Posted by: jkirkby8712 | May 20, 2012

Friday, 18th May 2012 – Day 2 in Ballarat, visits, enquiries, and dinner!

An overcast and cold morning outside when I eventually emerged this morning. Another day of hospital visiting ahead was my plan, and we will just see what else the day brings. Seems like it might be a little more difficult to keep warm this time!

As has happened on numerous occasions over past weeks, Heather and I sent texts to each other at almost the same moment, not as a response to an earlier message, it just simply occurred that way. As I submitted my morning greeting, hers came through!  A  pleasant way to start one’s morning.

Occasionally yesterday, whilst talking to me, or to others, Heather would express the desire for a ‘bullet’ as a solution to ending the pain that her newly reconstructed leg was giving her. Perhaps the following verse might have been a good comeback to those feelings. Written by Eileen Caddy in ‘Footprints on the Path’, it read as

When you feel

that you have reached the end

and that you cannot go

one step further,

when life seems to be

drained of all purpose;

What a wonderful opportunity

to start all over again

to turn over a new page.


After leaving the motel this morning, I decided that my first ‘port of call’ would be the Art Gallery of Ballarat – quick look through the ;shop’, and a brief perusal of any new acquisitions or exhibitions currently on display. Just before I left, the sun came out as I was having a brief chat with the motel proprietor, but it was short-lived [the sun] at that stage!!

I spent about 40 minutes in the Art Gallery – always enjoy mu visits there, though today, I only explored the lower floor displays after a period of perusal in the shop area. Discovered that there were no large future prints of  the Australian classics planned for the near future – a bit of a disappointment as I was hoping  to purchase a companion to the Charles Condor print I’d bought earlier in the year. I did buy an ‘arty’ card for Heather. Meanwhile, a cappuccino in a nearby cafe took the time of my parking meter in Lydiard Street up to ity’s kimit, before I was on the move again.

Drove up to the Macarthur Street Primary School, and wandered in to the office/administration area. While I was not optimistic about getting any response today, I was wanting to confirm my enrolment date at the school. Surprisingly the lady who attended to my enquiry was able to find the relevant record from some 14,000 names she had on an Excel spreadsheet. It was confirmed that I ‘commenced my schooling at the Macarthur Street school on the 3rd February  1953 where I was admitted to Grade 1. This fitted in with the following years, ending up in Grade 6 on 1958, finishing mu Primary School education on the 19th December 1958, from whence I went to the Ballarat East High School as it then was.  At February 1953, I was six and half years old. Prior to then, I had this memory that I was a pupil at the Pleasant Street Primary School, on Wendouree Parade, opposite the Lake, but only for a short period of time. Next stop was that school  – their records were archived and more difficult to access.  The administration person took note of my details, and promised to get back to me at some stage with the answer to my enquiry – was I ever enrolled at Pleasant Street?

Spent just under an hour with Heather in the ward  – her friend Jan was there for about half of that time, and there was a brief break for a medical situation, when I went for a walk downstairs. Apparently Von, and Heather’s neighbour, Judy, had both been in earlier – again, I was sorry to have missed them. As for Heather, she seemed much brighter this morning, not in quite the same degree of pain as she was yesterday, although her major worry for a large part of the day, was the suggestion that she would be right to go home tomorrow!! That was obviously not a realistic proposition, yet it would not be until late afternoon that medical and nursing agreement, and a bit of push from a couple of social workers, that Heather could be confident that she was going to be allowed to remain until at least Monday.

Visiting hours off between 1pm-2.30pm – that saw me back into the city area, where after a light lunch, I called in at the Collins on Sturt bookstore./ A bit of a mistake that  – there for quite a while, and spent a bit of money I’d not really intended!! That included a couple of small inspirational booklets for Heather – yes, she was getting spoilt –  and a couple of selections for myself, including two classic Wordsworth volumes by Homer  – The Iliad, and The Odyssey  –  I think I may have an old copy of one of those, but decided these were a set that would fit in nicely with my ‘Wordsworth’ library collections. Also purchased a copy of a book by Michael Kerrigan –  ‘100 Great Art Masterpieces’ – just a cheaper discount volume, but an interesting selection of some of the great paintings.

With Heather at the hospital for just under 3 hours this afternoon – various visits from medical personnel, her social worker friends, etc, all of whom combined to make sure that Heather was not forced to return home tomorrow. Relief for her eventually when it was confirmed that the situation would be reassessed on Monday. Not a great deal of time for us to be alone, but that was expected and accepted – Heather has a great support group of friends, and I was pleased that they were making their presence felt. I just hope that support continues after she returns home and is relative immobile for a few weeks! Once again, I would leave a little earlier than intended, with the hope of allowing Heather a bit of extra rest – but again, that hope was short-lived, as she would have further visitors. At least tonight, she would manage to get a reasonably uninterrupted sleep with a few other emergency cases keeping the attention of the nursing staff away from my friend.

A quick drive back to the motel – seemed to be a few more patrons tonight, including a group of guys who seemed to be settling in to watch the football, in the room next to mine.  Perhaps it may not be so quiet tonight!! Drove back up to Mair Street, just half a block from the hospital, where Ross & Anne loved – eventually found their home, not so obvious in the dark. I liked their place – long passageway with various rooms leading off to one side, and the upstairs and external areas – and all the walls covered with paintings, pictures and various other ornamental decorations covering a wide range of areas – bit of emphasise on sports, grandchildren, etc, chandeliers, and so on – I imagine much of the material in the house had come from the Antique shop in Armstrong Street, just recently sold up!

Dinner tonight at the Eureka Pizza Restaurant in Sturt Street, guests of Ross and wife Anne. She was quite tired this evening – fairly normal apparently for a Friday night after a long day with a large group of kindergarten children that she teaches!  On the odd occasions when talkative Ross wandered off, and was waylaid by someone he knew [everyone in the restaurant it seemed], I found myself unusually having to make the conversation with Anne, I think she is often so tired [with Ross’s regular conversation, that she chills out. Heather’s brother is a great guy  – he loves ‘talking’!!  Meanwhile, I enjoyed a beautiful meal  – marinara pasta plus a shared pancake later with Ross. Very popular, large, busy and noisy restaurant, and with our table almost opposite a well replenished fire place,  it a lot warmer than was possibly comfortable at times. I must admit that I found it intriguing, the way Ross introduced me to people –  ‘our friend Bill, who is currently looking after my big sister’!!

Back to the car parked in Mair Street, said our goodnights, and I later also exchanged a greeting with Heather who was settling down for the night. No other distractions, I drove straight back to the motel – bit of writing, reading, and watched the end of a close Collingwood/Geelong football match. The end of that game signalled the departure of some of my neighbour’s friends, but it was a while before the room occupant himself settled down – not much thickness in the adjoining walls!! For myself, a bit of a restless night, but managed a reasonable sleep.





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