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.

Please try my other blog

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!

Friday, May 14, 2010


Homecomings have been in the wind today. The first was a national homecoming, as a local heroine sailed into Sydney Harbour after months at sea, circumnavigating the world alone! Jessica Watson is only sixteen so it's been a tremendous achievement. There was a lot of controversy about her voyage  before she went. I think the population was evenly divided between those who said 'Go for it, girl!' and those who thought it was a crazy, foolhardy thing to do. My mind was on her parents. They must be remarkably in tune as both of them said 'If she wants to do it let her try!' I can't imagine many parents being so trusting or risk-taking. I was certainly one who thought the whole idea should be shelved and I couldn't help feeling that her parents were just after publicity. It's a strange thing, really..... if she'd drowned at sea (and that was on the cards as her craft rolled over several times) they'd now be pariahs, almost considered murderers. But because everything's gone well, they're being feted and described as wonderful parents! Nothing can take-away the bravery and ability of the young girl though. I'm shortly going to switch on the TV to see her gala arrival in Sydney.

In our own little uneventful lives another homecoming has taken place. Rebecca, Brian and Blake have just arrived home from three weeks in NZ. I'm always relieved when people are back in their right slots! I could certainly never have mothered a Jessica Watson! We haven't seen Becca yet as they left NZ at 2.0.a.m. our time this-morning and they're all sleeping it off. We'll see them tomorrow, and give back their little dog, Banjo, who's been with us for three weeks.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


The British coalition has been on my mind again today. Not because I'm in a particularly political mood either. In fact, my approach has been very frivolous. As I saw them walking together towards the dais (what's the plural of dais, please? There were two of them!) Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum came to mind. Both David and Nick are the same height; they were both wearing matching 'business' suits and ties; they're both of an age. And, from a distance they really looked like twins. Terrible Twins? Only time will tell.
But these frivolous thoughts were mot my only ponderings today. We had a run-through of my Australian melodrama at the Cricketers' Arms today. We were a small band but enthusiastic. Pam Boyd and I have decided to co-direct! (See the connection!) She wants to concentrate on the Aussie touches ..... the slang, etc. And I want to direct just because I want to direct! So we're in double harness and I think both of us are wondering how it's going to work! I visualised the play when I was writing it, but she has the stronger personality and more original ideas.

I once worked in double-harness as the co-President of a social club, and I resigned after only a short time because I found the situation intolerable after a while. So watch this space!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


As usual, I lay in bed listening to the BBC last night and I heard a most interesting talk on the role culture plays in education. The speaker was referring to the cultures of various races, and he was concentrating on the cultures of Asia. He was visiting a school in Silicon Valley in the US, where nearly all the successful students come from an Asiatic background, including India. Of course, the standard of the area was high as most of the parents were academics anyway, but it was the proportion of Asian students that were at the top that struck me, because here, in Australia, we see the same statistic. Whenever newspapers publish the photographs of exceptional students most of them are Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian or Korean. Yet I believe intelligence is pretty standard throughout humanity. The speaker 'last night' put it down to the culture. Basically, he said, people of European descent worship at the shrine of individuality; students are encouraged to 'do their own thing'. In Asiatic countries students are brought up to consider themselves as part of a group and a family. They see their parents as fellow-travelers in the business of education. Thus, they are more biddable and willing to submit to hard work. If they succeed the whole group succeeds.

I was reminded of this when I read someone else's blog this-morning. (And I apologise for not recalling the name of the writer.) He wrote of the 'Broken Window' approach, which is said to have improved crime rates in New York. Rather than wait for serious crimes to occur, the police jump on lesser infringements, such as window-breaking, thus nipping crime in the bud, literally. It seems to me that the urge to break windows, scrawl graffiti, and generally be 'agin the government' stems from the cult of individuality. No doubt the perpetrators are 'finding themselves'! I'm quite sure young people in Asia commit petty crimes too, but do they do it to the same extent? I doubt it. They may riot for want of food etc, but pure self-indulgence must be rare. They don't break windows in a mood of 'this is me!' surely!

I was at Harry's school this-morning, helping with reading exercises and I found myself in a room buzzing with life and activity, but full of 'individuals' vying for attention. And I wondered.........

I have to admit that I belong to the 'individualistic' society too. I don't see myself as part of a group as much as an individual. And I know worries have arisen about Japanese children, for example, being hounded to succeed, and suffering from mental stress. But surely there's what my mother always called 'a happy medium' somewhere.

I hope Harry finds it!


Politics have been uppermost in my mind today. We had our budget yesterday evening so the papers have been full of pros and cons. It appears to be steady as we go for people like us; in fact, pharmacy items are going to be cheaper.The main thrust is taxing the mining giants enormously, and that could easily backfire. Already some of them are threatening to move activities to more friendly countries!
Then, of course, I've been captivated by the news from Britain, where I was born. I go to sleep with the BBC on every night, and it's still droning away when I wake in the morning, but I wake up with a start if anything of interest to me is mentioned. Consequently, I heard Gordon Brown's 'retirement' speech when it happened, which was deep in the Australian night. I found it quite moving, particularly as he must be such a disappointed man. So now we'll wait for the two parties in the Coalition to start squabbling!

I conducted my U3A Poetry group this-morning. Our numbers were depleted through holidays and sickness, but we still enjoyed reading and discussing. I took along two very different poems, one by Walt Whitman and the other by Joyce Grenfell to analyse and others brought their own choices, from C.J.Dennis to T.S. Eliot. I had to spend the afternoon in town having ultra-sound tests done on my carotid arteries. Because I have problems in my legs, an additional test was deemed necessary. It's quite unnerving hearing the blood surging through ones body!

Monday, May 10, 2010


We had our Choir Practice yesterday afternoon. We're fortunate because we have our practices at Lois' house and we look out over her delightful view at the same time as we sing. (A view ruined by those awful overhead wires! Australia's slow in getting them underground.) I was late getting there as I got a lift with a friend who was delayed. The reason for this is that my car is being used by Greg, whose own car needed repair. On top of that Malcolm reversed into a truck the other day! So that was out of commission too! Fortunately, he found the identical piece at a Car Wreckers so he's saving a lot of money doing the repairs himself.

Though Gordon Brown in the UK is definitely not one of my favourite people, I feel very sorry for him at the moment. He was in the shadow of Tony Blair for years and he took over the job of PM when things were bad. Not only that but I think he probably has an unfortunate nature. He may be a saint but he comes over as very brusque and demanding and he doesn't seem to look people in the eye! The state of British politics is appalling all round. It seems a little known lesser politician who didn't get that many votes is the most powerful man in the country at present.

As for the loan to Greece.... that makes me feel very uneasy. It's being loaned money when it's already in debt! How is it ever going to climb out of the mire? Not only that but the populace wont stand for too many privations and I foresee riots etc in the future. If Spain and Portugal go the same way the EU will unravel and a noble idea will have come to nothing. All very disturbing.

We have our Budget Night tonight. We're told not to expect any handouts, but this present government is so unpopular at the moment that I think there's bound to be a sweetener in there somewhere!

Sunday, May 9, 2010



I've just been gardening. Even after all these years in Australia I just cannot get used to winter in the sub-tropics, and preparing for it brings it all to the forefront of my mind. There's no 'dead' time of the year here. Of course, we miss the excitement of snow, the tingle of real cold, the delights of an evening before a blazing fire and the ecstasy of Spring, but I still get a thrill out of knowing that the 'leggy' flowers I've slashed this-morning will bloom again for me in winter! I shouldn't really call it 'gardening' though; it's 'postage-stamping' because that's the size of our little patch. It's a wonderful sun-trap in winter though and we often sit out there in the sun when it gets chilly indoors. Australian houses are draughty in winter. They're designed to keep the air circulating in summer and so they're not ever really cosy. We have a staircase leading down into our lounge, too, so that's always a source of draughts. However, who's grumbling? Our winter season is June/July/August but chilly weather lingers on a month or so after that. Our winter is the same length as an English summer, and we all remember how short that is! (Sorry!) I hate winter clothes, though. I always feel ten years older when I'm rugged up! Now I'm off to 'season' my wardrobe, packing away the really summery clothes for a while. Very virtuous!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I'm certain this is true. And today is a case in point. I'd just cleaned the house and I was in the middle of a pile of ironing when Harry and Max arrived for a Grandma School lesson. I didn't have time to ask myself whether  or not I was happy! And, sure enough, when all was quiet and I became contemplative I discovered I'd been utterly happy for an hour!

 Not much of a first entry but I'll improve!