Monday, April 30

Grumpy Again.

This morning's fluffy clouds.... will they later thicken up, & produce rain... I wonder.And last evening's little red anger flares- though perhaps they denoted fine weather for today. And perhaps my anger is colouring the meaning of the picture, for me.

I just want to have a little rant! I changed plans for the computer. I got one that included, Broadband, (a version of which my friend calls 'Fraudband' which would seem a very adequate title for what I have.) and it has a mobile phone plan included.
Yes, they assured me. You can bring your current phone number with you. No problem. In someone elses name? No problem. We can change that. Yes it will work, No problem.
Now my Granddaughter, gave me her old mobile, or as some call it 'cell' phone. She got me a new number, & gave me credits, which have lasted me months, as I rarely used the phone, but have found it very handy to have, nonetheless. It was a prepaid phone, so I never suspected it could be a problem. Hah!! How ignorant am I!!
When I put the new sim card into the phone- yes, I have learnt a whole new language!- no joy with service. How puzzling! So I begin the hopeless round of phone calls, to try to find out who what or how. After screaming at the automated phone answering service, trying to make a computer understand my accent.. or something, I am finally put on further lengthy 'holds', until finally a real live person comes onto the phone.
She is really short, sharp & rather rude- to my ear anyway. She finally tells me I will have to phone the previous company & get the phone checked out for a lock on it. OK. I spend another hour or so, waiting on line with ghastly music grating upon my soul, who craves calm, & peace. Another person comes on eventually, living I think, ....but wouldn't guarantee. A heavily accented voice, with some improbable name like Haireee Turrrrnerrrrr.
Haireeee proceeds to tell me he needs to speak to my granddaughter, who of course is not here. Foiled again.
So, I decide I will use GOM's old steam version of a mobile, which is in pristine condition, due to his hardly ever having used it, & when he did, almost always cutting himself off. I got it for him to use to alert me to traffic jams, & delays when he worked a long way from home.
So, I charge up the battery, insert the sim card, & try to get mobile again. No such luck. So, once more I begin the long wearying task of phoning phone companies. OMG it is enough to turn you grey! I makes me want to beat my head against the bricks outside! What rotten thing in my past is making me now pay in Karma? Must learn to be patient, must learn not to raise blood pressure.
I finally get someone , very pleasant, who tells me there is no lock on this phone, but she cannot help me.... she will put me through to the 'prepaid' department. Where I get another extremely heavily accented person... who is so accented I can barely understand a word they utter...could this be India I am speaking with??? Bearing in mind, it never does to piss off people on the other end of the 'help line' - oh hahahahahaha, what a misnomer!!! I try to patiently explain the problem. He snarls impatiently at me, & guess what... after lengthy questions, & me reeeling off hundreds of numbers, the phone is now rendered utterly dead & useless... How did he do that!??
And I swear, I never let on that he cheesed me off to the max, I was polite, I only begged his pardon about 8 times... I am left minus a phone, but still paying for one, of course.
And the Fraudband crawls along, because I have used my quota, in the first week or something ludicrous. One cheery soul told me in every other country in the world, what we call Broadband, is their normal speed! How come we lag so seriously behind...
Could it be that Telstra has a strangle hold on things.
And yet... I am 'lucky'. Friends have much worse tales to tell, & have had to resort to the Ombudsman to get some sort of satisfaction... which is still not forthcoming.
No wonder I am grumpy!!GGGGGRRRRR!!

Sunday, April 29

"Toothache"

This rather threatening pic was taken last evening, after the feathery clouds. This was about 6pm. I am not sure why I like it, but I do. This morning has dawned clear & totally cloudless. Lovely & crisp without being too cold.

I have been thinking about the events, that, in our family, we call 'toothaches'. They are things we have witnessed or done, that come back to haunt us, & can often be the cause of anguished regret.

I am sure everyone has some of them, in their life. Sometimes quite small occasions, that just niggle at the edge of the memory, just like an ongoing tooth ache.

I have a small one from High School. I had a friend, M, with the same Christian name as mine, & we were always together, always sat together in classes, & spent all our luch breaks etc, together. We thought we were pretty smart, ~ she was good at maths, I was hopeless, so any questions directed our way, by the teacher were answered by M. And any questions directed our way, concerning English & poetry, were answered by me.

We had nicknames for all the teachers- I guess that is usual. We had lockers where we kept our books & during the dash between classes, we would go to the lockers, & get out the next required class books.

The 'toothache' occurred at the lockers. We were both crouched down, laughing about one of the teachers, & I made the comment that she was 'insipid'. A voice behind me, said loudly, "She might think you are insipid too!" I was shocked. It was the English Mistress, -not the one we had been criticising, but it made me stop & think carefully about criticism, & how much it might hurt someone. I am not sure why it has remained a toothache, but I have never forgotten it. I guess it was a valuable lesson.

There are other toothaches, which my daughter & I talk about. Some are my personal ones, & there are some that are family aches. I have one from when my brother came to stay with me, BC -before children. I was, in fact vastly pregnant & GOM was still the Happy Young Husband. One evening I made some dessert or other- have forgotten what it was. But there was whipped cream to go with it, & my brother was enjoying it hugely, & dived in for more. I snapped at him to "leave some for HYH". His face fell & he finished his dessert quietly. The toothache comes from the fact that later, when HYH came home, he didnt even bother with dessert. A stupid little thing, but it has stayed with me forever. My brother probably doesnt even remember it. I asked him once, but he said he had forgotten.

Once, while on holiday, we witnessed a result of an accident. When I say a result, we had heard a screech of brakes, & heard a thud, & when we looked there was a man lying in the road. He had apparently been hit by the car, & he was sprawled out with his arms flung ahead of him. And there, by one hand, was a hamburger, with one bite taken from it. I can still see it. Somehow it made it seem worse. And no, I dont know if he was alright, as he was still on the ground, appearing to be unconscious, when we hastened away, not wanting to join the crowd of ghouls.

And when I told our children that story, they wished I hadnt, & my daughter tells me it is still a 'toothache' in her memory.

Most of my toothaches involve my family or friends. I dont let them engulf me, but from time to time, they stab me in the memory, just like the root of a tooth dying.

When my children were young, one of their favourite books was "Frog & Toad are Friends". We all loved that book, & I would read it repeatedly to them, until they learnt to read it themselves. My 'toothaches' remind me a little of that book.


I will go away & shake myself I think! I seem to have got a little glum here, & it was not what I intended.
***************


In my last post, there is a comment from Henri, who is my Beloved Brother, & he mentions the " Cyrils". That is what BFJ & I used to call the 'duds' who came courting, or the ones who didnt turn out to be what they seemed.



BFJ & I used to go dancing. We would rather go dancing that go to the movies with a boy, some times. And quite often we would be asked by a partner if they could 'take us home.' Looking back, it was quite a risk I suppose, but times were different, & most men were basically just looking for a girlfriend. We met a lot of very nice men, dancing. One of our girlfriends met her future husband at a dance. We were lucky really, because young ones these days only seem to have Pubs or Clubs to meet other young ones.

Inevitably, we would strike the 'Cyrils'. The ones who smelt funny, or the ones who tried to 'take liberties'. Or the ones who had seemed sober & nice, but must have sneaked outside to drink, to get 'courage', & they would be positively drunk, by the time it was time to leave. Then we would make hasty changes to plans.

One night BFJ agreed to go home with a 'Cyril.' She said he seemed nice, they duly went to supper together, then returned to dance some more. She said, then she suddenly noticed he had all this thick hair sprouting from the top of his shirt collar! Above his neat tie. She couldnt take her eyes off it, it mesmerized her! She decided he must be some sort of werewolf, & so she suddenly 'discovered' that she had forgotten she had agreed to go home with me.

We both had our share of Cyrils. And BFJ used to often stay at our place, & we would have my mother in fits of laughter describing our 'adventures'.

Ah those memories make me smile!

Saturday, April 28

Happy Birthday, Best Friend J

Happy Birthday to my Best Friend J. I wont give away her secret as to how old she is, but "J, whoever thought we'd make it!"
So this is a photo of my favourite camellia for you. We have had some lovely rain, & the flower is still wearing the drops.


And the next pic, is the Wild Blue Yonder.. haha, a destination we set out for, all those years ago, perhaps. I took this pic about 15 minutes ago. After all the rain, & leaden skies, this is the evening look, at 5pm, our time, which is Eastern Standard Time in Australia. I dont know that that fact is very interesting, but there it is.




And here is a rather blurred pic of a little miniature rose, which is really a very pretty colour. I just cant seem to get a clear pic of it, no matter how hard I try. It is growing in a pot, & survives in spite of me. I have a gorgeous perfumed, little yellow one too, but it will not photograph for me, using my little camera. As you can see, the rain has kissed this plant too.

We are currently having the house painted. As it is brick & tile, there is not a lot of painting to be done. It was a dingy brown, with dull cream trim, or vice versa! We have chosen a deep green, to replace the brown, with a rich cream & it is looking nice. Our ugly old front door looks quite transformed! I was a bit shocked, after 9 years of brown! We will be getting new rich cream railing for the balcony, so it will look much better than whitish rust!!
Then, all we have to do is try to reach some agreement over the back garden. The painter declared it 'very nice'. It is not really, but there are some Birds Nest Ferns, which are loving the rain, & some flourishing bromeliads. But...the lovely green effect is mostly achieved by weeds, haha! And, though it is Autumn, there are some confused bulbs, planted long ago, when I first thought I would surround myself with beloved daffodils, & jonquils, which have come up, & one is about to flower. It is either a daffodil, or a narcissus, poor little thing.
We went to a Fete this morning, a fund raiser for the 'poor countries' organised by some church. Who have Missionaries. I gave, & felt a hypocrite, since I dont, & wouldnt, support their religious cause. Leave them alone I say, -but, I do approve of the 'missioners' or whatever they call themselves, providing houses & clothing, & education, so perhaps, not such a hypocrite.
There was really nothing to excite me in the wares for sale. I did buy some fabric, a book to read, & CD of Classical Piano -Chopin. The last one I bought at a charity affair had no actual disc inside! This one does, but I have not had the chance to listen to the soothing tones yet.
I was reminded, recently, of how difficult it can be, sometimes to make friends. BFJ & I met, when our 'chips were down' as they say. We forged a life long friendship which has stood the test of time, with many ups & downs.
It is like putting on a lovely old pair of comfortable slippers, to spend time with BFJ. ( A nicer analogy would probably be to say it feels like lying in a hammock, in the shade, with gentle breezes, & warm air all about.) I feel so comfortable, & can show warts, inappropriate hairs, wrinkles, zits- in our youth!- you name it. It is very rare to find someone who is so comforting & comfortable. To be able to say one or two words, & have your friend know exactly what you are on about. To glance at each other & laugh, & both know what the laughter is about. As a person who doesnt make 'close friends' easily, I have valued our friendship, above, & beyond all price.
When Gom & I lived in the Hotel in Australia, I was a 'fish out of water'. It was not my way, to go & drink in the bars. It was not my way, to sit & drink an evening away. The smoke bothered me, the noisy band deafened me, the drunken behaviour did not suit me. It bored me. But, if I did go down for a drink now & then, I was a 'condescending bitch'. If I didnt ever go down, I was a 'snobbish bitch'. I couldnt win, & realised it quite early, so preferred to keep my own counsel, & occasionally appear ...but mostly stay away.
But we did make some friends, & I found a friend who didnt drink, & we spent evenings, & weekends out with her, & her husband, who was GOM's friend. We went to other places to spend weekends, & I was comfortable in her company.
Then the world turned, our lives became other lives, & the friendship petered out.
But BFJ will always be my friend, & I will always be there for her.

Friday, April 27

Lonely Treescape

This was last night's lonely 'tree' scene.



Who would have thought that today's sky would have been leaden & overcast for the whole day. And yet, when I first looked at 5.30am, it was a soft pink cloud that greeted me.... Soon to be replaced by full, dull, grey clouds.



I have spent the whole day without internet access.



It shocked me, how much I missed it! I so look forward to each early morning to read my mail, catch up on blogs, & read any comments I may have had overnight. As Joyce said in her post, I had no idea how much impact the friendship of the blog community would make to my life!



I was so disconcerted, I did all sorts of cleaning !! and some food preparation! Gasp!!


I was 'lording it' over the kitchen! GOM told me to get out! He was terrified I might have made permanent return~ I might see him doing his random checks of the shelf order, in the pantry, ...or catch him checking 'useby' dates! He told me to see if I could get the internet access restored.



I have been very fortunate to have been given "The God Delusion" to read. Plus, I am still reading 3 other books! Plus we have been given copies of a TV show called "Deadwood" which, leaving aside the language question, is very addictive...we cant stop watching episode after episode. Which all makes for a poor sewing record, ....& poor blogging record. But, hell, we need to see what happens next. And I hated History lessons at school!! Who knew it could be so captivating.



I have recieved such sad news from a cousin, who, like me, was besotted with her little boy dog, Phyn. He had a birth defect, & had to be put to sleep. She is devastated! As I would be. But he was a purebred dog. My cousin was assured it was the only way to go...devastation, ~ he was their 'little boy'. Our dogs are cross bred, & seem to be so robust & healthy.. I am crying for little Phyn, he was a gorgeous little dog. Life can be so cruel.


He was so loved! And so treasured. It just doesn't seem fair at all.

Fifi commented on the fact that so many bloggers are quilters, & she wondered why....

I dont have the answer, but for my part it might be called 'procastinating'. Hah!! I blog when I should be sewing or ... heaven forbid, doing housework!

I would rather walk over Canetoad bodies, or sunken cakes, than do housework!!

An Astrologer, who once did my chart, declared, I would "rather not do housework, you think someone else should do that". I roared with laughter! How true!

Thursday, April 26

Other Lives.

Two more Teds of the Hug, just 'test driving' the quilt top.... which is still not backed or quilted... slinks guiltily off into the chair by the computer.I did actually make a start on a table runner, but Murphy or Sod or someone who is charge of stuff-ups, came for a visit. So it is on the back burner.

We had some friends to visit yesterday, which was very enjoyable, so who cares about sewing mistakes!

I have always been very interested in 'crafty' activities. I once won a Highly Commended for a Peg Doll competition with a Radio Station, when I was about 10. When I heard my name read out, over the radio, I was so embarrassed, I blushed & felt 'naked', & I decided never to enter competitions again. And I have largely kept to that decision.

But I lead a fairly 'sheltered' childhood compared to some others. I can remember seeing into other lives, & being stunned & amazed.

No one ever got really 'drunk' in our family life. At Christmas our Grandmother would have her one sherry & get giggly. Our Uncles would drink beer & get very merry. Our mother went occasionally to the races for a day out, & she would come home smelling odd, & seemingly happy, but we didnt have to witness drunken behaviour, in a real sense.

A new family came to our little town, & moved into a house near where we lived. A new Primary School had opened just down the road from where we lived, & the parents in this family were the Headmaster, & a Mistress in the new school.

The family was a blended one, with the mother having 2 daughters, from her previous marriage, & the father having one son, who lived with the family, & 2 daughters, who lived with their mother.

I became firm friends with the eldest girl, who was R. An odd thing about the family was the fact that the father's name was L, his son's name was L, & the younger sister of R, was also L. So it made for confusing times, & so they decided to call the children Big L & Little L, with the father being the shortened version of the name.

The mother was C, & she was a very artistic woman, who was skilled at many crafts, & loved to paint.... & drink alcoholic beverages. L the senior also loved to drink alcohol. The children lived in chaos, & tried to absent themselves when they could to avoid the drunken brawls which were apparently part of their daily life.

C offered to teach R & I how to paint on silk, & so I took myself along with fabric, for the lessons. It was lovely, & I felt a great sense of achievement when I finished. But I was a bit stunned at the state of the house, on my first visit. There seemed to be washing lying all over the house, empty beer bottles, & dirty dishes. And the two faces of C were very disconcerting! She was so charming, & delightful when she taught R & I how to use the paints. She had a pretty face, & a tinkly laugh.

Then she left the room, & we heard this 'devilish' voice from hell, screeching from the next room! Shrieking at Big L, to get the dishes done, get the washing on, do this, do that! Along with rounds of cursing, & swearing, the like of which I had never heard before! I was so shocked at first I started to laugh, nervously thinking it was a joke.

But then I saw the faces of my friend & her sister, & realised it was no joke. It was almost impossible to believe it was the same woman, when C returned to the room, all charm & smiles again. And each time I went to the house, I would witness the same sort of thing.

And that was my introduction to the home life of R. She told me at school, that life was like that all the time at home, & of course the alcohol accelerated it all every evening, when both parents got blind drunk! Who would have ever thought. They presented such a happy public face. I never told my mother, for fear of not being allowed to go back.

R had suffered Osteomyelitis, in her hip, & so she caught a bus to & from school, but the brother, Big L, used to ride his bike, as I did. And he used to infuriate me by insisting on riding beside me on the way home from school. I dont really remember why I hated him riding along side me, but I dont remember talking to him much, so it cant have been the conversation. I was never keen on physical exertion, as my face always went beet red, in Summer, & it would stay that way for hours afterwards. Perhaps I was embarrassed at my beet red face.

I had another very good friend from early childhood, & I often stayed at her house, but nothing like that ever went on there. The worst things that happened there were usually caused by us, playing music too loudly. Or when we got older, sneaking her father's car, to go to the beach or down to the local Coffee Bar, to sit in the gloom, & perhaps sneak cigarettes, feeling 'sophisticated'.

I remember my first 'real' boyfriend's house, where I used to stay at the weekends. He had 3 brothers, & they lived in a very small house, so I got to sleep with his mother, because they didnt have a room without a male in it. Luckily I really liked his mother, & she liked me, so we didnt have a problem. I went out with that boy for almost a year, until he went to work in another town. I remained friends with his mother for years.

Looking back, I suppose we did have quite a sheltered childhood, & a 'safe' one, even though we always felt the lack of our father so hard.

It really opened my eyes when I met the School Teacher family.

Tuesday, April 24

Tagged, & accepted, ~with humble reservation.

I was tagged some days ago, for a Thinking Blogger Award, by Julia of Camille's Place. At first I was shocked, & very humbled. Julia has such talents in her needleworking & her beautiful designs, & skills, I felt inadequate.


But, I was once taught it was very rude to ignore, or belittle a compliment, as it conferred an insult upon the giver, & I have come to respect that over the course of my life. It is truly, far nicer, to graciously accept a compliment, than insult the donor, by belittling it, or dismissing it.



And though it has taken me 6 days to work out how to get the symbol onto my blog, I was not ignoring, or disrespecting the award. I am just 'computerly challenged!'

And, it is very difficult to single out 5 people to 'pass the torch to', as it were. Because there are so many people, whose Blogs I so enjoy & respect, and who make me think, that is very hard to choose only 5.

So, I sincerely would never wish to insult, or diminish, any blogs I read, but here are my choices, in no 'order of merit' as all blogs I read, listed or not, give me great pleasure & I feel I always come away with 'food for thought'.

So, here in random order:

Molly, of Molly Bawn's Chronicles, whose posts always offer deep thought & often, much laughter.

Joyce, of J's Quilting Blog whose wonderful fun, exciting quilt explorations make me dream & imagine!

Joke, of the Joke Blog, who never fails to make me think, & often makes me laugh!

Nutmeg, of Another Nutter, who has made me think from the beginning of my 'bloglife'.

My Float of My Float, who has made me think, laugh & enjoy reading what her 'float is, whenever she chooses to post.

I feel as if I am betraying my alltime favourite blogs, but I cant possibly single out only 5 to honour.

I wish to honour all the blogs I read on a regular basis, & I also love to meet new bloggers, starting out, on the amazing wonderful fellowship to be found in blogworld.

I am loathe to name people for tags, which is why I didnt tag on for the Tanya tag I received, but I challenge you all to respond with your Goals, both past & present. It was a very interesting challenge!


************************************
Tomorrow is ANZAC day. It stands for Autralia And New Zealand Armed Corp, & is honoured on both sides of the Tasman Sea, with equal respect, & sadness. It honours all the armed forces who answered the call to World War 1, World War 2, Korea, Vietnam, and any war where our Armed Forces are called to service. It is a great tradition, that I hope will never die out.


When I was a young St John's Ambulance Cadet, I never failed to march in the Dawn Service, alongside a proud Uncle. I never forgot to honour my beloved Father, & Uncles for their sacrifice for my future.

Monday, April 23

The Secret Rendezvous

Before GOM & I knew we were to be together, I had another 'boy friend'. I will call him G. We had met quite accidentally one night when out in a 'crowded bar' situation. I looked up, & here was this man watching me. Our eyes locked, & I felt a thrill, a small tremor of 'recognition'.

Our eyes kept returning to each other, throughout the evening. As we were both with other people, the chances of talking were nil. However, he passed close to me, & passed me a piece of paper. I thrust it into my bag, & carried on with the evening. The next day, my mind kept returning to those brown eyes dancing at me across the room. I took out the piece of paper with a name, & phone number.

Normally, I would never have bothered to contact someone like that. But something kept him in my mind, it kept nagging on my consciousness.
I should explain here that GOM & I were not in a 'serious' relationship. We were flirting around the edges I suppose you might say. Perhaps neither of us wanted to admit that this was "IT". He would stand me up every now & then, & I would go out with others.

So I gave my brown eyed admirer a phone call. And he was happy, & arranged to meet me. And so began a secret, mistimed, 'love affair.' It was an unrequited 'love affair'. We never did sleep together, & in the end I think we were both comfortable with that. He used to laughingly 'put the hard word' on me, & I would laughingly refuse. He would cuddle me, kiss me, & take me back to my 'real life'.

I can remember feeling giddy with excitement when he would be waiting at the end of the lane, after I finished work, & he would whisk me off for long drives & we would sit & watch the passing parade by the river. And we laughed at the same things, & seemed to think the same thoughts. We would say exactly the same thing, at the same time. And we seemed the perfect match.

He would 'kidnap' me for lunch, & we would drive up into the hills, & sit & laugh together. We never seemed to run out of things to say to each other. It was almost as if we had to cram it all in, before it was too late.

But... he was still in a marriage. It floundered along, -for the 'children's sake'. At first I felt horrified, & guilty to be seeing a married man. He never spoke badly of his wife, & admitted it was probably his fault to a large degree, that things didnt work. It didnt seem to 'count' in our relationship really, as we were truly, just friends. But what friends. I think a friendship such as ours comes along once in a lifetime. It seems harder to have a male/female true friendship, than it is to have a female/female great friendship.

We spent many happy times together- always laughing. His marriage eventually ended. By then I was committed to GOM, who still, occasionally 'stood me up'. On those occasions G & I would go out together. He would take me off to strange places, & we would go for wonderful meals together in out of town destinations, just to be together.

I knew that if ever I needed someone, he would be there for me. And I would always be there for him. I missed him terribly when we didnt see each other, or speak for long periods of time.

GOM & I married, & for the first few weeks of marriage, there were times when I had that 'trapped', "What the Hell have I done?" feeling. I guess GOM may have felt it too.

One day at work, I recieved a phone call. It was G. He was in town for some conference, had a day free- would I come for lunch? I couldnt resist, & felt the old excitement flood through me. I caught a taxi off to meet him at the huge new luxury resort where he was staying. It was so good to see him. We had a long long lunch, neither of us stopping to eat much. We just laughed & laughed, it was like drinking too much wine. Time seemed suspended, in a golden seperate world. We got later & later, & suddenly I realised I should be home, cooking tea for my new husband. A panic sticken trip in another taxi, home to my little flat.

And though I had never physically betrayed GOM, I somehow felt just as guilty.As if the secret bond G & I had was worse. It was invisible. It was like some pain, no one could see it, but it was still real inside. And I also felt sick, as I think if GOM had discovered where I had been that day, he wouldnt have been forgiving, or understanding. And I knew I didnt want to jeopardise our marriage.


Eventually GOM & I returned to the Southern City to live. G contacted me. We occasionally would meet to talk, catch up. He had a new girlfriend, & of course I was now married. We still seemed to get a tremendous lot of pleasure from each other's company. He came to the Hotel, & GOM knew about him by then. Knew about our long time friendship, had in fact known I went out with G when he stood me up, but he never knew about the secret rendezvous. We all became friends. G & his new girlfriend came to our house for parties. We still felt the spark of the love we had for each other. GOM was aware, but he knew it was no threat to him. G's new wife was not so sure, & I always felt she held reservations.

Over the years, we saw G every time we returned to the Southern City. He had married & had a daughter. I never met his daughter. But we kept in touch, until one year we went back for a holiday, GOM & I. And when I rang G, I was told he had died. It just broke my heart. He was too young, too good, to be gone. He had almost died once before. He was left almost crippled, & it seemed a miracle had saved his life, that time. He must have run out of miracles. And there is a hole in my heart forever.

But I am so glad I had the chance to love him.

Sunday, April 22

Random Thoughts

A dull overcast day, with small falls of rain, which are not enough to do good to the garden, but just enough to stop outdoors being the choice.

I was reading an article in a Sunday Magazine, "What makes Women Happy?"
Someone had interviewed several women & they had given their stories on what made them happy.

I didnt read all the answers.
But when I saw the headline, my first thought was, it was like asking "how long is a piece of string?" Surely, no two women -or men, for that matter- would give the same answers.

I have always been the girl who asked the inappropriate questions.
On being told the story of how a distant cousin had been found at the bottom of a cliff, alive, with his horse, which had apparently fallen with him, my first question was "What happened to the Horse?"

I hasten to add the family had already told us the cousin couldn't remember what had happened, & couldn't remember falling, & he had lost his sense of smell, but was otherwise ok.
My Brother understood my question- it was on his lips too. And we were both disappointed to find no one knew what had happened to the horse, whether it had lived or died.

I find I get infuriated at news items on TV, that make a big fuss & todo about something, then dont deliver any answers. You are left with more questions than before you heard the 'story'.



And here is a pic of a new bear for the Hug. He has obviously lost his belt & trousers somewhere along the line, & so I suppose I should make him some more. He looked forlorn, & perhaps a bit guilty, in the reject bin at a garage sale, so home he came with me.
The Hotel we used to live in was called the Grenadier, & one of the bars was known as the Bearskin Bar, & had a real Grenadier Guardsman's Bearskin hat on display. The Bearskin got stolen one night, & there was great consternation over it. It mysteriously reappeared, & we never did find out who took it, but it was suspected some wag had done it on a dare, & it had quite a sentimental quality with the patrons, who all seemed very glad to see it's reappearance.
I am thinking I will call this bear Gren.


And here is Leo, taking his ease outside on the sunlounge. He will sit still more for photo ops than Honey tends to, so it is not that he is the favourite, but Honey wont always oblige. They have both just been flea treated. We seem to have had a problem with fleas on them, & it is odd, as we dont usually.




And here is another bear found yesterday at another garage box of unwanteds.
She has a label which says she is called Jennifer, & she came from an Airport Shop in Thailand. So she is a well travelled little girl. I thought she called my name.

And here she is in the clothes she was wearing, which have had a wash. They dont seem particularly feminine to me, so she just might get a new skirt in pink, perhaps.

And now, I am going to do some more reading, or perhaps watch some DVD entertainment.
Gom made threatening noises about getting out his Whipper Snipper to 'trim up the weeds'. I always tell him not to disturb the peace on Sundays. It seems just as I am enjoying the peace & quiet, some neighbour will start up some infernal machine! GRRRR.
There was some talk of somone trying to introduce a law to prevent the use of such noisy appliances between certain hours. Of course it was pooh poohed. But I could see the merit!



Saturday, April 21

In Search of Our Roots.

In 1996, my Beloved Brother & I set out to visit the area our Maternal Grandfather came from, & the location where he was born, in New South Wales, Australia.

He had often spoken of Eden, & told us many stories of Australia when we were children, including tales of Bunyips & also he used to tell us not to linger in the toilet for too long, or a snake would come to bite our bottoms! I lived in terror for years.


I say he was born in Eden, but my brother is sure he was born in Wonboyn, which is very close to Eden. He had certainly lived & worked around Eden, which was largely a fishing town. If you were not a fisherman, you were a timber worker. And he was a timber worker, but of course knew about the fishing, & had often told our mother & her brothers about the stories of the fishing, & the Killers of Eden.



I was lucky to have previously visited Eden with our mother & one of her Aussie cousins. My BB was keen to visit it, & see it for himself. Our mother had a very old postcard of the wharf at Eden, & we were surprised at how little it had changed in all those years, since her grandmother had posted it to her son.

My BB & I got a Rental car, which we picked up & I drove initially. We decided to take the coast road down the State, & it was quite pleasant weather. We were a little later getting on the road than we had planned, but set sail in great style, full of anticipation. Fortunately we get along very well, & we did have many laughs along the way.


We stayed at a somewhat disastrous Motel the first night of our trip. It was in Bateman's Bay, which is counted as a 'desirable holiday destination'. I wont go into all the details, but the unit we were assigned had no airconditioning, & a large squeaky ceiling fan stirred the hot air, should we need cooling. It was a very basic unit, but had tea/coffee making facilities, & a bathroom.

The bathroom must have had some sort of drainage problem. It seemed ok on first inspection. But the first time we used the toilet, the stench that rose out of the room was unbelievable. It smelt as if a thousand other people's excrescences were just waiting below, to release their foul odours upon our night air. It became suffocating. We flung the window open, we turned the fan onto high, hoping to blow the reeking rotten stench out of the unit. All to no avail. As we tossed & turned in the fetid air, & fitfully dozed, I heard my brother declare "It wasnt me! I am a Clean Man!"


We had to trudge over the highway to a Club to find food, & dodge flying traffic to get back to the stinking motel. We couldnt wait to leave the following morning, & chose not to remain for any sort of breakfast. It has left us with a permant dislike of Bateman's Bay, which is probably unfair, but there you go.


On we travelled down to Eden, where we found a nice Motel, close to a Club. We were greatly amused to see signs in our unit asking that fishermen please not clean their catch in the units, but go to the area provided. We liked Eden, we thought it a pretty little place, & we went down to the Wharf area to see for ourselves the postcard picture we had always known. We collected some stones, & shells from a small beach there, & sat & enjoyed the lovely mild stillness.

We dined handsomely on the most delicious fresh fish at the Club in the evening, & walked back to our Motel. We had a good night's sleep, with no unpleasant odours disturbing our slumbers.

Australians may be aware of the story of the Killers of Eden. They were Killer Whales, (Orca) who used to help the fishermen to round up whales. Our Grandfather had told his children stories of the 'killers'. There is a Museum in Eden, which has the skeleton of the leader, "Tom" as he was known, & he has worn teeth, where legend has it he towed the boats with rope, which wore his teeth down.

This excellent book tells the story of the 'Killers of Eden', & I would recommend it as a great read. There are photos of the killer whales, & they all had names given to them by the local fishermen. The 'killer whales' would herd the whales into the bay, Twofold Bay, & alert the fishermen that the whales were there, by splashing their tales & fins on the water. Their reward when the whales were killed was the tongues, which the fishermen would cut out, & throw to the 'killer whales'.
Our mother had tried for years to obtain the book to read, & we were able to purchase it from the Museum. We were greatly intrigued with the museum, & all it had to show.


We visited local potters, & purchased some beautiful pottery. We really enjoyed our stay there. We went to the Cemetary at Aslings Beach, hoping to see relatives graves, but an old man told us the sea had been very high & a lot of the graves had lost their marker stones, & a lot of information had been lost. We never found any relatives to our knowledge but some of the names were familiar to our family. We purchased 'friends of the cemetary' membership, & were promised newsletters. We still await some!


We drove on, to Wonboyn, & there, my BB was siezed by some sort of brain snap. He became determined to reach the Lagoon, which seemed to be only accessible via a rutted, rough track up through large Gum trees. Up a steep incline. Some grinning fishermen assured us it 'wasnt far'. We became acquainted with our first 'Composting Toilet" which was supposed to be environmentally friendly & non odourous. I dont know what went wrong, but the odour would not let one linger!

And, we never did reach the mythical lagoon. I became extremely alarmed, as we rose in perpendicular position, & hung precariously off the side of the hill, & reminded my BB that our Rental car was not insured for any damage on non metal roads.. haha, let alone deeply rutted bush tracks. So eventually he abandoned his dream, & we managed to get out into relative civilisation again. I say relative, as we needed some petrol, so stopped at a 'friendly, local, little petrol pump'. Never make assumptions about the 'locals' being friendly! Or helpful. It appeared to be a 'steam operated ' pump, & we were cursed for being ignorant, & dumb, for not knowing about such antiquated pieces of equipment.
As I recall I think it required hand pumping to prime it....


And so we left that somewhat desolate area, & proceeded down to the State of Victoria, where we stopped at Cann River, & were most impressed by a wood carver's, lifesize, wooden motor bike, & various other works of his art.

We travelled back into New South Wales, & on up through Bombala, (more rellies lived there, but we didnt stop) Nimmitabel, which is another blog for another day! And on to Canberra, where we spent time at the National Art Gallery, & were greatly amused to discover the huge ball sculpture of the world, which hung outside the Gallery, was made my a New Zealander! And we visited The High Court. And laughed at many things & events. All for other tales.


****
EDIT. My brother has reminded me, we stopped at Fairymeadow which is a suburb of Wollongong, on the way down, & it was in fact on our return trip that we stopped at the Evil Motel at Batemans Bay.
And it was Cann River, not Cass.

Friday, April 20

The Prizewinning Pig.

This is a very old photo of a Prize Winning Pig. My Great Grandfather is the fearsome looking man standing at rear of the pig, & he bred the pig. My Grandmother looks to be about 10, & she is the 2nd from the left, with one of her sisters next to her, her youngest brother next, & her eldest brother on the right beside the two butchers, who are wearing the striped aprons.I have no idea how old the pig was, poor old thing. She is obviously female, & her breeding days must have been done. I cant bear to think she won a prize, only to be butchered.

My Grandmother kept the Prize, which was a Cruet set, which is pictured here.
She also kept the photograph, & now I have the original, which my son, as a child, once scribbled on, in crayon. He took it to be restored for me, & has had these photographs taken from the cleaned original.


This is the cruet set, which is silver plated nickel, & I would imagine the containers are cut glass. They gleam like crystal when the silver is polished.

I have always loved it, & when I was a child, I used to spend hours cleaning it, & polishing it, so my Grandmother gave it to me. I still love it, & I still enjoy cleaning the silver.

It is inscribed "Thorley's Special Prize" & my Grandmother seemed to feel that it was not the first prize.

I have never used it, & I dont think my Grandmother ever used it either. But I have always found the story behind it intriguing, & have always kept both the photograph & the cruet set as 'family heirlooms'- much to GOM'S amusement. But even he, agrees it does look nice when it is polished & gleaming.

It comes apart for ease of cleaning, & the top is held onto the base with silver plated nuts to screw onto the legs of the container circles.

My Grandmother said her father was a very strict man, who didnt tolerate fools- or children, lightly. He was disinherited by his family, because he fell in love with one of the servant girls. He got her pregnant, so he was told if he married her, he would be cast out from the family. So he defied them and married his sweetheart anyway.
They lived in Yorkshire, & my great Grandfather must have leased or bought his own farm, & they went on to have 8 children. My Grandmother was the eldest girl, & she had twin sisters, another young sister and her four brothers. Apparently her father never got on very well with the eldest son, & he emigrated to New Zealand as soon as he was able. Why New Zealand, I dont know.
My Grandmother told us that when she was a young girl, she loved horse riding, & she used to ride along beside the train, trying to beat it. When her father found out she was punished severely.
She said he used to go to Market once a week, I think & he would drink too much ale, & he could be quite cruel when in his cups. ( I once heard him described as a bad tempered little Yorkshireman, as apparently he was not a tall man.) She said one day he fell from his cart on the way home from Market, & it snowed. If it hadnt been for his horse standing over him, protecting him, he would very likely have died in the snow. It must have made him 'see the light' as it were, as he never drank again, & didnt approve of anyone else drinking either.
My Great Grandmother suffered very badly from Arthritis, & so when the family Doctor advised a better climate could be found in New Zealand, they all moved there, but of course the climate was far from beneficial for the poor old lady. But I am sure she was happy to at last be reunited with her eldest son, who had established himself in NZ already.
One by one the off spring married, but one twin girl, Mary, contracted Polio when she was 18. She was engaged to a young man, but the engagement was broken when Mary became ill. She recovered, but one foot was left deformed, & she walked with a bad limp for the remainder of her life, & became the 'family nurse'. She nursed her mother until her death, then she was carer & nurse to the cantankerous old man, who my mother always told us was very grumpy & not nice to be around. When the old man died a cousin came & stayed with Mary, & he had been mustard gassed in the first world war, so he couldnt work, & suffered a great deal with his lungs.
He eventually died, & poor Mary was left all alone. It must have been very hard for her, after her life of sacrifice for everyone else. I remember her as a beautiful natured woman, with white hair, & very thin. She was always so kind, & we loved her, as kids. I also remember the cousin Harry, who was quite nice too, but he wheezed a lot, & I think he found it hard to speak for any length of time. They always kept a sheep in the yard of the house, to keep the grass down, & we were always warned to beware the 'sheep marbles' out on the grass.
I have been tagged for the Thinking Blogger award, by the lovely Julia, of Camille's Place, so I will have to have a think, wont I?


Thursday, April 19

Tagged by Tanya

Tanya has tagged me to do the :Gotta Get 'em Goals" list.


"The rules are that one needs to "list and write about the top 5 to 10 goals that you gotta get so you can truly say you have achieved your wildest dreams in life. These have to be your best, most exclusive, and over-the-top goals that you can pick off your goals list."


As a lot of my life/lives have been lived, I have had some very different dreams, & goals along the way. I am not quite sure how to do this list. I have been pondering it for some days.

Do I go with past, realised goals?
Or do I go with new, unrealised goals?
I think I will settle for a bit of both.

1. Marriage.
Coming from a broken marriage, I suppose I gave my utmost to try to stay married, & have a happy marriage. As we are approaching 41 years together I suppose it could be said that goal has been achieved. We have certainly had our share of ups & downs, & no one thought it would last, as we are very different people, from quite different upbringings. Had anyone told me I would have spent a great deal of time working with my husband, I would have said "Impossible". But somehow we made it work. So I count that as a goal achieved.


2. Children.
I strove to be a good & loving mother to my children. They tell me they had wonderful, happy childhoods. We did a lot of things together with them. I was rather a non joiner as a child- never picked for sports teams..which suited me down to the ground! I tried to encourage my children to think for themselves & not to feel pressured to be 'the same' as everyone else. If they wanted to play sport, I encouraged them, but if they didnt, well, that was also fine by me. I always tried to be fair, & possibly hugged & kissed them too much. My own mother was not demonstrative when I was a child, so I guess I overcompensated with my own children. And now I am a grandmother, I overindulge my grandchildren - but not too much. I try not to undermine their parents.


3. A Sense of Joy.
This one is hard to explain, but I think it has always been my goal to see, or find a sense of joy in each day. The small things, like a flower, a child's smile, a patch of colour. Notes of music, a pat from a loved one. The small hand of a child, reaching up to hold my hand. Two dogs that make our lives filled with love & the joy of living that only dogs have. All that is going to come out sounding sappy, but it is a daily goal.


4. Contentment.
A sense of contentment with my lot, is a recent goal I think. When I was younger, I would 'want' things. I view things from a different perspective now that I am older. I can see how lucky I really am. We have our own home, we have warmth & airconditioning for the horrible hot summers. We have plenty to eat, drink. Clothes to wear. Friends to share our good fortune. Family who I love dearly.


5. Self Comfort.
Now this one will sound stupid, perhaps. But most of my life I felt not quite comfortable with myself. Too fat. Too thin. Too unfit. Too spotty. Too much hair. Not enough hair. No curls. Too many curls.
Now, ..oh the liberation of stopping worrying if I am too fat, too old, too unfit, too picky. Now I just go with the flow. I dont worry about 'what others will think'. Someone once told me, to be so obsessed with 'what others will think of me' is just a form of vanity & arrogance. I can see the wisdom of that now. Most people are so busy thinking about themselves, they dont worry about me at all. And some days, they might be glad they are not me, or dont look like me, so that will be a benefit to others! I can be seen as a shining example of 'how not to be'.

6.A New Car.
Now here is an old goal. Once our employer used to give us the use of his shiny red Jaguar car, every time he went overseas. We loved to have the use of it, the luxury of it's lovely leather seats, to ride about in it's comfort. GOM promised me that one day, we would have a shiny new car. And one day we did. It was shiny & red, & it could hold 6 children & 3 dogs, & it was a large station wagon, & it was truly a wild goal, to have actually reached. I am ashamed to say, I loved that car. I loved to drive it fast along the straight country roads. I loved that it was so comfortable, so new, so ...OURS. We sold it when we came over here to live, & I dont get sentimental about cars now. I just remember the lovely new red car we once had. And I feel glad we had it.



7.Travel.
I always had goals to travel, & over the course of my life, I have travelled a lot. I still have a goal, to travel to Canada one day. Who knows if I ever will. It doesnt seem possible, it is a wild goal to have. But strange things can happen, & if you dont have a dream, you cant have a dream come true.


8.Handcraft skills.
These are old goals, which I pretty much conquered early in my life. As I am left handed, & my mother was not, I got told quite a lot that I was 'cack handed' & I was awkward. Perhaps it made me more determined to learn how to knit crochet, & sew. I even taught left handed children how to crochet, & a left handed neighbour. I was just a little disappointed my children & grandchildren are not left handed. I am proud to be left handed, & DONT regard it as a handicap!


My list of goals perhaps seems selfcentred & small. But I cant solve the world's problems. I cant feed the starving.
I try to recycle as much as I can, in my little world. I try not to waste. I try to make others feel better, or feel good about themselves.

I try to be positive, a daily goal for me, having suffered almost numbing bouts of depression all my life.

I try to bring a ripple of hope, from my small drops of hope for others.




How does one write all that without sounding like some fatuous twit??
Sometimes it is much easier to hide behind idiocy, & laughter.

Wednesday, April 18

Frustrations.

Here are the 'babies'. Leo has been giving Honey a hard time, wanting her to play with him, & challenging her to try to get the lion. She just snaps at him to leave her alone.My Beloved Brother rang me from Auckland to have a chat, & Leo could be heard growling & carrying on like a spoilt child, demanding my attention. My brother is not really a dog person, & each time has very colourful, & inventive suggestions as to what I should or could be doing with Leo. He hasnt met Leo in real life, but hears tales of his various misdeeds.

One of his milder thoughts is to have Leo stuffed, & mounted upon wheels to be pulled about where ever I want. Of course he doesnt mean it, but I play the outraged dog lover.

He has met Honey, & she is a good little quiet dog, so he doesnt have suggestions for her.

I thought I would post my favourite camellia. I love the colour of this one. These are the weeds which come in abundance, & flourish, & seem to feel they were invited! I dont know what it is, but it covers the ground so thickly, & lushly, it almost seems a shame to pull it out. I once told GOM that I would rather look at the green of weeds, than see bare bald earth, & it is still true, to an extent.

Here is another shot of the favoured pink camellia, it is clearer than the first one, but the colour seemed too light.
We are trying to get some quotes for new railing on our balcony. It seems to be almost impossible to get people to :
A, Turn up to quote.
B, Suggest a price less than the cost of a small Third world country!
C, Send out the quote after having measured & discussed.
Initially, GOM did the phoning & begging for people to come to quote. Of his 3, one turned up, & declared a ransome would be appropriate payment.
One has never been heard from again, & we presume he must have fallen from a balcony somewhere.
One came & measured & made fatuous suggestions about stainless steel, & wire, & glass panels. On being told that would be ridiculous on this older style of house, he whisked off, saying he would post the quote. We are still waiting, 3 postal days later.
So I tried to T up some quoters, by telephone.
One is supposedly to turn up this morning.
One laughingly took my name, address, & phone number, & promised someone would 'get back to you, to arrange a time'. I am still waiting, 3 days later.
We are also wishing to get the house painted. As it is brick & tile, the painting does not amount to a great deal. But it is two storied, & so GOM cant possibly do it. Besides I would have nightmares & live in terror of him plummeting off the roof, so for my peace of mind, contractors are preferrable.
We have had quotes from all 3 who turned up to quote, & they are all much less than the hideous ransome for the small railing. Two quotes are very close, & one is suspiciously low, so we wont go with him. We dont want the paint washing off in the first shower of rain, which has been known to happen. Besides the dearer quotes named the paint brand they use, so would seem wiser choices.
We really need to get the railing done, as it is rusting badly, & I have heart palpitations every time someone goes out onto the balcony. To say nothing of the eyesore it has become.
Fairly recently, we had a new, large, patio awning erected in the back yard. I just realised the cost of that was far less than the suggested price for the small balcony rail....how can that be?
GOM has just brought me a cup of coffee. I rise much earlier than he does, & I have one cup with my breakfast. Then he makes me another when he has his breakfast. I have tried to tell him the industrial strength he makes, bring tears to my eyes, & a terrible bitter taste to the mouth. Stupidly, I am always shocked to discover he has forgotten I dont like it strong.
Still, I suppose it is the thought that counts.

Tuesday, April 17

What the??

What is going on with Blogger. It seems to have reverted back to the old blogger? How very odd. And how very frustrating.


This is, I hope, because I cant see it, a pic of one of my Camelias which are finally flowering for me. Last year they had about one flower each, & I was very disappointed, but this year they seem a lot happier. Perhaps the rain we have had, has coaxed them into bloom.


We are having our Grandson for the morning today, & we had him last evening. He is such fun, & does make me smile, with his cute ways. He had a bath here, & afterwards went running out to the lounge, holding his towel up high.
"I cant let anyone see my boobies" he said, clutching his chest, & letting his towel drop.

It is looking like a nice day here, so we might take SG & the dogs to the waterfront. He loves to explore & examine the little shells.

He is a fussy eater, as I have mentioned before. He does love Macaroni Cheese, so his mother provided that for his tea last night. I can remember it was one of my favourites when I was a child, & my Grandmother made it beautifully.

GOM tends not to like Pasta, so I usually only make it when we have visitors for a meal, since I still seem to suffer from the old 'making enough for a family'.

I often have fish when GOM has steak, because I strongly dislike red meat, & GOM likes it. I dont mind, but there are times when cooking 2 or 3 differing meals in the evening are just a pain.

And the Pantry Vandal strikes unexpectedly, & I cant find my ingredients. I was making a fish dish which I do for myself, on Sunday evening. I love all my vegies, so I lay the fish fillets in a dish, with a few drops of Sesame Oil, so they dont stick, & then layer the vegies- whatever I have on hand, & usually plenty of greens, such as Zucchini, beans peas, broccoli & finely sliced carrot, & some times spring onions. I use a Ketcap Manis sauce & a dash of Soya & Mushroom sauce or Oyster sauce, sometimes a little chilli, or some Chinese Five Spice, & seal it all & cook it slowly in the oven or microwave, depending on how hot the day is.

Imagine my (silent) rage, when I discovered the Sesame Oil had disappeared! Vanished! Deep in the pantry I could be heard plotting the rearrangement and/or removal of various appendages of the GOM. Some were going to be tastefully displayed on the now-to-be-replaced balcony railing, as a warning to other males not to tinker with women's Pantries! Some might have formed a necklace or even a hat!

However, just as I was about to burst forth to roar, I found the Sesame Oil, in a very unlikely location. And I simmered down, but cant help wondering what sort of joy or satisfaction GOM can get, by endlessly rearranging the contents of the Pantry. I have learnt to look in ludicrous places for my cooking dishes. I have learnt that odd things seem to end up in the fridge. But the Pantry is a major bugbear. I have to keep reminding myself it is not a major fault. I suppose it could be said it is a hobby.

He rather likes me to get in here on the computer. He realises a 'few minutes' can turn quickly into hours. And it gives him free reign in the mysteries of the Pantry.
Another of his recent passions, is rearranging the freezer. If I want something I ask first. Now we have another freezer downstairs, so he can amuse himself down there, restacking & piling.

Yes, marriage is give & take. You never know where or what is going to happen next. Well, in our marriage, at least!

Monday, April 16

GRRRR!

I tried to edit the previous post, to tell of the spectacular ending to the day yesterday.

We had a massive Thunderstorm, complete with thunder lightning, & heavy rain.
It would not have been imaginable in the morning, with all that wonderful mild warmth, & blue skies!

At Last!! The Beach!!

As you can see from the pic taken yesterday, I got to walk on the sand at the beach, at last.
It was one of those beautiful days, just perfect. The warm temperature, the lack of humidity, & a gentle breeze, almost no clouds. I can believe in magic on such a day. There were plenty of swimmers, and the Life Guards were out, on patrol. I walked down the beach alone. GOM preferring to sit on the sand & watch the passing parade.
I breathed the wonderful salty air, & was just in heaven.

I had suggested we go to a Market which is always open at the weekends at one of the beaches. It was a long time since we had visited the market, & it had changed a little since our last visit. A few new traders, some secondhand & "interesting Olde" shops. Nothing really appealing to us, but we wandered about enjoying the sights. We were a bit disappointed at the lack of handcrafted items. There seemed to only be the LOLs crocheting & knitting baby clothes.
Since I am now a LOL & can do that myself, there was nothing I felt compelled to buy.

I did buy some homemade fudge though, for GOM & I to savour. Delicious, & very fattening I would imagine. Still, the portions were not large.
The stall holder had samples of her fudge flavours on display for sampling. One young lad obviously regarded it as his personal smorgasbord, & proceeded to eat his way from one end to the other. As he was about to finish the stall holder snapped at him, & finally his parents chipped him for being greedy.
It was all I could do, not to clip his ear!


Here are some of the cast-offs from the ocean, along the walk on the sand. The sand looks more golden in real life, I dont know why it looks so grey in my pics.
There are no exotic shells to be found on these beaches, but small children -& me- find them fascinating. I think of the creatures who once inhabited them, & wonder what became of them, to have left their homes abandoned.
I paddled my feet in the lovely warm seawater, & dug my toes into the sand. It was a free treat for me. I love to see seaweed, & fancy a necklace for a mermaid made out of the 'beads' of this seaweed.

When we were children, we used to spend a lot of weekends at a beach we called the Mount. It's full name is Mt Maunganui, & Ali Honey has posted of it before, & so have I.
It really was a wonderful beach for children & adults of all ages. There is an Ocean side & a Harbour side, so it is wonderful for surfing or just paddling.
We often used to visit an old Great Aunt & Uncle, who lived close to the ocean. The old man used to go fishing in the wild ocean, standing on the shore, & he would take us with him, over the sand dunes to the ocean side where he fished with a contraption he called a Kon Tiki. He made them himself, & they were a tin box like structure, which the waves would carry out to sea, on his long line, & the fish would get trapped in the box assembly, which would be baited, & when he hauled them into the shore, we would see the fish inside. They were very successful devices for catching fish, & there was always fish on the menu at their place. He would gut & clean the fish on the beach, & the screaming gulls would be in heaven. Sometimes he would take them home to clean, & he used the guts for fertilising the garden.
I can remember going with him on kelp gathering forays, after there had been bad weather. The beach would be covered with huge mounds of kelp, ripped from the ocean floor, & cast up on the sands of the high tide line. He would cart it home, in a homemade cart, & would use it for fertilising the gardens. He grew vegetables & some flowers, & considering the land they lived on was just sandhills, he did have quite a wonderful garden.
Our old Great Aunt suffered from rheumatoid Arthritis, & she was 'chair-ridden' poor old soul, so she couldnt go down to the beach, & spent her life in the chair in the corner of her lounge. She could still knit, & I remember her poor hands with the fingers bent double into the palms, & I dont know how she still managed to knit.
She was my Grandmother's youngest sister, & she had snapping brown eyes. Some of our cousins were scared of her, but really she was a lovely old lady, with a great sense of humour. After her husband died she had to be put in a home, & spent the remainder of her days trapped in a bed, surrounded by old women with dementia, & so she had no one to talk to.
Perhaps the saddest thing about her condition was, it had not affected her mind, & she spent lonely bored days lying in her bed. My mother used to visit her regularly, & would always try to take her some of her favourite food. She could be very acid, & quite savage at times, but now, I wonder she was nice at all, as the pain of her arthritis must have been dreadful. At least I have modern drugs for my pain.
I must go down to the sea again....(one of my mother's favourite poems)



Sunday, April 15

I'm Only Playing With It!

This is Leo, with a prized possession. One of GOM's socks. He doesnt actually chew them the shreds now, he just plays with them, & loves to be chased for retrieval. The weather has been nice, love the cooler mornings, & at nights, can even bear to have the covers on, in bed



This is a pic of a small all porcelain doll I made a good long time ago. I made the her clothes, back in the days when I could be bothered fiddling about doing heirloom sewing. Blue flames could sometimes be seen clouding my head while I worked in Heirloom sewing. Patience is a virtue I rather lack, at times. I purchased the little Battenburg work brolly, & have yet to fill her basket with flowers. Dolls took a back seat once I discovered the joys of quilting.

And this very nearsighted little Ted is a reject from yesterday's garage sales. He was sitting forlornly on a table all neglected, so he came home with me. I also scored several really good books for peanuts, so am looking forward to spending some good reading time. My first Bill Bryson, & I am told he is a good laugh. Some nice grizzly murders to intrigue!
*************
Do you remember your first attempts to ride a bike? I certainly do, & they were not pleasant at all. I dont know why, but I was older than usual I think, & my brother was learning about the same time.
The neighbours who owned the farm next door, had 3 daughters, who had various suitors come to visit at times.
My brother & I were friendly with the son, who was between our ages, the girls all being older. One day one of the 'boyfriends' decided it was time we learned to ride a bicycle. I was chosen to make the first run.
It was a boys bike, & in fact, full size, as I recall. Mounting the wretched thing was quite difficult, & the bar made it almost impossible to dismount with any dignity at all.
I was given several tries at mounting & dismounting, & then shoved off & away down the paddock. Being a paddock used for grazing cows, & at times horses, It was lumpy bumpy & rugged.
Off I went at terrifying speed downhill, legs flying uncontrollably out the sides as the peddles whizzed round! I had no idea how to stop the thing, & knew I was in for hurt! And I was a coward, & did not take well to pain.
The roaring of laughter behind me was awful, & added to my humiliation. I was gathering speed, & was terrified I would end up at the bottom of the paddock & might fly into the water trough. Or over the rails of the cattle yard.
Which end was going to be worse??. Horror, I noticed a huge Scotch Thistle growing in the path of the speeding bike, so I did my best to steer into it.
And succeeded. Close encounters with Scotch Thistles are never pleasant! They are extremely prickly & hurt like hell. And the near rape of my pubic bone from the bar on the bicycle added to the pain factor X 10!
Howls & shouts of laughter came from all watchers, & I just lay very still in the midst of the thistle, smarting all over. And smarting inwardly from humiliation.
I extracted myself gingerly from the huge thistle, & limped off home across the paddock. I didnt even bother to try to pick the bike up, but I pretended the hysterical noises I was making were laughter, as I slunk off home, in pain & humiliation.
It was a few weeks before I could face any of the merciless teasers again. And they were all male, & thought it a hell of joke. Needless to say, it was another good while before I attempted to learn to ride a bike again.
I think my brother fared almost as badly as I did. He has vivid memories of our mother, puce of face, threatening him with a hiding if he didnt learn to ride her bike. He tells me I went to his defence, & did my best to teach him. I have really forgotten most of that incident, but of course will never forget my first 'lesson'. I suppose we never do.
My brother did learn to ride a bike, & made good pocket money with a paper round, which was full of rich stories to be told. He should start a blog. He could have you all in stitches!


Friday, April 13

A different perspective..

This a view from our balcony, from a different angle to most of the pictures I post, taken from the balcony. This is looking South, towards Sydney. It is often a good indicator of coming weather, such as storms, as we can see them rolling up between the hills.And down in the lower part of the pic, are the ugly signs of civilisation. The Hungry Jacks angry red neon lights. The Petrol station, the Bottle Shop, the Car wash. I guess they are modern necessities of living. Hungry Jacks I would not regard as a necessity for anything, living or dead. However that is just my opinion, & perhaps I may be in trouble for stating that.



Thinking on about the Real Women Meme that has been doing the blogrounds, has made me think a lot about the men in our lives.

I have been thinking about the differing perspectives men seem to have, compared to the ways women view things.

Having been married for almost 41 years to the same man, you might think I know him. I know a lot about him, but there are places he never shows to anyone. Facts about his life he will never discuss. The reefs & coves of his soul, he shows to noone.

I suppose we all have those secret bays, where we just hide away. I do think women tend to discuss things a lot more than men do. Our SIL seems, in a lot of ways to be quite similar to GOM. He has his 'nerve' patches, my daughter says she is not allowed to reach. She is more like me, & inclined to talk things over to rationalise them, & work through them.

I read Joke's posts about how he cares for TFBHM, & how he respects her, when she is stressed. I see a lot of similarities in the way GOM treats me these days. And perhaps, has for some time.

He used to have Wednesdays off when he was fist working as Manager in a Hotel over here & I was working full time. He used to come & collect me for lunch. He would bring lunch & we would drive off somewhere to quielty share it together. My friends always thought how romantic, how lovely, he was.And he was, & he would do the ironing for me, & prepare a lovely meal for the evening. Perfection in a husband.

But, I hope some of you will understand, I sometimes resented that. I felt my job was a haven somehow, & I wanted it seperate from my home life. Sad but true. It wasnt that I didnt appreciate his thoughtfulness, but I just felt a little stifled, perhaps. I wanted some space & time out, from my domestic life. It didnt mean I didnt love him, or was tired of him. It just meant I felt I had an identity for myself. We had spent so much time working together, it was nice to have some space.

And now that he is retired, he has taken over the rearrangement of the pantry, & the decisions on what to buy for groceries. He vaccuums for me, hangs the washing, collects & folds it, when it is dry. He is a gem. Of course there are the Garden Vandal moments, when he is anything but a gem, when he rips out my herbs. But on the whole he is a gem, & a kind considerate man.

But there are times when I feel a little stifled. Feel a little space wouldnt hurt. Perverse woman that I am.

He is perverse too. He refused to buy a near new wheelbarrow, for $6 at a garage sale. I couldnt believe him. And while I realise a wheelbarrow wouldnt have fixed this dilemma, I cant understand his economic thinking at times!

As you may recall we have been having further troubles with our drainage due to neighbour privet.
The drains have been cleared but it seems the neighbour privet, which had supposedly been poisoned, has regrown from the stump.

So, off goes GOM, he hires a chainsaw, at no small cost, buys various poison potions to pour onto neighbour privet. He dons the face mask, & zooms off into neighbour garden, & the rip roaring of the chain saw can be heard! He carves great swathes into the privet stump. And then flies off to return the hired chainsaw. He has applies the poison potions to the stump. Hopefully it will die this time!

I cant help but feel neighbour should have been paying for all this chainsawing & poisoning. But GOM 'doesnt like to bother him'. Strange, perverse man.

Wednesday, April 11

No Happy Endings

The story of the lone tree continues on. Standing out against last evening's lovely soft sky tones. I dont know what type of tree it is, but much as I love trees, I dont like these. I find them ugly in their pattern of growth, & I cant understand why anyone would plant one. There are two on this property, & I wonder, each storm we have, how long they will survive.
Long after I am gone I would suspect.

Which brings me to my thoughts of mortality, & the idea that nothing will matter in 100 years. Well, nothing that made personl misery at the time, anyway.

This is a love story, with no happy ending. It was/is a modern tragedy, & leads me to wonder why some people seem to have blessed lives, while others have only sadness.

The story began before the storm clouds of World War 2 gathered in force.
Young men were urged to join the Forces, & though conscription was not in force, there were plenty of volunteers, who felt it their duty to enlist, in one or other of the Armed Forces.

Though the young man could have been exempt, for perfectly legitimate reasons, he decided to join the Army. His mother pleaded with him not to go, but he ignored her cries, & joined anyway. He argued he had an older brother who could take care of the farm, & sisters of good health, to help.

He had long loved a girl a year younger than he, & he begged her to marry him. She loved him too, but she tried to tell him it would be better to wait. His mother pleaded with the girl not to marry him. He became determined to marry her, & begged & pleaded, against all family opposition, until finally she gave in, & they were married quietly in a little local Church.

There was no time for a Honeymoon. He had to return to Army camp. He had brief leave, & they spent time together. Then it came time for his departure.

The young wife discovered she was pregnant soon after he had gone, & in due course, their daughter was born.

The letters & mail were very sporadic, & the young husband was posted in Italy. The tales of terror he endured were not spoken of, in carefully censored letter home. He had learnt of his daughter's birth, & wrote about returning.

The young wife managed alone with the fractious child, and she stayed with her parents for some time, but could see it was hard for them. She was offered a home with friends who had a large farmhouse, & sisters whose husbands were also off at War. There were other children about the same age as her daughter. It worked very well.

There were parties occasionally, & war time 'fun' was hard to find, so the parties were eagerly attended.

The young, lonely, sad, wife had a little too much cheer, at one such party. A stay-at-home man, took advantage of her inebriated state, & slept with the wife. Once. She once later described it as a drunken moment of madness.

To her horror she discovered she was pregnant. Her eldest daughter was only 2, her husband was still away overseas. What could she do. She contacted the baby's father, who was married. He offered her money for an abortion. It was war time, there was no such thing as legal abortion. She declined his money. She told her parents, who were bitterly upset. Her friends sheltered her, & the pregnancy continued.

She gave birth to a healthy small girl. She didnt know what to do, so she kept the child. Who was a very good, quiet little baby, & not fractious like the older child at all. It was 1945, the war ended. The soldiers were returning home.

And she was haunted, & lived in terror for her husband's return. Her mother-in-law found out about the baby. She burned with hatred. She determined to be the first to meet her son, who returned to the country when the illegitimate child was 6 weeks old. She rushed to meet him at the train station, before the wife could meet & talk with him. His mother told him the terrible news.

Who knows how the poor young husband felt. His only comfort in his terror filled days, had been thoughts of his young beloved wife, & their child he had yet to meet.

He had been altered psychologically, & scarred mentally, by his war time experience, then he came home to discover the hideous truth waiting for him at home. He consulted with friends. He turned against his mother for ever, & became very bitter toward her. He never forgave her, for delivering the news, or for trying to end the marriage.

Finally an ultimatum was issued to the young wife. A Sophie's Choice. Choose a child. She could either keep her eldest child & adopt the younger out, & continue with the marriage, or she could keep the younger child, & he would take his daughter, and leave.

She chose to keep her older daughter, & continue in the marriage. The younger little child was adopted. It broke her heart forever. There was another child born, a son. But the marriage foundered, & they parted when the son was under a year old.

She remained single & lonely & always broken hearted all the remainder of her life. She had a lot of love for her husband, but she said they were both so altered, they could never go back.

The young husband remarried, & had more children, but the marriage was not the happiest, & he too, kept the love for his first wife, all of his life.

When the 'young wife' was 64, the little baby she had given away, contacted her. She was overjoyed, but very trepidatious, as she had never told her two other children what had happened. They had no idea they had a sister. And they had no idea of the terrible tragedy, & suffering their parents had gone through.

They just felt such compassion for their poor suffering mother. No wonder, when she died, half her heart was damaged beyond repair- broken in fact.


At least she came to a sort of peace once she met her little abandoned 'baby'. Her 'baby' bore no resentment, & says she is just happy to be alive, & she had a wonderful childhood with parents who loved her dearly. And her newly discovered siblings were delighted to meet her, & have her in the family.



Life seems to me to be a mystery, & somehow, I cant help but feel it is all 'preordained'.

Tuesday, April 10

You are a Camel

Today we have been babysitting SG again. His father was sleeping after night shift, & his mother was at work.
We took him grocery shopping with us, & he did his best to bribe us into buying cakes, & various sweet things. When I told him we werent buying things like that today, he said, "I am cross!"
So I told him that was ok, he was allowed to be cross. He seemed a bit nonplussed about that answer, so he quickly spied out another item to ask to have. But he seems to have grown out of tantrum territory.

When we got home it was lunch time, & he seemed hungry, so I made him some sandwiches, which he had, then he asked if he could have an icecream. So of course, soft Nana gives him one.

He has a little slide photo clicker that shows animal shots each time you click it.

He zoomed around the garden, taking 'photos' of Honey & Leo. He showed me, then he informed me he had taken my photo too.
I said that was nice, & he triumphantly said, "Yes, you are a Camel!"

And he asked me what Camels eat. I said I was not sure- what the hell do camels eat??- so he told me they really like Icecream!

He knows I dont eat icecream, & dont like it, but that was so he could have mine!

He was just making Cubby houses in the lounge when his father rang to say he was up, & ready to have SG home again.
***************

One more day has passed with no sewing & very little else of interest being achieved. We are having plumbing problems again! GRRRRR. We have been using the downstairs shower, & toilet, & I have kept reminding myself we are lucky to have an extra. But lame old ducks dont need 13 stairs to pound up & down!

And I dashed into the fabric shop before collecting SG. And almost wept. They have all these new fabrics, & I neeeeeed them!! Well, really,.... I want them! I am going to go back alone with more time, & see what I can choose for some small project. (She says,.... with UFO's all over the wall, & stashed in cupboards!) Even if I just go back to pat them, & dream, it will be worth it! haha.


And here are two of the UFO's- a wallhanging supposedly going to say, 'Feather your nest with love.'
And this dear little rabbit, that I had hoped to get finished for Easter. Never mind, he can go into something yet to be decided.

Such a shame, now that the long weekend is over, the sun has returned, & the day has been really warm & fine.
Depending on where you come from, I guess it is Murphy's Law, or Sods Law!