grandma was a rebel…

My maternal grandmother was a wonderful woman.

She was kind , caring and nothing was ever too much for her to do.

A talented cook, dressmaker and gardener, all self taught.

Grandma was a bit of a rebel though. She fell in love with a travelling saleman back in 1918.

He obviously had a charismatic nature and before too long Grandma found out she was pregnant.

Back in those days it was almost enough to be sent to the gallows if one became pregnant out of wedlock.

Grandma stuck it out though. She was sent packing by her mother and father and ended up being a housekeeper for a wealthy Vaucluse, Sydney family.

Gran worked up until the day my Mother was born. Despite the pressure from so called social workers, and the stigma of being an unmarried mother, she decided to keep her baby.

This was an extremely brave thing to do. There was no welfare for anyone back then in 1920. No help from parents or anyone else.

Being an unmarried mother made her an outcast in society.

The wealthy family stood by her though. They let her keep her job and stay with them, baby and all.

What a wonderful family they were.

Grandma never told the travelling salesman about being pregnant. He had a wife and children so she did not want to complicate things even more than they were.

For four years Gran worked in Sydney. Whilst on an outing to the Botanical Gardens, Gran met Arthur. He was a merchant seaman and instantly took a liking to Gran.

They married a short while after meeting and Arthur joined the public service so he would always be there for Gran and my Mum.

A few years later Gran had a second daughter. This girl was a delight and very musically talented.

The family was now complete.

Arthur and Gran led an interesting life, moving from one project to the other. They eventually retired to Victoria in 1962. Sadly Arthur passed away just six months after retirement.

Gran stayed in the little house they bought until her death at age 94.

Incidently my Mother never knew Arthur was not her real father until she was in her mid thirties.

But that is another story.


I almost did not make it to Beautiful.

Sunday, I awoke feeling excited because it was the day my daughter and I were going to Beautiful, the Carole King Musical.

As I am house sitting at Noosa right now, it meant a trip down to Brisbane to go to the show.

Old mate and I set off at 9.30am.

Plenty of time for the 1.5 hour trip to my daughters place at Sandgate.

Or so I thought.

All was going well, a short stop along the way to deliver a beanie to a woman with a very large head. ( another story)

Back on the Bruce highway and suddenly the traffic stops.

Kilometres of stopped traffic in front of and behind us.

I remembered it was the last day of school holidays, probably accounted for the huge amount of traffic, but not why the stoppage.

We inched along, 9 minutes to go 1 kilometre. At that rate it would be 6pm before we arrived in Brisbane.

The show would be well and truly over.

Another 2 hours passed and not even half way.

It was 12.30 by this time and old mate and I desperately needed a toilet stop.

Nothing to do but pull up at the next offramp. We did this, then went back to the by now slowish moving traffic.

At least it was moving, that was a good sign.

Just before Bribie Island , the cause of the stoppage became apparent. An accident, or rather, a crash.

A young bloke, going too fast clipped the bridge, flew through the air ,cut a tree in half and came to rest on the side of the road.

Miraculously he was unharmed.

After we went past the flashing lights of the emergency vehicles, the pace quickened somewhat.

At 1.30pm we arrived at my daughters place.

My daughter is a wonderful person, but not the most organised one.

She had a shower and we aimed to leave at 2pm.

It was 2.15 when we pulled out of her driveway. Only 29 minutes to QPac she said.

Plenty of time.

It seemed like forever, but at 2.50 we parked up under the Cultural Centre.

It is just up the stairs and across the bridge she said. Not far.

She lied!

She had parked in the wrong spot. We had to walk/ run past the museum, several other bildings, up and down stairs across the road.

Wait, could not across the road.

Quick, she said, the lift is there we will go up in it.


The lift was out of order. Up more stairs, hundreds of them this time.

I was almost passing out from the exertion of it all. Through the QPac doors. Quick, door 3.

30 seconds to lockout.

We made it.

Do you realise dear daughter that your Mother is 70 years of age and not used to such a workout?

But you did it Mum, she said. Now relax and enjoy the show.

And we did.

It was a terrific show. At interval I went and met Christine and her Mum. Another highlight of the day.

Thank you Calista for providing the tickets .


The girl with the five foot head

The other day, I was casually feeding the kookaburras and enjoying the lovely warm sunshine up here at Noosa.

The magpies came for their share as well.

It really is a peaceful way to spend an hour or two.

Pretty soon that peace was shattered by my phone beeping loudly. A message came through.

It was from a woman asking me if I could make her a beanie.

No worries I told her. I asked her to measure her head circumference so I could make one to fit her.

She duly messaged me back telling me that her head was 60 inches around.

My mind boggled when I read that. A 60 inch head.

Are you sure I asked her. That seems a little large.

Oh yes she replied. It is 60 inches around.

I could not come to grips with this information so asked her again to measure it very carefully.

At this stage she seemed to be a little peeved but came back with the 60 inches.

That is correct she told me .

I have a large head because I am really brainy. I am highly intellegent she said.

Well, who am I to argue with that logic.

Ok I told her. I will have it done in a couple of days.

I am pretty certain she would have had a 60 centimetre head.

Even that measurement is quite large for a woman.

I could not come to grips with the thought of a head with a circumference of 5 feet. Really, in all honesty, I don’t think anyone could even imagine such a sight.

Being one with a warped sense of humour, I got thinking of the ramifications of some one with a 5 foot head circumference.

To make a beanie of those proportions I would need to arrange a bank loan just to buy enough wool to complete the task.

I would also need to do some serious mathematical calculations to get the fit right.

Maybe an elephant as a model. An elephants head would be a similar size I reckon.

Maybe that would even be a bit small.

How on earth would a head that size fit through a normal doorway.

It would not. What kind of house would such a person live in.

No amount of squeezing would make that gigantic noggin fit through any standard doorway.

What about the sleeping arrangements.

A double bed is 4′ 6″. That would leave an overflow of 3 inches either side.

Certainly no room for two in that bed. I think one would be destined to a lonely life.

No going on buses trains or planes either. That head would not fit.

Enough of that now.

I shall get my wool and crochet hook out and start on the beanie. 60 cms it will be.

I am sure even that will be too large.

For all you mathematical geniuses out there, I realise that 5 feet circumference is not 5 feet diameter but just took the liberty of allowing my thoughts to wander.

Trip to the barber

I will never forget my first trip to the barber.

I was eight years old and had long blonde hair. From memory, I had never had a haircut and used to beg Mum to let me get my long hair cut.

Mornings were a nightmare with Mum pulling and tqisting my hair into plaits. Sometimes two plaits and sometimes a braid wrapped around my head. It was a very unpleasant experience as Mum had bo patience and did bot care if I cried or said ouch because she was hurting me. All she said was “be quiet Jennifer!” It will take longer if you moan.

Well it was not her head was it. I should have had her charged with brutality.

I pestered Dad to let me get my hair cut. It was no use arguing with Mum. If I had short hair I would be able to come and help you with the sheep a lot quicker I told him.

At long last Mum agreed and it was time to go to the hairdresser. In my naive little mind, the hairdresser was the one who cut small girls hair.

I never in a million years thought what happened would happen.

The day arrived, I was excited as I pictured myself with a lovely stylish cut, just like my mates at school had.

I wanted a fringe, and a nice cut that did not look like a bowl cut.

Perhaps my hair would even go curly, I foolishly thought.

We headed for the small town, about a half hour drive from the farm.

Mum turned off at a smaller town. I knew the smaller town did not have a hairdresser and wondered why she was going there. I said nothing though, as a child was to be seen and not heard according to Mum.

Next minute we were stopped in front of the Barber shop. Neither of my brothers were with us so I was a bit confused as to why we were there. Maybe Mum was making an appointment for one of the boys.


Out you get, she told me. I hung my head down and followed her into theBarber shop.

It stunk like tobacco andsweaty old men. Barbers back then also sold tobacco, pipes and other kinds of paraphenalia.

Up in the chair the Barber yelled. I was so small that he had to bend over douvle to reach my head.

Out of the chair he yelled. He put a large box on the chair and kind of threw me up onto it.

He then prooduced a pair of hand operated clippers and started to hack away at my hair.

Tears streamed down my face as the clippers pulled and tugged at my already sore head. Sore from years of Mum pulling at it.

I could not imagine what I was going to look like. I just wanted to die.

After what seemed like forever, he asked Mum what she thought. She said it looked nice and neat. There was no mirror so I could not see what I looked like. All I know is that my poor head was sore and now also very cold.

The Barber yanked me out of the chair and stood me on the floor.

I was kind of stuck to the spot. I feared what I must look like. Too afraid to move and go outside in case someone saw me.

Mum asked how much and was told 6 pence would do. She was happy with that.

It would have cost at least a shilling at the hairdresser she told him. What a bargain.

We duly went home and faced my siblings. They called me all kinds of names. None of them very kind at all.

I dreaded going to school the next day. My hair was short back and sides, just like my brothers hair.

Sure enough, the next day at school I was the laughing stock. One kind teacher took me aside and told meI looked very nice and not to worry about what others said.

Another girl, who had had nits, and had her hair shaved, befriended me. It did not seem so bad then.

Gradually I got used to the haircut, kids seemed to stop teasing me and best of all, Mum no longer had a reason to pull my hair.

The Middle Child

The middle child.

How many of you are a middle child?

Much has been written and discussed about middle children.
Some good, some not so good but all with a grain of truth non the less.
Middle Child Syndrome is the feeling of exclusion.
The older child/children in a family get privileges and responsibilities
The younger receive more indulgences than the older siblings.

Enter the Middle Child and all is but forgotten.
I am a middle child.
Oh, I did not know you even existed said some people when I would tell them who my parents were.
I was sure your parents had 1 and 2 and 4 and 5, naming my siblings.
Never heard your name come up anywhere said others.

Well, that is probably because I am invisible I would reply.
Invisible? Oh yes.
Middle children are invisible.

I always thought I was adopted as Mum had newspaper notices announcing the birth of all my siblings.

Mine was missing

I know I was not a middle child when I was born, but the rot had already started to sink in

I once asked Mum why I had not been announced,so to speak. Her answer was that she was overwhelmed to have another child, one who she did not really want. She always told me she should never have had me.

She must have recovered though as the next two siblings had birth notices.

I guess back in those days there was no birth control so kids were born evn if not really planned .

I was a loner as a youngster. Always did my own thing. Made my own fun and just kept out of Mums way

At my Fathers funeral, I had people coming up enquiring as to who I was.
Noooo, was the general reaction. I did not know old Tom had another daughter.
See , invisible.

This invisibilty was not such a bad thing really. I took advantage of it and did what I wanted to do.
No one noticed, they never do with a middle child.

I was very good at sport, I taught myself to do many things as no one else would teach me.
I was either to young or too old

One year at school sports, the high jumper from my grade took ill. I begged my Father to let me take her place.
Can you even jump he asked
Yes a little bit I replied.
That year I broke the age record for girls high jump.
To this day, 60 years later, that record has never been broken.
If Dad was impressed, he did not say so, but I knew in my heart I had done well.

It mattered not that no one noticed my talents, or even my lack of talents.
I knew myself that I could do anything I put my mind to .
Being as I was, I breezed through life. Many mistakes and bad judgements were made along the way but my tenacity always got me through.

Growing up as such was quite a journey, let me tell you.
I look back and reflect and think I could easily have crumbled, like many do, but no, I came through it ok.
Not completely unscathed, but ok.
I am happy with my life.
It has been a challenge, I have had a lot of ups and more downs, but I am still here, alive and
Well not kicking much nowadays due to a dicky hip joint.

All in all, I have achieved all and even more of what I wanted in life.

That is something to be happy about.

The Royal Wedding

So, the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Megan Markle is about to happen.

I am thoroughly sick and tired of hearing about it.

I am not a royalist, I do not give a fig about the royals.

Who wants to know all that stuff about them?
Who wants to know what they will drink, what she will wear, how many spoons of sugar she has or he has in their coffee?
That is if they drink coffee.
Who wants to know what she can eat and cannot eat after becoming a royal.

When they will  have babies, how long the marriage will last what colour sheets they have and how many times they fart in the course of the night.

Who also wants to know how many guests will attend the wedding.
Who the guests will be and if they have any criminal convictions or lovers on the side?
I mean to say who would want to know this?

I certainly don’t, but have no choice.
Unless I switch off every radio, TV and never buy a magazine or newspaper, then I have no choice but to hear or read all this garbage.

I certainly  am not interested in how many times they will kiss, make love, make war and change their clothes in any given day.
I do not want to know how many kids they are going to have, when they will have them and what they will call them.
No, I do not want to know.
It seems like  it is the only topic of conversation  at the moment.

Please just let this fiasco be over and let us get on withour lives again.

Flu shot

I will not be getting the flu shot this year, or any other year.
My experiences with the flu shot are not really good.

First time was in 1964. I was at boarding school and the flu shot had just become a must have thing.
All of us girls lined up for the shot. I did not have any fear of needles but some of the girls did.
There was much crying and screaming from many, but I stood my ground , rather stoically I might add.

It was soon my turn and the Doctor looked like something out of a Frankenstein movie.
He loaded up this giant needle and took aim at my arm from about a foot away.
With gritted teeth he bore down on my poor arm, something akin to a crazed wasp going in for the sting.

I swear that needle almost went through to the other side of my arm.
It hurt, it more than hurt. It almost made me cry, but I held my tears in because I had called all the wimperers sooks.
I gritted my teeth for the rest of the day.
The pain was intense.
Of course there were the horrible girls who delighted in punching everyones arm. More pain.

That was not the worst of it though.
Oh no, it was not over yet.
The next day I came out in a severe rash. I lost my voicd. Not even a squeak would come out.
I was a bit like a fish out of water, gasping, no sound at all.

The first class of the day was a Math class. Not my favourite.
The teacher was a dragon like woman. She asked a question and many put their hands up to answer.
I did not, as I could not speak.
Of course she asked me the answer. I opened my mouth and not a sound came out.
She got mad, sent me to stand outside the classroom.
The Headmistress came by and berated me for being naughty.
Why was I there she asked?
Of course I could not answer, so she too told me what a rude disrespectful child I was.
All the time I was gaping, opening and closing my mouth but no sound coming out.
This lasted for three days.
It was not a pleasant time for me.

I vowed never to have another flu shot, ever.

Fast forward 40 years.
I was working as a cook in a childcare centre.
Flu shot were mandatory.
I duly lined up and had another shot.
The Doctor this time was quite pleasant and I barely felt the jab.
Next day , however, was a different story.
Severe rash all over and again no voice.

At least there was no teacher waiting to chastise me.
I had one of my kids call in to my work and tell them I was ill.

So that my friends was my last flu shot.
I will never ever try it again.
I have never had the flu either .

snippets of my life as it is and how it was