Posted by: jkirkby8712 | November 12, 2011

Friday, 11th November 2011 – Remembrance Day in Australia.

Back to the VPTA this morning, by train again, a pleasant trip – three more interviews over 3 hours for my replacement, a much better line up of candidates this occasion – a guy from South America, an Aussie guy who demonstrated an ongoing enjoyment of life, and a very efficient and pleasant Chinese lady, named ‘Jean’. With the three people we interviewed earlier in the week, the outcome came down to two of today’s interviewees and one from Tuesday, and in the end, it was a unanimous decision – the job would be offered to Jean! Apart from all her other qualifications and experience, it was considered that she had the best fit in terms of the organisation’s culture, and with so many different nationalities involved with the organisation, she was considered the perfect choice to sit in my spot [and I’m sure will be much better suited to the role than I ever was – I never really had the patience to deal with the complexity of concerns and complaints, well not even that, just simply didn’t have the time to be both accountant and administrator, and unofficial social worker. I’m sure my replacement will be able to manage, with your youth and enthusiasm all of those aspects, and always put on a pleasant and welcoming disposition, in contrast to this occasionally grouchy old grump!!!

Anyway, putting that aside, I stayed a little longer than I did on Tuesday, in order to fix up a few accounting matters for the ‘boss’, and go down to the local bank with her – my signature is still usable and was required in order for the organisation to obtain a bank cheque – since I left, arrangements had been made to purchase a replacement car for the one I had been driving [which Jackie currently has], and that changeover is taking place next week. Meanwhile, being back in the office today, and no longer really been in control of my once work area, I found myself feeling a little ‘rattled’ to be in an environment that was no longer in the same degree of organised order that I always had it, and I was feeling rather glad, that I will probably only need to return on one more occasion  – to introduce my replacement to systems & procedures, etc. This was supposed to have happened before I’d actually retired, but delays in the advertising and replacement process put those plans behind. The advantage of the longer stay this afternoon ended up with my not having to catch the train back home – Jackie was driving to Bendigo this afternoon, and offered to drop me off at Sunbury along the way. Not much had changed with her since I left – she was still completely out of control in organising and maintaining her work plans, with so many problems and issues still requiring her attention. I am in deed glad of my decision to leave when I did. I can do without those hazzles, or simply the environment in which they are occurring.

With those interviews going on from around 10.30 am, we completely overlooked the ‘11am’  Remembrance Day acknowledgement.   Remembrance Day in Australia is dedicated to Australians who died as a result of war, particularly from World War I onwards. A minute of silence is dedicated to the deceased, especially for soldiers who died fighting to protect the nation. Remembrance Day is annually observed on November 11 although it is not a public holiday, and this observance generally occurs at 11 am on that date. I know that our radio station was this morning providing a direct broadcast of the short proceedings from the War Memorial site on Sunbury’s Village Green. Many Australians stop what they are doing at exactly 11am in their local times on November 11 each year to dedicate a minute of silence for those who died in war. A bit of background, although I have possibly mentioned this in previous years.

According to the Australian government’s Cultural and Recreation portal, Remembrance Day, which was originally called Armistice Day, commemorated the end of the hostilities for the Great War (World War I), the signing of the armistice, which occurred on November 11, 1918 – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. On the first anniversary of the armistice, in 1919, one minute’s silence was instituted as part of the main commemorative ceremony. After the end of World War II in 1945, the Australian and British governments changed the name to Remembrance Day as an appropriate title for a day which would commemorate all war dead. The year 2008 marked the 90th anniversary of the Australian attack at Villers-Bretonneux. On April 24, 1918, Australian Imperial Force (AIF) soldiers attacked German forces that captured the French town of Villers-Bretonneux earlier that day. The action was successful, but the fighting was fierce, and many lives were lost on both sides.  Red poppies are worn on blazers, shirts, jumpers and other items of clothing on Remembrance Day to remember those who died during a war. Poppies were among the first plants that came from the battlefields of northern France and Belgium during World War I. Some people believed the popular myth that poppies were rich in their redness because they blossomed from grounds that were saturated with soldiers’ blood.

Our Test Cricket team is over in South Africa at present, and over the past couple of days, Days 1 & 2 of the First Test [of just two] has been played. Sadly for the Aussies, a rather disappointing batting display. The following report from Cricket Australia tells the dismal story……………..‘Australia were bowled out for their fourth-lowest Test score on Thursday, yet remain in contention to win the first Test against South Africa after an astonishing second day at Newlands.  Twenty-three wickets fell in total on day two, which began with South Africa bowling out Australia for 284 in their first knock, with the tourists led by a brilliant 151 from skipper Michael Clarke.\  South Africa looked comfortable in reply at 1-49 at lunch, but whatever was served during the break seemed to do wonders for the seam bowlers, with the Proteas losing their last nine wickets for just 47 runs in 11.3 overs after lunch to be all out for 96.  It was their second-lowest score since their return to the Test arena in 1991, with Shane Watson – in his first ever Test against South Africa – finishing with figures of 5-17 from five overs, wrapping up his five-for in just 21 balls, and he was well supported by Ryan Harris with 4-33.  But there was more carnage to come, with the Australians then skittled for 47 in their second innings with South African debutant Vernon Philander taking 5-15 in an inspired spell of pace bowling. Morne Morkel chipped in with 3-9 leaving Dale Steyn’s 2-23 looking expensive by comparison.  At one stage Australia looked in danger of being routed for the lowest ever Test score (26) at 9-21, but a 26-run 10th wicket stand between Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon spared their blushes.  At stumps, the South Africans were 1-81, chasing 236 for victory, with Graeme Smith (36 not out) and Hashim Amla (29 not out) at the crease, and Australia will be ruing a straightforward chance dropped by Mike Hussey to dismiss Amla with the last ball of the day.  Summary to Stumps on Day 2:  Australia:  284 and 47.    South Africa:  96

At the same time up in Sydney, we have the Australian Open Golf Championship, and one of the visiting players is that ‘notorious womaniser’, Tiger Woods [though presumably reformed now, since his visit here 2 years ago, when shortly thereafter, all ’hell’ broke loose with the stories of his extra-marital activities becoming front page news!!  That cost him his marriage, and probably the best part of his golf career which has slipped drastically since those days of the world’s No. 1 golfer. It must be Wood’s comeback tournament – at the end of play on Day 2, Tiger Woods is the leader, by one stroke at 9 under, over Peter O’Malley [8 under] and Jason Day [7 under]  – will be interesting to see if he can keep it up until Sunday afternoon!  I think his last tournament win was this event in 2009 [played in Melbourne that year].

Home this evening, doing a bit of writing and reading, and listening to a broadcast by ABC Classic FM of a recording of a concert performed by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra earlier this year.  I guess it’s a cheaper way of enjoying some of the concerts I would like to get to, although like a sporting event, it doesn’t have the same atmosphere as actually being there!  In any case, the program included the following four pieces, of which I have certainly played the Brahms’s symphony on a Sunday morning, but don’t recall having presented the others. A pleasant hour or so.

  • Percy Grainger ‘Green Bushes
  • Saint-Saens: ‘Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op.33
  • Dvorak:  Silent Woods, for cello and orchestra, B182 [Op. 68]
  • Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 73

I’ve actually received copies of the 2012 Series Programs for a couple of the interstate orchestras, namely, the  Queensland Symphony Orchestra, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra,  while I’m still awaiting on Adelaide and Sydney.  Who knows what or where I will get to next year, but decided I’d like to know what is on throughout the year in each of those cities ‘just in case’. I’m particularly impressed with the program from Brisbane, where I do intend to spend a few weeks at some stage in 2012.  This week’s mail has also included yet another tempting offer for books from the ‘Folio Society’, but despite that temptation, I’ve have decided to purchase no more from that source – simply too expensive in my ‘current state of affairs’!!

Most unpleasant ‘letter’ in today’s mail came from the Australian Taxation Office  – ‘Notice of an Amended Assessment for Year Ended 2010’!!!  Thought I’d finally got all of that right, paid them a sum for this year [2011] as it was, and now they want more ‘blood’ out of me!!  I thought I was doing well in 2010 with the refund I received, but no, the ATO gave me too much!  They want some of it back!

 

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