Sunday, July 29, 2012

At Myrniong Lake Dewar camp

from w

I have spent over three days at the YMCA camp at Lake Dewar in the beautiful Myrniong area not far from my brother's place at Greendale. It was a women's retreat and called 'The Emmaus Walk'. The hospitality, kindness, generosity of people was amazing and it was quite different from the usual church conference which can be intimidating as 'scholars' and 'academics' give their papers.  We had fifteen sessions and it was extremely busy, but there were moments of delight and rich spirituality. The program was not given out in a folder beforehand - watches were put away,  computers and laptops out of sight. The thirty 'pilgrims' were richly blessed with many surprises. I only had one hour of free time to take photos and make sketches but was able to walk along a track above the Werribee River.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Farewell James Latu

from w
This morning Peceli woke me up before 6 a.m. so that we could drive to Melbourne for a Tongan funeral which would commence at 8 a.m.. Canterbury Uniting Church has a large Tongan congregation and hundreds had gathered, many from Sydney, and New Zealand. Rev James (Semesi) Latu we have known for about thirty years since the time he was studying for the ministry in Melbourne.His wife Susana had parents in Geelong in our congregation then, David and Ofa Prescott.  Today's funeral was done very well, though it didn't finish until after 11 a.m. with many long tributes so that there was little time for the choirs and singing. There were fine tributes from the children - the best speeches. It's good to hear the many stories of course that fill in the gap of our knowledge of people. The Tongans mainly were dressed in black and wore their distinctive tauvale waist-mats and close relatives had enormous mats almost covering their whole bodies. A touching moment was when Angela the daughter made a tearful speech and her mother walked out and wiped the tears then told us of the last days of James and how she felt compelled to go up to the hospital and sing to him. When Susana started singing that song to us, our congregation softly joined in and that was a touching moment. We didn't go on to the cemetery or go to the feast.

On the way home we drove via Footscray Market where we had a delicious Chinese lunch then bought vegetables and fruit.  Today is Peceli's birthday so that was our task for the day. Tonight we are drinking kava and one of the boys has gone out to buy pizza with the lot!  Happy birthday Peceli!

One piece on the internet about James comes from the Multicultural Commission.

Rev Semisi (James Latu)
·         Tuesday, 17 July 2012
The Reverend Semisi Latu, also known as James Latu, passed away Saturday 14th July 2012. His life, his ministry, his great dedication to God's work, his great contribution to Tongan National Conference, and ministry among the Tongan and non-Tongan people that touched so many lives will be remembered and greatly missed.
Please read below the letter of condolance from Rev Dr Tony Floyd, National Director of Multicultural and Cross-cultural Ministry to those who knew and loved him...
 Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, This news is sudden indeed. I want to express the grateful thanks of the diverse communities across the breadth of this UCA for the wise, passionate, faithful and gifted ministry of Semisi Latu. He, Susana and their family have been gracious and loving colleagues and friends from their first day in this country, the Methodist and now Uniting churches. His contribution to multicultural and cross-cultural ministry through Assembly, Synods, Presbyteries and congregations has borne and will bear much fruit to the glory of God whom he and Susana love so dearly and serve so faithfully. To the TNC, its members and congregations, we send our prayers and love
Grace and peace
Revd Dr Tony Floyd
National Director

Monday, July 16, 2012

Athletes and Monopoly in London

from w
Here's an idiotic story which doesn't look too good for the arrangements for the Olympics in London, Bus drivers on first day not knowing where to go.

(from The Age newspaper) Lost driver takes athletes on 'Monopoly' tour
Date July 17, 2012
Samantha Lane

AUSTRALIAN Olympic athletes and officials were taken on a three-hour "Monopoly tour" of London after a bus chartered by Games organisers, with a lost driver behind the wheel, took three hours to travel from Heathrow airport to the Olympic village.
Beijing gold medallist Elise Rechich was among the contingent of Australian sailors on the vehicle that was two hours late to collect the party, then drove around for hours on what should have been a 45-minute trip, before the driver admitted the East London Games village had not been entered into the GPS navigation system.
Australian Olympic Committee media liaison officer Damian Kelly, who was also with the group of around 30 athletes, medical staff and team officials that had arrived in London on flights from Melbourne and Sydney, described the bewildering journey that extended an already long trip.
"The driver just said 'I'm sorry, I'm lost, it's my first day on the job and I'm lost," Kelly told Fairfax.
"We were moving, we were in the Olympic lane and we were going places, we just weren't going where we were supposed to go.
"He just said it was his first day in that bus and they hadn't told them how the GPSs worked and that he didn't know how to use it and apparently the Olympic Village hadn't been loaded into the GPS.
"We'd all been travelling for over 20 hours so it's not the best way to finish a long trip.. it was not ideal."
An American party of athletes and officials had a similar experience, though their trip to the Olympic village took four hours, and prompted two-time world 400 metres hurdle champion Kerron Clement to tweet: "Um, so we've been lost on the road for 4 hrs. Not a good first impression London.
"Athletes are sleepy, hungry and need to pee. Could we get to the Olympic Village please."
Kelly, who has been a media attache at two summer Olympics and one Winter Games, said the Australian group had taken the extended detour in good humour.
"Everyone was having a few jokes and we saw some great sights," he said.
"We eventually got there but we did lots of backtracking and going around streets we'd been down before and all that sort of stuff, but we eventually got there.
"We saw Buckingham Palace and the Tower Bridge and a few other things, I presume we were supposed to see them anyway but I'm not really sure. Someone on the bus described it as the Monopoly tour."
Members of Australia's 410-strong team begin checking into the gated village in Stratford today

Read more:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Like raku pottery

from w

Today I was at the Wintergarden Cafe with a small writing group and spent a few minutes wandering around the garden shop behind the Cafe - called the Leaf and Stone - where there is a definite Asian feel in sculptures, bowls and leafage. I took photos mainly of bowls filled with water, some leaves, and reflections were picked up by the camera. The results of the images reminded me of Japanese raku pottery.

Building a verandah

from w

School holidays are winding up now but this week has been a good opportunity despite lots of rain, to build a verandah onto the back of the loungeroom. Under instructions from Auntie Eka,  Epa and Jordan have does a great job designing, measuring, buying materials, using new tools, setting up the posts and roof.  This will become a great space to put the barbecue, or pool table, or garden table and chairs, and establish a better nearby garden than the chaos it was. Vinaka vakalevu boys.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Geelong art galleries

from w
When I get over this sniffly, snieezing, coughing bout I hope to do a round of the local art galleries as two of them are of special interest - one is illustrations from children's books at the Metrapolis and another is printmaking at the Wintergarden.


7 - 21 July

 For those who love children’s picture books, Metropolis Gallery will present The Art of Australian Children's Books, an exhibition of original book illustrations, character sketches, etchings and prints by some of Australia's top book illustrators: Terry Denton, Leigh Hobbs, Elizabeth Honey, Robert Ingpen, Ann James, David Miller, Anne Spudvilas, Shaun Tan, and Anna Walker...

This exhibition will coincide with Geelong City Library’s In Conversation with exhibiting artists Leigh Hobbs, David Miller and Ann James on Sunday 15 July, celebrating The National Year of Reading.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

About those boat people

from w
Everyone and his dog  in Australia seems to have an opinion on the 'asylum seekers' who set off from Indonesia in leaky boats to try and get to the Ashmore Reef or Christmas Island  etc. etc.  But to make a chart of this is rather unusual. So what will they do next?  Make a board game like snakes and ladders Or Monopoly about the trials and twists and turns in the life of a 'boat' person? Click on image to see larger.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

A floral gift

from w

Our visitors gave us a lovely floral gift so before it dries out -  as it's in the lounge room which is heated, I took some photos, then made some abstract pics. Just messing around as it's a lazy afternoon as usually I go up to Melbourne for the Fijian church, but not today.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

How green is the garden in Newcomb

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Mandala designs

from w

When I get time - and I've said that a thousand times - I would like to draw/paint/collage a series of mandalas based on the Tree of Life or similar symbols. Here are a few I found on the web - okay - copyright issues and all that, and I acknowledge that they are not my own but I like them enough to repost them.

A short story - Broken Circle

from w
While moving files to a USB stick I came across a short story I'd written a while back. Not true of course but it could happen.

                                                Broken Circle

Catriona is barefoot, comfortable to feel the grit between toes as she sits on the grass and dirt slope. It's midsummer, time-out, a weekend in the hills beyond Anakie.
Catriona is part of nineteen like-minded people, eyes focussed on the centre of the amphitheatre space they have embraced. The grass is barely green, in need of a good rain. Eucalypts form a raggedy surround. Linking arms, then holding hands, the participants lean towards each other as they sing the old hymn ‘Will the Circle be unbroken.’
Catriona has come to this Koorie place to light candles claiming a connectedness to the landscape though her Irish forefathers had intruded here less than two centuries ago, and none could claim real kinship.
Her companions include grandparents, children, but are mainly middle-aged, middle-class folk like herself, the usually chattering ones who listen to Phillip Adams rather than Radio Magic. They are well-informed, opinionated on world affairs and hold firm views about justice in their own way, or so her sister Elaine says, who still votes little Liberal, not quite realising the shifts.
The iron wok-like container in the centre is the focus because they have burned various paper sins of omission and sins of commission. Once upon a time this midsummer season was a church camp but those days are gone, the church decamped somewhere else.
  Here in this space, Catriona feels the rhythms of landscape and the softness of an unusual goodwill amidst people and a vague shimmer of religiousness.
Then a stranger walks, no, lurches into the group. A man of indeterminate years, or maybe thirty. He wears untidy baggy grey clothes but that’s not surprising. Grunge is still in fashion for some of the participants.  This man is disfigured with a noticeable scar on his face. He rudely breaks the circle, roughly shoves linked arms, sends one woman flailing almost to the ground. Their song dribbles to a dismal wail.  In the shambles, arms fall to our sides.  Each person is alone, not touching, except two children who are hugged, protected by a mother.
Who is this intruder barking in a torrent of foreign words?  Sounds Middle Eastern, has a different consonant attack, decides  Catriona. Where did he come from?  How dare he intrude their meditation and good intentions! Catriona no longer focuses on the candles burning but looks about, feeling an errant wind.
They feel leaderless because Neville, the taskmaster for the retreat, had gone off earlier to organise the next meal.  They are shadows now, limbless, feeble. The stranger has stopped ranting, and just sits on the edge of the amphitheatre, his head in his hands, like the respite after a violent seizure. No one dares touch him.
They move into small groups of two or three, muttering.
‘I haven’t heard from him for two years,’ Jane tells Catriona. Who is she talking about? Oh, her obsession, her estranged husband.
The stranger is now drawing into the sand with a stick, making a line of dots or the prints of a snake. What is he thinking?  Something about the Tree of Good or Evil?  ‘Paradise Lost.’  He is catching the attention of the children who are less fearful than the adults and  take no notice of his disfigurement. He has three of them now drawing circles, stamping our marks with sticks into the red sand. Is he manipulating them into a trust?  Will he turn on them, frighten them as he did by his stunning entrance, yelling? It was a magnificent intrusion, Catriona decides, forgiving him now.
He is drawing a mandala. Well, they certainly have misunderstood him. He has the children fetching tiny white stones and delicate gumnuts and pine needles to create an ever-widening circle in earth colours - white, orange, sand and brown. Catriona moves closer and want to joins in but he raises a finger to quieten her enthusiasm. He’s really saying: Let the children make it their own.
Maybe Catriona has seen him before, or perhaps seen someone like him but without the facial scarring. She lists the possibilities, her networks, but can't place him. Maybe she'd seen a similar striking face in a café or the Footscray market.
Suddenly the taskmaster Neville looms, tall and strident, Jerry the body builder in tow. They stride towards the visitor, kick the decorated earth savagely, and the stones and sticks fly wildly before settling into dust.  The artist leans back, his hands up protecting his face.
Catriona is enraged, her neck prickles and her face flames. ‘Stop! He’s not hurting us.’
But Neville and Jerry pull the man to his feet, hold him firmly and take him towards the car park. ‘He’s not one of us,’ Neville shouts back at them.
In the evening, to Catriona the lentils taste like sand. She feels shame now and perhaps the others do also. The normally noisy children are irritable and fearful. They have never seen ‘Uncle’ Nev’s brute force before and it is a shock to all of them. 
‘He has a double degree in Psych. so should know better,’ Jane says to Catriona.
‘Does that mean he’s more humane? Knows better?’ mutters Catriona.
At the moonrise gathering in the roundhouse before going to respective dormitories Catriona waits for Neville’s apology, but it does not come.  The midsummer time-out has been unsettling. She decides to confront him.
However there is a surprise. The stranger – first feared – then accepted – then thrown out – enters the space and sits with them.
Neville speaks at last. “It was a role-play. Shalim - aka Joel - is an actor. I asked him to come. Are you familiar with the Disturb Street Theatre program?  So, has it been a learning experience for any of you?’'

New Breakwater bridge

from w
It was opened for business over a month ago and we've driven over it a few times - very neat, smooth, only one lane each way though, and certainly eases the traffic between Belmont and our side of town. Not my photos this time though we've taken several as the bridge was in progress.  From the Addie: Nearly two years in the building, the 1km long Breakwater Rd starts at the Barwon Heads Rd intersection and links directly to Fellmongers Rd in Breakwater and includes a 60m span across the Barwon River.
It also features a pedestrian path on the north side of the bridge and dedicated bike lanes in both directions.
One problem with the old bridge was that fairly often a truck would get stuck under the bridge because the driver didn't expect it to be so short!