Friday, November 30, 2007

All Cherries Aren’t “Cherry” Nice.

Although not a real orchard worker, I have worked on a few orchards doing casual work. Mostly fruit picking, even if only briefly. The briefest would have been one day, picking Grapes in Mildura. It was only ever going to be one day for which I was very grateful. For after 6 hours in the hot sun with a bent back, I could tell it was not an occupation I would like.

Since then I have picked apples, pears, nectarines, plums and a few lemons.

As well as that, for the first 28 years of my life my father had a fruit round and during that time for just under 3 years I had my own Green grocers shop, followed by another 6 years working in the fruit and veggie sections of Supermarkets. So much of my life I have been around fresh fruit one way or another and have a great appreciation of it.

As well I have also been around gardening most of my life and love that too, as a relaxation as much as anything.

Now despite these two great appreciations I have neve been attracted to the marriage of the two and growing Fruit trees for their fruit.

Apart from a couple of Feijoas at various places I can’t remember ever planting a fruit tree for myself, although I have planted a lot of peach and nectarine trees at one Orchard I worked at.

Me and fruit trees are only together if I move into a place that already has them, such as our new residence.

When we moved in, we found some grape vines along one side of the house and three fruit trees out the back. As they were dormient we had no idea what they were.

Watching them bud, flower and put out leaves and finally fruit, I was quickly able to identify the Apricot tree and a bit later the Plum tree from its fruit, but it took awhile to identify the final one.

Of all fruit, my all-time favourites would be Sultana Grapes (Known by some as Thompson’s Seedless) and big black cherries. And especially the Cherries because their season is so short.

So you can imagine my joy when I discovered the third tree was a cherry tree.

Recently I discovered that instead of being big and Black they were small and Red.

None the less I eagerly tried one, and was transported back in time to my childhood.

I don’t know if they were on the place when Grandfather bought it or whether he planted them but in my youth Dad had 5 or 6 small old Cherry trees in the back yard, and I still remember my first taste of them. It was the same as recently with those in our new back yard.

They were terrible. I won’t tell you the word my youngest used to describe the taste as you might wonder what we normally feed her. Lets just say both varieties are not eating varieties. MY father's were of the Jam making type and I suspect that that is all those in our back yard are good for too!

Isn’t that a bit like life? Whilst many things have the same name or of the same general type, they can be very, very different in reality and unless we are aware of this, we will be taken by surprise like I was with the taste of these cherries.

There is nothing really wrong with the Cherries other than that they are not the type I want. Sometime we don’t know or realize that there are different types of things like with the cherries, that are all suitable for their own specific purpose but not necessarily for our own desired purpose.

Now in my case there is nothing I can do as they belong to the Landlord. But if you are starting out to do something for the first time, do your homework first.

Don’t just rush out and buy the first "Cherry tree” or whatever you want, until you have checked out that it is the right type or variety for your need. For many things, like the Cherry tree, it will take many years of work and expense before you get your first fruit and you don’t want to waste all that time, effort and money on Jam Cherries when you want eating cherries or vice a versa, do you?

Before you rush into anything new check it all out very thoroughly and make sure you know as mush as possible or is needed to make the right choice.

Otherwise you may just have to live with the resulting problems and loose your investment.

Either that or make Cherry Jam! What say you?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Looking Cool, Or Looking A Fool?

Was down at our local Shopping Centre recently and saw a unique hair cut/style on an otherwise ordinary, prosperous looking young businessman. Now I have seen some interesting hairstyles in the past and even in this same shopping centre, but this one was unusual and unique in my sight. Although the guy had his sleeves rolled up to reveal tatts on his arms, he was dressed in a suit and looked quite respectable and unusual except for his hair.

It was nearly all cut very short and was little more than fuzzy dark brown all over except for an area from his ears around the front, which was dyed/ peroxided blonde and cut higher in the shape roughly of a Tiara that princesses are supposed to wear.

It was quite unusual and I hadn’t quite made up my mind as to what I really thought of it apart from strange, but by then had passed him and was a little in front when a lady about my age and her mother came around the corner and spotted him. Well, the changed look on their faces was priceless, as was their laughter as I heard one mention something about his hair.

As I laughed at their reaction I couldn’t help pondering what he really thought of it and how it made him feel. I’m sure that he thought he was so cool and unusual, but that is not how most surely saw him.

How about you? Forget your hair for now, but how are you presenting yourself to the world?

Are you trying to stand out from the crowd and “Look Cool” but in fact end up just looking a fool?

I realise that this guy is looking for attention and had he had a normal haircut without the peroxide, I probably would never had noticed him, but does he really want to be noted, not as cool but as a fool, by the numberless majority?

What about you? Are you trying to stand out from the crowd the wrong way? Are you coming across as cool or a fool? Is that how you really want to present yourself to the world? What say you?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Obsessed or dedicated?

As mentioned in earlier blog, I used to work for a guy who, as a retirement hobby, grew a few camellias. A few thousand that is.

Now you may wonder why he grew so many and what he did with them. In my previous blog I explained that he was interested in trying to grow and name new types of flowers. In other words, to introduce to the public a ‘New’ Camellia. I don’t know how many different types and colours of Camellias there are already but there are heaps, and so finding a new one was never going to be easy, hence the large number of seedlings he grew each year, in the hope of finding that elusive one. Which I also mentioned previously he did, once! But what did he do with the literally thousands of un-needed plants?

Well Camellias, as well as being slow to germinate from seed and needing up to seven years to flower for the first time, are also not very vigorous growers, particularly with some of the more desirables colours. So what happens is that when the plant flowers and is assessed as not being suitable to grow on for its own flowers, it is put aside as Graft stock.

Here the whole plant (5 – 7 years of growth,) is chopped off a few inches from the ground and a cutting or graft from a more desirable named-variety is grafted on and this new plant grows on the old rootstock, and thus more named varieties become readily available. Not that my friend ever sold many.

As stated previously money was not the issue here. Propagating and promoting camellias was!

During my time there, although technically I worked for his son, when work was “light”, I spent a bit of time helping “Dad” with his “Babies”. Even to the point of helping him take and plant many of these new named plants over to the Olinda Rhododendron Gardens where they graciously set aside a large area for the Camellias to be grown. So most of Len’s earlier rejects were turned into more desirable plants and given to the community for future generations to admire.

Anyway as work was “Light” for a while, I moved on. Some ten years later I found myself as temporary Pastor of Wagga-Ashmont Church in Wagga Wagga briefly (before we headed of overseas for Missionary work). By that time Len had passed on but his legacy to the Camellia community hadn’t. You see in Wagga Wagga’s Botanical garden they had put in a Chinese Camellia Garden with the help of a Sister City in China. Of course most of the Camellias plants were Australian sourced. And on the Plaque at the gates of this garden are listed about 20 of the plant sponsors to this Project. Prominent among them is the name of my friend and his wife. Although He would have shunned the personal publicity, he would be among the first to step up to promote any project that would promote his beloved Camellias.

Even when planting at the Rhododendron Gardens, he was aware that, as Camellias were slow growing, that he would never see the established plants in their full glory, but he was committed to leave them behind not for his own enjoyment or benefit but for the benefit of future generations.

So you see a lot of time and effort, literally years of time and effort, went into a project that he would never fully see to its full glory, and it not only never gave him anything financially, but cost him financially, it did give him the chance to do what he loved and the opportunity to add something “new” hopefully to the Camellia world and even to giving the Wider Garden world and general public a thing of beauty and joy.

How about you? Do you see everything you do or try only in personal or financial terms or are you prepared to give of yourself for years to try and give something back to the world. Something that you may never live to see and appreciate fully but countless generations will? What say you?

Some might have said Len was obsessed but thousands now know that he was simple dedicated to his beloved Camellias. And I dedicate this Blog to the Living Memory off the late Leonard Ingsley Hobbs.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A few Camellias?

I mentioned in my earlier blog that I used to work for a guy who grew a few camellias. What I didn’t mention was that it was only a hobby for him in his retirement years. I did also say that he only grew a few. A few thousand that is.

Now you may ask why he grew so many and what he did with them. I will answer the latter question in another blog but for why he grew so many, I can explain.

The first reason was, because he could. His family had all grown up and were successful and taken over the family business and he had more money than he could otherwise spend so he spent some of it on Camellias. So He grew the seedlings at his home and then grew the plants onto the flowering stage at the Business’ country property where I worked alongside my brother.

The other main reason was, that he was not just into growing Camellias but he was into trying to propagate and find new types or colours in the flowers.

Many Camellias set seeds but the seeds themselves require special conditions to make them sprout, so whilst I have done it a few times, it is not an easy process. Secondly Camellias take up to seven years to flower before you have any idea what the colour or shape of the flower may be. And of the thousands literally that one might grow, although the flowers may be very pretty, the chances of getting a completely different and desirable flower/plant are few and far between. I don’t know how many thousands of Camellia seedlings my friend Len grew but I do know that He only ‘found’ one uniquely different enough to name and mass-produce and put on the commercial market. Its name was Pavlova, named after the desert Pavlova that was served one night at a Camellia Society Dinner in Honour of some visiting American Camellia lovers.

And I think by the time it was publicly released he had passed on. So you see a lot of time and effort, literally years of time and effort, went into a project that gave little to him personally financially but it did give him the chance to do what he loved and the opportunity to add something “new” hopefully to the Camellia world.

So you see a lot of work and a lot of plants, for just the sniff of finding something different. In my next blog I will tell you what Len did with his excess plants. Bur for now what about your hobby? How about you? Do you see everything you do or try, only in financial terms or are you prepared to give of yourself for years if necessary, to try and give something back to the world. Is there something that you would love to do and can afford to do that you could do? Not for your own benefit but for the wider community?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Renewing Old Leaves.

It was stinking hot today and I walked outside past a couple of Camellia Bushes in our new yard. I have yet to see them in flower so can’t tell you what colour they are yet but I noticed that some of the old leaves were rather spotty.

I used to work for a guy who grew a few camellias and so I did pick up a little about their habits and needs. For instance, although they are best suited for filtered light or shade, some plants cope with full sun quite well. As a general rule of thumb though, it is the darker colours that flourish in the sun. Therefore the lighter the colour, right down to white, the more shade the better.

Also, although they can be sprinkled with water from above, it is best not to do so on a hot day as the sun often boils the water on the leaves before it has had time to be absorbed in or to evaporate from. If you do sprinkle them on a hot day and they burn and become spotty, you have to put up with them till the new growth replaces them. The only problem there is that it takes the Camellia bush three years to completely renew all its old leaves. So you can burn and ruin the look of your Camellia plant in a matter of a few hours, but have to wait as long three years to have it re-fresh itself fully.

A lot of our mistakes are a bit like that aren’t they? Easy to make but hard to cover up. So what do we do? Well mistakes will always happen no matter how careful we are, so when they do we just have to fix them up as best we can and live with the results.

With that in mind though, it is a wise move, is it not, to make sure every time you do something, that you do it properly at the start and take no short cuts or chances on mistakes happening.

It may be an old saying of my mother’s but the old maxim of, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

So what are you doing right now that a little more care and prevention now will save you heartache and eyesores well into the Future. Just something for you to ponder on for today.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Big Fish Small Pond - negatives.

As you probably know by now, I love pet fish and have had, and still have both tropical and Coldwater fish. As stated in other blogs, one problem with keeping fish is that you sometimes end up with fish that become too aggressive. Another problem is that there are just so many interesting fish out there that there is the problem of having to decide what types, varieties and even size fish you will have in your tank.

If you are fortunate and have the space, (& a lovely wife who will let you have more than one tank in the house,) that is not too insurmountable a problem and you can have separate tanks for different size fish. Smallish ones in one and biggish ones in another. {And if you are really lucky even a third tank for some others, who you would not normally put with your favourites.}

An altogether amicable arrangement, accept for one thing. What to do with the occasional fish that doesn’t clearly fit either designation and you have to decide whether to make it a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond?

Some people are a bit like this big fish - small fish Conundrum. Putting them in a small pond makes then the BIG Fish. If they are of benign character this is no problem. However if they are an aggressive specimen and have no bigger fish to keep that aggression in Check they can be disruptive to the whole eco system of the pond. Which being small offers little to protect the little ones from these aggressors.

How to handle the problem? Remove any and all aggressors either completely or to a bigger tank if possible/ practical, where they will be relegated to their proper place in the pond’s “Pecking order”. Alternatively move most if not all the smaller fish to a bigger tank where they will have the opportunity to ‘Shine” without constantly being bullied by not necessarily more important fish, just bigger aggressive ones.

Restoring and maintaining a happy environment is all important whether in a fish tank or the work place. Where do you fit in and do you need a change of fish tanks? Not necessarily for your own sake but for the sake of the others, because you have simply become too big (even if only in your own head) for the common good.

Again what can you do to restore the natural or safe environment? Over to You: Walter.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Stupidest question to Richie Benaud,

I know that there are some parts of the world where Cricket is not big, but where it is, so is the name Richie Benaud. Richie is the Doyen of Cricket Commentators, both in England and Australia, where he commentates on both Countries’ Home Summer seasons. He has done this for so long that recently he was able to say that he had not experienced a winter in over 30 years, as he is in England during their summer series and in Australia during Ours. As well as writing 7 books on cricket he has been commentating for BBC Television in England since 1960 and Australian Television since 1977, so is well known to TV viewers and mobbed every where he goes. But just how well do his so-called fans know him and his background?

The other day, in a Newspaper article he was asked what is the question you are most asked? He replied, “Did you ever play first Class Cricket?”

Talk about a stupid question. Talk about knowing somebody and yet knowing nothing about them at all! When I told my First-born about this question, she just rolled her eyes, as if to say, “Just how stupid are some people?”

To answer that question I can’t, because you see anyone who has ever watched the Cricket on TV for any length of time can’t help but hear references made by others to Richie about cricket during his (Benaud’s) playing days. Yes he played first class cricket. Yes he played for Australia. Some 65 Tests in fact. Not only did he play for Australia in Cricket but he also captained the Test Team for 28 of his 65 Tests, never loosing a series under his captaincy. Not only that but he is also one of only 10 Australian Cricketers to score 10,000 runs and take 500 wickets.

But and apparently this is the big problem, that was long, long ago and it seems forgotten too. It seems many today are only interested in his current fame and not his whole game. Thus they know of him; know what he looks like, but know nothing about him. Hence the stupid question. Not once but repeatedly too!

So how well do you know someone you profess to admire, someone always before your eyes, but not necessarily your thoughts? With an election coming up soon I think it is a relevant question. On what do you base your admiration/ support? The few sound bites on TV with out any regard to where they came from or how? Some fancy thoughts but with no thought or any idea on what they base their thoughts and ideas on? Are these personal thoughts from experience, or the ideas of others, whether tested or still untested?

Of course I think it goes without saying that this assessment is relevant all the time too and not just at elections. So on what do you base ‘Your Hero Worship” On a partial knowledge of the person and facts? Or on a complete knowledge of the subject of your current attention.

Finally, how do you deal with stupid questions like this? Questions that would never be asked if people really knew you and not just knew about you? It seems to me that these people are only flocking to Richie because he is somebody “Famous’ but they don’t really know why. Nether the less they want to be able to boast that they spoke with somebody famous but then show their ignorance with their in ane questions.

What about you? Do you always think before you speak, or do you just ‘gush out’ the first things that come to mind? Over to you for your reflection. Walter

Friday, November 9, 2007

Too Aggressive?

As stated in other blogs, I love pet fish and have had many over the years, both tropical and Coldwater fish. Love em, even if “you can’t take a goldfish for a walk”! However, as with everything, there are occasional problems. One such problem with keeping fish, of either type, is that you sometimes end up with one or more that become too aggressive and bossy for a small communal tank and have to be removed or kept alone.

If you have the tanks and space this can be a viable and practical solution enabling you to keep all of them, just separately, that’s all. However, sometimes and mostly most often, this becomes too impractical as you can quickly run out of tanks or room to put all these tanks, or both. Thus a sacrifice has to be made. Either to get rid of the other fish and keep the aggressive one, or to keep the non- trouble fish and get rid of the aggressor. Neither is necessarily nice or desired, but often it is the only practical solution.

Sometimes I think life, (particularly in regard to work situations,) is a little like a fish tank. People from all different backgrounds and types and ages are put together in an artificial environment and told to get on with it. When everyone is swimming in the same direction every thing is fine but when someone tries to dominate or claim exclusive rights to certain areas, trouble can arise. Now a little aggression in life is a good thing and there are some people who I have met who need to find a little in their lives. Mostly however, we find one or two, otherwise fine and desirable specimens, who have just a tad too much aggression for the welfare of the whole group. And unless something is done to control or remove that aggression, the whole group will suffer and be stressed even if it is just trying to avoid confrontation.

How is your work situation? Is there an aggressor in it that needs to be reigned in? Worse, is that aggressor you?

Remember, a little aggression is a good thing, but too much of a good thing is not. Maybe you need to stop and smell the “seaweed” for a while and take a realistic stock of your present “Pond environment” and your role in making it a happy and productive place. What say you?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lawn mower Diet.

I am the sort of person who has never had to watch my weight or diet my whole life. It may be more by good luck and genes than good management, but it is a fact. So diets don’t have any attraction to me. However it is increasingly being pushed in all the media that Australia is fast over coming America in the race to be the most obese Country in the world. Hence there has been a massive increase in the advertising, promotion and inventing of diets.

The Media has been full of it lately. On the current affairs programs of late have been a couple of more innovative yet still practical ones introduced to the world at large.

One was the Clothesline diet. Where a young lady self-conscious of the stares of others, would not go walking in public, but decided to walk around her ‘clothesline (The rotary Type) for a certain time everyday to substitute for walking in public.

The most recent I heard was a week or so ago and is called the Pram diet. A young first-time mum decided she needed to lose weight and so placing her baby in the pram (What we saw on TV was actually a Stroller) and off she went. First she started going further and further everyday, then she started to add extra weight to the pram such as water and books etc, and then she started recruiting others to walk with her.

{Actually both these ladies wrote books about their diet plans and both added one extra ingredient. An ingredient that all diets must take into consideration at some point and that is, both eating healthier foods and smaller portions.}

It seems to a dumb old layman like myself that when it comes to losing weight, there is no quick and easy solution and the old ways are best. What is the old way? Eat healthy of all 5 food groups; eat smaller portions; and get plenty of exercise.

Now of course we all know that don’t we but we find it hard to do don’t we? Especially the exercise part. That’s where my “New “ Diet comes in. It doesn’t help you in the food department but my diet involves plenty of exercise and plenty of upper and lower body exercises too. What is my fabulous diet secret?

Mowing the lawn! It is a regular activity which, as I said gives you plenty of exercise, and upper and lower body movement too. It is a great exercise and practical way to lose weight isn’t it? After all it is a re-occurring event and something that needs doing anyway and if we don’t do it, we are just going to have to pay someone else to do it aren’t we?

And there in lies one of the great paradoxes of our time. The things we used to do that burnt of excess weight, like house cleaning, mowing, walking the dog, even washing and hanging out the washing is now being out-sourced to others, while we pay fortunes for fancy diets and Gym machines, ‘to try and control” our weight!

Crazy isn’t it? What’s your solution? Mine is just eating properly and doing the “Normal” energy/weight’ burning jobs around the house yourself and saving the money spent on diets and gym equipment, for other things. What say you? Walter

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Cold-Water Fish In A Warm-water Tank.

As stated in other blogs, I love pet fish and have had, and still have both tropical and Coldwater fish. One problem with keeping fish is that you sometimes end up with fish that become too aggressive and bossy for a small communal tank and have to be removed or kept alone, and sometimes this becomes too impractical as you can quickly run out of tanks or room to put all these tanks, or both. Running both Cold water and Tropical fish means that you have to have separate tanks for both varieties, as each one doesn’t always like the temperature of the other’s water as I mentioned in Tropical Fish In A Cold Water Tank?

Now that being said, you can successfully (?) go the other way and put gold fish into a tropical tank if you have to, which I have done. Oft times to the amazement of others! However it is not recommended as a long-term solution, even though there are many short-term benefits. Benefits, such as increased activity and increased growth in size. However to counter all these increases, there is one major decrease and that is in life span. Yes putting a goldfish in warmer water will have short-term benefits but will also result in quicker mortality too!

So, how are you swimming today? Are you swimming in your proper environment and growing naturally or are you swimming in waters not properly suited to you? Oh yes you may even be reaping great short term benefits, but at long term costs as to your health and mortality.

Maybe today is the day when you need to move back to your proper conditions. Maybe watch your diet, your exercise, your free time, your stress levels, your - - - - - (You fill in the Blanks!) Anyhow, it is something to think about isn’t it? Walter

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

What’s Your Focal Point?

On and off, since I was a teenager I have had pet fish, as I have always loved them. Shortly before we found ourselves having to make the decision to leave South Africa to return to Australia, I bought some more Cold-water fish, in an attempt to lower my stress levels.

Obviously now, that wasn’t enough and the painful decision to pull the plug on our work there was made. However before we left South Africa for good, we moved to another site as temporary relief replacements. It was there that I discovered the joy of keeping tropical fish, even if it was only a few Guppies in a Bowl.

So when we did return to Australia and resettled again, I bought myself a big Christmas present, a 4-foot Fish Tank and set myself up with tropical fish. For a while there, we were constantly buying new fish but eventually we got the water conditions right and the fish not only lived but started growing too. During this period I also had the loan of a 6-foot tank for over 12 months and so the fish grew some more before they had to go back into the 4ft Tank. What this meant was that I had quite a number of large interesting fish.

Of course even with perfect conditions you loose fish and so it was with me over the 5 years since I started again. Anyway with the last move coming up we let the tank run down in numbers and have only started to restock now after every thing has settled.

We actually have quite a few in the tank again and quite a good and varied group too, but there is something missing. As I thought about it, I decided it was “colour” so I started to look out for any ‘colourful’ fish to fill the need. I am still looking but in my looking I have seen a lot of other interesting fish that are not necessarily ‘colourful’, and then I realized what was really missing in my fish tank.

Not so much ‘colour’ as ‘character”. Something different that was the focal point for people’s passing attention. You see, over the years I have had some interesting fish, particularly small sharks and catfish that have grabbed people’s attention, for their unusualness. It was these “interesting” fish that drew their attention to the tank even if they didn’t normally like pet fish. Now I currently have lots of varied tropical fish, but nothing, not one, that is ‘spectacular’ to automatically draw people’s attention to the rest of the tank.

How does that sit in your life situation, your work? Is your work, good, solid, plentiful, but without any real focal point, to attract people’s attention to your work with the hope of closer inspection of all your other ‘little fishes’?

Do you yourself even know what your focal point is or should be? Just another though to contemplate as I relax and enjoy my little 'fishies", hey? Walter

Monday, November 5, 2007

Tropical Fish In A Cold Water Tank?

For a person who doesn’t particularly like cold weather I could be seen by some to be living in the wrong place and State, but before you start talking about whether I should rather move to Queensland, let me say I love it here in Victoria and am in no inclination to move, just now thank you all the same. As for the colder months, well, fortunately we have access to good clean Gas Heat here and that suits me just fine. I like gas heating as it is quick and reasonably cheap, unlike electricity. Although having said that I do have some electric heaters too. But I mostly use them for the Fish Tank, so that I can keep Tropical Fish in an un-tropical environment. I like Fish and particularly tropical fish. In South Africa, in the place where we were for the last few months, it was possible to keep Tropical fish without heating the water, but not here in good old Victoria, Australia.

For a little while, in the summer at least you could probably keep tropical fish here without heating the water, but if you want to keep them alive during the winter months than you just have to have heated water. But not too much either or you will have roast or broiled fish instead. No for tropical fish there is a limited range of heat needed. The temperature needs to be just so and no more. Too much and they will die. Too low and they will die. Do it right and you will have little trouble. Do it incorrectly and you will soon have no fish!

How are you swimming? Are you a tropical Fish trying to swim in an unheated pool? You may survive for a little while when conditions are good but as soon as conditions change you will struggle and unless you can change the conditions, you will die, metaphorically if not literally.

In the wild some tropical fish move with the water temperature, and when it cools they move onto the warmer waters. If you have that opportunity then I suggest you take advantage of it and move with the weather. But where you can’t, make sure that your “Heaters” are in good working order long before winter hits.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Do you really want to be alone?

I sometimes hear people say,” I just want to be alone. I wish people would just disappear and leave me alone.” Now I know they say that but I wonder if they have really thought that through

People need people whether they realize that or not. John Donne famously wrote, “No man is an island*”, yet I wonder how many secretly wished that they could just find a deserted Island somewhere and ‘leave ‘ the world?

As a kid I loved the Robinson Caruso story, and so I was intrigued when I got a little older to hear that it was loosely based on a true story. I say loosely because I just read a brief account of the original Robinson Crusoe, and he was not shipwrecked. It seems that one Alexander Selkirk was a master on a ship under a Captain who it turn was under the overall Command of William Dampier. (The first Englishman to reach Australia.)

It seems that Selkirk and the Captain did not see eye to eye on anything to the point that Selkirk begged Dampier to leave him on the then deserted Island of Juan Fernandez, which Dampier did, and sailed on. Over the next 4 years Dampier’s fame and fortune waxed and waned and he found himself at the helm of a Privateer, which called in at Juan Fernandez some 4 years and 4 days after Selkirk was left on “His” island at his own request. He may have been happy at first but by then he was now only too happy to be back in the company of “his old commander and that bloodthirsty botanist, William Dampier”.

It seems at first the island was Selkirk’s ideal, but after 4 years, he was only to happy to get back into circulation, even if the initial long and unpleasant journey was going to be in the company of a hard and ruthless task master.

What about you? Don’t learn the hard way that no man is an island! Yes by all means temporary withdraw if you really must to catch your breath, so to speak, but remember isolation will not really help and that, "People really do need people". It is not just a catchy slogan but also a true fact of life.

So get out there and live your life among other people, and don’t withdraw completely. Believe it or not you need other people and they need you! Walter

I will leave you with John Donne’s quote: “No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main. (Meditation XVII)”

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Named After A Sir!!

In a couple of recent blogs I have been talking about the sometimes strange sources that some parents use to find names for their Children, but did you know (Or care) that I was named after a “Sir”? No, not sir Walter Raleigh; nor Sir Walter Scott! And most definitely not after the new type of Lawn grass now available! No! This time Grandfather’s source of a suitable name for his grandson was acceptable and I was named after Australia’s very own Sir Walter Lindrum.

Now for those of you not interested in Billiards, you may never have heard of him, but back in the last Century, from the 1920’s right up to the 50’s (when I was born) he was the Crowned and uncrowned World Champion of Billiards. Even earning him a Knighthood shortly before his death in 1960.

Now with such an illustrious Billiards Player for a namesake, you would think that I would be a great Billiards player wouldn’t you? Well! Sorry to disappoint you but I have hardly played it in my life. One of the reasons that I have not tried to play it, is that I have tried long and hard to play snooker and I ‘suck ‘ badly at that, so I haven’ tried to even learn Billiards either! (I tried it once and found it too confusing!)

Just goes to show, doesn’t it, that no matter what we call ourselves after, or where our names come from, we have to bring our own talents with us. We can’t inherit them from our families and we certainly can’t draw them out of the sources or meanings of our names either. What we are, is what we are.

Sure, like Walter Lindrum, whose father and Grandfather were Billiard players and ran Billiard Parlours, we can get so much from our families and our circumstances, but ultimately what we are and what we become is up to us. Being named after a famous Billiard player has not helped me one bit to play the game. That’s not to say I haven’t been successful in my life. Just not in Billiards (or Snooker)! What about you? Has your “Name” helped or hindered you? Or like with me been totally indifferent?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Grandpa’s Naming Record.

Yesterday I posted an article about an unusual name my Grandfather suggested, unsuccessfully thankfully, for my brother. Now I don’t want you to think that grandpa was a little funny in the name department himself. No way! He only had two children; one of each and each one named their first-borns after him. Just as well they were both boys wasn’t it?

(As an aside, both were named after him but only one was given his English spelling, while the other was given the Germanic spelling of his son-in-law’s ancestors. Also helped to distinguish between the two too!)

Also in grandpa’s defense, although I don’t know if he picked them personally but the names of both his children were also standard. In fact his son’s name was so popular in our family that two of his grandsons ended up with it as a middle name and a great Grandson (my boy) as his first name. (As well another cousin, not related to this side of the family, received it as his first name too.) So it couldn’t have been too bad, could it?

Then of course then there is my name, that apparently grandpa was rather influential in choosing. I don’t know if after two other boys my parents were running short on acceptable names or not, but they allowed the name of another of Grandfather’s choices to be my name. (This person was a great and famous sporting hero of a generation or two earlier, and was to be the source of my name.) I will tell you who that is in another blog. This one is just to encourage you not to get wrong ideas about people or to write them off completely without knowing who they really are, because of an opinion or view based on one weirdish event in their life. So is there anyone around you that you need to re-evaluate your attitudes to? If so what are you going to do about it? Ignore them again or at least take the first step in reaching out and leave the next step to them. Over to you!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

What Inspires You When Choosing A Name?

When it comes to choosing a child’s name, many people use various and interesting and even downright weird sources for their name choice. Some have given their children names after famous people. One person gave his son the names of every player of his favourite football team. And others have equally weird sources for their choices.

I was thinking of this as I remembered the story around a proposed name for my brother. A name he fortunately never got. How would you like to have “Hiraji” for your Christian name?

Last year we celebrated my eldest Brother’s 60th Birthday. This year, this month in fact we celebrate my other brother’s 60th birthday. Although he never got here until the middle of the month, he was expected to arrive on Melbourne Cup day of that Year and the Story goes that my grandfather wanted to name him after that Year’s Melbourne Cup Winner. So I suppose it was just as well he was late as “Hiraji’ won with “Fresh Boy” second and “Red Fury” third! None sort of drip of the tongue like Jim, do they?

Still it good be worse! If they had have followed that line of thought I would have a sister called “High Jinx”, because that is the name of the horse that won the Melbourne Cup on the day she was born some years later. (Housie was 2nd & “Ilumquh” 3rd!)

So for those contemplating naming a child in the near future, have some care as to where you draw your sources. And like my parents choose names that the children can live with and not ones that make them the butt of outlandish jokes!

In the mean time, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, little Sis.