The Durrant Epistle For 2006

8 February 2007

To all our dear friends and family, we wish you a very Happy Chinese New Year and a Most Prosperous 2007.  Yes you well may ask why the Durrant’s haven’t sent their annual letter until now.  The simple reason is life just got too busy prior to Xmas.  So I decided we would add a difference and adopt the Chinese New year celebration to say hello to all family and friends.

From Gareth

So it’s goodbye to man’s best friend and hello to a Pig of a year in 2007 (or so my classmates say) and can’t say it was a bad Year of the Dog either.  Finishing first year university and moving into second year at Taiwan University, having had a great summer holiday in Australia (Barossa valley, Melbourne and well-earned sojourn in Perth) and finally hitting the 21 mark.  Now academically half way and just getting started in the working world, life is never dull.  Presently, working as a freelance Interpreter and cultural liaison for a Taiwanese media group, I am enjoying the new experiences that one can only get outside campus.  My feet are constantly itchy but still firmly planted on the ground, planning to finish my degree early 2008 and take a year in France as a graduation present. Hope everyone has a wonderful year and I’ll see you all in the year of the Rat!

Janet’s update

Home for over a year settled into a good job with WA property Group as a Property Manager Bought a unit, moved out of home for 2nd time, new car (Yes Harry the Honda is up for sale at a give a way price or give away)

From Kay

2006 saw a year of increased contracts along with increased community rolls for me.  To that end I ask where did the year go?  Does it time get faster as we get older?  I truly hope not as I’d like to enjoy some of the good things a little longer.  Peter too was very active.  But as usual we fitted lots in the year and managed to see the relatives back east several times.

In February a year ago as I write we celebrated my Dad’s 80th.  To those who remember they the home is still banked by bushland and it is still as peaceful (on weekdays only) as it was back in the early 80’s.

I visited mum and dad 3 times last year as well as meeting in September.  We flew to Adelaide, hired a car and drove to Mildura to attend a Niece’s wedding, made all the more special as Gareth was home from Taiwan and Janet with us made for a very special family gathering.  We celebrated Gareth 21st during that trip. Janet and Gareth met their cousins in Melbourne prior to the wedding and we picked them up in Adelaide.  We naturally had to stop at Elderton’s and several wineries on the road to Mildura.  This was great as Peter had undertaken medical project and was not allowed to sample alcohol so we had a driver for the day.

Mum and Dad have moved from their 25 acres to a small town in North West NSW Baradine. “Back to their roots”.  Mum grew up there and also married there.  They are going through the throws of trying to sell Ridgeland’s and completing a move of goods and chattels that has taken 54 years of marriage to collect.

Although work has been hectic in 2006 we had lots of opportunity to be with family and in particular our children either together or as one had time with the cousins that they do not normally have.

Peter as per his normal organised self has written his piece prior to Xmas.  I can add that Xmas festivities was wonderful with both Peters sister family, along with the Marsh Family helping us celebrate.

2007 we have lots planned Peter will spend a lot more time in Port Headland.  A back yard blitz and bathroom reno as well a trip to Taiwan next week Feb 13th to actually celebrate Chinese New Year with Gareth

From Peter

As 2006 comes to a close I am pleased to report the Durrants are all very well and enjoying life immensely.  This year has been good to us it has been very busy and stimulating in all sorts of ways.

Our eclectic life style is spread across family and friends (most important), earning a quid with our own business, Rotary, Inner Wheel, Liberal Party and travel – how good is that!

I commenced the year leading a Rotary Group Study (GSE) exchange team to Malaysia.  GSE is a vocational and cultural exchange for young professionals aged 25 to 40 over four weeks funded by the Rotary Foundation.  We started in Kuala Lumpur and travelled north to Penang slowly south back to KL, staying all the time with Rotarians.  We (my team of three young ladies and one young man) had a very cohesive group and managed to try everything and anything that came our way.  During our time we ventured as far south as Malacca and ate our way around Malaysia experiencing all the fantastic food that country has to offer.

The exchange was an absolute highlight for me, I had a great team, we met fantastic people, we were treated most royally and ran at the fast pace for 32 days straight.

One of the highlights, amongst many in Malaysia, was meeting up with five Malaysians I joined the Navy with in 1970.  This year was the 50th anniversary of the opening of HMAS Nirimba, the Royal Australian Navy Apprentices Training Establishment (RANATE) the old alma mater.  We started contacting the old crew we joined up with and seeing I was off to Malaysia I sent a note around the Rotary network seeking any information as to the whereabouts of our group.  I had all their names and official numbers.  Well blow me down, if I didn’t make contact very soon after my arrival and managed a couple of nights out with the boys.  We chatted as if it was only yesterday we were together.

The network is an amazing thing and jumping across different networks rotary to navy to work etc there are many connections – the old six degrees of separation!  The hypothesis that anyone on Earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances with no more than five intermediaries – I believe it!

Having taken a month off and being self-employed I now needed to get a few dollars flowing back into the kitty – so I was back working on contract withRaytheon.  Would you believe it submarine weapon systems, like riding a bike really.  I did notice some of the same issues from my day hadn’t changed.

In parallel with theRaytheoncontract I have had a number of other jobs with a good friend of mine and a company called Covaris.  A maintenance engineering group which is generating lots of work for me and I am setting up their west Australian arm.  Currently we have a significant gig with BHP Billiton Iron Ore rolling out a maintenance improvement programme and that will continue well into next year.

Mid-March we travelled to Canberra to attend a good friend’s daughter’s wedding – (Janine Curr, Ted and Sue’s baby).

By April it was time to go back to Canberra and attend the Nirimba 50th reunion weekend over ANZAC day.  What a hoot!  Caught up with many old friends, dined in Parliament House, marched with the Nirimba contingent in the ANZAC Day march, went on lake cruises and generally over indulged!

Toward the end of June Kay and I were back in Malaysia to catch up with all those who we met and attend their Rotary district changeover function.  An action packed six days showing Kay all I saw and meet many of the great people I had met.

In August I went to cairns to attend a Rotary Youth Exchange Conference as I had just taken over the Chairmanship of the Youth exchange Committee – a passion of mine.  At the end of August Kay and I went over to Sydney again for a business development session with our Covaris colleagues and Kay had another opportunity to see her family.

Another August event was being elected to the Chairmanship of the Liberal Party policy committee being my fifth year in the role.  I do enjoy the political interaction and believe we must get involved to try and make a difference.  Sometimes that is not easy but contributing is important in my view.

By October I had started my trips up north to Port Headland and Newman planning for the work with their Iron Ore division.  An amazing growth phase for a truly huge Company – what a learning experience.

In November I was back in Canberra, this time to attend the Submarine Institute’s Biennial conference.  Another opportunity to catch up with old friends, renewing old acquaintances and keeping up-to-date with the goings on in the Submarine fraternity.

Next week I am back up to Port Headland and by then it is Christmas – time to catch up with family and friends, over indulge again.  I am so looking forward to this year’s Christmas, my sister Anne is coming over from Brisbane with David and the family,Graeme Marsh(our best man), Maree and the kids also join us to fill the home with fun and laughter.

Happy New Year

Kay Peter Gareth and Janet

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