Something a little light-hearted on Easter Sunday. It's an old picture, but...no wonder the dog is looking startled...there's a boy in the case!
When I was about five years old, my grandma used to sing a song to me that went:
"She's only a bird in a gilded cage,
A beautiful sight to see.
You may think she's happy and free from care,
She's not, though she seems to be.”
Of course, in my naivety (& youth) I assumed it was a song about a little bird who didn’t wish to live in a cage.
As the years went by I forgot the song but it has reappeared in my mind lately.
There has been a newspaper story (scandal?) concerning a pretty young girl who was bashed by her “fiancé”, who just so happened to be a big name in the sporting world. He was 49, she 24. He, a rather unpleasant looking man, with a down-turned mouth and thinning (dyed) hair and a string of ex-wives and partners. She an attractive blonde (possibly, “of course”) with a pretty face, that was shown on the television news in all its bruised state.
Why do girls and women pair up with these men? Is it the money? The “power” of celebrity? Or simply the need to be noticed as someone “important”? Do many young people think that their life matters only if they are considered to be of “celebrity”status?
Part of the little song goes:
A girl to her lover then softly sighed,
"There's riches at her command."
"But she married for wealth, not for love," he cried!
"Though she lives in a mansion grand."
There are examples of such women on the arms of billionaires; women who are (perhaps obviously) there because of the money.
Sports “stars” often have “trophy women”as their WAGs (wives and girlfriends) and many of them appear somewhat mismatched to the average eye.
But, this is not a new phenomenon.
The little song I quoted at the beginning of this blog was written in 1899 and became (in 1900) the most popular song of that
I quote one more line from the song:
“And her beauty was sold for an old man's gold…”,
Is that sad – or stupid?
Another little gem from Gran's autograph book of 1911.
The sweetest message in the loveliest handwriting. Again, all I can say is, 'How things have changed in 100 years'.
Whatever will the next 100 years bring? I'm almost glad I won't be around to see. And will people have lost all ability to hand-write?
I wonder what the author and her peers would think of iphones as a means of sending thoughtful messages (?). Then again, are 'thoughtful messages' sent via iphones? Hmmmmm.
It's Children's Book Week here. This picture says it all. People...parents, grandparents, friends, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles - anyone - should read to children constantly. It's the BEST way to encourage children to read and to want to read - and to develop a genuine interest in literature and all that is around them.
Please read to children...always.
As I pack up precious belongings ready to move to a new house one day, I ponder what these possessions are really worth. What are they worth to other people? Anything? And then I wonder what is anything worth? Not just possessions, but things that cannot be seen. What matters?
There is a wonderful piece of writing by Michael Josephson, called "A Life That Matters" and it's worth looking up and reading in its entirety. Here I quote a small snippet from it:
".....What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave. What will matter is not your success, but your significance. What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught...."
To try and live by these words is a big ask, but worth a try.
The king parrot waiting by the door for me to come out and put sunflower seeds in "his" dish. I will miss him and all his family and friends. Even the cheeky lorikeets, who boss all the other birds away, I will miss (although perhaps not their noisy chatter!). Maybe there'll be some in Queensland?
I certainly hope so.
Meanwhile I will take photos of Mr King Parrot to remember him well...in all his handsomeness and intelligence.
Not sure if this (1921) autograph book contributor was a child or not, but it's a heartfelt message, with interesting ways of spelling Melbourne and Adelaide - and even Sydney and Brisbane seem to have their 's' turned in to a 'z'.
Poor old Tasmania has been forgotten altogether.
Hazel, you are remembered 92 years after you wrote this. I'll bet you could never imagine how your words ( and beautifully drawn map of Australia) would be spread...electronically!
When I check the stats from my blog/website nearly every day , I am often very pleased to see that I have had 50 or 60 visits in a day. That is, 50 or so people have visited (and hopefully read) either my blog or some other part of my web page; maybe a short story of a piece of non-fiction. And I think to myself (in a self-satisfied sort of way) how nice it is to have people read what I have written - even though these 'visitors' never leave a comment.
What a surprise I received to see in recent stats, that on Sunday, March 17, there were 280 visits to my site. 280! Now, that's a lot. And far more than have ever visited in one day before. But it was St Patrick's Day and I wonder if a few little Irish gremlins had popped in to remind me of my Irish heritage.
Would be pleased for any enlightenment.
I'd draw a little shamrock here if I could!
Sorting out all manner of things as we begin to "de-clutter" and pack for the big move, I came across this old autograph 'album' that was given to my husband's grandmother in 1910. Oh, how much has changed in our attitude to life over these past 100 years. The verses and messages in the book, written by friends and relatives of the girl (young woman, really) who owned it are simple - full of care and meaning that is somehow foreign to us today. Naive they may be, but they tell of a simpler life and a life of faith and honesty - sometimes with a touch of religion, sometimes with a touch if (innocent) humour. Many with sage advice.
If you wish to have success,
Five things observe with care:
To whom you speak, of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
And, another page reads:
You may write your names in albums,
You may print them in the sand;
You may carve them into marble,
With a firm and skilful hand.
Each word will soon be sullied
Each name will fade away;
Each monument will crumble,
Like all earthly things decay.
But dear friend their (sic) is a book,
With pages of snowy white,
Where no name is ever tarnished;
But for “ever” will shine bright.
And in that book, “God’s Album”,
May your name be penned with care,
And all who here have written,
Write their names for “ever” there.
Imagine reading something like those words on FaceBook today !! A lot has changed in 100 years.
Having started to recover from the shock of finally selling our house, I have decided to put house sale matters "on the back burner" for a while and have, once more, delved into my memoir for a slice of my childhood life to include in a blog. Here it is:
I was the second of five children in our family and was delighted to have a new baby sister when I was eight years old. As the baby grew, she became more delightful by the day to me, the big sister. I continually pestered Mum to let me pick the baby up from her basket when she cried or when it was feeding time.
“I’m big enough,” I had insisted over and over.
Finally, success! One day I was told I could go into my parents’ bedroom and lift the baby out of her little bed and bring her to the living room.
Feeling very grown up, I went in, put my hands under the baby’s armpits and heaved. She felt heavier than when I had simply nursed her on my lap, but I got her out of the basket alright. Moving my hands down and carrying her, by locking my hands and arms under the nappy area, her with her little face pressed to my chest, I walked towards the door. Then, horror of horrors, part of the baby fell backwards. I still had my hands under her bottom and her little fat legs were at my waist, but her head and torso were now pointing floorwards; her head about level with my
What to do?
To call for help would cancel out any further chances of being able to “care for” the baby by myself. I had to rectify the situation on my own.
I staggered towards the parental double bed, gently nudging the baby’s head and upper body with my legs as I went. On reaching the bed, I gave the little body a sort of flip upwards and
landed her safely, on her back, on the bed. From there, I started again. This time, picking her up more carefully, with one hand on her back and shoulder area.
In triumph I came into the living room, carrying baby, and yet most probably looking flushed and guilty.
Strangely, the baby seemed to have thought it was all good fun.
Well, the deed is almost done! The contract of sale is being drawn up and, by next week, all should be official. But lots of questions have to be answered and lots of work to be done.
One question is: will we have a spring garden up north like the one we have created here (down south)? I expect not. Then, will that be easy to deal with?
But first things first. The house sale deal will not be finalised (settlement day) until July 5...due to many reasons. But that's fine as it gives us time to find a suitable house to move into. But, will we have a garden as good as the one we are leaving? Perhaps it's not such a bad idea this "non-garden" thing. Gardening is such hard work and my hands have "done a million miles" as I was told only today by a doctor, who was attempting to explain why my fingers give me so much pain!
So, garden or not, it will be good to move houses. Can't wait!
So, I posted a 'new' picture of one room of our house, saying that I was about to improve all house pictures so that someone, somewhere, would take a liking to our house and (possibly) buy it. Well, within 12 hours of putting that picture on my blog, we had an offer to buy the house! How did that happen? Was it because I was finally being very positive about the sale? (Or the prospect of a sale?).
Now the fun starts. All the legal stuff. All the checking up of the purchasers' banking details to ensure that the money is there. Then, once a deposit appears, it will be REAL. And, then for more fun (?). The finding of a new place to live and the packing up of belongings - many of which have shared 30 years with us in this house! Eeeek! What have we done? But, oh joy, to have a buyer and, oh joy, to be able to move north and be near our family. (sigh!) How did that happen so quickly? Who did that?
In between writing a memoir and writing eulogies for folk who have departed this life, I am still trying to sell our house. I chose today to take some new photos of different aspects of the inside of the house - and here I have reproduced the picture we chose to show the informal living-room. It took me so long to get this pic to be "just right" that I have added this, and only this, to the oher pics on the "For Sale" website. But, it's a start. And something different for my blog followers to see and read about. in fact very different from reading extracts from my memoir!
If, and when, I successfully take some other house pics, I wil try to remember to post them here.
Continuing my lazy approach to blog entries, I include a short extract from my memoir. A memory from the time when I was about 5 or 6 years old.
During my first two years at school, I was ‘a selective mute’. I didn’t say a word to my teachers, although I spoke to some of the girls in the playground, when no adult was around.
The only time an utterance left my lips was at roll-call time, when we had to reply to the announcing of our name. As each girl’s name was called, she had to say, “present”. It was all done in a hurried & efficient manner, and I misunderstood the word I heard the others say. My teacher made it quite clear that, when my name was called, I was not permitted to stay silent. And so, on hearing “Dianna”, I would mutter between unmoving lips, the word “pressed”.
Often I would be in fear and trembling, glancing at my not very well-pressed school tunic. What
did they do, I wondered, to girls who answered “pressed” and they weren’t? But I was left wondering.
For the time being, I will again today use an excerpt from my memoir for my blog entry. I am quite enjoying revisiting 'stories' that I have written and am using these blog entries to (hopefully) help me 'grasp the nettle', so to speak, and finish writing the memoir. (Oh, if only!). This entry is about my first attempt at knitting.
My school experience of craft work began quite early, as in Grade 2 (begun at age six) we girls were all expected to knit a small doll’s bonnet. It was the simplest design made up of one plain piece of straight knitting measuring about four inches by eight inches (10cm x 20cm).
This knitted rectangle was then supposed to be doubled over, stitched along one edge and then two more long, narrow, knitted pieces added to the front corners to make the under-the-chin ties.
The first thing that had to be done was the shortening of the knitting needles to enable small hands to manage them. So far, so good. Dad was able to achieve that chore, by cutting down some plastic needles and, by use of a candle, softening the severed ends and replacing the little knobs that supposedly stopped the stitches from falling off.
My knitting efforts were pathetic. The straight edges began expanding at a rate equal to the amount of rows I managed to knit. It was all a mystery. Where did all these extra stitches come from? And the holes? How did they happen? It was all too much for me as a just-seven-year-old.
I abandoned the knitting as soon as it seemed possible. That is, many weeks after most other girls had completed their dolls’ bonnets and after poor Mrs Peters (our teacher) had given up asking me how my knitting was progressing.
To this day, I still don’t know whether the other girls were actually able to knit a completed article or whether their mothers did most of the work.
But I seemed to have it in my head that if we were expected to do something, we had to do it
- and do it ourselves. I don’t think I even thought to ask Mum to do mine for me.
It was my first real failure at school work and I was terribly ashamed of the mangled and
dirty tangle of blue wool that was my first attempt at knitting.
Writing yesterday (from my memoir) the story of my grandpa's little dog, reminded me of another sad little dog story. It is another story from 'long ago'. Here it is:
We called all our female pet dogs, Janie.
One Janie we had, when we were quite young, was a dear little Australian Terrier who considered herself to be one of the kids and played with us accordingly. In those days, dogs were usually free to roam the streets and join in the fun with any, or all, of the neighbourhood children. This Janie loved joining in any activity, but she had no road sense and one unhappy summer weekend a car skittled her, turning that Sunday into a black day indeed
I was not outside in the street to see and hear the awful accident, but was in the back yard when Dad appeared, carrying the lifeless little body, which he laid gently on the grass, before putting an umbrella up to shield her body from the baking sun.
I was devastated. I did not move as I watched the sad spectacle. I was not far away from where the little body lay and once it was only me and the dog there I began to plead with God to perform a miracle.
On the concrete back veranda, I drew on the blackboard nailed to the outside wall and every minute or so, turned to see if Janie had moved. I was not concentrating on drawing. I was merely making marks on the board as I earnestly said prayers, pleading again and again to God to make it not true; to make the little dog sit up once more and run around in the joyful circles for which she was so well known.
But it was not to be and we went to bed that night with heavy hearts and woke the next day to find the umbrella gone,the backyard looking all too normal and not even a mark to show where the little dog had been.
This story (in part) is included in my memoir. I do apologise for writing about dogs meeting with fatal accidents and will endeavour to stop the sad dog stories and try and write something more uplifting in the next Blog!
Whether through laziness, or the fact that the current oppressive heat is wearing me out and removing any desire for creativity, or simply a desire to share more of my Memoir, I have today included a true story, which I have titled "Grandpa's Dog" and which relates to an occurrence when I was about six years old.
Read it if you can find it on my web page.
(It still manages to bring a tear to my eye!)
It is so long since I added a page to the 'non-fiction' section of this site that I forgot how to achieve it. However, the piece I have added is under the heading of "From my Memoir" and tells the story of my mother's beginning. A story that I used as a base for one of my fictionalised "short stoiries", so giving you two pages to read.
All very interesting to me and anyone else who is intersted in the life stories of forbears.
This is my “photo wall” and, today it is being taken down. That is, the photos are going to come down off the wall – with my help. There are five generations of family represented in these pictures. They (the pictures and the family members) are all precious to me, but, perhaps not all that special - or even attractive - to anyone who doesn’t know who the people in the photos are (or were).
The other day I was reading some ‘hints’ on what to do when selling a house and the author of the article made the comment that “people don’t like seeing pictures of your granny on the wall.” So, as we are still trying to sell our home, the “pictures of grannies” (even those who are not, nor ever have been “grannies”) are to come down. I will clean them, wrap them carefully and place them in a big box, to await removal. Will they ever again see the light of day? I really don’t know.
This is the main photo wall. The big oval-framed picture is of my great-grandmother; the person who bought the piano for my mother. The piano which now sits proudly opposite this photo wall.
I am having trouble understanding the nastiness – hate even– displayed by some ‘ordinary’ Australians - and some politicians - towards asylum seekers who reach our shores. These people are fleeing danger and persecution and are seeking safety.
What is wrong with trying to find a safe place to live? There is NO queue! So they are not “queue jumpers” as described by some people. If they arrive here by boat, it is because it is the only method of escape they have. They have no other choice… even if it means risking their lives. Why do they have to face further “righteous” persecution from Australians who live in this wonderful country? Surely this country can be shared a little.
I cannot comprehend why these poor people are treated with such disrespect and negativity. Put in more modern terminology, I just “don’t get it”!
And I am embarrassed by my fellow countrymen and women.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.