Posted by: jkirkby8712 | December 27, 2011

Monday, 26th December 2011 – Queen’s message, and ‘our’ Boxing Day Test

Reasonable overnight sleep – once James & his dog left, and  I was able to get to bed. Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, in Melbourne is traditionally the first day of a cricket Test Match – this year, between Australia and India. In years past, I would have been at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for Day 1, but the crowds, traffic, etc, have put me off in recent years, and I am quite content to sit back this day now, in front of the TV, and watch the cricket. The cricket, and the start of the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, which is also televised, are two sporting items of particular interest to this blog writer.

That would be my Boxing Day  – home, basically alone – Susie returned home for a brief time early afternoon, before going out again [without her car I noticed, again].

Last night I briefly referred to the Queen’s Christmas Message, delivered yesterday – the following is the text of her address, which was actually recorded on the 9 December, a couple of weeks before her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh was treated in hospital for a blocked coronary artery – a bit ironical when the subject matter this year dealt with the importance and influence of family, friends and the community! Being a bit of a traditionalist, I do like to take note of this particular address each year, and one can’t help noticing, that as she gets older, the emphasise of her speeches tend to become more family and personally orientated.

……………………………..”In this past year my family and I have been inspired by the courage and hope we have seen in so many ways in Britain, in the Commonwealth and around the world. We’ve seen that it’s in hardship that we often find strength from our families; it’s in adversity that new friendships are sometimes formed; and it’s in a crisis that communities break down barriers and bind together to help one another.  Families, friends and communities often find a source of courage rising up from within. Indeed, sadly, it seems that it is tragedy that often draws out the most and the best from the human spirit. When Prince Philip and I visited Australia this year, we saw for ourselves the effects of natural disaster in some of the areas devastated by floods, where in January so many people lost their lives and their livelihoods.  We were moved by the way families and local communities held together to support each other.

Prince William travelled to New Zealand and Australia in the aftermath of earthquakes, cyclones and floods and saw how communities rose up to rescue the injured, comfort the bereaved and rebuild the cities and towns devastated by nature.   The Prince of Wales also saw first-hand the remarkable resilience of the human spirit after tragedy struck in a Welsh mining community, and how communities can work together to support their neighbours.  This past year has also seen some memorable and historic visits – to Ireland and from America.  The spirit of friendship so evident in both these nations can fill us all with hope. Relationships that years ago were once so strained have through sorrow and forgiveness blossomed into long-term friendship.  It is through this lens of history that we should view the conflicts of today, and so give us hope for tomorrow.   Of course, family does not necessarily mean blood relatives but often a description of a community, organisation or nation. The Commonwealth is a family of 53 nations, all with a common bond, shared beliefs, mutual values and goals.  It is this which makes the Commonwealth a family of people in the truest sense, at ease with each other, enjoying its shared history and ready and willing to support its members in the direst of circumstances.  They have always looked to the future, with a sense of camaraderie, warmth and mutual respect while still maintaining their individualism.

The importance of family has, of course, come home to Prince Philip and me personally this year with the marriages of two of our grandchildren, each in their own way a celebration of the God-given love that binds a family together.  For many, this Christmas will not be easy. With our armed forces deployed around the world, thousands of service families face Christmas without their loved ones at home. The bereaved and the lonely will find it especially hard. And, as we all know, the world is going through difficult times. All this will affect our celebration of this great Christian festival.  Finding hope in adversity is one of the themes of Christmas. Jesus was born into a world full of fear. The angels came to frightened shepherds with hope in their voices: ‘Fear not’, they urged, ‘we bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  ‘For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.’

Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves – from our recklessness or our greed.  God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive. Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God’s love. In the last verse of this beautiful carol, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, there’s a prayer:

Holy Child of Bethlehem,

Descend to us we pray.

Cast out our sin

And enter in.

Be born in us today.

It is my prayer that on this Christmas day we might all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord.  I wish you all a very happy Christmas.”  [the Queen, 25/12/2011]

That was Queen Elizabeth II’s 59th annual Christmas speech, and was filmed in the 1844 room of Buckingham Palace, a seven minute address, actually delivered the day after Prince Phillip underwent emergency heart surgery.  As various media reports indicated, earlier in the day, Queen Elizabeth II appeared stressed without the presence of her husband who was still under observation following his surgery..  The presence of Kate Middleton,  the Duchess of Cambridge, however, and the children who brought her flowers, seemed to brighten the Queen’s spirits.  Prince Philip, meanwhile, is reported to be in better health and excellent spirits. Prince William told The Telegraph that his grandfather, now 90, was “very resilient” and “very determined.”

Meantime, back here in modest Sunbury, the sun has come out midway through the afternoon, though not of any particular strength, but it has brightened up the general aspect of the area

One of the books which, my eldest son in fact, gave me yesterday, was rather an unusual purchase by him, but one which indicated a good understanding of what Dad would be interested in!  A magnificent 700 page book entitled ‘ART’, detailing the historical span of world art in the fields of architecture, painting, sculpture, graphics, and technics, to name a few categories. In the introductory section, it was noted that ‘Art can be archaic, academic or abstract. It can be motivated by religion, politics, or simply by creativity, and it serves as a mirror of it’s time. In any case, art requires a personal, intellectual or emotional dialogue between the creator and his environment. Artists make use of certain techniques, sometimes perfecting them or even inventing completely new ones, but without spiritual individuality, art could never be more than kitsch. In addition, art constantly challenges the viewer to open and train his or her own emotions – and eyes. Personal interaction with art can be hard work, but it always provides a glimpse into culture[s] and it imparts wisdom’.  While the survey in this book doesn’t hope to replace that kind of interaction, but it does hope to improve the reader’s understanding and ability to communicate about the various concepts and genres of art. A book I will read through in stages over the next year or so, and am looking forward to doing so. 

As for the 1st Cricket Test between India and Australia – Michael Clarke won the Toss for Australia and decided to bat.  Another debut player for Australia this match, and a new opening partnership –  Ed Cowan, joining Dave Warner to open the innings. A reasonable start for the Aussies, followed by another middle order collapse, and then some consolidation at the end of the day’s play, to leave Australia at 6 wickets down for 277 runs at Stumps on Day 1, with our wicketkeeper and bowler helping to make Australia’s score a little more respectable than it was looking at 6 down for 214 runs mid afternoon.

Australia (1st Innings)

Runs

Balls    

 4s

6s

StrikeRate

 

EJM Cowan

c: Dhoni b: Ashwin                        

      68

          177

    7

   0

                     38.42

 

DA Warner

c: Dhoni b: Yadav

     37

          49

4

1

                    75.51

 

SE Marsh

c: Kohli b: Yadav

     0

           6

0

0

                        0.00

 

RT Ponting

c: Laxman b: Yadav

     62

        94

6

0

                     65.96

 

MJ Clarke

b: Khan

    31

        68

5

0   

                    45.59

 

MEK Hussey

c: Dhoni b: Khan

     0

         1

0

0

                      0.00

 

BJ Haddin

not out

   21

       60

0

0

                     35.00

 

PM Siddle

not out

   34

       80

4

0

                     42.50

 

 

Meantime, some brighter news from the hospital front, with music guru, Molly Meldrum, seriously injured in a fall at his home a couple of weeks ago. Now taken off life support, and having spoken his first words since the fall.   While his words were “almost random” and not in response to any questions, they are providing great hope to the loved ones and fans wishing him a speedy and full recovery

My Boxing Day night ended up back at the radio station again – from 9pm for 3 hours of my ‘Smorgasbord’ program. As usual, an enjoyable evening’s music, etc, although by midnight, I was ready to finish up, feeling rather tired, and while I should be use to the ‘aloneness’ of the studio of that time of night, seemed to feel it more this evening.  I noticed that since Christmas Eve, there had only been three of us broadcasting live, a fairly normal situation at this time of year, with all of us volunteers, and the majority deciding not to be available over the Christmas/New Year period.  Each year, as I have undertaken extra time slots to cover some absentees, or simply continued with my own shows, that were it not for myself and generally one or two other presenters, there would be few ‘live’ programs during this period.  With a volunteer component, it is difficult to construct any kind of permanent relieving roster for such times. Meanwhile, I notice that we must have been off air for a time during the early hours of this morning – presumably an outcome of the power blackouts that hit Sunbury last night.  Apart from the power, by all reports, Sunbury survived those storms fairly well – there was widespread news from parts of Melbourne, particularly in the northeast suburbs, of widespread damage, and serious  flooding in many areas as a consequence – not a pleasant way to finish their Christmas afternoons. In light of that, we were rather lucky up here!

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