Friday, February 20, 2015

Wet Waikiki

Our very last day in Hawaii, and the rain absolutely pelted down! I have waited ten years to visit the Iolani Palace here in Waikiki, but in that rain it was not going to happen, because we had a couple of blocks to walk after alighting from the bus. One of us didn't have their spray jacket, and neither of us had an umbrella, so a soaking was very likely. Instead, we enjoyed some coffee and a wander around.

Once the rain eased, we took a local bus to the palace, a good half hours drive away. It is very beautiful, not as grandiose as the British and European ones we have seen, but for its time, very much so. It's actually not even as grandiose as Como House or Ripponlea here in Melbourne. The story of the Hawaiian royalty is a sad one, the last queen was unjustly imprisoned by local business men here on the island, who were primarily American citizens, and native born Hawaiians of American descent. Despite being directed by the American president at the time to hand back power to the Queen, they virtually took over Hawaii, and the rest is history. Hawaii became the 50th state of the USA in 1959.

The palace was equipped with electricity before the Whitehouse in America,
and was very advanced with water closets, and plumbing for the times.

A bus trip took us back to our motel for our last dinner and sleep before being picked up at 8 am for our trip back to the airport, and the long flight home.

Another great holiday over and done with, and as is my usual practice, I left something iPad charger this time :(

Our last night mouse, but on closer inspection, perhaps it's not a mouse at all, any suggestions anyone?

Location:Daniell Drive,Castlemaine,Australia

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kauai..the last day on board

This morning we did an excursion which was really an incursion....a tour of the workings of the ship. This was just fabulous, and extremely informative.

We toured the workings of the theatre, the kitchens, the frozen food storage areas, the environmental section,

and the laundry, this machine takes 200 pounds of laundry one one cycle.

Finally, the bridge. The captain wasn't there, but we had a young cadet show us around. She is still studying in USA to earn her degree.

In the afternoon, the magician did his Houdini trick in the swimming pool. He was completely chained up, tossed in the pool, and stayed underwater for three minutes. During this time he freed himself of the chains, and rose from the water to much applause and adulation.

We experienced a little rain in the late afternoon which somewhat obscured our view of the beautiful Napoli Coast.

Another great variety show and a late dinner with new friends, then off to pack and have our cases outside our room by midnight for collection in readiness for disembarkation in the morning.

A mouse was on our pillow tonight when we returned to our room.

Posted from another day in Paradise

Location:Daniell Drive,Castlemaine,Australia

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Kauai..the last two days.

After docking this morning at the last island we will visit, we hopped on a free shuttle bus to the HarborMall, where we booked a tour for this afternoon.

We met up with some folk we had met on the ship, Judy and Pascale, who live in Oregon, and wandered down to the beach, where we felt a little sorry that we had not come prepared for a swim. The beach was delightful and the water temperature is 75 degrees F, you can do the maths to convert to Celsius.

We had been hearing about the wonderful shaved ice confection here, so we all tried one. They certainly are very nice! Especially with ice cream underneath the ice. We were told by some friends we met on the boat, that these shaved ice concoctions have been popular in Singapore for many years.

Out trip around part of the island was great, it's very picturesque, and the mountain here has the highest rainfall in the world, some thing in the order of almost 500 inches per annum.
Here is is, covered in cloud, apparently you can rarely see the top of it.

Another wonderful show in the theatre tonight, a comedy routine, and dinner afterwards with some new friends, Tom and Betty from Mooroochidore. When our companions went to bed, we went off to see another show, the crew talent quest.

We had a little trouble finding our animal tonight, he was swinging from the ceiling.

Posted from another day in Paradise

Location:Royal Hawaiian Ave,Honolulu,United States

The Big Island....Hawaii.....Kona

This morning the Pride of America anchored a mile or so offshore, and all passengers had to be tendered across the bay to the port of Kona.

It was a fairly rough embarkation, with four crew members helping each person to board the tender, two on the dock, and two on the tender boat.

We had booked an excursion whilst we were in Waikiki, so after wandering around the shops for an hour or so, we met up with our tour, and we were off. We did an historical tour of the island, taking in the coffee plantations and one of the many coffee processing businesses.

This small borer is bothering the coffee beans, and the growers are trying to work out how to get rid of it without using chemicals.

One of the historical places we visited was

The place of refuge. In ancient times of war, the women and children would be taken here, along with the defeated warriors. This small bay was where the Royal canoes would beach, and lo betide anyone who observed this event, or even allowed their shadow to fall in the path of royalty. Death would be their reward!

This rock was was built in 1550, it is ten foot high and up to seventeen feet wide. It was to separate the Royal compound from the common people.

Our tour guide played the ukulele, and serenaded us back onto the bus when it was time to move on.

Tonight's show was again, most professional. It was a tribute night to Franky Valli and the four seasons. It was a packed house, and we enjoyed it enormously. The quality of the entertainment on the ship is first class I must say, and the towel animals delight us each evening.

Posted from another day in Paradise

The Big Island..Hawaii.....Port of Hilo

This morning we docked in Hilo, on what is known as the big Island, the one that is actually called Hawaii. I was up early answering the knock on the door that was our room service delivery of a cup of tea. I needed to be up at seven, so I could book our tender off the ship for tomorrow morning.
After a leisurely breakfast in the dining room, we took the free shuttle to the farmers market in downtown Hilo, and wandered around the shops for an hour or so.
There was a wonderful Tsunami Museum we spent an hour looking around, and learning about the tidal waves, as we once called them. Hawaii is very vulnerable to tsunamis, as it is right in the centre of the "ring of fire" in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Hilo has been devastated a couple of times this century, and there were many photos, and personal stories of survivors in the museum. The waterfront area of Hilo, which was once covered in buildings, has been turned into parkland now.

The last time we were here in Hawaii in 2010, we awoke to a tsunami warning, fortunately, it came to nothing. We were able to spend the morning in the hotel bar waiting for something to happen.

To return to our ship, we jumped on a public bus, and after quite a drive around the town, we were dropped within walking distance of the dock.

We enjoyed our lunch at the Cadillac Bar, and then had a quiet afternoon on the ship before meeting up with Russ and Judy, who had been on an excursion to the active volcano of Kilewea.

After dinner we saw a fabulous show in the Hollywood theatre. A wonderful magician, who was also a dancer and a comedian. He did the most amazing illusions, a couple of which involved audience members.

A pig was our friend tonight.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Into the freezing weather

It's hard to believe in this island paradise of Hawaii, but this morning we ventured into the cold and the wind. Dressed in the warm clothes we had especially brought with us, we were loaded into our transport bus at 3.45 am, for the journey to Haleakala National Park, where we were to observe sunrise over the volcano. Haleakala, the house of the sun, is a particular type of volcano that I cannot remember the name of, and erupts about every 100 years, and is overdue for an eruption.
We travelled 9475 feet above sea level to see the sunrise, unfortunately, there was a lot of cloud cover over the crater of the volcano, and our view was not clear. It was absolutely freezing, around -10 c degrees, including the wind chill. We needed snow gear for that wind, I can assure you.

Because of the cloud cover, photography was most difficult, and this is about as good as it gets. It didn't help that people were milling around three deep at the rail overlooking the volcano crater either; all shivering, and with all manner of methods to keep warm, from hats and coats, to towels and blankets from the ship wrapped around them.
Of course, each and every one of them had a camera or video recorder, many on selfie sticks, so it was difficult to find your own little patch of sky to photograph as well.

This plant, called a swordplay, and grows only in the Haleakala National Park.

On returning to the ship, after having a late breakfast we headed off to the Queen's Shopping mall in the free shuttle bus. We did not spend long there, coming back to the ship for a very welcome sleep in the afternoon. We enjoyed the entertainment in the Hollywood theatre after dinner, and strolled around the deck for some exercise.
This cute little elephant was our guest tonight.

Posted from another day in Paradise

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cruising and Maui

Our first port of call was the Island of Maui. We have spent time here before and done most of the touristy activities, so while our companions went off on a whale watching excursion, my niece Pattie picked us up on the pier, and took us off to Ka'anapali Beach.

There we took a walk along the beachfront to see the penguins at one of the large hotels, and had a delicious lunch at a beachside restaurant.

This was a beautiful resort area, with many lovely tropical flowers growing in well tended gardens.

In Lahaina, which is the original whaling port, we saw lots of shops, and the magnificent Banyan tree, which had been planted in 1873. This photo does not do it justice at all, it covers about fifty square metres with lots of smaller tree growing from the roots.

We enjoyed dinner with Pattie and Phil, in their lovely up country home, which overlooks one side of the island. Their home is 3700 feet above sea level, so it was slightly chillier up there. It was a little cloudy for a wonderful sunset, but the sun did still set.

Coming back onto the ship involves showing your ID, in my case, my passport, along with your ships room key. Of course, everything needs to go through the X Ray machine, as do we. This room key is used for everything on the ship, you don't even need can even shop with it!

This cute little towel dog greeted us upon our return to our stateroom.

Location:Haili St,Hilo,United States

Monday, February 9, 2015

Aloha..the Pride of America.

We are on the ship at last, we have found our rooms, had the obligatory fire drill and safety talk, and the boys have hit the bar, whilst Judy and I go exploring to see what the ship has to offer. We have found the swimming thanks, it's not hot enough.....the smoking bar....again, no thanks, the art auction rom...don't think so.....the walking track, three rounds total a mile....maybe......and the many dining facilities. We have decided to eat at the buffet tonight, named the Aloha Cafe.

We discovered the quite extensive library, where we enjoyed a welcome cup of tea.

The ship is huge, and we look forward to dinner, and the entertainment in the Hollywood theatre afterwards.

Oh dear, once we left port there was quite a rock of the boat happening, making us feel a little strange. I'm not quite sure how I will cope with this.

Location:W Kaahumanu Ave,Kahului,United States

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Honolulu..surrounded by mountains

Yesterday we had a much more leisurely start, and decided to take the free shuttle bus which takes you to Hilo Hattie's, one of the Islands first department stores. After purchasing a few bits and pieces, Judy and I had a free lesson in making flowers for our hair. Oh so easy, and we were happy with the result, and kept our flowers in our hair for the day. Worn on the left side, the flower indicates you are available, and on the right, taken. Naturally, we wore ours on the left.

On returning to Waikiki, TRO and myself left our friends shopping, and headed on down to the beach. It was extremely busy, lots of swimmers, surfers and people just wandering around. I couldn't resist trying the ocean!

Almost everywhere you look in Honalulu, you can see the mountains that surround the city.


A quiet and restful afternoon saw us ready for a seafood buffet at one of the local hotels this evening.

Today we took the shuttle bus to the Aloha Stadium Flea Market , one of the largest in the world I am sure. There are 400 traders spread over a huge area, so large we didn't even walk it all. Lots and lots of bargains to be had...T- shirts @ four for $20.00 for example. Judy and Russ had to buy a new carry on suitcase to accommodate all their acquisitions!

There seem to be a number of homeless people living in the parks here, and their dwellings look fairly permanent. Awfully sad :(

Now we are waiting for our transport to take us to the docks to board the Pride of America for our cruise. How exciting :)

Posted from another day in Paradise

Location:Royal Hawaiian Ave,Honolulu,United States

Friday, February 6, 2015

Aloha Hawaii

Arriving at our hotel in Honolulu, we discovered our travel documents had been left in our transit car. Luckily for us, one of the bellboys was a swift runner, he ran after the vehicle; caught it at the traffic lights, and retrieved our documents.

We spent the first afternoon waiting for our rooms to be ready so we could nip up and have a sleep after our overnight flight. The pool area was very nice to wait in, after a short walk to the shops.

Dinner at the hotel, and an early night was the order of the day, as we planned an all day excursion of the island for the next day, with a 7.30 pick up five minutes walk away.

Oops...the alarm did not go off, and we woke at five to seven! Rush, rush to get to our appointed pick up on time.

First stop was Hanauma Bay, ours was the first bus in, and by the time we left there were six there, and another six waiting to come in. Each bus had a fifteen minute parking time only. The bay lies within the Humpback whale national marine sanctuary, but we saw no whales. People were swimming and the traders were there setting up, with breakfast foods amongst other things. Being such an early start, many folks would not have eaten. We brought our food with us, and ate it on the bus.

We went right around the Island of Oahu, a truly beautiful place. Our last stop was the pineapple plantation where we enjoyed ice cream and drinks, and saw pineapples growing. The pineapple here are so very, very sweet, I don't think we want to eat an Aussie pineapple ever again.

A very long day, so we enjoyed happy hour and snacks for dinner at the pool area of our hotel.

Posted from another day in Paradise

Location:Royal Hawaiian Ave,Honolulu,United States

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mum's Eulogies

Our mum was a wonderful mum who was loving, strong willed, resilient, young at heart, compassionate and had a quirky sense of humour to the last. She didn't mind speaking her mind as well on many occasions. She was a loyal friend to many, with some of her friendships spanning many decades. Our mum was 101 years old.

Mum was born in Sydney in 1913.

Her childhood was spent at Mt. Nelson inTasmania, in a poor, but happy home, with some periods of time spent in Melbourne. She lived in a tramcar with her extended family, and on many occasions had to walk to school in the snow. She enjoyed a wonderful social life with her many friends and cousins, playing tennis, going dancing, and simply making her own fun.

She was married to Fred Norris in 1935, and although the marriage ended in divorce, she gave birth to her first two beloved children , Lynette and John.

She returned to Melbourne to make it her home, and met and married our Dad, Ted, with whom she had three awesome daughters, Bronwen, Anne and. Kath. Ted had two daughters for. His previous marriage. So she became a step mum to Gwynneth and Marjory, with whom she developed close relationships.

Mum and Dad were happily married until he passed away in 1972.

Together, with their family, they enjoyed many camping holidays interstate, Sunday afternoon drives and visits with friends and relatives. Our annual picnic to Long Island at Frankston was enjoyed by the whole extended family each Australia Day holiday.

As mum had been experienced with kindergarten work, and as there were none in the immediate vicinity, with her usual tenacity, she decided to start one herself. Because the housing commission would only allow her to cater for 15 children, she and dad purchased their home, so they could welcome more children.

This was one of Mum's greatest achievements, owning her own home. She worked hard to make this a reality, using a small inheritance for the deposit. She enjoyed the gardening whilst dad enjoyed the cooking.

When she volunteered to help in the school canteen, all us kids got an extra lolly in our bag

Mum had a lifelong love of tennis, playing until she was 80, when her knees let her down. Not to be outdone, she began a keep fit class at her church.

Mum was a widow for 52 years. In that time she travelled as widely and as often as she could. Her big trip overseas lasted for five months, taking in England, the Continent, and South Africa. She was welcomed by several of pen friends with whom she had corresponded for many years. She always went "back home" to Tasmania on an annual basis, often staying for six weeks at a time. She spent many happy times with cousin Win and Doug at their beach shack, fishing and playing many games of Rummy Royale. She travelled to many places in Australia, often taking a daughter nor grand daughter with her.

She joined with any of the family who were traveling when she was invited, happily taking part in all the holiday activities, whether it was swimming in warm pools, or lying down on a railway track waiting for a train. She was delighted to be invited to Murwillumbah to spend time with John and Jan and their family . There were many happy times spent at Lyne and Ron's beach house at Sandy Point.

The original "girls weekend" was instigated by Mum, she loved those special times when she and her four daughters would spend two or three days together enjoying each other's company. Mum loved being with her family, it was important to her, as she had been an only child. I can remember her at Diane's 30th birthday celebration, just looking around, and saying how happy she was that all her family got on well together. She joined in that all the family were doing, including enjoying our swimming pools and spa pools. Many weekends were enjoyed in the homes of Bronwen and Frank, Anne and Philip, and Kath and Kwong. If she was invited to go anywhere, she would never say no, until the last couple of years, when big crowds were just too much to cope with. In particular, she would never, never, never say no to going out for a cuppacino.

Her love of family was not always expressed by words but mostly by actions.
The many, many bed socks and jumpers knitted for her grand children, the coat hangers, the hand towels, the flannels embroidered with our initials on them. She was always helpful when she visited any of us, and always willing to do anything we asked of her, usually with a word of advice on how to it better or more efficiently.

Mum was a Christian and when she was about seventy years of age, she was baptized at her local church, a public acknowledgement that she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour. She was involved in the life of the church for many years , serving on the board of management at one stage. In later years, she was content with reading her bible, watching songs of praise on TV, and going to church at special times like Christmas and Easter.

Losing two of her beloved daughters, Anne and Lynette brought her much grief, but her faith in God gave her strength and comforted her.

Until she was 97, Mum was still hopping on the bus each day to go to Chaddy for her daily cuppacino.

She was living in her own home until she was 100 years old - quite an achievement- but eventually decided to have more care , so Oak Towers was carefully selected after much consideration. Mum fitted in well and loved the outings, concerts and conversations. She was even advising some of the staff as to what they should do with their lives! As a family we were very happy with her being there, she was having good pastoral care, and was in very safe hands. In the fourteen months that Mum was there she was much loved by many and will be sadly missed.

During her time at Oak Towers, she still enjoyed lunching at the pancake parlour, eating scones with jam and cream, raisin toast, and of course, cuppacino. She continued to enjoy holidays with the family. This year we had a weekend away at Echuca, achieving her ambition of a houseboat trip. She liked live theatre, and the last show she attended was the musical "The King and I" a couple of months ago.

Mum was always concerned for those who were less fortunate than herself and supported several charities throughout her life, as well as continually knitting garments for children's homes both here and in India. Her benevolence is reflected in her request for no flowers today.

Mum has left a huge legacy , not only of a large loving family, but also of faith, courage, strength, determination, and compassion for others less fortunate than herself.

She will be remembered with love and thankfulness.

Phyl Jones....eulogy by Yvonne Lowe

Phyl became a resident at Oak Towers Aged Care Facility, where I have been a chaplain, on October 10th, 2013.
She wasn't just 100 on entry to Oak Towers. Phyl let me know proudly she was 100 plus the 5 or 6 months, not quite our oldest resident at that stage, but certainly was one of the fittest and most mobile of our residents. She was an amazing lady with a wheelie frame. She could beat most of us through the corridors down to reception.
She was able to claim that important title as eldest resident for some months this year.
Phyl's age and mobility were legendary. But what I love best are her reflections about life.

How would YOU describe life? Ups and downs? Like a roller coaster?

I knew Phyl from her Chadstone Church of Christ days. Church was important to her: she loved her church community and they loved and appreciated her. Church life in its many aspects of faith, home group, rosters, responsibilities and friendships gave her strength and an out of this world courage to face the world. Life had not been easy for Phyl.

Back in 1988 we talked about life. She described life in terms of the sky as she looked out of the window. " Life is patchy, like the clouds of the sky"

In October 2013, I was delighted to renew our friendship . She was still the independent thinker I knew, still with questions. There was one question that stumped our chaplain interns at Oak Towers.......who would Adam and Eve's children have married ?

Phyl realized her need to move out of her much loved home on Waverley Road, so close to her church, but life was never the same. She loved her family and appreciated their ongoing support and time staying and visiting with them. She also loved her scrabble and card games with family and volunteers.

There were times she struggled. There were some mornings Phyl would call into the Reflection room. She knew she would generally find one of the chaplains or interns close by . She would say...I just like to sit with you and look out to the courtyard.

One morning I reminded her of how she used to see life. She nodded. She remembered . The following morning she returned with some special thoughts.

"Sometimes I wonder where God is and what He is doing and if He is there at all. It is a bit like the sun. So often you can't see the sun. It's behind the clouds, but it is there all the time . You just have to wait and trust, whatever is happening in your life. Eventually the clouds pass.
The sun is like God, always there , I know deep down God is always there for me, but some times the clouds are pretty thick."

I think Phyl would like me to read you a verse of one of her favorite hymns...

"Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the bible tells me so,
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak,but he is strong"

The following words and memories are a collection from Nana’s grand and great grandchildren. We asked little Knox (great, great grandchild) for his thoughts, but unfortunately got nothing…

Pantomime at Chadstone, donuts afterwards
Scones – with jam and cream of course
Rice pudding – say no more
Frogs in ponds – still a favourite, even today
Games in the front yard
Teaching us how to knit
Fish pond in the back yard
Brushing her hair when it was long – we would sit behind her chair and get out of going to bed
Sleep overs in school holidays – what happened at Nana’s, stayed at Nana’s.
Trips to Tassie and Perth
Scrabble and Rumicube – we are all convinced she cheated
Still playing Tennis in her 80s
The privilege of sweeping tennis courts between games
Bozo – what a fabulous companion he was
Hand knitted coat hangers – and yes, we have pilfered them all
Being looked after in the kinder she used to run
Mince for lunch
Devonshire teas
Being locked out of the house for watching too much tv
A prolific reader
Life stories – open and willing to share through the generations
Bus trips
Chadstone – its too big now!
Christmas parties at 119 Waverley Rd
Ongoing Christmas parties shared around family members
Pedestrian lights – we would push the button and always get in trouble because we weren’t crossing the road
Great role model
Chaddie for milksakes / coffee
Demonstration of faith in God
Going through the entire list of kids and grand kids when introducing you before getting to the right name!
Fighting over the walking stick
Card tricks
Quirky sense of humour and fun
Forever knitting – knee rugs for the old “bitties”
Strawberry quick which was out of date but still tasted yum
Playing games on the coloured tiles in kitchen
Short stack pancake with ice cream at the Pancake Parlour
Puffing Billy

Love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe.

We love and will miss you. Thank you for your legacy. You have shown us all how important family is and we are proud to honour your legacy.

Safe in the arms of God

And finally, from Nana…
Weep not for me, but courage take, and love each other, for my sake.

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies ; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. ". John 11:25-26