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From the Editor

Before I talk about anything else, yes, it's true - there are no What's it Worth letters this issue! Don't worry, it's only been shelved for this one magazine - the letters and assessments will be back in all their glory next issue.

It's just that the timing for this magazine coincided exactly with the expected arrival of a second baby for Jessie Wilkinson, who assesses our ceramics. Not only that, but for Stan Prickett - our glass and Australiana expert - it neatly dovetailed with him moving house for the first time in forty years. So we made an executive decision not to stress them any further, and held the letters over. We might even do a bumper section in the Winter issue to make up for it.

Actually, speaking of babies (Jessie's new bundle of joy hadn't arrived at the time of going to press), our Advertising Representative Craig Campbell, who's been working with us for more than ten years now, just became a very proud grandfather! That's a photo of him holding baby Oliver on the day he was born. Congratulations to Craig and of course his daughter Chantelle and husband Kent.

Hopefully baby Oliver will take better care of his parents than my sister Christine did hers on her recent birthday... Apparently she thought it might be fun to get everyone to go for a bike ride, possibly forgetting that our parents are in their seventies now and the last time either of them rode a bike was in the dim and distant past. Not to be deterred, mum and dad fronted up with their helmets and everyone set off at a sedate pace around the picturesque Narrabeen Lakes in Sydney. Maybe I should let Christine tell the story of what happened next:

"It was a disaster from the get go. Sean and I lent mum and dad (who DO NOT ride) bikes each, but mum couldn't get on my Mountain Bike bike, let alone pedal! We ended up popping her on the Cross Country (CX) with the seat as low as it can go... I had failed to listen to Sean (his version) so dad was also on the CX bike, but I had a deep secret plan of converting them so that was ok... Except mum fell off straight away... in the car park...twice! However, my family indulge me and off we headed - my nephew and niece were in front to forewarn people of the hazard wobbling behind them, Sean was overseeing mum and I was behind with dad as sweeper.

Both mum and dad managed to bump into the railings on the bridges and then fall off twice on the way around - once mum fell off in sympathy and Sean was stuck in the middle of the trail asking who to help first as I kindly took photos. They hopped back on, and off we went - credit has to go to mum because we couldn't change the pedals so she was in my clip-ins with normal shoes on a 'racer bike'.

We rode around a bit, and had a break by the water, took some happy snaps and then headed back to the cars as dusk was now looming. As we went around a corner a loose dog came the other way. Dad tried to avoid it, lost control, narrowly missed a tree and did the most sensational topple over the bars into the bushes and branches.

It was a really big, dramatic crash and he was all tangled up in his bike (did I mention he's 74 and doesn't ride?!), his face was bleeding and I thought he had a broken leg.

The owner of the dog was simply walking on by so I shouted at her that she'd caused the crash, since it's an official leashed area. She told me it was dad's fault for going so fast - I pointed out that he CAN'T go fast because he can't ride (and we were going along at truly, Kath and Kim Powerwalk speed). She failed to apologise or offer to help and eventually after being told where to go in no uncertain terms she walked off with her dog (still off the lead).

Meanwhile, Sean had been working to release dad from the crash and get him up, dripping blood, whilst I thoughtfully took photos more of the event... one needs memories!

Dad DID get back on the bike and we all headed back to the BBQ without further incident... it has to be the funniest, most stressful birthday I have ever had and, according to my family one of the most memorable - although mum and dad probably won't be bike riding again any time soon..."

Poor dad had a fat lip for a couple of days - and they just happened to be the days he was up at Coffs Harbour doing valuations for the local Sawtell business group. Fortunately everyone was too polite to mention it.

Before I go, I'd just like to mention that our cover price and subscription rate will both be going up after the release of the Winter 2016 magazine, which will be out in early June. It's been more than five years since we raised the price of either, and we hope you don't mind too much... It will only be a minimal price rise, we're not going to do an Australia Post on you! If you want to avoid it altogether, you can take up the subscription offer on the back page. It's 5 magazines for $40 and I can pretty much guarantee we won't be repeating the offer again - so get in now!

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this bumper issue of the magazine.

Julie Carter.