Friday, October 14, 2011


With the warm weather only a whisker away this morning, time has been spent raking leaves ... this is an endless, ongoing task; one that I tackle when visitors are expected, or when the hot days of summer and the bush-fire risk aids urgency.

Admittedly I had raked the leaves into bundles a couple of weeks ago, and had not got round to it, but overseas visitors expected early next week added urgency.   There is a song here in Australia, one of the lines being, "Give me a home among the gum trees'.  We live among the gum trees, they shelter us from excessive sun and storms and in return drop dead leaves with the slightest zephyr. 

While wheeling the barrow to the 'heap' I yearned for a block of ice to quench the thirst, and reinvigorate the enthusiasm.  Suddenly a memory from my primary school days scrambled from the corners of a cluttered mind ... one word sprung to mind ... Ice.

In my youthful days few households had a refrigerator.  How did you keep food cool and fresh I hear you ask!  A Safe; a cream and green metal safe that hung under the weeping plum tree on the back lawn kept food safe from attack of flies and the gentle breeze wafted in keeping food 'more or less' fresh.  I daresay there were some occasions when it didn't work, but my Mother, mindful of the fussiness of her two children, never advertised those moments at the dinner table!

We never had a refrigerator, indeed as a child our home did not have electricity!  And that will leave you with a million questions as to how ... when you know no other way it is easy.

I lived in the country, travelling by bus to a school in the town.  Country children took cut lunches, buying fish and chips or a pie once a week; town children went home for lunch.  A bus took those, who lived on the outskirts of town, home, returning them 10 minutes before class.  Us Country Children did not envy those Town Children at all;  exciting things happened in the lunch hour!  Knuckle bones, pick-up-sticks, skipping, annoying boys playing marbles ... all the usual happenings of the era.

But, come a hot summer day [a little like today] and the Country Children crowded the bus stop for the return of the Town Children.  Because ~ some brought a preserving jar full to the brim with little blocks of ice which were dished out to 'friends'.  On those days the Town Children had more friends than ice, but the secret was to be close to the bus when the door opened!

Today I made do with a glass of cold water, followed by a swig of a popular sports drink, as per doctor's orders;  dehydration in the Australian warmer weather when one is raking and shovelling is almost as bad as death, except there is a return! 

Friday, October 7, 2011


Last night the radio station we are always tuned into ran an interview with Lynda LaPlante bringing back memories of my life in New Zealand.

The Library, a donation by Andrew Carnegie, stood on the corner at the other end of my street.  Reading has always occupied much of my spare moments, and when a busy Mum of five children I mastered the art of reading and peeling potatoes, at the same time.  OK, sometimes a little skin was left on the potatoes but I have it on good authority that the skin holds many vitamins.  It was not inattention that resulted in zebra-like potatoes, but my thirst for knowledge, or escape from potato peeling.

There was a time when I had read everything [I was interested in] book on those shelves.  The librarian, a woman half a decade younger than me suggested I read Lynda LaPlante.  Mmmmm ... I picked a couple off the shelf and read the blurb.  I put them back on the shelf.


For a start her name put me off ... quite a high faluting name, and her topics were of little interest.  I looked for other authors.

Sorry Lynda LaPlante, I misjudged you, though I still don't think I will read your writings ... I like a gentle escape from this world of seemingly [according to the media] increasing tensions.  But Lynda LaPlante, you are a delight.  Your hour on the radio was a hoot ... you have researched your topic to grass roots, and your sense of humour shone through. 

Is there a moral to this little tale?  Maybe, maybe not ... maybe never judge a book by its cover?  Or an author by her name!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Great Endeavour

James Cook, Captain of the Endeavour, mapped much of the coast of New Zealand in 1769 and in April 1770 his second in command sighted Australia.  Part of the east coast of Australia was mapped ... and as they say the rest is history.  Both New Zealand and Australia soon saw British settlers ~ New Zealand and Australia became part of the expanding British Empire.

Move forward to the present time.

In Fremantle, Western Australia a replica of the HMB endeavour was constructed and commenced her maiden voyage in October 1994. 

Yesterday HMB Endeavour was open for viewing at Geraldton, and in spite of a gloomy dank day we drove north to take a look-see [it was grocery buying day as well ... you know the old saying, killing two birds with the one stone].
The Geraldton port provided safe anchorage for the Endeavour replica for almost a week in weather was not typical of the mid-west of Australia.  While the Endeavour was open for viewing we did not board this ship which in its heyday of discovery and voyage in the south seas carried a crew of 72 plus animals.  At first glance this ship looks no larger than many of the fishing boats or pleasure craft anchored alongside.  To think that such a ship sailed from England to the South Pacific, discovering new lands and following the Transit of Venus!  In comparision with the luxury liner that called in at Geraldton two weeks earlier, and which was too large to anchor at the wharf, the Endeavour looked like a dinghy.  While the queue to board the ship was not that long, due no doubt to the weather, Dave is tall, and space in the Endeavour is 'limited'.  Photos taken in driving drizzle had to suffice.
As Captain Cook and the Endeavour played a huge part in the subsequent settlement of Australasia a look at the replica of the ship was an educational experience, giving a new slant at the deprivation of the sailors who crewed the original ship, though one must mention that due to James Cook's inspired knowledge the scourge of scurvy did not occur.