Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wedding Anniversary

from w
December 31 1966 - 48 years ago at Lautoka - Wesley Church, then Jasper Williams School for a reception for about 350 people. A long time ago and not so world-weary then. Tonight we are quietly celebrating at home with the rest of the family and visitors from Melbourne down at Eastern Beach with a tent, a large tanoa of kava and a barbecue with crowds of people and fireworks. We decided we couldn't walk up that huge hill easily. Just spuds and seafood, custard and pears, and a chocolate Santa for Grandpa and Grandma and watching 'Inspector Linley' on the TV! Anyway, a happy New Year to you all!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Our mayor is holidaying in Fiji

from w
And judging by one photograph he looks very ordinary and is wearing a very ordinary shirt.  Part of a cruise of the South Pacific. Go to this article in the Fiji Sun -

Friday, December 26, 2014

Geelong's old powerhouse an art gallery

from w
This afternoon Peceli and I took a drive to North Geelong to see the art/graffiti on Geelong's very old, derelict powerhouse. We used to see it from Donation in Kind each week and it certainly looked old and decrepid. Anyway some artists got to work in the past week or so and have transformed it into a gallery. It's huge and they needed cherry-pickers to do some of the paintings. I like the face on the south wall. The artists supply their own paint, mainly large tins of house paint and spray paint. It's an ongoing process, still some spaces to cover. This is all much more interesting than a white/silver tree!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A little house on the prairie of Meredith

from w
I was astonished to read this story in today's Herald Sun, but what a good idea - at the time.

Prius becomes a mobile home as tent takes a back seat

James Lawler has built a miniature house on top of his car. Picture: MITCH BEAR
James Lawler has built a miniature house on top of his car. Picture: MITCH BEAR
TORQUAY landscaper James Lawler has given himself room to move — on the back of his Toyota Prius.
Made primarily using scraps scavenged from the tip, the miniature house set Mr Lawler back $150 and took just over a week to complete.
The abode sports a tin roof with a chimney, a stained-glass window and a letter box displaying the car’s registration plate.
“There’s a lot of boring camper vans out there. I thought this would be a little bit more quaint and Australiana with a rusted tin roof,” Mr Lawler said.
Pictures of Mr Lawler and his DIY motor home have gone viral on social media.
But aside from the online fame, Mr Lawler said the extension had served its intended purpose well. It provided a stylish place to sleep at the Meredith Music Festival in Victoria earlier this month while his fellow campers were forced to rough it in tents.
“It’s quite well insulated in there. It’s more comfortable than a tent,” he said.
After completing the 100km round trip to the festival, Mr Lawler was fined by local police.
He disputes the vehicle is unroadworthy but said his “quirky little caravan” was worth the minor upset.
It’s due to be dismantled, but it has sparked a new idea.
“I would like to build a caravan along the same style but a bit more water tight.”

Christmas Day in Geelong

from Peceli and Wendy
First we went to the 9 o'clock church at East Geelong - the guys dressed in matching red shirts. We'd tried to buy Pacific style bula shirts but KMart didn't stock any and we did need a variety of sizes. The lovo (underground oven) was excellent, perfectly cooked dalo, pork, lamb, chicken,fish, palusami. Also kokoda (raw fish) salad, cassava and a fine trifle made by Grace. Andrew's palusami was a very good surprise using silver beet leaves. Vina'a va'alevu Andrew for the palusami and kokoda. My job was only the salad and to make up the menu and list of jobs! Bale prepared a nice looking table of healthy food. We had eleven people sharing Christmas lunch and the men/boys had done nearly all of the cooking. It's rest time now - some have gone off to visit a new baby in Melbourne etc. etc. and it's a quiet house.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Waiting in Advent

from w


Truer than a Midsomer jigsaw

to guess and surmise motives,

the radio or television drama is the ‘now’,

one character seriously flawed,

others like us, ordinary, shielding friends.

There’s anticipation in the darkness

of a tragic outcome and it does come

as a climax of light flashes and gunshots

with blood in the coffee shop.

Shadows run,  men suited for battle

rescue men and women hostages

who could have been my friend, my family.



An ocean of flowers, still wrapped in paper,

foil, cellophane, and letters in a child’s writing,

tributes for strangers, sharing grief,

in a communal swell of pain

as part of our human response

during Advent, waiting.



Concerned by a backlash

Of separating ‘them’ from ‘us’

Someone was inspired to write

‘I’ll ride with you’

I’ll sit beside you on a train, protect you, 

stop the potential of insults

because your dress-code

marks you as strange, an enemy.

A church notice juggles the letters

to form a new message:

The Kingdom of God is like

‘I’ll ride with you.’


5. The story is retold, cyclic,

 in carol singing, without snow.

It’s midsummer for us yet we sing

‘In the bleak mid-winter’

and the perfect song ‘Silent Night’.

Though the trauma of a girl giving birth

is  hardly quiet at all.



A dark sky with a contour of stars,

a backdrop for the tall luminous tree,

blue and green glass-like

reflects on rippling water.

Conjured by a clown

now admired as a symbol of hope.

We are waiting, despite major disquiet.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Geelong Mayor I, me, mine

from w
I am sick and tired of our flamboyant Geelong Mayor self-serving, self-obsessed, ego trip.  Not interested in team work, nothing about other councillors, just all about himself. 'I love myself, I think I'm grand, when I go to the movies, I hold my hand.'

Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons releases brochure to celebrate first year in top job

Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons has released a new glossy brochure celebrating his first year

Cr Stretch Kontelj said the brochure was an appropriate way for the Mayor to reflect on his first year.
Cr Jock Irvine said it was self-promotion “at its best’’.
Cr Irvine said the money should have been spent on community projects, not on rec­ording past achievements.
“In this 24-page book about his first 365 days it’s all about him and not about the other councillors,’’ Cr Irvine said.
“There are 13 people on the council trying to pull Geelong in the same direction.’’
etc. etc.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Donation in Kind Geelong

from w
The Rotary Donation in Kind volunteers had our Christmas breakup barbecue yesterday at the North Geelong site near Osborne House. Peceli and I have enjoyed being part of this project which sends about fifteen containers to South Pacific and South-east Asian countries each year. This includes Fiji but at Lautoka they whack on a whopping $3000 customs charge for the excellent second hand goods that go to schools and hospitals. Not happy about that. One of our helpers makes about nine hundred lovely wooden toys in his workshop each year to give us to send to kindergartens overseas. A quiet achiever much appreciated.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas lights in Geelong

from w
Here's a list of the houses in Geelong with decorated front gardens etc.  I found this in the Geelong Advertiser. I noticed that the suburbs with most decorations are not the posh suburbs with expensive houses. If it's hard to read, then enlarge.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sketching in Barwon Heads and Queenscliff

from w
Here are a couple of pictures - using colours, then turning them into pencil like drawings using Picasa.  Rather ordinary though. Queenscliff pines near the beach, and Barwon Heads near the heads.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A voice from Diversitat

from w
Tonight we went to the breakup party at Diversitat at the Hub in North Geelong. For nearly thirty years we have been associated with the Geelong Migrant Resource Centre, now called Diversitat; and value the input into the Geelong community of this organisation which helps to make our city value diversity and multiculturalism and care for the stranger in our midst. Tonight we sat with friends who had once upon a time migrated from Spain or Philippines. I was delighted to meet up again with Petra who is now 89. We once had been in a writing group and I helped edit a book of migrant stories.

From the Geelong Advertiser, Michael  the CEO writes:

MicHael Martinez: Geelong's people deserve a pat on the back for 

·         DECEMBER 11, 2014 10:21AM

THERE are many things we learned about our city in the past 12 months. Here are 10 to start with.
1. WE are global. The opening in June of Carbon Nexus, Deakin’s $34 million carbon fibre research centre, has attracted interest around the world. It is the kind of research and development centre that will drive innovation and new technology for our region and beyond.
Great to see Jane den Hollander win the Committee for Geelong Leader of the Year award as Jane is an absolute inspiration and tireless advocate for our city.
2. WE are innovative. The construction of the new six-storey, state of the art Geelong Library and Heritage Centre will be a wonderful centrepiece for our new arts precinct.
This is the kind of design for which we want to be known. This excellent public amenity incorporates a flair for the new and edgy matched with a functional design for all to enjoy. I can’t wait to see it when it’s opened.
3. WE are vulnerable. We have seen this in light of the loss of Alcoa and Ford production and the thousands of related jobs.
Yet despite this devastating news we are still strong and united and optimistic about this city’s future.
4. WE are caring and compassionate. Our citizens have shown this on many occasions this year, including the outpouring of grief after the tragic death of young asylum seeker Leo Seemanpillai and the generous amount that was raised to support his family in a refugee camp in southern India. Likewise the great support given to Rory Wilson after his cycling accident.

5. WE are creative. The inaugural Mountain to Mouth and Geelong After Dark showcased many of Geelong’s artists and went on to win the Best Community Event at the prestigious Australian Event Awards and also VicHealth’s Building Health through the Arts Award.
6. WE love Christmas. This is clearly evident with the thousands who have flocked to our brilliant new floating Christmas tree.
Lighting up Geelong for Christmas is a great idea and even better when we know that this project was built here by a great Geelong company like Hanlon Industries, a typical Geelong quiet achiever that often goes unrecognised but makes a really positive contribution to our city. Full marks to our mayor Darryn Lyons for this idea.
7. WE are proud. We don’t like being called zombies or Sleepy Hollow, as evident in the outpouring of anger over the short clip by Geelong Tourism.
Justifications aside, Geelong people are rightfully proud of our city and region. The resulting debate after the video was testament to the reality that we are concerned about our reputation and future.
8. WE count! We saw during the recent election that Geelong was a priority for both the major parties, with Labor launching its campaign here.
The pledges from all sides were welcomed and we need to see more as we know things are not getting any easier on the economic front.
With our two new state ministers and member for Geelong we expect big results for Geelong.
9. WE are welcoming. The inaugural Welcome to Australia walk, which we held in Geelong on October 25, was well attended for a first event and it will surely grow over time.
This is on top of the generous support and acceptance that newly arrived people receive every day from the majority in our community.
10. WE are resilient. Although we don’t have the resources and opportunities Melbourne has, Geelong is a better place to live.
More and more people from outside our region are finding this out as they move to our fair city and surrounding districts. Our community is working hard to transform this city through difficult circumstances and together we will succeed.
Michael Martinez is the chief executive officer of Diversitat.

Derelict buildings in Geelong

from w
Two eye-sores in Geelong are the Ritz and the burnt-out house in Ryrie Street next to the eye doctor.  Nothing has been done in years to force the owners to clean up. At least the Geelong Council are deciding to fine the owners.

Geelong  council:  New  ‘ Ritz law’  set  to  bite  negligent  property  owners
.OWNERS of dilapidated buildings like the Ritz who refuse to fix their properties could be fined $2000 a month by the City of Greater Geelong. Deputy mayor Michelle Heagney, who is responsible for the planning and central Geelong portfolios, yesterday said the council was embarking on a process which would allow it to fine irresponsible property owners.
“We are looking at fining them $2000 a month, every month, and maybe if we start to do that, that $24,000-a-year starts to become enough of a headache to get them to change their behaviour or to sell their property,” Cr Heagney said. “The Ritz will be the first one we go after.”
Cr Heagney said “the Ritz law” was part of a local law review looking at what council could do to make owners of derelict Geelong buildings more accountable. “There’s a new clause in our local law which they’ve put in place and it’s specifically aimed at the Ritz building,” she said.
At Tuesday night’s council meeting, where councillors voted to approve the Local Law Review, Cr Heagney said the City was putting all negligent property owners on notice.
“We’re coming and we’re going to get you, so start looking after your properties,’ Cr Heagney challenged.
The strengthening of the dilapidated buildings law is just one of a number of changes to local laws signed off on by the Geelong council this week.
And the burnt out house
From Addie
A NEIGHBOUR of a derelict house in Ryrie St says it is unsafe and insecure, despite making complaints to City Hall. The house on Ryrie St, just east of Geelong Hospital, was involved in a spectacular blaze five years ago.The house had already been abandoned and there had already been complaints about squatters. Neighbour Helen Cant has lived next door for some years, and said it had not been easy.She said she had written another letter to Geelong city council recently and the council had said it would write to the owner again asking him to ``make good’’

The owner Rex Harding, who lives across the road from the dilapidated and burnt out house, said at the time of the blaze that he had experienced problems with people jumping the security fence and entering the house.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Christmas letter 2014

Greetings to you from Peceli, Wendy, George, Bale, Epa, Jordan, Andrew, Big Andrew, and household.
We are reminded of Christ’s birth with the carols, messages, decorations and the huge conical tree in Geelong that lights up the sky in the night. Let us honour and pray for one another, for miracles in our world  today and may this message of good will give peace to you.  Our compound,  now called Vatuadova Kisi  often has a dozen or more people living here with visitors, the extended family, and friends of our teenagers and even  the touch rugby gang rock up.  There’s kava flowing several nights a week.  Relatives from Sydney have been staying in Andrew’s bungalow and Andrew’s new house went up early in the year. Next year Linlay will start school at Form 2 at Geelong High School. Jordan finished Year 12 and Andrew Year 10. Jordan recently had  surgery  to take out the plate and rod in his leg, and he is recovering well. Earlier in the year Peceli and the  two Andrews went to Fiji for the funeral of Peceli’s brother Dakai. Health continues to be an issue for us oldies with pills and checkups. The young ones in the family play tennis summer and winter for East Geelong Uniting – the club that lost their clubroom and courts with the Uniting Church kerfuffle, but have relocated to Breakwater.  Peceli and I often go for drives and simple picnics to enjoy the beauty of the Bellarine Peninsular.
Church news – Peceli continues his relationship with Altona Meadows/Laverton and I still play music at East Geelong and talk too much at council meetings. The members of South Geelong who lost their church  have joined out church at East which is doing well with community service – donating a vehicle to the Women’s Crisis Centre in Tonga and  setting up the teaching of stringed instruments at a local school.  We will have a second minister coming early next year which is a bonus. Rev Ikani continues to be an inspirational leader of our faith community.
Community news – Geelong has problems re unemployment with places like Alcoa, Ford and others sending staff off or even closing down.  Despite the enthusiasm of our new Mayor for tinsel and glitter, there’s a lot of pain out there.  However there is  much volunteer activity going on such as free meals at Christ Church, and care by Diversitat and others for the refugees coming into our community who are not allowed to work. We continue to help at Donation  in Kind  though  interest in Rotary is waning. Geelong continues however to be a place that we love to reside in.
Loloma and  best wishes for the Christmas and New Year season.

Wendy and  Peceli Ratawa.          December 10 2015

Keep Christmas simple

from w
I just started some decorating in the house but the old plastic tree is lopsided and the old decorations are somewhere lost in a plastic bag in the garage!  So I just started with this on the table. Even a star managed to get into the picture. (I'd bought a $2 packet of shells at an op shop the other day when looking for egg cups because ours seemed to have disappeared.) Also I bought a bundle of inexpensive Christmas card though I barely use snail mail at all. Only two cards out of forty were what I like. Too much clutter of things that don't matter too much to us in out last chapter!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Christmas houses decorated in Geelong

from the Geelong Advertiser:

MAP: Geelong lights up for Christmas

Julia Spalding’s Christmas lights at 14 Pinder Court, St Albans Park also include a talki
Julia Spalding’s Christmas lights at 14 Pinder Court, St Albans Park also include a talking reindeer. PIC: Glenn Ferguson
IF it’s a Christmas lights trail you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered.
From Bannockburn through to Queenscliff, scores of homes across Geelong have plugged in their spectacular festive lighting displays.
Check out our interactive map. (I couldn't download it but you can go to: