Thursday, January 30, 2014

THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY (running late again)

I always try to find something 'right' that has happened in the past week and yesterday I did just that.  You may remember me saying the Council was gradually putting underground power into our suburb and about a month or two back it was actually connnected to our house so no more wires coming from the light pole over to our roof so now trees can grow without causing problems.

Yesterday I awoke at about 7am and as I was lying in bed I could hear a faint sound that went on for about half a hour.  Sort of like a motor running so I realised some time of machinery must be doing something nearby.

I forgot about it until later in the day I looked out to the street from our front verandah and realised we no longer had wires running from pole to pole in our street.  Fantastic news and now waiting for the power poles to be removed as well.  What could be more 'right' than not only having underground power to our house than at last having no power poles any more?  So 'right' for us. 

Hang on though as there is a bit of a downside to this.  Last night there was virtually no moon so after dark I peeked outside and it was PITCH BLACK.  You couldn't see your hand in front of your face!!  When Phil went out to close our gate before going to bed it was so dark he had to use a torch!!  I had noticed there were about 3 new street lights up the other end of our street and they are working but the one closer to us is not and there is still quite a gap without a street light at all.  One can't help wondering why they would take out the original lights without adequate new lighting being available.  Our end of the street is now dangerously dark. 

I've decided I won't get my knickers in a twist but give them a few days and see what happens.  If no more street lights installed then yours truly will be on the phone asking what? why? when?  Up till now everything has gone smoothly so a little patience may be needed as it is with everything these days.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


As everyone knows World War 2 began on 1 September, 1939 and hostilities ceased in 1945.  Here I look back on the war years in Perth as seen through the eyes of a child aged 7-13.  I have done some research and quote official records relating only the effects of the war in Australia itself, i.e bombing raids etc., because I don't have a full recollection of exactly what happened and I'm not sure many Australians do.

I think I vaguely remember mum and dad talking about the war beginning in Europe but of course war itself meant very little to a seven year old girl.   I talk in a separate post about what dad and my brother Len did during the war so won't go into that now.

We used to go the pictures quite regularly (the three of us) and in those days there were News Reels shown before the commencement of the films.  They seemed to be full of what was happening in Europe and things were not looking all that great. I wish I could remember more than I do but perhaps it is better that I don't.  Phil, on the other hand, lived just outside Coventry and was there when the terrible blitz of that city took place.  His family were fortunate not to lose any relations during those raids. Phil had uncles in the various services, all of whom returned home eventually, although some had suffered bad effects from being in Europe and on the high seas.

Eventually news became very grim about what was happening in England with all the bombing, and things weren't going very well in Europe either. Then, of course in December, 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour where so much of the American fleet were anchored.  This meant there were two separate theatres of war......Europe and now that in the Pacific.  Many American citizens didn't want their couintry to be involved in the war in Europe, although the Americans were assisting already, the bombing of Pearl Harbour put a different light on things.

RATIONING: In time rationing began in Australia: petrol, sugar, tea, butter, and clothing.  Dad had bought a little Fiat tourer in 1939 and as he was a commercial traveller he had extra petrol coupons and the Fiat was so economical it was rarely that we were short of petrol.  Unlike the people in Britain there was no meat rationing here and we never seemed to be terribly short of sugar, tea or butter as we were careful in their usage.  Rationing remained in force for several years after the war ended.

I was always tall for my age and as coupons were needed for school uniforms they brought in a system of measuring the height of children as well as their weight.  If they were above average height or average weight they they would be allowed several extra coupons.  I was above average height so obtained extra coupons.  Heavier girls who were not above average height would also be awarded extra coupons but I don't think there were many overweight girls that I can remember.

As we grew older the girls at school used to talk about the war (I am sure some members of their families were away overseas but, for some reason, that was seldom spoken about) and we would talk of rumours going around that the Japanese had been sending reconnaissance planes to check out our city and all that type of thing.  Of course there were a lot of American submarines stationed in Fremantle so I would imagine the Japanese would have been very interested to know exactly what was happening this far down the Western Australian coast.  We had underground air-raid shelters in the school grounds and occasionally there would be a mock air-raid and we'd all have to go into the shelters and stay there until the all clear was sounded.  I think we thought it bit of fun but then none of us had experienced what it must have been like to be bombed.  I am not sure if we actually knew about air raids that eventually took place in the north of our state and other northern areas of Australia.  I feel that as a child you perhaps don't take on board unpleasant things if they don't affect you personally.

BOMBING OF AUSTRALIA: I am sure I did know about our country being bombed but it is probably one of those thing a child puts out its mind because it is not conceivable to a child's mind.  Mum and Dad remembered what it was like as they worked and lived in London during WW1 although the bombing then was not as ferocious as in WW2.  I needed to find out more for my own information so here I am quoting from the Australian War Memorial website mainly to give an insight of how Australia and its people were affected.

"The outbreak of war with Japan provoked panic in some sections of the Australian public and they expected air raids any day.  It was not until the attack on Darwin (Northern Territory) in 1942 that a greater threat, the threat of invasion was recognised.  A total of 64 air raids on Darwin during 1942-43 resulted in the death of over 250 people.

 Two weeks after the attack on Darwin, Broome in Western Australia suffered Australia's second worst air raid on 3 March when 70 people were killed and 24 aircraft including 16 flying boats were destroyed.  Simultaneous to the raid on Broome, eight Japanese fighter planes hit Wyndham (in the far north of W.A.)  Broome was again hit on 20 March, the same day that Derby (also in W.A.) suffered its only raid.  Horn Island (off the far north of Queensland) was hit on 14 March and addition raids against Horn Island met no air resistance but ceased in August, 1942.

Soldiers inspecting damage to defence buildings in Darwin following a bombing raid:

The explosion of an oil storage tank, during the first Japanese air raid on Darwin (HMAS Debraine ... in the foreground...escaped damage):

In late July, 1942 three raids were made against Townsville (Queensland) which was by then the most important air base in Australia.  Three Kawanishi flying boats dropped bombs on the harbour on the night of 26-26 July and lone flying boats returned on the nights of 27-28 and 28-29 July.  A final raid took place on the Australian east coast on the night of 30 July, when a single bomb was dropped near a house in Cairns (Queensland)."

MORE RATIONING STORIES:  Mum and dad bought a corner store in Swanbourne in 1946 and with rationing still in full force my job was to collect all the butter, tea and sugar coupons and stick them on to sheets which were then of course sent to the department in control of rationing.  Ice-cream was also in short supply so mum used to make some in one of those old-fashioned ice-cream makers which was very popular with her  customers and I think the best customers got first choice which was only fair and especially those that had young children.

Even as late as 1950-51, when I was working in Melbourne, cigarettes were still very short although it was possible to sometimes buy a tin of English cigarettes.  I've never worked out why that was.  I remember being offered a packet of 10 cigarettes but refused them.  The lady said "but they are Australian cigarettes from Western Australia."  I said I knew what they were but people back in my home state didn't smoke them as they were regarded as being rather dreadful.  I know one of the brands was Luxor and the other may have been State Express but I could be wrong about that one. I do remember the name of the manufacturer but perhaps I'll be diplomatic and not mention the name here.  (I fortunately gave up smoking many years ago, mainly for the sake of Phil's health and here we both still are so I must have done the right thing.)

Again, after the war, in about 1948, mum was going to a formal dinner and needed a long frock but with clothing rationing she didn't have enough coupons.  A friend suggested she try the curtaining department of the store as curtain fabric was not rationed!!   Mum found and bought a beautiful piece of silky fabric in a lovely blue colour with I think a dark pattern of some type on it, and she had our dressmaker make it up into a very lovely evening gown and no coupons involved whatsoever.  She looked so lovely that night when she left to attend the dinner.  Dad didn't go as I think it involved the Women's Service Guild of whom mum was a member and also Honorary Secretary.

CESSATION OF HOSILITIES:  As everyone probably knows the end of the war in Europe (VE Day) was celebrated on 8 May, 1945 but the war in the Pacific continued with fierce fighting on islands in the Pacific and other areas.

For Australians the unconditional surrender by the Japanese on 14th August, 1945, meant that the Second World War was finally over.

The Australian Prime Minister made the announcement of the Japanese surrender on the following day and he declared a public holiday.  I have always known this day as either VP (Victory in the Pacific) Day or VJ (Victory against the Japanese) Day but have found there was apparently quite some controversy over whether it should be called VP or VJ Day.  Personally, I doubt whether any of us really minded what it was called.  All we knew was that peace had arrived after 6 years of horrendous happenings worldwide. By then I was nearly 14 so had much more of an understanding of what war was all about.

I was at school at Perth College when the news came through and we were allowed, I think about 10 girls at a time, to walk up to the newsagency on the corner to buy a copy of the special edition of the Daily News (an evening Perth paper that ceased circulation many years ago).  As I remember it two prefects stood at the side gate of the senior school and as girls returned the same number were then allowed to go to the shop.  Whether we had to wear our hats I am not sure but it was quite possible as colleges were sticklers for correct dress at all times back then.  This probably happened at the gates of the Junior and Intermediate schools as well.

I have not meant to dwell too much on World War 2 but it had quite a large influence on our family and it is a big, if sad, part of our history, and of my history as well.

Monday, January 27, 2014

JUST THINKING OUT LOUD..comparing today with 'back then'

Today I was listening to a discussion about paid maternity leave, and paternity leave also came into the discussion.  Whether or not one agrees with the concept of either or both is beside the point, but it seems the former is here to stay, at least in Australia, for the foreseeable future.  Just how it will work out for employees and employers is yet to be seen.  Some firms already have a type of maternity leave, other do not.

I do feel that people today want more worldly goods than we even thought about when we were young, and to achieve these ends it seems that both members of a partnership have to work to reach their goals.  Whether many couples could actually survive if only one partner was working in today's world is difficult to know.  So many things and attitudes are different today from those 'way back then'.  Some workers earn huge salaries today, while others on the minimum wage do not. 

When I first married I was 21 years old and had a very good position as an assistant claims clerk in a well known insurance company in Perth.  Back then, when you married, if you worked for a bank or an insurance company you had to give up your job.   It was the rule.  Although married women were employed by those enterprises they were usually older women, probably past child bearing age, such as Mrs Harvey who was my immediate boss.

It may seem strange to young people in this modern world but that's how it was and we didn't argue about it.  After our marriages, if we wanted to continue working, we would seek employment where your married state didn't matter to your employer.

A similar rule applied to women having a baby.  They would be allowed to work up to a certain stage of their pregnancy and then they would leave that job and probably not think of returning to the workforce until they had the number of children they'd planned to have (or didn't plan to have, whichever the case may have been).

I did find several jobs after my first marriage, one of which, in 1954, was a temporary position with the Teacher's Union here in W.A. As it happens the union was fighting for equal pay for female teachers and therefore they paid the male basic wage to their female employees.   The basic wage at that time, if I remember correctly, was about £12 per week.  I was in that job for 6 months so did very well on that salary.  I think most stenographers at that time would have been earning £6 to £8 per week.  When that temporary position ended I found part-time office work until I became pregnant with my first baby.  As it happened I was told to leave work and rest to prevent possible problems with the pregnancy.    Those problems did not happen and my beautiful daughter was born later that year.

I became a house mum, had no car so mainly it was public transport or Shank's pony.  I made nearly all my children's clothing whether or sewn or knitted (as well as making my husband's work shirts) and it was a busy life.  I eventually got a part-time job for a short while when both my children were at school so was always there when they arrived home.  I had no yearning to be back doing office work but was content just being there for everyone and never felt I was a lesser person just being a 'housewife'  I do hate that term.  I have nearly really seen myself as being married to a house but that's another story!!

No more about that now as I will speak of those years when I continue with 'Telling it on Tuesday'.  My main reason for writing this post was to show the changes that have taken place in the past 60 years.  Are those changes all good ones I wonder?  From an older person's point of view, home and family are so important.  Should modern mums (or dads for that matter) stay home at least for a few years after their children are born?  Are children any better off today being placed in child care rather than being home with their mums?  I guess that depends a lot on each particular mother.  There are those mums who teach their little ones from an early age so those children are ready to start school with knowledge already learned at home.  Unfortunately, there are mothers who are not equipped to teach their children a lot and if those mums go to work then maybe their children do well in child care facilities and the family is better off financially.

There are so many ifs, buts and ands, and there is not just one solution that fits every situation.  Are people, families,  better off?  Do they still have the leisure time we once had?  They earn much more, have great labour saving devices in their homes but, from what I've heard, many work longer hours and have no choice in the matter.  Do families today share lots of quality time together?  They have TV, computers, iPads, iPhones etc etc.  Those items to me don't seem to bring people together as we once were together.  Is the art of spoken communication being lost?

Me?  I am glad I was born when I was, even if it was in the middle of the Great Depression, even if we lived through a world war and other minor wars that followed. We were fortunate as we survived those turbulent times; many unfortunately did not.   Perhaps we didn't have much money, but could still afford annual holidays where we catered for ourselves and had so much fun.  They were good days and I do so worry about younger people today and what their future holds for them.

I know this 'thinking' began about maternity leave and became rather generalised but one thought led to another which is often the way with me when I begin thinking seriously.  Sorry about that but I like to express myself honestly so hope I've not trodden on anyone's toes. I would be interested to hear from other people of varying ages as I find the opinions of other people so very interesting.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

AUSTRALIA DAY 26/1/2014.

I do hope all Aussies everywhere enjoyed a great Australia Day no matter where you were or what you were doing.    There are fireworks tonight to celebrate the big day and thousands of people are gathered around the foreshore of the Swan River in Perth and South Perth and up in King's Park.   They are expecting as many as 30,000 to turn up.  I can actually hear fireworks right now but not sure if it is from Perth or perhaps nearby in one of the local parks where smaller celebrations are held.

I was extremely pleased when the Australian of the Year was announced by our Prime Minister yesterday that the man chosen was an indigenous Australian, one of our aborigines.  He is a well known player of Australian Rules football, a very talented sportsman.  Apart from his sporting prowess, however, he works tirelessly against racism and also to prevent violence against women.  This unfortunately does happen quite a lot amongst his own people as well as in the white community.  He spoke very well at the presentation and I feel he will achieve much in his lifetime.
Congratulations Adam Goode.

I was also delighted that a Western Australian was chosen as Senior Australian of the Year.  Mr Fred Chaney has also worked tirelessly over many years on behalf of our aboriginal people, as a member of Parliament and privately as well.  His wife has always been there to support him in his work.  Congratulations also to Mr Chaney.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


You will have to bear with me.  I have chosen yet another dog with a 'square' shaped head. I have never been able to resist them.  Friends of my folks had one when I was very young and his memory has stayed with me over the years.  I forget now what type Dinky was but he was a delightful dog with quite strong curly hair and a lovely face.

The Irish Terrier is from Ireland and is considered one of the oldest terrier breeds as the Dublin Dog Show in 1873 was the first to provide a separate class for Irish Terriers.  By the 1880s, they were the
fourth most popular breed in both Ireland and Britain.

The Irish Terrier is coloured golden red, red wheaten, or wheaten.  A small patch of white is allowed on the chest but no white must appear elsewhere.  As these dogs age they do sometimes have grey hair here and there.

These dogs are very active and enjoy consistent mental and physical challenges; if they aare well-trained they may do well at a variety of dog sports, such as dog agility.

Irish terriers are full of life, but not hyperactive; it should be able to relax inside the house but be roused to full activity level quickly.  They are good with people and have a highly developed sense of loyalty and it is important they they have a strong responsible leader, for whom they have natural respect.  Most of them love children and tolerate rough-housing to a certain extent.  They certainly do need exercise and should be daily so an owner needs to be active. Isn't this one beautiful animal?

These dogs are often dominant with other dogs and, as with any dog, poorly socialised individuals can start fights and early socialisation is a necessity.  Most have strong guarding instricts and when they instricts are controlled, make excellent alarming watchdogs.

The breed's origin is not known.  It is believed to have descended from the black and tan terrier-type dogs of Britain and Ireland, just like the Kerry Blue and Irish Soft-haired Wheaten Terriers in Ireland of the Welsh, zlakeland and Scottish Terriers in Great Britain.  This is a 1915 Irish Terrier:

Thursday, January 23, 2014


I haven't to look far to find what is 'right' today. My dear daughter (only just over 5 weeks since she had her knee replacement op) drove herself to, and home from, her physio appointment this morning.  I know she had her hubby with her,  just in case, (gee, she has a wonderful bloke there) but she made it both ways without a problem.   When you consider it is about a 35 minute drive each way, not a lot of traffic lights fortunately, that is a lot of driving.  We are so proud of her as that is thinking really positively on her part.  It's great to know she will now not be house-bound.

Tomorrow she is popping in for a cuppa before she drives into Fremantle for an appointment.  I've told her that Phil will gladly take her there as it is can be quite busy even though only a few kilometres from our place.  I guess she will decide how she feels once she has driven as far as our place.

Another good 'right'.  I saw our dermatologist yesterday and apart from 'zapping' a couple of spots on my forehead he said he doesn't need to see me for *12-15 months.  I am very fortunate at my age not to have many skin problems as we live in a country where melanomas are only too frequently found, even on young people.  I have a very fair skin and it is to mum I am grateful as never was I allowed out in the sun for any length of time without being smothered with Hamilton's sunburn cream.  My skin is by no way perfect but I have few wrinkles yet and I should also credit mum with that as I always wore a big sunhat except when swimming.

My dermatologist recommended a good scrub for anyone who needs to perhaps give their face or their lower neck and good clean.  It is Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Scrub.  He said to use it twice weekly to get rid of some of those little bumpy things that can appear on the skin of older folk.  Just saying.  He jokingly said to make sure I got the Positively Radiant and not the Negatively Radiant!!!

*Actually I am seeing Jonathan again in September as he wants Phil and I to co-ordinate our appointments.  I'm not sure how we got out of kilter but we did.  He will check Phil out in September and probably just glance at me and then we should hopefully both be clear for a further 12 months.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TELLING IT ON TUESDAY 1939-1945 (part 3)

I promised an episode each Tuesday so here goes.  I am tending to get a little bogged down with my story as from about age 7 so much seemed to happen.  I've spoken about how many times we moved to rented accommodation finally being able to rent a home to ourselves which was wonderful.  I have to try and tell this story without making it sound too complicated so section by section may be the way to go.  This is going to be longer than I anticipated but there's no point in telling a story unless it is told in full.  You can always take a break, have a cuppa, and come back to it later and I hope it's not too terribly boring.  Please do tell me if it honest about it.  My daughter has said she feels it will be good for future generations to have it written down so I guess it's for them as much as anybody.

MY SCHOOLING (interrupted by a serious illness):  I explained why I began attending Victoria Square (Mercedes College) at the end of 1937 prior to my 6th birthday.  I spent the last couple of months of 1937 in the 'third bubs' class where we mainly did what we were capable of doing which suited me very well after having done correspondence lessons when still on the farm.  This was taken at the opening of the school in 1896:

Mercedes was run by the Sisters of Mercy and I really enjoyed my time there.  I was only in 4 different classrooms as one teacher (Sister M. Leila) taught Standards 1-2 and another (Mother Aliquot) Standards 3-4.  Standard 5 was taught by Sister M. Ligouri and Standard 6 by Sister M. Norbet.  I apologise if I have spelt any of their names incorrectly.   I actually met Sister Norbet a few years ago when a friend and I attended a school reunion at Mercedes, and Sister Norbett remembered me which surprised me no end.  I would then have been about 78 and she not much older, probably in her mid-80s, and living in a nun's retirement home in a Perth suburbs.   A modern day picture of Mercedes College:

I really did love my time at Mercedes, right through from Standard 1 to Standard 6 when suddenly my world changed, and for me, certainly not for the better.  My friend Shirley Ponsford and I were the only students who were not Roman Catholic but when the other children had catechism classes Shirley and I sat at the back of the class supposedly studying.  We of course listened to, and took in, nearly everything the other children were being taught about their religion and its beliefs.  I do remember at times challenging things that were being taught, but only in my mind.

I do remember a couple of quite amusing incidents at my first school.  The uniform was a bottle green tunic with a white blouse and red tie.  The tunic was made of wool de chine and was boxed pleated so you were virtually wearing three thicknesses of wool.  Even though I was born here I have felt the heat since I was a small child so mum decided to make me a summer uniform.  Same colour and style as the usual one but of a much lighter fabric.  When I wore it to school I believe a note was sent home to mum querying why I was wearing it.  She went to the school and saw the principal and explained that she thought it dreadful that the girls should have to wear the wool uniform during our hot summers.  The matter was obviously seriously considered and it was decided by the powers that be that a summer uniform would be permitted from then one.  I am sure over time many, if not all of the girls, were wearing cooler tunics in summer.

The other thing that occurred when I was in Standard 1 was when we were going to the Premier Picture Theatre to see "Boy's Town" starring Spencer Tracey and Micky Rooney.  It was a good couple of miles from the school but we would walk there in 'crocodile file'.  The school was very rigid about us being dressed correctly...had, gloves and blazer in cooler weather.  Mum had been making me a blazer and had been waiting for the school badge to be embroidered on the pocket.

At the end of 1943 a letter was sent to my mother telling her that in future all children, regardless of their denomination, would have to take religious instruction.  This for some reason horrified mum who immediately said I would have to leave Mercedes.  I tried to explain that I had for 6 years sat through every catechism class but had so far not felt I wanted to become a catholic but she just wouldn't listen.

While I was in the junior school at Mercedes I used to look longingly at the 'big school' and dream of when I would be over there studying for my Junior and Leaving Certificates but now that dream was being shattered.  I just couldn't believe it, plus I would be saying goodbye to some wonderful friends I had made over the years.  As we all came from various suburbs we didn't see each other except during school hours and with petrol rationing it was not easy to get around the suburbs and very few of us had telephones in our homes.  I have met up with one or two of them over the years but unfortunately I virtually lost contact with all of my friends.

Finally, after mum finding information about various schools, she decided that Perth College would be the right school for me to attend.   There were forms to be completed and one question that stood out was "When and where was the child christened?".  Dad had turned his back on religion completely some years before and mum had been brought up as a Baptist who were only baptised when they reached about 15 years of age.  Apart from what I had learned at Mercedes I had not had a lot of religion in my life apart from saying the "Gentle Jesus" prayer each night from when I was quite young.

For some reason I felt it would be dreadful if I should attend this new school which was incidentally run by the sisters of the Church of England, if I had not been christened.  Arrangements were made for me to be christened by Dean Moore at St George's Cathedral in Perth.  I have no idea why this couldn't have been done at a local church but then I wasn't really in control of my destiny at age 11.
I've often thought it was a dreadful way to suddenly become a member of the Church of England.  I even went on to be confirmed the following year.  A modern picture of Perth College.  I rather fancy this would be the entrance to the administration block as it was a very large school and actually straddled Beaufort Street in Mount Lawley with the junior school on one side of the road and the intermediate and senior schools on the other side.

Uniforms and books were bought but....I didn't attend Perth College until the beginning of the second term in May of 1944.  A burst appendix and peritonitis caused me to miss 3 months schooling.  It's a long and rather boring story, suffice to say I'd been sick off and on for about 4 years until January 1944 when I became critically ill with severe pain, high fever etc etc.  One day the pain stopped and mum called our GP who came immediately and ordered an ambulance which I shared with a young fellow from the same street who was on his way to the infections diseases hospital with scarlet fever.  Remember, it was war time and even ambulances were few and far between.

I was fortunate that my GP enlisted the aid of a prominent surgeon who explained to mum and dad that if he didn't operate before midnight he would not answer to the consequences.  They of course gave their permission and he found lo and behold, my appendix had burst.  The reason I had not been diagnosed as having appendix problems was because the darned thing was sitting up near my right kidney so no normal appendicitis pains at all.  The surgeon said it was touch and go when he removed the appendix but he managed to do so without damaging the kidney which was fortunate for me.  I spent 4 weeks in hospital at St John of God Hospital in Subiaco and the nuns (all the nursing staff were nuns back then) were wonderful to me, even the one who put iodine on the dressing into my wound instead of using flavine!!   Boy oh boy!!   Did that sting!! 

When I was released from hospital at the end of January, the surgeon said I was not to ride a bike, or go on any public transport unless I was seated, for at least 2 months.  While I was still very ill dad promised he would buy me a bike if I got better and of course I did so he did and it was waiting for me when I arrived home.  It was a blue Malvern Star and although it looked new I was told that the bike had actually been made up from old bikes and painted because you couldn't buy new bikes (yes, 'cos of the war).  It was quite a heavy bike with a back pedal brake and after a couple of weeks mum let me get on the bike but she stayed with me the whole time holding on to the back of the seat so I wouldn't fall off.  When I think back on it now I can't believe how amazing she was doing that.  By that time she would have been about 47 so no spring chicken any more.  Eventually I rode that bike to school for a year or two before we once again moved home.

As far as public transport was concerned I had, of course, go into Perth to visit the specialist and with dad working then mum and I had to catch a bus.  She would pay full fare for me and I would get quite nasty glances from adult passengers should I be sitting down when they were standing.  Mum would speak up and tell them I was ill and show them my adult ticket.  I found it rather embarrassing but we got by OK and fortunately didn't have to use public transport very often.

A modern picture of Perth College (this I think would be the entrance and the main adminstration block as it a very large school that actually straddles Beautiful Street in Mount Lawley.

 When I eventually started at Perth College it was to find there were many subjects with which I was unfamiliar, i.e. geometry, algebra, French, German and science.  It seems students at my new school began many subjects earlier than those at Mercedes so I had lots of catching up to do.  There were also problems with maintaining teaching staff as so many had enlisted in the armed forces and we even had a gentleman teach us geography and science....unusual for an all girls' school back in the 1940s.  Mr Stobie was from South Africa and he enjoyed talking about the Zulu wars and we would be devils and one of us would bring up that particular subject and he would entertain us for quite some time telling us all about it.  I often wonder if I perhaps didn't learn as much about the world's geography as I should have done.    Other teachers were so-so and I may be wrong, but I did feel that some of them pandered to the girls from wealthy parents.  Perhaps this was just a 12-13 year old girl feeling insecure at a new school.  I made 3 close friends at Perth College and we did have fun together.  I recently made contact with one (Hilary Moore) who had been a quiet special friend.  She is now in a retirement home and she confided to me that she had hated being at Perth College and I couldn't believe it as I had felt the same way.  The school badge we wore on our hat and blazer pocket:

As I disliked being at this school so much I tried to think of a way I could leave as soon as possible so decided perhaps a commercial course would see me able to leave when I was 15 and obtain an office job.  When mum enquired she was told the commercial course took 2 years and there was no vacancy for the coming year of 1946.  I was really dismayed if it meant staying at the school for a further 3 years so asked mum and dad if there was any reason why I couldn't go to a commercial college in the city.  They made enquiries and I was enrolled at City Commercial College in Hay Street, Perth.  I studied shorthand, typing, English, maths, bookkeeping and business principles (didn't think much of the two latter subject so decided I definitely didn't want have any job that dealt with accounts.  I sat for and passed my Junior Certificate with 5 subjects.  I also received a gold brooch which was awarded each year to top students at the college.  I am still very proud of it.  Unfortunately when I finished my first year there I was still only 14 and dad said I was much too young to start work.  I returned to CCC in 1947 and mainly concentrated on my shorthand and typing.  Actually I was approached and asked if I would like to become a junior shorthand teacher.  I was appreciative of being offered the position but as I was rather shy the thought of teaching young people perhaps older than myself filled me with horror so I gracefully declined their offer.

Luck came along when the Principal telephoned my dad and told him a very good position had become available at an insurance company and he felt I would be ideal for that job.  I went for an interview and the job was mine if dad would only let me begin work.  He relented as by then I was nearly fifteen and a half and it was a good job with quite good pay.  I began my very first job on 7 May, 1947 which was the same week we shifted from Swanbourne to another rented house in Fitzgerald Street, North Perth.  More about all that when I get into the 1946-1950 part of my story.

I have no school photographs to show as I know none were taken at any of the schools while I was there and, if I remember rightly, I feel it may have been because of the war.  Maybe film was in short supply?

Monday, January 20, 2014


As I have searched and can find not one cat beginning with "I" I am sharing some photographs I found of some very beautiful cats.  I hope I have better luck with "J".

The head and chest of this cat are somewhat like our Precious in her wintery finery although she doesn't have tabby stripes on her body but tends to be grey with hints of tabby:

This is Precious.  Am I imagining it or is there a similarity between the heads of the two cats?

This especially for EC:

The rest are just random pics of photos I found but all very special in their own way:

and finally, some cat rules everyone should be made aware of:

Sunday, January 19, 2014


I chose this breed of dog as I am rather partial to "Bichon" type dogs.

The Havanese is a breed of Bichon type and is the national dog of Cuba, developed from the now extinct Blanquito de la Habana ("the little white dog of Havana").  The Blanquito descended from the also now extinct Bichon Tenerife.  It is believed that the Blanquito was eventually cross-bred with other Bichon types, including the Poodle, to create what is now known as the Havanese.  Sometimes referred to as "Havana Silk Dogs", this was originally another name for the Blanquito de la Habana.

The Havanese is small in size and sturdy in structure with a tail carried arched forward up over its back and ears that drop and fold.  The coat is abundant, long, and silky and comes in all colours.  The Havanese has a spirited personality and a curious disposition, and is notable for its springy gait, a characteristic that distinguishes the breed from all others.  It is considered an ideal family pet and a true companion dog.  They are highly adaptable to almost any environment, and their only desire is to be with their human companions.  Because of their strong social needs, they will not thrive in an environment where they are isolated for several hours each day.

As stated above the Havanese is a member of the Bichon family of dogs.  The progenitors are believed to have come from Tenerife.  Ship manifests from Tenerife bound for Cuba list dogs as passengers brought aboard, and these dogs were most probably the dog of Tenerife.  Some believe the entire Bichon family of dogs can be traced back to the Tenerife dog. while others theorise that the origins are in Malta, citing the writings of Aristotle, and other historical evidence of the early presence of these dogs in  Malta.  Whatever the actual origins of Bichon dogs, these little dogs soon became devoted companions to the Spanish colonists in Cuba and were highly admired by the nobility.

As part of the Cuban Revolution, upper-class Cubans fled to the United States, but few were able to bring their dogs with them.  When American breeders became interested in this rare and charming dog in the 1970s, the US gene pool was only 11 dogs.  With dedicated breeding and the acquisition of some new dogs internationally, the Havanese has made a huge comeback and is one of the fastest growing breed of dogs in the American Kennel Club.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


I am breathing a huge sigh of relief right now.  Boxes of this and that went off to the op shop yesterday and this weekend our verge is hosting lots of unwanted items from our house and the shed...or at least it was!!  Nearly everything that has been put out there has gone except for a couple of bits that nobody in their right mind would want.  I am never amazed at what passers by stop and pick up from verge-side throw-outs but pick them up they do.  These are not exactly the type of things we threw out or the type of street we live on, but you get the general idea:

We are told by our Council that items placed out ready for collection from our verge should be placed in two neat piles.  People that come sorting through couldn't care less if the piles are neat or not but often distribute bits and pieces hither and yon.  I feel we are fortunate that they have taken so much of ours and doubt there will actually be sufficient left to even make one neat pile, let alone two.

I am so delighted I finally managed to gently manouvre Phil into the shed to "please do begin to sort out some of the stuff in there" as I'd been asking him this for a few years.  I did begin talking about it a couple of weeks ago and then it got very hot last weekend but then a coolish week arrived when I thought he'd begin but no, he waited till it began to really warm up again and today we nearly hit the century mark!!

He is a wonderful husband and I shouldn't complain but what is it that makes men act quite contrary at times. I am really so pleased he went to the trouble to make inroads into all the 'stuff' he no longer needs or uses but why oh why wait until it got hot again?  Perhaps, although they will react to what you want, they also need to do in in their 'own good time' so it appears it is really their own idea.

No matter what, we are finally well and truly downsizing contents of house and shed and I am sure if I go through my clothes I will find even more that come under the heading "Oh, I just may wear that again one day" and, if I do, then out it goes.  I'm a home body now as going out can be a bit of a pain (literally) so I just don't need 'all those things' any more.  I am seeing space where there has been no space for years so something must be going right at last.  Big sigh of relief.

Friday, January 17, 2014


The Havana Brown was the result of planned breedings between Siamese and domestic black cats by a group of cat fanciers in the 1950s.  Similar to the oriental shorthair, full colour cats, also known as non-blue Siamese.  Early breeders introduced Russian blue into their breeding, however it is thought almost none remains of that gene pool.

It has been documented that self-brown cats were shown in Europe in the 1890s; one name given to these was the Swiss Mountain Cat.  These disappeared until post-World War 2, with the most likely explanation that the Siamese Cat Club of Britain discouraged their breeding.

In the early 1950s a group of English cat fanciers began working together to restore the breed.  Havana Brown is the only cat that requires brown whiskers for the Kennel Club Pedigree.  There are various lady breeders credited with the effort of producing a chestnut (chocolate) brown kitten through mating a black shorthair and a chocolate point Siamese.

While the breed developed in the UK became the Chestnut Brown Oriental and retained the Siamese conformation, it was developed in the USA to have a different head shape and became the Havana Brown.  The Havana Brown is not recognised in this form in Britain.

This is a moderately sized, muscular short-haired cat with a body of average length but they can sometimes be chubby.  They are a moderately active breed, compared to other short-hair cat breeds.  The cost colour must be brown, typically reddish-brown, with no tabby markings.  Whiskers should also be brown and the eye colour should be green.   The head should be slightly longer than wide and the nose should have a distinct stop at the eyes.  Males tend to be larger than females and are average in weight compare with other breeds.

The Havana Brown is an intelligent cat that often uses its paws both to examine objects and to communicate with its owners.  (Our Precious may be just a moggy but she uses her paws to communicate by waving them at us as well).  The mostly likely explanation of the breed's name - and the one most believed by Havana Brown devotees - is that its coat colour is very similar to that of Havana cigars, however some have also argued that the breed's name is also derived from the Havana rabbit which also shares the same colour.

The breed has been recognised for championship competition in both the US and Britain since the late 1950s.  It is considered an endangered breed since the breeding pool is very small.  In the late 1950s, there were only 12 Cat Fancier's Association-registered Havana Brown catteries and under 130 unaltered cats.

Thank you to Wikipedia for the information about this breed of cat although they do say they would like more citations.  I doubt though that there is very much that is incorrect here.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY (running terribly late)

It's been a busy day today but I felt I should pop this one in before I go to bed.  It is now 10.55pm so must be quick.  I, of course, try to find something that is 'right' in my day each week and I have found FOUR really 'right' things today.

1.  Our temporary cleaning lady was here for an hour and left the house looking great (our permanent lass comes back on 30th Jan after her holiday in the UK).  It does feel 'right' to have a nice clean house.

2.  The car is filled with boxes to go to the op shop tomorrow and it always 'right' with me when I am able to lessen the load in the house.

3.  Phil and I both had appointments with our podiartrist and John always leaves our feet feeling so special and that's a 'right' for both of us.

4.  My lovely daughter rang me late this afternoon (they had been without power since 2.a.m. this morning (their area is always suffering power outages for some reason) to tell me she had seen her specialist and he is very satisfied with the way her knee is progressing.  That made me feel really 'right'.  Hopefully she will soon be able to hand her elbow crutches back 'cos even though they were very necessary, they don't do her shoulders a lot of good.

How wonderful to have a day with four 'rights'.  Not huge ones (except of course the news from K) but at our age we can't expect miracles all the time....just occasionally!

We are now headed into a mini-heatwave over the coming week.  We've been fortunate to have a few mild days following the heat last weekend and those dreadful fires in the hill.  Now our thoughts are with those in south-eastern Australia where, as not only are they experiencing horrendous heat, but fires in both South Australia and Victoria are quite bad.  We can only hope everyone will remain safe. We've had heatwaves over the years in Australia and managed to survive and hopefully we all will again.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I don't know how many of you are on Facebook but I thought this cartoon rather said it all:

I do use Facebook, not as a social media so much but I love to play Scrabble with my daughter and others Facebook friends.  It is also one way of keeping up with those we know and how they are faring.

I always laugh at some of the things people put on Facebook about their daily lives but if they enjoy it then that is all that matters.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Class: Insecta.  Order:  Hymenoptera.  Family: Apidae.  Genus:  Apis.  Species:  mellifera

Although the honey bee is familiar to all of us it is such a vital component of the horticultural and farming industries I felt it deserved to be included in my 'insects'.

Honey bees are introduced insects.  They are dark brown with yellow bands on the abdomens.  Their legs are hairy and the eyes also have hairs on them.  They are social insects that live in large colonies.  They feed on nectar and pollen and their usual size is 13-15 cm.  Honey bees on bottlebrush flowers:

Honey bees defend their nest aggressively.  The bee dies after stinging, as the sting is left in the victim, tearing out part of the bee abdomen. The sting, with venom gland pumping, is left in.  Honey bee stings cause intense local pain and swelling, and some people have severe allergic reactions.  (I do have bad reactions from honey bee stings but fortunately not too severe).

This honey bee shows collected pollen in a sac on its hind leg:

Australia does, of course, have its own native bees; in fact there are over 1,500 species of native bee in this country.  They can be distinguished from flies in that bees have four wings, whereas flies have only two.  These bees collect pollen from flowers to feed their young.  Wasps and flies don't do that although they may be seen eating pollen, so identification is not always easy.

Ten of the native species, the social native bees Trigona and Austroplebeia have no sting.  Of the remainder, which live solitary lives, none are aggressive, and most cannot actually use their sting on humans because they are too small to do so.  Larger examples of Australian native bee are capable of stinging if handled or squashed.  The stings of most Australian native bee species will cause relatively minor discomfort to most people - "not as painful as those of a bull ant or paper wasp and last only a few minutes".  However, they may sting more than once, and can cause an allergic reaction - increasing effect associated with repeated exposure to the antigen.

Social species of Australian native bees do produce honey, but not much, as they are relatively primitive bee species.  In cool climate areas of Australia, all the honey the bees produce is needed by the swarm to live through the winter.  Collecting honey from these native bees can cause many of them to drown in spilt honey.  Thy honey is tangy in comparison with commercial honey taken from the European honey bee  The bees store their honey in "small resinous pots which look like bunches of grapes".  This is a cloak and dagger cuckoo bee:

The different species of Australian native bee have different habits and preferences in gathering pollen, so different species are better pollinators of a given plant than other species.  Research is currently underway into the use of Amegilla ("blue-banded bees") for use in pollinating hydroponic tomatoes, while some hydroponic growers are petitioning for introduction to the Australian mainland of the European bumblebee, Bombus terrestris - the island continent Australia has a history of sensationally poor outcomes from introduced species, the most famous being that of the cane toad - Bufo marinus - so the question of the use of native vs introduced bees for pollination in Australia is very controversial.  These native bees are forming a hive in the brickwork of a house in Darwin, in northern Australia: