Posted by: jkirkby8712 | March 3, 2012

Friday, 2nd March 2012 – visiting elderly cousins

Actually, they were Dad’s cousins, well Linton Kirk, & wife Glenis, both in their late 80s and very much independent & remaining in their own home, down in one of the coastal suburbs between the CBD and Frankston.  Left the car behind, and enjoyed a pleasant enough ‘2 train’ trip from Sunbury to the city, and then, headed southeast on the Frankston line via a suburban train.  It was three years ago, almost, that I visited them for the first time, and this is how long a return promised trip has taken me. From the station, it was a short walk across the road, certainly very convenient for public transport use for the couple concerned.

I didn’t want to tire them with a long visit, no more than an hour. Arrived at 11am, and left at 3 pm! My hosts insisted that I remain for a slow leisurely lunch, much discussion, and sharing of family photographs from the old days  – I in fact had most of the photos, has Linton was unable to find anything from the pre-war [World War II] when he and Dad were particularly close. Interestingly enough, I did have one photo of Dad, that Linton himself claimed to have  taken, in the late 1930s  –  on Lake Wendouree in Ballarat in an old style rowing boat!  I also had two or three photos of his grandparents [my great grandparents] which Linton had not seem before, and I recall him mentioning last August that he didn’t think he had any pictures of his parents generation, the era I was particularly interested in.

They were a delightful couple – being married for well over 60 years, something which would put most married couples to shame today.  He had worked in the dairy industry most of his career in accounting, finance and business, and travelled the world at different times, including spending quite a bit of time in China.  I gathered that financially, they were very comfortable, and also determined to live out their lives if at all possible in their own home,  despite it’s large size which I imagine would require a fair degree of upkeep. A philosophy I kind of agreed with – rather than pay a fortune and sell the family assets etc, they would prefer to pay for personal assistance in their own home.  I probably won’t have that choice anyway, but think that is the way I would like to go, when it becomes necessary for such a decision.

Meanwhile the original family member in Australia, whose life we dedicated in the ceremony up at the Charlton Cemetery last September, had eight children, and one of them was our respective great grandfather & grandfather respectively.  Perhaps age has dimmed his memory, but I was a little surprised that Linton didn’t appear to have much knowledge of the generation of his grandfather, but there were various points of interest came out in discussion regarding his father’s generation, and I’m sure we could add to that with further discussions at a later date should that be possible, remembering that he is about a year younger than Dad, who would have 91 years old this September.

Anyway, a pleasant 4 hours indeed, but eventually I took my leave. My original intention, thinking it would be a short stay, was to return to the city and go and see a movie. However, at this stage I decided to return to Sunbury, just before the peak hour crowds hit the trains. The one I was on, was crowded enough anyway! Meanwhile, I believe that three of my four ‘kids’ were attending an all-day/night rock concert at the Melbourne Showgrounds. I think Susie was going in there alone initially, but hopefully she will meet up with some of the others, as I think she had arranged to give Jodie and Ash, at least, a ride home from the Sunbury station. At Flinders Street and Southern Cross this morning, I’d noticed quite a crowd of ‘young’ people obviously heading to the same venue!!

On the political front today, Julia Gillard finally came ‘out of hiding’ and announced her reshuffled Ministry. This report today from news.com

BOB Carr today was announced as the new Minister for Foreign Affairs by Prime Minister Julia Gillard after a week of confidential negotiation and evasion on the appointment.

In a brash display of defiance and contempt for critics, the Prime Minister confounded reports earlier this week that she had been rolled by ministers, led by Defence Minister Stephen Smith.

There were reports Ms Gillard had wanted to sign up Mr Carr on Tuesday but that the rebel ministers angrily forced her to back down and demanded the ministry, the most powerful after Treasury, go to one of them.

The former NSW Premier himself had earlier acknowledged that an initial offer had not gone ahead. He said today he had “warring emotions” until yesterday when the “distinctive voice of Prime Minister Gillard roused me from my slumber”.

“I am an unbounded admirer of this Prime Minister, and I suspect the more I see of her the more impressed I will be by her steadfastness under pressure,” he told reporters.

“I think I might have moved on from it (getting the Foreign Affairs job). But when the Prime Minister put that offer to me on Thursday, late on the Thursday morning, no part of me could say no.

“She asked me to serve my country and I would have been incapable of saying no to that.”

Mr Carr appeared with the Prime Minister in Canberra today as she announced the new ministry following Kevin Rudd’s return to the back bench, and the resignation of senator Mark Arbib, whose Upper House post will be taken by Mr Carr.

Ms Gillard said she had held “many conversations” with Mr Carr since Monday evening and made a formal offer yesterday. She was delighted he had accepted.

For the first time, small business was given a cabinet representative with the task given to Brendan O’Connor.

The major casualty of the reshuffle was Rob McClelland, a former Attorney-General who for the first time in 14 years is off the Labor front bench.

He was also one of five ministers who opposed Ms Gillard in Monday’s leadership ballot. He has lost his Emergency services role to Attorney General Nicola Roxon.

The Prime Minister rejected reports he might quit Parliament to force a by-election in his Sydney seat of Barton, which has a seven percent margin.

“Mr McClelland was ‘a great Labor man from a great Labor family, and he will continue to serve the Labor Party’,” said Ms Gillard.

Mr McClelland comes from a prominent Labor family. His father Doug represented NSW in the Senate for 25 years. He has held Barton since 1996 and had been on the Labor front bench, in Opposition and government, since 1998.

Western Sydney MP David Bradbury was promoted to the ministry as Assistant Treasurer, the post held by Senator Arbib. ACT Senator Kate Lundy gained Senator Arbib’s other responsibility of sport.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith, the man considered the front-runner for Foreign Affairs, today congratulated Bob Carr and discounted reports he had confronted the Prime Minister to get the job instead.

Mr Smith said he repeatedly – in public and private – since 2010 had deferred to Ms Gillard’s right to select the ministry.

But he admitted to one special request.

“After the 2010 election, I asked the Prime Minister if I could serve as Defence Minister and continue to make a contribution to our national security interests. I am very happy and privileged to serve as Defence Minister,” said Mr Smith.

“There are lots of challenges in Defence – transition in Afghanistan, capability, budget and cultural issues. I personally look forward to getting on with the job.”

Mr Smith said the Prime Minister “now has a very strong new team”. He said he had known Mr Carr for several years “and look forward very much to working with him”.
As for this writer, I would have a quiet Friday evening at home, after a reasonably busy week. I did do one thing this morning, that depending upon the results that arise from it, might have a major bearing of a negative nature on my immediate future.  A few days ago, I received an invitation from the Australian Government to participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.  There are some things that you feel might best be not known, but that is obviously not a sensible or even brave attitude.   So I completed the required ‘tests’, and this morning, posted off the relevant material, etc.  On this occasion, I have to hope for a ‘negative’ result!!  Bowel cancer is a malignant growth that develops most commonly inside the large bowel.  Surprisingly, to me, it is one of Australia’s most common cancers, especially for people over 50. In 207, approximately 14,200 new cases of bowel cancer were diagnosed. It is also a major cause of cancer deaths with around 80 Australians dying from bowel cancer each week.  There are various causes, but the most common ones are diet and age as contributing factors.  A few rather sobering thoughts to dwell upon.  Meanwhile, on a brighter note, after last week’s successful little betting spree for our ‘club’, I remain in the ‘selection chair’ so I had to devote my thoughts for a while this evening to picking some more winners for tomorrow’s races at Flemington.  I don’t really anticipate the same degree of success this weekend!!

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