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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Christmas!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-5, 14).

May the Light that shines in the darkness shine on you this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Apparently Dazza is good for kids after all

Finally a ‘good news’ story about Dazz’s influence on children: We had an email this week from friends in Turkey. They were having tacos and little Mr Grade 1, who does not normally eat lettuce, asked for lettuce on his taco. When questioned by his surprised mother he replied that he had lettuce on his taco with Uncle Dazza and it gave it a good crunch! This may not make up for all of the bad influences that have occurred over many years, but at least there’s one family in the world that doesn’t think Dazza’s bad for kids!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A distant memory...

We've been back teaching at uni for two weeks now, and our time at the beach is fast becoming a distant memory. We're enjoying the students, and the air conditioning, but it's hard to beat life on the road. Here's a few more pics from our time at the beach to keep the memory alive.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Note the slight difference in the title from the last gypsy post (apparently there is now no question about it). We just received the following email from friends with four kids that we visited in May...

"And also, they say Gypsies leave trouble behind wherever they go


Still quelling the mutiny here…"

I'm free to visit them any time, but not 'that guy I hang out with'. Apparently he's just no good for kids...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gotta love a beach holiday in Qld!

Well, it hasn't been completely 'holiday'. We have been marking, but it doesn't get much better than this for work... Walks along the surf beach, kayaking in the river, watching the world go by, swimming, taking advantage of Mum & Dad's water-front site views. When it's too windy to kayak the kite surfers come out and put on quite a display.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Last week the six year old son of friends we stayed with a few times in Turkey was doing his English home school and was learning about the different kinds of homes people live in, including gypsies living in caravans. He turned to his mother very seriously, and asked, "Are Uncle Dazza and Aunty Leanne gypsies?" She kept herself from laughing (just barely) and told him no, that not everyone who lives in a caravan is a gypsy.

A few hours after I read the email from my friend Dazz came into the van and said ‘gypsies, hey…’. I asked if he’d seen the email too. He had no idea what I was talking about. He’d been working on the car in the shed with my uncle and as they walked out of the shed my uncle commented on the gypsies camped behind the shed. So maybe we really are gypsies…

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


As the sun began to set metaphorically on our time in Turkey Dazz decided to take some literal sunset photos.


Miniatürk is a great tour around the sights of Turkey. There are miniature versions of most of the significant sights. It's an easy way to see the country in a day, and a number of the 'ruins' are even shown in their original form.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Back in Istanbul

One of the great things about Istanbul is the water - you never know what you're going to see on a ferry trip across the Bosphorus...


We had a quick stop in Bursa to see some friends on our way back to Istanbul from Izmir - just long enough for some good Iskender, a short walk around the town centre and a bed-time story...

Friday, September 25, 2009


Arriving at our friends' place in Izmir was like stepping back in time. Most people we know have moved house since we were last here, so it was great to be in a familiar place. It was hard to get used to there not being young kids running around though! We've enjoyed our time catching up with friends, some of whom we've known since 1991. The city itself has changed a lot in ten years. It's a lot cleaner, and the water front is a lot nicer. We visited two church services on Sunday (to catch up with friends) and in between wandered along the bay.

We're now staying with some other friends and, as usual, Uncle Dazza is a big hit at story time!

Friday, September 18, 2009


We’re part way through our quick tour of the south and west of the country. We spent a few days in Adana with friends, then went to Tarsus. Tarsus is famous as the birthplace of the Apostle Paul and has a number of historical sites in and around the town. When excavation began in the centre of town a number of years ago this old basalt Roman road was discovered. The planned construction hasn’t taken place, and the site is being developed into an open air museum. Here’s a few other pics from our day wandering around the town…

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Bosphorus at night

Not much sight-seeing being going on lately, but we did get down to Üsküdar the other night to take photos of the bridge before it started to rain. We've had a bit of rain where we are, but aren't near any of the major flooding.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Views from a bus window

We've done a bit of travelling, but have spent the time at the other end with friends, so there aren't many pictures of exotic sites. We did have fun taking photos from the bus though! There's such a contrast between rural and urban, and of course the variety of vehicles is amazing.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Parable of the Jigger’s Brick

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (from where we are now), two brothers sat around a campfire discussing souvenirs for ‘The Jigger’. The Jigger (thus named for his ‘jigging’ on the willoughby – a piece of sapphire fossicking equipment) and his wife had already left the Field of Gems for the greener pastures of home and dust free environment of work. His wife had a particular fondness for the clay slurry in the bottom of the willoughby, thinking it would make the perfect mud bricks for a pizza oven… and an idea was born.

The brothers carefully filled a sieve with the clay, patted it in firmly and left it to dry. Once dry enough to turn out of the sieve a motif was designed, complete with letters formed with small pieces of ironstone (the bane of fossickers).

After much discussion as to the necessary temperature for firing a jigger’s brick, a bed of coals was prepared in the campfire, the brick (sitting on a stiff mesh) was buried, and the all important final stage began. By morning the coals had turned to ash, and the brick was removed to cool completely.

At various times during the day passersby gently blew or brushed some of the ash off. A few pieces of ironstone were dislodged, but carefully replaced to be later glued in place. The Jigger’s Brick. A perfect gift for the Jigger and his clay-loving wife.

Transport home… in the trailer with the camping gear was definitely not a good option, lest it return to the dust from whence came. In a plastic bag in the car… should be easy, right? Unfortunately…

With plastic bag in one hand a brother picked up the brick to safely wrap it for travel. It cracked – not into a multitude of small pieces, but into enough to make it unsalvageable. The immediate verdict? Next year it will contain some chicken wire for reinforcing.

The brick looked great from the outside, and had even been through a strengthening process, but without the inner strength of a different form it was unable to sustain the simple pressures of life.

Scenes from Istanbul

Friday, August 14, 2009

Welcome to Turkey!

We arrived in Istanbul yesterday after a 36 hour trip. We were pleasantly surprised by the improved quality of food (but not quantity on Swiss Air!) since we were last travelling the world. We also really enjoyed 'on demand' movies and tv programming on personal screens. It certainly made the flights seem quicker. Unfortunately the airports weren’t so exciting. Dazz got a bit arty with this photo of our reflections in the window at Hong Kong.

We don’t seem to have had any jet lag – staying up until about 10pm last night and sleeping right through, and it’s almost 10pm again tonight. We must have had just the right combination of sleep, movies, tv and caffeine!

This afternoon we went for a walk through the local twice-weekly markets. The ‘pazar’ is a highlight of Turkish life. Great fruit and veg – most of it under $3/kilo. We were offered tastings of apricots, pears, melons and plums – amazingly sweet. We’ve jumped straight back into having yoghurt with every meal and had ayran last night (a salty, watered down yoghurt drink).

Our first assignments for the semester are due tomorrow, so we’ll be busy beavers over the next few weeks, juggling marking with visiting friends, not to mention walking along the Bosphorus and taking photos…