St Alf Men’s Event & Berkeley’s Descent

After what seemed like a long dry spell, the heavens opened up on Friday and along with a spell of hails, the rain bucketed down. We were about to leave for dinner with Jason and Mel in one of the local joints and had to wait for a window of relatively slower pour to open up to dash out.

The rain continued through the night and when we woke up on Sat morning, the skies were still very dark and overcast. It was still threatening to be a very wet morning, which wasn’t good as there was a St Alf’s men’s group event at the Mullum Mullum Creek.

Tress and I had a coffee as the rain came again, and when it was time to leave, I decided to go ahead. When I pulled into the car park on Tindals Road, the rain abated a bit and before too long, many more showed up and soon there were about a dozen of us waiting to do the walk towards Beasley’s nursery and café, which was 4km away.

A bunch of us then took off, and when we got to the café, I was really heartened to see that a very big group had turned up. There were about 15 cyclists, maybe 20 walkers, and a number who came simply to have coffee with everyone else. It was a really good morning and when I walked back to the car park (a return 4km walk) I felt a better connection with my fellow walking men. I’m glad I didn’t let the poor weather stop me earlier that morning.

I got home, got cleaned up and went out for lunch with Tress. We then went for coffee and waited for the game between Adelaide and Hawthorn. I had watched Richmond beat Carlton on Thursday night and Geelong upset the Pies the night before, in a see-saw game, in what looks like another good season of footy.

We had to leave for a dinner with a bunch of Malaysians, in joint out in whoop whoop land, by 6pm so I had to follow the Hawks game on the phone, as Tress took the wheel and we headed for the dinner. True to form, this Malaysian event didn’t start until some 40minutes had passed the stated starting time, and it was loud, with speeches peppering the night. The food was good however, and the atmosphere was generally quite fun so it was a terrific night out.

Sunday was quieter in comparison, our rostered duty at St Alf’s notwithstanding. Talking to some of the men was easier after the Sat event so there’s a lot to say for participating in non-Sunday events. I hope Tress signs up for the tea thing on 2 April, with the ladies.

Late yesterday evening, as Tress was out for her ethereal pursuits, the little fellow jumped onto the couch where I had parked myself to watch the Giants annihilate the Bombers. He looked at me, and pawed me every 30 seconds or so. I guessed he wanted to go out and when I said to get his lead, he jumped down from the couch and trotted to where the lead was, waiting expectantly. He and I went out and even though it was very windy and still a bit warm, it was ao great walk – especially when Tress joined us a little later. The little jedi was visibly happier, bouncing around as we walked through parts of the neighbourhood I hadn’t been to for a while.

Later that night, Tress rang her parents and the conversation was trying. Much has been happening in the household with two convalescing and soon to be octogenarians, a disorganised 40-year old plus spinster that is in urgent need of a private consultation with Marie Kondo, a young family with a mum who is a keen interior decorator and is constantly seeking renovations or touch-up’s to the house and still cooks and provides food for another family a few hundred metres away, with a house that is also breaking down and needs much repair. It all sounds too much and as is often the case, I wondered about this price we pay for moving away from our home town/home country, all those years ago. The helplessness I felt when I hear of all those life challenges around those who matter most to us.


Christchurch mosque shooting, AR-15 and retaliation risk

I got in very early this morning. I opened up the Wall Street Journal on my work computer to have a browse. I saw a story about a court in the US opening up an avenue for class action against a firearms manufacturer, in the manner of claims against a tobacco company. The gun in question was an “AR-15”. There were the usual quotes about why ordinary folks would want a powerful firearm. So, I looked up what the AR-15 looked like and saw some YouTube clips. It was frightening – both the firepower of the AR-15 gun, and the defensive spiels by the likes of the NRA invoking the second amendment and rights to bear arms.

So, when the story on the Christchurch mosque shooting broke earlier this afternoon, the eerie chill running down my spine was almost palpable. It reminded me of the Port Arthur massacre and when I googled that to recall the damage done, I noted that Martin Bryant, the perpetrator of Port Arthur, had also used an AR-15. The death toll in Christchurch is presently 27. It is likely to climb. I have a real fear now, that retaliatory action is a real risk. This attack in Christchurch took place on a Friday afternoon in a mosque. It is easy to think a retaliation on a Sunday in a church, is a real risk. What has this world come to? May the Lord have mercy.

Long weekends, longer walks (for the little guy)

The first half of the year is usually good for employees, with well-spaced out public holidays. After the Christmas/New Year break, Australia Day is not far behind. We may lose this, given the liberals’ obsession with changing everything, but for now we have that public holiday. Slotted between that and the Easter break is Labour Day, which was yesterday.

Tress and I had a relatively busy weekend but yesterday, we lounged around all day. I only got a little bit more active at the end of the day, when we brought the little guy to the oval for his walk.

On Saturday morning, we went to look for a piece of furniture. We had the NBN put in a couple of weeks ago and the modems had to be at the corner where the dining table sits and all we had in that corner was a small decorative round table, and those modems sit precariously on it for now, with cables dangling to create a messy looking corner. I had hoped to put in a small shelving unit of sorts, where the modems can be hidden away, and the cable organised more neatly. It has been a while since we looked for furniture so after about half a dozen shops in the Nunawading precinct, we tired of the process and gave up.

We had a “Dinner Tonight” roster at New Hope later that arvo and Shirley from St Alf’s had also asked us to be at the Devenish’s arvo but after the furniture hunt, and given we’d be working at Dinner Tonight later for a few hours, we skipped the Devenish tea event. At New Hope, we did the usual setting up, serving and cleaning. I was in the kitchen and did the vacuuming afterwards and when we walked the little fellow late that evening, I felt we had done the day’s activities.

Sunday we meant to trek into the city to check out an eatery, given the long weekend. On the way in however, the backed-up traffic on the Eastern put us off and we ended up in Shoppo instead. We had lunch on High Street however, in an old Malaysian place. Back at home later that arvo, Tress went out for her ethereal hunt and towards later on, the little guy started becoming twitchy, and nudged me non-stop. It was clear he wanted his walk so I took him to the oval and I enjoyed that walk again.

So the long weekend has seen the little guy get 3 days of long walks. The better weather aside, the public holidays this side of the year is good not only for employees.

Warm days to commence autumn

Some days, I think this global warming thing really is hitting home. Melbourne has been sweltering since Thursday last week, and it was still 18deg this morning as I left home. Since Saturday, images of the fires raging through Bunyip, have been bringing back memories of Black Saturday back in 2009.

Tress and I decided to have Japanese for our Friday end of week dinner, so we can chill with cool Japanese food. It was a really good meal and we went home after that, not stopping to get any breakfast stuff like we often did. So Saturday was off to another eat out. We went to a café operated out of a church premises, which is increasingly common. We hadn’t eaten out for breakfast for years, so it was a pleasant experience.

After brekky, we went home and I cleaned up the gardens – trimmed the back hedges and did the lawns, and Tress vacuumed. We finished up after 1pm and Alex had rung us on Friday night to invite us to his home for his famous stir-fried noodles so we headed out to get some fruits, ice-cream and a sparkling red to bring along with us.

Catching up with Alex and Li Har and their boys was very good as always, and the Hipos were there too so it was good to catch up with them too. We talked, and caught up with what’s happening amongst young kids. Alex and Li Har have 4 boys and the Hipos have 2 girls, both under 10 years old, so talking to them always open up my world to schools and kids’ sports, etc.

On Sunday, after St Alf’s Tress and I headed out to Glenferrie for the Glenferrie Festival. It was bustling, with my highlight being the Hawks’ players signing autographs. It was very hot but we soaked up the atmosphere, walking along the middle of Glenferrie Road to taste, listen, see and engage with the myriads of stalls offering a huge range of products and experiences.

When we got back to our local shopping centre for coffee and my cold cuts for sandwiches this week, I was tired and it was still about 37deg when we got home, so I just sat around at home, drinking copious amount of iced water. When we took the little fellow out for his walk around 6pm, it was still 35deg. LBJ looked tired and walked very slowly, and it was a relief for us all to get back home the house that has had the evap cooler and air-conditioning running in tandem for the past 4 days.

This morning as I was getting in, the train service was messed up. We have also had to use bus replacement service to get the festival at Glenferrie yesterday, so it looks like the already poor service was made even worse. Possibly by the heat also. Some days, this global warming thing appears to hit home.