"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

10th Anniversary!!

Wow!!! whoever would have thought that Holtieshouse would have a 10th Anniversary??


When I first started this blog it was more as a tech challenge, a can you do it sort of thing, who knew that it would develop into the cherished part of my life that has given me friendships all over the world, these friendships are in the main with people I have never met and probably never will meet, but with whom I have shared my life and in turn have been invited into their lives.
Sad to say, over the last couple of years my blogging has become a bit intermittent I have maintained contact with a lot of my friends through FaceBook which has become the modern sort of short hand version of blogging.
To all who might chance to read this I would like to say... THANK YOU for making my life so much better, we have shared so much, Good and Bad times, and have formed a bond with one another as strong as with those we have contact with.

Here's to the next 10 Years!!!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Bowel Cancer

A journey with bowel cancer

I have been thinking over the last few months that perhaps I should write a short history of my recent journey with bowel cancer, not in any way attention seeking rather some of the things that I found a bit difficult and especially the things I found easy, who knows it just might make somebody else's journey that little bit easier.
The starting point with me was a visit to the outpatients  department of my local hospital for some help with what I thought was a severe case of constipation, after some prodding and poking it was decided that I should be transferred to a nearby Hospital with a surgery ward.
That's when the first alarm bells rang and then a few hours later when I was told that I needed an emergency operation to have a stoma for a colostomy bag on my abdomen as there was a severe blockage in my lower bowel which was possibly a cancer, the four alarm fire bells started ringing about then.
Probably because this was an emergency operation there were aspects of it that could have gone better, like the  super quick prep treatment to empty my stomach and bowels, this certainly bypassed the blockage in a big way, the other  aspect I could certainly have done without were 3 nights of horrendous nightmares following what I can only assume were some pretty serious anesthetics being used.
All this aside, I woke up in the ICU with a colostomy bag in place and no more stomach pains, in fact no pain of any kind which came as a pleasant surprise  when I saw the two rather nasty incision's in my abdomen for the first time.
Perhaps for the benefit of anybody like me who had no idea what this involved, a very  non-medical description, an incision about 5cm (2 inches) long is made across one side of the abdomen, this is accompanied by a similar vertical incision through which the surgeon can work on the small intestine which is cut so that the stomach side of the cut can feed into the colostomy bag, I did say a non-medical description didn't I, but like me, you may have had no idea of what it all meant.
This was followed by about 2 months of healing before Chemo-therapy and radiation can begin, the healing process is stopped by these treatments, again something I didn't know, next I had a PIC line inserted running from my right upper arm through a vein to within about 2 cm of my heart, the slow release Chemo that I  was being treated with fed into this PIC line from a bottle hung around my neck.
In conjunction with the chemo I had 28 treatments of radiation, these were spread over about 38 days as they didn't work on weekends, I was warned that there were some pretty unpleasant side effects of radiation, nausea, vomiting etc and surprised the staff by reporting no side effects at all, I think they were inclined to dis-believe me when I said I felt fine and more than once asked.. how are you really?? in retaliation, I asked whether I was on the placebo course, for the last 7 treatments they up the dosage considerably so I was again warned that I would be feeling pretty awful at times... again I sailed through almost unscathed, on the morning of my last treatment I reported a small blister on my bum where the rays had been ever so slightly mis-directed, without wanting to be harsh, the staff seemed pleased that at last I had had some reaction!!
Again an explanation of what radiation treatment consists of... they lay you on a "bed" which then raises about 6 feet from the ground enabling a huge arm containing the radiation gun to be focused on the cancer site from above, below, from the left and the right side, "lay very still and don't get off the bed... you're 6 feet of the floor, while we go and hide behind our lead screen" this last part is a bit  dis-concerting but hey, you get used to all this stuff, treatment time is about 15 minutes each session.
I was VERY fortunate in that during this whole time I had no side effects beyond feeling a bit tired, A walk in the park when compared to what some people have during these treatments.
After about 2 months to ensure the radiation has "Killed" the cancer growth came  the second surgery, this time they got  serious bout the size of the incision.. about 10 inches vertically from a point  wherein had they gone any lower I would now be female, up past the belly button to  the rib cage, through this the surgeon cut away about 12 inches of my lower intestine then pulled the two cut ends together and sewed them together.
Another 6 months for everything to heal up again before the final surgery to reverse the stoma and let me be rid of the colostomy bag which had been my constant companion for 12 months before I had the reversal.
Because my cancer was very low down the section of bowel that was removed as luck  would have it is the only section to have duties beyond being a conduit to eliminate body waste, this lower section stores and compacts the waste before elimination, to aid in the elimination process it produces a lubricating mucous, my surgeon suggested that in 6 to 12 months time after the stoma reversal the new section of bowel would "learn" these necessary skills... to date it has certainly mastered the art of mucous production but shows no real sign of learning the other skills which we take for granted in a perfect world, Oh to be blessed with a smart section of intestine.
OK so I have obviously had the reversal operation done, this was just prior to re-locating to Victoria in March 2014 and to wind up my knowledge on bowel cancer here is a summary of where we are at now.
My bowel motions are fortunately pretty regular, any signs of diarrhea can best be described as catastrophic, by "regular" if you imagine chocolate soft serve ice cream you're getting close, now because this is not being expelled with the normal amount of force it tends to just sit in place and requires a fair bit of cleaning up, this in turn leads to a very tender bottom at times, whoever would have dreamt there would be times when a colostomy bag sounded appealing. To counter-act this tenderness I've found non-biodegradable wipes to be better than toilet paper at times, after laundering these wipes are very soft and quite absorbent so when inserted in the correct position they act as  an early warning system and are to some degree  at least, leak proof.
You now know a hell of a lot more about my bowel cancer than  you ever wanted to... that's  assuming you have read this far... and you  certainly know  a lot more about it than I did when it  was all happening, just maybe it could be helpful to someone you know???
There is only one more bit of information I want to share with you but its worthy of a separate post, stay tuned.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


I think this is a rant????

Hands up if you have ever had the horrific experience of changing a long standing email address, you know the one that all your Family and friends have, your bank has not to mention, Blogger, facebook, google, firefox (or your chosen ISP), amazon, ebay, pinterest, and probably another dozen that you haven't thought about for years, but WILL definitely try to contact you soon (Murphy's Law).
OK you can all put your hands down now.... I had, to put it mildly, a dispute with my previous ISP over something that should have taken 2 minutes (I simply wanted to give them a new credit card details for the direct debit with them) but dragged on over 4 phone calls each of about 15 minutes duration and ended up with  me SHOUTING over the phone that our association was hereby terminated (or words to that effect) this left me without the option of being all palsy with them to notify all these other people.
Alright, I know that I brought this all down on myself with my temper tantrum but it felt SO good at the time... ALMOST worth the next week of trying to change my email address with scores of people who insisted on notifying me through an old email address, that I no longer had access to, that they had my new email address and would start to use it once I verified it through my OLD email address.
I hasten to say that I had no trouble with my family and friends or even vague personal acquaintances, it was only with the business people... you know the smart ones!!!
Now I readily admit that I'm no longer the sharpest pencil in the pencil case (and that perhaps I never was) but I hold firmly to the belief that I am NOT an idiot... so if I go to the trouble of phoning all  these people with either my new credit card details and/or my new email address why is it that so few (yes there were a few) can simply say thank you and record the new details while so many complicate their, and my, lives with stupid rules and formulas that they insist on following.
I have had the same multiple phone call routine that lit the initial fuse with several others but have thus far been able to contain my anger without terminating any more associations, I believe I can see the faint glimmer of light at the end of the LONG tunnel so there is just a chance that my life can settle back into the normal blood pressure range sometime soon.... Amen        

Monday, March 02, 2015

RIP Hoss.

For long time bloggers... I think I'm right in saying that its 6 years ago on March 10 since we lost an all time favorite b***ger... Ol'HorsetailSnake like many who read this I was always in awe of Gene's sense of humor and his down to earth grasp on things, (like dung beetles).
I sure hope he has made his pile up yonder, if ever anyone deserved to it was Hoss

RIP old friend.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A trip down memory lane.

I recently spent 3 days with my Son Marcus on a trip planned mainly to catch up with some of my friends and family that I missed when I was unable to attend my sister Merle's funeral last year, as luck would have it we found ourselves standing at Merle's grave on the anniversary of her passing, this added significantly to the visit.

We started out with my cousin Dan and his wife Kath, Dan and I were great mates when we were children, you know how you have that special cousin!!!! but had lost touch over the years, we spent about 4 hours together with barely a break in the chatter, a great visit.

On to the cemetery next, I seem to remember having difficulty keeping photos in order with Blogger, hope they come out right, next was a quick visit with Merle's oldest son John and his lady Heather, always a joy to catch up with them.

To round of day one we visited a lifelong friend Keith where we spent an  enjoyable night, chatting into the wee small hours, Keith had a golf game organized for the next morning we were able to indulge Marcus' passion for browsing second hand and antique stores for a couple of hours.

Another town and another lifetime friend, my best mate Alan's widow Jan and their lovely daughter Carol, more good times and memories,  we left there with just enough time for a quick visit with their son Gary and his wife Christine before Marcus had to head for Geelong and work, as his car was in Melbourne that left me with some time to do some more nostalgic sight-seeing.

This included drive by visits to old movie theatres, I used to frequent, a couple of old Pubs where we used to hang out, a couple of the old houses we lived in when I was a kid, in short a full dose of memories to top off a great weekend, thank you Marcus for excellent company and all those we visited for their hospitality and company.

 Kath, myself and Dan sharing memories at Benalla.
 Merle and Harold's grave site at Shepparton.
 Myself and my "Little Mate" Keith at Tocumwal.
 Jan and myself at Yarrawonga.
 The charming Carol at Yarrawonga.
 Myself and Marcus while we were at Yarrawonga.
The house we lived in when I was 10 to  14 years old.
 This was where we lived when  Merle married and left home, that's when I discovered that I missed her!!!!

The intersection where we gate crashed the Royal visit in 1954, see post on Facebook Jan 13 for details.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Australia Day 2015

January 26th already, its the Australia Day long weekend here in Oz, time to fire up the barbie, grab a cold beer, play some back yard cricket and celebrate living in the best country in the world

 Green & Gold... Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.

Sausages and Aussie Burgers!!!

The shirt says it all!!!

I'll have my steak Australian thanks!!!

The things we do!!!

As usual... Finished of with a joke!!!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Welcome to Holtieshouse!!!

Woo-Hooo... we're back on the air, so to speak, now what to talk about?
Perhaps an up-date on the last 12 months, moving from Queensland (after 20 years) back to my State of birth, Victoria, note to self, don't do that again so close to Winter, in Queensland the Winter climate is almost perfect... in Victoria its just COLD.
OK, climate aside the move has worked out well, I have 2 of my 4 kids close at hand and I have a social life pattern that keeps me in touch with life time friends, I have got my new home to the stage where it feels right, my health is back to where its been for most of my life.
During October/November 20014 I drove to Perth WA and back, to visit with family, my other 2 kids live in Perth, the secondary reason for driving (almost 10,000 kms) was to prove to myself that I could still do it, both objects were achieved, I had a good visit with the kids and also some lifetime friends in both SA and WA.
The down-side of the year was the loss of my dear Sister Merle, it hardly seems possible that its been almost a year since she passed away, gone but never forgotten.
In honor of her memory I'm going to close this post with a joke as was her habit.

Bert feared his wife Peg wasn't hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid.
Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family Doctor to discuss the problem.

The Doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the Doctor a better idea about her hearing loss.

'Here's what you do,' said the Doctor, 'stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a 

That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he was In the den.  He says to himself, 'I'm about 40 feet away, let's see what happens.'  Then in a normal tone he asks, 'Honey, what's for dinner?'

No response.

So the husband moves closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, 'Peg, what's for dinner?'

Still no response.

Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his Wife and asks, 'Honey, what's for dinner?'

Again he gets no response.

So, he walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. 'Honey, what's for dinner?'

Again there is no response.

So he walks right up behind her. 'Peg, what's for dinner?'

'For F*-#?? sake, Bert, for the FIFTH time, CHICKEN!'

Until next time...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Are we there yet?

Following on with the problem of the hi-jacking of this blogsite I have done some tidy up chores here and I believe I have fixed the problem, as a method of checking this I would appreciate it if some readers would follow the link back here and let me know if there is still a problem. My intention is to do a weekly??? post here as I still love the principle of blogging.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Its 2015, must be time for a post.

I don't know whether anyone is going to be able to read this, time will tell, after all this time... almost 10 years and 1125 posts, it seems someone has hi-jacked holtieshouse, I have had my computer serviced and the repair shop managed to clean the hi-jack from this computer but said it would probably still affect others???
If this is so I will report it to Blogger in the hope that they can do something.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A new home for holtieshouse.

Seems like ages since I have written anything on F/B (or the blog) and it certainly isn’t because nothing has been happening in my world… the very opposite in fact I have been on a whirlwind ride which was going much to fast for me to jump off.
In something like chronological order, since Christmas 2012 which I spent in Victoria with most of my family, the decision to move back to Victoria became a reality so some lifestyle investigations began, after much to-ing and fro-ing I decided to buy another house and live independently while I was still able to.
There was a pretty good range of homes available in my price range so I made an offer on one of them then headed for home to sell my Queensland house, Vicki rang me a couple of days later to tell me that the offer had been accepted so the game was on in earnest, I listed my house with a local agent and we agreed on a selling price, after one open house which was very well attended the agent rang me to say the house was sold… so in a two week period I bought and sold houses in two different states.
My dear sister passed away at the same time I was booked into hospital to have the reversal of my colostomy done, the surgery all went well and I have since received a clean bill of health report. 
Marcus and Alan came up for a week to organize a garage sale and pack up my stuff, as an added bonus the people who bought my house bought my furniture too so the move became much easier. Thanks to the boys efforts the garage sale was a success, we gave the surplus to charity and I set sail for my new home and life.
I am at this moment, 1.00pm Wed March 19th, sitting on my new front porch typing this post while I wait for my mew Refrigerator, Washing Machine, Bedroom Suite and Lounge Suite to be delivered, The carpets were all cleaned yesterday and my stuff from Gympie arrives tomorrow so I’ll probably move into my new home on the week end…. WooHoo.
Its now 10 pm and all the expected things have happened, so I’m off to bed… a big day unpacking tomorrow!!!!