... easing into semi-retirement, having lots of creative adventures and enjoying being a (relatively) new Granny.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Grandma’s Shelley Queen Anne 1929

This was my story for the last week of the course...

“Hurry up Mum. Open the box. I want to see what’s in it,” seven year old Colin demanded as his mother loosened the string tied firmly around the medium sized cardboard box that she had ordered especially from Sydney.

“Just a moment…don’t rush me.” said Daisy. “Nearly there. Ah, here we go.” The string snapped and the box lid flew open.

There, nestled in a bed of crumpled newspaper, was Daisy’s longed for Shelley Queen Anne tea set : six settings of pure white cups, saucers and plates, milk jug, sugar pot and sandwich tray. Each piece was gently unwrapped and placed 
on the draining board. Carefully she proceeded to wash and dry the gleaming, translucent china.

“Thank heavens the delivery got through in spite of the floods in Sydney,” she thought. “How dreadful if I had had to use my everyday china for afternoon tea tomorrow. What would Mrs Fallick and the others have thought of me?” 

Colin and Shirley, tired of playing in the box of newspaper scraps drifted outside. Daisy then checked her best linen serviettes and matching supper cloth. Tomorrow she needed to impress all of the invited ladies but especially Mrs Howe, the bank manager’s wife. Cec was relying on her to pave the way for his appointment with Mr Howe next Monday. The future of the furniture shop, and indeed their whole livelihood, depended on how that meeting would go.

I wonder what my dear Grandma would say if she saw me today, using the same tea set to impress my prospective in-laws.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Starting School 1935 - week 5

When I was eight and Kevin turned five I was so excited to be finally going to the bush school six miles away rather than staying at home with Mother and the babies. Father had decided that I was old enough to drive us in the horse and sulky. 
After breakfast we had to catch Milly our horse and hitch her to the sulky. During the school day, she roamed loose in the small horse paddock. After school we had to catch her again for the journey home.
When our sister Joy started school the next year she needed help to climb into the sulky so Kevin and I would boost her up while she held the reins. We would jump up and squeeze onto the narrow wooden seat either side of her. 
One especially hot day we sped home through the shimmering heat and dust, feeling every bump on the winding dirt track, eager for a swim in the dam before tea time. Suddenly Milly picked up speed, going faster and faster down the driveway towards our home, frantically shaking her head as a wasp buzzed in her ear. 
The sulky swayed precariously, Kevin and I jumped clear as Milly slowed on a corner but Joy still clung to the seat screaming wildly. Nearing the stable and recognizing her home Milly then stopped dead. 
We scurried to help Joy down from the sulky as Mother appeared. 
“Alick ! What were you thinking leaving your sister in that sulky? Who knows what could have happened to her!”....................... 

Sunday, 31 January 2016

There's No Place Like Home

Week 4 started on 11 January but I have been so busy since the New Year that I have only now made time to post my latest stories. This was my story for week 4...

The old house with a peeling red roof stood atop a slight rise in the otherwise flat land overlooking flat paddocks, dry and yellowed after the relentless summer heat, so different to the relative green and deceptive coolness of her far away city home. Shirley blinked away her momentary homesickness, determined to look for positives in the property Alick was so proudly showing her, knowing that soon this would be her home.

Across the front of the house the veranda was barely standing and as they drew closer she saw several broken windows. Tools and other building equipment scattered near 
the back door showed that some work had already begun on the interior.

Alick opened the door and ushered her in and the smell hit her: nesting mice had left their distinctive aroma in the wall cavities and the moth eaten carpet in the lounge room added its own perfume to the dry, dusty, old house smell.

He guided her through the house, room by room, asking her 
opinion on the progress made so far; but Shirley was already imagining walls repaired and freshly painted in Milky Cream, wooden floor boards polished and gleaming, and their new lounge suite set up in the lounge room. A new fuel stove was already installed in the kitchen, but the empty bathroom with a chip heater was obviously waiting for a new bath and basin. 

“My uncle Harold can get us a bathroom setting from McDowells in Sydney. I’ll ask Mum to chase him up when I 
get home”, she told Alick, as she thought to herself, “I think I can cope with anything knowing I can have a lovely warm bath every couple of days.”

Friday, 11 December 2015

Writing Family History Week 3

Walking in their shoes - Downward Spiral

Fred Ross and I were excited to be flying our second op. with Bomber Command Pathfinder Force. It was now the evening of 19 August 1943. The following wave of lumbering Lancaster bombers depended on our light weight Mosquito to drop target indicator flares over German industrial areas.

Our first op. two nights before had been, as Fred said in his letter home “a short flight to Berlin, take in the sights and home in bed by midnight.” We were cockily confident again tonight.

Suddenly, without warning, a heavy ack-ack shell hit and the tail of the Mosquito disappeared; I was thrown to the floor. Momentarily deafened by the terrific explosion, I called forward to Fred, “we’re hit”, but no response came.

I looked back to see the gun turret blown out by a burst of tracer from above; I had been seated there moments before. The noise was deafening as flak burst all around us, shrapnel drummed on the wings and searchlights followed our every move.

The plane was out of control, racing dizzyingly downwards as 
I forced my way through the gun turret debris. I fought forward against the pull of gravity knowing I had to get to the controls.

My worst fears were realized when I saw Fred slumped over the column.

The incessant racket continued as I tried desperately to move my friend aside.

“Damn, I'm only 21! …will I make it home to Faye? …what about Mum and Dad?”

The sickening race to the ground continued…

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Goulburn Community Choir

In early October I joined the Community Choir with a good deal of trepidation. I have always enjoyed singing but never felt that I could sing well; in addition I always felt at a disadvantage because I do not read music. 

However, this choir was promoted by the Goulburn Regional Conservatorium as being for anyone from 16-96 who enjoyed singing, and music education was not a prerequisite. So I went along with a dear friend who also sings in another choir, learns Voice and also Ukulele, and tried not to feel inferior.

We met for 1-5 hours once a week for 7 weeks and had our end of term concert last Thursday night.It was a wonderful experience to be part of a like minded group who enjoy music and the end result was better than expected. 

We were conducted by the Director of the Con, Paul Scott-Williams, who very capably coached such a mismatched group and enabled them to excel in a short time. Thank you so much Paul for your hard work.

Now I'm counting the weeks until practices resume in early February :-)