Friday, April 24, 2009

Easter in Paynesville

Following Sarah's wedding in South Australia, I planned to fly back to Hobart and spend Easter at home with the family. But at the suggestion of my good longtime friends, Mike & Helen Smith, chose instead to interrupt the journey by landing in Melbourne and spend the Easter with them at their delightful lakeside retreat in Gippsland at a place called Paynesville, where I had not been before. And what a good decision that turned out to be!

Paynesville is some three and half hours drive from Melbourne and is surrounded by the Gippsland Lakes on three sides. Its canals and inlets offer plentiful sheltered moorings for yachts and cruisers, and anglers, windsurfers, jet skiers, and water skiers flock to the town. With the weather bureau depicting good weather, many found their way to do just that over the Easter break.

Helen, Damien and I enjoyed the drive to Paynesville on Thursday and Mike and other guests joined us later in the day. It did not take long for me to put my walking shoes on and explore this delightful place. Helen & Mike's home is built on a canal development and was indeed most impressive. Actually, I was quite gobsmacked by the lovely position and the ambience of the place. The following is an aerial photo of the canal development with the Smith's property marked with an arrow in the top right of the image:

The views at ground level were also stunning:
Mike's pride and joy, his 41' boat, provides much pleasure for them and I was privileged to share this lovely boat with them over the weekend. As you can also see in the above, the weather was great, adding considerably to our weekend together.

Here is a photo of the house facing the canal:

And the neighbourhood:We have just cast off, setting sail for Duck Arm:Mike at the helm.

We enjoyed the sunny weather and each other's company. Brunch was generously provided at a little bay called Duck Arm.
With other friends and, of course, one of the stars -
Oscar, who looks longingly at Helen for his share.

It was just so peaceful. No wonder Mike & Helen & Damien love coming here:
The evening was most relaxed as we chatted, enjoyed good music and a succulent fillet steak- cooked on Mike's fantastic barbeque - a chimnea,
which is both an excellent BBQ and a great heater. It was very cozy sitting together near this unit, eating good food, drinking red wine and enjoying conversation.

Early morning walks were a special treat for me and Paynesville laid it on for me. The reflections and scenery was a pleasure to walk through as the following pics show:

These photos were from around Sunset Bay, but I think
'Sunrise Bay' would have been more fitting on this day!
I love the above shot. It depicts very much how I felt personally about Easter and the spiritual meaning of a new day - new life. It was appropriate to be in a reflective mood. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Closer to home, the reflections in the early morning in the canals
were well worth another couple of
shots:A visit to Box Creek was also on the agenda, and once again, it was one of those idyllic anchorages where we just 'chilled' out:
On our way back from Box Creek, the sky was spectacular,
as the following image shows
(it does no do justice to the actual sky):Nearer to Paynesville, we passed this delightful Ketch in full sail:Easter Sunday was another brilliant day and it wasn't too difficult to soak up
the sights in the next photo:
We returned to Duck Arm for a final anchor and were well
rewarded with the following sunset.Is it any wonder we were reluctant to lift anchor and go home?

A wonderful weekend with wonderful people, great music, good conversation, excellent wine and food. There was only one thing missing!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sarah's special week

After all the birthday celebrations, mentioned in the previous chapter on this blog, I flew out the following morning at the unearthly hour of 6.10 am. Flying with QANTAS meant I had to fly into Melbourne and then on to Adelaide. Having a Business Class award booking, made the journey at least comfortable with a good breakfast. Importantly, I need to be in Adelaide as early as possible in order to attend Sarah's graduation at the University of South Australia. That was at 10.30. The plane landed just a little late, but I arrived in the Federation Theatre in adequate time to proudly watch Sarah receive her University degree:

Sarah leaving the stage after receiving her degree from the Deputy Vice Chancelor.Father Mark and Mother Cal, along with twin sister Jessica were likewise proud of Sarah:It was very special to represent all the other Petrusmas who could not be with us, but who are all part of Sarah's life.

However, the main reason for me going to Adelaide was to share in the occasion of Sarah's wedding to Allastair Preece on Saturday 4 April. Spending the extra couple of days with Sarah and the family before the wedding was rather special and it was also good to share time with hubby to be Ally.

I thought it best to get up early in the morning on Saturday and then keep well away from all the hype of preparing the bride and her attendants for the ceremony set for 2 pm.

However, Sarah beat me to the bathroom. She was highly excited and ready to face the day:The hairdresser was kept busy with the bride, three bridemaids, three flower girls and the mother of the bride!Thumbs up for Jessica.

As for me, I made myself scarce with a book and sat outside, accompanied by 'Stinky' (what a dreadful name) the German Shepherd:A pensive moment for Sarah:Ready for the first photos. The contrast between the girls' make up compared with dad and grandpa was a bit stark (especially Mark with his rude T shirt!):The next group of photos show how radiant Sarah looked on the day. She was stunning!The girls are all ready for the big occasion!And the flower grirls were not left out.Certainly, James had plenty to be proud of as he joined his sisters in their finery. He didn't scrub up too badly himself.
I rather like the above photo. 'All the best for a long and happy and blessed marriage Sarah!'Well done Cal. A special acknowledgement by Mark of the mother of the bride.
Grandpa, thankfully, managed to sqeeze a photo in with two beautiful maidens:The wedding ceremony in the church was lovely. Sarah had asked me to play her processional, and she chose Wagner's Bridal March. While I did not have the Tabernacle Pipe Organ, it sound ok on the keyboard. After all, the more important thing was the bride and a happy father led his lovely daughter to his son in law to be. The flowers girls were very pretty and danced all through the singing. That was great. Pastor Jeff's homily was outstanding and I hope that the young couple will have a copy of his address to be placed in the Bible that Cal presented to them. Cal's presentation was indeed outstanding and I was touched and proud of her in her short speech to her daughter and husband. I am just sorry that I do not have any photos of the church ceremony, but for those who read this and are on facebook, check out the many images. It was a very happy service.

After a scrumptious afternoon tea, the party moved to the Weintal in Tanundu (I thought it was Tanunda, but the invitation says Tanundu. I learn all the time!) It was a lovely and informal evening with plenty of food and drink and lots of dancing! Sarah said on her Facebook that Grandpa danced with everyone. Well not quite, but he certainly picked out some dashing and beautiful women, like:

SarahBrendaAli (a very good dancer!)

Oh yes, there were others including daughter Heather (who was rather lively), granddaughters Jess, Amy, Karina & Gemma. Unfortunately, daughter Ann was not able to accept my invitation because of her broken foot. Next time Ann!

Tim & Jacquie also let their feet do to the talking!Glad to see that Graeme also took the opportunity:Just some of the family, relaxing together:From left: Karina, Gemma, Richard, Amy, Brenda, Heather, Brent, Ann & Nigel (great to see him, now that is is studying in Adelaide.
Here is to a happy life Sarah and Ally Preece. God be very near to you. You are much loved!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

70 - not out!

It is high time to update my blog. There have been so many things happening in my life over the past two months that it will take a little while to catch up. Problem: Where do I begin? Perhaps my special birthday celebrations are probably as good as any. After all, it is 70 years ago on 1 April 1939 that I first made myself heard on this planet!

The family most kindly invited (!) me not only to my party, but also to Timothy & Heather's 40th birthday party - all on the one night! With their birthday on 20 March and mine on 1 April, plus the complication of Sarah's (Mark & Cal's second daughter) planned wedding on 4 April, the family settled on Saturday 21 March as the appropriate date for a joint celebration. Just to make it more interesting, that is the birthday of grandson Andrew!

Andrew on the left with his brother Nigel who flew in from Adelaide

But, as the well-known TV advertisement says, 'BUT THERE IS MORE!' Tim's son Luke's birthday is on 19 March - he was eight years old! Then....two days after my party, Jacquie (Tim's wife & my daughter in law) had her birthday! And if that wasn't enough, Jason - Vicki's son, has his birthday on 26 March. Lost count? Good! I think I have too.

It was a wonderful and informal evening that we all enjoyed. I enjoyed having all my own children with me plus their partners except for Cal, who was not able to make it because of the preparation for Sarah's wedding. Fourteen grandchildren shared the evening with me, and that was special, as were a representative group of friends who have shared my life's journey until now. It was pretty special to acknowledge those who traveled from interstate especially for the party. Their generosity and love towards me was quite overwhelming and I am most grateful.

The following is a photographic glimpse of the evening:Decorations for both the forty-year olds and the 70-year old!An overview.
The meal was lovely. The above shows some of the family.I have every reason to be grateful and PROUD of these good looking young people!
They are a real joy!
The Woonona (Wollongong) contingent.
On the left, friends that go back to 1951 from primary school days!
On the right, Fred & Gillian who were responsible for the printing of tens of thousands of Bibles during my time as Publisher of the Bible Society in Australia.
Long time friends, going back to the Guide Dogs days, Helen & Mike
Margaret at her best, reciting a delightful poem about me and Carol. Thanks Margaret!
Denis & Lynn with Gail & Henk (brother)
A special moment with sister Elizabeth & brother Dirk. It was the last time
I saw her before she passed away three days later.
Heather was in good form as she shared with us! Evidently enjoyed by all present! Father Siebrand was not to be outdone, and made his own statement:
It was my opportunity to present my birthday gift to the family:Beyond all Expectations! The story of our lives until 1972.

Finally, the cutting of three birthday cakes:
With Tim & Heather, plus little Joe, my youngest grandchild.
It was indeed, a Happy Birthday!

But the celebrations were by no means over. On the actual birthday, together with my brothers and sisters, we thoroughly enjoyed a cruise to Peppermint Bay, including lunch. It was a fun day where we shared as a family and some special one to one moments:
From left: Dirk, Pieter, Henk, Siebrand, Iemke & Errit.
Brother John was unable to be with us due to ill health.