Posted by: jkirkby8712 | December 26, 2011

Sunday, 25 December 2011 – a personal Christmas Day!

It’s 6.30pm Christmas evening, and I’m alone with Susan’s two cats, while outside, the humidity of the afternoon has finally led to the sounds of rolling thunderclaps and rain. I’m made a start of one of the books I was generously given by various members of the family during our gift exchanging session this afternoon, following our Christmas dinner. As I sat here, I almost considered driving back to the family home, share a bit of the evening meal, and a bit more of the company that had occupied most of the afternoon. But with the rain getting heavier by the minute, decided that I would tolerate this rare moment of feeling lonely, and remain where I was. As I look out the opened front door, the rain is driving on a slanted angle in towards the house, as my grassed lawn areas, and even the patio begin to flood. Hope everyone else in the family is now out of the rain, as I am. As the water begins to splash through the screen door, I decide it is time to close the main door, which I left open, hoping to encourage the coolness of the approaching change into the house.

It was an odd sensation that led to that unusual feeling – sitting here alone on Christmas evening. Done it before, but has never really worried me previously – well not worrying me, but just found myself wondering why that sensation had occurred to me! Meanwhile, as the water begins to build up around the front doorstep, I can hear and see the intensity of the rain dropping off, while the thunder goes in the opposite direction. Suddenly quite dark outside!  Whilst this was happening, a call from sister Jean in Ballarat – this rain-belt had gone through their area a couple of hours ago.

About 15 hours earlier, at 3am precisely, I was awoken by another thunderstorm, though didn’t appear to be as much rain in this area on that occasion. Nevertheless, as usual for a Saturday night, I found it difficult to get back to sleep with the knowledge of the usual early start ahead of me. Also feeling a little bit of a diabetic hangover from the pizza and glass of red wine I had [unwisely] indulged in last night after returning home from the Christmas Eve festivities at the radio station. Nevertheless, I looked forward to this morning’s Christmas Day broadcast, which I presented from just before 7am until 10am.  I confined the first couple of hours to traditional renderings by choirs, etc of well known carols, and other sacred songs related to today, and then finished up with an hour of more contemporary and  ‘popular’ versions of carols and general Christmas songs, all of this mixed up with a few Christmassy instrumentals along the way. Also made a point of playing two or three tracks from ‘Songs For All People’, the little CD put out by the young people of the Sunbury Uniting Church a few years ago, and which I make a point of playing each year at this time. I have to admit, that each year when I put those tracks over the year, this presenter is sitting there at the studio desk with tears in his eyes, such is the level of emotion can is created by listening to those young singers, especially the two or three lead girl singers. I’ve not been around the church for the last couple of years, preferring to keep Sunday mornings to my own needs, and so I found myself wondering whether those ‘young singers’ were still in fact singing at the church or elsewhere?  I asked that question of Helen on the internet last night [the lady I had coffee with on Tuesday] but she was unsure as to which group of singers I was referring to. Probably the older ones had moved on, pretty typical of many church families these days.

A brief look at a couple of the lyrics from the ‘Sings for all People’ CD stuck in my memory – ‘Heal the world, make it a better place, For you and for me, and the entire human race. There are people dying, If you care enough for the living, make a better place for you and for me…….’ [from the song ‘Heal the World’ which I’ve heard sung professionally by a well known singer, but still prefer the ‘amateur’ St Andrew’s version].  Then there were the words from ‘Jesus born on this day’  –  ‘Behold the Lamb of God has come, Behold the Saviour is born, singing of His love to everyone. Oh Jesus, born on this day, He is our God and our Saviour’.

A couple of phone calls during the program – from radio President, Olly, thanking me for being on air this morning, Alan James, and Sandy of the duo who normally follow me on a Sunday morning. Her husband, the other part of that ‘country music’ combo, had apparently been rushed to hospital with heart concerns, and his condition was not very good. Sandy wanted me to organise ‘fill-ins’ for their show over the next couple of weeks. Also had another presenter call in to the studio, even if that visit was ostensibly to pick up the glasses he’d left behind last night!  But it was nevertheless nice to have some communication with my Sunday morning program, even though this was a special Christmas program rather than my usual ‘Sunday Classics’ feature! Jck Harris, from Diggers Rest followed me this morning – continued much in the same vein with basically more Christmas music. I notice he also played a number of Scottish bits of music for our loyal listener out at Glenhuntly – Jayne was not well, and not having a good Christmas, but hopefully as she usually claims, she gets a lot of comfort from the music and presenters here at 3NRG. Jack and myself both certainly hoped that was the case this morning.

At 7.45 pm, and another heavy rain belt comes through this area – close to hail, but of much shorter duration than the earlier downpour. Glad I am not out on the roads now!  In fact apparently much of Melbourne, and particularly the north and northwest areas, where we are, were hit by huge hailstones, the size of lemons!!  Thankfully, I didn’t see any of those!  Meanwhile, planes were diverted at Melbourne Airport [15 minutes south of here], as a thunderstorm, hail, and a ‘tornado’ battered the city!!  Again, glad I’m here, and not out in those conditions. Meanwhile, Cyclone Grant over northern Australia has begun battering remote areas with gale-force winds and heavy rainfall hitting communities. Earlier warnings in Darwin have been moderated a little below actual cyclonic conditions but the weather is currently expected to be quite rough.

Had a very pleasant afternoon with the family over at Goonawarra [on the city side of Sunbury] – a relaxed main Christmas dinner meal, followed by the traditional gift swapping exercise. As the ‘estranged’ member of the family, I always feel a little guilty at the level of generosity given to myself, not just by my children, but by Shirley and her mother. A wonderful collection of new books, some gardening items, and some bed linen – all items that Bill was well in need of!!  I would go away with no complaints!! As usual, the bulk of the meal was planned, prepared and cooked by Mrs S, now approaching 91 years old in March!!! Admittedly, she is looking weaker each year, but currently refuses to step down from the task of ‘getting’ her family in Sunbury, their Christmas dinner.  And of course, she continues to use my late mother’s recipe for the Christmas pudding, and always makes sure there is an extra amount left over for Bill to take home, for a later meal.  Joined in later in a ‘family game’ that Susie had been given as a gift – I’m not generally one for such games, but enjoyed the opportunity for all of us to be involved in something, even if the process was a little noisy for this old conservative.  Afterwards, Susan went off to Jimmy’s place  – it seems they were back together again! I felt a bit uncomfortable about that, for Susie’s sake, as not sure how she could manage another beak up! Jodie eventually went off with boyfriend Ash, while Adam had actually left earlier – he had worked at the Bakery this morning, and would be back on duty early tomorrow morning. When I left around 5pm, there was just James remaining at Goonawarra, with Shirley and Mrs S.  He is living there again at the moment!

Suddenly realised that I had  missed watching the Queen’s Christmas message. A bit of concern on that side of things –  Prince Phillip [in his 90s] was admitted to hospital a day or so ago with chest pains – I wonder if she made reference to that in her address? In fact apparently, her speech emphasised the importance of family strengths and community bonds.

Meanwhile, over  large areas of Sunbury, the power went off this evening, but not here at home  – it was out over at Goonawarra where I’d had Christmas Dinner, and throughout that whole area, as well as wherever it was in Sunbury that Jimmy & Susie following another violent storm a few minutes earlier. Both Susie & James contacted me, enquiring as to whether I had lost power – no, and with the wether much calmer now, I assumed it would remain that way. At James’ request, I contacted the electricity authority, and was able to pass on the ‘good’ that the power was unlikely to be restored for some 8 hours!!!  James wanted to play games of poker on the internet, so asked if he could come over here!  No problems, suddenly my lonely night had company – James and his dog [his mother had asked he bring the dog with him rather than leave it over at Goonawarra in the dark], knowing that I was never really keen to have the animal romping around this place.  However, our little friend settled down pretty well, and shared it’s visiting time either sitting with James out in the other room where we had connected him up with the internet, where he was playing his ‘poker’, or for me, watching the TV – I’d already decided to watch a couple of movies on the ABC before James decided to come over. So in fact, neither visitor was any problem, and the fact that my house retained it’s power following the afternoon storms, meant that Bill’s lonely Christmas night went a little differently than anticipated. Susie remained wherever she was with Jimmy, the lack of power obviously not worrying them!  And for the time being, the storms stayed away, having created Christmas havoc across Melbourne over the past few hours, and the temperature outside was much more pleasant!!. Mind you, I did have to encourage James that it was time to leave as midnight came an went, but apparently by that stage he had won his way into an online poker final, which he had to be ready to participate in at 7am Monday!  Worth a lot of money however, so he would obviously make the effort.

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