Tag Archives: Alice in Wonderland

Weekend Coffee Share- 23rd September, 2018.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

How was your week?

Every week when I sit down to catch up with you over coffee or whatever your preferred beverage might me, I have to switch on my thinking cap and try to reconnect with the week that was. What on earth happened? Do I really do all of that in one week? Or, more distressing…where did that week go? I’ve done nothing at all.

However, last week was more special than most because both my kids were in the school musical, Alice in Wonderland Jnr. Our daughter was on stage as one of the three Cheshire Cats who were the narrators in the musical and our son who has been on stage in Scout gang shows for the last three years, was actually backstage doing the lighting. However, although our daughter spent most of the show on stage and I was clearly besotted, I loved the show as a whole. Indeed, I thought it was an excellent choice for a school production as it allowed so many kids to shine. While Alice clearly played the lead, there were three Alices as well as the Queen of Hearts, White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter. A surprise character, at least for me, was the caterpillar, which I’ve never really taken much notice of in the book. The caterpillar was one cool dude. I was so impressed with the production, that I decided to go to the second performance and I’m so glad I did. I absorbed so much more the second time and I also managed to get a seat on the other side of the theatre right under my daughter’s nose.

The downside to enjoying the musical so much, was that it ended and I clearly know that I’ve fallen off the mountain top into a sense of “panging after the fjords” to quote Monty Python in a rather bizarre and twisted way. While well aware that the cast can get a sense of “grief” when the show is over, I haven’t really heard much about the audience or the parent of a performer going through this. However, I did. Yet, I make no apologies. It was such a great production and so upbeat, funny and entertaining. Moreover, I’ve known much of the cast and the audience for many, many years. Indeed, I’ve known middle Alice since she was one. Being a school of local production has that intimacy over something professional and it really was fantastic.

Amelia Ballet audition Sept 21 2018

Our daughter at her ballet audition.

However, there was no time to rest on our laurels. The musical was on Wednesday and Thursday nights and then on Friday afternoon, our daughter had an audition to appear in a local production of Madame Butterfly with the Melbourne Ballet Company. Normally, this would’ve been something we would’ve been well and truly prepared for and given such an audition it’s due. However, being the day after the bigger than Ben Hur school musical, we just couldn’t get into gear properly. No chance of getting organized the night before and I picked her up early from school and found myself driving like a maniac to the dance wear shop with quite a shopping list. Indeed, we were so short of time, that we rang ahead with our list and I was so grateful. They had the lot and had it waiting on the counter. We weren’t the only ones doing the manic pre-audition dash either. It was just crazy and I was under phenomenal pressure. We got there with about ten minutes to spare. Unfortunately, she wasn’t selected. Last year, nine people auditioned. This year there must’ve been 80 and I think about twenty kids were chosen. She was quite philosophical about it afterwards. “It was good experience”. With all that stress, I couldn’t bite my tongue. I had to disagree. Then, I remembered that it was my job to be the motivational coach, even when I wasn’t feeling motivated. That was when I remembered a pearl of wisdom I’d picked up during the week while watching an interview with former Australian 60 Minutes reporter, Ray Martin on Ahn’s Brush With Fame. Ray Martin had taken his son along when he’d interviewed Australia’s last ANZAC Alec Campbell. Ray hadn’t been able to draw much out of him, however he’s son had struck up quite a conversation. When Ray asked his son what he’d said, he’d said: “to have a go”. Have a go…it sounds too simple and yet that’s what lets me down time and time again. I’m so needing to be perfect and to get it right the first time and not make a mistake, that I don’t even try. I don’t have a go. I think I need to write that up and stick it on my desk where it stares me right between the eyes. Get on with it! Just have a go!


Ahn Do pictured with Professor Fiona Wood burns specialist.

By the way, speaking of Ahn’s Brush With Fame, I’ve actually been doing a bit of binge watching this week. This show seems to be into its third series and I only watched it for the first time a week ago on what’s referred to as “Catch Up” on our TV.My daughter thought it was disgusting that an almost 50 year old woman could go binge watching and she thought this was something reserved for the teen. However, I had great delight in bursting her little bubble. Binge watching is suitable for all ages. However, at least in my case, the choice of subject matter was entirely different. I’m going to write something more detailed about the show once I’ve caught up. However, just to put you in the picture, Ahn Do is a lawyer, comedian and author of numerous books including: The Happiest Refugee. He is also an incredible artist and interviewer and that’s what Ahn’s Brush With Fame is all about. He invites a smattering of people he finds interesting onto the show which is set in his art studio. His subject takes a set in a really striking canary yellow arm chair and they just begin chatting while Ahn starts working away on the canvas with lashings of paint mostly applying the paint using cake decorating spatulas or knives. To be perfectly honest, I find it hard to believe anyone could create any kind of realistic portrait using these things but he does. He also tends to use the brush more for female subjects and he frequently uses his fingers. On the surface of it, it’s all anarchy but he’s one of those truly clever people who appear chaotic when there’s actually a surprisingly amount of order beneath the surface. He also sends the subject out for at least 15 minutes at the end of each session so goodness knows what he does then when we’re not watching, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it involved a magic wand. His portraits are incredible and each of the sitters I’ve seen have commented on how he’s not only captured a physical likeness, but he’s also brought out something of their inner being. He’s a very clever, and incredibly intuitive man from what I’ve seen. I think he’s also very curious and fascinated by what makes people tick and what’s to know what we’re here. Indeed, that’s what he asks at least most, if not all, of his subjects. You can watch the episodes online so just because you don’t live in Australia, it doesn’t mean you need to miss out. You can click Here.

In terms of my posts this week, there was a post inspired by Ahn Do’s interview with burns specialist Professor Fiona Wood. I participated in Friday Fictioneers again with a comic piece referring to cupid’s frustrations with us humans. Lastly, I participated in Thursday Doors and posted about Penguin Gaol, Tasmania. Indeed, the gaol was so small it did seem better suited to penguins than humans.

Lastly, I’ve just started reading Tree: A Life Story, by David Suzuki and Wayne Grady, which extends that celebration in a “biography” to the tree. “A story that spans a millennium and includes a cast of millions but focuses on a single tree, a Douglas fir, Tree describes in poetic detail the organism’s modest origins that begin with a dramatic burst of millions of microscopic grains of pollen. The authors recount the amazing characteristics of the species, how they reproduce and how they receive from and offer nourishment to generations of other plants and animals. The tree’s pivotal role in making life possible for the creatures around it;including human beings;is lovingly explored.”- Goodreads

We now have one last week of term before the school holidays begin. One term left before the end of the school year. Where has this year gone? No doubt, you are just as baffled.

Anyway, I’d better get cracking. I’ve actually had a very quiet day and a big rest to catch up today. However, it time to carpe diem with whatever’s left. This has been another Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Best wishes,


The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party… Friday Fictioneers.

What a day to be Acting Police Commissioner! An entire children’s birthday party had vanished…mum, dad, ten kids, and all the food. Forensics couldn’t even find a crumb. No footprints. Nothing. Whoever abducted this lot, came in from the air. Vacuumed them up. A man of science and hard logic, alien abduction had even crossed his mind. What was he going to tell the families?

Meanwhile, the party goers watched on in horror. “Alice, where’s the antidote? Please tell us, you packed the antidote!!”

The cloak of invisibility had worked too well. They couldn’t get back from Wonderland.

99 words.

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields. Every week, we have the opportunity to write up to 100 words to a photo prompt. This week’s photo prompt kindly came from © Fatima Fakier Deria

My daughter had a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for her 5th Birthday. What a cake!


A Reply from Lewis Carroll #atozchallenge

There I was eating my Weetbix with its usual smattering of Pooh Bear’s honey, when a letter arrived on a silver tray. I must be getting used to strange happenings because I didn’t batter an eyelid, when the postman was a fish!

Of course, I knew straight away that the letter could only be from Lewis Carroll.

With most of us being bears of little brain, especially first thing on a Monday morning, I should probably recap. Even I am starting to forget which question I asked what poet. I hope that all makes grammatical sense. As I said, it’s first thing on Monday morning. No further explanation required…just more caffeine!

I asked Lewis Carroll about whether children should be allowed to go on such dangerous adventures, especially all by themselves without a responsible adult. Even though Alice’s adventures in Wonderland all turned out to be a dream, surely even such dreams are dangerous in themselves and should be discouraged! I’m sure some would even argue that dreaming should be banned!

So, without any more of the ado for which I’m renowned, here is his letter:

Alice Tea Party

Dear Rowena,

Thank you so much for your fascinating letter. I’ve been asleep for such a long time and so much has happened all around me. It’s all so exciting!

Anyway, you asked me about whether it was safe for children to have adventure, even in their dreams.

Well, to find your answer, I did what I did right back in the beginning. I went and asked Alice and all of a sudden the answer popped straight into my head:

Doors are meant to be opened. Otherwise, why is there a key?

It made sense to me so I hope it also makes some kind of sense to you as well!

Naturally, I am looking forward to joining you and the family for a tea party at your earliest convenience.

By the way, you forgot to tell me that airplanes have been invented. I’ve been darting all over the world and having all sorts of adventures. The strangest thing happened though. They wouldn’t let me take my knife and fork on board. How are you supposed to go on an adventure without a knife and fork? They’ve been everywhere with me. That’s been another one of those conundrums.

Aside from my troubles with the knife and fork, it’s such a thrill to be alive!

Carpe diem. Seize the day! Paris, Rome, London, New York…next stop Sydney!

I dropped my watch in a cup of tea

And now time can’t catch up with me!

That’s the first spot of poetry I’ve written so far!


Many thanks and fond regards,

Lewis Carroll.

I think I might go and drop my watch in a cup of tea as well. That sounds like such a jolly good idea!

Thank you so much for joining me on on this journey with Dead Poets. It’s definitely not the sort of journey which should be undertaken alone and I might be needing some help holding up m head. I’ve been learning so much. Gone on so many adventures re-reading their work , that my brain is growing exponentially and will soon burst through and start poking through my ears. Deary me, I hope it doesn’t start waving at everyone or I won’t get any work done.

So, the journey continues and tomorrow I’ll be back with D.

“No puppy dogs. That is NOT “D for dog!”

Best wishes and thanks or stopping by,

xx Rowena



Letters to Dead Poets: Lewis Carroll #atozchallenge

“How queer everything is to-day! And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is, Who in the world am I? Ah, THAT’S the great puzzle!’”

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Dear Mr Carroll I mean Hodgson,

Sorry to wake you up. No doubt, you feel like you’re travelling through Wonderland and have drunk all of Alice’s magic potions at once.

Alice drink

However, quite to the contrary, you’ve woken up in the 21st Century. That’s all. So, no doubt you’ll be pleased to hear there’s no Queen of Hearts shouting: “Off with your head!” However, I make no promises about how well your watch will be working after your journey. Should you be experiencing any difficulties, I strongly advise against dunking it in a cup of tea. While tea might be therapeutic for the soul, it’s no good for watches. Causes rust. As much as you might like it here, you don’t want your watch to stop. Time needs to keep moving forward, no matter how much we fight against it.

Would you like a cup of tea? That would wake you up and help you feel more at ease.

In case you are wondering why I’m writing to you, I’m writing to a number of dead poets who have inspired me. While I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for when I first set out on this journey, it would appear that rather than having all the answers and knowing it all, the older I get, the less I know and the more questions I find. Moreover, now that I am a parent myself, my children ask me even more complex questions and always expect me to know the answers. This can be very intimidating, especially as I’m not the sort who just shrugs such questions off or says: “Go ask your father!”

Instead, like an intrepid explorer, I set out with my butterfly net and hunt those answers down. Unfortunately, some of these answers have proved quite elusive and as much I’m enjoying the journey and all the scenery along the way, I’m not above taking short cuts. After all, why reinvent the wheel?

Speaking of wheels, if you step outside, you’d better keep your eyes open and walk with great caution. The motor car has replaced the horse and cart. I almost forgot to mention that. It goes very fast and can do a lot of damage!

By the way, the pace of life has also sped up quite a bit.

There have been a multitude of changes and I’d imagine reading this letter and waking up from the dead, could be very confusing. I promise we will take care of you and show you around but I don’t know how long you can stay. After all, this is all new to me too. When I started writing these letters, I never expected a reply and that you would actually appear.

Anyway, when I was a little girl, my mother used to read me Alice in Wonderland. I used to love the rabbit with his watch and many times when I’ve been late, I hear him talking in my head, saying: “I’m late! I’m late. Late for an important date!” I’ve also developed quite a love of tea parties. Indeed, I collect what I consider “antique” tea cups although these were made long after your tea partying days were over.

Alice Tea Party.jpg

Now, I have two children of my own. Once upon a time, my daughter had a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for her birthday. She dressed up as Alice and now that I’ve seen a photo of the original Alice Liddell who inspired the story, they actually look surprisingly alike.


Alice Liddell Aged 7.5  Photo: Lewis Carroll.

Indeed, I can quite imagine my daughter chasing a white rabbit down a hole and her curiosity overtaking all caution. She could well indulge in all that magic which made Alice shrink and grow and keep changing size until she was totally bamboozled. She’s a Cub Scout and they get up to all sorts of adventures but unlike your Alice, they’re usually prepared. Alice’s adventure was all terribly spontaneous and unplanned.


Our daughter aged 5.

When I started re-reading Alice in Wonderland, rather than seeing it through the eyes of a child, I was now the mother of the child disappearing into a strange world talking to mad strangers. As far as I was concerned, Alice’s adventures in Wonderland were a parent’s nightmare…hell! We tell our children not to go running off where we can’t see them. Not to talk to strangers. Yet, you can’t get much stranger than the likes of the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts. Wonderland is the last sort of place I’d like my daughter to wander into.

However, of course, Wonderland is just a dream and Alice wakes up right where she fell asleep.

So, I can’t really ask you about whether children should be going on such dangerous adventures without their parents or any form of adult supervision.

However, I can query you about the dangers of imagination. Do you really think it’s safe for children to conjure up such perilous, dangerous adventures in their heads when there’s always the risk that they will try to carry them out in real life? After all, kids can be very resourceful and when we keep telling them to reach for their dreams, they could well do exactly that! Drink poison! Get snatched! Break bones. Get hurt!

alice cheshire cat

It’s not that I want my kids to do nothing but do they really need adventure? Why can’t they just find it in a book? Watch a bit of TV? (I’ll have to introduce you to one of those. I wonder what you’ll think…) If any modern child was even suspected of wandering into Wonderland, their parents would demand a massive Police search to save that child from themselves let alone all those creatures!

Or, is there something wrong with us peoples living in the 21st century? Has our vision for our children been so strangled by fear, that we barely let them live? I don’t know. I never said  I had the answers…only questions!

That’s why I’m asking you! After, you’ve stuck your nose outside and re-aquainted yourself with the land of the living, you could let me know.

We’d like to invite you over for a little tea party in our garden. No Cheshire Cat but we do have two dogs. I promise they won’t eat you but you might end up throwing the tennis ball quite a bit. I’m afraid we have a rather ball-obsessed Border Collie.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,


Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was was born 27th January, 1832. He was an English writer, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon, and photographer.

Carroll first told the story of Alice on July 4, 1862, during a boating picnic trip on the Isis branch of the Thames.

Shortly before his 66th birthday, Lewis Carroll caught a  severe case of influenza, which led to pneumonia. He died January 14, 1898, at Guildford, United Kingdom.

Carroll’s epitaph reads, “Where I am there shall also my servant be.”