Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Hattie Rees 2002 - 2019

We said good bye to our dear old cat Hattie this evening. She was a wonderful friend to us for such a long time, through babies, two house moves, getting a big foolish dog, the dog's friends dropping in to visit, the babies growing into teenagers and their friends staying … through all that she maintained her sturdy poise.

Hattie had several favourite places to hang out, and tonight we laid her to rest in a nice shady spot under the mock orange that she liked a lot. We can talk to her as we hang out the washing, just like we used to.

Thank you Hattie, we love you x

Chris, Elf, Marcus and Michael

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Di Fuglsang 1949 - 2019 RIP

Yesterday I attended a funeral for a colleague from the Monatgu Community Living board, Di Fuglsang. I have been on the board about three years and have only known Di that long, but she was so welcoming and supportive to me and all new board members, I really appreciated her kindness and generosity.

I wish I had known Di better. I knew that she had been a pioneer in setting up the Association for Children with Disability, and through her daughter Isabel (a resident with Montagu) she had deep lived experience of caring for a disabled child. Di was one of the group of parents that set up Montagu, where Isabel and other young people with intellectual disability could live in shared accommodation with 24-hour support.

But yesterday I learned a lot more about Di, and how she supported and inspired so many people in her life. Her order of service consisted of excerpts in Di's own words, including parts of this interview with Prue Batten which I have just read in full.

I learned through the years of caring for [Isabel], a level of patience and tolerance that I previously didn’t know I possessed. This in turn helped me cope with my “lot in life” and made me realize that happiness, firstly in little chinks, and later in further vast chunks, was there for the taking if I would just focus on the right thoughts. I had finally learned that it was my attitude, not the events themselves, that determined my level of happiness.
My friend Manuel Duharte spoke movingly and affectionately at the service. He worked with Di over a number of years, and was appointed CEO of the Association when Di was the chair of the board. He mentioned something her family later enlarged on – Di's habit of diagnosing your maladies and prescribing the best remedy. This earned her the fond nickname "Dr Bullshit".

Di stood down from the board about a year ago due to ill health; then in June, only nine months ago, she was given a diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease. She withdrew into her family circle to spend as much time with them as possible. I have been thinking of her often, but was quite shocked to hear ten days ago that she had left home for the last time, going into palliative care. After a few days constantly surrounded by family, she passed away peacefully.

Thank you Di for your kindness and wisdom. Go well.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Tuesday Night Soccer 1.1.19

We all waddled back to indoor soccer on New Year’s Day after a week or two of overeating and over-drinking. Or maybe that was just me. Liam was back from Canberra for Christmas, and we went for a beer afterwards to celebrate.

I played pretty well (scored five) until I was poleaxed. Pat was positioned to head the ball into attack, and being quite a bit taller I decided to contest it and pinch it off him. He didn't know I was there, pumped his elbows to get a bit of extra elevation, and got the point of one straight in my eye.

He missed my brow and my cheekbone, it just went squoosh right in the eyeball. Which sounds horrible but turned out to be quite lucky. My vision wasn't blurred, my contact lens came out but went in again OK (once Cam found it). And there was hardly any bruising or visible swelling.

But I know that there has been some swelling because my top lip and a few teeth went numb, and that's a result of a nerve being compressed. 9 days later there is still some numbness but it's good to know it's gradually coming back – I went to the doctor and cleared myself of any damage.

Black: Adrian, Mike, Young Sean, me, …?
White: Steve, Liam, Pat, Cam

Goals (3 left, 2 right);
  • Out on the right looking for someone to cross to; instead I just leaned back and toed it into the roof of the net, almost took off Cam's head.
  • Hovering around the defence just trying to drag them out of shape, I found a little space and Adrian put a lovely weighted ball through that I could just step in behind, one touch to control and then finish. I shaped my body to put it to the right corner, but swung slowly enough to wrap my foot around the ball and actually pull it to the left corner instead.
  • Solo run past two guys dribbling with my right - I think I did a double shuffle past the 2nd and finished with my left.
  • Close up 1-on-1 with Pat in goal, again a little double shuffle and poked it in with my left
  • Late in the evening once we'd said 'next goal wins' – a firm pass hit me close to goal and I think I dummied on the right then hit it with the left. Was a bit surprised myself.
Then we went and had a few beers. Although I didn't get ice on the eye for a couple of hours after the injury it has never blown up into a noticeable 'black eye'.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

I manage to not drown

Elf and I took the wave ski to Sandy Bay for a paddle on the Derwent the other morning. Well, I was going to paddle and she was going to read on a park bench. I left the life vest in the car – I paddled out then remembered it so I came back in, and Elf had it. I put it on and went back out.

This was the day the first yachts were finishing the Sydney Hobart race, so there was a fair amount of action out on the water, and a helicopter or two overhead. It was pretty choppy, and reasonably hard work going against the swell.

I decided to just paddle out to the last mooring buoys, about 500m, then take in the view of the yachts coming upriver. After a while I turned 180° to enjoy the view back to the shore – this is when you are likely to get flipped over but I did it quickly and successfully.

After a while I decided to turn 180° again and this time – flip. I was in the water. We have a tether on the paddle, so that was one bit of good preparation. And I had the vest (not on as tight as it should have been though – it went up around my head straight away). I got hold of the strap on the side of the wave ski and just hung on for a bit while I considered options. I quickly realised that climbing back on was not going to be easy.

The good thing about a wave ski is they are very simple things, you sit on top of them and they are very buoyant. They are sealed, and won't fill with water or capsize. I needed to get back onto it but I didn't need to get back into it.

I started sidestroking towards the shore just to make some progress. I was staying calm fortunately. A motor yacht went past in the distance with a few dozen people on it, some looking my way. I thought I could wave to them, but things seemed to be under control – so I would save myself the embarrassment and just keep slowly swimming and hanging on.

Once I got to the next set of mooring buoys I grabbed on to them and had a little rest. If the worst happened and the wave ski got away from me while I was trying to climb back on, at least I had the buoys. Then I started trying to get on.

I have done this once in shallower water, (where you can get some purchase on the seabed) and I remember ending up with my head at the bow end. You can sort of roll over sideways OK if you are face down, but if you are oriented the wrong way its hard to fix without falling off.

So I got my head to the correct end towards the stern, and pulled my top half aboard, and grabbed onto the elasticated luggage straps right at the back. Then getting my legs swung aboard took so long. I really thought I'd be coming off it again at least once, but eventually I was face down on the thing, out of the water.

Another little rest. Then I did the roll over thing and I was face up, but sitting much too far forward. I managed to scooch my butt back into the seat, pulled in the paddle and ta-da, I was on my way back to shore. They really are very stable and forgiving craft, and it just underlines how incompetent I was letting myself get dumped out.

All through this I imagined Elf had seen me and was having conniptions about my safety. As a full and frank record of the events I must reveal that she was actually entranced the whole time by a great dane puppy.

2 days late I am a bit muscle-sore from all the struggling, but none the worse for wear.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Tuesday Night Soccer 27.11.18

Since I last played a month back, I had x-rays of my hips. Now I know why those joints hurt so much. There are bone spurs on both sides around the ball joints where the top of the femur slots into the pelvis, and so there is bone inflammation or osteitis flaring up when I overuse these joints. I am doing tons of repetitive stretching morning and night, to try to build up my core strength, which will hopefully relieve these joints.

White: Steve, Cam, Anthony, Rick, ?
Black: Adrian, Me, Pat, Hazel, Ben

Memorable moments;

  • Early on I carried the ball up the middle, just dummied with body shape to get past Anthony and then no-one came to me so I kept taking the space and toed it past Rick. Cam not happy.
  • I was lurking in the left corner and Hazel had possession over by the door – he placed a perfect magnetic pass into the box that pulled me towards it for a tap-in.
  • I was in a similar spot on left, Hazel in goals hit me with a perfect throw. My first touch took me inside and across Steve and with my next touch I (unusually) clobbered it properly with my right, it went under Anthony in goals.
  • Stuck in the back left corner, I passed to Hazel who was marked but who can work in a phone box. He couldn't get free so I called for it back, squared it to Pat in goals, and he sent it out the other way to Adrian on the right. Hazel had gone up the left wing, Adrian found Ben who found Hazel who scored. textbook play out from the back.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Charity solicitations

Like most people, I give to charity. Not heaps but regularly. I share it around although the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre is my fave.

A thought I had while washing dishes: a percentage of what we all give to charity goes towards fundraising. The appeals to which we respond are partly paid for by those who responded to earlier appeals. And so on back through time.

Looking at all advertising, beyond charities – some it is about a new product or service. (Of course sometime the 'new'ness is fake). Maybe it's trying to get you to try mint flavoured milk instead of chocolate or strawberry. In charity terms it's trying to solve a problem no-one else is solving. If it is successful and can motivate you to donate to help fistula sufferers in Rwanda for instance – that's going to make a difference to those people.

But often advertising is trying to get you to change brand. Virgin wants Jetstar's customers, and Coke wants Pepsi's customers.

It has just occurred to me that this brand-switching must be a big part of charity advertising too. And from the point of view of people who the charity is meant to help – I cannot see how that money benefits them.

I might have been giving to Red Cross, who are working at earthquakes alongside Medicins Sans Frontieres, Oxfam, Unicef etc. If MSF come out with a very convincing and sincere ad, it might sway me to give to them next time not Red Cross. It benefits MSF and helps their work.

Does that money MSF spend on getting me to change, benefit the people I care about in any way?

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Hobart trains

This leads on from the subject of the last post. I am fascinated with what it was like in Tasmania just before and after I was born. These are times that I can't or don't remember, but which aren't all that different in many ways to now.

I have mined the Tasmanian Archives for photos, and now I have found another great source, Mr Langford took photos, mostly of trains and bridges and other infrastructure, but also landscapes and of tourist attractions, between 1960 and his death in 2014. This site has over 38,000 of his photos taken in every state and also overseas.

Commuter train north from Hobart passing the Royal Hobart Regatta grandstand,
24 May 1963
The beauty of the train pics is that suburban train services stopped in Hobart in 1978, eight years before I came here to live. In a short time the central rail terminus was demolished and tracks began to rot. So to find these pics with familiar and recognisable places still populated with trains is wonderful and strange.

The pic below with the little red and cream train particularly grabbed me. That bridge is still there spanning the Brooker Highway, and I had no idea it was a rail bridge. 
or that a line ever ran in that direction. This train is taking workers to the Zincworks, early one morning in 1965. I only recently spotted on an satellite photo that a line must have run in that direction.
7:10am passenger train from Derwent Park to Zincworks at Risdon
10 January 1965
Same spot last week.
I am honestly NOT a train nut although I can see why people are captivated by them. But it's true I am obsessed enough with these 1960s images to have made these 2 animations yesterday.