Tag Archives: family

Breaking-in the Clothes Horse.

Yesterday, I had an encounter of epic proportions, when I tried setting up what should have been a simple clothes horse. One of those darned instant clothes racks you put up when it’s raining and your clothes dryer’s on the blink. Worse than any contraption I’ve ever bought from Ikea, this thing arrived without instructions..or even that pesky Allen key.

Indeed, I would’ve been most thankful if an “Alan” had been included, who could help put the thing up. Disentangle the rack, which was meant to clip in on top, from the feet. This is when the wrestling process began and I was seriously concerned that either I was going to get tangled and trapped inside. Or, it was going to become air borne. With only a little imagination, I could see this thing flapping it’s wings and flying away. (Or, is that just me? If so, I’ll blame the Weetbix. That stuff looks pretty ordinary, but the villains are always understated.)

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The annoying thing about all of this, was that I bought the clothes horse because the weather report said it was going to rain for three days. Naturally, the kids’ uniforms needed to be “processed”, especially the socks.

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An empty clothesline on a perfect washing day.

However, today I woke up to perfect blue skies, and what so many poor, deranged souls call “perfect washing weather”, when they could be down at the beach.

Have you had any challenging home maintenance experiences lately? Memories?

Despite all these DIY shows, I have noticed that the local tradie hasn’t become extinct. That there are still many people out there like me, who still need to be rescued. Fortunately, my other half compliments my capacity for disaster, and is a very enterprising Mr Fix-it.

Be careful this weekend.You might just be better off picking up your phone than a spade.

xx Rowena

Mothers’ Day Is Floating Away…

Mothers’ Day is inevitably full of surprises. Not that I’m naive enough to script the day. Indeed, the older I get, the more I let it go. Run by itself.

That says quite a lot, because I can be something of a control freak.

Anyway, as I said, Mother’s Day is full of surprises and usually goes off script.

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The Family with the balloons before blast off.

So, this morning as we’re heading back to the car after Church, I’m wondering why the kids have wandered off AGAIN. I wasn’t impressed! Started wondering why we can’t all get to the car at the same time and why our family herds like meandering sheep…

Trying to round everyone up, I could see our son was clearly distracted. Indeed, all his attention was clearly focused at the sky and nowhere near the car, going home or my Mothers’ Day lunch.

Yet, in a moment which would’ve made his science teacher proud, he’d launched a shopping bag with a Mother’s Day card into the clouds powered by a bunch of helium balloons. I just managed to catch it visibly heading into the clouds like a dream. Apparently, he’d carefully tested the number of balloons required to achieve the desired amount of lift. This was a scientist at work, being observed by an absolute dreamer (his mother).

This spontaneous gesture filled me with such immense pride. He might not have broken any records, or invented the first shopping bag in space, but my heart was glowing.

That’s not something you can count on with a teen, especially on Mothers’ Day.

Although we did manage to get some photographs, he might just have to: “Play it again, Sam!” (Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca). These pics were hastily snapped on our phones.

It truly was a magical moment!

More Mothers’ Day entertainment to come.

xx Rowena

Featured Image: Photo Credit – My daughter “Miss”.

The Queen of the Kitchen…Dog Reports on Intriguing Home Visit.

G’day, Mates!

This is Bilbo, Rowena’s superlatively intelligent and inimitably handsome Border Collie and the reigning ball chasing champion of the universe. Not that I boast. Rather, I’m actually surprisingly timid. Mum’s always telling people I’m like that reserved guy standing in the corner of the pub holding his beer. I need time to warm up. Not that I’m unsociable, or one of those whimpering dogs who hide under the house whenever someone comes over. Yet, I certainly don’t jump all over strangers either. I call that “respect”.

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This is Lady on the left and I’m on the right.

Anyway, despite my prowess with the tennis ball, I also have a way with words. Being a philosopher’s dog, I also ponder the meaning of life inside, outside and upside down until my rattling, rusty brain short circuits.

It’s been a long time since I last launched myself into cyberspace. I apologise for my long absence and could easily blame writer’s block, but I’ve been busy. That wretched posty still insists on coming round here every day delivering the mail. Although I’m now considered “elderly”,  I haven’t lost my touch. Indeed, it’s a bold and intrepid posty who knocks on our front door with a parcel.

There’s been a series of macabre machinations around here, and that’s why I’m back. I’m trying to get to the bottom of it all and could use your help. Lady, my canine companion and troublemaker extraordinaire, keeps telling me that I’m over-thinking all of this. However, I have a scent for trouble and I smell trouble in capital, huge, bold letters with four exclamation marks…

TROUBLE!!!!

So, let me run through the evidence, and perhaps you could help me make sense of it all. Please explain!

Actually before I launch into what the family HAS been doing, I thought I’d better eliminate the obvious. They’re not going on holidays. That’s the usual reason routines go out the window around here and pandemonium prevails. However, the suitcases aren’t out and instead of packing, they doing what I can only describe as “reverse packing”. All the crap’s being picked up off the floor, couch and even the kitchen table and put away. Mum won’t want you to know this, but much of that, was stashed in the laundry. I don’t think Mum’s planning on doing any washing for a month.

That might also be a clue.

The other bizarre thing was the magical appearance of a new garden out the front.

Now, I bet Mum hasn’t fessed up about her gardening disasters, but she’s a serial plant killer. I pity all those beautiful purple flowers and that striking plant with the colourful leaves, because unless I come to the party with my personal watering system, they’re going to die. Indeed, I’ve even heard her talk about the convenience of heading down to Bunnings, whenever we’re having guests to “buy new friends”. Mum might write a lot about changing the world and making a difference, but she’s supposed to be making a difference in a good way, and not leaving a trail of dead plants in her wake.

Next, Mister was mowing the lawn. That could’ve made it into the Guinness Book of Records, if they recorded personal greats and the rare occurrences when teenagers levitate out of their rooms, put down their devices and move. Indeed, I should be training those kids to take Lady and I for more walks. Find their true calling in life.

As you can see, the evidence is really starting to mount…reverse packing, a new garden and mowing the lawn…my super-sensitive sniffer was very suspicious.

Yet, I was still stumped.

Then, Mum got her Sunbeam mix master out and started baking. I’m always telling her not to turn it up too high at the start or she’ll end up with chocolate splatter paintings on the ceiling. But, does she listen to me? Of course, not! AND, the busier she gets, the less she hears until her ears completely switch off. Humph! However, she actually listened this time, which also meant that no mixture splattered on the floor either. Grr! Of course, all the food which falls on the floor is automatically mine, although Lady my canine companion, now thinks she has rights as well. I was here first and that’s all that matters!

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By this stage, I’m starting to think the Royal Corgis are coming for a visit. However, why would they come here when they could go for a run off the leash at the beach?

Humph! As much as I delve into and grapple with humans, the pieces never fit together and none of the dots ever join up either.

What’s going on?

Well, on Sunday all this frenzied activity climaxed with an event of diabolical proportions.

Lady and I were given a bath.

 

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While I understand other dogs have the misfortune of being bathed weekly and even endure the horrors of the dog salon, I can take care of my own coat and refuse to suffer the indignities of the hose. That’s why I make myself scarce when that excited anticipation of a walk, quickly turns south when my beloved leads gets tied to the dreaded clothesline instead.  Indeed, I feel perfectly justified in getting narky and having what Mum has described to the Vet as a: “pathological hatred of the hose”.Well, by now the evidence was more than mounting. Indeed, there was a veritable mountain of paperwork outside my kennel, as I tried to sleuth my way towards the truth.

If it wasn’t the Royal corgis, who is it?

What if the Queen herself was coming?

The Queen of Australia…

Hang on. Who is the Queen of Australia?

I might be all-knowing, but there seems to be something wrong with the cogs in my brain…a breakdown of sorts. Who is the Queen of Australia? This brain of mine is a veritable Google, yet it keeps bringing up the Queen of England. Humph! It must need a restart. .

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Mum prepared an Alice in Wonderland morning tea for Rabbit, but I have no idea why.

I was starting to ponder the philosophical ramifications of all that, when there was a knock at the door. Another knock and a whole pile of kids arrived. However, before I could even find my tennis ball, there was more commotion and I was back to defend the house. Be it the Royal Corgis, or even the Queen of Australia, they could still be a security threat. So, I dashed into position at the side gate. I’d keep the lot of them out if I had to.

Mum had clearly lost the plot.

Then, I hear them mentioning something about the barking dog messing up their sound recording and Mister grabs me by the collar and drags me away from my post with no appreciation whatsoever.

That’s okay. I’m used to it.

They might’ve got me out of the way but through a very complex interconnecting network of mirrors and reflective windows, I could still keep an eye on things. Moreover, despite being somewhat “senior”, my hearing’s just as good as it ever was.

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Rabbit in our kitchen.

All I could hear was: “Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!” and I was a bit concerned Lady might get confused. Before she came here, she was a farm dog and between you and me, she knows exactly how to prepare rabbit. Mum died a thousand deaths when Lady ate a rabbit at Palm Beach.

Of course, Lady needs to watch out. Eating humans is a dog’s one unforgivable crime.  However, just this once, Lady behaves herself.

Rabbit gave Mum another book and I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. A book? You can’t eat a book.

Juli Rabbit Rowena in kitchen

Then this car pulls up and everyone goes hysterical, especially Mum. They’re all calling out: “It’s Julie! It’s Julie!”

I don’t know if this Julie is the Queen of Australia, but I know chicken anywhere and Julie has chicken in her handbag.

Meanwhile, while I was barking on high alert, Lady, my ever-unreliable canine companion, was swanning around with the royals being rather glam, while secretly plotting to nab  the chicken. Of course, I’m no fool. I smelt the chicken too. What dog wouldn’t, but somebody had to keep a level head.

However, before Lady could strike, the chicken was put straight in the fridge. It was “dinner” and I didn’t need to be told it wasn’t my dinner. I already knew.

Well, this Julie might not be the Queen of Australia, but she’s definitely Queen of the Kitchen, because she was teaching Mum how to cook.

By the way, if this Julie character ever comes round to your place, you’d better be good. I saw the way she cut up an onion and trust me, I was being a very, very good dog!!

At this point, I also wanted to mention, that Julie was there showing Mum HOW to cut an onion. Not only that, everybody was watching that onion, as though it contained the very meaning of life. In all the years that I’ve been watching and interpreting humans and feeling completely out of my depth, that onion incident had to be the most confusing moment of all.

What does it mean?

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And what is it about humans and onions? Day after day, Mum’s there crying as she’s chopping them up. I told you. Humans are crazy!!

Then, just as suddenly as this Queen of the Kitchen and the Rabbit person and al the camera people arrived, they were all gone and Mum and her friends were all huddled round the book.

Of course, they take me for some foolish illiterate. However, as I’ve said before, I’m a Border Collie of vastly superior intellect which stretches so much further than simply herding sheep, chasing my ball and getting rid of the posty.

I can read.

Humph…Julie Goodwin’s Essential Cookbook. It just happened to open up to page 43…Roast Leg of Lamb and Lamb Chop Tray Bake. I can already taste that scrumptious lamb fat.

So much for reading, this dog is learning how to cook!

On second thoughts, it’s time for me to put my herding instincts to good use.

Where’s Mum?

xx Bilbo.

W- Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania.

Welcome to Day 22 of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

As you may be aware, we’re Travelling Alphabetically Around Tasmania on Beyond the Flow this year.  Last night, we stayed at Wines for Joanie, and today, we’re driving around 215km South-East to Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park.

Map to Wineglass Bay

While I know it sounds rather corny travelling from Wines for Joanie to Wineglass Bay, that’s pure, serendipitous coincidence. How the letters fell out of the cornflakes box. Wineglass Bay is shaped like it’s namesake. That’s all.

Quite frankly, Wineglass Bay and the Freycinet National Park is a must-see on even on the shortest visit to Tasmania. It’s totally beyond stunning and absolutely unforgettable. At the same time, you’ll be wanting decent weather to give it its due and to capture a photo worth posting (the competition is fierce). While there’s nothing like a stunning, expansive view to stretch your insides out and liberate you from life’s stresses and strains, Wineglass Bay has to be one of the best natural views in the world. It simply is what it is.

That said, I’ve been to Tassie about five times and I’ve only been there once. Unfortunately, we didn’t actually make it to Wineglass Bay or to Freycinet National Park on our January trip. I also repeat a previous confession, that I visited Queenstown on my first trip to Tassie and missed the stunning East coast entirely, due to lack of research. I was pretty cheesed off with myself, when I found out what I’d missed.

As I’ve said multiple times before, Tasmania is much, much bigger on the ground than it appears on the map. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s packed to the rafters with so much to do, see, eat and drink that someone must’ve squished it in. Made it fit.

Wineglass Bay can be so stunning, that it’s easy to forget that this can be a treacherous stretch of sea. That there’s nothing breaking the powerful force of the Pacific Ocean between South America and the Tasmanian coast, and those waves can really become fierce, menacing and the makings of shipwrecks. I don’t believe that I’ve even seen a photo of Wineglass Bay when she’s “in a mood” or “throwing a tanty”. However, just because this alter-ego might not suit the tourist brochures, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

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Check out that wind.

Here are just a few headlines I’ve sandwiched together:

SEAMAN DROWNED. FELL OVERBOARD NEAR WINEGLASS BAY. The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Friday 16 January 1925 FISHING BOAT WRECKED. IN WINEGLASS BAY. HOBART, Thursday.  The North West Post (Formby, Tas. : 1887 – 1916) Friday 3 November 1916 p 3 Article…FISHING BOAT ASHORE. STRANDED IN COLE’S BAY. A large fishing; boat on her way from Devonport to Hobart took shelter in Wineglass Bay on Friday, but owing to the easterly -weather she had to leave, and made through the Schouten passage on her way to Hobart. A heavy south-westerly gale towards evening forced her to turn and make for Coles Bay, which was reached early on Saturday morning. Owing to the darkness the boat ran ashore, and was left stranded. The spare gear was removed, and it was expected to refloat the boat during the week-end. Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), Thursday 28 December 1933, page 2… STRANDED SHIP The interstate freighter Merino ran aground early yesterday morning near Wineglass Bay, on the East Coast of Tasmania. On board is a £100,000 collection of French paintings, as well as 200 tons o£ general cargo. The 549-ton vessel is not in any immediate danger. Two Hobart tugs, the Maydena and Boyer, are on the spot. Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), Friday 26 December 1952, page 1…The fishing smack Lucy Adelaide is a total wreck at Wineglass Bay. Weather Delays Lighthouse Ship North-easterly weather has held up the lighthouse supply ship Cape York at Wineglass Bay, Freycinet Peninsula, and she is now not expected to (berth at Hobart until tomorrow evening.The Cape York has been inspecting the Cape Forestier light house. The vessel probably will start loading stores tomorrow night for her trip around the Tasmanian lighthouses Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), Monday 20 September 1954, page 3…

I thought this story of being shipwrecked on Tasmania’s East Coast back in 1935 was so gripping, that I’ve posted it Here

Coles Bay J & G

However, let’s return to Wineglass Bay. Unfortunately, my chronic illness prevents me from walking down to Wineglass Bay. So, today we’re just going to stick to the lookout and visit nearby Coles and Sleepy Bays and you might notice our son has shrunk a little and through some kind of mystical, fairy magic, has become the Little Man again. He’s been missed.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Wineglass Bay and have the opportunity to experience it in person yourself long before you need to write that dreaded bucket list!

xx Rowena

 

 

S- Prelude to Salamanca Place, Hobart.

Welcome to Day 18 of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

As you may recall, we are Travelling Alphabetically around Tasmania. Last night, we drove from the Richmond to Hobart to get an early start at the Salamanca Markets.

Although you might think I planned to get us here for the markets, it’s pure luck. I simply added places to letters and don’t have the brain power to calculate when and where we’re going to be on a given day, especially as we get towards the end of the list.  So, we’ll have to put it down to “serendipity”, that funny sense of “meant to be” you experience when random things collide. You see, Salamanca Markets are only open on Saturdays from 9.00 AM to 3.00 PM. So, they’re very easy to miss, when you’re trying to squeeze the entire island into such a finite time.

However, before we hit the markets, we’d better touch on Hobart’s origins.

Located on the Derwent River, Hobart is the capital of Tasmania and the second oldest city in Australia. Prior to British settlement, the area had been occupied by the semi-nomadic Mouheneener tribe, a sub-group of the Nuennone, or South-East tribe for at least 8,000 years, but possibly for as long as 35,000 years.[1] In 1803, the British established a settlement at Risdon Cove after explorers George Bass and Matthew Flinders proved Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) was an island and they were concerned about a French invasion. In 1804, Hobart was established in 1804 at Sullivan Cove at the mouth of the Derwent River where it make a major convict outpost. From 1803 – 1853, over 75,000 convicts served time in Van Diemen’s Land, but prior to 1812, all VDL convicts came out via NSW.

Drunken Admiral

While it’s hard to find a family connection with Hobart, we do know that Geoff’s 3rd Great Grandmother, Bridget Vaughan was accommodated at what in now the the Drunken Admiral Restaurant, on Constitution Dock when she first arrived in Van Dieman’s Land. An inmate of the Ennimyston Workhouse in Ireland, Bridget was brought out as part of the Orphan Immigration Scheme, arriving on board The Beulah. The Beulah sailed out of Plymouth on 15 July 1851, arriving at the Old Wharf at Hobart in Van Diemen’s Land. I don’t know how long Bridget spent in Hobart, but it felt quite profound and almost creepy walking over the same wooden floorboards Bridget had trod on our last visit.

This reminds me that, although Geoff came from Tasmania, he’s barely dipped his little toe in Hobart. Growing up in N.E Tasmania, Hobart was a 3 hour drive each way and they simply drove down and back in a day. Moreover, as Geoff’s older siblings had left Tassie when he was still a boy, family holidays tended to be on the Mainland or off to Nanna’s in Bridport. Even at university, he only ever visited Hobart for kayaking competitions. That was sufficient. Sounds  to me like Hobart was a different world.

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Constitution Dock, 2017.

This reminds me of the intense rivalry between the North and South in Tasmania. For a small State which is frequently left off the map and struggles economically, it’s hard to conceive how this rivalry  could be so intense. Rather, you’d expect Tasmanians to stick together against their common enemy…the Mainlander and maybe they ultimately do. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t turn on each other with a passion. Oatlands, at least was,  considered the dividing line or “trench” between them. With Launceston being the “capital” of the North, Hobart was Tasmania’s official state capital. There were mostly free settlers in the North, and a higher concentration of convicts in Hobart. The battle between North and South, even extends to the beer. In the North, they’ve historically drunk Boag’s and in the South, it’s been Cascade and never the twain shall meet. When Geoff was there, it must also be remembered, there was also no National Aussie Rules Competition and the Tasmanian competition was divided into three regions, and never the three shall meet…South, North-East and North-West.

So, this means that while I’ve been researching Salamanca Place and trying to get an intimate feel for the geography of Hobart, I haven’t been able to consult my in-house Tasmanian expert. Rather, I’ve had to depend on historic newspaper sources and maps to establish that sense of Salamanca Place as a working landscape. That its been more than just a bunch of historical buildings and background canvas for the markets.

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Salamanca Markets January 2017 with historic buildings in the background.

So, prelude over, let’s adjourn to Salamanca Place! We’re only walking down the street, but it’s still a big day.

xx Rowena

 

H- Home: A-Z April Challenge.

“The real voyage of discovery, as Marcel Proust famously said, consists not in seeing new sights, but in looking with new eyes. And of course, once you have new eyes, even the old sights, even your home become something different[1].”

-Pico Iyer, Where Is Home? TEDGlobal 2013.

Welcome to Day 8 of our Alphabetical Tour Around Tasmania for the A-Z April Challenge.

Today, we’re going “Home”.

Not that you’ll find “Home” on the map.

Indeed, the more I think about it, so many of us have moved around so much, that pinpointing “Home”on the map, is almost impossible.

Yet, we still carry that core of where we grew up somewhere deep inside us, whether we acknowledge it or not.  Not that I’m suggesting that we’re controlled by our environment or pre-programmed in some way. However, place does have an undeniable influence.

For us, so many of these notions about Home came to a head while we were travelling around Tasmania.

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband Geoff is Tasmanian and was born and raised in Scottsdale in the North-East.

So, as we were travelling around Tassie and people asked us where he came from, I was quite surprised, when he referred to our current home on the Mainland instead. After all, when we’re back at our home, he says he’s from Tasmania.

So what’s the story?

I guess it gets back to what I said about “Home” being complex, and much more of a composite of several different places, than just where we were born.

My dear friend Google, introduced me to an insightful TED Talk by Pico Iyer: Where Is Home? Here’s some of what he says about home:

“…when I go to Hong Kong or Sydney or Vancouver, most of the kids I meet are much more international and multi-cultured than I am. And they have one home associated with their parents, but another associated with their partners, a third connected maybe with the place where they happen to be, a fourth connected with the place they dream of being, and many more besides. And their whole life will be spent taking pieces of many different places and putting them together into a stained glass whole. Home for them is really a work in progress. It’s like a project on which they’re constantly adding upgrades and improvements and corrections. And for more and more of us, home has really less to do with a piece of soil than, you could say, with a piece of soul. If somebody suddenly asks me, “Where’s your home?” I think about my sweetheart or my closest friends or the songs that travel with me wherever I happen to be. And I’d always felt this way, but it really came home to me, as it were, some years ago when I was climbing up the stairs in my parents’ house in California, and I looked through the living room windows and I saw that we were encircled by 70-foot flames, one of those wildfires that regularly tear through the hills of California and many other such places. And three hours later, that fire had reduced my home and every last thing in it except for me to ash. And when I woke up the next morning, I was sleeping on a friend’s floor, the only thing I had in the world was a toothbrush I had just bought from an all-night supermarket. Of course, if anybody asked me then, “Where is your home?” I literally couldn’t point to any physical construction. My home would have to be whatever I carried around inside me. And in so many ways, I think this is a terrific liberation. Because when my grandparents were born, they pretty much had their sense of home, their sense of community, even their sense of enmity, assigned to them at birth, and didn’t have much chance of stepping outside of that. And nowadays, at least some of us can choose our sense of home, create our sense of community, fashion our sense of self, and in so doing maybe step a little beyond some of the black and white divisions of our grandparents’ age.[2]

Anyway, moving forward from these semantic and philosophical wonderings, welcome to Scottsdale.

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I’m not quite sure how long Geoff’s mother’s family has lived in Scottsdale, but his parents, grandparents and Great Grandparents are all buried in Scottsdale Cemetery. I’m not sure if that’s a measure of being a local. It’s been about 30 years since Geoff and his immediate family left Tasmania and although he has a number of cousins living in the district, I don’t believe the ones in the cemetery still count.

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Yet, Geoff can still go into town and ask for a “Curley”, which is local lingo for a Cornish Pasty, a local delicacy as far as Geoff’s concerned. According to him, you can’t buy an authentic Cornish Pasty anywhere else. Indeed, we bought at least a dozen, which we froze to take home. That is, to our current home.

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Geoff with his brother outside “Home”.

Anyway, Geoff was born at the local hospital and grew up in a white, weatherboard farm house set on 10 acres on the edge of town. By the time he’d arrived on the scene as the much youngest of four, his mum had learned to drive and had a car. She’d also stopped milking, so Geoff was spared that “joy” growing up. He swung from the walnut tree out the back, fought off allergies to the masses of farm cats and longed for the time he’d be old enough to drive his brother’s old car.

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Looking over the home paddocks to the swamp.

So, not unsurprisingly, the family home was our first port of call in Scottsdale. It was a very powerful and emotional time for the four of us. Geoff has shared so much of his time in Scottsdale with the kids, and this was the first time they were old enough to acknowledge: “That was Daddy’s house”. You could almost sense a solemn silence, a reverence. Of course, we paused for photos out the front, hoping the current owners weren’t home. Isn’t it funny how you still feel you “own” the family home generations after you’ve moved away?  That is, even after the house has changed hands a couple of times and the Newton era has all but been erased.

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After stopping off for Cornish Pasties, we drove into town and drove up and down the aptly named Main Street. I could hear Geoff’s Aunty Joy and Geoff’s sisters talking as we walked past the Lyric Theatre, where his mother sung Gilbert & Sullivan and school speech nights were held. He drove to check out the Scottsdale Football Club where his Dad had played and the trotting track with horse hoofs still indented in the grass. We even managed to go on a tour around Scottsdale High School, where Geoff and his siblings, cousins and his mother and her siblings all went to school. We walked also walked along the old railway track which ran behind the house where his mother grew up in. Geoff told the kids about how his mother had nightmares about getting the cows stuck on the line in front of the oncoming train. I remembered Aunty Joy telling me about how the family sold cream and butter back in the Depression to make ends meet and how proud she was to have home-baked bread and hand-knitted  jumpers. I also remember laughing because I remembered how Geoff loathed having a hand-knitted jumper when he went to school and yearned for a machine-knitted jumper like everyone else. Times had changed.

The only trouble was that these weren’t Geoff’s memories. They weren’t what he knew as “home”. Indeed, he ended up telling me that he rarely went into town and spent most of his time at mate’s places. It also sounded like there was quite a bit of time flogging that Datsun 120Y to nearly to death on dirt roads. Roads which I suspect were a lot more rugged than those in the John Denver’s Classic.

So, this leaves us with a concept of home which is far more complex and not very concrete at all.

Indeed, it just leaves me confused. It’s much easier to relate and connect to these buildings I can see, than the intangible experiences of an 18 year old male…a world I’ve never known, and can’t step into no matter how much I try. Geoff can’t experience it anymore either. He turned 50 last year and is hardly 18 himself anymore.

I guess this is what I like about that saying: “Home is Where the Heart is”. That’s because home ultimately is something within….be it in our hearts, our heads, our souls. It’s not caught up in a house, building, people, experiences or memories. Rather, it’s some mysterious and magical infusion or concoction of the lot…some kind of alchemy.

On that note, I’ll leave you with the words of -Pico Iyer, Where Is Home? TEDGlobal 2013:

“Movement is a fantastic privilege, and it allows us to do so much that our grandparents could never have dreamed of doing. But movement, ultimately, only has a meaning if you have a home to go back to. And home, in the end, is of course not just the place where you sleep. It’s the place where you stand.”

What about you? What are your thoughts of “home”? Where does it take you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Pico Iyer

 

[2] Pico Iyer

Weekend Coffee Share 26th February, 2017.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

Quite frankly, I think the dog’s got the right idea. He’s lying on the floor beside me with his paws twitching in the air, evidently having a wonderful dream. I spoilt his other half yesterday. I spotted a very posh dog leash at the charity shop…a string of pearls with gold bling. Lady would look quite the part if she wasn’t such a scruffian and I hope she doesn’t roll around in dead stench while strutting her stuff.

We’ve had a big week.

Friday, as my daughter’s birthday. While we’ve put off her party until after “the test”, we still had festivities. It’s customary here for kids to take cupcakes in for their birthdays for the class. My daughter had found these uber-colourful rainbow cookies called “Unicorn Poop” on YouTube.  While seriously aghast at the “intense” colours and all that entailed, I was also concerned with her trying to make an American recipe for the first time for a special occasion. My mother hasn’t given me heaps of baking advice that I’ve taken to heart. However, she says you never make something for the first time for something special. I thought this advice went double when the recipe was in “American” and we had to translate the lingo and measurements. We opted instead for an English variation. With the end product looking like very pretty rocks, I not so subtly suggested she also makes cupcakes. Turned out that the biscuits weren’t as hard as they looked. She meticulously and artistically iced and decorated them and had a hit.

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Happy Birthday, Miss!

Last night, my parents came over and we all went out for dinner. It was the first time my Mum’s come over since her back went out last year and it was so good to see them up here. While we went out for dinner, we came back here for rainbow birthday cake and we shared some of our Tasmanian treats with them. That was so much fun and very yum!

Quite aside from my daughter’s birthday, much of my head space and time has been taken up with getting her prepared for the selective schools’ test, which will be held 9th March…only about 10 days away. Our daughter is in a selective primary school class and just from the perspective of staying with her friends, the test is at the very least an issue. I don’t believe in hot-housing kids and yet there’s that pressure, that anxiety, that not knowing. Believe me. It’s tempting to get all caught up in the panic/fear and throw all “distractions” aside and treat my daughter as a widget passing along an assembly line. So what about nurturing and developing the whole child?

I am hoping that we’ve trod the middle ground  and have done enough while staying somewhat sane. She’s been doing a bit of tutoring and some work at home but has still kept up with her dance and violin.

Strangely, the rest of the known world is not revolving around “the test”. Our State MP developed serious cancer and had to resign. This means we have a local by-election. I have to admit that I wasn’t enthralled with all the hoopla that entails, especially as we’re a marginal seat and experience what could best be described as an “Election Blitz”. You can share my shot at humour  here: Oh no! Not Another Election!

You know how hard it can be keeping the blog up with real life. Well, before writing about my frustrations with the political process, I’d actually found out that a friend and much valued role model, Liesl Tesch, is running as the local Labor Party candidate. That was quite a surprise and quite a thrill. Liesl is a Paralympic gold medalist and like me, juggles disability with movement and she showed me how you can use equipment as an enabler. Liesl teaches at our local High School and rides her bicycle to work but uses a wheelchair during the day and then cycles home. I first met her as the guest speaker at the International Women’s Day March and she was wheeling along the main street in her chair. However, when I next met her talking to our scout troop, she was standing and on her feet. That was good for me to see, because there are times when I could use a wheelchair to boost my accessibility and yet I’ve only done it once attending the Sydney Opera House.

I attended Liesl’s campaign launch on Friday morning. That was an eye-opener as it was more of a press conference. It felt quite strange seeing the political juggernaut back in town and I’ll leave it at that.

Meanwhile, I’m still following up from our trip to Tasmania. I don’t know whether I mentioned that I’ve told Geoff that he’s related to all of North Tasmania. He disagreed with me and it’s become a bit of a running joke. However, I’ve worked out that James Newton the convict I’ve been researching, had around 30 grandchildren and I’ve recognized quite a few names from the trip. It seems the degrees of separation get pretty tight down there historically speaking. Yet, many descendants have moved to the Mainland. So, it seems they could be infiltrating our ranks.

Well, on that note, I’ll head off.

I just realized that I’ve been a dreadful host and haven’t offered you anything to eat or drink and haven’t even asked how you’ve been or what you’ve been up to. My sincere apologies and I really didn’t mean to yawn at you then either. It looks like I’ve become so chilled today, that I’ve almost passed out.

So, how was your week? I hope you’ve had a good one.

This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share and you can click here for the link-up.

xx Rowena