Weekend Coffee Share… 25th February, 2019.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

This week, you’re in luck. If you’re quick, you can snatch a birthday cup cake or perhaps even a few mouthfuls of pavlova. Have you ever tried pavlova? Many consider it Australia’s national dessert, although New Zealand has put in a formidable claim that it was made there first. I won’t get into that here. All I’ll say, is that it’s a pretty fail safe dessert for me to make and I’m well known for my pav.


The remains of the pavlova.

Yesterday, our daughter turned thirteen and on Saturday night, she had five friends over for a sleepover where they watched and grooved to Grease. I tried to give a bit of a Pink Ladies touch with pink cupcakes, but was too busy trying to get the house sorted out to get too creative. Our daughter was also at dancing all Saturday and I could be sure that any decorated efforts would be appreciated or deemed “embarrassing”. Geoff and I retreated to the other room, but we could hear their excitement and involvement in the movie. They know all the words of the songs and probably the script, and really got into it. Of course, it really helped that the school is putting on Grease as their musical this year, and a number of them including our daughter, are in the cast.

I might’ve subtly  suggested they watched Grease. You see, I had a slumber party for my 13th birthday out in this outdoor room in my parents’ garden, which we called the playhouse. I can’t quite remember how many people we squeezed in there, but there was no room for rolling over. However, what I also remember about that party was that we also watched Grease. However, back in 1982, it was on video. Moreover, although one of the girls had lived in America and had watched the movie 12 times already, the rest of us hadn’t seen it, which meant we didn’t know all the words to the songs and couldn’t sing along. I also think we stayed sitting in our seats and weren’t bouncing around dancing like the lot who were here Saturday night. Indeed, we felt rather subdued and I wished I could’ve been a part of my daughter’s party. Indeed, I’m already planning my own Grease night! I might also need to have one with my original group of school friends too. That would be a real hoot. Well, it might be…

Another element of deja vu about my daughter’s thirteenth birthday, was that I gave her a journal along with a copy of A Diary of A Young Girl, which is the uncensored version  of: The Diary of Anne Frank. This was no impulsive purchase. However, I am glad I didn’t forget about it. You see, my mother gave me a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank when I turned thirteen back in 1982 and she also gave me a journal to write my own diary. I called my diary Anne and for many years that continued and I was in effect writing and talking to Anne Frank. At the time, it was just the two of us and it never occurred to me that millions of young women all around the world over many generations did the same. When I landed in Amsterdam in 1992, I naturally went to the Anne Frank Museum. It was, of course, an intensely personal and incredibly tragic experience. However, as I’ve grown older and experienced the trauma of my health and disability issues, I’ve also come to experience her tenacity and uplifting spirit as a survivor, even if she didn’t make it at the end. Anne Frank has a lot to teach my daughter about what it is to be a young woman surviving in dreadful, hostile circumstances but I hope she will also experience that sense of friendship. That in the midst of all her ups and downs that Anne is there with her. That she is always on her side…a staunch ally. Personally, I don’t think you can have enough of these people in your life. By the way, I should mention that while I felt very close to Anne Frank as a teen, I haven’t forgotten that she didn’t get on with her mother. I feel quite close to my daughter, so I hope that remains a fundamental difference.

Given the birthday and the party, last week was rather busy. However, I wasn’t as focused on getting ready for the party as I should’ve been and left much of the cleaning til Friday and Saturday. The trouble was that I’ve been making great progress with a writing and research project I’ve been working on and I didn’t want to lose momentum. Moreover, I am naturally concerned about pausing during a project in case it gets shelved. Yet, for most of us, it’s impossible to stop everything around us for six months and get our writing project or book finished without interruptions. Moreover, as much as I love my writing, I’m also a people person and need human interaction. I’m also married with two kids and three dogs and we’re active in our local community in multiple activities. So, we lead quite a richly textured life, which I personally believe enhances my writing, however, you still need to be able to sit down long enough to get it written and that does seem to be a difficulty for me. How about you? Are you juggling too many eggs and dropping more than the occasional one?

Coming back to my research project, I’m currently researching and writing up about a collision of two ships in Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne in 1924, which resulted in the loss of six lives. My Great Grandfather, Reuben William Gardiner, was Second Mate onboard a massive collier the Dilkera when they hit a small steamer the Wyrallah which ended up steering across their path. This was at a spot called The Rip, which is renowned for its treacherous currents even today. The papers were full of interviews with the survivors and closely followed the resulting Marine Court Inquiry. As it turned out future Australian Prime Minister, Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, acted as Junior Counsel for the owners of the Wyrallah so that adds another element of interest to the case. Here’a link to a post I wrote about it:  When Two Ships Collide

dance feet

Our feet at a contemporary/lyrical class two or three years ago. Guess which foot belongs to our teacher?

The other big development last week, was that I did my first adult ballet class in two years. These classes are run by my daughter’s ballet teacher and I love them. I have a pair of proper, ballet-pink, shiny satin ballet shoes with ribbons and all, along with the theatrical pink ballet tights. However, I managed to pick up a black tutu at the opportunity shop and I have a black t-shirt with a butterfly printed on it and that is my uniform. I wear this mad get up to have a bit of fun but I also do it to encourage the others to have a good time, and not be too self-conscious. After all, we’re there to spread our wings, not to chop them off. We have a full range of abilities in the class including a professional dancer who has come through the studio. Dance is such a liberating experience. Yet, for most of my life, it was terrifying, inhibited and I felt so self-conscious and awkward. Of course, it didn’t help that I had undiagnosed hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) until my mid twenties and had serious gait and coordination issues, which were usually just referred to as “unco”. However, it’s amazing what a bit of plumbing can do to the brain, and I’m not only still alive but I’m almost coordinated.

Anyway, I wasn’t too sure how I’d go at the ballet class after a two year gap and my breathing has deteriorated in that time. However, I managed to pick it up again reasonably well and certainly didn’t embarrass myself. I was one of the crowd.

Well, that’ll have to cover it, because it’s well past time for me to get to bed. I hope you’ve had a great week and I look forward to hearing what you’ve been up to.

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Eclectic Ali.

Best wishes,


17 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share… 25th February, 2019.

  1. gaiainaction

    Wishing you daughter a very happy birthday dear Rowena. And also I enjoyed reading through your blog today. Have been extremely busy and also some ill health but now I want to catch up again and write more too. Kind regards from far-a-way Ireland to you. Agnes

  2. TanGental

    these bat disasters are gruesomely fascinating aren’t they? I visited the Victorian pumping station at Crossness a while ago and learnt of one of the worst if not the worst boat tragedies on the Thames when 650 people were killed, partly because of the raw sewerage in the Thames – which was a direct result of the brilliant scheme to get the sewerage out of central London using the natural fast tides of the Thames https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-44800309 it led to yet more changes and on it goes

  3. Rowena Post author

    Thanks for putting me onto that situation and the link. It seems like it was quite similar to the the collision I’m researching, although in this case, there were thankfully fewer people onboard the smaller vessel. I think the rip had a lot to do with my collision. I’ve been through this stretch of water on the Spirit of Tasmania to and from Devonport. On the days we sailed, the water was almost like glass with barely a ripple and looked completely benign. The sea is such a conundrum and beyond human control. Abslutely amazing!

  4. Rowena Post author

    Thank you very much, Monika. I spotted two smaller poodles at the beach that were a perfect colour batch for both of yours. I managed to snap them on my phone and will have to dig them out for you. Suddenly,
    seeing these two dogs, the world felt so much smaller.

  5. Rowena Post author

    Hi Agnes,
    How are you? Did you receive a package from me? It was only small but I think it should’ve arrived by now. Sorry to hear you haven’t been well and hope you’re feeling better. Your weather should start picking up in a month or so. I don’t really like to think about that too much as it means our Summer will disappear but we do need a breather and our Winters are relatively mild.

  6. TanGental

    True. There is a mile stretch between the south coast and the isle of wight near where i grew up. It has 7 currents meeting and looks v calm but put a speed boat on it and its mad

  7. Rowena Post author

    The meeting of seven currents sounds nasty. Funny you should mention th Isle of Wight. A good friend of mine is from there. I also found an interesting tale where the virtuous women of the Isle of Wight paid for a group of young floozies to board a ship to Australia to get them away from their husbands. They must’ve been on the mark because they were fraternizing with the crew of the ship and there was an inquiry when the ship arrived in Melbourne. I had ancestors on that ship…Mum, Dad and two very young children and their Bible. Sounds like they needed it, possibly for physical protection to throw if necessary.

  8. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Monika. I haven’t got there this week. Been trying to reconstruct the house after stashing heaps of stuff for our daughter’s party and have also had a bit of a cleanup.
    Best wishes,

  9. Junieper2

    Thank you for writing me – I enjoyed your comments:) Yes, many of the ones who have a generator around here, have so type of debilitating disease. But for painting, it would be nice to have some “day” light, because candle light greatly distorts colors. You might not know, but artists may work not only during the day, but also at night, or after mid night, after all, who needs sleep when you have inspiration?
    So, you lose trees because of erosion at the beach? So, that means the beach must border your back yard?
    Sounds your daughter had a great birthday party! She looks so alert and full of expectation:) Didn’t know that Grease was still so popular! Whenever you have your own Grease night, don’t forget to take to take lots of pics:)

  10. Gary A Wilson

    As much as I enjoy watching my children or their friends dance, I with equal energy do, not, dance. It distresses my wife, but I can think of few places where I am less comfortable and certainly not enjoying myself. I’ve been know to deliberately be in hiding when they call for the father-daughter dance or invite the parents out for a quick lesson. I work hard at appreciating the effort and beauty that results when someone I love masters a dance and does it well – but otherwise, it is a mercy to just let me be. I must be missing the needed gene.

  11. Rowena Post author

    I had a bit of a laugh this afternoon because my daughter told me that she made it into the aerobics team at school. When I was at uni, I had an article published headed: “Unco Aerobics.”

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.