The Durrant Epistle For 2008

21 December 2008

To all our dear friends and family, I have just been reading some of the many cards and letters we value so deeply each year and felt a tinge of guilt that I haven’t written yet.  So time to chronicle the year that was, for the Durrants – as usual Wow!  Where has 2008 gone and how good was the year?

John Lennon said it well:

“So this is Christmas and what have you done Another year over and a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas I hope you have fun The near and the dear one, the old and the young A very merry Christmas and a happy New Year”

This time last year Kay and I had just returned from New Zealand where I presented our first “Planner School” in Auckland and Tauranga.  On the way back Kay stopped over in Sydney to catch up with Cliff & Ada and the Leeson side of the family.  I came home and had a period, over the break, of reflection and planning for 2008

Pretty much all that was planned and expected came to fruition although not always exactly according to Hoyle.  2008 has been the best year yet for our company Project Resources, under which we do all our business now.  My new Directorship with Covaris Pty Ltd has proven to be a wonderful opportunity and we have grown that business substantially with a good forward order book for 2009.

2009 of course may bring anything – who knows what will come out of the financial situation.  I operate in the engineering service sector and whilst our forward order book looks promising we know that tomorrow can bring any number of surprises.  So it is with cautious optimism we finish 2008 and start 2009.

This is the end of our 7th year in Subiaco and it looks like we are really putting down some roots.

Family

Kay and I are truly fortunate!  Thirty years of marriage this year and two wonderful children.

Janet has gone from strength to strength this year as a Property Manager with WA Property Project Marketing, being promoted to Senior Property Manager in September at the ripe old age of 24 to now run her own department.

Janet also had a stint in sales to help expand her Real Estate experience but now is coming to grips with the challenge of running a department with the contingent demands of her time and energy, subsequent increase in income but paucity of time for family and friends and trying to find that illusive balance between the two.

Janet has invested in property and has started by buying at the right time and managing her investments well.  This year also saw her pay off a long held debt to parents from her University days which made her Father very happy & proud.

We will spend Christmas with Janet and boyfriend Dean, Ted and Sue Curr in Lancelin 100km north of Perth, great white beaches and never crowded.  Crayfish and Dhufish for dinner.

At 23, Gareth continues to thrive in Taiwan and will graduate in July 2009 after four years study.  He is currently in his first Semester of his final year Sept 14th 2008 ~ Jan 16th there is a winter holiday period Jan 17th ~ Feb 14th but we will not see him home then.  The second and final semester, Feb 16th ~ June 19th will test his ability to finalise the degree.  No traditional Christmas for him again just working through. But his biggy will be Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 2009 falls on 26th of January, the year of the Ox.  It is celebrated as the symbol of spring’s celebration.

Then the big question for Gareth is what to do next – the current options are Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade graduate programmes one with DFAT itself, a two-year professional development program in Canberra, combining work placements with training modules and projects.  Or the graduate programme with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).  Also, Gareth is considering an ANU Honours year in Asian Studies.

But being the victim of a fertile mind and fluency in Chinese he could end up in the corporate world, follow his own company business or any other of the number of significant opportunities that lie at his feet.

Gareth and I had a special time in China in October.  In Beijing to present a paper at an engineering conference.  We had 24 hours in Hong Kong, on to 5 days in China and a second 24 hour period in HK on the way out.  Gareth was my personal translator and provided amazing support.  We had a lot of fun.

Rotary & Inner Wheel

Rotary continues to play a major part in our lives, I am still the District Chairman for the Rotary Youth Exchange programme and this year Kay is President of Karrinyup Inner Wheel.

I have missed a lot of meetings at my own Rotary Club because I continue to travel extensively amongst Port Hedland, Newman and the East.  Meeting on Wednesday nights makes it difficult.  But all my extra curricular Rotary activities keep me active and within the attendance rules.  I am a member of the District Leadership committee and Chair the overall group of youth programmes.

Youth Exchange is a fantastic programme and 2009 we’ll see 14 students from our district overseas – young gap students who will experience a most incredible year.  Australia sends around 300 students from all over the Country and reciprocates by receiving that many to host.

We have an annual get-together for all 23 District Youth Exchange Chairs and in October we met in Wangaratta where we celebrated 50 Years of Rotary Youth Exchange in Australia, we have a fine tradition.  Amazingly the very first Exchange Student was there! (John Rogers who in January 1959 as a 15 year old student from Scottsbluff, Nebraska, USA, arrived in Myrtleford. At the same time two Australian students, Nick Rutherford and Norm Jordon left District 280 for Scottsbluff and Grand Lake, Colorado)

Kay’s year as President was preceded by 3 years as District Secretary where she made a lot of wonderful friends and acquaintances

In October she attended the National Inner Wheel Conference in Port Macquarie and had a chance to catch up with Swampy and Maree in Gloucester. In Malaysia in November  she caught up with a number of Inner Wheel ladies and had a great time.

Travel

Kay was in Taiwan in June to see Gareth.  Janet and Dean also went over after Kay came home.  It was one of those “staff visits” by mother, Kay turned Gareth’s unit on its head, had him fix everything that wasn’t working (including the fridge) and whilst furious at the time on reflection he was very happy the tornado, that is mother, sorted him out.

End of June we went to Bali for our 30th wedding anniversary.  That was astonishing; Kay had planned for others to be there but due to their work commitments it all change at the last moment and we ended up with Kay’s sister and brother-in-law Jewel & David with a chef, driver and house boys. Th venue was a secluded villa north of Kuta.  We were thoroughly spoilt, Kay shopped and I drank Bintang!

The absolute pleasure of doing nothing for a number of days, swimming, eating wonderful Indonesian cuisine and the odd G&T by the pool – a fantastic way to celebrate 30 wonderful years.

Kay and I went to Malaysia in November to attend a friends, daughter’s wedding.  Seeing the pomp and ceremony of an Indian wedding – first hand – was a marvellous experience.

I had regular trips East going to Qld three times and to Sydney four times one of which we went back to the place of my birth – the Blue Mountains.  And of course the usual 22 trips to Port Hedland and 10 to Newman, whilst a mere one trip to each of Albury, Darwin, Emerald, Melbourne and Newcastle.  As a platinum frequent flyer I am very happy to be home for a month without a business trip.

Business

Operating a small business – Project Resources Pty Ltd – and being self employed has both its advantages and disadvantages.

After my third redundancy I thought I had better employ myself as no one else understood me.  As usual I was the only one in step – how does that happen?

In my desire to control my future I figured I didn’t want to work for anyone again, and a franchise was too high an entry cost for too little return so that left me with a propriety limited company and a direct marketing business model.

As we didn’t know how we would fair, Kay and I commenced both forms of business and now after eight years we are starting to make progress.

The main focus for me is Covaris www.covaris.com.au and our Nuskin business, http://www.projectresources.gpnworld.com/ is spearheaded by Kay.

There are an amazing number of opportunities out there and in the fields of anti aging, health and wellness plus technology –  http://www.projectresources.ironyourwrinkles.com/ have a look at our websites. We are always looking for people.

Home

Our plan for our front and back yard blitz(s) is taking forever – between being away regularly and recalcitrant council; nothing has commenced.

We have cleared the front for work to commence in the New Year (I think we said that in the last Epistle).  The front fence will become a storage area so we can take all our crap away from the back and either ditch or store it properly.  We intend to be ruthless!!!

The backyard will be transformed for alfresco living and entertaining – which is our want.

So my friends, enough ravings from the Durrants – we are truly blessed – having wonderful family and friends like you.  Our 2008 has been fabulous and we look forward to catching up soon. There is always a spare bed at our house. Come visit

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year

Kay, Peter, Janet and Gareth

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