Final gallop


The company had its Christmas party last Friday. It started only at 5pm however so it meant we went the whole hog work wise, before we could avail ourselves to some refreshments. It was on a rooftop of a pub just down the street and it turned out to be a far better party than the previous year. I left well after 10 and didn’t get home to nearly midnight. Tress had dropped me off at the station earlier that morning and she was there again to pick me up…whatever would I do without her…

The next morning Tress had a hairdresser’s appointment and when she left, I went to a favourite local bakery, picked up a couple of items and came back in time for Tress and I to have some much needed coffee to wash down the wonderful pastries.

Tress then did loads of washings as I cleaned the Weber to get it ready for the turkey, washed the windows and other exterior glass finishings around the house and generally lumbered through the morning. Late that arvo we went to Madam K, did some grocery shopping after that, and then went home to walk the little fellow.

We had picked up a couple of tickets for The Last Jedi, when we did the shopping so just after 6pm we were seated down to watch the much anticipated screening of George Lucas’ legacy, now owned by the behemoth that is Disney (they had just bought Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox).

I later said to Tress the script of TLJ no longer referred to the “Dark Side”, but instead, simply to the “Empire”. The struggle is no longer against the dark side. It was instead, against tyranny and supreme leadership (although against someone like Snoke, it is easier to be on the side of the rebellion). When one speaks of a “dark” side, the implication remains that there is right from wrong. Few want to live with that distinction these days, choosing instead to go with what’s popularly acceptable. Tyranny and dictatorship are easy targets, far easier than morality and truth. It is almost as if even Pontius Pilate’s “what is truth” mockery rates no mention these days.

Later that night we finished the last episode of the second season of “The Crown”, which hinted at Phillip the Duke of Edinburgh’s infidelity. We probably need another series to occupy our evenings after that.

On Sunday, after St Alf’s we trekked into the city in the mx-5, to meet up with an ex-colleague of Tress’. GBS worked with Tress in the early years of her career, and travelled to Europe together on a month-long training stint. Their fathers were friends too so although socially there weren’t too much interactions, the common history went some way back. We caught up at the South Melbourne market, had lunch and walked around through the shops a little bit. Back home, we lounged around, and I watched the cricket before taking the little fellow for a walk. It was around 6pm and it was too late (for me) to head to the Whitehorse Carols, so we just lounged around the home some more. I’m just glad we have the four working days to grind through before a couple of weeks of rest, away from work. Already this morning there has been a flurry of meetings teed up for when we return. I hope we can finish this week without too many other such scheduling.

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Giving (blood) again (and how may I give)


It is always really good to finish the week with friends over a meal so Tress and I did our usual thing and teed up a dinner on Friday night with Jason and Mel and the Hipos. We trekked out east to a new joint with what was supposed to be really good Hong Kong styled bbq meats.

We headed straight home after dinner, and I caught Oliver Stone’s Platoon on TV. This time I caught his cameo appearance in the bunker scene but what were nuances of good versus evil became much more obvious themes, given what is probably the 3rd or 4th viewing. It was still very good and I wondered at the contrasts between the career trajectories of Charlie Sheen, Johnny Depp and Forest Whittaker.

On Saturday after brekky at home Tress and I went grocery shopping. Tress wanted to bake a new recipe of a flourless cake and I wanted to put the order in for a turkey I wanted to cook for Christmas Day lunch way yonder in Woodend. We had to finish shopping quick however as I had an appointment later that morning, at the Red Cross Blood Centre.

My last two visits to the Blood Centre had been unsuccessful. The first was because I had been to Malaysia 2-3 months prior so I was disqualified. The second saw someone being cautious about some rashes I had on my arms. I had said to that person those rashes were a combination of gardening and exposure to the summer heat but caution was the word and they declined my blood. So, close to a year since my second aborted attempt, I was glad to be finally giving again. I even said I’d be back to answer the urgent call of plasma shortage.

After the bleeding session, we had lunch at the Eastland before heading back to clean up the garden. I edged, mowed, swept and tidied up the outside and Tress did more weeding, laundry and also took the little guy out for an extended walk.
That night we started on the second season of “The Crown” but it was a battle for me as I kept dozing off.

We had David Ratten the next day at St Alf’s. He was to retire this year (after 23 years in the same church – One Community in Blackburn) and so the annual pulpit exchange amongst him, Peter and Allan Demond will either be re-shaped or come to an end. For his final pulpit exchange message, David preached the gospel. That was in itself, quite a statement to me.

After more grocery shopping after lunch, we went back home, Tress did some ironing and gift wrapping while I made some chilly sauces and like condiments. Later we took the little guy for a walk and it was such a beautiful day so when we came back, I walked back across the park to the oval and watched a few overs of the local cricket match.

It’s that time of the year when I’m really looking forward to a break. Christmas is less than 2 weeks away, Kiddo and Mic will be in Melbourne in a little over a week and I’m looking forward to Christmas lunches, drives to different parts of Victoria and NSW, and generally lift up my head, take in the views and enjoy God’s creation in this beautiful antipodean land a whole lot more. Against all these serene and beautiful moments, I asked myself again if I will do more than just take. It feels like it’s time to give, a whole lot more.

Big wet (and other battles?)


The “big wet” dominated the column inches a couple of days before its scheduled emptying. Friday was supped to see the start of a 3-day downpour that was meant to unleash the whole summer’s rain in a little over a weekend.

A couple of weeks earlier, Metro had put out notices saying repair and maintenance works would see bus replacements between Richmond and Camberwell on my line, which would add up to 70 minutes to my commute time. Each way.

The two-pronged assault to disrupt our otherwise relatively uneventful start to the summer lead the entire legal team to work from home last Friday. It was the first time it happened. I had hardly worked from home anyway – just the once to attend to some repair work after an attempted break in and that was it.

So on Friday last week I slept in, worked from home and watched the rain. For lunch, I picked Tress up from her work to get something nearby. We ended up having yum cha – something we hadn’t done for a while. The rest of the day was pretty quiet, some emails from work attended to without too much grief.

The rain continued (escalated) on Saturday as we slept in, went in to Box Hill to pick up stuff to cook for the next weeks’ lunches and catch a bite to eat. We hadn’t been to Box Hill for a while and it took some getting used to, especially the grotty car park and the general hustle and bustle. We got home before noon and Tress cleaned the bathrooms while I vacuumed. A couple of hours later we cleaned up, and headed to Madam K’s for lunch before just whiling away some time at another shopping place. I wanted to catch Australia’s second match against the English but it was one of those new fangled day/night tests so it would start till after 2pm and would go on till 10pm anyway so I had plenty of time to catch up and watch quite a few overs even with all the loitering around.

It was strange to see Smith standing so close to Anderson, the veteran bowler who was standing virtually at the outside line of the crease on the non-striker’s end. It was a flashpoint to the usual Ashes contest and though Smith got out at a relatively meagre 40, the Aussie still managed to go past 400 by late yesterday arvo so I guess the contest remain tilted in favour of the Aussies for now.

Early on Sunday morning I peeked at United’s 3-1 lead against the Gunners, at the latter’s home. It was a cracked of a game and I caught up with the rest of the game yesterday arvo, after returning from St Alf’s and lunch. I spent the rest of the arvo cooking big pots of glass noodles dressed with a salty pork mince-mushroom sauce. The pots were huge and we packed away some 12 serves so I guess we’re set for maybe even 2 weeks.

My left wrist had been ginger the whole weekend and during the cook yesterday arvo, the grief got to a debilitating state. I could barely lift anything with any weight and so Tress did the washing up and I did most stuff with the other hand. For the rest of the evening and night, I dressed the writs in a band of sort and I can only be grateful I drove in to work again this morning, which meant I was spared the lugging of my backpack across platforms etc.

I still had the wrist band on this morning and the boss caught sight of it and muttered something along the lines of “another battle on the weekend?”. Other than public transport/weather and the Ashes, I don’t have too many battles for now. That’s pretty good but that also probably mean I am not being sharpened much. In some ways, the wait continues.