Friday, March 30, 2012


Over 40 years ago MOH bought me this lovely little Philips AM/FM portable radio.  It was quite small and so convenient to use.  I always had it beside me on the sofa and would turn it on to hear news bulletins or just to listen to talk back radio or listen to football games during the AFL season.

I knew it was getting old 'cos the volume control/ switch was getting worn but it still worked OK as long as I was patient with it.  The sound wasn't as good as when it was new but then I didn't listen to music on it anyway and only ever listened to AM stations.  The AM/FM switch had given up working too.

Last week we changed the batteries (had to always use sticky tape to keep them in place but that was never a problem) and it was getting a bit tricky to open and close.  This time all went well until we turned it on and there was this awful buzzing sound that we couldn't stop.

Took it to our local radio shop and left it with them.  They rang to say that the radio was very old (we knew that already) and a couple of the switches were very worn but that they would try and solder some of the bits together and would ring when ready.  The sad news came on Wednesday when they rang to say "Sorry but it's just too old and the parts too worn to be repaired".

Oh no!!!....not my old friend that had been my companion over so many years.  What to do now?  I got on the internet and found a nearby store that had several portable radios listed and one had a review that said this chap had bought this particular radio for his 81yo mum and she was extremely pleased with it and found it very easy to use.  O.K. I thought to myself I am 80 so it should be all right for me too.

Told MOH and he immediately jumped in the car, drove to the store and bought me my new radio and when I went to give him the money for it he said it was my Easter gift (he is just so wonderful).  So now I have a lovely new radio (about twice the size of the old one but still compact and very portable) and will be able to listen to the football (the season begins this week) to my heart's content as well as the other programmes I like to hear.

The radio shop only wanted $10 for having tried to save my little radio which I thought was reasonable and good of them and I will bring it home and pop it in a cupboard as I don't have the heart to dump it in the bin.  I know that sounds a bit silly but you don't just dump old friends in the bin do you?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


It really was a wonderful beginning to my day.  I was feeling a wee bit grotty as I'd had my annual 'flu injection yesterday and I always get a bit of a fluey feeling for several hours and a very sore arm.  Had gone back to half a dose a few years back but doctor and I decided a full dose was really the way to go so that is what I now have.  I have a pink egg-shaped lump on my arm (injection site) but that and all else was forgotten when MOH answered the phone and said it was for me.

It's quite a long story but will try to cut it short.   My lovely physiotherapist (Jenny) and I were chatting a few weeks back when she was treating some part of my body which was more painful that the rest and the conversation turned to families.  She mentioned that her mother's maiden name had been Moore and for some reason I said that I had gone to school back in 1944/45 with a Hilary Moore.  "Oh" said Jenny "my mum has a cousin Hilary".  Turned out her mum's cousin and the girl I went to school were one and the same person.

I had a small snap of my friend Hilary taken when she was about 14 which I gave to Jenny to show her mum.  She immediately confirmed it was a photograph of her cousin (she actually at first glance had thought it was a photo of herself so a family likeness there).

What should I now do?  Jenny provided me with Hilary's address (she is now living in a retirement village) and telephone number.  Wasn't sure about ringing as it would be something so "out of the blue" that it might not work out so I wrote (typed) a letter explaining who I am, where we went to school and other friends I remembered from that school.  I also explained how I had discovered where she lived etc. I posted the letter on 8th March and not having heard anything by 27th March I thought perhaps Hilary didn't wish to make contact with me and had more or less given up hope of hearing from her.

Today when she rang she explained she had to pluck up courage to make her call as she wasn't sure if she should ring or not but I was so delighted she did.  I explained that I had written instead of ringing her for that very same reason and hoped to hear back from her.  We talked for over 20 minutes and strangest of all we both discovered that neither of us had liked that particular school, actually really hated it and couldn't wait to leave.  I left a year before she did but that is another story about commercial college etc.

We discovered we had so much in common (we even both have type 2 diabetes) that we could have talked for hours.  Had even both gone to the same place for our honeymoons 'cos we didn't have a lot of money (my first honeymoon of course). Hilary is now a widow which is sad but she seems quite happy where she is living and has a loving family (she had 6 children....I just had 2) who, although busy, are very good to her which is great.

I am so hoping that we can keep in touch and enjoy more lovely chats about our lives over the intervening since years since we were at school together.  Who knows, perhaps we will actually get together before too long.  I am looking forward to that happening over the next few months.

It may sound silly but I'm still sort of walking on air.  Those of you who may have been reading my blogs about my childhood memories will have realised I'd never had the opportunity to gather friends along the way because of constantly moving around the suburbs and not living near the schools I attended, so to catch up with a long lost friend has been fantastic.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


After spending a couple of pleasant years renting in Auckland Street, North Perth, came the time to find somewhere else to live as the owners of the house were selling and I imagine perhaps mum and dad couldn't afford to buy it.  This was a shame as it was a really nice house and is still standing today.

We found another very nice house at 37 Coronation Street (also in North Perth) and only a kilometre or so from the one in Auckland Street.  In fact Coronation Street is almost a continuation of Auckland Street.  You just have to cross Scarborough Beach Road to get from one street to the other.

This new rental home was owned by a Mrs Jukes who lived next door with her grown son John.  They were very good landlords and there were some very friendly neighbours in the street as well which was great.

I'd not found any friends when living in previously rented houses but I immediately became friends with 3 girls living in Coronation Street.  They all attended a local catholic school and knew each other very well but during school holidays and after school and on weekends we became quite inseparable.  In those days games played were simple ones as there was only radio or gramophone records to entertain otherwise.  We played skippy by tying one end of the rope to the front fence, or hopscotch where we drew the game on the asphalt footpaths with chalk.  Simple games they may have been but quite energetic which I imagine kept us all quite fit and healthy.  Good exercise and fresh air always two good ingredients for youngsters.

It was while living here that Mum decided I was to leave the catholic school in East Perth was had been attending for over  years and would attend Perth College in Mount Lawley.  It nearly broke my heart to have to leave Vic Square but I had no choice.

There was however a big interruption to me starting at Perth College.  I've mentioned I'd had health problems for a few years and it was at the end of January, 1944 when my appendix burst.  The doctor knew I was very ill but still had no idea what was wrong until suddenly the pain stopped and he then realised something had to be done immediately.  He rang for an ambulance and off I was transported to St John of God Hospital in Subiaco.  Incidentally I shared the ambulance with the older brother of one of my friends.  He we were told afterwards was suffering from scarlet fever (an infectious disease) and was probably on his way to the infectious diseases hospital in Shenton Park.  As it was warm time and ambulances would have been scarce we shared and that was that.

I think I've spoken before of my appendicitis so won't go into detail suffice to say an excellent surgeon was found to do an emergency operation.  He found the problem and after 4 weeks in hospital I was allowed home but not allowed to attend school until after the May holidays were over.  Mum and dad tutored me as much as they could during the time I was at home but subjects like algebra, geometry, French and German etc were subjects I'd not taken before so a lot of catching up to do.

I never enjoyed my time at Perth College and must admit I didn't make a lot of effort except in the subjects I enjoyed.  I eventually talked the folks into letting me attend a commercial college in the city and from there I got an excellent job after I had turned 15 and dad would allow me to leave school.

It would seem that dad was either tired of being a Rawleighs dealer or perhaps sales had dropped (I have found on a newspaper archive website where he had been advertising Rawleighs goods in our morning newspaper) but he arrived home one day and announced to mum and me that he had decided we would become shopkeepers.  He had bought a shop (or was it rental, I don't really know..perhaps leased) in Swanbourne.  This was a big move from the areas we had known well over the past 7 or 8 years after we moved to Perth from the farm and there would be a lot of travelling for me to go to school.

More of that next time........


Thursday morning we found that Precious had brought us a baby rat which we were very grateful for but which was discarded into the bin but we didn't tell her that.  She had been hunting so quite fit and healthy.

Friday morning began as normal with Precious demanding her bowl of bikkies and off she went outside.  MOH and I became rather concerned though when 9 hours later she hadn't returned home.  She is always asking for her fish dinner at about 5pm and here it was gone 6pm and no sign of her.  We had both called her several times during the day but seening any sign of her.

MOH went out again just before the sun set (6.15pm) and she came to his call and inside she came.  Fish dinner presented to her but she wouldn't eat it nor wanted her biscuits or even a drink of water.  She went and curled up on the mat in our living room and, apart from changing her position occasionally, she slept for 5 hours.

I feared the worst as I had heard a slight altercation between Precious and a neighbouring cat in our back garden on the Wednesday afternoon.  Had she sustained a cat bite or been scratched?  I could find no injury or even a sore spot anywhere on her but that doesn't always mean much.

At about 11.20pm as MOH and I headed for bed Precious woke up and followed us and sprang up on to my bed which I felt was a good sign.  At least she could jump OK.

After the usual teeth cleaning etc., jobs preceding bed had been completed MOH and I curled up in our respective beds and settled down to reading.  Precious was on the side of my bed but not lying down as such.  I heard her head more or less hit the mattress and immediately sat up and checked if she was OK.  I lifted her head and it was completely floppy.  I thought she was dead but no, she stirred and settled down again.  I actually lifted her head about 3 times and it was as though she was lifeless.

After lights out Precious came up and curled up right next to my shoulder and it was in that position or further up right next to my pillow that she slept all night.  I really felt a visit to the vet would be on the agenda the next morning.

Wrong again.  She woke up and began eating her previous night's dinner and even a few biscuits and had a drink of water.  Her head and nose had felt warm the night before but now her nose was cool and damp as we believe they should be in healthy animals.

MOH accompanied her outside that morning to make sure there were no unwanted visitors in our yard and after she made a little visit to the sand in the garden she seemed pleased to come back inside.  She was quiet the rest of Saturday but eating and drinking without a problem and appeared her happy, healthy self.  She spent some time outside during the afternoon and even went out for a short while in the evening but kept close to the house.

This morning MOH and I slept in (well it IS Sunday) and at 9.20am we were awakened by much loud miaowing from Precious who was waiting outside the kitchen door demanding we fill up her biscuit bowl.  She had eaten all those that had been left out for her the previous night so her appetite had returned completely.  She had also eaten all her dinner on Saturday night and, although she slept with us during the night for short spells, she was back to her favourite past-time of looking out on the garden through the back windows.  There is still quite a bit of the nocturnal animal in Precious although she has adapted quite well to the human way of life.

Today she is absolutely back to her old self and you'd never know that Friday had actually happened the way it had.

All we can say is we are so thankful that our little furry friend is OK as the way we felt when she hadn't come home on Friday evening made us realise just how much we would miss her if anything happened to her.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


We have a large bird cage (6'x4') in which we have about 30 or 40 finches all of which have been bred here as I bought the first half dozen back in about 1986.

They love to have a bath and of course need to have water to drink as well.  Unfortunately they tend to do both in the same dish so it has to be cleaned out quite frequently.  For some years now we have been using a large and reasonably deep terracotta saucer (the type you put under a plant pot).  My arthritis now keeps me from getting into the cage so MOH has taken over the responsibility of caring for the birds for which I am very grateful to him.

The terracotta dish has been looking darker and darker in colour and no amount of scrubbing makes it look any better.  The other day I realised I had a lovely, large glass dish (perhaps for quiches or similar) that had sat in a kitchen cupboard for years without being used.  "Aha" thought I "that would be lovely for the finches.  A nice fresh, clean dish".

I gave the dish to MOH who took it into the cage and filled it with clean water at the same time removing the old chatty terracotta dish.  We both felt we had done something really good for the little birds.

But NO!  We went out next day and they had not been in or near the new dish.  Not one grain of seed (or anything else that finches often deposit in their dish) was in sight.  We left it a few hours but still they didn't go near it.  MOH really scrubbed the old dish vigorously and popped it back in the cage and we once again had a bunch of happy finches, drinking and bathing to their little hearts' content.

The glass dish has been sterilised (just in case) and perhaps one day I will find a use for it.  Now I think it will be a trip to the garden centre to buy a new, large terracotta saucer but the question is "Will they use it or will they still prefer the old one?"

We were both amazed that even though the weather was quite hot and they would have needed to drink, and to bathe too perhaps, no way would they go in or near the glass dish.  I wonder if anyone can explain why?

Friday, March 9, 2012


Sad but true....The Kwinana Hotel will close on 11 March and after an auction to sell off all that can be sold it will be pulled down and apparently the area will be used for more housing.

MOH and I have been going to the Kwinana Hotel several times a year for some time now.  We used to quite often meet an old friend of mine at various hotels/cafes half way between where we live and her home in Mandurah but the Kwinana was our favourite.  The Kwinana is just an old fashioned Aussie pub and had a great smorgasbord covering many varieties of good food and excellent desserts.  Tea and coffee were also included.  It is a favourite with pensioners and you would quite often see a bus or buses parked in the car park which had brought a number of pensioners for lunch there on pension days.

Several years ago my friend's youngest son moved back to W.A. from NS.W.with the intent of helping his mother who by that time was quite unwell.  We still used to meet with both of them and we have so many happy memories of their company and meals enjoyed in Kwinana.  My friend died 2 years ago but we still kept on meeting Richard for lunch and yesterday we joined Richard for our last lunch at the old pub.  It still only cost MOH and myself $AUS17.00 each and Richard $AUS20.00.  That is an amazing price for all you can eat.

I guess it is because MOH are now getting on in years but we really don't enjoy the very modern meals being served these days with bits and pieces piled in the middle of plates or if you have fish and chips the fish is on top of the chips with sauce or whatever poured over the top resulting in soggy chips.  I can see we are going to have to do some serious investigation to see if there are actually any old Aussie pubs still open and also places that fall within our financial capabilities.  We can only hope.

RIP Kwinana Hotel.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


I am not sure just how long we lived in Clive Street, West Perth but I think when we moved to 67 Auckland Street, North Perth (some post office directories show it as Leederville) I was about 8 years old.  The house was owned by a Mr and Mrs Harvey Coombs.  I think Mr C was away in the Air Force and Mrs C decided to rent out the main part of the house to a family while she lived in a room at the back.  I know she worked and was seldom home so this suited everyone.  She was a very nice person.

The house was fully equipped with very nice furniture although I can't fully recall the layout of the house.  I did have an indoor bedroom but during the summer months I would sleep on the back verandah which I think had a canvas blind for privacy.  It was quite safe to do this way back then.

I used to catch the bus into Perth as I was still going to Victoria Square College so more travelling to do.  All this shifting from suburb to suburb is I am sure one reason I was never in the one place long enough to make permanent friends.  I had friends at school of course but they lived in entirely different suburbs to those we lived in.

During the time in Auckland Street I remember having measles quite badly (there was an epidemic that year) and apparently I was also unwell with nasty pains high up on the right side of my abdomen.  Mum took me to a doctor in Mt Hawthorn who said I had kidney problems and shouldn't eat red meat.  As dad used to come home for his lunch he and mum would have their red meat at lunchtime and I would have perhaps fish or chicken or similar for dinner at night.  I think this went on for a couple of years and of course we found out a few years later that I did not have kidney problems but a grumbling appendix.

The only other significant thing I can remember while in Auckland Street was Molly our cat having kittens on my bed.  It was when I was sleeping on the verandah and I woke up to the sound of mewing and watched in awe as the little kittens were born.  I was delighted to be part of this wonder and it didn't worry me in the least.  I remember Mrs Coombs being horrified that I (at age 8) had seen this happen but mum said she saw no harm in it as it was all part of learning about life.

I doubt I remember this happening so mum must of course have told me about it.  Apparently Mr and Mrs Coombs were separating so it was decided the house was to be sold.  We were once again on the move but mum and dad did buy the furniture so next time we would be looking for an empty house to rent.

Oh yes, one last thing.  Living in a corner house not far from us was an elderly French lady. Whenever I walked past her house and she was outside she would always speak to me and was so friendly.  I believe she gave me a lovely pair of brown shoes that were a little large for her.  They were beautiful leather and I would wear them quite proudly when going out with my folks.  Funny the thing you remember.


This though was kindly laughter, the recipient of which was MOH.

I was out here in my work room when in he strolled looking very serious.  "What have you been up to?" I asked, to which he replied "I have been thinking about my 85th birthday."

As he only turned 82 last December I thought this a little unusual so asked him what had brought these thoughts to his mind.

His reply was wonderful and was the reason for my good natured laughter:

"I have been thinking about my 85th birthday when (and if ) I get there" he explained, "and I've decided on that day I will break all the rules of our healthy diet:

Breakfast...Bacon, eggs, sausage and maybe a slice of fried bread.
Morning tea....Small pork pie
Lunch....Fish and chips and a glass of dark ale
Afternoon tea...Chocolate eclair
Dinner...Traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings followed by apple pie and cream and of course a
                glass or two of wine.
Supper...Camembert cheese and biscuits and before retiring for the night a drop of good Scotch.

MOH says if he makes it to 85 then he deserves to have all of the above and I agree with him.  This will probably use up all the fat etc., allowed for about a month so back to a rigid diet afterwards but I feel he will be quite happy to be good again for some time.

I have made a note of the menu so that when he reaches 85 I will be able to make sure he gets his wish.  Hopefully I will still be here to do just that and enjoy it with him.