New Year’s Eve – Midnight

Midnight

It was amazingly quiet at midnight in our street. For a moment I thought
our clocks must be wrong. I walked down the street to go down to the river
and I heard the people on the corner counting down that last seconds to midnight.
Yep, the New Year has arrived. It was a really balmy night. It felt like the
temperature hadn’t changed since 6pm. I walked all the way down to the beach
saying Happy New Year to shapes in the dark. It was just beautiful. A great
place for some brief reflection. Just to stand at midnight on a moonless night
and look at the ocean. A profound experience. I’ve never done that before.

Two mince pies and tea

Coming down to this house reminds me of the first time we came here.

It was just after my 86 year old Dad had been diagnosed with Lung Cancer.
I spent a lot of time on the front porch here talking to my Dad that year.
While we were down here he was actually quite well. One day I called he had
just been up on the roof of the house fixing a leak.

On the way down here that year I realised I had left the power supply for
my laptop at home. Because we had left a couple of other things I decided
to drive back a couple of days later to pick them up. The day I drove back
was the day Dad and Mum had been to see the specialist. The prognosis was
not good. There was nothing they could do at all. The position of the cancer
meant that surgery was not an option and both chemotherapy and radiotherapy
would make Dad worse at his age. He just had to go home and die. There was
one thing the doctor could do. The growth was pressing on his adrenal gland
and reducing his own supply of adrenalin (don’t hold me exactly to the details)
so the doctor was able to give him adrenalin tablets that would give him energy.

As I was back in Melbourne on the afternoon after Dad had been to the doctor
so I dropped in to see them. Dad opened the door. He had just made cups of
tea for himself and Mum and on the coffee table were two mince pies. It was
lovely sorrow. Mum and Dad married for 59 years. Dad knew he had weeks to
live and they were celebrating with a cup of tea and a mince pie. At least
they were trying to celebrate and try to make everything go back to the happy
times they had before they heard this news. The drank their tea but the mince
pies remained uneaten when I left.

Less than a month later he was gone.

New Year’s Eve at Anglesea

[Updated 8/1/06]

8am

It feels like it is going to be quite a warm day. I head out for my walk
about 8:20.

9am

I’m walking along the main beach and the wind has freshened up from the South
and is quite cool. There are also threatening dark clouds inland. I wonder
what the weather is going to do today.

The South end of the main beach is where you see most of the surfers and
life saving surf ski riders. I was watching a young woman riding a wave in
and how comfortable she was with her ski. It was like watching an accomplished
horse rider and her horse. Just as she finished riding the wave she jumped
up and put her legs over the sides, moving her body to control the direction
of the ski until she was ready to turn it around again. Then I noticed that
there were about four or five girls all on surf skis. All equally comfortable
with the water. When the last one came in on a wave, they all turned their
skis around, jumped up on their knees and paddled out again. It’s great to
see a group of girls. The surf is dominated by packs of male surfers.

11:30am

Most of the dark clouds have gone now and although there are still clouds
around, it is getting warmer.

12:30 pm

It’s getting sunnier, and the breeze has moderated but it’s still quite cool
in the shade. The weather bureau is predicting 42 for Melbourne today with
a change that will drop the temperature by 10 degrees in 10 minutes. That’s
Melbourne for you.

We have come down to The Surfing Albatross [Yes I know
the link doesn't work - I'll fix it when I get a chance. I'm on holidays for
goodness sake. I'm allowed to have broken links].
As always they are
taking forever to make coffees. The people behind us left after waiting half
an hour. I got my long black after five minutes but I think that was a mistake.
It was meant for someone else.

Karen [another broken link - just be patient, I'll fix it as soon as
I can*]
, the new owner, is doing her best but the staff are all new and
inexperienced. Karen is also doing a great Cougar Girl impersonation. When
we finally got our coffees she served us. She had her mobile phone stuck between
her boobs. Not too many people I know would be happy to do that.

When I tell people I’m going to Anglesea for summer holiday, many of them
tell me how nice it is down here but they prefer to come when it is not so
busy. I love it when it’s busy. There is a fantastic buz around the place
today being NYE. This must be the busiest day of the year for Anglesea.There
are people everywhere. Being a nice day, everyone is dressed for the weather
in bright colours with lots of shorts, t-shirts and singlet tops. The buzz
is fantastic. I love it.

2:30 pm

Down to the beach. It is sunny but not too hot. A lovely afternoon with people
really enjoying the beach weather. Colour was everywhere. People lying on
towels all over the beach, people frolicking in the waves. Lots of people
playing Cricket and other ball games while others just walked lazily along
the shore line. It is incredibly envigorating and relaxing to see so many
people enjoying themselves.

3:30 pm

A significant change came over Anglesea between 3:30 and 4:00 pm. At first
it was just a few brief periods where the sun went behind a cloud and it was
quite a bit cooler. But soon the whole sky became overcast and the temperature
dropped a few degrees. The atmosphere on the beach changed quite rapidly as
well. People stopped sun baking and put t-shirts or other tops on. At first
the change was sublte but then became quite obvious. One by one, groups of
people packed up and left the beach. Those that were left were huddled up
into groups rather than lazing on the beach. It was amazing to see such a
change in such a short time.

I did some body surfing, Judy met me at 4:30 and we walked for half an hour
before heading back to the house.

6:30 pm

It’s just started raining. Quite gently just now. I wonder wether it will
develop into something more. So far the shower lasted only a few minutes and
it is fine now.

10:30 pm

The rain didn’t amount to anything and it is now a pleasantly warm evening.
Judy and I are having a quiet one as we do most New Year’s. We watched Polar
Express
which was a bit of fun and perhaps just a little more. We
now have just over an hour left of 2005. It is a year we will be happy enough
to leave behind. Not the worst year of our lives by any stretch of the imagination
but a tiring year. Stressfull for Judy and a year of transition for me. We
have our hopes for the new year and we are both taking a leap of faith. What,
I wonder, will happen?

Midnight

It was amazingly quiet at midnight in our street. For a moment I thought
our clocks must be wrong. I walked down the street to go down to the river
and I heard the people on the corner counting down that last seconds to midnight.
Yep, the New Year has arrived. It was a really balmy night. It felt like the
temperature hadn’t changed since 6pm. I walked all the way down to the beach
saying Happy New Year to shapes in the dark. It was just beautiful. A great
place for some brief reflection. Just to stand at midnight on a moonless night
and look at the ocean. A profound experience. I’ve never done that before.

[* Regarding broken links, I have two problems. One, my server went down
a couple of weeks ago and I haven't set up all my blogs on the new server
yet. So I can't link to my photoblog or my Melbourne blog - they aren't there
yet. Second, I'm doing most of the posting through my mobile phone. I don't
want to upload photos from the phone because it would cost a lot. So please
be patient. The links will be fixed sometime.]

An absolutely beautiful day

It has been an absolutely beautiful day in Anglesea today.

I have been talking to my daughters in Melbourne and apparently it has been
really hot there. Not so here. It felt like it was going to get really hot
this morning around 9am so I closed all the windows in the house. We just
stayed inside preparing ourselves for the heat that was to come. But when
we went outside around 10:30 it was cooler outside than in.

Being Friday, we went down to the Surfing Albatross (I’ll add the link when
I get my photoblog running again.) to have breakfast. The coffee is good down
there but the poached eggs we had were the hardest poached egss I have ever
had. With new owners, the staff are new and very slow. Although going back
through my diaries, they seem to always have been slow – through three owners!
Anyway it was nice to have breakfast.

The other big ritual in the Curnow house is that we have home-made pizza
on Friday night, so we came back to the house and I made the dough before
heading down to the beach. If you haven’t been to Anglesea on a day like today,
you should. It was glorious. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, it was maybe
25 or 26 degrees and the tide was out. It just doesn’t get better than this.

I also realised how relaxing it was. Just sitting there, doing a bit of walking
or a bit of swimming. Nothing to think about in particular, just relaxing.
I hope I can keep relaxed for a little while into January after this holiday
is over.

Familiar Places II

Written Tuesday 27th December 2005

We had a slow start to the day today. We were both really tired and enjoyed
the sleep in. I often walk each morning when I’m here but not today. We went
down to the Surfing Albatross for coffee. The ‘Albatross has changed owners
since last year and all the staff are new. The look new and inexperienced.
It’s something about this place. They always seem to have inexperienced staff.
Tbis has been a constant over three owners. The music was far too loud and
it took 20 minutes for us to get our coffees. We come here because it is the
only cafe here with room to spread out and read the paper and write, and when
you get it, the coffee is good.

Later in the day, I went down to the beach. It was a hot day with a predicted
maximum for Melbourne of 35 and it felt close to that. Judy decided to stay
back at the house and I had the choice of going to the closer main beach or
travel a bit further and go to the more familiar family beach. I chose the
familiar.

Even getting out of the car in the car park put me into a different space. I
took a deep breath and immediately relaxed a little. Then with a sense of
anticipation I walked most of the length of the car park to the entry to the
beach. As I got there I could see the tide was fully out. The beach looks
magnificent when it’s like this. Then onto the beach itself and I experienced
an overwhelming feeling of relaxation. Just being here changed my whole outlook.
It was a time when I was able to forget all the anxiety and apprehension that
had built up over the year. I knew it would return later, but for the moment
I was free.

After having a swim, I decided to walk over to the main beach and back anyway.
It took two and a half hours. Although I did have a couple of short swims
because it was so hot. It was a fantastic day and I returned to the house
feeling quite different.

Familiar Places

[Ed: I have decided to date the posting of the next few entries as the
date they were posted, but indicate at the top of each entry the date they
were written. This is because chriscurnow.com has been down for a few days
and I haven't been able to post. My idea is that this will make it easier
to see which entries are new. ]

Written: Monday 26th December

Walking into the house was a warming feeling. Yes, that’s right our bedroom
is the second door on the left. Down a bit further straight ahead is the bathroom.
Ah, I remember the lino on the floor and the late 60s shower recess. Back
out and to the right is the kitchen with the pantry forming the corridor.

The back of the pantry and the
part of the kitchen facing the main living area is lined in yellowing pine.
If I owned this place I would do something about that. In fact, I would do
something about almost everything. It’s clean and comfortable, but everything
is just that little bit less than what you want. Except the fridge which was
new last time we were here. Check the cupboard and yes they have a serviceable
toaster. Last time we ended up buying a toaster because the one that was here
was so old we felt it was dangerous. But for our holiday it’s nice.

Back to our bedroom and the small
desk I write from is still here. Ah the bed. It is only a double. But as I
remember it was comfortable enough. Oh yes the full length bedroom window
looks out onto the house next door which looks close enough to touch. Just
another feature of the house that takes that 10% off. It’s OK. There are no
windows on that side of the next door house, but it just cramps you more than
you would like.

The main living area is much
the same. The chairs are the same. They could be better but they are OK. Oh
I remember the TV. I’m remembering how we connect the video and watch DVDs
through the computer. Ah, there’s a ceiling fan now and one thing we really
like about this house ∆ an air-conditioner.

Well, after a long, hard year,
we’re finally here. We unpacked the car, had a cup of tea and mince tarts
and settled in.

More technical problems

Boy, Oh, Boy. The technical problems keep rolling in.
After the chriscurnow.com server crashed a couple of weeks ago, we reinstalled our weblog on another computer. We thought it was all working beautifully and left for a couple of weeks R&R by the beach. We wanted to post some entries from here and everything was set up.
But as soon as we got down here and tried to log in, we couldn’t. Just wouldn’t work. Didn’t take much to find that the problem was with the mySQL server that runs this site. Turns out it wasn’t running. But why? Won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that after days of research and phone calls, the problem was very easy to fix. Embarassingly easy.
Anyway, we are up and running again. You’ll see that I have added a few entries on past dates. These were the dates I wrote the entries so I thought it was only right to date them accordingly.

Nostalgia

We started our summer holiday today. For many years now we have traveled
to the same beachside holiday location where we hire a house for two weeks
starting Boxing Day. I’ve been coming to this location nearly every summer
since 1971 and Judy first joined me in 1973. We had a break for about three
years then started again. The first two years of this latest stint, we spent
a week down here and since then two weeks. The house we are in this year is
the same one we had the first time we spent two weeks here. We had that house
three years running then the last two years we were in different houses. We
were really happy to come back here.

This house has many associations.
The fist time we came here, my Dad had just been diagnosed with lung cancer.
I phoned him from here most days. I remember the conversations with me standing
on the balcony. He died about a month after we got back.

The second time we came here
was soon after Judy’s mum had died suddenly. Judy’s mum had not been well
for many years but none of us thought her illness was life threatening.

The third time we came here,
my mum had a heart attack while we were away and was quite ill for some a
couple of weeks.

Also in the first year, Rachel,
our eldest daughter had just finished her first year as an adult after high
school. She had found it hard. We had made a big mistake in pushing her to
enrol at uni. She didn’t even sit the final exams. December/January that year
was really hard for her. We had lent her the money for her first car but that
was the only highlight of the season for her. I remember her sitting on the
porch at this house crying her hear out.

This year for the first time
in this house, Judy and I will be down here for a week by our selves. Rachel
is working in Penshurst and the other girls have part time work this week.
This is a new experience for us. After 25 years of holidays centred around
our children, we have time to ourselves. In one way it is really nice. On
the other hand it is sad. As I was driving down, I thought a lot about the
past 25 years. I’ll write about that tomorrow.

Summer programming

I’ve decided to change the style of chriscurnow.com for the next couple of weeks while I am taking some R&R down by the beach.
I am going to use this time to post a diary of my summer holiday. We all need a break from the heavy schedule of our routines. Holidays are a time to think about what is really important to us. I am going to write about what I do, and along the way in a stream of consciousness style, write about what is important to me.
I hope you like it.
Please let me know through be adding a comment to any posts that stir you.

Christmas Day

Christmas day is almost over and it’s been a wonderful day.
I still love Christmas Day.
It started off sunny but cool this morning but has been overcast most of the day here in Melbourne. We’ve even had some showers.
The Curnows start Christmas day with everyone opening presents. Everyone is living at home at the moment except Rachel who arrived with her boyfriend Shad at 8am. This ritual means a lot to our family. Then we were off to Church at 9:30. We were once very regular church goers, but only make it a couple of times a year now. The Church we attend has a new Pastor. It was nice to hear a man speak deeply from the heart with true feeling but not preaching as I would call it. It was nice to catch up with some lovely friends from Church as well.
Then it was home for Christmas Dinner. The smallest we have had for many years. My Mum left this world late last year and now of the Grandparents it is only Judy’s Dad left. He and Rachel’s boyfriend were our only guests as my sister and brother were celebrating with the other halves of their families this year.
We have very traditional Christmas fare. Roast pork, cold chicken and ham and lots of roast veggies all followed by plum pudding.
It was lovely to see our four girls playing with their new DVD edition of Trivial Pursuit in the afternoon as Judy, her Dad and I talked around the table (Shad went off for a sleep.)
After everyone left, I finally got chriscurnow.com running again and have enjoyed writing a couple of entries here.
I feel good, warm and relaxed.
Rituals are really important to me. I hope you have enjoyed some this Christmas Day as well.
Best wishes to you..