Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010


A return to the Day Book formula! Once I wrote a weekly diary but I found that a bit restricted. Since then I've been haphazzard, and that doesn't work either because it's all too easy to say 'I'll do it tomorrow'. I find writing poetry on more to my taste, but I enjoy other peoples' journals so I feel I must make the effort.

Outside my window... all is dark because this is mid-winter. Our 'dusk' time is almost non-existent though, compared with the UK. In both winter and summer the change from night to day is much more sudden. When we were over in the UK on holiday I really enjoyed the long, long evenings.
I am thinking......that I hope all goes well for our little Harry tomorrow. He has a slight turn in his eye and tomorrow he goes to have a muscle tightened. I'm not concerned about the operation as such, but I'm worried that he'll be frightened at being put to sleep and also concerned that he'll rub his eye once it's done. He hasn't got to stay in hospital, though, so it can't be considered too tricky.

This is a recent picture of Harry and his little brother Max, ready for soccer practice.

I am thankful for... all the good friends I have. Yesterday one of them had a 70th birthday party and about twenty of us got together to celebrate with her.  Her name is Betty Druzina and she's forever jetting off to far distant places with her boyfriend! It must be right what they say...... that 70 is the new 50!
Here Betty is about to cut the cake!
And here am I with the Guest of Honour.
From the kitchen..... I surprised everyone a the party by actually taking along something I'd made myself! I'm normally renowned for turning up with a packet of biscuits. I'd only made Rock Cakes, but they really were quite nice, and they were cut in half so everyone could have a taste. While I was in the kitchen making them I also put the slow cooker on again and made several meals for next week. I don't really mind cooking, but I'm not crash hot at it and I do get bored with the daily necessity to produce a meal! If I lived alone I'd buy one big cooked chicken a week and just gnaw on it till it was all gone, and then go out and buy a slap-up meal.
I am wearing...  A beige jacket with matching trousers, a purple jumper and cream necklace and earrings. We've just been out to my friend, Joy's for tea. Her daughter teaches Aboriginal children in a remote part of the state, but she was home for the holidays, and I wanted to share some thoughts with her about teaching reading. It turned out she'd already got my book on the subject though, and I don't think it will help her circumstances. I had ideas about how to involve a native language with English, but it turns out her pupils are some of the saddest among Aborignal  people. They have lost their own language and have just picked up the very worst of European 'culture'! In other words, swearing and walking out of the classroom are commonplace! She's passionate about teaching them, although she lives in relative isolation and her Mother worries about her.
I am creating... well, tidying-up three plays for a festival. It's called 'Short and Sweet' and no play must be longer than ten minutes! One of my plays is my old faithful 'Unhand Me' a ridiculous melodrama in verse, that I've shortened for the purpose. The other two are a monologue called 'Naked Ambition', and a thriller called 'The Old Block'. I don't suppose I stand much of a chance but I'm going to give it a try.
I am going... wherever my daughter, Rebecca, wants to go tomorrow. She's got a day off work because it's the school holidays and she's bringing Blake (11) over for the day. I suggested we could go shopping but she said Blake would hate that, so we'll see what transpires. We'll go out for lunch anyway. There's a new chef at The Leagues Club and we hear good reports of him. Blake will be easy to entertain as he's lost in some electronic gadget a lot of the time! I'm giving Rebecca a rug I no longer need as she has a cold floor in her office. She works for an Income Tax Assessment firm in the season and they've just moved premises.
I am reading... 'Year of Wonders', a novel built around the Plague Village of the 1600s. It's based on fact and very welll researched and I'm enjoying it very much. When I say 'enjoy' consider the fact that life was very harsh in those days. There are gruesome scenes of witches being drowned and people dying of the plague but the story is good and very well told.
I am next Melodrama performance will go well. Most of the cast are off to the Blue Mountains for a Xmas in July excursion, so I've had to rustle up an alternative cast, some of them new to the game. Still, it doesn't really matter how we go. We had a great show last week at a VIEW club. We made an awful lot of mistakes but the ad libbing and asides made it funnier than ever and the audience was very receptive.
Here is Maisie (Me) being carted off to prison
I am hearing... a ringing in my ears! It sounds such like cicadas a long way away. The doctor says it probably means I'm going deaf! No sign of that yet, though, although both Malcolm and I put the sub-titles on for shows in which people 'mumble'!!!!!
Around the house.....we gave the two single beds to the Salvation Army and we now have a double bed in our spare bedroom. When I came home yesterday I found Malcolm had bought a bed-head for it. He was worried I might not like it but I think it's quite nice. I like anything wicker.
The new bedhead
One of my favorite things... is helping Harry with his school-work. I really do miss teaching even after twenty years of retirement. As soon as I start talking about it I get goose-bumps!
A few plans for the rest of the week:  A fairly quiet week this week. I should have Choir Practice tomorrow but I'm having a day with Becca instead. Then, on Wednesday it's the monthly Scrabble get-together but it's not at my house this time. Then the only other thing is the 'Tiddly Pom' rehearsal on Friday.
 Photograph and a Thought
A magnolia (?) tree in my daughter's garden this week! Mid-winter in Australia!

For some reason old comments have attached themselves to this new blog! And I don't know how to get rid of them!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


A great day today! And all grandmothers will realise it needs few words to describe it! I spent time with all three of my grandsons!

I spent time at Harry's school, where I prepared the take-home readers and supervised some of the tables. I'd forgotten what an exhausting task it is, teaching five year-olds! Not for me, but for the teacher. She organised one table to chalk on old-fashioned blackboards only to discover some little darling had crayoned all over the boards so that they were unusable! Things like that! And the children are so ......lively! I posed Harry in front of the model Post Office van that's been made for a concert at the end of the week. I'd love to see the concert, but there are only two tickets per family so, of course, Greg and Michelle are going.

Then I went on to my daughter, Rebecca's. She was minding Greg's other son, Max, as she usually does on Thursdays. After lunch we drove to the Reserve and had a great time rambling in the woods. As you can see, Max looks very cheerful and healthy but there are a few worries about his health at the moment. He often gets very pale and listless, and his innards don't always work well so his parents are trying him on a gluten-free diet. It certainly seemed to work well today. If he really does have a problem with gluten he'll have it for life, but at least it can be managed easily. 

Finally, Rebecca's own son, eleven year-old Blake arrived home from school. He was clad in his pyjamas which seemed odd until I learned that pyjamas had been worn at school in aid of Stewart House! This is a holiday cottage for deprived children run by the Education Dept, and all the children in Blake's class had had to pay for the privilege of wearing night-attire. He then started riding his old trike, which had been unearthed for Max! The whole effect was rather circus-like! It was his own mother who said he looked like a clown! But a handsome one, you must admit! 

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I must apologise for having deleted the very welcome comments from my last entry. For some reason the photographs went higgledy-piggledy and just would not stay where I wanted them, so I've redone it, losing the comments in the process.

It's been quite a week, both for the nation and for me, personally. Kevin Rudd, our previous Prime Minister, had been creeping down in the polls, so members of his party decided to knife him, figuratively speaking, of course! So now we have our first female, Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. This is quite something for a 'blokey' country like Australia! She was sworn in by a female Governor General too! As I'm a Feminist I'm quite delighted by this but I like to think that I'm intelligent enough not to vote for her in the coming election just because of that! She seems very capable and she has the 'people' skills that Kevin lacked. But there will be a lot of enemies to contend with, I'm sure. She comes over as tough but charming; two useful attributes. But she has one of the worst Australian accents I've ever heard! This is odd because her parents have broad Welsh accents and they came out here as 'Ten Pound Poms' in order to guard Julia's frail health from the Welsh climate.  I wish her well.

Julia and Kev before the 'knifing'.

In my own life it's been one long round of entertaining! Not that I've minded as it's my life-blood, but I'm quite happy to have an 'empty' weekend now.

On Monday we took my play 'The Golden Heart' to a Probus Club. Nearly all our members were at the Probus Committee Meeting so we were thin on the ground. (I'm on the Committee but only as an Assistant Secretary so I wasn't missed.) I adapted the play so that it could be perfomed by two people, and they performed well. Afterwards I organized a Quiz based on the songs in the show, and gave a prize. I forgot to take photos that day.

On Tuesday morning I went to a retirement village called 'Fig Tree' to read my poetry. I also told the old people the story of my evacuation as a child and they lapped it up. Afterwards I discovered one of the ladies was German so I apologised in case I'd upset her at all, but she was very gracious about it and we had a good chat and laugh about our very different experiences.

That very evening we put on our rehearsed play 'Jeweled Jeopardy' for the Retired Persons Group. They treated all eleven of us to a lovely meal, having us mingle at their tables so it became a social occasion.

The audience tucking-in.

The play went well. As usual, our mistakes, rather than my witty (?) script got the most laughs. I didn't laugh when someone dropped my new camera and 'broke' it though! However, he delivered it mended to my house next day!

Here I am gazing at the moon (a torch)! 

On Thursday we performed 'Unhand Me' at a local VIEW Club. I had a full cast this time and we did the version which involves the audience. We also sang songs to Xmas tunes (not religious) as the Club requested something for 'Xmas in July' although it was June!

The audience enjoyed joining-in.

 And me directing and chuckling too.
The week was not yet over, though! On Friday we had a rehearsal for our new play, 'Tiddly Pom', at the 'Cricketers' Arms'. I said to someone that I'm enjoying exactly the old age I'd have chosen for myself! Long may it last!

But this weekend hiatus is being enjoyed to the full!


Winter is at its very best at the moment. We get some of our most pleasant days in winter, although, of course, we can get miserable rain and cold as well. We don't get frosts here, although they do further inland. Today the temperature was in the high sixties, with clear blue skies and only a rather chilly breeze to remind us that it was winter. What a pity we can't bottle days like this and uncork them to enjoy in our stifling mid-summer.

There has been a lot of interest in the Soccer World Cup here. 12,000 people braved the elements at night in Sydney to watch a large screen and cheer on our team. But I don't think it will do us much good. We managed a tie against Ghana, but we're definitely underdogs. It's unusual for me to be interested in sport, but I find this world-wide game fascinating. My only quibble is that I feel the teams should be made up of men born in the country they represent.

A local boy named Harry after Harry Kewel, one of 'our' players..

My friend, Peter Lewis, drew this rather telling cartoon of our local political scene. As usual with all parties everywhere the state government is throwing money at New South Wales. As though we wouldn't see through them! Sometimes democracy is plain silly. But the alternative isn't great.

Our Premier, on the left, has an American accent.

Surf House has finally bitten the dust. This icon of years gone by has been demolished. There's been a lot of heartache among local Aussies of my generation, as they spent their lives on the beach when they were young (and they have the skin cancers to prove it!) A rather snazzy retaurant s going up in its place.

The pigeons and gulls have had to leave.

My son and his family have settled into their new house but I haven't taken any photos of it yet as they wanted to get it straight first. Harry was due to come to me for a reading lesson today, but he had an extra soccer game instead, so I shall have to wait until Tuesday for my fix. At least I saw Blake, my eldest grandson, yesterday evening! He and Rebecca, his mother, came for a meal and an evening of video , as Brian was on fireman duty down in Sydney. I made chicken a la King, but Blake didn't much care for the mushrooms in it and I, myself, thought it lacked flavour. Still, w enjoyed the old film, 'Chocolat', which we hadn't seen before. I found it really charming, and I found Johnny Depp very attractive, never having cared for him in 'pirate' guise.


Yesterday was a busy day. We met at The Cricketers Arms for a run-through of 'Jeopardy', which we perform on Tuesday evening. After that we slipped in a brief rehearsal of an abbreviated form of 'Golden Heart', our Monday show. We're very under-rehearsed for that but it doesn't matter too much as our mini-melos are just a romp with lots of audience participation anyway. Then we all went downstairs to a Cooking Class! This was the first I'd ever attended (as my cooking proves!) but I'll certainly attend more. We were plied with wine while we were shown haw to rustle-up delicious dips and then Osso Buco. Afterwards we all sat at a long table and ate the proceeds!

The Chef at work

The Feast

I left before the dessert as I had Rebecca coming for the evening. I'm not fond of sweet food, anyway.

Today, Sunday, I've been busy visiting the local Officeworks and photocopying copious audience-involvement sheets, as well as preparing tapes and costumes. It's all quite hard work but I love it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


This-afternoon has been quite frenetic! As usual, once a month, I invited friends around for an afternoon of Scrabble. Unfortunately, there were more of us than usual, and so we had to split ourselves into two groups, one to play Scrabble and the other to play Rummycub in the kitchen. Our house is quite small and some of my friends are the opposite and so it was all a bit of a squash. Immediately one of them suggested having a cup of tea before rather than during the afternoon, so we had to squeeze our way round each other to get that sorted! Once we started our games there were gales of laughter from both rooms. Malcolm was upstairs having a rest with his ear-phones on! I wonder why! Then came the time for another round of refreshments. Ann is a dab hand at sausage rolls and Shirley's forte is tiny cucumber sandwiches, both of which I love. Finally, another game of Scrabble, involving all of us, minus two who had to go home early. I won the game, so that was good for the ego. But after they'd left I felt completely exhausted!

Yesterday evening was much more civilised. We went to Gwen's for our Book Group. She lives in a cottage dating from the 1900s, and she has furnished it to suit. It's particularly attractive in winter as her main room has a lovely golden glow about it. And she is a superb cook too, which helps! I drank Marsala, which I hadn't had for a long time and the glow became even more golden.

A view from the kitchen.

Judith, Joy and Pat were there too.

We had all been reading 'The Perfect Hostage', the story of Aung San Suu Ky in Burma. I hadn't expected to enjoy it as I'm a speed reader and I knew the history of Burma would take a bit of serious study, but I found it fascinating. I had to return the book to the library before I'd finished the last two chapters (someone else had it on order) but I was able to join in the discussion quite well.

Altogether a really delightful evening. But I'm still exhausted from the Scrabble! I never imagined it as a rough and tumble sport!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I have had a very satisfactory day. We looked after Greg's boys all morning, as Greg and his wife, Michelle, prepared for their big move. It's only a suburb  away but any move is an upheaval and we were pleased to help. I don't quite know what they did today as they were up at the new house. The boys' bedroom has a floral 'dado' (I think that's what it's called,) and Greg has been preoccupied with removing it. I told him that I thought it was the least of his worries, but I didn't make much impression! Anyway, we had a great time with the boys. First of all we let them watch a cartoon or two while we tidied our own house. They love 'Shaun the Sheep' but M was reording something else so they couldn't watch that. Instead they watched some Oriental film about Water Benders which I thought would be way over their heads but they watched it enthralled! I'm so impressed with the artistry of moden cartoonists. There were enormous icebergs in this show and I thought they were most impressive.

Then we took them for a bus ride to Hamilton. They rarely go on a bus. So different from my childhood, when a ride in a car was not only a rarity, but practically unknown! They were delighted with the speed humps and steep hills. We visited the Library, where they enjoyed choosing new library books and then actually sat quietly for a while 'reading' one or two.

Clearly very advanced!!!!

After that we treated them to a Baby Chino each. ( I presume these small cappucinos are normal everywhere). They looked very rich, with marsh mallows floating on the top. Such food would normally be forbidden by their parents but I thought moving house involved breaking some rules!


Trying on Grandpa's cap!

Finally, after another bus ride home, we visited the small local playground where they let off steam on the equpment.


Being himself!

Once home I read the new library books to them and Greg turned up at 2.00 o'clock to take them up to Auntie Bec's for the afternoon. They were such a joy and so well-behaved and all round delightful that I was quite sorry to see them go. Unfortunately, Harry is not too well behaved at school!. I wish his teacher could have seen him today!

Friday, June 11, 2010


Harry was six yesterday but I didn't get round to recording the fact. It was all very low-key, as the family is in the throes of moving house! His Auntie Bec hosted a casual tea party with cake. He had a grand affair last year with a jumping castle, the lot, and he's been promised something a bit more spectacular for next year, but this year the highlight will be a sleepover with his great friend, Will, after they're settled-in to Anzac Parade. Malcolm and I went up to see the house today. Without furniture it looked very bare, of course, but we both liked it. It's odd but we don't care for old buildings as much as our son does! Having said that, it is a very charming, quirky house, set high on a hill, wuth a particularly pleasant sun-room, a study overlooking the pool, and an excellent playroom for the boys, leading off ther bedroom. I didn't take any photos in the unfurnished state. In fact, I didn't take many photos at Harry's little 'party' yesterday, either, as my battery went flat.

The only shot.
Today was very pleasant. We put on my new melodrama 'The Golden Heart' at the Church  Hall, and, although we'd only had one rehearsal, it all went well. The three men, now called the Male Voice Choir, sang well, and Carole pulled everything together with her great piano playing.

All in good voice.

And here the Heiress rejects the advances of the lowly gold-miner!

We have such fun!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


An enjoyable day today although the wind whistled round my ears! It was 67 degreees which some, particularly my Finnish friend, Jussi, may consider warm, but the wind-chill was evident and we were all complaining. Just as a heat-wave or a drought seems to take the UK by surprise, so winter weather always shocks Australians. Not in Tasmania, of course, as they have 'real' seasons there, but in the more Northern parts of the country. Our houses are designed to be cool and so draughts abound in winter weather, and we never organise ourselves adequately for the rare 'nippy' spell because, after all, it's already nearly mid-winter! Actually, the back-end of the winter is always longer than the start and Spring is still a long way off. But let us say that 'Global Warming isn't uppermost in our minds just now!

Today our Probus Choir performed at the local Coffee Pot Club. This club is so-called in honour of local history, not because it's famous for its coffee. We're heavily undermined here, as this was, and still is, a major coal-mining area. One of the main mines emerged at our now pristine Merewether Beach and, to get the coal trucks up from the beach a special narrow engine had to be designed. This was nicknamed The Coffee pot.

Here are some photographs of our happy day. I am the lady in purple.

Serious Stuff

Alexander's Ragtime Band.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


I went to a friend's eightieth birthday party today. A one time I'd have expected it to be quite a sedate affair, considering her great age, but this was a lively 'hen' party with lots of laughter and chatter, and Kath, the 'birthday girl' was one of the liveliest there! The party was put on by her daughters, and she's having a family party tonight. We met at a club called the Phoenix Club, and our table was composed of past members of our Playreading Group. I no longer belong to it but it was lovely to see everyone again.
A Collage of Kath's life

Kath and the Chef with Ann, our delightful Somerset friend.

Kath makes a speech.

Me with Margery and Isobel.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I have just had two busy days. And, at the same time, the weather has been diabolical. An enormous depression is centred all down the east coast of Australia. Yesterday, in fact, a  tornado hit the coast at Lennox Head, a small seaside town. Tornados are very rare here so we were all surprised at the destruction. Luckily noone was killed. It's nowhere near us, but we're experiencing the tail-end of the weather system. It's been raining, off and on, for days, and there's no end in sight.

Lennox Head

I doubted whether I'd be able to get down to the Central Coast yesterday because the weather-forecast was so bad, but I was fortunate enough to be able to skip betwen drenching showers.I went down by train by myself and I read our Book Club book, 'Catch 22',  on the journey. I couldn't really get into it, though. I always feel guilty if I don't like a best seller, feeling I must be out of touch with society, but I think the book was too masculine for me. I didn't have any sympathy with the characters and the humour didn't grab me, either. There was a slight drama on my arrival in Gosford as the taxi took me to the wrong area in the large retirement village at which I was performing. When I enquired about the meeting room I was told it was too far away to walk to, particularly with rain threatening, so I had to hunt around for a Knight in Shining Armour to give me a lift. Fortunately, I found one. The Poetry and Anecdote session was successful. I sold all the books I'd taken with me, and another Knight drove me to the station afterwards. The only photo I have of the occasion was taken by someone with a shaky hand I think!

Holding Forth
Today has been busy as well. We went to 'The Cricketers' Arms as usual for our rehearsal, but we didn't practice 'Tiddly Pom' this time. Instead we concentrated on 'Jeweled Jeopardy' as we're rusty and we have a few performances in the pipeline. I found I was very forgetful with lines today. You'd think the writer would know the lines automatically, but it doesn't work that way. We had a pleasant social lunch afterwards, although I chose 'Truffled Cauliflour' soup, thinking it sounded interesting and it was almost tasteless. I enjoyed the bacon bits floating on the surface most!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Outside my window...I'm writing in the evening again so the sky is a mystery. I must try to write first thing in the morning so that I have something to say. My husband has gone off into that night to attend his Car Club meeting, so he'll be seeing more of the sky than I will on this occasion.
I am thinking......that the Israeli attack on the Flotilla was a disaster. I don't suppose we'll ever know, for certain, if the ships containing Aid were armed or not, for weapons would be so easy to plant now. But the deaths are a tragedy. And I think it's a tragedy for Israel, too, because they're losing so much world support! Soon they'll have no friends left! It always amazes me that Jews can be so militant. After all their race went through in the war one would expect them to be the most gentle and peaceable of people!
I am thankful for... the fact that we left South Africa when we did. So many of my friends stayed on there only to find that their children had to leave the country to get work in America or elsewhere , so they never see their grandchildren. Mine live only minutes away and I always feel so lucky in that regard.
From the learning rooms.....  Harry, not yet six years old, has to prepare a speech for next week. It's going to be about Dinosaurs (what else?). He's been rehearsing it with me.
From the kitchen.....  Nothing remarkable today. My cooking skills are limited, so today we had smoked cod, poached and with butter, and green peas with tiny potatoes. But we had guavas  (canned) for sweet. We grew to like the fruit when we were in Africa. Tomorrow I intend to start using the Slow Cooker again. It hibernates in summer but I've made some very tasty winter caseroles in it in the past.
I am wearing...  a pair of grey slacks and a bottle green jumper. I changed into comfortable clothes after I got back from Malcolm's Probus meeting today. While there I wore my brown suit and a ruffled blouse so I didn't look too bad. Regarding the meeting, the Speaker was the local pharmacist who gave an interesting talk on 'Your body; how to look after what you have left!'  She touched on interesting topics. The one that fascinated me was an explanation of 'side effects'
I am creating... the visit to Probus and the collection of two very lively grandsons from their schools took up most of my creative time today! Tomorrow I'm going to work on a ten minute play for a Festival called 'Short and Sweet.'
I am going... nowhere tomorrow. This means I should achieve a lot of worthwhile domestic goals..... cupboard tidying, ironing etc. But I'll probably be drawn blogwards ad achieve little!
I am reading...nothing at the moment, but I picked-up 'Catch 22' from the libarary today so I'll dip into that later this-evening.
I am hoping...the rainy depression will lift befor Thursday, when I'm going on a Poetry Reading spree.
I am hearing...all the usual creaky sounds one hears when one is in an empty house at night!
Around the house.....I have plans to buy a chest freezer. I find I lose things in the freezer attatched tto the fridge. I'll have to twist Malcolm's arm! He hates spending money!
One of my favorite things... is the electric blanket. I only heat up the bed for half an hour before I get into bed, and I never sleep with it on, but it certainly is a comfort on these chilly nights.
A few plans for the rest of the week:  On Thursday I'm getting the train down the coast to entertain a club with my Poetry. And on Friday there's the rehearsal at 'The Cricketers Arms.'

A Photograph and a Thought. There is a Welcome Wall down in Sydney where immigrants can record their names. And here we are, 'The Bryant Family'. We arrived in Sydney in 1974. The mix of names is interesting. But I wonder whether our grandchildren will ever bother to look at it! A sad thought.

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my other blog

Monday, May 31, 2010


I'm trying something new today, I saw this format on a Blog called
 'The Simple Woman's Day Book'
and I thought I'd give it a go. I don't intend to write every day, but it seems an idea worth a try.

Outside my window...I  see a night sky with a high wind tossing the leaves. Southern New South Wales had gale force winds yesterday, with a lot of damage, and we're catching the tail-end of it today. It's rained off and on all day and the wind has been very cold (well, cold by Australian standards). On point of fact I can't really see a great deal out of my window at all, as my study has high windows.

I am thinking... that I feel sorry for the British politician who has lost his high-rankng job because of his homosexuality. Actually, his sexual preference isn't what ruined his career, it was his hiding of it. He was paid an allowance for living in London and he spent the money paying for his accommodation in his lover's house. He did this because he didn't want to 'come out'. All his constituents sing his praises and he was very highly thought of in his party. It all seems very tragic, particularly as I believe his parents have had to learn about his preferences for the first time, through the news reports.

I am thankful for...the fact that I no longer have back-ache! I believe it's 'not proven' that the weather affects creaking bones, but my experience tells me otherwise. The present poor weather has been building up for some days and my back-ache has increased with it. Now it's going out to sea (the weather, not my back) I feel much easier.

From the learning rooms..... Even at my advanced age I keep learning. I saw a film about Churchill yesterday evening and I learned about a public servant who leaked news to him about Hitler and who then died in mysteriois circumstances. Of course, I looked him up on Google! But most of my learning is concerned with the two little grandsons next-door who knock at the door to come in for 'Grandma School!

From the kitchen..... We took a step back into the past this-evening! Because of the winter weather I decided to cook some sago, often the staple diet of our school-days. It was really quite tasty!

I am wearing... an outfit I hate! I wore it to do the housework this-morning and then I couldn't be bothered to change for choir practice! It's an old-lady two-piece in tomato red which doesn't do a thing for me, and which makes me feel ten years older than I am!

I am creating... a new Melodrama for my Melodrama Group to perform on June 11th. We're putting on a show at Coffee Pot on June 11th. Our numbers will be down so I've asked three men to join us to boost the singing. This is the first time we've had men in a show and I've organised it without consulting the other members! So I hope they don't mind!

I am my husband's Probus Club tomorrow.Wives and widows are honorary members so we don't have to pay any fees and the men do all the work. I only hope the Speaker doesn't give too masculine a talk! Sometimes I enjoy the topic and sometimes not!

I am reading...nothing, really. I'm not a great reader but I belong to a Book Group because I enjoy the discussions, and because it forces me to read! I should be reading 'Catch 22' today, but it was too wet for me to go to the Library to collect it, so I'll go tomorrow. The last book we read was 'The Perfect Hostage' which I enjoyed more than I expected to.

I am son has completed painting a bedroom wall next door! He has just bought a new house and will be moving shortly, but he has a few jobs to do before he moves. He was in a very bad mood about it yesterday evening, so I hope he's calmed down and finished!

I am hearing...the sound of my husband's TV program downstairs. In a minute he'll contact me on the 'intercom' to let me know one of my favourite programs 'Talking Heads' has started.

Around the house.....We are on the throes of selling our two single beds in the spare-bedroom, and replacing them with my son's double bed which he will not need in the new house. We advertised the old beds today so I hope we get some takers.

One of my favorite things... is sweetcorn on the cob and we had that for lunch today.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Tomorrow we collect the boys from school. On Thursday I'm getting the train down the coast to entertain a club with my Poetry. These outings happen frequently and I always have a great time. On Friday we're rehearsing a play of mine called 'Jeweled Jeopardy'. The week will fly by as it always does.


My whole family.
Me, Malcolm, Brian,Michelle, Greg,Rebecca
with the three boys, Harry, Blake and Max.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010


This second blog of mine got off to a very uncertain start! I began it full of enthusiasm and then I had my camera stolen! This was bad enough, but Malcolm decided to help me out by installing one of his old cameras plus its disk etc. My computer rebelled! The actual computer was fine, actually, but I couldn't use the printer, a device I use constantly. So 'the man' came and said he must take it to hospital!

Here he is cogitating.

He brought it back on time, in perfect working order. And then he put my new camera 'in'. I was afraid I'd blow the whole thing up again! Everything is working now except that it's all small! I know you'll suggest I go to the 'control tower' and change the sizes, but I've tried that and it doesn't change! I suppose I'll ge used to it in the end. But all my blog 'stuff' is minute as well. I feel as though I'm typing this on a postage stamp!

I fiddled endlessly this-morning. Thankfully, we were asked out to lunch and that took my mind off my irritation. And what a delightful lunch it was! We visited friends, expecting to see mutual aquaintances there but everybody was new to us. The food was all vegetarian; maybe our hosts are vegetarian. In any case, the absence of meat wasn't noticed at all as the menu, which started with fresh green pea soup was superb. The company was excellent and Jane, our hostess, kept us all circulating. Alf, our host, is an artist, with his own brilliant almost cartoon style, and the house is decorated to complement his art works. Lots of brillant colours. He pots as  well, so we ate and drank out of his creations. We arrived there ar twelve-thirty and we left at five, and the time flashed by. Sadly, the superb view was dulled by storm clouds, but the vivid interior made up for that. So my new camera got a work-out. A truly delightful day!

A Colourful Corner

Someone cracked a joke!

Most of the party.

Why not visit my Poetry Blog if you have time

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


We didn't have to collect the children from school today so we were free to do our own thing. First of all I went to the Doctor's to get the results of my tests. I was very pleased with myself as I'd managed (with the help of drugs and the Bryant diet) to lower my cholesterol from 7.00 to 5.00. However, I've got to get it even lower so I've still got to turn my back on cheese! And how I love it! Also I discovered that the blockage in my carotid artery is only 50% and is not life threatening as long as I keep thinning my blood. Actually, the consultation only livened up when Dr Chandler asked me about my blog and brought it up on his screen! We discussed it a bit and he put it in his Favourites, so I felt quite honoured as I have a great regard for him. Meanwhile, other patients were waiting in the waiting room 'patiently' (sorry!).

Then we went out on a spending spree. I bought a new Canon camera but I may have bought rather hastily as it was Sale Price and I don't think it has all the features of my late lamented (stolen) Canon. I can't check it out properly yet as I've got to 'get a man in' to repair my computer/printer link first!! Technical things bedevil me!
Anyway, we went on to shop some more. Malcolm spent a birthday voucher on a lovely soft grey cardigan, and I bought two pairs of shoes. Then I saw a bed cover I rather liked and I bought that as well. We staggered home under rainy skies to inspect our purchases.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I took this photo on my mobile phone yesterday evening, when Rebecca and Blake came round for a meal. Brian is a fireman in Sydney and sometimes he's on the shift that covers the weekend, so Rebecca usually watches a film with us while Blake watches his own choice lying on our bed. When they arrived Blake was lugging a big bag full of trophies! While the family had been in New Zealand he had missed his swimming club presentation night and a friend had just delivered all his trophies to his house. He won five! It doesn't seem long ago that he was a little toddler scared of the water! Here he is showing off all his awards. I had to photograph him, camera or no camera!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I write in a state of peeve! When we moved into our little townhouse the tiny 'garden', more like a courtyard, at the rear was surrounded by a neat jasmine hedge, full of blossom in spring and a rich green for the rest of the year. I loved the shut-in feeling. I'm a reasonably friendly person but I hate other peoples' clothes lines and I always said I got a 'three bears in the wood' feeling when I was sitting outside with a coffee. Well, we've been here about fourteen years now, and I've continued to love our hedge. However, the jasmine has grown enormous and has started to break the wooden fence so it has to go. We share the fence with four other houses so we've just had a meeting about what we should do. We had a man around to give us a quote for Colourbond, a very popular and not unattractive type of modern fence. The jasmine will all go and we'll just have this stark modern fence in its place! That wouldn't be so bad but all the other interested parties want a shortish fence, over which one can see easily. I was the only one asking for a higher one and so I was a voice crying in the wilderness! Democracy being what it is I was out-voted. I really feel heart-sore about the whole thing but there's little I can do about it and Malcolm seems to think I'm making a fuss about nothing too! Do I feel less peeved now I've peeved in cyberspace? NO!

A fairly recent photo of my cousin's son, Tim and his little daughter showing our lovely jasmine AND the offending fence! 
(Tim has recently been made a trade attache to China for NZ so we wont be seeing him often!)

Surfing the web I've just come across a series of blogs looking for diets. I've never really been overweight although I definitely look round because I'm short. I hover just under 60 kilos. However, I AM trying to lower my cholesterol so I'm on a sort of diet. Monday to Friday I eat sparsely; lots of fruit, muesli, etc etc and completely reject fats. Then, on Saturday I have a cheese day (my weakness) and on Sunday I have a chocolate day (another weakness). I find this lowers my 'naughty' eating by 5/7ths a week. It seems to be working anyway. I think 'rewards' are essential in life. Do you think I'll win a Nobel Prize!

Friday, May 21, 2010


The lack of a camera is certainly stunting my creativity! We tried to put Malcolm's system into my computer but it just bunged-up the works and I had to spend ages getting my programs back! The printer is still not working! I wonder how many works of creativity would have taken place at all if we hadn't got digital photography. I know photographs, both mine and those from Google, give me ideas all the time. I just love being 'given' a meme and then looking for an illustration to set me off on the right track. Maybe I would have written a journal with sketches in a different era. But the sketches wouldn't have been very inspiring I'm afraid. I was certainly born for this age. I often say the same of Malcolm as I can't imagine what could ever have taken the place of cars in his life! Maybe he would have been obsessed with horses, but I don't think so, somehow. Maybe we're all 'children of our own age'.

So fiddling with the camera workings has taken-up a fair amount of my recent time. I've been busy apart from that, though. I went into Harry's school on Thursday morning to help with reading. I ended-up doing more than that because the young teacher. a sweet person, was run off her feet. I honestly think every Kindergarten class needs two teachers! After a craft lesson I read the children a story while she cleaned up the mess. Without me there they'd have run amok. I know I always aimed to have three parents helping me when I taught Kinder. There was one to attend to individuals (shoe-tying, helping 'slowies' individually, or just chatting), one to supervise the Craft Table (all preparations done by me), and one to supervise activities such as threading, chalking, cutting etc etc. This left me with a relatively small group to concentrate on for the 3Rs. I always feel the urge to take-over when I'm in a classroom, but that's just my ego. I did love the job, though, in the end. At the start I had no vocation.

Malcolm picked me up outside the school and we sped off to Jesmond, where I was entertaining with my poems. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but I always do, and I sold quite a few books too. I found myself at the same table for lunch as an old U3A friend, too, so that made the visit pleasant. I nodded off when I got home; performing delights me but I always feel tired afterwards. I was supposed to join Max and Becca a her house, but I woke up  two hours later so I had to ring to apologise!

Today was busy as well, as we had another 'Tiddly-Pom' rehearsal at the Cricketers Arms. We now have the offer of a guitarist for the show (which is many months away) and Pam has many good ideas. Our next show is at The Coffee Pot, so we have to rehearse for that soon. The adrenalin starts flowing at the thought.

Our dollar has nose-dived recently. I can't understand finance. We're always being told that our economy is one of the strongest, yet this 'Greek' problem has caused money to leave  Australia for investment in the U.S. which I thought was doing badly!!!! It's too much for me. Anyway, it means Rebecca and Greg wont have to cope with any more mortgage rate rises in the near future.

This looks all wrong without pictures!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Having had my camera stolen, I feel quite bereft. Malcolm lent me his for the Book Group evening, but, at the crucial moment, I discovered I didn't know how to turn it on! We were the hosts this month. We take it in turns to meet once a month at each others' houses to discuss books chosen by the group. This suits me very well as I'm not a great reader. That may sound an odd reason for joining a book group, but the fact is that I like the discipline of it and I enjoy the discussions, not to mention the company. Most of the members have become really good friends. They're all much more well-read than I am, but I rise to the occasion with my verbosity at times. I can talk on anything, even if I don't always make much sense! But I'm afraid you wont be able to enjoy my friends' company by proxy because of the blasted camera (stolen, I suspect, from my trolley when I was shopping in the '$2 shop'!) This week we watched a video. We only have a small sitting-room but, by strategically placing the chairs, we can fashion quite a passable 'entertainment centre'.A couple of months ago we read the old thriller, 'The Big Sleep' and so we showed the old Humphrey Bogart film as a follow-up. We though it was a good adaptation, and very well produced for its  day, seventy years ago! We all remarked on Humphrey Bogart's short stature! In my youth I thought he was a towering hero! Anyway, I couldn't follow the plot very well in either the book or the film, but that was probably through lack of concentration! Malcolm had timed the film for me and assured me that it took an hour and a half,  and it took two hours, so, for the last half hour, my mind was on the refreshments in the oven! Anyway, all went well and the usual convivial time was enjoyed over the 'eats'.

 Earlier in the day we'd collected Max and Harry from school. This is quite a major performance as Harry has to be collected at 2.45 p.m. and Max isn't allowed to stay after 3.00. The two schools, Max's pre-school and Harry's normal school, aren't too far apart, but they're both mid-city so the parking is horrendous; Malcolm has to circle while I rush in and collect! It was raining today too, so that added to the confusion. I nearly left behind Max's painted model of a dinosaur, and I did leave behind Harry's reading list! Once home the two boys attended 'Grandma School'. I kid myself that my little sessions are for the boys' benefit but I'm really indulging myself. Once a teacher, always a teacher! But at least it gets Harry's homework out of the way before his Daddy comes to pick them up. I only have a short time left enjoying close proximity. They've been living next door in a rented house, waiting to move into their new house at the beginning of June. I'll still see a lot of them, but it wont be the same.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Winter arrived today! After months of heat we were all ill-prepared. After all, it shouldn't really arrive until June! I suppose it wasn't cold by some standards, just sixteen degrees celcius, but I, for one, really suffered! The morning wasn't too bad. We had our Committee Meeting and we were in a corner of a cosy restaurant.Our Secretary was still on holiday so I had to take the minutes. I must write them up immediately, as I forget what I've meant by various bits of scribble if I don't do them straight away.This afternoon was distinctly chilly, though! We were up at Lois' house for a choir practice and it was freezing!

Our Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is climbing up the popularity ladder at the moment. Kevin Rudd has made several big blunders and people are openly asking whether Australia is ready for a female Premier. I don't quite know how I feel about it. I don't want to favour a woman just because she's a woman, but she certainly seems to have her wits about her and she speaks eloquently and with self-assurance. However, I think it's ridiculous to want change after a short time. Politicians should be given enough time to prove themselves or hang themselves. Poor old Obama is no longer on a pedestal, either. And, once again I ponder on the drawbacks of Democracy.


I spent a happy morning with friends, recording Melodrama music. Carole, our pianist, has to have an operation on her hand shortly and so I'm eager to get everything on tape. The two Pams were there, Pam Morrison looking very uncomfortable after a knee operation. It's not the knee that's troubling her, though, it's her lower back, so we're hoping nothing was put out of place during the knee operation! It didn't affect  her voice, though! We all have a slight problem in that our voices have lowered over the years and poor Carole has to transcribe most things to a lower key.Still, we're getting there.

Rebecca and Blake came round in the afternoon with all their NZ news. I hope to have some photos shortly. Greg's boys were beside themselves with excitement; you would have thought they hadn't seen Blake for years, and they were delighted with their NZ Airways model planes. I was a bit concerned as the planes had sharp wings and they were swooping them very near each others eyes. Becca showed her photos on our TV and we were all surprised to see how dry NZ looked. We always think of it as our green backyard! But NZ has had a bad drought ever since Christmas. They had a good time, anyway, and Blake looked such a young gentleman beside his two cousins.

We've all been horrified by a murder in Australia. It involved a young girl communicating with a young man on Facebook and him working on her love of animals. (She had been studying animal husbandry at Technical College). He pretended that he was part of a well-known Wildlife organisation and he said that  if she was interested in joining it she could attend a forest camp with other enthusiasts. Off she went ..... and her body was found a day later! How devious! How wicked! It shows how careful one has to be.
The Victim
I've mislaid my camera!! This is like losing an arm! So if I don't find it soon I'll buy another!