Thursday, 5 December 2013

Dogs, Dogs, and More Dogs

A hush descended. The tension in the room was increasing but nothing was happening. The two combatants were still as statues, sending almost invisible signals to each other. The signals proclaimed loudly for all who could interpret them that the winner would take all. Every now and then one of them would look away from the other whilst altering, ever so slightly, a part of their stance; a barely moved lip, a flick of an ear. The other would respond in kind but remain staring at the opponent. 

Watching them was nearly unbearable and there was a longing to break the pressure, relieving the anxiety of knowing this altercation could erupt into a fully-fledged fight. If a fight ensued, blood would flow. The grumble had been bubbling up in the background for weeks and now was the time for it to come to a head. Much more was at stake than the prize that lay between them. Who would be the victor? Who the loser?  Loving them both, it was horrible to watch.

After fifteen minutes the muscles on the back of the younger one began to tremble, and then relax. Simultaneously he lowered his head and eyes in a canine bow of supplication, jumped off the sofa and left the victorious top dog. She watched him for a few seconds before delicately picking up the prize of the raw hide chewy and devouring it noisily. 

Phew! It was over. I let out a huge sigh of relief knowing all was now right in the world of my long time companion, Rosie, a Chihuahua and recently adopted Dougal, an Australian Silky Terrier. 


Yep, I'm the pack leader for a new dog. We are now a family of three. Did I ever mention that I was dog dotty? Well, I am and have always had rescue dogs in my life. My first rescue was Spot, an unwanted puppy about to be thrown down a pit shaft. I was eight years old and persuaded the man doing the throwing to let me have the pup. Even though I was forever arriving home with a dog I had kidnapped or enticed out of its garden telling my mum, "It followed me home, mum. Honest", this time I had corroborating evidence. My brother was a witness to the man's means of getting rid of unwanted pups and, to my delight, my mum let me keep him.
Mum and Spot, 1953

Many dogs have come and gone in my life since then, providing me with love, comfort and friendship. Every one of them has taught me something about dogs and, more often, about me. I only hope I made them as happy as they made me.

Now, the proper hierarchy of our new pack is established - me as pack leader, second-in-command is Rosie and Dougal is the newbie. The two dogs are happy knowing their place in the pack and peace will reign until Rosie gets too old and is challenged by the underdog. No blood was spilled in establishing the natural order of our canine world and all the tension has disappeared. 

Now we are a proper pack. Yea! Let the fun begin.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Broadcast of SUICIDE AND ME

I wanted to share this video made by young Australian film-makers. I'm so proud that there are young people in the world who want to change things for the better. These young film-makers give me hope that mental health issues will be better funded and understood in the future.

Please watch and share the video. The information could save your own or someone else's life. Don't be embarrassed, mental health issues are everyone's business. Those of us who suffer from MNBP (malfunctioning neural brain pathways) don't want to die and leave the ones we love. We just want the pain to stop.

I'm OK and safe today. Are you OK and safe? If you are I hope you remain so. If you aren't please ask for help because I want you to stay with us and get well.

If the above link doesn't work try this:

Thursday, 28 November 2013

How I Met My Mother

November 17th was the anniversary of my mother's death. I spent the afternoon with my daughter, son, and four grandlings having afternoon tea and cake belatedly celebrating my 68th birthday. My mother died when she was 68 years old, three days after my 30th birthday.

My mother was a formidable woman. In today's lingo she would be described as awesome. She didn't suffer fools gladly and brooked no nonsense from her four children. Smart without being a know-it-all and accomplished in many skills: knitting, crochet, sewing, gardening (vegetables and flowers), baking, cooking and reading. Oh, how she loved to read. I have inherited her need to read and, like her, voraciously devour all things written. Someone at uni once called me an epistemophiliac and I, thinking it was a put-down, rushed to the library to find a dictionary. I thought of my mother and laughed out loud when I discovered the meaning. It means a lover of knowledge. We need to know and need to know now.

I’ll give you an example of just how formidable my mother was. I was thirteen and, with two friends, had taken to a life of crime. The three of us would go into the city after school about once a week for a shoplifting spree. Inevitably we were caught and handed over to the police who charged us with theft then ran us home in police cars. I’ll never forget the look of mortification on my mother’s face after I had been marched up to the door with two cops on either side of me (I wonder if they thought I was going to try and escape). Never missing a beat my mother invited the cops in, offered them a cup of tea and listened carefully to their tale about her miscreant daughter. She never looked at me or spoke to me and I just remained standing behind the sofa feeling as though I would die.

After the cops had gone I expected her to give me such a terrible a tongue lashing but she ignored me completely. I was in a state of terror and remained so until we had to go to the juvenile court. In all that time my mother never spoke to me, acknowledged or looked at me. She did a thorough job of ‘sending me to Coventry’. My brothers were sympathetic but would not dare to bring mother’s wrath down on their heads when we ate together or did anything as a family. My sister was away so missed the quiet but deathly drama.

It was when she and I went to court that I began to see her as a woman instead of just my mother. We had arrived early as instructed but were still waiting at noon. The other girls and their parents were sitting with us but my mother never spoke to them or me. At exactly 12pm my mother rose from her seat, approached the court usher and told him to give a message to the magistrate. She explained that, as she had done nothing wrong and had arrived at court at the correct time, she did not see why she should be punished by having to sit on a hard bench outside the court. So, she informed him in a loud and proud voice, she was going home. At this point she turned on her heel and, with a great deal of dignity, walked out.

I was beside myself, believing I would be sent to Borstal (a juvenile prison) and that I would never see my mother again because she was so ashamed of me. The other girl’s parents just sat looking at the exit with their mouths open and the usher was dashing here and there trying to decide what to do. He eventually disappeared into the court room.

I learnt later that the usher had informed the magistrate of my mother’s leave-taking upon which the magistrate had sent a police car to pick her up and bring her back to court. I was bewildered when she arrived back just before we were ushered into the court room. Feeling absolutely certain that the magistrate would definitely send me to Borstal after such a show of defiance from my mother, I didn’t know whether to be glad or sorry she had returned, especially as she still refused to acknowledge my existence.

What happened next was simply unbelievable. The magistrate heard the evidence from the shop detective and the police, accepted our guilty pleas and assurances that we would never break the law again. Then he said he wanted to address my mother before telling us our fate. At that point I knew I was in serious trouble and hung my head. He looked directly at my mother and asked her to accept the apologies of the court for keeping her waiting! He then said a whole lot more about the court system and how they tried to keep the waiting to a minimum but it wasn’t always possible. My mother graciously accepted the court’s apology and our sentences were given.

I was stunned when he fined me, the ringleader of our lawless gang, 10 shillings but fined the other two girls 10 pounds. Their parents were not amused and threw dark glances at my mother as though she had cast a spell on the magistrate into doing such an unfair thing. I and the magistrate, on the other hand, were in total awe of my mother’s grace, dignity and self assurance. I kept sneaking looks at her because she seemed to be a totally different person; not only had she stood up for herself but had also saved me from being sent to juvenile prison at worst and got me a fine of only 10 shillings at best. I was so proud of her.

My mother eventually forgave me, explaining her abhorrence of police, courts and jails as a result of my father’s experience with the law (another story, for another time). We became friends afterwards as two women as well as mother and daughter. I came to know a lot more about her, discovering qualities that had been hidden from me by my child’s eyes and I will be forever grateful for an experience, however painful for us both that allowed me to know, understand and love my mother in much deeper ways.

I also learnt things about myself too. For instance, I vowed I would never treat my children the way my mother treated me and I never did. The agony of being shunned ignored and humiliated every day bordered on extreme harshness and left me in a state of terror that was very traumatic. I understand perfectly why my mother did it and don’t blame her. She did the best thing she knew how at a time when children were treated far worse than she had treated me (one of the girls from our little gang had been beaten very badly by her father). On balance, I gained far more from the experience than I lost and for that I will always be grateful to a wonderful, strong, and redoubtable woman who I was lucky to have as a mother.

RIP mum, you were the best.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Ten Pearls of Wisdom

There is an unwritten rule that says now I'm in my 'advanced' years I can share pearls of wisdom with others. The rule doesn't make clear whether others listen. However, it is of no consequence to me if they do or don't. In other words, I don't give a shit! All I know is that the following things, in no particular order of importance, are certain and true.

Pearl 1: Cosmetics will not make anyone beautiful, overnight or otherwise and, when we all come to our senses, the cosmetic industry will be put on trial for crimes against humanity and nature (and false advertising). 

Pearl 2: You will get laid regardless of what you look like because sex has nothing to do with looks, everything to do with your brain. Good sex starts in the brain and is intelligent. Good sex is fucking fantastic!

Pearl 3: You can never have enough teaspoons and tea towels.  Believe me.

Pearl 4: Reality TV is the same as the freak shows that used to be attached to a circus and just as obscenely horrible.

Pearl 5: The only way to know if you are a successful parent is if your offspring don't grow up to be axe-murderers, drug dealers, obscenely wealthy, human traffickers or recidivists. These people and people like them are NOT, repeat NOT, fully functioning, authentic human beings.

Pearl 6: Nobody cares what colour your hair is, whether it is long, short, or middling or what style you adopt. Honest, no one gives a rat’s arse.

Pearl 7: The sky will not fall in if you wear the same clothes twice in the same week. Honest! Most people won't even notice and those that do notice are the fashion police and they are to be ignored at all costs. 

Pearl 8: The only real best friend you will EVER have is a dog!

Pearl 9:  Shaving your legs, or any other part of your body, is a complete and utter waste of time.  

Pearl 10: 60% of what you learn will be of no use to you in everyday life. But, learning stuff is such kick-arse fun!

There you have it, just some of the things I've learnt in almost three score years and ten. Now, go live your life in the way you want. Wisdom is highly overrated.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

A Day in the Garden

My wonderful son and grandson came for a visit last Tuesday and ended up completely transforming my back garden. Well Ric did the transforming by weeding, pruning and putting in stakes to support my falling plants.

Daniel rode the bike; 

put pieces of a concrete slab in and out of the wagon. He told me he was a big boy now he was three and a half;

brushed his teeth 3 times until they sparkled. He is such a delight;

helped me 'ferdilise' the plants. I told him he could fertilise the plants much better than me and he told me, "Gwanma, I'll help you because I 'ferdilise the plants better than you" (didn't get a picture of this because we were too busy 'ferdilising');

painted a picture;

and kept me entertained all afternoon.

Great work boys (and thank you)!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Naught. Nil. Zero. Except a laugh!

I have no words. They have all dried up (or maybe that's me).

Instead, here is a funny email I received. It shows the perils of translation. I suspect Chinese people are far too smart for the following to be true but hope you have a chuckle or two.

A  woman went to Beijing recently and was given this brochure by the hotel. It  is precious. She is keeping it and reading it whenever she feels depressed.  Obviously, it has been translated directly, word for word from Mandarin to English………. 

Getting  There:Our  representative will make you wait at the airport. The bus to the hotel runs  along the lake shore. Soon you will feel pleasure in passing water. You will  know that you are getting near the hotel, because you will go round the bend.  The manager will await you in the entrance hall. He always tries to have intercourse with all new guests.

The  hotel:
This  is a family hotel, so children are very welcome. We of course are always pleased to accept adultery. Highly skilled nurses are available in the  evenings to put down your children. Guests are invited to conjugate in the bar and expose themselves to others. But please note that ladies are not allowed to have babies in the bar. We organize social games, so no guest is ever left  alone to play with them self.

The  Restaurant:
Our menus have been carefully chosen to be ordinary and unexciting. At dinner, our quartet will circulate from table to table and fiddle with  you.

Your  Room:
Every room has excellent facilities for your private parts. In winter, every room is on heat. Each room has a balcony offering views of outstanding obscenity!   You will not be disturbed by traffic noise since the road between the hotel and the lake is used only by pederasts.

Your  bed has been made in accordance with local tradition. If you have any other ideas please ring for the chambermaid. Please take advantage of her. She will  be very pleased to squash your shirts, blouses and underwear. If asked, she  will also squeeze your trousers.

Above  all:
When  you leave us at the end of your holiday, you will have no hope. You will  struggle to forget it.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Life gets serious, don't it?

It wasn't my intention to leave such a long gap between posts.

Life has a habit of getting in the way of our good intentions. Life, in the form of chronic illness, hospital admissions, and a death in the extended family, has played havoc with my intention to write a post every fortnight. 

The hospital admission was mine. I was rushed to the ER by ambulance with a suspected bleed in the brain (in other words a stroke); a frightening experience, more so for my children than for me. However, after what seemed like thousands of medical tests included a lot of bloodletting and big pieces of machinery run by sophisticated technology, it was decided my problems were caused by a viral infection of the brain. Whew! What a relief. 

I'm still fighting the virus. It's a very possessive one; it wants all my attention and because it affects my brain it has that attention in spades. It fights with the chronic illnesses causing them to have temper tantrums that are as disruptive and painful as any 3 year old meltdown. I sleep a lot. When awake I drink at least 4 litres of water a day to prevent a return of dehydration. (The toilet and I are now in a very close relationship. Thank god for the proximity of the bathroom to my bedroom!) 

Still my medical issues are minor compared to my daughter-in-laws recent news. Her sister died of an aneurysm in the brain and she was only 43 years old with a 13 year old son. It has devastated her family. I've spent long hours with my 3 year old grandson to take the pressure off my DinL so she can get on with the business of grieving. It is so sad. Her sister died so suddenly that everyone has been bowled over by her death. My DinL is a wonderful, intelligent and wise woman who is a fabulous mum to my grandson and great life partner to my son. All I can do is hug her when she cries, listen when she wants to talk about her beloved sister and keep my GS as occupied as possible. It seems so little in the face of such a catastrophe but my sweet DinL says it's enough.

I'm very lucky to live in a country with excellent, universal health care and where there are support systems in place for the bereaved, all at no cost to me and low cost to my DinL and son. I am so grateful for my family who love and support each other and are there for each other in times of need. Most of all, I'm very grateful to be alive. Every day is a bonus to be lived to the fullest with a grateful heart.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Round and Round the Mulberry Bush

Warning! Warning! This post wanders all over the place and is far too long but, huh, it’s the best I can do. With luck and a fair wind I'll get better at this blogging thingy. In the meantime, make yourself comfy and settle down to a nice long read . . .  or not.

At the end of my second post I mentioned that I would be posting my thoughts about charities. Then I promptly forgot. Now I can't remember what I wanted to say about charities. That's the frustration of old age; the memory goes on walkabout leaving us with empty spaces and blank expressions.  It is also the beauty of old age; memory is the gift that keeps on giving because when the memory returns we get the pleasure of remembering all over again. However, I recently learned that memory loss has little to do with age, but rather with the lack of routine and a busy schedule. In other words, the old have the leisure to meander through time, to trip down memory lane when and if they feel like it, and, if all older people are like me; they just can’t be bothered remembering stuff.

It used to upset me tremendously when I couldn't remember events or forget an appointment, or forget to do a regular task, like flea treating the dog. I used to have a very good memory and could recall exact, pertinent details of practically everything and got distressed when I lost the ability. Now I couldn't care less if I forget stuff because I realised it doesn't matter not one jot if I remember or not. The sky doesn't fall in if I can’t remember what I did last week or two years ago, the bureaucratic system doesn't grind to a halt if a bill is seriously late, my friends don’t care if I forget their birthday and there is no one around to challenge my recollections of my distant past and, anyway, they are my memories not theirs.

This brings me to the subject of this post. My eldest grandchild keeps asking me to tell her stories of about my childhood. So, before I lose or muddle all my memories altogether, I have decided to use this blog as a way to record stories of my life so my grandchildren will have a record of what it was like to grow up and live through some of the most fantastic times, with the greatest inventions and social changes that have occurred in the modern world. Having never met my own grandparents, I think it would be nice for my grandchildren to know who I was, what I believed in, what I did and why I made the decisions I made about my life.  

First, it’s important to know that I was born in the November of the year that the Second World War ended. There was a time in my early teens that I thought of myself as a victory baby; that my parents celebrated the end of the way by conceiving me, as a kind of passionate hope for the future. But, that was pure fiction on my part because the war in Europe didn't end until May and, as I was a full-term baby, weighing in at 7lbs and some ounces, the dates just didn't add up. Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that I've always had a vivid imagination and a strong desire to be seen as special. This desire was earlier fuelled, if not caused, by the birth of Prince Charles, the heir to the throne of England, on the SAME day as my birthday. For years I thought there was a special bond between the bonnie prince and me because we shared a birthday.

By the time I was ten years old I had figured out that there were millions and millions of people who shared the same birth date of Prince Charles, thus ending my claim of 'specialness'. By the time I was eighteen I was a fervent, if closet, anti-royalist; I would not have dared tell my mother that I despised the whole idea of royalty. She would have had a fit! She identified strongly with the queen who, like her, had four children and behaved at all times like a gracious lady, something my mother strived to be at all times too. Even when I became an active and out anti-royalist I never told my mother. I don’t really know why I didn't tell her. It wasn't to save her feelings because we argued about so many fundamental things, like our differing philosophical, political and religious perspectives. I suspect I never told her because I believe she modelled herself on the Queen and what being a gracious lady meant to the extent that she would have thought I was saying I didn't like her. Whereas, when we argued about other issues it was always based on differing ideas and concepts rather than personalities.

The reason my birth at the end of the war was important was that the Labour party was elected into government and they introduced the welfare state. Without it my childhood would have been so much bleaker. Without this political change my childhood would have been one of hunger, crippling deformities and equally crippling ignorance. To be housed, fed, schooled and given free access to specialist orthopaedic surgeons provided me a healthy life with a mother and a home. If the Labour party had not introduced free welfare for all after the Second World War and because my father died, my siblings and I would probably have lived our lives in abject poverty or in an orphanage and/or been sent to the colonies as child migrants. 

In fact, we only escaped being sent to Australia as child migrants because of the strength of our mother. In 1954 mum was taken to hospital very ill and had to have a hysterectomy. We four children were farmed out to two families in the catholic parish; two boys together and two girls together. Eventually we children had to move to another county and go stay with unknown aunties and uncles and we didn't see mum for three months. Many years later I asked why she had been away so long and she told me that during the operation she lost a lot of blood and had to have a transfusion but was given the wrong blood type and almost died. While she was convalescing, a social worker (they called them Almoners in those days) came to visit with forms to be signed. These forms gave permission for us children to be sent on a boat to Australia with hundreds of other children. This is what had been decided would happen to us if mum had died. Fortunately for us, mum refused to sign the forms, although she said she thought about for a little while. Knowing now the harrowing stories of the children who did not escape this fate I am forever in my mother's debt.

What made it possible for my mother to make such a choice was a change of political will and raising the consciousness of the whole country to the moral, political and financial necessity of having universal access to basic standards of living, education and health care.  Having access to a widow's pension provided by the state, a pension that did not depend upon having rich parents, an annuity or a trust account meant my mother could keep her four children at home and feed, clothe and educate them. Don't get me wrong, it was NOT easy. The pension was meagre and without my mother's resourcefulness we would not have thrived as well as we did. But thrive we did and luckily remained a family in our little council house on the outskirts of Leeds, Yorkshire, in a post war Britain that enjoyed universal state benefits. It wasn't paradise but better than anything a pre-war Britain could have offered. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Do you have a good memory?
In what kind of political and economic system did you spend your formative years?
Did you feel special because of something or someone that had nothing to do with you?
What secrets did you never divulge to your mother and/or father?

Monday, 8 April 2013

In praise of Elan Morgan: brilliant blogger

Well, blow me down with a feather! I never would have thought it but my previous post was chosen to go on Elan Morgan’s, Schmutzie & You Five Star Friday. Elan is an amazing blogger and interesting writer; profoundly intelligent, wise and friendly. She is also a very creative photographer, poet, designer and public speaker. If you haven't seen Elan’s blog do check it out. You will be pleasantly surprised. You'll find her at:

The fact that Elan put my post on her Five Star Friday has left me a bit speechless and blushing with pleasure. As a newbie blogger who almost gave up blogging after a couple of disastrous attempts on other blogging platforms, this inclusion has sent my confidence soaring. So to you, Elan, I send a huge thank you. Your work always inspires and feeds my soul.

Even though this is a short post, I do have a piece of writing in my draft file waiting to be finished and I will get it finished soon. Now I'm old, various medical issues pop up that take my attention away from the pleasures (and anxieties) of writing.  

As Arnie said, “I'll be back”.  Soon.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Body of Evidence

Last September, 2013, Eden Riley (one of the all-time great bloggers) wrote a post about female body image and her dismay at discovering so many young girls and women were considering surgery to modify their bodies. You may want to check Eden’s post out at:

One comment on Eden’s post was from DaisyLolaDot that intrigued the hell out of me and left me wondering about how I felt about my own body. Well into my late 40s I imagined the kinds of cosmetic surgery I would get if I won the big Lotto prize. I have a space in my upper front teeth that I have always disliked and day-dreamed about closing that gap. One morning at the age of 12 years I woke to find a huge shelf on my chest that got in the way of EVERYTHING. I longed for a breast reduction that would make me look normal and stop boys (and later men) constantly wanting to touch them.  To make my appearance different I would I have gladly gone under the surgeon’s knife. I wanted to become a dainty, ethereal creature instead of the lumpy, peasant looking girl that I was. (It’s just as well because I'm sure K.D. Lang used me as her inspiration when she wrote that fabulous song about the Big Boned Gal. It would be a sad world without that song.)

I've been thinking about the issue of cosmetic surgery and body modification since the post from Eden and am stunned to discover that I now really, really love this old body of mine. On the surface, my body is in bad shape. It is morbidly obese, has crippling osteo arthritis and spondylitis, has needed a hysterectomy, appendectomy, gall bladder removal, numerous operations on deformed feet, fusion of the cervical spine, two hip replacements, carpal tunnel surgery, and has allergic reactions to substances too many to list. What has taken my breath away is the realisation that, in spite of these handicaps, my body has brought me so much joy.  

These feet emerged at birth as clubbed feet and endured endless pain of straightening physiotherapy, wearing ugly prosthetic footwear that caused such embarrassment and several operations during my childhood years. Yet these man-sized feet also took me dancing, hiking, potholing, rock climbing and bush trekking. They carried me thousands of miles to school and work and back. They helped me carry my babies, shopping bags full of groceries and even furniture when I moved from place to place. I find I have a great deal of affection for my feet, even when the bunions throb with pain, or when, because their joints are fused together, the slightest knock means the toes break, or the ankles protest another flare up of arthritis. My feet are marvellous because of their triumph over adversity AND, to me they just look beautiful.

My knees are now swollen, pitted with scars and the occasional spidery vein. Yet, I find I'm so proud of them!

These knees helped me get around before I could walk. They have crawled over many surfaces whilst chasing pets, babies, toys and other treasures. They got scraped when I fell off a bike my younger brother and I made from bits found at the dump. The scar (on the left in the picture) reminds me of how exhilarating it was to fly down the street on two wheels but no brakes. As I went arse-over-tip my knee caught on the open end of the steel handlebar and gouged out a huge piece of flesh. At age 8 I was so proud of that wound and it is a scar worth having!

These knees have helped me crawl through and up and down potholes, assisted me in clinging to sheer cliff faces in the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. They have gripped lovers as passion took our bodies and minds to the heights of absolute enjoyment. They also gave me something to hang on to when I pushed my two children into the world.

Now, the patella in my right knee keeps going off the rails. At random moments it forgets where the rails are and dislocates. This usually results in me becoming a fully-fledged member of the “Ministry of Silly Walks” (The Monty Python team would be so proud). Alternatively, I just fall over. Yes, it bloody well hurts, but I get a great pay off from the looks on people’s faces when it happens in public. Priceless!
Yes, these knees are good knees. They have done, and continue to do a good job and I wouldn't swap ‘em for quids.

What to say about these oddly shaped hands?

These hands hold every memory of everyone and everything they touched and left a memory for everyone and everything that touched them. The exquisite, yet simple pleasure of walking down a street and having the man I love reach for and hold my hand is priceless. These hands have provided safety and comfort to my children and grand children plus all the other children who I have had the pleasure to know.

In my late teens and early twenties I was embarrassed by my big, man-sized hands. Yet I was grateful for the power they embodied. These hands have traversed many lovers’ bodies, bringing sweet rapture equally to those I loved and those I liked. They kept my safe when dangling from ropes halfway up sheer cliff faces and lifting fallen boulders to clear the way in deep potholes.
Having big hands was a bonus when handling my new born babies; they were sure, strong and, at the same time, gentle. These hands have cooked and cleaned, washed and ironed, knitted, sewn and crocheted. They have turned thousands of pages in books, written and typed thousands of words in journals, essays, letters, emails, a thesis and even blog posts. They have planted gardens and veggie patches, stroked and fed dogs, cats, rats, guinea pigs, mice, rabbits, chickens, ducks, budgies and, yes, even a pet goat.

Now, looking at my hands with their wrinkles, age spots and crooked fingers I am filled with wonder at what they have done and I rejoice.

I look at my large, wobbly body and wrinkly skin and feel delighted. All desire for cosmetic surgery has disappeared. I am now thankful for and love this old body. Every wrinkle, every scar, every age spot is testimony to a life lived. A life to be very grateful for and a life in which I have loved deeply and been deeply loved.

I think it’s time for us as a society to rejoice in our bodies as they age and celebrate bodily milestones. Every BODY is beautiful, including mine. 

Now I'm off to plan a party. I will be 68 this year and I think my body deserves a to celebrate. I hope yours does too.

PS: My 4 year old granddaughter told me that she loves me being fat because the hugs I give her are so soft and squishy and she could stay hugging me all day!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


This blogging caper is a bit baffling. The idea was to write a post every week but somehow the time has flown by and I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date. There are a million, very sound (yea, I bet), reasons why the deadline passed me by but I won’t bore you with them (mainly because I wouldn't get away with trying to give a million reasons). Honestly, the main reason is I keep waiting for something out of the ordinary to happen that would get my creative writing juices flowing; that I could dazzle my reader(s) with; that would be satisfying to write.

I travelled half way around Australia in 2004-2005 and wrote an email journal to family and friends, a pre-blog if you like. It was easy to write about each new place, people, activity and experience. I kind of thought blogging would be the same. After lurking about on other blogs and discovering that personal bloggers talk about their daily lives, thoughts and insights I reckoned I could do the same. Those bloggers make it look easy and fooled me into a false sense of security. Damn you, clever bloggers!

Trouble is I now lead a very ‘less ordinary’ life. What to do? It seems the best advice is from the good bloggers is to speak your truth and tell it like it is. But do you, dear reader(s), really want to know that my stomach and guts are in an uproar? That the recurrent vestibulitis (it interferes with balance and makes the room spin every time I move my head) I suffer from has returned to plague me? That I haven’t been out of the house for five days and only seen two people in that time? That I'm getting very bored with the dross on offer during summer time TV? No! I challenge anyone to get some blog worthy writing out of that lot. Except to say they are all fairly good reasons why I missed my blog deadline and have nothing interesting to write about. Excuses, excuses, Humph!

So, in the interests of waffle I shall post a picture of my dog’s extra long tongue in the hopes that you will be distracted from the detritus above and be convinced that I live a truly exotic life because I have an exotic (kind of) pet.

She is a Chihuahua licking a tea plate. She really 
gets her money's worth with that tongue.

You’re not fooled, I can tell, but just go with the flow and I'll see you in a week.*

*If I remember (or merember, as both my kids used to say, a hundred or so years ago when they were little). 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Time and Tide . . . .

Typically, I didn't write this brand new post to my brand new blog on the first day of 2013 of the Gregorian calendar. I'm nothing if not perverse. Can't stand all the dribble about starting over, reviewing the past, resolving to do different things and the same things differently, blah, blah, blah. The very idea of new years' resolutions makes me want to bang my head against a brick wall. That would be so much less painful than than having to live through the silly season that culminates in an explosion of lame "Top 10 Resolutions". Ahhhhh . . . .  "beam me up, Scottie." Please, I beg you, take me away from all this.

Anyway my sweeties, how's your belly for spots? Mine's fine; full of Arnotts Tim Tams and a nice cuppa tea. As you may have gathered from the previous paragraph, I'm not a fan of the western world's customs of christmas and new year. I've survived (sometimes barely) the appalling charade of the "festive season" 67 times and it's made me somewhat cynical and very weary. The false bonhomie, the spending, the eating and drinking orgies, the overindulgence of children as present piles on present, the mounting debt and the waste. Oh, please don't get me started on the waste! All the paper, plastic, cardboard and food that is discarded is appalling and even more so when two thirds of the world's people are undernourished or starving to death. It's so disgusting I can't stand it and I can't understand why everybody else can't stand it. People in the western world really have no inkling about the meaning of giving and seasonal celebrations and, until they do, every advert, nay every purchase, should be followed by a loud announcement saying, "Every time a cash register rings, somewhere in the world a child dies." The people in the checkout queue in the supermarket did not appreciate me saying this on the 23rd December, 2013. They all looked at me as if I was the misanthrope! 

Next time I think I'll have a big sandwich board made with the words, "Every time a cash register rings, somewhere in the world a human being dies", written on the front and back, then Rosie 

and I can parade up and down outside major supermarkets and department stores. Ha ha ha . . . it could be fun and should put one old woman and little dog among the fat cats! (Much better than sacrificing a pigeon.) I wonder how long it would be before they called the cops? 

Oh, by the way, if you ever meet any designers or manufacturers of wrapping paper, please smack their hands and face for me. The smack to the hands is to remind them that, if they insist on continuing in this useless and unnecessary occupation, every design should incorporate lines to make the cutting of the paper easier. The smack to the face is to jog their memory that making the paper too thin so it has to be doubled in order to cover a present, because a single thickness ALWAYS tears, (yes, I'm shouting!) does not endear them to the general public.

I give the grand kids gifts on their birthdays and at christmas and this year I'm making them all a shiny material pillow case with their name embroidered on the front. I'll tie it up with a ribbon at the top so they can still have the pleasure of opening something, it will just be the same something each time (the wrapping not the present). I can stop wrestling with paper, scissors and sticky tape that ends up in the bin and me as a gibberish mess. Instead, I'll sit back and bask in an environmentalist glow and send money to World Vision Australia.  

Well, would you look at that? I've outed myself as a bleeding heart. How fabulous and so much better than being a heartless sod. 

Still, bleeding heart or not, I'll leave it until next time to tell you why I have a problem with the approach the charitable organisations have towards the twin evils of abject poverty, ill health and death. On that cheery note, I take my leave.