From first boyfriends to Black Caviar. School bus bullies to our lost dog. Looking back at a memorable first year.

January 3, 2012

It’s a new year. I’m assuming you’ve all returned to some level of sobriety. To celebrate, let’s take a journey back in time, to the old year.

This blog came to life last March. The result of a dislocated ankle, that had me laid up at home for weeks, on the brink of outright insanity.

Someone, somewhere, suggested I start writing about stuff. So I did, with a bung leg pointing skywards.

Over time, it developed into a twice-weekly affair. Life, laughs and the family on a Tuesday; racing and sport on a Saturday.

Quite a mix. Something for everyone. Or, two piles of crud to be totally ignored.

The kids have featured prominently. For the most part, they’re fine with that. They usually get a giggle from it all.

To share details of their dance concerts is great fun. Possibly sleep-inducing for some. But still great fun.

Tales of my first meeting with Daughter Two’s boyfriend tickled a few of you. Horrified the ladies. Mortified Daughter Two.

Lots identified with my feelings at watching my other little girl become The Teenager. Dads everywhere were nodding quietly.

I’ve found myself thinking more about the old days. My childhood. Mum and Dad. Trying to recall the people and events that shaped me.

From feedback you’ve given me, we like the reminiscing. Simple things. Like playing outside as a kid every afternoon. Mum’s cooking. And facing up to bullies on the old school bus.

Of late, we’ve shared details of our first jobs. Sacrifices our parents made at Christmas. Many of you had similar memories. And how those of our generation (definition – old farts), are paying the price for being kids who didn’t know what sunscreen was.

There have been stories through the year that have been shared on Facebook and Twitter. The marvels of social media. So great to be a part of it.

The tale of our lost dog Coco has gone far and wide in recent days. Sadly, she’s still missing. But the support and encouragement we’ve received has been nothing short of amazing. Thank you.

We talked State of Origin. Those outside of Queensland and New South Wales were probably scratching their heads. No problems there. It’s only for a few weeks.

Something that did strike a chord was when a bloke becomes eligible to officially support his adopted state. Ten years? Twenty years? Never? Everyone had an opinion.

The debate even slipped into the mainstream media, in the days after the blog ran. That was a first. Maybe a coincidence. Maybe not. We’ll have another crack at it this year. Go the Maroons.

Not all of you are interested in the Saturday racing pieces. That’s ok. Racing is a passion of mine. I’d write about it even if no-one was reading. Which is sometimes the case.

It was a joy to describe the jubilation at Doomben, when Black Caviar came to town. Tears and cheers at a packed racecourse. Something we haven’t experienced for years.

We were able to have a giggle at kooky Kim Kardashian being scratched from Melbourne Cup week. And my excitement at the tradition of going to Stradbroke Day with a much-loved childhood mate.

Sad times too. Young Corey Gilby’s tragic death at a country race meeting. And the pain that lingers, after losing the amazingly talented Stathi Katsidis, way too young.

Then there was the highly sought after Melbourne Cup guide. Great fun. Of course, my top selection was scratched on Cup morning. And I gave the winner no chance. Who else can boast that sort of strike rate?

You can find all these stories and more in the blog archive. That is, if you care. And you are so mind-numbingly bored that you actually want to read more. That also tells me that you probably need to see a doctor of some kind.

Don’t forget, you can subscribe, so you never miss a word. Twice a week, direct to your e-mail address. Fill out the box at the top of the Hold All Tickets page. It’s free. Or, sign up someone you don’t like. Now that would be funny.

So, to the year ahead. There’ll be more fun. A few laughs hopefully. A crook tip or two. And a look back every now and then, at how things used to be.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. It means a lot.

Who would have thought that getting busted up doing the gardening at my mother-in-law’s place, would lead to all this? Lucky for me, fact around here is almost always stranger than fiction.

The power of daytime television … and why gardening is the new contact sport.

April 5, 2011

Funny what daytime tv can teach you.

Did you know that the Ab Circle Pro can get rid of flabby love handles? And that you can have funeral costs covered for just 25 cents a day? That might provide loved ones with just enough to farewell you in a cardboard box. 

I know all this because I’ve been sitting at home for the past month, with a leg in the air.

That’s not some form of kinky celebration. It’s how one recovers from a dislocated ankle. And torn ligaments. And bone fractures. A serious, painful, nasty injury usually suffered by elite sports folk in high impact activities.

I would love nothing better than to tell you how I misjudged my skydive, or won the game in the final seconds for a ridiculously fit Masters Touch football side.

No, that would be fibbing. The truth is, I’m one of a growing number of mature men badly injured while gardening.

The list becomes a little smaller when it’s revealed that it was a hedging accident at the mother-in-law’s place.

My misfortune has provided relatives with weeks of giggles and a lifetime of stories for Christmas lunch. It happened while we were all taking part in the first, and last, family working bee.

Somehow, I was the only one to end up in hospital. I’m certain the rest polished off a fancy seafood feast. They reckon they didn’t because they were too upset. Yeah right. Fresh tiger prawns wait for no man, no matter where his foot happens to be pointing.

Anyway, the finer details aren’t important. You probably know anyway, if you’re a member of the Facebook page “Pansies injured while gardening.”

What my home detention has done is allow me to spend some quality time with loved ones. For the first week. After that, phrases like “get it yourself” and “it must be better now” rang loud across the house. They’re a tough breed, these women.

Once the sympathy well ran dry, I turned to tv. And took a stroll back to my childhood.

With the help of a large black comfy recliner, as favoured in most nursing home common rooms, I settled in to make the best of a bad situation.

Movies I haven’t seen for years. Books that needed reading. And Prisoner.

Each midday, as I made a sandwich of whatever scraps the girls had left at breakfast, I would go back in time to join the female inmates of the Wentworth Detention centre.

Remember Bea Smith? Queen Bea ran things inside. When I caught up with the show she’d just been let out on parole. After a nice lunch and a new hairdo, she shot her old man. Bea was back inside before I’d finished my milk.

Franky Doyle the lesbian and dopey Doreen escaped. They stole a kid’s fish and chips, dressed up as nuns, and managed to stay on the run until my physio appointment. For all I know they could still be offering blessings at church fetes.

The crazy thing is, I remembered watching this rubbish, all those years ago. Mum loved it, God bless her. It was a family favourite. And here I was, confined to quarters, once again celebrating the antics and overacting of the girls in H block.

Other small screen memories flooded back. Green Acres. The Cosby Show. Murphy Brown. And every few days Peter Falk would return as the bumbling detective Columbo.

They all provided their own flashbacks to happy times. Nice memories. And a welcome distraction from a crook foot.

The girls from Prisoner did their bit to keep insanity at bay. I think. I’ll know for sure when I get back to reality this week.

There’ll be no marathons in the near future. Walking to the back fridge will do just fine.

I’ll be wary of nuns working in pairs for a while. The good news is that I won’t be needing that funeral coverage just yet. And I could be wrong, but I reckon my abs are really starting to take shape.