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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