Wednesday, 30 August 2017

#52Stories, Week 28, Which of your birthdays were especially significant for you ? When you turned 8, 12, 15. 16, 18 or or maybe 21 ? What do you remember about those special days ?

Birthdays. Meh.

I’m not all about fuss. It’s a family thing I think. None of us really seem to enjoy having a BIG fuss made of us. These days birthday celebrations are normally just going out for dinner together if possible, or catching up with friends. No party party party for this girl.

I don’t remember any specific parties when I was younger either. Just a few friends over, some party games (pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey, musical chairs) a treasure hunt, cake.

Just a sponge, or chocolate cake with candles – none of the crazy over the top great cakes we see today. Cheese and pineapple on toothpicks stuck in an orange, cheerios, maybe some chippies and fairy bread and fizzy drink if we were lucky.

I remember one birthday a group of my friends and I went to see “Around the World in 80 Days” at Founders Theatre – on our own ! Maybe 10th or 11th ?

I remember some major presents; a doll’s pram, a wrist watch, a bike, a pair of roller skates, books to read.

There you go, birthdays. Best spent with those you love and those you love to be around in whichever way floats your boat.

#52Stories, Week 27, What do you know about the day that you were born ? What stories have you been told about your birth ?

Well, I know which day I was born, and I know which day of the week it was. But I don’t know too much about the day itself.

September – so early spring – but whether it was filled with sunshine and blue skies or cool breezes and spring showers, I don’t know.

Friday’s child is loving and giving. Did my parents have plans for the weekend ? Or were they just planning on waiting for me to show up ?

What global, national or local events were happening ? Sadly in New Zealand the papers from that day haven’t been digitised yet, so all I can do is try to find something more global. It can’t have been anything too momentous or I think I would have heard about it. I know for example on the day my brother was born, that the Berlin Wall construction was completed. So if Mum remembered that from the day he was born maybe the news of the day on my birthday was inconsequential.

So from the wonderful world of the interweb :

·         Duke Ellington won Springarn Medal for his musical achievements
·         US Congress passed a bill authorising food stamps for poor Americans
·         Elroy Face’s 22 game win streak ends as Dodgers beat Pirates 5-4
·         Oriole Jerry Walker pitches 16 inn beating White Sox 1-0

·         Dwight D Eisenhower was President of the US
·         Harold McMillan was Prime Minister of Great Britain

·         Walter Nash was Prime Minister of New Zealand
·         Keith Holyoake was the Leader of the Opposition
·         Viscount Cobham was Governor-General
·         Denis Rogers became Mayor of Hamilton (Dove=Myer Robinson became Mayor of Auckland and Frank Kitts was Mayor of Wellington)

·         Auckland Harbour Bridge had been open for 3 months
·         The British Lions were on tour – the AB’s won of course ! 18-17, 11-8, 22-8 before the Lions won the 4th match 9-6. Wilson Whineray and Colin Meads were young All Blacks
·         The new Wellington airport opened at Rongotai
·         New Zealand and 11 other countries active in Antarctic during the Geophysical Year signed the Antarctic Treaty
·         Turners and Growers announced that it would now export the Chinese gooseberry under the name “kiwifruit”
·         The first discovery of gas at Kapuni was made
·         The New Zealand Broadcasting Service made the country’s first experimental television broadcast from the roof of the 1YA studio in Shortland Street, Auckland
·         Bruce Mason’s one man play “The end of the golden weather” was debuted
·         Stirling Moss and Jack Brabham raced for the chequered flag in the New Zealand Grand Prix at Ardmore in front of 80000 people. Moss won. Bruce McLaren came 3rd.

·         President Eisenhower was preparing for the visit to the US of Nikita Khrushchev

·         Living Doll by Cliff Richard & the Drifters was #1 in the UK and
·         The Three Bells by The Browns was #1 in the US

There you have it – not everything happened on my birthday – but in the end it was a pretty good list of things for the year. 

#52Stories, Week 26, Halfway point - Goal Review

I’ve just added this one in, because it is week 26 after all. What were those goals I set way back at the beginning of the year ? What progress have I made ?

Here is the list I made in Week 1: (and comments in italics afterward)

1.    Write a story every week, to complete the #52Stories challenge - there have been a few hiccups where I have been racing to keep up, or catch up but I'm on track and still feel confident that I will get there in the end
2.    Sell or giveaway objects that have been packed, can be replaced and cost too much to keep moving and storing. (anyone in the market for a washing machine, drier, fridge, leather lounger suite ? - keep an eye on Trademe) - DONE !! when this post was meant to be written there had been some sorting done (at Christmas) and a couple of items had been sold on Trademe
3.    Save some money - Ummm
4.    Find a more rewarding way to make money - new role ? - some soul searching and looking for opportunities to study (what where when ?)
5.    Get a bit more socially involved - this last inter-city move has been a fairly lonely time - work in progress
6.    Live on my own (again) - probably not in Auckland then...- this one too is a work in progress
7.    Be more organised for Christmas 2017 - time will tell
8.    Get fitter - there are some legendary walks I would like to do one day soon - still working on this one too
9.    Plan new travel adventures - had a week in Canberra, somewhere I had never been and such a cool little city too. I will be going back there for sure. So many festivals to enjoy
10. DNA confirm 16 great great grandparents (or even better 32 great great great grandparents - could I dare hope for 64 great great great great grandparents) - 13 great great grandparents proven by DNA; 11 great great great grandparents (plus a couple of others I'm working on to be sure)

Not looking too bad so far.

#52Stories, Week 25, Describe your family legacy regarding education. Do you come from a long line of scholars ? Were you the first to earn a degree ? Are you forging a new legacy with your own children ?

Be the best that you can be.

I would say that was an underlying motto in the family. Dad had a degree in Engineering, Mum studied while we were at college to become a teacher – she had studied nursing when she left school.

There wasn’t any pressure to go and get a qualification or go to university. If that was what we chose - well and good, if not – no matter. In the 70’s you didn’t need a qualification or a degree for the majority of jobs. If you did many workplaces trained you as you worked – apprenticeships and the like. If you weren’t interested in a trade, or nursing, or teaching, or doctoring and dentistry – you just looked for a job doing something you could “just do”.

To work in the bank or insurance you just needed to show an aptitude and demonstrate a good work ethic, not like now when it seems you almost need at least a BA to look at the positions vacant. If you had studied shorthand or typing that would assist you into an office role in most cases, and accounting might have helped you into a junior role in an accounting firm.

I took languages at college – Latin and French. They didn’t really get me anywhere. I had thought when I was 13 and had to choose course options that maybe I might do Law – and that Latin might be handy. But plans change. To be truthful I have never known what I want to do when I grow up !

Teaching ? Nursing ? Almost I did Home Science to become a dietician – how much different would life be now ?

But no – no formal qualifications – and I have done okay. Sometimes I think what if ? But what if might have changed my whole path and there are definitely some things I wouldn’t want to change. So.

I’ve been a bit the same as a parent – it takes time to work out the path you want to take in life. The pressures are different and today’s youth a made to feel they need a degree to do the most menial jobs, and that if they aren’t academically amazing, then they are at the bottom of the pile. Who are we then - parents with no qualifications – to lecture our children that that must have this degree or that ? To encourage them to embrace lifelong debt in their early 20’s and beyond.

So far it has worked for me. For myself and as a parent - I think.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Settling in

So just to catch people up. Lauren found a place to call home and we have moved in.

Since most of our belongings are in a container waiting to leave New Zealand we have had a bit of a spending spree. Beds, mattresses, fridge and washing machine were the most costly - but not actually, all things considered. Something to sit on, crockery, cutlery, cooking vessels - you know the things I mean. 

We are slowly getting some of the essentials in to the pantry as well.

It has been a week now and there are the makings of a home.

We took back the rental car last Sunday as well, so there has been lots of walking about to get things done. Just as well Bendigo is a walkable place.

Turns out a few of the great coffee places we have been frequenting are just 10-15 minutes walk away. Bonus.

We have almost all of the admin things sorted - medicare, myki cards, (like Snapper, HOP, Oyster and Opal), library cards, bank accounts, electoral rolls, tax numbers so things are feeling pretty organised. Just the job front to conquer for me.

In the meantime I am still enjoying my studying using pocket wifi (thanks Vodafone) while we wait for our NBN internet connection to get sorted.

We have a bunch of DVDs to watch because TV is pretty rubbish - but at least you don't need to buy an additional set top box or sign up to pay tv just to watch the free channels. You just buy a TV (dont forget the cable) take it home, plug it all in and BINGO - TV is all sorted. Anyway, TV will have to do - and the DVD's until we have internet because I think we would use all our data up watching Netflix if we tried it now.

 Flatpack furniture - or some of it

 Book exchange on the footpath !! day

 All of the above in Chancery Lane
Bendigo channelling Santa Monica

#52Stories, Week 24, What are your memories of school lunch ? Did you bring it home or eat at school ? How did the food and your experiences change from school to school ?


White bread with marmite and cheese, or just jam, wrapped in greaseproof paper, a teeny pack of Cinderella raisins and cordial in a drink bottle. Sometimes a biscuit or some fruit, even a tomato with a little bit of salt twisted in paper. In the winter, maybe a thermos with some soup.

I think mostly I ate what I took to school. I don’t remember swapping with other kids, ‘though I think we did often compare what we had. Anything uneaten was chucked in the rubbish at school – or taken home to throw in the compost.

It was all pretty much the same all through school, though sometimes there were gourmet sandwich fillings: vegemite, lettuce and chopped walnuts and the like.

Some days we’d be allowed to order a school lunch – usually a pie and a doughnut – nothing fancy or particularly nutritional.

At college the theme continued, but often using my “own” money I would buy lunch on the way to school. Some kiwifruit from the little fruit shop at the station – gone now like the Terminus milk bar where the boys mostly congregated waiting for their buses across town. Four kiwifruit for “sikitty cent” from the elderly asian lady who ran the shop.

Other times a sandwich and a cake from the bakery on the corner of Molesworth Street and Sydney St East (now Kate Sheppard Place), or a filled roll and a can of Apple and Orange Fresh Up from that cafĂ© on the corner of Aiken Street and Mulgrave Street about where Subway is now. What was that place called ?? (was it Subway too ? I’m sure it started with “S”. We went almost every day for a hot chocolate on our way from the station to school – and to put on our ties before we got too close and were caught out not wearing correct uniform.

In 7th form when we were allowed to leave the school grounds during the day (not like now when everyone just escapes into the CBD at lunchtime) sometimes we’d go and get fish and chips from Molesworth Street.

#52Stories, Week 23, What sensory details can you remember from each of your past schools ? The colours of classrooms and lockers, the smells, the texture of the carpet or tiles ?

Well this one will have me racking my brains !

I don’t remember too much from kindergarten, but two things I do recall (or think I do) are the carpet “the mat” that we sat on together for stories was striped and that the big log or tree stump we used to climb on had the most amazing fungi or lichen on it with quite a distinctive damp sort of sweetly pungent odour.

From primary school my memories are just as sketchy. Although I am pretty sure that the Ministry of Education must have had a bulk order for that stripey carpet as I seem to recall something very similar in most classrooms. It must have been very durable.

Other smells I remember are wet coats in the cloakroom, and chlorine smelling wet togs and towels after swimming (remember when ALL schools had their own pool, and we all had swimming lessons as part of the curriculum ?). The smell of paints, paste, pencil shavings and the ink from the BANDA machine – back in the day before we had photocopiers. Chalk dust. That awful screechy sound chalk can make on a blackboard. Also the antiseptic=y smell in the “murder-house” – or was that just fear ?

At college, damp woollen blazers or cardigans at a full assembly, 1000 pairs of wet shoes on the wooden floor in the hall. Damp bare wood floors in prefabs in the winter and slippery vinyl as you raced along corridors in Brook and Tower. (“Walk girls, don’t run”). The incinerators in the toilets – just gross. Ink bottles filled with ink to refill your fountain pen, blue/black or radiant blue. Twink. Wooden chairs made of plywood that would split and splinter and snag your tights – always the new ones. 1000 girls’ voices talking all at once leaving assembly.

Thursday, 17 August 2017


Well, it has been just over a week since our new life began, and as you would expect there have been a few curveballs come our way. But mostly we are on top of it all.

We've taken advantage of having a rental car to get around and view potential places to live, and to explore a bit of the local area. We've also become regulars at a couple of coffee places - just one of the downsides of living in a hotel with no kitchen facilities I guess.

Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options are everywhere (dairy free too !) A-M-A-Z-I-N-G ! there have not been nearly as many hangry moments as would normally occur when travelling together. But, I think we are both looking forward to being able to make our own meals again.

Murray River and New South Wales at Echuca
 Lake Weeroona
 Yarnbombed Bike

 More yarnbombing

 A friendly local
 Bendigo sunset
 Sunday walkabout Bendigo

 Flying foxes !!
 Where we are staying for now...

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Hello from the other side

 - of the Tasman, that is !

The last few weeks have been a blur of boxes and sorting and selling and packing. I'm glad that part is over.

After farewelling workmates and saying goodbye to the stress of packing and cleaning we headed south for a couple of days in Wellington. Time to catch up with friends and family there as well before that early morning flight.

On the way we stopped in Taupo and caught the sunset - and got up early in the freezing morning to catch the sunrise too. 

In Wellington we were reminded of the weather we had left behind. Idyllic one day, horrendous the next; but that is what makes it great at the same time. Not enough time to see everyone though. Maybe on the next trip.

We were up bright and early 3.30am ! and off to the airport for a relatively smooth trip arriving in Melbourne at 8.00am. We needed to visit the bank where we had opened our accounts, so we caught the bus into the city and found a great place to get some breakfast (no food on the plane for our fare option).

It had been awhile since my last visit to Melbourne - maybe 12 years ? surely not that long. But it all still felt so familiar. We enjoyed wandering around in the sun before catching the bus back and picking up the rental car. 

Bendigo (new home town) is just 90 minutes from Melbourne and has regular bus and train services, so I KNOW we will be back that way to catch a show or two, or to just wander the streets.