Various lockdown hacks and escapes — 10 — think about the Olympics 1

So I start with something completely irrelevant, as this being my blog I can do what I like!

Just released on YouTube and 13,000+ views already!

Well, amidst much angst and uncertainty, and with an unprecedented backdrop of COVID-19, the Games Have Begun!

Today let’s back-track.

2012: Watching the Olympics in Wollongong Mall

Not exactly crowded…

Of course I have family links to the Games, which I am proud of — have held Olympic gold medals in my own hands!

I used to enjoy telling people I coached Beverley — and I did, in Year 10 English! The Wikipedia article there is very good, clearly written by someone who knew her well.

Beverley Joy Whitfield (June 15, 1954 – August 20, 1996 in Shellharbour, New South Wales) was an Australian breaststroke swimmer of the 1970s, who won a gold medal in the 200 m breaststroke at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. She was coached by Terry Gathercole and Don Talbot.

The daughter of a fitter and turner who worked in the Wollongong steelworks for more than 35 years, Whitfield was taught to swim along with her sister and their cousins at the age four by her maternal uncle, who was active in the local Learn to Swim program. Along with her sister and cousins, she was a childhood member of the Shellharbour Swimming Club, and was mainly taken to local swimming competitions by her father and uncle. This became even more pronounced following the death of her mother from cancer…

Her father Max was my cousin, so she was my second cousin then. Sadly she died suddenly of a heart condition in 1996.

Marge, Beverley, Max, Margaret in the early 1960s.
Salt spray and sun have faded this a bit.
The ocean pool, Shellharbour.

And then there was the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, by which time I had a recently established blog — or “diary” as I called it at the time.

Saturday, September 16

GO THORPIE!!!! Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi OI!!!!! That 4X100 relay was sheer magic.

More on the Opening Ceremony–yes that torch thing did get stuck apparently! However, wasn’t that “underwater” lighting spectacular! And the waterfall! Yes–they did lay the politics of reconciliation on a bit thick, but it needs to be addressed and the Olympics was a powerful symbolic time: so too for the two Koreas and East Timor–moving moments both. However, I think the image of the girl and the songman remains the most powerful image for me.

I was tutoring in Chinatown today. One student, an 18-year-old from Mainland China, came in clutching tickets to the Olympic Table Tennis where his team will undoubtedly do well! He too admired the message of reconciliation in the Opening Ceremony, and was touched not only by that and the two Koreas being united, but also felt the fact China and Taiwan could play together in the Olympics sent a good message to the world and to the people and the politicians.

And my site passed the 2000 today! A minor matter but pleasing. In August this diary averaged seven hits a day; this month to date it has passed the total for August, averaging seventeen hits a day! Mind you that other site I declared “war” on a week ago has averaged twenty-four hits a day so far this month, so don’t get complacent my friends!

I see Brisbane has won the 2032 games — but who here will forget the bid that eventually ended with “The winner is SIDDENY!” No, not a typo — those in the know will know!

Various lockdown hacks and escapes — 5 — check your Covid selfies

Not exactly navel-gazing, as you never see that in my selfies. But since March 2020 I have posted a few, all taken with my laptop camera. So let’s see them again. Watch me age!

City Diggers Wollongong 16 March 2020
City Diggers 20 March 2020
Wollongong Library 23 March 2020
Illawarra Leagues Club this month
And at home on Friday!

If you get bored — take another selfie!

Some other July days in the past decade or so… A photo post

Looking through my archive for July 2016 I see retrospectives that are worth selecting from. So here are some, nothing too heavy.

Posted on July 13, 2009

1207 006a
Passing parade — Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills

Posted on July 24, 2009

glebe 021
Cornstalk Bookshop, Glebe — owner Paul Feain at the freebies table…

Posted on July 11, 2010

Sunday lunch — Trinity Bar, Surry Hills

Posted on July 14, 2011

On Wollongong City Beach looking towards Port Kembla.

Posted on July 19, 2011

Lunch at The Diggers Club.

Posted on July 27, 2011

Wollongong Harbour.

Posted on July 20, 2012

Lunch at the Steelers Club — the club and the neighbourhood are totally changed since then!

Posted on July 13, 2013

A rare sighting of Michael Xu in Wollongong, at the back entrance to Illawarra Grammar School in fact.

Posted on July 29, 2014 

From my window, Mount Kembla on the left.

Posted on July 11, 2016

Lunch with Chris T at Ziggy’s House of Nomms, which included two treats especially, the first being a sencha tea delicately scented with flowers. Lovely. The second we tried because we didn’t know what it might be, but it turns out to be a thing! Taiwan Taco Gua Bao.

So here in lockdown June 2021 comes to an end…

A good month for the blog, better than May. I may add details below at the end of the day.

However I thought a peaceful photo post is what we need — particularly of old photos that have come my way via local history and nostalgia groups on Facebook. I have given them a touch of colour.

Lake Illawarra: Looking towards Merrigong (the Illawarra escarpment) or the Saddleback, and what looks like a coming storm. That last detail becomes more apparent with a touch of colour.
This is a scene my father would have recognised from his childhood, having been born in Shellharbour in 1911.
Some nice memories contributed by FB just now. I was rather intrigued by “Mount Keira seen from Gipps and Keira street intersection at Smiths Hill in 1940” so, despite the resolution not being the best, decided to give it a touch of colour. Looks as if Gipps was a dirt road then…
The year my grandfather Roy Hampton Christison began as headmaster at Shellharbour Public School — 1930. In 1935 my mother Jean Christison, and my father, Jeff Whitfield married. In October 1935 my brother Ian was born.

This is the Shellharbour of those years! So rural! So small!
Here is Shellharbour in 1936 when my brother Ian turned 1 year old! Small town, as I said the other day. I can see the Church of England, the school where Grandpa Christison was headmaster, Grandpa Tom Whitfield’s house where Mum, Dad and Ian would also have been living in 1936, and Uncle Ken’s place!

June stats

As at 9pm there were 1,400 views from 509 visitors. That is the second best this year, after March with 1,558 from 671 visitors. The average views per day was 46.

Nine years, Jim Belshaw? How can that be?

On Facebook Jim posted a memory, adding “Is it really nine years?!” This is the memory:

Jim Belshaw — Daceyville — 24 June 2012

It was indeed a lovely day, on which I did two blog posts: Sunday lunch in Daceyville and More pictures of Daceyville.

(L-R) Noric Dilanchian, Clare Belshaw, Neil Whitfield and Dennis Sligar.

Dennis turns out to have been just one year ahead of me as a student at Sydney Boys High in the 1950s and we reminisced ourselves silly.

He was also a Public Servant of note and gets mentioned in Kim Beazley’s autobiography. Noric is of Armenian background and among topics raised by him was the matter of history and perspective. Jim’s daughter Clare is also quite passionate about history, particularly about the Julio-Claudians it appears and has a perhaps not unrelated interest in zombies. I also learned for the first time – though I am sure most of you already knew – about Kickstarter,  a funding platform for creative projects. What a great thing it appears to be!

All that and roast lamb too.

Thanks, Jim.

And not least was Daceyville itself — on which see the two blog entries linked above.