The End (of the year) is Nigh!

It’s obvious that the year is drawing to a close. We seem enmeshed in a series of frenetic ‘wind-up’ activities – each one is very pleasurable, but they just seem endless in their frequency.

The school that our grand daughter, Audrey, attends has just had a very successful fair as an end of the year way of raising money for the school. Most parents and grand parents made contributions in some sort of way. For example, parents agreed to make batches of jam to a specific recipe and this was bottled and sold in professionally labelled jars. I think that the pear and vanilla jam was the most popular. The same went for delicious Christmas cakes that sold for nearly $60. Stalls sold everything from strawberry daiquiris to deluxe foods. Grade six kids patrolled the grounds as the ‘Green Team’ to collect used plates and glasses for washing and re-use. The silent auction (on which you wrote your bids on a sheet of paper for various items throughout the day) had over 600 items for sale. Some of these – especially the bikes and weekend holidays sold for over $3000. Grandma Jill had propagated some cacti and succulents that all sold within a few hours at an amazing price. The school, raised over $100,000 on the day and congratulations must go the the organisers for their hard work and professional level of activity. Our grand daughters, Audrey (back left) and Violet (front right), made their own contribution by having their faces painted.

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Last Saturday, was the wind-up concert for little Violet’s ‘Tiny Tutus’ dancing group. This is a dance class for girls from 3 to 5 years and it was lots of fun. The acts were sorted into various age groups but none of the cute lite girls ever followed the dance instructor’s choreography. One would suddenly stop and wave to Mum in the audience while another would make up their own steps as they went. It was a delight to watch and as much as I tried to escape from concerts like this when our daughter Cathy was learning ballet, I sat though thiis one totally enthralled. It must be different when you are a grand parent!

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Yesterday, I had a day out with my Probus Club’s walking group as we had a short walk through Westerfolds Park, followed by a barbecue lunch. We had a bit of a surprise when three fire trucks rolled up and stopped by our group but they were only on a training exercise.

This 120 hectare bush park was once a dairy farm but is now controlled by Parks Victoria. In the early 1930s the Turner Family bought the land and built an impressive house now known as the ‘Manor’ in 1936. By the 1950’s the growing population had pushed most of the large-scale farmers and orchardists out of this area of Templestowe, but little residential and industrial development occurred, mainly because of the threat of flooding from the Yarra River which forms the boundary of this property. In the 1970’s plans to create a residential estate on this land were strongly opposed by the community and the state government purchased the land in 1973; to meet the growing need for public open space. The park was officially opened in November 1984. The park can very dry by this time of the year and snakes can be prevalent but it is a fantastic open recreational area. You can even see platypus in the river on a quiet morning.

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Today was another catch-up day, this time with some of the people with whom I worked at Control Data Australia over forty years ago. We generally have between 12 to 40 of us come together for lunch once every month and this was our last luncheon before the end of the year. All of us agree that if we could turn the clock back, we would want to revisit this days when we worked at CDA in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The company had a terrific culture of fun and innovation combined with plenty of hard work. Our lunches are now quite simple,. It costs us about $10 for pizza (or $12 if we include an ice-cream) but you wouldn’t dare bring any wine priced under $20!

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Jill also had a year-end catch up with old friends today. She is still in regular contact with one of the girls with whom she went to kindergarten over sixty years ago. Apparently they had a lot of conversation (as would be expected) and a nice lunch in a restaurant located in an old historic homestead to the north of Melbourne.

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This frenetic activity is going to continue well into next week (as long as my body and wallet hold up). By Christmas Day, I’ll be in need of a good rest and a diet. Perhaps I’ll leave the diet until after the New Year!





Bruce is a keen traveller and photographer. This web site describes his travel and family interests

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