Happy New Year

Here we go – 2017.
Recently so many of our television channels showed events representing 2016 and focused on so many awful and heart wrenching stories. I am certainly aware these are terrible things that have happened and possibly by showing these stories the journalists and presenters hope that the impact of the events shock and convert to a ‘call for sympathy and action’. Let’s hope so. It’s just a pity the stories of good outcomes, heroes and successes didn’t play a bigger part, because I’m sure they did happen and they are so positive and uplifting in a global climate which seems dominated by anger and unrest.

Many people I have spoken to want a better year compared to the last one.
I think this is a common wish and l know we can all have lousy years for different reasons and get caught up in our own worlds, but it’s all about looking at the bigger picture and putting things into perspective. The ‘better year wish’ is very personal, but maybe this should be world-wide as so many people are doing it tough. I personally want there to be less sadness and tragedy in the world and added to this we need to be more supportive and compassionate for those who are suffering.

I know that I have a very privileged life in comparison to many and I also have the fortune to have a close bond with my wife and partner and with my loving family. It is very evident especially at this time of the year. Helen and I have always been close both as husband and wife and also as each other’s best friend. Our future together began over four decades ago at a bus stop in Victoria Square, Adelaide when a friend of mine introduced me to Helen. I had seen this girl standing with my friend when I walked towards the bus stop and she was captivating. She had very short blonde hair, a short checked mini dress and long white boots, and reminded me of Twiggy, the iconic English 60s supermodel.


I had missed the earlier bus to Woodside where I lived with my parents and sister and was catching the later bus. In the 60s there were only two evening buses to our area. Pick up was in the centre of the city and the route ended at Mt Torrens and the journey took over an hour. I sat with my friend and Helen until we got to Woodside and to my surprise Helen got off the bus a few doors before my house. I had no idea she was a neighbour. I had really loved our light-hearted chat and decided it was a lot more fun than my normal boring trip at the earlier time, so I made sure I caught the later bus from then on. Helen and I sat together during our journeys and got to know each other better. I missed her the moment she left the bus each night and was very excited when one night she asked me if I would like to join her and a friend for dinner at her house. Her parents were away in Port Lincoln and she, her friend and her sister were looking after the house. I accepted and had a life changing evening. I had purchased an LP record of The Hollies, and Helen and I ended up dancing late into the night. During the evening, her sister left to go to the movies, and her poor friend was a bit left out, but I think she could see Helen and I had eyes only for each other. After that night we both realised there was more to it than just being friends and as they say ‘the rest is history’!

Throughout our life together we have had so many wonderful experiences and for this reason have always been supportive of those less fortunate. Personally and through our business we have donated to many charities and have done it to assist those in need. Often the funds raised helped with research and technology and sometimes just gave parents and carers the means to take a break from their daily responsibility. Through my association with George Zikas, a clever graphic designer and friend (in fact, we share a birthday) I have assisted Fred’s Van which is run by Vinnies at Hawthorn in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide. George has been instrumental in putting together our advertisements over the past three decades and one day while I was working with him he asked me if I was interested in helping to man the food van on the nights they serve food to people in the city needing a good meal. I jumped at the chance.

It was, and still is exciting but humbling to feel the anticipation as we pull up at a small garden at the Wakefield Street end of Gawler Place in the city.

image credit: vinnies.org

image credit: vinnies.org

Approximately fifty people of all ages line up to accept the food we prepare. The supplies are solely donated from local suburban food businesses and normally include soup, pies and pasties and sometimes assorted pastries. Using Vinnies kitchen we heat the pies etc., make sandwiches and cook sausages, which we serve on fresh bread with mustard and sauce. This is followed by tubs of yoghurt, fresh fruit, cakes and confectionery bars. Depending on the donations to Vinnies the menu may vary a little but those receiving food do not go away hungry.

image credit: vinnies.org

image credit: vinnies.org

Once all the food is ready and loaded we all jump into the small van and head for the CBD. Trestles are set up, the food is laid out and all the volunteers on the night have a specific food to serve. Some of the crowd comes back a second and third time and we know that this maybe the only filling meal they will have until our next visit. Also available to us if needed is a wide range of support, whether it is medical aid or other forms of professional assistance. I always come away feeling that we have made a difference to those people’s lives and I encourage anyone with the ability to assist others in this way to become involved, you will not regret it.

We finished 2016 on a high note, crafting some beautiful Christmas and New Year orders. Our Christmas Collection 2016 was very successful and joins the designs from 2014 and 2015, which are still selling and will continue to be available throughout the years to come.

Next month, I will be featuring some of the jewellery we have created during 2016, with a high proportion of them jewellery ’make-overs’. I will be describing what we started with, the designs I sketched and then the making journey the pieces took. If you have ever been tempted to have your pieces remade, these stories may interest you. I get such pleasure seeing the reactions of recipients once the items are ready to collect and wear. Added to this as part of our signature service, all clients receive a power point presentation showing the stages that their newly treasured piece went through. A high percentage of the pieces involve the inclusion of gem or gems which were previously owned by the client or a loved one and this makes the jewellery even more meaningful.

So until February take care, and by the way to all those born in January enjoy your birthdays! My mother will be 91 on the 10th and Matthew turns 40 on the 18th. He shares the day with his son Leo, who turns 3. Happy Birthday to my dear Mum and the Pike boys!!

Love Nicholas.

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