Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Sunday Scribblings "Shine".

Sunday Scribblings prompt site this week has given us the prompt word "Shine".
I went away over night for the Easter break to the south coast of New South Wales.
Peter was given tickets to see Bob Dylan at Woolongong for his birthday so we got to see the sea and Bobby too. Bob Dylan is approaching his 70th year. Or so I was told. I liked the way he always changes and does not give what is expected of him. Free thinker and performer.
While Peter and I were away we had a lovely wander around and explored some of the high lights of the area. The city and beaches, the countryside in general and crafty shops. We also visited the Nan Tien temple which is at Woolongong and is the biggest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere. Very very impressive.
We stopped in at a roadside pottery and had a lovely and informative talk with the potter and his wife .Roger and Pauline Graham. What a lovely way for them to spend their retirement years, running a pottery, sharing their work and knowledge with people dropping in to visit.
As you have seen before in here, I love the south coast. It is so clean and fresh and lovely. The beaches and the bush. It shines, it really does. Nature's treasure.
The photo above is one taken of a rock pool sparkling in the sun, probably a month ago at Lake Tabourie. I live for my short trips to the coast, just a few hours drive from here.
The next picture is of a small beach near a seaside town called Vincentia. Blenheim beach. Taken on Easter Sunday on our way home. Encompassing pure, whiter than white sand and the clear turquoise waters of Jervis bay. Jervis bay is actually bigger than Sydney harbour and was under consideration as a site for what is now Sydney. I think they decided it was too shallow or something. I can't remember. But it is a beautiful spot.
Poppies. Bright and shining in the sun. Sunlight highlighting their beauty.
My husband shines . At work he has been given the honor of being called "Uncle" by the indigenous people who are there. A big honor for him and he is very proud to have it.

Shine sun shine
as the seasons cycle
soon it will be cold
but still you shine

Give us life sun
and heat our days
warm from the cold
until spring returns again

Love Linda.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Monday Memories. "Food...shopping"

I am back in here today to add my two Bob's worth to the Monday Memories prompt.
Just an addition to that last sentence," 2 Bob's worth" is an old Aussie saying. It harks back to the time of pre-decimal currency. What is equivalent to todays 20 cent piece was called 2 shillings, or 2 bob. So translate as "my 20 cents worth".
When I was 8 years old we were living in Darwin at the army base there. We lived in Darwin for 2 and a half years. It was called Larrakeyah Barracks, anyway there was a asko shop there that was run inside the camp for the army families. It sold a bit of everything. Groceries, gifts, tools even. We would go there with my Mum and of course ogle over the selection of lollies placed strategically near the check out, just to tempt children and hassle their parents into buying them to shut their children up, get a bit of peace and therefore out of the shop and back home quicker. Ha ha.
On a high shelf in the shop was a bright yellow plastic kick board. It was bigger than the normal size kick boards. The lady at the shop had seen me eyeing it off each time I went in there and one day she got it down for me to look at. It was about the same height as I was, something more like the size or today's boogie boards. Oh how I wanted that board. I wanted it so bad. The lady let me put a deposit of my pocket money on it and I eagerly waited for the day when I had it paid off and could take it into the pool on the barracks and float on it and kick around in the pool with it. I wanted that board so bad! I paid every cent I got into paying it off. In those days you were able to collect 5 cents for each glass soft drink bottle you took back to the shop. So I scavenged at all the cricket games my Dad played at the weekends for them too. That poor lady at the shop, I must have driven her mad taking my collected change in and her having to add up everything until my beloved board was paid in full and I was able to take it home with me. I was so so proud of myself, what a big achievement I had accomplished. Ha ha ha. I kept that board for years. I grew taller than it and I think by memory I eventually gave it to some other little kid who loved it, or....I hope they did.
The other memory that came straight to mind from this prompt was when I was 11 years old and living in Sydney. My Dad was in Vietnam at the time and my job was to do the grocery shopping. We lived probably 3 blocks from the local shops at Bondi road and Mum would give me $20 to go down there. She used to say that I got more for her $20 that the shop keepers gave her. We had a butcher shop on the corner and a small general store there too. We bought our meat at the butchers and other basics from the corner shop but the bigger choice and better prices were to be found elsewhere.
So proudly I would trot off down the road and do my duty. First stop was the fruit and vegetable shop on the corner, run by a Greek family. They knew me well and I would carefully choose my goods, checking them off my list and adding a few extra bits along the way.
Laden heavily, I would then struggle up the road about a block and a half into the grocery shop. It was a funny little shop, an old fashioned, dull overly cluttered version of today's big bright supermarkets. Probably a quarter the size of them, but everything was there.
My treat, in those days on the T.V. heavily advertised was a product called "Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs". Ha ha ha. What a name. Each week I was allowed to buy a box of them, if I had change left over, to take home to share. They were popcorn coated with toffee and nuts. They were so yummy. I always made sure there was enough change for a packet. Then I would struggle home like a mini pack horse, back to the flat we were living in. I remember the bags cutting into my hands they were so heavy, my fingers felt like they were about to fall off and turned purple. I often had to stop on the foot path, and put the bags down to relieve my hands for a few minutes. I can also remember being scared if someone walked up behind me. And thinking if I just pretend to go in that house there they will think that is where I live and they won't hurt me. Nothing ever happened to me though. But I was nervous. I would day dream for more change on the way home, I would be rich enough to catch a Taxi who would carry my heavy bags home for me and ease my hurt hands.
I loved that job though. I was proud of my talent at doing the the weekly shop. I was learning and got a sense of having achieved something useful for my mum , sister and I.
Oh and that butcher shop on the corner. Many times, on our tight budget of those days, we would have to buy the very cheapest cuts of meat. Meat that is now back in fashion, like tripe or lamb shanks and sausages, but in those days wasn't. The butcher used to make good old fashioned sausages.
Many meals, and one we loved, were as simple and cheap as pancakes with golden syrup or lemon and sugar. Novelty added by cooking them in the electric frying pan on the lounge room floor with us girls crowded over it, waiting for the next batch to be cooked. I did this myself for my own children when we were broke and had no money to buy much else, but they always were fed. Nothing cheaper than pancakes to feed the kids and make them happy. Flour, milk , a bit of butter, you can even make them without the egg if you haven't got one.
When my Dad came home from Vietnam on leave, he went down the corner to the butcher and ordered a couple of boxes of his sausages. The butcher froze them for him so he could take them back to Vietnam when he went, as you couldn't get Aussie style sausages over there. hahaha. He was very popular with the boys for doing that.
I still enjoy shopping. My Mum lives with me on and off and she spoils my fun because her mind is not working as it used to anymore. She gets annoyed with me and can be quite sarcastic if I try to go the shops without her. She goes into withdrawal to spend her money. When she gets in the super market she goes into sensory over load becoming all excited by the products on offer. She took an hour and a half to go through the Woolworths shop down the road from here the other day. She calls me back and forwards and if I try to hurry her up by walking in front of her she calls me back to ask me if we need her latest wonderful grocery discovery. Her favorite products, which she can't be persuaded to leave the shop without are Cuppa soups, lemonade, lollies , biscuits and cakes. Arrrrrrgh! I am sure by the look on my face when I have to take her to the supermarket, everyone must think I am the meanest most horrible daughter there ever was.
Oh well, one day I will be 89 years old...if I am lucky...or maybe not so lucky.
Bye for now.
Love Linda.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Sunday scribblings "Design"

G'day again,
Sunday in most or the world is Monday here. Monday evening to be precise. So time to play with the Sunday Scribblings prompt word for this week.


This bit goes there
That one over here
No let me change that
Ah that is better
Now where does this piece belong?

Stand back and look
Twist, poke, prod, straighten, stroke
Add another piece of clay
Play with your imagination
Does this work?

Design is something I enjoy playing with in clay. Clay has the advantage of being three dimensional. Not flat like pencil or paint on paper.
Design covers form, function and decoration. Heaps of fun to play with. You can choose to concentrate on one of these elements or use them together in different combinations. A balanced design.
I have recently had discussion at pottery with another potter on perfection. She is a purist and has everything just so. Tied up so tight that there is no room for a mistake. If there is an imperfection in something she makes it goes back in the recycling bucket to be worked up and reused again later. I guess that makes for a better potter than I am. It annoys me though. Everything fresh and new and perfect annoys me. I love the subtle imperfections of hand made items. If you want something perfect you can go to a shop and buy it. Pottery shouldn't have to be perfect.
I have driven through newly built suburbs and admired the houses, but when you take a second look, what have they got to add to individuality. I want to dirty them , muss them up, shake and ruffle them a bit. Give them some character.
There is a Japanese type thingy called Sabi Wabi. It recognizes and finds the beauty in imperfection. Nature has no straight lines and is not perfect. It does not need to be to work, and in that, there is a particular type of perfection.
I don't like that we get so tied up trying to be perfect when we should , by our own, and natures design, accept that we are all imperfect.
We can improve on elements but why do we have to turn ourselves inside out to do it. Surely there is enough pressure to conform.
That is all.
Love Linda.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Monday Memories, Costumes?

I have just been reading through the Monday memories contributors posts and enjoying them , which leads me to.....
I was remembering when my sisiter Ellen and I were very small. Costumes we didn't really have, that I can remember but we had a song that we would sing together in the bath tub. Hahaha. We had a record a 45 rpm that was called "The tales of Mrs Twiggy Winkle." On the record was a funny little song, to my long ago memory, it said "Bright and clean, Bright and clean, clean as we have ever been,we have never ever been so bright and clean". We would jump out of the bath tub and run through the house singing it with bath bubbles still clinging and dripping across the floor as we sung. I remember our parents laughing and chasing us with a towel to dry us off. Hahaha.
Oh I am loving this prompt, now where did that memory come from, it was so long ago. A bubble costume!
Oh yes..... now I remember two dresses. They were my Mum's dancing dresses and I loved them. One of them was bright red and the other a beautiful bright sky blue and we would put them on and swan around the house.
My Mum must have been so skinny when she wore them out. They were just beautiful , both were made from a stiff taffeta type material and had flared out puffy skirts that were too long for us, but in their day were most likely ankle length. She had an 18 inch waist in those days (something I never attained in my adult years). My sister and I very quickly out grew the waist in them and were unable to do up the zipper at the side. I loved those dresses, I can still see them in my mind. Pretty.
My own children loved to dress up when they were little. Michael had a cowboy costume. An old story that my sister tells .... She was living in Sydney at the time and decided that she would take Michael home with her for a few days and I would drive up there and pick him up. So she took him on the plane with her , his first plane ride. He of course had to wear his cowboy outfit. When they were boarding the plane he held up the plane with his plastic gun and everybody thought it was hilarious. Wow, I bet they wouldn't put up with that so easily now days.
David had a superman outfit. And Anne Marie was a fairy princess.
David was a funny little guy with that superman outfit. It included a shirt and a cape and he refused to take it off when he was three years old. It was originally meant to be pajamas but he wouldn't have that and wanted to wear it day and night, to the point that he would get angry with me when I had to take it off him to wash. He would wait eagerly for it to be dry enough to put back on again and if he could have reached the clothes line to get it down himself he would have worn it wet. Haha.
Oh I should go through my old photos to share with you before I start writing. Hahaha. So cute.
Bye for now. Love Linda.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Monday Memories . Siblings. & Sunday Scribblings Befuddled.

Monday memories and it is Sunday. Oh well story of my life ha ha. I can always pretend that I am early for tomorrow, But that would be lying.
Ok, our suggestion this week was to write a memory about our siblings. Check out the link on my side bar.
I am cheating this week as I think I can fit this story into the Sunday Scribblings prompt of Befuddled. So after I click a few more buttons....here tis' too.
I have two sisters. Both are older than me. My sister Thelma and my sister Ellen.
My sister Ellen and I have not always liked each other, but as she is closer in age to myself we had more time together.
I just had a look at Josie's writings and she has included the letter "A" in hers.
So my scribblings this time round are about a trip my sister Ellen and I shared to Adelaide when we were probably 18 and 21 years old.
Ellen had a little blue Gemini car, so, freedom. Freedom of an income and the yearning to jump in her little car and just GO! What a lovely time of life to be in, no familial ties to bind as later in life with children and career.
She invited me to go on a trip to check out Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, and a city we had not been to. So after her shift at the local hospital in Wagga, our home town, we jumped in the car and went. Out across the bare flat plains, dodging roos and emus and a million semi trailers on the highway at dusk, south bound. We chose a car to follow, thinking that, we had company if anything should happen, no mobile phones in those days. We followed along behind that car for miles and miles along the highway between Narrandera and Hay and they slowed suddenly but didn't pull off the road for a while. We pulled up behind them to see if they were ok, as you do in the outback, and found a man and his wife who explained that they were ok but had hit a roo which luckily had got off the road before we hit it and we hadn't seen it. Their car was dinted but otherwise ok mechanically.
Anyway we kept driving through the night.
At around 1.00 in the morning we came through another small town and missed a turn off and were driving around trying to find our way when a police car pulled us over and questioned us as to what we were doing. They escorted us out of town and pointed us in the right direction, after checking out and flirting with my sister, she was a very pretty girl. Hahaha.
Bored and tired from driving , as we passed through another small town Ellen wound the window down a yelled out to the sleeping houses." Linda Palmer stinks". So I wound down my window in reply and yelled " Ellen Palmer stuffs her bras" hahahah.
Next morning at dawn we sighted the Murray river and being a bit weary decided we would have a morning bath and freshen up. We pulled off the side of the road into a boat launch area and as there was no-one around so early in the morning we both got in the water and had a wash. My sister stripped off and went for a short swim in the nude when a speedboat with fishermen came around the corner and she had to duck down under the water and hide to much giggling and embarrassment. So funny. Sprung!
We stopped at a few wineries before we got to Adelaide and , well I think there are still some photos of that somewhere around. The Barossa valley outside Adelaide is famous for wine, but we didn't have a lot of spending money.
So we eventually reached Adelaide and looked up an old neighbor who we hadn't seen for years . They had been good friends with our parents in Darwin.
Then we found a caravan park and put up our nice new tent. In those days we had this idea that we would do the round Australia trip and Ellen had bought a nice tent and we were going to take this little dog we had with us for protection, a tiny little, very friendly Australian terrier. Oh the illusions of youth, lol. We were at Glenelg and not far from the beach.
We had a bit of drive around and look at the city buildings and statuary. Climbing on a few of them and taking photos and laughing irreverently at ourselves. One photo , which I still have has Ellen sitting on a big garbage bin, very modern in appearance with a slanting top and a hole in the center of it which we thought looked like a toilet. Hahaha.
That night we went to a night club type place in the city called the Akaba or something like that. Music and flashing lights and boys and crowded etc.
We had a look around some of the shops in the city, went in one door and came out another door into another street and were lost for a while. Ah country kids.
Next day we played tourist again and had a ride on a boat that takes tourists up and down the Torrens river near the center of the city. Pretty water lilys flowered and scattered across the surface of the calm waters and wild and domestic ducks scavenged for tidbits from the tourists, and cool green perfect lawns to lie on in the summer swelter. I can't really remember the trip back across the plains and home again. It was a long time ago. A long time.
The photo above is of my sister Ellen, taken last year. She will kill me for this one Hahahahahahahahahahah, love it.
Love Linda.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Monday Memories. Encounters with J.

I am back today with an entry to the Monday memories prompt. This weeks idea was remember a gift you have been given.
Well this week while I was at work I had another encounter with a little boy who attends one of the schools where I clean and I have been thinking about him ever since.
Jeremiah is a little boy, slightly chubby with the biggest most soulful dark brown eyes you would ever see on any little 8 year old boy, he looks to be of islander appearance.
My first encounter with Jeremiah, names changed of course, was last year. It was well after school hours and he was wandering around the school grounds, just being....Jeremiah. He came in to the large foyer between the back class rooms and looked around hesitantly then wandered up to my son who was vacuuming nearby and asked politely if he could go into that class room over there because it was his class room and he wanted to take a photo of it. He had his Mum's digital camera and was quite happy to just go into the room take his picture and leave. I thought at the time, that it was a bit strange for him to be hanging around school at the time of day when everyone else had left but he seemed a nice enough little boy and was meaning no harm. We smiled and talked about how cute we thought he was.
Since then I have come across him a few times and have always found him to be, to my mind, a deep thinking little fellow, to the point that to look into those big brown eyes meant looking inside his mind and seeing the cogs ticking over as he verbally works things through in his own unique little 8 year old's fashion. Maybe he has found me a willing ear for his many ideas and busy little mind, who knows.
Anyway, my next encounter with Jeremiah was most amusing and in a funny way satisfying for me because around the school are posters reminding the children to be fair, show respect etc and I thought isn't that lovely, the teachers would be so proud of this little guy talking to me like that as it shows their lessons have made a difference to his life.
One afternoon as we arrived at work Jeremiah was at the back of the school again and came over to us and quizzed us out. I thought what a funny little guy, I will play along. He asked me who I was and I answered that I was the cleaner. He replied "No you aren't Mr Walsh is the cleaner" So I explained the difference between Mr Walsh, the maintenance man, and our jobs as cleaners. He was happy with that. His next question, after introducing himself. What are your names? I thought to myself I bet his Dad is a security man, hahaha. I told him my name was Linda. You could see mind ticking over, he wasn't satisfied with that answer, so he asked again. "If you were a teacher what would I have to call you?". I thought for a minute and asked him why and he told me that they have to call the teachers Mr or Mrs because that means they respect them and he should call me the same as them. So I told him my surname and he was much happier. He watched me for a while longer, just to check up on me and make sure I really was a cleaner and talked a bit more before he went home for dinner.
I was most amused and when I went inside I spoke to the head mistress about him and how cute he was. I got from her attitude that he was a bit of a different child. I thought , hmm poor little guy. She told me that he should not have been hanging around school grounds, but I already knew that anyway.
Next time I saw Jeremiah, was again when he should not have been there outside school hours. He followed me around and talked and watched everything I was doing for a while asking me heaps of questions. I said to him "Jeremiah I don't think you are supposed to be here after school finishes" He looked at me with those big eyes of his, sadly, shuffled his feet and looked down at them and said," Oh...I know". He wandered away sadly. I felt mean because he looked so down hearted and had been previously having a great time talking to me. Then I didn't see him again for quite a few months.
He was there on Friday afternoon though. All this week there have been teacher/ parent interviews held. He proudly ran up to me and told me he was there because his Dad was having a meeting with his teacher, probably remembering that I had questioned him before.
Funny little guy.
He checked out what I was doing and had to try out my mop bucket. Positioning himself carefully with a foot on each side of the mop bucket , as he had seen me do and testing out just exactly how it all worked. I told him to be careful not to tip the bucket over and he said "No I won't". Then announced to me, "Aw.... so that is to squeeze the juice out of the mop" haha. So cute.
He then proceeded to tell me about Pippy Long Stocking, (a character in a children's book).
Pippy Long Stocking tied scrubbing brushes onto her feet and skated up and down on the dirty floor she was told to clean. He thought that I should wash the floor that way as it would be much faster than doing it just with my mop. Ha ha ha. Love it. Probably would have been fun too and I am sure he would have liked to help me. Maybe not with my poor old legs.
He followed me around again talking for a while until his Dad called him, and off he went happily, saying goodbye politely to let me know he was going with his Dad now.
I though what a great little boy, so open and honest and polite. I could see however that he was an original thinker and that such people can be like square pegs in round holes. Yes I know that such people have to learn to toe the line but sometimes they have to be pounded to fit into that round hole. The sharp edges ground off. Too hard and they liquefy, running through the hole and dropping to the bottom of the bucket. A conversation later when I was telling a teacher about my encounter confirmed my thoughts. She said he absconds from school and I got the impression, (though she of course didn't or couldn't say so in so many words,) that they did not approve his mother's style of parenting.
Little boys like him have a strange place in our society. Are they really original thinkers or does their mind run away with them and miss the lessons they need to learn to get along with others and be a part of our society. What as a society are we missing trying to change and contain minds like Jeremiah's?
Sad isn't it.
Will his dark skin and big eyes stand him in good stead or when his male hormones kick in, will they make him another kid lost.
But.... what a beautiful little boy at this time of his life, full of inventions, wonder, honesty and open goodness.
I dunno, maybe I am looking at this from the wrong angle.
Love Linda.