Thursday, 14 December 2017

#52Stories, Week 48, Let the planning begin !

In 1978 I got my first passport.

That September I went to Fiji with my friend Jo. We had both been working for a year or so since leaving school. Jo’s parents had been to Fiji before and had a network of friends there.

I travelled up to Hamilton from Wellington (did I fly ? I cant remember) and stayed at Jo’s. Next morning her sister in law Jane took us to Auckland to catch our plane. Our first night we stayed with the sisters at a convent. Interesting people – nuns.

The next morning we waited at the convent gate with our baggage for a bus and made our way from Nadi to Suva. We stayed in Suva for a few days – maybe a week ? with friends of Jo’s parents.

While we were there we met some other people and when it came time for us to head back to Nadi they gave us a ride – instead of bussing again. We spent a couple of nights on the Coral Coast and then about 3 or 4 more in Nadi. Lots of lazing about the pool, a day trip to Beachcomber and Treasure Islands, cruising the waters in a glass bottomed boat looking at the coral and brightly coloured fish.

It was loads of fun !

When I saw Jo just before we moved from Auckland this year, we were talking about that holiday and decided we are going back. For our next big milestone birthdays.

Rather than 40 years since the first time, it will 41 years instead.

Let the planning begin.

#52Stories, Week 47, In what ways do you sacrifice your time to volunteer in your community ? Do you serve at church, at a local school, at charitable or civic organisations, one-on-one in your neighbourhood ?

Right now, I don’t.

I did have good intentions when I moved that I would get involved with things while I was looking for work. But really, looking for work seems a tad more important right now – tricky as it appears to be.

In the past though there have been a few occasions where I have been a volunteer.

Collecting for charities; Red Cross, SPCA, Plunket…

Brownie leader, Pippin leader, Division/District Commissioner/Coordinator with GirlGuidingNZ and all my “other” daughters.

Wellington City Ambassador – greeting cruise passengers and welcoming them to Wellington, answering questions, making suggestions for activites and giving directions

All of them lots of fun – and soon I am sure I will find something else to do as well.

#52Stories, Week 46, What animal welfare causes capture your heart and inspire you to take action ? Habitat loss, pet abuse and neglect, wildlife preservation, animal testing, factory farming ?

All of the above.

Send me a petition about animal welfare, cruelty, habitat loss, wildlife preservation, animal testing and I will sign it.

Fill my social media feed with images of cute furry animals suffering and I will normally take action and/or repost it to spread the word.

I’ll bake cupcakes for SPCA Cupcake Day, sponsor an animal with the zoo or WWF, make donations to charity collections, buy tshirts, bags and paraphernalia supporting said charities.

When our little Sparkle left us for Kitty Heaven we took all her bowls and toys to the SPCA. Last time we moved we donated carloads of household goods to the their charity shop.

When we holidayed in the States we planned our itinerary around being able to visit and volunteer at Best Friends in Kanab, Utah. A long way to go for one afternoon, but totally worth it.

Local cat café’s working in partnership with animal rescue and fostering groups; Lonely Miaow, Kitten Inn, Red Zone Cats. GREAT people doing AMAZING stuff with very little resource.

PAW Justice too, like the SPCA working to eliminate cruelty, animal testing, abuse, neglect.

#AdoptDontShop #SaveThemAll #TreasuresNotTrophies

Monday, 11 December 2017

#52Stories, Week 45, What environmental issues are most important to you ? Air and water pollution, climate change, recycling, deforestation, endangered/threatened species, renewable energy ?

Plastic, people.


It is the evil which is destroying our water,
killing sealife, birdlife and in the end the ENTIRE planet.

Stop using it,
stop buying it,
stop accepting that e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g needs to be packaged in it.

Use beeswax wraps, glass containers, paper packaging, take your own bags shopping for produce and any sort of shopping.
Say NO to the plastic bag.

It starts with us.
The more of us saying NO,
the sooner the producers of this evil will need to CHANGE their business plan.

Be a conscious shopper
Be a conscious recycler
Lobby your council to have a regular organic rubbish collection
THINK about what you are sending to landfill

Watch this  
change your ways.

It starts with US

So, there is that rant…

…don’t let me get started on the filthy dairy industry polluting our waterways,
ruining our land, overproducing milk, dumping milk, manipulating the natural breeding patterns of dairy herds

...or deforestation and climate change

For generations we lived sustainably on this ball of earth floating in the universe. The past 2 centuries have seen great changes technologically, but they have come with a total disregard to the planet which has nurtured us so well.

It starts with US

Friday, 10 November 2017

#52Stories, Week 44, Memorabilia

Since I wrote about mealtimes a month or so ago, I’ve been thinking about other childhood memories. Combine that with the focus of my study right now – Oral History – there has been a whole lot of thinking going on.

One reading for my course focused on the memories attached to objects like photos and bric-a-brac or even appliances ! In this article the family photographed every room and wall in their mother’s home after she had passed away, to preserve the memory of how her home looked. That was something I never thought of. The idea was that although someone might think they had no memory of a particular event, the photograph might uncover a lost thought. I can see how that might work.

Anyways, it got me thinking about objects I have accumulated and where they came from.

In one of my boxes there is a 45 (you all know what they are – right ?) in a worn paper sleeve with tracks such as Old King Cole and Little Boy Blue which used to get played again and again on the radiogram at Nana’s. The disc would sit at the top of the spindle and drop to the mat and play the tunes we loved so much. Interestingly that same radiogram is now a treasured belonging of Lauren. It doesn’t work now, need to get that sorted.

I have some of Nana’s cookbooks and a collection of ornaments that used to live in the china cabinet. I think we all chose something from there to keep. I also have a few other little containers which I think came from my other Nana’s home.

In my brother’s garage there is a well loved light brown Morris Minor. We all have memories of that car I think. Trips to the Lake, the garden centre, Whakamaru, the Mount, the pool at Cambridge (and breaking down on the way home and needing to get towed), to Te Awamutu, Auckland and even all the way to Wellington.

Then there are photos, the memories attached to some of these are gone now as there is no-one to tell them. Others still have memories which can be shared – just need to work out the best way to record all of them.

One thing in the reading article was the “magic” toaster – it got me thinking about toasters. Ours was one with doors – is that what you’d call them ? You had to toast the bread one side at a time, opening and closing the “door” to turn it over. A pop-up toaster was along time coming in our house. Toast also arrived at the breakfast table on a toast rack ! I need to get back to that. It seemed like a more mindful way to start the day, rather than the rush it often is – to get up, eat and get out the door these days.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

#52Stories, Week 43, How do you believe the human race came into existence on this planet at this time ? Do you believe in religious explanations, scientific theories, or other conclusions ?

So this could be controversial.

Big Bang ?
Creationsim ?
Bible stories ?
Intergalactic travellers ?

It could be any of them. Who really knows ? George Lucas may be right. Alderaan looked pretty Earth like, even Naboo and Tatooine could be mistaken for some parts of our planet.

We are animals. Like other animals we share Earth with, we live in communities – mostly in peace. We have evolved, as some of them have too. We are the same but different. We have embraced technology and are on our way to destroying the planet with our consumerist materialism and excessive waste.

We are homosapiens, but also part Neanderthal, we’ve been here awhile. Were we here with the dinosaurs and managed to survive the big freeze ? Or did we come later ?

Whatever happened and whenever or how it happened every religion has the SAME story in their teaching, with similar values and similar festivals. So maybe there is some truth in those tomes. In our hunger for technology we just haven’t unravelled the riddle yet.

Whichever theory you believe is up to you, and I accept that we will all have different opinions. I'm not sure myself and I don't have any strong leanings one way or the other. Logically science seems like the winner, but I feel there must also have been an event that resulted in those stories in the Torah, Bible and Koran. Surely ?

Anyway, one thing is for sure. We ALL need to take better care of our home. We need to work together in a balanced and controlled way to ensure that neither pollution nor a minor community ends up destroying Earth. That is one big bang we don’t need.

If we are to survive here while searching for our own Alderaan, Kobol or Risa out there amongst the exoplanets in other galaxies we need to be sure we are all on the same page. 

There is no Planet B, we can’t leave home just yet.

Sunday Funday

It was a glorious day last Sunday - quite a contrast to today. We went for a walk to check out the wildlife and soak up some rays.

TURTLES !! There are turtles in the lake - can you see the one photobombing the ducklings ?

Then on the way home - love the patterns from the wrought iron fencing on the footpath

A day trip to the big smoke by rail

Last weekend we made a trip to Melbourne, to get a fix of big city vibes - since we are city girls at heart.

The main attraction was going to see a show. The Book of Mormon. We'd known about it for sometime. It was on when we were in LA, but there was no time then. We thought about a return trip to the US to include it, a trip from Auckland to see it in Melbourne - when we learned it was there. Much closer to home. Now though - even closer.

It was an early start, to make the most of the day. We were surprised just how many other people were catching the train as early as us...on a Saturday.

Two hours there, two hours back - but eight hours of giant city atmosphere. It was a chilly morning - the tall buildings preventing the sun getting to pavement level in some streets. We wished we had thought about that more and brought an extra layer. Nevertheless, we wandered the streets. Found our way to laneways we had visited in the past and ate a delicious late breakfast. Then some shopping, and exploring other hidden laneways - famous for street art. Dodging other shutterbugs, waiting our turn for the perfect shot, quietly cursing the ones who have to take a photo of e-v-e-r-y s-i-n-g-l-e person in their posse in front of the wall (isn't the ART the attraction ?)

Then down to the river, and a wander to the Treasury Gardens and Fitzroy Gardens soaking up the architecture, the sun, the gloriousness of large trees and manicured parks. That feeling of solitude and solace while in the centre of the 2nd largest city in Australia (population 4.4million (2016) - the whole of New Zealand in one city)

And then the show. HILARIOUS. By far one of the best I have seen in in a while, if not ever. It is off to Sydney in the new year, so maybe a trip to see it again. If not, there are plenty of others to see in Melbourne - some even come to little ol' Bendigo too !

And then the ride back home and begin to plan the next trip...Christmas shopping maybe ?

#52Stories, Week 42, What do you believe are the necessary ingredients and habits for a good, moral, purposeful life ? How are you striving to live up to those ideals ?

Hmmm, these topics I have chosen for October are a bit deep and meaningful. I will see if I can stick with what I chose for the whole month !

Here is my list of the necessary ingredients and habits for a good, moral, purposeful life:


We should all harbour some intolerance to be able to facilitate change, but should not allow that intolerance to consume our lives or take away OUR enjoyment in life or alter the way that we see people and treat them if they or their actions and beliefs are different to ours.

How am I doing ?

I think I am fairly honest and open about my beliefs and feelings.
I respect others, accept their differences of opinions or beliefs.
I welcome diversity.
I am curious about the world and my surroundings.
I enjoy being part of a community.
I make time to do things for me – alone.
I include activities daily that allow me to practice mindfulness.
I like the simple things, no waste, good food, nature...
I try not to be negative, but to always see opportunities instead.
I love those who are near and dear to me.
I cannot change the world.
I can choose my own path.

I have hopes and dreams…

Sunday, 8 October 2017

#52Stories, Week 41, What were the faith and religious traditions of your ancestors ? How did those traditions influence the course of their lives and by extension, your life today ?

One thing about family history research – you get to read all sorts of church records. In English, often badly written. In Latin, trying to remember those lessons from college (Latin is a language as dead as dead can be, first it killed the Romans and now it’s killing me) In French, same thing.

So faith and religious traditions of my ancestors ?

Originally I guess they were Pagan. Eventually they'd all have been Catholic – who wouldn’t be ? The desire to stay alive was probably a big influencer for that choice. Then came the reformation – and for the same reasons that they hadn’t dared to stray from the path before – they switched.

Some though were Protestant in defiance of the “norm”. They were Huguenots, persecuted in France and Belgium and exiled themselves to England from the mid 1500’s. They settled in the Spitalfields area of London and carried on their trade as silk weavers, attending L’Église Protestante Française on Threadneedle Street.

Eventually though all branches on the tree seem to have become members of the established church – the Church of England.

Over time some left, following other protestant evangelists, but many still bound to the established church for ceremonies. Inspired by alternative ideals they joined the Salvation Army, the Latter Day Saints or becoming Methodist, Primitive Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist.

Some were heavily involved with the faith that they chose and followed.

Henry James, great great great grandfather was a lay preacher at his Primitive Methodist chapel in Dudley.

John Daniels, brother of my great great grandmother left Wiltshire with his family to settle in Utah. His eldest daughter Mary married Jesse Gardiner in 1873. He had returned from Utah with other Elders in 1872 to preach the gospel on the Bristol Conference. Mary later contested his will after their marriage was declared illegal when the church changed its stance on polygamous marriage.

Julius Horskins, first cousin of my great grandfather joined the Salvation Army after attending meetings near his home in Notting Hill as a 12 year old. He went on to work in the West Indies, Costa Rica, India, South Africa and became Commissioner of Australia and New Zealand.

Thomas Morrison, first cousin of my grandmother, born in New Zealand to immigrant parents. Joined the Mormon church and sailed with fellow congregationalists to San Francisco and travelled to Utah where he raised his families and established a well known business - Morrisons Pies.

Violet Timms, sister of my grandmother, joined the Baptist Church and trained as a missionary to serve in India.

Monday, 2 October 2017

#52Stories, Week 40, What was life like growing up, who did the chores, what were meal times like ?

Well, the boxes have arrived, but I've not been able to find that list I made back in July of blog topics to keep me busy and catch up. I think I am almost on track - I just have to count to be sure that today is the 40th Sunday of the year...or maybe that was last week.

I did have something else in mind for this week, but I was reading Kim Wolterman's blog posts as part of this challenge tonight and she had a couple which I thought seemed interesting. So I have combined them into one.

Life pretty much ran like clockwork, following a routine set by Mum and Dad - and probably learned from their parents and adapted to suit each other.

Mum did most chores in the house and Dad did the outside ones - until we were old enough to start helping out. So washing, cooking cleaning, vacuuming were Mum's domain and lawns, rubbish and gardening were Dad's. Other things like putting out the milk bottles and dishes were shared - until they became ours to do. They were also a great team when it came to planning and transforming the garden or redecorating. Wallpaperers extraordinaire - a real production line process.

Mum organised the shopping too. She'd phone the butcher and place an order to last a week - and he would deliver it all in his little van. If we had a car - sometimes we would go and collect it instead. Groceries mostly were from the Four Square at Five Cross Roads - where McDonalds is now. A lot of time was spent waiting, waiting, waiting on our behalf while Mum chatted with Bubbles and Digger (the owners, and only staff members I ever saw there). I wonder what their real names were. Last name Morris i think because it was called the Morris Building from memory. Fruit and veges came from the greengrocer over the road - and if we were good we might get a treat from Gailer's to take home (cream cakes and pastries !)

Meal times were all around the table with our best table manners. No elbows, eating everything on our plates - even the PEAS ! Even if it took until bedtime ! We had a jar too that we were meant to put 2 cents into if we said "Eh".

Breakfast too was everyone together to start the day. Big breakfasts as well. Mum would say it didn't matter then if we didn't eat our lunches - she knew we had had a monster meal to start the day. Cereal plus egg on toast , toast as well sometimes and juice to drink.

Both meals were great opportunities to share plans for the day, and later reflect on what had happened.

I've not been so good at keeping that tradition myself. Initially I did try, but lack of space, lack of furniture and busy lifestyles - eating on our laps became our thing. Still together though and still talking about our day. I do miss that. Maybe I will get it back very soon. It is in my plan.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

So this happened

Today a truck arrived bright and early and brought all this !!

No more living out of a suitcase. 
No more thinking "I could do this"...and then "oh no I don't have that right now"

Luckily the spring weather hasn't warmed up overly fast and we've been able to get by with the clothes we bought with us. It will be nice to choose something different though.

What else has been going on ?

I have completed my first unit for my Diploma and submitted my assignment ahead of the closing deadline. Now I have a few weeks before the next one starts.

In between study, and walking back and forth to the shops (no car) I've been applying for jobs, sometimes hearing nothing, sometimes just getting rejections - but once getting an interview ! Still have a few in the pipeline to hear back from so watch this space.

Tomorrow is a public holiday. For Grand Final Eve !! What the ? 

Sport is a big thing here, especially VFL/AFL. I quite like footy - I don't get all the rules, but I like that there isn't so much stoppage time (if any). When I worked in Adelaide we would have a sweepstake every week to pick the score for the match of the week. I used to just pick numbers (no clue) and won quite often which annoyed the boys no end. I'm a Swans girls though, so I have no idea who might come out on top on Saturday. The colours don't help me either being originally a Chiefs girl and now a 'Cane's supporter.

Dustin Martin (part Kiwi) is the star player for Richmond (Tigers) and won the Brownlow this week - so I'm kinda leaning that way. And actually the Crows aren't quite Chiefs colours so - we'll see.

Then, on Sunday it's the NRL grand final in Sydney. Storm vs Cowboys. Again I have no clue 'cos my Sharks aren't there ! also, it doesn't seem right that it is Queensland vs Victoria - where are the New South Wales teams ?

It is also daylight saving changeover here this weekend. Summer must be on the way.

Oh - and the next public holiday here is also a sport related one - Melbourne Cup ! 

Some things I have noticed

I have been doing lots of walking since we got here. Having no car makes walking a necessity, and Bendigo is very walkable. It is a great way to get your bearings as well.

There is this

The most casually posed sculpture of a King I ever saw

The Shamrock Hotel, where  Prince Charles and Princess Diana stayed on their first visit to Australia - who knew ? I think I read somewhere that Prince Philip stayed there as well on a trip he made.

The quirky benches on King and Queens Streets

The Yarn-Bombed Tram that travels the city through winter, but is now unadorned.