Posted by: jkirkby8712 | March 27, 2012

Monday 19th March to Sunday, 25th March 2012 – A Week at a Time!!

From this point onwards, I was wondering whether to continue with my public blog – I don’t really get a great deal of response, and  I feel that in writing it, I need to be wary at times of how much  personal detail I should include, perhaps already too much, probably why any readers consider it so boring!!  Certainly, that thought often restricts my content,  so for a few days with that in mind, my intention was to continue my daily scribbles,  but only for future personal/family output. At the time, I wondered whether my disappearance from the blog site creates any comment – I doubt it will!! Mind you, I will probably end up putting all of the following on the site in any case!!!

Monday, 19th March 2012 –  uneventful Monday, but some lovely lyrics to end the day!

To the gymnasium at 11 am for beginning if 2nd stage of my Lift For Life course – not the usual set of activities today, more of an Assessment of progress made, etc, in the first 8 weeks. All good, and advancements made in all areas [as I would have hoped and assumed] including improvements in weight levels, BMI measurements, etc. Even earned myself a certificate for my efforts, for what that is worth!!

Generally a quiet day, spent a brief period out in the garden, some time on program preparation, and more work on the family history. Tonight, back to the radio station, for my weekly 3 hours late night stint. Featured music from the newly acquired Katie Noonan release –  ‘First Seed Ripening’  –  by Elixir, featuring Katie Noonan.  The CD has [on vocals of course] Katie, with Stephen Magnusson on Electric, steel and nylon string guitars, and Zac Hurren on soprano and tenor saxophones. They are also accompanied  on various tracks by the El.ixir String Quartet and one or two other musicians. Some beautiful lyrics throughout the recording, of which I played two songs in the body of the program, and closed off at midnight with a very beautiful and appropriate ‘Sleep Soundly, Peacefully’, and equally beautiful lyrics:-

living together you and I

create a shelter for our child

and all the dangers of the sky

and all the terrors of the world

we must withstand, we must withhold

that he sleep soundly, peacefully

moving together, separately

we must reach a single home

we must be a unity

to be a place where he may come

without distress and without harm

and sleep here soundly, peacefully

pull back the net and let me see

the marvellous terror of his trust

and darling, stand here close to me

who is the owner, who the guest?

we two are in a place most blessed

he sleeps here soundly, peacefully

[written by J Hurren, K Noonan & J Shapcott]


Tuesday, 20th March 2012 – Jim Stynes passes away!

AFL great, player legend,  and former president of Melbourne football club Jim Stynes has died aged 45 after a three year battle with cancer. The ruckman played 264 games for Melbourne, including an AFL record of 244 games  in succession  He passed away this morning, with his young family by his side. The 1991 Brownlow Medallist and four-time Demons best and fairest resigned as Melbourne president on February 1st.  The 45 year old was diagnosed with cancer in July 2009, and since then, has had brain surgery six timers, and endured more than 20 operations to remove tumours. He continued his role as Demons president during that time, but stepped down earlier this year with his condition worsening.
Stynes’ wife Sam confirmed the news in a statement posted on facebook.

 It was not only his foot-balling success that led to his popularity, but the tremendous work he did outside of football in the community service areas  of youth work, etc.   It was in 1994, that Stynes co-founded The Reach Foundation and became a prominent youth worker in Victoria. Reach believes that every young person should have the support and self-belief they need to fulfill their potential and dare to dream. Reach achieves this by creating safe and supportive spaces where teenagers can share stories and experiences honestly. A place where they can increase their self-belief, discover who they are and recognise that they’re not alone. In addition to Reach, Stynes worked on government advisory boards including the 1997 Victorian Government Suicide Task Force and the Federal Minister For Youth’s Youth Advisory Consultative Forum Committee.

Meanwhile, back here at home, I would spend quite a few hours out in the garden today, particularly around the front area, and by the time this ‘exhausted’  retiree wandered back into the house, he was reasonably satisfied with what  had been achieved.

 Wednesday, 21st March 2012 – medical tests, and a medical scare!

Phone call to Ron Bourke t 6.45 am with local cricket scores and other sporting news.  This weekend was local cricket grand final weekend. Two Sunbury Cricket Club teams competing in the finals, including the B Grade team which Adam had played a few games with early in the season. The Sunbury United team also had two teams competing [in different grades] as did a couple of the other smaller clubs around the town. Let’s hope the weather holds off for a satisfactory completion.

From there, it was around to the local radiology unit etc, for one of my regular blood tests  –   there before opening time as usual in order to be client no. 1, which always proves an advantage, time wise. For a change, the nurse in charge, didn’t have the usual lengthy delay in finding a vein from which to extract my blood – generally, that is a long process, but perhaps the drinking of some additional water over night and this morning might have helped!  I was also given an ECG heart test – had not been aware that Dr McGrath had ordered that one, so was a bit of a surprise.

I was even more surprised, and a little disturbed to receive a phone call from the medical clinic late that same afternoon  – my ECG results were back and doctor would like to see me about the results!!! If there was not a potential problem, he would not be asking that! Anyway, booked myself in for this Friday afternoon.

By 10am this morning, it had become very dark, and the earlier patches of sunshine had disappeared completely – it appeared we were in for a storm shortly, certainly heavy rain has been reported in the Beaufort and then Ballarat area [a phone chat to Heather this morning confirmed that – she is upset, her mother is deteriorating quite quickly it seems, at Nazareth House].  As it turned out, the weather while remaining dull and overcast all day with some rain, it didn’t get as bad as had been anticipated.

As with Monday and Tuesday, Susie was home most of the day – had presumably decided to forego her studies, though she may have driven up to Bendigo yesterday, was gone for a few hours – no work rosters scheduled anyway until Thursday. In some ways, her situation was depressing me a little – doesn’t seem to be any direction in her mind at present, and it will be disappointing if she continues to drift along with the part-time job. Because of the lack of knowledge about what her plans are, I’m finding myself a little unsettled at present, and that frame of mind not improved by the phone call from the clinic this afternoon! Susie did go out to play volleyball tonight, over in Footscray – I didn’t cook anything, left a choice of frozen meals for her to choose from.

I had to go out myself tonight –  Family History Society meeting – not really keen to be bothered, but as vice president, felt obligated. Good to see Peter Free again – he was our guest speaker tonight talking on ‘archiving’  –  his health issue late last year, had apparently been something to do with his heart. He was relating the details, when someone began to speak to me, so I missed the gist of it. Anyway, appropriate to be at this meeting tonight – have been working on updating my family history records over the past few days, making that a bit of a major part time project at present.

 Thursday, 22nd March 2012 – radio deliberations and dental fears!!

At the gymnasium this morning, I was put onto a new set of exercises, and I must admit that by the end of the session, I was feeling rather exhausted. Linda, today’s personal trainer, also pointed out to me that I needed to buy some new gym shoes, mine had no tread left at all on their sole and the potential for slipping, etc, was fairly high!  I actually bought some later in the morning – a $170 pair at 50% off, even then, still a lot more than I have ever bothered to pay for ‘basically sports/running shoes’ previously. But hopefully, these will last me a little longer than past purchases.

Another lengthy spell in the garden today, which soon took what energy this morning’s gym activities had robbed me of, away also. As with most of this week, I would spend some more hours working on the family history today!

Out to a radio  sub-committee meeting tonight. The station had received a complaint from a Hume councillor about comments made on one of the weekly ‘interview’ programs and it was our role to initially determine by listening to a recording of the program whether there was any justification to the complaint. I won’t go into the details here, except to say that the complainant had not actually heard the program himself – that had been passed onto him by hearsay by someone else. Needless to say, politics was creeping into it somewhere, and the unfortunate attitude and practice of some people to be always looking for something to use against their ‘opponents’!!   Anyway, be that as it may, the outcome of our deliberations was that we could find absolutely nothing to justify the specific complaint – there was just one aspect as to whether a fact that had been referred to in the program was in fact true!! If not, it was agreed that an apology was due to the complainant in question, even though that was a separate issue completely to that person’s initial so-called concerns.

For that meeting, and afterwards back home, I can’t say that I was in much of a mood tonight –  apprehensive about my visit to the dental clinic first thing tomorrow morning, if the truth be known My confidence in that area not helped by the note included in an email from Robert about some dental treatment of his own.

Hi Bill

You’ve caught me coming out of an eventful week; have needed some dental work for some time now and a recent mishap on the bike accentuated that need. Anyway, led to a 4 hour operation Tuesday last week having 6 implants inserted and some grafting; 4 hours of having someone drill holes into your upper and lower jaw (under a local anaesthetic only) isn’t much fun! Was meant to be recovering at home for the balance of the week, but had something big running at work so although home was on the lap top 11-12 hours a day plus conference calls (on which I sounded like a drunk as face was very swollen), and then the deal fell over on Saturday night (c’est la vie, but hopefully not an outcome of my drunken demeanour on the phone). Need to wait about 3 months now for healing before the crowns can be placed and hopefully a decent set of teeth again. Objective is to get it all done before my big trip in September.

Of course reading that, my little procedure almost paled into insignificance [in theory anyway] though I didn’t exactly feel that way! The reference to the trip at the end, I think refers to a cycling trip he has planned for the USA in September, something that has been planned for quite a while. Meanwhile, he also confirmed that he and Evelyn would be down here over Easter – I was going to join then at the World Indoor Cycling championships over the Friday-Sunday of the Easter weekend.,

 Friday, 23rd March 2012 – nerves, appointments, and mixed results

Not the most encouraging start to a Friday morning –  after a restless sleep, awake at 4,30am, and stayed that way – on my mind, was an 8am visit to the dentist, one of three over the next 3 weeks or so! The task – a root canal procedure, though today was the ‘cleaning out’ phase. Still not particularly  pleasant – I have a bit of a phobia about lying right back, mouth open, and at the mercy of these ‘expensive’ medical personnel!!  Nevertheless, it was over in about 30 minutes this morning [$300 less discount for immediate payment], though I have still have another kind of medical appointment later today, that I have a slightly less trepidation about – more on that later, maybe.  Needless to say, I was pleased to get back home this morning, earlier than I had anticipated.

Received a message from Heather in Ballarat – mentioned her mother was not doing too well in Ballarat ,beginning to sound as though the old lady does not have long to go, sadly. It is going to hit Heather hard – she has visited her mother two or three times a day for almost a year now, since she began treatment for cancer last year. From those messages and the odd phone call, it was becoming obvious that her mother’s deteriorating situation is creating a deal of stress and heart ache for her daughter who is virtually spending most of her days at Nazareth House where her mother is hospitalised, and where by the weekend, she, Heather, would be spending the nights also. She was initially upset on the phone the other day when I rang her, although she quickly put that impression aside.

Let’s have a look at some news headlines in today’s ‘Australian’ newspaper , including:-

  • Tanner slams politics of spending –  former Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner has attacked politicians, including his own former Labor colleagues, arguing that they are ignoring the national interest and handing out infrastructure funding ‘irrespective of merit’  for political and not economic gain.
  • We’ve all been conned on super, says business – Business has accused Labor of misleading Australians about the cost of increasing the superannuation guarantee so it could slip the change through parliament without political inconvenience.
  • Footy broadcasts in Conroy’s hands – Communications Minister Stephen Conroy will hold the ultimate power to decide the football games aired on free-to-air TV networks under long awaited laws to ensure viewers will not have to pay to watch  major sports broadcasts.
  • Deposit rate cut to hurt savers –  the big four banks have slashed their key deposit rates while raising home loan rates to safeguard their profit margins,  which are under threat from the subdued domestic econopmy and high wholesale  funding costs.
  • [Andrew] Demetriou [Chief Executive of the AFL] believes all football codes can flourish in Sydney – the AFL [Australian Football League] held its season launch in Sydney last night on the eve of the GWS [Greater Western Sydney] Giants inaugural match against the [Sydney] Swans tomorrow.  The Swans [nee South Melbourne] came to town 30 years ago and almost fell over  through a lack of support and funding, but the AFL has thrown millions [of $s] at GWS.
  • Sister act set to make double the splash at London Games – Sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell have broken a 40-year drought by qualifying for the London Games after placing first and second in the 50m freestyle at the Olympic trials in Adelaide last night.

Meanwhile, I still had a medical appointment to get through – turned out to be a welcome anti-climax. The only ‘concern’ about the ECG test was not really a concern at all – it was the ‘reception’ staff rather than the doctor who had called me in today. Apparently everything was fine – a slightly slower pulse rate, which actually indicated a small increase in fitness levels rather than anything of a negative nature. That was certainly a major relief!! As for the blood test – those results were also available, and everything, including all of the diabetes measurements were fine – I am controlling my diabetes well!!! Further relief and satisfaction though of course, one must  never rest on one’s laurels!! And to top the visit off, Dr McGrath was able to relieve me of one of my daily medications  – from seven down to six!!! It’s now up to this writer to continue to keep things moving along in that manner.  If only i didn’t have those damn dental appointments hanging over my head!!! Meanwhile, the annual appointment with the heart specialist is due in 3 weeks.

 Saturday, 24th March 2012 – ALP wiped out in Queensland elections!!!

Felt okay about going to the gymnasium this morning, following yesterday’s dental appointment, but by 10 am, I was feeling that was a ‘pretty exhausting’ session!! Yes, shouted myself an iced coffee afterwards, and had a brief wander around town – met no-one that I could stop and chat to! Returned home but was back in town before midday – at the Post Office before it closed – sent off a package of concert brochures to Heather in Ballarat, including the details of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra concert she had chosen to go to in July. A bit unfortunate that it in view of her Mother’s ‘precarious’ clinging to life situation at present, the package might well arrive with poor timing, nevertheless, Mrs J may rally again, so I decided to send the material off anyway.

Meanwhile, messages via text and phone today from Heather were indicating that her Mother was unlikely to survive beyond tonight –  I think Heather felt that she was hanging on until the grandson, Brad, arrived today from Melbourne, but she was nevertheless ‘struggling’.  I was glad he had made the decision to go down, because prior to his recent illness, he had been somewhat estranged from the rest of the family.

In the local cricket this weekend over Saturday & Sunday, two of the teams associated with Adam’s Sunbury Cricket Club were participating in ‘grand’ Final matches for the season.  The F Grade team was playing against St Anthony’s over at Melton [where Adam was in attendance today] and they apparently restricted the opposition to a score of 148. The Senior team [in B Grade, which Adam had filled in for on a few occasions earlier in the season] were playing here in Sunbury, against Bacchus Marsh, and at the close of the first day’s play, had scored  8 wickets for 241 runs. Both games will continue tomorrow, and I planned to call in at one stage during the afternoon [Adam would be there] to see how things were going.

Meanwhile, the official A.F.L. 2012 football season got underway tonight – just the one game, played up in Sydney  – new team in the competition, a second national team in Sydney, the Greater Western Sydney Giants versus the original Sydney Swans [who were created out of South Melbourne 22 years ago]. The first half of the game was reasonably competitive with the new comers [under experienced and successful AFL coach, Kevin  Sheedy] matching it fairly well with the Swans up until half time. However with more than half of their team teenagers and first game players at the AFL level, the difference in experience and match fitness began to show, and the Swans eventually went away to what looked like a very comfortable victory. Final scores were Sydney Swans – 14.16.100 defeated Greater Western Sydney 5.7.37. The second match in Round One of the season will be the traditional starter between Richmond and Carlton next Thursday night.

There was another more important contest happening in Australiua today –  the Queensland State Election, in which it was predicted that the Party that had ruled Queensland for the past 20 years or so, was likely to be thrown out of office. Lead by a Premier who has probably proved herself to be one of more efficient political leaders in Australia over recent years, despite leading a poorly performing government, i.e., Anna Bligh, that predicted was understated. In fact, the Queensland Labor Government suffered an electoral bloodbath tonight as Anna Bligh was stripped of her power in a record voter backlash. As would be reported, the Liberal National Party [LNP] leader Campbell Newman was rocketed into parliament, and the office of Premier, taking a wrecking ball to Labor’s rule. At the close of count tonight, the ALP had lost a staggering 42 seats, sending a foreboding warning to the Federal Labor government. Of the 89 State seats available, by tonight 75 of those seats had been called for the LNP, with the amazing figure of only 6 going to Labor [ a staggering 17% swing against the ALP]. As the vanquished leader said in her post-election speech ‘It’s clear tonight that the people of Queensland have spoken with the strongest possible voice and they have voted for a change of government’. Indeed they did!!  Labour’s historic electoral route now leaves the party retaining power in just one mainland state – South Australia. Not many years past, the situation was reversed!  It was with slightly more than half the vote counted, that Ms Bligh conceded defeat to Mr Newman, the former Brisbane Mayor, who had been elected leader of his Party, even before he had won his seat!

For the new ‘Premier elect’ in Queensland, Campbell Newman, his huge gamble – in choosing a very Labor seat to enter state politics, paid off. In An extraordinary move, Mr Newman campaigned as the alternative premier against Anna Blyth without holding a seat, and entered parliament for the first time as an MP, as the LNP leader. I think he had to achieve an 8% swing against the sitting Labor MP, and in fact almost doubled that in the final count! An interesting warning was made by former Queensland Labor Premier, Peter Beattie after the devastating defeat  –  that Labor must give voters a direct say in Labor leadership ballots. Not sure how they could achieve that, I would have thought that one problem was more related to the manner in which their electoral candidates are chosen in the first placed! Anyway, at the close of counting tonight, the Queensland political system showed:-

Labor………………………………………6 seats

Liberal National Party……………..75 seats

Katter’s Australian Party…………. 2 seats

Independent……………………………. 2 seats

Undecided………………………………  4 seats

Sunday, 25th March 2012 –  Heather’s mother passes away!

It’s a pity that I have so much difficulty is achieving an uninterrupted night’s sleep, particularly when, even though retired now, I always seem to have some commitment of one sort or another of a morning, which means I need to remain conscious of how long I actually sleep of a morning!! Today such an example – of course, up at 5.30am for my Sunday Classics Program [No. 301] on the radio. Despite the usual poor sleep, feeling okay this morning, though have to get used to the dark mornings again now that Summer has passed us by and the days are quickly shortening! In fact, I believe our daylight saving period ends next Saturday night.

One thing I did do in the program this morning, was play a little tribute to Heather’s mother. I didn’t know if she had survived the night or not [she had not been expected to, though I’d not heard anything from Heather]. Anyway I played what is my favourite hymn, and one which I had no doubt, Mrs Jones would have sung many times with the congregation of Neil Street Methodist Church in Ballarat through her time there. Regarded as the Prayer of St Francis, it was ‘Make me a Captive of Your Peace’, which in fact was sung at the funeral service of Diana, Princess of Wales in September 1997. The following are the lyrics.

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord
And where there’s doubt, true faith in

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.


Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we’re born to eternal


The Prayer of Saint Francis is a Christian prayer.  According to Wikipedia, it is attributed to the 13th-century Saint Francis of Assisi, although the prayer in its present form cannot be traced back further than 1912, when it was printed in France in French, in a small spiritual magazine called La Clochette  (The Little Bell) as an anonymous prayer, as demonstrated by Dr. Christian Renoux in 2001.

I sent a brief message to Heather [obviously my program could not be heard in Ballarat] to advise her of what I had done – thought it might act as a source of comfort to both Heather, and her mother [if she was still with us]. A little later, Heather’s response appeared as a text on my phone –  ‘Bill, thank you so much, you are a darling!!  I was just leaving to go home & have a shower, but will go back & tell Mum, it will mean a lot to her. Not much change but she actually spoke to Brad yesterday! Looks like I will be spending another night with Mum’.  So it seems the old lady has awoken to another morning of her long life. Back home later, I posted the same tribute on Face Book. Ruth responded – she knew who I was talking about [following our conversation at the coffee lounge a few weeks ago]. Later this afternoon, I received a second message from Ballarat  –  ‘Bill, thankyou for your beautiful thought this morning. When I came in and told Mum, there was a lovely little smile!! Truly appreciate your thoughtfulness. I will be spending another night here. I think Mum astounds every one! H’

It is a coolish overcast day, some showers expected, but hopefully not enough to allow Adam’s two cricket teams the opportunity to complete their grand final matches. An early afternoon call from Adam – the senior ‘B’ Grade team all out for 251 [last wicket fell as he spoke], while over at Melton, in reply to the Sunbury team’s score of 148 yesterday, the opposition had  slumped to the loss of  4 wickets for 10 runs!!  They were eventually all out for quite a low score, but that match would be forced into a third day next weekend, when the opposition decided not to concede on the single innings result but insisted on fighting the game out to a second innings. Meanwhile, at Clarke Oval, where I spent two hours this afternoon, another good bowling display by the senior team, to have Bacchus Marsh [their opponents] all out for just 87. However, again, the opposition [unlike Anna Blyth last night] refused to concede defeat, and forced the Sunbury boys to bat again. However, by the end of the afternoon, much to Adam’s relief, and that of the Club, Bacchus Marsh had a change of heart, presumably they had little chance of winning the match by forcing it into a third day next weekend, and Sunbury were declared the winners of the 2011/2012 B Grade Premiership. Obviously, Adam had a night of celebrations ahead of him – I say obvious, because he was thinking ahead earlier this afternoon, when he asked me to follow him home, so he could drop his car off, and return with me to the cricket club – no drinking and driving for Adam tonight!

Following last weekend’s FI motor racing Grand Prix in Melbourne, today was the turn of the Malaysian Grand Prix – though not telecast until later tonight, some hours after the actual event!  Then the race had a couple of delays due to a heavy rainstorm, it was even surprising that the cars got to start again. Myself, I didn’t see the end of the race –  I’d already heard unintentionally, the result, when I’d switched the car engine on a little earlier, and found I’d left the radio on – just as the ABC news report was announcing the result. Wouldn’t have even been in the car at that time. However Adam rang me – wondering if I could pick him up from the cricket club and drop him home, he’d had enough of the night’s celebrations!!  Interesting little point he told me about – as basically in charge of the selection committee, it had been his task to tell a player that he’d been dropped from the team that went on to win today’s premiership. Apparently the player didn’t take it that well, and Adam was obviously feeling the responsibility a little!!

Shortly after 9.30 pm tonight [before I went out to get Adam], I received a brief message from Ballarat – “My precious Mum passed away 8.15 pm tonight. Heather”. So, suddenly, it was all over, and Heather’s plan to spend another night with her mother, ended very soon after she returned to her bedside. I sent back a brief note of sympathy, and left it at that, knowing her daughter, and presumably son, would be with her.  I would ring her tomorrow night.

As for the Malaysian Grand Prix  – well, our man, Mark Webber missed out on the podium again, as he finished in 4th position for the second race in a row!  The first three placegetters were:-

  1. Fernando Alonso
  2. Sergio Perez
  3. Lewis Hamilton
  4. Mark Webber

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