scott. If we lose I'll go to Etihad Stadium to watch the NRL Preliminary Final between the Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos.

Grand Final Eve

Tomorrow is AFL Grand Final day, the showdown is nearly here and I have arrived in Melbourne for the big game. I'm feeling confident about the Cats. Form and fitness and finals experience should give them an advantage over the Saints and the weather is tipped to be cold wet and windy, conditions Geelong are more accustomed to at Kardinia Park than StKilda who played most of their games under the roof at Docklands. None of this guarantees anything, StKilda have been great this season and Nick Riewoldt is capable of winning the game off his own boot if he gets loose. The game in round 14 was a classic and there's every chance the GF will rival it. The experts and commentators are tipping Geelong at a ratio of about 3 to 1 and the bookies have them as favourites. The Saints will have the majority of support from the neutrals because of having only ever won one flag, back in 1966 and it would certainly be a romantic victory for them. Any other year I'd be happy for them to win it, but not this year, not against the Cats.
At lunchtime I'm going into the city for the Grand Final parade then to the MCG to pick up my ticket.

I'm staying at Gary and Christine's place at Doreen which is near Whittlesea and Kinglake, scene of the horrific bushfires earlier this year.
As an extra bonus, Russell and Lucy have leant me their car while they're away in New Zealand for two weeks which makes getting around a lot easier.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Very Happy

It's been a great day for Cats fans, and for this Cats fan in particular.
After three years of being favourite, Gary Ablett finally won the Brownlow medal, an award he fully deserved. He has already won the AFL Player's Association MVP, the ABC Footballer of the Year, and the Lou Richards medal this season but now he has football's highest individual honour of the all.
And I got a ticket to the Grand Final!!
My number came up in the member's ballot (for the second year in a row!) and I'm guaranteed a ticket to the BIG Game. It is fantastic news. Checking the ballot results was a nervous exercise. The numbers were printed randomly rather than in numerical order and it wasn't until the 35th of 36 pages that my number appeared. Considering Geelong has over 37,000 members and only received an allotment of 12,500 tickets to the game, I feel very fortunate and blessed to be going.
Carn the Cats!

I don't even have to worry about missing the A Grade volleyball grand final because we lost the prelim final tonight and didn't make it through!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's the Cats and the Saints in the Grand Final

Geelong thumped Collingwood tonight by 73 points to set up the Grand Final most people wanted, the two best teams in the league playing off on the last Saturday in September.
St Kilda won a thriller last night, coming from behind more than once to beat the gallant Bulldogs.
It sets up a mouth-watering prospect for the Big One.
While I was very happy with the Cats win, I was VERY unhappy with Channel 10 who did not show the game live in Perth (where I currently am, having come up to Mandurah for a training day). I could not believe it! The second biggest game of the season and they have a delayed telecast, a full quarter behind the live action!!!!! Even Queensland got it live, as did regional WA. eg. Busselton, where I would ordinarily have watched it!
I had to screen my text messages and advise the various footy texters messaging me that I was not getting it live and not to reveal the scores or the outcome.
TV channels play us punters for fools, knowing they've got us over a barrel and there's nothing we can do about it but Ithink it is despicable and will be writing to express my disgust!
Here endeth the rant but I had to get that off my chest!
I have a flight booked to Melbourne for the Grand Final. I will find out on Monday morning whether I've scored a Grand Final ticket in the member's ballot. Even if I'm unsuccessful in the ballot I am still going to Melbourne, and hoping to be there to see the Cats win the flag.
Go Cats.