Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Melbourne - at long last!

For some time Carol and I had planned to visit Melbourne and spend time to look around, meeting up with family and friends. It just didn't happen as Carol's illness just prevented such a visit. With an invitation to a special 60th Birthday Party for Mike Smith, I just did not wish to put the visit off any longer. I had a marvelous few days and for the first three nights stayed with Graeme's brother and family. Fraser & Orpha had purchased a new bed for our use last August, but we didn't turn up. So it was good to stay with them.

Also had a night with Amy in her little villa in Croydon and that was very special, both for seeing her and seeing where she lives. It was most relaxing and enjoyable. Amy further honoured me by being my companion at Mike's 60th birthday party. Many people believe she looks a lot like Carol at this age and so to have her at my side for the evening was very special. She met a lot of interesting people, including senior partners of large accounting firms (they put all the accountants together).

Amy at the front door of her little home in Croydon. Her blue Mazda is on the right:Being in Melbourne gave me a good opportunity to catch up with many folk, including my brother Pieter and Corrie. Chatted 20 to the dozen:Peter & Aileen Stokes (X Moresby) lived not far from where the Holts live and it was a good opportunity to catch up with them. They are very settled and obviously enjoy retirement even though Peter still does some gardening for his clients.Pic below of Peter among his plants, which, as always look great in his garden:
As always, I enjoyed visiting my friends at Bible Society in Victoria. The extra bonus was that good friend Eric Smythe just happened to be in the office. Eric worked as the Southern Representative for me while I was the Director of Scriptures Division.

Tony and I had a lot to catch up including swapping yarns of visits to China and of course sharing the important work of Bible Society. Things are looking good in Victoria and there is strong support for this worthwhile and necessary work. It must be satisfying for BS Victoria staff to see Victorians excited about Bible distribution.

As is normal with Tony, he can't help being a bit of a clown at times:But we had just a great time, enjoying our fellowship and sharing experiences. The time went all too quickly:After lunch, I visited the Sterreys, former missionaries at Erave during the mid sixties!!!! Now THAT is a long time ago! I can kick myself for not getting a photo of them.

On Sunday afternoon I left Amy and motored down to Somers in the Peninsula to stay the night with Bob & Joan. We go back to the Port Moresby days and they were our neighbours across the road. It was fantastic to pick up contact with them again and we chatted non stop. Just great. Inevitably - and happily, we talked a lot about Carol and what an impact she had on our lives. Joan & Carol shared a love for music as well as a love for anything that is creative. The Moresby days fused many happy relationships that have lasted for decades. No sooner are we together again and it seems that it was just the other day that we were in touch.

Bob & Joan live in a lovely secluded little township on the coast with lots of bushlands and the beach not far away. Even to get to Bob's sailing boat is just fifteen minutes away. He was always a great sailor and took me on my first ever sail when we were in Port Moresby.

Bob took me around the sights including an old property called 'Coolart', built in 1895 as a country retreat.It has lots of outbuildings including Stables/coachhouse, shearing shed, machinery shed etc.: With the wetlands (at present 'drylands') this is an ideal place for bird breeding. In season, bird watching is obviously very popular and I can well imagine just sitting there, time standing still, observing the wonder of nature. Bob is doing just that:The whole setting was one of peace and the past:And these blundstones (or whatever their brand was) just needed special refrigeration apparantly.Anyway, it was time for me to put on my boots and make my way back to Melbourne. Loved being with Bob & Joan and have every intention of returning.

My final visit was to Mike & Helen on the top of what used to be, the Travel lodge in St Kilda. It is now converted into apartments and the view from their top floor apartment is quite breathtaking:
A view from Mike's study:As always, Helen prepared a wonderful meal and it was like old times as we shared time together. Helen's mum & dad were also staying with them and it was good to catch up with them as well. Did like Mike's study which had a wonderful outlook towards Port Philip Bay:
The last night was spent near the airport for an early departure back to Hobart. It was a good week, but am now happy to be back home.

One person I missed in Melbourne was Georgie who flew over to Hobart. But tonight it was just great to have her and sister Roslynd come over and enjoy a meal with me. We had a most enjoyable time and had no problem in devouring all the food I prepared. And yes, it was very tasty!I count myself as very blessed and am grateful for such a wonderful family. Thanks be to God!