It was always going to be a dramatic decade. Beginning with the Olympics. Two daughters graduated from two different Universities. Woo Hoo!
My mother, who had had a nasty stroke in the late 90s had a few good years, witnessed the birth of great grandchildren, and then she died in April 2002.This transition in families is quite profound as the last of a generation dies.
I took as my theme for her funeral homily...She had a helluva life! And moved on to say she would have called it a 'heaven of a life'. That heaven of a life was not expounded by me at her funeral, but by the power of her coffin being carried by her grandchildren ...first into St Cuthbert's Prospect and then in St Martin's Whyalla...she was placed in the same grave as my Dad in the Whyalla cemetery. And by four little eulogies which just told of what she had meant to her grandkids.
We had a lovely time with our property at Port Elliott and there was no doubt in my mind that I would retire there and grow proper vegetables with the reticulated sewerage water system working at its prime.
We had a wonderful dog called Tilly, who would have been such a good guard dog. She would have licked any intruder to death!
We had a number of fun holidays in Bali including webcam shots (in real time) from Poppies. One of our favourite places.
Sue and I had a great holiday in Europe in 2007. For me, it was the holiday of visual art.
I am not a terribly visual person, I get it when I am told, but otherwise I am a bit slow.
But time after time I was hit by the power of the artist to affect the deep emotional impact.
I had seen small water lilies by Monet in a Melbourne exhibition and thought they were wonderful. I was determined to see as many as I could.
I had twigged that the Orangerie Museum close to the Louvre was particularly designed to house a number of these paintings...so was glad to be in Paris on the first sunday of the month (May 2007) when all the national galleries are free.
When I saw the first of the lilies, I felt my heart drop...I almost burst into tears. Not 60 cms square but metres high and metres wide.
So visually stunning that I was just overcome.
Equally stunning was the curious Picasso Museum de Paris....a motley collection of Picassos to be sure, but when you see (probably) two or three hundred, for the first time suddenly I understood why Picasso was so great.
My lovely friends Robyn and Gary told me I must go to the Rodin Museum. Like most people I knew the Thinker, and also the Burghers of Calais. But I didn't understand the sculpture process, nor most of Rodin's other work. Well done to the French that they have got their artists trained to leave their art to the state. certainly Auguste Rodin did.
Sue didn't go (think she went to Lafayette), but I thought it wonderful.
As I walked home along the Bois de Boulogne (probably had a sentimental air) I thought I just had to sit down...I felt totally overwhelmed.
My good friend and parishioner Jenny Poole, who was a highly experienced Art teacher, told me this is the Stendhal Effect ( or syndrome) in which people become overwhelmed by exposure to high art.
There was much more in this trip too, London, St Bees, the Lake District, Whitehaven, EdinburghKuala Lumpur.
Despite the fact that we enjoyed so much this experience, and even each other's company Sue and I decided that we could not continue a marriage that was not only destroying both of us but was seriously affecting our kids as well. We separated in 2008....
In fact the day D asked me if he could marry my daughter was the day we told our kids that we were finally separating