Today I went to Bunnings to get a few garden things and at the entrance there was a colourful display of plants called The Big Kahuna. Now, you may have heard of the movie:
The Big Kahuna is a 1999 American businesscomedy-drama film directed by John Swanbeck, and produced by Kevin Spacey, who also starred in the lead role. The film is adapted from the play Hospitality Suite, written by Roger Rueff, who also wrote the screenplay. John Swanbeck makes few attempts to lessen this film’s resemblance to a stage performance: the majority of the film takes place in a single hotel room, and nearly every single line of dialogue is spoken by one of the three actors.
I grew up in a small country town in Northern Victoria called Cohuna – about 3,500km away from where I currently live.
Surrounded by dairy farms, and situated on the banks of Gunbower Creek, (an anabranch of the Murray River), the town is a popular holiday spot as well as a regional sports centre with a wide range of facilities. Cohuna is the main access point to the attractions of the vast red gum and box forest covered Gunbower Island, which lies between Gunbower Creek and the Murray, and is home to diverse native birdlife, kangaroos and emus.
So, the reason I am telling you all is this is because I just had to buy the flowers with that name! And here they are …
We have given the garden a bit of a makeover this week so it was good to add a splash of colour with the Big Kahuna name tag!
Well I have heard of people who have ‘near-death’ experiences where their life flashes before their eyes. I didn’t know that having a 65th birthday could also bring on this phenomenon!
A little bit of background – nearly ten years ago we moved from Perth to the South West of Australia. I didn’t have much prior knowledge of the region so there are not a lot of cues for past memories. It is a bit like living in a bubble where much of the past fades almost to non-existence.
For my 65th we decided on a family catch-up in Perth with an overnight stay at Joondalup Resort. As it happens I used to be a regular guest there every Monday evening in my role as President of the Joondalup Rotary Club. I used to work in Joondalup too. The next morning we had breakfast in the street where my old office was. It was across the road from the Chinese Restaurant where I often went for a $5 lunch special (in the 1990’s). Also in the same street is where my original office was and I met a lady who came to see me looking for work. She had only been in Australia for three months. I was able to assist with some contract work and she stayed on for over 20 years. She is still a good friend today and actually outstayed my time at the Department.
We traveled to Kalbarri after breakfast – approximately 600kms north. We passed through Yanchep where I often took my three sons when they were little. Lots of happy memories there. Further along we passed through Geraldton where I lived for a short time in 1993-1994 until my marriage broke up and I moved to Perth.
Our destination of Kalbarri held some memories too. While working in the region I visited there to assist a community group who had funds from the Department to set up a local bottled Spring Water enterprise using unemployed youth. Then there was the Greenough Village where we investigated an employment project.
I won’t go on as it is probably boring to anyone except me! I felt the need for the trip to come to terms with reaching 65 years old. I am grateful that I have reached it and hope to have a few more decades yet.
I am thinking about next year and where to focus my interest and my energies. I am not one for New Year’s resolutions or for setting goals but I like to pause and consider what I want to include or change in my year ahead.
2018 was a pretty good year for me. It was very busy and enjoyable year with my U3A (University of the Third Age) commitments. It was one of those years where, at times, I became more of a human-doing rather than a human-being.
For the year ahead I would like to give more attention to my relationships with people in my life. I have moved around a fair bit in my life and have often lost touch with people in the process. I grew up in Victoria and have now lived in West Australia for 36 years. I have lived in the Kimberley region, Pilbara region, MidWest/Gascoyne region, Perth, Goldfields/Esperance region and now the South West. Each time I moved I had to start again and make new friends and set up new networks. It gets to the point that I get itchy feet if I stay in one place too long.
I think 2019 will be about putting down some roots, building relationships and accepting we are here to stay. And being grateful that I can enjoy life in such a pleasant environment.
Every so often we have a picnic lunch at Meelup Beach near Dunsborough. On Thursday we stopped off at the popular Dunsborough Bakery and bought our lunch . This week we were pleased to find there was hardly anyone at the beach. There were some young bush walkers and a few tradies either working or stopping for a lunch break. It was quite idyllic.
This maggie was very friendly and keen for us to share our lunch with him!
As I look back over my life there are probably a dozen incidents or more that were a significant blow to my equilibrium. The sort that makes everything else seem petty and unimportant.
I am sure that we all experience these things from time to time. My first experience I remember was when my school friend’s father died. He worked at our school and was very popular with all the kids. It was my first encounter with death and the aftermath.
I have since experienced marriage break-ups, sickness and deaths in the family, tragedies such as a five-year old neighbour’s child drowning, losing my brother and sister-in-law too soon …
I am not unique – similar things are happening every day to people around us. When I am in my ‘happy space’ I may not even be aware of others’ suffering.
I don’t know what I am trying to say today – just that life can be tough at times – we need to love and care for each other.
I first lived in Melbourne in 1972 after I left school. I found work and at different times rented in the City, East Melbourne, West Melbourne and Brunswick. We left Melbourne first in 1980 to go and work in the Northern Territory and then finally said our goodbyes in 1982 when we moved to Western Australia.
I travelled from Western Australia to Victoria dozens of time over the years but didn’t ever stay in Melbourne as my folks lived in the country north of the Melbourne. For a while now I have been hankering for a walk down memory lane. We finally booked a holiday staying in the centre of Melbourne with five days to explore old haunts and recent additions such as Federation Square, Docklands and new shopping malls.
Below is a selection of photos that hold memories for me. There are the beautiful arcades, the place where I worked, and the Puffing Billy Steam train in the Dandenong Ranges.
This post is inspired by Ruth’s blog and her collection of bunnies.
Some friends and family have given me teddy bears over the years, knowing my fondness for them. After seeing Ruth’s bunnies I thought it was time for a photo shoot wtih my bears :). What is it about these bears that pulls at our heart strings?