Posted by: jkirkby8712 | March 21, 2011

Thursday, 17th March to Sunday, 20th March 2011 – Days flow into each other

Quite obviously, I’ve simply being ‘slack’, the days slipped past, and Bill forgot to sit down and keep his commitments up to date!  In actual fact, I probably was sitting down quite a deal of the time – have been working on the family history research and documentation with the aim being to spend as much time as possible over the next few months on that project! I seem to be doing a lot of updating of work done earlier, but as this ‘project’ has been ongoing since ‘Adam’ [the Biblical Adam] was around [or so it seems], constant revisions and reminders of just where I have got to are required J  Anyway, for this  ‘consolidated blog’ I think we shall remain fairly mundane orientated, rather than delve into anything too serious!

Thursday, the  17th March was of course St Patrick’s Day –  driving along Brunswick Road this morning, and the return trip in the afternoon, the old ‘pub haunt’ of day’s gone past – now ‘Bridie O’Reilly’s’, corner Sydney Road & Brunswick Street, was as for each year at this time, well adorned with bunches of green balloons, and no doubt, like all of the Irish pubs around Melbourne, it would be a day of ‘Irish cheer/whisky/ etc!! Not much cheer for this writer however –  a long day, basically alone in the office most of the working hours, and there with little enthusiasm or desire – one’s mind constantly on all of those tasks I could be attending to on the home front! Mind you, as I have probably mentioned [or complained about, depending on how you look at it] previously in these pages, the event I do not  look forward to these days is the daily trip to and from home on the freeways and general roads, in the peak hour traffic. It is becoming quite a ‘depressing’ scenario each day, as I set out on those trips – the secret is to do so, with the determination to remain relaxed and calm at all times – but with some of the drivers on our roads these days, that is occasionally a ‘big ask’. I think the aspect that particularly narks me – apart from ‘tailgaters’ and people who merge into traffic incorrectly – is the fact that in 2011, everyone on the road seems to be constantly in a rush, people don’t want to be slowed down by traffic speed restrictions whatever the circumstances – to be made to slow down below what each driver wants to do is simply an ‘inconvenience’ – forget the safety or other aspects, ‘we’ simply do not like to be held up  –  so if the speed limit is 100 kph, and a driver is sitting on 97 kph, he/she is likely to be ‘abused’ in some fashion because they are forcing someone else to slow down!!  I think the medication I’m forced to take for blood pressure, works pretty well generally, but I would imagine that for these ten weekly trips on the roads, it is probably relatively ineffective!!

Enough of that – time for a World Cup Cricket update, and it is easy to notice in the course of the weekend, that the Australian team suffered it’s first loss in a World Cup Cricket match for some years – certainly the first loss under captain Ricky Ponting, who over the past season or two, apart from the brilliant individual scoring records, etc, he has built up, has been creating a few unwanted records along the way.  That, and his occasional ‘loss of temper’ when things don’t go his way – well, little snippets of his reputation, are I believe, getting damaged along the way. With three Ashes losses our of four series, one has to wonder how much longer he will remain as captain of the Australian team!  That loss means Australia will, end up playing  against  India [one of the tournament favourites] in a crucial Quarter Final match next Thursday. I can see the Aussies going out of the competition that day – and so ending their run of three World Cup victories in a row! I guess it is someone else’s turn!!!   Anyway, results for the past few days are:

Match 36: 17 March at Chennai: England 243 defeated West Indies 225;   Match 37: 18 March at Kolkata: Ireland 4 for 307 defeated Netherlands 306;    Match 38: 18 March at Mumbai: Sri Lanka 9 for 265 defeated New Zealand 9 for 153;   Match 39: 19 March  at Mirpur:  South Africa 8 for 284 defeated Bangladesh 78;    Match 40: 19 March at Colombo:  Pakistan 6 for 178 defeated AUSTRALIA 176;     Match 41: 20 March at Kolkata: Zimbabwe 6 for 308 defeated Kenya 147;     Match 42: 20 March  at Chennai: India 268 defeated West Indies 188..

As for Friday, I guess the highlight of that day was our evening visit to the local Bowling Club restaurant for  dinner with Shirley’s mother [Win Seipolt] who turned 90 years old last Tuesday. Good to see that ‘all’ of my kids made the effort to be there – in fact, I picked up Adam who had already apparently had a few drinks and wisely decided to leave his car behind. The new house he had recently moved into – well, it certainly looked like a ‘drinking abode’, although he suggested it was not as bad as it appeared!   Meanwhile must have arrived from Bendigo earlier than expected this afternoon – appeared to have been home a while, upon my arrival.  Apart from James, Adam, Susan [and Jimmy], Jodie [and Ash], Shirley, myself, and Win’s sister, Val [down from Queensland], the surprise visitors, as far as Win was concerned, was her granddaughter, Samantha [Shirley’s niece] and her young son & daughter who provided a regular source of ‘entertainment’ throughout the evening, much of it helped along by the ‘friendly’ [if at times slightly intoxicated] antics of my two sons, particularly James who had been a ‘family stirrer’ most of his life.  Much maturer these days, those at timers, such as tonight, old habits returned – certainly kept the two young kids amused, although Samantha had sensibly brought various activity items for them to occupied themselves with whilst the adults dined!  Actually, all in all, it was a pleasant evening – I indulged, with just the one beer that I enjoyed, and later, a quiet vodka and orange  – I reminded Win and Val, that it was one of their sisters-in-law [a Polish lady whose name temporarily escapes me] who  many years ago up in Canberra ‘introduced’ this writer to the ‘delights’ of  vodka  –  drinking it straight however, none of this mixed drinks stuff!  Mind you, I have NEVER drunk vodka straight since that day!  I ate sensibly tonight  –  a dish of fish with vegetables [in lieu of the chips] though none of us were impressed by the manner in which the potatoes had been cooked! Rare of me not to enjoy a potato!  More out of politeness than anything else, I did eat a piece of the ’90 years birthday cake’ which suddenly appeared out of the restaurant kitchen later in the evening  – Jodie’s organising of the evening, had not omitted to include the proverbial cake,  at which point, all present burst into the vocal acclamation of that familiar song – something with I imagine that a ‘community’ style of venue such as this would be well used to. Lots of family and other celebrations take place here all of the time!

I had planned to ensure that some ‘generational’ photos were taken tonight – the three generations of Win, Shirley, and our two daughter, Susan & Jodie – but soon discovered, too late, that the batteries needed replacing. Luckily, with numerous phone cameras present, the task would not be a problem, but Susie saved the night –  she had her decent camera with her [in the car] – the one she spent a couple of thousand dollars on two years ago, when she had that big win on the Melbourne Cup –   so I was able to ensure that the required photos were taken before the night ended.  In fact of course, my three generations was superceded – by a  fourth generation, with the presence of Samantha’s little girl, Loren

I had intended after dinner, to go up to the radio for a couple of hours, and give the listeners a bit of jazz for Friday night – but, having made no prior commitment to do so, gave it a miss – did some late night shopping before returning home. Susan, who presumably went back to Jimmy’s place, was home quite late, and then I think, up for quite a while. Don’t think that late night on top of a busy week of study up north did her much good, as we shall see.

Saturday morning in fact, I was greeted with a request for a favour  – could I please ring Big W,  and tell them Susan would not be in today – not feeling very well!! Depending on who is in charge of things on a particular day, such a message is fraught with danger – there are apparently a couple of supervisors who regard a casual worker who dares to suggest they are unwell, as committing some kind of major offence. I recall having a go at one such person on a previous occasion – this morning, thankfully, the response was friendly and  non-blaming!

This was the weekend of our annual Sunbury Festival [or SUNFEST as they call it now].  Our radio station, 3NRG, had a presence, in the form of a display stand, and I had previously planned to spend most of the day there – in fact,  was in or around the stand between 10am and 4pm. I had actually half suggested to my wife’s family last night, that when they completed their lunch today – Win’s son Barry & his son, were apparently visiting Sunbury today [in lieu of last night] to have lunch with the 90 year old – I’d not seen Barry for over 10 years or more, and had been a little disappointed they’d not turned up at the restaurant last night. So in mentioning that I would be ‘on duty’ all day at the Village Green, I more or less committed myself to staying there for most of the afternoon, in case they turned up. I knew that if I walked away for 20 minutes,  that is when they would arrive. In fact, Ruth turned up around lunchtime [husband Barry had called by earlier], and after a bit of a chat, had suggested we go and find a bite for lunch  – but because of the likelihood of family turning up, I had to decline that suggestion!  Needless to say, nobody from the family would call by all day!!  The best of intentions!\

Not to worry, I enjoyed the six hours in the middle of the Village Green –  quiet start, in terms of crowds, soon built up to quite crowded conditions in a day of beautiful Autumn weather, at times earlier, a little cool out of the sun, but I found that preferable to standing around all day in the hot sun  – admittedly, our  little setup was under cover, but on a really hot day, that’s not always an advantage. Various visitors to the 3NRG stand throughout the day including the two local councillors, and the local Labor  Party member, who had just managed to hold her State seat at the November elect6ions. We had intended to have an annual float in the Festival Parade, however that task had be cancelled at the last minute through a lack of volunteers. We also had a couple of members/presenters for reasons best known to themselves, ‘bypassed’ our little focus of the radio community!  Not really a great loss in most eyes, but nevertheless, a disappointing response!

It was an expensive day for your scribe in one way –  as part of Sunbury’s 175th Celebrations this year – the town was first settled in 1836 –  a set of prints of four original paintings of the district had been commissioned –  paintings of two of the original homesteads [as built by those settlers] – Rupertswood Mansion, and the Emu Bottom homestead, a picture of  Sunbury’s original racecourse [no longer existent],  and a fourth, of the main building of the former Sunbury Mental Hospital up at Jackson’e Hill [where in fact, our radio station is located]. During the course of our day at the Festival today, an impromptu committee meeting was held [with most of the committee on site] and it was agreed we would purchase one of t5hose prints for the radio station, and as a demonstration of our support for the community organisation [cancer research, etc], that purchases  of the prints were going to support. Not surprisingly, the committee agreed that the hospital print was the most appropriate purchase by 3NRG. Now I myself, had been interested in buying one of these prints – in fact had hinted last night amongst the family that  such a purchase would make a nice birthday present for Dad later in the year!  In any case, I intended to buy one later on  –  but with the radio station making a purchase this morning, and the sales, and framed copies of each of the four prints on display, about 50 metres away – well, I decided, why wait, do it now, the cash might not be available later in the year!!  Each of the four prints had 175 copies available  – my choice was the Rupertswood Mansion, now a popular tourist spot in the heart of Sunbury, and the whole complex occupied by the Salesian College.  I discovered that not many purchases had been made as yet –  I was allocated No. 9 of 175.  For the rest of the day, I was keeping a close watch on my ‘paper’ acquisition, at the display stand – both with respect to it being damaged in some way, or ‘stolen’ though no one would really have known what it was anyway, rolled securely in brown paper!!

Home later this afternoon to find Susie apparently feeling a little better than this morning, although she didn’t go anywhere tonight – cooked her a roast meal, but she barely touched it, and most of her meal was still in the fridge, when she returned to Bendigo on Sunday evening.  How often does that happen, when ‘Dad’ attempts to go to a bit of extra effort for a meal?  Such is life.

Meanwhile, yours truly rather tired this Saturday night – I knew that sleep would not come easy or undisturbed – never does on a Saturday night prior to my early Sunday risings – and then when I discovered that there was a party going on across the road [my bedroom faces the street], I realised immediately we were not in for a good night. Surprisingly, the ‘thump, thump, thump’ of music echoing through the night air of the street seemed to end earlier than I’d anticipated, or perhaps, despite it, I went to sleep anyway, and when I did awake later on a couple of occasions, the street was quiet!  It is after a night like that – when we’re had a local party in progress, that I don’t mind ‘disturbing’ the neighbourhood with my 6am departure on Sunday morning – on those occasions, I sometimes wish [almost] that my vehicle was a little noisier than it actually is. In reality, I usually creep away from home, slowly and quietly, with the utmost respect for the neighbours!!

Sunday morning [ 20th March]: as suggested, ‘crept’ away from home in the car today, just after 6am for an extra early start at the radio. I thought I had better feature the Australian String Quartet this morning, in view of the fact that I’m going to see them perform tomorrow night!  I was back on air again this afternoon for just over two hours – mainly folk music this time, although I must admit that by the time I left, I was beginning to feel just a little weary of ‘radio’ related work this weekend! Almost 11 hours, in one way or another.

I also called in briefly at the local cricket ground this afternoon to get a bit of a feel for the local cricket final which was taking place, This was for the Sunbury B Grade team from the club that Adam plays with and is currently the Junior Vice President. He takes the role seriously from what I can gather, and I regularly see his pushing for the membership to support the teams, and their various matches and activities through Face Book. In fact, I think he played a couple of games with the B grade team earlier in the season, before playing out the season with one of the lower teams. There were a couple of Sunbury teams playing in the local cricket finals this weekend – in the major competition, the Sunbury United, who had been on top of their respective ladder all season, were up against the team from our northern neighbours, Riddell, while Adam’s team were playing against the next town further north on the road to Bendigo, named Woodend. At the time of writing, I don’t  think many of the matches had been completed, with an extra day available next Saturday [ a precaution against our unreliable weather over the past season]. Must chase up Adam for an update.

I was reading a story from the Uniting Churches’ ‘Crosslight Magazine’ a couple of days ago, and the writers were calling for action to be taken to  express deep concern that a woman from Pakistan, Ms Asia Bibi,  has been sentenced to death on accusations of blasphemy by a court that did not even hear her testimony. It’s often difficult to understand the basis of many of the beliefs and practices of other cultures and/or religions, but I think most societies would find this kind of story both disturbing, and distasteful. As reported in ‘Crosslight’  –  ‘Christian woman, Asia Bibi, aged 45, has been condemned to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. In November a Punjabi court found the mother of five guilty of insulting the prophet Mohammad after complaints from her neighbours and sentenced her to be hanged. Ms Bibi claims the accusations of blasphemy were made after she was told to bring water to fellow workers in a field. They declined to drink, saying that as a Christian she had contaminated it. They pressured her to convert to Islam, which she refused to do. She denies having made any blasphemous comments. Her accusers have refused to specify the alleged blasphemy. She is the first woman to be sentenced to hang under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. She has already been in prison for 17 months’.  When you read something like that, it makes you realise just how fortunate we are to have been brought up in the kind of environment that  frowns completely on such practices.

Certainly, not really a topic to inspire a cheerful frame of mind – should have saved that for another day, because I think this particular Sunday night was one of my lowest since Susie has being going up to Bendigo late on a Sunday. Admittedly, before she left I was feeling weary in body and mind,  but tonight I seemed  to ‘feel’ her departure more inwardly painful than usual –  the house simply felt empty, and quite lonely. I had plenty to occupy myself with, but found it difficult to really settle down to anything. I don’t think I could even be bothered reading! I think we shall put it down as a night best forgotten – did get onto some more ‘family history’ work at one stage. Certainly, the news continuing to come out of places such as Japan and Libya was bad enough to depress us all, and after watching ABC 24 News for an hour or so, I decided that I’d had enough of that also!!

On a brighter note, I enjoyed reading the following comment from eldest son, James, who resigned his fulltime job, to go back to university and seek a teaching qualification. Soon after he started, it seemed as though he was going to change his mind, and pull out, but the following remark as part of a broader online conversation he was having with some friends, inspired and reinvigorated my confidence in his attitude –  where he wrote:- ‘ Yeah you can do a 1 year diploma on top of previous studies, but i didn’t want to go straight into teaching without the right skills. I think it will be an awesome career, but I want to develop as many skills as I can, so I can be the best teacher I can be. Obviously I’d play a big part in children’s lives, so I want to do the best I can’. I found that a rather impressive reflection by James!

Overnight, Australia’s Casey Stoner got off to a great start in the 2011 MotoGP season, with a good win in the first championship race for the year.   Stoner (Repsol Honda) had a titanic tussle with his Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa at the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar in the first round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship to snatch 25 points on his debut ride with Repsol Honda. He still looks years younger t he actually is, but he is certainly proving to be a great competitor on the motor bikes.



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