Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

2010 has been a BIG year at Holt Press. 

A move across the country.

A new job.

A new life in many respects.

I'm looking forward to 2011, hopefully a year of consolidation.

All the best to you, your family and friends. May God bless you in whatever you do.

See you next year.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in Ocean Grove

We decided to keep things pretty low key this Christmas but there were a few presents to share.
Sport Boy did Santa duty. We visited Alan in the afternoon and after church today we called in on Fran & Bruce.

 I got a couple of books: We Are Geelong, the history of the Cats and one by Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear, as well as a great little guide to all the op shops in the Geelong region!

Mrs HP got a cute purse and the complete set of Seachange DVDs.

Sport Boy got a webcam and a Skating Monkey T-shirt.

Favourite Daughter got a funky wallet, a rug and some money.

Last night Favourite Daughter and Mrs Holt Press made a beautiful meal, turkey and veges, prawns and pavlova or plum pudding for dessert. Yum! 
Today I successfully bid for a table tennis table on ebay, from someone in Ocean Grove! Sport Boy is very happy.
Not so good is the cricket! We are off to the MCG tomorrow for day 2 of the Boxing Day test. Methinks we shall spend the day seeing England secure the retention of the Ashes! Favourite Daughter and Mrs HP are spending the day shopping in Melbourne.
I hope and trust that you have had a safe,enjoyable and blessed Christmas and I wish you well for the approaching new year.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Excitement Brewing at Holt Press

Favourite Daughter arrives today!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Guests From "Home"

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thanks George

Sport Boy has been going to the church youth group since we got here and has made a number of friends. At their end of year wind-up a couple of weeks ago the kids gathered at the beach for a "Messy Night".
The results speak for themselves. Needless to say a good time was had by all (depsite the cold stormy weather on the night).

Mrs Holt Press and I went to the work social club Christmas Dinner last weekend. You can have a smile or eyes open but not both!

 On Saturday I hired a trailer and drove up to Melbourne to pick up some bedroom furniture from Trevor and Anne. It is for Favourite Daughter's bedroom and seeing as she arrives in a week the job had to be done.
On the way I stopped to have a look at the South Melbourne markets but because of the trailer I had to park a long way away. It took me about half an hour to walk a couple of kilometres through the streets of Albert Park, a beautiful leafy suburb of Melbourne, to get to the markets. 
A missed text and phone call exchange with Trevor meant I needed to hurry back to the car and head over to Thornbury to collect the load so as not to hold him up. Knowing it would take quite a while to walk back to the car I was thinking about how to get there quicker when opportunity knocked: in the shape of George. That's him in the convertible BMW. 

He was stopped at the lights outside the market so I asked him if he was going my way. He leaned over to open the door and generously offered me a lift in his sports car, his "toy" as he described it. I had taken note of several landmarks on my journey to the markets, a park, a tram line, a particular shop etc, even taking photos of some of them so I was fairly confident I knew the way back to the car. It turns out my confidence was sadly misplaced! The streets of Albert Park melded and blurred and although we passed a couple of things I recognised, for the life of me I could not direct him back to the car. This was doubly frustrating as the big green trailer on the back of it should have made it easy to spot. George was very friendly and obliging and we chatted happily but as the time ticked by and we began to drive up and down the same streets for the second or third time he politely confided that he needed to get back to take his son out for lunch! I was feeling pretty bad: he was doing me a huge favour and I was holding him up and still the whereabouts of my car remained a mystery! Eventually he was forced to give up the quest and dropped me off somewhere in the "general vicinity" of my target! 
Thanks George, sorry to stuff you around, although I did enjoy the ride in your very cool car. 
I walked a couple of blocks, took a couple of turns, saw something I thought I recognised on the other side of the road, figured I must be close, then looked at the cars parked on the side of the street and what did I see sitting right in front of me? My big blue car and bright green trailer! Relief. The worst thing is that I reckon we must have driven past it at least once but in my disorientated state I was looking for it in a different location!
I had rung Trevor to say I was lost so he at least knew what was causing the delay. I sent him a text to say I'd found the car and was finally on my way!

 I hurried over to the rendezvous point, loaded the bed, dressing table and chest of drawers and set off for home!

 A couple of the landmarks I had noted while walking to the markets, neither of which I could find on the return journey!!
This is "James Service Place" in Albert Park, one of the widest streets I've ever seen. Despite its size, we couldn't find it either.
I'm generally pretty good with directions and finding my way around so this was an uncomfortable and disconcerting experience. Hopefully not a sign of things to come!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

RIP John

Sport Boy was away on a school camp at Queenscliff for the first three days of this week. Today he's at home with a very bad sore throat. Any connection? Maybe.
He can now stand up on a surf board though so there was some good to come out of the experience.
I don't start till 10 past 3 today so am getting stuck into a piece of art that has been formulating in my mind for a long time.
Mrs Holt Press is in Geelong visiting her Dad.

John Lennon, 1940-1980

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the death of John Lennon, Dec 8, 1980.
I will never forget that day. It still counts as one of the worst days of my life. I was working at a menswear store in Cairns when the news came on the radio, first that Lennon had been shot and sghortly after that confirming that he was dead. I was stunned. I couldn't stay at work and told the boss I was taking the rest of the day off. I went and bought a copy of Double Fantasy, the album he had just released and spent the rest of the day listening to it and trying to comprehend the terrible news.
I love The Beatles. I grew up in the 60's but really fell in love with their music as a teenager in the 70's. I was surprised to realise that I knew all the words to their songs. I suspect I absorbed them sub-consciously through hearing Alan, aka Big Brother the Accountant play their records constantly. Sgt Pepper was the first album I ever bought. My favourite songs were/are Paperback Writer, Come Together and Get Back. I watched The Beatles Cartoon show on TV and the opening bars of Hard Day's Night always bring it to mind.
I didn't have a favourite Beatle, they were all great in my eyes. I always hoped that some day they would get back together but John's death put paid to that ever happening.
Rock stars have a tendency towards self-destruction and many have died prematurely as a result of their own actions but John had emerged intact from that lifestyle and was living an idyllic domestic life with Yoko and their son Sean in New York. He had campaigned for peace and been pursued and persecuted by J. Edgar Hoover and Nixon who tried to have him kicked out of America. He had survived the crazy life of turmoil, mega-fame, adulation, the madness of Beatlemania, the drugs and parties and all of the excesses that went with being a Beatle, only to be gunned down on the streets of New York, shot in the back outside his apartment building by a demented "fan". It was a dreadful way to die and a sad and tragic waste of a life that shone brighter than most. Thankfully we have his music as a permanent reminder of his talent. John's music post-The Beatles was the best ot the four of them and Paul in particular seemed to lose the edge and brilliance he had had when co-writing and collaborating with John in the band.
A lot of people have been critical and cruel about Yoko Ono and her influence on John and the break-up of The Beatles. I prefer to think that they found true love, that they were kindred spirits, artists and lovers who were good for one another. If John was happy with Yoko that was good enough for me: who was I to judge someone else's choice of partner.

When George became the second Beatle to die, of cancer, many years later, I felt sad but it had nowhere near the impact that John's death did. Perhaps John's death signalled the end of an era, the end of The Beatles and the end of the dream, the end of childhood and innocence. I had never met him, never seen him in person, but it felt personal, like a family memeber had been killed. I've probably had worse days since but not many and none of them stand out so clearly in my memory as that dark day in December 1980.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Qatarstrophe for Aussie Soccer

The news from Zurich was not good...for Australia that is.
On the other hand if you are one of the 1.6m Qatarites in the world, the news was great!

Not only did Australia not win the the right to host the 2022 World Cup, we only got one vote and were the first country eliminated!! I blame Elle myself! Gotta blame somebody!

The Poms were equally disappointed, losing the 2018 WC to Russia and suffering the same ignominy, being first eliminated in the vote.

I would have loved to have seen the World Cup Finals played in Australia but putting it in perspective, soccer is poorly supported in this country. Lots of kids play it but once it gets to professional level soccer is at the bottom of the totem pole beneath Aussie Rules, Rugby League and Rugby Union. "A League" soccer crowds average less than 5000 a game and over 10,000 is considered a great crowd whereas AFL games regularly attract 30,000+ for "ordinary" games and up to 90,000 for the big games. Rugby League still holds sway in NSW and Queensland but their crowds are unimpressive by comparison, with 20,000 considered a great crowd.
On the world stage, soccer is definitely Number One, but here in Australia it runs a long way behind the indigenous game and as a result of this morning's decision, probably will for a very long time to come.

Tragedy in the Kimberley

Meanwhile, in news from the family, Favourite Daughter sent a very sad text this morning letting us know that a teacher from Halls Creek High School and two young men were killed in a horror car crash last night, with two other children badly injured. FD is in Halls Creek at the moment, visiting her friend Casey and the kids she worked with at the school last year so it is particularly devastating for her and the town.
Having dealt with families and school communities in the aftermath of tragic deaths many times while I was a school chaplain, I know how terrible this event will be for all the family and friends concerned and what a pall of grief and sadness will have descended upon the town and the school. We are praying for them.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Big Decision

By the time I get up for work (at 4.30) tomorrow morning, we will know whether Australia has won the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

I sure hope so.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Reasons to be Cheerful

I get to sleep in tomorrow morning.
I don't start until 10 past 6!

NB. Image unrelated to post!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Big Week for Spurs

It's a good time to be a Spurs fan. I have passionately followed Tottenham Hotspur since I was 12 years old and saw them win the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup in person back in the early 80's. Tottenham have had their share of success but not quite delivered in the league, their last championship occcurring in 1961, the year I was born. Admittedly they did win the League and Cup double that year.
Last season they qualified to play in the European Champions League for the first time by finishing 4th in the Premier League. Despite being drawn in the same group as the holders, Inter Milan, Spurs have done extremely well and currently lead the group, having beaten Inter in London a couple of weeks ago.
The last week has seen them play arch rivals Arsenal, and Liverpool in the league either side of a mid-week tie against Werder Bremen from Germany.
The game against the Gooners was atway at the Emirates Stadium, a daunting task considering Spurs have never won there in the league and indeed haven't beaten Arsenal away for 17 years!! By half time we were 2-0 down and looking like continuing the losing streak. But, not this time! Spurs hit back to draw level and then in the final 5 minutes grabbed the winning goal, 3-2. Beating Arsenal is about as good as it gets for a Spurs fan, doing it at their ground and denying them top spot on the table in the process is even sweeter.

 Kaboul gets the winning goal against the Gooners.

Next came the Champions League game against Bremen. A win would guarantee Tottenham qualification for the second round. It was never in doubt as Spurs triumphed 3-0. Top of group A. and be in the last 16 in the competition, awesome. Modric and Kaboul scored against the Germans.

Then last night Spurs hosted Liverpool at White Hart Lane and came from a goal down to win 2-1 and move to 5th in the League. Aaron Lennon scored the winner in the 92nd minute.

I'm a happy man. A few months back, while I was still in Busselton I met a bloke from Sydney, David, who is as mad about Spurs as I am and since then we have been swapping text messages most weeks, discussing the team's great form and wonderful results. It's cool to have a friend who shares my life-long passion for Tottenham.

In other sports news, the NY Giants beat the Jacksonville Jaguars this morning (Melbourne time).

I've got a day off today before another week of early starts, 5.30 tomorrow morning. Next week I finally get a reprieve and have a week of late starts (and finishes). Although I don't like the early morning starts, I do admit there is an upside when I finish work by 1 or 2pm on those days.

Sport Boy and Mrs Holt Press went to Melbourne on Saturday to watch Brody compete in an internation Brazilian Ju Jitsu tournament. Brody is the son of Dave, with whom The Heir works and he and Sport Boy get along really well. He didn't win his bout but they had a great day by all accounts.

Favourite Daughter is still in Halls Creek but has let us know the good news that she'll be flying to Melbourne on Dec 20. It will be great to have her back with the family. Sport Boy in particular will be rapt, he is missing his friends from WA at the moment but having his big sister around will be a real blessing for him.
I'm just about to go and pick him up from school.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Anyone know who this is?

The one on the right I mean...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sport Boy Becomes a Teenager (Tomorrow...)

I have to work on Sport Boy's birthday (starting at lunchtime) and as there are no brothers/sisters/rellies around to celebrate the occasion on the day we decided to start the birthday events a day early. This afternoon we went and played golf together. It was his first ever game and I think he has a healthy respect for the difficulties of the game now. Mrs Holt Press came along to caddie and keep us company. My back is now feeling the effects too; it was my first game in several years.

Now we are about to go out to The Mex for a birthday dinner, that being the local Mexican restaurant in case it wasn't obvious.
Tomorrow morning there'll be presents and church before I leave for work.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sport Boy's Sporting Weekend

Sport Boy and I took full advantage of our new-found proximity to premier sporting events on Sunday.
We snuck out of church early and drove up to Melbourne to go to the final round of the Australian Masters at the Victoria Golf Club. There was a certain (recently notorious) African American golfer playing and we along with thousands of other people were keen to see him in the flesh (pardon the pun). Despite multiple off course discrepancies, he is one of if not THE greatest golfer in history, the highest paid sportsman in the world, and a genius/superstar at his chosen sport. Although he started the day 10 strokes behind the leader and was for all intents and purposes out of contention, he finally found some form with the putter, burned up the back nine and finished with birdie, eagle to become the clubhouse leader on 7 under. 

The overnight leaders faded as if to script or according to their names, Gaunt and Bland and dropped down the leaderboard, leaving Victorian and crowd favourite Stuart Appelby to storm home with a round of 6 under to win the Masters.
Sport Boy and I followed Mr Woods for several holes then after some food and a mosey through the merchandise and sponsor's marquees sat ourselves on the edge of the 18th green to watch the last couple of groups finish. Appelby received a rapturous response from the gallery and very nearly eagled the last hole, his putt missing by millimetres. It didn't matter, he was two strokes clear and could have two putted from less than an inch and still won the gold jacket.

Golfers have a reputation for shocking fashion sense.
As you can see, it is fully deserved!

Phase one complete, Sport Boy and I dashed back to the car and headed for Aami Stadium to see our team, Melbourne Heart play top of the table Brisbane Roar in the A League. Traffic, a poor sense of directionand lack of parking  meant we didn't get there till late in the first half, at which point Heart were leading 1-0 in a high quality game. Brisbane are not on top for nothing though and always looked more threatening in attack. Sure enough they equalised mid way through the second half and should have taken the lead when awarded a penalty but the Heart keeper saved the (poorly taken) spot kick to keep it 1-1. The home fans were the ones "roaring" at that point and Melbourne had opportunities to score but failed. Late in the game Brisbane took theirs to win the game 2-1. 

We went looking for suitable (gluten-free) food on the way home but after crossing the West Gate Bridge I drove through Williamstown, Newport, Sunshine and Altona without finding a Red Rooster. Just as we'd given up hope I tried one more exit and we found one tucked around a corner. Hunger dealt with we headed for home. Sport Boy was asleep before we were half way home, fed, happy and content after a great day out.

On Saturday morning I braved the rain and cold to cruise some garage sales. I found a bargain at one, a set of golf clubs for $20 including several Cobras, the weapon of choice of my favorite golfer, The Great White Shark in his heyday. I've been thinking about playing golf again, not in a big way, when I used to play every week, but just an occasional hit. We live less than a kilometre from Ocean Grove golf club so it's pretty handy.
The garage sale proprietor and his family are moving to France to live next week so he was keen to get rid of stuff. I walked out with an armful of free books too.

A little later I paid $5 for an odd-bod bunch of old clubs at the Anglican Church fete. I figured Sport Boy might like to come and have a game with me.

While fossicking around the fete stalls I came across this reminder of "home".

This week I have today and tomorrow off and am working Saturday and Sunday. Mrs Holt Press and I are hoping to go up to Melbourne tomorrow for a look around. Once I finish blogging and paying some bills I may  go and try my "new" golf clubs this arvo.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Living the Ocean Grove Life

We went for a walk along the beach after I got home from work this arvo. Mrs Holt Press Sport Boy and I. He had been off school today with a headache but the walk in the sea air reinvigorated him. We threw the (American) footy back and forth most of the way. There were plenty of people on the beach, some walking, some swimming, some surfing and a few crazy ones jogging. 
Mrs HP enjoyed it, the first time she's had a decent beach walk since we got here. We walked all the way round to the mouth of the river and back, probably 4-5km in total.
By then it was a bit late to buy food and cook dinner so after a significant amount of persuasion I succumbed to the suggestion we have fish and chips for tea.

I had an unusual and quite special experience this morning. I was at Corio Village shopping centre buying some rolls for lunch at 11am when a voice came over the PA asking everyone's attention. They then proceeded to have a Remembrance Day observance, played the last post followed by a minute's silence. I am accustomed to these events in schools but have never seen it done at a shopping centre. To my surprise there was a great response and at the given time the whole complex fell silent. Very respectful, very impressive.

Just had a text from Alex to say he's at the hospital with the Heir who fell off his skateboard and hurt his arm. Not broken apparently though we await further updates.

Talking of the WA offspring, Favourite Daughter has set off on her first big adventure in the Kombi and she and Patrick were in Broome yesterday and all was going pretty well. They did lose the keys while swimming in a gorge but managed to break into the car through the sunroof and find the spare key in order to get back on the road. Some good problem solving skills being exercised by the sound of it. They should be in Halls Creek within a day or two.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Weekend in Ocean Grove

The new working week starts in 8 hours.
I've got 6 o'clock starts every day which means getting to bed early, AND hoping for decent sleep. I have been waking up a lot during the night the last few weeks. I don't know why, maybe it's my bodies reaction to the altered sleeping/waking times.

Sport Boy spent the weekend with his new friends from church. Yesterday they went mountain biking at Angelsea. Today they went surfing but there was no surf. Mrs Holt Press and I enjoyed the time to ourselves. Saturday we had lunch with her Dad and Trevor Anne and Rachel in Pakington St then drove out to Bannockburn for a Collectables Fair. I found a few sports badges to add to my collection.
Today after church we had lunch and read the paper at a cafe  in town.
When we got home I mowed the grass. Picture African explorers hacking their way through the jungle with machetes and you'll have some idea of the challenge I faced, ....and overcame!

The ARIAs are on TV at the moment and we're excited because nephew Josh is part of Dan Sultan's band and they've won a couple of ARIAs. Josh flew up there this afternoon to be part of the big event.

A little politics before I go.
The Democrats/President Obama copped a shellacking in the US mid-term elections, apparently because people aren't happy with the slow pace of recovery from the Global Financial Crisis. I'm no expert but it seems to me Obama has been doing a pretty good job in difficult circumstances. Here's a link to have a look at, along the lines of Monty Python's "What have the Romans ever done for us?" from The Life of Brian.
I think this is the PG version, there's another one with swearing in it. What Has Obama done so far?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Wheels on the Bus...

It's been a long week. I finished my driver induction and training and on Thursday headed out on the road solo. Apart from a couple of missed turns things have been going pretty well. I'm enjoying it, and am even managing the early starts, though I was pleased that today's shift didn't start till 1.50.
I'm looking forward to the weekend: not that we've got any plans but it will be nice to have a couple of days off. Sport Boy is going bike riding at Angelsea with the church youth group tomorrow.
Mrs Holt Press and I might take a drive down to Torquay if the weather is nice. The last couple of days have been warm and sunny but prior to that it's been COLD! We've had the fire alight most nights.

Favourite Daughter has set off on her first big adventure, driving "Kimberley the Kombi" up to Halls Creek with her friend Patrick to visit Casey and the kids at the school who she worked with last year. 

The Heir and Spike sound like they are surviving without us which is no surprise though we do miss them.

The new car is running very well and Mrs HP is enjoying having her car back and her independence. Her Dad is doing OK, she goes to visit him 2-3 times a week and talks to him on the phone every day.

Better mention the big sporting news of the week: Tottenham beat Inter Milan (reigning European Champions) 3-1 at White Hart Lane on Wednesday and are top of Group A, pretty cool for their first season in the Champion's League.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pop Drops In

We had a special guest for the weekend. Pop came down from Victoria for the funeral of one of his life-long friends, Anne Grimshaw, at Cobram. After the funeral he drove down to spend a couple of days with us at Ocean Grove. 

Sport Boy enjoyed seeing his Grampa.

 Farewell from a cold and windy spot near Kardinia Park. Pop flew back to Brisbane tonight.

Sport Boy pole "dancing"!


The other highlight of the weekend was buying a new (second hand) car. I needed a car to get to work so that Mrs Holt Press could have hers back to get around in. It's a 2001 Falcon Futura AUII station wagon which runs on gas (dual fuel) and has only done 90,000km. It wasn't the sort of car I thought I'd buy but it's in such good condition and with low km and running on gas  it was almost too good to pass up.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Busselton to Ocean Grove

Finally getting around to posting some pictures, a selection of shots from Busselton to Ocean Grove.

 Alex and I at the end of the trip, the big drive across the country, 3700km in total, a good number for Al.
 Al is a good musician but his talents don't extend to opening gates. I had to get out and do it myself.

 Sleeping in the passenger's seat. The Yaris is a good little car but not ideal for big blokes trying to rest before their next shift in the driver's seat.
 Al harassing talking to Chris about his favourite subject, music. He managed to score an invitation back at any time. We stayed the night at Esperance before launching off across the desert.
 An absolute treat when we got to Victoria was seeing the Birches who are nearing the end of their round-Australia trip. They were staying at Ocean Grove caravan park and we had a BBQ dinner with them before a lovely walk on the beach. They've had a great time but are pretty keen to get home after nearly a year on the road. I have been very blessed to be able to see or spend time with a number of my closest mates and friends over the last couple of months and Birchy fits that category perfectly. They were away when we made the decision to move so it was very special that the timing worked out for us to catch up once we got to Victoria.
 Chris is another very close friend so the Esperance deviation was another bonus. We both shed a little tear when we said goodbye. Chris has already planned a trip to Victoria in January and has bought tickets to take Sport Boy to the Australian Open when she's here. There'll be some footy trips to enjoy as well only this time I will be able to play host.
 Favourite Daughter and Sport Boy at the airport. We had a great family dinner in Mt Lawley the night Mrs Holt Press and Sport Boy flew to Melbourne. Favourite Daughter is heading back up to Halls Creek next week with a friend for her first big adventure in the Kombi and then hopefully we'll see her in mid December when she moves over here.
 Saying goodbye to Mum, our first stop was at Bridgetown. Mum is a bit sad about us moving away, esecially Sport Boy. I expect we'll see plenty of her on trips to Victoria now that two of her children and six of her grandkids are living here.
 Allied Pickford's slogan is "The Careful Movers". They weren't careful enough to send our mattress though!
While the bulk of our furniture and belongings arrived in the main container, the "Balance of load" did not arrive at the same time. Just a few items missing: Our mattress, sofa, dining table, microwave and plasma TV!!! They finally delivered the rest of our stuff on Friday night. Except for a table and at least one carton that is!! Mrs Holt Press is not impressed.
 The first container being filled.
 Sport Boy in his new school uniform.
 Noel and Steph who did a fantastic amount of work to help us get ready to move. Noel repainted about four rooms of the house and Steph did a stack of cleeaning after the house was empty, plus they put us up for a few nights before we left. Brilliant generous hospitable people who epitomise faith in action.
 The point of departure, Norseman.
 We took a wrong turn leaving Adelaide but it took us past the place where I had the privilege of performing Daniel and Jana's wedding a few years ago.
 Re-enacting a scene from my youth, hitch-hiking west at the Whyalla turn-off. From here the next decent sized place is Perth, 2000 odd km away. I hitched through here a number of times, and slept in the bush on the side of the road one windy night while waiting for a lift.
Bon voyage, Mrs Holt Press and Sport Boy about to board the plane for Melbourne.