Christmas letter 2014
HELLO to friends who may be perusing this website.
CHRISTMAS 2014 has caught us unawares, after a fairly tumultuous year. Ken and I are nudging 80 now and life is a bit slower, but plenty full enough. He has hung a FOR SALE sail on “CALYPSO” which brings a little pang of regret, but we do hope that eventually the boat will find owners who love it like we do. Ken and a group of sailing mates meet regularly for lunch, drinks at the yacht club and occasional sorties in good weather out into the fine harbour here. We are grateful to live in this peaceful, easy, beautiful place where we look out each day over Boston Bay – even if the house paintwork is peeling, the front steps are almost too steep to climb and the garden is needing some professional attention as well as Ken’s periodic ‘little clippings’.
Our Yardarm unit is still attracting enough visitors to ‘break even’, who seem to like the homeliness, the privacy and the view. We have made good friends of many who come, sometimes discovering amazing links with people we have never met before, and enjoying conversations with those who return. This hosting has been part of our Port Lincoln life since 1990 when we first opened our renovated shed with the jarrah floor to the first paying guest. Ken cleans, and I do the PR and providoring. These days I can also do the new style of website booking, after some excellent training by Marianne Cox our webmaster (who used to live around the corner as a youngster!)
The past year of our lives has been dotted with ‘events’, mostly pleasurable.
- STANDOUT OCCASION – the beautiful wedding day of our grandson Matt to his sweetheart Mel in April. It was a happy, well-planned, inclusive gathering with tears and laughter, love and joy. Bride and groom so in love, with a bevy of attendants in classic dresses, a brilliant crop of sunflowers adorning Lobethal Lutheran church and the girls’ bouquets. A poignant entrance by Matt’s sister Kelly in her specially tailored peach-toned long dress, she who is often too unwell to attend public functions, made a special impact. Guests at the Belair Country Club reception were each given a souvenir etched bottle of white wine from Matt’s vineyard. We all enjoyed this wonderful celebration.
- Mei Chien from Taiwan, one of Kelly’s new friends who entered their family life at Halls Gap in the Grampians from the nearby Backpackers Hostel, came to Port Lincoln for several weeks to stay with us in May. She was like a grand-daughter for me, we had great discussions on many topics, she had spent her first Christmas with our son’s family and then Easter here in Port Lincoln, so she learned a little about the Christian stories. I enjoyed being her ESL teacher while she was here, and saved her from mis-pronunciation a few times eg “pass the peace” not “pass the piss” in church. She is a budding film maker after her Uni training in Taiwan, and amused herself (and us) making a quirky little cameo film on ‘Granny Jude’ while here. And taught me one phrase in Mandarin: ‘I’m a happy Granny’ which I test on any unsuspecting Chinese people I might meet.
The book project, the life of our Dad Phil Yeatman, which has occupied much of my spare time for six years now, is nearing completion. Having found a good publishing ‘man called Peter’ who lives nearby, I am able to confer with him now as he sets my text and large collection of photos into a format ready for a printer. At this stage, the proposed launch will be during ‘About Time’ History Month of May 2015, when copies of ‘Our Father – Who?’ will be ready to distribute. Printing costs have not yet been established. It will be good to get this out of the way. Of course, I am hoping there will be some outside interest in it, with a background of State history – Goodwood life in another era, Phil the versatile musician travelling around country South Australia with Harold Raymond’s concert party during the Depression, our Baptist ancestry and some interesting characters from family archives, and home music making in an era of radio, gramophones, organs and pianos.
- While many friends and family members have enjoyed tripping overseas or on cruise boats, we are content with an occasional trip to Adelaide or even Victoria. Actually, Eyre Peninsula is a good place to explore. I enjoy being travel companion to my best friend Rev Ruth Buxton on her excursions up country to visit little churches or conduct a large funeral or wedding. Her appreciative Anglican parishioners have provided their honorary priest with a new Subaru Forrester for safe and comfortable travel. In May we went together in my car for a week’s holiday to Ballarat and Bendigo while Ken looked after the home place.
- Another week, Ken and I travelled in our son Andrew’s Sprinter van from Adelaide to Halls Gap, and returned by Great Southern Railways, a nice visit as always to this innovative brave family as they cope with their huge care burden, after 25 years of looking after their totally dependent daughter Kelly, now 28. Her seizures have lessened somewhat in recent times, but with no speech and no comprehension and countless sensitivities to food and surroundings, she has to be ‘shadowed’ by a carer all the time. Their life in the Grampians would be idyllic under other circumstances, but it certainly is a beautiful environment for Kelly who can be taken for mountain walks using a disability one-wheeled TrailRider (exclusive to Victoria- see NDIS information) with a team of ‘mates’ escorting her, or can sail alongside her Dad on the local lake in a sailability yacht, or can go riding for the disabled sometimes, or can get friendly with a beautiful service dog who is ‘in training’ for assisting her with seizure alerts and autism calming. This latter exercise will take two years of regular rendezvous sessions between Melbourne and their home, with Kelly as passive client and the dog as watchful companion. The dog trainer is an Israeli from Melbourne, of world-class experience, a most interesting person who knows his stuff. The $30,000 cost is being subsidised by a local Lions Club, partly assisted by a grant, and the remainder funded by sales of Kel’s Confectionery, little parcels of chocolates in the form of animal droppings – Possum Pellets, Roo Poo, Emu Plops and Echidna Clangers – prepared by care workers, ‘delivered’ by Kelly on outings, and snapped up by tourists at a number of Grampians outlets where the family is known and respected. Kelly’s mother has acquired a painful form of arthritis after all these years of tension and sleep deprivation, which makes their search for Kelly’s future management and accommodation even more vital. Any benefits from the NDIS for them are still years away.
- The family scene is distant in miles from us, but our sons keep phone contact and occasionally Greg and Tim can make it over here from Adelaide, usually to help with boat maintenance or sailing with their father. We will be tracking Greg’s progress in the Sydney-Hobart yacht race this year on board ‘Enchantress’ as navigator. Tim is enjoying working at Second Valley in residence at his ‘beach house’, with his aviation systems work coming in, but some time left for domestic projects. His partner Karen will end the year with a 50th birthday, which now means all our offspring and their mates have safely lived a half-century. May they continue on so. Three grand daughters are working away from their homes, Amanda and Steph making careers in Melbourne and Lauren in freezing temperatures in Calgary, Canada as an ‘au pair’.
My own interests apart from prolific computer emails and writings, are reading, playing quite a nice church organ on a regular basis at our Anglican church, publicity officer for the local Film Club, and my little bit of pastoral care with some very dear frail elderly friends whose company is mutually enjoyable. Whenever I visit the local nursing homes for a bit of music therapy at the piano, the spirit of my father is with me as I turn the pages of his music from other entertainment eras. The number of funerals is growing, to which I am called as musician! Sad when I know most of the departed, but wonderful to give them a send-off with significant music – it is an honour to evoke smiles and tears.
The year 2014 has brought a share of tragedy, sickness, anxiety and sadness close to home for many. But although life deals these random blows, there is always HOPE if we seek it. We need to believe Goodness is waiting in the wings.
And so I wish for all who read this, a sense of Joy, Peace and Love this Christmas time. Ken joins me in spirit – he is not a Blogger and never will be, but has passed this for public scrutiny. With good wishes from us in Port Lincoln…..
JUDY’S CHRISTMAS BLOG 2014