Wednesday, March 30, 2011

25 Years Ago Today (March 29 1986)

We've been married for a quarter of a century!!!!
This is the first anniversary we've spent back "at the scene of the crime" in Geelong.
Mrs Holt Press just got home tonight from her excursion to Bruny which sounded like a lot of fun and plenty of hard work. It's good to have her back.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Footy Almanac: Round One Geelong v St Kilda

Each year The Age publishes a fantastic book called "The Footy Almanac", first hand accounts of every AFL game in a season, written by real fans, who may or may not be professional writers. John Harms is one of the people behind the book and accompanying website. Apart from being an excellent writer Harms is also a life-long Cats fan so I particularly enjoy his writing. I've been reading a lot of football books, partly to motivate and encourage me to finish my own book. Further to this I'm going to have a go at Almanac style writing, reflecting on my experience of watching Geelong regularly, for the first time since I was 11 years old. Doing so in the company of Sport Boy, and Favourite Daughter when she returns from WA will add a nice touch and revive memories of my own childhood in Geelong all those years ago.
You, dear readers, are going to be the guinea pigs. I'm going to post my reflections on the blog. I welcome your feedback, positive or otherwise. The ultimate aim is to submit some of my writing to The Footy Almanac in the hope it will be published in the 2011 edition.
Here goes:

Round One, Friday night, March 25. Geelong v StKilda, MCG

I've been waiting 38 years for this game, that being the length of time since I last lived in Victoria for a footy season. That long absence has not diminished my love for the Cats, if anything it has reinforced and enhanced it but I feel like my timing is slightly out; I'm back at a time when it is almost inevitable the Cats will slide after four years of brilliance that delivered two premierships. Everyone says Collingwood are going to go back-to-back.
But the first round of a footy season brings its own brand of hope and optimism, everyone thinks their team is in with a chance, even Tigers fans, at least until the siren sounds.
I've bought a family membership and my son Paul, aka Sport Boy, is going to come to the footy with me each week. We board the train at Marshall and it quickly fills with Geelong fans. En route I swap a few texts with Chris back in WA, a Saints fan, and observe that 23 of the 26 people in our section of the train are women. The train is overflowing, people sit on the floor and everyone is excited about tonight's game. Geelong and St Kilda's recent rivalry has seen some classic encounters and I'm hoping tonight will serve up more of the same although I’ve tipped the Saints. Head over heart.
Inside the G  a rock band is playing: pre-game entertainment during the home and away no less and when the teams line up for the national anthem before the game there is more than a touch of Grand Final about the whole thing except that the crowd is a bit disappointing, just over 42,000. Maybe all the scandal and controversy the Saints have suffered in the off-season has prompted a stay-away protest? But it means we get good seats, close to the front on level 4, near the wing. Perfect.
 Geelong get the first clearance and Mooney marks inside 50 but in a portent of things to come he kicks out on the full. Ottens misses a set shot minutes later, struck again by the commentator's curse: "He's a great kick of the football..." Sport Boy and I know that the moment those words are uttered big Brad is going to miss.
The Saints get the first goal, and the second and keep the Cats goalless in the first quarter. The game is bad and is about to get worse. Joel Selwood attacks a loose ball headfirst and comes off second best in a sickening collision with Farren Ray's hip. Not for the first time people question whether he is too courageous for his own good. He's out cold, blood pouring from his mouth and the swarming ants of the medical team take forever to stabilise him and transport him off the ground. Ray looks aghast and I'm sure it was completely unintentional. He gets reported but shouldn't go for that. With Lingy already missing and Selwood injured the Cats are captainless and things don't look good.
Mitch Duncan squeezes a goal in the second quarter but by half time that's all we've got on the board. Saints 2 Cats 1 and it feels like a soccer game. The crowd are confused and restless, this is ugly footy. I quip to the bloke next to me that it's the worst game I've seen all season and he responds that it's the worst game he's seen in the last ten years. I can't disagree and yet it’s still great to be here. The footy is back.
By half way through the third the Cats are 20 points down and making too many mistakes to look like winning. When Varcoe's handball is intercepted and St Kilda goal I can't help think how much we are gonna miss Gazza this year. Then something happens. The Cats kick a goal. I stand and shout "Hallelujah" to the mild amusement of nearby supporters. When we goal again within thirty seconds I'm in raptures and when a third follows soon after a full scale revival threatens to break out in the stands.
At 3/4 time there's just a point in it and the Cats are finally finding a way through the Saints wet blanket defence. Lonergan is having a great game on Riewoldt with help from Scarlett and Taylor and with 200 gamer Boris Enright rebounding across the half back line the Cats are on a roll.
With five minutes left the Saints hit the front and St Nick takes a couple of great pack marks. If the Saints can hold the ball and wind down the clock we’re done for but hope springs again when Blake generously kicks to Enright and
Geelong mount one last charge. Duncan kicks long to Jimmy who beats two and the ball spills to Moons, he dinks a handball over the top of a lunging Saint and a gleeful Dasher Milburn, who had subbed on for Selwood slams through the winner. There’s about 20 seconds left but the Cats get the vital clearance and the siren sounds to the sort of joyous celebrations that only accompany a victory snatched in the final minute of a game. Sport Boy and I laugh and sing and smile and sing again. The footy’s back. The Cats are back. And we’re back, oh it’s good to be alive

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cats Win by a Point

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bon Voyage Mrs Holt Press

Mrs HP is going to Bruny Island tomorrow to spend a few days with her brother Ray and help him with a big function he's catering for, something to do with an opera company. Bruny is on the south coast of Tasmania, nearer to Antarctica than Brisbane. I don't know that for a fact but I reckon seeing as I just made it up it's probably right. Suffice to say it is colder than here and Mrs HP has a long-established aversion to cold weather so I'm hoping she'll be OK.
Ray runs a cafe/restaurant on Bruny, the only establishment of its type on the whole island I believe, a Brunopoly if you will.
She has been issuing me with instructions and directions for the safe management of the household and supervision of Sport Boy over the last several days in preparation for her absence. I have been paying careful attention ...
On the plus side she has cooked and prepared several meals which are now in the freezer. She is entrusting me with the responsibilty of taking them out of the freezer and placing them in the microwave. I hope I don't let her down.
She'll be away for 5 days and hopefully, apart from the work at the cafe, will have a nice break from regular routines and spend a bit of time with her brother and some of his family.
Sport Boy and I will content ourselves with going to the footy on Friday night for the Cats first game of the season. Geelong v St Kilda, a pretty tough opening round fixture.

Tomorrow is Favourite Daughter's 22nd birthday. I can still remember her 21st birthday like it was last year, time goes quicker and quicker...
FD is back in WA, working, being with her friends and getting ready for a couple of weddings so we can't celebrate with her. I know Mum/Nan took her out for lunch today in Busselton which is not a bad substitute. Needless to say I hope she has a really lovely day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Grateful & Thankful

It is another beautiful day in Ocean Grove after a very pleasant and relaxing long weekend. I often give thanks that I live in a safe secure and prosperous country. Australia is a wonderful place to live for so many reasons. It's not always "safe" and we have had some harsh experiences in the last few years through fires floods and cyclones, but they seem pretty small scale when compared to recent events in New Zealand and Japan. As AC/DC said, "The earth was shook me all night long". I have been in one small earthquake, in Perth in the late 70's. It was tiny and caused no damage so for all intents and purposes it was more of a "thrill" and "fun" than scary or dangerous. I can't imagine what it would be like to personally experience the Christchurch or Sendai quakes and subsequent tsunami. Because of the e-world we now live in we are immediate witnesses of these global events and can see for ourselves exactly what is happening as it happens. But it's a far cry from being a victim. The damage and the death rates are staggering and of course we all remember the Boxing Day tsunami that claimed half a million lives in Asia.
In light of these tragedies I have to pause and be thankful.
I don't want to take for granted the way of life and freedoms I possess so easily simply by having been born in the right place. The people of the middle east are fighting for and paying with their lives to achieve the freedom that I enjoy. I had no control over where I was born. I clain no credit for the fact that living in Australia is so comfortable and easy.
The best I can do is be grateful, to do what I can to protect our way of life, and to pray for others who are not so fortunate.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Food and The Guests

We had a really good night last night.

The girl at the restaurant apologised profusely for spoiling the surprise.

The food was great (except for the seafood salad which was overpowered by coriander).

The guests were Mrs HP's cousins Fran and Edwina with respective husbands Bruce and Greg, and Sue, a new friend at church.

In the interests of self preservation I can't tell you what I gave Mrs HP for her birthday* but the line of the night came from Sport Boy when we got home:

"Well you dodged a bullet there Dad"


"No-one asked you what you gave Mum for her birthday!"

* Nothing dodgy just something that could be misinterpreted! In case you're wondering/worried, she loves it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Happy Birthday Mrs Holt Press

I'm out in the garage playing table tennis with Sport Boy.

Mrs HP appears holding my mobile phone.

It's the restaurant wanting to confirm your booking for 8 people.

Oh oh!

Up till that moment my beloved thought it was just the three of us going out for dinner to celebrate her birthday!

The best laid plans etc etc...

She had already become suspicious when her cousin Fran rang to tell me she had found some badges for me...
An odd reason to call...
Especially the day before Mrs HP's birthday...

Oh well, she doesn't know who the other guests are yet, and we're about to go.

I'll post some pics tomorrow.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Let's take a walk

After being back at work for a week I had a day off today. Sport Boy was at a youth group event so Mrs Holt Press and I went for a Barwon Heads. About a 10km round trip. It was great and we talked all the way but by the time we got home, and up the last hill, my feet were sore, my knee was sore and my back was aching! Leading me to the conclusion that this exercise stuff is bad for your health. I'm still doing pretty well avoiding all most  junk food but need to add some exercise to burn off the existing layers of fat. Hopefully today helped a little.
Back to work tomorrow.