Posted by: jkirkby8712 | June 23, 2011

Wednesday, 22 June 2011 – shortest day of our 2011?

Well, it seems to vary, between yesterday today – generally known as the Winter Solstice here in the Southern Hemisphere.  The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the winter solstice usually occurs on Dec. 21 or 22 each year in the Northern Hemisphere, and June 20 or 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.  From Wikipedia, I read that   ‘The winter solstice occurs exactly when the axial tilt of a planet is farthest away from its star, depending on the polar hemisphere of reference. Earth’s maximum axial tilt to our Sun during a solstice is 23° 26′. More evidently from high latitudes, a hemisphere’s winter solstice occurs on the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the sun’s daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest.  Since the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, other terms are often used for the day on which it occurs, such as midwinter, the longest night or the first day of winter’.  It’s actually a comforting thought to realise that from this point onwards, it will ‘slowly’ begin to be light earlier in the morning, as darkness comes a little later each night. O know that when going up the radio station on a Sunday morning, it is always much more pleasant to do so  in the early morning daylight, in preference to the current darkness.

 Now, I was a little annoyed that prior to my brief sports reporting appearance on the radio this morning, that I was unable to obtain from any source,  two of the Australian girl’s results from Tuesday at Wimbledon. All news was about Tomic, Hewitt or Stosur, the other two completely ignored, and I had to wait some time today before discovering the outcome of those two games, which is seems had been deferred until Day 3 [tonight, our time!!]. Annoyed, because I had wanted to provide a ‘full’ overnight results service of all the Australians at Wimbledon!!  Unfortunately, my ‘host’ was not as interested or concerned as I was on that matter!!! Amazing how so often, we are only interested in the big names, unless someone else is winning!

I was reading a few notes from my former University’s alumina online publication the other day, and found the following little story about a former graduate of the university [Melbourne University], and I thought I woul;d like to share it with my many readers!!!!

“At 8.30am on 11 May, BCom/LLB alumnus Paul Hameister was privileged to be the first climber for the 2011 season to stand on top of the world.   At the same time, he became the 68th Australian in history to summit Mt Everest.   Paul attributes his achievement to the support of many others including his guide, well-known New Zealander Dean Staples, their ‘superhuman’ team of sherpas: Lhakpa (7th summit): Tendi (4th summit) and Gelu (2nd summit), the team at Adventure Consultants who provided infrastructure and support for the entire trip, and the core Melbourne support group who cared for his wife and children while he was on the climb.   Paul also acknowledged the support of his mother and his father who, at the age of 69, walked heroically with him to Base Camp at the start of the journey.

‘I will save the detailed stories for another time, suffice to say that aside from now being 10kg lighter, still coughing up blood and some frostbite on my face (kisses from Chomolungma herself), I am in relatively good shape.’  Paul’s account of the summit tells of a journey not without its trials and tragedy, which makes his achievement all the more significant.  ‘There was only one other group on the mountain on the 11th including Apa Sherpa, the world record holder for number of summits (this was his 21st summit). They summitted an hour after us. Apa Sherpa had the good sense to let us break trail for the night.   ‘The following day the weather turned for the worse but, encouraged by our early success, a number of groups had a crack. However, none made the summit and sadly, the veteran Japanese climber Takashi Ozaki lost his life from HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema) on 12th May. He had climbed six of the 8000m peaks including Everest previously.  ‘It has been a very cold season and I have had reports of summit attempts in recent days resulting in bad frostbite injuries that will require amputations. Most groups are still on the mountain at Base Camp waiting for the weather to improve.  ‘The summit itself is the most magical place I have ever been and I will never forget my first sight of those prayer flags fluttering in the wind. 

‘For me though, the 45 days I spent on Everest (and the months of training) will forever be the high watermark in my life of selfishness as a husband and a father and I have an incredibly unique wife to have allowed me this self-indulgence.   ‘Most importantly, I want to thank my wife and kids, without whose strength, support and love, the achievement of this dream would not have been possible.   ‘Now for some rest and some quality family time. The night I left Melbourne for this journey, my nine-year-old daughter Jade made me promise that I would come home safe. I am delighted to still be able to tell my kids that we don’t break promises in our family.’  Making this trip all the more remarkable is the $25,000 that Paul and his group together raised for an educational scholarship program in Nepal. The program supports 70-80 at-risk young kids in Nepal and will now be able to run in 2011 and 2012 and make a real difference to their lives.  The Faculty of Business and Economics wishes to congratulate Paul on his amazing and inspiring achievement and dedication.  Paul graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Commerce in 1991 and a Bachelor of Laws in 1992. He is the Joint Managing Director of Hamton Property Group”.

Contributed  as a part of Bill’s blog  –  I was a part-time student at the University of Melbourne for 7 years in the late 1960s/early 70s – should have been only 6 years part-time, but a lack of concentration one year, meant I ended up having to repeat a couple of subjects. However, we persisted with the course, and eventually came out with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree, no special achievements, or anything, just the basic degree. It was actually my second attempt at that Degree – when I first arrived in Melbourne in the middle of 1966, I commenced the course the following year, but because of the clash with a new found ‘social life’ which I’d rarely experienced before, gave the studies away for a couple of years, started again in 1970, I think! The main study areas were subjects of accounting, economics, legal studies [mainly of a commercial nature], and a few other minor areas. I believe the most favoured subject I studied, which was probably the least of value in terms of future employment, was called ‘Economic History’. I remember that our main lecturer was a man who is today one of Australia’s most renowned authors and historians, Professor Geoffrey Blainey. At that time, the highlight of the year was a field trip with Professor Blainey to an archaeological site somewhere to the east of Ballarat – have often tried to recall just exactly where that was [on somebody’s property I would imagine], but because I didn’t actually drive, but travelled as part of a bus tour, didn’t really take in properly, exactly where we went.  Also, I think my attention might have also been slightly distracted by one my fellow female students, who basically became one of the few friends that I made during the course of those years at the university, only going there usually of an evening for late lectures [I was working full time], and to the Bailleau Library sometimes of a weekend.  Often wondered what happened to that friend – can’t even recall her name, so a little to track someone down under those circumstances!!!

Incidentally, I finally discovered the fortunes or otherwise of our other two Australian girls in the Wimbledon Round 1 competition.  Anastasia Rodionova was unfortunately defeated by her Czech opponent, Andrea Hlavackova  6/1, 6/2, rather convincingly it seems.  However better fortunes for Jarmila Gajdosova [formerly Groth, changed back to her maiden name following a relationship breakup since last year] who had a 2 sets win over Alona Bondarenko of the Ukraine, 7/5, 6/3.  So I think she is our only female representative through to the second round.

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