Saturday, 30 June 2007

............last drag

Well, its almost here - tomorrow 1st July 2007 to be precise!

The day all non-smokers in England (oh and Australia too!) have been waiting for and the day probably which smokers have been dreading!

So from tomorrow in England, ashtrays will finally disappear from the bar in pubs, you'll not get bothered by smelling smoke in a taxi or standing on the platform waiting for a train!

A smoke-free heaven on earth!!

(but watch-out for some very techy and irritable people in the next few days and weeks!)

Friday, 29 June 2007

Newsflash! Aussie population

AUSTRALIA's population has reached an estimated 21 million.

The milestone is thought to have been achieved about 9.32pm and 58 seconds (AEST) today, according to an online clock operated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that estimates the country's resident population.

The estimate calculates an increase of one person every one minute and 45 seconds by averaging one birth every one minute, 56 seconds; one death every three minutes, 59 seconds; and a net gain of one international migrant every three minutes and 15 seconds.

Australia's population passed the 20 million mark in December 2003, according to ABS data.

It was not immediately clear who was the 21 millionth Australian - a baby or a migrant - or where they might be.

.....................but WE know who they are, don't we!?

They are pictured right here with the family!

G'day to our good friends Downunder, Jon and Lin Price - Australia's newest citizens!!

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Rough day?

Just in case you are having a rough day, here's a stress management technique recommended in all the latest psychological journals - the strange thing is that it really does work and I promise it will make you smile.

1. Picture yourself lying on your belly on a warm rock that hangs out over a crystal clear stream.

2. Picture yourself with both your hands dangling in the cool running water.

3. Birds are sweetly singing in the cool mountain air.

4. No one knows your secret place.

5. You are in total seclusion from that hectic place called the world.

6. The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.

7. The water is so crystal clear that you can easily make out the face of the person you are holding underwater.

See? It really does work. You're smiling already.

Keephatch Friends

um, here's something else we get up to at weekends!!

..........and Andrew keeps telling me I don't have enough to occupy my time!!!

I'm not too sure about that! Take a look at what we do as Keephatch Friends.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

The Champagne Murders

It's the Summer of Love, July 1967, and London still swings like a pendulum do. In the Chelsea home of Lord Michael Jagged, a select group of fashionable young things have spent the weekend drinking champagne and partying.

As the guests gather for dinner on Sunday evening, however, they are met not by their host but by Scotland Yard detective Austin McClue, who brings them shocking news: Lord Jagged has been murdered! And they are the principal suspects in the policeman's enquiries!

The guests were:

TERENCE SHRIMP - An East End boy whose success as a photographer has taken him into the most fashionable social circles.

MARTIN X - A reclusive political rights campaigner from America, whose presence in England is not strictly legal.

MARY-JANE FAITHLESS - Formerly the lover of Lord Jagged, now known as a pop star in her own right.

WIGGY - The most famous and glamorous model in the world, for this week at least.

OLIVER STEED - Actor, raconteur and hell-raiser: larger than life and twice as loud

Wiggy and Oliver Steed

KITTY KILLER - She looks like a sex starlet and claims to be a journalist, but everyone knows that really she's a secret agent.

BRIAN SEWER - The brilliant wine critic of the Evening Times whose snobbery and arrogance have endeared him to nobody. Unfortunately, his arrogance is justified.

TAMARA FARA-BUCKTOOTH - Famous for being famous, she is a regular fixture on the London social scene and is somehow related to Lord Jagged.

'CHAMPAGNE' CHARLIE BUNSON - A high-living entrepreneur whose connections with the London underworld have already attracted the attention of Scotland Yard.

BABS CRAYFISH - The girlfriend of 'Champagne' Charlie and a former nightclub-hostess, she now claims to be a legitimate actress.

Wiggy, Charlie Bunson, Kitty Killer, Babs Crayfish, Terence Shrimp, Tamara Fara-Bucktooth, Mary Jane Faithless and Brian Sewer (kneeling)


Shirley, Graham, Judy, Patricia, John, Maria, Eileen and Dan this is how adults spend a wet n windy Saturday night!!

Friday, 22 June 2007

Christmas in July!

Now here’s an interesting thing!

The high point of winter celebrations in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney is Christmas in July, around which the winter-long Yulefest has evolved when the hills come alive with the sound of carols and roaring fireplaces — and great tucker — to banish the winter chill!

That’s all because in the Southern Hemisphere, winter takes place in the months of June, July and August; December — and Christmas — occur in the summer.

In a country where Christmas takes place in the summer, it seemed only a matter of time before people started enjoying the spirit and the trappings of Christmas in the middle of the Australian year — which is when it's winter in Australia.

Rumour has it that it all began only in 1980 when a group of Irish visitors, visiting the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney during the Australian winter, saw snowflakes dancing in the wind, and felt celebrating Christmas in the summer didn't quite feel the same.

So was born Christmas in July — with Christmas decorations, snowmen, carols, roast dinners of turkey, ham and mince pies with plum pudding, and yes! Snow too!

Oh and for the rest of us enjoying the (wet ‘n windy) June in England, its only 186 days to our Christmas or 16,070,400 seconds or 267,840 minutes or 4464 hours or simply around 26 weeks!!

……………, although its still a little early, a very Happy Christmas-in-July to all our Aussie family and friends!! Ho, ho, ho!

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Isn't it amazing...............

................isn't it just amazing how interesting a pile of pebbles can be!

And if each single stone could tell their life story, well wow!!

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Some not so good news.......

It’s not really been a ‘good news’ day today.

Clare had an appointment at Airedale Hospital – she found a small lump in her left breast a while ago and had a biopsy taken last week; today she found out the results.

She has what they call a ‘Ductal carcinoma in situ’ or simply for short DCIS; it’s a cancerous situation of course and in Clare’s case it’s considered ‘High Grade’ which obviously carries more risk.

We talked to her a couple of times since this morning and naturally we’re all very concerned but after the initial shock had worn off, she seems very positive. She’s had explained what the condition is and how it can be treated – I also found this very helpful website which explains the issues more fully for us as well.

The good news is that they’ve found it and it can be successfully treated so at this stage the prognosis seems to be good. We are all praying to God for a successful outcome.

Clare will be admitted into Airedale Hospital on 4th July for surgery and hopefully will be out in a few days after that – Shirley is intending to travel to Keighley to be with her and give her whatever extra support she needs. Clare’s partner, John is of course with her and is helping with all her physical and emotional needs – he really is and has been a tower of strength to her throughout.

Coincidentally she, John and the boys are coming down on Friday this week to see Andrew, Sue and the kids before they go back to Australia on Sunday, so it will be nice to see her and give her a real hug.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Aussie storms

Now here's something you don't see that often! Its one of the Manley Ferries, Queenscliff, last week negotiating a rather stormy Sydney Harbour!!

Plus I'm thinking of Elaine Downs right now, recalling a (somewhat less choppy) trip on one of these Ferries earlier this year - still feeling queezy Elaine?

Like most of the East Coast of NSW, Sydney has been experiencing some rather wild weather these past few days with high winds and major flooding especially in the Central Coast area , north of Sydney including Newcastle and the Hunter Valley where some major flooding has taken place.

I've posted a few more dramatic photos in the UK album - take a looksee.

Here's an edited report from the Manley Daily:

WILD weather wreaked havoc across the peninsula yesterday as high winds forced ferry cancellations, ripped roofs off homes, brought down trees and rain flooded roads.

As the weather bureau predicted more of the same for today, electricity was cut as trees brought down wires, traffic was disrupted and emergency volunteers worked all day clearing up the damage.

At Newport a roof torn from a house landed on Barrenjoey Rd yesterday afternoon.

The weather bureau issued a gale warning as winds gusting at up to 100km/h hit the peninsula and 3-5m seas on a 3-4m swell slammed beaches.

At 2pm yesterday the Manly Hydraulics Laboratory's Waverider buoy off Sydney registered wave heights of nearly 12m.

The big seas eroded vast quantities of sand from many beaches but did not stop a number of hardy - or foolhardy - surfers.

The Wedding!

Well, let me introduce you to Mr and Mrs Andrew Janeba!!

It was a wonderful day!

The weather was kind, the setting at Moor Hall in the village of Cookham, Berkshire 'just right', the ceremony was 'sincere and moving' and everyone enjoyed sharing such a lovely occasion with two lovely people!

If you click here, you'll find a few more photos which hopefully capture some of the key moments!

Sunday, 10 June 2007


I just came across this really interesting exercise suggested for older adults, to build muscle strength in the arms and shoulders. It seems so easy, so I thought I'd pass it on to some of my friends; the article suggested doing it three days a week.

Just begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side. With a 5-lb potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax. Each day, you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer.

After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato sacks.

Then try 50-lb potato sacks and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. (I'm at this level now!)

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each of the sacks.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Arrived safely!

Well, they arrived safely at Heathrow at around 6.30pm and appeared more than a little haggard after the long journey less than an hour later - Jessica was asleep in the stroller, Charlie was asleep in Sue's sling ....................and Max? Well Max was absolutely comatose on top of a huge pile of luggage on the baggage trolley!!

We all arrived back here by 9pm and quickly got the two boys to bed; Jessica wanted to play! But by the time we left at around 10.30pm, she'd settled down too.

..............and then at 2am all three woke up!! So a somewhat restless night was had by all!!

But it's nice to see everyone!

Oh and at 8am Andrew left for a round of golf with his friends!!! Boys will be boys wont they!!

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Blighty bound!

Well, its Thursday today - Andrew, Sue, Jessica, Max and Charlie arrive at Heathrow this evening around 7 o'clock.

Andrew called from Dubai a few minutes ago - they did a one-day/night stopover there to break the journey - and said they were about to board the Emirates flight to London, so I guess by now they'll be airborne!

They're coming over to attend Andy and Karen's wedding this Saturday at Cookham; I've been asked to act as Chauffeur to the Bride and her Daddy, so I feel very proud too! Karen has always liked my lovely silver BMW (almost as much as I do!) and asked me some time ago if she could 'borrow' it and me!! So tomorrow I'm getting it ready for her with a super-duper valeting both inside and out: I'm sure it will look and smell like new!!

So this evening Shirley and I will be 'decamping' to a local hotel, leaving our place to Andrew, Sue and the kids for a couple of days - hopefully it wont get trashed too much in two days!! And then after the wedding they are going to borrow Andy and Karen's house and cars while they are on their Honeymoon - cool huh?

Andrew and Sue will be in the UK for just over a week and I'm sure it will be 'action-packed' with visiting friends and catching up with everyone so we probably wont see too much of them - except of course we've been asked to babysit this Friday evening! Some things never ever do change do they!?

We have a 'family' day reserved for next Saturday, the day before they leave, when Clare, John and the boys will come down from Yorkshire and Shirley's Dad Harold and Step-mother Winnie will all gather together here - that's six adults, two teenage boys, two children of 4 and 2 and baby Charlie! I think we're planning to go out somewhere where the children can run around!!

It will be a busy day I expect but very nice to get everyone together - a rare event!

Oh and here's something - totally unconnected!

Question: What is now Britain's 2nd most poular boys name - that is in 2006?

Ok, here's a clue; Jack is No. 1 and Thomas, Joshua and Oliver, Harry, James, William and Samuel are there in the top-ten too. So is Daniel and Charlie of course.................but who on earth is at No. 2??

No idea, huh?

Well it's:

I'm now speechless!!

Friday, 1 June 2007

A startling statistic

Now here's a startling and scary statistic from today's Times:

Question: What do the City of Liverpool, England and the British National Health Service have in common?

Answer: 1.34m people!

No wonder our taxes are so high!