Chanel No. 5 (Chanel No. 30)

Janet - she's wonderful!

They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and exquisite perfume is probably not too far behind in the “pecking order”.

This weekend past, Janet, my beautiful partner and mother to our equally beautiful son, TomO, celebrated a significant milestone by turning fifty-years young!

Janet & TomO

Anyone who knows Janet would be in disbelief, unless they were aware, and of course it gives weight to my view that “how old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you were”?

Never mind, she is not fazed by it, and nor should she be as every year she blossoms even more so than the last, like a rose, timeless, delicate…

Not that she is a wallflower, not by any measure, we’ve jumped out of planes together, chasing each other across the wild blue sky, we’ve leaped tall buildings in a single-bound in a race to the ground, she always wins…

Janet - An Incredible in full flight over Picton, Australia
Janet – An Incredible in full flight over Picton, Australia
Janet - she's no wall flower
Janet, waving, down here Baz – Catch me if you can!
Janet beats Baz down the AMP Tower, Sydney Australia
Janet beats Baz down the AMP Tower, Sydney Australia (Again!)

We celebrated in style with a cocktail party, “glammed-up” with family and friends.

Yes, I did buy a brand new black Tee shirt for the event.

Family and Friends – At “Dinsmore” our home

And Janet loves a party, I wouldn’t call her a party girl, but she loves being around wonderful family and friends, all of whom adore her.

Crikey, didn’t I luck out by living next-door to Janet, yes, Janet was literally the “girl next door” and our coming together simply developed over time.

But how is this, Janet is a wonderful gardener and mows our lawn each week, strewth, if I was to go near the lawn mower I would incur her wrath, okay, a slap on the wrist…

Seriously, going down to see Bluey and the boy’s at the local footy club for a few beers is quite okay, but don’t you go touching that lawn mower Baz!

Anyway, in amongst the birthday celebrations, Janet and I held each other, and remembered that day thirty years ago, yes on her birthday, when I asked her to marry me!

Janet and Baz
Stunningly beautiful 

Most people were surprised and didn’t actually know until I gave a small speech!

She said “yes”, phew!

I never buy lottery tickets, or gamble, after all my luck was all used up on that beautiful day…

I shared our story, of giving Janet a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume on that birthday, and there was a quip from the gathered that I must have flogged it, ‘cause there was no way I could have afforded it back then!

It was worth every cent I scratched together, and every birthday since that is what I have given Janet on her birthday.

But a couple of weeks ago, I asked here, “what do I buy you on this very special occasion”?

Janet - cheeky as ever
And that cheeky little grin

Janet looked at me, in her cheeky little way and said, “you know, it is traditional, I wouldn’t want anything else”!

So sweetie, Chanel No. 30 it is!

Happy birthday!

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A Beautiful Sunflower (A Final Tribute to Brian)

Sunflower

Brian… Dad, has never been a man of many words,

choosing them sparingly when he spoke.

An excellent listener,

always willing to hear what you have to say.

 

Today, I don’t intend to give a long account of

Brian’s life, because without a doubt he’ll be listening.

 

After all, he has planned much of today.

 

And if I was to indulge in his achievements,

Of which there are many…

He’d get grumpy,

In a nice kind of way, in Dad’s own special way.

 

Beside, I know that you all have your own memories of Brian

that when joined together create a beautiful mosaic of his life.

 Moments that you will be able to share together.

 

But I do want to share a story with you,

A story of a Sunflower…

Of two beautiful Sunflowers.

 

Sunflowers are a favourite of mine, big, bright, colourful and

beautiful.

And they have always been a favourite of Brian’s… Dad’s.

 

As a kid growing up I can always remember them growing at his parents home…

In Pop and Nana’s backyard.

 

At Scarborough, on the Redcliffe Penninsula,

there are two very special Sunflowers that are blooming…

 

You won’t miss them if you drive that way,

 For they stand majestically

 Overlooking the cliffs towards Moreton Bay.

 

What makes these two sunflowers so special is they are growing,

in the very spot where Dad asked our mother to marry him,

More than fifty years ago…

 

Last Sunday morning Dad slipped away peacefully…

As I held his hand gently the first rays of light were piercing the

Eastern skyline over Moreton Bay…

The rising sun is a beautiful thing,

Turning darkness to light,

 Signalling the dawning of a new day,

Lighting the pathway to a new life…

 

And as he made his way, peacefully,

I was comforted knowing that Nana and Pop would be waiting at the gate

for their little boy,

To hold him dearly, once again…

 

I was comforted that his faith has given him the courage,

to make this journey home,

His journey to eternal life.

 

I looked out over the bay at the rising sun and I could feel the

warmth from its rays touching these two sunflowers…

Breathing life into their delicate petals.

 

In the golden glow I could see a handsome young man,

holding his beautiful young bride…

A smile eased the tension in my face.

Over these past few days we have shed tears…

We have laughed…

 

But above all else we’ve felt so much joy that we have had Brian…

 Dad, with us for so long…

 

Always looking out for us all, and never far from Fay, the love of his life.

Yes, Fay, the love of his life…

To my mind one of the greatest gifts a father can give his

children is to love their mother, with all his heart,

Forever…

 

Mum, Dad will never stop loving you, he will never stop loving us all….

 

And to all here who have joined with us today

to farewell Brian,

I leave you with this thought…

 

When next you see a sunflower, take the time to stop…

Bask in its golden glow,

And look into its heart.

I know who’ll you’ll see and he will help wipe the tears you hold

He will bring a smile to your face…

 

Yes, Brian…

Dad…

Big, bright, colourful and beautiful…

Grampy
Grampy

Ps: Brian hasn’t smoke a pipe in decades, but we snapped him “mucking” around recently…

The Outback, Fly Veils, and other Veils (Happy Anniversary!)

Mayne Range, Diamantina NP, Outback Australia
Mayne Range, Diamantina NP, Outback Australia

Visit the Australian Outback in the warmer months, especially after rain and most likely a billion flies will join you.

And yes, I meant a couple of billion.

It is a funny occurrence, they turn up at the crack of dawn, literally, and as the sun shimmies below the western horizon in the late afternoon they disappear, seemingly from the face of the earth.

Mates hanging out in the outback - with fly nets
Mates hanging out in the outback – with fly nets (only girls wear veils!)

I’ve often pondered where do they go…

Personally, I try to ignore them, which is hard when they crawl all over your face, up your nostrils, and heaven forbid, don’t breathe through your mouth, lest you want some additional protein for breakfast.

TomO - Outback Australia
TomO – Outback Australia

Strewth, I hope I haven’t painted a picture that turns you away from visiting, after all we do like to share the experience of the never ending outback!

A never ending sky kissing the parched red earth in the far off distance…

But don’t worry, we have a solution, a veil, a fly veil that you can put over your head, and bingo, they’re out of your face!

Crikey, speaking of veils and kissing, 29 years ago today Janet was wearing a beautiful veil and lovely dress as we walked down the aisle together. Talk about a radiant bride who has blossomed into the kindest and most beautiful person you could ever be lucky enough to meet… 😉

She was literally the girl next door, how’s that hey!

Happy anniversary sweetie!

Janet and Baz
Janet and Baz
photos: Baz, The Landy

Spontaneity and Predictability (Which one are you?)

A couple of days ago I was walking along the back streets of the  suburb where I live, Pearl Jam blasting loudly through my iPod helping to take my mind off my trekking companion – a back-pack laden with a 30-kilogram sandbag. 

 The setting sun was cloaking the developing storm clouds with a rich, golden hue as it slipped towards the western horizon.

On the east coast of Australia we’ve just switched to daylight saving time, putting our clocks forward by one-hour. That means I can now exercise in the afternoon with some daylight, or at least a setting sun instead of the usual darkness.

But, as usual, I’m digressing…

Maybe it was the spontaneity or the predictability of the magnificent sunset, but I got around to thinking about spontaneity and predictability in life.

I asked myself which camp was I in, spontaneity or predictability?

 Or did I have a foot in both?

A bit like the sun, predictably it sets each day, but the spontaneity is in the way it happens…

I pondered that if we lived as we should, “in the moment we are in”, than life would always be  spontaneous. You’d never be planning for the future and you’d have no concern for what has come to pass.

Mind you that sounds great in principle. But whilst we do need to plan some things, life can still be spontaneous.

Surely?

Janet, my partner, has often told me that my spontaneity and good looks are traits she finds attractive. Frequently opining that it is exciting not knowing what journey we will take next as we walk arm-in-arm through life.

My parents loathe this spontaneity whenever they visit.

They both need to know what they’ll be having for breakfast in one week’s time, so spontaneity doesn’t work too well for them, predictability all the way. But each to their own I say, and that is fine!

But was there a bit of the “chip off the old block” in me?

Letting this musing go, my thoughts turned to Janet’s birthday which is coming up in a couple of days, this Saturday…

She loves birthdays!   

Well, you know what I’m mean, she loves celebrating her special day, the day she snared me, birthday cake, family and friends, maybe a present or two. And a bunch of flowers always brings a smile to her face…

And her birthday signals a very special day in our lives together. I proposed to Janet on her birthday in 1983, marrying some months later! 

We were living in a small cottage together, furnished with only one bed, two sofa chairs purchased  from an Op store, and a dog, a Great Dane I inadvertently kidnapped from outside its owners house (I’ll explain it some other time, but it did go on to live happily-ever-after with its true owner)…

The “proposal” was a very spontaneous event.

That morning, I got down on my knee at the end of the bed, dressed in Top Hat and Tails and asked her to marry me!

We had spoken of marriage but she didn’t see it coming this particular day, nor did I until a day or so before…

And on our wedding day Janet wore the Chanel Number 5 Perfume I bought that year for her birthday…

And every birthday since I have bought her a bottle of Chanel Number 5 and she has each and every one of the finished bottles secreted away in a special spot in her wardrobe.

She wouldn’t hear of any other present on her birthday…

Yes, as much as we both like spontaneity this is one thing we are both happy to say is totally predictable in our lives…

Happy birthday Sweetie…!