Belated season’s Greetings

This year was a very strange year when almost nothing happened worth writing about, but we were busy all year, with some of the projects we’d shunted on from the previous year still not accomplished.

This year we seemed to be constantly busy but nothing too dramatic happened,  and in a way we were grateful for that.

On the day I wrote this the forecast was 39°C  for Brisbane and 43°C  for Ipswich. The weather/climate has certainly been unusual. In Australia we have had  record floods in the north, drought in large parts of the country, water being carted to inland towns, a huge fish kill in the Darling River system, horrific fires mainly in NSW and Qld, and then storms with supercells delivering destructive hail. It used to be “as big as golf balls”. Last week it was “as big as coconuts”.

We have been struggling to keep the main structure of our garden alive, while around the suburbs mature trees are dying. Here’s a golden penda photographed in April:

This photo is from 16 December:


As an update, we had 84 mm of rain in all in December, and the tree is attempting to put out new leaves.

This is what our grass in the front yard looked like before the rain:

We’ve twice been out to visit my sister at the Carinya Hostel in Miles where she has settled well in the residential aged care facility. The 24/7 care seems excellent.

After the election we joined the Mt Coot-tha Branch of the Labor Party, and I joined LEAN (Labor Environment Action Network), a low-profile group that works within the ALP to help shape policy, and then keep the politicians honest.

On the basis of a submission I made I was encouraged to attend their national conference in  Sydney in October. My wife came along to help navigate the big city, catch up with her nephew and his wife, and take in an art gallery or two.

The natives were friendly and very helpful but after only two days we were glad to come back home. Being in Sydney was like living in a huge ants nest.

In January my daughter and granddaughter came to visit:

They are coming again next year in April, to help me celebrate my 80th birthday.

In 2018 we had a simple Christmas on our deck with the boys:

In 2019 it was just one.

Mark stayed with us from October 2018 until the end of January. Then the next day Alex moved in. By mid-year Alex had moved out, and Mark came back. In December he went to Chiang Mai in Thailand where he and his Thai teacher Waan awere writing their novels and hanging about.

So we had that ‘empty house’ feeling for about two days until we got used to it.

Other than that life continues as normal.

My wife sang in Messiah once again. I have one less yard in Brookfield to look after, and continue to blog, though my output has suffered because of my political engagement, plus everything seems to take a bit longer than it used to. This year over 100 posts were added. I think there are about 1400 there now.

We saw some brilliant movies, and went to GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) to see the exhibition of Margaret Olley and Ben Quilty.

Here’s the amazing portrait Quilty painted of Olley:

That one is from the interwebs.

So in an increasingly troubled world life continues to be good for us. And we continue to cultivate the four emotions worth having – loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.

We hope you had a pleasant and rewarding Christmas/New Year and wish you health and happiness for 2020.