Friday, August 29, 2014


A week or two back I received a delightful email from River of Drifting through Life and I am hoping she won't mind me sharing a few of the beautiful pictures with you.  No words needed here at all.  Hoping they bring a smile or two to your face which you can carry with you into the weekend:

Perhaps a few more next week?  Would you enjoy that?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

TELLING IT ON TUESDAY Part 29...1974 and beyond)

I wasn't sure if there was much left to tell after the stories of our daughter and son but as time went on more events did take place so I will continue with memories of those that changed our lives or perhaps gave us cause for pleasure.  No pictures this time but could be more to come in future 'episodes'.

In 1974 we had moved into our 'cute' little house which was very basic with practically no lawn nor garden to speak of.  Over the years, to the house, we added a car port, patio and pergola at the back, extended the concrete slab beyond the front verandah and added a pergola.  Steve built both those pergolas for us without us actually asking him to do so and I still think of him when I look at them and realise what a great job he did.  More about our home later on.

Also in 1974 Phil and I both began new jobs.  As Rope and Twine were closing Phil applied to the State Government for a clerical position and after an interview he was appointed to the State Housing Commission that had it's head office in Adelaide Terrace, Perth, with a beautiful view of our Swan River.  Phil used to come home and tell me how he had watched the pelicans soaring high above the river on the thermals.  Pelicans happen to be one of Phil's favourite birds. He first of all worked in the library but then had several different positions over the years working in Kwinana, Coolbellup and finally in Fremantle office.  I can't say he enjoyed his time there all that much or perhaps it was the lackadaisical work ethics of some of his work colleagues that upset him.  He had come from working in private enterprise and I think it came as somewhat of a shock at the attitude of some government employees to their work.  Don't get me wrong.  Most of his workmates did a good job but there were the few that left much to be desired but we will not mention names.

Some of the positions he held though were very interesting and quite challenging and he stayed with Homeswest (abbreviated name for SHC) until he took early retirement when he was just passed 60.  I truly feel it was the best choice as I know working there was getting him down somewhat.  It meant we weren't all that well off but I felt his health was always more important than money.  It must have been the right decision as he is now approaching 85 and still in reasonably good health.  After his retirement he played golf and attended to his vegetable garden which he'd not had time for previously. 

Phil had continued on with his part time studies at university and finally graduated with a B.A. with a double major in psychology.  Unfortunately, because of his age by then, he was unable to obtain a job in any government department where his degree would have stood him in good stead but at least he did receive a small increase in his salary as a result of his having a uni degree.  After this he had decided to continue on with his studies for an M.A. but in the late 70s I became unwell resulting in me having major surgery.  This set Phil back on his heels somewhat and there and then decided to end his studies.  I was disappointed he made this decision until he explained he had thought it through and come to realise we'd not had a lot of quality time together because of his studies over the previous  years.  He said he was glad I'd suggested that he should perhaps do some study to make up for his education in England being rather halted because of the second world war.  He'd accepted the challenge and now had his B.A. and that would suffice.  Thinking back I feel it was perhaps for the best as we had in some ways drifted apart and there had been several minor problems that had arisen during that time all of which eventually resolved themselves satisfactorily.

Still in 1974 and after 7 years I had decided I wanted to move on from Thomas and Co and I found myself a very good job as a stenographer with Development Underwriting Limited in Peppermint Grove.  Although I enjoyed the work I wasn't too keen on the management so thought it best to move on if I could find a suitable position where I would be happier in my surroundings.  I saw a job advertised with the Forests Department and decided to apply for it.  I am interested in trees and nature in general and felt it could be an interesting job as it was with their research section situated in Como in the very pleasant surroundings of a pine plantation.  I drafted out an application and redid it several times until I was satisfied.  Of course with government jobs it takes a while until you receive a reply but eventually one arrived and I had an interview.  I was thrilled and hoped beyond hope I would do well and they would like me and my work.  It was quite an extensive interview and I had to type out a screed that contained quite a few botanical names.  I felt I had done rather well, went home and another wait before I'd get a final answer.  Happily I was accepted for the position of clerk/typist and although I dropped about $10/week in salary I was glad to be away from DUL.

As it was research branch I worked for a lot of professional people and found the work extremely interesting and feel I learned quite a lot about our forests and all the plants etc contained in them.  Whilst there a new head office was built almost next to the research branch and after some juggling I moved over to the new building to work in the Extension Branch.  I truly loved my work at the Forests Department until unfortunately, following a truck rear ending my little Ford Escort on my way to work one morning, I had to leave my job as I could no longer sit and work at a desk.  I'd not actually received a whip lash but damage to the soft tissue on the side of my neck and face and also some to my right shoulder which I guess was the way my little car  had been swung around.   I had physio on my neck for nearly six months and it was finally decided I should be retired.  I have always been sad that I could not say goodbye in the usual way when someone retires but we can't always have things happen the way we'd like them to.  Fortunately I've met up with nearly all the people I worked with since then which has somewhat compensated me for having to leave so suddenly.  I had actually begun to job share (week on week off) about a year previously and had intended to continue working for another few years.  Well laid plans and all that.......

Karen of course had left home when she married and Steve continued living at home although he became quite independent and would often cook his own meals and do his own laundry as it suited him to do so.  It was easier to allow him to do his own thing than have arguments about it and it actually worked out quite well all round.

Steve had numerous friends and he was often out with them or they would be at our house and I was pleased he was so popular.   We had given him a room at the back of the house so he virtually had his own private entrance (the back door which opened on to an enclosed verandah) so he and his friends could come and go freely.  It's funny how sometimes you think you are doing the right thing but it can go against you.  Steve actually asked me why we had 'stuck him out in the back of the house?"  When I explained our motive and said he could then play his music (and we ours) without disturbing each other etc etc he of course realised we had been trying to make it better for him.  Steve didn't want a 21st birthday party although we offered to give him one the same as Karen had but he decided he'd do what a few of his friends had done when they turned 21.   They would drive down somewhere near Collie with a keg of beer and spend the night 'in the bush' where they didn't disturb anyone and drive home the following afternoon.  It was quite common practice in those days and a lot better than having these parties as they do these days where gate crashers disrupt the party and the neighbourhood often resulting in the police being called and people being hurt and property damaged.  I am glad our boys had more sense and just enjoyed themselves without being a nuisance to anyone.

I've now covered our working lives up until we both retired (me in 1986 and Phil in 1990) and I expect I shall continue on with my story about holidays we took and other events up to the present day.  Maybe more about how we made our house more comfortable for us to live in.  Not really sure but stay with me for at least a while longer if you can, even though the 'exciting' times had long passed.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Have been slow with posts of late.  Not been all that busy but days seem to have been full.  I think everything is taking me so long to do is the main reason.  Sometimes the old mind gets way ahead of the old body and then gets frustrated which throws me right out of kilter.  Not sure that makes a lot of sense but I know what I mean.

Last Wednesday Phil and I spent about 4 hours at Fremantle Hospital.  Every two years we attend the Diabetes Study where we are tested for nearly everything possible....blood, urine, eyes, blood pressure, height, weight and balance (I am left out of that one as they can see at a glance I'd not succeed but Phil does it and does it well).  There are pages and pages of forms to complete about how we have been and how we are feeling, medications etc. etc. so it is quite daunting for we two oldies to complete.  This is our 4th visit and we keep doing it as it is good for us to have these tests and also good for the Department of Medicine to keep track of the same people over the years.  They learn from us and how we are faring.

I had a note from Victoria last week telling me that a long time penfriend had died after a short illness.  Margaret was 10 years younger than me but I do know she had type 2 diabetes and other problems.  I must write back to her husband to thank him for letting me know and tell him how sorry I am.  Margaret and I had been writing for over 30 years  and she was a real character and although we had stopped writing so frequently we still exchanged Christmas and birthday cards.  She, like me, was a Capricorn so perhaps that's why we got on so well.  She lived in Kinglake and I was so glad she and her husband and some of her family were holidaying in Tasmania when those dreadful fires occurred in 2009.  120 people lost their lives in that area alone and although Margaret and Len's home was saved, their daughter Christine and family lost their home.  I will miss you Margaret.  RIP

This calico cat of ours has fitted right in here and you couldn't ask for a better mannered cat although she can stand up for herself.  Yesterday my daughter telephoned me and Candy wanted to play with the phone cord.  When I raised my hand to tell her 'no' she was ready to have a little swipe back at me.  No claws out mind you so nothing spiteful in her at all. 

I bought her a scratching post on eBay (free postage from New South Wales)

and she will sit on top of it and play with the dangly mouse creature but it is her preference to play in the box the scratcher came in.

 We are patiently trying to teach her to scratch the posts but I think it is going to be a long haul.

Candy still sleeps on Phil's bed every night and jumps onto my lap during the day and evening, or whenever it is available.  Strange thing about her though is she doesn't like crocheted rugs at all so wonder what has happened in her past that may have put her off them.  One sleepy Candy cat on her mum's lap (rug on floor).

 She is very, very playful and seems to prefer screwed up paper balls or the tube from the toilet roll and really loves paper on the end of a piece of string.  I made one up out here in my workroom and keep it in a little basket on my desk.  She now comes in each morning and finds it and takes it out to play with.  We were told she was three and half but when she was first advertised on the APS website it said she was 18 months which we feel may be nearer the mark.  She's just like a big kitten.

Buttons.....I can't wear anything with buttons as she thinks they are to play with.  Fortunately I don't wear blouses and my jackets don't have buttons but my dressing gowns do so I have to somehow cover them up when Candy is near.

She hasn't been outside yet and we have no hope of putting the harness on her as all she wants to do is play with it and I think even if we put gloves on it would be an impossibility.  We are disappointed as we ha hoped to take her 'walkies' to get her used to our garden but seems that is not to be.  We were told to keep her in for 4 weeks so another 10 days to go.  We hope she enjoys her life with us enough for her not to want to run away.

Will see if I can come up with something of interest for Telling it on Tuesday but no promises a this time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


the time when I decided back in 1987 that it would be nice to try and contact the girls I had first worked with when I began my job in 1947 with Norm Stehn, the Insurance Assessor, girls who had also become close friends during my younger years.

I had maintained some contact with Val Page (nee Edmunds) but had not seen her for years so I first rang her and asked her if she would have lunch with us if I could contact Wilma Dachtler (nee Longwood) and June Prince (nee Wilson).  Val agreed it would be a great idea so to the telephone I went.

Both Wilma and June said "yes, let's get together" so arrangements were made to meet for lunch in the restaurant in Kings Park.  I also tried to contact Greta (she was a little older than us but had always been great fun).  I managed to contact her dad (he must have been a good age by then) but he said best not to bother Greta as she had chronic arthritis and seldom went out.  In some ways I regretted afterwards that I had not asked for her phone number, even just to ring her and have a chat.  We often in hindsight ask ourselves "Why didn't I do that?"  Alas, I didn't know her married name.

The four of us had a most enjoyable lunch and sat for two hours or more chatting away about what each of us had done over the past 40 years.    I knew Wilma had not had children and that Val had 3 boys but had no idea about June's family.  I think she told us she had 2 boys and a girl but my memory has let me down there.

As these three had all been so much part of my young life and even stayed at our home at times, and I at theirs, they knew my mum very well so I gave each of them a copy of mum's book.   They all promised faithfully to read it and do you know I never asked them if they actually did do so.  It would have been impolite of me to ask as it would have made it difficult for them to answer "No" if they hadn't.  Had they read it they would, of course, have recognized many of the stories mum told about how we all went dancing etc. etc.  Oh, what a wonderfully happy youth we all had.

This is a photo Wilma's husband took of us after we'd had lunch.  He had come along to collect Wilma which was fortunate as we could then have our photo taken together.   From left:  yours truly, Wilma, Val and June.  (You may remember that Val was my matron of honour and Wilma by bridesmaid when I married Aubrey back in 1953.  I had lost touch with June prior to that. )

It was obviously quite a cool day but as usual there I was wearing short sleeves.  Until recently I seldom wore winter clothing and, even now, seldom wear long sleeves unless it is very cold.

After this get together, the four of us got together on a few occasions for meals at each other's homes and it was great for our husbands to be part of our reunion as well.  Wilma was involved with a begonia club and sent invitations for us to go to their open days but she never did get me hooked on growing begonias.  The couple of attempts I made to grow them were dismal failures so decided it not worth the effort.

Unfortunately Wilma was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after our first meeting but she fought a brave fight only to lose her battle in October, 1989.   She and her husband called to visit me one afternoon and Wilma gave me a vase on which was painted a black cat.  She had done a lot of china painting over the years.  She knew my love of cats and this vase was a memento of our friendship.  Wilma told me in front of Jim that she had said he must find someone nice and not be on his own once she had gone and two Christmases after that, in his greeting card, Jim wrote that he'd met a lovely English lass with whom he was very happy.  Knowing Wilma as I did, I know she would have been so happy for him.  We've not heard from Jim since then but there is a J.F. Dachtler living in Mandurah and I imagine that would be he.  He was a very nice man, a great yachtsman, and he deserved to be happy after the way he had cared for Wilma during her illness.

Val was a type 2 diabetic.  Her mother and 2 uncles also had had diabetes so it was well and truly in the family and in January, 1998 Val also left this mortal call after suffering a sudden heart attack.   We had travelled down to their home in Rockingham on two occasions for lunch and after Val's death her husband Owen maintained their home until a few years ago when he moved into a retirement village  in Wembley Downs.  I am pleased to say that Owen keeps in touch with us at Christmas when we exchange cards.  I think he is on his own but seems to be living a quite contented life.

Val and Wilma were two wonderful 'girls' and I am so glad we met again and were able to enjoy each other's company, at least for a time.  I have such happy memories of them both.

I am still in touch with June and her her husband Doug but they live in a retirement village in Merriwa which is 58 kilometres north of us up the coast and it's a 50 minute drive on a good day.  We did visit them several years ago, but it is a very long drive so we just keep in touch at Christmas and June and I still remember each other's birthdays with a card.

Val, Wilma and I were all born in 1932 but June was born in 1931 and in the month of June, hence her given name.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

TELLING IT ON TUESDAY (Part 28...1970s and beyond)

Last week I told about my daughter and her life so today I am telling about son Steven.  He was born on 24 September, 1957 and was quiet a delightful, though terribly shy, little boy.  He did quite well at school although I feel he could perhaps have done better.  I really think his shyness held him back a lot in many ways.

I've explained that he wanted to leave school after Year 10 and be apprenticed to a trade and he became a mechanical fitter after training at Midland Railways Workshops.   While he was there he decided he would buy himself a car so asked Phil and I if we would meet him at a car sales yard in Fremantle to look at a Ford XW he had his eye on.   This we did after we finished work one day, said we thought it was a good car to buy and I went guarantor for him so he could pay it off.  Steven had told us he had sat for and got his drivers's licence in Midland but for some reason asked me if I would drive this car of his home that night.  Steven's car was green just like this one:

He set off for work the next day and for weeks after that drove to and from work.  My son was never able to tell a lie and some weeks later he came to me and very seriously said he had something to tell me.  I was as little concerned as to what it may be about but was rather relieved when the story unfolded like this:  Steven had not got his licence on his first attempt as a young woman had walked straight out onto a crosswalk in front of him and he'd not enough time to stop.  Fortunately he avoided her but of course he should have been more cautious when approaching a pedestrian crossing.  Now he was telling me he had got his licence on his second attempt and proudly showed it to me.  To add to this story he told me had had actually been pulled up by a traffic cop one morning for doing a little over the speed limit but when he explained he was running late for work and how far he had to go (in those days it was approximately a 45 kilometre drive), the policeman let him off without asking to see his licence.  How lucky was that!!!

When Steve (he prefers that so will call him that from now on) finished his apprenticeship he got a job in South Hedland (about 17,000 km north of where we live) with a Newman Mining Company working on their railway equipment and after a short time was made a leading hand.  He told me one day they were working inland and the temperature in the shade was 50ºC (120ºF) but was such a dry heat you didn't really feel it.  I think I'd have felt it but then Steve always enjoys our hot summers.  He came home a couple of times to do courses they wanted him to attend and on one such occasion he received a telegram telling him he didn't have to do the course as they were on strike.  My son didn't believe in strikes so still did the course and then returned north to work.  Eventually he gave notice as he got sick and tired of the unions constantly wanting the workers to go on strike. "Mum", he said to me one day "the conditions up there are excellent and the pay is good.  There is no reason whatsoever for them to go on strike and I've had enough of it."

He then decided, with a few of his friends to try his luck in the Eastern States.  They were away for several months and finally ended up in Queensland.  He was very good and would write quite regularly but exactly what jobs he found to do I'm not sure but he had a very good time and eventually returned home to us again after seeing so much of our country.

Over the years he had several jobs and in some cases he was in charge of whatever it was they were doing.   He had a number of male friends and two girlfriends that we knew of, firstly Sarah and then Dianne whom he lived with for a number of years in rented houses and even in a very large caravan for several months.   While we were in New Zealand on our second trip, I received a call from him asking if I would go guarantor for him as he and Dianne wanted to buy a block of land in Samson and build a house.   They lived there for some time before deciding they would like to be married.  Arrangements were made with our help and their wedding day arrived.  It was 5th January, 1985 and terribly hot (about 40ºC...104ºF) and as you probably all know, I hate hot weather.

The civil ceremony took place in a large gazebo not far from the Swan River and nearby there was a large lake.  I think there being so much water around it kept the temperature down in that area as none of us felt the heat all that much.  The bride and groom relaxing on the lawn after the ceremony:

The wedding party on the lawn in front of the lake (left to right: Steven, Dianne, Margot, Stephen, Robyn and Paul):

Afterwards the wedding breakfast was held in a restaurant overlooking the Swan River.  There was of course the wedding cake (in front of the cake you can see the *bouquets of the three girl.  More about that below):

Steve and Di went on to have two children, a girl (in 1986) and a boy (in 1988) both of whom did very well at school and went on to university.  Their daughter was married last year but their son is still single and I believe living back at home with his folks.

Eventually the house they built in Samson became too small so after once again renting they built a much larger home in Kardinya, complete with heated swimming pool and outdoor spa.    This house they sold in 1998, rented once again and then purchased a five acre block on which they built a really beautiful home.  They are still living there.  Di has an excellent bank job and I think Steve at present is being a 'house husband' although he could possibly be back in the workforce.  He had an excellent job and I have no idea why he left it.

The reason I appear to be unsure is because my son decided, nearly 13 years ago, that he no longer wished to be associated with any of our family and not I, nor any of us, have seen or spoken to him since that day.  Although others may know the reason for his decision, I personally have no idea what brain storm he suddenly had to cause him to do this.   I am very fortunate that Di has kept in touch with me via email and occasionally sent me photos of their family, including the wedding photo of their daughter and her new husband.  I feel sad that she has to do this without Steve knowing and am grateful to her for keeping in touch.

Strangely enough we had all seen quite a lot of each other over a number of years and, athough at times Steve could be a tad difficult, we accepted him the way he was and tried not to let it interfere in any way with our friendship.  We would have family BBQs at our place, Karen's home and at Steve's home, and on one occasion Di and I went for a holiday at Dunsborough taking with us her little girl Jessica.  Di at that time was expecting their second child, James.

I have missed all of them very much, especially my two grandchildren,  and one day, when great-grandchildren eventually arrive, it will sadden me that I will not be there to see them or hold them.  I know that Steve's dad (Aubrey) also feels pain at the decision of his son but, like me, he's had to accept it as being part of life.  He and I have discussed it at length but without resolve.

I do know Steve and Di have had holidays in various parts of Australia and have actually bought a house in Tasmania, although I don't know exactly where it is.   Earlier this year I was pleased to hear that Di had a wonderful holiday in Europe which I think she thoroughly deserved as she works hard. 

To me this turn of events is a personal tragedy although ours apparently is not the only dysfunctional family in the world.   I continue to send birthday and Christmas cards and sent money to the two grandchildren until they were 21.  We receive similar greetings sent by Dianne on behalf of all of them.  I have written to Steve on several occasions but no response has ever been received.  One can always live in hope but that hope has slowly faded over the years.   Both myself and Steve's dad received letters from Jessica about 4 Christmases back but that has been the only communication from either grandchild although I have written to both of them several times.

 Since this occurred Phil and I have been extremely grateful that Karen and her hubby have been so wonderful and we have enjoyed their company and that of their four children over the years.  I feel sorry that her brother has also excluded her from his life and that of her family.  We were a small enough family to begin with and didn't really need it made even smaller.

Whether I should have told the above story I am not sure but I said when I began I'd not pull any punches and I don't see why I should do so in this instance.  I am not sure there is a lot more to tell about our life from the seventies onwards but will have a good think about it and consider whether to continue with "Telling it on Tuesday".  

*My mother was extremely ill in hospital at the time of Steve and Di's wedding and on the Sunday morning following the ceremony the newly married couple visited her in the hospital and Di gave her the wedding bouquet.   I thought this a lovely gesture on Di's part as mum was delighted and later on the Sunday afternoon when we visited mum she showed us the flowers.  My mum passed away in her sleep the following morning.  We often felt she 'hung on' so as not to spoil the wedding for Steven and Dianne.   Mum was like that, always very caring of others.

Monday, August 18, 2014


I have always had rather a wide range of taste in books over the years, but more recently I've found I need 'easy to read' books such as thrillers written by Dick Francis, Lee Child and Sue Grafton.  The type of books that stick to the point rather than going on and on about events that don't really belong in the story.  Perhaps an aged mind needs simpler stories in order to keep it on track? 

Earlier this year I decided to revisit books I read when quite young as well as some much loved stories of years ago.

I began with re-reading "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", probably for about the fifth time. I still found it so fascinating.  I always loved that white rabbit.  Such a gentleman.
I have never read "Through the Looking Glass" so have purchased it on eBay and am determined to read it.....soon.  Will I enjoy it as much as "Wonderland" I wonder.

I also re-read "Daddy-Long-Legs" which was always one of my favourites and I recently borrowed "Dear Enemy" from my daughter and read it for the first time.   I didn't enjoy quite as much as its predecessor although I still found the story of the orphanage sad but so very humorous as well.  Perhaps, having read "Daddy-Long-Legs" first I more or less guessed what the ending would be and, of course, it was the right one.

Another of my favourites was "The Secret Garden" (I had also seen the film years ago) and when I read it again last month it inspired me at a time when I was felling quite down.  I found the magic it contained gave me quite a lift when I needed it.   I am now reading "Little Lord Fauntleroy" for the first time and thoroughly enjoying it.  I am hoping it too has a happy ending.

Whilst reading the above books I read several of H.E. Bates' books which are always good for a laugh and I shall read more of them as the year progresses.

In my bookcase I also have "Kidnapped" which I enjoyed when I was a child and "Robinson Crusoe".  Shall I read them as well I wonder of just keep them there until a great-granddaughter or two is old enough to enjoy them.  I may even find a copy of "Black Beauty" as that I do remember as a favourite and I've always loved horses.

After this I will be looking forward to the new book by Lee Child, due out in September.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Were you coming in to sit down Mum?

No?  I'm glad of that 'cos this sheep skin is ever so comfy.

This little cat came into our home, our lives just 10 days ago and during that short time she has taken over Phil's bed, my chair and our hearts.  She eats what she is given and uses her tray without fail.

We will never forget little Precious as she was so special to us and a constant friend and she left a huge gaping hole we thought could never be filled.  I cried bucketfuls when I had to say goodbye to her after nearly 13 years.

First my daughter, and then Phil, said I must get another cat.   I felt I was betraying Precious if I did so soon after losing her but Candy is entirely different.  She is very placid, which Precious was not, and just a loving as Precious ever was.  They are two completely different cats so Candy has not taken over but fills a very special place of her own in our hearts.

Candy escaped again last week.  Phil's error this time.   She had a wonderful few minutes in the back and front gardens and Phil finally managed to catch her while she was busy having a sniff down near the shed.  It unsettled her (and Phil too I think) for a while but she has settled down again and enjoys sitting on the window sill here in my work room looking out at the back garden and now it is warmer, (27º - 81ºF today and it's still winter) she can sit and look through the front and back screen doors.

We bought her a harness last week (had no instructions whatsoever which I thought rather bad as it wasn't cheap) and we are contemplating trying to put it on Candy.  Although she has settled in so well we don't want to spook her so will have to take it gently at first.  We thought, if she would tolerate the harness, we could take for little walks outside to familiarize her with the garden.  More reports on whether we manage the harness business or not later.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

TELLING IT ON TUESDAY (Part 27 - more in the 1970s)

As told in Part 26 son Steven has been apprenticed as a mechanical fitter and is quite enjoying the experience, Karen and her husband are buying a house, and we have moved to a house we are buying in Hamilton Hill.  This time I am going to talk about our daughter and I have her blessing to tell it as it happened.

Unfortunately not long after we moved into our home Karen came to tell us that her marriage  was over.   Phil and I were very saddened by this turn of events although we had had doubts as to how strong the marriage actually was as we felt at times that Karen's husband was rather hard on her, but you don't interfere without other people's lives unless called on to do so.

Karen continued to live in the house in Trigg and fortunately she had a car as she would often drive down to our place for a meal, or on weekends, and occasionally stay overnight.  The little car she had suffered from carburettor problems and we would get a phone call from a public phone (no mobile phones in those days) with a call for help as the car had broken down.  Off Phil would go, find Karen and her car and he'd fix the carbutettor, sometimes temporarily with a safety pin.  The main thing was to get the car going again until it could be fixed properly  We've had some good laughs about that car over the years, like the time the police pulled us over when Karen and I were off to night school.  That is a story in itself but all ended well without any problem.

At about this time our next door neighbour introduced us to the game of badminton.  Phil and I both really enjoyed playing so off we would go each Wednesday night to a hall in Melville to play.   There were probably about a dozen people that played regularly so we had plenty of games and, although not experts, we usually managed to hold our own and had loads of fun.  We would take it in turns  making supper each week and would then sit around and enjoy a cuppa and biscuits and have a chat between games.

There were two young men that played regularly, both of whom I really liked, and I thought perhaps it would do Karen good to get out and suggested she may like to join us on Wednesday nights for a game.  Both these young fellows were about Karen's age and.....well, you never know do you!!  They seemed to get on very well together.  Karen brought Christie with her and she would sleep peacefully while the rest of us played badminton.  She was always a wonderful baby and so well behaved.

Another thought I had to help make Karen's life happier was to arrange a really nice 21st birthday party for her.  Phil agreed it was a great idea and when we asked Karen she too liked the idea.  We hired a hall, and caterers and decided also to have an MC who could provide music for dancing. .  We asked family and friends, including the badminton crowd, (they between them bought Karen a badminton racquet) and I believe all present enjoyed the evening immensely.  My mum said she would look after Christie so Karen could really enjoy the evening.  The little one came to the hall for about half an hour and then Phil popped her in the car and drove her to mum's home.

I made Karen's dress and she had her hair done specially for the party; she unfortunately was not happy with the hairdo, but, although I thought she looked different,  I also thought she looked very beautiful.

We had a birthday cake made with yellow icing to match Karen's dress but these photos don't do justice to the colour of the dress.

This is Karen with her Uncle Len (my adopted half-brother) who at that time was 65 and not long retired.  He was always very fond of Karen.

It would seem one of the young men from badminton also thought Karen rather special as he asked her to go out with him.  On their first date he took her to the drive-in movies where the film "Jaws" was showing.  Karen, who had and still has a phobia about sharks, came home and told me that she spent most of the evening with her head under the dashboard of the car as the film was so scary.  I teased her and said "He probably hoped you'd cuddle up to him", and in return I got THAT LOOK!

The friendship grew and after some time they decided they would like to marry.  They found themselves a house and were married on a lovely sunny November day.   Once again I made Karen's dress and also the one Christie wore on the big day. 

Over the years their family grew and we then had four wonderful grandchildren, 3 granddaughters and a grandson.   Karen and her hubby are now proud grandparents of three themselves.

I often sit and think about how pleased I am that I introduced Karen to those two young men, one of whom chose her as his lifelong partner and proved to us to be a wonderful son-in-law.   There may have been a few bumps along the way, as there is with any good marriage, but the two of them are always there for each other and I am really happy for them.

The first kiss after the ceremony:

The happy couple:

I have been told Karen and I look alike but neither of us can really see the likeness:

This photo, also taken at the wedding, is one of my all time favourites.  It is my mum (Karen's grandma) and my son Steven (Karen's brother) obviously sharing a joke together.  Unusual colour but maybe something to do with reflection off the water?

Another favourite of mine is this one with little Christie looking so gorgeous:

This last photo is one Karen chose to show on this post.  Another one of her much loved Grandma Win (my mum); who was 80 when this was taken:

I hope you have enjoyed my story about our lovely daughter.  Next week perhaps the story of son Steven, or perhaps not.  Lots to tell there so much to think about before 'putting pen to paper' so to speak.

Monday, August 11, 2014


They say it is impolite to photograph a lady from the rear but we just had to show off my beautiful tail of which I am very proud, and also like to chase on occasion.  Here I am having a rest on mum's footstool:

I have settled in nicely in my new home and get on very well with my new mum and dad.  I sleep on dad's bed each night (I think another cat used to sleep on mum's bed so am steering clear of there for the time being).

I am not allowed to go outside for four weeks which I think a bit hard but, don't tell anyone, mum accidentally let me out the front door on Saturday afternoon.  Mum's daughter and her husband called in to bring me some special cat litter and 4 tins of Fancy Feast so I like them too.  Mum's daughter didn't realize she had sat in 'my' chair so I let her sit there for a while until she got up for a few minutes.  I then hopped on the chair which gave her the message to sit elsewhere, which she did.  It's always nice when people recognize a cat has certain priorities and I am sure she will remember in future.

Mum usually says goodbye at the front door 'cos she's not too steady on her feet and, she thinking I was sound asleep on 'my' chair, held the front door open a little way, just enough for me to sneak out.  I didn't run away but just wandered around the garden checking everything out.  Dad finally picked me up and popped me back inside and I didn't get into trouble at all.  Well, I didn't mean to be naughty but was curious about what may be out there.   It all looks so exciting and I sit gazing out the windows at the front or the back and watch what is going on.  One day hopefully I'll be able to explore more.

I had been having fun scratching my cat litter all over the laundry floor but 'they' soon put a stop to that.   Mum found a cardboard box which she lined with newspaper (all neatly stuck down) which my litter tray fits into nicely.  The "Angel Litter" bought for me is excellent and I'd recommend it to other cats as well.  Not as much fun as before but it shows how well looked after I am and I understand 'they' don't want to be constantly cleaning the floor.

I have a bowl of biscuits to munch on and each evening I have a feed of Fancy Feast or Dine and I am now beginning to really enjoy them.  I have a bowl of fresh water each day but I also enjoy hopping in the laundry trough and having a drink of water if someone leaves a dish in there.  I don't somehow think mum likes me doing that as I noticed this afternoon there are no longer any cat dishes in soak in the trough.  Oh well, I'll have to be good and drink the water from my bowl.

Apparently 'they' think I am OK as they keep stroking me and talking to me and so I purr to let them know I am OK with them as well.

Be back soon, bye for now

Saturday, August 9, 2014


These are the first home pics of Candy.  She came out into my work room and had to investigate to see what's what.   The photos may be a little hazy but she moves so fast that it's difficult to catch her before she moves from one spot to another.

I wonder if it would be worth jumping up there to investigate further?

Perhaps not, there may be something more interesting down there.

O.K. now I'm coming over the see what you're doing.  On my way.

How about you stop playing that silly game and play with me instead?

I think I heard a noise out there.  Perhaps it's that other person who lives here.  I'll go and see what he's doing.  I think I'm going to enjoy living here.  Lots of things to check out and I'm being very well looked after.

Friday, August 8, 2014


No words needed to explain these.  Hope they bring a smile to your face which you will carry with you into a great weekend.    As an older person who has always loved books, I really enjoyed the 4th one

Oh, it's so great to feel like smiling again.  : )

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Yes, that's right a calico cat .... that is the colour given on her list of details.  I've heard of calico cats and now we have one right here with us in our home.

Her name is Candy and she was born on 25 March, 2011, so at three and a half years of age she is just right for we oldies and she is BEAUTIFUL.

She is the little girl both Karen and I had chosen from the Animal Protection Society facebook page (their website is being redeveloped right now but will be up and running by the end of August).  We met so many beautiful cats and then were introduced to Candy and made a fuss of her and she seemed to enjoy it.

After looking at so many cats we decided to go and sit in the outdoor area and think hard about what to do and who should come and sit with us but Candy and she didn't seem too keen on other cats that wanted to come near.  She wasn't nasty to them but just gave them a look that said "Back off."   We then went and looked at kittens, just for the fun of it, and when we returned to the outdoor area where we sat in a different place who should arrive but Candy and she stayed around the whole time, eventually jumping up on to the big table and going over to Phil to be made a fuss of.

I think that decided it although there was also a little boy named Russell that took a fancy to us but at 8 months he was a tad too young especially with me not being too good on my feet.  I refused to leave as he sat right by the exit gate for ages but eventually he gave up and went back inside.  I asked for the lady in charge and off we went to the office to pay for our new friend and sign papers that needed signing.  Phil went and got the carry bag from the car and we were ready to head off, complete with a new litter tray. 

I couldn't believe how quickly Candy settled in.  She of course did the cat thing and smooched up to everything leaving her mark with her face as they do and investigated all the nooks and crannies she could find.  Eventually she jumped on to my lap, then walked across the telephone table onto Phil's lap.  She then made herself comfortable on a tub chair near the window and already loves to stand with her feet on the back of the chair looking out of the window.

I had to laugh as she could see Phil's reflection in the window and couldn't make out who that man was sitting out there.  By that time it was getting dark so down came the blind.  She then caught her  reflection in the TV screen and kept looking for that other cat.  She is obviously not used to reflections in windows or mirrors but hopefully she will soon be used to seeing that 'other' cat and not worry too much.

She has the loudest purr I've ever heard, even louder than our Henry and we thought his purr loud.  She purrs as she follows us around the house.    She has eaten some biscuits and had a drink of water which is good but doesn't seem keen on the Dine so perhaps not used to 'wet' food.  We were told Dine is one of the better foods for cats and that is what Precious always ate.

We are having to keep her as an indoor cat for up to four weeks which will be challenging and so far I've not tried putting butter on her paws which was the trick we had used for years when moving from one house to another with a cat.   I may still do so although she seems to be glad to be here with us so perhaps not necessary.  Right now she investigating my work room including my desk.  She is very inquisitive and all the time this LOUD purr.

Karen rang me on the way home from work and asked "How's Candy".  Seems the bush telegraph moves fast.   One of her workmates volunteers at APS and when a cat is homed they are all advised and she knew I was going to look at Candy and guessed we had taken her home.    Figure it won't be long before we receive a visit from Karen as I know she is dying to meet Candy and give her a cuddle.

I've not yet had a chance to take her photo and the three I've shown here I 'stole' from APS' facebook page which I am sure they won't mind me doing one little bit.

There are sure to be more Candy stories coming up just as River tells stories about her beautiful Angel.


It is three weeks today since our little Precious began her final sleep.  We now have her home in a beautiful golden urn which has given us an certain amount of closure but we still miss her like crazy.

Our daughter recently suggested we should have another cat!!!  Wow, big decision to make so soon!
Phil seems to think we should go ahead and do this mainly for my sake I think, although he misses Precious as much as I do.  I've been having some quite black days and he is convinced it is mainly caused by not having a cat in our home.  I wonder if he is right.

I talked to him about it last night and said I thought perhaps I was too old to look after a cat properly as I couldn't get around much etc etc.  His reply was that I had always looked after Precious so well and "Mimsie, you have so much love to give to a cat, that you wouldn't have any problem.  We will go out to the Animal Protection Society tomorrow morning and just see what happens."

So, shortly we are off to Southern River to check out all the beautiful cats they have there.  One in particular on their Facebook page had already taken my daughter's eye but she already has two cats and the same cat took my eye as well so that could be interesting.  Will Candy like us....will we like Candy?  Will any of the cats take a fancy to us I wonder?  I asked Phil what would happen if one cat liked him and another liked me.  "Well", said he, "it will be the cat that fancies you, cos we can't have two cats at our age."  Isn't that so sweet?

Karen said the ground is somewhat uneven at APS and I will take my little walker so I don't come to grief and hope it won't frighten the cats.  Apparently there are tables and chairs where you can sit and the cats wander around and occasionally one will make itself known to you.  The lady in charge (I rang them on Tuesday) said the previous week a cat began to follow a lady around all the time she was there and that lady took that cat home.  What a delightful story.  Will that happen to us I wonder?

Will let you know the outcome of our search as soon as I know myself.  Wish us luck.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Many of Phil's stories from his home county of Warwickshire (now I believe known at the West Midlands) involve horses.  His father, Cyril, used them for both his milk and greengrocery rounds and also for general transport for his wife, himself and of course Phil too when still a a youngster.  Cyril in fact never owned a motor vehicle of any kind.

There was apparently a horse his dad owned that could be quite a scoundrel and would grab Phil's dad by the hair and swing him around when the belly strap was being tightened.  His dad used to get rattled when he would see young Phil riding his little pedal car straight through under that same horse but the animal must have understood it was a child as he never moved or tried in any way to hurt Phil.

Another horse story Phil was telling me the other day was when the family were heading into town one day.  They were only about half a mile along into their journey when suddenly the horse, this one's name was Bob, wandered into the ditch on the side of the road and dropped dead.   I asked Phil what happened and in his matter of fact way he said "I guess mum and I just walked back home and dad got help to have the horse taken away".

Life seems so different to we city folk (which I've been since I was 6 years old) and so I asked if the cart tipped over or anything.  Apparently it didn't, but remained upright so none of the three were thrown out.  Just another day in country life I guess.

 Cyril then purchased another horse (the first one he brought home, a grey, was found to be lame so had to be returned), and it was a Welsh mountain pony, a feisty little girl named Doll.   As you know this type of horse is a chunky little animal and very strong.   Phil told me that one day he and two of his young friends decided to all hop it its back together.   They all got up OK but as soon as they were settled Doll sat down and they all slid off onto the ground.  It seems they decided not to try that caper again.

I think this was the general idea .... although there were only three of them.  Doll just wasn't having any of it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

TELLING IT ON TUESDAY (Part 26....still in the 70s)

I posted this this morning, or at least I thought I did but it is not showing on my blog list so I have retyped it.  If you see it twice you will understand why.   Things have been going somewhat awry of late and this is another glitch that has occurred today.  I only hope this post will show properly now.

As you may know my mind has been elsewhere for the past two plus weeks. 

The 1970s were quite eventful for us.  I have told about mum's horrific accident in ca 1970 and losing dad in 1971.  There will be more about mum in later posts as from 1970 she continued working to help the community and eventually wrote her memoirs which were published in 1983.

Today I tell of Steven finding himself an apprenticeship and of us acquiring our own home.  I'll try to get my act together and do better in Part 27.  I sort of threw this one together rather haphazardly.  My apologies.

I have told that our daughter Karen was married and of the birth of her child, our first grandchild....a beautiful granddaughter.  Karen's hubby worked for Telecom and his job took him to the country a great deal so he and Karen moved to rental accommodation in Bunbury.  Phil and I drove down several times to visit, one special occasion being Christie's first birthday.  (Bunbury by the way is 120 miles south of Perth...I have no idea how far that is in kilometres).  Eventually they moved back to Perth, first renting a duplex in Whitegum Valley, only a couple of kms from where we were living, and later buying a home in Trigg.

Our son Steven had decided he did not want to continue at high school to study and sit for his Leaving Certificate so, after he obtained used to be called Junior Certificate but was later changed to Achievement Certificate....third year high school certificate, we agreed to allow him to take up an apprenticeship and learn a trade.  His first choice was to train as a technician with Telecom and the interview went exceedingly well until it came time for him to name various coloured wires.   He was unable to name several and it was realised he was colour blind.  I am positive we were not aware of this, which may seem strange but maybe nothing had occurred to make it obvious to any of us.  The interviewers were, I think, as disappointed as Steven, as they told him he was the type of young man they were looking to employ, but sorry when dealing with electricity etc. colour blindness definitely rules you out.

Steven's other option was to become a mechanical fitter and he had no problem obtaining an apprenticeship at the Midland Railway Workshops (in Midland of course).   The size of the workshops is illustrated in this photograph taken from Greenmount Hill:

Midland was quite a distance from where we were living but the train line from Fremantle to Midland was only a short distance from our home which made it easy for Steven to get to work and home again.  If he should be running late Phil would take him in the car a few stations further along the line to catch the train.  Steven did very well and after finishing his apprenticeship obtained several excellent jobs, and did further study which helped him to find even better positions during the years.

I've often been worried about the large amounts of asbestos at the workshops in Midland and back in the 1960s little was thought about its danger.  To date Steven seems to have suffered no side effects from contact with asbestos and one can only hope he will stay safe.  The workshops closed in 1993 and this is hos they looked in 2005, all tidied up:

Referring back to Steven's colour blindness, I remember one day driving through Cottesloe and Steven was with me.  I remarked on the beauty of a large red flowering gum tree on the side of the road as it was covered in bright red blossom.

It was then I realised just how severe his red/green colour blindness was as he said he honestly couldn't see the blossoms as it looked 'all sort of brownish' to him.  When he began to drive I asked him how he could tell when the traffic lights had changed from green to red etc., and he said by the position of the lights as they glowed when on.  I've never heard of anyone going for their driving licence being asked if they are colour blind so it obviously isn't something that is deemed important..

In 1974 we learned that W.A. Rope and Twine, which had been taken over by Kinnears, was likely to close so we decided to try and find a house we could buy, although we were quite short of cash.  We found a very good agent who showed us several houses not really to our liking until one day he telephoned and asked us if we could meet him at 8a.m. the following morning to view a house that had just come on the market at what he considered a very reasonable price.  We met him next morning at the house in Hamilton Hill and, although the house was empty and there was no garden to speak of, we thought we could make it a very comfortable home and signed the Offer and Acceptance there and then.  It was now up to us to obtain a mortgage and we were very much aware there was little money being made available by any financial institutions at this particular time.

 We tried several banks to no avail and when we had just about given up the thought of obtaining a mortgage we approached the Home Building Society near where I worked in Cottesloe.  The manager was very helpful and I had a feeling she was on our side and she fought very hard to obtain the loan we needed.  Within a few days I received a call from her to tell me she has managed to get approval for our mortgage and in fact it was the last loan granted on that day and there would be no more money available for several months.  She had attended the board meeting where the money was allocated and pleaded (or should that be pled) our case and ever since we have been so grateful to her for the tremendous job she did on our behalf.

I mentioned above we were a little short of cash but mum had already promised to help us out and she wrote us a cheque for $1,400 which was the required deposit.  The house itself cost *$14,000 and, although today they would call it a cottage, it had four bedrooms, a small front verandah and sat on a block of just over 820 square metres which we thought ideal in which Christie, and future grandchildren, could play. 

We moved in here on 7th May, 1974 and then began lots of work including new carpet in the living room and vinyl in the kitchen, wallpapering to be done and removing the old venetian blinds and replacing them with roller blinds and curtains.  I got busy planting shrubs and trees which within a few years quite transformed the place.

This photo was taken four months after we moved in.  That's Phil walking up the driveway holding Christie's hand and you can see our 1967 XT Ford Falcon parked outside the garage further down.

Over the years we have added a carport, a ranch fence at the front, a solar hot water system, a patio and pergola at the back and had insulation put in the roof and, more recently, a ducted reverse cycle airconditioner installed.  We of course now have underground power which has also made a big difference as we no longer have to worry about our trees touching any wires.

*On today's market our house would probably be advertised for sale with a price tag of about $AUS500,000 plus.  This seems to me so ridiculous as it is now about 65 years ago and a very simple dwelling.   The price of land (if any were available) in our area would of course help dictate the sale price.   Our council is now allowing multiple dwellings on reasonable size blocks so money can be made out of buying an old house, renting it out for a year or two and then demolishing it and building multiple dwellings on the block.

Friday, August 1, 2014


about the wonderful bananas we used to grow in our back garden?

While we were still living in Mosman Park a friend gave us as banana plant.  We popped it in the front garden but it never did very well (perhaps too close to strong sea breezes, who knows) and when we moved to where we are now we decided to take it with us.

We planted it in the back garden near a huge lemon tree that was already there and the banana grew beautifully and we were rewarded with many large bunches of bananas. These bananas were not the type you normally find in the shops here, but were in fact lady fingers or sugar bananas.  Whatever their name, they were delicious.  Photos one and two were taken in 1989 and the third earlier in 1987.  You can actually see a few of the lemons in the first picture.

In the above photo I am standing in front of an elderberry tree.  Phil had planted it with the idea of making elderberry wine (as they did in the good old days in England) but, although it flowered ... which you can see in the photo, it didn't set any berries.  We realised that perhaps cross pollination was needed so no elderberry wine for us as we only had the one tree.  I think eventually either the elderberry tree became poorly or Phil just gave up as I know that tree finally disappeared.

In these two photos (which I borrowed from a website about sugar bananas) it shows more clearly how the plants multiply and also where bananas are forming above the flower with baby bananas just forming lower down.