Sunday, March 30, 2014


Monday is not a good day of the week for many but for me, being retired, it is now little different to the other days so it is as good a day as any for me to do some muttering about things of which I have quite strong views, views that some people will perhaps agree with, while others will protest loudly that I am wrong.  That is all good 'cos if we all agreed and liked the same things it would be a monotonous old world for all of us.

There are various things I often mutter to myself about or even out loud at times and two of these are body piercing and tattoos.

About 37 years ago I had my ears pierced.  "Why?" you ask.  I have always loved to wear earrings and I found clip-ons either fell off or where too tight or sometimes in a pair there were both problems.  I also didn't like the screw-on type for almost the same reasons.  I therefore, along with my daughter, went to a reputable jeweller in Perth to have the deed done.  K said she'd have hers done too but only after mine were done and she saw that it wasn't all that painful.  Quite honestly it was no real problem and I did the right thing afterwards and kept turning the sleepers for the required time and then purchased several pairs of pretty earrings.  K and I both still wear pierced earrings.

Since then of course thousands of people have decided they too want to be pierced but not just to wear a pair of earrings.  Some decide they want to wear up to a dozen pairs at one time (is that an exaggeration perhaps?) but it is the other parts of the face and body that I find appalling.  I know it is perhaps just me but when I see folk (male and female) with piercings in their nose, eyebrows, cheeks, tongues etc. it literally makes me feel quite ill.  I realise that in tribes in other lands this type of behaviour is quite commonplace and they have many reasons (tribal etc) for doing it but does it have meaning to people in the Western world or is it just "the thing" to do?  Phil even thought it strange when I had my ears pierced but then husbands don't always understand their wives do they?

In regard to tattoos I've noticed that many footballers in all codes today have multiple tattooing done and this I find quite hideous at times.   I was watching a game of Aussie Rules (our team won by the way) and there was a player in the opposing team that had tattoos completely covering both arms.  To me he looked as though he'd fallen in a pile of mud and not bothered washing the mud off.  I could see nothing beautiful in it at all.   I know ladies will sometimes have a small butterfly, heart or other object tattooed on a shoulder or less visible place and I will go along with that.  I even thought of it myself years ago but decided not to because I asked myself 'why?"and "do I really need to?  This is the type of thing I had in mind back then.

Recently on Facebook I saw a picture of what would have been a pretty tattoo a lady had had done where the red had caused a type of cancer and the whole area of the tattoo was raised up and swollen.  It seemed she would have to undergo three operations to remove the damage or one big operation including plastic surgery.  I felt sorry for her as it was the red ink that had caused the cancer and you could tell she'd had a rather elegant tattoo for reasons known only to her perhaps.  Obviously tats are difficult to get rid of even if they've not caused any problems and I wonder how some of these men  (and women too perhaps) will look when they are 60 or 70 years old and the skin on their arms, and other places, has sagged as it does with the help of gravity on all of us.

I would really enjoy reading your comments about the above.  Do you too have likes and dislikes that you usually keep to yourself and yet feel it would be good to find out how others feel about them.  If you have a topic then let me know and we'll see if we keep this Monday Mutterings going for a while. I am not sure how long I can come up with things that I ponder about but we'll see how it goes.


Wikipedia says this article does not cite any references or sources but as I rather liked the look of this dog I decided to go with it anyway.  I feel most of the facts would be pretty accurate.

The PORCELAINE is a breed of dog originating in France. It is believed to be the oldest of the French scent hounds.  Its alternate name is the Chien de Franche-Comte, named after a French region bordering Switerland.  This caused some debate over the dog's origin, but it has been decided that it is a French dog.

The Porcelaine gets its name from it shiny coat, said to make it resemble a porcelain statuette.  The fur is white, sometimes with orange spots, often on the ears.  The skin should be white with black mottling that is visible through the white coat.  The fur is incredibly short and very fine.  The nose of a Porcelaine dog is black with very wide nostrils.  It also has black eyes and long ears that droop down.  The neck is long and the tail starts thick and narrows to a point at the end.

 Porcelaines have a very high activity level and therefore need lots of exercise.  Because of this, they are not recommended for people living in apartments as they cannot get sufficient exercise without a lot of work on the owner's part.  Despite them being fierce hunters, they are gentle and relatively easy to handle.  They have no health issues specific to the breed although, of course, they suffer from general health issues like any other breed.  Their coat, due to its shortness, is very easy to care for.

This breed of dog is thought to be a descendant of the English Harrier, some of the smaller Laufhounds of Switzerland and the now-extinct Montaimboeuf.  There have been records of the breed in France since 1845 and in Switzerland since 1860.  The breed actually disappeared after the French Revolution (1789-1799) but has been reconstructed.  Breeders in the UK are attemtping to have the Porcelaine accepted as a recognised breed.  As of 2009 there have been 14 puppies bred in the UK.

The Porcelaine is a hunting dog usually used to hunt hare, roe deer and, in the north, wild boar.  They hunt in packs and being a scent hound, have a very good sense of smell with which it hunts.  It is a fierce hunting dog that has been bred to hunt independently without many orders from the owner.  It is also being bred in small numbers in Italy and used to hunt wild boar, however Italian indigenous hounds continue to be the preferred choice of local hunters.

Our white bull terrier also had a pink tummy with black spots on it.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


The PIXIE-BOB is a breed of domestic cat claimed by breed founder Carol Ann Brewer of Washington State to be the progeny of naturally occurring bobcat hybrids.  DNA testings have failed to detect bobcat marker genes and pixie-bobs are considered wholly domestic for the purposes of ownership, cat fancy registration, import and export.

In the spring of 1985, Carol Ann Brewer purchased a polydactyl cat near Mount Baker, Washington, in the Cascade Mountains.  This male had a short bobbed tail.  In January, 1986 she rescued another male cat.  This cat was very large, had a bobbed tail and was reported to have been sired by a bobcat.  While this cat was starving it still weighed 17 lbs. and was so tall it reached up to Brewer's knees.  Shortly after she had acquired this large male, it mated with a brown spotted female cat next door.  In April, 1986 a litter was born from this mating.  Brewer eventually kept one of the kittens named "Pixie", and after a year started a breeding programme with Pixie as the foundation cat.  Over the next couple of years, Brewer introduced into her programme 23 cats from around the Cascade range that were believed by her to be born from naturally occurring matings between bobcats and domestic cats.  She coined the term "Legend Cat" to refer to such cats and has since registered a trademark in the U.S. to limit the term to describe permitted outcrosses used in her breeding programme.  At the same time, other breeders in the U.S. were working with distinctly wild looking barn cats and collaborated with Brewer to establish a broad genetic base and to develop the foundation of tday's pixie-bob.

Led by Brewer, they succeeded in registering their new breed with The International Cat Association (TICA) and eventually the American Cat Fancier's Association (ACFA).  The pixie-bob was accepted into the "Exhibition" category by TICA in 1993, promoted to "New Breed and Colour" status in 1996 and eventually gained Championship status in 1998.  The pixie-bob was classified by TICA initially as a "Native New Breed", defined as "A new breed which has been identified through selection of phenotypically similar individuals from a naturally occurring population indigenous to a particular geographic region" but it is now classified as a "New Natural/Regional Breed" also known as NNRB.

Pixie-bobs are a fully domestic breed of cat bred to resemble the North American Bobcat.  For a cat to be considered a Certified TICA pixie-bob cat, one of their parents must be traced back to StoneIsland Pixie, the original inspiration for the breed.

These cats an be large but on average reach around 5kg (11 lbs), similar to good sized domestic cats, with only a very few breeders producing consistently large cats.  Males are usually larger than females.  The average domestic cat weighs about 8 lbs or 4 kg.  Pixie-bobs grow for 4 years instead of 1 year like most domestic cats.

 Most pixie-bobs have black fur and skin on the bottom of their paws, tipped ears, heavy ear hair, black lips and white fur around the eyes but with black eye skin.  Their chins have white fur, but often have black skin under the white fur.  Some of their whiskers change from black (root - about 25%) to white (to the tip - about 75% of the whisker) Bobtail-like fur pattern, but often have reddish tones mixed in.  Most are short-haired but some are long-haired.  The brow should be heavy and the eyes should have a triangular shape.  Eyes are blue when kittens, then change to green or fold when several months old.  Tails can be non-existent (rumpy), or 2-4 inches (desired - TICA required), or long tails (Pixie was a long-tail).  The head is pear-shaped and the head is considered to be the most important characteristic.

It is not presently known what genetic similarity there may or may not be between the pixie-bob and other breeds with suppression of the tail, such as Manx, American Bobtail and Japanese Bobtail.

Thanks to Wikipedia who says some verification may be required about this breed.  It is a cat that quit appeals to me but then most cats do.

Friday, March 28, 2014


More flowers to share. How about that first one and I love all the different colours of the lupins.  I have a pink camellia but it's not quite as pretty as the one shown here.  Just enjoy them and carry some beauty with you into the weekend which I hope will be a good one for you.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


This is where I look back on the past week and try to find some 'right' things that may have taken place.  How has your week been?  Not too many problems I hope.

On the 'right' side it would seem our kitchen is soon to be 'mended'.  A very nice cabinetmaker came last Friday and measured up and made suggestions about how the mess I made can be fixed.  Unfortunately the wall cupboards will have to remain as is because they were not damaged.  There is now no veneer that matches the pine pattern so we've had to settle for a plain colour that hopefully will blend in.  When the renovations were done the lower part of the walls were all done in the same pine pattern as the cupboards so we are hoping it won't look mismatched when finished.  The good news is I am getting rid of the brown benchtops which have driven me potty for 30 odd years.  They were too dark and every tiny spot showed up.  I have never been a super efficient haus frau who walks around with a duster in her pocket but those benchtops were the bane of my life so will be pleased to see them replaced with a much lighter marble type pattern.  From the rough sketch the cabinetmaker made for me it seems it is going to be a much more modern design with more drawers and the ability to get right into the corners of the cupboards which before were blocked off.

We fortunately have a roll of the wallpaper left from when we did the wallpapering years ago and are not sure if there are going to be any blank spots when the work is finished.  Hopefully, if there are we will be able to make it look at least reasonably OK.

I have decided to do away with the pantry (didn't want it in the first place but my ex-husband ... who always knows everything .... decided to add one anyway....we paid him to do the renovations back in the early '80s...what were we thinking?).   The pantry was too high and I could never find anything at the back of the top shelves past about 15 inches.  Instead the lower cupboard will be extended and I can then put the microwave there and do away with the microwave cabinet giving us more room for perhaps a larger table.  There will be an open cupboard above where the microwave will sit where I can either put the coffee, tea canisters etc or perhaps just something pretty.

Another thing I wanted when the renovation was originally done was a new sink but 'he' said "you don't need one" so no new sink.  This time I am having a nice new sink (the old one is probably better quality than those you buy these days but it is over 50 years old and the area around the plug hole has worn down to the brass and I am constantly having to scrub it so it doesn't look dirty.  I found carb soda does a good job but I 'd rather not to have to do it all the time.  Unfortunately the tiles behind the sink will have to removed in order to take out the old sink but I am paying $500 upfront and that will cover the cost of the new sink and retiling behind it.  I think it will be well worth the expense.  The sink wasn't damaged so it's my choice to buy a new one.

Enough about the kitchen.  The time frame he said would be about 3 weeks so perhaps before Easter but when dealing with tradespeople one can never be sure.  Believe me I am still dreading the upheaval on top of which will be the replacement of the vinyl and the hall carpet and we are thinking of extending the vinyl into the hall as we can't get a carpet that matches the living room.  Perhaps vinyl throughout which is easier to clean than carpet when one has a husband that tends to spill 'stuff' quite frequently.  I got rid of a lot of the stains but now have patches from cleaning the stains.   I sometimes feel I can't win.   I only worry about how one would wash the vinyl around armchairs and the like.  Perhaps just a damp mop?  My cleaning lady comes this morning so perhaps ask her advice.

On the not so 'right' side of the ledger was my visit to our GP yesterday.  We had our 'flu shots and as usual Phil has no sign of having had his but 'as usual' there is a swelling on my arm about two inches long, which is pink and quite hot.  Happens every year but I'd rather put up with that than get a dose of the 'flu.  We diabetics do have to be very careful about any type of illness.

The result of my lung function test came back with the now I have to use a puffer twice a day (2 puffs morning and night) and have a ventolin puffer in case I have problems at other times.  I don't really feel as though I have asthma but do get very wheezy when I move around much which I put down to me having trouble moving around much or standing for long but I must be honest and say I do sometimes get a little puffed when I am talking.  I guess if one can get to 82 before suffering this problem one should count one's blessings.  I do think some of it is perhaps also caused by allergies, pollens, grasses etc.  I have one of those plastic thingies where you put the puffer in one end and your mouth on the other to make it easier.  Am I too old to lean new tricks I wonder?

I had hoped to say that one big 'right' was the rain we were promised during the week but it seems it nearly all fell in the Indian Ocean and hampered the search for the missing airliner.  If any suburbs received rain it didn't account for more than perhaps 0.2 - 0.6mm.  The ground did get wet at our place and the cat absolutely refused to go out for several hours but I'd say we too received no more than 0.4mm in total.  We still did our Tuesday watering last night.   Some areas had thunderstorms but little rain and Precious and I were both thankful there were no storms at our place.  : )

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TELLING IT ON TUESDAY (Part 12...back home in Perth)

As you know I decided, although I really enjoyed working in Melbourne, once I was back home again that that was where I belonged.  I feel if I'd had someone to go away with it would have been much better but unfortunately that wasn't the case.

Once home I of course had to get myself a job.  I answered a position for a stenographer with a law firm (Dwyer and Thomas) in William Street, had the interview and the job was mine.  They were a nice group of people to work for, both the legal eagles and the office staff.  We were 'controlled' by a Miss Hartrey who was really a dear.  Like many of us she was a smoker and one day after she arrived at work the boss, Mr Reilly, came into the office and laughingly told her she could be up for littering. She looked amazed and asked how that could be.  Mr Reilly told her he was following behind her in his car that morning and saw her throw a cigarette butt out of her car window which, of course, was illegally littering.  We all had a good laugh about that.  Everyone was jovial and interesting to work for.  In those days if you were typing a will or similar legal document you could not make alterations of any kind so your typing had to be 100% accurate.  Remember we were using manual typewriters and there was no way of correcting your work except by using an eraser or a white coated paper which you would place over the error, type the incorrect letter/s and then retype over that spot.  Both of those methods were obvious to a certain degree so typing accuracy was paramount.   The paper being used was quite expensive so it didn't take long to become an accurate typist as you weren't meant to throw any of that paper away.  If we ever had spare time we used to do speed tests to see how fast we could type without any errors and this became quite a competition amongst the girls.  I also still did shorthand but it was always Miss Hartrey that took dictation from the big boss; we others from the 'lesser' mortals among the lawyers. 

I found the legal work quite interesting but after about a year at the law firm I once again began to think about working in insurance which I had always enjoyed so I began looking for another job. Western Assurance Company were looking for a shorthand typist so I answered their ad and got the job.  I became Assistant Claims Clerk to Mrs Harvey who was the Claims Clerk.  I think perhaps my having worked for three and a half years for Norm Stehn, the insurance assessor, may have got me the job.  I really loved my work there and "Harv" was a wonderful understanding boss and we got on so well.  She was a happily married lady but had a soft spot for an insurance assessor who worked for us and occasionally if there was a need for something to be taken to his office Harv would go.  She would go quite coy when his name was mentioned.  She had beautiful greying hair and each morning on her way to work would call into her hairdresser and have a 'comb up'.  She always looked so very elegant.  The folk that worked here were a fantastic group and I regretted having to leave when I got married in 1953 but in those days it was always the case if you worked in a bank or an insurance company.  I think Mrs Harvey had been taken on as a mature lady so her being married was taken not a problem.   They did make an exception with the general manager's secretary.  When Shirley married her Jack she did stay on as I think the boss would have been lost without her.  She would of course have left as soon as she found she was about to have her first baby.

I, of, course began going out again and we still continued having our Christmas and Easter holidays down in Mandurah.  I met up with Peter Webster (younger brother of John Webster of yachting days) and he and I would go out together but it was all very casual.  He just wasn't the serious type and I knew he also went out with other girls which didn't bother me as I wasn't ready to be serious either. By this time my friends had serious boyfriends (June from Norm Stehn's office had actually married her long time boyfriend Doug while I was away in Melbourne) and so we would have fun as groups. There was a crowd of us at our place one day when mum and dad were out and Peter found dad's raincoat and a walking cane (I don't remember dad ever using one but he obviously owned one) and out he came dressed in dad's coat and hat.  Of course a photo had to be taken of him acting the fool:

Also there was friend and workmate Wilma Longwood with her future husband Jim Dachtler (Jim was very much involved with Tornado class yachts and in fact won several Western Australian and National championships in the 1970s).

More mucking about on the same day.  This is me with Peter Webster and Peter Flower (another of our group of friends).  I am saddened to have to say that Wilma and both the Peters are no longer with us.

In 1951 I did actually receive a proposal of marriage from a young chap from New Zealand that I had met at the Mt Lawley tennis club dances.  One night when he walked me home he asked me to marry him. He worked for a well know insurance company and was shortly to travel to South Africa to work and wanted me to go with him.  He was a really nice young man but I had only known him a few weeks and certainly wasn't in love with him.  I felt sad at having to say no to him but I knew it wouldn't have worked out.  I've often thought of him and wondered how he fared in his life.  I feel bad but have to admit I just can't remember his name so my memory does let me down at times.  I do however remember he had really great auburn hair.

In April 1952 Peter's brother John was being married to Thelma Fisher (she was part of our yachting days) and Peter was to be part of the bridal party.  He wanted me to go to the wedding so he asked his friend Aubrey Lewis (who had an invitation but no-one to take) if he would mind being my partner. As I'd known John and Thelma for a long time I of course wanted to go and see them married, but not on my own, so I said her that would be OK with me if it was all right with Aub.   If you remember back a few episodes I wrote about the elderly couple who lived on the next corner to us in Fitzgerald Street.  Turned out that this Aubrey was their grandson!  He and his mum and step-dad in fact lived at 556 Fitzgerald Street while we were at 524.  Small world!!  This is me dressed up and ready to go to that wedding on 26th April, 1952:

That turned out to be quite a fateful day for me as from then on Aubrey became a constant visitor to our home and in May when mum, dad and I moved into our new home in Joondanna Heights (now only known as Joondanna) Aub more or less moved in with the furniture.  No, he didn't move in to live with us, but became a very regular visitor to our home.  He lived just a few miles from Joondanna and would ride his bike over nearly every night.  We would go out dancing or to the pictures occasionally or perhaps borrow dad's car and take mum for a drive down to Mandurah or up to the hills.  I still am not sure if I actually fell in love with Aub or if he became a habit as he was in my life so regularly.  We even decided to buy a block of land together which mum seemed to think a little strange. This got us to thinking and the next thing I knew we were engaged to be married.  We had an engagement party at home on 19 July, 1952 to which we invited several friends.

During 1952 I kept having regular serious bouts of tonsillitis to the extent that an ENT throat specialist said they should come out as soon as possible.  Tonsillectomies were being avoided by doctors at that time (there was as lot of polio around) but as my tonsils were erupting so frequently there was no other choice than to take them out.  The doctor recommended a day between Christmas and New Year but as I had my 21st birthday was coming up on 2 January I vetoed that idea and a date was set for mid-January.

I don't want to overburden you with too many words so will next week tell of my 21st birthday party with a few pictures and other happenings during 1953.

Monday, March 24, 2014


CLASS: Insecta;    ORDER: Lepidoptera;    FAMILY: Papillionidae;    GENUS: Papillo;
SPECIES: aegeus;    COMMON NAME: Orchard Swallowtail.

Both male and female have black forewings with a white stripe, though there is more white overall on the female forewing.  The hindwing is again black, and there is a white swathe through the middle. Here the markings differ in that the female has chains of red to orange and blue crescents toward the edge.  The markings on the underside are similar to those on top.  The body is black.  The wing-span is about 140mm in females and 120mm in males, making it rather large overall and the largest butterfly commonly seen in at least part of its range.

Despite being a swallowtail, which group derives its name from the distincive tails on the hindwing, this characteristic is entirely absent.

A male orchard swallowtail in the Melbourne Zoo (Victoria):

A female in Lamington National Park in SE Queensland.

They inhabit lowland rainforest, dry eucalypt woodland, gardens and orchards and can be found in every state in Australia except Tasmania and Western Australia but it is generally found in eastern Australia.  It is especially common in Queensland and is the largest butterfly commonly found in Brisbane where there are many citrus trees, on which the larvae feed.  During summer, the distribution is temporarily extended down to Victoria.   It is also found in Papua New Guinea.

This butterfly feeds on a large range of food plants including citrus, boronia and Murraya.  They have a wingspan of 105mm.  The larvae of this species are sometimes considered a pest, due to their feeding on citrus leaves in suburban gardens.

This is the caterpillar of the orchard swallowtail.

Illustration of adult orchard swallowtails:

Sunday, March 23, 2014


As my maternal great-grandparents came from Denmark I thought perhaps I'd include this beautiful dog in remembrance of them.  Neils Peter and Marie Christine Larsen, this one is for you.

The Old Danish Pointer is a medium-sized breed of dog, white with brown markings, originally used as a pointing dog in Denmark.

Old Danish Pointers (Danish: gammel dansh honsehund, translated "Old Danish Pointing Dog") are strongly built.  One of the most characteristic features of the breed is the great difference between male and female.  While the dog is powerful and substantial, the bitch is characterised by being lighter, more spirited and capricious.

The temperament conveys the impression of a quiet and stable dog showing determination and courage.  During the hunt, the dog progresses rather slowly, always maintaining contact with the hunter and accomplishing its task as a pointing dog without creating unnecessary disturbance of the ground.  The breed is suited for small as well as large hunting grounds.  The name has nothing to do with temperament, bur refers to its ability to point out birds of the order Galliformes and specifically birds belonging to the family Phasianidae.  Commonly referred to in Danish as 'hen birds/chicken birds'.  The often used English name, "Old Danish Chicken Dog" is therefore incorrect, or at best badly translated.

This is a friendly family dog, as long as it gets its exercise.  It is fast and active outdoors and
quiet indoors, but is not suited for apartments or small yards.

This is a Danish Pointing Dog circa 1915.

The origin of the breed can be traced back to about the year 1710 when a man named Mrten Bak, living in Glenstrup near the towns of Randers and Hobro, crossed gypsy dogs through 8 generations with local farm dogs and in this way establshed a pure breed of piebald white and brown dogs called Bakhounds or Old Danish Pointers.  The local farmers called their farm dogs Bloodhounds, but it seems more likely that these hounds were offspring from the Squire's scent hounds, which in turn were descended primarily from St. Hubert Hounds.  Likewise it is probable that the gypsy dogs generally descended from Spanish Pointing Dogs and other breeds of scent hounds, so in many ways St. Hubert Hounds have contributed to the Old Danish Pointer.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


The Ocicat is an all-domestic breed of cat which resembles a wild cat but has no wild DNA in its gene pool.  The breed is unusual in that it is spotted like a wild cat but has the temperament of a domestic animal.  It is named for its resemblance to the ocelot.  The breed was established from Siamese and Abyssinian stock; later, American shorthairs (silver tabbies) were added to the mix and gave the breed their silver colour, bone structure and distinct markings.

The first breeder of Ocicats was Virginia Daly, of Berkley, Michigan, who attempted to breed Abyssinian-pointed Siamese in 1964.  The first generation of kittens appeared Abyssinian, but the result in the second generation was not only the Abyssinian-pointed Siamese, but a spotted kiten, Tonga, nicknamed an 'ocicat' by the breeder's daughter.  Tonga was neutered and sold as a pet, but further breedings of his parents produced more spotted kittens, and became the basis of a separate Ocicat breeding programme.

Other breeders joined in and used the same recipe.  Siamese to Abyssinan, and offspring to Siamese.  In addition, due to an error by CFA in recording the cross that produced the Ocicat, the American shorthair was introduced to the Ocicat giving the breed larger boning and adding silver to the 6 colours.  The Ocicat was initially accepted for registration in the Cat Fancier's Association, Inc., and was moved into Championship for showing in 1987.  Other registries followed and today the Ocicat is found all around the world, popular for its all-domestic temperament and wild appearance.

There are twelve colours approved by Ocicat Org., for the Ocicat breed.  Tayny, chocolate and cinnamon, their dilutes, blue, lavender and fawn, and all of them with silver; black silver (ebony silver), chocolate silver, cinnamon silver, blue silver, lavender silver and fawn silver.  Ocicats have almond shaped eyes perfect for seeing at night.  They also have large, strong bodies, muscular legs with dark markings, and powerful, oval-shaped paws  One of the most striking features about these cats are the dark contrasting spots covering the fur.

Ocicats are said to be a very outgoing breed and many owners say that their temperament is similar to a dogs.  Most can easily be trained to fetch, walk on a leash and harness, come when called, speak, sit, lie down on command and a large array of other dog-related tricks.  Most are especially good at feline agility because they are very toy-driven.  Some even take readily to water.  They are also very friendly and sociable.  They are not often shy around strangers which makes them great family pets, and most can also get along well with animals of other species, although they are likely to assert their dominance over all involved.  Ocicats make excellent pets for people who want to spend a lot of time with their cat, as they do require more attention than cats who aren't so people-oriented.

I think these cats are so fascinating and I love the story of how the breed originated.

I just had to add a few more lovely photos (all are courtesy of Zayenah Ocicats for which many thanks).  Information, as usual, from Wikipedia. 

Friday, March 21, 2014


I received an email this week with pictures of some very beautiful, spectacular and unusual flowers so instead of Friday frolics/funnies I decided to share some of those flowers with you and will do so in coming weeks as well.    I am hoping some of you will recognise what these are.  Meantime, just enjoy their beauty.  I recognise the first, second and I think the last one.

Don't you just really love the beauty that flowers bring into our lives?  I know I do.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


OK how's this week been for everyone out there in blogging land and how has our week been?

I have to report that I finally spoke to a 'CLIENT MANAGER' about our kitchen and they have approved a builder's quote and are contacting him to go ahead with the restoration of our poor cupboards.   It's just a waiting game until we have someone call who can tell us just how they will undertake the work, taking into consideration that not all the cupboards were damaged.  The vinyl and carpet replacement will take place after the cupboards are finished of course.

Yesterday my daughter decided to have her long hair cut off.  I was rather pleased she did as she has those awful joint problems still (her knee is fine thought) and short hair will make it so much easier for her to manage.  Just one less hassle each day.  I have photographs of her when she was younger and had short hair and it suited her so well.  I can't wait to see how it looks and I know I will like it.  She will probably hate me for showing this photo but this was taken at our place some years back (that's our old cat Soot she's holding) and I think she looked so lovely with her her short like that.  She is of course much more slender than she was then but I still love this photo of her.

Today I went and had my lung function tests (fun and games puffing and blowing for nearly an hour) and I will get the results next week when I see my GP.  Dr Ken also wants Phil and me to have chest x-rays so we'll have to try and get those done tomorrow.  It's great to have a doctor that takes the time to make sure we are as well as two oldies can expect to be.

This afternoon I had a telephone call from my ex-sister-in-law in Canberra.  Verna is now 91 and still as bright as a button.   We tend to chat for an hour or more as, of course, we've known each other for over 60 years.  Although I really enjoy talking to Verna I feel quite tired afterwards so am hoping this post is making some sense.  Obviously I don't spend enough time talking so not used to doing so. Verna and her husband Bob (who is 93 next month) moved into a retirement village a year or so back and are really enjoying themselves.  Verna has macula degeneration and her eyesight is poorly but she still enjoys her life and she told me they are off next Sunday to spend a week in Bright in Victoria. They go in an organised group from the village where they live.

I can't think of any other 'right' things that have happened in our world this week.  There is news that patrol aircraft may have found wreckage that could relate to the disappearance of that Malaysian airliner.  Although it may mean that all lives were lost at least family and friends of those passengers will have an answer.  It must be dreadful for them just not knowing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

EXTRACT FROM 'PERTH NOW' on 13 March, 2014.

Confirming we are in drought-mode in Perth right now and especially at our place in Hamilton Hill.

"A sprinkle of rain, finally, after '102-day drought'."

"After more than 100 days in Perth without rain, a few drops have been felt in some suburbs early this morning,  Picture" Theo Fakos Source: News Limited.

Light rain has fallen in some northern and eastern suburbs of Perth but it wasn't enough to wet the ground.  (Incidentally we live in a south-west suburb of Perth, just south-east of Fremantle, so no rain at our place, not even a drop).

"Isolated showers with the chance of thunderstorms" were forecast for the city this morning and the Bureau of Meteorology radar showed a cluster of rain clouds - but they failed to deliver the goods.

There have been reports of rain in the northern suburbs early this morning, including Kinross and Inglewood.  Another "Perth Now" reader reported a heavy shower in Kalamunda.

Between 8.30am an 9am, the Bureau's gauge at Mt Lawley recorded 0.2mm, which was the first official rain in Perth for 55 days - since 0.2mm fell on January 16 this year.

Senior forecaster Neil Bennett said there had been just four "rain days" going back to October 20 when Perth had 18.2mm.

Since then, just 12.4 mm has fallen ----- 10.2mm on 30 November; 1.8mm on 1 December 0.2mm on 16 January and 0.2mm today."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


I realised there was too much to tell about my going to Melbourne to work so decided to do a separate post, and here goes.  Just hoping I've not been too long-winded.  Maybe if you are truly interested it might be a good time to put your feet up and enjoy a cuppa.....just a thought.

As you know mum and dad gave me a wonderful farewell party at our home and it was great to be able to say goodbye to my friends as I wasn't sure how long I would be gone.

I flew to Melbourne on a DC4 (big brother to the famous DC3) and was met at the airport by a lass from DCA and taken by tram to a boarding house in Toorak Road, South Yarra.  It was a large double-storey place with a basement and a very large kitchen in the back garden.  It was owned by a Mr and Mrs Ward who were a couple of characters and I was told later that they weren't actually a married couple. I was to share a big bedroom with two other girls, Phoebe (a Victorian) and Gina (also from Western Australia).  I got on very well with both of them and there was never a cross word in all the time we were together.  We had to share bathrooms with other girls and in the kitchen were stoves, fridges, cupboards, and dish washing facilities.  The pictures may not be wonderful  (I only had a 620 Kodak box brownie) but this is Shelbourne Lodge in Toorak Road, South Yarra where I lived, and the second photo is my corner of the bedroom I shared with Phoebe and Gina.

When Phil and I caught the #8 tram out to South Yarra when in Melbourne in 1983 the building was still there but had been turned into some shops of the boutique type from what I could make out.

In 1950 my brother Len's sister-in-law was living in Coburg with her husband Bluey Davies.  On my first day in Melbourne they came to South Yarra to pick me up and take me to their home to have dinner and to stay the night with them.  They felt it would be much nicer if I spent my first night in a strange city under a friendly roof and I thought this very nice of them.  Of course the next day I had to catch the tram from their place into the city which was of course the opposite direction to that which I thought I would be going.  However, I made it to the office without a problem and I always found Melbourne a very easy city to find my way to wherever I wanted to go.

I stayed with Nancy and Bluey on several occasions and while I was over there, their first child was born (a son they named Peter).  Bluey came on that weekend to pick me up and take me to see Nancy and the new baby in the hospital.  I bought a couple of small baby items to give them as a gift.  Sadly, Peter died last November at the age o 63.  Nancy is now living in a nursing home in Kingsley and at the age of 91 is still seriously troubled with asthma which has plagued her since she was a child.  Bluey died in 2008, aged 85, and their other son, Greg, is now living in the eastern states.  Nancy is very fortunate in having a niece who lives nearby (herself a widow of 64) who helps by doing shopping and running other errands for Nancy.  From what Wendy has told me it if sometimes a difficult task as Nancy is very lonely and is not happy with her life.  Knowing Wendy, I can never imagine her being impatient with Nancy.  I remember how good she was with her own mother as she aged.

I had asked Val and Wilma if perhaps they would consider travelling to Melbourne with me but their mums considered they were far too young although they also would be 18 later in 1950.  I was sorry in many ways that I had gone on my own as man of the young people in the boarding house knew each other or had come with friends.  I became friendly with two really nice girls; here they are on one of our outings.  Gloria is the tall one and Dawn the shorter one.  We all got on very well together. There's a funny story about Dawn.  I guess it was because I was away from home, but I decided to put a rinse through my auburn one.  It went very well and when out in the sunshine it had realy strong red highlights.  Dawn liked the look of my hair so much which decided her to follow suit but was so disappointed when her hair didn't look any different after the colour rinse, even though she left it on longer than I did.  My hair happened to have gold/red highlights anyway but Dawn's was jet black so of course the rinse made no difference to the colour of her hair.  We eventually had a good laugh about it once she had gotten over her disappointment.

We three quite often went out and about together but of course when you work five days a week there's not a lot of spare time with washing and ironing and shopping to do on weekends.  We went on several train trips into the country together and I loved to visit the beautiful parks around Melbourne and this photo was taken up on the War Memorial. (We still wore our skirts quite long in 1950).  I have views of the War Memorial, and views from it of surrounding areas, and I imagine those views would be very different today.

One thing I really enjoyed was swimming in an indoor pool while I was in Melbourne as Perth, at that time, had no such facility.  I think in Perth we all swam in either the ocean or the river (which then was still quite clean).  Beatty Park outdoor pool in North Perth was built at the time of the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1962.  I eventually spent many happy times there over the years.  It has been enlarged and modernised over intervening years and is now known as the Beatty Park Aquatic Centre.

I really enjoyed my work with DCA where for the first two months I was employed in the typing pool where there were three other girls, somewhat older than I.  Two Victorians and one Queenslander.  I have never forgotten how the two Victorian girls used to talk about the third lass whenever she was absent.  I am glad they didn't include me in their conversation but felt they were rather mean to do that.

None of the other three girls did shorthand and one day I was called into the main office and asked if I could take own some notes that would be read to me over the telephone from Sydney.  I said I thought I could handle it OK but didn't expect to nearly fill a shorthand notebook, nor that I would be taking dictation for about 15 minutes.  It was quite an experience.  As I've never been able to hear well with my left ear when using the telephone I had to hold the 'phone to my right ear with my left hand and use my right hand to hold my pencil.  Fortunately a young man stood next to me turned the pages as needed.  I couldn't have done it without his help.

 I then had to type all this up in draft form and was very pleased with myself when I actually managed to translate nearly all I had taken down.  I felt I had done a reasonably good job but, strangely enough, although the exam I sat for in Perth was for a stenographer, that was the only time I was called on to do shorthand in the 6 months I worked for DCA.

After the first two months I was transferred from the typing pool to the office on the other side of Little Collins Street to join the Records Office of DCA.  I was then the only female among about fifteen males whose ages ranged from about 18 to possibly 65+.  They were all very polite the entire time I worked with them and I was treated as either their sister, daughter or granddaughter, depending on their ages.  At lunchtime we often played darts and, although I wasn't quite as good as the men, I felt I held my own and it was all great fun.  One of the middle-aged men used to tease me that "you sandgropers just come over here looking for a husband." It was the first time I'd been called a sandgroper but I knew he meant it just as a bit of fun.  Finding a husband was furtherest from my mind at that time.

I have to mention the two elderly men who had their desks adjacent to each other in one corner of the big office.  One was Australian and the other European with quite a strong foreign accent.  They were so kind to me and used to compete to see who would be the first one to offer me a cigarette.  Oh yes, I was wicked back then and was a smoker.  The Australian chap smoked Craven A of which I was not particularly fond (I preferred milder cigarettess) and the European man smoked Turkish oval cigarettes, which were far too strong for me.  I often would say "I've just put one out" to avoid having to take a cigarette from either one of them but then they would insist I "take one for later".  I know they meant well and so I obliged and sometime would find a smoker who enjoyed either Craven A or even the Turkish cigarette.

A year or two after I returned to Perth I read that the Commonwealth Government was catching up with people who had worked past their retirement age.  Probably the war had meant people had not been retired at 65 (for me) and 60 (for women) when they should have been.  Just insufficient clerical staff to keep records up to date would be my guess.   I often wondered if my two old friends came into the category of 'should have been retired long ago' as they were really quite elderly men.

I had a special friend named Geoff Lamb, a young man of about my own age.  We would often walk down to Spencer Street station together as we caught the same train home.  He had problems with his girlfriend and would open his heart to me and ask for my advice.  He was such a lovely young chap and was a passionate follower of the Richmond Football Club.  I've often thought of Geoff over the years and wonder how his life unfolded for him.  I always hoped he had a good life.

At Christmas time Mr and Mrs Ward put on a lovely Christmas dinner and set out a large table along with trimmings in the big sitting room.  Those that hadn't gone away had a wonderful feast and a great day.   This is a photo of the setting (not a wonderful picture considering no flash on the Brownie, but at least it gives an idea of what it looked like).

Later that day Mr and Mrs Ward asked me if I'd like to accompany them down to Frankston for Christmas tea.  I think they realised I had come to Melbourne on my own and may be a tad homesick.  I accepted with pleasure and the fourth member of the party was a Canadian friend of the Wards.  He was quite a lot older than me but he was really good fun.  We had a wonderful meal and when we were outside the Canadian chap handed me a pair of salt and pepper shakers with the hotel logo on them.   He said I may like them as a souvenir of a lovely evening.   I did feel I was perhaps the receiver of stolen goods but I knew he meant well so I accepted them and have them still.

On the way back to South Yarra a policeman stopped us and asked Mr Ward where his front number plate was.   "Round the back" said Mr Ward (he always tended to be lighthearted about everything).  He was also asked what was wrong with his headlights.   He of course said he had no idea.  The policeman told him to be off (being summer, it wasn't quite dark at that time and we were nearly home) and to get new number plates and have the lights attended to.   I think the fact that it was Christmas Day may have softened the policeman's heart as he didn't issue a ticket.  We had another funny experience with headlights on another occasion when they included me in their outing on New Year's Eve.  Mr Ward hung one of those 'trouble lights' on the front of the car as the headlights still weren't fixed and I recall us driving over paddocks trying to find the house of their friends.  We got their eventually and had a wonderful evening.  I don't think Mr Ward would have gotten away with any of his nonsense in this modern world.  I look back on Mumma and Poppa Ward with much affection.  They were such a caring couple, stood no nonsense from anyone but looked after all their boarders, both female and male, extremely well.

 I enjoyed a nice social life while in Melbourne and went out with two young men, Jack and Laurie, separately of course.   We would go to the beach, or dancing or sometimes just 'hang out' as they say these days.  Jack's mother was a widow and he was helping keep the household going and at the same time helping to educate his younger brother.  We knew there could be nothing serious between us as he was still committed to helping his family but we had some wonderful times together.  Laurie had a Singer sports car and we'd often go out for a drive into the country.  I went to both their homes and met their families and found the people of Melbourne very friendly.

Towards the end of my stay I met a young man whom I'd known briefly from our Mandurah days.  He was a friend of some of the regulars that used to holiday down there.  Mervyn was in the army and he and I went out several times.  I rather hoped something serious would eventuate from our meeting as I really did like him and we got on very well.  He was due to leave for Perth a couple of weeks before I was travelling back in the April and he arranged to meet me at the airport when I arrived.  Before I'd left Melbourne I received a letter (a dear Margaret type of letter) from Merv telling me he'd met a young lady on the train home and now wouldn't be meeting me after all.  Was I heartbroken?  No, not really although I've often thought of him with fondness over the years and was saddened to see that he had died in 2009 at the age of 80.  On reading the notice in the paper I feel that his widow had the same name as the lass he met on the train and I hoped they had a happy life together.

After I had been working at DCA for six months I was told I could return to Perth for a holiday and was given an open ticket to return when I wanted to by sea, air or train.  I rang Len to pick me up at the airport so I could surprise mum and dad by arriving home unexpectedly. It was mum's birthday that week.   I didn't take into account mum's intuition when it came to me.  She somehow knew I was coming home and rang TAA to see if I was on the passenger list and of course they confirmed I was.  I don't think these days they give out that information but that was the time when everything walked out on to the tarmac to say goodbye to family or friends and also to welcome them home.   When I arrived home it was wonderful to see my folks again and I discovered while I was away mum had made pretty curtains and bedspread for my bedroom and really prettied it up for me.

I now remember something else involving mum's sixth sense.   While in Melbourne I came down with a particularly nasty dose of 'flu so didn't write home for quite a few days.  Next thing I knew there was a telegram from Mum "Are you all right?   Worried about you."   I rang mum to let her know I was getting better and not worry.  It was a long weekend and on long distance (trunk) calls back then you would have an operator come on the line to say your time was up and did you wish to extend.  Strangely enough this didn't happen once an Mum and I must have chatted for about 20 minutes.  I then made a local call and while on that call the operator came on about the long distance call.  I honestly said I was no longer on that call but didn't explain how long mum and I had talked.  I told Mrs Ward about it and asked her to check when her telephone bill arrived but it was only listed as a 3-minute trunk call so we were very lucky.  Always great to get a freebie occasionally.

It didn't take me long to make contact with my friends when I arrived home and it was then I decided I'd prefer to stay in Perth.  I wrote to DCA, thanked them and returned the ticket explaining I wouldn't be returning.  I received a very polite letter enclosing some holiday pay etc.  I'd enjoyed my stay in the 'big smoke' and had fallen in love with Melbourne, but it just wasn't Perth and nor were my old friends there either.  I sometimes I feel I was a little too young to have gone away on my own.  We resumed our usual activities and the following year I met the man I eventually married.