Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.   Albert Einstein

"Before the calendar turns a new leaf over, before the social networking sites get flooded with messages, before the mobile networks get congested, let me take a quiet moment out to wish you a wonderful, happy healthy and prosperous NEW YEAR".

My prowess with words is not sufficiently good to have come up with the above which I found on the internet but nevertheless they say all I would say if I were clever enough.  Phil and I wish you one and all, and your loved ones (human and furry alike), a wonderfully happy 2015.  Stay safe wherever you are.

Many thanks for your kindness throughout 2014, for putting up with my tardiness at times and for your very kind comments.  I may not have many followers but those I do have I appreciate very much.  Thank you.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

MY MOTHER'S STORY (continued)

In our last episode we had mum working at the British Oxygen Company and in a typing office.  It was wartime and she continues her story as follows: (this would have been ca 1916)

Excerpt from 'THE CLOCK OF TIME' by Gertrude Ruston (pp26-29) (pictures provided by me to add to the story)

"Unexpectedly I was offered a job as confidential secretary to the Manager of the newly formed Royal Commission on the Sugar Supply, and, as this was a government service, I decided to sever my connection with the typewriting office and V.A.D. and throw everything into what was undoubtedly of great importance to the community and war effort.

My chief's name was Mr Julius Joseph Runge.  The family was of German origin, but they were all British born and had carried on an important business as sugar brokers in Mincing Lane for generations.

The Commission was formed to safeguard the supply of sugar to industry, the community and the armed forces, and was vital to the war effort.  Practically all staff members of the Commission were recruited from the sugar trade, many from Mr Runge's office.   Some of them had joined Kitchener's army, but, if they were not A1 healthwise, or considered to be more valuable at home than in the fighting forces, they were released from the army and put to work where they could be of vital importance to the war effort.  It was from these men that the Commission drew its staff, all of them having spent many years in the trade.

The members of the Commission were outstanding people like Sir Robert Park Lyle, Bart., (Lyle's Golden  Syrup); Sir Joseph White Todd; Sir Henry Primrose; Captain Charles Bathurst (who later became Sir Charles Bathurst; then Lord Bledisloe and, finally, after the war, Viscount Bledisloe of Lydney, Gloucester and Government of New Zealand).  (Note:  Sadly Sir Henry Primrose took his own life in 1923 at the age of 76.  He was a chronic insomniac and in later life had suffered from depression.  As mum at that time was in Australia she may never have known of this tragedy.)

Direct telephone lines were put through to my office from Sir Robert Park Lyle and the Admirality, necessary to keep us informed hourly of the sinkings of sugar boats or their safe arrival.  By this time it had become necessary for our cargo ships to be made up into convoys escorted by naval vessels but, despite this, many were torpedoed by U-boats.

 Food was rationed, and wholesalers and manufacturers were only given a proportion of the sugar bought by them during a former fixed twelve month period.  They had to produce their accounts for the year in question or were refused supplies.

Many small business people who had destroyed their receipts were desperate as it meant the end of their businesses.  I was put in charge of these difficult cases and had men and women break down when telling me of their difficulties.  Sugar brokers dealt only in sugar so, by recourse to cheque books and consultation with brokers to whom the cheques had been sent, I managed to solve a large number quite legally, and the people concerned were truly grateful.  One of these, a Jewish woman cool drink manufacturer, brought me in a beautiful umbrella as a gift of appreciation, but I was unable to accept it as it might have been considered bribery and corruption.  However, she was determined to show her appreciation and had it delivered later to my home anonymously as a Xmas gift.

 Supplies of damaged sugar also passed through my hands as well as golden syrup and molasses.  In dealing with the I was amazed to learn the many uses to which it was put, including the manufacture of boot blacking and the silvering of mirrors.  At 19 it was a heavy responsiblity to take on, although at the time I thought nothing of it.  I have since marvelled at the amount of confidential knowledge and trust imposed in me.

Supplies of sugar were a constant worry and, at one time, there was only sufficient in England to last two weeks, but people were quite unaware of the situation.  Just in time the navy managed to bring supplies safely to port to the great relief of us all at the Commission,

Neutral countries were used by both sides to obtain food supplies, and I remember hearing that we purchased supplied of beet sugar from Germany through a neutral country, and supplied butter for our enemy through the same middle source.  In this way neutral countries frequently make huge profits out of war.

By this time Amy's husband had been recruited into the services, trained at Cambridge University as an officer and had been sent to France.  News from France was terrible and the poor old "Contemptibles" (the Kaiser's name for our little army) were being slaughtered.  Day after day the names of people we knew appeared in the casualty lists, and to be an officer seemed almost a sentence of death.  (This is a group of the Old Contemptibles)

 As the war continued my duties became extremely heavy, and as I was still confidential secretary to the Manager, and often called upon to undertake confidential work for members of the Commission, I as frequently working until midnight and at weekends.

It was then decided to bring a man in to handle part of my work, and he was given that dealing with golden syrup and molasses.  I was most annoyed to learn that he was to receive £800 a year (a large salary then) to do only part of my work, while I had been receiving £250 a year for coping with the lot.

Special applications were made to Treasury on my behalf, but I was refused an increase as I was being paid the maximum possible for a woman without a university degree.  My assistant, who also did not have a university degree, was eligible for the larger salary as he was a male.  There were so many anomalies in government service, but pressure for equal pay has now resulted in better conditions for women.

My service with the Commission was really the crowning point of my career in England as, by having achieved such a position at the age of 19, which covered confidential services to the government, a department of my own, control of a pool of about 40 typists, as well as the opportunity to work directly with the members of the Commission and my close association with my immediate chief, there was little more to which I could aspire.

At about that time the Secretary of the Commission, Mr C. S. Rewcastle, who was a barrister, needed a secretary, and I advised my sister of the vacancy and suggested she apply if she wished.  My brother-in-law was overseas in France, my mother was able and willing to care for their young son. so Amy applied for the job and obtained it by her own efforts.  I did not attempt to introduce her or put her name forward, and it was a long time before anybody learnt that we were sisters as she was, of course, engaged under her married name.  In addition, were were not physically alike as I was very fair and rather like my mother in features, while Amy had dark hair and a bright colour rescembling our father.  In temperament also we were very different.

Some time after this the British Empire Medal was introduced to be presented to people giving outstanding service either at home or in the field.  A number of men in the Commission were given the M.B.E., possibly because they had been withdrawn from the army and were giving essential service.  (This is the MBE as awarded in 1918)

At this time my sister collapsed with a nervous breakdown due, no doubt, to worry over her husband in France, where things were going badly, and pressure of work at the Commission.  She was sent away on leave and her boss recommended her for the M.B.E.  (Note:  I have often wondered why mum was not also recommended for an M.B.E. considering the type of work she did at the Commission.  She received one many years later in Australia for the social welfare work she did in the community.)

Here I will leave mum's story and continue next time with another quite important change in her life.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Hi there....I've been a bit slack of late but I'm still here and hope to be back in full flight in 2015 when I will be a year older....imagine that, I will be 83 in just 9 days.

I am told that I have 50 followers but I feel many have fallen by the wayside over time.  No matter, to those who have faithfully followed my blog, and particularly those who leave a comment, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas day with your loved ones.  Keep safe and enjoy your day.  I will be thinking of you with affection while I enjoy my day with my little family.

Tomorrow we head down to the home of our #1 granddaughter and her husband.  We know we will particularly enjoy the day as Christmas is so much about children and I believe their two little girls are already really excited about tomorrow.  There will also be our daughter and her hubby, our #2 granddaughter and her daughter (our eldest great-granddaughter) and our #1 grandson.  It's only a small family but they are very precious to Phil and me and time spent with them is always wonderful.

I will also be thinking of my son and his wife and their two children and hoping they too are enjoying Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


How could I go past the B vegetables without including beetroot, one of the summer favourites in our house.  Many years ago I always cooked beetroot before peeling, slicing and adding vinegar, sugar etc.   These days I simply buy the baby beets in tins and find they are quite delicious.  We have them nearly every day right through summer with our salads.  I am so glad I included this vegetable as I have learned so much about it today (thank you Wikipedia and yes, it is time I gave a small donation to them as they supply so much information.  Occasionally they can be incorrect but on the whole I find them very reliable).

BEETROOT:  The beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant, also known in North America as the table beet, garden beet, red or golden beet, or informally simply as the beet.  It is several of the cultivated varieties of beet (Beta vulgaris) grown for their edible taproots and their green.  These varieties have been classified as Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris Conditiva Group.

Other than as a food, its uses include food colouring and as a medicinal plant.  Many beet products are made from other Beta vulgaris varieties, particularly sugar beet.

The usually deep purple roots of beetroot are eaten either grilled, boiled, or roasted as a cooked vegetable, cold as a salad after cooking and adding oil and vinegar or raw and shredded, either alone or combined with any salad vegetable.  A large proportion of the commercial production is processed into boiled and sterilised beets or into pickles.  In Eastern Europe, beet soup, such a borscht, is a popular dish.  In Indian cuisine, chopped, cooked, spiced beet is a common side dish.  Yellow-coloured beetroot are grown on a very small scale for home consumption.

The green, leafy portion of the beet is also edible.  (Note: I didn't know that).  It is most commonly served boiled or steamed, in which case it has a taste and texture similar to spinach.  Those selected should be bulbs that are unmarked, avoiding those with overly limp leaves or wrinkled skins, both of which are signs of dehydration.

Beetroot can be peeled, steamed. and then eaten warm with butter as a delicacy; cooked, pickled. and then eaten cold as a condiment; or peeled, shredded raw, and then eaten as a salad.

 Pickled beets are a traditional food of the American South, and are often served on a hamburger in Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates.  (I am not sure if I've had beetroot on hamburger but then it's many years since I had a hamburger.)

A traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dish is pickled beet egg.  Hard-boiled eggs are refrigerated in the liquid left over from pickling beets and allowed to marinate until the eggs turn a deep pink-red colour.

In Poland, beet is combined with horseradish to form popular cwikla, which is traditionaly used with cold cuts and sandwiches, but often also added to a meal consisting of meat and potatoes.

When beet juice is used, it is most stable in foods with a low water content, such as frozen novelties and fruit fillings.   (That certainly looks delicious, I wonder would I enjoy it?).

 Betanins, obtained from the roots, are used industrially as red food colourants, e.g. to intensify the colour of tomato paste, sauces, desserts, jams and jellies, ice cream sweets and breakfast cereals.  The red dye of beetroot may be used in ink and beetroot can also be used to make wine.

Food shortages in Europe following World War 1 caused great hardships, including cases of "mangelwurzel disease", as relief workers called it.  It was a consequence of eating only beets.

Beetroot is an excellent source of folate and a good source of manganesium and contains betaines which may function to reduce the concentration of homocysteine, a homolog of the naturally occurring amino acid cysteine,  High circulating levels of homocysteine may be harmful to blood vessels and thus contribute to the development of heart disease, stroke. or peripheral vascular disease.  This hypothesis is controversial as it has not yet been established whether homocysteine itself is harmful or is just an indicator of increased risk of heart disease.

The red colour compound betanin is not broken down in the body, and in higher concentrations may temporarily cause urine and stools to assume a reddish colour; in the case of urine this is called beeturia.  This effect may cause distress and concern due to the visual similarity to hematuria (blood in the urine) or blood in the stool, but is completely harmless and will subside once the food is out of the system.  (Note:  This has never happened to me so perhaps I don't eat beetroot in sufficient quantity for it have this effect.  I am certainly glad that it doesn't affect me in this way).

From the Middle Ages, beetroot was used as a treatment for a variety of conditions, especially illnesses relating to digestion and the blood.  *Bartolomeo Platina recommended taking beetroot with garlic to nullify the effects of 'garlic breath'.

*Bartolomeo Platina (1421-1481) was an Italian Renaissance humanist writer and gastronomist.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I am becoming a real laggard of late with posting on my blog.  One reason is the ring finger on my left hand has decided to rebel and my typing is suffering because of it.  It doesn't appear to be a case of trigger finger 'cos it doesn't click but it is painful when I type and on occasion will suddenly go stiff and there is no way I can bend it until it is ready to do so itself.   It does hurt so I have to be patient with it.   My left hand also tends to get pins and needles in if I type for too long.  I'm afraid the old grey mare definitely ain't what she used to be but she's not given up completely....not yet anyway.

The above has of course delayed me with the continuing story my mother told about her life and even about the A-Z of vegetables.  Please bear with me and I'll try to get on with it all ASAP.  In the meantime (although I showed this before) do share a laugh with me over this very wise and pretty picture:

I'm smiling as I sent hugs to all my friends.   (I remember who sent me these pretty cacti pics.  I wonder does she remember sending them to me?)

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Phil and both really enjoy brussel sprouts and try to include them in our meals during the cooler months.  For some reason many people do not like these vegetables and I wonder if it is because there is a tendency to overcook them which makes them mushy and not very palatable.  Ours are cooked in the microwave along with carrots, sweet potato, broccoli and cauliflower plus other vegetables as well at times.  I don't add water or salt so the only liquid is the water where the vegies have been rinsed prior to cooking.  I drain off any liquid before serving which keeps everything nice and dry and still quite firm and delicious.  I am convinced that microwaving vegetables is as healthy as steaming  and a lot less trouble as well.  When I cook them, after taking off a couple of older leaves, I cut a 'cross' in the stem part underneath which helps them cook quickly and seems to keep them nice and firm.  If they are extra large I will cut them in half but then you have to be careful they don't overcook.

"BRUSSEL SPROUTS:  This vegetable is part of the brassica family, also known ass cruciferous vegetables which includes cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy and cress.  These vegetables contain cancer-fighting glucosinolates, but brussel sprouts top them all when it comes to total content.

It is said this vegetable were originally bred from wild cabbages found in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, though their name suggests otherwise.  Brussel sprouts were cultivated in Belgium from the 16th century onwards, though other earlier versions were reported in ancient Rome.  Another source says they are native to Belgium, and were cultivated exclusively in a region near Brussels until World War 1, when consumption spread across Europe.

They are a great option for vegetarian meals when combined with whole grains.  They are naturally low in sodium and fat and they have a ton of vitamins A,K.C (more than an orange), B6, folate, potassium, fibre, iron, selenium, and calcium plus all those antioxidant, cancer-fighting compounds mentioned above.

Studies show that brussel sprouts can help lower cholesterol as the fibre-related nutrients bind with intestinal bile acids, helping them to pass out of the body.  This forces the body to replenish lost bile acids by tapping into the existing supply of cholesterol, which reduces it."

I found the above information (and more) on

NOTE:  On thinking back to my youth I realise we never ate broccoli, broad beans or brussels sprouts and I don't think they were even sold in Perth shops.   Our main vegies back in the 1930s-1950s were potatoes, carrots, green beans, peas, cauliflower,  cabbage and in stews and casseroles we used turnips, onions, carrots and swede turnips and our salads consisted mainly of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, celery and spring onions.  I feel it was because of the arrival of many migrants after WW2 that so many of today's range of vegetables became available to us.  I do remember back in the 1950s some plants coming up in our back garden in Walcott Street and we had no idea where they'd come from or what they were.  They turned out to be broad beans and they were the first we'd ever seen.   We picked them and cooked them and quite enjoyed them.  We also had some self-sown cape gooseberries grow and they were delicious too.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


The continuing story of mum's life in England in the early 1900s. (I have been endeavouring to post this for three days but to no avail so here's hoping it will work OK today).

An excerpt from "THE CLOCK OF TIME" by Gertrude Ruston (pp 23-24.)

"Another Move and Off to College

Mother decided that it was time I left for college where I had been enrolled and, probably for all our sakes, she found us a new home at Stanford Hill in North London, which was within reach of her relatives and much more convenient for Amy.

By this time Amy had joined a firm by the name of Johnston Horsburgh and Co., Paper Manufacturers, one of her bosses being Edward Ferguson whom she later married.

My college was near Brighton.  It was an excellent school and discipline was very strict.  I think now that it was a good thing as it set the standard for our future lives.  In due course I passed the junior and senior university examinations and hoped to become a medical missionary but my health let me down, and I did not pass the medical test.  (NOTE:  Although mum never told why she failed to pass the medical examination, I am wondering if that funny heart beat she had as a result of her bout of diptheria may have been the problem.)

My next choice was to obtain a position in one of the overseas consular offices for which I needed expert secretarial and language training, so mother transferred me to Pitman's Secretarial College in Holborn, where I became an efficient shorthand typist up to reporting standards. " (NOTE:  Mum never forgot her shorthand and I actually have some notes she made in shorthand some years ago and I can actually translate them which proves how good her shorthand still was when in her 70s.  She was also still a very good typist and typed the manuscript for her book on a portable typewriter.)  "My French and German was passable and I started learning Russian (a terrible language).

By this time Amy had married Edward Ferguson and they were living in Alexandra Park, so mother and I were left on our own.  I was then about seventeen and I went with mother to Ilfracombe in Devon for our annual summer holiday.  It was a glorious place and we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves.  Of course there was no radio or television invented then, but bands were everywhere and some wonderful concerts were arranged outdoors with outstanding soloists.

We were listening to an outdoor concert one evening when there was a sudden hush and someone in authority read out 'THE DECLARATION OF WAR WITH GERMANY".  We were all advised to return home immediately and that was the end of my formal education making an entire change to my plans for the future.

War Changes Affect Us All

There was a great burst of patriotism and, optimistically, everybody thought it would be all over by Christmas, three months away.

Kitchener was in charge of the army and posters everywhere called on eligible me to join up.

 Many thousands did join up, and they were given an armlet to wear and the King's shilling, until such time as they could be accommodated and trained.

By this time Amy and Edward had a small son named after his father and, so that mother could be near to them in this crisis, we moved to a small house in Alexandra Park.

I joined the V.A.D. gave service, part time, in hospitals, helping to turn some of our large country homes into emergency hospitals for the wounded.  I was told that my name had been put down on the Woodbury Down Baptist Church honour board for services rendered.  I was baptised there and a member of the church for many years until I married and, shortly after, went to Australia.  In addition to V.A.D. work I had to earn my living.  I became a secretary to a German Indent Agent named Hugo Becker, and it was then that my German became extremely useful.  He was a nice old boy, had been n business in England for many years, and dictated each morning at a terrific rate a mixture of English and German, enough to fill a shorthand notebook.   When he returned after lunch he proceeded to cancel most of what he had dictated and reduced letters to a few lines instead of many pages.  I soon learned not to start typing until after lunch!  He it was who trained my memory.  Once I had heard an address he expected me to know it and I was not allowed to look it up, which made me memorise every one.  Eventually, like the majority of Germans, he was interned as a precaution against spies.

My next job was as secretary to the Managing Director of the British Oxygen Company, which was extremely busy on was work.  I remember with sadness one of the the clerks who used to bring me violets or other flowers at lunch time.  He was a very nice man but somewhat of a "Mother's Boy".  In due course he was called up and gave me, as a parting gift, an excellent framed photograph of himself.  I had never been out with him - I doubt if he had the courage to ask me  Poor Steve - he was too soft for the army and was killed as soon as he reached France.

I did not stay long at the British Oxygen Company as the firm's Secretary persisted in making improper approaches to me.  He was a horror and a married man.  Later we read where his wife had committed suicide by taking the children into the ocean with her.

Next I became a junior partner in a typewriting office, which was a wonderful experience, giving me all sorts of assignments on relief work and emergencies.  I spent a short time in the London office of the South African Government and found the women staff members mostly middle aged and stuffy.  One rather friendly woman of about 40 used to talk of going away for weekends and taking Marmaduke with her.  I was intrigued and wondered what on earth Marmaduke looked like.  It was not until I was leaving the job that I discovered that Marmaduke was her hot water bottle!  I was asked to remain as secretary to one of the chief men but did not like the typing pool atmosphere.

I then went to Odhams Limited, Covent Garden, and, in the course of my work, came in contact with Horatio Bottomley, editor of "John Bull".  He was an ugly man, not a bit impressive, and was notorious later, when he was in court charged with illegal financial dealings.  He conducted his own case in court, but was found guilty and duly sentenced.

There were people of many nations passing through England at that time and it was certainly a test of skill to work for them.  My knowledge of languages was most useful as continental people could mostly speak English but, when they became excited, they were inclined to revert to their mother tongue, whatever that may be.

There were times when, asked to work for a man ina hotel room with a soundproof door, one became a little nervous, and my first experience of this was at Claridges, the client being an American.  I soon found out however that these business people were only too anxious to conclude their dictation at top speed and were probably unaware if the shorthand typist was old, young, comely or plain.

We used taxis for this work and lost no time in getting back to the typing office, completing the assignment and taking it back to the hotel, having carefully checked everything and wit the account ready for payment.  It had to be "cash on the spot".  Americans staying at Claridges constantly used our services and a great deal of the work was confidential.   I became well known to the commissionaires at the various hotels, and was glad of the shelter of their large umbrellas when it was raining.  It was nice to be treated as a V.I.P.

I recall while at the British Oxygen Company becoming friendly with their auditor.  We both enjoyed walking and occasionally joined up for short working tours of twenty to twenty-five miles throughout the countryside around Carshalton and Cheam, stopping at one of the local pubs for refreshments.  It was a purely platonic affair and we always went "Dutch".  His first name was Jim but his surname quite eludes me.  He was anxious to obtain his letters for accountancy and I was able to obtain my father's help for him, but was warned not to send all my friends along for similar privileges!"

I will leave mum there and next time will tell of her move to work for the Sugar Commission and more important changes in her life.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


BROCCOLI  (Brassica oleracea):  Is an edible green plant in the cabbage family, whose large flowering head is used as a vegetable.  The word broccoli comes from the Italian plural of broccolo, which means "the flowering crest of a cabbage", and is the diminutive form of brocco, meaning 'small nail' or 'sprout'.  Broccoli is usually boiled or steamed but may be eaten raw.  (I often eat raw cauliflower but have never tried broccoli raw, so that is something new I can try).

"Broccoli can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you cook it by steaming (I am sure microwaving it would do just as well).  The fibre-related components in broccoli do a better job binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they've been steamed.  When this binding process takes place, it is easier for bile acids to be secreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol level.

Raw broccoli still has cholesterol-lowering ability...just not so much (OK then, maybe I won't bother trying it raw).

Broccoli also has a strong, positive impact on our body's detoxification system. and researchers have recently identified one of the key reasons for this detox benefit. Glucoraphan, gluconasturtian and glucobrassicin are 3 glucosinolate phytonutrients found in a special combination in broccoli.  This dynamic trio is able to support all steps in the body's detox process, including activation, neutralisation and elimination of unwanted contaminants.  Isothiocyanates (ITCs) are the detox-regulating molecules made from broccoli's glucosinolates, and they help control the process at a genetic level.

Broccoli may help us sole our vitamin D deficiency epidemic.  When large supplemental doses of vitamin D are needed to offset deficiency, ample supplies of vitamins K and A help keep our vitamin D metabolism in balance.  Broccoli has an unusually strong combination of both vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and vitamin K.  For people faced with the need to rebuild vitamin D stores through vitamin D supplements. broccoli may be an ideal food to include in the diet."

(NOTE:  We eat broccoli nearly every day during the cooler months and really do enjoy it (April-October) but I still seem to seem to be low in vitamin D and take a capsule daily.  I must admit I do not get out into the sun very much and that may account for my own deficiency).

"One cup of chopped, cooked broccoli contains 55 calories and is very low GI."

This information obtained from "The World Healthiest Foods" website for which many thanks.

Friday, December 5, 2014


I've not been posting a lot 'cos there have been many up and down days of late but I was out in the back garden this week and discovered there is lots of colour out there which made my heart glad so thought I'd share some of it with you.   Ours is not a spectacular garden but at least it's ours.

Here are two miniature bouganvilleas and a very colourful lantana.  Nobody bothered to tell the mauve bouganvillea that it was a miniature and it keeps sending out these long spikes.  The other one is much better behaved although it seems to have changed colour somewhat this year.

This is a yellow, much smaller, lantana with blue plumbago in the background and there is even a bird of paradise flower wanting to be in the picture as well.  We have a white plumbago as well as a blue one in the front garden and over the years I've trained the blue one up a eucalypt (gum tree) and it is quite surprising at times to see the lovely blue flowers quite high up in the tree.

My potted roses are doing well this year and I still enjoy the change of colour as the bloooms age.

These are the yellow pansies that Phil planted specially for me and they have continued to give us joy over many weeks.

There is also some colour in the front garden with rusellia in bloom and the Kings Park Special bottlebrush is still flowering.  We are also lucky to enjoy Gwen's jacaranda trees which are right next door.   The daisies have flowered but there are lots of new plants that have come up so should be more flowers out there soon.

I long for the days of planting annuals but it is too much work for us now so we have to content ourselves with flowering shrubs and any plants that come up of their own accord and we always welcome them to our garden.  I can't say the same for the countless weeds but they are of course one of the problems if you have a garden aren't they?  You just take the bad with the good.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Today is Phil's 85th birthday.  It is a quiet day with no big celebrations but the main thing is we are still together and happily so.   I took this photo a short while ago with Phil standing on the front verandah with our garden in background.  The pansies in the hanging baskets were planted especially for me by Phil so I can see then through the front door while sitting in my armchair.

He does kind little things like that to make me happy and I adore him for it.  I would be lost without him and I continually tell him so.  My daughter recently said that she thought her step-father was such a gentle man and one of whom you would never feel afraid.   Don't get me wrong he stands up for himself quite well and we do have the wee barney but what would life be without the odd difference of opinion?

So far today he has received gifts from me (a pair of joggers and two pairs of pyjamas), a car in the mail from an old friend, a phone call from our friend Richard who is currently in Adelaide, a phone call from our son-in-law, a phone call from Phil's cousin Mollie in England, two from our #3 granddaughter and her family in Alaska, USA, and another from a friend of our in Mandurah.  When I opened Facebook this morning there was a message from our daughter wishing her step-father a very happy birthday with some very kind words.   Phil's reply was to say thank you and that it was a joy being part of this family.  I think that says it all don't you?

                              HAPPY BIRTHDAY PHIL AND MANY MORE TO FOLLOW!!!!

P.S.  As today is a working day and all the family are hard at work we will be celebrating further with daughter and her hubby (and maybe other family members) next Sunday so something to look forward to as the highlights in our life are seeing our family.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


I received my bank statement this week and enclosed was an envelope asking for donations to the Smith Family.  While Phil and I have always donated to various charities over the years it is not always easy when one is on an aged pension, much as we'd love to continue to do so.  As this organisation does such a wonderful job though, I just may try to find a few dollars this year if I can.

That though is not my point in this instance.   It reminded me of a story told to me many years ago by the wife of an uncle of my first husband (Aubrey) (have you worked that out OK?)  She had been Minnie Smith before her marriage and the story goes like this.

Uncle Bert and Auntie Min had travelled to Melbourne (Victoria) from Perth, Western Australia, by train (a journey of a couple of thousand miles) and upon leaving the station in Melbourne what should confront them but a big sign on an adjacent building 'THE SMITH FAMILY".

Bert turned to Min and said "and now I know where you all came from!"   Min always loved telling that story and now you too know where all the Smiths came from.

Min and I remained friends after my divorce to Aubrey and the last time we visited her in her unit in a retirement home in Mount Lawley she would have been in her mid-nineties.   She passed away in her sleep on 21st November, 2001 at the ripe old of age of 97.  Bert had pre-deceased her in 1985 when he was 81.

Monday, November 24, 2014


As you know after P.R. said he no longer wanted them with him, my grandmother had moved on with my mum and her sister Amy, and were now living in North Street, Hornchurch.  Here we have the story of their life during that time as described in mum's book.  This would be in ca1907, over one hundred years ago and it IS mum's story and not mine.

Excerpt from "THE CLOCK OF TIME" by Gertrude Ruston.  (published in 1983).

"Hornchurch was a charming old country place.  There were no cars or public vehicles at that time, and most people either walked short distances, rode horses, bicycles, tandems or tricycles.  We often saw the Anglican and Non-Conformist ministers riding their tricycles side by side down North Street, and chatting away very amicably. There was never any question of bad feeling between them and everybody went to one church or the other.  I never saw a Catholic nun or priest as far as I can remember.   I recollect crossing fields and climbing stiles while the bells were ringing for church, and memory brings back how beautifully clear and delightful they sounded across the English countryside.

I went to school at Hornchurch, it may have been for the first time, and while very young I started to sing and recite, and was often selected by my teachers to take part in concerts and eisteddfods.  I was put forward to complete at the Crystal Palace as a soloist and, to my surprise, I took first prize and a certificate in my grade.  I also obtained gold medals for elocution.  (Note: my mum always had a wonderfully clear speaking voice with what is often called an "Oxford acccent".)   One particular poem that comes to mine is the "Cry of the Children" by Elizabeth Browning, applicable in some countries even today.  It was one of my successes.  It was here in Hornchurch I also learned maypole dancing, the Irish Jig, Scottish reels, and many country dances.  One of the latter was called 'dibbing', and I have since remembered that it represented making holes for the planting of potatoes.  Little did I think at that time that it would be my fact in Australia to plant hundreds of acres of potatoes.

It was at this time in my life that I felt the need for music and started to play the piano.  Amy had the good fortune to have been given seven years first class tuition on the piano, and although she was never an inspired or really good pianist, she played accurately and had a good contralto voice.  My father would not pay for me to be taught as Amy had failed to shine, but mother managed to give me a little tuition and, as I thoroughly enjoyed playing, I leaned to sight read anything, and often spent hours playing to relieve tension.  For years I played accompaniments for people and this gave me a great deal of pleasure.  (Note: We had a piano in our home and my brother Len had a wonderful baritone voice.  Our family would gather around the piano and mum would play the accompaniments while the rest of us sang so many wonderful songs.  With Len being such a good singer it seemed to inspire the rest of us to sing our best as well.  Mum also had a lovely contralto voice.  I remember those 'sing songs' with so much happiness).

When Amy left college she obtained a position as Secretary/Linguist in a solicitor's office in London and travelled up and down each day.  The local conveyance known as 'Drake's bus', drawn by one horse, and which held about four people, stopped at the door to pick her up each morning and brought her home from the station each night.  If we needed the bus, unless previously arranged, we had to put up a small flag by the gate.  As far as I remember the station was about 1 mile away, and the church, standing in what was called the Dell, also about 1 mile distant.

As a child I was very intrigued by the old church and its bull's horns, after which the town was named.  Nobody seemed to know their significance.  I later discovered that the church had been a priory and the horns were said to have been placed on the church by a whore in expiation of her sins.  (Note:  That sounded a little far-fetched to me so I have endeavoured to find the history of those horns and the only explanation I could find was this:  "At the east end of the roof is a bull's head statue, which is a unique feature to find on a church.  However, in 1222 the first written reference to the church refers to the monasterium cornutum or horned church at Havering.  There are numerous legends and theories to explain the existence of the horns, but the truth remains obscure.  This is an extract from "The history of St Andrew's Church."  It goes on to say "In 1610 the horns were thought to have been made of lead but when they were repaired in 1824 they were found to be made of copper.  In 1999 the copper horns were stolen from the bull's head.  They were never recovered and new horns replaced them in 2001.")

I must have been about 10 years old and Amy 17 when mother decided to have a photograph taken of us.  As was the fashion, Amy was wearing long skirts and had her hair up with a ridiculous hat perched on top, and was sitting on a chair.  I stood alongside in a short white frock, my fair curly hair almost covered by a mushroom shaped hat, and with a most silly look on my face.  Mother was very proud of this photo and brought it out for exhibition on every possible occasion until, all of a sudden, it could not be found.  Amy and I had seen to it that it had disappeared.  I feel rather guilty now, but it was not flattering of either of us.

Infectious diseases were much more common than they are today, and we had none of the protective needles now obtainable to prevent measles, diptheria, scarlet fever or whooping couch.  At that time the poor victim of scarlet fever had to spend six weeks in an infectious diseases hospital, whereas it can now be stopped in twenty-four hours.

I fell victim to diptheria and was very ill.  My mother nursed me at home.  The house was a double storey with four bedrooms, one being quite isolated which was my abode.  Mother came in and out wearing a long white gown similar to that worn by the doctor, and there was a sheet hung outside the door which was dipped in disinfectant each day to prevent infection.

Mother must have been very weary because she could not have the usual help with the cleaning and washing owing to the risk of infection, and, as I was very ill indeed and my life was despaired of, she had to give me had constant attention.  As always, she was wonderful and we never heard a grumble from her.  Neither mother nor Amy caught the illness due, no doubt, to her very great care,  Mother was very popular with the neighbours and church people, and many folks sent me in flowers and delicacies as soon as I was able to have them.  One I very much enjoyed was pure orange jelly served in the orange peel; not too sweet and wonderful for my throat.  Strange how one remembers such a thing from so long ago.  I can visualise the woman who made it but her name eludes me.  It took me a while to pick up from the illness and I still have some slight disability from it.  (Note:  Mum had what is called a 'diptheric heart' and doctors, when checking her pulse, would make note of an irregular heart beat.  That heart managed to be there for mum until her demise in 1985 and was not the cause of her death.)

I will leave mum there and in the next chapter she is off to college and then find a suitable position of work. 

Friday, November 21, 2014


Have you ever had something completely disappear?  Completely vanish?  I've occasionally mislaid an item only to remember shortly afterwards where I last saw it.  In this instance I have entirely lost a size 4.00 crochet hook.

How did it happen you ask?   Latish Wednesday afternoon I asked Phil to pop up to Godfreys re our vacuum cleaner.   As Candy was out in the garden I asked Phil to close the gate after he'd driven out.  I was sitting in the living room crocheting

and noticed he had driven off without shutting the gate.  I had bare feet so quickly popped my crochet on to the table next to my chair and went into the bedroom to put on a pair of shoes.

I grabbed my stick and walked up and closed the gate.  I've been feeling a tad livelier since my op and decided I'd sweep the front verandah.  This usually means a few sweeps of the broom, a sit down and a few more sweeps but I eventually get it done.   I then decided one of the chairs needed hosing down so did that as well and moved an old broken chair ready to be taken down the back yard.   While still out there Phil arrived back so I opened the gate for him to drive in and closed it again as Candy was still outside. 

Then I decided I'd hose part of the verandah down where I couldn't reach with the broom (no waste of water as the water runs into the garden) and we went into the house, had a cuppa and biscuit or two.

So, feeling proud of myself for having been able to do much more than usual, the day proceeded pretty much as usual until watching TV after dinner.   I grabbed for my crochet but NO HOOK!!  I searched through the box that held the finished squares, under the table and all round the area.  I checked in the bedroom in case I'd had the hook in my hand when I went for my shoes.  No sign of it.  Yesterday Jenny (our cleaning lady) came and when I told her she also looked as she was cleaning but still no hook.  Phil has moved both our chairs to no avail.  That hook is obviously is in that wonderful place 'somewhere".  ...and yes, I've searched down both sides of my armchair.

I knew I had a spare size 4.00 hook but as I'd not used it for many months (possibly years) it took me a full 24 hours to visually remember where I'd last seen it and lo and behold there it was.  I resumed crocheting last night and can now continue to make the rugs I give to Vinnys each year to do with as they please.  I don't mind if they give them to nursing homes or make a few dollars selling them.  It's a very small contribution on my part but it makes me feel I'm doing a tiny bit of good.  We also donate all unwanted clothing in good condition as well as a few household items we no longer need.

I know what I did outside has nothing to do with the lost hook but I just feel so pleased to have the energy to do a little more as for so long I seem to have been so weary.  It will be a slow progress but not feeling so tired is a big bonus even if there are no other improvements for a while.  I have no regrets about having had the parathyroid operation and it has healed so well and hardly any scar to speak of.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


We left mum with her mother and sister on a seaside holiday with mum enjoying having a sail with her father (P.R.).  We now come to the sadder part of the story but one that has to be told as it was such a large part of mum's life as a child:

Excerpt from 'THE CLOCK OF TIME" by Gertrude Ruston:

"My Mother's Heartbreak

My next recollection is of a time, some years later, when we were living in a very luxurious home in the London area.  It was a two storey house and had a beautiful curved staircase leading to a balcony over which one could look down into the hall.  (NOTE:  I imagine it to have been something like this):

Amy and I, on this occasion, were looking over the balcony realising that something of importance was taking place in the hall below, as my mother was in tears and she had her guardian, the Rev. Varco Williams, with her.   Later my mother came up to us, still in tears, and advised that my father no longer wanted us and that we were going away.  No explanation was given to us then or at any other time.

It is to this day a matter of great sadness and regret that I was too young at that time to have had a hand in arranging the terms according to which the separation was finalised.

In due course we learned that:-

a.  The furniture was to be divided.
b.  Mother was to receive a certain sum of money to cover her needs and ours, and she was to take on
     the full responsibility for our care and education.
c.  Should he desire to see us, mother was at any time to make it possible for this to happen.
d.  She was not to apply for a divorce at any time or she would lose her allowance.

We gathered these details as we grew older, but my mother never mentioned his name.  At no time did one parent criticise the other over all the years.  Later Amy and I presumed the split was caused by another woman, as there were several over the years whose identities were made known to us by people who had known my mother, and probably thought we would carry the information home to her so that she could do something about it.  Amy and I never repeated anything, nor did mother ask any questions.

We were required to be present about once a year at the 'Christmas Shareout' of one of his organisations, so that he look us over and that people could see he had a well cared for family.

Looking back I realise my parents were not really compatible.  He was a gifted, ambitious, successful, a leading Freemason and a trendy dresser.  One wall of his office was a built-in wardrobe containing changes of clothes for various occasions.  He needed to take his place in social life and brought home beautiful pieces of material for mother to have made up so that she could accompany him, but she did not like his choice of colours and refused to have them made up.  The materials disappeared and he possibly found a substitute partner to wear them.  (NOTE: Maybe something similar to these):

Had the separation taken place today, my legal mind tells me that mother could have obtained a divorce at any time, and put pressure on him for a much greater allowance because his earnings increased considerably over the years.  Mother was to proud to let anyone know anything about her private affairs, and would certainly never have contemplated a law case, although I believe had she bluffed she could have obtained a far better deal.  I personally fought him on several occasions and won additional educational privileges which I considered my due.

All records have gone and I have no knowledge of the date on which their separation took place, but I do know that we moved to a nice house in North Street, Hornchurch, Essex, probably selected by the guardian or lawyer, and sufficiently far away to make a complete break.

It was a very great pity that a divorce was not possible, as it would have enabled mother to enjoy pleasant company and security during the latter years of her life, had she been so inclined.  We had a widower neighbour at one time who tried hard to be friendly with her, but she showed very clearly that she was not interested.  His name was William Bird so of course Amy and I called him "Dicky Bird".   (The girls would not have known at that time that many years later there would be a well known English cricket umpire also called "Dicky" Bird)."

NOTE:  Please bear in mind that all the above took place during the very early part of the 20th century and this type of occurrence would be handled very differently today.   One thing though that I discovered through genealogy and which of course my mother was unaware, was that P.R.'s sister (a well known singer) did obtain a divorce from her husband.  I wonder what P.R. thought about that?  Did he feel his sister was perhaps a disgrace to the family?  We will never know the answer that that question.

I will leave mum's story there and in the next 'episode' tell you about their life in Hornchurch, that's if you want to hear more about life 100 or so years ago.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


I decided a while back, before I had my throat cut, that I would do a series about vegetables.  I had this one in draft form so thought it time I posted it.  I am not sure whether the correct date will come out or not but hope it does.

There is such a large variety of bean, many of which I know about and also enjoy.

BEANS:  Bean is a common name for large plant seeds used for human food or animal feed of several genera of the family Fabaceae (alternately Leguminosae).

Runner beans, scarlet runner beans or multiflora beans are plants grown both as food plants or ornamental plants.   We currently have beans planted but they are dwarf beans as runner beans take up too much room.  I am particularly fond of green beans, cooked or tinned.

We have tried scarlet runners but the weather in Perth is too hot for them.   I was disappointed as they are so colourful with their bright red flowers and the red beans.  Multiflora is a new one on me but I would I imagine it relates to the flowers or even the seeds being of assorted colours.  Apparently runner beans contain traces of the poisonous lectin, found in common beans.  Runner beans for sale on a market stall:

Broad beans.    Vicia faba, also known as broad beans, fava beans, faba beans, field beans, bell beans or tic beans.  They are native to North Africa, southwest and south Asia, and are extensively cultivated in many parts of the world.

We currently have these growing and they are showing flowers so hopefully not too long before we are picking and eating broad beans.  We both really enjoy them but we try not to eat too many as they can be quite fattening and contain a large amount of carbohydrate, so smallish servings a couple of times a week.   They can be served hot or cold as a salad dish.  I prefer them hot.

Mung beans are used a lot in Asian cooking and can also be made into a paste.  I've used them in stir fries in the past and also eaten them as bean sprouts which are enjoyable with salads and are said to be very good for us. 

Kidney beans are used in many chilli dishes, parricularly in chilli con carne. These are a bean that are very poisonous when raw as they contain lectin phytohaimagglutinin that must be removed before cooking.  It is recommended that these beans be boiled for at least ten minutes.   Cooking them in a slow cooker cannot guarantee all the toxin will be removed.

It is said that as kidney beans are loaded with potassium and magnesium, they help keep blood pressure in check, while their high fiber content helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, fighting off heart disease.  They are also rich in iron and protein, which makes them a great meat substitute for vegetarians.  According to Janet Bond Brill they also contain disease-fighting antioxidants.  Half a cup of these beans cooked contains 112 calories.

There are so many bean varieties used in cooking or in salads and I would imagine most people are familiar with cannellini beans, borlotti beans, chick peas, lima beans, haricot beans, pinto beans, and black eyed peas.  The list goes on and on and I am sure there are plenty more that could be added to this list.

I feel perhaps it best to make this part B(a) and include others in part B(b) as I have at least another six "B" vegies I'd like to talk about.

Friday, November 14, 2014


This continues on from the previous post where mum had said she had recognised there were many of her father's (P.R.'s genes in her make up.  Do remember this is very early on in the 20th century

From "The Clock of Time" by Gertrude Ruston:

"Discipline in the home was very strict, and no alcohol ever came into it.  My paternal grandfather wore a blue ribbon in his buttonhole to show his temperance beliefs but, unfortunately for him, he had a large red nose (probably due to indigestion) which people thought did not quite tie in with his blue ribbon.  Neither my mother nor father ever drank alcohol and my sister Amy and I were brought up as teetotallers.  I can remember belonging to the Band of Hope and signing the pledge promising not to use strong drink as a beverage.  (This is the medallion worn by members of the Band of Hopoe in the early 20th century):

I had my meals in the kitchen with the maid (as did Amy when she was home from school) except Sunday lunch times when, unless there were visitors, we were allowed to join the august presence.

When asking for anything at table Amy and I were obliged to speak in either French or German so that we had early knowledge of languages and, if we could not think of the correct word, or something like it, we had to sit until inspiration came or go without.  Amy, being so much older and learning the languages at boarding school, managed quite well, and I used to sit hopefully waiting for her to ask for something I too wanted. when I would also pipe up, having learned from her what it was called.  Perhaps it was due to this early training that Amy and I both became proficient in French and German.  My father spoke several languages.  Those were the days of "speak when you are spoken to" and we did not dare enter into conversation unless invited to do so.

When holidays were on Mother, Amy and I went to one of the seaside resorts for several weeks and my father went sailing, calling into the pier to see us occasionally.  My mother did not like small boats, but she came with us sometimes on the large steamers which travelled to Southend, Margate or Lowestoft.  I was the only one who followed P.R. and had his same love for the sea, which has remained with me through all the years.   I alone went on the yacht as a special treat for a short sail."

(This is a picture of Margate in 1897 (the year mum was born) and I imagine it would have been much like this still when she was a child in the early 1900s):

Note:  I can remember mum telling me about those special meals with her parents and how frustrating it was a times when she couldn't remember the correct word in either French or German for the item she wanted passed to her.  She often used to laugh about it with me.

Another thing about mum and sailing.  I mentioned it before in an earlier blog about when I was 15 and down at Mandurah on holiday I was asked to go for a sail but was afraid to do so.  Mum said she'd go and I am sure she would have done so too.  I realised it Mum thought it safe then it should be OK and it was then I found my own love of sailing.

Monday, November 10, 2014


I've read where other bloggers (and facebookers too) have problems with their cats demanding attention when their owners are using their computers.   Candy has now found a way to get my attention as well.

Hops up on desk with a little trilling sound:

Stands in front of the computer screen willing me to take notice of her:

and when that fails she lays/lies on the keyboard and just stares at me as if to say "Take notice of ME and stop what you're doing.....NOW".

Strangely enough, it always works and I do her bidding.  Well, isn't that what I'm here for?

Candy has now been with us for just over 3 months and it's as if she's been here forever.  Apart from her little habit of 'pooting' unexpectedly, she is all one could look for in a feline friend.   She's affectionate, quite obedient, eats most of what she is served, and just loves to be with us.  Even when she goes outdoors she is back every little while seeking out one of us as if to say "oh, you're still there" and off she goes again.   

Phil is still wishing she wouldn't bring garden lizards/legless lizards inside as they are difficult to catch but he forgives her every time as he scoops up the poor little (now tail-less) creature with the dustpan and brush and pops it back out in the garden.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


I have written rather a lot about my mum (my adoptive mum) and on scanning through her book today I found what may be of interest to modern day people.  Mum was born in London in 1897 during the reign of Queen Victoria, and on reading this expert from the book I realised just how different life was back then.  Please allow me to share some of her story with you.  I trust you will find it interesting.

(extract from "The Clock of Time" by Gertrude Ruston) (I have added pictures to the story)

"Very Early Memories

My earliest recollection is of a two storey house in Woodford, Essex, attached to an office for my father.  The piece of land on which it stood was a triangle, the garden going to a point between two streets.

I can still visualise that garden which was very large and full of the most beautiful roses of all colours, kept in order by a gardener who came in several times a week.  He was particularly fond of my mother's caraway seed cake, which he called "lousy bread", and he was always delighted when he received some for morning of afternoon tea.

At that time, when I would not have been more than two or three years old, I would be up in the garden in the very early morning helping my father catch snails, my job being to put them into a large earthernware jar filled with common salt.  Poor things!  I can still remember them frothing. This early morning gardening was quite a tradition between my father and me and we both enjoyed it.

Our gardener was a nice old boy and I spent a great deal of time with him as well as the early mornings with P.R., which probably accounts for my love of gardening today.

There was a patch of lily of the valley in a corner near the house which was most precious, guarded carefully by the gardener and my father, and definitely not to be touched by the rest of the family.  As was the custom in those days P.R. had a buttonhole each morning and the lilies of the valley, when in season, were always selected for that purpose.

As a small child of about three I attended a type of pre-school, child minding centre or kindergarten - I don't now what they were called at that time, but I remember we had to pay fees for the privilege.   Roses were always plentiful and the gardener used to give me bunches to take to the teacher, which probably accounts for the fact that I was quite popular with her.

Returning to the garden and the lilies of the valley, I expect the very fact that we were forbidden to pick those flowers made it all the more tempting to do so.  I found the temptation too great, picked some for my teacher, my sin was discovered, and I was forbidden the freedom of the garden for several days, a truly terrible punishment!

We always had a maid and a charwoman, but I never remember seeing washing or ironing about the house.  One of the drawers of my bedroom was always full of beautiful white starched pinafores with gophered frills, and I wore a clean one each day.  I was a fussy child and could not bear dirty hands or a dirty pinafore, so I must have soiled more than one a day on many occasions.  Times have changed; pinafores are out of date, and no housewife would tackle gophered frills today.

I cannot remember much of my sister at that time.  She was almost seven years older than me and was probably away at school.  My father was a great believer in a good education and that fact played an important part in the lives of both my sister and myself.

Due to my age I was still at home and spent considerable time in the kitchen with the maid.  On one occasion, when there was to be a very large dinner party, the maid had the best china on the kitchen table (one of those old fashioned ones with rather wobbly side extensions) and I leaned on the table and there was a terrific crash.  I cannot remember if there was enough china left for the guests, but I can recall very clearly being sent up to my bedroom by my mother, and told to remain there as a punishment.  When my father came home he was very angry as I had been warned several times not to lean on the table (a new one was on order).  He turned me over his knee and I was chastised. I can recall that I did not cry, but told him he was very rude.  As he left the room, after telling me to go to bed, I can distinctly remember seeing a smile on his face.

Two birthdays come to mind at this time.  On the first my father brought me home a beautiful doll's pram - unexpected  and truly wonderful.  The second occasion was one on which my father had forgotten the day and I reminded him of it when were were doing our early morning snail catching.  He apologised for forgetting and said he had some money on his dressing table and I could take some of that.  There was rather a lot, but he had not said how much I could have so I to it all.  Although I think he was rather staggered, and my mother was aghast, I got away with it.   Unlike my sister, I was never afraid of him, and although he bitterly resented the fact that I was not the son he had desired, I think he recognised that there was many of his genes in my makeup."

If you are interested I can add more of mum's memories of her youth.  Times were so different way back then.


I recently mentioned my English grandfather Percy Rockiff (PR), my mother's dad.  I found this on google recently.  I am unable to 'steal' the item from Pathe News but have been able to show the title and also a picture of PR as he heads out to distribute the annual shares.

The title reads:  "His Proud Record.  Mr Rockliff retiring after 40 years' service, presides for the last time, at New Tabernacle's Annual Share Out of £30,000 to 22,000 people - and he has never had to use that revolver once!"

These are still pictures showing Mr Rockliff coming our of Barclays Bank and this is one of them.

"He can be seen holding a small pistol.  With him are two men carrying sacks, presumably full of money.  Several policemen and others carry bags down the side of a building."

In the film itself you see my grandfather unloading the pistol for the last time and saying he has never had to fire it once.  Here you can clearly see PR with the pistol in his hand and one of the men carrying a sack of money."

If anyone should be interested in actually watching the film then check it you can check it out on  As I watched it I couldn't believe I was actually seeing my grandfather and listening to his voice.  Incidentally this occurred in 1932, the year I was born.  Just how historic can you get?  I'd recommend by daughter watch the news item to see the man that was her Grandma Win's dad.  I am sure she would remember his being spoken about.

P.S.  I find it difficult that $30.000 would be divided between 22,000 people which would be less than £2.00 each but when you consider the average wage was about £3.00 a week then, it would be like receiving nearly a week's salary now.  If you check out the website I quoted above it definitely says, 22,000 people.