Tuesday, September 30

The Grandchildren

I have four grand children - ages range from 14 years to 8 years, and I like to spend time with them - especially during holidays.  The two oldest girls are busy athletes and it is pretty hard to find a few days spare without training, so they only spent around 24 hours with me - great time, but too short for me.

The younger two spend more time with me during holidays - and they arrived yesterday, and I will return them to the Gold Coast on Thursday - as I have a meeting at Griffith University at midday, they will spend a few hours with their other grandmother before their father picks them up.

When we were driving north from Brisbane yesterday after I picked them up I asked them what they wanted to do.    "Go to the Historical Village" - they both said.  Easy, as I was to work there today. So I managed to get them into the children's holiday activities today and off they went.

Afterwards we set off towards Bribie Island (we had packed swiming gear) but on the way we visited the Bora Ring at Sandstone Point/Ningi before driving on to the bridge over to Bribie Island.  There are 13 light poles on the old bridge, and pelicans perch on them.  It is always a game to count the number of pelicans on the poles.  There were four on the way over and two on the way back.  Always a bit of fun to count them.

We went to the Seaside Museum, but it is not open on Tuesdays.  Darn.  So it was off to the beach and we donned our swimmers and went to the water.  Eeek. It was so cold.

Bribie Island - looking towards Glass House Mountains (taken with my phone)
J and M played around in the water, and I sat a distance away watching them playing in the sand and later in the playground until it was time to leave for home.

Back home I cooked a Lasagne.  They loved it.

Sunday, September 14

New Challenge.

Quickly list five things you'd like to change in your life.  Now, write a post about a day in your life once all five have been crossed off your to-do list.  (Challenge One from Writing 101)

What a challenge.  I pondered momentarily, drifted into a semi-dream state, and quickly decided that the five things I would like to change in my life are as follows.

1)      Get Younger.  Without some sort of alien intervention it will not come true - but I'd like to "lose" 15 years, and go back to around 55 years of age.

2)      Gain confidence with my Writing - I have been writing for years with only minimal success, however, I believe that I am on the cusp of something exciting and positive resulting from my wars with words over the years.

3)      Feed the Travel Bug - My recent travel adventures have injected me with further enthusiasm for exploring more countries of the world.   Travel planning will become a key component of the changes I would like to make in my life.

4)     Improve Family Relationships - While not having any particular challenging relationships, I would like to spend more time with my only sister, my own children and their families.  Time and distance creates a few difficulties - but it certainly would be good to foster better/closer relationships with them all.

5)     Give Money and Not Time to community organisations - At the moment I contribute to several community organisations, but would like to be able to step back from the hack work - and have the financial resources to give them money to enable them to achieve more of their goals.

A Day in My New Life

The rooster crows at 6 am.  It makes me laugh as it is the alarm on my Samsung Tablet that annoys me on the odd occasion I use it, but I haven't bothered to change it.  It does wake me up and it does make me laugh.

I quickly dress into my fitness gear and head quickly out the front gate and along the street to the park at the corner, and I turn right, up the path which leads to the steps down to the beach.  It is low tide and the early morning sun reflects in the pools of seawater left as the high tide retreated some hours earlier.  It is the sight that always inspires me, makes me love the place where I have chosen to live here by the sea and not far from the river.

With the tide out there's sand to walk on, though some days I have to pick my way around the pools left behind and the many fish holes, where I think some lazy flathead has the previous night nested hoping something tasty would swim by for it to easily catch and feast on.  I head north, as the sun creeps higher in the sky, and I walk on to the boat ramp which is seldom used as a newer ramp is easier to launch a boat.  Cautiously I walk up the ramp to the road, wary least I slip on the bitumen made slippery by the seaweed cast upon it by the previous night's high tide and blustery wind.

Back onto the walk way I make my way back to my front gate, enter, and smile seeing my cleaning lady's car parked nearby.  My house will be cleaned - allowing me to make a coffee and head straight to my studio.  The telephone rings and I answer it.  It is my agent confirming details for the event at which I am to speak in Sydney tonight.  "Yes, I am all ready, thank you.  Yes, thank you for sending the books.  All is well.  Thank you.  'Bye"

The front bell rings - we say "ring" but it is a tune of an old song that makes me recall my childhood days.  It is the caterer.  The family is coming today - lunch on the deck overlooking the sea.  My children and their children and my sister who has been staying with me, before spending some time with my families.  She brings her suitcase to the front door, and my son carries it over the threshold and leaves it out of the way behind the lounge suite as we make our way out to the deck.

The children head for the lawn but are called back - there's food to be eaten, and they need to sit down with us all.  Ten of us - chatting, marvelling about the table setting, the floral display on the table and the food as it arrives.  "Thanks Jenny, you are a wonder".  In the background is the music of my son, who smiles when he realises that we are again, playing his latest CD.

As the food is eaten, and the plates are emptied Jenny does what I pay her to do - she discreetly removes the unwanted plates and utensils, and returns with more plates and more food.  The children, appetites sated, they head off for the lawn, and then the beach.  "Can we take our shoes off and go in the sand?" they ask.  "Yes, but don't get wet or dirty" say the parents in chorus.

The chatting continues with the adults at the table, and after the desserts are eaten, He the musician stands, having ensured that everyone has a full glass of champagne.  "A toast to Mum."  As the glasses clink he adds "Good luck with your speaking engagement tonight in Sydney, and good luck with your travels.  May you and your sister have a wonderful adventure!"  Glasses clink again, before they sit down.

Shortly afterwards, the children are called in - it is time to go.  The door bell announces the arrival of the chauffeur, and the two senior ladies follow the others out of the house.  Jenny is cleaning up, the chaos at the table, and assuring me that all will be well.  She will be house sitting while I am away - enjoying my house, the beach and all that the location allows.  She loves fishing and looks forward to testing the waters around here.

I am almost into the car, my sister sits waiting and watching me, but I do a quick u-turn and return to Jenny, and hand her four envelopes.  "Can you post them tomorrow for me please, Jenny?"  "Yes, no problem" she responded.

I get in the car, ready for the next chapter of my life's adventure.  Sydney, then on to London and Europe.

"See you in four months" I call as the limousine slowly moves towards the gate.  "Bye" I wave.

ps  My Critical Friend was on TV - read about it here.

Friday, September 12

Phew!!! Finished. Maybe...

I have been working on a little e-book about Writing Life Stories.  It has been an on and off adventures, as I travel, work on other projects and generally procrastinate.  However, today it is done.  Well at least until I decide to make any other changes.

I have sent it to my "critical friend" for a review!  So will see what happens.  I hope that within a couple of days I will have it up and ready for sale through Amazon.   This is a BIG step for me - this is the girl who likes writing, but cringes at the thought of others reading it and not feeling satisfied with my work.  Eeek.

I have however, decided to finish some of the items lurking in my computer - which includes publishin my mother's and father's stories - yep.  One each.  I have ideas on what I will do with them. Also in my "spare" time, I am putting together a recipe book - just for family.  A collection of recipes and stories.

I was fortunate in that I grew up in a home where we grew our own fruit and vegetables, and that my mother made us help with the preparation of many of these items for her preserves.  In those days (1950's and 1960's) if one had an abundance of produce we would work to preserve it in some way.

Each summer holidays, we would be tasks with picking the fruit and gently washing and cutting it.  If it was for the preserving of the fruit we took much care in choosing good looking fruit and carefully cutting them in half.  The fruit would be layered, cut side down, and pushed into the Vacola glass jars.  Without squashing the fruit, it was loaded with as much fruit as one could fit in.  In those days Mum made a sugar and water syrup which was poured into the jars up above the fruit.  About 6 or 8 jars would be placed in a metal dish with a couple of inches of warm water, and put in the oven.  We had an electric oven in those days, and the heat would be turned up for about an hour I think.  I can't exactly recall - but I think the rubber band was on the jar and the lid firmly held in place for the cooking process by metal clips.  When the cooking was done, and the oven cooled, they would be removed from the oven and when totally cool, the metal clips would be removed as a vacuum within the jar ensured that the lid was sealed until it was at some stage in the future, forcible opened.

We did apricots and peaches in this manner, and once mum did rhubarb too.  I think she did it only once, as I can recall her taking it out of the oven and some of the glass jars exploded and cut her on the face, and covered the whole kitchen - benches, walls, floor, ceiling etc with cooked rhubarb!  It was a very dramatic day in our household!!!

We had plenty of apricots which we not only preserved, but made jam and dried them.  Jam was pretty simple - the fruit was washed and cut up, and bruised and overripe fruit was used for this.  It was put in a big boiling pot on the top of the stove with a measured amount of water and later sugar, and cooked until it was ready.  One had to put a small amount on a spoon and onto a plate - if it wrinkled or set when it cooled - it was ready.  Jars previously "sterilised" in the oven would then be filled and a cellphane lid held in place by a rubber band would be placed on top.  We wet them, and as the jar cooled, the cellophane pulled tight - and kept the air out until we were ready to eat the jam.

Dried apricots were pretty easy.  My sister and I (and no doubt Mum and Dad) cut the fruit and placed it on racks that Dad had built.  They were then layered into a contraption that Dad built and sulphur was burned at night (the smell infiltrated the whole neighbourhood!!), with the fumes "treating" the apricots.  They were left out in the sun to dry further, before being packed away for future use.

These and other stories must not be forgotten - our children and their children should know what we did in those days.  Life was so much different!!

Back to my book - it is about recording these stories - and I encourage others to write as much as they can before it is too late.

So back to my biography........

Monday, September 8

The Purple Poppy - for Animals.

On Saturday when I attended the Flag Raising and Anzac Commemorative Day at the Caboolture Historical Village, I saw the unveiling of a plague to remember the animals which served in the forces for the Australian forces during World War I, World War II, Vietnam and many other occasions.  The event was arranged by volunteers from the 11th Light Horse Troop - one of the specialty clubs at the Village.

There are some amazing stories about the animals and birds.  What animals I hear you ask?    There were camels, horses, mules, donkeys, as well as dogs and pigeons.   As well, there are stories of cats, and of course the feathered friends who sacrificed themselves for food for our troops.  These days there are also sheep which are mascots for various military groups.

On Saturday Spetmber 6th, at the Historical Village, these animals were remembered and stories told about the bravery of some including a pigeon, despite being shot twice, continued its journey on foot to deliver the important message it had been carrying.

In front of the plagues.

The Purple Poppy

A beautiful Clydesdale 
The Military History and Heritage Victoria website tells the stories of some of the animals and the strict Australian Quarantine regulations that meant that few of these animals could be returned to Australia.  

I bought a Purple Poppy (my friends will laugh as I am such a fierce lover of purple I will buy almost anything in that colour) from the volunteers at the Feather Museum where they were selling the badges as part of the commemoration of animals which were part of the Australian forces (and still are).

The poppy was attached to a card which explained the Red Poppy, (that most of us would be familiar with), the White Poppy (for peace) and the Purple Poppy to remember the animals.  I shall wear mine with pride.

"Lest we forget, four-legged diggers served too"

Sunday, September 7

Memories of QEII in 1982!

Last week (Thursday September 4th, '14) I had the honour of taking my eldest grand daughter to an athletics competition at the QEII Stadium at Nathan, a suburb of Brisbane.  I had previously been to the venue - but had always watched my grandchildren compete on an outer stadium, not THE main stadium, until last week.

As it turned out Miss A set off at a faster pace than I to go to the area where she had to register etc, and I didn't know where to go, but after asking a few folk I found may way into the main arena.  Wow!

I sat up in the stand thinking about the events of the time when we sat high in the stands watching the rehearsal and knowing our young son was one of the kids in red, with a red placard that played a part in the flag creation.

It was the last and only other time I was there.

It certainly brought back some memories for me.

Miss A did very well - achieved a PB and made it into the next round of competition.

Wednesday, September 3


I used to work at Redcliffe - way back over 30 years ago, and thought I knew it well.  Then....
Recently I visited with a friend, but it was a Sunday and we wandered aimlessly along the rows of market stalls before stopping for coffee.  It was busy and crowded and when we finished coffee I returned home.

Last week I attended a meeting on behalf of the Caboolture Historical Village there - I was given the wrong address, so in my hunt for the right venue - I thought I had been told "The Hub" (am sure I WAS, and was told that it was Redcliffe Parade - it was actually "The Hive" and it was on Sutton Street - and I was not the only person given the wrong address.  Came across another person at the Information Centre who was as lost as me, with the same incorrect address.  Anyway we got to the meeting, late, but in the meantime I had explored most of Redcliffe Parade and found some very interesting retail outlets.

On Saturday I attended the Sandcliffe Writers Festival at Brackenridge and came home via Redcliffe after the morning session.  I had time to explore the shops.  One shop that really fascinated me was a Chinese Furniture shop which had some pretty fancy Chinese carved furniture.  Good to admire.  Along with a wide collection of Chinese jewelry and artifacts.

As I was leaving I found a display of books - free to all - and found in amongst the many there, one called "Guidelines for Being a Good Person."  I read the book - which is writen for children, in English and Chinese.  A search on the Internet revealed a YouTube of someone reading the books - apparently wisdom from ancient sages in China.  It is one of the selection of free books.  I was most impressed with this one - I might have to go back and find some more copies for distribution...

I know many of the seniors that I meet are very concerned at the behaviour of children.  I wonder if this book/video would make a difference?

It was certainly a busy place - so many eateries were filled with happy folk.  I had a much better look and eventually sat down and had lunch.

The Jetty

View North

View South

Artworks on Redcliffe Parade

Looking down Bee Gee's Way

Monday, September 1

Oh, the Music!!

Last Friday I had a few things on my "to do list". One of them was to locate the Bora Ring (apparently there WAS one at Beachmere, but I learned that there was one at Sandstone Point.)

One of the other things was to go to the movies and see "The Hundred Foot Journey" at Bribie Island.  I did both.

As I was arriving at the Bora Ring, I was listening to the ABC, and the music being played was  "Procession of the Sardar" - and I stopped in the car while it finished.  I don't know why, but I found it a very emotional piece of music.  So stirring - and as it came at the same time that I had arrived at a place I had been looking for - I was filled with excitement.  I have tried to buy the CD - on this occasion it was played by the Borusan Istanbul Philarmonic Orchestra - without success but have found other orchestra's playing it on Youtube.  Where else?

There are several renditions of this music on YouTube, and I have chosen (in the absence of one played by the Istanbul Orchestra) one which doesn't give details of the orchestra.

I will endeavour to find a CD or perhaps download it from iTunes.  I have never used iTunes, so that will be an experience, but I would prefer the CD.  I have played the music over and over again, and it still is something that excites me so much.  I am sure I have heard the music before, but never has it impressed me as much as it did last Friday.  Or Amazon - I have found it there.

It is a popular piece of music - so I will set out to buy a copy.