Sunday, 29 April 2007

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

People who knew us BC (Before Cruising), knew that we were good at burning the candle at both ends. Seems we fell back in this habit on our whirlwind trip in Australia. Not only did we cover a lot of road miles, but packed in many social and family visits. We even resorted to keeping a diary to control our schedule ... way too busy.

Road miles included a drive to Moulamein in NSW to visit Luke's partner's parents on their property at Burrindi. Nick and Kerry Lowing, Sondras's parents, run a rice and cereal farm. Although our visit was short, we toured the 3600 acre property, enjoyed fabulous food and company and are looking forward to our next visit. The country was very dry, but most fields were laser levelled and prepared, just waiting for the rain and planting out. The fields, like all the equipment on this property, were beautifully maintained. We hope they get their rain soon.

James and Marian Farrell also invited us up for the weekend to their new property at Glenhope. We walked the back paddocks, fed the horse, sheep, deer and goats and enjoyed the peace of the bush. James had brought up a few trees to be planted, so armed with jack hammer and shovels a mature pecan and quince were planted. The jack hammer made digging into the hard soil so much easier as James, a professional landscape gardener, had discovered.

Back on the home front in Williamstown, we installed three printers for friends and family, cleaned up and pruned the trees on our rental property and built a blog site for Peter and Maria's wedding (it's linked from this site, just look under Our Favourite Links).

The final days included family meals and watching Shaun compete in the annual Anzac day cycling road race in Williamstown. Both Neil's and Ley's parents were there to watch this fast paced event.

We forgot to mention that in the midst of all this fun we both caught very unpleasant colds, but soldiered on regardless. We flew out on Thursday morning, cloaked in leather jackets and finally arrived in Penang 14 hours later in 34 degrees and high humidity. Time to rest, recuperate and sleep in.
Check out the new photo album, Australian Visit 2007, in the photo links on this page.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Crystal Blues is berthed in Penang, and we flew home a week ago for the wedding of Neil's brother Peter, to Maria Karpetis, held last Saturday. What a fantastic wedding it was - a marvellous Greek Orthodox service in a beautiful rural setting. A six hour "luncheon" followed, which completely ruined most of us. Maria looked like a Greek goddess, and Peter looked just like he should - extremely happy ! About 100 family and friends celebrated the event, dancing to blues, rock and traditional Greek music. Since the wedding we haven't stopped - a whirlwind round of social engagements and reunions with friends. We're also going through a change of tenants in our rental property, so the visit home has allowed us to work on that project as well.

Earlier today our godson Ethan Shaw flew in from Sydney. On school vacation, Ethan (9 yrs) took his first flight without his parents to spend a day or so with us. A full day at the Melbourne zoo was followed by dinner in Carlton. Ethan loves Spaghetti Bologna, with cheese, and boconcini and tomato, and Italian bread etc etc - so we had it all !

Ethan flies home tomorrow, and we'll return to Penang around the 28th of this month, after just a few more is nice to be home again.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Old Souls Day

Religious and cultural tolerance seems to be a catch-cry around the world. In Penang, where almost every street has a Hindu or Buddhist temple, a Mosque, or a Church, it is no exception.

Today as we were riding our motor bike we turned a corner and just had to stop and pull over. A Chinese family were building a large stack of paper goods - shoes, food, money, gold bullion and shirts, in the middle of the road. Each item was piled high on to the stack, incense was lit, payers were said and whole pile was ignited. As the fire burnt down many of the ashes floated upwards, carrying with them all the worldly goods that the Old Souls would need for the coming year. The shop in our photograph sells paper "goods" for burning as offerings.

This all took place in the middle of a busy road. Motor bikes and cars patiently waited and weaved their way around this ceremony. No harsh words, no horns blarring, just a simple ceremony of a Chinese family honouring their deceased relatives in the middle of a busy road.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Our First Day In Cyberspace

OK, this is kind of scary - the launch of the very first web-log ("blog") from the crew of Crystal Blues. We hope you like the site, and will try to keep you entertained with content.

The blog was setup with tons of help from Mike and Tracey on SV Seadrive - thanks guys. Mike can be an animal sometimes, but he really knows his stuff ! Check out the Seadrive web link in the right hand column .....

All our past newsletters are available here, along with the Marine Services Directory we've collated over the past few years - the link buttons are below for .pdf downloads. The photo's are all public domain for non-profit users - just let us know if you plan to publish any .... a by-line would be nice !

Next we'll try to put our various video productions on the page, to make them available for download. We'll see if U.Tube can handle that. Stay tuned.

Greetings to all those checking in for the first time - give us lots of feedback and we'll try to make it better !