Friday, December 28, 2012

A musical journey

from w
Several sketches made at different times cover a musical journey, some a bit fictional, some fact showing a girl aged seven and then going through a few changes in her musical life. One missing is the old girl with white hair and a walking stick who is still playing music so maybe I'll do that sketch later on.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nearly didn't have a Christmas church service

from w
On Christmas morning there was a strange incident up in our church car park up Boundary Rd. About 5.30 a.m. a man was causing trouble in a house opposite the church car park so several police cars, fire trucks, a tactical response unit, all congregated on the road and in the car park and blocked off all traffic at the corner. Our minister had gone up to the church to set up for the Christmas lunch and couldn't even drive into the car park. He wondered then if 'church' was off for Christmas Day!  Anyway an hour later the problem was kind of resolved. A man with some kind of mental issues was taken for assessment. Isa, our city has many people with various disabilities and we don't have to criticize them but somehow have to help them.

from the Geelong media::

In Newcomb, a man was taken for assessment to Geelong Hospital's Swanston Centre on Christmas Day and interviewed by police, before being released on bail.
It is believed the man barricaded himself in his house on Christmas morning. A police critical incident response team attended the scene.
Detective Sen-Constable Brett Hampson said the man would appear in the Geelong Magistrates' Court in March

Family day at Greendale

from w
Many cousins and kin of the Lay family met up at my brother's place in picturesque Greendale, an hour and  half drive from Geelong. It was about 25 degrees, perfect weather out of doors for the children to play in the large dam or play cricket. We had a delicious lunch and good conversations. It is one of the best days of the year when we get together -  families from Geelong, Melbourne, Bacchus Marsh, Ballarat, Greendale and even from  rural village in France. A good way to spend Boxing Day, relaxed after the rush of Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dinner, dance, music

from w
Friday night we had a parish dinner up at the East Geelong Uniting Church  - about eighty people, delicious food served by the relatives of our Tongan minister, some community singing - me on the piano, friend on banjo and our grandson on the drums, a Fijian song  that was rather ordinary, a Tongan dance, and then some introduction to line-dancing with the novices doing different steps though! A beaut night.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A family visits the Grampians

from w
Here are some sketches I once made about a trip to the Grampians, about 3 hours from Geelong, a lovely place for a weekend or church camp. We climbed the Wonderland Range and the boys were adventurers then and walked/crawled on the Pinnacle which is very scary. I made the drawings into a children's story called 'Silent Street' named after one place on the climb which is quite strange and silent. I cannot climb mountains these days!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Towards Christmas

from w
I took some photos this morning to go with the poem I wrote a few days ago.

The moon blurs beyond the jackaranda
As Radio Magic and the Seekers befriend, 
Rocking riding rolling out on the bay 
all bound for morning sound many miles away.

Iced coffee, with heart shaped blocks of ice sooth.
The arthritus has not kicked in
With the 26 degree heat, a blessing.

Then I think of army tents
On a ravaged island
Unwelcome strangers
All bound for mourning sound
Many miles away.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A poem for Christmas

from w
I wrote this one Christmas and it's a bit silly and about a kangaroo.

A Kangaroo caught at Christmas


She came. She saw. She shook a paw.

Christmas balls were bouncing,

A duet of corellas caroling,

Silver stars a shining,

A windy bagpipe whining.

Soon the supermarket will be slaphappy bopping

with kangaroo Mums befuddled with shopping,

Up and down bursting aisles a hopping.

She tucked a preppie Playstation in her tummy

Said Junior, ‘Hey, that hurt me Mummy.’


She came. She saw. She got caught at the door,

Her tail knocked over shiny stubbies,

The Security man rushed past the kholrabis.

‘I’m Adam, Madam, just empty your pouch.”

Out fell the playstation and Junior. Ouch!

She clipped Adam with a soft paw punch

and said, ‘Let’s go to McDonalds now for lunch’.

Junior had mixed feelings, just a tad sad

to have a kleptomaniac mum who’s not really bad.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Our Christmas letter

from w
Each Christmas we used to send out scores of cards and letters but hey, it's hard work, finding addresses, etc. It's cut down a lot now and I will post on facebook and here the letter which is a bit obsessive about us, but it does give a summary of the past year for those who like to catch up with the Ratawa gang in Geelong.

There were ten of us in the household earlier in the year – George’s family and Andrew’s family, though Andrew Snr, Eka, and Linlay now are in Nukualofa, Tonga for a year, with Eka working as a pathologist. The teenagers Andrew and Jordan are at Geelong High School, Epa working full-time, Bale studying Aged Care Certificate and has worked part of the year at Lorne, George on his computer most times.  Peceli and I write up a couple of blogs – Geelong Visual Diary –  and the Babasiga blog, -, with drawings and photos. I am still obsessed with Fiji news which under the dictatorship is still hardly the outcome we desire.

Jordan who finished Year Ten had his first knee surgery at the Royal Children’s Hospital a couple of months ago.  The medical care is brilliant there and it’s such a wonderful hospital. The second operation will be in a few months time – all after an accident in Fiji three years ago.

Peceli is keeping very well and is gardening enthusiastically rather than playing golf. I’ve got a crook knee so that’s stopped me in my tracks!  Peceli and I help most weeks at Rotary Donation in Kind sorting books to send in containers to the Pacific and South East Asia.

Our family are members of the East Geelong Uniting Church where I help with piano/organ and on Sunday afternoons some of us go up to Altona Meadows/ Laverton to the Fijian service . There are numerous Fijian functions we are involved with such as the Fiji Geelong Friendship Club with kava drinking, yarning and hospitality.

A highlight for me personally was three days at the Emmaus Walk which was a really quality retreat with beautiful people at a camp in the Myrniong area.  Also, arly in the year over three months Peceli and I spent several weekends at Colac helping the Uniting Church people there with pastoral care and services. They are such lovely country people and it was a pleasure to spend time with them.

This year there were many bereavements with younger friends passing on. as well as our dear Aunt Mary Collins in Bacchus Marsh who was 99.  At the funeral the Lay and Collins families met up so that was very good.  Also, George took the boys to Fiji for the funeral of Robin’s wife Sala’s mother in Navuso.

Our house is full of computers, laptops, note-books, ipads,  smart phones, so we are all  hooked up and in our private worlds. I have 100 classical pieces of music on a tiny gadget!  This is so different to the time when we were young with only the radio. Then we did talk to one another around a table!

Advent and Christmas are special times and we enjoy the fellowship of the different churches we attend and the rich messages of the birth of Jesus Christ.  The road to Christmas though is full of bumps and distractions and parties that are evidence of our cbsession with consumption. We are currently preparing for a Carols program, a church dinner, and special events.

So that’s the round-up for the Ratawa family in Geelong for the year 2012. We are looking forward to news from friends and family from far and wide, though during the year Facebook has enabled us to keep in touch with many.

With love from Wendy and Peceli Ratawa   

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mal Donnelly's illustrations

from w

Malcolm Donnelly is a Geelong illustrator, for many years of houses for the retail pages of the newspapers. He has also made some fine illustrations of Geelong icons and well-loved places.  Prints of some of these can be bought on-line so it would be rude of me to put lots of his pictures on-line here - for free. The prints on sale though are on fine paper, are A3 in size I think. so would be lovely to frame for a Christmas present.  Miranda Luby interviewed Malcolm and wrote up some of his ideas in yesterday's Geelong Advertiser in the GT section. That's where the photo came from. The other pics are of the Buoys at Eastern Beach and the Paper Mill at Fyansford taken from the website

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Seekers, still looking good

from w
I thought they disbanded decades ago, but here they are ready to romp through 'Train whistle blowing' and 'World of our own'. Starting a tour in Geelong in April.
from the Addie today:

GEELONG will always hold a special place in Athol Guy's heart.
So when The Seekers announced a golden jubilee tour for 2013, Geelong was the logical place to start. Celebrations will begin at Costa Hall on Sunday, April 28, before the band heads to all corners of the country.
Having spent a lot of time in Geelong and its surrounding areas in his youth, Guy said Geelong was an easy choice of venue for the launch. "We wanted somewhere regionally that we could go to have a really relaxed night to open proceedings," he said. "We have a lot of friends in Geelong and a lot of fond memories there.It felt appropriate to start the tour in Geelong." Guy said he was looking forward to performing a mixture of new and old songs as part of the tour. He is particularly looking forward to performing the Beatles classic, In My Life. "I'm really happy with the version that we have done so I'm looking forward to performing it," Guy said.
The performance will also be in support of the Geelong Community Foundation and the Chamber of Commerce.
Leigh Wallace, development manager for the Geelong Community Foundation, said he was delighted The Seekers were supporting the Geelong community. "We are delighted that The Seekers have decided to sing for Geelong, in Geelong," he said.
"It's also great to know that they are doing this to help support the Geelong Community Foundation in its work to help the region's charities and those they assist."
Chamber of Commerce executive officer Bernadette Uzelac was looking forward to the evening. "We have been promoting the concert and I'm sure it will be a great event," she said.
Guy said The Seekers would also be discussing plans for a more long-term contribution to the foundation and the community. "It's really time to give back to the people who have given us so much love and affection over the many years we've been performing."
The Seekers individually support several charities between them.
Donations are invited to be made to the Geelong Community Foundation on the night of the concert.

at the Geelong Botanical Gardens

from w

Just a walk away from our home is the Geelong Botanical Gardens, a lovely place for respite from the noise of the world, and a delightful place for discovering plants and trees. It's good for taking photographs and making sketches of course.  Here's some tweaking I did with some of the pics I made  - that started as a photograph and a sketch, both near the teahouse.