Saturday, September 24, 2011

Jessaholics Luncheon in Historic Bendigo, Saturday 27 August 2011

Hello Everyone Around the World,

Our fourth Jessaholics luncheon was held in Bendigo, a historic town in the state of Victoria, Australia. Bendigo is considered one of the leading provincial towns in the state and has a history spanning more than 150 years. Bendigo was built on the foundation of its key industry - gold production and deep reef mining.

As a group, we had another good reason to choose Bendigo. Evie, who has been through a lot lately, lives there and we all wanted her to be a big part of this, yet another, special day.

The group converged on Bendigo on Saturday the 27th of August by various means of transportation, including a "private air charter" (Clint and Jonathan). Brian flew in from Tasmania and Faye, Max, Ailsa, Sally, Collette, Pete and a very special couple from South Australia drove up to Bendigo for the weekend. We even had Evie's daughter, son-in-law and grandson join us.

Evie organised a private room at the Bendigo RSL (Returned Services League) Club and it turned out to be a great location. The courtyard of the club even had an old WWII Spitfire on display amongst other vintage hardware.

Ailsa had a nice surprise for us by bringing and playing her banjo and accompanied by the groups varying vocal skills, we managed to belt out a few old tunes.

Good food and great conversation made it a very enjoyable afternoon. Even the notoriously fickle weather in these parts was kind to us and we had sunshine and mild temperatures.

The atmosphere was one of warmth, friendship, happiness and familiarity. It continues to fascinate that a singular common interest, young Jess, has created a strong and enduring bond within the group. And we are just getting warmed up ! There is much more to come !

                                  Evie and Ailsa

                                  Ailsa, Faye and Clint

                                  Standing L-R : Max, Faye, Ailsa, Clint, Colette
                                                        Pete, Evie's daughter and son-in-law
                                  Seated L-R : Brian, Evie, Sally, Jonathan

                                             Ailsa !

                                  Relaxing and enjoying each others company

                                  Varying vocal talent !

                                  Clint and Jonathan arriving on "private charter"
                                  (Jonathan flew in with Clint)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Follow Up - Queensland Floods

Hello Fellow Jessaholics,

I must apologise for not visiting here for such a long time. No real excuses but the fact that quality time has been a commodity in very short supply due to the business taking up most of my waking hours. Anyway, its really good to be back and I thought I would share with all of you some very confronting, yet life changing experiences I had on a little trip I made up to Queensland.

Just watching the pain and suffering being experienced by my fellow Aussie's got the better of me so I started making enquiries with a number of organisations including local councils and government departments in an attempt to get to flood affected families directly. I did not have much success but kept on trying anyway.

One day, I happened to be watching A Current Affair on Channel 9 (a program I very rarely watch) and there was a segment on a small FM radio station that had set up a website to connect flood victims who either did not have any insurance or were done in by their insurance carriers to individuals or organisations who could help them directly.

I immediately wrote them an email and received a response within 24 hours. Long story short, Juice FM on the Gold Coast connected me directly with four families who were completely devastated by the floods and either had no insurance or were not being paid out.

I cashed in some frequent flyer miles and headed up to Queensland in March and had the honour and privilege of meeting all four families. Two of these families were very young and just starting out in life. The third was from Grantham which was "ground zero" (worst affected). The fourth was a lady who had lost her husband only nine months ago and now this.

I took each one of them to the local Good Guys, Retravision etc and purchased for them things like cooktops, rangehoods, ovens, split aircon units, fridges, dryers, lawnmowers etc. Anything that was needed immediately by these families. I could not begin to tell you how this touched my heart. All these families were initially reluctant to impose on me but I insisted. It was a big expense but I just had to do it. Money never really meant too much to me anyway. At this stage of my life, its about fulfillment.

I have attached some pictures of Grantham just to give you an idea of just how terrible the floods were there. Houses were pulled off their foundation slabs and transported up to 300 metres away. Look closely at the pictures - the brown spots are where the houses were originally.

I had a tough time choking back the tears and when I saw a particular home where a young mother was fleeing the rising waters with her infant and while tripping on a log lost her grip on her baby..........I can't say any more. This was in the news.

I was initially hesitant in sharing this with you but I thought I would simply because there is a much larger picture - people in this world suffering to no fault of their own. We need to be grateful for what we have.

Love to All

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Jessaholics Luncheon #4 - The Best Yet !

L to R : Greg, Annie, Clint, Brian, Jonathan, Chris,
Max, Faye, Sally, Pete and Collette

Collette and Miley !

Miley mingling with us mere mortals !

Miley belting out an impromptu tune !

Chatting with our friends and fellow Jessaholics
from across the pond

Clint having a grand old chat with "The Lady
from Across the Border"

Jess' personal video message to all of us !

Greg and Annie

Collette with her Jess-a-cupcakes

Hello fellow Jessaholics around the world,

The fourth Victorian Jessaholics luncheon was held last Saturday 27 Nov 2010 at Fishermans Pier restaurant, right on the waterfront in the city of Geelong (for our friends overseas, pronounced je-long) .

My word ! We all agreed that it was the best ever ! Now before I go any further, this is no longer just a Victorian event. We actually had our wonderful friends Annie, Greg and Brian travel in from Queensland and Tasmania respectively adding to all the usual suspects. We did miss Ailsa and Tony.

Collette did all the planning for the luncheon including picking the venue which was just perfect. This little collaborative gem by Clint, Max and Annie encapsulates our very special Collette :

There was once a girl from Geelong
Collette was her name for so long

Though blond may she be
Just between you and me

To organize, she can do no wrong !!!

She followed Jess every step of the way,

Through high seas and gales, Collette never missed a day.

As a loyal Jessaholic she really is a wonder,

(Although packing her suitcase she really made a blunder!)

That’s our Collette, our blond bombshell from Down Under!

and then this one from Brian :

There was a lady named Collette

who to Queensland was all set to jet,

But her plans soon came asunder

. . . it was only ONE small blunder!

That brought her on to fret.

So what was the cause

that made her there to pause,

When the friendly staff at check in

refused some extra mass in,

And stopped her at the doors.

In packing at her home,

somewhat more than just a comb,

Twelve pairs of shoes

…it’s oh so difficult to choose!!

Too late now to bemoan......................(truncated as the rest could not pass by the censors scissors !!)

........however, there were darker forces at work hatching and scheming a big surprise at the luncheon..........

A plan was afoot to smuggle all sorts of technological contraptions into the Pier without attracting any suspicion. Clandestine and coded communications were burning the airwaves and as the afternoon unfolded, we first had an unexpected and surprise whirlwind visit from another vivacious blonde......yes ! Miley Cyrus graced our Jessaholics luncheon with her presence, if not for a few minutes.

Next thing we hear behind us is a very familiar voice greeting all of us and telling us to enjoy our luncheon. We all jumped as we collectively recognised young Jess' voice and there she was on Max's widescreen monitor in a video shot especially for us. What a thrill ! Between Max and Frase (Andrew Fraser) and a tight schedule, this was pulled off in the nick of time !

The story does not end there..........the screen comes alive again and this time we have Bill (Georgia Guy) on Skype all the way from America ! The gods of bandwidth were taking a catnap because we lost audio with Bill but with the help of a notepad and pencil, we muddled on.

Then, it was such a pleasure to chat with Janell from Oklahoma and then Mark (Salty Dog) from the Pacific North West.

After that, the secret was out and it all came together for the rest of us when we connected with Soldiers Mum, the last link in the chain of the Sorcerers Apprentices who were the masterminds behind this scheme.

What an afternoon ! Once again, the best yet ! Just like everyone else, I can't wait for the 5th !

A very special "Sally by the Bay" trophy was presented to Max.......

To Max especially....I believe he has a trophy owing to him for ......not 1, not 2 but 3 firsts on the blog!!!!!!!
So drum roll please for.......Marvellous,Methodical,Memorable and Meritorious ...Max.


......and it still did not end there.....

Brian had quite an adventure getting home to's an excerpt ...

A delayed departure from Tullamarine (1 hr), a fog-bound Burnie/Wynyard airport, a diversion to Launceston, a tedious wait for a bus, a long and nearly disastrous (that’s another story!) trip back to B/W airport with diversions to debus various passengers. Then to double back from the airport, now in my own car, I pulled into my driveway at 1:05am!!

....and picture Annie and Greg looking for the seventh floor of the parking lot in Brisbane when it only had four ! To their defense it was 1 am.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Few More Pictures (Belatedly)

Ailsa and Jess In Melbourne

Ailsa and Julie in Sydney

Wilsons Promontory in the distance (from Sandy Point)

Venus Bay from above the clouds (4500 ft)


Hello Everyone,

Business commitments and a flurry of birthdays and relo's visiting have taken me off the Jessaholic landscape for a couple of weeks.

I did commit to posting these pictures of Ailsa with Jess and Julie so here they are.

The lovely weekend weather was perfect for a fly across to the Prom and I thought I would attach a couple of those pictures as well. Its not too often that I get to fly above cloud (it depends on the ability to see the ground through the clouds - which I could).

I look forward to hearing from all of you.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Melbourne Jessaholics Luncheon No. 3

Clockwise from left : Chris, Tony L, Clint, Jonathan,
Faye, Max, Sally and Ailsa
Don't miss the spectacular views from Kirks of
Mornington (thanks Faye and Max)

Enjoying each others company !

Faye and Ailsa share a light moment !

Faye, Max and Sally

Hi Everyone,

The Melbourne "chapter" of Jessaholics had our third luncheon today and it was a very enjoyable event.

We had Faye, Max, Clint, Ailsa, Chris, Sally, Tony and Jonathan and sorely missed Collette and Peter (Collette wasn't well).

Sally made pink Jessaholic badges for all of us and lots of pictures, DVDs and stories were exchanged by all.

We are already talking about our next luncheon and it looks like we are all going to Geelong, perhaps a little further out to Torquay.

Here are a few pictures of todays event.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Jessica - Gold Coast Book Signing

Hi All,

Fay (HomeSweetBoat) from The Gold Coast sent some really nice pictures of the book signing event there. It also puts a face to the name of another Jessaholic.

Here they are !

Looks like Jess' brother Tom is sitting behind her in the third picture.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Jessica - Melbourne Book Signing

Clint, Jonathan, Faye, Jess and Max

A Beaming Clint with Faye's and Max's grand daughter and Faye looking on !

Max with Jess

Jonathan with Jess (Louisa Dear from Hachette Publishing looking on)

Hi All,

Faye, Max, Clint and I were at Knox City Shopping Centre, in Melbourne's South East this afternoon to get our copies of Jess' book signed.

Andrew Fraser from 5Oceans Media assisted with giving all of us the opportunity to spend a few minutes exclusively with Jessica.

After the event, we all adjourned to The Coffee Club to debrief and generally enjoy each others company. Here are a few pictures.