Thursday, 14 September 2017

Springtime in Central Victoria

So, spring has sprung and many photos have been taken on days when I have wandered into town to the shops, or to the library to print stuff.

I haven't tired yet of all the old buildings. A taxi driver told me they have pulled a lot down - but there are still enough for me ! Ghost signs on the sides of some speak of days gone by, others stand in all their glory, protected from the demolition people by their heritage listing.

Then there is the lake just down the road, with a great cafe and an easy stroll around the edges with lots of wildlife to see.

Then today, we got a rental car since it is a long weekend for Lauren and we are going exploring. This afternoon we found the Botanic Gardens.

what will tomorrow bring ?

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

#52Stories, Week 36, Fathers' Day

Dad was born in Hamilton. An inland town fast becoming a city. With a lake and a river running through the centre to separate it, east from west.

His grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins from both sides of the family all lived relatively close. If not in Hamilton, in smaller rural towns or on farms in the Waikato area.

He helped build our house, working with the builder after work and at weekends. He and Mum were a great wallpapering team, transforming rooms. Dad is very precise and has a strong attention to detail, so pattern matching was thorough and always perfect. Symmetry is key.

Dad went to computer programming classes at night school. Back when computers were so large they filled a room, and you had to feed punch cards into them which contained coded messages hidden in the binary numbers row upon row. Who knew that would catch on ?

He built a stereo too, importing all the little bits (fuses, valves and little transistory circuit things) to solder together in the right order and places. Speakers too, including building the speaker boxes.

There was always a good vege garden to be cared for and lots of lawn to mow. A little less once the double garage was built in place of the old toolshed and lean-to.

Dad liked gem collecting too and many holidays and weekends we went searching for rocks. He always talked about wanting to be able to polish them smooth, but that didn’t eventuate. I think this fascination with rock must be in his blood – passed down from those first settlers who went goldmining in the Coromandel.

Dad was also a stamp collector, we used to help with this. Carefully tearing the stamps from the corner of the envelopes and soaking them with water so that the stamp could be separated from the envelope and then leaving them to dry face down – ready to go in to an album.

He also loves astronomy – not astrology. I remember watching the moon landing on the tv early one morning. It seemed incomprehensible that people were actually in space, on the moon. Now they stay for months at a time in the International Space Station and fly over us at least once a day ! Dad started to build his own telescope, something that began with a thick chunk of glass cut in a circle, which needed to be ground to become concave. That seemed like a neverending task to me. Planetarium meetings and running sessions for the public kept him busy too. Committee meetings negotiating for premises in Harris Street and then starting again when the council decided to expand the library and carpark and take back the building and land. That move took them to the top of the cable car in the Botanic Gardens, where the Planetarium is still located.

Later, much like the stereo, he and some friends began to build their own home computers. The Commodore 64 came along though, and the home made version went on the back burner.

Dad was always calm and didn’t seem to lose his temper very often, he likes to do crosswords and read. These days Suduko have become a favourite pastime as well.

Genealogy is still an interest today. Search methods have changed from the way they were though, so much is available online. Although you can still go and search old and original records, not so much time is spent in library reading rooms anymore.

He’s a great story teller too, he would read to us at night – a chapter or two from whatever was the current novel we were reading. Or he would tell stories about when he was little and the adventures they would get up to. The eclipse of the sun, finding the teeny rabbit by the railway tracks, so small he fit in a tea cup and more.

As a grandfather too, he would read stories, putting on voices for each character in Goodnight Owl and the BFG – among others.

He’s a great Dad ! All wired up and techy; emailing, texting, whatsapping, skyping - you name it. I hope we are as on to it and willing to try new things too.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

#52Stories, Week 35, What future destinations are on your vacation wish list ? Which of them do you truly believe you will see in your lifetime ?

England – all the unexplored spots and all the special places to return to
Scotland – refer England
Wales – as above
USA – only seen 4 States, so plenty more to see there and in different seasons too
Australia – still 2 States and a Territory to tick off the list
Fiji – it is a l-o-n-g time since I was there

Perhaps India, Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan in the spring…

I would like to think I could see half of them, but I think with careful planning and time management I might be able to see them all.

#52Stories, Week 34, What was the longest continuous vacation of your life ? How long were you gone ? Do you remember how much it cost ?


This would have to be the UK trip in 2014. It wasn’t going to be a vacation. It was intended to be a whole new life plan – for two years, maybe more. But ! Sometimes things just don’t turn out how you think.

Not sure what went wrong, probably planning and bad communication, different expectations – and all that. Nevertheless, we had a 3 month vacation in the end.

We explored almost every nook and cranny on that island. Coming from our own island nation we got a little thrill each time we crossed a border from England to Wales or Scotland to England. It just seemed so weird – no planes involved and no passports either. So unlike things on this end of the planet.

We met family members – some we had never met before. We explored villages and hamlets and churchyards and stepped in the footsteps of our forebears.

There weren’t many places we visited which we would not return to; and there were plenty we missed which are being saved for a return visit. One day.

Middlesex, Surrey, Sussex, Somerset, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Wiltshire, Powys, Montgomeryshire, Flintshire, Devon, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Shropshire, Essex, Berkshire, Norfolk, Yorkshire, Kent, Monmouthshire, Denbighshire, Radnorshire, Brecknockshire, Glamorgan, Leicestershire, Suffolk, Lanarkshire, Midlothian, Argyllshire, Inverness-shire, Selkirkshire, Roxburghshire, Dumfriesshire, Peeblesshire, Durham, Northumberland, Cumberland…some we just drove through, others we lingered for longer. Even more we wished we had had a better plan.

Still, we made some great memories and now there is the goal to get back and revisit, rediscover and just explore.