Posted by: Colleen Ens | April 7, 2010

Ahh race day!

race day! Ahh

For those of you taking in these words who lack the predilection for the gods of carbon fiber, particularly when their chariots disintegrate into bits, by all means, just skim through this portion and your patience shall be rewarded with fresh tales of bright excursions encountered en route to the Melbourne to witness this auspicious Formula One event.

 After so much planning and effort, the golden day dawns and I’m armed with smallish lawn chair, bottle of water and a plan for brunch with Natasha. We had a lot of catching up to do and I enjoyed making the acquaintance of her partner, Tonio. With brunch enjoyed and devoured, they were my guides to the gates where I bid a fond farewell and prepared to participate in the long-awaited competition.

Naturally, it was important to reach out to Zoli by phone at this point and of course I did so, not call to ‘rub it in’, no, not at all…

All of a sudden I realized that my general admission tickets might not provide have provided the straightforward access I had hoped for. Not daunted, (cue the theme from Mission Impossible) I begin to slip past the guards, purchase special race paraphernalia and …wait for the music to reach it’s crescendo… one of  the guards decided to leave his post – at turn one –  I found myself striding forward – and I’m IN! The fun continues as I realize the demographics are positive since female fans were greatly outnumbered in these high-end grandstands. Gradually the seats begin to fill, queue Colleen networking her way through and shifting as they fill in the hopes that when the Australian Army completes their air maneuvers (see Colleen hold back in pink panther style before pouncing on the next vacant chair, waiting, ever watchful, until the guards have their eyes gazing upwards and are searching the heavens for signs of the elite flying squad)

… and YES! At last, Carl two rows up appears to have a truly vacant seat to his left as does Ben the same vacant seat on his right. Before the race even starts I see myself as the winner of race day musical chairs – costing me about 10% of the price and in a heck of a position to take in some of the most amazing racing I have had the pleasure of seeing in a live ‘full on’ Formula one race.

 But I am forgetting my manners, I promised not to spend an inordinate amount of time on sports pursuits of this nature. Let’s go back to our adventures on the road…    


For those more interested in my current university experience:

My upcoming large project includes preparing a presentation on motivation and learning.  As a portion of the mark is based on working with a partner, I am looking forward to joining up with Kristine. She is an Aussie whose husband is a Policeman from Canada. Ironically, I did not realize this when I suggested that we work together, however, I did jump at the chance to discuss motivation in learning because I feel it is the key to creating a positive and being creative classroom ecosystem.

If we follow the current thinking, there is a chance to engage in a positive way to instill confidence in building a connection between students and teachers and a good place to start is to consider the dynamics involved when people learn.  Within this short space of time, I have embarked on methods geared towards a focus on knowing your audience while reinforcing a sense of self.

My best work takes place when I leave out the negativity about late starts and missed opportunities and focus on the reality that we are not equipped with a rewind button… so in finding our triggers to what motivate, inspire, stir, spur, urge, encourage, enthuse, instigate, prompt, bring about, stimulate, egg on, induce, excite, kindle, rouse, awaken, fuel, persuade, tempt and invoke us to make that move and  take delight in our own rebuilding project.


Back track on a review of our journey to Melbourne…

So we begin with  our departure on Friday March 26th. The itinerary for Melbourne includes visiting Jenn’s brother Richard. My plans include staying at the home of my friend Gavin as well as connecting with Natasha and finally, Zoli’s old contact – Milan who lives south of Melbourne.

 By now you may have read between the lines regarding the top-notch organization skills of my ‘driver’ Jenn – room-mate and all around road warrior – Ms. Jennifer Purse, being equal to the task and pushing us ever onwards through such enlarged town names as Coonabarabran (revisited for a night of our return journey) and less than inspiring ‘Dubbo’ – our trusty guide-book says, “in 1841 Frenchman Emile Serisier recognized the potential of the growing north-south cattle trade and opened a slab hut where the stock route crossed the McQuarquarie River, the area’s first commercial venture. The settlement grew with gold rushes and prospered still more with the arrival of the railway in 1881. Thomas Alexander Browne, while stationed at Dubbo as police magistrate used his spare time to write Robbery Under Arms, published under the pseudonym Rolf  Bolderwood, a book which Jenn considers to be a rollicking good tale and enjoys reading this author’s work.

 We ‘parked in Parkes’(The Parkes Observatory is just to the north of town where we saw at a distance the famed radio telescope that figures largely in a little Aussie movie “The Dish”..)Sailed on through West Wyalong, which serves interstate truck drivers just as it served teamsters and Cobb & Co. coaches in earlier days. With the discovery of gold in 1893, West Wyalong eclipsed Wyalong, the official centre, where public buildings, including the court-house, still stands. We skipped past Grong Grong – a fork in the road, missing Wagga Wagga, then gassed up in Narrandera – one of the earliest settlements in the region now known as the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. By the 1880’s it had become the centre for road, rail and river transport. From 1917 to 1944 the local parish priest was Father Patick Harigan, better known as the bush balladist John O’Brien, whose poem ‘Said Hanrahan, with its refrain ‘we’ll all be rooned ‘ has become an Australian classic..


With 400 plus kilometers left to travel and shadows lengthening, we didn’t stop in Tocumwal, listened to classical music on the radio all through Koonoomoo and gained ground on Shepparton. We were fortified by the signs of life at Nagambie, knowing that Craigieburn was dead ahead (here we switched radio stations and by coincidence, to a show called the ‘one night stand’ where the “John Butler Trio” played their best music in a live broadcast from Alice Springs – and what do you know- Jenn’s daughter Lisa was at that very same moment participating on site at Alice Springs. Lisa’s cause is – to fight a very bad Canadian company who wants to undertake the mining of uranium within close proximity of Alice Springs (squirm and insert uncomfortable passenger smile hereJ

At last we arrived in Melbourne and after a few unscheduled exits and mysterious on and off ramps including the help of Elmo (our less than specific GPS guide) I was foisted on my petard – in short, we made it to Gavin’s place in Port Melbourne where many in the Kempin household were fast asleep. A bleary eyed Jenn then had a further  20 kilometers to go to Greensborough – a Melbourne suburb.


RE: Australia’s current water conditions…

But, on the subject of water in Australia– a life long friend of my good host Jenn whose name is Jim is losing sleep over the extended costs of purchasing water for his flocks on his roaming acres. My conversation with the gentry in these arid regions tells me that even the heavy rain falls and huge floods in the region do not necessarily mark the end of the drought.  Even as boats are needed to navigate through flooded areas, the residents can drill down as little as six inches and find the ground bone dry.

 Finally, allow me to digress into a literary abyss for just a moment; In this golden time of interaction with my Australian ‘cousins’, beyond actually hearing a shopkeeper refer to a man as ‘Bruce’ when I don’t think she knew his name, I have encountered ‘a keeper of an expression’ in a modern guide to synonyms: My Aussie hosts and extended friends and relations receive me with open arms and indisputable authenticity.  In a local text entitled Use the Right Word , the expression for genuine, “may refer to an example of cuneiform inscription as in a genuine painting by Picasso or Goya”. Sometimes the informal word dinkum, or fair dinkum, is used in these senses but it is mostly kept for adverbial use to assure one of the truth of something – It’s a fact or/ fair dinkum.  

Post race…

With the race squarely behind me, we drive on to spend time with Jenn’s parents (now both in their eighties) for Easter Sunday in Towoomba , established in 1876, is located on the Condamine River. It has one of the largest cotton gins in the world. “Squatter Henry Russell made the history books as an upper-class gent of Toowoomba. Its name is said to come from his association with Jimmy Crow, an Aboriginal (now politically correct term is Indigenous) Jimmy was a man who lived in a hollow tree where bullock teams habitually rested. Not far from the village is Crows Nest Falls National Park is a valley and water falls like diamonds as Crows Nest Falls descends over granite outcrops. “

Be aware: Deadlines for assignments looming!

Heads up! My good friends and friendly readers may find that a further update may be a few weeks away.  We’re heading for the second half of this semester including many looming deadines…

For anyone keen to Skype, My skype address is colleenens –

Those  with an amazing phone plan are welcome to call my cell # is 04 3132 1531 – calls I receive are free on the mobile.











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