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December 2008

The winds have dropped giving us a hint that nature has finally decided it's Summer in Canberra. The forecast today is 12-29C which is not too shabby. But if only we could get some decent RAIN! Four years of drought and not much chance of a change. Over 30,000 mature government trees lost and probably as many again from people's gardens. And let's not discuss the financial situation......
Now the whinges are out of the way we can talk about the good stuff.

Our biggest news this year was the birth of Sheri and Tim's son. Strict instructions were issued shortly after the wedding last year. I presented Tim with a family tree starting from the mid-1600s showing that he was the last of the Saxon line in Australia. No pressure of course. Probably despite our best advice Bailey Kendall Saxon was born on 30th April and he is an absolute delight. Such a happy baby - he started to crawl a few days ago and soon nothing will be safe.
We have lost some good friends recently and have been to altogether too many funerals. I used to leave scanning the death notices to Betty but I have to confess that I do check them out from time to time. The circle of life continues...

During the year we did some major refurbishing of our lounge room and terrace. Apart from anything else this involved removing 3 large terrace windows, making good and painting inside and out. It was easier to paint the outside of the window frames from inside, rather than putting up scaffolding as they were two floors up. So some of the work involved me doing my best Bat imitation while wielding a paint brush. And I didn't realise quite how many lights and power points needed removing and replacing etc. Prior to that effort Betty and I had been going to the gym twice a week. But it's much easier to stop than to re-start.

On the plus side we have been climbing up Mt.Taylor occasionally (we live on it's slopes). The top is only about 300 vertical meters above our house. but it's a good climb and something we hadn't done for at least 5 years. But the path to the top was recently greatly improved and it's now much easier than it used to be (but quite a lot longer).

On the travel front we spent a week or so down in the Victorian highlands at Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. Stayed in an 1890s B & B which was really nice but no air conditioning of course. Not too good as the weather topped 40C some days. A fun side trip was a visit to the Sovereign Hill recreation of a gold mining town from the mid 19th century at Ballarat. What I enjoyed the most was the school kids who dressed up in the period clothes and got a dose of school and life back then. Normally a proportion of kids on school excursions may 'play up' a bit, but they were all behaving incredibly well. I think they were really getting into the spirit of the times!
Then in late Oct/early Nov we took a trip to Bali - the first time we have visited. We stayed in Sanur on the other side of the peninsular from Kuta where most young Aussies seem to go. The hotel was right on the beach and the gardens were fabulous. They swept the lawns in case a Hibiscus flower had fallen. At least 3 Buddhist temples in the grounds plus 3 perfect swimming pools for the 'decadent Westerners'. A 3 piece band to accompany breakfast etc. Along the beach there were 2-300 shops some only about 2 X 3M plus many restaurants with tables on the sand. We felt very sorry for the Balinese who are 90% Buddhist but Indonesia as a whole is 90% Muslim. So our Government advises us not to visit but the population in Bali is so heavily reliant on tourism that most people are really suffering. So we made sure that we spent plenty of money!


I am still running what seems to be like a 24/7 computer phone & Email help desk. Plus remote assistance via the net and a couple of home visits or more every week. If nothing else it keeps the brain ticking over and I do rather enjoy showing off my skills which have developed over the years. I'm also starting to get reasonably heavily into organising our reunion for the 40th anniversary of Apollo-11. Betty works constantly at craft for presents and things for the grandkids etc. All our children and their families are well, and so are we after you subtract all the various aches and pains associated with advancing years, If you want more detailed family news - you might like to checkout Betty's letter here.


Have a wonderful Christmas and a superb 2009 - Love and best wishes from John & Betty Saxon.


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