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A Family Wedding

Yesterday Brian and I attended the wedding of my niece by my marriage to my ex-wife Paula. The wedding was held at St Laurence Church in North Adelaide, a beautiful old church.

My niece Nicky was very nervous but absolutely beautiful, as was my other niece Diana who was maid of honour, my great-niece Mikayla who was bridesmaid, and my great-great-niece Charlotte, who was flower girl. Martin, Nicky’s husband, looked very smart as well.

Nicky’s wedding was a welcome chance for me to catch up with my former in-laws to whom I was very close whilst married to Paula, in fact we are still very much family and I look forward to every opportunity to catch up. The fact is that I still feel closer to Paula’s family than I do my own.

The reception at the Radisson Playford in Adelaide was a very spiffy affair, the room was beautiful, and the food was exceptional. My only complaint was that the DJ was a bit loud, or that might just be me getting old. My sister-in-law Dina, Nicky’s mother, made the wedding cake, it was truly beautiful, I defy anyone to buy something better.

Brian poor thing got a bit bored, let’s face it they were never his family he has just inherited them, and although he has met most of them several times, and they have always treated him with the utmost respect, he has little to talk to them about. He did the right thing by me though which is the most important thing, and he got stopped by a breath test station on the way home but was clean as a whistle.

Unfortunately, and to Nicky’s dismay, only two of my sons and their partners were able to attend the wedding, she would have loved to have shared her day with them all but it was not to be. I am just very touched that after all these years Nicky still wanted to share her day with me.

New Zealand – A Personal Observation

It is obvious that the only people we really met whilst in New Zealand were those involved in the tourist industry, and let’s face it, it’s their job to be nice to you. Be that as it may everyone we came into contact with were truly friendly and seemed to be genuinely happy with their lot.

What impressed us the most about New Zealand, other than the most beautiful and stunning scenery, was how clean it was, the cities, the towns, the tourist attractions, the rivers, and the harbours. The water is crystal clear with no sign of contamination, and then we come back into Sydney Harbour, look over the side, and there floating in our harbour is rubbish. Welcome home.

The Maori people that we met were the most welcoming and gentle people one could wish to meet, they went from being quite fierce during the Haka, to melting your hearts with their smiles 30 seconds later. The Maori are a people who are truly proud of their heritage, they have a lovely language, beautiful legends, our visit to the Tamaki Village was the highlight of our trip, I came away with goosebumps.

It seems almost impossible to believe that until the 1950s the Maoris were not able to speak their language nor enjoy their own culture, all that changed when the first Maori was elected to the New Zealand parliament. New Zealand is a better place thanks to that man.

Our own Aborigines could learn a lesson from the Maori who have taken their culture and gifted it to the world, they are a proud and gentle people. In all my years living in the country of my birth I am yet to meet an Aborigine who displayed the same sense of pride in their culture.

The Australian government could learn a lesson from across the “ditch” as well, there is zero unemployment in Auckland, and the statistics are very low in the rest of the country as they seek off shore workers due to a labour shortage.

If Brian and I could relocate our family to New Zealand we would.

Sun Princess Cruise to New Zealand

It is now just six days since Brian and I arrived home from our 13 day New Zealand cruise aboard the Sun Princess, but already it seems like a dream. This is the first in a series of blogs I intend to write in order to share our experience with you all.

Day one was a bit of a nightmare, we flew to Sydney expecting to go straight to the ship, however on the previous cruise there had been an influenza outbreak which meant the entire ship had to be fumigated, which in turn meant we would be boarding much later than planned. We were shuffled off to the Novotel like cattle and left to spend the day wondering if our holiday would ever begin. I must say this day was handled very badly by the staff of the cruise line.

Late in the afternoon we were allowed to board so were shuttled dockside, once we arrived things went fairly smoothly and before we knew it we were in our cabin unpacking. The cabin was a reasonable size and quite comfortable, although we did not have a balcony we had a very large window so we got plenty of natural light. There were a lot of very large people on the boat and one cannot help but wonder just how they negotiated the very small toilet and shower, I suspect they would have to reverse in as they would never be able to turn around. Oops, was that out loud!

The first night I slept like a baby but the next two nights were a bit rough, and although neither Brian nor I had any seasickness the constant turbulence was not conducive to a good night’s sleep, I was starting to get grumpy and I was very bored.

By the time we landed at our first port in New Zealand I was grateful for something solid underfoot, those first few days on board were not a joy and I was ready to go home until I saw New Zealand, but more on that in my next blog.

By the time we were on our way home I knew my way around the boat and I was much more comfortable with the whole cruise experience, I spent many pleasant hours reading on deck. Brian and I have decided to do another so we will see how I feel after that.

On board we met some lovely people, in particular the gang in the Regency Dining Room, Table 123, in the limited time we had together we became quite good friends and I hope we can all stay in touch. I also finally got to see The Jersey Boys at the theatre, I thoroughly enjoyed it, I also saw Noah with Russell Crowe, and Grace with Nicole Kidman, I will be forever thankful I did not have to pay to see those, four hours of my life I can never get back.

The staff on board were wonderful, over 100 different nationalities, and although the accents were a little difficult at times we soon got used to our favourite staff. Allan was our Head Waiter at dinner, nothing was too much trouble, a lovely young man to whom I would give a job any time, he was assisted by Ade our Junior Waiter. William was our Cabin Steward, he did an adequate job but did not really go the extra mile. Ronaldo, our favourite Drinks Waiter, was another young man who gave us excellent service. We actually became quite fond of Allan and Ronaldo and will miss them.

The food on board was simply amazing, I tried lots of things I would not normally eat, souffle, eel, pheasant, wasabi ice-cream, sorbet, but I still could not bring myself to try escargot. I also drank more than I have in years, a different cocktail every night with dinner, but I remained tidy.

We were quite sad on the last night as we said goodbye to our new friends and the staff, and we look forward to seeing them in the future. As for New Zealand itself, well you will just have to read the next installment, suffice to say, we love New Zealand.

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. The numbers might not seem much to most of you but I get a kick out of it anyway.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,900 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 32 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Junk Mail

How I hate junk mail, each week my letterbox, and the letter boxes of millions of others in Australia, are filled with junk mail, so much that sometimes it is stacked next to my letterbox. How many of us actually take the time to read each and every one, not me, straight into the recycle bin. How much of it actually gets put into the recycle bin, I’ll bet that more finishes up with the general rubbish and therefore in landfill than that which is recycled.

If I had the power I would ban junk mail altogether, what an absolute waste of paper in an age when the majority of us are doing most things online. In my opinion one should have to subscribe to the merchant or business of your choice and receive their catalogue via email or Facebook, or some other form of electronic social media. For those that are still living in the 20th century, too bad I say, get with the times.

This brings me to the general subject of paper waste, I work in the real estate industry and a more paper unfriendly industry you could not find, reams of the stuff leaves our office every day, contracts, advertising, letters, accounts, the list goes on, what a waste.

Moving right along what of paper money and the old-fashioned cheque, who writes a cheque nowadays, many people and businesses do apparently, why not use EFT, (Electronic Funds Transfer), no need for cheques, get rid of them. No need for paper money, every business should accept EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale), it makes sense to me.

I have said it before and I will say it again right here, no hard cash, less crime, you cannot hold up a business or rob an individual who has no cash, unless you are looking for goods and not cash. However most criminals steal goods to sell on the black market, maybe our criminals will have to get with the times and take EFTPOS as well, as in my world their customers will not carry cash.

Wake up and smell the trees while we still have trees to smell. Ban paper products, and let’s make a start with junk mail.

Head or Heart

I am torn at the moment, I have the classic case of wanting to have my cake and eat it too, I need to set my priorities. Do I let my head rule my heart, or my heart rule my head, not to mention Brian, I have to take what he wants into consideration as well. Bugger, it is all too hard.

For a long time I have been sprouting on about wanting to race pigeons again, and I still want to, but I want to travel as well. Caring for racing pigeons is a full-time hobby, they can’t look after themselves so what to do when we travel.

Brian has never really wanted to travel overseas but with our upcoming New Zealand cruise he is getting the travel bug, and so am I, but I want my pigeons. People travel much more nowadays than they did years ago, so more than likely the local racing pigeon enthusiasts do look after each others pigeons to allow for this, but there is only so much you can expect someone else to do for you.

May to October is the racing season, October to January is the breeding season, and April to May you are training the pigeons for the racing season, that only leaves February and March. Now while I am certain that my fellow enthusiasts would look after my pigeons as well as they would their own, they cannot be here 24/7 and if something does go wrong what then.

I have what I think you would call a conundrum and I am not sure how to handle it. I shall continue to ponder. Watch this space.

No Ordinary Joe

I have known a lot of Joes in my time, none of them I would say were or are what I would call an ordinary Joe.

The first Joe that springs to mind was Joe Dorosz, my mother’s first husband, my father being her second. Although I never actually met Joe we were sort of linked through my mother who often talked about him, and she cried when he passed away despite knowing him only for a very short time, their marriage lasting not even two years.

The next Joe was Uncle Joe who lived next door to my grandparents with his wife Auntie Rene, neither were related but in those days children called all adults Auntie and Uncle out of respect. Uncle Joe and Auntie Rene could not have their own children but they were always very good to us.

Joe number three was actually a galah that my Uncle Max found, gaain no relation but Uncle Max played an immense part in my life and is sadly missed. Anyway back to Joe the galah who like most galahs was an excellent mimic. In those days Uncle Max flew racing pigeons and when it was time for them to come in from training he used to whistle, you guessed it, Joe mimicked the whistle and used to call the pigeons in too early.

The next Jo, note the different spelling, was one of my best mate’s sister, part of the teenage gang I used to hang around with. This Jo left our gang early as she was the first of us to marry outside the group and our lives just went in different directions. A couple of years ago I organised a reunion which she attended, it was lovely to see her again, I look forward to the next reunion.

Moving forward a number of years there is another Joe, and not a particularly nice one. I met this Joe when he was dating my youngest sister Carolyn, he then dated my ex-wife’s niece whom he did not treat very well, and went on to marry my other sister who thoroughly deserves him.

Jo number six and her partner Kate are now two of our closest friends, we see them often and always have a great time. Jo has a heart of gold and I am sure this friendship will be a lifelong one.

That is it for me and my Joes. If I have missed anyone I am sorry.

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