Posted by: jkirkby8712 | October 20, 2011

Tuesday, 18 October 2011 – my 65th Birthday, Jodie’s 23rd Birthday

Not off to a great start today – actually slept longer than I wanted to, and feeling a little unwell, probably the affects of drinking an unwise cup of hot milo at 1 am this morning before I finally got to bed –  actually got my first birthday greeting, from Susan who was as usual still up at that time. In any case the drive [my final drive] to Northcote was much quicker than usual, and traffic wise, luck must have been on my side, made the distance in a record 50 minutes for the peak traffic time. A quick stop at the office [nature called], left the car there, and walked down to the Clifton Hill shopping precinct, where I found Jackie, George & Michael standing out front of the cafe, the two guys of course, having a smoke!!

Breakfast at Ahmad’s cafe in Clifton Hill –   Ahmad had provided many a meal [at a cost naturally] for committee and other meetings at the VPTA, all beginning with that AGM of 2009 up at the Northcote Town Hall. And while I think some of his charges were a little over inflated, there was never any shortage of food provided, usually a bit of wastage involved. That would be proved at this morning’s breakfast. Of course, I probably benefited from his bulk overcharging – most mornings when I walked in for a cappucinio, I would walk out with something extra, to eat, that had been pushed into my hands  – today’s special!! At times, I actually avoided buying a coffee there, it became embarrassing almost to be given these little freebies when all I wanted was a coffee!

Anyway, the next two hours were very pleasant, even if things didn’t always go as planned. The breakfast meals for eg, that most of us ordered, were simply enormous – my plate  of eggs, tomatoes, bacon and a mountain of button mushrooms would have satisfied me for three meals, so sadly, a lot of it was wasted, I simply couldn’t cope with the volume!!! Jackie faced similar problems with an omelette that was three times a large version! Beautiful food nevertheless and our hostess[es], Ahmad’s offsiders, continued to bring more food, most of it not even ordered!!

Who enjoyed this meal as part of our little group?   Jackie Dacey, our Coordinator [and my boss, who would take over my car later in the day], Mark Dowling [my work colleague, and Tenant Group support worker], Jenny Rayner [Mark’s predecessor , and now community worker for the residents of the Northcote housing estate], George Dixon [public tenant from Williamstown] and Peter Soper [public tenant from East Preston] – those two gentlemen were members of the interviewing committee at the time I was given the job at the VPTA [Secretary & Treasurer, I believe], and young Michael Aboutjundi, a vision impaired resident of the Northcote estate who has been doing some voluntary work for us in the office of recent times, and has been a great help in creating a bit of a gap in the various concerns of other residents and ourselves. Our computer man, another Michael, was due to come but didn’t arrive. Such a small group, but there by my invitation, as I’d not wanted any kind of major affair.  Unexpectedly, a nice little bunch of gifts, as much for my retirement as anything else – with an obvious recognition of my love of music etc through some of the contributions. The most interesting contribution and well planned contribution, is referred to beloiw.

The hiccup to the breakfast was my planned live hookup with Christine, on air at 3NRG. For some reason, my phone in the cafe was out of a reception zone [I guess I could have gone out into the street, but didn’t want to desert my guests] and as a consequence, Christine’s attempts to phone me, and get me on the radio, failed as she couldn’t get through. I did get a message from Susie [who appeared to have been getting up when I left home this morning, assumed she had an early work start] –  that message which was actually sent about 40 minutes earlier, was a bit jumbled but seemed to be suggesting that Jodie, while late, was on her way to Clifton Hill to join us. I’d not thought she was able to get here because of her job, so that was a nice surprise, I didn’t say anything to the others, just  kept my eye on the entrance area.  Five minutes later, in walked BOTH Susan and Jodie, and I have to admit, their arrival virtually made my day!! Introductions  all around, new breakfast orders taken, etc, etc.  Surprisingly, both girls pretty well ate everything they were given, I was surprised that Susan had an appetite at that time of day when she would normally be sleeping!!

As indicated earlier, a very pleasant couple of hours, heightened in many ways by the surprise arrival of my two beautiful girls.  It was around 10am when  we called a halt to activities – Jodie was off to work over at Port Melbourne – hopefully, she found her way from the rather complicated set of instructions Jackie set out for her!  Susan was planning to catch the tram into the city, do some shopping, and then return home to Sunbury.

Each birthday, I like to retain one of the newspapers of the day, although this usually happens only on a special birthday. I actually don’t think I bought any papers today  – however, one of my co-workers, Jenny R, gave me a ‘retirement package’ as a gift  – videos of old and modern movies, a theatre ticket, a book on travel, two bottles of crown lager, and, a copy of today’s ‘Financial Review’!!!  It’s headlines on the front page  –  ‘Abbott stand sparks power price anger’, and ‘Tax breaks for foreign funds’, while on the Opinion pages, we found  ‘Ombudsman harms office’  –  ‘US recession hits home’  –  ‘We must join the Asian century’  –   and ‘Time to set Telstra free from politics’.  Amongst many other interesting topics of a political and financial nature, that I will find interesting to read on in a few years time! Obviously, this particular gift is one I must retain this year!! 

Meanwhile, more ‘gifts’ from Mark and Jackie at the office – more ‘foreign’ chocolate from Mark, while Jackie made the strange choice [in view of my various comments over the years about the things I couldn’t eat, as a diabetic]  of a very expensive looking mud cake!!!]. I’m not sure whether it was intended to be eaten there in the office, but nobody showed any interest in it as the day wore on, and after the breakfast I had eaten this morning, I certainly had no intention of tackling it!! [I would end up taking it home, and then over to Goonawarra where I left it for Shirley and the others, what happened to it after then, I’ve no idea!].
The rest of my day, until around 4pm, was spent in the office, catching up on various tasks, or should I say, trying to finish things up. I actually found myself getting a little stressed as the day wore on, not sure why, perhaps just the thought that it was the end of an aspect of my life, and I was wanting to go without leaving things unfinished. While I realised that would never be possible, my inbuilt psyche of commitment left me feeling that it had to be done.  Mind you by late afternoon, that stress had gone, and the attitude had changed a little – I’ve done enough, just want to be on my way.  Jackie had actually offered to drive me home, and while initially it had been my plan to  catch the train, I was glad in retrospect that I didn’t have to do that, in view of the rather large collection of goodies I had accumulated since this morning!

We left soon after 4pm. Would have liked to have said a bit of a farewell to some of the local residents but didn’t really get that opportunity. I must say it was a pleasant change to not have to concentrate on the traffic and the road on my last drive from Northcote to Sunbury. I’m usually not a good passenger, but then that probably depends on the driver – didn’t feel comfortable with Mark this morning for that brief drive from the cafe to the office, and I would feel a similar discomfort driving with son James, tomorrow!! But this afternoon, felt quite relaxed.  At Sunbury, invited Jackie in for a cup of tea, but she decided to head straight back to the city where she lives! I was grateful for not needing to use public transport today.

My brother, Robert  had an interesting ‘birthday’ message for me today  – as revealed below-  and gave me three dates to confirm in my 2012 Diary!!   –    Hi Bill    Happy birthday and congratulations on reaching your retirement milestone! A new adventure now begins!  Bought you a present but you don’t get to enjoy it until next April. Through my membership of Cycling Australia was yesterday able to get priority access to tickets going on sale for World Indoor Cycling Championships in Melbourne next April. Have bought 3 tickets for Fri, Sat and Sun nights on 6,7 and 8 April. They are good tickets in the finishing straight. Tickets for myself, Evelyn and yourself; we’ll make a long weekend in Melb of it.     Have a great day; look forward to checking out the gold watch!!   Rob & Evelyn.

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised, flattered and pleased to receive the number of congratulatory messages from family and friends throughout the day via Face Book and the mobile phone, in addition to Robert’s email above. Too numerous to name everyone, but there were two or three in particular that I was ‘rather’ pleased to hear from!\

On a slightly different note, an email from the  Carlton Football Club today confirmed that former international recruit, Setanta O’hAilpin is no longer a required player.  “This was a very tough decision for us, Setanta has been an important part of our club for seven years since he arrived in Australia from Ireland,” said Carlton CEO Greg Swann.  “The AFL rules required us to make one more change to our playing list prior to the List Lodgement on October 31st to ensure we have the minimum selections in the 2011 National Draft. Setanta and Paul Bower were the two players out of contract and after a lengthy meeting this morning we made this tough decision. We certainly wish Setanta the very best and I know his enthusiasm will be missed around the Carlton Football Club,” Swann added.  At 28 years of age, Setanta is five years older than Bower, and there is no doubt age played an important role in this decision. Since making his debut for the Blues in Round 7 2005, Setanta has played a career total of 80 games, booting 67 goals. He managed 8 games this season, after injuring his hand in Round 11, however returned to the team in Round 24 and played in Carlton’s two finals matches. The Sydney born, Irish raised big man was taken by Carlton in the 5th round of the 2004 Rookie Draft, selection 62 overall as an International Rookie, after impressing recruiters in his native sport of Hurling. Setanta was elevated to the Carlton senior list in 2005, making his debut in round 7, 2005 against Richmond at the MCG after being involved in the game for less than six months. In 2004, Setanta represented Ireland in the  International Rules Series and was a member of the Club’s 2007 Pre-season Premiership. The Carlton Football Club would like to officially thank Setanta for his service over the past seven seasons, he has played an integral role in the club’s steady climb up the ladder.   Changes to the Carlton List since the end of the 2011 season:  Ryan Houlihan – retired;  Setanta O’hAilpin – delisted; and  Mark Austin – delisted”

Obviously, all of that only of interest to myself [and son James] but recorded for the record [my record, lol].

Sometime prior to 6pm, Susie gave me a lift over to Goonawarra where all of the family were present for the traditional birthday acknowledgement dinner – for both Jodie and myself on this occasion. Under the current state of affairs, there were no girlfriends/boyfriends present – only Jodie’s Ash was on the scene at present, and he was working this evening..  With James’s dog making it’s presence felt, that was an enjoyable couple of hours as usual  – and as usual, two much sweet food for my good, so I went easy on that aspect.

And so passed another birthday  – a rather significant one on this occasion –  I was thinking of sitting down what I did on each of the 18th October over all those years, but apart from a few significant occasions, think I would be struggling to put too many such memories together.  We will save those thoughts for another time.




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