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Living, loving, Laughing and Travelling as much as possible. Come along and join in my life and travels - I'll be happy to have you there with me.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The bit in the middle

I have always liked this week between Christmas and New Year.

Because its summer here they are what I call lazy days, days when I don’t get caught up in anything stressful.

Calming down days after the Christmas festivities and all that.

What I do depends a lot on the weather. Gardening sometimes has to take a back seat cose if the weather’s too hot I do some clearing out – too wet I might do some baking.

Most of the time I sit and read and do very little. As I say these are days to rest and recuperate and contemplate what’s been and what's coming ahead.

Little things have pleased me this year, like after years of not growing any we have eaten home grown vegetables this summer. And how we finally had some rain - not enough - but it eased the pain for some of the farming community.

Seeing one grandchild start high school and thinking about how quickly the years have gone since the day I nursed her straight after her birth.

Thinking of the new people I met during the World Swimming championships, the craft items I finally finished, of aging and how it has affected family members, of the travel we did and grandchildren we don't see regularly.

Watching with pride DH march in Adelaide's Anzac Day Parade.

This group of ex Englishmen enlisted in the boys service of the Royal Air Force at about the age of 15 and for 18 months they had schooling as well as trade training. At 18 they then moved up and became regular airmen with most of them serving a minimum of 12 years in the men’s service.

Most of these men are in their 60s and 70s and haven’t been ‘on parade’ for quite a lot of years yet see how well they march and keep time. After the March they laugh over a beer and say ‘after all that initial square bashing they went through there’s no way they would forget.’

Most of them would have seen active service in one conflict or another and there is a comaderie amongst them that others in civilian life don’t understand.

Anyway back to the present. Just ike the past few days its going to be HOT (41c/about 105f) so I don't plan on doing much. Sit in the shade on the back deck with a book sounds like a good idea :))

New Year is just around the corner, hopefully our life will be peaceful and happy. Happy New Year to you all.

See you in 2008

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

Boxing Day in Australia is a public holiday - it is the day when we recuperate from the day before. Christmas Day for us was as we expected, quieter than other years but nice just the same.

As there wasn't as much recuperaton needed than in other years we (DH and I) had an easy morning then took a drive to one of our nearby resevoirs - Maroondah Dam. Click on the link and see what the park is like.
Lots of families there in the grounds having picnics and bbqs. We climbed the steps to the top of the dam wall and then walked down the other side.
I learned that because I gave up on the exercise during the year I have become very unfit and feeling this way today has made me realise I have to start all over again and do something about it.
Other hardy folks line up at department store doors at ungodly hours to be first in line for the sale items - others take it easy and watch to listen to the cricket test match. This year Australia plays India and it should be closely contested.

All in all for us a quiet peaceful day

Monday, December 24, 2007

It's what we do

Only one more sleep :))

It will be a fairly quiet day tomorrow - just the way it's going to be this year.

One son and family will drop by in the morning and then we'll walk round to a daughters in the afternoon. Oh and depending on the weather we'll have a meal inbetween. After the hot humid days a cool change and even more rain has come through and its turned quite cold. We even thought about putting the heater on the past couple of nights as my feet were frozen.

If it warms up (prediction now is for 20c/about 68f) we may have a BBQ but if its anything like today its going to be cooked lunch followed by Christmas Pud. Of course in other parts oF Australia it could be sweltering hot so cold lunch is the only way to go.

There are a few traditional things we do here that carry on each year regardless of what is going on in the world.

The Boxing Day Cricket Test Match is one. Have a look at this humorous article about our Melbourne tradition. We'll be watching the first session from the comfort of the lounge chair and listening to the rest on the radio. As its being played in Melbourne we don't get all the game on tv unless its sellout - to protect the gate they say - and the profit they make I say lol

Another would be taking Christmas Songs from the Northern Hemisphere and parodying them.

cossies = swimming costume
barbie = bbq
total fire ban = really really hot day when no fires are allowed in the open - declared by fire authorities and punishable by law now.
bangers = sausages
stubbie = small bottle of beer
Rusty Holden Ute = a car based pickup truck made by Holden
Esky = portable cooler
Kelpie = Australian cattle dag
thongs = flip flops
swaggy = very old term for what would now be called travelling out of work itinerant workers
Wattle = Tree with yellow flowers Australia'a Floral Emblem

Summer Wonderland

Cricket’s on, are you listening
On my brow, sweat is glistening
Crackin a beer, we’re glad to be here
Christmas in a summer wonderland

Come around, bring your cossies
And some spray for the mozzies
We’re havin a lark, in the caravan park
Living in a summer wonderland

In the afternoon we’ll have a barbie
Even in a total fire ban
Marinate the bangers with a stubbie
And give a glass of sherry to your nan

Later on, we'll perspire,
As the temperature gets higher
(Santa) looks out of sorts
He should be in shorts
Christmas in a summer wonderland.

Jingle Bells Australian style

Dashing through the bush
In a rusty Holden Ute
Kicking up the dust
Esky in the boot
Kelpie by my side
Singing Christmas songs
It's summer time and I am in
My singlet, shorts & thongs



Engine's getting hot
Dodge the kangaroos
Swaggy climbs aboard
He is welcome too
All the family is there
Sitting by the pool
Christmas day, the Aussie way
By the barbecue!


Come the afternoon
Grandpa has a doze
The kids and uncle Bruce
Are swimming in their clothes
The time comes round to go
We take a family snap
Then pack the car and all shoot through
Before the washing up


This is a fun one sung by kids

Deck the shed with bits of wattle
fa la la la la la la la la
wax and gum leaves in a bottle
fa la la (etc)
all the shops are open sundays
fa la la (etc)
Buy your dad some socks and undies
fa la la (etc)

Have to go, enjoy tomorrow and I'll see you all in the New Year

Friday, December 21, 2007

Water is music to the ears

The day that the rains came down Mother Earth smiled again;
Now the lilacs could bloom; now the fields could grow greener.

The day that the rains came down, buds were born, love was born
As the young buds will grow, so our young love will grow -
Love, sweet love.

A robin sang a song of love, A willow tree reached up to the heavens
As if to thank the sky above For all that rain, that welcome rain;

We looked across the meadowland, And seemed to sense a kind of a miracle
Much too deep to understand, And there we were, so much in love.

The day that the rains came down, mountain streams swelled with pride.
Gone the dry riverbed; gone the dust from the valley.

The day that the rains came down, buds were born, love was born;
As the young buds will grow, so our young love will grow -
Love, sweet love, rain sweet rain.

Words & Music by Pierre Delanoe & Gilbert Becaud; English lyrics by Carl SigmanRecorded by Jane Morgan, 1958 (#21)

How many of you reading hummed along as you read these lyrics??

Growing up in the 50’s in England we had our own pop singers but most of the music came from ‘The States’ as in United States and like most teenagers of that time I loved rock and roll (Bill Haley and the Comets were a favourite as well as dear Elvis aka ’The King’). I was also happy to listen to ballad type songs, country, blues, skiffle, trad jazz, - you name it - I tapped my toes and sang along.

And danced.

I loved to dance and suffered many ghastly partners ('cept for my friend Anne) so when I met my DH and we ‘clicked’ the first time we jived I thought I’d died and gone to heaven lol ……………………We still have a go if there’s a band and he’s had enough to drink lol………………….. But these days its usually a slow waltz.

And even tho I hadn’t met him when that song was recorded it’s just the right tempo for a slow walk so I might just hum it to him later and see what happens :))

Yesterday and today here in Melbourne it has been very hot and humid and very very wet.

Storms to rival monsoons – just like last week – have come in the afternoons and for some reason this song kept going through my mind.

We do so need the rain, after so many years of drought Australia needs water. Melbourne needs water to fill its dams and my garden certainly needs water. .

I’m not sure all those who will be camping at Rosebud foreshore over the next 2 months will agree and even tho I love our long hot summers I for one won’t be upset if we have a long hot humid wet one if it means we get some water from up above

DH made this cupboard for the back deck a couple of years ago - its a great asset and we use as a bench when we BBQ - see below at one of our Christmas gatherings.

It holds a lot of my gardening bits and pieces including my wellie boots - well today the guttering above it leaked, water poured down over it and I discovered its not waterproof as instead of keeping the water out the boots were filled with the stuff lol

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why do we have to age

These are some photos of my Aunt taken this time of the year 3 years ago. It was at our family Christmas get together and she is with some of my grandchildren ( her Great Great nieces and nephews) and one of my Sons in Law. See what a stylish young thinking 81 year old she was.
It has broken my heart to see her decline with the onset of Alzheimers Disease - the change in looks and personality are so hard for us to cope with and for her it is horrendous. She knows things are not as they should be and when she is thinking clearly she will talk about having seen what the disease did to a dear friend of hers and how it preys on her mind. This episode of the broken arm and having 2 weeks in hospital followed by 3 weeks respite care has not helped and we feel she will take a while to settle back into her previous way of life now she is home again.
This is a horrible disease that is not curable but is 'managed' - hopeful scientists will find a means of prevention in the future. Keep your mind active is the standard thought at the moment, taking Omega 3 fish oil or Ginko Biloba is another.
I am not a blood relative - she was married to my Uncle, my Mother's brother. Dementia has not been evident in my family history but they are now saying Alzhemiers Disease is the most common form of dementia in people over 65 (guess who turned 65 last birthday) and the second most common form is Vascular Dementia (guess who's family history is filled with raised blood pressure and heart disease eventuating in the inevitable coronaries and strokes)
Didn't realise when the picture of the grandchildren was enlarged it wasn't suitable for showing on the internet. (One of the girls underclothes was showing)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Wanderer Returns

I am here again – just.

Having to think in list form at the moment.

Thoughts were entering my mind and leaving so quickly I found I was forgetting even the most usual of daily tasks. I seem to have written countless lists this past week or two.

The house has been cleaned and the tree is up along with other decorations. No pre - Christmas family gathering for us this year which is a shame, I really look forward to having them all here together on that one day. Eldest DD flew out yesterday to spend a few weeks in England visiting friends and in laws. Her DD is the only Grandchild on the partners side so its only fair they get a lend of her now and again lol

Others have had such busy time there was no day we could all arrange a time so its going to be seperate visits now over the Christmas festival.

All the pressies and other gifts are wrapped and under the tree waiting to given with love.

I had to go to a shopping centre today and couldn’t get away fast enough. What is it that makes people act crazy at this time of the year? Couldn’t blame it on the weather, as it wasn’t even hot but cool and wet. Yeah for wet rain lol.

We had a torrential storm the other Monday, reminded me of our days in Singapore and Penang when it was the monsoon season. I was driving to the station to pick up DH and down it came, roads flooded in an instant. I had to laugh tho’ as a couple of days later I got an email from a cousin in Nova Scotia asking if we were ok – it had made the news over there. The ground is as dry as a bone again so hopefully today’s little drop will be a help.

Nearly all my break up lunches are over now, just one on Tuesday to go. Had a great time with my Red Hat Ladies at the Club Kilsyth, which won’t be the same after our visit there last week. Lots of groups lunching that day so we had lots of enquiries from ladies of a certain age as well as younger ones asking what all the fun was about. Some Mums going to be directed our way I think.

My aunt is still incapacitated with her broken arm, and most of my time over the past few weeks has been looking after her needs After spending a couple of weeks in hospital the medical staff said she was too frail and shook up to go home so as beds are at a premium in public hospitals she has now been in special accommodation trying to build up her strength.

She’s been there for 2 weeks now and is so bored she doesn’t know what to do with herself.

One good thing about this place is that I have been able to take her dog to visit, couldn't do that at the hospital unless she stood out in the street so this has calmed her down a bit – she was becoming quite frantic in the hospital thinking her dog had been given away.

Then we had to deal with her thinking we’d sold her house and put her into a nursing home – this respite establishment is actually part of a retirement village complex that has a hostel and nursing home so all she saw were old people some of whom had dementia that was far more advanced than hers. . In the beginning she just would not accept that it was the Drs who said she had to stay there and not us.

One of my Granddaughters sings with Choir Victoria and I was able to take the Aunt to their carol service last weekend at the Police Academy Chapel. She could only be out for 3 hours, which was just long enough for her and gave her the chance to feel normal.

I was so worried about her that in the end I asked if she was allowed to go out for most of a day and this past week I collected her one morning, drove up the hills to the kennels so she could to actually pick up the dog herself, drove back down to her little unit and spent some time there.

After a cup of tea she seemed a lot better and more herself. So then we left the dog asleep in the courtyard and went out to lunch. Couldn’t have the drink I fancied, ‘cose I had to drive back up the hills to the kennels and then take her home and then take my self home. Lots of Booze buses out and about with lots of nice policemen manning them but I didn't want to take any chances :((

She was able to take him up to his run and see where he’d been for the past few weeks and meet all the other dogs there, which really pleased her and meant I didn’t drive home feeling so bad. Mind you it was about a 120km/ 75.5 miles journey round trip from my house and back but she was happy and that’s all that mattered.

She’s coming home on Monday, and will be benefiting from a government aged care package designed to keep older people in the community, which somehow has miraculously appeared even tho we had asked for help before and were denied as she had relatives who could do all those things for her.

Rant over – new day tomorrow. Hopefully it will rain again and I’ll have more green beans and tomatoes on my plants.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Apron Swap

Try as I might I just couldn't get a good photo of the lovely apron Jen sent to me for the Down-to-Earth swap.
The close-up does show the green bias trim and the ric-rac braid tho - thanks Jen


Look up and read about POSSUMS

Here in my garden I have both ringtail and brushtail possums so love them or hate them we can do nothing about them as here in Australia they are a protected species. Catching and killing is prohibited - we just live with them. They are territorial so they will die or be killed by others if moved to another place.

Most years they are just a minor nuisance that takes a fancy to the new green tips of next doors huge oak tree and then sleep all day long in the boxes the neighbours have provided for them. We know they are around as they yell and hiss at each other during the night and have the most atrocious table manners and leave half of the tips on the ground above where they were grazing.

This year they are taking advantage of my good feelings and seem to have invited most of the local population to their all night parties. There have been a few fisty cuffs along with a good amount of bad language thrown in for good measure outside my window most nights recently.

It also appears that the short cut to these all night raves is via the trees adjacent to us, over our roof, and then via the trees on the other side of our house to goodness knows where.

How do I know that – well to begin with I thought something had fallen down in the house during the night and went back to sleep, then there was a rustling in the trees followed by more and more thuds and what seemed like size 10 boots running over the roof finishing off with more faint rustling on the other side of the house.

They also have been taking advantage of the power lines from the street to the house, which is a lot quieter but not quite a fast and devil may carish than the rooftop route but they seem to stop and natter half way. Going by the poop and pee on the boot of my car DH thinks it must be a couple of females ‘cose males only say G’Day and then are on their way whereas females stop and want life histories each time the meet.!!

SO it’s back to the Frisbees on the power lines, parking the car in another spot and accepting the population has grown this year. One good thing we are thankful for is that they haven't fouind their way into the roof and use it as a bedroom during the day.