Saturday, January 31, 2009

Made it

I survived the first week back at school. Sure I was only there for two days, but they were tough.
I had to stay awake for a start.

Despite last night's attempt to get to bed earlier, events conspired against me.
Just as I was dropping off The Heir sent a text asking me to come and pick him up after the staff BBQ. So it was after one before I got back to bed.

Today's main activity was providing lunch for all the staff. I've become the unofficial Sausage Sizzle King it seems, I'm certainly the Go-To Man whenever someone wants something BBQd at school. I tried to add some variety to the standard sausage and onions menu today by adding potato slices and a couple of big platters of sliced fruit. That proved to be popular and everyone had sufficient to eat. The Summer stone fruit season is my favourite, I've almost been living on nectarines the last few weeks.

I came home and slept for a couple of hours after work before Sport Boy woke me up with the news that I was due to start my taxi shift in five minutes!

It was a long slow quiet night in the cab, the only excitement being my frantic attempts to kill the radio whenever they threatened to give the result of the tennis. I've recorded tonight's game between Nadal and Devasco in the Australian Open semi-final. Sounds like it was a great match and I always enjoy watching something more if I don't know the result.
Whoever wins (won) I'm hoping Roger Federer wins the final so he can equal Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slams, and then hopefully go on to win at least one more.

Friday, January 30, 2009

State of Shock

It was the first day back at work after the Christmas holidays today.

It was a struggle!


And mentally.

Thank goodness the kids don't come back till Monday.

I got a few things done but my productivity rate was about as uninspiring as the global economy.

Hopefully I'll pick up the pace and stamina over the next few days.

Tonight we went to a staff BBQ at the Bayview Resort for Mrs Holt Press' workplace. It was pleasant out on the lawn eating nice (free) food and meeting a few of her co-workers but eventually the cold became too much and we headed home. How ironic that we are having such lovely cool weather here while the eastern states are sweltering in record temperatures.

I didn't make it to bed as early as I'd hoped last night but tonight is looking more promising.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Home Handyman on the Loose

It's back to work tomorrow, it's been fun while it lasted.

Today's first task was to finish assembling a;ll the paperwork and figures for my (2008) tax return and send it all off to Big Brother the Accountant. A little later than normal, so much so that the tax dept.'s debt collectors rang him the other day to ask where it was!!
It was good to finally get it done. Hopefully it will all make sense to BB and be lodged shortly.
paperwork done I turned my attention to a few home handyman jobs this afternoon, which means of course I need to blog about it. I hung two sets of coat hooks that Mrs Holt Press bought at IKEA, one in our wardrobe and one in Sport Boy and Favourite Daughter's room. The aim is to promote neatness and decrease clutter on the "floordrobe".
Fingers crossed.

While I still had the drill out I decided that two years was long enough to wait before re-hanging the Roman blind in The Hair's room!
Easier said than done, which is a recurring theme in Holt Press Handymanning! My attempts to drill into the lintel proved fruitless. Closer inspection revealed that it was metal. Hmmm! This called for heavy artillery...back to Bunnings to buy the toughest drill bit I could find. Ready, aim, drill!
I may as well have bought an engraver for all the penetration I achieved! The drill bit slid around in a flowery pattern but made no vertical progress. I was stumped! Time to call in the BIG GUNS! That's right, I rang Birchy. I told him my troubles. Unexpectedly he admitted that this was a job too tough even for the likes of him. "Don't try and drill into the lintel, you can't do it"!! Shock horror!
Before I collapsed in incredulity he suggested I try plan B and described how he had overcome the same problem.
Some sort of bracket screwed onto the side of the window recess was required.
Reassured, I went looking for something suitable and after fossicking around in some trays of scrap metal in the back yard found a couple of heavy duty brackets that ought to do the trick. Only after I sawed off half of each one that is! Out with the trusty $4 WA Salvage hacksaw and half an hour and with the assitance of The Hair later, they were cut and ready.
Drilling the holes and attaching them was easy but now the blind was too long to fit in the slots of the brackets. 15 minutes of defrocking the drapery later I'd adjusted the length and voila it fit, after we repositioned the eye-hooks holding the blind cords that is.
It's up, it looks good, The Hair is happy and I'm satisfied, mission accomplished.
I am seriously trying to get bed earlier tonight so I can get to work on time in the morning. Good night.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Spirit Dampened

One of the big events in the Busselton Festival is the crowning of the Festival Queen and the Burning of the Festival Spirit followed by fireworks. This all happens down on the riverbank near the shire headquarters. Saturday night was the big night.
The Festival Spirit is an efigy constructed by the local Lion's Club each year, mounted on a raft, and set alight. The large head, as pictured in the local paper, is filled with paper to make it more flammable, and rests atop a seated body built around a metal frame. The raft is kept afloat by four 44 gallon drums.

Saturday night in the taxi was pretty quiet (except for the four young blokes who were dropping brown eyes at the passing cars on Layman Rd) so I went on standby and joined the spectators down by the river. The Festival Queen entrants arrived by barge and the winner was revealed, along with the charity queen.

Then came the moment to set the Spirit alight.

The local SES crew motored out to it in their runabout and one of their crew climbed aboard the raft and took hold of the flame to do the deed.

Suddenly, disaster struck!

The raft started to lean, then to tip and finally capsize, dumping the SES bloke in the river and causing the Spirit efigy to fall sideways into the water.
The crowd were stunned, then amused in the way that only a crowd can be at someone else's expense and misfortune.
The SES plucked their man from the water but before any sort of rescue of the Spirit could be effected, it sank, fully submerging the head and body, leaving only the 44s in the air as evidence of its presence!
The announcer, who had been struggling most of the night, came out with his best line in the circumstance: "Ladies and Gentlemen. let's not let this dampen our spirits, on with the fireworks"!

Without wanting to rejoice in other people's troubles, I suspect it will be the best remembered Burning of the Spirit in the history of the Festival!

We have spent a very quiet Australia Day, not even a barbie. Just a sleep-in, watching Sth Africa disdainfully dismiss us in the cricket and the tennis on TV. I went to Bunnings and got several sheets of MDF board cut into different sizes then brought them home and prepared them with gesso so I can paint on them. I'm planning an exhibition early this year and am keen to get as many paintings done for it as I can.

The Hair submitted his resume at a local fish and chip shop who are looking for staff. Whether they're looking for one with long hair, half a head of dreadlocks and a pierced nose remains to be seen!!!! He then went up to Perth with Lauren and some other friends to see the Australia Day fireworks on the Swan River.

This evening I got a phone call from Favourite Daughter to say that the car had over-heated just near Sue's Rd and could I come out and help her. A couple had stopped to help her and when I brought out 5 litres of water she was able to get it started and drive it slowly home the last 7km to our place.

The Heir has been working, sleeping, working, sleeping the last few days but he did go to Dunsborough with some friends this afternoon.

Sport Boy convinced his mum to go and play tennis with him this morning. She slept all afternoon!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year

In an interesting coinicidence, this is my 888th post on HoltPress2 and it is Chinese new Year. The Chinese consider 8 to be a lucky number, you may remember that the Beijing Olympics started at 8:08:08 on the 08/08/08.

There's no deliberate connection but it is just after 8 in the morning here, a most unusual time for me to be blogging. I drove the 12 hour shift in the taxi last night and it was one of the deadest nights ever. I only did 17 jobs in that time, although one of them was to Bunbury, a $90 fare.

I was too tired to keep driving at 5.00am so pulled over to a side street and slept for an hour before doing one final job. The catnap has tided me over enough to enable me to go and have a look around the Busselton markets by the old train station. I bought nectarines (I LOVE nectarines!!) and 4 plants. Anyone who knows me knows I don't do gardening but Mrs Holt Press has been doing a bit of gardening recently so I thought she might like a few new plants. I don't know what they are, I just liked the look of them. The sellers did tell me whether they liked shade or direct light and whether they were hardy or thirsty but this info took the direct route from one side of my head to the other without stopping to bother my brain before exiting. It could also have had something to do with sleep deprivation.

I've just checked the soccer scores and am disappointed to report that despite taking an early lead at Old Trafford Spurs lost 2-1 to Manchester United in the 4th round of the FA Cup. Hopefully we'll get some revenge when we meet again in the Carling Cup Final at Wembley on March 1.

Just time to mention yesterday morning's garage sale outcomes. There was a plethora of GS's in Cloisters which made life easier and at one a bloke was selling CDs for $1 each. Not the rubbishy CDs you get at St Vinnies for a dollar, these were known and popular artists, thus I came home with a selection of music from The Cranberries, Midnight Oil, The Chemical Brothers, Something For Kate, The Fugees, Pink Floyd, U2, Faith No More, Green Day, Lauren Hill, Live, Smashing Pumpkins, Tool and REM plus a few compilation albums. The Hair had only just asked me the night before if I still bought new CDs and I'd said no as I had all the music I needed. This though was too good a bargain to pass up.

Bed is calling although my own bed is occupied by Sport Boy who had to come home from a sleepover at Ben A's place late last night because of an allergic reaction to their cat. Mrs HP decided to let him sleep with her so she could keep an eye and an ear on him in case he got distressed. The fact that he's still there as the time approaches 9.00am suggests that he hasn't had any further trouble sleeping! I've been hoping he might get up before I finish blogging so I can sleep in my own bed.

Ironically The Hair has just gotten up. He is never up before Sport Boy!
Clever and cute!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Someone pranked the Heir's scooter while he was at work on Thurs night so he asked to borrow my car tonight in case they struck again. That left me the scooter to ride to work tonight (in the taxi).
Going to work, no problem.
Coming home from work? Problem!
It was freezing!
The seat was wet with dew.
I couldn't wear my sunnies at night so my face was cold and eyes unprotected.
I'd have needed a minimum of two more layers of clothes to feel remotely comfortable.
Thankfully it's only a five minute ride from the depot to home. Any further than that and I'd have developed icicles enroute.
I stuck my head in the fridge when I got home just to warm up!

Apart from that it wasn't a bad night. A couple of flat spots but I had some good long fares which boosted my takings. Most of the drunks were friendly enough. One bloke was mumbling incomprehensibly, and repulsive, at least that's how it appeared as the girl he tried to get to share the cab home with him refused on 4 different occasions! The final confirmation came when he brazenly threw his food wrapper out the window of the cab as we drove down the main street. Then followed an incident dripping with hypocritical irony. Someone had knocked over a wheelie bin scattering rubbish over the main roundabout in town. He got out of the cab to remove the bin and clear away some of the debris, then proceeded to criticise the "idiots in this town who trash the place"!!!!
He was too drunk to confront, too ignorant to understand and too unintelligible to make sense of.
All I could do was rejoice that he clocked up a $30 fare!!

Friday, January 23, 2009


Everyone knows Tom Cruise is a bit of a fruit loop. He's on letterman at the moment confirming that very thing. But, he's not a bad actor and tonight I went to see his new film "Valkyrie" which is based on true events surrounding an attempt by conspirators in the German army in 1944 to assassinate Adolf Hitler. I don't know how accurate it was but it was fascinating and surprisingly gripping to watch considering that I knew how it ended from the start. Cruise plays Col. Stauffenberg, the driving force in the conspiracy. I hadn't heard of him before but I have heard of the German Christian theologian Dietrich Bonhoffer who was involved in a plot to kill Hitler and was martyred. I don't know if it was the same plot; according to the credits there were 15 different attempts to assassinate Hitler. Sadly none of them succeeded but Stauffenberg came very close, managing to set off a bomb at a meeting of Hitler's key Generals and staff at his headquarters known as "The Wolf's Lair".

He paid for his treason with his own life, along with dozens of others involved in the attempt, but his wife and children escaped and survived and she only passed away in 2006.

The best thing about the movie for me was coming to a realisation that there was significant resistance to Hitler within Germany and that so many people were committed to the attempt to kill him. Like many people I've wondered why the German people followed and obeyed such an evil dictator. No doubt fear played a big part but it was good to learn a little about people who defied their fear and acted audaciously for the cause of good in face of the incredible risk.

NB. I appreciated the fact that it was in English for ease of understanding but it did detract from the authenticity of the film.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Petticoat Lane

One of the highlights of the Busselton Festival each year is the Petticoat Lane Street Markets. Queen St is closed to traffic and over 100 stalls and vendors set up shop selling the usual range of craft, soap, art, jewelry, honey, nuts, candles, doilies, and assorted cheap junk, as well as a range of fund-raising food stands run by local community groups. It is a good night to wander up and down the street looking at all the things you don't want to buy, and occasionally stumbling across something you do. This year it was a BBQ apron made in Cambodia by women from the Hagar project. We have two lots of friends who work with Hagar, former chaplain Wilma and her husband Bart in Cambodia and Phil and Julie in Afghanistan so it was good to be able to support their work and get a useful item to boot.

A friend through church, Pauline had a stall selling beaded jewelry and key rings who told us that she had learnt to make them at Mum's craft classes at Augusta a couple of weeks ago!

The other highlight of the night was seeing a boy wearing a T-shirt with a saying that has taken on great significance recently: "I'm Beaced as Bro" was the title of a skit that Sport Boy performed with Daniel at the concert also in Augusta on the last night of the beach mission. It in turn was a take-off of a popular You Tube clip. I will try and put a link to the original but I've had trouble embedding You Tube clips of late.

Sorry, no go on embedding, in fact I've just been wrestling with some sort of heavy metal invader playing horrendous "music" on my computer from no visible or detectable source, very strange. meanwhile, here's the link to "I'm beached as Bro" a somewhat surreal dialogue between a beached whale and a seagull. SportBoy played the part of the seagull, minus the swearing!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

President Obama

America has a black President for the first time.
Barack Hussein Obama has been sworn in as the 44th President of the USA.

I joined the millions assembled in Washington and watching around the world as the new president was inaugurated.

After being tripped up by the Chief Justice who got the oath of office out of order Obama was eloquent and purposeful in his much awaited speech.

There was not the soaring rhetoric and political tub-thumping of the campaign, rather he was realistic, pragmatic and bluntly honest about the size of the challenge ahead in light of two wars and the financial crisis yet defiant and determined in stating his belief that America can survive the current dilemmas and re-emerge as a trusted world leader.

" We gather because we have chosen hope over fear"

"We will extend our hand (of friendship) if you will unclench your fist"
Rev. Lowery's benediction was fantastic, even launching into some rap at the end!

Obama has taken on the toughest job in the world at one of the most difficult times in history.
I hope and pray that God will grant him strength and wisdom, and protect him and his family.

It was a day of more mundane domestic activity in the Holt Press world. I drilled lots of holes and hung a broom holder and stationery rack for Mrs HP, fitted a new toilet roll holder in the second dunny, and put in several new picture hooks.
It is so good to be on holidays and able to pick and choose what I do and the time I take to do it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Spurs, Arizona and Dr Seuss

I realised after last night's post that there are two Daves in my life and I need to distinguish them so as not to confuse you, my loyal reader.
There is Docker Dave, fellow chaplain, married to Nicole, father of four including Brain Girl, who recently stayed at the Anglican campsite on the Holy Mile and kept us all in stitches while we played Balderdash.

Then there is Glass Dave, who runs a glass business and has a son named DJ, a slot car track, a truck and Foxtel.
It was Glass Dave's truck I borrowed to pick up the porch swing and it is Glass Dave who regularly records the sport I don't get to see on free-to-air TV. He has built up a backlog of NY Giants and NFL games and Tottenham League and Cup games over the last several weeks and today I finally got time to go and watch some of

them. He gave me a key to his place a while back so I can let myself in for some private viewing.
I watched last night's Spurs V Portsmouth game which finished 1-1 despite Tottenham having far more chances. The Portsmouth goalie saved several Spurs scoring attempts, then Pompey went 1-0 up before Jermaine Defoe scored the equaliser for his old club against his old club!!!
He played for Tottenham, was transferred to Portsmouth last season, then back to Tottenham two weeks ago, ironically by the former Portsmouth now Tottenham manager harry Redknapp.

I then turned my attention to the NFL game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles. Ex Collingwood player Sav Rocca plays for the Eagles while former Geelong captain Ben Graham plays for the Carinals, both as punters. It was a great game with Arizona building a big lead, surrendering it in the last quarter then coming back to win in the last couple of minutes. Ben becomes the first Aussie to play in the SuperBowl, quite a feat considering he was sacked by the NY Jets and also the New Orleans Saints and only signed for Arizona about six weeks ago!!!!

I did a few little odd jobs around the patio with the power tools this afternoon then I took Sport Boy and Favourite Daughter to the Deckchair Cinema at Signal Park down by the foreshore which is part of the Festival of Busselton. We saw Horton Hears a Who and loved it, very funny and enjoyable despite the cold weather. We rugged up as best we could but it was still cold.

All 4 HP kids are home again tonight after The Heir was the only one here the night before. They come and go frequently these days.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Swings and Roundabouts

You have to admit that's a pretty cool hat! especially seeing as it only cost me 2 bucks at a garage sale yesterday. Sadly, the former owner had passed away, thus the garage sale proprietor wasn't in the mood for haggling (over the price of a small table, not the hat) but $2 was a bargain anyway. I don't think the previous owner was wearing it at the time (of his death).

At another garage sale I bought this very nice porch swing. Barry, the seller wasn't too keen on haggling either but I did get $5 off the asking price of $125. I rang him later to say I wouldn't be able to get back to pick it up until tomorrow (today) and he told me he could have sold it three more times after I bought it! Just as well I'd left a deposit! I borrowed Dave's truck and The Heir's muscles to pick it up this afternoon. I'm pleased (relieved) to say that Mrs Holt Press loves it! She has complained about some of the things I've brought home from garage sales in the (recent) past so I was a little nervous about it. I needn't have been.
Occasionally I get the urge to dismantle things. Sometimes to salvage parts, screws, odd bits and pieces that may (or may not) come in handy and sometimes just for fun. I've extracted some pretty cool magnets from things like microwave ovens in the past. We have a surfeit of 2nd hand X-Boxes at the moment, thanks to both myself and Dave buying bulk X-Boxes very cheaply at auctions. This week I managed to assemble all of the necessary cords, plugs, controllers and disks in order to get one of them working, much to Sport Boy's delight. I took apart a second one, and an old CD/Radio and you can see the results here!
In case you didn't know, I can tell you there are a lot lot of hidden, and very strangely shaped screws that hold an X-Box together. I managed to get most of them apart and scrounge a variety of parts that may or may not appear in future art projects.
This latest episode of seek and discover was prompted by the purchase of this small but very powerful stereo and amplifier for a couple of dollars at yet another garage sale a few weeks ago. I have now got it installed and functioning with the TV/DVD player. As there are some 8 electronic gadgets plugged in and/or attached to the TV I decided to write a simple set of instructions explaining the required settings in order to watch a DVD, watch ABC or SBS on the digital set top box, watch a video tape, play X-Box or Nintendo, record something on the hard drive, amplify the sound, or just watch TV. It all made sense to me but Mrs HP was unable to decipher it when trying to watch something yesterday. I'm hoping this says more about her technical aptitude than my communication skills!
I wanted to add photographic evidence to my triumph over the old CD player which I think I mentioned the other night. I was about to take it apart and see what interesting bits it contained when I discovered a loose disk inside it. Wondering if this could have possibly been the cause of the problem I plugged it in to test it. Alas it still didn't work, the disks spun but the laser failed to read them, displaying a message that no disk was inserted. Plainly that was not true but something wasn't right. Undoing the clamp I exposed the little fish-eye laser reader. More in vague hope than expectation I proceeded to wipe the fish eye with my finger a few times, just on the off chance that might achieve something! To my utter astonishment, it did! It read the disk and once I reattached a couple of speakers it produced music, Jack Johnson to be precise. Suddenly my dismantling job had become a resurrection triumph. Sport Boy was keen to have it in his room and Mrs HP was pleased because it also plays tapes and thus gave her a home for a bag of kid's story and music tapes that have been under the bed for the last couple of years. To complete the job I bought the afore-mentioned (and pictured) little table for $5 to set it up on.
Meanwhile Sport Boy is having so much fun at Ryan's place that he's staying for a second night. Favourite Daughter and The Hair have arrived home from Perth. He has a sore shoulder, possible from working on the harvest, a sore head and neck from head banging at the concert last night where he almost gave himself concussion by head banging the stage (accidentally I presume) and worst of all, with his nose pierced, gasp, shock, horror! Mrs HP's stress levels rose on seeing it, undoing the good work of the previous few hours when I took her out for dinner at tha Vasse Cafe then onto the movies to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" which we both enjoyed.
Hopefully a good night's sleep will help her regain her sense of calm. If not, The Hair may need to lay low for a while. I think he's planning to spend a couple of days in Dunsborough with Zac W just in case.
Tomorrow morning I'm going round to Dave's to watch the NFL and see which of Ben Graham or Sav Rocca becomes the first Australian to play in a SuperBowl when Arizona play Philadelphia in the NFC Championship game. With the Giants out my allegiances have switched to the Arizona Cardinals and ex-Cat Ben Graham who left Geelong a few years ago to give Gridiron a try. Having missed out on the Cats drought breaking premiership in 2007 it would be great if he played in or won a SuperBowl.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hound Dog Blues

This is really funny, not to mention amazing and bizarre! Take a look.
Even you'll be glad you did Pop.

Friday Night

Friday night is taxi night but so far it's been very very quiet so I'm grabbing the chance to blog. Not that I've got much to say!

It's been stinking hot here today but even hotter in Perth, subsequently there are bushfires in several places including near Bridgetown where Mum and Walter live but it's well outside of town and not threatening their place.

I delivered some paintings to the HoJo's cafe today, they're going to hang them and hopefully attract some buyers! I dropped another couple off at the Courthouse gallery following the news that they sold one of my paintings (below) in December; the very welcome cheque arrived today, along with bills for three times the amount of the cheque!!! The bad news is that they confused it for another one of mine and sold it for $80 less than it was priced!!!!

I've been pottering around with some electronic gadgets the last couple of days, the result being that I have got one of the X-Boxes I bought at an auction working, I've rigged up an amp to the TV/DVD to produce some decent sound, and after starting to take it apart for bits and pieces actually managed to get my old stereo CD player working again! It's now in Sport Boy's room.

The phone just rang, someone wants a cab!!
Several hours later:
It was one of the quietest nights ever in the taxi, especially for a Friday. If it weren't for a Dunsborough job right at the end it would have been a disaster!
There's a Collectibles auction at 10 in the morning that I'd like to get to! Realistically that's not very likely, so I left a few bids with Dave the auctioneer on some badges and a couple of old toy planes. I have to work again tomorrow night, as does Mrs Holt Press and The Heir so I won't be rushing to get up in the morning.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Losing Count of Our Blessings

One of the many blessings of living in Busselton is the close proximity to wonderful places like Meelup Beach. We had a picnic tea there this evening and despite the friendliness of the flies and seagulls as we were eating, it was very pleasant. Not so much for SportBoy who stood on something sharp and cut his foot just after we got there but even he recovered enough to go in the water and play frisbee after tea.

Before Meelup I went out for a drink with Collo who is in town until tomorrow. I took him to The Ship so that he could see my paintings as well as have a drink. As a former chaplain he well understands my job with its various challenges and we discussed the current state of YouthCare affairs.

The rest of the day was spent pottering and painting. I tried again to get the boat started , and failed again. Having had a long chat with Jacqui R on the phone talking about Augusta she suggested I contact Bruce so I sms'd him seeking his advice. He replied that he was in Utah and suggested I take it to a boat shop! Thanks Bruce!

All four Holt Press offspring are at home at the moment. The Hair has returned from the harvest, although he's going up to Perth tomorrow to go to a "Whitechapel" concert with a couple of mates. Who or what is Whitechapel you ask?
A band of some description, no doubt somewhere between thrash and death metal, who derive their name not from the Monopoly board but rather as the area in which Jack the Ripper operated!!!!
Favourite Daughter is heading back to Perth tomorrow morning also, to work in the cafe and move her gear out of the house in Maylands that she was sharing with the other two girls. She and The Heir are hoping to find a place to share together and may have a lead on a unit in Subiaco so we're all praying that will come through.
The whisper in the wind is that The Heir is thinking of applying for a very significant job in Perth. Can't say any more now but I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Faces of Augusta

Some of the many (80-odd) team members from the SU Augusta Family Festival.

I went to visit Docker Dave and Nicole again tonight, partly to pick up my sunnies and partly to see if Dave had sobered up yet! He had.
Nicole had fooled me into thinking she likes Scrabble but turns out she was only joking.
That made the Scrabble set I took with me redundant.
Instead of playing games they introduced me to their friends John and Maggie and we sat chatting as the night grew darker and colder. Sadly, most of the good stories were declared off-limits to the blog!

This afternoon I attempted to make good on my vow: To take the boat out for my maiden voyage this Summer. I emptied it of all the accumulated debris, mostly fodder for the up-coming garage sale with the odd interesting or useful item scattered amongst it, brushed off the cobwebs and dirt, connected the fuel tank, found the right place for the hose calipers/earmuffs, turned the hose on, switched the engine to run, primed the tank, pulled out the choke, wondered how many other things I'd forgotten, and gave the cord a pull.
The first 4-5 pulls yielded nothing.
The 6th caused the motor to burst into life for a few short seconds before expiring- just enough to give me hope that I was on the right track.
I wasn't.
The next 20-30 pulls resulted in failure. The motor refused to start. I tinkered with things, tried a few different settings, opened the cowling to have a look and see if anything reached out to grab me and say "don't forget to adjust the whatchamacallit" but nothing did, put the cowling back on, gave it a few more tries then gave up. What else could I do?
The brief moment of engine life was apparently just a tease.
It will require a greater marine brain than mine to get it started/work out what's wrong.
The lack of activity for the last two years could have something to do with it I guess, though I don't know what. Maybe the fuel is past its use-by-date? Perhaps it has developed land-based dementia. Or possibly the two year time-span since I was given my one and only lesson on how to start/run/maintain/not sink the boat was too great an encumbrance to overcome at the first attempt.
I would have rung Bruce, the previous owner, and benefactor, for a fe but he's away in America somewhere and not knowing the time difference or his exact location, decided not to call in case he was asleep somewhere.
Plan B is to go looking for someone "boatie" tomorrow and see if they can set me straight.
You can be sure that if I manage to get the HoltPress Vessel afloat you will see and hear all about it! Ahoy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Put that on your bloody blog Marcus"

That was the parting shot from Dave after a hilarious night of playing Balderdash with him and his family down at the Anglican campsite last night. The game was great but it was Dave's antics that really had us laughing. He had some social lubrication keeping him going and the more he imbibed the funnier he became! With words like DRONKSHIP and SWORDICK as ammunition nothing was going to stop him, not even the rebukes of his "apalled" offspring!
Rhys requested that his name be highlighted in this report of proceedings, so here it is!
We had gone down to visit them for a BBQ and met up with Geoff W who was also camping there. He joined the game, with his bottle of red, and plenty of high spirits flowed.
They were planning to get up and play golf at 7 this morning but Mrs HP and I were very dubious about their chances of making it.

We had spent the afternoon touring a few galleries around Vasse and Yallingup. I entered two paintings in the Vasse Art Show but was disappointed to find that they had only hung one of them in the exhibition!

I have found another outlet though, the HoJo's cafe in town. I finally met them today in the flesh, having gotten to know them over the net via our respective blogs. They are keen to develop the cafe as an outlet for local artists to display and sell their work so I'll take a few paintings in this week and give it a go.

We had a surprise but welcome guest arrive tonight, Favourite Daughter has come "home" for a few days. She and The Heir are planning to move into a house together up in Perth next week, they just need a third person to share with them.

I cooked a BBQ for dinner and we sat outside amidst the candles, eating and talking.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

MCG @ Augusta

Favourite Daughter has been developing a keen interest in photography and got some great pictures while we were at Augusta, including this one of Sport Boy jumping rock pools.
I'm hoping this budding interest might open up some career thinking for her.
At the sandcastle competition I had my first go at sand carving using the methods I learnt through talking to a sand sculptor a couple of years ago. The key to success, apart from having some artictic ability and a steady hand, is in the preparation. Getting the sand ready to carve. To do that you need to pack it tightly and to do that I enlisted Birchy's help. He knocked up some basic form-work and we used this to create a strong foundation, a solid block of sand from which to create our "masterpiece". Our subject was a place close to both our hearts, the MCG!
While not an exact scale replica, we were very pleased with the outcome from our first attempt and I look forward to bigger and better creations next year!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Normal Blogging will Resume Shortly

We're home.

All went very well in Augusta, one of the best missions we've ever had, especially for me personally. No emotional crashes or major conflicts to derail my involvement.
The weather was perfect.
The team were exceptional.
The program was executed exactly as planned.
I couldn't be happier with the impact and outcome of our endeavours.

As usual there was lota of hard work, but the way we spaced out the activities and built in time for developing relationships was way better than the frenetic pace and endless activity we used to be caught up in, and it showed in the greater depth and significance of conversations with campers.

I was happy and satisfied with the things I had personal responsibility for:

The daily newspapers took a lot of time to produce, sometimes well into the early hours of the morning and on one occasion not finished until 4.30, but were well received and appreciated. Achieving the right balance of news headlines, sports updates, puzzles, comics, humour and jokes, pictures, editorial comment and low-key Christian input in order to make an attractive publication is the goal. Wrestling with the vagaries of mobile desktop publishing and unco-operative printers made life trying but by the end all was working well and I even had the last edition finished before midnight!

I lead the drama team for the first time and despite a patchy beginning was happy with how it went. For several years we've had highly rehearsed original dramas with very high production values but it was my suggestion to try and simplify things this year, therefore we adapted Max Lucado's Wemmick stories featuring Eli the wood carver, Punchinello and Lucia into dramas with a narrated style and getting kids involved as characters and extras. As the instigator and in the absence of any other volunteers, I became the Narrator/Eli character which meant having to be ready for the riverside program on the four mornings it ran during the week and rehearsing and organizing the kids. They did a great job, especially Jerome as Punchinello who was very diligent in his committment. I made life difficult for him on the first day by trying to improvise some of my lines, unfortunately I failed to deliver the cues he was waiting for and thus left him stranded a couple of times. After that I stuck to the script and the dramas ran pretty smoothly. There wasn't as much humour as I'd have liked but the few jokes I did write or ad-lib all drew a laugh, especially from the parents watching from the coffee shop.

I ran the quiz night which is always popular and it went well, except for the customary tecnical problems. I had the questions all displayed in a powerpoint presentation but when I attempted to do some editing of questions on the run the projector and the computer didn't want to talk to each other. We got there but it was a little frustrating and of course there were the small number of questions with controversial or multiple answers to stir up the competitive souls in the crowd. The initial non-appearance of the vanilla slice booby prize and subsequent mystery disappearance of the substituted cheese cake put back in the cool room by the over-efficient kitchen team were all just minor impediments to a good night.

As Co-Director of the Festival and up-front leader I have a big role in setting and maintaining the lines of communication within the team and creating the temporary community/family atmosphere that is so essential to the over-all success of the whole event. I was very happy with how this all went, especially the lunch time sessions where as well as the normal business and house-keeping issues to deal with time is given to acknowledging and affirming individual's contributions as well as bloopers and blunders in a "Brickbats & Bouquets" session known as "Lolly Time". People report the good the bad and the funny incidents of the day to me and I then recount the stories to the team, accompanied by a lolly as a "reward". This is often funny, sometimes touching and emotional and on occasion inspirational.
The other element of Co-Directing is dealing with the multitude of day to day decisions regarding what we're doing, when and how, as well as dealing with rare but important issues of concern or discipline within the team. We have an executive leadership group who share responsibility for policy and decision-making before and during the festival and we met a couple of times to keep track of how everything was going.

I'll leave the rest of the update on Augusta until tomorrow, and add some pictures.
A lot of the initial unpacking has been done but presently the PA gear that lives in my office at work is crowding out the study and needs to be reloacted and a few other tasks need to be done to re-establish some order.

I had only been home for an hour and a half when I had to go to work driving a taxi last night, Gavin had called a couple of days before saying they were desperately short and could I drive on Saturday night. I needn't have bothered, it was the deadest night I've ever had in the cab and bearly worth the effort for the 8 hours of my time it took up.

Sport Boy has gone to Perth with Graeme and some kids to watch Perth Glory play tonight.
The Hair has returned to Corrigin to work on the wheat bin.
Favourite Daughter is in Perth and will shortly be followed by The Heir, they have found a house to share together and will both be looking for work.
The English crew have all departed for home, leaving behind cards and gifts of thanks and many mutually shared wonderful memories of their time in Australia.
The only down point of the Festival was the urgent departure of Mum and Walter half way through. They had to go to Perth to look after Walter's daughter Wendy's family because she is seriously ill in hospital, first having had her gall bladder removed and then learning that part of her pancreas had died and may require further surgery.
Mrs Holt Press is unpacking and creating some order and cleanliness in the house after various Holt Press offspring have left a trail of mess and disorder in their wake in transit.
Tonight, if we're awake, we are going to see "Australia" at the cinema.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Running Errands = Blog opportunity

Beach mission/Family Festival is going well. Not without the usual array of hiccups and challenges but nothing serious.
I'm back in Busso briefly to pick up some printer cartridges. Sadly the new laser printer I bought for the specific reason of using it at Augusta is playing up. Just as well I'd taken a back up printer. I've also picked up another 20 bench stools, part of a replacement drive to phase out the old plastic chairs.
A couple of other little errands and I'll head back to Augusta but being this close to home I couldn't pass up the opportunity to blog!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

In what can only be described as a minor miracle, I am ready to go to Augusta!
5 hours sleep. 3 hours packing. And we're about to depart.
In qualification I should say that Mrs Holt Press is not ready but seeing as we are taking 9 people, three cars, two trailers, enough gear to equip a medium sized army, and a partridge in a pear tree, that's not bad. The Heir, Sport Boy, Ian and I are heading off in the advance troop carrier, Mrs HP and Sammie will follow once she's packed, and Emma & Megan will come tomorrow once they've finished their Uni assignments. Favourite Daughter will also follow some time today, and Dave has left to pick up the marquee and deliver it to Augusta for me.
Now, if only I'd had time to eat something other than the caramel deluxe chocolate Sport Boy brought home from the Mitchell's new Years Eve party and the nectarine pit that I'm still scouring for morsels of flesh! No time now, the deadline awaits.
Tally Ho! Augusta Family Festival here we come.

Blogging will be spasmodic at best for the next ten days, see if you can get by without me!!!!

happy New Year

Happy 2009

Happy New Year! I started work last year and didn't finish until this year! A 10 hour shift in the taxi on New Year's Eve, the busiest night of the year, was good for the wallet but not good for beach mission. We're due in Augusta in 7 hours time!! That would be OK if we were packed, but we're not! Mrs Holt Press worked tonight as well and I have been flat out finishing preparing the newspapers for Augusta, a task I didn't complete until 5 o'clock this afternoon! The next hour was spent madly photo-copying newspapers, faxing forms and packing all the PA gear in the car. Apart from not being packed I also haven't screen printed the adult team's aprons yet! Or done any more work on the drama scripts to try and write a few jokes in. In the 12 years we've been going to Augusta this is by far the most un-prepared I've been, especially this close to departure date!
But, all of that will have to wait because right now my priority is sleep. If I don't get some of that now the day will be a write-off!
Keep praying for me!!