Wednesday, July 13, 2016

the Big Freeze

This week has seen snowfalls throughout the Otways and many parts of Victoria. But they are still surfing nearby!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A short story I wrote

I wrote this as a draft last year but fine-tuned it today.  The location is real but not the characters.

Inside the Circle



The trams clanged past and men and women in black surged towards their offices.  My bones were aching and I had not brought my stick through sheer anxiety about being thought old and useless. Near the cathedral a park bench beckoned though a senior kind of man was sitting there.  I couldn’t walk any further, even to go up several steps to move inside the Anglican cathedral for respite.

I took out my takeaway cappuccino and blueberry muffin I had bought at Macdonalds opposite. I  suppose I could ignore the man. He seemed to be one of those ‘bring me your tired, your poor’ kind of person, in a shabby jacket, unpolished shoes (like mine) one unlaced. Perhaps he sleeps in the sheltered walkway behind the cathedral. He was leaning back, his eyes closed as he fiddled with his fingers. His face was craggy and he had a speckled grey beard. A plastic bag lay at his feet and I could smell the remains of hot chips which had drawn a congregation of seagulls.

As I sat down he stirred and opened his eyes. Perhaps I should share my muffin, so I broke it in half and offered him a share on a paper napkin. I remembered our minister had talked about a circle and how we list family and friends in the centre, but  the homeless, the refugee, the stranger are on the outer.

I  sipped the coffee, put the half-muffin away, and took out my A4 sketchbook which is my habit in daytime visits to Melbourne. I started to block in his lean limbs and body, a cathedral doorway a nice background to suggest the irony of the poor and the elaborate building. My 6B pencil skimmed over the cartridge paper, quickly outlining the elements of the composition. 

The man moved nearer to me, scanned the sketch and said, ‘You’ve got that right.’  His voice was not bogan but a pleasant tenor. Educated in fact.

The air was shimmering in the late afternoon light  and shadows formed shapes on the cathedral wall.  I felt pleased, puffed up with pride in my ability to speak with a stranger.

‘I’d better go back to work, ‘ the man exclaimed after he glanced at his watch.

I didn’t answer that one.

He undid his jacket, flung it into his supermarket bag and he had a nice black shirt on and a large cross dangled from his neck, the kind tourists buy in Jerusalem. ‘I have to prepare for Evensong, ‘ he said.

A clergyman?  They often do look shabby these days!

‘I have to play the Widor Toccato  which is a challenge these days.’

Oh, he’s the organist!

 ‘I love that one, ‘I enthused.  ‘I’ve downloaded it  - illegally of course - from the internet, but I can’t play much of it.  So fast.  My fingers…you know. And my slowing brain.’  I was chattering on, talking hey presto like that music.

He gave me a wicked grin,  revealing fine gold tipped teeth.  He wasn’t a homeless man sleeping in the shadows at all.   I must stop speculating about people, turning them into my fictional characters.

He slowly stood up from the garden bench, bearing his weight on his hands and arms. He leaned down with care to tie up a shoelace.

He’s probably got arthritis,  just like me.

‘Well I might pop into Evensong and catch a later train home,’ I told him. ‘I’m not an Anglican but. ..’

‘That’s excellent,’ he said. He stood up awkwardly and limped towards the Cathedral  side door.   And I’m sure he was thinking,  now I’ve invited that bag lady into  our cathedral.  What next!

He’s into my inner circle now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Diary for the day of the Winter Solstice

Diary for a Day - the Winter Solstice in Geelong.


12.15 a.m. listen to the quiz on ABC radio 774.  Panadol pills  taken at  10 p.m. not working.
Get up and fix a hot water bottle and apply Deep Heat.  Turn on lounge room heater (where clothes are drying anyway)  and warm up old bones.
4 a.m. Awake again and on  internet to read Fiji media news, Age and Addie. Make cup of tea.
6 a.m. Listen to the radio FM  3MP Classical.
7.30 Sun is at last coming up – today is Winter Solstice. Feed guinea pigs with Dutch carrots and celery.
8. Make porridge from  muesli and say gooday to family.
 9.  Look up candidates for Corio, etc. check out a few parties not known.  Justice for Animals looks okay and of course Greens.
10. A friend brings a gift of vegetables and fruit. We are very grateful.
10 30 a.m. Go to early voting  in Yarra Street and take walking stick.  Only six in the queue.  Peceli’s name not listed so someone has told him about his passing.  Senate ballot paper is huge – as wide as a car.  Walk to Dimmeys and buy black tights and seven Rio in brilliant colours.  On the way back Andrew puts recycle bin back at church. The sun is shining, the sea is silver and the Youyangs float in a dream.
Make hot milk coffee the way my mother used to make it, with toast.
As it’s a bit sunny, put guinea pigs onto front lawn to eat grass blade by blade on the edges where the lawn-mover didn’t reach – for twenty minutes but it gets cold.  They are still hungry so give them the seed stuff from the Pet Shop. They nibble on the lot.
1 p.m. Watch old movie on Gem – comedy but rather ordinary, not like the brilliant ‘Passage to India’ that I watched at the weekend.
1. 30 Make lunch for Andrew and  me with baked beans, peppers, onions, and leftover potato.
2 p.m. Check email and facebook again and  delete several files on stick, write some comments, and  post old story found on stick. The Divided House. Cannot find the image of Rick Amor's painting.
Bring guinea pigs inside in a box, to be near the heater, put Vitamin E skin lotion of Darryn’s itchy back.
4 p.m. Two grandsons call in for their laptop and mail. They’d been to an orientation at a factory to start work tomorrow.
5 p.m.  Take flowers to cemetery, tidy Peceli’s grave and  say a prayer. It is freezing cold – from  the Antarctic it seems. It is Peceli’s official (birth certificate) birthday though we’ve celebrated  it in July for 49 years. So next month we’ll have some kava on July 21.
5.15  to 6  p.m.  Watch ‘Murder she wrote’ on TV, and  then  news.  Exercises for ankles and  knees from rocking chair.
6 p.m. Bones aching so take Panadol pills.
7 p.m. Andrew prepares dinner for three with ribbons of pasta and mince steak.cooked with spinach, ginger, onions, and chillie pepper.
Watch ABC news.
8 p.m. Tuck guinea pigs in for the night by covering puppy pen with blankets.
Watch the countdown 20 to 1 on Australian movie actors.
Watch Britain's got talent.
10 p.m. Wash the dishes and tidy the kitchen, eat a mandarin, then to bed with radio tuned to 3MP Classical music.
Read from 'The Message' some pages from Proverbs.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Geelong mosque burnt

Bad news for the Muslim community in Geelong. The former Uniting Church was sold to become a mosque twenty-three years ago and there has been a harmonious relationship in our community across religious groups. Perhaps the arsonists didn't even know it was a mosque because it still looks like a Christian church in design. It's a shame for all of us.  

Suspicious fire destroys Geelong mosque

The mosque’s bluestone walls helped stop the spread of the fire. Picture: Nicole Garmston
Picture: Nicole Garmston
Picture: Justice Cameron
The mosque’s Imam Mohammad Ramzan assess the damage this morning. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Geelong Mosque Fire

A SUSPICIOUS fire that destroyed a Geelong mosque is the fifth church fire in the city since last October.
The bluestone building was fully alight when Country Fire Authority crews arrived about 2.10am this morning.
The fire is being considered suspicious and is one of a number of church blazes in Geelong in recent months.
A suspicious fire has destroyed a mosque in Geelong. Picture: Justice Cameron

Residents reported hearing a bang and seeing the sky alight. Picture: Justice Cameron
Matt, who lives across the road from the mosque, told 3AW he heard a loud bang about 2.15am.
“There was a loud bang, the sky was alight ... bright orange,” he said.
“For the first hour or so it was crazy, lots of smoke and embers, stuff falling off the roof.”
Mohammad Ramzan didn’t know what was happening when he was woken about 2am.
“We thought it was a storm or the bin collection truck banging the bins,” he told 3AW.
“We saw a light and it was very light. Our beautiful mosque, our heritage listed building was blazing.”
Mr Ramzan said the mosque hadn’t attracted any negative attention in the community.
“In 23 years we did not have any trouble, rather we have compliments,” he said.
“We have a very love based relationship with the neighbourhood. We haven’t received any threats. We have a very nice and good relationship with everyone.”
He said the mosque would operate out of a hall at the site, which was unscathed in the fire.
Inspector Graham Banks said the fire was one of a number of church blazes in Geelong in since October last year.
“There’s been no acts of violence against people of Muslim faith (in Geelong),” he said.
“They’re a harmonious community. This is a mosque where people of all backgrounds come to worship.
Insp Banks said the Manifold Heights building was previously a church and not easily identifiable as a mosque.
Police have stepped up patrols around churches in the region following a spate of fires.
Churches in Norlane, Bannockburn and Geelong West have gone up in flames in recent months.
Police are also in regular contact with Geelong’s interfaith community, providing safety advice.
Arson chemists are waiting on the area to be secured before they investigate this morning.
“It’s got to be made safe,” Insp Banks said.
The site is the only mosque in the Geelong area.
CFA duty officer Mark Sinkinson said the bluestone walls worked in the firefighter’s favour.
“Our crews did a great job keeping (the fire) inside there, we did have the advantage of having those heavy bluestone walls to stop the spread of fire,” he told 3AW.
“At this stage it is suspicious. We are working with Victoria Police in regards to the investigation.”
Mr Sinkinson said only the walls remained at the mosque site.
“The walls are the only thing standing. Obviously the roof has come down and everything inside has totalled off.”
“We weren’t on the scene when the loud bang occurred. When our guys did get there, there was a fair bit of fire coming out of the roof.”
The building is the base for the Islamic Society of Geelong.
There were no reported injuries.
Ambulance Victoria was called and remained on standby, but did not treat anyone.
It took 35 to 40 firefighters about 50 minutes to bring the Manifold Heights fire under control.
Seven trucks from Corio, Geelong West and Geelong City were called to the scene.
The Bostock Ave bluestone building was formerly a church.
CFA said it did not know how the fire started.
Fire investigators and police will be on scene this morning to determine the cause.
Police urged anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Small footie clubs miss out

I'm never happy when children's footie teams get put to the back of the queue and millions and millions are spent on spectator/professional football such as at the local stadium.  The new admin man seems to be neglectful of the ordinary Saturday games played by chldren.

Geelong council: Footy clubs bemoan funds that never came

GREG DUNDASGeelong Advertiser

The Geelong Amateurs’ clubroom upgrade is in limbo. Picture: Peter Ristevski
THE  Geelong Amateur, St ­Joseph’s and Grovedale footy clubs want to know why Geelong’s one-man council has undone plans for ratepayers to finance major works at their home grounds.
The interim administrator, ­Yehudi Blacher, endorsed the City of Greater Geelong’s draft budget this week, revealing he had sidelined more than $3 million worth of projects that the elected councillors were planning to finance ­before they were booted from office last month.
It’s believed Mr Blacher put about 10 projects on the backburner, including the three footy club requests, which added up to $950,000.
Mr Blacher would not be drawn on which projects they were but said he had concerns about the processes councillors used to propose some of the projects and the business cases submitted for them.
The City also said it had taken a more conservative forecast on some of the land sales that were planned to pay for the projects.
“There were projects proposed by particular former councillors which hadn’t been through the normal assessment process,” he said.
“What I determined is not that those projects won’t ­proceed, but that they won’t proceed in this budget until there has been an assessment process.”
The frustrated footy clubs said they’d had no word from City Hall that anything was wrong with their applications, and — before the council’s dismissal — they had been informally told their projects were slated for financial backing in the budget.
They now have until June 7 to persuade the City their projects were worthy of inclusion in this year’s budget.
But it’s likely Mr Blacher will be gone by then, replaced by three administrators who will run the council until elections in October next year.
The footy clubs have each said they needed new changerooms, particularly because of the growth of girls’ and junior footy, and they were not seeking cash for social amenities.
Ammos was awarded $400,000 in last year’s council budget for its plan to rebuild the player changerooms on the lower level of its double storey Queens Park clubhouse.
President Simon Farrell said the club was poised to start the project with cotenant Newtown Chilwell Cricket Club last year but it was ­delayed when council officers demanded a lift be included for disability access, at an estimated cost of $200,000.
“We’re ready to go on this from September 4 (the day after the Bellarine Football League grand final),” Mr Farrell said. “We’ve got $300,000 worth of in-kind support at the ready, just like we did last year. But now we’re in limbo again, and we can’t get a word out of the council.”
Joeys sought $400,000 to build stand-alone female changerooms at Drew Reserve for netballers, footballers and cricketers, who now prepare for their games in a public toilet block.
“It’s disappointing — we ­believed our application ticked every box, and was submitted appropriately and in good faith,” club spokesman Ron Threlfall said.
Grovedale facilities manager Neil Vivian said his club applied for $350,000 to build new visitors’ rooms at Burdoo Reserve, and planned a volunteer effort to rebuild its own changerooms.
Mr Blacher said the projects he had decided against financing this year could still be given council funding in the future, but it was important the budget process have “integrity”.
“They’re not dead projects, they’re still alive,” he said.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Valuations of houses suburb by suburb

Houses are now very very expensive so young couples can barely start off with a house in most suburbs in Geelong. We live in Boundary Rd - our side is Newcomb, across the road is East Geelong, and that is much more expensive than our side!
from the Addie:
Average property value and percentage rise from 2014-16
ANAKIE $495,606 10.95%
ARMSTRONG CREEK $429,228 4.05%
AVALON $433,266 1.86%
BALLIANG $695,806 13.56%
BARWON HEADS $840,624 10.02
BATESFORD $563,933 8.38%
BELL PARK $319,007 7.69%
BELL POST HILL $333,210 5.24%
BELLARINE $1,081,222 1.29%
BELMONT $346,644 5.59%
BREAKWATER $258,019 10.07%
BREAMLEA $641,215 2.83%
CERES $773,550 16.98%
CHARLEMONT $764,635 7.14%
CLIFTON SPRINGS $352,113 -0.41%
CONNEWARRE $638,415 3.09%
CORIO $220,747 1.73%
CURLEWIS $518,711 1.26%
DRUMCONDRA $740,839 8.76%
DRYSDALE $415,144 1.66%
EAST GEELONG $414,216 5.04%
FYANSFORD $583,458 13.42%
GEELONG $533,887 9.39%
GEELONG WEST $407,698 7.43%
GROVEDALE $337,574 4.99%
HAMLYN HEIGHTS $348,433 2.25%
HERNE HILL $283,023 5.53%
HIGHTON $462,193 7.65%
INDENTED HEAD $408,395 0.96%
LARA $387,795 5.80%
LEOPOLD $372,099 1.51%
LITTLE RIVER $594,845 8.86%
LOVELY BANKS $490,593 9.95%
MANIFOLD HEIGHTS $446,090 7.17%
MANNERIM $750,000 2.12%
MARCUS HILL $692,368 2.25%
MARSHALL $340,373 6.42%
MOOLAP $458,996 3.77%
MOORABOOL $533,250 12.27%
MOUNT DUNEED $621,930 10.52%
NEWCOMB $275,999 9.03%
NEWTOWN $584,341 8.49%
NORLANE $200,957 1.73%
NORTH GEELONG $297,518 5.24%
NORTH SHORE $372,205 17.55%
OCEAN GROVE $514,362 4.89%
POINT LONSDALE $583,938 2.66%
PORTARLINGTON $413,422 0.78%
RIPPLESIDE $611,923 4.88%
SOUTH GEELONG $417,524 12.73%
ST ALBANS PARK $310,675 7.72%
ST LEONARDS $392,347 1.47%
STAUGHTON VALE $541,333 2.62%
SWAN BAY $1,144,000 6.88%
THOMSON $256,946 7.77%
WALLINGTON $790,523 10.84%
WANDANA HEIGHTS $580,835 6.26%
WAURN PONDS $480,887 5.58%
WHITTINGTON $231,735 2.93%
Greater Geelong total $400,310 5.44%

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Persimmons in a Geelong garden

This morning Ateca and I had a lovely morning tea with a near-neighbour Barbara then a walk around her prolific back garden with numerous fruit trees and vegetables. Two unusual trees (well, to me anyway) were the persimmon tree with an abundance of fruit, and a tamarella tree. I'd never seen either of them until about six years ago, don't remember any in Swan Hill. So here are some photos.