Thursday, November 30, 2006

Time-out and......Andrew!

Today saw the last day of our creative activities at Time-out, an activity that we are involved with every Thursday morning. Up to 200 folk come together each Thursday to do all sort of crafty things including painting, needlework & wood turning. Being the last day today for 2006, it was 'show & tell' where participants have the opportunity to show others how clever they have been this year. It also gives people like myself a chance to have a look what would be good to do next year. And yes, there is plenty of variety.

Carol is a Tutor in Tatting and had quite a few folk turning up at her table to see how clever she is:For me, I chose lead-lighting as an activity in 2006. The displays are from those who have far more experience than I.Did I learn anything? Yes, I am sure I did and picked up some good hints for my other activities. Apart from that, one has contact with other folk and that is certainly a good thing.

After our morning activities, we went to the Royal Hobart Hospital to visit our grandson Andrew who had a rather bad fall yesterday and was taken by ambulance to the 'Royal'. I am best to just quote his mother Ann's words,
"Also, just to let you know that yesterday afternoon Andrew fell off a wall at uni (I'm still a little hazy on the details of that), but net result is that he hit his head on the way down, landing hard on his back. Abrasions to the head but no concussion. Unfortunately, however, the fall has resulted in a compression fracture to his 'T11' vertebra (compression to around 40% of what this bone should be). Thankfully, there is no damage to his spinal column. To keep him immobile while the cracks start to heal, and to manage the considerable amount of pain he is in, he will be in hospital over the next few days."

Andrew was obviously in a lot of pain and he was able to compare notes with his grandma who fell down the stairs five years ago and had a 60% compression fracture of the 2nd Lumbar vertebra. A very painful experience! She fully appreciated Andrew's situation. We are obviously very concerned about Andrew's injury and hope and pray that it will not have any negative future affect on his physical activities.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hooray! Natasha is home (for 2 weeks)!

It has been wonderful to welcome granddaughter Natasha back home from America for a short vacation after some 18 months absence from beautiful Tasmania. We were just sorry that the weather wasn't very sunny for much of their time, though we desperately need the rain. We last saw Nat last year when we visited her in Arlington and while we met many of her friends at the time, we missed out on meeting Ka-loon. That has now been rectified as this young man braved the trip across the 'ditch' to meet most of Natasha's family 'down-under'.

After initial greetings, the natural thing seem to be to eat. These two have an amazing capacity for food - as everyone who visits Nat's blog will have observed.

Their time with us passed very quickly and we could only just sneak in a day out together in the Tasmanian forests. Our island is blessed with the most amazing scenery and lots of bush and rain forests. In fact, much is now protected under World Heritage listing. For that reason, we took a day to take them to Tahune where we could literally walk among the trees tops. As you can see, Amy also joined us. We were glad that she also came home for a week's vacation in Hobart. The Holt family were together again.

The trees in this area are massive and one of the features is how tall and straight they are:Part of the Tahune Air Walk is to venture out to the end of the Cantilever lookout. For some that is a bit scary as with a number of people walking on it, it tends to feel somewhat insecure!Here I am with Amy & Nat:Grandma chose to stay with the car. Unfortunately, her back is really giving her a lot of discomfort.

Tahune Rain Forest is located near the junction of the Huon & Picton Rivers. The Huon River is named for the French explorer Huon de Kermadec and of course the renowned Huon Pine received its name from the area. It is a tree whose age is measured in millennia - a 2000 old Huon Pine was the norm when colonization began some 200 years ago. While there are still some of these, now protected, specimens in the national parks, many have been milled and turned into boats, furniture and, yes, even church pews! Huon pine has a very high oil content and was great for building boats - we have some examples over a hundred years old that are still sea-worthy. We walked together on the Huon Track near the Huon River and encountered Blackwood, Myrtle, Sassafras, Stringy Bark and lots more, including some great manferns and, of course, Huon Pine:Nat was happy to have her camera back after repairs and took every opportunity to take another shot. This photo was of two flies on a beam!!!!I am not sure why Amy chose to blow bubbles - she will have to tell you, but one has to admit that it was done in style and in the most magnificent location:

On our way back, we stopped at this wonderful vista. Just have a look at those ferns! Being Spring, there was lots of colour all around. Just great.
This time, Grandma was able to join us as the lookout is just off the road.Carol explaining to our American guest some of the wonders of Tasmanian forests. Ka-loon took it all in. The guy must have been on overload by the time he boarded the plane back two days later.Keogh Rain Forest Walk is a must for every visitor to Hobart. It is a short, but very rewarding walk, taking in Keogh Creek - the water is pristine and ready to drink:And just look at the burl on that tree. Nat, Amy & Ka-loon ever ready for yet another photo take. It was a lovely day that included eating pumpkin pie and shoofly pie - courtesy Grandma. Just great!

There was just time to go to one of our favourite lookouts - Mt Nelson.We lived nearby for a number of years and it has some of the loveliest views of Hobart and surroundings.

Are Nat, Amy & Ka-loon saying goodbye? Well, I suppose that is appropriate as they have all returned to either America or Melbourne. Lauderdale is on the narrow neck of land immediately behind the three musketeers.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Gemma's graduation!

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly youngsters grow up. Here I am with Gemma and her sister Karina, at a time when she started big school at Emmanuel Christian School where all her sisters went:

Yesterday, we were delighted to attend Gemma's graduation from this school, a beautiful, articulate and intelligent human being, whom we love and are proud to call 'GRANDDAUGHTER'.I don't have a pic of the proud mum & dad, but don't worry, I am sure that will appear on Graeme's blog, or Gemma's.

Gemma, together with two of her graduation class, presented the audience with an inside glimpse of each of the students. It brought many smiles to the faces of the students and, of course, of their parents. Here is Gemma during her presentation:Plus, she received a Science Award - I think much to her surprise as, in her own words, "I don't like science all that much."Then the proud moment came when she gladly accepted her Graduation Certificate. Well done Gemma.Finally, 'let's go'. Gemma, the last to leave the stage!

Great Gemma! God bless you in your ongoing preparation for life.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Kokoda Track and the war

When we lived in Port Moresby in the sixties, one of our favourite places to visit was the Bomana War Cemetery. Strange, isn't it? But Bomana is serenely peaceful - yet it is a vivid reminder of the thousands of our Australian soldiers who fought and died in Papua New Guinea and especially, along the Kokoda Track.
Tim & Heather both looked forward to visiting this extraordinary place and they both expressed their feelings that to them, this was their Gallipolli, realising that along the Kokoda Track Australian territory was defended and the Japanese lost their first World War II encounter. Reading about it and seeing films about the Kokoda Track story was one thing, but to actually be there was entirely another experience.The above pic is of what is known as Ower's Corner and is the start of the track that finally finishes at Kokoda. Looking at the scene it all looks so tranquil but has stunning scenery:In the visible distance, you can see Imita Ridge. That is the Australian frontline and looks across the valley to Iowarabi, the Japanese frontline. It is just so close to Port Moresby and if the Japs had conquered that city, it would have been their platform for an attack on Australia.

I am sure that our soldiers in 1942 had no eye for the scenery and were more concerned in fighting the impossible odds. These scenes are what they experienced:Both Tim and Heather, plus some of the Bible Society staff (most of whom had never been there before) chose to walk down the track for a while and see what it was like. Heather was quick to decide that this was not for the faint-hearted - and she is pretty fit and does a lot of bush walking.Kalo and his daughter went along and I just wonder what went through their minds, especially about the contribution by those Papuans who were affectionately known as the 'fuzzy-wuzzy angels'.Equally, these Bible Society friends were contemplative as they touched base with the reality of 1942 and what it did to their people.The Bible Society Staff who came along with us:Bomana......a sacred place where those who gave their lives were laid to rest and are remembered:For Tim & Heather, this was also a new experience and they commented on how well these memorial gardens are kept.Even those remains that could not be identified were reverently interred, 'Known only to God'There were many soldiers who died, but whose remains were never found. Their names are recorded in this Rotunda:It was a memorable visit that left us thinking about the claims of the cross; of Jesus Christ who invites us to accept His sacrifice in order that we may live to eternal life. Hallelujah!