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A Spoonful of Care

A recent Facebook post by my friend Graham Godwin asked “Dear mythbusters……… does a teaspoon of sugar really help the medicine go down?????

His question brought back memories for me. Not about sugar, it’s true.

But I remember when I was very small and had to take a tablet, how my mother used to crush the offending, usually nasty-tasting thing and mix it with a teaspoonful of jam or honey for me.

I still remember the look of concentration on her face, as she crushed it between the bowl of one spoon and the back of another, without spilling even a small bit of the resulting white powder.

I also remember how she, as an ex-nurse, would use a spoon to depress my tongue and peer into my mouth when I complained of a sore throat.

Or how she’d use the back of a teaspoon to crack the top of a boiled egg for me. Soft-boiled eggs and dry toast were so often a first-meal remedy after I’d been ill.

I still remember my mother sitting on the edge of my bed as I ate, in the darkened room aftermath of measles, mumps or some other childish ailment.

‘Spoon-memories’ about spoonfuls of care.

And I also have some ‘spoon-memories’ of my father. Fun stuff … [Read more…]

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Revisiting Brideshead

I’ve recently finished re-reading Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh – and re-watching on DVD the 1981 BBC TV series, produced by Granada Television.

Brideshead Revisited is probably Evelyn Waugh’s best-loved novel, first published in 1945.

It’s the epic story of a great Catholic family in a doomed aristocratic age prior to the second world war and over sixty years has delighted many readers – including myself .

In haunting prose it captures the dying years of an era of British aristocracy and opulence, which would never again return after the war. Another major theme, as Waugh says in his preface (1959) to a modified re-issue of the novel, is “the operation of divine grace on a group of diverse but closely connected characters.”

In the book there are many passages of lilting prose – somehow wistful and with a lingering melancholy. And in re-reading, I experienced all over again my initial delight.

Here’s an example … [Read more…]

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A Journey Shared

Last weekend I returned to a place I’d not visited in almost ten years.

Brunton’s Bridge is a glorious spot on the Thompson River in Victoria. It lies about 12 kilometers of dirt road beyond an old and now beautifully renovated/rebuilt mining town called Walhalla.

BruntonsBridge01

My partner, Glenn, died at the end of June in 1999 and the last time I had travelled to Brunton’s Bridge was the following December, when members of his family and I camped there overnight to scatter his ashes. He and I had shared life’s journey for 11 years and we’d often gone camping there. It was one of his favourite places to spend time, relaxing in the peaceful bush setting.

Glenn took his own life, so the months afterwards had been very hard for all of us.  We’d have gone with his ashes to Brunton’s Bridge earlier – but none of us had a four wheel drive vehicle, and that rough dirt road had been too muddy and dangerous for our cars until summer arrived that year to dry it out.

As it happened, this was no doubt a good thing. Six months after Glenn’s death we were readier to take that final journey with him.

Here is a poem I wrote at the time: [Read more…]

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Serendipity

gemsI was going through some old files and came across a poem I wrote a number of years ago about the joy of chance encounters.

It was written after a touring holiday, during which we stopped in a small country town called Carcoar in New South Wales.

Intending to stop for just a short break – to stretch our legs and enjoy the scenery – we came across a wee art gallery. A ‘brief chat’ with the artist became a fascinating four hour conversation with him and a friend of his! [Read more…]

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I Remember … A Boomer Tribute

I remember …

SuePlaying outside after school, roaming the neighbourhood at will and only having to be home for tea.

Long trips in the car, sleeping in beds made up for us in the back of the station wagon. There were no seat belts in those days.

Watching The Lone Ranger, Wagon Train and Rin Tin Tin on TV, translating the stories into all the Cowboys and Indians games we played with the kids in our street.

Mr Magoo, My Favourite Martian, The Beverley Hillbillies, I Dream of Jeannie … and Richard Greene as Robin Hood.

The Mr Whippy Van and melting soft icecream in cones, with a Cadbury Flake chocolate protruding from the top.

Adults tapping their feet impatiently behind us, when we kids took ages to choose sixpence worth of mixed lollies from behind the glass counter at the milk bar.

Working proudly as an ‘ink monitor’. Mixing powder and water to make the ink then filling the inkwells in the desks

Building cubby houses, go karts and defendable forts out of boxes, sticks and other scraps we found around the yard.

When men first miraculously landed on the moon. A couple of hundred of us packed into the school hall, watching in wonder the grainy images on a black and white TV.

Seeing the Vietnam marches on TV. Wishing I could be there too, but my parents wouldn’t let me because I was too young.

SueTown hall dances, with their customary ‘progressive dance’ when the back of my dress became damp from sweaty hands that steered me around the dance floor

Purple brushed denim jeans, lime green and purple floral shirt and platform shoes.

And for all of you who also remember these things  …

… here’s an amusing update on our lives! :)