A Shop in Doncaster

We’ve been going to this Malaysian shop in Doncaster, for our feeds of noodles and other Malaysian fares, in the past couple of years. We usually go on weekends, often on Sundays after St Alf’s.

We went there again a couple of times this past weekend. The first time, we met a couple. The guy was very friendly, and we chatted a little bit. He’s only been in Australia for about a year, but he seemed like an easy going and smart guy and he looked like he was settling down well. He was chatty while his wife remained quite as he talked to us, although she looked friendly too. They’re both in their early forties and they said to us they did not (yet?) have kids.
Yesterday after St Alf’s, we went to that shop again for lunch. It was very busy, so we could only find seats in a backroom, at a shared table. The couple who shared the table with us were again good company and we chatted a little bit. They’re retirees who now spend their days looking after their grandchildren. He was a dentist with the government. When they’re not looking after their four grandchildren, the spend time dancing. They’ve been in Australia for nearly 40 years.

I said to Tress, on the way home after lunch yesterday, that we saw an interesting contrast. We’re sort of in the middle in between those two lovely couples we met over two different days.

When I was in my early forties, I hadn’t wondered about what I would be doing, or what I would be like, when I’m in my early fifties, as I am now. I wonder now, what I would be doing and what I would be like, when I’m at that stage in life as in the second couple we met at our Malaysian go-to in Doncaster.

We had gone to that shop on Saturday for an early dinner, having spent the day cleaning up the garden. We had gone to our favourite bakery that morning and had their award-winning pastries before heading back to do work. We started late as I had to then head to the local Bunnings to pick up some stuff as well as get fuel for the mower, while Tress went to an auction at a property just around the corner from our street.

We started work just before 11am. The hedges would probably be trimmed one last time before we head into cooler days. Tress helped with raking the cut branches and we trimmed the lemon tree as well. Then Tress have the MX5 a wipe down and by the time we finished, it was nearly 3pm. We had also picked up some very nice bread rolls from the bakery earlier in the morning and so instead of getting some lunch, we made some olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip for the bread and had a nibble before heading out to that shop for dinner just after 5pm.

After lunch at the shop yesterday (Sunday), we did some grocery shopping and then headed home and Tress did some ironing while I cooked the week’s lunches. Then we walked the little guy and later in the arvo, after 6 when the winds had settled down, I mulched and applied some fertilisers on the lemon tree, which had begun fruiting again after maybe 4-5 years.

As we were lounging around last night and I was thinking about the weekend’s encounters, I wondered if we could make a quick visit to Klang. I suggested it to Tress who thought it was a good idea. We then message my brother and his wife, and they too thought it was a good idea. A few more messages later, we appear to have teed up a visit involving Kiddo and her hubs, Tress and I, to Klang for my mum’s birthday. I hope this works out. I thought about the couples we met at the shop, about how their eyes often light up when they talk about their families and hometowns. I like that shop.


Long Weekend, Leave Plans

As an employee, one has to love the March/April period. There is a Labor Day long weekend, Good Friday/Easter extended weekend and then there’s the Anzac Day holiday. However, there is a drought in May and then in June there’s the Queen’s birthday before the long dry spell all the way to Cup Day in November. So really March/April is the best time in terms of public holidays.

Yesterday was Labor Day so we had a long weekend and it was truly one of the most relaxing weekends (other than the Christmas/New Year break) we’ve had for a very long time. On Saturday however, we kept ourselves busy with St Alf stuff. In the morning I met up with John B, a highly respected doctor. He has been looking after the church ground and recently he asked for help to clean up some main access areas on Saturday mornings so that on Sunday, those high traffic areas are cleaner or neater. A bunch of us responded so that we need only rock up once a month to sweep or hose down some areas. So I met up with John who showed me what needed doing. He had been there earlier in the week however so there wasn’t too much to be done and I was home within the hour.

Back home, I continued with some ground keeping tasks – feeding my lawns and various other parts around the house with “Seasol” and raking/sweeping up leaves from the gum trees at the front.

Tress vacuumed while I was pottering around with my tasks and after that we went out for some lunch before readying ourselves for more duty later in the arvo. We also dropped into the Nunawading library and we picked up another Tim Winton book and a few movies.

We both signed up to be part of the “Dinner Tonight” teams. These teams set up and serve dinner on Saturday nights to disadvantaged or marginalised people. The dinners are provided and hosted at New Hope, just further up the street from St Alf’s. So we met up with the rest of the team at 4pm, and proceeded to set up the tables, chairs, table cloths, cutleries etc – the idea is to let the diners have a chance to eat properly on a properly set up table. We get to sit down with them to share a meal together and engage with them. It was a very satisfying experience and I learned much. I met a guy (“Douglas”) who taught me a thing or two about sensitivities of dealings with these folks. Before he left, he asked if I was going to be there again and I said I wasn’t rostered again until July. I hope to see him again and be more engaged with him.

We got home a bit after 7pm, walked the little guy a little bit, and then settled in for the night watching one of the movies we picked up from the library.

On Sunday after St Alf’s we decided to catch a movie. Tress’ boss had given her a gift card last year in June, which is good for a couple of gold class tickets at Village. That gift card is due to expire in June so we decided to use it before it gets too close. The problem was I didn’t have anything I wanted to watch. Gary Oldman as Churchill would have been nice but no cinema near us was screening that. The only thing that remotely interested me was Black Panther but I’m so tired of anything that has anything remotely connected to identity politics and so while BP is really only a superhero yarn, the undertones of black issues, no matter how remote, was sufficiently disengaging. I scanned the list of available movies and we decided on “12 Strong”, a yarn based on a true story of American soldiers in Afghanistan as an early response to 9/11. It was quite a yarn and the action scenes were quite fun.

We then went home, walked the little guy, then just chilled the night away.

Yesterday, we wanted to either go do some bushwalking or just drive to the beach
but it was a grey, cloudy day, threatening to rain so I offered Tress a chance to do something totally against form. We haven’t been to Chadstone for years and the development which made it an even bigger shopping hangar than it already was, only made me even less interested. However, we (I) was so relaxed I thought I’d give Tress a chance to drag me there. She jumped at the offer so we went and walked through the very large shopping floors. I had expected a less busy environment given it is not sales season and many would have been out of town for the long weekend. I think I was right but even then the place was buzzing.

Back home, we walked the little guy again and I also kicked the footy with a boy who was at the oval with his dog, which made me feel every bit of my lack of fitness. We’ve made some friends at the oval – all dog loving people – over the years and we continue to meet new people. I wonder if I will ever have the desire to delve deeper into these encounters, and not forego the opportunities.

Back at work this morning, I discussed my leave plans with my boss. Tress and I had hoped to spend some time with her parents in June and Tress and her dad had been excitedly making plans. So it was a bit of a bummer when my boss said he too would be away for much of June. With the legal team reduced to just my boss and I, we have had to manage our leave plans more closely. I’m supposed to find a replacement but that person would be too new to the business for both my boss and I to be away at the same time. I hope we can work something out and maybe we can still go away to be with Tress’ parents before too long.

Darker days ahead

A colleague of mine accidentally sent a document to an office printer while she was at home. It was late at night when she did that and being a part-timer, she wasn’t going to come in the next day. So, she texted and then emailed me – knowing I’m often the first person in the office, usually just before 7am. I saw her text and email the following morning and when I got in, I promptly picked the document up and tore it up before throwing it into a secured bin. She was anxious about not having that document sitting around. It was her resume.

A little while after she got into the office that morning, she asked if we could have a private chat. She confided in me that as expected, she found something else and would be moving on.

I wasn’t completely surprised of course and as we chatted for a little while, it pulled into focus for me, that my employer continues to tether on an edge. A recent ASX announcement continued to paint a gloomy picture as it reported a 3rd or 4th successive loss, with the intrinsic value (NTA actually) slashed yet again, reduced by another 50% or so. By all accounts, it is a company needing drastic action soon. Either a takeover or an M&A appears to be its only option. With such a course, employees are always fully exposed, as I know only too well. I have been through at least two jobs which subjected me to such vagaries.

So a couple of days after that, after a team meeting which was rescheduled for later that day, that colleague met my boss personally to deliver the news. What surprised me more, was when I found out the next day, that another colleague had also decided to up stumps. That other colleague is a younger person who has allowed the travelling bug to remain resident in her system. She had gone to Canada for a holiday in the third quarter of last year. She must have liked the place a lot. Her resignation was triggered by her being granted a working visa in Canada. She’d be leaving soon after Easter. So the first working day after easter, half the legal team would see their career resurrected elsewhere, leaving the remainder half – my boss and I – to try our best to make the empty tomb look less empty. So to speak.

I was saying to Tress over the weekend, that I have started to be afraid of what’s in store at work. I’m just scared the increased workload would be such a turn off that my heads down bums up mentality would take a turn for the worse. They say the battle is half won with the right mentality. Conversely I guess, with a fear that comes with the loss of half the team’s capacity, the battle is probably more than doubled. It would I believe, feel like we’d be pushing the boulder up a somewhat steep slope.

In any event, the weekend was wonderful, my debilitating cold and cough notwithstanding. We went out to my favourite local Italian for dinner on Friday and then went home for an early night. I had left work a little earlier to get a prescription from the doctor, for something to help me sleep better. The concoction was very effective as I collapsed into a heap very soon after downing the linctus codeine.

I sent t he MX5 in for a service on Sat morning, before doing some grocery shopping and lunch, after which it was work on the greens. I edged and line trimmed, mowed and swept, and washed the wagon. Then it was another linctus codeine affected early night. The next day, after St Alf’s Tress and I trekked into the city to catch an iconic Italian cars show on Lygon Street. The rows of prancing horses and other equally exotic Italian vehicles stirred the passion so and after a bite of gelato in the famously Italian precinct of Carlton/Brunswick, we caught some lunch near the QV market before wandering through the market and then we headed home.

It was the third consecutive weekends Tress and I had trekked into the city. Last weekend it was to catch up with some old friends from Uni, who had visited from Cairns. It was really good to talk and really catch up with what has been happening with each other’s lives – swapping tales of our “kids” and where they seem to be heading in their lives.

Back home, we walked the little man, I cooked and Tress ironed, and then it was yet another linctus codeine induced early night. I get how the government thinks that stuff can become addictive and made codeine a prescription-only help.

I got in this morning and went to work straight away, dealing with the half a dozen or so of emails I had seen over the weekend but decided to only read them in detail when I get in.

So as we started the new season, just on two months into the new year, I have lost 4 colleagues with whom I work well, and whom I like. Last Friday a sales guy left. He was one of the more intelligent, decent and fair dinkum guys around. Another – a head of distribution sort of a guy – is probably half way into his notice period, and these team members who are smart, suave and classy lawyers (one even hails from Melbourne’s blue blood – father a senior judiciary person and all that). It’d be a (another) long week and I wonder what is to become of the next few months at work.

Pulling One’s Head In

The Chinese year of the dog started last Friday. I have never been a big CNY person. I enjoy the “tuan nian” dinner when everyone would back in the home of the eldest living person of the extended family, on the eve and a big dinner happens, with a spread big enough to break a large dining table. Other than that, there is little else I enjoy about the festivities.

So, I went along with a couple of cursory elements such as dressing up in shades of red when Tress asked me to and going to a dinner at U Jin’s notwithstanding that was way yonder in Point Cook.

That dinner was on Sat night and Tress and I had spent the morning cleaning up the garden. Tress did loads of clearing up around the herbs area, where weeds had started to take over. I did my usual trimming, mowing and sweeping, along with a bit of mulching. Tress had made a cake earlier and so all we had to do was to make a salad. U Seng messaged us to get a ride so we stopped by his place en route to PC.

There were a bunch of people at the dinner, mostly extended family on Tress’ side. There were a few people from Marina’s (U Jin’s daughter) café. There was a lot of eating and laughing so that was really nice. David (Tress’ cousin) and Jessica his partner, sort of became a centre of attention somewhat, as most of us realised for the first time, they were expecting a baby. We were soon talking about the baby, including whether David, who is an obstetrician and gynaecologist, was going to be the doctor in charged. Of course he was never going to be that, with the whole thing pregnant with conflict galore. Tress and I also talked to and got to know Jessica, who is German, a little bit better.

We left U Jin’s just after 11pm and just when we were a few minutes from arriving home, we got a call from Auntie Pin, who told us Tress had left her phone behind. So we had to organise to get it back the next day and thankfully Marina offered to take it back with her to her apartment in Docklands.

So the next day after St Alf’s we trekked into the city on the metro, met with Marina in an apartment in Docklands which she was checking out to buy, and picked up the phone. We then wanted to head to Hawker Chan, a Singapore Michelin Star winner for hawker food, on Lonsdale Street. We had to snake our way through thick crowds on Little Lonsdale and Russell Street, which was closed to vehicle traffic (only food traffic allowed) to host Chinese New Year stalls. Hawker Chan had a long queue outside, so we headed to another joint before doing some window shopping in the city.

We headed home just before 4, did some grocery shopping and then went home and walked the little fellow. Later as Tress started preparing the morning brekky for today, the cricket on the oval finished but the players had a celebration of sorts in the clubhouse. There was Bollywood music blaring from the clubhouse and as the clubhouse was only about 200-300m from our home, it was loud enough to be a distraction in our home.

As I closed the windows to reduce the noise, I asked myself what has happened to the Australia we came to, all those years ago. When I first came to Sydney back when Bob Hawke was PM, it took a few months but then I fell in love with Australia. I have always loved living here since that time. Australians, as far as I understand, work hard, hate making a fuss of anything, preferred to laugh away most things thus earning that laidback persona now well known in most circles all over the world. We’d be as quick to tell someone to pull his head in – ie don’t make too much of a fuss of anything – as we’d be to check ourselves so as to stay quiet. It is a lesson I find myself needing to learn over and over again, as I seek to overcome my impatient fault-finding self. We also love our wide-open spaces where we’d wander along to find our own nooks and corners to enjoy peace and quiet. We hate a scene and we hate behaving like seagulls or galahs, making unnecessary ruckus of anything. Other than at sporting events or rock concerts, we hate crowds and loud noises.

So when I think of the arvo I had – one where Chinese New Year brought noise, crowd and mayhem on the streets in the city and where cricket teams made up mostly of people of Indian descent blare loud music in an oval clubhouse located in a quiet residential area – I wondered what people who treasured peace and quiet like I do, must have thought about what has become of this country.

The laidback Aussies would probably not say much about such new phenomena in our backyard. We’d pull our heads in and find another quieter spot. This country is still big enough. I wonder if that partly explains why in the past year, I’ve looked at making a “tree-change”, seeking to move away and into quieter pockets here in Melbourne.


In recent months, I’ve turned on the sprinkler on the front lawn, about an hour before sunset. I’d leave it on for about 20 minutes. Yesterday, while the sprinkler was spitting, a couple of magpies descended onto the lawn. They stood under the showers, apparently having a wash. Even if you’re free as a bird, you need the occasional wash, it would seem.

Tress home

Tress came home on Sat. I had spent the day cleaning the house, spread out over two sessions. I vacuumed and wiped down the front of the house in the morning, before heading off to the red cross blood service in Ringwood.

The Red Cross Blood Service had sent out notices on a shortage of plasma and I had responded towards the end of last year. I was surprised you could donate plasma in short intervals, unlike whole blood which requires a break of a few (3) months. Plasma you could do every month, and there is no interruption even if you visited a country like Malaysia recently – something which would disqualify you from whole blood donation for a few (4) months. Plasma separated and collected, I tucked in to some party pies and mini sausage rolls right there, before heading home to continue the cleaning process.

House cleaning done, I did a quick grocery shopping before heading home to give the little guy a walk.

Then I caught a bit of a shut eye before heading to the airport to get Tress.

Alexandra parade and the start of M3 were undergoing some road maintenance work so traffic was crawling and we finally got home just after 12. We were both very tired but needed to, after some quick unpacking, settle down with a drink – I had my wine while Tress had her beloved Milo. I finished watching the Spurs v Gunners game before going to bed way past 1am.

We skipped St Alf’s the next day, having slept in till about 9am. We basically stretched out to unwind the past 2-3 weeks’ tensed up visit to Malaysia and all the trimming that came with that episode, before heading out to a late lunch and coming home to cook the week’s meals.

Tress took the little guy across the house to the oval for a walk as I finished up with the cleaning post cooking. It was a lovely cool evening and it was really nice walking in that condition. I think the little guy enjoyed his walk even more now that Tress is back.

LBJ wasn’t the only one pleased to have Tress home. It’s been really good with Tress back. For the umpteenth time, I confirmed I am no good alone without her around.

Weekend alone, work joys

I woke this morning to a wonderful photo of Tress’ family over dinner together last night. Her dad looked a little tired but he is otherwise on the mend. We discussed her return dates yesterday and at this stage it looks likely she’ll be back this weekend. That would be great as it has been horrible without her around.

On Friday night I took a walk and ended up having some pub grub. The live band played some Paul Kelly numbers so that was nice.

On Saturday, after a futile visit to the local Bunnings (they didn’t have the line trimmer cords I needed), I immersed myself into work tidying up the outside – I worked single-mindedly on the hedges, at one point taking some risks and nearly fell off the ladder. I had to place the A-frame ladder parallel to the hedges and it wobbled and threatened to tip over. A desperate grabbing of some rough and large pittosporum trunks saved me from a fall which at my age, would have been dire indeed. I ploughed on after that and completed the trimming, mowing and sweeping routines before continuing to scrub some bird droppings off the deck, and finally moving on to wash the MX5. Late that same arvo, having scrubbed off and walked LBJ, I took the glistening MX5 for a drive and it provided temporary relief from being alone without my better half.

Sunday after St Alf’s I headed to the local supermarket, got some stuff for another toastie meal, and went home to make another sandwich meal.

Then it was laundry and then off to the library – I had finished the book on Charles Bean Kiddo gave me and there was nothing to read at home. I picked up a fiction piece this time (Tom Winton) – and headed home, prepared for the work week, and took the little guy for his walk.

Interspersing all the activities with WhatsApp video calls with Tress was both very nice and disruptive – when there were no chores left to do, those calls were exactly what I needed.


Last Friday a colleague came up to my desk and told me he had resigned. An intelligent guy who managed some key accounts, he was well liked and respected and I enjoyed working with him. So it was a sad piece of news.

He must have been the 20th or so person I worked with who has parted ways with the company. Like many before him, he joined the company after me so I guess it is a testament of the sort of future this company promises for its employees, that so many have such short tenures – they seem to leave the first chance they get.

I’m just continuing to put my head down and plough away. I have worked up a routine – I don’t know if I like it or not. I have come to think that the idea of work satisfaction/enjoying what you do can be overrated or overplayed. Most work require application/industry/just plain rolling up your sleeves and working on stuff. Whether that is enjoyable or brings satisfaction is a distant secondary consideration.

I have a routine which sees my days utilised doing work which helps an organisation manage it legal risks. That routine helps my days pass easier and I earn a living out of it. Those are easily and by far the more important factors than whether I enjoy doing what I do. Often, satisfaction is derived not from performing the task per se but from being gritty and staying the course to complete the task.

“There and back again”…

I got into Tullamarine last night, just before 10. I made a beeline towards the immigration gates, waited impatiently for my bag to appear on the carousel, almost ran out to catch the shuttle bus to the long term car park, and took the drive home, finally reaching home just after 11pm.

After a quick and minimal unpacking, I realised to my horror that I simply couldn’t sleep. We had been going to bed way past 11pm KL time the past week and so it was only about 8.30pm when I got ready to go to sleep. I was also a bit peckish so I boiled an egg, poured myself a glass of red and tried to watch some TV. It was nearly 1am – 10pm KL time – when I finally slept. So, waking up at my usual pre-dawn hour was a bit of a struggle for me this morning.

Tress’ dad had been out of the woods on Tuesday, having been released from intensive care into the general ward. My mother in law was back to her usual bundle of energetic joy, providing a study in contrasts from a week ago, when we first arrived. Her husband had been sedated in intensive care then, with tubes hanging out of him and looking very grim. That night Vic, Tress’ younger brother and eldest son, had gotten the family together to pray. My mother in law was beside herself, sobbing and pleading for his recovery. She looked tired and weak and we were all in a bad place.

The few days in that intensive care were testing for the whole family. He was under the care of a specialist physician but he really needed a respiratory medicine specialist – I think they’re called pulmonologists – which that hospital didn’t have. The family battled to get him referred to Sunway Medical, which has reputable respiratory specialists. He was finally transferred there on Friday and everyone, not least my father in law, felt much better for it. He had been through some very dark places, with thoughts of mortality front and centre every single moment. His sense of morbidity was communicated to all and sundry and we all tried to persuade him he would be better.

So, for a whole week, our days alternated between the hospital and home. We’d sneak in meals near Tress’ family home by stealing some local treats when we could. Tress’ other brother generously offered us the use of their daughter’s bedroom, so we stayed there, two middle aged persons holed up in a teenager’s colourfully adorned room. Tress and I are very grateful because that meant we could be with the family the whole time. We had booked a hotel room nearby but nothing beats being under the same roof at such times. There is a deeper shared sense of concerns, worries and struggles, and when there is a milestone achieved, the joy and gratitude is more commonly enjoyed. So in spite of the awkwardness of cramping into a teenager’s room and seeing that teenager sharing her brother’s, the experience was really good.

Klang remains bustling and numbingly free spirited. Having to drive to the hospital twice a day means braving the traffic up and down the Federal Highway, which has become even more congested since the tolls ceased. Drivers drift in and out of lanes without warning, and generally drove faster with a more heightened sense of haste. Getting through roundabouts and intersections is a gargantuan play chicken exercise and one needs to balance courage against care as drivers frequently barge in, daring oncoming cars to accept a challenge or forcing them to slow down or stop. The rule I distilled – don’t hit anyone/let anyone hit you – continue to reign supreme and when there is a traffic crawl, cars cramp into lanes, instantly converting a 3-lane highway into a 6 (or more) lane car park. Cars inch forward so close to each other you could have a casual conversation with the car next to you.

Other aspects of life in Klang are equally invigorating. One morning I wanted some Indian food so I walked through some shops. A short walk quickly turned into a dodge them exercise – cars double parking outside shops, pot holed roads, wet markets with water hoses running all over, crows scavenging and leaving chicken entrails and dead mice on roads and pavements, stray dogs snarling or pooping – your senses perk up and stay up the whole time. The sight, smell, noise and heat hit you constantly and from all directions. I’m not sure this was the home I left all those years ago but somehow, there is a sense of homecoming, the always on vigilance notwithstanding. Sometimes I feel so invigorated I toyed with the idea of living in Malaysia again. No sooner had such thoughts get sown when we would be caught in a massive jam and we wondered if we could ever get used to the Malaysian way again.

The ebb and flow of conflicting messages followed me too, when I saw my mum, my brother and his wife, and my sister and her two kids. They all looked well and it was again very good just to be with them, talking and sharing how our lives – and the lives of people around us and them – have been. I wanted so much to be with them but I’m not sure what I’d do and how I’d live there now that we have very much become settled here in Melbourne.

As I struggled to wake this morning and lumbered my way into the train, the sense of being home again is so comforting I cannot fathom returning to live in Malaysia. I think of returning only to be with Tress again – so thankfully, she too, will (hopefully) be back home in Melbourne again before too long.

My Father in law

He’s one of the sweetest, most gentle and agreeable men I know. A shrewd and astute businessman, he shines in providing for his family. So today as I watch him lie on a hospital bed with tubes going in and out of him, my heart ached. I was relieved when I witnessed Tress caress his forehead as he lay on his bed, heavily sedated in the intensive care unit of a hospital near his home here in Klang. Relieved because we get a chance to be with him and hopefully see him get better.

Tress and I flew out here early this morning. After battling past the immigration/customs blockades and the usual Klang Valley peak hour traffic, we got into his home just before 7pm, had a quick bite to eat and headed out to the hospital to see him. A short while ago the family got together to pray for him. I’m so proud of my in laws. They’re all such godly people now. Seeing how they are in immersed in the faith is so comforting. The battles rage on to see God’s hand in all of this but as the first book said, it is all good.

There are lots to write about and I hope to do so before too long.

Warm, sultry weekend, thoughts about visiting home

It has been very warm in Melbourne. Towards the end of last week it crept past the 40deg mark and life appeared much hazier as I stumbled around trying to keep focused and cool.

So when I left work on Friday night it was a sultry Melbourne CBD, the alleged cool change notwithstanding. That cool change crawled in but did not make its way to our neck of the wood till much later. By then we’ve had dinner with Jason and Mel and the Hipos at the newish restaurant near our home.

We then went home and watched the tennis, seeing the bad boy of Aussie tennis get into the next round. He’s been eliminated overnight so Australia continues its barren run in its own backyard.

Saturday we slept it as usual, took our time and lumbered around to work ourselves into the weekend housework. After walking the little guy, Tress did truckloads of weeding, and then went in to do the vacuuming. I did some edging along the lawns, trimmed the conifer golden hedges and the “cloud” hedges and generally worked the whipper snipper through the areas where the grass had crept into. Finishing with the mowing and sweeping took its toll on me – the hear and humidity thrashed me around and after cleaning up after 2pm I felt tanked.

Lunch at our usual place (Madam K) refueled us and after some grocery shopping we went home, walked the little guy again and finished the day with the tennis again.

I woke early on Sunday to catch the tail end of the Man City and Newcastle game, and again lumbered into the day after that. At St Alf’s the conditions remained sultry so it was surprising to me I could and did follow events closely.

I’ve been wanting to see if I could do more this year, to serve. Being in St Alf makes that head because everywhere you look, people are more knowledgeable, more experienced and appear to be more equipped to do much more than you. I just don’t feel I would be of use in any real sense of the word, compared with just about anyone. It feels I could just sit my way through my time there and everyone would have been equally ministered to, or even better ministered to.

We stumbled into Jason and Mel again at the lunch place after St Alf’s and so shared a table with them. They too, sound like they remain on the periphery of their congregation…

We went to the Bunnings store at Nunawading after lunch – I had wanted to look for some bird spikes to place around our deck as I’m sick of those minahs dropping their stuff around our deck. I couldn’t decide what would work best however so we parked that project.

After the usual cooking (for me) and ironing (for Tress) yesterday arvo, we just whiled away the day because it remained warm and humid. When we walked the little guy late in the arvo it stayed humid so we went home quickly too.

Tress had been exchanging messages with her little sister back home, with news of her dad’s being unwell. So we’ve upped our toying thoughts about visiting in the next few weeks. It would be CNY time too. Hopefully he gets better soon but as always, thoughts about being with the family always excite. Hopefully we get to see more of the family soon.