Saturday, February 25, 2012


Today I am feeling very proud of my daughter (she will understand what I mean) as she has begun doing something she dreaded doing and has made up her mind she will keep doing it.  That is really fantastic and a big step in the right direction.

Oh yes MOH and I had lunch with daughter and son-in-law today too.  I had to go up to their suburb to pick up my third pair of specs (these for computer use only) so an invitation was forthcoming to pop in and have a sandwich, and very nice sandwiches they were too made with some very special bread and ham.
Thanks for lunch and the coffee etc.  Spent a couple of enjoyable hours chatting about this and that but then all of us had something to do this Saturday afternoon, so we headed home.  Have to get the Lotto in as you never know after 30 odd years our numbers just MIGHT come up.  One can always dream can't one?

Once again my darling are going great guns and I really am so proud of you. xx

Friday, February 24, 2012


My back is really bad today and walking is painful.  I know I shouldn't sit down as much as I do but......

MOH and I saw our GP today to get some scripts etc., and he's not going to have either of us put down so that is good news.

It is quite warm and humid and I really do hate humidity.  It is nice to be able to open up the house and let the sea breeze blow through but still need the overhead fans on.  Wishing my life away again and waiting for winter to begin.

Our GP is soon to go away on 6 weeks leave so we have to stay healthy at least until he gets back.

I keep thinking about the stupidity of our Federal government and the goings on between all the players and begin to wonder if we really still are The Lucky Country.

I am looking forward to watching another episode of Sea Change tonight.  I know it is a repeat but still think it is one of the best series ever made by the ABC.

I sit and think about all the things I want to do and then when I get up to do them something hurts so I sort of put it off yet again.  My motto now seems to be "never do today what you can put off until tomorrow!!"

Am still finding it so difficult to take in the fact that I am now 80 years of age.  Never expected to see the turn of the century and yet here it is 2012.  Wow!!!!

How beautiful is the butterfly in the picture on the calendar about my desk.  Wish it was real.  I love butterflies.

The worries I so often have about my beautiful daughter and her health problems.  She tries so hard to do the right things about keeping healthy but sometimes it just doesn't seem to work for her.  I know that feeling myself so guess she is her mother's daughter in more ways than one.  Love you heaps.

Final thought for now.....Must think about what to have for dinner and get on and do something about its preparation.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I mentioned that mum wasn't very keen in living in East Perth (back in those days it was one of the rougher suburbs of Perth) and when the opportunity of moving came along there was no hesitation to do so.

Our next home was at 21 Clive Street in West Perth.  The house belonged to a Mrs Annie Laird who was quite elderly and she wanted people to rent her house while she stayed on living in a room or two at the back of the house.  I was only 7 and 8 when we moved there so wasn't aware of what arrangements were made; did mum perhaps cook for Mrs Laird or help care for her?  I can't answer those questions nor do I actually remember the old lady at all.

I had a large bed in a bedroom (also at the back of the house) and am almost sure that it was a feather mattress as it was very soft and I do remember sort of sinking into the middle of the bed.  I do know I enjoyed sleeping in there.

Dad was always good at story telling and from this time I remember he would tell me a story each night when I went to bed and he would sort of make them into serials so a little more of the same adventure was told each night.  By this time he would have been nearly 55 so quite old to have a daughter of 7 or 8 but he was a lovely dad and although strict, always very good with children.

I of course was still attending Vic Square in Goderich Street so I had each morning to catch the tram in Hay Street which either took me to the back gate of the school or I would get off at the corner of Barrack and Murray Streets and walk to the school.  The tram at some stage would turn left (I think down Milligan Street) towards Murray Street and then head east and when it reached Barrack Street it would turn right and then left into Hay Street and head east again.  Quite a complicated route by the sound of it.

I can't remember a lot that happened while we lived in Clive Street other than I experienced a dreadful earache which mum treated by filling an old sock with salt, warming it in the oven and then telling me to hold it against my ear.  It must have worked as after some time I went to sleep and no more earache.  I have always had problems with my left ear so perhaps an aftermath of that awful earache.  I feel the practice would be frowned on these days but mum used to put drops of peroxide in my ears and they used to snap, crackle and pop quite loudly.  I hated her doing it but in those days children did as they were told.

A strange thing I do remember is the fact that I used to dream I could fly.  I had the same dream on several occasions and it was always the same.   I would go out of the front gate of the house, jump into the air and fly several feet about the ground sort of using a breaststroke action as though swimming. I don't think I had begun swimming lessons at that time so not associated with swimming or fear of it.  Just the wonderful ability to fly in my dreams.

Oh yes there is one more thing I do remember.  Dad used to smoke but only a few cigarettes each day and he would have me walk around to a shop in Hay Street to buy him a packet of 10 cigarettes for sixpence.  Thinking back I think they were Capstan cigarettes in a pale blue pack so very mild and cork tipped but no filters in those days.  Obviously a young girl was allowed to buy cigarettes in 1940, no questions asked.

There was something else of significance that happened.  Dad had been presented with the MBE by King George 6 in Buckingham Palace for work he had done during WW1.  Strangely enough I've never found out exactly what the medal was for but his name must have been on records somewhere because he received notification that he was required to assist with defence duties here in Perth.  His job was to guard the gas works in East Perth on certain nights.  He was given a revolver and mum always said she had no idea what dad would do if confronted by someone as she didn't think he had it in him to shoot anyone.  I don't know how long this went on for but it did interfere with dad's Rawleighs business and I think mum did her best to do some of the deliveries for him.  She didn't drive so must have used public transport.  I think with dad sometimes being up all night guarding the gas works (sorry I had to stop there and have a little laugh about it) he then had to sleep during the day.  All in all it worked out OK and dad didn't have to shoot anyone and the Rawleighs business kept on thriving so all was well.

That was our sojourn in West Perth and then we moved to North Perth (twice).

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I have no idea why we moved from sharing a house in Goderich Street but I would imagine my parents much preferred to live in home of their own (even if rented) so we moved to what today is called a duplex but which in those days was called a semi-detached house.  It was quite spacious and from what I remember very comfortable.  It had a tiny front garden and a nice smallish back garden.  In those days it was quite difficult to find affordable houses to rent and although Mum didn't like the idea of living in East Perth this was the best place available at that time.

For some reason I can't remember the house number although this is inconsequential as it has probably been well and truly demolished by now, as is the case with nearly every house I have lived in, so I am not likely to be able to re-visit it even I wanted to do so.

Dad by this time had become a quite successful Rawleighs dealer and had a large number of customers.  It was decided that it would be nice for us to have a pet and our choice was to get a cat.  One of Dad's customer apparently bred blue/grey cats and one day came home with a delightful little kitten.  I feel they may have been thoroughbred so perhaps Dad purchased it from his customer or did a deal providing her with some Rawleigh's good she required in payment for the cat.

Off Dad went to work several days later only to return home that night to tell us that he had to take the kitten back.  We were devastated but all was well as there was another kitten we could have in place of the first one.  Apparently the male kitten Dad had bought home a few days previously had been promised to, of all people, W.A.'s *Lieutenant Governor, Sir James Mitchell.  All was well as Dad arrived home with another dear little mite, this time a female, who was immediately christened Molly.  We used to jokingly tell people that our cat was sister to the one that lived in Government House although of course this was actually true.

We must have lived in Royal Street for a while because Molly became at least half, if not fully, grown and as this house had a passage which the 3 front rooms opened on to she thought up this game of waiting until people were walking down the passageway and she would leap out at them.  We would quite often get quite a fright with this little cat suddenly springing out at one of us.  Fortunately she was not a cat to use her claws so no damage was done.

Obviously, apart from Molly, we led quite an uneventful life in Royal Street as I have very little recollection of anything exciting or untoward occurring while we were there.  I know I used to walk to school and back and we also lived not far from one of my best friends, Shirley P, which meant I had someone to visit and play with.  Our next move was to Clive Street in West Perth of which I shall write later.

*Explanation of Lieutenant Governor.  Mitchell was appointed L.Governor of W.A. in 1933.  Although he lived in Government House and was Governor in all but name, he drew no salary thus reducing the demand on the public purse at a time when ordinary people we under severe restraint owing to the Great Depression.  He held this position until 1948 when he was appointed Governor, a position he held until he retired in 1951.  When I made my debut in 1949 it was to Governor Sir James Mitchell that I was presented.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Today I remember with fondness a lady who played quite a big role in my life for a number of years.  She was born 114 years ago today and she was my mother-in-law, the mother of my first husband.

Grace was a very gentle lady who always meant well and I never heard her say a bad work about anybody.  She kept a very neat house and cooked ordinary but tasty everyday meals and loved her roses and her irises.  She had a cage full of budgies and she adored her second husband who loved her in return and I was always glad she found so much happiness with him.  She was devastated when he died.

She had been trained as a dressmaker/tailoress and she made my wedding dress for me and it was beautiful and strangely enough when Catherine married Prince William the similarity between her gown and mine was unbelievable although hers probably cost a hundred times more than mine did.  My daughter even blogged with pictures of the two gowns showing how similar in design they were.

Unfortunately when my first husband and I separated I saw a lot less of this special lady but I did still see her occasionally until not long before she died in 1986 at the age of 88.  MOH and I attended her funeral and I was glad to be able to be present to say goodbye to her.

I hope you are now resting peacefully sweet lady.  xx

Friday, February 17, 2012


Over the years I've had strange optical occurrences which I have been told are a type of migraine without the headache and I suppose I must be thankful for that although I do feel a bit spaced out after these events.

Today was somewhat differenct.  Being elderly we are eligible for a cleaner one day a fortnight through our local council at very reduced rates.  Today Jenny arrived half an hour early as her roster had been changed and she had time to kill.  We were quite happy for her to be here as we both like her very much so MOH made cups of tea and we sat and chatted.

MOH and Jenny were sitting in two chairs side on to me in the living room and suddenly without warning I looked across at MOH as he was speaking and realised that Jenny had disappeared except for her feet!!

This was something I'd not experienced before and it was quite disquieting to say the least.  Jenny also has the odd optical occurrence but said she has not had things or people actually disappear.

Honestly, she just was not there at all unless I looked directly at her and then of course part of the wall next to me then disappeared.   It was weird to see Jenny's feet without legs or a body above them.

Fortunately this strange event only lasted for about 5 minutes but I must admit that afterwards I did feel completely washed out and quite unwell, even slightly nauseous,  for at least an hour.

I am wondering if others also have this type of thing happen to them and if it has been explained to them in detail at all.  I have just been told all of these optical happenings are a type of migraine so I guess I must believe those that know better than I do.

I am not looking forward to it happening again but guess I shouldn't complain as it must be a few years since I last had one of these events and be thankful it is not a full blown migraine.


MOH and I were invited to join in celebrations for our youngest great-granddaughter's 4th birthday last Sunday and of course we gladly accepted the invitation.  We set out on what is a quite lovely 40 minute drive to the home of our oldest granddaughter and her husband.  Our daughter and her hubby were there as well as 2 other granddaughters and our eldest great-granddaughter as well.

There was much fun with the opening of and admiration of presents and when she opened the ballerina dress we had given her she had to put it on and wore it for the rest of the day.  It had been chosen by her mother and I was grateful that she had taken the trouble to buy it for me as well as a couple of other small items.  I think she really loved all her presents.

We all then sat down to a delightful morning tea with lots of goodies to be enjoyed by by both young and old and I must admit we have some very good cooks in the family.  As I am now considered quite elderly I no longer have to contribute anything in the way of food which suits me quite well now.  We still of course love to buy gifts for everyone but sometimes need help to choose the right ones as I am not able to get to the shops as much as I once did..

There was of course a very pretty birthday cake with 4 candles and young miss blew them out with gusto and we all sang Happy Birthday and of course there were 3 cheers as well.  All in all it was a really wonderful few hours we all spent together.


There is one small incident I had forgotten that occurred while we were living in Goderich Street opposite the school I was attending.

The students were going to the Premier Theatre to see Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney in Boys' Town. We were to walk to the theatre which was at least a mile or two from the school and in crocodile file which meant two girls abreast in a long line.

We were not allowed to go unless we were wearing our hat and gloves and our blazers.  Mum had been making me a blazer as we couldn't afford to buy one off the rack at Aherns (they sold all school clothing for Roman Catholic schools in and around Perth).  She had had the pocket embroidered with the school logo, had picked it up from the shop that morning and still had to sew it on by hand.

We were already lined up and almost ready to leave and I anxiously hoped that Mum would finish sewing on the pocket in time.  With about 2 minutes to spare Mum came rushing in the gate with the completed blazer so I was allowed to go with the rest of the students to see the picture.  This was one time when it really was fortunate we were living right opposite the school.

I don't know how many of you would have seen this film but it was, and still is, very wonderful.  Many of the girls, and the nuns, were seen shedding a tear while watching.  Did I shed a tear too?  Now, that would be telling wouldn't it?  I would only have been 6 or 7 years old so perhaps I don't remember about that, but I do remember the film as it made quite an impression on me.  I saw it again many years later and enjoyed it just as much as the first time.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I am not sure just how long we lived in the house in Wellington Street but I do know it was before I turned 7 that we moved to another place where we rented 2 rooms and shared conveniences and this was to a big house at 196 Goderich Street in East Perth.  There were two flats in the back garden and my brother Len lived in one of those so I guess it was he that arranged for our move.

Auntie Sheila (wife of my Uncle Lindsay Anderson) told me recently that her grandfather had actually owned and lived in the very same house many years previously.  A small world indeed.

I had begun attending Victoria Square College (now known as Mercedes College) while still living in Wellington Street but it was much more convenient for me now that we had moved as the front gate of the school was opposite where we were now living and I only had to cross the street to get to school.

My brother Len was married to Jean during this time and we of course attended their wedding and mum had made a very pretty horseshoe on a ribbon and I gave this to Jean, for good luck, as she was entering the church.

I celebrated my 7th birthday here and mum gave me a party to which were invited 5 girls from my school as well as 3 children of friends of mum and dad.  I have a lovely picture of all of us with our party hats on all looking as though we are enjoying ourselves very much.

Brother Len also joined the Royal Australian Air Force.  He'd never been brilliant at maths while at school and mum tutored him before he had to sit for his entrance exam and he passed with flying colours and eventually became an aerial photographer and during WW2 he actually flew out of Darwin with the American Airforce and took photos of the results of bombing raids on Borneo which was of course at that time in the possession of the Japanese.  I may tell more about that on a later blog.

I think we were quite happy living in the house in Goderich Street but it would not be long before were were on the move again and next time it was to rent a duplex in Royal Street (also in East Perth).  More about that next time.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I spoke of leaving the farm toward the end of 1937 and renting a couple of rooms in a big house in Wellington Street, the landlady of which had a son named (I think) Peter who was a bit of a terror.

I had been bought up for nearly 6 years very much on my own without much association with other children (I did correspondence lessons on the farm so no kindy or the like) and was by nature rather shy.

Three recollections (apart from my 6th birthday) I have while living in that house were these:

Running down the long gravel driveway by the house one day I fell and ended up with the worst gravel grazes on my kneea that one could have.  Anyone who has suffered a gravel grazewill understand what I am saying.  If I remember correctly it took several weeks for my knees to heal.

One day while playing outside I saw Peter making a small pile of dead leaves and bits of twigs right up against the side of the house.  I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was going to set fire to the house.  I remember rushing inside and up the stairs to tell mum we had to get outside as the house was going to burn down.  She of course calmed me down and told me that Peter was only teasing and I believe his mother did tell him off for doing so.  The house was built of brick so no way it could have burned down, or at least not from a small pile of leaves and twigs but I was obviously a gullible little girl and absolutely believed it could happen.

Having had to leave the farm with little more than our clothing and a few pound I had very few toys.  I think I had a rag doll and a celluloid doll and perhaps a couple of books.  One day Peter came and told me he would like to give me his old teddy bear as he was too grown up to have a teddy now which shows that underneath he was really quite a nice young lad after all.  I had that old bear until well into my 30s when he began to really fall apart and we found he had been stuffed with tiny pieces of cork which I thought quite unusual.  I for some reason had named the bear Norma.

Not huge events in one's life but still little things long remembered for various reasons.

Friday, February 10, 2012


We had arrived in Perth from our farm in Narrikup toward the end of 1937.  With very little money and only virtually our clothing we had brought with us, we rented a couple of furnished rooms in a large two storey house in Wellington Street (near Plain Street).  Dad of course immediately began to look for work.  He had been the Chief Clerk in the Sugar Commission in London before emigrating to Australia but of course had been farming for 17 years since their arrival here.

I celebrate my birthday immediately following new year so it is always a summer birthday.  As we knew very few people in the city it was decided that mum and dad would take me by tram to Crawley Bay where we could have a picnic lunch and a swim.  In those days the river was very clean with only the occasional little white jelly fish which did no harm.  Our landlady had a young son a few years older than me and he was asked to come with us to Crawley.  We shall call him Peter which I think actually was his real name.

The single tramline ran from the city around Mounts Bay Road to Crawley Bay but whether or not there was somewhere trams could pass each other or if it was the same tram that travelled there and back all the time I can't remember.

We had a lovely time and on the way home when we were about adjacent with Jacob's Ladder when the tram driver began constantly ringing his bell loudly we all knew something was dreadfully wrong.  All of a sudden there was a very loud bang and the tram stopped immediately.  I think if I remember correctly a couple of floor boards in the tram sprung up and some of the seat backs moved forward as well.  A couple of people did receive minor injuries but nothing of any real concern.

All the passengers jumped out of the tram and we were met with a most distressing sight.  There was a large sedan with the front stove in right in front of the tram with several young people lying on the roadway (no seatbelts in those days of course).  Even I at age 6 somehow knew by the way the bodies were lying on the road that at least one of two of them were dead and I don't recollect just how many of them were killed.

I was very upset and at the time I was eating what was called a bird's nest.  It consisted of coloured shredded coconut held together with something sticky and shaped like a bird's nest.  I remember saying to Mum "I can't eat this" and Peter said "I'll have it."  That was the sort of lad he was.  Nothing seemed to upset him.

The story came out later that the tram driver had seen the car heading straight toward the tram; it was thought the sun was in the car driver's eyes and he was for some reason driving down the middle of the road.  He obviously didn't see the tram coming toward him and one wonders if he actually heard the tram bell being rung. There were at least 4 if not 6 young people in the car so perhaps they were making a lot of noise preventing them hearing the warning sound.

The tram driver at the very last moment, knowing his own life was at stake, jumped on to the running board of a passing car.  I understand he was sacked from his job for leaving the tram and passengers appealed against his dismissal stating there was absolutely nothing else he could have done to avert the tragedy.  Whether he was reinstated I don't know but I hope he was but I wonder if he would have had the nerve to drive a tram again.

It was not a pleasant ending to what had been a wonderful birthday but the young are usually resilient and I don't think it caused me any nightmares or anything untoward of that kind.  Strangely though it is something I have never forgotten and the memory of that day does occasionally come back to me and I feel sad all over again for the loss of some young lives.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I sat today trying to think what would perhaps be my earliest memory that was a true memory and not something that had been told to me by my family and I think the very first real memory was of helping Mum and Dad fight a fire on the outskirts of our farm.  We lived in Narrikup which is in the deep south of Western Australia and just north of Albany.

This would be about 1936/7 when I was 4 or 5 (probably 5 I would think).  There was quite a bad bushfire and it was burning on the outskirts of some paddocks on our farm.  I couldn't of course be left at home on my own with the risk of a wind change etc., so off I went with Mum and Dad to 'help' fight this fire.

What I do remember is being given small branches (more like large twigs) with which I was told to put out any little spot fires along the edge of the paddock.  I can vividly remember doing that and am sure it was never told to me before I actually asked the folks about it.  A true memory.  Fortunately the fire was put out and no damage was done to property or livestock.

Owing to Mum's ill health we left the farm just before I turned 6 and although I've often tried to remember other things I can only surmise that I had a happy childhood with no bad memories so not a lot of memories.  I hope that makes sense.  I do remember the big stand of pine trees nearby and loving to walk under them and feel the crunch of the needles under my feet.  The farm was named "The Pines" for obvious reasons.

I do very vaguely remember the geography of the farm and there were cows, the gentlest of which I was allowed to milk. I think I probably managed to get enough for the cat to have a saucer of milk.  I also remember there was a lovely old grey horse called Bonnie.  I am told I used to sit on her back and I feel I may remember doing that or was I just told I did.  I also think I remember the cat or did Mum tell me all about him sitting in my high chair and joining us for meals at the table.

It is often in my mind what would have happened had Mum not been ill and we'd stayed on the farm.  Would I perhaps have married a farmer and still be down there?  Fate changes one's life in many ways and yet I do still quite often think "What if?"

Monday, February 6, 2012


Now I realise that yes, it is just 6 weeks since I was here.  I've opened up several times but nothing came to mind that was of interest to me let alone others.  I guess at age 80 you are not up with all things modern so it's not possible to comment on them.  If one does comment on modern times it sometimes comes out as a sort of criticism which is not good and usually not intended.  Technology has left us way behind so perhaps we live in a type of time warp now.

I contemplated whether to get rid of my blog entirely but then realised that it is actually here for me and if nobody else ever reads it or comments......then so what?

What to write about is the question and I decided that perhaps reminiscing about 'little things' that have happened over the years could be the way to go so that is what I intend to do.  As those events come to mind from time to time then I will write about them just for my own pleasure in having remembered them.  Here's hoping my long term memory is still functioning.

If you are a friend who perhaps drops in here occasionally then I hope you will enjoy whatever it is I write about and as a favour to me perhaps leave a comment even if just to say "what a load of rubbish!"
No, only joking but then am I or am I dinkum about loving ALL comments people take time to leave.