Victor and Barbara in 2009.
In March, Robert and Alan, Carole and Alexander came to stay with us for a few days. We three brothers were able to look through some of Father's papers, photos and other things, and sort them out between us. Later that week, Robert and Victor went bush-walking along the coast in the Southern tip of South Australia.
During this year, Barbara has progressed wonderfully well with her clarinet playing. Victor and Barbara now play piano/clarinet duets together for fun. Barbara also played every week with the Playford City Band, until a couple of months ago. She has also resumed singing lessons, with a great teacher who lives in Angaston, conveniently near to Barbara's daughter, Angela. In September, Barbara passed her grade 3 Clarinet exam with credit.
In May, Victor constructed an underground fire bunker, 6ft square and about 3ft deep, lined and roofed with railway sleepers, and covered with 2ft of earth on top. This is an absolute last resort, if we get caught unawares, and trapped by fire. If we do get sufficient warning of a serious bushfire, we will evacuate. Later in May, Barbara and Victor visited Pat Glenie (Russel's mother) who lives at Renmark, on the River Murray in South Australia's Riverland.
In July, Barbara joined Daniel and family for 3 weeks on the Northern leg of their "round Australia" trip in their 4WD and caravan. She flew to Darwin on 17th July, then took a 10 hour bus ride to Kununura, just over the NT/ WA border, where she met up with Daniel. They visited Lake Argyle, the Kimberleys, Fitzroy Crossing, Dampier, and Broome. They saw many amazing rock formations, several townships with mainly aboriginal populations, vast rivers with more water than Sydney harbour, and the world-famous Cable Beach at Broome, with its dolphin population. They also experienced the red dust which is all around, and gets into everything in Australia's "top-end". Barbara flew home to Adelaide from Broome on 8th August.
During 2009 we made two major car trips to visit our children and families, each involving about 5000 kms of driving. Victor bought a new toy - a digital movie camera. The movies taken on these trips are on this web-site as streamed videos.
The first was from 12th August to 5th Sept. We drove along South Australia's South coast into Victoria, and followed the beautiful coastal route to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road. There we visited Chris and his partner Melanie, who live in Caulfield, fairly near to St Kilda and the centre of Melbourne. Chris was happy, especially with his blacksmithing work. He has created some excellent wrought iron furniture and candelabras. We then left Melbourne, following the coast around the South-East corner, staying in Cann River and Ulladulla en-route to Sydney. There we stayed with Kim and family near Menai, and also with brother Alan and family at Middle Cove. We then headed North up the NSW coast via Taree and Mclean, towards Ipswich where Karen and her family live. En route we stopped at Kempsey NSW to see the place that Father has told us about. In 1945, his Royal Navy ship stopped there for repairs, and Father has often told me about the generosity to him of the people in Kempsey. We had a lovely time staying with Karen, Lee, Olivia and Mathew, and visiting Brisbane's beautiful Roma Street Gardens, and its South Bank riverside precinct. We eventually headed home diagonally across Australia's interior, managing the journey with only 2 overnight stops.
Cousin Frances and her husband Roger Klein (from UK) were on a big lecture tour of Australia during September and October. We met Frances on a delightful Sunday, and drove around the Adelaide Hills, visiting the tiny village of Macclesfield, SA, much to Frances's amusement and pleasure. At the end of that week we met her again in Adelaide to attend a chamber music concert at Adelaide University. We heard a stunning professional performance of Schubert's piano trio Op 100, which Victor has been playing with a local violinist and cellist. Roger and Frances then came to our home for dinner. It was wonderful to catch up with Frances again, after about 35 years!Frances again, after about 35 years!
Barbara and Victor are now a shepherdess and shepherd! We bought 9 sheep in October, to keep our grass down, and reduce the fire risk in summer. Victor had some anxious times as the sheep tested our fences, and escaped to our neighbour's property. He mended all the fences, and then, with heaps of help from the Pike family team, we succeeded in shepherding the sheep back to our own place!hallenges of the race. The team consisted entirely of Engineering graduates who had just completed their Master's year. They built the car themselves in Cambridge. In the harsh conditions of the Australian interior they had huge problems with their battery, which is clearly the weakest link in the chain from the solar panels to the electric engine. The experience acquired this year will enable next year's team to rectify these problems and advance the technology. Barbara and I were very impressed by the enthusiasm, expertise, and eloquence of the team members, all aged about 22 years.
Our 2nd big car trip took place from 22nd November to 11th December. This time, we drove across the interior straight to Queensland, and visited Robert and Wendy at their lovely home at Lake McDonald, in the hinterland of the Sunshine coast behind Noosa. Robert's daughter Annalise was there also, staying just one week during the Thanksgiving break from her studies at Stanford University. On Thursday 26th November, Wendy treated us to a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner, and she and Annalise told us all about the origin of the US Thanksgiving festival. Barbara and Victor then drove to Ipswich, where we stayed with Karen and family for 6 days. Mathew has grown very tall for a boy only 20 months old! He talks a lot, though only a few words can be understood. His favourite word is car. Karen is expecting another boy at the beginning of April next year, so Mathew will have a baby brother to play with!
From Ipswich we drove South down the New England Highway and stayed in the picturesque university town of Armidale, then visited the Hunter Valley where we visited some local wineries and bought some of their wares. We then drove through Sydney to Kim's place at Barden Ridge, where we stayed a few days before heading home via Narrandera on the Murrumbidgee river, Mildura and Renmark.
During 2009 Victor composed a piano trio for piano, violin and cello. We played the first two movements at an informal concert in July in front of about 25 friends and family. The work is now complete, and Victor is hoping to play all four movements later this week, with Leonie (cello) and Anne (violin).
Victor has created a new website for music enthusiasts, which contains printable music scores for nearly 100 chamber and symphony works, and MIDI renditions of over 1000 tunes and themes. New works are being added all the time. It also has a theme lookup facility, in which you click the first ten notes of a tune on a virtual piano. Victor has fun, and many challenges, programming for this web site, using Microsoft's newest web technology ASP.NET. The site is at www.bestClassicalTunes.com Another new web site, on which I am still working, draws family tree diagrams for members of the Gomersall and related families. It is up and running, but needs refinement. Look for it at www.gomersall.net.au/familyTree
We've attended several chamber and symphony concerts this year, and one opera "Tales of Hoffmann" by Offenbach, at the State Opera of South Australia. We also joined the U3A (University of the 3rd Age) where we both attended Music Appreciation sessions, and Victor attended German Language classes. Victor became Secretary of the Amateur Chamber Music Players of South Australia, and he designed, and continues to maintain, their web-site at ChamberMusicSA.org.
Barbara has met some keen violinists and singers who live near, and in 2010 we are planning to get together to play music arranged for clarinet, violins, and piano, and perhaps a bit of singing as well. Heaps of fun to look forward to next year!