There is nothing like an injury or illness that sits you fair and square on your arse with hours of thinking time. Time to reflect about who you are, and what you’re doing, and who is important in your life.

This has been my lot for the past month. Where I ruptured my achilles tendon, and have had not one but two surgeries, and have a few weeks/months still ahead of me til Im up and about, fully mobile again.

As you may have grasped by now, Im a bit of a do-er. I like to get things done. The old saying goes, if you want something done, ask a busy person, well that ‘busy’ person is me. Busy in thoughts and busy in actions. Actually, I hate the term ‘busy’… because you can get ‘busy’ doing anything, you can be ‘busy’ watching tv every day of your life, but I assure you that’s not me. I think with me, it was the fact that one day a long time ago, someone decided to put me in a ‘box’ or pigeon hole me and said that you will be like this and there is nothing you can do about it. I have been determined, completely, on the subconscious level, not to be bound by what others say is my lot or destiny in life. I have wanted to live every day to the full. Mind you this has come at a cost, which I have slowly been realising over the past 12-18 months. But, I think everything you want in life comes at a cost; it can be monetary, it can be time, it can be a divorce. Its like we always have to sacrifice something to have something else. You want a big house, you work your tail off, to work more hours to get more money. You want to work overseas, this comes at a cost of missing your family and friend, the list goes on…
For me, the cost has been ‘enjoyment’. I have forgotten what it is like to enjoy life, to enjoy and be in the moment, of getting to a place of peace, where I can sit back and relax. I think this is partially because I always have so many little projects Im working on, so even though one thing gets finished I need to then focus more of my efforts on something else and then I take on more projects.
Last night, I was sifting through some photos that I have saved on my computer, that I NEVER do! We literally have thousands of photos of our life on the computer, that once they are taken they are loaded on the computer and never seen again. But last night, I spent probably 2 hours going through looking at our family and how much it has grown over the past 10 years! 10 YEARS, its nearly a quarter of my life. I started to see my kids again and who they were back when they were little and it made me sad. Not because I wasnt home with them, or away working often, but because I dont know if I have ever really been there! Does that sound strange? I feel like I have almost no memory of the times when I nursed them out of hospital or took them to school for the first time or helped them learn to ride a bike etc. I feel like saying… but but, Ive done all of this so that they can have a better life, well some of this maybe true, but what constitutes a ‘better’ life, is it more things, is it more experiences, is it a big house, or new t-shirts each week? Who bloody well knows anymore? Life has become so ‘busy’ (there’s that word again) that we dont have any time for anything, we have to plan fucking play dates for our kids! When all that used to happen, was we walked over to a friends house and knocked on the door and asked… can Matt come out to play? What happened to life that made us too occupied to be in the moment? It makes me sad, very sad.
So, what does this mean and how is it going to change my life? How am I going to learn from this? I want to say that I am going to slow down a bit, I want to say I am going to take up meditation and go all alternative therapies, but you know what, Im not going to do anything like that. I am just going to get back into the moment, and I am going to appreciate my family and the people around me every day and go from there. Thanks for reading!

The past few years for an Essendon bombers fan have been, lets say hard to bare. This is in reference to the supplements scandal that has taken the life out of, what was an amazing and successful football club.

For those of you who dont know, we are going to talk about Australian Rules Football (AFL) in this post… I’ll embed a link to a game at the end for your viewing pleasure…

Now, I have barracked for the ‘Bombers’ since 1978 when I was about 4 years old visiting my nana in Vera Court, Dandenong, and remember vividly that she used to stick a Bombers sticker to her letter box every year – probably free out of the Herald Sun on a Saturday. I remember going and checking if the sticker was still there every time we’d visit Nana. Remember this sticker?

essendon-logo-1976

Well this sticker is what made me as a 4-5 year old follow the Bombers til this very day. The ‘plane’ insignia was enough to get me hooked. I had and still have a fascination with planes (as a lot of boys do), but it was enough to have me throw down the navy blue beenie and jumper (Carlton) my dad tried putting on me at the same time. It was my Nana and I, and it was our thing. I was then able to brainwash one of my brothers and now my kids into being Bombers fans too.

Lets say, I’ve backed a pretty good team, and whilst we weren’t successful in the late 1970’s, we dominated the 1980’s, well I like to say that… where we won 2 premierships (84 & 85) and runners up in 83. The Bombers have won 4 premierships and been runners up 3 times since Ive been around, not to mention making finals a total of 23 times (thanks wikipedia). Some other clubs havent made the finals once in 50 years… but we wont go there and open up wounds for other readers…

So every year since Ive been able to, Ive made my way with some mates and now my children to the football to watch a few games. Im not fanatical by any stretch, but I do like to go to a few games a year and watch it on TV or in a pub too. Its a chance to yell at the top of my lungs and get behind my team – although my kids give me plenty of opportunity for that… 🙂

With the football season also comes the ‘other’ fun things about football, like footy tipping and fantasy football like Supercoach or Dreamteam – I think if the amount of time people spend on these three activities could be harnessed and focussed into one activity, we could actually build that fast train between Melbourne and Brisbane… :).

I personally have ran a few tipping competitions over the years and also dabbled in Supercoach for a few years which has been great as it allows you to really get to know some of the players from other clubs. Although, sometimes tipping in the footy with the focus being – winning money at the end of the year, has its flaws, you can end up not being happy if you’ve not backed your team to win and they get up! Conversely, you might pick your team to win every week and find yourself on the bottom of the tipping ladder very quickly!

GLOAT ALERT – you know… I did win, not 1 but 2 footy tipping competitions in 2007, netting me about $1200 for the year… although, its been a long time since those glory days now…

But this year – 2016 – has seen me barely participate in any form of football activity for the whole year! No footy tipping, no Supercoach and I have only been to 1 game of football (Essendon V Carlton – where we did win) for the whole season. This was due to most of the Bombers players being suspended for the whole year! This has been a result of the relentless pursuit by the media to bury people within the Essendon football club and to get a story – its been horrible and lasted over 4 years. I have it on good authority that there were several other clubs ready to be exposed for similar drug and supplements they were taking, but unfortunately Essendon was first, and with the fallout of the scandal sent the rest of the clubs to ‘rethink’ their declarations.

Despite having a bad year, where we only managed to win 3 games for the season, it has worked out ok for us. We have first round draft picks that we would never ordinarily get, as we NEVER finish on the bottom of the ladder and we have most of our players returning for the 2017 season, we have a new coach in John Worsfold, who has done a great job this year with a young and inexperienced team.

I love watching Australian Rules Football, its a great opportunity to have a few beers with my mates and continue sledging other teams all in the name of some fun. Im looking forward to the 2017 footy season and getting back into following my team again.

So at the start of this post, I suggested I would embed some footage of a game (courtesy of Youtube). Now I originally wanted to put in the biggest come back in AFL history between Essendon and North Melbourne in 2001, but I think this ANZAC day clash against Collingwood is a sweeter victory! Enjoy!

 

When I was young and my parents had separated, we moved on to a single parent pension which is modest allowance from the Australian Government to assist and provide the very basics for children without two parents on the scene. Its great and Im very thankful for living in a society that provides for single parents to ensure that there is some consistency at home despite the separation, and Mum could be home with us, rather than out, searching for a job for minimum wages.

One of the pitfalls of a having a modest income raising four growing preadolescent children is that there is not a lot of money for things that, today I take for granted. Going down to the nearest cafe for a coffee, just wasn’t something that was done, as ever dollar would be allocated to rent, groceries, utilities (water, electricity and gas) etc.  So lets just say that when I went to school, if we had a sandwich and a piece of fruit for each day of the week, we were doing well. At school, recess and lunch times would arrive and my friends had what I called ‘proper lunches’ muesli bars, cake, biscuits, chips, white bread sandwich (we know better now), basically a smorgasbord lunch that would make my stomach tighten with hunger!

I now have three beautiful children, two of which are now at school, and being a stay at home dad, I make it my duty to correct the ‘wrongs’ of my childhood, by providing what I would consider a lunch that would make other children envious… I know, I know, its shallow and questionable, but I really put a lot of effort into making their lunches with my main focus being, they are not hungry at school. However, my efforts are not being appreciated to my satisfaction… the lunch boxes often come home  with a half-eaten sandwich, biscuits left over, crackers and cheese not eaten, and this gets me frustrated! Why won’t my kids eat what I give them?!

After getting frustrated and trying different things like reducing their lunch removing goodies in the effort to have them eat the healthy things and providing a variety of lunch box fillers, I had some time to reflect and ask some questions… Recently, I asked my son why he didn’t eat all his lunch. He turned and said, Dad, if I ate all my lunch I wouldn’t have time to play with my friends (lump in throat). Ok, then, did you have enough to eat today? Yes, thanks Dad, just enough. I realised that I was making a lunch that suited a teenage kid not a 6 & 8 year old… Oops!

Hi there,

Thank you for my readers and apologies there hasn’t been a lot of content lately. I just wanted to say thanks for the comments Im receiving, but ask if all comments posted if they can be in English. Out of all the languages, my German is basic, Tagalog is slipping, Chinese is a work in progress and Italian, I can order a coffee… So if its in English I may respond!

Thanks and stay tuned, we’re about to commence a whole heap of works on our new place.

Owen Wade

Hi there again,

Thanks Coolio for your comment, I too look forward to tasting your wares when I am next in Brisbane, I think it will be in June, in time for a nice glass of port and a romeo and juliet on the deck… hmmm! We men are very simple creatures aren’t we!

I have been looking around for some tips about port and how to get different tastes in the barrel. I came across a good website from another fellow port drinker,so have a look at his link and you might get some ideas. Port link
I think all in all it’s trial and error, but there are several people who will tell you different techniques about how to start a port barrel. Some people say to put brandy in the barrel for a few days prior to adding any port, others will tell you to just rinse the barrel with water and then put the port in.

The thing to remember I guess is that you should plan to have this item of furniture in your house for a long time and you will probably be able to try a few things along the way without it affecting the longevity of the barrel. Mix in some brandy occasionally, some sherry maybe, and some different types of port.

I personally, the novice that I am, have just put about 4 bottles of tawny port about 150ml of french brandy and half a bottle of sherry, and now having waited a couple of days, I am happy to report that it is really tasting good.

Have fun in your trials and let me know how you go!