Sunday, July 29, 2012


For many years now MOH and I have taken our daughter to lunch on her birthday, which is 27 July.  We unfortunately missed doing so last year but this year everything went to schedule but we went to a different venue and there were 3 additions to the group which was great.  Our oldest granddaughter and her two little ones came along as well which made it an extra enjoyable experience.

I thought our lass looked so elegant in her black outfit with that beautiful orange scarf.  I am always so proud of the way she looks and even though she is such a busy lady she is still a very large part of my life.

Hopefully we will all be together for her birthday next year and perhaps for several years down the track.  We oldies have to think there is a future ahead of us and this special day each year is one reason we would like to still be here to share it with her.  Glad you had such a happy birthday which extended into Saturday when you had lunch with friends with whom you work.  You deserve it all. xxxx

Friday, July 27, 2012


This one for PPMJ.  Recently I made comment on her blog about some beautiful flowers she had bought and there was a mention of jonquils, a flower I've never liked that much.

This story goes back to about 1969-70 when we were living in Mosman Park.  We were all set to go to a gathering at daughter's school that evening although I can't recall what the event was for.  We lived next door to where MOH worked in an office of that firm and they were having after work drinks as one of the ladies who worked in the office was retiring after many years service with the firm.

The two children and myself had dinner and got ourselves ready to go to the school gathering but no sign of MOH.  There was no way I was going to his office appearing as a bad tempered wife wanting her husband to come home straight away which he would have hated and so would I.

Eventually, far too late by then to go to the school, MOH arrived home clutching a bunch of jonquils.   It seems one of the young women in the office realised he could be in trouble for being so late and as he went to leave she handed him the jonquils and said to give them to me as a peace offering.  Unfortunately they are one flower I've never liked as their perfume gives me hay fever so a bad choice on his part.  I love daffodils which belong to the genus Narcissus as do jonquils but daffodils don't seem to upset me in any way.

MOH was definitely under the influence which was most unusual for him and it was really funny the way he acted and as we'd never seen him like that we often used to look back on it and laugh our heads off. 

I went into the bedroom and shut the door but in he came still trying to make amends for being so late and as he walked around the end of the bed he lost his balance and ended up knocking some items off the dressing table.  The funniest thing was when he said "you pushed me", me being on the other side of the room.  This made me laugh which in turn made him quite 'cross' but in a funny way.

I think he eventually slept it off and was quite OK the next morning but I have never been sure that he actually remembered much about the previous evening.

I am hoping my daughter may add to this by saying what the occasion at the school was and whether she was upset at our not going.  I don't remember her being upset about it so maybe she wasn't.  I have never worked out why I just didn't go to the school with the two children as the car would have been at home but obviously it didn't happen.  Or did it??  Help me K.  What are your memories of that night?


I didn't have time to conclude the story of my daughter's arrival past where I was still in hospital.  I thought perhaps the story of her homecoming would also be interesting; well at least I have such happy memories so I indulge me for a few minutes.

After about 10 days in hospital I arrived home with my little bundle of charm.  My husband's grandmother had bought a beautiful pink perspex (quite large) baby bath which was wonderful to use.  His mother sent down to our house one of a pair of very large cane chairs as she said they were ideal for sitting in when feeding a baby.  These were beautiful chairs with a padded back and also a large upholstered cushion and she was so right...the chair was really comfy to sit in while nursing the baby.  (I eventually, years later, was given the second chair and I had them upholstered and repaired and now my daughter has them in her home and know she treasures them very much).

My mother-in-law (being an excellent seamstress) had made 3 little white dresses which she had embroidered on the yoke.  I had also done quite a lot of knitting and also made nighties and matinee jackets and of course hemmed all the cloth napkins as there were no disposable nappies in those days and I don't think we could have afforded them anyway.  We would buy nappy cloth by the yard, cut it to size and hem the cut sides.  I preferred the cotton to the towelling nappies but guess it was a matter of choice.

Other family members had knitted jackets etc but with the baby being quite small they were a little large at first.  A friend of my mother had declared I was definitely having a baby girl and for some reason she had knitted a tiny pink jacket which was an ideal fit.  She seemed to be a lady with a sixth sense about these things which was quite amazing.  How did she know the baby would be so small I wonder?

Our next door neighbour was an elderly lady who on my first morning home called to me over the fence and asked me if I would like to come into her home to give my little one her first bath.  She said she had the stove going and her kitchen was lovely and warm.  As I was somewhat nervous about bathing the baby on my own for the first time I took her up on her lovely offer and handed the bath plus towel and other necessary bits and pieces over the side fence and around I went with my daughter. I had a wonderful time giving her a bath in the company of a very experienced mum and from then on I was never nervous at bath time.

Unfortunately my little one suffered quite severe colic for the first 3 months of her life and for us it was fortunate it was nearly always after we'd finished dinner of an evening.  For 2-3 hours  she was periodically in quite severe pain and it was heartbreaking to hear her cry without there being a lot one could do to help her.  I would administer what then was called 'gripe water' which I think was fluid magnesia and I am not sure it did a lot of good.  I would lay her on her tummy and rub her back  which did seem to help somewhat and sometimes we'd tug up and take her for a walk in her cane pram and this seemed to help her quite a bit and eventually she would settle down and we would get a good night's sleep.  Amazingly enough once she turned 3 months the colic magically vanished.  Several people had told me this would happen and sure enough it did almost to the day.

Apart from the colic my little daughter thrived and was a favourite with everyone as she always had a ready smile from only a few weeks of age and was an absolute delight to care for.  It would probably be frowned on these days but my mum-in-law would dip a milk arrowroot biscuit into her cup of tea and feed this to the baby who at that time was only a few months old.  It never seemed to do her any harm and I often wonder if that is why today my daughter really enjoys a good cup of tea.

I am so glad I have these wonderful memories and although occasionally a few times over the intervening years my daughter and I have not always seen eye to eye (after all we ARE both human) our relationship has been very special to me and as MOH and I have aged she and her hubby have been very good to us.  What more could we ask for than that.  Thank you my dear girl for being you. xxx


Today my beautiful daughter celebrates another birthday.  I won't say her age as that is her personal business but suffice to say I was 23 when she was born.  Yesterday she was on my mind a lot and my thoughts flew back to when she was born and the first few weeks of her life.  Let me tell you that story.

My first husband and I had been married about 17 months and we were both working.  I began to feel a little unwell and as I was unsure what the problem was I visited my dear old GP.  He examined me and told me he was sure I was pregnant and that I should see a specialist immediately.  He quickly got me an appointment with an excellent obstetrician who told me that I was definitely pregnant but in some danger of losing the baby.

First there was the thrill of knowing I was carrying a new life but then the concern about whether this baby would survive.  I gave up my job and followed orders about taking it easy and for the next couple of months kept my feet up as much as possible etc so that hopefully all would be well.

I know friends and family members who have had lots of trouble while pregnant but apart from being careful what I did for the first few months, I felt wonderful.  No morning sickness at all so plenty of time for sewing and knitting and thinking of baby names.  Chose 3 girl's names I really liked and a couple of boy's names.  I never told anyone but I desperately wanted this baby to be a girl.  My 3 chosen girl's names were Diane, Karen and Susan.  Ordinary but nice.  The boy's names were Peter and Steven.  Not many fancy names back in the 1950s.

Towards the final months of this pregnancy it seemed I was carrying a lot of fluid and my blood pressure began to rise way past where it should normally me.  My specialist kept an eye on me and when I visited him when I was 8 months he said I was to see him again in a week and if my B/P was still high he would put me into hospital.

I am not sure if he scared me but during that night I woke knowing something wasn't quite as it should be.  A friend with whom we shared the house had had a baby 6 weeks previously so my husband called her in and she said she definitely thought the baby might be on its way.  My husband also drove to the GP's house (we had no telephone way back then) and the doctor told him to get me over to the hospital immediately, if not sooner.  This would have been at about 3am and as when we arrived at the hospital my water broke as I was going up the front steps.

When in the maternity ward I was immediately taken into the delivery room and my specialist arrived only a short while before my lovely daughter was born at 5.30am.  It was mid-winter and I remember him arriving dressed in a turtle neck sweater and telling me it was darned cold outside.   All went very well and so very quickly too.  The baby weighed 5lb 8ozs which was a good weight as she was 4 weeks premature (and she was 18 inches long).  She was very healthy and was taken to the nursery to be weighed and all the other things they do to new babies.

As my doctor was very modern in his approach to pregnancy I walked from the delivery room to my room and was told I could get up later in the morning and have a shower.  I later learned that practically all other doctors didn't allow new mums to get out of bed for up to a week and I was the envy of quite a few.  I shared the room with a lady named Thelma who was 39 and had just had her first baby.  I feel it had come as quite a surprise to her to find she was pregnant but she loved her little boy and so did her husband.  We kept in touch for a year or so but eventually lost touch as they moved to the eastern states.  I often wonder how they were faring.

It was normal then to stay in hospital for 10 days after giving birth and I must admit I enjoyed having the rest.  On the first morning I noticed Thelma having a cigarette and I too was a smoker then.  One of the nurses (they were nuns back then) came in and I asked her if it would be a good idea if I perhaps stopped smoking now I had a baby.  Her answer would startle people today but she said "Oh no dear.  The shock of giving up smoking might cause you to lose your milk."  How times have changed.  I therefore kept smoking and finally gave up the wicked weed when I was about 38 years old.  These days I hear dreadful stories of what happens to babies whose mothers smoke while they are pregnant.  Do I feel guilty about having smoked during two pregnancies and while breast feeding?  No I don't and  will write a post soon about reasons why smoking was once considered good for you just to explain why I don't feel guilty.  I don't think either of my children have suffered because of my habit for which I am very thankful.

That is when and how my baby girl arrived in my life and today as a lovely grown woman I hope she has a wonderfully happy birthday.  I do just love her so much.  Happy Birthday my first born child. xx

Saturday, July 14, 2012


I know my grammar may not always be perfect as one can get carried away expressing one's opinions while at the same time forgetting how to 'write' correctly.

When I was at school (1937-1947) we had ENGLISH as a subject and not only did we learn poetry and write essays but we also did parsing (analysing a sentence) and grammar and so on.  We learned all about nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives etc., and also how to use punctuation correctly.  The latter is particularly important for reading poetry and prose aloud.

Hopefully I learnt to write words in the correct sequence but also to spell rather well.  I always prided myself on being a very good speller and if I am not sure of how to spell a word I still always look it up.

What distresses me the most these days is not only sometimes bad spelling (I have never worked out why they left the 'me' off the end of the word programme...just 'cos they do that in the USA?) but the use of words such as 'and' to begin a sentence.  We were taught that 'and' was a conjunction, a word that joined two phrases in a sentence.  For example:

"Today we went to the shops.  And we bought some curtains."  Why not simply write  "Today we went to the shops and we bought some curtains."

Am I getting old and grumpy or is it time the younger generation, and others, including journalists etc., began using our English language as it should be used?

Just had to have a wee grouch about it.....hope you don't mind me doing so.

P.S.  I love words and our English language which is probably why I have 50 games of Scrabble going on Facebook.


My nephew from Canberra has been in Perth this week practising as a member of a large orchestra from all parts of the world and they are performing in Fremantle tonight.  My daughter and her husband are going to the concert and I am looking forward to hearing all about it.

John was 63 yesterday and I had sent him an email wishing him a happy birthday and also best wishes for the concert.

This morning I received an email from him thanking us for our best wishes and telling me that the 80 piece orchestra had played and sung Happy Birthday for him yesterday.  I could tell from his words that he was absolutely delighted and very surprised.

As they were practising 3 times a day we had no chance of seeing him on the day but my daughter and her hubby (who picked John up at his hotel in the city), MOH and I had lunch with John last Saturday at the Yanchep Inn (Yanchep is a very picturesque national park north of Perth) so we had spent quality time with him then.

I just wondered how many folk had been serenaded on their birthday by an 80 piece orchestra!!  One can only imagine how wonderful that greeting would have sounded.

P.S.  I always enjoy going to Yanchep as it is the place where I met MOH 47 years ago.

Friday, July 13, 2012


I always loved to hear wee stories from mum about life on their farm before I arrived in their lives.  One in particular was when she spoke of a bush that grows in our southwest called boronia.  It has a highly scented brown and yellow flower which most people love although it can be a little overpowering if you get too much of it in a closed room.

Mum and dad used to supplement their income by picking boronia, packing it carefully and putting in on rail at the Narrikup siding to go to Perth where it would be sold on street corners for 6d or 1/- a bunch (that is sixpence or one shilling).  The part of the story that really intrigued me was that the boronia bushes grew so high that mum and dad could ride through the bush and actually pick the flowers while still in the saddle.  I would imagine with the amount of clearing that has taken place since the 1920s that there is very little wild boronia left now.

I can still remember the beautiful smell when the first boronia arrived in the city each year and there would be baskets of it everywhere with bunches ready for sale.  I think it did give me hay fever but I still couldn't resist buying a bunch every now and again.

Another funny story mum would tell is once again about she and dad riding through the bush when they came upon this racehorse goanna (they can grow up to 3 feet long or more).  This particular goanna was apparently startled by the sound of the horses so it decided to run up one of the front legs of the horse dad was riding.  Mum said she had never seen dad move so the goanna went up one side of the horse dad leapt off the other side.  It is well know that these goannas will run up the nearest object if they are startled or frightened and in this case the closest object was dad's horse.   Locally they are called 'bungarras' which may be a derivative of the name aborigines have for them.

As far as I remember my mum and dad never swore apart from dad saying damn, blast or similar and mum not at all although I must admit she would say 'jam and plaster' which I realised when I was older was her way of saying 'damn and blast it!!'.  I mentioned to mum one day about dad never swearing and she said "but you never heard him when the cows wouldn't go through the paddock gate, he would turn the air blue".  That to me shows what a polite person my dad was and how considerate he was of others.  A truly wonderful man.

As other of mum's stories come to mind I will share them with you and hope you will find something to enjoy or laugh at in some of them.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I was just reading my daughter's blog where she mentioned 'keepsakes' she had inherited from various family members and it made me realise how wonderful it would have been to have had grandparents, aunts etc., in my life.

My adopted parents had come from England and although dad had a son from a previous marriage (his first wife had died quite young) when I arrived on the scene Len was nearly 21 years old.  No other member of either family had emigrated so that was it for me....mum, dad and a half-brother.

Mum and dad's home on the farm burnt down before I was born so any heirlooms they had brought with them from England perished in that fire, all except dad's MBE medal which of course Len had after dad's death.

When I think of it now, it does seem strange that there are no family heirlooms in my home except a gold slave bangle that had belonged to my birth mother which I was fortunate to have given to me by an aunt when I met her several years ago.  That one precious keepsake hangs on the bedpost at the head of my bed and although I was never fortunate enough to meet my real mum, I keep that little part of her life nearby at all times.  So yes, I do have something that is very precious to me.  Otherwise I just have wonderful memories.

I am not in the least bit jealous but just feel so very pleased my daughter has these items to remind her constantly of the people she loved and who loved her very much too.  I am hoping that one day she may have something of mine which she will cherish.

Monday, July 9, 2012


I often think of my wonderful adopted mum and little stories she told me over the many years we knew each other.  She and dad farmed in the south-west of Western Australia for 17 years after they arrived from their home in England and she'd often reminisce about her life in the UK and on the farm.

In London she and dad (and his young son) lived in a 3-storey house and had a housekeeper as mum at that time had a very good job at the Sugar Commission which is where she met dad as he was Chief Clerk there.  They married during WW1 so no talk of her leaving the position she held which was also a very important one.  Sugar was a very precious commodity in England during the first war.

She tells the story of their housekeeper who was a sleepwalker and would often get up in the night and do her early morning chores whilst asleep.  She would then get up in the morning and wonder who had been interfering with her duties.  I don't know how many times that happened but obviously often enough for it to be a well known event.  I guess said housekeeper would probably also wonder why she felt tired during the day.

Mum also told about when the ship they were travelling on arrived in the port of Albany on our south coast.  It was too large to pull into the quay so had to anchor in the very large bay there and passengers had to disembark by going down a rope ladder to a smaller boat waiting to take them to the quay.  Dad had apparently been given a very nice clock as a gift when he left the Sugar Commission and he valued it so much he had it with him in their cabin and not in their general luggage.  When they went to climb down the rope ladder dad of course had to look after his son who was only about 10 years old so mum was given the job of carrying the large clock as well as her handbag.   She eventually made it but it was one 'trip' she never forget as she knew there would be trouble should she drop that clock.

She also spoke of a Yorkshire couple who lived in Albany at the time and always met any ships arriving from the UK.  They were the very first people that mum and dad spoke to when they first set foot on Australian soil and they remained friends until the old couple eventually died years later.  They too had moved to Perth at about the same time as mum and dad and I well remember visiting them when I was a child.  They had no children of their own and at the time of my first marriage "Auntie" Annie gave me a beautiful handmade handkerchief as the 'something old'.  I still have that handkerchief and it is indeed very lovely.  It is small and surrounded by the most delicate handmade Nottingham lace.

As mum and and dad were 'new chums' and knew absolutely nothing about farming mum told me that a farmer nearby had taken dad on to 'show him the ropes' about farming.  The only job dad learned to do was to move large rocks and boulders and stack them up so the paddocks could be ploughed.  I believe that after a week or so of this dad decided he was learning nothing so chucked in this 'job' and decided they'd go it on their own.  For this I can't say I blame him one little bit and by trial and error they eventually made it although there were many battles along the way.

There are other stories I can relate but I don't want to bore anyone so if anyone has found any of the above at all interesting maybe a few more of mum's anecdotes at a later date.