Saturday, August 30


Today we had the priveledge of having a Kookaburra visit us, in our Lily Pily tree.

Leo barked when it first landed on the branch, but Ms/Mr/Mrs Kooka, just regarded him with scorn, & continued to sit.

Knowing my love of Kookaburras, Gom came rushing in to tell me it was there, thinking I could get some photos.

Of course, I rushed out, with camera in hand, I clicked away. With largely dismal results. Too shakey I suspect. I tried to steady the camera on the top of the fence, but still discarded more than I kept.

Here is the Kooka on the ground. I took this, just as it took off again, to perch back on the branch, so it is a little blurred.

I got very daring, & ventured out, to stand under the tree, to try to capture the perfect closeup.
The horrible Indian Mynah birds kept dive bombing the bird, & I believe the Mynahs destroy the nests of the Kookaburras.

It is such a shame, as the Kookaburras, though large, seem to be gentle birds with little, or no agression, towards other birds.

Our resident Black Shrikes took offense at Kooka's presence, & came to screech at him. He was seemingly unimpressed.

The Magpies came to inspect, & scold also, but the Kooka remained inscrutable. He/she continued to land on the ground to peck worms or beetles, & return to the Lily Pily branch.

I managed to capture this photo, which I think is the best of the bunch.If you click on the photo, the feathers appear quite sharp, the colours defined.

It kept fluffing it's feathers, which made it look so fluffy -dare I say, cuddly. Of course, they are not. They are wild, beautiful birds. I do think they are my favourite, of all Australian birds. Not wildly pretty, but somehow majestic, & dignified.

Though their wild maniacal 'laughter' may herald rain, I love to hear the sound.


Another Other Life.

This is a true story, learnt as I got to know the star, as I lived another life, as a Dollmaker.

I find it endearing & wonderful, that groups of women can meet, for a common purpose, or interest, hobby, craft, & form such caring covensclutches.

We join this girl at 16, with older siblings- so much older. To the point she felt she had been the 'menopause child', resulting, mistakenly, when her parents were 'old' & had had no intention of adding another child to their family.

She did well at school, was a little indulged, & adored, as the 'baby' of the family. Loved, doted upon.

Her mother, dropped dead when she was a mere 16, before her eyes, on the kitchen floor. A massive heart attack.

She grew to adulthood, with the ever present memory of her mother's death. The thought of how precious family were. How much she loved her remaining family.

She met a wonderful man. They married. She became the mother of 3 beautiful sons.

Her husband was a builder. They built their own house, on a difficult block. They later discovered termites, had invaded the wood of their carefully built home. They had been assured the land had been treated, the timber they used was treated. There turned out to be no legal comeback, on anyone. They had to spend all the savings they had, to rectify this scourge. Struggled back to equalibrium. Gave the sons all they could offer in love, emotional support, & inevitably, monetary support, for educational opportunities.

We listened & learned every step of these travails, in our group. Much emotional support was offered, of course.

Son no. 1 decided he wanted to become an Architect. Wonderful, the parents said.

They had good friends, close, to the 'nominal relative' point. Their son fell in love with the friends' daughter. They had, after all, grown up together, loved each other, for all their memorable lives. They wanted to be married, in the urgent way of young ones.

The youngsters had little NO money, the parents little more. But they endeavoured to give the young ones a beautiful wedding. Sharing the costs, our heroine making the wedding dress, the bridesmaids dresses. Doing the floral arrangements, sharing the food supplies with the Best Friends/soon-to-be In laws.

Where would the penniless, studying, young couple reside?

Why, in the wonderful cosy flat, that our heroine & her husband built & created on the top of their garage. A true work of cabinet-maker's art. No spare inch was wasted. It had a wonderful stove- collected from a roadside throwout, compete with added extractor fan, when the donor learnt of the circumstances of it's future home. A giveaway fridge, a wonderful throwout shower alcove. All lovingly integrated into a beautiful small home for the newly weds. A donated washing machine, for the small laundry alcove. Perfect.

Of course, you can all guess what happens next...beautiful young bride is... unexpectedly/accidentally, pregnant! how did this happen? we were being so careful?.

Our heroine's group rallied. Gifts were made, we were excited to learn what the progress of the baby was. We all donated what we could. We all gasped in admiration at the stunningly beautiful hand embroidered blanket our friend made for the baby. The beautiful sheets she embroidered for the cradle, which was hand carved, & crafted, by the Grandfather-to-be.

The Granddaughter, of indescribable beauty, was duly born. How we shared in the joy of our friend. We shared the pictures of this perfect, wonderful granddaughter. We all felt as if we 'shared' her, her progress, her Christening, in the Heirloom gown our friend created, in beautiful hand work. Her walking, her first words. We all oohed & aahed over the gorgeous photos, this sunny golden, curly haired, perfect child. The sun shone golden upon them all.

Then the chinks began. The young couple were moving. They had always intended moving to another State. For the young father's career, we were told. No surprises.

Then the younger sister of the bride, wanted to rent the flat upon the garage. "Well no" said our friend. "I don't want the responsibility of worrying about a teenage girl" "I have my two remaining teenaged sons to worry about"

Umbrage was taken. Bitterness set in. 'Best Friends' became hostile. The Bride had a miscarriage. Accusations were levelled at our heroine. The son, incredibly, blamed his mother for the miscarriage! WTH.

The young couple moved to the other State. Bitterness & spite were rampant. They denied the son's parents access to the beautiful little girl, who had come to regard her paternal grandparents as second parents. The former 'Best Friends' relocated to the other State. With bitter & hateful innuendoes, remarks, accusations.

We all watched, & listened as our broken hearted friend relayed the latest hideous nastiness. The young couple had another child, then they had triplets. Our friend & her husband were informed their gifts were 'Unacceptable," & returned. It broke their hearts.

One member of our group was a Barrister. She offered to represent our friend free, to get access to their grandchildren through Court Orders. It was so sad, so ugly, none of us could believe that 'sod' of a son, who bit the hands that had lovingly fed him & provided for him.

During the course of all this our heroine's husband, lost his job, found another. Then in a terrible accident he lost one of his fingers. The son, though informed what had happened, never once contacted his father, never once offered sympathy.

I couldn't help but think what a self-centered ar*eh0le that boy had become. I refrained from commenting, to anyone, on my thoughts, but I know they were echoed by more vocal in the group.

Another true story, stranger than fiction. Another life, I am glad is not mine.

I am so lucky my children are not so selfish. They are loving & giving.

Neil Diamond, Brooklyn Roads

Friday, August 29

Rats keep plaguing my life...

You may have read of my past trials, with a dead rat.

I have had another rat trauma.

A very nice, handsome young man called yesterday, to remove a very dead, very unpleasantly odiferous, large, reeking, rat, from our ceiling cavity.

Even Gom, finally admitted to smelling the sickly sweet, rotting, stench of dead animal.

'They' do say our sense of smell diminishes with age, which explains a lot about 'old people's' houses, clothing, & various other unsavoury odours we might encounter in the 'aged'. This, has surely been, & is, the case with Gom. I have always had an acute sense of smell.

It has not always been a blessing, nor a 'free treat, for me'.

Indeed, his diminishing sense of smell is a bloody curse!!. Sometimes I wish my sense of smell would vanish, but I am ever mindful of causing discomfort, or distress, among others.

So the offending carcass was duly removed from our premises. The nice young man braved the cavity of our redolent ceiling, & duly despatched the offending article. I was asked "Would you like to see it?" I declined politely. As our rubbish collection had not already taken place, it was duly despatched in the All puposes bin. Thank goodness it didnt ride around in a Weetbix box, in our car boot!

I was going to write another 'Other Lives' story, but we have had visitors, & I am flagging a little.

The 'crutchley' lightings have not been noticeably beneficial, but then again one 30 second treatment, plus one 60 second treatment would not warm the hairs upon my leg!! Well, the stubble upon my legs, to be honest.


My small nephew after studying his grandmother's arm carefully, looked up at her, said, "'Grandma' which is not what she was called by our offspring, but will do for the sake of the story do you know your skin is too big for you?"

This was said in all sincerity, & absolute innocence, & concern for her wellbeing. She loved that small grandson, & she loved that story.

She was a very small woman.

Our son, also her grandson, once studied a pattern she was knitting.
"'Grandma'" he said, "Are you knitting this for you?"
"Yes" she replied.
"Well," our son said. "I don't think it will fit you, because you are not as big as a woman!"
She loved this story too, & loved to remind our son, in later life.

We all still miss her. She had a wonderful sense of humour.

Randy Crawford, Almaz.

Thursday, August 28

Some other life.

Have you ever sat, & wished you were living someone else's life.

Not necessarily a particular person's life. Just another life, with different griefs or joys.

In dark times I have. The more I learn of other's lives though, the more I am glad I have the 'Devil I know'.

I wish to write about some of the lives I have learnt about. I am sure there are many gaps to the stories, but they never fail to interest me.

One Life.

She was born to Irish Catholic parents, a longed for girl, after 3 sons.
She was very fair of face, tending to soft, pretty, plumpness, & her curly red/gold hair was her mother's delight.

As she grew, she was seeped in the Catholic religion. She was instructed long & hard, about the 'duties' of being a 'good girl'. She was told her brothers could go to University if they wished, but she could not. She was a girl, after all, & education was not seen as a priority for a girl, who was expected to marry, & do her wifely duties, & bear the next generation of good Catholic children.

Her parents lived in a suburb filled with Catholic neighbours. Their circumstance was considered working class, her father having a mediocre job, doing menial work. Her mother toiled in the home, & taught her daughter that the males were waited upon. It fell to daughters to lay the table, do the dishes, make the beds.

Since she was the only daughter, it became her lot, to occasionally cook, when her mother was unwell. Her task to keep the house clean, & always, always, attend church. School.... not so important.

Which was a shame, because Red/gold had a very bright mind, & was very good at school. Much cleverer than her brothers. Of course, she was a girl, so that didn't count.

When the red/gold haired daughter became engaged at 19 to a good & pious Catholic lad, all seemed perfect in her life.

Fate intervened, & the good & pious lad was killed in an accident. After the grief, reality set in. Our heroine was getting older. Most of the 'good boys' were taken. She was in danger of being left on the shelf. Perhaps going stale.

At this point in her life, along comes a boisterous loud irreverant young man. He sweeps her off her feet- in bitter hindsight she refers to it as her 'rebound'. He takes her to meet his family. His brothers, one a minister of Another Religion. Equally as pious as her first fiance, but in a different church. She realises with shock, that when her mother-in-law-to-be, introduces her to friends, she is very apologetic for the fact that our red/gold girl is a Catholic!

The fact that this news is recieved in shocked intakes of breath is such a surprise to our red/gold girl. Her own parents are not happy when they learn she is going to marry the boisterous loud young man. They warn her of dire consequences.

Boisterous young man agrees to any 'Issue' being raised in the Catholic religion. Red/gold girl is happily pregnant before too long. Her mother is unwell again, but red/gold girl consults the Doctor who says her mother is just 'lazy'. Red/gold daughter gives her mother a good 'talking to'. She is 6 months pregnant, & needs her mother to be up & about.

Before red/gold's daughter is born, her mother is dead. She had undiagnosed pancreatic cancer. It killed her. Red/gold daughter is filled with guilt, as well as grief. She sees it in part as her fault, for not being married to a Catholic. For daring to have married a non-Catholic. She turns more & more to the Catholic church.

Her daughter is going to be raised a good Catholic girl too. After 3 years, red/gold is pregnant again. She has become very close to her mother-in-law, who has no daughters of her own.

Before red/gold's son is born, her father dies, suddenly, from a heart attack. Red/gold resolves she will have no more children. She never told me how she squared this with her guilt ridden Catholic thoughts at that stage of her life.

Time passes, & our red/gold wife travels a lot with her boisterous husband. She lives the perfect life. The life of a Norman Rockwell painting, perhaps. Picture perfect. Church every Sunday- never mind that Boisterous never attends. There are graces said before each & every meal. The table is always set to perfection.

Years later, her daughter is to scream at her, "You wanted us to live the picture of the perfect life, with all the rotten & real hidden underneath!"

Red/gold is a pillar of her church. She does the flowers, dresses the altar, launders the linens. Her children are dressed up all the time. Her daughter stresses that her name is the full version & no nicknames will do!

Boisterous & Red/gold live a very busy social life. A group of friends who spend time together on evenings out, barbeques, parties. Red/gold gets a job she likes, & all seems truly perfect in her life.

One night Boisterous tells Red/gold he is leaving her, for her best friend. He moves out, & the whole world of Red/gold shatters. She learns that all her friends had known of the secret affair. She stays home & cries day & night. She self medicates on whole casks of wine, every night. She staggers through her days. No priest comes near her. No person from the Church comes to offer comfort. One of her brothers goes & demands that the priest go to visit Red/gold. She told me he stuttered, & muttered. Would not look her in the eye. He had nothing to say, was hideously embarrassed, & couldn't wait to make his escape, & get out of her house.

As the picture shattered, all the pieces fell away. The daughter got rebellious, would not study. Slept with a very strange young man, became pregnant at 16. Gave birth to a son, that the parents of the young man wanted to keep. Red/gold saw it all as punishment for not being a good enough Catholic. She would not allow her daughter to keep the baby, now would she allow the boy's parents to have him, nor allow the girl to marry the boy.

Red/gold felt she couldn't let the baby ruin her daughter's life.

Red/gold's son stole cars, became the neighbourhood rebel. Got into trouble with police. Red/gold begged the father to help her. His reaction was to come home with pyjamas in hand, after 6 months, crying because his new girlfriend had been caught in bed with yet another lover.

Red/gold allowed him to live in the house. The burning hatred was what surrounded the shattered 'perfection' now.

Boisterous left yet again, the girlfriend had returned from whereever. He went running when she beckoned. She told the daughter of Red/gold that had she been around, the baby would never have been adopted. I was so shocked when Red/gold told me that part, I wanted to cry. Tears were in my eyes, & I felt the 'other woman' to be truly evil & wicked.

Red/gold still had the idea that she had to be a good Catholic. She told me no matter how hard she tried, she could never shake off those chains.

When Boisterous was going to another country, to meet the other woman's family, he asked Red/gold to collect a prescription, along with a letter for Customs, for penile injections for him to take with him! She did as he asked. I waited in the car, as she collected the script & letter, incredulous, that she could do that. I told her I would probably have ripped up the letter, the script. She told me she wished she could, but the Catholic in her could not.

Red/gold's daughter got married. The daughter used her mother, treated her with contempt, took her money, & is now totally estranged. The son lives at home, paying minimal board, & has an older, divorced woman for a girlfriend.

Red/gold fears her daughter will never be able to have children now. That was the latest news she had before communication broke down. It all seems too sad. The daughter married an only son, with 5 sisters. All the ripples that spread from one life.

I couldn't stand in judgement of my friend. I could only feel glad I do not have to walk in her shoes.

Ben Harper, Gold to Me.

Wednesday, August 27

Sometimes, it is the distances between..

The spaces between the blocks.

The chinks between the pavers,

The pauses between the moments.

The years between encounters.

That simply take your breath away.

Not always in a good way, either. Sometimes there is infinite sadness. With luck it will be fleeting.
Sometimes there is utter joy. Sadly, that is often fleeting also.

Here are some of the chinks & moments caught on film.
V with Gom & Honey, taken about 4 years ago, when V & her husband P, came to stay with us.

Here is V & P.

Here the time warp really shows. Meggie with V & P, who were fairly newly weds. We were off to see The Sound of Music. This pic is 43 years old.

I was a reluctant 3rd for the film. I disliked Julie Andrews I know, what was to dislike? but there you go, & I have never liked her in anything else though I grudgingly admit, she did the role justice in that film. I don't know how V had managed to talk P into going, but even he enjoyed the movie. I don't know where Gom was at that stage. However, I am sure he would not have been invited, being Highly Unsuitable Suitor, back in the day. haha.

Now he can do no wrong, haha.

These next pics are of some of the breathtaking moments that make my life seem wonderful.

This gorgeous little Grandson of my brother's. He is just over 5 months old. He still has his blue eyes, to the surprise of his brown eyed parents!

I just love this photo! I wish I could just cuddle him!

Here is my little Angel. I can cuddle him, & I do, at every chance. I know the time is fast approaching when he wont be so readily cuddlable. Here he is teaching his father some intracacies of a small electronic game.


Here is the calm of the sea, at Newcastle, as a ship came to port. The wind was quite chill.

Another view of the ship, & the lighthouse, distant though it appears in the pic, it did not seem too far off in reality.


In other exciting thrilling news, I am now to have lighting of the Groin!! My mind boggles. When I told the Professor my armpits & groin still itch, he smiled & told me they have ways for that!

Oh joy. That will be today's treat- learning exactly how that will work. Now I am regretting mentioning it!


In other sodding news, we think there may really be some animal dead in our ceiling cavity this time. The smell yesterday was terrible, but seemed to dissipate in the evening, & I wondered if Gom had sneaked in to remove some hideous 'parcel' from his pants pocket or jacket, in his wardrobe.

He assured me he had not, so it is a mystery. I saw evidence of mouse activity in the poisons bait we keep in the back of the stove alcove, & so have spent some time cleaning it out, & getting more baits outdoors.

We had visitors who all trooped in to smell the vileness, then pronounce just what they thought might be the cause.

Hot Chocolate, Any song will do!!

Saturday, August 23

Absence, makes the heart grow absent...

Taking a week off the blogging caper has resulted in Rusty Brain Syndrome.

I barely had time for my feet to touch the ground. I got sick as a result.

An enormous painful cold sore bloomed on my mouth, & I felt really lousy for a good bit of the time. At first I could not understand why I felt so ghastly, tired, & headachey. I fell asleep at the party for goodness sake!! Some party girl, me.

I was sorry to see V go home, & wish we had had longer to explore & discover ever new delights in the quilting & fabric areas.

Gom took us to a huge shop & V went nuts! just on the quiet, so did I, but Gom doesnt know about it yet! haha. V had a ball shopping for her 2 little granddaughters. It made me wish we had another little one to shop for.

"Who goes there?" Lining up to greet the guests!

Here is my son, giving me a hug. Usually I am the photographer, but V took this.

Here is friend B, who was assaulted. He had to have surgery, to have a plate inserted in his arm. The bone was shattered in the assault, & was much worse than the Doctors had aniticpated. (He noted, in light vein, that it was not his drinking arm that got wounded.)

V had lived in Newcastle when she was a child, so we took a nice leisurely train trip up to see the City. It was a bitterly cold day, & the wind off the sea chilled to the bone. As we walked along the waterfront, an elderly gent sought to educate us, with a long informative dialogue on the history of Newcastle. Not wishing to be rude, we kept edging away. He kept moving up closer.

In the end we bolted. We missed the train, & had to spend a chilly hour on the platform.

Here is V waiting at the station.

Here is V getting up close & personal with the party boy! I reminded her of how she had once begged me not to marry him! How the times have changed! We laugh about it all these years later.

Here we are out at yet another shopping mall!

Here is our Sweet Granddaughter at the party.

Here is Sweet Granddaughter's best friend J. She is an honorary member of our family.

Here are these two again. Having a whale of time.

Four Bananas!

V & I on the train coming home from Newcastle.

Here is sweet Honey. V loved the way she sits like this, when she wants some attention.
Now, I need to get busy & catch up with all the many blogs I have been missing over the past week or so.
V didnt really feel the cold as much as I did. I feel we have had the coldest month of winter, in August.
Beatles, I Want To Hold Your Hand.

Friday, August 15

Busy having fun...

Having too much fun ~no time to spare for blogging.

Friend safely arrived, & here she is, hiding her under some party hat.
We began to be worried about the convincing snores that were emanating from under the hat!

Here are two Weirdo's who suddenly made an appearance in the lounge!
You can see why I was somewhat disconcerted! I suspect teeth might have been an optional extra!

A hectic day in the mall, with much pounding of the feet! I get so tired after walking on the hard concrete tiles, & my bits & pieces feet & knees begin to give way to fatigue.

I will just leave you with this image;

Gom carefully got dressed nicely today, to take us out.

It has got to the stage where I have to check him out.

We went ysterday, to visit our friend who was assaulted, in the local hospital. He had to go in for surgery to his arm, because the assault had smashed the broken bone in his forearm, resulting in lengthy surgery to repair the badly damaged bone.

The day before, Gom had driven me to the Ovens. We stopped at the local village for several items, & then returned home. Suddenly I noticed an oddity in the stance of Gom. To my utter horror I realised he had his pants on inside out! The pockets were flapping out at the sides.

Aghast, I asked him about it.

"Oh yes" he airily replied, "I realised they were on inside out, when we went into the shops."

When I reacted in an appalled fashion, he declared he had not felt like dropping his trousers to change them in the middle of the Mall!

I suppose I should be glad for small mercies.

If you should see a man walking about with the pockets of his pants flapping about on the outside, you might be sure it will be Gom!

My friend V thinks it is hilarious. I tell her not to laugh, it will only encourage him!!

We are preparing for his party tomorrow night. Maybe I will get some photos fit to share...

Seals & Crofts, Summer Breeze

Tuesday, August 12

Has anyone noticed...?

We don't very often eat the junk foods. Not because we are virtuous. Mostly it is because we don't like it.

I do like a Pizza now & then. I am not averse to a chicken wrap with salad, very occasionally. Last time we went to get the Finger Lickin' variety of wraps, I was struck with the new slim Colonel.

Has anyone else noticed this peculiar phenomonon?
I remember the jolly, chubby cheeked old chap, with the strange wattle he hid behind his little goatee.

I remember when they changed the name from Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC, so the dreaded fried word was not part of the image.

Next time you pass the old Colonel, stop to note the new slimmer model. Gone are the chubby cheeks. Please tell me I am not dreaming. Please tell me I am not the only one to notice the change?

We have had some sunny days, & if a spot out of the wind can be found, it has been quite pleasant. The nights seem to be cold though, & a definite reluctance to get up in the morning tinges my days.

Leo, being very reluctant about letting us groom him, had become a wild & woolly monster. I decided to take on the task of trimming him up a little, so we could see his eyes, & now I am wondering if he is chilly with the huge amounts of wool which came off.

He does not like the camera much either. I think it is the flash. I should have taken the pics outside when it was still sunny, & I wouldn't have needed the flash.
The odd short hair on his ear is not my fault, he had a particularly bad knot there, & Gom decided to deal with it- by cutting it of!!

We had a repeat performance of the wool festooned garden & Gom. After Before I had finished trimming Leo, off went Gom. I happily trimmed on, then to my horror the garden blower starts up beside me!

Scaring the hell out of me 10 years off my life. Dust & wool clouds
are whipped in frenzied fury into the atmosphere!

I leap to my feet, grab the poor dog, & rush indoors to close the doors. I try shrieking at the mad man in the clouds of wool, & dirt. (No dog droppings this time, thank goodness!) I could not believe he was making the same mistake, by forgetting to close the zip on the bag!

He finally realised, & turned the wretched thing off, & stood festooned like some crazed Snowman, or bizarre Christmas tree, with fluff & wool waving in the breeze, in clumps about his person.

"Why didn't you tell me?"
"I tried, but I didn't want to become deaf, or dusty, or woolly."

He finished & went to change his clothes. He left all the clumps of wool on the shrubs. He was aghast when I serenely carried on clipping Leo. I calmly told him, that I had not finished, & if he had told me what he was intending to do, I would have stopped him.

Today, we went to the School, to watch Small Grandson, in a production the children performed for the Grandparents. SG did not see us arrive, & I watched him singing his little heart out, & doing all the actions, & I felt so proud of him.

We were told to find 'our' children, & spend recess with them. When I found SG he as sitting in the sun, quietly eating his sandwich. He came along to be with Gom & I. He cried, because he wanted to come home with us, & didn't want to stay at school. I wondered if we had done the wrong thing, by going along.
His mother said he was quite happy that we had gone, by the time he came home on the bus.

Some days, being a grandparent is about as hard as being a parent.

Cat Stevens, Where Do The Children Play?

Sunday, August 10

Islands of Pleasure..

It was so nice to recieve photos of the 2 little girls, complete with the quilts I sent them.
Here is A with her Raspberry Ripple quilt. All snug, in Auckland's filthy winter weather, at her Nanna's house.

And here is S with I Spy, also taken at Nanna's house, fending off the chills of Auckland's winter. S took 'I Spy' to school for Show & Tell, & explained to her class mates how you can play with the quilt.

I am so thrilled the girls liked their quilts. Their Nanna is, of course, Best Friend J. I have been reminiscing again about times with BFJ, when we were young, & how much fun we had together.

When we first went to the Southern City together, we had to stick together, as our culture seemed just that little bit different from our Southern countrymen.

I have blogged about this before, here.

We were teased as being from an 'inferior Island', much like the rivalry between Melbourne & Sydney. The North & South Islands had this mockery of each other's customs, & speech dialects differences.

There were certain phrases that seemed to mean something different in the Nth & the Sth. It seemed odd to BFJ & I. We had always thought there would be no differences. After all, we had come from virtually the same stock, as in English, Irish, Scottish, Welch heritage.

Auckland did seem more cosmopolitan, I suppose. There was a larger variety of heritages, in that the Dalmations, or Dallies, as they were called, had come as 'Gumdiggers', initially, & had become Vineyard owners, with wonderful names, & diverse cultural ideas. Christchurch, that Southern City seemed to be very English. Of course Dunedin, was supposedly Scottish, but we didn't get to live in Dunedin.

We were teased mercilessly, & it came as a surprise to us. We had never thought of the two Islands being seperate. We only thought of the whole country as New Zealand. Even our accents were different- who knew?

Oh, those Southerners had fun, educating us to the ways of the Southern customs. We had thought we were so worldly! How naive we were! How strange some of the couples we met!

The wife, who was never without a cigarette dangling from her mouth, & as she drank, her face would melt & almost fall off the end of her chin. Her hair would sag, her words would blur, & she turned into some ruin, in front of our eyes! She would 'freshen' her makeup. The ruby red blush on the cheeks! The scarlet lipstick, slightly off the lip line. Hideous blue eye shadow, to the brow!

BFJ & I were really shocked. We had never seen the likes of such a person. Her husband, a huge tall, thin, bloodshot-eyed, balding, drunken creature. I think he only lived for his next drink. We had never met people like these in the course of our 'sophisticated' lives!

How strange, the weekend 'sports'. The 'drunken' cricket matches, a sort of Sunday ritual, where the buses took players & parents, (some of them, to later become our in-laws, perhaps to our dismay!) & they all mostly, proceeded to get drunk! It really was eye-opening to us, sheltered as we had been, in spite of thinking we were from the 'Big Smoke', as Auckland used to be called.

Our first outing to a Country Race meeting. We dressed up, wore dresses, high heels, & were unsure of the what was entailed, really. How we laughed, in secret surprised horror, at the drunken tipsy women, all dressed in stockings, high heels, & some in hats, who sat on the grass eating pies from paper bags, & drinking beer from paper cups! The shoes, lying abandoned on the grass, shunned. So this was sophisticated Country Racing??

I had only ever been to the races as a child, & was well protected from such scenes, if indeed they had been similar. All I really remember is a horse biting my fingers, -mistakenly, I was hastily assured, as I screamed in agony & bewilderment, & was to develop a lifelong mistrust & fear of horses.

Of course, there are other memories of wonderful friends we made, who were 'normal' by our Northern standards. Quite apart from those we married! haha.

Couples, married, buying houses, having children. Leading happy lives.

One such friend, who named her firstborn after me, is coming to stay with me for a week. She will arrive next week, & I am so looking forward to her stay. She has visited us here twice before. Once with her husband, & once with a girlfriend. We always have fun, & always enjoy her stay.

Slava Grigorian, The Sounds of Rain, parts 1 & 2.

Friday, August 8

Waiting Rooms.

I seem to spend a good deal of time sitting about in Waiting Rooms. I find that often the stale magazines are of no interest at all. I can't be bothered reading made up gossip about so called 'Stars'. Most of it is rubbish & even if it were true, I couldn't care less.

If I am going to be in a Doctor's waiting room, I usually go prepared, & take my current book with me.

If I am uncertain about the length of a wait, I often amuse myself assessing & secretly 'naming' studying the other patients. I try not to overtly stare, & find I have quite a good peripheral vision.

Last Monday's visit to the 'Oven' resulted in a lengthy wait. Seated beside me was Ms Flamboyance. She had red/gold hair, & it was 'big hair', if you know what I mean. It appeared wiry, & fiery, & seemed almost like a bunch of flickering flames atop her large, cheery looking face.

She had very trendy glasses, with dark square frames with heavy side pieces. Her brilliant lime green woolly cardigan, knitted in a lumpy yarn, was teamed with a very bright purple crocheted scarf. Her bag was a huge grey snake, or possibly crocodile, skin imitation, well, I hope it was imitation!with patent leather handles, & corner trims, & buckles & bells. Well, no I lied about the bells, but it seemed to shout along with her 'outthere' shoes, & her designer looking jeans- which were probably the quietest part about her.

As I sat admiring her, I thought she looked as if she would be a fun person to know. There would never be a dull moment if she was around, I am sure. She also suggested 'Leo ness' to me. I almost asked if she is a Leo?

The next secret study was a very small, thin quite elderly woman, whose thin little hands reminded me so much of my mother's I felt like holding them. Her brushed white hair was very neat, & her clothes were pressed & clean & quiet & neat. Her quiet little voice when she spoke to the receptionist, also reminded me of my mother. Her neat shoes, soft & clean, on slightly knobbly feet. A black pair of slacks, & a warm camel coloured coat. Her bag was black, & very quiet. She was Miss Modesty, & was the very opposite of Ms Flamboyance.

Different generations, of course, but also totally different looking personalities.

Waiting in the chemist shop this morning. A large aging couple come to the counter. The wife, says to the husband "Do you want to do this?"
He replies, "No no, you are my secretary, you can handle it."
She leans into his ear, & whispers "Don't you you mean Sexetary?"
He gives a little laugh, & says "Oh yes!"

hmmm something to think about....sneaking looks at his walking stick...

My name is called, I go to collect the medication, pay & move along with my day.

Horrors. I have been doing some (gasp) housework! I am not sure how that happened but Gom was vacuuming so I did my share of cleaning, dusting, changing linen in preparation for a dear friend who is coming to stay.

Reading Ann's blog this morning, she features an old house, & wonders what is to become of it, & she mentions that she dislikes change.

I don't mind change, but it depends on where or when. I dislike the changes my body seems determined to inflict upon me. I dislike losing abilities I once had. That type of change is not nice to face.
A reminder that we are, after all, not immortal, as our 18 year old selves once thought.

My daughter loves change in her house. It is not unusual to visit her only to find she has completely rearranged every piece of furniture, or the colours on display. I tend to like my home to 'stay put', you might say. I like to have my clutter, & quilting disorder about me. It might look messy, but I know what it is about, & where everything is.

I do like the change some people afford themselves in colour schemes of their bedrooms etc. I like the way a lot of Americans seem to decorate their homes to the Seasons. It is a European thing too, I suspect. We tend to stick to the same old same old, in this Southern hemisphere. Well, when I say that, most of our family did, & most of our friends do too. With, perhaps redecoration every so often- mostly less often!

Gom likes order, & dislikes change, but he got it into his head, he wanted to change the bed quilt. Now we have one of my favourites on there, but it is also one I liked to use in the lounge. I will just have to make another I suppose.

How do you feel about change? Of any type?

Dire Straights, Love Over Gold.

Wednesday, August 6

L. F. T... stands for 'LIfe's Ferocious Threats'

What the hell is the world coming to, when an 18 year old thug, assualts a man with a disability?

What kind of warped freak of a teenaged 'adult', would attack a defenceless, disabled, man, with a Skateboard? In front of the man's son? Outside the man's home, in broad daylight?

One can only wonder what type of upbringing, & teaching, & homelife, would prompt a mindless young man to do something so brutal, & senseless?

It has happened to a good friend of ours. He overheard taunts to his young teen son, & went to investigate the yelling & the language.

He was then assualted in a most brutal fashion, with the skateboard, weilded by a large, strong, (but extremely cowardly, & one might think seriously, mentally limited, young 'man'), who seemed to go into some type of insane frenzy.

The resulting broken arm, & severe damage to the soft tissue in the arm, is just about unbelievable. The bruising to the ribs, horrendous to look at. He, & we, feel he could well have been killed in the brutal, unprovoked, & mindless assault.

What drives young people to do such things? The victim is known to the assailant, to be disabled. A point the assaialant has mocked, & made fun of. He cannot move quickly to avoid such assault. I fear the attacker to be beyond redemption. Who, but a coward, could attack such a disabled person.

Bullying has been a factor in this scenario. Bullying of the son. His trauma at witnessing this assault, is yet to be determined.

Police, & an ambulance were called. Ambulance staff chose to wait until the police arrived, before offering treatment. What sort of a world do we live in, where teenage thugs can intimidate authority to this extent? It is very frightening to think that such twisted young beings are here, in our midst.

The offender is 'known to Police'. They are hopeful that 'this time he will get a custodial sentence'. How sad is that.

It is, somehow, even sadder, to think he may not recieve more than a wrist slap, with a wet bus ticket.

Our family, as a whole, have felt such anger about this. Our SonIL has said he can see why vigilante groups are formed.

It appeals to the basest emotion, revenge, or redress. Who wouldn't want to get this 'germ', & punish him? It is hard to think, or feel, that he is worth the time & effort, &, expense it might take, to 'reclaim him'. What the hell are parents doing to their children??

How old is too late? To try to redeem a 'lost soul'? I have no idea, but one of the local charities I thought may offer a solution, would seem to be giving up. A man of Faith- which I don't have- has despaired.


On other fronts, life goes on.
I had a lovely period of time today, with my beloved Granddaughter, trying to choose the next round/s for her quilt.

We met her mother at the shop, & we all voiced opinions over various choices.
We even roped in a stranger for an opinion. We hummed & we hahhed, over the fabrics. We auditioned lots of choices. Some were too bright- right colours, but overpowering! Some perfect, but only available, in too-small amounts. DRAT!!

We danced about the shop, walking away, going back. We finally made a couple of choices. Being laundered as I write. I am confident they will look great.

The 'Oven' visit was a mixed affair. I am to see the Specialist again. I am not sure about my relief. Some days it seems good. Other days it is negligible.

I had a very bad night, last night. Honey decided a 'spook' was in the house. There was some noise to indicate she may be correct. She kept barking, & I kept waking... & itching ... & itching... & itching. So the night passed.

America, Only in Your Heart.

Monday, August 4

There is Always More!

If there is one thing I have learnt, through the twisted & sometimes torturous path, of my life, it is the fact that there is always more to every story!

Often, when I read a news story, I am left feeling cheated... what is the story behind the headlines?? The bold & the bald, often leaves out the little details, which can validate, or explain, certain, otherwise puzzling, actions.

I would hasten to advise my readers, I don't belittle, or devalue, Leos! Astrological Leos, is what I am referring to here. My father was a Leo, his youngest brother was also a Leo- same birthdate! My Grandmother -Father's Mother- was a Leo. My Gom is a Leo. I have had many friends who are Leos & it seems I am drawn to Leos like a magnet. My Leo dog is a Leo! My natal chart would indicate my moon is in Leo.

Some wonderful Leos have crossed my path, & I have made friends instantly with the Leo personality. I have found the Female Leo to be quite different to the Male Leo- which is not to say I have found either to be preferrable. I love them all!

So, if you are a Leo reader, I am not picking on any of you!
I want to thank your for all your Birthday wishes to Gom. His birthday is not actually until the 16th. One of his Uncles had his birthday on 17th. They often celebrated together. Hilariously. Yes, there is always more!

His Uncle was blind. He gave his Uncle a bottle of Drambuie for one birthday. The Aunt enquired why the Uncle was smearing his face with Drambuie, in the morning? The Blind Uncle replied, he had assumed the nice shaped bottle was Aftershave! He admitted he felt like tasting it, it smelt so delicious!!


Someone on another Blog- sorry I have forgotten who you are!- asked us to explain why or how, our blogs got their name?

Mine was named because I do believe that life is full of free treats, if we only stop to see & appreciate them! OK, some of them seem a bit backhanded, but mostly, when we stop to think about it all, they are Free Treats.

It began when I visited an elderly neighbour, & told her, I felt that smelling the fresh washing taken from the clothesline, was "one of life's free treats." She seemed a little taken aback, then agreed that she supposed it was. I have always felt that, about fresh laundry, taken off a clothesline. It truly IS one of life's free treats. There is nothing to compare. It seems to embody sunlight, & cleanliness, & all that is good about the world.

I feel that way about spring blossoms, the perfume of roses & the jonquils, freesias, magnolias. The thrill of Iceland Poppies unfolding, all crumpled & squashed, to emerge in perfection, given time. So many miracles happening each & every day- all Life's Free Treats!

My particular favourite miracle, next to babies, & small animals, are the small, humble Grape Hyacinths. I can't explain why I love them so. One of my life's mysteries.

We shared ownership with some pigs. The miracle of watching the piglets being born had to be seen, to be believed. They emerged looking like small pink rosebuds, & unfolded in glory, to become small, wonderful, warm, little piglets, suckling from their proud mother. I defy anyone not to feel moved by the sight.

This next photo is a steal. I stole it from a newspaper article in New Zealand. I loved the story so much, I wanted to share it.
This cat, Tigger, is a thief. He steals off all & sundry. This photo is with some of his booty! Isn't he just gorgeous!! Who could be 'shirty' about him??

I can't find the link to the story, but he has stolen from many neighbours, & most regard it as a joke. His owner tries to wash, & return items when she can. Look at him! He seems so proud of his haul!! He hails from Timaru, New Zealand.

What a lovely, brave, heroic feline! I am sure there is MORE. Un-reported.
There must be many keen gardeners in the vicinity of Tigger! Look at how may gardening gloves he has!!

John Denver, This Old Guitar.

Sunday, August 3

Did you get a 'fright' too?

Yesterday, I was full of good intentions to post, & let everyone know about Honey's ear surgery.

Spent the day in agitated suspension, on & off, wondering if I had lost the whole blog forever and/or whether I would ever get the use of it again.
I went off to check other blogs, & found many of those inaccessable also. Some seemed to be ok, & I stumbled upon bloglines, which I have never used. Could see my post, but no surrounding blogsite. I see now why some people were puzzled when I mentioned my Header pic, & ID pics.

One blog friend sent an email, letting me know it was Site Meter, causing the problems. However not being able to access the site, I couldn't delete Site Meter. A Catch 22.

All seems well today. I still have Site Meter installed.

Honey also seems ok. We were able to bring her home in the evening after her surgery, & apart from a little sulk with me, she seemed unperturbed by her ordeal.

She was hungry, & ate well. She snuggled up on Gom's lap, & gave me a few glares. In the end she snuggled up with me in the night, & all was forgiven.

Here is a view of the ugly stitches. They seem really large to me, but they are Vets, not plastic surgeons after all, & her wool will all grow back, & the scar will probably be unseen.

I didn't get a chance to speak to the vet. The waiting room was like Pet Central, with anxious owners dropping pets off for surgery on the morrow. Others, like us, were there to collect their precious little ones, following surgery. Or following clipping & grooming. Hopefully I can speak to the vet when the stitches come out, but I am sure all is well.
Honey seems very happy & well, & is eating well.
There really is not much other news. All the 'Leos' in my life are having birthdays this month. I struggle to remember their individual birthdays.
I phoned a cousin in New Zealand yesterday, for his birthday. He said they have been having wild weather & have been lashed with rain & cold winds. He would have been very happy & warm last evening- the All Blacks had a victory over Aussie. His sister & I didn't get the 'sport gene' & it all flows over us without a ripple!
When I worked in a busy office, the other staff used to try to tease me about the Rugby Union or the Rugby League. I really disappointed them with my reactions. Usually I was blissfully unaware there was even a game on!
I have not got anything to show in the sewing stakes. Just made a small project while Honey was away. It is not as good as it looked in the magazine, but it kept me occupied for the afternoon.
I still haven't finished my Granddaughter's quilt. I just cant decide what to use to finish it off, & am thinking I might get her to come with me to help choose some fabric. She was a little less than delighted when I completed quilts for her best friend, & her mother, & still haven't completed hers.
On the domestic front, we will live to fight another day. haha.
Gom has been busy painting the downstairs bathroom, & painting over the patches from the repairs to the pipe repair. He has put all the books back in the bookcases, & almost got his garage back to how he likes it.
He is girding his loins, so to speak, to have another birthday. He will be 72! How scary is that! I can't believe I am married to someone that old! haha. No wonder he is a Grouchy old Leo!
In the garden, my Daphne is almost finished blooming. I didn't notice the perfume as much as usual this year. It always reminds me of my mother, who loved it's beautiful citrus-y perfume. It always seemed to flower on her birthday 17th July, so we always think of her when we see or smell Daphne.
Janis Ian, I Remember Yesterday.