Tag Archives: All things family

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

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.”

Do flowers remind you of people

Are there flowers in your life that are reminders of others
 People you have known during your life or have heard stories about

My mother grew Sweet Peas
No matter where we lived she would always find a place to grow them
My sister (who lived close to her) told me she was still growing them the summer she had her first stroke
BUT
Try as I may and have often done so I cannot get them to grow
No idea why, but they shrivel up and die
Autumn sowing or Spring planting doesn’t matter which
They just do not thrive

My Dad had a favourite that he grew in most of our gardens.
His gardening was usually confined to veggies but there was one small plant he always had growing somewhere in the garden
Said it reminded him of his Mum – our Granny
Over the years both my sisters have grown it as well.
It’s a real sentimental favourite with us.

That bank that runs alongside our front drive is a difficult spot and I’ve lost count of the number of plants been tried there
 The Golfer cleared more dead and dying out a few years ago and I stuck some Erigeron – Seaside Daisy – around about here and there.
Cuttings of Arctosis and Trailing Lantana (not a weed here in Victoria) thrived there as well as a ground cover Geranium (Cranesbill)

2009

Tucked away in one little corner where none of those others seemed to grow
is where I put a small pot of Dad’s favourite

The smallest flowering plant in my garden and one of the most loved
Snow in Summer – Cerastium tomentosum.
Over the next few summers it took over over that corner

I loved it – that little plant with soft grey foliage and tiny white flowers


Then my back took control of my life.
As well as me that little front garden really suffered
Because I couldn’t get down to keep things in order (trim/ cut back/weed) it really got out of hand so for the time being the slope has been returned to grass

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m just finishing off my first early morning cup of tea and thinking that as ‘the back’ is behaving itself quite well at the moment maybe I’ll have a go at redoing that slope.
Once Victoria has had its usual bucket load of Winter rains there’s no telling what might come about in Spring
It’s possible I’ll learn the secrets to growing Sweet Peas
But somehow I think that where that’s concerned, working this (discovered in the garage in a box of ‘might do one day’ things) cross stitch kit will be a better bet

Pop over to Denyse’s blog to see the latest edition of Life this week
Linking to #MondayMusings  hosted by Corrine at Everyday Gyaan

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.

Sleep well my little one…

My blonde curly haired little sister Patsy
Sometimes called Trish or Tricia but never Pat.
Youngest of three girls
Always smiling no matter what life threw at her.
Is now at peace

All four of us 1957

Patricia Marguerite Anne

Saturday July 1st 1950.

Monday February 1st 2021

Patricia for our mother’s cousin – Patricia Doyle.
Marguerite Anne for our father’s grandmother – Margaret Anne McIldoon

Roberta and Patricia 1955

She was always a lover of song and dance and all things mystical
So I would like to think she is riding the wind with the faeries

Down the rabbit hole….

I know what started it……middle of last year (2020), little internet messages between sisters. ‘Do you remember this….when we did this’ backed up by photos floating through the airwaves (or whatever you call what the internet runs on). Thoughts on what we inherited from our mum….I got the knitting gene…..middle sister got the sewing machine gene….and little sister joked and said, all she gave me was her arthritis. Which sent us into fits of ‘LOLs’ because we all inherited it in one place or another. Them in both hips, me in my spine and little brother in his knees.

Feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square 1954 – we ( just we three girls then plus mum….baby brother was there but not in person….yet) were on our way to Germany. Dad was there already, he’d been posted weeks before, so we made our way with lots of other service families on a very old ship across the North Sea from Harwich to Hook of Holland and then by train to RAF Wunstorf.

This photo of little sister’s beret shows mum’s love of fair isle knitting, something I enjoy as well. I’ve never attempted to knit a beret, wouldn’t it be a good project to take on I thought. Maybe even try to reproduce one like little sister’s. No pattern in my pile so off I go the source of all things knitting (preferably free if you know the right way to ask)…..yes, I changed my name to Alice…..which incidentally was my mother’s and my gt grandmother’s name, ……and made my way down the rabbit hole of the WWW.

I came up trumps with this pattern (pictured on the right) but it’s in 3ply so saved it for another day, however the site itself (Vintage Knitting Pattern Archive) is a fantastic source of free vintage patterns.

Another find was this picture of a very unhappy looking little boy wearing a really good looking fair isle style jumper/sweater similar to some I’d made for my children…….if you’re interested the pattern is here…. A Boys Jumper.

Look what came to light this past weekend when I sorted out some WsIP I’d tucked away in favour of doing something else. So enthused at the time by how easy the pattern ( as in the colour work stitches) appeared to be (and actually turned out to be) I’d started on it there and then, finishing the back and a sleeve before putting it to one side. Even though I like the distinct sharpness of the suggested red, white and blue on the cover and knowing I have no control of wherever it goes and to whom, I feel the softer colours will make it suitable for both girls and boys whatever their circumstances.



Looking at the wrong side you can see that like traditional fair isle there’s only two colours to each row, short breaks between each colour meaning short strands. And I tried to have the same colour on the top as I went along the row.


So when I get around to giving some attention to those half finished projects I think this little jumper will be the first cab off the rank.

First book for this year will be A Month of Sundays- Liz Byrski. Four women who have only seen each other on screen during their monthly online book club sessions decide to spend some time together …in person…at a property in the Blue Mountains. A soft read, with lots of tears, revelations and decisions coming up I think.



Unravelled Wednesday hosted by Kat is here at As Kat Knits. Lots of knitting and reading to see there.

When does it happen….

This is going to be a bit of a ramble so you’ll have to bear with me as I gather my thoughts together.
What I’m wondering is when do your children decide they are the parents and you are the child?
Did my daughters make a conscious decision to change roles…they were to be my surrogate mothers – I was now their daughter. How long did it take them to consider it. Did they have to think about it or has it been happening slowly …just below the surface ….and I’m only just noticing it.

Before Christmas we drove further east to Woori Yallock, to see a grandson’s ‘new’ house, his first house. One he’s saved hard for since he first started work, in fact right from his first ‘after school job’ in the local supermarket when he decided to deposit some of his pay into a designated ‘house account’ Now aged 25 that decision has paid off.
Anyway there were little ‘remarks’ from one of the girls as I went up to the high part of the back garden with its great view of the Yarra Ranges
“Be careful of the steps Mum, we don’t want you tripping.”

Someone called out to me while we were up…..of course I didn’t catch what they said.
”Mum, I reminded you to put your ‘ears’ in, did you do that.
Have you got your hearing aids in”

Then there were the ‘instructions ‘ on how to care for the lovely little succulent garden given to me at Christmas by the other girl. “They are so easy to look after Mum, especially for people of your age bracket”. “If you like I’ll explain slowly how you can get new plants from the older ones”

I was a little taken aback by that but did have a little smile at her new found hobby – role reversal of daughter talking to mother like you would a child…..didn’t like to remind her I’d been growing them for more years than I can remember and they’re not ‘just succulents’ but have names that I know ……..when I can remember them😊

(Of course, thinking about how hard a year it was for us all, maybe my girls had been good at covering up their feelings but subconsciously became tetchy with everyone …..including me.)

I mentioned the other day I had no ‘word ‘ chosen for this New Year……at the moment I’m seriously thinking about using consider – to think about. Thinking about it there’s lots of things I have to consider this year – so much to deliberate on – talk about- but as it’s only the first Monday of January I’ll reflect on it at another time.
First things first – I feel the need for another cup of tea coming on 😊

Have you come up with a word/ thought/saying to deliberate on…
Or is it all balderdash to you??

Joining Corinne for this weeks  Monday Musings  – sharing thoughts with others. 
Joining Denyse for the latest edition of Life this Week

The New Year cometh….

And with it those ‘will I/won’t I……shall I/shan’t I’ thoughts.
Those yearly thoughts about…..resolutions- goals – intentions- aims – pledges.
That have on occasion been known to invade some people’s minds
Mine included !

I have none of those or even A Word of the Year chosen for this coming year.
At the moment I’m hoping the encouraging phrases above will continue to guide me.

I’ve been a fan of the much maligned LLL for a long time using it as the blog’s Tagline
And what could be more simple than two little reminders of trips to far away places

Roly Poly Santa from Ketchikan Alaska – Long legged Santa from Calgary Canada

Or breakfasts eaten in the early morning sunshine


Right this very minute I’m going to have to work on staying positive ……. My sister was sedated and intubated the other day to assist her recovery.

Oh and I do enjoy every comment that’s made and hope you are patient with me – I’m planning to reply to them this coming year. New ones that is. Trouble is sometimes I think too long before I speak and then the moment has gone😊


I’m done….

I’m sure the best of us (and maybe even the worst of us) have had thoughts of family during this year. Like them or loathe them, live on their doorstep or on the other side of the world, I’m sure they entered our minds at some time or another. And like those times when you ‘can’t have’ something you seem to ‘want it’even more, that longing for family might have been more pronounced for some than it had ever been.

My close family is spread all over the place, some in the UK, some in the Middle East and us down here in The Colonies …..as my mother used to describe Australia. This separation has never bothered us, we are another generation in a long line of generations raised in military style, used to packing up and moving on every few years, settling in but ready to move again when necessary. Keeping in touch, knowing we would ‘catch up’ with extended family when the time was right.

Next sister – Me – Little sister – Baby brother 1998

My little sister Patsy is sick…….really sick.
And for the first time in a long time I miss her.

We had already planned to visit her again this year in Cyprus where she lives.
Well, that didn’t happen did it.

Looking ahead and making new plans to visit late next year has been one of the things that’s kept me going over the past few months.
Well, they aren’t looking too good either.

Our international border (in and out) closed back in March this year and with the way things are going……with the worldwide escalation of new cases – not a slowing down, and now a mutation, a new strain, a variant of the virus evident in the UK (and possibly other countries) I really can’t see it opening in March 2021 as has been mooted.
Yes, vaccines have ‘arrived’ but they won’t be available to the general population for quite a while and my personal thoughts are that the virus isn’t going to disappear ‘just like that’

Trying to look on the bright side of things I know Patsy is being given the best care available but it’s so hard to be upbeat when someone you love is in pain and there’s nothing you can do about it.

So I’ve decided I’m done with here for this year. I can’t concentrate anymore
I’ll be back in 2021.
Hopefully in a better frame of mind …..because I’ve been a real misery lately.
And hopefully having heard better news about my lovely little sister.

She (in yellow) and me Paphos 2014

Joining Corinne for this weeks  Monday Musings  – sharing thoughts with others. 
Joining Denyse for the latest edition of Life this Week

British Rail Red Bench Special

First there was us…….

Catherine’s sister Catherine’s Dad Catherine The Golfer
Retford Station 1985

Then there was them….

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Batley Station 2020

I wonder if their Red Bench was as uncomfortable for them to sit on as it was for us
And I wonder if their train was as late as ours was as we continued our journey south to see the other side of the family. First trip back ‘home’ after 13 yrs away
Also wondering if all UK railway stations still have those red metal benches

Does anyone have the answers 😊

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 😊

And just like that

You’ll discover things will change right in front of your eyes!

October is birthday month for both of us so more often than not we have
‘lunch at the golf club to celebrate ‘.
(sadly not this year though)

Lunch at The Golfers favourite home away from home in Healesville
(a short 30 min drive up the road) is always special
The food is good – the views from the terrace even better.
A table at the window a must.

October 2016 ……at 12.43pm we saw blue skies
along with some cloud build up over Mt Riddell and the nearby ranges
(which are part of The Great Dividing Range)


Eating, drinking and enjoying ourselves we didn’t notice what was happening outside
This was the scene at 1.16 pm – just half an hour later
Big black storm clouds overhead
changing the look, the mood and the outside temperature


And here we are one hour later (2.26 pm) misty grey skies.
very wet underfoot but much calmer.
(don’t you love being able to know exactly…to the minute….when photos are taken)


I’ll tell you what though….I was really glad parking was under cover
when we finally left for home it was pouring again

And just out of curiosity I looked at historical weather information for October 2016……..cooler and wetter than average……especially east of the city😊.
http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/month/vic/archive/201610.melbourne.shtml

Linking to Skywatch Friday – where the sky’s the limit.
Also – Travel TuesdayMy Corner of the WorldOur World Tuesday.

Week of discoveries….

Last week was a week of discoveries. Some really good ones.
Some cool rainy days gave me an excuse to head back to the family tree
where finally… after what seems like forever…..became aware of my GtGt Grandfather’s death registration. Seems he’d been dead a lot longer than we thought. A little mystery solved.

Earlier in the year (after much searching) I ‘found’ another sister of one of my maternal gt grandmothers…..one I had a feeling was there but couldn’t document.
(People born in Ireland before 1864 when civil registration of BDM began can…at times…be difficult to locate.)

I became interested in her when a name appeared as a witness on several marriage certificates, a shortened version of one that turned up on children from those marriages
She was referred to as Bella…..the children were all named Isabella.
Her surname was the same as the bride’s.
I knew she wasn’t the bride‘s mother (different given name). So was she an Aunt (the father’s sister) or another sister?

It was only after an Irish records site (https://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/) released more documents I made headway.
Then a further site I belong to connected her name to another which allowed me to find more records in a married name. Lots of little bits of information pointed the way, the witnesses at her wedding had the same names as my gt grandparents, the bride’s father had the same name and occupation, her children born were registered by the same person.
Each time I looked, the story unfolded so at the end of the week I knew she was who I thought she was. Big smiles all round 😊

Census records have oodles of information- some surprises too. Looking at one I see her name, her husband’s and children….then there’s another two whose surnames are the same as her maiden name. Under relationship to head of household I see…..brother in law and sister in law.

So that would make him Bella’s younger brother!
One I have no record of…..

Monday is when I sit and think and wonder.
today I’m wondering where this brother came from
why there was no mention of him previously
I certainly hope it doesn’t take me as long to discover his past as it did for his sister 😊
So how’s your week gone? Did you make any discoveries or have any surprises?


It’s just different…

Going back a long way this morning.
This is The Golfer and me in 1960 – just after we were engaged.
Living and serving in Cyprus
He was a young airman – Me, the 18yr old daughter of a not so young airman.

Kyrenia Beach Cyprus October 1960

The Golfer had spoken to Dad, Dad had said yes. We were like Love’s Young Dream
Always smiling, always looking in each other’s eyes.
As far as we were concerned neither could do any wrong.
Mum, who also approved, took me to one side and said “he has led a different life to you. He will say and do things differently. Just remember – none of us are perfect (you included), he’ll try your patience at times…so will you him” Coming from her I thought that a bit much, then she followed up with… keep this little saying in mind.

It’s not right – It’s not wrong – it’s just different

Let me tell you, it wasn’t an easy task to bite my tongue when I young and thought I was right all the time . There was an awful lot of accepting done along the way…on both sides 😊

He comes up with the strangest ideas at times. I just shake my head and think about my mother’s words. Not right, not wrong, just different

Take our morning coffee at home for example.
For years (since retirement) as well as instant Moccona this has been our other coffee preference. Made in the plunger with beans from Queensland that we both enjoy the taste of.. Coffee grounds in plunger, pour on water, insert plunger in top, wait a certain time then push down carefully. Even I could do that!

Morning coffee as it was for years.

Then one year for Father’s Day he was gifted a small machine… from Aldi… certainly not à la posh…complete with pods and a small milk frother. He found it easy to use, I was not impressed. With the taste more than the fiddling around to make it.

So once the pods had all been used (byThe Golfer) the novelty wore off and it sat quietly in the corner until earlier this year when lockdown 1 came into force and a certain person seemed to become bored with all things familiar and wanted some different – didn’t know what, just different. So off he goes to the supermarket. First box of pods aren’t right (too small) so it’s into Aldi for the ones that ‘will’ fit. I’m still not keen on the taste but have to steer him away from buying more, I can live without a home made ‘proper coffee’ and I don’t want to be trying boxes and boxes of different ones until I do find a blend I enjoy.


Try that, he says one morning. Oh dear…what’s he up to now
He’s discovered that by dropping one of the small Lavazza pods inside an empty used Aldi one, then securing with a bit of sticky tape they can be used in the machine.
Another day I thought he’d used the plunger then added frothy milk…..but no he’d actually refilled one of the larger pods with some of the grounds from Qld, replaced the little cap, then wrapped it in cling wrap. It worked – refill and reuse!

My goodness these weeks are flying by…..it’s Monday morning and once again I’m sitting here thinking out loud with my early cup of tea

I know my experiences are different from others but oh dear, sometimes it’s been hard living with someone who thinks outside the box. Most times, like with the coffee, I’ve just shook my head and gone with the flow. Other times I’ve certainly
‘made my views known’
Do any of you know what I mean? How have you coped with similar situations

Linking to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne (Everyday Gyaan)

Lifelong Friends

You know how sometimes you meet someone and ‘click’
Both of you are comfortable with each other
Pick up on things straight away each time you meet
no matter how long you’ve been apart

I’ll tell you about two such people I know who were like this
Over the years in previous posts I’ve talked a lot about my Aunty Pam
who sadly developed Alzheimer’s and after leading us a merry dance in many ways, moved into a nursing home before dying in 2011…..my reflections in the link

She was married to my mother’s brother 
She was raised in India and thats where she met Uncle John
He was serving there as an officer in one of the Gurkha Regiments
So due to life’s circumstances there was a slight difference in what would have in those days been called ‘class’
BUT
She and Mum got on like a house on fire 
from the moment they met
which would have been in the late 1940s when troops and families 
returned to England after war ended and Independence was declared in India

A Pam had lived a sheltered life
from a respected family she had wanted for nothing
and Mum – well Mum knew about the world
and how to raise a family on almost nothing
so Mum taught A Pam an awful lot about running a home 
and A Pam taught Mum
Well I don’t know what – ‘cept how to be a lady I suppose lol

Here they are together (1953)
Mum (Alice) on the left – A Pam on the right
along with my Dad and my Grandad (Mum and Uncle John’s father)
In front of our little post war prefab in Cosham
A Pam and Uncle John left England the next year to settle in Australia

Here they are again in 1997 when A Pam was visiting England
They had only seen each other a few times in all those years
but it seems from what I heard they laughed and giggled like couple of schoolgirls all that afternoon

Mum died well before A Pam was diagnosed (My reflections in the link) but in later years each time I used to visit her (A Pam)In the nursing home she would often call me Alice and ask if I’d like a glass of wine.
Always the hostess, right to the end – sadly for me, but not for her lifetime friend

When this pandemic is over I think we’ll realise
it was the ones who would just occasionally ring or text, always asking how ‘you’ are
rather than the longtime ‘friends’ who were persistently at our ear all the time
(moaning and groaning)
who will be our new version of lifelong friends.