Category Archives: All things family

They’re leaving home….

‘Our Big Girl’ left home last week. She and ‘her partner’ left their old home in the hands of its new owners and drove out of Melbourne towing her new home (a spanking new little…..very little….Jayco Pop Top Journey Outback caravan). They’re taking 12 months worth of leave (accrued annual, long service and sick) to do The Big Lap. Yes they’ve done all the planning, sold up everything and anything they didn’t ‘love’ including house, rented a storage unit for things they couldn’t part with, and are now off to drive around (and discover) our Wide Brown Land.


This is a photo of my Mum and Dad taken many years ago – I think at the time they were on holiday in Skegness (a seaside town on the east coast of England). Dad stayed on in the RAF after the war which meant we lived in many places, and after we all left home they became great travellers enjoying time away now and again both in the UK and in Europe. They did venture ‘down under’, loved it here but found it a long way – nearly 24hrs travelling as opposed to just a few across The Channel and beyond.

Now this is a photo of The Golfer’s Mother and Father (my in-laws) taken many years ago – at the time they were spending a few days visiting one of his sisters, a four hour drive from their home. They weren’t one for ‘holidays’ away from home and I remember my sister-in-law writing and saying how her Mother was on tenterhooks the whole time she was there. Seemingly she had a very relieved look on her face as they were leaving for home.

Both of these couples had their birthdays and also the days of their deaths in the first half of the year so we both (The Golfer and I) can be a bit pensive during those months . It all seems to come to a head about this time of the year and we need time to ourselves.

Amongst many things, my parents gave me a love of music and dance , love, laughter and travel – my in-laws gave me a respect for a simple way of life. My father in-law was a country boy born in the small rural village of Boxted in Essex (East Anglia) and for most of his working life was a chimney sweep.

Sometimes when I look at this saying I have hanging on the wall (author unknown)

There are but two things we can give our children;
One is roots, the other is wings.

it makes me think of them and the legacy they left of being adventurous as well as enjoying life both at home and away.

So very different -yet so very much alike – both couples had one thing in common.

To see me, The Golfer and our family enjoy life and prosper
When we told them we were leaving, migrating to Australia.
and it was possible they wouldn’t see us again
‘Go for it’ they all said.
Move on…live your new life
But never forget where you’ve come from

Just before leaving time – 1972

Sitting here with my early cup of tea I’m thinking of how many times I’ve wished my children well, sent them on their way to enjoy new lives with the reminder to remember their roots. Some have returned a little worse for wear needing home comforts/love for a while longer- others have revelled in new found freedom

How have you felt when ‘leaving’ has cropped up in your world
It’s a word with many emotions attached

~ ~ ~ ~

Do visit Denyse’s blog to see the latest edition of Life this week  – you’ll find lots of interesting people over there.
Linking to Senior Salon hosted by Esme

(Oh and OBG hasn’t gone far – their first planned stop was Bright in the High Country…..just 4hrs up the road. Plans for a few days stay have now been extended to 7 (and possibly more) courtesy of the statewide lockdown we here in Victoria have been put into, which isn’t too bad as there’s lots of things to do up there even at this time of the year with its cooler temps (-2c/29f overnight) .. ….except there are only 5 reasons they (like us) are allowed to leave home, straying from the van park for exercise is limited to 2hrs within a 5km radius. Pubs restaurants and cafes are closed so no pub lunches in front of blazing fires either)

Ooh, I wonder what that might mean….

Trying to find the whys and wherefores as well as the whereabouts of family from years gone by sometimes means delving through old documents.

It often brings up weird and wonderful words or phrases…..unheard- unknown- unseen.

One of my ‘groups’ posted this (very safe) link to a Wiki on Family Search

A Glossary of Genealogical Terms

It’s full of definitions of words and terms that may be useful for some of you

For instance :-

If you’ve an interest in Irish documents you could turn your research around if you discovered the word Acotholicus (Latin for “non Catholic, Protestant”) somewhere.
It could indicate a mixed marriage which could mean researching another church or parish. Even another townland.

So….

Even if you’re not on the hunt for an elusive ancestor or (like me) are just weirdly interested in things, it’s a fun informative read.
Worthy of half an hour or even several hours.
Well I think it is 😊

Sharing is caring…

Talking to my sister the other day she mentioned how touched she was by some of the recollections of our late sister that friends had shared with her.
It reminded me of how I felt when someone ( a stranger) had shared some information with me – information that helped to unravel a ‘mystery’ concerning one of my grandfathers.

The man seated is my maternal grandfather – Isaac John Joseph Thompson, my mother’s father.  A few years ago I posted this photograph (and his name) on a military forum in the hope of getting it dated – to my surprise I learned a whole lot more than the date.

Yes, we knew he served in the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corp) and we knew he was a regular and had ‘fought’ in both WW! and WW2 – Mum had told us he was a hero, ‘mentioned in dispatches’ but that was it.

Well, from that photograph, I was given the approx year it was taken and his rank.  Also from looking at the medal ribbons on Grandad’s uniform this person was able to determine his ‘mention’ and  (through contacts he had) then went on to supply me with information on which conflict he was in at the time.

This is when my jaw dropped – after giving me the date of the award, the forum member told me “he earned his mention for gallantry in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF)”  When I looked it up I discovered the MEF is another term for The Gallipoli Camapign!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallipoli_campaign

Even though I was not born here in Australia (am a long time naturalised Australian) it brought a smile to my face when I realised he took part in and performed an act of bravery in a campaign that is dear to the heart of most Australians.

Anzac Day – National day of remembrance and first landing of the Anzacs at Gallipoli – is this coming Sunday 25 April.
source https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_Day

Are there any unknowns in your family’s past
that have become known through research?

He’s been at it again….

I didn’t do it on purpose
at the time it was easier for him to do it than me.
Just look at what he came home with this time.
Theres no point in me complaining about him bring home unnecessary stuff because
I did ask him to look around and maybe pick up something ‘interesting’.
Interesting- adjective
Unusual, arousing curiosity or interest, holding or catching the attention, strange or different

They definitely caught his attention 😊

We have lots of little shops out here in the eastern suburbs that sell ‘interesting’ food stuffs. Little corner like asian shops where as you walk in you get the feeling you’re walking in to an Aladdin’s cave as well as slightly bigger bordering on small supermarkets selling ‘international’ bits and pieces.

When our loose leaf Chinese Green and Oolong tea is getting low it means a trip to one in Croydon to hunt through the shelves jam packed with things I’ve never heard of but look very interesting…….if I was confident enough to try.

It’s the only one locally where loose leaf is available rather than just tea bags and as they move things around the ‘teas’ are never where they were before, which means I’m constantly getting lost in unfamiliar territory trying to make sense of packets in very unfamiliar languages – now I’ve got into the habit of taking the tin along and asking for help. Which in turn makes other shoppers in there curious and they all have a go at finding my tea. It’s a very relaxed environment with lots of interesting chatter between shoppers and owners…..not that I can understand a word they’re saying to each other…or me at times…interesting to say the least😊

Further up Main Street is what we used to call ‘the dutch shop’ (now goes by a more upmarket name) where for years it was the only place I could get sweet soy sauce (ketjap manis) and the lovely oval almond cakes we enjoy. Now it has branched out and specialises in food from all over Europe, if The Golfer is curious to know if things he ate as a child still taste the same he’ll pop in there for English sweeties…..an international food mart indeed. If you’re a European migrant hankering for home, they have so many unusual products that something might catch your attention as you look at the interesting catalogue

And for real modern ‘interesting’ stuff there’s the chain that buys up weird and wonderful unheard of imported brands plus well known but nearly out of date products, also non sellers with what you think are surplus ingredients the manufacturer wants to get rid of. It began by buying and on selling goods that came off the conveyor belt looking ‘not quite right’. Perfectly ok, but maybe not the right shape or size. Now it’s all about clearance and discounts- buy now before it’s gone but occasionally they do have some ‘interesting- wonder what that tastes like’ things on the shelf

Guess where The Golfer picked up the chips with the ‘interesting flavours’ 😊

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m slowly catching up on the new daylight hours after our recent time change- it’s dark at the moment, the sky starts to lighten about 6.30am, so there’s still a bit of time left to enjoy another cup of tea before the day proper starts.
The Golfer is all set with tea for a while now (Oolong is his morning choice, mine is Dilmah Premium Ceylon….I’m not a strong tea lover) and as I was able to get a soft pack refill for him the other day he can continue to use the old tin caddy.
Our gain….the op shop’s loss!

And I just have time to wonder if anything interesting in the form of strange, different or unusual will happen this week. Here’s to an interesting one for you too!

Do visit Denyse’s blog to see the latest edition of Life this week – you’ll find lots of interesting people over there

Gone bush…..

The phone’s off the hook – we can’t hear you!
The blog is off limits for a little while 😉

‘60 Years’ might sound a long time for some
We’ve been too busy enjoying life to notice it passing by

8 April 1961

Shame we can’t have another 60!

Thoughts from the Village

It’s fifteen years since The Commonwealth Games were held in Melbourne.
15 – 26 March 2006
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Commonwealth_Games.

During the year leading up to the games The Golfer and I were involved with Team Melbourne assisting organisers and their staff in various roles. The Golfer was part of the organising team getting The Queen’s Baton Relay ‘up and then off and running’ – I spent many hours with the ‘entertainment staff’ involved with the Opening Ceremony. All good fun doing a couple of shifts a week in the World Trade Centre.

Once the games started he took up his allocated position with one of the visiting teams and I began ‘working’ in the Guest Pass Centre situated right beside the main entrance to the Athlete’s Village. Nobody got in without the correct pass – press included. I refused entry to a BBC reporter one day, she was all geared up to interview a medal winner but the agency responsible for obtaining their passes hadn’t done the necessary paper work. Not a happy chappy indeed – she got her interview in the end, not in the village but outside the gate under the nearby gum trees.

I’m on another clear out mission and found a journal of my thoughts from that time
Here’s some of them

“Australia Day was great. The two of us took part in the parade down Swanston Street wearing the official uniform…..what the Melbourne Press are describing as Smurf suits. There are thousands of us running around the city and environs having fun ‘volunteering’. Only a few weeks until the games begin!”
~ ~ ~ ~

“Well, its been quite a while since a week has passed by as quickly as this last one. All I seem to have done is travel, smile at people, travel and then sleep.”

“Life in the Athletes Village at Parkville is becoming more hectic each day as teams are arriving along with their officials. I am slowly getting to recognise some of the team colours and their outfits – even a few large as life characters attached to teams – so can say Hello and know where some of them are from. Its a good job they have the country names on the back as I’m not sure if I’ll get to remember all 71 team colours when they have all arrived.”

“There are lots of visitors passing through the area where I am working – am having a lot of contact with what we would possibly call the general public (guests of the athletes and officials and Village Management) – not the VIPs tho – they are ushered into the lounge next to ours. Its got carpet on the floor and not vinyl!!”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“I have regained all that feeling of confidence and corny as it may sound ‘worth’ that I had whilst I was working, it is sort of taken away when you retire especially when asked what you do. Why does it seem as tho people lose interest when you describe your daily life in retirement and they realise its not a working for cash life.”

“I think about all the people I am working with in my area at the village and realise some of them would drive me nuts if I had to work alongside them permanently. Then I wonder if it is me and whether I am set in my ways having worked on my own or in a small office environment for most of my working life.

There definitely are some strange pedantic people out there and I wonder how they got on with their work colleagues during their working life.

Maybe they drove them nuts as well😊”

~ ~ ~

“Today Sunday has been HOT and very windy and not a comfortable day out at the Village. With it being a Fire Ban Day and having a Northerly blowing its been hard to reassure guests that they will enjoy their visit. Hopefully their hosts took them to the dining room to cool off for part of the time – its airconditioned in there – and allow them to recuperate”

“Loads of extra security today……………..we had a visit from Mr Howard (PM) who just popped in to say hello and have a look see. Wonder if Her Majesty will be along when she is in town?”

~ ~ ~ ~

“The look and feel of Melbourne is good at the moment.
Yesterday I took my turn at Federation Square welcoming visitors onto the Village Shuttle service, my goodness the amount of people out and about was overwhelming.

Had a little break and was able to wander round the Square, nearly got crushed in the crowd. Discovered the big hoarding with the photos taken during the Australia Day Parade. Was surprised to see little short me in the corner right on the edge (under the word centre) next to the tall fella. Someone took my photo as a keep sake 😊

As well as the crowd in Fed Square, the outside of Flinders St station and St Paul’s Cathedral was packed with people listening to the group playing by the church as well as deciding which way they had to go to reach different venues. It was windy and a bit chilly part of the time but that didn’t seem to bother anyone at all especially the kids by the thousand and their frazzled carers ( parents, grandparents or whoever). Lots of noise, smiles and laughter, had a great time and hope I’m on the Fed Square roster again next week.”

There’s always one…..

A long time ago (like back in the 1970/80s ) we’d gather the children together towards the end of November to take what we called our end of year breakup photo. It was a way of knowing there was at least one record of them all together each year…..copies were made and one went into each of the grandparents Christmas cards so they could see how much they’d grown during the year. (We were here in Melbourne- they were up there in the cold and often snowy UK). Anyway as is the norm someone would try to be funny….rabbit ears, tongues out, strange faces….


We did the same when grandchildren came along and as usual there’d be one who made a fuss. Or tried the tricks their parents did like little ‘bug eyed boy’

I was beginning to think it was a rerun of those days the other week trying to get a photograph of some cardigans before closing the ‘charity box’. The office had reopened so spent time checking seams (and buttons) getting things ready to send off. Strange I know but I do like to have a record of how most turn out, especially those engineered with pencil & paper (plus a few terse words) using a design from one pattern and sizing from another.
There’s the red one with the pockets finally finished, the grey cable has been done before, the royal blue is simply stocking stitch with a purl row on the right side every six rows (hard to see in that light) while the denim blue on the end was a definite pen/paper add /subtract job.

And just like with the children once you get them together they decided to have fun. Twisting this way and that, clothing disheveled, not looking at the camera, one even turned it’s back on me – lol I can assure you the rib band on the denim doesn’t droop and hang down like that but lies flat and even.

And for your…..’ ahhh aren’t they sweet’ moment…….here are some for the baby 12 month packs. Simple raglan mix and match – white always goes well with another soft colour which is good because it’s a great way to use up some half balls. And look….. the green/white striped one came good in the end.

It isn’t only ‘big kids’ who get to climb trees

So now that all of those cardigans plus quite a few more newborn size have finally made their way to Knit one Give one aka KOGO the time has come to concentrate on finishing some of the children’s jumpers on the go. And after that…..well take a look at this delightful photo of my (sadly late) blond curly haired little sister Patsy (aged about 3) forwarded to me a couple of weeks ago…….maybe just maybe, there might be some woolies coming up featuring little bunny rabbits 💕

It’s time for another cup of tea and a think about it.
My ‘word of the year’ is consider so I’ll have to think carefully about this one. Cardigans or Jumpers (sweaters). Size….can’t be too small or it will be dwarfed by the motif. Colour……practical for children in unknown circumstances or ‘soft and pretty’ because that’s what she was. I know there are graphs somewhere in amongst my patterns so guess what I’ll be doing today 😊😉

I’ve just had an (awful) thought…each of those children is now in their 50s and each of those grandchildren is in their 20s……so what does that make me???

Joining Denyse for the latest edition of Life this week – pop over and see how others fared.
Linking to #MondayMusings hosted by Corrine at Everyday Gyaan




Family Friday…..

It’s certainly been a strange week or two, on top of loads of other happenings our internet has been what you might call ‘touchy’ so I’m saying thank goodness for post scheduling because without it Sunday and Wednesday’s would still be sitting there

Anyway there were days of forgettable weather…those middle of last month warm days a sweet memory now, daylight is fading and lights are needed from about 8pm, some nights were dominated by a very large shiny bright full moon that lit up the house so much it had you thinking a light had been left on. Middle of the nights punctuated by a symphony of weird and wonderful sounds from one side of the bed accompanied by cries of ‘oh oh bl**dy cramp’ as I leapt out of bed holding my leg in agony. My friend Mr Insomnia came visiting for a while but I seem to have shown him the door, which is good because there’s nothing worse than trying to relax and let your mind go blank hoping that sleep will come back.

At one stage I was beginning to think I was falling apart – what with the non sleeping issue, the night cramps and the funny turns. well not turns as such but wavy things in front of my eyes. The first time I thought – well I didn’t know what to think – my sight was sort of distorted, clear in all but one area, with a strange cloudy shape with jagged edges there. No pain of any sort, just this vision thing that lasted about 20 mins… thinking ‘might have to see the Dr in the morning’ later I remembered something I’d read years ago (when I got full blown migraines) about no pain migraines. Looked them up and yes, very similar so not life threatening and ‘oh well if that’s what it is I’ll put it down to experience’. When I saw the GP last week and mentioned there had been several episodes over a couple of weeks he wasn’t concerned at all – linked them to the stress of my sister’s illness and her death.

She arrived back in England last week and her funeral was this past Monday. This might sound ‘wrong/insensitive’ to some but my other sister mentioned that Patsy and the funeral director had been good friends for many years so he ‘reported’ he’d been there at Heathrow in good time for the meet and greet and made sure she was comfortable in his limo for the drive back home. A lovely lighthearted touch that was appreciated by the family

A sign of the ‘strange times’ is watching a funeral service being streamed into your living room. It felt very cold impersonal – ‘short and sweet’ and so very sad for those few allowed to be there, masked and sitting so far away from each other. Covid restrictions meant there was no gathering afterwards. That will come whenever it’s possible and she will be toasted and talked about for many an hour, day, years to come:)

But enough of the moaning and groaning- the whinging and whining.
It hasn’t al been gloom and doom ……I found Minnie
Remember Minnie?

I thought she was lost but now she’s found
and she wasn’t really lost at all.

And that’s a tale for another day 😊

Time gone by

I hope this doesn’t distress anyone — It’s something I feel I must write.
A follow up to last weeks post
It is also a fairly lengthy post — so you may choose not to read it

It all began with a tight painful feeling in the chest and shortness of breath……an ambulance was called and it was off to the hospital where they ‘didn’t know for sure’ but thought the problem was ‘a travelling blood clot’ (pulmonary embolism). Various unknown tests done, oxygen levels low so assistance given which helped.
Tests ‘inconclusive’ MRI needed, no clot but ‘serious lung infection’ so decision made to be transferred to a hospital closer to home where lung specialist is.

Oxygen level going up, chosen antibiotics seem to be working, Covid test negative, possible if all goes well she could be home for Christmas. Happy once her phone was charged and she could talk (breathlessly) to family.
Days later (Christmas Eve) told not well enough to go home…..”seriously pissed off but knows it’s for the best”.

Sudden turn for the worse, now sedated and intubated to help with recovery…… then septicaemia (sepsis) reared its head, medication changed, next 48 hrs vital but so far response is good.
31 December: Condition – serious but stable
2 January: Condition – deteriorated now critical but stable

By 5 January Drs are taking a different tack.
Covid negative- responded to septicaemia treatment but original lung infection has re-emerged. Trying to wean her off life support but lungs keep collapsing so ‘they may ask permission to perform a tracheostomy’. Cardiologists are monitoring her heart, on steroids for weak muscles. They’ll keep trying to ‘wean’ her.
The next day her husband signed the consent form
No luck getting her to breathe on her own so operation went ahead four days later
Now being ventilated in a different manner.

Day after operation there is the first bleed – a known complication. Appears she has a ‘weak trachea’ ??..hence the bleeds so more steroids to try to strengthen it.
Days pass, problems getting her lungs to work on their own without the ventilator, other organs strong plus good brain activity. Drs say it’s just a matter of time before she responds.

19 January: Decision made to give blood transfusion because of trachea bleeds – blood count good, transfusion has not been rejected, no change in condition. Hopeful this will make a difference.
Couple of days later news she now has an infection….family told nothing to worry about “ it’s something that can happen if you’re in hospital for a long time….however (not actual words) it’s playing havoc with her vital organs, but don’t worry they are dealing with it”. (Bloody golden staph!)

Many days of no change, respiratory condition still the same, no progress. Has been un-sedated at times but not responding as they would like.

29 January: Not doing well, getting weaker, drs doing all they can 2 steps forward 1 back. Condition gone from critical stable to critical.

1 February — Goodnight Patricia ….sleep well my little one ❤️

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s been a difficult time for family spread over 3 ‘continents’ – a husband and a son….hers not his…. living locally, other children plus extended family in UK and us out here.

Because of different time zones communication was difficult (husband not internet savvy) so son set up a messenger group where he posted up dates. Even though we all spoke independently to each other it meant nobody could complain they ‘weren’t told that’ even if they read it at a different time to others. It also meant I was able to refresh my memory to be able to write this post.

Language could have been difficult – English is mainstream now not the 2nd language it used to be but it was a help to have son’s Cypriot partner available when meeting with specialists.

Covid regulations meant no visitors – same worldwide restrictions only eased in exceptional circumstances. After applying (and reapplying) to the hospital director husband was only allowed four very short visits in the eight weeks, he was reliant on daily bulletins same as everyone else. Patsy’s son none (except to ‘view his mother’).

COVID stopped any travel in its tracks. One of Patsy’s daughters booked early on to go and visit and help husband- then all flights cancelled. Sister planned on quarantine before being able to help nurse Patsy (for when she would be discharged) but it became difficult after flights were cancelled….and then sadly not necessary. Strongly voiced emotional disappointment.

Also something that happens many times after a traumatic event like this. Strongly felt views on ‘decisions taken at hospital’ are emerging, little cracks are appearing……..why the operation….we know it’s not what she would have chosen , why not have left her to recover slowly in her own good time (or not) how on earth was she infected with golden staph (we should sue them )

Now there are other ‘arrangements’ to make. Husband and son are doing that without the healing cocoon of family close by. Something that expats, still with strong ties to family (and a country) elsewhere, have to cope with.
Patsy is being repatriated to England- her long time wish – the decision made to honour her wish feasible but so difficult to execute (well, involved more than difficult) especially with a pandemic ‘raging’ . It will happen, all in good time. So will husband’s return to England sort out other legal ‘problems’ but nobody knows when.

Then, all things being well and local Covid restrictions allowing it, children will be able to farewell their mother, grandchildren their Nana, and siblings their sister

~~~~~~~~~~~~

In a very reflective mood today, I like to think my early attempts at loving kindness meditation were felt by Patsy.
I’ve been assured she died peacefully with no pain, in a quiet warm safe environment

It’s nearly time for my second early morning cup of tea then to start the day. Supposed to be fair to middling 20c/68f cloudy with a low chance of rain……no grizzles from me about the rain because even though we’ve had enough of it lately to ‘float an ark’ I still have vivid memories of the 10yr Millennium Drought .

Joining Denyse for the latest edition of Life this week.

How can Peggy be short for Margaret….

Often the names of our ancestors recorded on census returns or other papers never seem to line up with their given names. I’ve been struggling to find the ‘real’ name of an ancestor recorded on documents as Minnie.
Is she Mary or Martha?
There were oodles of females named as Mary and also Martha in this family.
And to complicate matters I can’t find documents with either name for the time period I’m looking at so I can pinpoint which name she was given.

In another line I’ve got a Kathleen known as Kitty and a Mary known as May.
John was Jack and Charles was Chuck, oh and James was Jim

Nicknames- the bane of a genealogist’s life

If you’ve ever wondered how they came about you might be interested
in these (safe) links.
They are all similar but fun to read and could supply the answer
As to why your Aunt Margaret was often called Daisy

https://www.buzzfeed.com/katangus/how-is-polly-short-for-mary

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/24761/origins-10-nicknames

https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Traditional_Nicknames_in_Old_Documents_-_A_Wiki_List

https://usefulenglish.ru/vocabulary/womens-names.

https://www.behindthename.com/glossary/view/diminutive

https://cafemom.com/parenting/172329-30_nicknames_that_make_better

Fun Friday – the day you forget the worries of the week
I think we all deserve a smile at the moment 😊