Friday, February 20, 2009

Final arrangements

An update for our family and friends ...

G and I will fly tomorrow to Rarotonga, where the funeral services for my dad will commence immediately upon our arrival at the airport (at 2:40am!). Various ceremonies have been scheduled throughout the day, at the end of which my father will be laid to rest in a family plot on their garden property. Dad's family and friends on the island have done a wonderful job in preparing for a beautiful, memorable day, and I'm glad to think of him going home to such a peaceful resting place, where he is remembered with love.

Back in Australia, a public memorial service will be held from 5:45pm on Wednesday, March 4th, at the chapel of Wesley College in St Kilda Road, Melbourne. Guests are invited to join us for an informal gathering after the service, where refreshments will be served (venue details to be confirmed soon).

In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes contributions to a fund we have established with Kiva. Contributions can be made in my father's name by following this link or searching in the Community section of Kiva's website for the team name: Dick Adamson Memorial Fund. Further information about lending through a Kiva team can be found here.

Dad was an enthusiastic supporter of Kiva (among many other philanthropic projects) - his many loan project details can be viewed here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Worst pun of all time? (in 19 secs)

sorry. couldn't help it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

That cheeky grin ...

I've never met anyone who lived in the moment quite the way my dad did. Even in his 60s he was still a big kid at heart, delighting in the little things, always excited by the possibilities...

Dad was the one who would cheer a convoy of wedding cars passing on the street, stop and talk to anyone and everyone about their bicycle, motorbike, car, boat, clothing, artwork, house, work, haircut, you name it. He was cheeky and irreverent, comical and lighthearted, quiet and thoughtful. From him I learned important lessons about being alive in the world, about seeing and learning and constant discovery. I learnt about generosity, not just in a material sense, but generosity of spirit. Dad rarely, if ever, criticised others, and he had an uncanny knack for finding the positives in any situation. Although I'm sure he often worried about me and some of the choices I made in life, he respected my decisions, willingly acting as a loving, supportive sounding board when I sought guidance.

What I hope I've learnt most from my dad is a certain way of being in the world. I loved his curiosity, his playfulness, his delight and interest in everything. I remember visiting him on Rarotonga several years ago. He had built a wonderful telescope when he was studying astrophysics, and he was certainly bitten by the stargazing bug. I don't blame him either, 'cause the starscape above that little island in the Pacific is absolutely breathtaking, shimmering millions in a sky of blackest velvet. At around midnight on the first or second night of my visit, I heard a tapping at the glass door of my bedroom:

"Juddie! Juddie! Do you want to come and look at the stars?!". I jumped out of bed, and sure enough, the sky was more brilliant than I could have imagined. We sat out on the deck, taking it in turns to peer through the telescope lens, until eventually we got sleepy and retired to bed. Then, at 2 o'clock ... "Juddie! Come and look at this!!". - Up I popped again, and was thrilled to see the rings of Saturn come into focus as Dad twiddled with dials to tweak the telescope for me. Amazing. We zoomed in on detailed sections of the moon, exploring the craters with their vast canyons and mountains. I was pretty impressed by my dad's telescope-making skills, but after a while I needed to head back to bed, where I slept quite soundly....
...until.... at 4 o'clock ..... "Juddie!!! D'you want to come and have a look at this???" No thanks Dad. Much as I love you .....

Even as he got older, Dad never subscribed to the concept of slowing down. I know that in the past few months he had been passionately learning about geology, anatomy and mathematics, taking lectures through a remote university study program. As well as this he spent his time renovating houses, building furniture, working with Tai on their property, caring for Grandma, reading up on politics, world news, scientific studies and boatbuilding techniques, messing about in boats, cycling around Melbourne, patronising farmers markets, bookshops, film festivals, music shops and art installations, barracking for his beloved Kangaroos, planning the expansion of sustainable energy generation systems throughout the Cook Islands, preparing for travel ...

Dad wasn't going to let life pass him by.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This little guy makes me smile

Just look at that expression!

(pic from ??? - sorry, I can't remember)

Thank you

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone, near and far, who has sent their love and support this week. Your kind words are the sweetest gift.

G and I will fly next Friday to Rarotonga, where my dad will be laid to rest after a traditional island ceremony. I'm very sad but it's nice to think of him being at home, at peace.

(one of dad's beautiful boats was named Kakaia, the white fairy tern)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A teardrop, a smile....

I'll miss you so much, Dad.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I received the sad news today that my father passed away last night; it was sudden and unexpected and my heart is breaking.

It's hard to express the loss of such a beautiful spirit...
We were very close.

(image from here)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tactile goodies

....just crying out to be touched.

1. Motley Mutton 2. leaf and twig start 3. Mummysam - little dollhouse 4. Dadaya - beret 10 5. Oscar 6. Love is Warm 7. Labradoodle ornament, 8. Untitled, 9. Mummysam - Apricot 10. Merfish 11. Melilab 12. The Quirky Corn Crib

(click to enlarge)

Another thirsty koala cutie (and a non-sequitur)

So sad that they're overheating, but it's lovely to see a couple of little koalas getting help
(this one wasn't from the bushfire area so at least it didn't have burnt feet...).

For a totally unrelated piece of delightful poetry, click here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Light relief

These pictures of a koala seeking relief from the heat in South Australia have been doing the rounds by email ...

... and you might like to click here for some lovely footage of a CFA firey giving water to a dehydrated koala yesterday.

(shaky phone footage, but it becomes a little clearer at 0:45).

Doncha just love those firefighters?!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Helping hands

It's easy to feel helpless in the face of all this devastation, but in blogland folks are definitely rallying!

If you would like to create or buy some handmade items to help the victims of the bushfires, but aren't exactly sure how to go about it, take a look at all the info on Gilly's new bushfire appeal blog. (Click here for the HTML code if you'd like to add the Handmade Help linky button to your sidebar)

Monica is co-ordinating the creation and distribution of Rainbow Comfort Packs for children over here, Curlypops has listed the efforts of various crafty peeps here, and Margaret has provided hints and tips for donating clothes, as well as these great links:
  • Donate blood ... I hear that the blood banks are all booked out for the next two weeks, so perhaps make an appointment in a few weeks time to donate. Keep an eye on the web site for mobile blood banks that might come to a shopping centre near you!
  • 3AW's Fire Assistance Directory - listing people who are happy to help and drop off donations or people who are opening their homes to fire affected people.
  • 774 Offer Help Blog - listing people who are willing to help others.
  • OurCommunity has a list of information links on where you can help along with deposit details for every bank in Australia.
  • The Toy Society are offering to collect handmade toys for the kids effected by the fires.

Finally I just wanted to mention my book drive again.
Please let me know if you have any books to spare (for children or adults .... anything in good condition) - I'm happy to arrange collection & distribution.

(Images from here and here)

Fire and rain

It's so hard to imagine that while much of Victoria has been razed to the ground by fire this week, 60% of Queensland lies underwater due to massive flooding. Apparently residents of many Queensland communities have now been advised to beware of crocodiles swimming in urban areas (!).

Looks as though eastern Australia is copping some rather bad karma this year ...

(pics from here and here)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sewing and mending

I'm starting a stack of sewing projects in an effort to help mend some broken hearts. The state death toll from the fires stands at 108 this morning, and I'm sure this will rise as officials gain access to burnt-out areas.

I am planning to donate toys, quilts, etc and will gladly co-ordinate a collection of items in Melbourne; if anyone would like to contribute or help out please leave a comment on this blog or email me: juddie1[at]optusnet[dot]com[dot]au.

I'd also like to start a book drive, so if you would like to donate any books, I'll collect them together and donate them through a suitable organisation in a few months time, when the shattered communities begin to rebuild. Bianca from The Toy Society is organising a toy collection, and many other private assistance efforts are underway - check out Rach's blog if you would like to contribute to her collection in Sydney, or visit Sarah if you'd like to help out from Perth.

Finally, may I encourage you to consider donating to Animal Aid or Wildlife Victoria's bushfire appeal? At least two Victorian animal shelters have been lost to the fires, and donations of money and resources are desperately needed to help injured wildlife.

I'm so glad I donated blood on Friday ....

Sunday, February 08, 2009


The pretty, historic township of Marysville has been close to my heart for many years now. Nestled at the foot of the snowfields and surrounded by breathtaking Mountain Ash forests, the Marysville/Kinglake area was a serene getaway, perfect for rejuvenating the spirit and soaking up the deliciousness of nature. The lush, verdant gardens and towering trees always provided a welcome retreat during summer months, while in winter, glistening snowfalls decked the village roofs and dusted vibrant tree ferns with sparkling white cloaks (oh, how they needed snow this weekend!). The atmosphere in the town has always been sweetly seductive, calming and unassuming; the small and friendly community always provided a sense of quiet welcome. Marysville never failed to delight whenever I wanted to escape the city for a while.

Tonight my heart sinks as I try to grasp the fact that in the course of one evening, entire towns have been completely reduced to ash:

Here is some footage from the ABC helicopter as it flew over the ruins of Marysville today. It makes me cry.

My cousin is a firefighter, fighting the fires in Gippsland at the moment, and another cousin lives with her 4 children in the threatened town of Neerim. I haven't heard any news of them yet but I hope they're safe tonight.


My heart is breaking tonight for those affected by the fires sweeping across our state, the worst in our nation's history. I can't even begin to imagine the terror and loss experienced by so many, and I am in awe of the courage and commitment of the fire-fighters and other emergency services workers. News bulletins are reporting 84 confirmed deaths this evening, with the death toll expected to rise considerably in the next few days. Bodies are being found in burnt-out cars and buildings, countless beautiful, historic towns and forested areas have been reduced to ashes, and the devastation of wildlife is almost inconceivable.

Yesterday the temperature reached 47°C (that's 117°F!) here in Melbourne, with a raging north wind that felt like a blast furnace; these gale-force winds exacerbated terrible fire conditions throughout the state. As more devastating reports emerge from previously beautiful, vibrant rural communities, my heart just sinks and I'm fighting back tears....

(images from the BBC, New York Times, ABC and The Age)

... also ...

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