Sunday, August 28, 2016

Gardening at East Geelong Church

Volunteer gardeners tidied up the flower beds at the East Geelong Uniting Church the other day.  Plans are afoot to really create a nicer environment for our local church by more garden ideas.  One possibility is to work with horticultural course students. As there's no fencing one problem is that vandals might pull up new plantings. Wouldn't it be good if neighbours could plant vegetables near the roads in our suburb to share. Members of our church do share goods from their back gardens  - yesterday we were given broccoli and spinach - excellent for my iron needs for good health.  Here's a picture of the helpers at the recent working bee. After their efforts they enjoyed a rich chocolate cake, thanks to Rob.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Whittington Strings in Geelong

The Whittington Strings is a project initiated by our East church to assist a group of boys and girls to learn to play the violin, cello and double bass. Whittington Primary School is in a suburb where there is a lot of disadvantage and it's a super project to upskill children and give them confidence. Two boys have even joined a community strings group. Today our church council members visited the school and saw the music practice session and then two lads played for us in the staff room where we had our Council meeting and lunch. Great. I took a few photos including a couple of large paintings in the corridor.

Monday, August 01, 2016

St Giles for sale again and again

Former church for sale in 74 Gheringhap Street, Geelong. Photo: Supplied

No longer a church really, St Giles in Geelong is up for sale again. These days it's offices for beauty therapy. One time it was a nightclub. Many churches these days are converted into homes, restaurants, offices. One was just sold out at the lovely little village of Ceres just out of Geelong. The former St Giles Church dates back to 1861 and was designed by noted architect Nathaniel Billing as part of a competition, according to theHeritage Council Victoria. Today it  is a contemporary three-level conversion that houses a beauty therapy business.

Young family buys slice of history as former Ceres church sells at auction
TESSA HAYWARD, Geelong Advertiser
August 1, 2016 10:17am
A YOUNG Rippleside family has secured its own piece of history in Ceres after buying the disused Uniting Church for $500,000.
With plans to renovate the interior and convert it to a residence in which they will live, the new owners outbid two other interested parties at the auction on Saturday to secure the 1230sq m property. The new owner, who wants to remain anonymous, said he had always liked the heritage built properties and had seen some church conversions that came up well.
“I am going to have a talk to an architect and see what we can do,” he said.
The church, constructed of Barrabool freestone, is heritage listed so the facade cannot be altered but the interior has more flexibility.
Originally the Ceres Wesleyan Methodist Church, it was built in 1855 and the accompanying Sunday school dates back to 1864.
The Sunday school was included in the sale, however, selling agent Brett Walker, of Barry Plant Highton, said if the buyer did not want it the neighbouring town hall would move it on to its property.
The last service at the Ceres Uniting Church, located at 2a (17) McCann St, was in December. The Uniting Church decided to sell after the congregation fell to as few as three.
A Barrabool Hills Uniting Church parishioner, Nola Noble, said it was sad to see the church sell. “It is an end of an era, we don’t like to see churches closing,” Ms Noble said.
Mr Walker said it was a rare opportunity to buy a church. “It is a unique opportunity to purchase a piece of history,” he said.

Located in the heart of Ceres, the church is a part of an identifiable group of buildings surrounded by properties.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Choosing music for church

I've been asked to look at song choices for August so I wrote this for our local congregation in East Geelong.
Some suggestions for Music in August 2016
Preamble - We have a congregation of about seventy which includes many older people, some families and about 16 under twenty. Our resources include an organ, piano and drums and under-used are players of guitar, trumpet, stringed instruments, banjo-mandolin etc. Texts are placed on the data projection but TIS books are in the pews. To choose music for congregational singing the following resources are mostly used: Together in Song, All Together series from Adelaide, some newer songs and chants, and songs from favourite composers such as Bell, Murray, Mann. The pattern has been to have an introit, opening hymn, a hymn/song related to the lectionery gospel reading, two other hymns, and a song to go out. On the first Sunday of the month we include a communion hymn such as Tis 239 Jesus the Lord said, or Tis 526 Lord Jesus Christ, and a sung ‘Holy holy’ which is TIS 761. Sometimes a soloist sings during Communion e.g. Take this bread.
Some suggestions:
Introit This is the day that the Lord has made Alleluia Tis 185 (to learn)
Alleluia alleluia give thanks to the risen Lord Tis 390 Here in this place (Gathering) Tis 474 (not all verses)
Opening hymn: God is love Tis 153 Christ is the world’s light Tis 246
We have a gospel to proclaim Tis 245 Lord the light of your love Tis 675
Sometimes a song especially for children
e.g. TIS 175; Did you ever see a kookaburra laugh
TIS 579 The blind man sat by the road and he cried.
Hymn/Song related to gospel reading e.g. August 7 Tis 122 What shall I do my God to love
August 14th Comfort comfort Tis 647 August 21st TiS 737 Lord Jesus Christ lover of all (Bell)
August 28th TiS 686 / ATE 292 Lord Jesus we belong to you (Robin Mann)
Third Hymn 218 in All together everybody - Spirit, spirit o gentleness
Tis 598 Dear Father Lord of humankind Tis 87 You are before me Lord
Tis 689 Lord hear my praying
Fourth hymn Dreams and visions ATE No 249 For you deep stillness; No 22 NCYC 1999
Tis 588 In heavenly love abiding Pass it on
Song to go out: TiS Shalom Sent by the Lord am I - All Together book
Now unto him who is able to keep May the road rise up to meet you All Together book
All over the world the spirit is moving You shall go out with joy Tis 755.

Isa, one little guinea pig died this week.

When I brought the guinea pigs inside tonight because of the cold wind I noticed that Darren was looking very poorly, and he just lay down and an hour or two later he died. The other guinea pig is whistling a bit and restless and tried to help but tomorrow we'll bury the poor little guinea pig in the garden. Here's an old photo of him in a cardboard house. (And later - on Tuesday) Fuzzie stayed up all night sitting on the black jumper wrapped little guinea pig that died. This morning after 9 a.m. Andrew dug up hole in the front garden for a burial, and we planted succulents. Then Fuzzie went back to his pen with soft toys which didn't really make up for the loss of Darren. Isa, a sad day.
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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.