Christmas Break

6 January, 2008 at 7:12 pm | Posted in General Stuff | 4 Comments

Howdy folks- I hope that you have all had a great Christmas/New Years, and wish you all the best in ’08.

I went to Melbournia for Christmas- had a great time, although I feel like I spent all of it behind the wheel of my car (lots of driving from one side of Melbourne to the other, and all points in between). On Boxing Day, I went to my Step Grandmothers farm near Mildura. As Grandma has passed away, the likelyhood of the farm being sold off is fairly high: I have some great memories (and some not so great) of spending time at the farm when I was a kid, and I should have spent more time there as an adult (fuckin’ hindsight…..).

Anyway, I was there for about five days, with two of my cousins and four of their mates, did lots of fishing, some fourwheeling in my new (ish) Territory,  drank lots of beer and did some work around the farm (with no-one living there, everyone kind of pitches in and does what needs doing when they go up- and I’ve always loved driving the tractor…).

Here’s some pictures and vids of my Christmas Break (double clicking will open them in a new window, full size).

Warrick’s Murray Cod, caught on Boxing Day

Stumpy Tail Lizard I nearly ran over with the slasher…

Things I probably shouldn’t do with my car…. but I can’t help myself…(nothing changes, hey Giz?)

Another shot of me abusing my poor car…

Me slashing between the orange trees

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So sorry….

8 December, 2007 at 10:43 pm | Posted in General Stuff | 3 Comments

Ahhh- the laziest (NOT!) blog poster in the southern hemisphere.

Yet there is so much information that I could impart….. if I wanted to.

Abbreviated version:

 I still love my job, although I have been told that in 18 months, Special Needs User Support will be outsourced for the department- and that sucks (I won’t get the sack- I’m a public servant… buI have to find something else to do)

Natasza and Anthony are going great guns- here’s some vids of Tasz on a horse- her first experience at trotting…:

 I have been asked to audition for another musical, by the guy who directed The Full Monty- evidently he has a role picked out for me,  so I could hardly say no…( The role he has picked out is for the Tour Manager, evidently a bit of an asshole… (type-cast again…).

 I went out last night for a Christmas Partyt, drank WAY too much, and am paying for it now (although I don’t know what happened to my commitment never to drink again… several beers later….)

I bought myself a new car (Ford Territory, AWD, with all the bells and whistles, and it drinks twice as much as my Pulsar did, although it’s alot more fun to drive….)

Bought a tent, and sleeping bags, and hope to take the kids camping sometime early next year (am getting a portable BBQ for christmas (thanks mum)) and need to buy some camp stretchers (Yes, I’d be happy with a swag, but trying to convince my kids that sleeping with huntsman spiders is a good thing may take some doing).

Looking forward to Christmas- coming to Melbourne for a week and a bit, but will probably be back here for New Years- maybe I’ll get back into the horse riding thing again (yes I know that I said I was going to stick with it, but when the sun goes down at 5pm, and I’m not home till 6pm makes it a bit hard… and then there’s the fact that that was the middle of winter, and we are now well into summer, and also the fact that I am a scaredy cat).. (I will hopefully be forced to (re) learn to ride with Tasz, as it looks like she’s gonna be on my case to take her riding every time she comes out here…)

All Bearded up (and loving the laziness)

8 October, 2007 at 7:06 pm | Posted in Artsy stuff | 8 Comments

As most of my readers would be aware (cos I’ve told you all about it enough) I am currently involved in another musical production in Canberra. Oliver opened a week and a half ago, and this is it’s final week.

 I’d like to be able to say that it’s because of my commitments to Oliver that I haven’t been posting, but that would be a lie.

I am just a lazy bastard.

And that laziness was encouraged when we started rehearsals, and it was suggested we give thought to not shaving (That’d be for the blokes. Kids were told not to have their hair cut, and were told not to wash their hair for the last month. I have no idea what the women were told, and I don’t really want to know).

So my shaving for the last few months has been almost non-existant: originally I was shaving my cheeks and throat, but now have given up completely.

And the result, to put it mildly, is….

well, see for yourself. Just call me Ned. Ned Kelly.

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 And the guy with the wine glass…. believe it or not, but that is the man who plays the part of Fagin.

I kid you not.

And he’s damn good at it too! It’s amazing how different he looks with make-up and a wig!

And here’s a pic with the hat and pipe in the dressing room, waiting to go on stage….

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Maybe…

6 September, 2007 at 1:24 am | Posted in General Stuff | 2 Comments

This is something I could teach my children…..

not likely though…

My Grandma

8 August, 2007 at 9:39 pm | Posted in General Stuff | 1 Comment

As I have mentioned before in my blog, my Grandma has been quite ill, and she passed away on the 27th July, in Melbourne. She went peacefully, and with no pain, and that, my friends, is very important.

I went to Melbourne to offer what support I could (and to receive it, too, truth be told), and felt something I have not felt before.

A part of the family.

You see, I was a “step” child, someone not of the blood of the Brown family; someone perpetually “less” than the other members of the Brown clan.

And during my time in Melbourne, I realised, finally, who was responsible for that feeling.

Me.

I was the person who alienated myself, I was the reason I didn’t feel like I fit in.

During the last two weeks, I have felt more love and respect from this family than I have felt in the previous 30 years as a “member” of the family. I’m not saying they didn’t love me before- I just wouldn’t allow myself to accept their love.

Grandma Brown always had a place for me, both as a school child on holidays, or as a young adult, learning his way in the world. And I have done some pretty horrible things to her, my uncles, and others in the family.

Yet they always forgave (against their better judgement sometimes, I am sure).

And all this was realised in the lead-up to, and during Grandma’s funeral. Some of my cousins I haven’t seen in over twenty years; the rest, maybe seven or eight years since the last contact.

Yet we all resumed our relationships as if only a few months had passed. I know Phillip, Warrick and Taryn and I had always gotten along so well as children; you can imagine things would have been difficult – my last sight of Taryn, she was in her early teens. Now, she is a young woman of 25, well on her way to a life in her own right. Another cousin, Sharon, had no idea who I was (I had been out shopping with my mother, and when we got home, Sharon was sitting at the kitchen bench- I said hello to her, and (I shit you not) thirty seconds later, she asked my step-dad “How is Grant? I haven’t seen him for years!”. I just looked at her for a couple of seconds, and said “I’m fine, thanks, how are you”. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone so embarrassed. Admittedly, I am twenty years older, and fifty kilo’s heavier, and now sport a full beard, so her inability to recognise me is to be excused).

We reminisced, and reminisced.

I caught up with Sharon’s brother, James, whom I (also) hadn’t seen in twenty years. We got along quite well, with promises to catch up sometime in Sydney (where he and Sharon, and their parents, Brian and Vivienne, live).

Plenty more cousins to catch up with, and their children, in some cases, and not one of them treated me as anything other that a full member of the Brown family.

Grandma’s funeral in Melbourne was beautiful. Emotions ran high (to be expected), and some eulogies were delivered with long pauses, as speakers tried to deal with their emotions. Yet all finished, and we portrayed Grandma as who, and what, she was to us.

A hero.

A hard working, committed soul, who NEVER stopped, and always did the little bit extra.

The Melbourne funeral was followed by a trip to Colignan, near Mildura, in Victoria’s North Western area (known as “The Mallee”) where she lived her life on the farm. A memorial service was held in the local church, with two ministers conducting the service; neither of them could stand being left out of the honouring of such a local legend. A wake was held in the local bowling club, of which Grandma was a well respected member.

The CWA (Country Women’s Association) put on a spread the likes of which you have never seen, and people talked about Grandma for a long, long time. All the things she had done, all the help she gave to others, and the respect that was earned by actions instead of words and wishes.

The Brown family also had their own personal celebrations and ceremonies; we lit tealight candles, and sent them down the Murray River, along with the flowers and petals from the funeral in Melbourne. Some of my other cousins, Debbie, Susan, Michelle (who are all excellent singers) suggested we sing Amazing Grace, which we all did, the voices ringing out across the Mighty Murray, the river of Grandma’s life.

We all look forward to the next gathering of the Brown family, and we have all promised that it will take place in happier circumstances than this.

I can’t wait.

R.I.P. Grandma

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