Posted by: jkirkby8712 | January 4, 2011

Friday, 31st December 2010 – a long last day, and continuing with a few personal observations!!

 I awoke at 4am, from a dream involving the kids during their schooldays. the times when I was out of work, and able to collect them to and from school – during my initial awakening period, I was trying to recall, the immediate reactions as we got home each afternoon.  I seem to remember that for one period there, I was going through a bit of a ‘crossword puzzle’ phase, and would often settle down to one of the ‘jumbo’ versions every now and then, or the daily crossword from the ‘Australian’ newspaper  –  only the basic crosswords, I simply could not cope with the cryptic variety!!  Often,  especially in the ‘primary’ school years, after delivering those who were still at that level to the school, I would  call at the office to see Bruce Bouch [the Principal] or Judy Toogood, [his office assistant] about some School Council matter.  Anyway, this morning, I found I could not get back to sleep – certainly, that’s the state I would have preferred to have been in, as the opportunities to sleep a little longer than usual, are few and far between these days. By Tuesday, I would be back at work!  Admittedly, feeling a bit low because of yesterday’s computer malfunction, and the realisation that I may not be able to retrieve the bulk of my working files. I knew that some of the files that I regularly work with, I would be able to resurrect through my MSN account, where I had often transferred files for printing purposes, but that remained to be seen, just what was still available.. As I lay there, I wondered what Adam was doing at this moment – whether he was over in France by now, maybe even in Paris where he intended to spend New Year’s Eve?  A world away from Sunbury!

By 4.26 am, I gave up trying to get back to sleep – thought I’d do a bit of reading and writing. I had no commitments this morning, so could afford to over sleep. should I drift off a bit later, though I knew I was going to end of pretty tired by the end of tonight’s radio shift. In fact, over the next 2-3 hours, I did sleep, off and on – woke to the voice of Ron Bourke on our radio station – at about the time I normally call into the station of a Friday morning for a brief sports’ report., but not this morning with things non-existent on the local sporting front over the Christmas break. I eventually gave Ron a ring – asked him to mention that I would be doing a New Year’s Eve show tonight during a time slot when there was not normally anyone on air. Ron reminded me that I was ‘in the chair’ this Saturday with the Betting Club tipping, on the Flemington races.

We were in for a hot day – a first real scorcher for the Summer [usually we get a few in October and/or November] – in fact the temperature in this neck of the woods would climb to just below 41 degrees!  A typical New Year’s Eve over recent years!! I think it was about 9am, when I went out for a ‘shortened’ walk, while it was still partially overcast, and the heat had not yet arrived. It wasn’t far behind however. I noticed that the worst of the ache in my upper left leg seemed to have diminished overnight, though it was still faintly noticeable. I thought the walk might ‘draw’ it out, and I think that, together with the anti-inflammatory tablet that  I reluctantly took last night.  Meanwhile, out in the garden, there was so much that I wanted [and intended] to achieve – but it wasn’t happening very quickly, and certainly not today – a wise decision I think today, to stay out of the heat. In fact, spent a great part of today, planning radio show formats, including tonight’s ‘menu’ for New Year’s Eve. Also had a bit of time to give some consideration to my ‘horse’ selections for tomorrow’s races – my task to ‘spend’ $40 of the Betting Club’s income, and I’d been given the task for the first weekend of 2011 – a bit onerous, after a rather unsuccessful round of selections through 2010.  I hoped I would get the syndicate some return tomorrow!  The ‘membership’s’ fortnightly input is only $20, which I consider as a bit of ‘Christmas savings acct’ – so far each year that I have been involved, those in the syndicate have managed to get their year’s contributions back plus a share of any net winnings through the year. That part of the return was quite low in 2010  – it wasn’t just myself who had a bad year of tipping winners!! I hoped I could earn some return tomorrow!

Susie had a full day at her casual job today, and would be back about 7pm, just before I left for the radio station She had tried to keep her two cats inside, out of the expected heat, but soon after she left, they were ‘demanding’ [as cats are prone to do] to go outside. Don’t think they like being inside with me, I’m not as keen on their company, as is Susie! I delayed adhering to their ‘demands’ for a while, but no doubt they would find somewhere cool and shaded in the backyard to escape the worst of the sun, and the hot north wind that was quickly making it’s presence felt, and adding vastly to the overall heat discomfort. It’s rather ironical in fact, that over the past 3 or 4 Christmases, the days around and after Christmas have been relatively cool through most of the 2000s. And yet, on each of the past few New Year’s Eves, we have suddenly found ourselves in heatwave conditions. Certainly, in 2008 and 2009, the heat of those days killed off a large part of the fernery which I have outside the dining room window. Admittedly through that period, we had only being allowed to water twice a week, and on both occasions, the sudden heat conditions caught me by surprised, and I was unprepared [or had the ferns unprepared] for the extreme conditions, where the hot sun and north wind basically ‘burnt’ the bulk of my ferns. They have grown back very well over recent months, and hopefully there will be a better survival rate this summer, as the fernery is getting much more attention [and more water] than in past years – how successful that is, time will tell. Susie will tell me, they ‘are just plants’, but to me, having a plant or shrub die, is quite a disappointing event!

As I have on numerous occasions over the past days, managed a few more hours of reading this day – in fact last night, I began the second of the two Wilbur Smith novels that Susie and Jimmy gave me for Christmas – they were in fact the only two of his novels that I’d not possessed or read previously. Notr been able to find them easily in the book shops, Susie had actually purchased them on line. This one was called ‘The Quest’. I’d put aside all other books and decided that Wilbur Smith was to be enjoyed first, this Christmas period.


Tonight, I spent over four and half hours on air at the radio station. A night of rock n’ roll music, a genre of music I don’t have much opportunity to play on air because of the nature of my regular show, so the chance to liksten to and share some ‘classic rock’ is always readily taken up. There is seldom any regular programming scheduled [or presenters available] on New Year’s Eve, and I consider that the local listening community is entitled to be given the option of some live music/programming, so in the absence of other commitments these days, I like to make a point of making such a show available.  There was a cool change predicted before midnight, but at the time I arrived [about 8pm] it was still in the high 30s outside, and a very hot night for the New Year’s Eve celebrations in the city and elsewhere. Although in the studio, I had to keep the air conditioner under control, otherwise it would become too cool!!! Anyway, at 8pm, there was a long stretch of hours ahead of me, yet I was optimistic that I would be eventually joined by another presenter or two –  a couple had hinted at doing so, although there had been no definite commitments made. Currently, our station policy permitted only a 3 hour shift for a solo presenter, up to four hours if there were two or more of you. So, while to keep within those guidelines, I was counting on someone else joining me, I really didn’t care one way or the other – it was New Year’s Eve, and I considered my attempt, as a committee member, to have live radio available to help the local listening community see in the new year, more important on this occasion. Particularly in view of the fact, that I was anticipating that there may not be anyone else on air again, from the time I left tonight, until my return, early on Sunday morning [in retrospect, I was almost correct, only one presenter would be in, briefly on Saturday night].  My conscience was clear!

Anyway, from that viewpoint, I would be disappointed – there would be no visitors during the evening [apart from some night time magpies at the front door, seeking out some supper of the flock of moths etc attracted to the light there], and in fact, I only received one phone call – and that from our Station President, thanking me for being on air!! The only other communications received during the evening [apart from family text messages, etc] came from friend Ruth, up at Riddells Creek. She was flying out to Indonesia tomorrow, for 7 weeks, where she was going to stay with an Indonesian family – she was keen to listen to my program, but can’t pick up the station in her homer, so resorted at different stages of the night to her only option – sitting out in the car, in her driveway, with the station tuned in! Hopefully, Ruth, and the President were not my only listeners!! Although I must say, that despite the personal enjoyment I was getting from at least attempting to share my music [as I always do], I was a little downhearted overall, at the lack of feedback, and did wonder at times, just who was tuned in. Mind you, the lack of feedback was not unusual for my shows, or shows on the station in general [the usual exception being the country music programs], but nevertheless, I kind of felt that it would have added an extra dimension to the night to be assured that there was a strong listening audience, and everyone wasn’t simply glued to the TVs waiting for fireworks’ displays!!!

Now amongst my ‘communications this evening, was some contact from Adam over in France. I think it was about 5pm, when I received a message from him[early Friday am in London] to say that he and Brent were off to France today, via the ferry across the English Channel, hoping to see some ‘sights’ such as the Somme, Louvre, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Catacombs & Napoleon’s Tomb, as he described them. It was about 10pm, with a brief message came through that ‘Just saw the Mona Lisa’!!!  Earlier, he had apologised that he had not been able to make an actual phone call from Europe – apparently his phone wouldn’t permit it, although text messages were apparently okay!  Anyway, certainly for Adam, the rare , to see a bit of culture, and I was glad that chance had come his way!   Meanwhile, an earlier batch of New Year’s greetings to my siblings received various responses. From Queensland, it was simply ‘Thanks Bill’ from brother Ian, while my sister Jill, in response to my remark about the high temperature down here, noted that she ‘keeps telling me I live in the wrong state’!  From Sydney, Rob Kirk noted that ‘after an indulgent Christmas, we’re having a quiet one tonight! All the better for an early hard [bike] ride in the morning, with the TDU [Tour Down Under bike race] approaching fast’. He had mentioned to me in an earlier email, that in conjunction with the TDU [to be held in mid January over in South Australia, that he was participating in a separate tour at the same time, and adjacent to the main tour location, in similar fashion to the various tours he has taken part in during the Tour de France. No doubt the already intense daily training he undertakes, is suddenly even more intense. Works and plays hard, does our Robert!  As for youngest daughter Jodie, she was down at the St Kilda Esplanade for the New Year’s City celebrations [where ironically, the police would later in the night, closed down the venue because of crowd problems]. I was still on air when her response came through – she was ‘sick’ [had sunstroke apparently], there with boyfriend Ash, and waiting for Mum to pick her up  –  Mum was lost, trying to find her. And Jodie’s phone was about to die!! Of course, I was on air at this point – once I was sure Jodie had company, I was still left a little worried as to whether they would find each other. No doubts there were thousands of revellers in the area and traffic would be hectic – I later, after midnight, since messages to both Jodie, and her mother, wondering if they’d found each other, and if all was okay. No reply on either count, and as I did not hear anything else from anyone, had to assume things were under control. Shirley has a history of getting lost  – on this occasion, I would learn next day, that she gave up eventually, and went back to Sunbury, while Jodie, now feeling a little better, stayed on in the city for a while before she and Ash caught a taxi back to Sunbury [not a cheap exercise either!@].  No idea where James Kirk, eldest son was –  probably at the Casino, or a major city pub somewhere.

My night on air, at the radio station ended at 12.35 am. Until I left the building, I didn’t know if the cool change had come through – would normally stick one’s head out the front door around midnight to have a look at the distant view [40 kms away] of the Melbourne firework’s display – on a clear night, that display can be seen from on top of the hill here in Sunbury where the radio station is located. But I let it go tonight  – to hold that doior open, would have been to invite a plague of moths and other insects into the building – I could see them all on the TV monitor in the studio. We were also under instructions to keep that door shut at all  times until a bees’ nest [or perhaps worst] a hive of wasps, which were located just outside the front door – well really, none of us would welcome a sudden swarm of bees or wasps into the studio!! As it turned out, the worst of the heat had evaporated, and the population of moths etc, diminished in the cooler conditions, so I was able to exit the building in reasonable comfort.


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