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Aoife had her 6th birthday party on the weekend. We had a really great time. Aoife was REALLY looking forward to it.

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We had lots of food and fruit.

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It was a frog themed party and Aoife had a great time with her friends. Aoife wanted a cake with a frog on a pond eating a fly. So that’s what we delivered – the frogs were cupcakes and the ‘fly’ was a sultana!

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We even had some frog themed games, like ‘Red Rover cross over’ where everyone had to hop.

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It was a good game but probably not a game you wanted to play if you wanted to avoid knee surgery.

All up, it was a fun party and Aoife had a great time.

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My Eulogy for Mum

Today was the thanksgiving service for my mum, Noelene Martin. It was a wonderful celebration of her life. We had a lovely ‘table of memories’ with symbols of many of the things that mum liked and things that we held special about her.

This is Mum’s eulogy:

In many ways it’s hard to believe we’re here today. I loved my mum. I have many fond memories of her. Mum deeply and profoundly influenced and formed me.

When my Antarctic trip ended tragically in 2001 where one of my crew mates on the 2041 yacht died suddenly. The company I worked for at the time, Royal & SunAlliance, said they would fly anyone I wanted to virtually anywhere in the world. I wanted to spend a week recovering in London. The only person I could think of who could join me at that time was my mum.

That week in London Mum and I had a lovely time. We wandered along London’s grey, cold streets visiting every property on the Monopoly board. We enjoyed Phantom of the Opera in London’s West End, evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral, the squirrels in St James’ Park, and climbing the Monument. That week ranks as one of my favourite memories of mum.

I loved Mum’s cooking – particularly her mince pies. We all enjoyed her mince pies. They were particularly good warm. After one batch, Geoff and I ‘tested’ them and in the process pretty much polished them all off. Mum wasn’t particularly impressed. But we could certify that the quality of that particular batch of mince pies was consistently good.

Mum was offended one Christmas when I bought a packet of mince pies as part of her Christmas present. I realised then that mince pies could not be just any old mince pies, mum took pride in ‘her’ mince pies, and they were the best.

Mum loved travelling and seeing new places. She wasn’t content to do things on the tourist trail and eat ice creams and drink coffee. She wanted to learn and experience new and different things. So it was somewhat appropriate the last photo we have of her was on a Midsomer Murders tour near Oxford.

And mum did like her TV shows, particularly British murder mysteries. She didn’t like reality TV like Masterchef or Australian Idol. She had her favourite shows which she enjoyed and watched regularly. She loved Midsomer Murder’s, and Dr Who. As children we were terrified of Dr Who, but it was a family favourite. Mum would give us Dr Who merchandise: Dr Who aprons, Dr Who pens, shampoo, Dr Who socks and this week we’ve been drinking from a Dr Who mug.

Yet she particularly enjoyed Macgyver. I have fond memories as a teenager in Taree in the non-ratings period over summer watching Macgyver save remote Indian communities with a piece of wire and a broken mirror, drinking just carrot juice. We all enjoyed Macgyver – particularly mum. It was her favourite.

Mum had a heart for justice. She was a passionate supporter and advocate of Fair trade: where producers are guaranteed a higher price ensuring that they receive a fair wage for their work. She was motivated by Jesus’ parable of the sheep and goats, being Jesus to the poor in the world. And also the words of James chapter 5 about paying producers fairly.

This concern for social justice made a deep impression on my life. I have particularly fond memories of selling Traidcraft goods in the UK; being dragged to markets and fair to sell products all across Shropshire. Mum was very passionate about fair trade.

So mum was thrilled when my wife Di opened her own little fair trade business in 2007. Mum was our greatest supporter. She selflessly and enthusiastically joined us at markets around the city, helping sell things or babysitting our children. It was a joy to us all.

Fair trade dominated mum’s thinking. In fact, she managed to insert fair trade into virtually every sermon she ever told. Even if the Bible passage she was speaking on had no discernible connection with Fair Trade, mum would find a connection, no matter how tenuous…

Jesus fed the 5000, with fair trade loaves.
The baby Moses was found in a fair trade basket.
Jesus was born in a manger and the wise men brought gifts of frankincense, myrrh and fairtrade chocolate wrapped in gold paper.

Well, maybe not quite that extreme. But mum was very passionate about fair trade.

Hence, inspired by the moderator of the Uniting Church in NSW who invited the people of the church to consider new and risky paths. She took a big risk proposing that Springwood Uniting Church host a Fair Trade fair in this room. The fair was a resounding success with hundreds of people coming and buying thousands of dollars of goods.

In the three weeks since Mum’s death I have thought of ways of honouring her and her passion for fair trade. I thought of inaugurating an annual fair trade lecture in Mum’s memory. This lecture would advocate for Fair Trade, respond to its critics, demonstrate its coherence with the philosophy of Jesus and to promote its positive contribution to the world. This would be an appropriate way of remembering my mum. Perhaps the proposal of this annual lecture would be another ‘new and risky path’, then if so, it would be an even more appropriate way of honouring her.

Mum was also a great writer. Mum wrote many books and plays. She had numerous articles published in the school magazine and she had books published in Australia and the UK. We had a series of Christmas Bible studies published together. Christmas Is – although I still haven’t received a royalty cheque. I also appeared on the front page of another of her books, ‘Faith and Fun with plays’, which my school librarian proudly displayed for all my classmates to laugh at when I was in high school.

I had the delight of reading another one of her books, ‘Moving Mountains’ to my 7 year old son Aiden before he went to bed earlier this year. It was very special that I could read him a book that his Nanna wrote.

The largest and most ambitious writing project mum undertook was her biography of Freda Whitlam. Mum spent many many hours and work into researching, interviewing and writing her biography of Freda. It is like everything mum did – well-written, well researched with a lovely touch of humour.

I think the last paragraph of her biography of Freda can apply, with a couple of minor modifications to my mum:

Many people have appreciated her wit and charm, her creativeness, generosity and intuitiveness. She has lived a life of duty and service, devoted to her family, the community, the poor and God. There can be people in all walks of life who can say ‘My life has been the richer for knowing Noelene Martin’.

You can pick up a copy of her book today. They are free, yet we encourage you to donate the cost of the book to the Christmas Bowl, one of mum’s favourite causes, and incidentally also one of Freda’s – you can read about that on page 202 of the book.

But my mum is no longer with us. When I told our little 3 year old, Callum, that his Nanna had died, he initially frowned and processed the news. Then he said, ‘Pop didn’t die’. We agreed with that, but then as Callum continued processing the news he said the most beautiful words, ‘God catched her’. These words are beautiful because they show that it is by God’s grace that we are his. Jesus is the good shepherd who speaks and his people know his voice. God knows his children and catches them and calls them home at the right time.

I have reflected much in these last couple of weeks. These days 63 is young to die, particularly so suddenly. I would have loved longer with my mum. I reflect on the hole in my life now where my mother used to be. I reflect on the Nanna who our children so adored, who will no longer see our children grow up. There will be no more mince pies at Christmas. No more Dr Who merchandise for Christmas. No more books or plays or articles for the school magazine.

The day after Mum died I went to church and was reminded of the words, ‘My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness’. The hope that mum shared was of Jesus the great judge who cares and advocates for the poor of the world. Through this we can comforted. That though we grieve, we grieve with hope. That Jesus, the good shepherd, calls his people home. God catched her.

The sunset on the day Mum died.

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Di and I moved to Melbourne at the beginning of 2010. Mum and Dad visited us for the first time in April 2010. We had a really nice couple of days with them. Some really great memories…

Friday 16th April 2010

Aoife slept well and we got up and going. We all had breakfast and Mum and Dad (Nanna and Pop) came around to much excitement from the kids, particularly Aiden.

We ate breakfast and got ready. It was a gorgeous day and we got some food from Coles and then we got a tram into the city. It was myself, Mum and Dad and Aiden. Di and Aoife had to go to a doctor’s appointment.

We got another tram down La Trobe St and we went to the State Library of Victoria. We got there at opening time and we went in and up to an exhibition on the Changing Face of Victoria. It was an interesting exhibition and they had Ned Kelly’s armour on display. That was really interesting and Mum and Dad enjoyed looking at the museum.

Ned Kelly's armour Ned Kelly's helmet

We finished up there and went across Swanston St to Melbourne City Central and we went inside and looked at the Shot Tower and the big clock inside. We had some morning tea and saw the big clock chime for 11am. 

Nanna and Pop at Melbourne Central Big Clock Melbourne Central

Di and Aoife joined us and we got a tram down Swanston St. to Federation Square.

We got out and had a quick look before walking across the Yarra and then along the Yarra and Southbank.

We went to the Eureka building and got a lift to the top – to the 88th floor. We saw the view. It was quite a remarkable view – overlooking Port Phillip Bay and Melbourne. We were a long way up (the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere!) The kids loved looking at the view, Aoife kept putting her hands on the glass and looking down we could see the city beneath us and trams, trains and people. You could see a long long way and it was a really great view. I enjoyed looking at the city and getting a bit of a perspective on how things looked.

We ate our lunch up there, which went really well. We ate looking over the MCG and beyond. It was a great place to eat lunch. A great view. We went outside on the viewing terrace and looked and soon we headed down the lift. We’d enjoyed our time on the Eureka Skydeck – a very high viewing platform.

Up the Eureka Tower Pop and Aoife on Eureka Tower Aoife and Aiden up the Eureka Tower Di and Aoife at the Eureka Tower Nanna and us up the Eureka Tower

We got to the ground and went for a bit of a walk. Walked across the Yarra and along to Federation Square. We then walked to the Cathedral (St Paul’s) and saw a statue of Matthew Flinders.

Matthew Flinders' statue Matthew Flinders with seagull

Then we got a tram to Fitzroy Gardens. We had a bit of a sit in the Gardens and the kids had a bit of a play in the playground. We then went and saw the model Tudor Village which was in the middle of the park. It was really nice and a nice place to stop and look.

Model Tudor Village Model Tudor Village with Mum

Then we walked and got another tram into the city. We went to a Brunetti cafe in Melbourne square or something and ate an ice cream. It was a lovely place to eat and nice to sit and eat ice cream.

We then had a quick look inside St Paul’s Cathedral and it was massive. It was much bigger than St Andrew’s in Sydney and it was much more ornate and decorative. We enjoyed that visit and then I bade farewell to the others. They got the train to the car at Jewell and I took some photos before catching two trams home.

 

It had been a really great day, done lots of different types of things. Real variety and it had been quite full. We all slept very well that night.

Saturday 17th April 2010

We all slept really well and got up and got going. We had breakfast and Nanna and Pop arrived again. We were all ready and at about 9am we got going. We went off to Brunetti in Faraday St (in Carlton). We found car parks and got some beverages and some little treats at Brunetti. It was a nice place for morning tea. We ate there and then moved the cars and went to the Melbourne museum. We parked and walked there.

It was another lovely day and it was a great place to go and visit. We went in (in the end we got in for free!) and we first went to the dinosaur walk where we got to see dinosaur bones and there was a great interactive display. We also looked at the undersea display and the bug display. They were all very well done and very interesting. The kids enjoyed going through and Mum and Dad enjoyed spending time with the kids.

We went to the children’s play area and the kids played with the blocks for a while, which was good fun. We then went to the forest section and we walked around the trees and saw some of the animals. The museum resembled a zoo at various points.

Then we were looking for the exit and we stumbled across an exhibit outlining the history of Melbourne – there was an exhibit on Phar Lap with a full sized replica and some footage of Phar Lap’s races.

The history of Melbourne museum was very interesting and the kids enjoyed it as well. Aiden liked seeing the trams and trains.

We then finally left. We left the museum, it had been thoroughly worthwhile.

Melbourne Museum Dinosaurs at Melbourne Museum Walk at Melbourne Museum Nanna and Aiden at Melbourne Museum

 

We ate some lunch out behind the museum on a park bench. We all enjoyed our lunch. 

Then we got ready to come home. We got in and Aoife had a sleep. Then we hung out. I had a brief lie down (as did Mum and Dad).

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Yesterday I shared about a number of concerts and shows that I shared with Mum. But there is one that stands out as particularly remarkable. We always looked back on this particular concert as it was particularly memorable. I remember that Mum saw the concert advertised and thought it would also be a good night out for Poppa. We were all excited and I’ll recount the evening…

Friday 18th September 1998

Then at about 6pm we headed across to the Dame Joan Sutherland Centre for a Gershwin twilight jazz concert.

We for there and had some munchies and sat down to the show.

The first group performed a lot of Gershwin’s big songs e.g. Embraceable You, I Got Rhythm, Biding My Time, Let’s call the whole thing off, Swanee.

They had the most brilliant pianist – he was tremendous, yet they had some silly karaoke backing music ie drummer and strings.

Near the end the computer messed up which meant they had to sing the last couple with just the piano and the singers which I thought was much better.

Overall they weren’t too bad – not a bad support band. I quite enjoyed their performance.

We thought that it was all over at 7:30pm. We then saw another group getting ready – they were called the Nirimba College of Contemporary Music Jazz Ensemble.

They started and it was one of the most memorable concerts I have ever seen.

The band was quite big – but it was remarkable.

They had this singer, Yvonne, who was so incredibly nervous you could actually see her muscles on her face twitch when she was singing. She was trying to relax and to enjoy it, but she couldn’t. Her arms were limp by her side as she sang and she really didn’t have the greatest of voices. She tried to dance to relax and enjoy herself, but it just looked forced and very awkward. It looked more like Mr Bean style dancing – except more forced.

Then there were the guitarists. They were all pretty cool guys and they were actually quite good.

Then the 2 keyboardists who sat near us. One of them, a girl, hardly did a thing. She did a solo with one hand and her other hand was under her chin, or it was on her seat. She hardly ever used two hands. In fact during one song she actually cleaned her keyboard!! She yawned at one point and walked off for a few songs.

Then the other keyboardist – he seemed completely uninterested in the whole thing. He fiddled with all the little bells and whistles on his keyboard – but hardly seemed interested enough to want to play. He blew his nose a couple of times and he was forever adjusting things. During the last song he had to play two chords but instead of moving his hands, sometimes he played one chord and used the transposer on the end of his keyboard.

Then there was the clarinetist. She looked so nervous it was amazing. She had glasses and a very unendearing hair style which made her look worse. She played a couple of solos.

Then the pianist – she bounced around – evidently trying to ‘feel’ the music – I suppose she would have felt the music if they were playing on a jumping castle or something. But her solos were very simple and not the most precise.

It really was bad and Mum and Poppa both left early as did a few other members of the paying public. I was trying to imitate Dad’s poses. After they sang ‘How long has this been going on’, I whispered to Neil and Geoff, ‘too long’.

Near the end the director of the college introduced his wife who was going to sing a song. She was a bubbly raging extrovert who bounced around and sang fairly loud (certainly louder than Yvonne).

She even joined Yvonne in the 2nd last song for a harmony which just sounded off key and awful.

But for us the star of the show was Diego. He did 2 songs, ‘My Ship’ and ‘Lullaby of birdland’, he was great. He could hardly sing – he sand really high, but otherwise hardly at all. Dad said that his wrists were so limp he could hardly hold the microphone.

But his greatest moment was in the middle of his ‘Lullaby’ song he did a great big ‘Yeah’ (as if he were really getting into it). We all laughed – it was so funny.

Diego – he had a peach coloured jacked and rings and jewellery and nice hard and hairy chest etc. Really funny.

We walked out when it was over and I asked..Were we (Penrith band) ever that bad? Dad said no.

We chatted about it and laughed.

I suggested that the Director could tell them, ‘Ok guys, next week’s lesson is ‘the chord’ We joked and laughed it was so funny.

Poor old George Gerwshin – they totally mutilated his great songs.

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Mum and I enjoyed going to see a number of shows and movies together. Mum always enjoyed going out and I wanted to recount a number of my memories about some of the shows and movies we saw together.

My Fair Lady – Wednesday 12th November 1997

I got up at 10am. I slept very well. I got up and had breakfast and got myself ready for the day. I ironed some good clothes and put them on and I got ready to go and see ‘My Fair Lady’.

I set off at about 11am and said farewell to Mark [my flatmate].

I got a bus to Central and then I met Mum under the clock at Central at about 11:30am.

We then went to Belmore Park and ate some lunch and talked. Mum and I talked about a few things. We talked about a friend of ours who had some trouble with a relative. Mum made the comment that the troublesome relative was ‘just a spoilt brat’. 

I then said to mum, ‘I’m glad I wasn’t spoilt as a child!’.

Mum laughed and said ‘I don’t know how to take that’. 

Anyway, then we went to a cafe across from the Capitol Theatre and then we went and talked and then we went into the Capitol Theatre and found our seats and sat down. 

There were a lot of old people there, there was also a couple of school groups – but generally the audience was composed of elderly women.

At 1pm the show ‘My Fair Lady’ began. It starred Anthony Warlow as Henry Higgins and Suzzanne Johnston as Eliza Doolittle.

It was fantastic – it didn’t really matter that we were near the back – the show was fantastic. It had all the classic songs, ‘Wouldn’t it be loverly’, ‘Just a little bit of luck’, ‘Just you wait Enry Iggins’, ‘I could have danced all night’, ‘I’m getting married in the mornng’, ‘If a woman could be a man!’

It was wonderful – it was done really professionally and the sets were quite magnificent. Joan Sydney was also in it, as Higgins’ mother.

It lasted 3 hours including the intermission and we were finished at 4pm. 

Walked back to Central with Mum and said goodbye – I think she enjoyed going out to see a big show.

Titanic – Thursday 18th December 1997

Then Geoff, Mum and I left. We caught a train to Town Hall. We talked on the way – I mainly talked with Mum. She is thinking of getting our bible studies published. I reckon it would be kind of cool to have a book published with my name on the front.

Anyway – we got to the city and to Hoyts, we decided to go to the 2pm showing of Titanic because it was being shown in 70mm.

We got our tickets and hurridly went in. We got our seats and sat down.

There were few ads and no previews (not surprising for a film lasting over 3 hours). 

It was brilliant – an incredible film. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt that they really captured the whole thing. The glory and wonder of the ship and the terror and panic of the sinking.

I felt the movie very confrontational again about death and a person’s value (similar to Air Force One) but I enjoyed this more.

The film also made me think about what I would feel if the ship was going to go down and I knew I was going to die!

Came out of the film quite shocked – I didn’t know what to think – I didn’t say anything for a while.

My mind was going over the film – I really did enjoy it. One of the best films I’ve seen all year. So graphic.

We walked down George St to the Soccer Connection where Geoff got his Christmas present – an Arsenal away shirt.

We then walked to Central and caught the 6:00pm train home. Mum and I talked. We mainly talked about the film. Mum is a wealth of knowledge on the Titanic for she wrote a school magazine article on it.

We got home fine and Mum and I cooked up a huge stir fry for tea. It was nice – but there was lots of food. We talked mainly about the Titanic and the 2nd World War.

Rhapsody in Blue – Thursday 19th February 1998

I got changed (appropriately into a blue shirt and blue trousers) and eventually Geoff and I left. We caught a bus to the city.

Geoff and I got to the city and found Mum/Dad, Heather and Neil.

We decided where to heave tea – the little Chinese place where I went last year with people from our EPT. We got there, ordered and ate. It was cheap, fast and very filling. We chatted and laughed – it was very good.

Then we walked down to the Opera House.

Went in – got a program and went into the Opera House. The Sydney Symphony Orchestra were there warming up. It was great. Jack and Marlene were there (they filled up the extra ticket and also the one filled by Chris not being there).

Anyway eventually the thing got started – it was called ‘Rhapsody in Blue – A Gershwin Spectacular!!’

We started off ‘Strike up the Band: overture’ and it was great.

Then we had a singer ‘Caroline O’Conner’ and she sang a medley ‘I got Rhythm’, ‘Embraceable You’, ‘The Man I love’ and ‘Fascinating Rhythm’. It was brilliant. She was a tremendous singer and it was magnificent.

Then the orchestra played another medley which was magnificent. It finished to a rousing applause.

Jack and Marlene said to Heather – thank Chris for not coming – it’s been great!!

During the interval walked around with Neil and Heather and chatted – it really is a magnificent location the Opera House.

Then we went back inside for the highlight – ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ – it was played by a kid in Year 12!!! (Simon Tedeschi)

But eventually it started and I was totally captivated. The piece of music I have been agonising over in the last 6 months or so and here it was being played brilliantly.

I totally loved it – and it was absolutely magnificent. The applause went on and on, my hands got sore but it was brilliant – thoroughly enjoyable.

Then we had another singing medley but it was a bit of an anticlimax compared to Rhapsody in Blue. She sang SWonderful as an encore which was great. 

Then the orchestra did a sympphonic suite from Porgy and Bess and did Summertime as an encore.

It had been a totally brilliant show. I had enjoyed it immensely.

We walked out and Mum asked me what I thought – I said, ‘I’ve got a long way to go’. 

We said goodbye to Jack and Marlene and then we went to Maccas and got a sundae. 

Heather was recounting to us that she went along to a Johnny O’Keefe tribute concert once and she was expecting him to come out and perform. During the performance she asked, ‘When is Johnny coming out?’ The person next to her replied, ‘Heather, it’s a tribute concert – we’ve heard 20 minutes of his music already’

Heather is so funny.

Anyway said farewell and caught a bus home.

The Messiah – 17th December 2000

Luke Deller and Damo arrive and chatted to them for a bit. Then I headed off – off to the city to listen to Handel’s Messiah.

Got to Town Hall and waited for Mum and Dad – eventually I found them. We then went in. A big crowd, the thing was sold out.

Went in and found our seats – they were near the back.

The huge choir was massed, it was quite a sight – 600 people sitting ready to sing.

Eventually the performance began and I listened to Handel’s Messiah. It was fantastic – they sang ‘For unto us a child is born’ and ‘O thou that tellest’ (I did that back in my days at Adam’s Grammar) and it sounded great.

In the interval I saw a couple of girls I knew. Mum said to me ‘why can’t you get any of these girls that you know?’

Anyway, then the second half of the Messiah and it was fabulous. The Hallelujah chorus was quite amazing – I have rarely felt so many goose bumps in one song! To hear 600 voices sing, quite brilliant. I think it could be a small foretaste of heaven. I was also made glad by the differences between men and women, the richness in contrast between the sopranos and the bass’s, the altos and the tenors. Music woven together intricately.

Eventually the performance finished and it was over. Mum and Dad had really enjoyed it. It was nice to be able to treat them to it.

Mamma Mia! – 7th December 2002

Then I got ready for the evening and I got changed and went into the city. I wore my pink shirt and I met mum and she said I looked charming in my pink shirt!

We then chatted and walked down to Darling Harbour where we found a cafe, Cafe B&C (another entertainment book saving). It was really nice and I was really hungry. I had hokkien noodles and we shared some wedges.

We paid and then left and got an ice cream which was nice. 

We talked some more and then we headed over to Star City and the Lyric Theatre for Mamma Mia!

We arrived and eventually moved in.

The auditorium was totally full and we had quite good seats in the dress circle.

The musical began and it was great to have all the of the Abba songs woven into a story. I really enjoyed the music and more importantly mum really enjoyed the show.

They included most of Abba’s big hits, the only ones I could think of that were missing were ‘Ring Ring’ and ‘Fernando’. But ‘Take a Chance’ was very funny and well woven in.

I really didn’t like the way that marriage was portrayed as an institution though. The 20 year old decided not to get married to her boy because, ‘we still have our whole lives ahead of us’.

Overall mum really enjoyed it and I found it ok. I liked the finish when they sang Mamma Mia and then Waterloo with the colourful flashy costumes! They were great.

Then it finished and we raced up to Central making the 11:09pm mountains train on time (how many times have I caught that??) Then mum and I got home to Penrith.

Mum thanked me for a great night, then a hot shower and bed.

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Another of Mum’s great passions was ‘Fair Trade’ i.e. paying a higher price for goods to allow people in the developing world to get a fair price for their products. We sold Fair Trade goods 30 years ago when we lived in the UK and Mum was always a passionate Fair Trade advocate. One of her more recent projects was the Springwood Fair Trade fair. It was mum’s initiative and she worked very hard to make the fair work.

I realised how important this was to Mum so I took Aiden and Aoife up with me to Sydney for the weekend to be there for the inaugural Springwood Fair Trade Fair.

Saturday 17th November 2012

Today was the big day – the Springwood Uniting Church Fair Trade fair. Mum and Dad were up very early and went off. Geoff was here and helped get Aiden and Aoife ready. We had breakfast and went down to the Springwood church at 9am.

I arrived and walked in, already at 9am the market was going well, lots of stallholders and people were buying. It got steadily better and better. The fair turned out to be a resounding success.

I hung out with Aiden and Aoife and we wandered around. We explored the grounds. I chatted with a few people – Anthony and Pat Head. The kids enjoyed some morning tea and we played in the creche room. We played there for a while. We also went for a couple of walks and the kids liked that.

All the while, the fair trade fair went very well. A huge number of people and I could see that it was going well.

I saw Neil Cottle (& Ainslie) now with 2 children! I also saw Justine Jenner (with 4 children) and also Damien. It was really great to see them, we had a nice chat for a while but it was way too short. We had some lunch and a brief chat with Damien, they were going ok.

They had to go on, it was nice to see them. Soon the fair trade fair wound down. Aiden and Aoife were getting tired, it had been pretty boring for them. At a bit after 2pm we headed off [Oh it had also been nice to see Joan & Alastair and Dianne].

Geoff drove us home and Aiden and Aoife watched some TV. We watched TV until 3:30pm. Then hung out outside, we played in the billycart and did a few other things.

Mum and Dad came home and were pleased with how the fair had gone. They talked about it.

We went for a late afternoon walk and Geoff went ahead. I was left with Aoife at the rear. We eventually caught up.

We ordered some Chinese take-away for dinner and we ate that. The kids ate ok. They were tired and we had them in to bed at 7pm.

I showed some YouTube videos to Mum and Dad and then we talked a bit about the fair trade fair. It really had gone well and there were a number of things for them to talk about. They were both very tired.

They went to bed and I wrote in here.

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Mum loved all things to do with the Titanic. She read books about the Titanic, watched movies about the Titanic and we even got her and Dad a model Titanic for Christmas one year. So last year I thought it would be a nice opportunity to treat Mum and Dad to a night out at the Titanic Theatre Restaurant in Williamstown in Melbourne. Mum and Dad had looked after the kids for a week whilst Di and I had a week away to celebrate 10 years of marriage. We were on our way back and we wanted to surprise them…

Friday 29th November 2013

We drove back to Melbourne. We arrived at about 3pm and we arrived and walked to the school where we saw Mum and Dad taking the three kids home. The kids were happy to see us, particularly Aoife (she was happy to see Di).

We then walked back home and Di and I gave the kids their presents and we had some afternoon tea. We chatted a bit about the week. The kids were happy to see us.

We then started getting ready to leave. Jacob Crane arrived to do some babysitting. Di and I were heading out with Mum and Dad. We left at 5:30pm.

We drove to Williamstown and parked. We arrived at 6pm. We were going to the Titanic theatre restaurant. It was a present for Mum and Dad.

We arrived and after a bit of uncertainty we got some drinks from the bar. We hung about and soon our names were called out. We left the bar and went around outside to the ‘Steerage’ entrance (they were the tickets I’d purchased). We were greeted by a guy, ‘Butthole’ or something, an actor. We went inside, into a ‘lift’ and through some themed area, we got our photo taken and then were shown to our table. We were the first ones there. It was 6:30pm and we sat there for quite a while.

There were a lot of other tables and chairs out (probably 100 or so). We sat and talked for quite a while. Others gradually arrived until by about 7:30pm the place was fairly full.

The Titanic Theatre Restaurant was decked out in a themed style – we were in ‘Steerage’ so we had a lot of imitation metal etc. First class were upstairs.

We got our entrees, which were quite nice. Eventually the rest of the people arrived. There were a number of large groups. It seemed like it was the kind of thing you’d take a large party to.

Some arrived already seemingly having consumed a lot of alcohol. People kept buying drinks.

We had some entertainment which was ok. We had two main actors and they had a bit of a routine. The captain was upstairs in first class.

There were times when it was hard to figure out what was going on and even though the floor above moved, we couldn’t really see what was happening upstairs.

There were several audience participation moments. I got up to do a life jacked demonstration with about 10 others. We did the Gangnam Style – the crowd seemed to like it. There was Irish dancing, a couple of songs, ‘First Class Girl’ – to Uptown Girl.

The food was very nice, we enjoyed our mains. The evening seemed to go on and on. 

There was a burlesque girl who came in and sidled up to virtually every male in the room. She did a little dance and twirled Dad’s tie which was quite amusing. 

We got our desserts and could’t wait for the ship to go down.

There were some ‘telegrams’ which made us feel like the evening was a bit like the end of a wedding when everyone was drunk and now came the ‘telegrams’. 

We waited to see how the ship went down, so we waited and waited.

Eventually at about 10:10pm we had the final dramatic section, where the ship was going down. I felt it was the best part of the ‘entertainment’. Yet we were all saved by the Carpathia and went to New York where they sang New York and there was a Statue of Liberty outside.

Completely cheesy, but completely in line with the rest of the evening.

We were relieved when everything was over. The bar was still open and there were many drunk people there (there had been a number of people who had hardly been inside during the evening). We got a couple of momentos and then we headed off.

It certainly wasn’t the evening I’d expected, but I did describe it as a ‘night to remember!’

We laughed as we recounted the evening.

We drove back home and Jacob was in good spirits.

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