Monday, October 29, 2012


Sunday 8.30am  Time to go to the loo.  Sit up in bed.  Damn and blast!!! (or as my mum used to say Jam and Plaster!!).  Oh hell!  Not again!!!   Make it to bathroom and then find Stemitel and take one and manage to get back to bed without falling over and waking my other half.  Well it is Sunday and a sleep in is always great.

Finally ended up lying in bed with eyes shut for nearly 3 hours as opening eyes immediately produced merry-go-round effect of walls spinning round and round.

Tried massaging all my neck and back of head.  Did this help this time or was it a mere coincidence on Wednesday that I seemed to come good almost straight away?  As these attacks seem to take up to 3 hours to abate and last time I didn't do the neck/head massage until that time there is no answer to that question.  Maybe it is my ear after all that is causing the problem.

After I eventually get back to near normal it then takes at least 3-4 hours to feel 'right' so a full day almost totally wasted.  My co-ordination etc. is out of whack for some time afterwards.  At my age you just can't afford to 'waste' full days!!

I am making an appointment to see my GP this week and will insist he please refer me to someone who can perhaps either tell me exactly what is causing this awful vertigo or at least be capable of treating it in some way.

It is not only distressing for me but I know it is very upsetting for MOH who feels so helpless and he can do without this extra stress in his life.  He has to worry about me enough now without this added burden.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I am sure many people today have magnets on their fridge or plaques on their walls and I am no exception or am I just hanging on to things we did in the past?  Anyway today I decided I should remove the magnets so I could clean the fridge door properly and I was amused and quite delighted by some of the sayings on them.  I thought I'd share a few words of wisdom with you:

"When everything is upside down, rest if you must but don't quit."  (Never give up)

"Cultivate your sense of humour.  Laughter hides in strange places."  (It surely does)

"Before you borrow money from a friend, decide which you need more."  (Great advice there)

"You have achieved success if you have lived well, laughed often, and loved much."  (Oh, yes!!)

"A true friend is the greatest of all blessings."   (I am fortunate to have had some wonderful friends)

These are probably more about me:

"I may not always be perfect, but  I'm always me."  (at least I always try to be me)

"I thrive on chaos."  ( You will never know how true that is.)

"This is a self-cleaning kitchen.  You clean."  (Wish that were always true)

These next two were given me by a dear friend who has since left this mortal coil.  I think they are self-explanatory, especially the first one:

"You'll always be my friend - you know too much."  (Yes we did confide a lot in each other)

"Annoying the cook will result in smaller portions."  (That is actually a small mirror with the words written on it.  I think my friend bought it at a Paddy's Market on her way to visit me one day.)

This final one is on a plaque and is something my other half and I try to live by every day if we possibly can:

To be in love is to help out and share;
To listen and care;
To give and receive;
To trust.....and believe that the someone you love, loves you.


I was first diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic back in mid-1996 and for a year or two managed quite well by changing my diet a little and doing some mild exercise which I fortunately could do back then...I could actually walk still.

Over the years I've gone from taking tablets to recently using insulin as well as tablets, still watching my eating habits reasonably carefully but the exercise has dwindled to a minimum for the simple reason I can only walk very short distances and can't stand for more than a few minutes.

Since I began using insulin my weight has gone up 5kg which I can ill afford to have happen as I was quite a hefty person to begin with.  My other half has actually put on about 8kg since he began using insulin last year and unfortunately the insulin for some reason causes the weight gain to be around one's mid section which has happened to both of us.

"OK" I said to myself "You've got a bit slack during winter so it's time to cut back on food."  I had begun to have two rounds of sandwiches for my midday meal which, with the bread we use, is about 60gms of carbohydrate and 45mg should be the maximum for that meal.  Yesterday for lunch I had one round of chicken and tomato sandwich (and very nice it was too) and felt good about myself.  That was 30mg of carbohydrate.

I try not to eat between meals although MOH and I often have an orange late afternoon.  Yesterday we didn't have an orange and by dinner time (we eat quite late) I began to feel rather uncomfortable and decided to do a BG test and yes, I was having a hypo (low sugar) attack.  4.2 is low for me and there I was with a fast heartbeat, shakiness etc. etc.  I immediately had a couple of spoonfuls of raw sugar and a peppermint which helped no end and I managed to do the salads for dinner while MOH took charge of the steak.

We discussed should I do my insulin injection before dinner as I usually do and the consensus was "NO.  Definitely not".  I tested a couple of hours after dinner and my reading was 8.8 and I had yet to take my diabetes medication.  We both decided I should not do an injection at all but to take my tablets as usual and hope for the best.

I had quite a good night's sleep (except for next door having their darned pool pump going full bore all night) and when I got up this morning I did a BG test and got 7.2 which is a little high for me first thing in the morning but not all that bad.

What I can't understand is this:  If I do my usual insulin injection before dinner I am quite likely to have a BG reading next morning between 6.0 and 7.0 and yet here I was not doing my injection at all last night and yet still having a reading of only 7.2 this morning.

I do not see my endocrinologist till next February so who do I talk to about this?  I could book into see a diabetes educator but they are so rigid in their rules I doubt I would get any helpful answers so I just go with the flow I guess but today for lunch I had 3 slices of bread which is more than I wanted to eat but just didn't want to experiences another hypo 'cos they are certainly very unpleasant.

I have written this post more for my own personal satisfaction than anything else as writing experiences down helps me consider them more seriously.  My question is to myself: "How are you going to even begin to try and lose some of that excess weight if you can't eat less without having a 'low'?  Is there anyone I can talk to that will help me?"  I really think these are questions I will have to try and answer for myself if I possibly can so wish me luck.  Trial and error may be the only way to go.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


WELLNESS...Wednesday morning my other half and I attended our exercise group where we did stretching and balance exercises and of course did weight training.  We always have a great time and enjoy the company of the other lovely oldies in the group.  We try and go every week and we also know we should be doing more exercises at home.  Note to self:  Just make sure you do!!!

WELCOME...our daughter came to us for a bite of lunch yesterday and it is always a delight to have her pop in but....

WORRY....I am saddened by the fact that she is not her usual cheerful self and I am worried about her.  I know her health problems are really getting her down.  Sure, we can talk about them but there is little one can do except talk.  None of our experiences are the same so what works for one doesn't necessarily work for another.  I can only hope that these issues will resolve themselves in time and the pain doctor she is seeing about her back can find some way to really help her.  She needs to get the stress out of her life but when you are in pain and have medical worries that is not as easy as they often make it sound.

WOES...I was sitting here at the computer just mucking about and sort of felt not quite right.  I eventually got up and realised my legs didn't want to do what I wanted them to do.  I'd not noticed until then that things about me had begun to move.  I went straight away and took a Stemitel and then began the doozy of a vertigo attack, the worse I've had so far.  I managed with the help of MOH to get to my bed and lie down.  He then covered me up because for some reason when this happens I get really cold.  I daren't open my eyes even for a minute 'cos the walls of the room were whizzing round so quickly it was a bit like being on a merry-go-round. 

Another thing that happens with these vertigo attacks is I seem to have the need to 'wee' more frequently and on the third time to the bathroom I realised while sitting there that the base of my head was very sore. This is an area that my phsio has to work on quite often.   I started massaging it and eventually it felt much better.  The strange thing was when I got up I was a lot less disoriented although still not too steady on my feet.  I got back to the bed where MOH did more massage on my head and I lay there for a further few minutes.  Even stranger was the fact that although there was mild movement of objects in the room it was only a short while later that I was able to get up and walk quite steadily and go and sit in the living room with my feet up.  MOH cooked our dinner which I was able to enjoy and even watch TV without a problem.  (Precious was also a lot happier as she could cuddle up on my lap).

The above all happened over about 4 hours and I am now wondering if this vertigo is not caused by an ear problem but from something that happens in my neck.  It just seemed so weird that the vertigo stopped so suddenly after us massing my neck/head.  Seems I am going to have to pursue that line of enquiry with my doctor and hope he can provide an answer.

Monday, October 22, 2012


MOH left this morning at 11.30am to go to the University of WA to join other diabetics to talk to students about how the disease (both types 1 and 2) had affected their lives over the years.  We both used to do this until several years ago it became too difficult for me to walk about too much so since then MOH has been going on his own.  Today they spoke to about 50 postgraduates who are now commencing a second degree.

Today he had to be there well before lunch as they were being invited to a special lunch before the talks began.  He said he only ate a tuna sandwich and some salad keeping in mind his sugar levels and his increasing girth.

He was saddened to be told by the professor in charge that there would be no need for any of the volunteers to go next year to the uni as the curriculum is being changed and she is not even sure if these gatherings will be ever be arranged again.  That means today would probably be the last time MOH will be able to do this as in two years time he will be in his 85th year and possibly a little old to spend even half a day there and certainly not a full day which it usually is.  Time certainly has a habit of marching on.

I feel I must add this point.  The professor walked MOH back to where he'd parked car which I thought was very nice of her and on their way they talked about students in general and a comment the professor made got me to thinking about the modern attitudes of people.  She said these days they had to try and convey the message to university students that they must learn to be polite to people and have concern about others and not just themselves.   I thought that said a lot.

I said I missed him today even though it was for only 6 hours but I suddenly realised I am reluctant to do too much when he is not around as I seem to be unsteadier on my feet of late.  I certainly don't dare to venture outside into the garden on my own.  I'd not realised how dependent I am on this poor man and yet he must have time to himself and not have to be here all the time.

He always makes sure he takes the mobile phone (turned on) so I can contact him should I need to and he will ring me to check on me if he feels he needs to.  That is the only time the mobile is in use unless the two of us are out together.

Perhaps I should try and get myself a smaller walking frame I can use in the house, and the garden for that matter.  The one I have is a 4-wheeler and has  a seat and is too large for our small house.  Our friend Richard suggested I buy a copy of Quokka and see if any smaller frames are advertised for sale.  That I definitely will do tomorrow.

This all gives me further food for thought.  We do so want to stay put in this little cottage of ours even though it causes work we don't need, so persevere we both must to try and work out a way we can end our days here without causing too much grief to ourselves or others.

Here I have just been thinking aloud or 'writing aloud' perhaps but it helps me to put it in writing.  I feel there is a lot of thinking to be done over future weeks to get our lives organised properly.


I don't know if any of you are old enough to remember an advertisement for pain killers when they spoke of it being good for 'the pain you can't explain'.  The pain they were of course speaking about was period pain which was something you just didn't talk about back then.

The pain/s I now speak of are those that seem to come and go and you can't really explain just what they are.   You can't go running to the doctor every time you feel a new pain and yet you wonder why it is there.  Surely if there is a pain there is something causing that pain.

Do you just ignore it and hope it will go away and not return?  With this osteo I have that begins at the top of my neck and continues right down through my joints to my big toes (so far my elbows are fine) I am obviously going to get the odd pain that wasn't here before on top of those that are there all the time.  Are the new ones part of the arthritis?  You just don't know do you and hope that's all it is.

I am definitely not a hypochondriac ... these pains are so real but you can't help wondering WHY?
I am positive that as one ages the doctors nod their heads and say... yes, you have to expect these things as you get older ... and you wonder if they eventually do give up on you.

I think this happened to my mum.  She had been hit by a car when crossing the road near her home when she was about 72 and spent 7 months in hospital.  We were first told she wouldn't live and then that she wouldn't walk but knowing the determination that woman had all her life we took that information with a pinch of salt.  Not only did she live, she also walked with the help of her walking sticks and that with one leg about 4 inches shorter than the other.  The right hip was so badly crushed they couldn't put it back together nor I gather do a hip replacement.

Eventually she moved herself into a very good retirement village where she had her own self-contained unit and with assistance from Silver Chain and the like she managed very well.  The thing that worried me was the doctor who used to call on patients at the village.  I never felt he took mum very seriously and of course with the injuries she had sustained plus other problems he perhaps just nodded and said yes, these things happen as people age.  He once sent her off to hospital with a note written on the back of an old envelope.  They promptly sent her back home without doing anything for her.  I feel they had no idea why he'd sent her to them  She eventually had to go to hospital again but that time didn't come out again.

After mum's death my daughter and I had the task of clearing out her unit and we discovered so many medicines, both prescription and over the counter, that I decided to make a list of them.  It covered two columns on a quarto sheet of paper.  Mum's main cause of death was a bleeding ulcer.  They operated and I was warned not to be too hopeful.  Quite honestly I think Mum had had enough and decided to call it quits.  A sister in the hospital told her she couldn't go and live on her own again and I am sure that the threat of losing her independence was too much for her.  I feel her condition should never have got as far as it did and I am sure all those medicines contributed to the ulcer.

I telephoned the doctor's surgery to let him know that Mum had died.  I spoke to his receptionist and told her what I wanted to speak about.  At that moment the doctor must have walked into the reception are as I heard the lady tell him that mum had died and would he like to speak to me.  His reply "No, I can't see any reason to."  I doubt he realised I heard his reply but it stays with me to this day.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I know that many technological advances in recent years, especially medical ones, have greatly advantaged the human race but there are times I wish we could go back to 'the good old days'.

A case in point are these 13 or 1300 numbers we now have to contend with when telephoning a business establishment of any type.  First of all local calls from our landline cost us 18 cents but these 13 and 1300 calls cost us 30 cents each.  I find this extraordinary and it is not really to our advantage at all.  You are answered by a recording giving you sometimes up to 6 different choices depending on what you wish to talk about.  There is not always a clear choice and occasionally you are fortunate enough to actually be allowed to speak to a consultant if there is a button for that but sometimes there is not so you take pot luck.

After you make your sometimes quite dubious choice you are then put on hold and quite often are told how important your call is to them (doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy? not) and bombarded with lots of voice over advertisements or a terrible choice of recorded so-called music.  I must admit though the other day when on hold I did listen to some beautiful piano music and was a little disappointed when I was finally answered.  That was a bit tongue in cheek but it was nice music!! 

There are other pitfalls with these 13 and 1300 number though and here is a case in point.  Last Tuesday MOH took my car (well it's our car but it's in my name) to the RAC for it's regular service.  He unfortunately was held up in traffic getting there so just missed the shuttle bus they use to drive people to their homes so had to walk a distance to wait for a bus and then a fairly long walk home from our local bus stop.

That of course has nothing to do with the telephone problem but I just mentioned it as poor MOH was a trifle worn out when he arrived home.  The point is am making is the fact that by about 4.15pm we had heard nothing from the RAC about them collecting MOH to take him to the service centre to collect our car.

We telephoned their 1300 number and asked to be put through to the service centre in Myaree.  For some reason we weren't but through so the waste of a call.  30 cents down the drain.  The second time we were put through but the service centre was engaged and then the line just went dead.  60 cents now down the drain.  We rang a third time and this time a very nice lass said she'd do her best to put us through but then came back and said she couldn't get through but took the name and number and said she'd have the service centre ring us back.  We received no return call so now 90 cents down the drain.

By this time it was well after 4.30pm and as the centre closes at 5pm MOH and I decided a taxi was the way to go as we needed the car early the next morning.  Fortunately the taxi arrived in good time and cost MOH $20 (that included a generous tip of $1.70...well in other words MOH didn't bother waiting for the change from the $18.30 fare).  When he walked in he was told the car wasn't quite ready but oh, yes they would have sent the bus to pick him up from home!!!  How on earth were we supposed to know that when we'd not heard anything from them all day nor been able to access them by telephone.

To make it even worse when they emailed me on 31 August to set up the service for the car they offered a $35 discount of the account if I booked it in for service before 31 October, on top of the usual 10% discount for RAC members.  When MOH paid the bill the chap behind the counter said he knew nothing about that offer so no extra $35 discount.

I decided this wasn't good enough so thought I'd ring and hope to sort it out.  I eventually found a direct number to the service centre but twice telephoned and didn't get through.  I was given two choices: to book for a car service or enquire about a service.  As neither were really applicable I chose the second choice.  The phone rang and rang but there was no answer.  Eventually it was a Telstra recording that said "The number you are calling is not responding.  Please check the number and call again".  Now how on earth did that happen.  I did that a second time and exactly the same thing happened.  36 cent down the drain this time.

Next step was to ring the 1300 number again and I spoke to a most helpful lady and when I explained about not being given the $35 discount she said that was just not on and she tried to get through to the Myaree service centre but they didn't answer her either!!!!  She took my name and membership number and said she would have somebody ring me next week to sort this out for me.  She couldn't have been nicer or more helpful but once again no answer from that service centre even from the RAC themselves.  We were now a total of $1.56 out of pocket.  That may sound a small amount to most but when you are on an age pension you have to watch the cents as well as the dollars and when none of that expense is your fault it rankles somewhat, plus no results except, hopefully, from the final call.

There are a few (not nearly enough) organisations where you can use 1800 numbers which are free to call.  One would think that really big businesses could afford to use the 1800 number rather than the 13 and 1300 numbers which the majority use.  It would not only make it cheaper for customers to telephone them but would also make their clients/callers think much more kindly of them.

I know I've gone on just a wee bit about this but it was such a frustrating time and I wonder if others too are disgruntled about using those 13 and 1300 numbers and also constantly having to make sometimes ridiculous choices about what they want to talk about and then the waiting to get through.  Maybe it's just 'cos I am old and remember the days when you spoke to a switchboard operator (a real human being) whom the firm she worked for told her she was the first callers had to do with the firm or department so she had to always be polite and on the ball.  How wonderful it was back then.  I know 'cos for 7 years I worked a switchboard (among other duties) of a quite busy firm.  The boss actually told me that on several occasions his callers had complimented him on his switchboard operator.  I felt proud that I spoke to people politely and helpfully which was a good introduction to the firm I worked for.

Friday, October 19, 2012


That may sound strange as it seems so many women these days are against the male of our species and at times I can understand why and others not.

What I am talking about here is size....yes body size.  Now I am a quite tall, large lady and since using insulin my girth has increased by about 4kg and unknown cms which makes me rather statuesque especially side on.  I am fortunate in finding some loose fitting summer dresses that don't fit tightly and I also wear loose fitting tops during winter. We women don't need a fly in our trousers so mine all have elastic waists which fit nicely.   I am not any smaller wearing that style of clothing but I feel I don't look as grotesque as women who wear tight fitting clothing and look like advertisements for Michelin tyres.  That may sound rather bitchy but it is true.  I do try to see myself as others see me but I guess others "frankly don't give a damn" to quote Clark Gable in "Gone With the Wind".  Maybe there are so many big women around these days many have given up caring what they look like which is rather sad.

My daughter is a little on the large side as well and she too has always dressed according to her size and to me always looks very elegant, much more so than I ever do.  She seems to have a flare for choosing the right clothes for her.

What is all this leading up to, you ask.  Let me explain. MOH who has been using insulin for longer than I have and who always had quite a good waistline has put on about 14cms around the middle and now has a paunch, something he never sported before.  He has gone up two trouser sizes and because he is not very tall needs a short or stout fitting which seem unavailable today.  This means if he can find trousers to fit around his waist they will be many cms too long.  I know for some reason men these days wear their trousers with wrinkles galore around their ankle but neither MOH or I think that looks terribly elegant.

Now with track pants and their elastic waists MOH is still wearing those he's had a while as they S.T.R.E.T.C.H but he now has about 3 pairs of good trousers in his wardrobe that just won't do up any more because they don't stretch.  If only men could buy good trousers with elastic waists as we ladies can all his problems would be solved but he can't so it looks as though the trusty sewing machine will have to come out and new trousers will have to be shortened to a comfortable length for him.

Men's casual shirts (polo shirts and the like) also tend to rather hug their bodies and unless they wear sports shirts hanging out they can't hide that bulge as we can with our flowing tops.  Casual shirts are fine in summer but usually you have to IRON them...shock horror.....we put the iron away several years ago as we both wear drip dry.  I offered to buy MOH a couple of nice Hawaiian shirts that he could wear hanging out and I can't explain the look that came on his face.  You had to be there.

All of this may sound a little nonsensical but I do feel for the poor man as he is now becoming conscious of this body problem he has whereas I've been conscious of mine for many years although now it is of course getting worse although I've not put on any weight now for about 2 months so perhaps it has really stopped going up.  One can always hope.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Our beautiful little friend is celebrating her 11th birthday this week.  We got her from the Cat Haven in December 11 years ago when she was no more than 6 weeks old so we estimated back that her birthday would have been around about the 14th October so we have made this her official birthday.

We actually brought home 2 beautiful little kittens...a white and grey one and a grey one with a touch of tabby.  Poor dear Henry died in his sleep in August 3 years ago.  Precious and Henry were both lying in front of a fan heater when it happened and she immediately knew something bad had happened to Henry and for some months afterwards she wouldn't come into the living room and acted quite strangely.  It took her some time to get over the trauma of Henry's death but eventually she was OK.  Henry had been the dominant cat for most of the 8 years they were together but Precious gradually began to make her presence felt and now she is the boss of the house.

This morning as MOH and I got out of bed Precious came into our bedroom miaowing more tunefully than usual as though she knew it was her special day.  No ordinary meow but more a sort of yodel....marowow marowow...if that makes any sense.

We both hope that our little mate will be with us another few years and that we too will be around to enjoy her friendship and to care for her as she ages.  We think even now she is spending less time out of doors in the daytime and sleeping more.  She is obviously having more 'nanny naps' than before.



See what?  you ask.  My wonderful daughter has now helped by showing my new blog "Dear Mum and Dad" on my home page so if you do want to take a peek at some more meanderings of this geriatric great-grandmother you can.  No promises of anything interesting but just yours truly having a chat with her folks about things that pop into her mind from time to time.

My loving thanks to K for interrupting her busy life to make this possible computer illiterate mother of hers.  xxxx

Saturday, October 13, 2012


As I promised I have begun my new blog and from now on will try and write about my daily doings in a letter format to my folks.

I had hoped to show this new blog on this page but have spent so much time trying to find out how to organise it to no avail.  I just do not understand any of the instructions they give as they are obviously 'talking' to people with a full understanding of computers and blogging in general.

Until such time as some kind person can spend a little bit of time assisting me I doubt anyone will find my new blog anyway.  I titled it Dear Mum and Dad.

I have also been trying to find out how to show a list of blogs I follow on my home page but that is also beyond me.  I now have to go to my daughter's home page and check through the list of blogs he follows till I find those I'd like to have a peek at.  This is very time consuming as well as frustrating.

You are all so clever in being able to show all the things you choose to show on your blogs and sometimes I often wonder how I ever actually managed to have a blog of my own!  Perhaps it was before they made changes and complicated it all so much more than before.

Anyway I am now off to cook dinner...a simple grilled pork cutlet with salads.  The weather turned very warm suddenly and so salads were bought but now the day has become quite cold but salads it is going to be 'cos I don't have any other vegies in the fridge right now.

Hopefully all the above problems will be solved shortly and I will have a blog page with all the gadgets I want on it...I think they call them gadgets or is it widgets???  Honestly I really only understand plain English so they've lost me.  I need leading out of the wilderness......soon....please!!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012


I spoke in length about my adopted brother Len and his wife Jean.  Apart from mum and dad they were the only family I knew although mum did have a father and a married sister in England but of course I never met them and only knew of them through letters they wrote to mum.

Finally my family grew.....after several years of hoping for a family Jean found she was expecting their first child and this caused great excitement as they had almost given up hope and had actually begun to make arrangements to adopt a baby.

My first niece, Penelope (known always as Penny) was born in 1948 when I was 16 and although it is difficult to believe, it was the first time in my life I had had anything to do with a baby or even a very young child.  She was a bonnie baby with blond curls and much loved by both families.

My second niece, Wendy was born in 1950.  She was also a bonnie baby but she tended to have straighter hair but to me they were both gorgeous.  I always enjoyed being allowed to have a cuddle of both of them when they were tiny.

In unfortunately missed both their christenings.  When Penny was christened I was ill in bed and at the time of Wendy's christening I was away on a working holiday in Melbourne.

Our family lived only a few streets away from them in North Perth so I would quite often call in to their home on my way home from work.  I used to walk from Perth to North Perth most nights as I always enjoyed walking.

Eventually they moved to a more distant suburb so we saw less of them but Wendy when she was about 13-14 used to come and stay with us on weekends and during school holidays so we got to know her better than we did Penny.

In her late teens Penny went to the eastern states to work so we saw even less of her.

We did attend both their weddings and they were really special.  Penny at her wedding breakfast had pipers playing (her maternal grandmother was a Scotswoman) but strangely enough Wendy, who had her wedding breakfast in the beautiful back garden of her parents' home, did not have pipers although she actually did marry a Scot.

After the girls married and grew up we only saw them very occasionally which I felt rather sad about but that's the way life goes.  They both had two children each (a pigeon pair in each case) and now have grandchildren of their own of whom they are very proud.

Wendy was sadly widowed in June, 2009 but she is still enjoying her life and has her sister, her family and lots of friends.  Penny and her husband live in a semi-rural area and carry on an import business and seem content with their life.

I have included Penny and Wendy in my family as they were quite a big part of my life when I was a teenager and into my 20s and 30s.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


As you know I was adopted when just a wee baby and I've explained who my adopted (adoptive?) parents were.  My dad had been widowed when his son was very young and with Len having been born in March of 1911 and me in January of 1932,  Len was nearly 21 when I was born.  He had left the farm by that time and was working in Perth.  I think he used to come home on visits as I have a very old photograph taken near the farm in 1932 and Len was part of the group and I was a tiny baby.

We moved to Perth following Mum's illness in about September of 1937 and at this time Len was working for a firm of taxis known as Yellow Cabs.  He had to wear a chauffeur's suit complete with leggings and a cap and he always looked very smart when he left for work.  When we first arrived in Perth we had rooms in a big house at the east end of Wellington Street but after a short while rooms became available in the house where Len had a nice little flat situated in the back garden.

I think it was when we moved into Goderich Street that I began to get to know my big brother much better.  I guess in some ways, owing to the age difference, perhaps he was more like an uncle.  I do know though that we became very close and he was always very nice to me.

In the year prior to the declaration of the beginning of WW2 Len decided to join the Royal Australian Air Force.  He was stationed at what was then called Pearce Aerodrome and one of first his tasks was to colour by hand a life size photograph of King George VI.  I think it was then placed in the Officer's Mess.  He had always been quite artistic in his youth and he eventually became a photographer in the air force.

During WW2 he was on loan to the American Air Force situated in Darwin and actually took part in a big air raid on the Japanese oil wells in Borneo.  As his job was to photograph the result of this raid theirs was the last 'plane over the target.  They were chased way off course by Japanese fighter 'planes and as on their homeward journey over the Timor Sea the fuel gauge showed EMPTY.

They had no idea if they would make it to the northern shores of Australia so the fellows began saying goodbye to each other and even paying back small loans to each other.  I feel they had an extraordinarily good pilot as he managed to keep the 'plane airborne and glided in and made a landing on a northern beach.  As the 'plane dug into the sand it nose dived resulting in all the men being plummeted towards the nose.  They had all congregated at the rear of the 'plane thinking this was the safest place for them to be. Poor Len ended up under the pile of men and his was the only injury....a very bloody nose.

A 'plane flew over the next day and dropped water and provisions to them but they had no idea how long they would remain on this deserted beach.  After a few days two aborigines carrying spears and other paraphernalia came out of the bush.  One of the Americans said he knew how to speak to aborigines and went towards them shouting "Yahoo Yahoo" to which the aborigines said "Good Morning."  They had come from a mission station and spoke very good English.  I believe the American looked somewhat abashed.

They led the men through the bush to the mission and Len said he was amazed how easily the aborigines moved through quite thick bush and the crew had trouble keeping up with them.  Eventually they returned to a nearby beach and were picked up by a lugger and then returned to the air base in Darwin.

I think Len was actually involved in several aeroplane crashes during his spell in the air force which may have had something to do with his contracting Meniere's Syndrome in later life.   He was discharged from the airforce in 1946 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant although at one time had held the rank of Acting Squadron Leader.

I was always very, very fond and proud of my big brother and also of his wife Jean who he married in Perth in 1940.  With Len being away Jean joined the Australian Women's Army Service although if I remember rightly she was always stationed in or near Perth.

The two of them were always lovely to me and I often stayed with them for a few days.  As we grew older we unfortunately grew apart somewhat.  I often felt they didn't approve of me obtaining a divorce from my first husband although they were always very nice to my second husband.

I have always been so very glad that I spent some time with Len the night before he died in 1986.  He contracted lung cancer and I remember well his bravery in facing up to his impending death.  His wife had been very ill with shingles so he had put off going to the doctor as he was so busy caring for her.  He had noticed a severe shortness of breath but by the time he went and saw his doctor it was too late.  The cancer had taken too big a hold if his body so we lost him when he was 76.  His widow went on to live a full life and died in 2004, aged 87.  They had two daughters and 4 grandchildren.

Len, I think of you often, both of you in fact, and remember you with a fondness that will never die.  I too remember that beautiful baritone voice you had and the numerous nights we would stand around the piano, at our home or yours, all singing but in particular listening quite often to you singing on your own.  They were wonderful times that I will never forget.  Thank you for being my big brother.


I am think of creating a second blog when I find out how to do that.  The reason is because I often feel like popping on here and just talking about what I have been doing but realise that most of the things I do are pretty darned boring.

Recently MOH came in while I was on the computer and began talking about books from our childhood years.  He mentioned Treasure Island, Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows and we then began trying to think of other wonderful books from way back then.

A book suddenly came to my mind that I had read when I was between the ages of 10 and 12.  It was called "Daddy Longlegs" by Jean Webster,  and I remembered it as a book I had really loved and in fact had probably read several times.  I don't get to the shops much so I hopped in eBay and bought a copy from a bookseller that sent it post haste and post free which I thought a good deal.  The book is about an orphan who is helped to have an education by an unknown rich benefactor.  All he asks in return is that she write him letters to tell him of her progress.  It is a delightful book and one I would recommend to folk no matter their age.

Thinking more about this particular book and also my folks who encouraged me to read and were always buying books for me I decided on a plan of action.  Dad would go to the auction houses and come back with a pile of secondhand books so there was always ready material for all of us.

To cut a long story short (I do seem to go on and on at times don't I?) I decided I would begin a blog called "Dear Mum and Dad".  I could then 'talk' to them about what I have been doing as I am sure they would be interested and I'd feel I was just talking to them and not worrying about what others thought of what I was writing.   Hope that makes sense to everyone and of course if you are interested you are more than welcome to have a peek as well.

Now all I have to do is find out how to begin a new blog but associate it with this one so it will show on the same page.  When my daughter is not too busy I am sure she will be able to help me as she has 4 blogs linked together.  So my dear if you happen to read this perhaps you could tell me how to go about it.  I saw where I could click on start new blog but wasn't sure what to put as the address.  Oh gee, I am just so computer illiterate aren't I? : )

Monday, October 8, 2012


While I am sitting here pondering what I could write about today I am listening to one of my Roger Whittaker CDs.

His is a voice I really enjoy very much and although he is now 76 he is still a very good singer and I believe he will shortly be touring Germany again where he is very popular.

I first heard Roger Whittaker sing when he was the first to record "Wind Beneath My Wings". I loved the song when I first heard it and still do but back then I was far too busy to take much notice of music that was on the wireless or who in fact was doing the singing.  I just know I really enjoyed the lyrics and the voice of the singer.

In the early 1990s I bought a double CD with a variety of artists and two of the songs were sung by Roger Whittaker..."I don't believe in If any more" and "The Last Farewell" and loved both songs and kept replaying them.

When I got a computer and became used to using the internet I began looking for CDs featuring Roger Whittaker and I now have a collection of about a dozen of his CDs. He sings a lot of songs in German ) but I prefer songs sung in French if they are to be in a foreign language.  He does sing in French too and so I enjoy that very much.

I am 80 and Roger is 76 so I guess we are contemporaries at least in age if not in talent. I like songs that tell a story and also a singer that sings so I can understand the words he is singing.  I play his music as an accompaniment when I am out here using my computer and they never fail to please me.

Saw my physio again today.  This time she worked on my knee, my neck and the right side of my jaw.  Next week?  Other sore spots are awaiting her ministrations. If only I could win Lotto and then I could have her as my permanent physio to call on whenever necessary.  Well, we can all dream can't we?

A quiet night tonight with dinner already cooked so feet up, a little TV and then to bed perchance to dream.


I wrote this as a draft back in July and hadn't realised I'd not publishes it so here goes.  I may have written subsequent posts which included some of the info given here but I am going to leave it as I originally wrote it.

I didn't purposely put Dad first but gave him precedence as he was the elder of the two.

My adoptive mum (the one who chose me to be her daughter) was born in London, England in 1897, towards the end of the Victorian era. Her father was a lawyer and from what I can make out (and after re-reading some of his letters from years back) I feel he was somewhat of a snob. He was for many years involved in Freemasonry and was a Grand Master and mixed with very high ranking people throughout his life. I googled Percy Rockliff and up came pages and pages of history of the Masons that involved Percy throughout those many pages.

Mum had a sister 7 years older than herself and a very gentle, quiet mother who eventually, with her two daughters, was forced to leave the family home because it would seem that she was not suitable as a wife for her husband Percy.

Mum had a good education and found employment in the Sugar Commission where she was secretary to one of the head of the commission. This is of course where she met dad not knowing at first that he was a widower or had a small son. From what she told me she fell in love with this much older man (she was 19 and he 31 when they first met. They married in December 1917 in South Tottenham and as England was still involved in WW1 there were many photographs could be taken (not sure why) and they were able to get only a few days for a honeymoon.

Family members came down with the Spanish 'flu which swept through the world after the cessation of hostilities and dad was very sick as was mum's sister Amy. It was only procuring oxygen that saved Amy's life. She had worked for an oxygen company and mum appealed to the boss of that company who made the oxygen available.

To cut a long story short dad was told that his health was failing and it was suggested he emigrate to a warmer climate. The decision was made to come to Western Australia and so mum and dad sold their home and possessions and along with dad's young son sailed on the "Euripides" and disembarked in Albany in May, 1920.

Their object was to take up farming and you must remember these two people had come from good homes and good jobs and had absolutely no experience of farming or hot climates. Obviously they considered it would a healthy lifestyle but they had many trials and tribulations through the ensuing years which included the Great Depression, being burnt out and losing their home and all their possessions and being flooded out to name a few problems they encountered during their 17 years of farming

When I was 4 mum had a major operation and developed thrombosis in both legs so was bedridden for some time and she and I spent some time in Albany which she convalesced. Eventually the doctor told dad that he couldn't guarantee mum' survival if they didn't leave the farm. I am not sure anyone in the Western world today could imagine how hard the work was back then and the long hours they worked. They grew potatoes which is a backbreaking job when you sow the seed potatoes by hand and only have a a horse and plough to dig the furrows.

The hard decision was made for us to move up to Perth...I don't know the financial details but I feel that medical bills and mum not being able to work on the farm had meant perhaps borrowing from the bank. All I know is that they walked off the farm with very little but their clothing and aboud five pounds in their pockets.

All this after 17 years of really hard yakka must have been devastating but they seem to have taken it in their stride regardless of what they had to go without. I know mum only had one good dress and very little else in the way of clothing but somehow I was always well dressed (mum made my clothes...possibly borrowing a sewing machine) and I have a photograph taken when I was 7 of a very smart little outfit she had made me.

As told in dad's story he eventually found a very good job but I have never managed to work out how they managed to send me to college from the age of nearly 6 until I was 15. At no time was I ever made to feel we were poor...they were two very proud people who would never allow their poverty to be evident. I don't think I ever thanked mum for all she did for me and perhaps haven't realised this fact until after her death when I've had time to really consider it all.

In 1952 we moved to a new home dad had subconstracted to be built and very comfy it was too. It was while living there that I had celebrated my 21st birthday, my engagement to H#1 and my marriage. I later learned that mum had to borrow a little money from my half-brother to help pay for the wedding. Even then she was still battling 'cos dad had just not wanted to work after he sold the shop in 1947 so I think building the house may have incurred a mortgage.


MOH was diagnosed with severe sleep apnoea a few months ago and was told he should use a sleep machine which delivers air to him through a tube while he is sleeping.  He had a trial run with such a machine and the results were good so it was decided we should buy a machine for him to use permanently.  Fortunately our private health insurance paid a sizable contribution towards the cost.

Today he had an appointment with CPAP, the people who sold him the machine, and his results over the past 3 months are excellent.  Next Monday he has an appointment with his sleep doctor and I am convinced he too will be delighted with the results he will have received from CPAP.

There are times when MOH would like to leave the machine off for a short break but inevitably he begins to snore etc., within a few minutes.  It is a quite comfortable device and he has really taken to it like a duck to water.  No mask (he tried one and found it uncomfortable) so this is just a sort of double nozzle that fits in his nostrils. When the weather is cold he can add water to a receptacle in the machine and set it to warm the water so he is not breathing in icy cold air which makes it even more comfortable.

I now think back to the countless night when I would hear him snore or gasp for air and wake him or tell him to turn over.  I used to be afraid I would go to sleep and not hear him having problems breathing.  To stop breathing 32 times in an hour is not funny and I would recommend anyone who thinks they may have sleep apnoea to at least see their GP so they can have the appropriate test. This also applies if your partner or anyone you know appears to be having breathing problems while asleep.

Peaceful nights are here again and now I just need to tell my silly joints to behave and we will both have wonderful restful nights.  I am sure we are both so much better off than several months ago. 

Friday, October 5, 2012


I have been granted nearly 11 years beyond the three score years and ten that it is said is our lot.  Why am I still here then?  I was thinking about that today in one of my moments of deep thinking and you don't get a lot of that around here these days.

Firstly I have a husband and a cat that need me to be here regardless of what a nuisance I may be.  Said husband keeps me going and cares for me.  He may be a funny old bugger in many ways but he is always there if I need him, day or night.  When I had another attack of vertigo at 2am Tuesday morning he was there for me.  I call him MOH (my other half) and without him I would not be a whole person.

Our GP.  At first I only visited this doctor regarding my arthritis but then when our lovely lady GP fell in love and moved to the country I asked KW if we could become permanent patients of his.  He fortunately said yes he would add us to his huge list of patients for which we were very grateful.  He is only about 5 minutes drive from our home which also makes it very convenient.  He is easy to talk to and takes time to answer questions and explain things to us.

Our endocrinologist.  I did attend the Prof's clinic at Fremantle Hospital many years ago but when my diabetes took a turn for the better he delisted me as that is one very busy clinic.  After a time my diabetes took a turn for the worse (as type 2 diabetes does) so MOH and I now see the professor as private patients several times a year.  He is a wonderful man and tries his very best to keep us fit and healthy.

Our physiotherapist.  Well she is actually my physiotherapist and has been for several years now but if MOH has an odd ache or pain she looks after him excellently as well.  I often wonder if I'd be able to get around at all if it wasn't for Jenny.  We also go to an exercise group that she runs once week where we do various exercises suitable for the elderly as well as weights.  They are a lovely small group of up to 12 folk and we do have a lot of fun.

Our podiatrist.  We saw John today.  I have been going to him for a few years as I have very strong toe nails and was unable to manage them myself.  Earlier this year I talked MOH to go regularly with me every 6-7 weeks as I knew he was having difficulty managing his own nails and it is nice at our age to do things like that together.  John is also great to chat with and we have some quite serious conversations about all sorts of topics.

Our dermatologist.  JC is a fantastic doctor.  He has found several little things that needed treating and has endeavoured to get my rosaceae reasonably under control and zapped a few spots here and there.  With our Australian summers the way they are our skins are always under threat of developing sun spots no matter how careful we are so it's good to have someone keep a check on us each year.

My cardiologist.  I have been seeing Dr O'S for a number of years and was very pleased when I saw him in September when he told me that all the tests I've undergone show that my heart is in good condition, or at least it is right now.  That truly was good news after various weird things that have happened over the past few years.  My imagination? No, just strange things that happen from time to time for which there doesn't appear to be an answer.

Our pharmacists.  We always go to the same pharmacy and they are very helpful.  They are in the same complex as an IGA story and a newsagency which makes it very convenient if we need items other than medications.  All the pharmacists are very helpful and also they stock our diabetic medicines and insulin which is good.  It is of course our medications that probably are the prime reason we still exist so we do rely on our pharmacy to check that medications don't clash etc., and warn us if they think anything is incorrect in any way.

My eye specialist.  Dr G did both my cataract ops recently resulting in fantastic vision and on my last check up he performed minor laser surgery to correct a small fault left after one cataract op.  He is a charming fellow that I feel very comfortable with.  MOH and I both wear glasses and I go to a very special optometrist my daughter recommended who looks after my eyes.  MOH has his own eye specialist whom he sees twice a year about his glaucoma which is now well under control using drops daily.

Our dental clinic (which is subsidised by our Western Australian state government).  We have a wonderful dentist there who is actually a delight to visit.  I don't have much to be done these days but Peter looks after MOH's teeth very well and at nearly 83 he (MOH) is fortunate to still have nearly all his own teeth.

My family of course are a very important part of my life but I know that even though they are very busy they do think of me and that in itself is a reason to remain around as long as I can.  I try not to be a nuisance but of course would love to see each of them more than I do.  I do follow them on Facebook and that keeps me in touch with what they are doing which is great.

Unfortunately most of my close friends have left this mortal coil or now we live too far apart to pop in for a cuppa as we once would have done.  We exchange greeting cards for Christmas and sometimes birthdays and that is something I look forward to as well.  An occasional 'phone call too but not as often as we once did.

This may seem a strange post but I just wanted to acknowledge the fantastic people that endeavour in various ways to make out lives reasonably comfortable.  Not all these medicos etc are Australian which pleases me as it is good to get to meet people of other races.  As long as they are good people the colour of their skin or shape of their eyes is of no concern to me.  We are, after all....all human beings and that is how I see them.

I hope I've not left anybody out.  You can now see why many of our outings involve medical things.  This happens as one ages.  I have relations and friends that detest doctors but I have not, nor ever had a fear of them for which I am very thankful.  One has to trust that they will do their very best and I have that trust.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I am very grateful to my daughter that she had to cancel her appointment with 'our' physio today and in doing so asked them to put my name down in her place.  I didn't bother to ring on Friday after the unplanned sit down on the steps but I certainly need some extensive physio in many places.  It was a long weekend so I doubted there would be any vacancies in the busy schedule.  Jenny today worked on my knee with ultrasound and the muscles in my thigh with massage and boy the latter sure did hurt.

Now I have strapping on my knee in 3 places and an exercise to do to tighten and then relax the thigh muscle as many times a day as I can.  Jenny thinks that when the knee bent more than it normally does I caused some stretching of various muscles etc., and now we have to work to get them back to normal.

I have another appointment on Monday when I will have some work done on the painful areas in my back where I hit against the step behind me when I went down.  That I am looking forward to immensely.  It will hurt but I know it will also help which is the main thing.

Not much can be done for my poor old hands which also took a battering as one was holding the walking stick and I took my weight on the other hand.  Both ended up with excess pressure which hasn't helped them one little bit.  I probably need thumb replacements but I don't like the idea of my hands being in a plaster for up to 6 weeks and not being able to use it/them.  I've not even gone there and doubt I ever will.

So thank you K for thinking of me and I am glad you were able to get another appointment for yourself next week.  We both are so grateful to Jenny for doing her best to keep us mobile.  Apart from being a delightful person, she does a fantastic job with out ailing joints and muscles.  I have been going to her for so long that I regard her not only as my physiotherapist but also as a friend.