Boots – certainly not for gardening in…

With wetter weather sure to arrive sometime I’d been thinking about treating myself to some ‘short boots’ to garden in. Something to puddle around in keeping my feet and ankles dry (and hopefully warm). Probably an unnecessary purchase because there’s a perfectly decent pair of blue wellies out in the garage plus I’ve had these ‘rubber shoe’s’ and these ‘rubber clogs’ for what seems like forever.

Over the years they’ve all been good for pottering around in the wet ground but my now very spread older ladies’ feet make it hard to get the shoes on and I’m beginning to find the clogs are heavy and unstable- balance is becoming a bit of an issue because my feet seem to slip about in them.
And if it’s wet enough to need knee high Wellington boots it’s too wet for me to be out there!

So I began to look online – but without thinking, I entered ‘boots for women’ (forgot the gardening bit)…..well that was interesting.
Do you know a pair of Blundstones boots for women now cost well over $200 – neither did I.
Guess I won’t be buying any of those.

Then for days afterwards….just to tease me and show me big brother is watching and my searching was recorded somewhere…. each time I was online this set of ads kept appearing….
Oooh I thought, those on the left are just what I’m looking for, short gum boots…or so I thought…

Turns out the uppers are actually a knit fabric…well that wouldn’t work would it.
They’d get all wet and dirty 😊

Available in lavender and sensible black as well as the ‘girly’ pink but thinking about it, those soles do look rather thick and clompy and I see the word ‘platform’ in the ad.

I didn’t get on well with them the first time round……so don’t think I’ll bother this time😊

As an aside, if you’ve time to waste and you want to see even more interesting ask Mr G to show you ‘women’s platform knitted boots’. There’s a whole world of weird and wonderful out there.

Fun Friday – the day you forget the worries of the week.

Will be back on Monday – see you then!

Looking at life…March

I’m not a fan of March – it’s not a relaxing month like January, or a ‘looking forward’ one like February when everything reopens ….it’s a long one, filled not with promises but just a realisation that things will change….a month I associate with ‘letting go’.
I accept the season changes – there’s not much we can do about that….it’s the letting go of the light that bothers me, that gradual loss of daylight. I don’t mind the cooler temperatures (to a point) but that loss of light drags me down
It’s also a month to let go of possessions – publicly on the kerb or privately at the op shop. I finally accepted there were so many much loved but now unneeded items and (sadly) let them go….…including my last pair of well used tap shoes

Centre stage wearing red shoes in a charity concert many years ago

~ ~ ~ ~

March is the month we ‘let go’ of Dad’s hand and left him to lie in the little graveyard opposite the pub in a little village in Nottinghamshire.….that’s the building on the bend with the white front. Mum joined him a few years later and we jokingly imagine the two of them, Irish to the core – both partial to a drink or two – lying there, cursing us, not being able to get to the pub


So what else has happened over the past few weeks
It’s been what I call a ‘trampoline’ month full of ups & downs – good/bad – happy/sad

We went to the cinema to see – What’s love got to do with it – discovered the gift card had expired and (unlike other cards that were honoured because of covid) this chain said ‘Sorry no go’ so paid our way. After a bit of online discussion (by The Golfer) with the parent company we now have a card loaded with the outstanding amount from the other one😊

My hairdresser J finally retired – a sole trader, he just closed up without selling the business….oh dear we’re back to going through that awful position of looking for a new one. Been there – done that – and returned to J! After a strange conversation with a stranger (don’t ask) I’ve found another one….. close to home in a suburb I don’t normally visit. And he’s good, really good….and slightly less expensive as well!😊

Annoyed on returning to my parked car to discover that somehow somebody had managed to break the glass on one of my rear lights fitting…..
More than annoyed when discovered the whole light fitting had to be replaced not just the cover. Not cheap to buy from and have fitted at the dealer!
The Golfer to the rescue again….many phone calls later to businesses in suburbs I never knew existed he finally located one; way out past Dandenong. Less than $100 v several hundred…good man…paid for our lunch on our ‘day trip’ to pick it up plus was able to fit it himself😊

Lunch in a special spot in Olinda on a warm sunny day
Coffee in another in Montrose on a cool cloudy one

Hot water bottle in bed for my toes some nights
That’s Melbourne in March 😊

There’s been more ‘getting to know you’ occasions/monthly meetings with my new groups.
Happy to be in the new book club, discovering new authors – shame I don’t have the inclination to read their books.
~ ~
Happy to be involved with the new Probus club – shame I had to leave my previous one because of the difficult circumstances. I miss those Ladies but the new ones are very friendly and welcoming, knowledgeable and fun too😊
~ ~
Happy to have joined the new choir, sad my happy-go-lucky one folded….but am now being exposed to new music and attitudes
Who knew there was an alto voice part written for Bye Bye Blackbird. Yes it’s pitched a bit lower than the upbeat melody part – and sounds a bit ‘flat’ sung separately but blends in nicely when both parts are sung together


And I can’t leave without saying something did happen to put me in a better frame of mind

~ ~ ~ ~~ ~
Beach Days – Imagination v Reality

Platja de la Fragata – Bruce Bingham

Even though there’s been no sitting on the beach for us this Summer it won’t be long before we do so.
Our booking request was made – and accepted- deposit has been sent – and received – so it looks like our annual trek/trip to FNQ for the Winter is on again this year😎

On the beach – Dorothy Mary Braund

Sharing with a new monthly link up – ‘What’s been on your calendar’. .
Looking at Life – March

And Don’t Forget – if you want to see it best……Click/ tap or finger slide to enlarge

Looking at Life – February

Looking at life….February

‘So how’s your February been’ someone asked at book club
‘Not too bad’ I replied. Getting used to some of those little changes I spoke about at the end of January and finding answers to others that had been bothering me.

The main one is all those blood tests came back normal- nothing to see there at all.
GP has been scratching his head, suggested that yes, maybe a sudden change in weather could put people off colour, I’m feeling much better so we’ll just plod along as usual.

The local gym being flooded in a January storm (planned reopening March) hasn’t helped the fitness intentions we discussed – means I’m back to using our equipment at home and we all know what that means. Those little 30/60 secs break between sets sometimes result in a longer than necessary sit down often with hot drink and…..don’t tell anyone

maybe even a sweet biscuit!.

So I’ve been using the pool more often which has certainly loosened up the back so much so there was a little bit of gardening going on. All that rain brought on another flush of roses – plus oodles more weeds. We enjoyed the last of them (the roses not the weeds) on the outside table and this week, just like the lady in Gilbert’s painting, I’ve been tidying up and dead heading

Gardening – Victor Gabriel Gilbert

Of course there has been knitting – the big boys jumpers are done! I’ll tell you about them on Wednesday as well as something new I’ve been tackling.

Now we’re back in the swing of things there are two book clubs to enjoy- one, the casual ‘what did you read’ the other, the ‘discuss the book we all read’ one….both different yet similar
My summer reading – which often involved just lounging around – not quite like the lady in Hettinger’s painting but not far off – has once again been sparse

* A Month of Sundays – Liz Byrski (bc).
* Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont – Elizabeth Taylor
* The Leisure Seeker – Michael Zadoorian
* The Flower Girls – Alice Clark-Platts

Reading – David Hettinger

The new choir rehearsals have been fun – with a new class conductor making it a different experience for returning members as well as new.

A very well ‘seasoned’ teacher/conductor – with a background in opera (and a liking for light entertainment), a new ‘program’, no previously used songs – this move for me is proving to be very interesting and I’m enjoying every minute…..first rehearsal Bette introduced this to the class. Something I knew from elsewhere but quite unknown to many of the others. It may not be everyones cup of tea (a simple round) but when it comes together (aka when everyone knows what’s what) with all four voice types in the choir (soprano, alto, tenor & bass) singing their part it will sound ‘superb’

Artist is Jennifer Cooke (Sing with Jen)


There has been one little thing I’ve been coming to terms with this month.
Some might remember ‘our big girl’ and her partner leaving Melbourne back in 2021 – pulling their home behind them
eager to see parts of Australia they’d never been to before.
Well, they travelled and travelled, enjoying every minute – extended their leave
and travelled some more……then out of the blue decided they needed to put down roots
They’ve just taken possession of a new beach side home, way over on the far coast in WA. On the other side of the country – 3,489kms away!
With an hours drive to Tullamarine, 4hr flight to Perth plus an hours drive north – don’t think we’ll be popping in for a cuppa. Might need to stay a week at least😎

And that’s February (and supposedly Summer) all but over
We’re at the end of the last week… stop is Autumn (well the official ‘March 1st’ date that is)….hopefully the warm weather will continue but the fire risk go down. Many plants came to grief in some heavy rain early in the month – Agapanthus heads have been lopped, various ground covers cut back ….some are saying it’s time to slow down but there’s always an exception to the rule…..the roses and the flowering gum beside the library were still in bloom a couple of days ago. Big smiles all round.

Sharing with a new monthly link up – ‘What’s been on your calendar’
Looking at Life – February

Did that really happen……

Over the years I’ve often thought about something and wondered ‘did that really happen’ – was I there or am I remembering someone else’s recollections that might have been mentioned in passing. My memory sometimes plays tricks with me and on the odd occasion I’ve actually (in a nice way) been proven wrong. Which doesn’t do much for your self esteem when you think you’re ageing quite nicely.

Anyway when we were younger (1950s) and went over to visit family in Belfast we always stayed with the same aunt. Of Dad’s sisters she was the one who had the room to put up another family….basically doubling the amount of people in her house….now that’s what’s called love.

At the time there were 3 of us girls and 3 girl cousins and the words ‘6 in a wonky bed’ keep cropping up in my mind but I don’t remember it actually happening. It’s what family did in those days but I can’t see (in my minds eye) us top and tail in a big bed.
I’ve no idea where Mum & Dad slept or Aunty Maudie and Uncle Herby slept but it’s where us 3 girls and the 3 girls cousins spent the night that’s been bothering me.

I had a surprise early last month when a cousin contacted me on a genealogy site – he is the ‘baby brother’ of these girl cousins, he was much younger than me so we didn’t actually ‘know’ each other which meant lots of newsy notes have passed to and from each other. He mentioned he’d forwarded them onto his sisters and this came back from one of them:-

Tell Catherine my memory is 6 of us sharing a bed when they stayed with us. xx”

When I passed all this on to my next sister this is what she came back with:-

Memories of Finaghy. Definitely the 6 in a bed plus the uncertainty of the springs dropping through the frame and us ending up on the floor. 

So it looks like it did actually happen.
I’m still wondering though if my memory has been sparked by others talking about it..

How do you go with memories…..are yours real?
or second hand passed on by others who were also there?

A Good Send Off…

There are so many rabbit holes on the internet designed to lure us in like fish to a hook.  
And like many of us who are searchers of family past and present I subscribe to one called Ireland Reaching Out – a free site ( no payment needed) one that you don’t have to be a ‘member of’ to enjoy the content. 
Just ‘drop in and read’ – if you are really interested you could join their mailing list – which is how I found this interesting article

But first…..

After my Granny in Belfast died (1960) and Dad had come back from the funeral it was a little bit quiet in our house. Slowly he started to talk about it and one thing he mentioned and seemed rather happy over puzzled us

Dad said ‘all the houses on both sides of the street had closed their curtains’

We sort of knew it was an old fashioned thing to do with funerals but that was all

Then Mum would often say ‘don’t put your shoes on the table – it’s bad luck’.

We had no idea what would happen but none of us dare put shoes (new or otherwise) on the table😊

That Irish website I referred to up above recently put out a new article.
One where Rituals, Superstitions, Women, Games and the Church all played a part.

The traditional “Merry Wake” represented the core of the funeral customs of the poor. Opposed by the Roman Catholic clergy throughout the nineteenth century, the “Merry Wake” was performed right up to the first half of the twentieth century source

And after reading it guess what I discovered – two little gems that might explain Mum and Dad’s words… much much more

  • All curtains in the house would be drawn except for the one nearest the body to allow a clear pathway to heaven

~ ~ ~ ~

  • Candles were placed at the head and foot of the deceased along with a pair of shoes to aid their travel to the next world

You’ll find it here – The Irish Wake – 5 Facts

Also if you’re interested, and maybe many of your Irish ancestors migrated to America here’s another article about a different type of wake

An Irish Wake for the living- American Wake

As well as this one
The Irish Wake and its gender roles


What a week…

Someone else had a birthday a couple of weeks ago so we took the train ‘up to town’ on a Sunday and enjoyed our first time at the theatre in goodness knows how long. A second time of seeing ‘Come from Away’, (catching it before it closes this Melbourne season and moves on up to Sydney) and we enjoyed it as much as the first time in 2019. Reminders of a couple of visits to Newfoundland a few years ago now but still fresh in our memories.

Smiles at seeing the tv masts from the station at Mooroolbark, smiles at being back in the lovely little heritage listed Comedy Theatre with its chandelier type lighting and a bar down there on the lower level right next to the stalls.
There was a brolly and a mask in my bag, plus a small book to read on the train – after all the rain we’ve had I was glad I didn’t need the brolly after all but I did use the mask. Too many people all close together with about 2/3rds of them maskless.
Everyone seemed to have a phone though!

Smiles at seeing travellers on suburban lines in masks, I can’t remember seeing any on the country V/Line trains (or dedicated platforms) when I took the lower photo at (don’t make me say it) Southern Cross Station back in April. It will always be Spencer Street Station to me.
There are times I wished we lived ‘out of town’ – compared to the comfort of the country trains the comfort (??) of suburban stock is nil.

Tuesday (25th) the heavens opened and we had floods out here in the eastern suburbs. Our back garden was like a swimming pool and (once again) the kitchen skylight decided to leak. I keep telling The Golfer there’s a reason I don’t get rid of all those old towels – although if this keeps up we’re going to have to invest in a new skylight.

Thursday under cloudy grey skies and a wet windscreen we drove out past the vineyards (old and new) and into the Valley again – this time The Golfer wanted to enjoy a light lunch at his second home because……

……as a member he gets a free one plus a tiddly little cake to celebrate 🎂🍷…..

Drove home from Healesville in pouring rain, hoping there wouldn’t be water on the floor Needed the bucket later in the evening so looks like we definitely need a new one.

Anyway Friday, dodging the showers I went to the gym leaving him looking a little lost – with all the rain the course is just a bit too waterlogged and once again nobody else wanted to play – I’ll be fine, he said, I’ve got this new book to read. Ink Black Heart – Robert Galbraith 1400 pages – that’ll keep me going for a while.

Big smiles when I walked past the court area – all set up for our next crop of Olympic gymnasts. Mats and beams, and bars and springboards – reminders of sessions at school all those years ago with a vaulting box and pommel horse.

(There’s a floor to ceiling net along the walkway to the gym door – saves any injuries from wayward basket/netballs. I took one snap from a corner then had to wriggle the camera around the holes to get the full on ones)

Well that was last week – this past week has been quieter with a few surprises….
Which I’ll leave for another time


Don’t Forget – if you want to see it best……Click/ tap or finger slide to enlarge

Linking to  Wednesday’s Words & Pics hosted by Denyse …..  Denyse Whelan Blogs

Oh, I remember that…

I had an email from my contact at the nursing home telling me about a new memory project called ‘I Remember That’ that was starting about the time I return at the beginning of next month. The title had me remembering all those years ago when my aunt would come out with those words….admittedly after some subtle prompting by us with words or pictures…..but we were glad it had stirred something in her mind.

(At that time I belonged to a (now defunct) ’families and carers’ group where to ease the strain we wrote and shared pieces online – I hope you don’t mind me sharing another one from 2009)

Remembering the past

Talking to my Aunt the other day I was asking her what she remembered – its a hard question for her to answer some days but for some reason on that day she was clear in her mind about one thing.

She remembered her older sister Betty and how she made her laugh.

They were raised in India in house a house full of adults. Along with their Mother and Father there were also four spinster aunts – sisters of their Mother.

None of the servants had children they could play with so as well as sisters, they were playmates and also constant companions to each other.

“Oh, I remember that dolly”

Being priviledged they were sent off to boarding school at a young age, luckily not back to England as so many expat children were but somewhere in India ( she doesn’t remember where exactly) and were able to go ‘home’ for the holidays – so whenever Pam felt lonely or afraid Betty was there to comfort and make her laugh. 

It was so lovely (and rare) to hear her talking of this life she led so long ago, dances were a way of life, Betty was the fun one attracting lots of admirers while Pam being a quiet one would sit on the sideline. 
They both married officers in the 9th Gurkhas Regiment so continued to live a privileged life as adults. They stayed in India till after the war and then returned to England to a very different lifestyle. 

She was so clear in her descriptions of life in those days it was almost as if she was reliving them – till she came to the part of migrating to Australia in the early 1950’s. 

Then nothing came – she just stopped talking.
I assume ‘cose there was no Betty – who had remained in England – to talk about.
Maybe I’ll be able to get her to remember those times again but I never know from one day to the next whats going on inside her head.

As a youngish widow she managed several trips ‘home’ to England over the years to see her beloved Betty – the sister who even as an adult had a way of making her forget her troubles and laugh. She recognised Betty in this photo of the two of them enjoying a special moment of laughter but had no idea where, when, or why.

“Oh, there’s Betty”

Betty on the left and A Pam on the right

Can you see the special bond they had with each other – the love in the eyes and the smiles on their faces? Hopefully she can still remember those moments inside her head even if she can’t talk about them

Aunty Pam (Pamela 1923 – 2011)

We’re all going on a…..

Summer holiday No wrong season – We’re all going on a Winter holiday.
(If the rain gods in NSW cooperate 😟)

Taking a little drive up the road early this morning – will see you when I see you 😎😎

2,500 kms

Home for tea the day before Grand Final Day…..I hope!

(But I’m sure I’ll be here well before then😊)

A Pam’s Recipe Book

Once my aunt was settled into the nursing home my cousin (her son who lived in Perth on the other side of the country) decided put her place on the market so some clearing (decluttering) had to happen. As houses were more easy to sell if they were furnished he wanted a lot of the extra stuff gone – and apart from one or two items wasn’t interested in where it went.

I started to go through kitchen drawers and discovered her special recipe book, a very battered exercise book with handwritten recipes from friends here in Australia. For all her upbringing (and I mean that in a nice way ) she wasn’t a really fancy (or good) cook – born and raised in India she and her sister were sent to boarding school so had never been at home to see and learn how and I know Uncle John would sometimes take her out to dinner rather than have her get upset at trying to cook things that didn’t turn out well. I’m not making that up – he told me that on more than one occasion.

Anyway the only time I’d seen her use this book over the years was at Christmas time when she’d make ‘The Pudding’. It was the only tradition I remember about life in her house from the early 70’s when we arrived here in Australia. She would let everyone know when she was going to be cooking and asked if you wanted to come over and stir the pudding. Stir- up Sunday

There are 3 Christmas pudding recipes in the book and I can still see the faces of the people they came from quite clearly.

The first from Jean is short and very direct – just like Jean

The second from her sister Betty has lots of ingredients and simple concise instructions

The third from Joan a fabulous tennis club friend of Pam’s who played hard and partied in a similar fashion. Cooking time for her was similar to her parties….. all day for as many days as possible !

Where the first two suggest a wine glass of brandy like the good hostess who provides choices for her guests she suggests Rum, Milk or Beer – leaving the amount up to you.😊

Can you see which one was used the most?

Each year about November Aunty Pam would start to gather her ingredients to make Betty’s pudding, she’d buy new calico for the pudding bowls and then on the day tick as she added each ingredient to the mixing bowl.

Some years she’d tick as she wrote down her list to take the the shop to buy the ingredients and then get into a real muddle when she forgot which ticks were ‘buying’ ticks and which were ‘added’ ticks.

I had to make a mad dash to the house one year to try and find out what had been added to the mixing bowl and what hadn’t ‘cose she hadn’t just weighed out and put in individual little bowls, then put the packets back in the cupboard but was adding straight into to the mixing bowl after weighing, had packets all over the place and was quite upset because she couldn’t tell the difference between raisins and sultanas.

It was then we began to realise how muddled and confused she was getting, how things were becoming a problem and sadly that was the last time she made the puddings.

~ ~ ~ ~

So I had the book and the recipes (which she didn’t know); and one day about a year later we were talking about cooking and out of the blue she said it would be nice if I made her ‘that lovely Christmas pudding that Betty makes’
Her sister Betty had been gone for about 10years by then so I had no idea what made her say that.

None of my family really like Christmas Pudding but I gave her my word I’d give it a go. Unfortunately she never got to taste the one’s I did (and still do) make.

Betty’s Christmas Pudding 2013

Linking to the very last edition of Denyse’s ~  Life’s Stories.

Her thoughts this week are on Endings and Beginnings.
A bit like A Pam leaving her home to me starting the Christmas Pudding tradition

Water Water Everywhere…

I’ve been known to hang on to things…….just in case.

My other excuse is often – it’ll come in handy……

When – we don’t know, but it’s there just in case

Discussing our winter ‘going up north again’ plans and what to take with us, we (The Golfer and myself) had another look at some ’just in case/might come in handy/ you never know when’ items the other weekend.
That’s when the word water bottles cropped up

Not so much the flimsy plastic ’comes in all shapes & sizes’ single use throw away ones you buy water in – though they’re bad enough……..more the keep and carry (sometimes plastic) ones seen in the hands of those who take hydration seriously.

Someone I know – let’s just say not me – has a likeing for water bottles. He has quite a few lot…..He’s out and about on the golf course in all weathers so definitely needs to be hydrated and (for him) filling a bottle with water from a dedicated tap at the 9th hole is ’not on’ so he carts his own (along with all the other weird and wonderful things that come tumbling out of his bag when he’s looking for something.)

I do have water in the car but can usually quench my thirst somewhere during the day.

So after going through the garage, various cupboards and cars, we came to an understanding – that we (he?) did not need the collection of water bottles we (he?) seemed to have gathered.
When he was ’into volunteering’ each event had a water bottle supplied – suitably emblazoned with good/bad/ugly….usually necessary logos and advertising.
Lots had been used then tossed aside (not away) in favour of others so after our chat he chose some to hang on to….not to use now……but just in case!

Most of them went into the rubbish and recycling bins

And as well as what he calls his ’good ones’ these others 👇 are what he kept

Now I love him dearly and I understand there are memories attached to each one and I can’t complain when I think about what I’ve still got tucked away….BUT

  • These few have never been used, just been gathering dust (and dirt) in the garage
  • Souvenirs of special events that made the most impression on him – Melbourne Commonwealth Games – Fina World Swimming Championships – Australian Youth Olympics – various National Australian Canoeing events plus a couple of other org. I don’t remember
  • Look at the dates – (You might have to enlarge to see) …..2006 2007 2013
  • They’ve already been there a fair while so I’m wondering how much longer they’ll have to wait for their….‘I knew they’d come in handy’ ….time to shine 😊

~ ~ ~ ~

And then of course there’s these

but they have my name on so no explanation is necessary 😊

Oh look, here’s another one….

The Golfer has ’suddenly’ become interested in his family tree

That means I’m the one doing the research while he looks on and ‘admires’ the results

It’s probably been there for quite a while but I’ve discovered a new (free) research site

If anyone’s interesting in going down online rabbit holes this one is pretty good

There are links to the original free BDM site plus some free census. But it was the VERY old parish BDM records (think 1700s) that held my interest. Both his paternal lines were/are entrenched in small Essex villages so one surname or the other plus a place name brought up so many facts – and a maiden name to boot😊

(And that’s where I’ve been this past week or more – it definitely cut into my blogging time!)

New ways – Different ways

You get another reminder that the years are passing when a granddaughter asks if you would knit something for a friend who is having her first baby. Due the first week of June.
How could that be – oh yes they are in their 20s now☹️
‘I’ve seen something I know she would love’…..

Photograph received of unknown baby sucking on a grossly enormous dummy wearing the cardigan that ’I know she would love’….so after going through her enormous pile of patterns it turned out grandma had to pop into the delicious craft rabbit hole called Ravelry to find something similar. Almost the same and a free pattern to boot!

There are so many ways to knit and construct cardigans and I’ve tried many of them ……flat in seperate pieces, all in one to armholes, add sleeves then finish on a yoke – various methods of neck down – haven’t tried knit in the round and steeked yet (scaredy cat me isn’t sure she could deal with the stress of that) but this one was definitely different. Lets just say that if the instructions had been clearer the making would have been easier – and more enjoyable.

The instructions did say it was all in one and knit in garter stitch

how hard could that be??

Two weeks later….many cross words (some not nice) and it was finished.
Not my best effort – to knit to gauge I had to use 4mm needles, the button fastenings were difficult to manipulate so I changed to buttonholes plus I found it difficult to get even looking rows of garter stitch.
This one will go in the charity box and another will be made…..slowly, carefully, neatly.

Where do you get or I have one too….

A question bloggers often ask each other is – where do you get your ideas from- things to talk about, post about? Here there and everywhere is often the answer.

I’m tagging onto (pinching?) something Sandra at Madsnapper featured the other day – an idea she recently ’‘borrowed and adapted’ from a couple of other bloggers

A spoon rest is a piece of kitchenware that serves as a place to lay spoons and other cooking utensils, to prevent cooking fluids from getting onto countertops, as well as keeping the spoon from touching any contaminants that might be on the counter. source

So here is my ‘so not pioneer woman’ spoon rest – very similar in style to Sandra’s, complete with my very frequently used vintage British government issue tablespoon.

One of my contributions to recycling/reusing is a small stack of these plastic food trays that (in my case) minced chicken comes in. They get used for all sorts of things, a place to put spoons in use (or any other utensil) being one of them.

Maybe not as elegant and smooth as something purchased but free – if you discount the product that came with it. They come and go – one or two new ones in, one or two old ones out.
~ ~ ~ ~

The beautiful solid sensible looking tablespoon somehow found its way into my civilian kitchen when The Golfer was demobbed in 1968.
It’s certainly been a ’trusty servant’ since then!

The markings on the back are interesting

  • SIPELIA – the manufacturer who had the government contract

History –

  • 18/8 stainless steel

  • The date it was made 1961 plus an arrow head signifying it was government property

  • I’ve no idea about the numerals 9424296 – possibly a design number.

So what do you use as a spoon rest…..or don’t you? What do you reuse or repurpose?


A Pam’s Very Old Cookery Book…

After her death lots of my aunt’s bits and pieces found their way to my home

The ‘A.1’ Cookery Book by Helen H Lawson was one. I can find nothing about the author on the net so don’t know who she was or how she came to write a cookery book. It’s possible one of my readers might be able to tell me 😊

As you can see its quite an old cookery book – this is the 1946 (war time) 5th edition – very plain front with the title etc on the spine….. all words and no pictures; the first edition was published in 1901/2 and I imagine she was an ‘older’ lady when she got round to revising it for its fifth publication.

The front page suggests it contains everything essential for those who wish to have plain food daintily prepared’ and I can imagine thats what my aunt would aspire to but theres lots included that I think she’d have run a mile from.

Somehow I couldn’t have seen her stewing eels, boiling a calf’s head or foot, plucking and drawing a partridge, pheasant or pigeon. Note on pigeons – Tame pigeons taste better if cooked as soon as possible after they are killed – bet you didn’t know that !.

Lots of very old type recipes and many basic ones with some good hints and tips relevant to simple cooking these days.

The author mentions a tip that we all know about the water from boiled vegetables including potatoes and that in which rice, macaroni, or spagetti have been boiled are useful as a foundation for soups and sauces. But seemingly there was one exception – cabbage water, which must be thrown away at once. Unfortunately she doesn’t say why

Before the section on puddings and sweets she lists whether they need butter and eggs – eggs but no butter – and those that need no butter or eggs – which would have been a boon in the days after the war when not everything was readily available and there was still food rationing 

Sometime or another I’ll really delve into this and find some ‘easy’ old recipes.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  • After another look online Look what I found -….a site where you can access and read the 2nd edition (free) Scroll down the site a little until Read/Preview – then click through. There’s also a download feature as well.

A couple of little differences on the title page – the author is named H N L (not by her full name) plus the words ‘written in the simplest possible manner to help the inexperienced’ which are not on the 1946 version

A Pam’s last dance…

Returning to and being able to volunteer at the nursing home with all the different rules and regulations plus restrictions due to ’you know what’ has reminded me how different life in a nursing home was for my aunt in 2009

(At that time I belonged to a (now defunct) ’families and carers’ group where to ease the strain we wrote and shared pieces online – I hope you don’t mind me sharing this one here)

~ ~ ~ ~

Aunty Pam’s Last Dance

I haven’t said much about my Aunt recently

As even tho’ she has been in the nursing home for a few months now

she is still very unsettled and almost withdrawn

I am grateful for the loving care she is receiving

yet feel there has to more that I can give

I visit when I can and if its dry outside

I take her for walks in the wheelchair along the main road

She can look at the traffic and also in peoples gardens

We ‘talk’ about the flowers and the cars

I try to get her to tell me the names of the plants and describe them

– colours and shape –

but her memory is really going and she just gets flustered

Unfortunately over the past month or two

she has become so uncoordinated

 I find it difficult to transfer her into the car

so going for  a ride is now a thing of the past

Even tho’ the wheelchair taxi is very unreliable

– they come when it suits –

when the weather is better

 my cousin and I hope to manage to take her out

 maybe for lunch at one of the larger shopping centres

There is one close by with some nice little cafes

we can walk round

and she can look in the shop windows

Also if there are the two of us there to entertain her

it won’t be such a problem if we do have to wait

for the taxi to come for the return journey

~ ~ ~ ~

Last night I took Aunty Pam to a dance

Yes, a dance……at the  Nursing Home

The staff organised an evening for the residents

They asked for some nice clothes to be there for the evening

Ladies had long lasting hairdo’s (I think the rollers stayed in for hours lol)

Nails done, make up on and off we went

Down to the largest day room

– renamed The Ballroom for the night –

decorated beautifully with fairy lights and balloons

Carers who weren’t on duty came in and helped out

Carers who were on duty kept popping in to see what was going on

It was only the really infirm who were in their rooms

and one carer stayed on the floor all the time

We listened to a Glenn Miller tribute band

And we danced

Wheelchairs were wheeled round in time to the music

Those who could were on their feet

– some gently swaying – some remembering steps from long ago –

others having a fine old time humming and mouthing words to old favourites

Lots of family and friends there

young and old

There was wine and beer and soft drinks

There was finger food and cakes and pastries

and at the end of the night

This lady who has been so unhappy

went to bed with a smile on her face

Pamela Joyce Thompson
27th June 1923- 31st August 2011

And ‘this’ lady

who has also been so upset

‘cose the other lady has been so upset

drove home with tears in her eyes

‘cose the other lady was so happy 😊

You just don’t know, do you…

This is The Golfer with his aunt (his mother’s sister)
Taken 2010 in Nova Scotia at the wake after a funeral 

She was smiling not tearful at all – ‘no place to be sad, she said 
Always remember and celebrate the life of the one who has gone 
It doesn’t matter how long a life they lived – Its how they lived it that matters’

She is the one who left her life in England back in 1945
to move to Canada as a war bride 

And it’s their family I’ve been doing more research on over the past few weeks 

Its been fun doing this and there have been some good moments when things have fallen into place and then some not so good moments when there have been big surprises.

The biggest surprise was when I actually located Aunt Dot’s long lost aunt’s name on a passenger list of a ship going to Canada in 1902 but the circumstances were not good.

At the turn of the 20th century there was a lot of poverty in England and it seems her father (recently widowed) placed her – the youngest child – into the care of the Waifs and Strays Society.  What happened then also happened to so many other children at that time – she (aged 12) was taken to Canada seemingly for a better chance in life. It appears she went to an intitution in Niagara on the Lake but I can’t locate any records of where she went after that.

  • Earlier this century, several thousand British children mainly in the care of voluntary organisations were emigrated to former Dominions – mainly Australia, Canada and New Zealand – under several schemes involving the British Government, the Governments of the receiving countries and the voluntary organisations who operated the schemes. Source
  • Between 1869 and 1932, over 100,000 children were sent from Britain to Canada through assisted juvenile emigration. These migrants are called “home children” because most went from an emigration agency’s home for children in Britain to its Canadian receiving home.  source

~ ~ ~ ~
I had been aware that lots of children had been brought to Australia particularly after WW2 (so the ‘Oranges and Sunshine’ debacle wasn’t quite a shock to me as to others) … an aside there was an orphanage close to where we lived in the 1940/50s and my mother (lovely lady that she was☹️) would ’tell me’ that if I didn’t behave she’d have me sent to Australia along with the kids from the home!

But… I certainly didn’t know the ‘scheme’ had been going on for so long and the children had been going to other countries as well .
Looks like I’m going to be sitting here for quite a lot longer than I thought if I want to get to the bottom of Ada’s tale. I just don’t know what I’ll discover next.

Little changes….

Just like their Gt Grandma, Little B and Little M enjoy time at the beach

Little M, our Christmas babe from 2020 is now one year old and walking – Little B, no longer little, recently turned 5 and started ’big school’ a few weeks ago.

Little B will soon be turned into a young boy when his mumma gathers up the courage to have his long curls cut. I wonder if she will cry, just like his Gt Grandad The Golfer’s mumma did when she had his curls cut and turned him into a (younger) little boy.

The Golfer aged 2yrs

No watching the waves this week for those two little tykes up above – they live in Brisbane and have been watching water of a different kind.
In case you weren’t aware there’s been a huge weather event up there this week with many towns and areas along the eastern coast of Qld and NSW being flooded


Just in case…

My thoughts the other day about the reasons I buy with ’just in case’ being one of them brought back memories of my mother and her habits and realisation that maybe there’s a case of Like mother – Like daughter in my house.

My mother was a funny one – at times so tight with her money and yet so free at others.  She had a thing about buying things ‘just in case’  – according to her she didn’t stockpile (a dirty word during and just after the war)…….. she would have things on hand – ‘just in case’. 

Not quite as bad or in the same vein as my Irish granny (her mother in law) who I’m sure had saved enough string to go round the world (just in case anyone needed it ) as well as oodles of other ‘useful’ bits and pieces that really weren’t needed at all but she had lived through two world wars and a depression so I suppose could be forgiven (except by my aunties when it came to clearing the house out after she died!)

We all try to be a little thrifty at times so when things come on special I’ll pick up extra bits that I know we will use – not actually stockpiling, because to do that properly you have to check dates and rotate oldest to the front and all that, and that’s almost like work – these extra bits are for ‘just in case’.

Do you remember when the only way you got toilet rolls was singly or in double packs?  Then came fours and ….now as we all know, anything is possible. 
On occasion I may have picked up a couple of extra packs of the really soft brand we use and left them in the garage – because they come in 20s (or even more) these days, the packs are so large they need to be stored out there in an old cupboard. 

Do you also remember what I was saying the other day about having too much stuff…..

well I popped out there to bring another pack into the house and….

well, it would seem that (once the initial panic buying slowed down and it became a staple item on the supermarket shelves again) I’ve picked up quite a few extra packs of loo paper during this pandemic time –  how long do you think it will take us to use 180 rolls of toilet paper??

Buying in bulk – ‘just in case’ – good idea or not?

A little bit of trivia….this is printed on the inside of the cardboard roll….

Quilton loves your bum 😊

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.


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!

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.

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

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