Welcome to my blog. Here you will find my adventures with my family and friends. Thanks so much for stopping by.

I'm so enjoying this wonderful world of blogging where I have met and made so many new friends.

Please leave a comment when you drop by so I can visit your blog and get to know you too

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


At home the sun was shining so we headed down to the coast for lunch with Sally on Monday.
It was a last minute decision so we were late starting but the one hour drive passed quickly and we picked Sally up and headed for the beach and lunch.

Sally was having that wonderful modern invention- a Rostered Day Off ( RDO ) -
a once a month day off to do all those jobs that can only be done in working hours
or just a mental health day!

However when we arrived at the beach the clouds were gathering and a there was quite a strong wind blowing.

Still, it was warm in the sun......

and we settled down to lunch at Sally's favourite cafe - Barefoot Barista.

Yummmmmmmmmmmm !

Boston Beans - beans in a yummy smoky bacon flavoured sauce on sour dough bread.....

then a little decadent sweet thing with our coffee.

We sat there chatting in the lovely Winter sun until we were driven inside by rain squalls, then headed off home.

All those clouds made for a firey sunset.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012


My friend Yorkshire Pudding invited a group of blogging buddies to escape with him to the mythical land of Blogland.
He promised a veritable paradise awaited us there somewhere in the Andaman Sea.

But one by one, for a variety of reasons,  we all reneged.

With places like this in Australia I didn't need to leave my family and friends behind to find peace and tranquility.

All I had to do was visit Mum and Dad in lovely Hervey Bay on a cool (15C ) cloudy day in May

Not the temperature for playing around on the beach....

but perfect for a solitary walk along the sand.....

to watch the way the light played on the smoooooth water of the bay.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Thanks for your interesting comments about what children read.
I think my friend Jane is probably right about the fact that these days children predominantly read about  topics that they can relate to, in a setting that they know.

How things have changed from when I was young !

I grew up reading Enid Blyton from an early age.
Famous Five, Secret Seven, The Faraway Tree etc

Nothing there that related to life in Australia
and the way those children spoke was not at all familiar to an Aussie kid.

I moved on to Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, What Katy Did, Polyanna, Black Beauty and My Friend Flicka - all of them completely different to life here in Australia.

From there I finally moved to some books written by Australian authors.

My beloved Seven Little Australians and the Billabong series - both set way back before World War I in a time and social structure that was far from familiar and when Aussies still thought of England as "HOME".

There just weren't many books for children written by Australian authors and in those days literature coming out of this young country was not very plentiful or valued very highly.

Throughout high school this trend continued - all the books I studied were predominantly from the
UK - Bronte, Austen, Shakespeare - The Thirty Nine Steps, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Hamlet to name just a few.
Poetry was similar but along with Blake, Wordsworth, Lear,  Byron, Shelley etc a few Aussies made the grade - Kath Walker who goes by her Aboriginal name -  Oodgeroo Noonuccal - nowadays, the iconic Dorothea Mackellar whose  I Love a Sunburnt Country is probably the best known Australian poem ( to Aussies anyway ) as well as Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson.

Is it any wonder that I longed to see the places in England that I had spent my younger years reading about.

But today things are different.

When I left school and started to study Teaching I was enthralled by the books produced by Australian authors for Aussie children. A lovely Teacher-Librarian colleague guided my reading of some wonderful Australian authors. Books full of fun and irreverent humour, with great storylines.

Australian children still read lots of books from other countries but we are finally valuing the wonderful children's literature that comes out of our country more and more.


Monday, May 21, 2012


Recently, at a meeting of my Book Club, we were discussing a poll by the ABC to rate the best Australian authors and the books they have written,  most of which are well known here in Australia.

Books like :
A Fortunate Life
Power Without Glory
Picnic at Hanging Rock
My Brilliant Career
The Power of One
as well as a couple of children's classics like The Magic Pudding, Seven Little Australians and more recently The Book Thief for older children.

During this discussion it came to light that some of our members who were not born in Australia had never heard of the Australian children's classic Seven Little Australians ( I think my childhood  copy had soggy pages from my tears ). At first I was surprised by this because these people are well read, and if they have never heard of this book then the book is probably not widely known overseas.

All this led me to wonder about children today and how much of their reading material is similar no matter where they live  - in New Zealand, America and the UK particularly - or if children mainly read books written by authors from their own country.
So I'm going to list a few of the titles that I have found to be popular with the children that I have taught  in the past which are written by Aussies to see if any of you know of or have read them.

Two Weeks with the Queen - Morris Gleitzman ( my personal favourite Aussie children's author )
Angie's Ankles - Gary Hurle
The Lake at the End of the World - Caroline MacDonald
Storm Boy - Colin Thiele
Wombat Stew -Joanne Coghlan
Hating Alison Ashley - Robin Klein
Space Demons - Gillian Rubinstein
Possum Magic - Mem Fox
Playing Beatie Bow - Ruth Park
Tomorrow When the War Began - John Marsden

From my experience, Australian children do read books by many authors who are not Australian and stories like Hatchet and the Harry Potter series are just some of them, but on reflection I think that, at the moment, Aussie authors may supply a large proportion of the reading material of children up to the age of 12.

Do you think British children read mainly books by Brittish authors and American children read mainly books by American authors and it is only the outstanding books that make it across the oceans?

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.


Saturday, May 19, 2012


It's a lovely frosty morning here in Brisbane ( no, not literally frosty, we don't have that very often, probably somewhere around 11 or 12 degrees) - and I've been cuddled down under my lovely doona thinking.
You know how you just lie there and your mind wanders around in the fuzzy warmth, flitting from subject to subject in a meandering sort of way while you revel in just enjoying the morning with no pressure to leap up and DO things.
I've been contemplating how things can change.
One minute your life is just mooching along.
 Nothing much happening - housework, job, visiting friends, going out for meals, family dinners, gardening ...............
Then suddenly wham !

That's what it's been like here.
I guess with three parents over 90 it had to come  - and come it has!

First with Dad and his heart - happily that has all settled down for now . He's back to tootling along and enjoying his days at the Retirement Village with Mum and, for them, life is good.

But things have gone rapidly down hill with the other 91 year old and we've had a month of daily visits, doctors, multiple phone calls every day ( many of them at all hours of the day and night and very delusional ) all culminating in what will probably be a prolonged, unhappy stay in hospital while we wait for relocation to a Nursing Home ( head for the hills when THAT subject is broached !!).

The phone calls still come at all hours of the day and night  ( from the phone beside the bed !!!) and it is all very stressful to say the least.

So yesterday it was time for a break.
And the only way to do that was to leave town !
We flew to Sydney ( about 600 miles away) to visit (our son) Brett and Sarah for lunch.
We pretended they lived just on the other side of Brisbane and took ourselves off to have the day with them.
The weather was cool and sunny.
We grabbed breakfast at the airport

(the usual airport food !)

and arrived in Sydney at 10:30am to clear sunny weather and temperatures around 21 degrees C.
Lunch was late - too much chattering and playing with his dear little dogs ! - but delicious Thai which is our favourite.
It was a day for trying new things so we ordered soft shell crab for an entree. I'm not very good at eating whole animals. I prefer them cut up into pieces so that I am not reminded of the whole beast and I have never been able to eat things like a baby octopus, but today was the day.
It helped that the crab was covered in a very light batter which sort of blurred its shape ...
but I have to report it was  delish ! ( sorry no photos, we were too engrossed in the experience !)

After a lovely lunch we moved from the Thai restaurant to a place called Cheeky Chocolate across the way for coffee and dessert.

Are you loving the sound of this day?

Doesn't it sound like just the thing to do after a stressful month?

Now the place we went to - the Cheeky Chocolate - is a specialist dessert cafe run by a wonderful chef  (Adriano Zombo )  featured on Australian Masterchef two years ago.

This is heart attack territory folks.

 Sugar overload !! But what a way to go !

We tried another first  ....... macaroons! 

Yes there were 10 of them and 4 of us !
salted caramel, orange chocolate, raspberry chocolate, banana passionfruit
and just plain chocolate

salted caramel !!!!!

Oh lordy, lordy!

We had a lovely break.
The kids are great and life is going well for them.
It was delightful to spend a relaxing day with them and have a few laughs.

Back to the airport ( Sydney traffic is never ending ) , a few hot chips and a softdrink  ( thought we'd finish ourselves off with a dose of fat and salt !)  then back in Brisbane by 8:15pm.

A Lovely day !

The crazy phone calls started again at 8 o'clock this morning.
Hey -ho !

Friday, May 4, 2012


Like a few other bloggers out there lately I've been casting about for something interesting to blog about.
I sew a bit and cook a bit but not enough to fill a blog and anyhow that's not what this blog is meant to be.
My life recently has been filled with looking after elderly parents ( 3 over 90 ) and it's all a bit humdrum so today's post is about a place in Australia which I think is interesting and quite unique.

We visited it about 20 years ago during the Winter school holidays when we had an outback camping holiday with friends. Temperatures during Summer can be over 50 degrees C so it is virtually off limits then.
Some of the photos are mine ( scanned from old fashioned holiday snaps ) and some I've taken from the internet ( I'll mark these with *)



These beautiful stones are opals ... and they come from a place in Central Australia called Coober Pedy.
Coober Pedy is an opal mining town about 850 kilometres (ten hours' drive) north of  Adelaide in South Australia.

 It's a tiny outpost surrounded by hundreds of kilometres of red desert, sandstone rock formations and massive cattle stations. Aboriginal people called this place Kupa Piti which means White Man in a Hole and which sort of sums the place up !

As you approach the town you pass piles of dirt beside holes in the ground ( a bit like the holes that crabs make on the beach ). It's not a pretty town, all red dirt with little or no green to be seen anywhere and everything is covered with fine, red dust.


In fact you might wonder that a town with around three thousand inhabitants has so few houses.
Look closely, though, and you'll see chimneys sticking up from what looks like piles of red earth. These are ventilation shafts to deliver fresh air to the rooms deep underground.


The residents of Coober Pedy — for the most part a motley bunch of larrikins, opal miners, entrepreneurs and 'outback characters' — mostly beat the searing desert heat by living in underground bunkers.


 Don't be fooled by the rundown look of the place — some of the motley cave dwellers you'll meet will have millions of dollars of opal stashed away in their underground safes.

Coober Pedy has evolved in to one of the most unique places in Australia and perhaps the world. It is a cosmopolitan town with a population of  around 3,500 and over 45 different nationalities.
The relaxed and friendly lifestyle of the town has made it a breeding ground for cultural tolerance, diversity and acceptance.

Coober Pedy is probably best known for its unique style of underground living. There is a range of underground accommodation (as well as a small amount above ground if you prefer).


The above photo is a hallway in a five star under ground  hotel .

Then, for the hardy, there is this backpacker accommodation.

It's called Bedrock (shades of Fred Flintstone !)

The day we arrived the temperature outside was a searing 40 degrees C but when we walked through the glass sliding doors into this underground facility it was a very pleasant 18 degrees C.


Look comfy to you ?
Backpackers have to be a hardy lot.
four to a room, somewhere to hang your towels and a mattress when you pay !!!


Of course if you really want to spend the night in your own tent you can put it up in here where it is cool!
The next day the temperature plunged as it does in the desert and we were back to wearing jumpers but inside Bedrock it was a constant 18 degrees C.

There are authentic underground homes to explore

Inside this home is very comfortable

with all the conveniences needed to accommodate a family !
( He's only posing for a photo, I promise !!!)

Of course, when you are "building" your home you take out a Miner's Permit and you may come upon   this


or   this   in your walls and then your fortune is made !!!


Sally and Hayley making themselves at home!!!

and outside in the "garden" my friend and
I waited for our families under a rare, shady tree.

(The rooms at the front of the house are the bathrooms and toilets to save moving all the plumbing through the other rooms as the "house" goes straight back into the hill. ) 

( Told you it was 20+ years ago !!)

Around the town there are also underground museums, opal shops, art galleries, underground churches and, of course, opal mines.......

where you have to wear the required safety helmet.

What all well dressed miners wear !!

A visit to unique Coober Pedy is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

 Many of my fellow Australians have never been there.

I'm so glad I had the chance to see it.