Thursday, January 30

Women Prisoners in Australia

On January 26th at the Caboolture Historical Village's Australia Day event, I bought two things - one a book by David Hill  called 1788 The Brutal Truth of the First Fleet and  a white cap - which was on sale at a special price in the Prisons Museum of the Village.

The cap is what women prisoners wore in early Australian history.  See below.  It's rather cute, so I think I will arrange a costume so that I can work in the village in prison costume.


I wore my little white cap, and a white apron at the Village on Monday, and love it.  I really looked great wandering around the village.


Monday, January 27

Australia Day

I have been a volunteer at the Caboolture Historical Village for about 7 months now - and was keen to see how their Australia Day celebrations would go.  It is challenging for them to arrange the day - with only one paid staff member and a raft of volunteers, it did seem chaotic to us at times, but we all turned up to help - well most of us.

The Village was a hive of activity - with stalls, machinery being prepared for the procession, exhibits polished etc.  I was the photographer for the day, so here are a few of the photos I took.



It is hard to read the name on the boat - it is very clever.  "Wholly Wood"



Saturday, January 25

Is it the Agent?

I wrote about my challenges with my Real Estate Agent - and the saga continues.  I issued the Agent with a Form 11 - Breach of Contract - yesterday.  They found it slightly amusing!!

I returned home and was visiting my next door neighbour when the lass from across the road (who is having the same trouble with her air conditioner which has not worked since she has been in the house (7 months) ), and who was waiting to get some action from the Agent, came to report that the air conditioning technician (who visited her place on Wednesday afternoon - but did not visit my place) was coming at 8.30 am the following morning (Saturday - today) to fix her air conditioner.  She said he'd probably phoned me - but as my phone was on the charger, I went inside to find that there was no call or message!  She gave me the Air Conditioner guy's phone number so I phoned him.

He claims that he has never been told that the air conditioner at my address needed servicing!!!!  Can you imagine how unhappy I was then.  He can't do anything about my air conditioner unless he has a job number.  By this stage the Real Estate office was closed for the day - I phoned and got the message.  No, I am stopped in my tracks again.  I sent an email to the RE boss - but over 12 hours later, there is no response.

I will be at their office first thing when they open today - as the Air Conditioning guy can work on mine today - if he has a job order.  I doubt I can get such a document this morning anyway.  Grrrrrr.  I still don't know who are the incompetent ones - maybe all of them.

But if the Agent says they have been contacting the builder/Air Conditioning people constantly for three weeks, and they don't have the job order - I really don't know.  I will see what today brings.

 Later - I spoke with the owner of the agency this morning. He will do nothing.  He is confused by it all apparently but will not take action.  Anger building again.

Friday, January 24

The Poor Treatment of Renters

One does get the feeling that as a "Renter" you are low class.  I shall relate a story - but first a little back ground.

During our 40+ years of marriage my husband and I and the children (until they grew up and left home), had rented and purchased.  He had been transferred interstate with his work on several occasions and renting was the best choice for us - and apart from one rather disastrous rental experience it all went well.  The one that turned sour was when we rented privately from a family who had chosen to move to Queensland, and we stayed in their Sydney house.  After a few months in Queensland, they decided to return to Sydney and insisted that we break the lease, which we didn't want to do.  We had nowhere to go - and it turned out very nasty.   As it turned out, my husband landed quite a good job back in Brisbane, so we did move, but the home owner made life very difficult - even on moving day!

We had our own home before I left - and I spent time either living overseas or house sitting, and in June this year I found a lovely rental property at Beachmere.   I love the area (though it can be challenging), and my humble abode and for six months I have managed to keep on the right side of the Real Estate agent.   

Mind you - if asked I would have told of some minor issues I had with them, but recent events have made me unpopular with the agency.  It all happened on the day that we had the highest temperature in 100 years!  The air conditioner didn't work.  I had two men who know about these things more than me, look at it and they both said, it needed repair.  Now I might add I have only turned it on once in seven months, and then on the heating cycle when I wanted to dry some washing.

So this Saturday when the temperature was at record high, and I had visitors, it didn't work.  So on the Monday I reported it to the Agent, who said "We will get it fixed".  As it happened, the air conditioning people were on holiday break (Xmas-New Year) and would be back at work a week later.  I have called in to the RE office on several occasions, emailed them and phoned them, all with no positive response.  "We have advised them"  etc.

So on Tuesday this week, on another record hot day, and with two grandchildren staying with me, I called into the office again, but this time lost my cool.  I shouted angrily at them that they appeared to be doing nothing.  The boss's wife said that they had advised the builder (the story changed) - but I said, it was not good enough. 

I came home and contacted the Rental Tenancies Authority and have the documentation to charge them with breaching their contract with me.  On Wednesday I drove the grandchildren back to Brisbane, and when at my daughter's place, the Agent phoned me and said they had a repair man coming to my place that afternoon.  I re arranged my day and drove back to my home 45 minutes - and waited and waited.  Of course no repair man returned. 

Oddly enough, as I was about 10 minutes from home, the maintenance man phoned me.  He was coming to my place to install some blinds in the bathrooms.  Blinds?  While I did comment on the lack of security - anyone can peer into the bathroom as the window's glass does not provide privacy, but on no occasion has the agent told me that they were going to install blinds.  Happily I let the guy in and have new blinds and privacy, but find it rather rude that the agent had at no time said anything to me about it.

So yesterday morning, I advised the RE agent that the repair man did not arrive - and the response was "That's disappointing" and later an email to say that the repair man would contact me.  Another day has passed and nothing has happened.

Tomorrow morning it will be 4 weeks without the air conditioning.  There is an obligation on the part of the agent/owner to repair in reasonable time.  4 weeks is not reasonable. 

Yesterday I spoke with two other people who live in this street, who have had to or do deal with the same agent, and clearly they are not all happy with the agent.  One, is now in a house with another agent - and they have been waiting for 4 months for a pump to be repaired on their water tank.  They have not been able to use tank water since they moved in, so have to pay high water rates to use town water when there is a good supply of water in their tank - but it is inaccessible.

One of the issues I have identified is that tenants are afraid to upset the agent - lest they be treated with further disrespect.  Interesting.  So I wonder how it will be if I keep on demanding my rights???

If anyone reads this and lives in Queensland, and is a renter, they might get the document from the Rental Tenancies Authority - and make contact with them.


Sunday, January 19

My Brothel Visit - 12 months ago.

I was in Kalgoorlie on my way around Australia - exactly 12 months ago today.  I had tried to book on the tour of the Super Pit but it was booked out, and was looking through the tourist information as I sat eating my lunch in the motel.  I wrote about it here.

There was a flyer about a tour of a brothel - anyone knowing the history of Kalgoorlie and the mining will know that the town was famous for its bawdy life in mid 1900's.  The tour was to start in 45 minutes, so I phoned the number and found that there were 'vacancies' on the tour so I booked.   As it turns out it was very close to the motel, so I arrived on time and went into the building to meet Carmel, the Madam, and the other guest sitting in the waiting room.  And so the very interesting tour of the brothel with fascinating stories.

It was fascinating.

About 10 minutes before the tour ended, while we were standing in one of the rooms looking at the bed and the "toys" set up, my mobile phone rang.  It was my daughter, so I pressed the button and whispered to her "I can't talk now.  I am in a brothel. I'll call you back in 15 minutes and hung up."

When I reached my car, I dialled her number and had a most extra ordinary conversation.  She was laughing - almost uncontrollably.  "You better look at Facebook" she blurted between laughs.   In the short time since I had spoken to her in the brothel, she had updated her status that her mother was in a brothel in Kalgoorlie.  It doesn't take much imagination to know what happened.  It was a very busy Facebook for nearly a week.  "What was your mother doing in a brothel?  Looking for a job?" and so it went. 

The whole family has had a lot of laughs over this story - I certainly wasn't seeking employment - but found the whole visit most interesting with lots of laughs of course. 

So, if you every go to Kalgoorlie - make sure you make time for the Brothel Tour.  I recommend it.


Picking Wild Mushrooms

I was listening to the radio this morning where the host was talking about stories from the past, and suddenly I remembered something from my childhood, that I had not spoken or written about.  Picking mushrooms.  I thought I would write about my childhood experiences as a child, and went online to see if anything was written about picking wild mushrooms in Adelaide.  Really, I found a collection of warnings about how dangerous it was! 

This is my story about safely (no one was ever sick!!!) about picking wild mushrooms in Adelaide in the 1950's and 1960's.

We lived around 12 kms from the city of Adelaide, and moved into our new house in 1948.  There were few homes around the area - mostly farms, with a railway line going through the area, in fact in ran parallel to our street which was called Railway Terrace.  There was vacant land around our home, and as children we had a wonderful time of freedom wandering around the paddocks playing under the prickly boxthorn (bushes with nasty thorns). 

I think it was mainly in autumn that we started looking for mushrooms - we would find wild ones growing around the paddocks - I can recall getting instructions on the safe ones to collect - we did know that some were poisonous, so we would pick the mushrooms that had brown (light when they were young mushrooms and darker when they were older).  We would pick them if we found them at random, but would often set off to collect them, armed with something to carry them in (a basket or a box), and a knife.  We knew it was best to cut the mushroom, leaving the "root" so that more mushrooms would grow in the future.

Our uncle had a property at McLaren Vale, and we would occasionally visit him.  Along one side of the property was a stand of gum trees going the length of the property and it was here that we found our best ones.  They were everywhere and we had a wonderful time collecting them.  In a way, we would keep our eyes open whenever we were out and about to collect any mushrooms.

Some of them were huge - as big as bread and butter plates, and we would carefully take them home, peel them, cut them and my mother would cook them in butter on the stove.  We loved them.

As the area around our home was developed our mushroom hunting grounds disappeared.

I have never been able to collect wild mushrooms like we did as children - and in recent times there has been a great fear of picking mushrooms because so many are poisonous.  We "knew" which ones to pick and even today if I was out and about and found mushrooms, I feel confident that I can pick only the safe ones.  We "knew"..

I learned today that there are groups that like hunting for wild mushrooms - Shroomers.

* * * *

It was listening to the ABC talking about people's stories - and they mentioned "Horrie the Wog Dog" and the stories surrounding this famous dog.  Ion Idriess wrote about this dog in 1945, and you can read it here. Horrie the Wog Dog

There is also an article on Wikipedia


Saturday, January 18

Norseman - 12 months Ago

As I read about the fires all around Australia at this time, I reflect on my awesome trip around Australia last year.  As luck (and good management) would have it, I missed so many weather issues that I had factored into my original plans.

This time 12 months ago I had just crossed the Nullabor Plain - and had a most glorious run.  I was at Norseman in Western Australia.

I had so many warnings about how I would be bored witless, that it would be so hot and people shared with me a raft of their misadventures on the trip - many I might had, had been done before - years before when things were much different.

I had a dream run.  I recall many things about the trip, but one thing that stands out is speaking to a number of women on the trip - one just past Head of Bight when I was chatting with a very interesting couple at a spot I had stopped to take photos.  They had not stopped at Head of Bight - the bloke was keen to keep going, she wanted to see Head of Bight.  He won - after all, he was driving.  I'm glad I wasn't in their camper van when they drove off as I think she was quite miffed that he was in charge of where they stopped.

It is a common complaint apparently - I had thought it was only me, as I always had that issue with my husband, who was keen to go from Point A to Point B (the destination) with as few stops as possible - so that he could enjoy a beer or two and not have to worry about driving afterwards!!!

When I drive alone - I stop frequently.  I love to explore places - maybe take photos, "smell the roses" though there weren't any along the Nullabor Plain, that's for sure.

I just loved the drive.  I loved the beauty of the scenery.  I cherished every moment.


Wednesday, January 15

The Bookshelf Arrived

After being here in my lovely abode for nearly 7 months, I still had some unpacked boxes.  Some DID have books in them, but there was more paper and stuff to throw out I knew that.

At the same time I was on the hunt for something - and I am yet to find it.  I've unpacked and unpacked and still have not found it.  What is it?  It is rare, hard to buy, especially in the colour purple!  It is INK.  I had a bottle which I use to refill my fountain pens.  I'm not THAT OLD fashioned - I do use other peens, in fact I have a Fujitsu DIGITAL PEN, but I love using my fountain pens, and am finding it very difficult to get ink.  I know where I can get it - but nothing much around where I live.  It is frustrating, but I know I will get some.  I will probably find my pot of ink in its little box, AFTER I have bought some more.  Frustrating, isn't it!?

In my working through my boxes I found a photograph of me and a friend taking when we were 18 years old at the Empire Games in Perth, Western Australia.  It is many years since I have spoken to my friend - I did phone some years ago, but didn't connect with her.  Today I picked up the phone and after seeking a number through White Pages online, I found a name with her surname, and phoned.  A woman with a foreign accent answered - and when I asked about J O she was flustered and in the end gave the phone to a man, whom I now know to be the ex-husband of my friend.  He didn't know where she was, though gave me the name of a town in South Australia - oddly enough I stayed there just over 12 months ago.  I did a search for someone of the name given to me on the Internet and on White Pages and found one number that might possibly be hers, but no one answered the phone.

I remember that visit to Perth very well - J and I had wonderful adventures.  I downloaded the following from YouTube - does anyone remember the News Reel at the movies????


Oh, I must get back to my boxes.  Only a few hours to go and maybe I will be finished.

Tuesday, January 14

Vale Minnie - welcome Minnietoo and Tostevin

Sadly Minnie passed away - one morning I found her floating on top of the water in the pond, and she certainly didn't look like she was cooling down from the heat!!!  Dead!!!  It was a shock for me - but I managed to fish her out of the pond, (odd wording - fish the dead fish out of the pond????).

So poor Wally has been swimming as usual around the bottom of the pond - alone.  Now I have to be honest here, neither of them were particularly sociable - and spent most of their time hiding under the weed at the bottom, but I felt sad for him and resolved to get a new companion for him.

On the way to the supermarket I spied a shop that looked like it sold fish - and sure enough it did.  A huge range of fish, corals and apparently reptiles - though I didn't see any - were on sale here, so I made a hasty decision and bought two more "gold" fish.  Minnietoo is a much brighter gold gold fish that Minnie was - and a lot easier to see in the water.  I laughed when I saw the other fish in the shop - there was one the spitting image of Tostevin.  This story goes back to the 1960's, when I worked for some doctors in Adelaide in the practice of a Dr Tostevin.  One of the doctors chose to set up his own practice and invited me to go with him and be his practice manager and I did.

We started the practice from scratch - but it was all nicely done with bench seating around the walls of the waiting room, and a small platform for the goldfish.  Yes, we had a glass bowl with gold fish.  They were named after people we knew - and one - a large black one we called Tostevin.  It was my task to keep them fed and cleaned - though all these years later I cannot recall the meal procedure.  I have no memory of it - but the fish lasted the whole time I was there which was about 18 months.  I left to go and do my nursing training at Mount Gambier.

Now, on the same floor of the building were other medical people and an optometrist - and we had a great relationship with the owner Mr T and staff.  However, they were pranksters.   Sometimes when I was in the surgery/operating room with the god Dr P, the folk from Mr T's place would come and kidnap one or more of the fish.  I'd come out to my desk, look up and see that fish were missing, though I soon learned to follow the drops of water along the corridor.


There were a lot of shenanigans in the time I worked there - and Tostevin saw it all.  When I saw the Black Moor Fish today, I just had to have it - so I carefully transported Minnietoo and Tostevin home, and guest what!  Wally has become friendlier - the three of them even in a short time seem to have made friends easily, and they seem to be amusing themselves swimming around.

I'm happy. 

Monday, January 13

Where was I 12 months ago?

This time last year I was driving around Eyre Peninsular - me in my trusty Mitsubishi Lancer, on the second leg I guess of my long journey.   I had stopped at Port Pirie with my childhood friend Monica, and then went on to Kimba where I spent one night at her father's place, then set off for Cowell before heading south to Port Lincoln.

You can check out the map here. 

How I wish I had more time and money to stay longer in these places, but I didn't and that is all there is to it.  I remember being in Port Lincoln when there was major drama in town, and I actually saw the Target Store on fire.  I have only just learned 12 months later, that arson was suspected and a boy of 14 was charged.  How sad that some young children get their kicks out of causing damage and watching their "handiwork".

Here is one of my posts from Port Lincoln.  Click here.  I had written this post in the morning and in the afternoon went to a Winery, and on my way back through the town I saw the fire and reported on it here.

Reliving my adventures is interesting - wishing I was still on the road in some way.


Thursday, January 9

Now it is Nasty Thieves

Someone has stolen my crab pot - it is common around these parts at this time of the year.  School children?  Teenagers with no conscious? 

I have bait, but no pot.

I did find I can buy them cheaper at the Caboolture Markets so will venture over there one Sunday and get a new one. 

So no distractions today.  I have already completed Day 4 of my Ultimate Blog Challenge post about Useful Life Story Definitions - and I am well prepared for the coming days too.  Whoo Hoo.


Friday, January 3

Get Out you Nasty Cane Toad!!!

I have heard that Cane Toads do not climb.  So how is it that one can appear in my large pot with my gold fish  Wally and Minnie?  I quickly hoiked the damn thing out of the water and over the back fence and hopefully a crow picked it up and killed it.

I hate these things.  Ugly, destructors.  It is interesting to read about them - they were hailed as the solution to a pest in the sugar cane years ago - but have hopped their way around Australia killing our native wild life.  Destructive, nasty creatures.

Years ago one of our dogs grabbed one and nearly died.  By the time we got the dog to the vet clinic it was unconscious, but luckily survived.  Yuk.

I checked this morning and there was nothing swimming in the pond but the two gold fish.

I have been working on my new blog - Your Life Story - which I started in part for the Ultimate Blog Challenge.


Thursday, January 2

Day Two of 2014

I am still in planning mode - but all is well!  I am working on another project - Life Story Writing  -  with the new blog, which I am using for the Ultimate Blog Challenge - 31 days of Blogging and Learning!!

I am disappointed that there appears to be few Aussies in the challenge, but I am undaunted.  I have done my two posts - and planned others.

Yesterday I found a strange packet of photos and writing - my father had written much of his life story, and indeed had written a little booklet - typed information with photos - some of which I don't recall seeing.  He says that the author of the little book is me - DeeDee Hill - funny that, as I have never written anything using that name - DeeDee is what my grandchildren call me, and I certainly didn't write the letter.

One of the old photos is of me - with my grandparents Walter (Wally) and Minnie - the one's I named my two goldfish after.   (Look how neat their garden was!!!)

The second photo is of my great grandparents - I doubt I ever knew them.

I have been watching television - I can do that and scan photos and do a few other tasks - and I has been very exciting - Serena Williams was awesome!!

Wednesday, January 1

Happy New Year!

Well, it is day one of 2014!!!  I love a new year - to me I can put the past year behind me and focus on "new beginnings" for the new year with new enthusiasm.

I am going to keep this blog going, but as I am not house sitting any more and not doing a lot of travel at the moment, I have started a new blog to focus on Life Story Writing.  It is called Your Real Life Story  - another Blogger blog.

It is my 2014 plan to focus on writing Life Stories - with my business The Official Biographer - and next week hope to be setting out to meet and talk with folk with interesting stories to record, and to encourage folk to write their own stories.

The new blog will feature in The Ultimate Blog Challenge for January 2014 - where I hope to develop new skills in the "blogosphere".  I am excited that this time there are a few of my friends participating.

I do plan a little travel in 2014 - but it is a WRITING year.  I must get a few things published!!!  I must!

Happy New Year!