Marysville and “JR”


Marysville was a bit of a ground zero in the Black Saturday bushfire more than 10 years ago. We’ve been there several times since. It is now a beautiful part of the Yarra Ranges again. I spent the whole of Saturday there, as part of St Alf’s men’s camp. Most of the campers had trekked up on Friday night, but the drive there includes the Black Spur, which is a stretch from Healesville onwards, finishing just before Marysville. The mountain ash trees are magnificent and the view is stunning, but it is also a winding, narrow and dark stretch. I didn’t think I’d enjoy the drive on a Friday night after a long week, so I decided to only trek up there on Saturday morning.

Tress and I had been out for dinner on Friday the night before, and after dinner, we got home and I toggled between the cricket and footy, although not much was happening with the cricket which was interrupted by rain. It was the second test of the Ashes Series and it was a cracking contest too, truncated play notwithstanding. It turned out to be a draw overnight, but it was by no means a dour or boring draw.

Early Saturday morning, Tress ducked out to get a couple of coffees and after a quick toast, I left home soon after 7am and drove out to Marysville. The drive was cold and foggy but when I left Healesville and started the Black Spur stretch, those trees again took my breath away. It has to be, along with the Great Ocean Road, one of Victoria’s most beautiful gems.

I got to Marysville around 8.30am, and spent the morning listening to talks about health – mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health – among some 60 men from St Alf’s. After lunch there were a few activities to choose from and I opted for a forestry walk with someone who was a retired State forester. It was a really good walk, with that expert providing interesting commentaries about trees, shrubs and vegetation as well as wildlife. We saw wombat poo galore and on the home stretch of the 5km walk, we also spotted a black wallaby.

Tress’ text messages made their way into my phone intermittently, as the talks and walk happened. She had busied herself with lots of housework – cooking, cleaning, weeding – as well as some of her ethereal activities. I guess the both of us being separately engaged in entirely different activities, only enriched our relationships as when I got home that night, we excitedly told each other what we had been up to.

After the forestry walk and some chats and discussions – formal and informal – with numerous fellow men, we settled down to a substantial dinner, where I sat with Peter, the senior minister of St Alf’s, and had a casual conversation. I left Marysville after dinner and started the drive home a bit after 7pm, getting home a bit after 8.30pm.

On Sunday after St Alf’s and a quick lunch, we got home and walked the little guy before heading off to Marvel Stadium for a late game (first bounce 4.40pm). Ordinarily, we wouldn’t go for games at such times, and would more likely watch it on tv. This game however was special. It was the Hawks’ last home game of the season, and it was Jarryd Roughead’s finial home game. He would retire after this season finishes, which is next weekend, unless for some miraculous reasons, we tumbled into finals footy.

Roughead – “Roughy” – has been playing as a Hawks champion since I started following AFL soon after we got here. The Eagles got up against the Swans in the 2005 Grand Final and that was the first season of AFL football for me. I started following the Hawks that year and other than when he was out to deal with cancer, Roughy has always been part of the Hawks that I followed. Together with other champions of that cohort – Hodge, Lewis Franklin and Birchall – Hawks have had a dream decade. So to farewell Roughy was a special privilege and what a farewell it was too. He kicked 6, and even though it was a long trip home – Melbourne Metro had cleverly ignored the prospect of over 30,000 fans cramming into Southern Cross station to get a train home, so thousands of fans waited on crowded platforms for the better part of half an hour – it was time well worth spending. I also had to pick up a t-shirt with “JR” blazoned across the front, with a tiny silhouette of the champion’s kicking action embedded in the middle. Tress thought $31 for a t-shirt was a bit much. I though so too, but I just had to get it…

We got home close to 9pm and I got to follow some of the cricket as the Aussies battled to retain the 1-0 lead so far. I went to bed late and even though I was groggy this morning while on the train, this past weekend has been a pretty special one.

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Good bread sandwich, Ah Meng


Melbourne is currently under a cold spell, which started sometime last Thursday. We were returning from a home group at the Maury’s when I felt the brunt of it. For much of Friday, the cold and wet conditions persisted.

That cold spell enveloping the eastern and south eastern parts of Australia saw the Hawks play the Giants at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, in icy conditions. Towards the end of the second quarter, it snowed. Hawks triumphed over its more fancied opposition, and at a margin of 56 points at that too. What a win it was.

I woke up this morning to read United had thrashed Chelsea 4-0. It was an opening game of the new season and I hadn’t seen a win so big coming.

So it was a weekend that saw two of my favourite sporting teams prevailing. Sort of like a sandwich made up of very good bread.

The meat in this sandwich was more ordinary. As it was cold and wet right through the weekend, we slept in on Saturday morning and did some housework. Vacuuming, laundry and giving the little black jedi a bath seemed like good ideas for such a weekend.

After a late lunch and some grocery shopping, we came home and just pottered around the house, streaming stuff to watch. I’ve been watching Kevin Bacon strutting in the series “City on a Hill” – a raw Boston police series on Stan. So I watched a bit of that, before turning to free to air stuff. Jake Gyllenhaal in “Night Crawler” was a tight psychotic drama and we followed that up (toggling the footy on another channel) with Tom Hanks in “The Road to Perdition”.

Sunday was the usual too (more plain meat in a good bread sandwich). St Alf’s lunch and back for the week’s cook.


Earlier in the week, we had received some sad news. Yu Ming, a cousin of Tress and a really good man, had passed away. He was only 64. Ah Meng had started work at Tress’ dad’s business from the age of 14, so he had worked for the family for 50 years. He was a hardworking, pleasant and simple man. Always smiling and often laughing, I said to Tress he was an operations backbone of the business. His daughter had also worked in the business for a number of years and Tress’ dad had relied on her for a lot of his personal financial matters. She recently left the business to pursue her own interests and broaden her experience but with her father having passed on, they are asking her to return to the business. They are literally family to Tress and her family – Ah Meng was a nephew to her dad.

Not the first nor for the last time, I am reminded there but for the grace of God go I.

Rich tapestry


We went to Marvel Stadium for the first time this season. It was a Friday night game so I went there from the office and Tress trekked into town to meet me at Spencer. Marvel is only a quick walk away so that worked out well for us.

It didn’t work out well at all for the Hawks however, as notwithstanding a really good start, North Melbourne played some good football, was very gritty and clean in midfield to deliver really good chances to their forwards, and they got up over us easily in the end. It should be the end of Hawk’s rare season with no finals footy.

We got home close to midnight again and tried to get to bed quickly as it was going to be another full day the next day.

We were going to be at Alex and Li Har’s on Sat night. We left early on Sat morning to shop for the stuff we wanted to cook and bring to the dinner party, had brekky where we shopped, and got home to prep the cook. I then left for a meeting of Steer’s out in Montmorency – Eltham way – but first dropped into an optometrist shop to leave my sunnies for a repair job.

The meeting at Montmorency was a longish one. Steer is an asset management company, a faith based not for profit, with a rich farming DNA. So the AGM was filled with rich wisdom of fiscal conservatism and lively volunteerism and with an ethos of giving. The meeting was mindful of regulatory requirements as well, spending time and attention on regulatory compliance that is an increasing focus for faith based not for profit activities. As usual, I left that meeting feeling privileged to be serving amongst such company.

I dropped into the optometrist on the way home, just after 4pm, picked up my sunnies, and went home to get straight into the cook. About a couple of hours later, Tress got back from her ethereal activities, which had only started just before I got back. When I went out to dump some veg cuttings into the compost bin, the lawn looked cleaner of weeds and Tress said she had done several hours of weeding.

We left for Alex’s close to 7pm, and spent the evening catching up with their friends. We didn’t get home till close to midnight and for the second night in a row, we ended the night really late, with me watching a bit of the Ashes on tele to wind down the longish days.

On Sunday after St Alf’s we did our usual rounds of lunch and grocery shopping and caught up with Jason and Mel in a café, before heading home to savour what was left of our weekend. Kiddo and Mic had intermittently sent us messages about a home they liked, not far from their present place, and we talked later in the arvo, about their plans to purchase this property. It would be bigger than their current townhouse, which Tress and I had bought for them to live in (“renting” from us) when they got married, over a couple of years ago now. This other property would be more spacious and would probably better suit for the longer term. As we await the outcome of the process, it is yet another potentially interesting turn of events.

When we were at Alex’s, we met their friends, who were a hotchpotch of vocations and experience.

Two of these friends, we had met numerous times over the past few years. One is a restaurateur who was retired, but recently reopened a new restaurant. He was quiet and polite, but funny, pleasant and kind. His wife is loud and entertaining, but equally kind. The other is a bon vivant, who talks about his days of golf in the morning, long lunches thereafter, and closing out with massages. He can talk about the best alcohols and foods but the only episode of work I have ever heard him talk about was a short bout of a café business, which he walked away from after a couple of months. When we once caught up in Malaysia, he showed up in a swanky Mercedes so despite a lack of visible vocation, he appears to have ample financial resources. He is however, a kind and funny person so he wasn’t unpleasant company…

A third person was a lawyer who had a practice in the city. It is a practice comprising entirely of Asian lawyers. It would not surprise me if his clients are equally representative. He appears to be a warm, generous and pleasant person – one who is more likely to blend in than stand out, and who probably stakes that trait as the source of his success. I liked him, as he was comparatively less ostentatious and was more generous with his views of others.

There were others there that night, and as is often the case with their dinner party, there was much merry making with little attention to conversations with traction. It made for a stark contrast with my other event of that day in Montmorency. I have been fortunate to have been at both ends of this spectrum. However the turn of events play out in Kiddo and Mic’s lives, I somehow feel they too, in their time, would have their own version that is the rich tapestry of life.

A Jazz In Time


Last Friday, Tress and I had a quiet little dinner in a local Japanese place. She had a big lunch at her workplace – a farewell event for a colleague – so she didn’t want anything too heavy. It was a lovely way to finish a first week back at work after our Canberra escapades.

On Saturday morning, Tress had a ladies morning tea at St Alf’s and I had planned to write up the minutes of the last board meeting of Steer. The meeting was nearly 2 weeks ago but as we had been in Canberra the weekend after the meeting, I could only write it up later. When Tress rang to say the morning tea was done, I had just about finished writing.

Tress then went to the hairdresser’s and I had wanted to meet her there and go to a neighbouring shop to fix my sunnies. We hung around the area for a bit before going home and walking the little guy later in the arvo, as we started to get ready for the night out in town.

I’d first listened to James Morrison some year ago and have always enjoyed his playing. A few weeks ago, Garth at Steer had asked if I could attend an dinner hosted by an investment partner firm of Steer, as he would not be able to. I thought we should be courteous to a wonderful investment partner (Payton) so I said I would attend it if he couldn’t, as I thought it was important that Steer be represented at that event. It later turned out James Morrison was going to be playing at that function so it was a terrific bonus.

Tress and I dressed up, took the train into the city, and walked the short stroll up from Flinders to the Arts Centre. I then realised it was to be a multi layered treat as we weren’t just going to listen to James Morrison but Payton’s charitable foundation was the main host of the event. They are benefactors to a range of charities and a few of those gave speeches and Tress and I also got to speak with some of them. It made me realise that ordinary working folks who chase deals and find profits and who then want to work hard at channelling at least some of those proceeds to worthy causes, are almost everywhere to be found. That was a comforting thought. In as much as I thoroughly enjoyed the performance by the virtuoso that was James Morrison (along with his band, 2 of whom were his sons), it was the thought of what Payton Foundation was doing that brought me more satisfaction. I was very grateful to know Steer has a wonderful investment partner in more ways than one.

We got back from the function late, reaching home at midnight. As we waited for the bed to warm up, I had a night cap and we both watched Hitler’s last days in Downfall, before going to bed well past 1am.

On Sunday, after St Alf’s and lunch, we went home and took the little guy for a longer walk. We then got home, did some weeding, and I started the week’s cook. It all got done pretty early and we settled down well in time for the 6pm news, before starting to wind down the weekend with some banal talent show on tv. After a live James Morrison treat, that was pretty ordinary.

As I trekked into the city for work this morning, I thought about the week ahead, and thumbed through some messages including from kiddo. It looks like their lives too, are whirring away in weekly routines and mini highlights for distraction. One of the pieces Morrison played on Saturday night was “Autumn Leaves”. I came to like this piece largely through Miles Davis, but listening to it live by a master was a different experience. This mini highlight would stay with me for a little while.

We’re the Happy Team (at Hawthorn)


From about 1pm yesterday, the drive along the Hume became less boring. The Hawks conceded the first goal to the ladder leader but soon resumed control of the game, as they lead in each quarter and finished off the Cats with a 4 goal margin. It couldn’t have been a better cap to finish the wonderful few days we were away.

We had left Melbourne last Wednesday morning soon after 7am, to drive up to the nation’s capital. It took a while to leave the city and get onto the Hume – some 45+ minutes. We then stopped at Wangarratta for a break and bite and then pushed on, and arrived at Kiddo and Mic’s place a bit after 3pm.

Catching up with them has been really nice in recent months. Seeing them grow to become lively, responsible and engaging adults brings me a level of peace for which I am deeply grateful. Seeing them fully engaged to live healthy lifestyles was a huge bonus. They eat and exercised well, remained fully engaged with their work, and continue to be involved with the church they’ve been part of since their uni days.

Kiddo did a salad for us that first night, as Mic had a work function. It was very satisfying and delicious. The little black jedi also perked up from the time we got into the house, as Milo, Kiddo and Mic’s toddler labradoodle, reacquainted himself with LBJ, particularly his sumptuous ears. LBJ tends to get a yeasty ear and Milo seems to enjoy lapping up what must be a vegemite type of flavour as he gets stuck into each cavity.

The next few days were filled with walks, coffees, meals and conversations that helped us reconnect with them, temporarily beating the tyranny of distance. I used that last phrase as a clumsy segue to Blainey’s new book, which I was gifted with by Kiddo. “Before I forget” is Blainey’s latest book – a memoir that may be a first of two volumes. I had read a review (not unbiased) of that in The Oz and had thought of getting it, so it was a pleasant surprise to have it in my hot little hands.

On Saturday, when Mic could at last join us in the daytime activities, we took a drive into the city and took a walk through the Australian National University. The main grounds of the campus had been rebuilt and Mic and Kiddo wanted to show us what they looked like. We walked through the area, including a town hall/auditorium type of space that used to be the Manning Clark theater, where the 50th anniversary of the landing of the moon was being celebrated.

Later that morning, we caught the new-ish light rail on Northbourne Avenue and traveled towards Gungahlin. We stopped to have a big lunch in a Singaporean styled café, which has become a hit amongst Malaysians and Singaporeans in that area (Gungahlin). When we walked through the Marketplace in Gungahlin town, I said to Tress it kind of felt like Point Cook. Certainly, the demographics felt similar. We returned to the CBD on the light rail, drove back to Monash, and took our fur friends for a walk, before going for dinner in a really nice restaurant (“The XO”) in Nurrabandah.

On Sunday morning, it was very cold again (a “feels like” minus 4deg) but we braved it and took our 4 legged friends out for a walk again, before returning to a quick breakfast, pack-up and say our goodbyes. On the way home, just before the footy came on in the radio, Tress and I were again talking about planning for our next catch up over Christmas/New Year. We had talked about it after dinner earlier in the week with Mic and Kiddo and to find ourselves planning for the next catch up as soon as we wound up our current one, says a little. Go Hawks!

Wet and Cold, Busy and Fun… Tampered


At the start of this winter, some weather experts predicted a balmy and dry winter. Like many statement of experts these days, that proved dodgy, to say the least.

It rained all weekend, and it was cold.

We had trekked to Doncaster for a Friday night dinner with Jason and Mel and they said pretty much the same thing – that it has been a wet winter, and the four of us sought solace at a Friday night catch up over some nice familiar food and a bottle of pretty decent red.

The week had been busy as usual, but it was broken up in the middle of the week, when I took a day off to help out with the school holidays program at St Alf’s. I (together with a few blokes) ended up cooking a few hundred sausages for about 150 kids and their parents/carers. That event started at 9 and finished close to 2pm. I had started the day with a work call at about 8.30am.

There was also a Steer Board meeting late that arvo, which finished around 8.30pm. So, while my regular work week was broken up with a day’s break, the “day off” was a busy and long day. That meant the Friday catch up was welcomed as an end of week sigh of relief, the wet conditions notwithstanding.

We stayed in on Saturday and after a bit of a sleep-in, we busied ourselves with some housework. We changed the sheets and after Tress had them washed, we took them to a laundromat to have them dried. Braving the cold and rainy conditions in our trackies and beanies, we had the sheets dried, and we then went home and did some vacuuming, general cleaning and we also gave the little furry jedi a bath.

We then ducked out for a warm lunch, then did some grocery shopping before getting ready for the “Dinner Tonight” duty at New Hope, at 4pm. It continued to be cold and wet outside so being indoor serving a warm dinner to sections of the community, was a winning winter warmer. When we got home close to 7pm, we were tired but contented. Particularly when Hawks got up over Fremantle Dockers in Tassie. We wound down the night by streaming an obscure and rather ordinary movie titled “Edie”, which was a story of a widow who decided, after a long, servile and sterile marriage, to relive a childhood dream to climb Mount Suilven in Scotland. The movie was as dour as the Scottish skies and I fell asleep for a bit, but strange as it was, an unexciting movie was a refreshing change to the usual razzmatazz expected of a good screening.

After the movie, I was surprised to catch United playing the Perth Glory team on a free to air channel and so I watched the whole of the second half. Pogba and company prevailed and it was good to see Pogba play like all the crap news surrounding his desire to move on to a more glamourous team like Real Madrid weren’t his making. One is inclined to think his agents simply wanted to milk more from this client.

At St Alf’s the next day, the “All Age Going Bananas” service provided a warmth that a very good antidote to the continuing wet and cold conditions. The people who were tasked with planning and implementing the weeklong program were evidently gifted, talented, hardworking, dedicated and very abled people. For the umpteenth time, I told myself St Alf’s is such a fount of talent and resource. I wonder if the “return” fits the endowment. It does in so many ways I guess but I also sense some contentment amongst many, not least yours truly. I was asked, the week before, to take on an additional task and I guess it is another way to break out of this contented mode but I’m still not sure at this time, if I’m prepared to perform that task (leading in prayer at service).

After lunch and a bit more grocery shopping for the week’s lunches, we came home and Tress did the ironing while I prepped the veg we bought to roast them up and pack them away. Tress then went for her ethereal pursuits while I cleaned up and watched the Bulldogs beat the Dees. It was another close match, as has been many of the week’s games.

It continued to rain and was very windy and cold, when Tress came back and settled down to wind up the weekend by watching that heart warming cooking competition.


The distractions we surrounded ourselves with – volunteer activities, cleaning and cooking, ethereal pursuits, footy, church, etc. – to deal with miserable weather this past weekend, didn’t distract me from events back in Malaysia. Sim’s medical conditions took a turn and she now faces a long-ish chemo laced months ahead. I relished in the photos of David my brother and Jean visiting them in Penang, spending time with Sim and her  whole family over meals and other activities. It made me want to visit them. I don’t know what is possible now, but for now, prayers are what I can do, and have done. I sincerely hope Sim will come out of this strongly and get well soon.

Henry in town


A cousin of my late father had had a rough year or so. Henry’s wife had died unexpectedly late last year, after a cancer surgery, and not long after that, his son went through a divorce. His other child, a daughter, is single and all 3 now live together. He’s a wonderful family man and always finds time for extended family.

Several months ago when we were back in Malaysia, we met up with him and he said he was going to be in Perth in June, and then in Melbourne on the first weekend of July. We said we should spend some time together when he’s here. I wanted to spend time with him when he’s here, as I wanted him to know that even a “black sheep” sort of member like me, is there for him as part of the extended family that he clearly treasures. It appeared as though the rough patch he’s had in the past 12 months or so, had only flamed his passion as he reached out to extended family in Perth and here in Melbourne.

So on Friday arvo, he trekked into the city and he and I caught up over lunch and chatted for a bit. Later that night, we had dinner, together with his hosts. John ad Siew are his cousins (on his late mum’s side) and they live not far from us. I had known them for a while and they recently started coming to St Alf’s so we’ve gotten to know them better since. We had created a WhatsApp group (named “Henry in town) to keep information and updates flowing. Dinner was in a nice Chinese restaurant near our home and as we chatted, the reach and extent of our respective extended families hit me in a punchy reminder of how closely knitted the communities in Klang was (or is).  We were the last to leave the restaurant, having chatted freely for a little while.

The next morning, we dropped by John and Siew’s home and picked up Henry and John. We were heading to Woodend to catch up with my cousin Ruth and her hubby Jon and their son Micah. Siew had a St Alf’s training but as we drove on the eastern highway, she rang John just in time for us to get off that highway and picked her up from St Alf’s. Her training had finished, and she had read Tress’ message to Henry and John when we were parked outside their home to pick them up. So, all 5 of us reconvened and made our way up north east.

We stopped at Mount Macedon to see the memorial cross, had some coffee, and then headed to Ruth and Jon’s. Siew hit it off with Micah and John hit it off with Jon – they both shared a love for old cars and Jon showed us all his pride, a Mazda 1500SS or something like that. It was a beautifully restored old car – it gleamed and its engine purred with pure beauty.

Ruth and Jon had prepared lunch from their farm’s produce and it was very sumptuous. We only left their property late arvo, for Henry to get back to the eastern suburbs for his final catch up with extended family here in Melbourne.

He left Melbourne early Sunday morning and as we caught up with John and Siew at St Alf’s and they introduced us to their son, daughter in law and grandson, I felt Henry’s cause of ensuring extended families stayed in touch, had already rubbed off on us.

As we spent the rest of the day doing our usual thing – lunch, grocery shopping, cooking the week’s lunches, giving the little guy his longer walk etc., I said to Tress I didn’t feel the weekend had given me much rest. I was only partly right. A part of me found rest. Rest in the peace that comes with knowing the efforts of reaching out to extended families can have outcomes that aren’t too shabby. Like most of my elders, Henry showed me I always have much to learn.

Ugly genesis of Australia


I first read Robert Hughes’ Fatal Shore a few years ago. I read it on Kindle. I saw an old copy of this in an op-shop a couple of months ago, so I picked it up and started reading a few weeks ago.

It’s a hard read. Page after page of how badly the convicts were treated in NSW and Tassie, show how evil man can be.

Read and dig a bit more into Australian history and you’d find racism accounts for only a part of the horrific past of Australia.

The bigger factor is the innate evil of human – the treatment of convicts speaks with bellows of wincing cries on every page of Hughes’ book that show how evil man can be.

2 names to remember for the ending of convict transportation and all the evil that entailed:

1. Alex Maconochie; and
2. William Molesworth (of the Molesworth Committee)

 

Maconochie

Wet weekend


I remember reading a meteorologist saying it was going to be a mild and dry winter. It hasn’t felt this way so far. Certainly not over the past weekend.

On Saturday arvo, as Tress and I attended the last family friendly scheduled MCG home game for the Hawks, it rained right through. Tress left before the final quarter, to meet up with her ethereal activities’ community. I stayed on for the nail biting but ultimately disappointing finish. I paid the price for that by being caught up in a torrential downpour as the fans leave the G and head towards Richmond Station. I had a waterproof jacket as well as a brolly and a waterproof pair of shoes, but I was still soaked in places. The whole day had been grey and drab and the proper rain was almost like a fitting finale.

It had rained the night before as well, when Tress and I wound down the week at our local Italian. The joint was booked out and while we were contemplating dessert, we noticed they were turning guests away, so we skipped that and headed out. We have been regulars here for the past 3-4 years now and Luigi looked like a decent guy running a business by providing really nice Italian food so it was easy to support his enterprise.

On Sunday we were on communion duty and the order was mixed around a bit so communion was early. We helped out Anita – the service leader – by coordinating the communion duty folks and I noticed Mike M, looked like he had heaps on his mind. I said a special prayer for him this morning; I hope he’s ok.

After a nice walk with the little guy yesterday arvo, I came home to cook the week’s lunches – delectable roasted veges – and pottered around the house. It had been a relatively uneventful weekend, except for the rain.

It may be different next weekend. An uncle will be visiting and just as importantly, the weather promises to be better behaved.

Cold Weekend, Going Bananas and Gladys Liu


Tress and I aren’t young anymore. That fact is made painfully clear as we ploughed through a cold weekend. On Friday night however, we had really warm company, as we caught up with A Hooi/U Marloney and Jason/Mel for dinner, and as has been the case in recent times, these Friday night wind down catch up’s stretched into the night and we ended up spending 3 hours in a restaurant that was busy and buzzing.

On Saturday morning, Tress did some housework – vacuuming and cleaning – as I took the easier path of going to St Alf’s for a training session. The annual school holidays program will start in over 2 weeks and I had put my hand up for a day’s work in the kitchen. Saturday’s training was on child safety and it was compulsory for all, regardless of the role one was playing. The trainer was very knowledgeable and it was a new world to me. Kiddo had left home for about 7 years now, and she hadn’t been a “child” in the sense of that holiday program target demography anyway. I learned heaps and being amongst an intergenerational group with loads of kids was a pick up I didn’t realise I needed.

After the training, I went home and later Tress and I went back to the car dealership to drop of an extra key to the MX5. We then dropped into a joint nearby for a really good lunch and then did some grocery shopping. The day had been cold and wet all day, but a little window of clearer weather opened up briefly and we took the little guy for his walk – he hadn’t been able to have his walks in recent days as it had been wet.

Later that night, we settled down to stream Chris Hemsworth’s “In The Heart of the Sea”. It was a movie about the travails of a whaling team brought about by a huge whale – white of course, as it was a tale that inspired the novel Moby Dick.
On Sunday it remained very cold and it was also very foggy. As we had our coffee and toasts, Tress excitedly said read out a message she received. Sarah, a cousin in Sydney, was going to get married. We made a mental note of being in Sydney in February next year.

After St Alf’s we headed off to lunch and then we went home and I quickly did the week’s cooking, as we had an interesting event later that arvo. We were to attend a meeting with Gladys Liu, the federal member of parliament for our constituency, at the home of a member of St Alf’s Some 25 people sat in the lounge room of Paul and Anna Cummings and asked questions or made comments about a number of issues.

About half a dozen of those who were there were young folks – about 20/21 years old – and other than environmental/climate change issues, they were also concerned about civility of public office bearers and transparency of processes and other issues. The economy, religious freedom, foreign aid, international relations and small business were also brought up and it was a really good meeting. Tress and I were the only Asians there, which was ironic as Chisolm has 20% Asian (predominantly Chinese) voters. Gladys said she decided to enter the fray because the Labor Party had nominated Jennifer Yang on the (purported) reason of her ethnicity. It was thought Ms Yang would attract the all-important Chinese vote, which was crucial as the electorate only had a 1.2% margin. Gladys said she thought focusing on race/ethnicity was wrong and by entering the fray (she was from Hong Kong) it would neutralise that point. I found myself nodding totally with that, and I’m glad we had someone who thought that way, representing me in the federal parliament.

That meeting ended a bit before 6pm, and when we got home, we hurried about our chores in getting ready for the new working week, before settling down to watch our favourite TV show.

The catch up on Friday night, the training on Sat and that meeting with the MP, had all made a really good weekend, the cold notwithstanding.