There was one of those speed measuring trailers in our street last week.. You know the ones that when a car is speeding the message flashes at you “TOO FAST” “SLOW DOWN” and if you are under the speed limit it flashes your speed with a smiley face and “THANK YOU”. Well I was out for my night walk and there was no one around so I thought I’d see if I could run towards the thing and see how fast I was going. So I started about 100 metres away and ran down the middle of the road, flat out, towards this thing. Nothing recorded, but I nearly killed myself.. might be good for a young bloke but, hey, I’m over 60. I had to sit on the side of the road for about 10 minutes before I could walk. Not sure why it didn’t record me, maybe I need to be metal? Hmmmm. Next time I might try carrying a car bumper bar.
We spent the weekend up the bush at my sister's. It was my brother-in-law's birthday and about 100 rellies came to join the celebration. It was a real hoot.. I am so happy that God has placed me in this family.
A family doesn't have to be relatives or perfect, just a group of people that accept each other and, I suppose, enjoy getting together.
Reasons I love my family.
1. My sister lives in an old country weatherboard and is not house-proud. The toilet door that faces the family room has not been able to be closed for at least 20 years but this weekend she made a special effort and sent her son under the house with a jack to raise the floor near the toilet so her guests would be able to close the door. It worked!
2. My cousin started having trouble with his hearing last October, couldn't hear in one ear, and finally got around to going to the doctor this month. The doc had a bit of a probe around and pulled a moth out of my cousins ear.. he can hear perfectly again.
3. My other sister makes toffees for special occasions. She discovered at some stage that if you pull the mixture off the fire early it doesn't set hard but goes into a sticky goo that she perfected and calls “lock-jaw”. If you sink your teeth into lock-jaw it is a real struggle to get your mouth open again. Anyway, she had us all in tears of laughter when explaining how she'd given some lock-jaw to her dog and the antics he got up to to try and open his mouth.
Does your family have stories like these? It's just how we are isn't it.
A bit more than 25 years ago I was a partner in a small business, employing 8 people, located right in the heart of Melbourne, ripe to climb the ladder of success.
As a response to not paying attention during all the business subjects in our qualifications, my business partner and I commenced a night course on small business management.
I reckon (or hope anyway) a similar course today would be a little different.
As I recall, there was a real emphasis on “the only aim for any business is to make a profit” and it didn't seem to matter how you achieved that.
I remember one whole evening was spent on ways to delay payment to your suppliers, it seemed of no consequence that they were people trying to make a living too.
My business partner revelled in making money and living the high life but seemed to hate working for it. I wasn't even a Christian then but I felt very uneasy about the ethics of it all… ‘n it was not long before I walked out of the partnership, losing all my savings in the process.
At about that time I had an encounter with the living Christ and was born again both spiritually and, as it turned out, in my working life.
I have worked on my own ever since, a bit of a recluse really, with a small but happy group of clients, and expect that any of my old business acquaintances would consider me a bit of a failure.
Today I was hit in the face by a bat.
Now that would've been quite painful if it was a cricket bat but no..this was one of those little furry critters with wings.
On my usual walk at dusk I often look up at the evening sky, highlighted by the dark silhouettes of large gums on either side of the track, and see small bats flying along.
These mysterious creatures navigate the grey silvery airspace in total silence.
I know they “see” by using some sort of sonar and I imagine they are hearing a diminutive ping ping ping in their heads something like those old sub-marine movies.
But tonight one flew into my cheek just below my right eye. I was not hurt at all, other than getting a bit of a fright but I'm wondering why it didn't sense me.
I've often been told there is nothing in my head but I thought a bat's sonar would pick something up.
I think I'll go into Geelong tomorrow to a super-market to see if I open the electronic doors… just to make certain I'm still here.
In the past year we (wife and I) intentionally took a rest from church involvement. Well, as you will probably understand, the break from a church commitment, that was my life really, meant a fair amount of free time on my hands.
So…. I got involved in singing. An oft supressed yearning to learn to sing in harmony has taken over and… I’ve joined a mens barbershop chorus.
Now I know this is not in the same league as Singing Semele but I am really enjoying it, the barbershop style somehow suits me.
Barbershop singing is unaccompanied four-part harmony, but not (I understand) the same as classical harmony in that there is a predominance of minor and seventh chords in the vocals.
I sing lead, which is most times the melody, the tenors harmonize above the melody, the bass's sing the lowest harmonizing notes, and the baritones complete the chord, usually below the lead
I have learnt so much in 12 months, one of the things barbershoppers strive for is trying to hit a chord so that it “rings” this is something almost magical and I am not certain that I have truly heard it yet.
I'll let you know when I do.
If I get good enough, I’d love to be in a quartet that sings spiritual songs in the barbershop style.
Well it was the Drama Queens wedding a couple of weeks ago.
It was a fantastic day. Sydney (and God) turned on weather that was truly awesome, the wedding ceremony was held in a park overlooking the Georges River… everything went perfectly.
At the planning stage we had a few concerns helping with the organising (particularly the reception) from over 1000km away but I was really surprisingly relaxed on the day.
I had opportunity during the service to give the bride away, it was a special moment. I remember my first daughters wedding (a couple of years ago) the minister said “you don't give daughters away any more, they are not chattels” which I went along with, I could understand the thinking.
But the drama queens church is not so liberal and the Rev. (it was his first wedding) wanted to do everything right. I was very impressed by him. He gave a brilliant sermon.
The catering for the reception, held in the church hall, was all Vietnamese. What a great nosh that was..
Another special moment was dancing with the bride, I still feel great just thinking about it..
One daughter to go but I'm thinking that wedding will be a while yet.
Kikuyu is a grass (or weed) that I once thought was smuggled into Australia from New Zealand…you know, the Kiwis getting even with our superior cricketing nation… botanical retribution for the ne'er forgiven underarm bowling incident.
However I have since found kikuyu's roots (no pun intended… tho' it's kinda clever) are East Africa, but that doesn't change the fact that the tough green plant is slowly taking over our country.
My vegie garden is riddled with the invasive kikuyu, it gets through every barrier, and my organic ethics do not allow weed-killer. So it advances… I once found a kikuyu shoot that was 12 metres long trying to get under our house to the other side.
And then, we had new neighbours that moved into a place that was a bit overgrown. In fact there was a nice green hillock of kikuyu in the back-yard that had in a previous lifetime been a chook shed. Totally overgrown.
The brother, visiting in his new 4WD, thought he'd give a demo of his off-road prowess. He tackled the green “hillock” and drove right through the side of the old shed. A lot of dust and splintered wood resulted, but no damage to the car and a memorable story entered our neighbourhood folklore.
I have not blogged for sometime… I sort of feel my life has been a bit like the garden being taken over by the kikuyu. Things have crept in since our little church community folded. I think I've been angry at God and allowed myself to slide away a bit, to be overgrown by self-interest and other weeds.
(It has been a really wonderful thing to receive e-mails from several of you over the past year enquiring about my well-being. Thanks so much and I'm sorry I didn't reply.)
There is good news.. I have found a weed-killer.. a new church community. An Anglican congregation, a bit more traditional than what I've been used to, and full of sincere followers of Christ.
We are tentatively making new friends.
I think a new healthy garden is beginning in my life..
Additional newsy notes… James from the “dancing with words” blog is my son and if you read his blog you'll know I have just become a grand-father (for the first time too). That is absolutely fantastic and I am extremely happy.
..also some of you may re-call the “diary of a teenage drama queen” blog, well the drama queen is my middle daughter, no longer a teenager and getting married next saturday in Sydney to a terrific fella. Oh that's really cool.
I can't believe how long it is since I last blogged. It's true, but whenever I read that I just can't help thinking….
Oh no! not that old chestnut
There is this thing called “El-nino” that affects our weather. Something to do with warm currents across the pacific… poor ol' El is blamed for the drought we are going through, although currently (no pun intended) we hear El-nino is not supposed to be affecting our weather.
It's all a bit too meteorological for some of us …. but I'm pleased to report, I've worked out a simple method of determining whether El-nino is in control of our weather or not.
El-nino is affecting our weather when the Bureau of Meteorology forecast says “scattered showers” and we get blue skies and no rain.
El-nino is NOT affecting our weather when the Bureau of Meteorology forecast says “scattered showers” and we get cloudy skies and still no rain.
A few weeks ago I told about how our Guniea Fowls (Arthur & Martha) hatched 15 chickens. This is a pic of some of them at one day old. Cute huh?
It was impossible to get a pic of the whole 15 as A & M are very protective (I have the peck marks to prove it).
The chicks were hatched in the garden and it was a mammoth effort to get them into a shed, but we went to Adelaide for a week and I was scared a fox would get them.
Unfortunately a rat got in the shed and now there are only 7 chicks left.
I feel really bad about it but the 7 are looking great and I'll have another pic soon…
Oh yes, in case you’re wondering, and I got the rat..