Tag Archives: changes

Christmas, past and present

Christmas, past and present

Singing carols in church began the day, then breakfast. Presents under the tree remained unopened until everyone had finished their bacon and eggs. My father always took so long, chewing every mouthful thirty times.

My grandmother and grandfather’s Christmas dinner included everyone, usually their four children and families, plus. Memories of great aunts and uncles, three great grandparents and Miss Benjifield. The films of these joyful celebrations, that my Uncle Henry took, show the oldest generation gradually diminishing with the next generation expanding, so we continued to fill the large T shaped tables.

My grandfather carved the turkey. My grandmother divvied out baked vegetables, gravy and succulent new peas from the garden. An enormous Christmas pudding then arrived with much, ‘Oohing and Aahing.’ Homemade ice cream, whipped cream and fresh strawberries and raspberries accompanied it. Finding a sixpence in our pudding was exciting, even if we weren’t keen on eating it. Uncle John, a baptist minister, was insistent he didn’t get a coin, so my grandmother would inform him he must have swallowed it, as she had seen to it that he’d had one. My grandmother was presbyterian, so no alcohol was consumed at her house.

After dinner other relatives and friends came for afternoon tea. This was set up out in the garden where folding chairs were placed under the decorated jacaranda tree. The oldest generation sat ensconced in their semicircle watching. Reflected light lit their soft white wrinkled faces, shadowed by their sunhats and veils.

How I took so much for granted, accepting the traditions as if food appeared by magic.

In the nineteen seventies my mother took over the Christmas Day preparations when my widowed, arthritic grandma became too old and infirmed. Mum managed seamlessly. Having five children who multiplied with eleven grandchildren, plus some waifs and strays, the laden table seemed limitless. Miss Nichols replaced Miss Benjifield. My father included alcohol in to the festivities.

We continued the traditions. My father was reluctant to go to church, though he always joined us on Christmas Day. One year the whole family sat in our usual pew. On the way out the minister said to my father, ‘And who are you?’

He replied,

‘I’ll give you three guesses,’ and walked on, grinning at mum.

My enchanted childhood invigorates me to try harder. Christopher and I have five children between us. They each have partners and children. Nobody lives locally. Families from afar must stay. Two boys live in the city, an hour away, which means they come for the day. Others live further afield so it is special when we all gather to catch up on all those stories that haven’t been shared due to the business of modern living.

Love remains the kernel of this sacred day. We try to minimise the commercial hype and have time to listen and talk to one another and enjoy the children’s excitement. Mobile phones and ipads have become unnecessary distractions.

Customs remain, such as: food preparations, weeding and cleaning. I think of my mother and my grandmother. How could they remain so calm and tolerant, never complaining? Were they like me? I gather my thoughts and hope I haven’t forgotten anything. Christopher has repaired two woodworm eaten legs of the outdoor table. Visualising poinsettias as the centerpiece on the table, I pretend nil desperandum and try to remain serene. Traditions change gradually and will continue to change. We shall make the most of our time and attempt to create happy memories for the next generation.

I realize that we are privileged to have grandchildren and to have family around us. Blessings and love to all of you who have had the stamina to read this and may you have a very Merry Christmas!

 

 

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Rather personal:

‘These Horns Were Made for Tooting’ is a rather provocative title, or is this my Australian way of looking at things? What comes to mind is the size of rather excessive boobs.

Having been rather over endowed, much to my consternation and loathe rather than love, I chose to have a breast reduction. It is the only bodily part I’ve chosen to alter, (apart from crown tooth replacements). Even so, the doctor didn’t remove enough for my liking and she didn’t tell me that they would grow back again. So for all the suffering of having an operation, I wouldn’t recommend such drastic measures, unless you are really desperate, or are able to constantly diet to maintain the new you.

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These Horns Were Made for Tooting, daily post by Ben Huberman

Today, show something you love about yourself—don’t be shy, be confident! —but that few other people know about you or get to see very often.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/these-horns-were-made-for-tooting/

 

 

 

Satisfying disruption:

Through the Window, WP prompt by Michelle W.                                                                                     Go to the nearest window. Look out for a full minute. Write about what you see.

Outside the study window

Outside the study window

The stillness of a winter’s day reflects the pause between stacking a load of wood, cooking and cleaning. The builder left, leaving plaster dust over every surface. This has created an opportunity to revisit our bookshelves and discover lost volumes, as well as weed out the unwanted; making space for books that are more likely to be re-read. Rifling through papers and files, long past their used by dates has been rewarding.

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The studio roof is now insulated and lined, with just a final touch around the skylights to be completed next week. It no longer matters what the weather is like outside, inside has become far more moderate in temperature. It will be satisfying to know every surface has been cleaned, something long overdue.

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/through-the-window/

 

 

Going, going, gone …

Helen Carey books has written about words being omitted from the dictionary, that I think will interest a lot of you. Re-blogged in case you missed it. Thanks Helen.otter

helencareybooks

otterRegular followers of my blog will know that I am concerned about words fading out of the English language. So imagine my dismay when I read recently that the Oxford University Press has expunged several words from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. And no, the deleted words are not out of use or particularly outdated, they are just apparently not ‘relevant to a modern day childhood’. The missing words include acorn, adder, bluebell, dandelion, kingfisher, otter and even conker. And the words taking their place in the new edition include broadband, blog, bullet point and, wait for it, celebrity!

It worries me that so many of the excluded words refer to our countryside, our fauna and flora. Do we really want to educate the next generation to give priority to cut-and-paste, voicemail and chatroom, over pasture, cowslip and cygnet?

Of course it is not just the younger…

View original post 386 more words

Teaching Maths:

Since nearly everyone has an interest in education I thought this may explain the changes in teaching from the middle of last century through to the middle of this. (OK Australians, dollars didn’t come into being until 1966, but the content is otherwise very similar. Lighten up!)

1. Teaching Maths In 1950s

A logger sells a
truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production
is 4/5 of the price. What
is his profit?

2. Teaching Maths In 1970s

A logger sells a
truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production
is 4/5 of the price, or
$80. What is his profit?

3. Teaching Maths In 1980s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100.
His cost of production
is $80. Did he make a profit ?
Yes or No
4. Teaching Maths In 1990s

A logger sells a
truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production
is $80 and his profit is
$20 Your assignment: Underline the number 20.
5. Teaching Maths In 2000s

A logger cuts down a
beautiful forest because he is selfish and
inconsiderate and cares nothing
for the habitat of animals or the
preservation of our woodlands.
He does this so he can make a profit of
$20. What do you think of this
way of making a living? Topic for
class participation after
answering the question: How did the birds
and squirrels feel as the logger
cut down their homes? (There are no
wrong answers, and if you feel
like crying, it’s ok).
6. Teaching Maths In 2050

هاتشيرو تبيع كارلواد من نهاب 100 دولار . تكلفة الإنتاج هو 8 دولاراً . كيف الكثير من المال ولم؟

Enduring Threads: part 17

Selling the farm

Dad was devastated when the time came to sell the farm. Consecutive bad years meant that the farm was not paying its way. The decision to sell was my mother’s.

Dad’s depression following this was hard. He started working for a local builder, Gordon Ibbott, doing his books. Once he managed to get Gordon back on his feet, Dad became a marine and boat building chandler. He loved the sea and was a competent sailor. Getting out to sea suited him. We children were taken out to fish, but often my mother chose to stay home. His first fishing boat was ‘Sabrina’, and then the ‘Brenda’.

Sabrina, Dad's first fishing boat

Sabrina, Dad’s first fishing boat

‘She’s broad in the beam’, my father would say when asked why it was called that. In fact it was called that when he bought it. These boats helped restore Dad’s self- worth. We had many fishing expeditions in both fishing boats. Dad built a fibreglass dinghy in the sunroom, that was too big to get out, so the windows had to be removed to extricate it.

Once, in a storm, ‘Brenda’ was seen floating past the house. She was normally moored opposite the Elimatta Hotel in the Mersey River. Dad rushed out with the dinghy and rescued her.

Dad later bought ‘ Valkyrie’, a beautiful ketch, but I’d left home by then. He also built ‘Argos’, which took years and had to be recorked several times before it went in the water. These boats took the place of the farm by restoring Dad’s independence and need for occasional solitude.

Valkyrie on the Mersey

Valkyrie on the Mersey

One memorable expedition, Christopher and his father Eric Pyett accompanied Dad around to Ulverstone for a race to Devonport. Valkyrie was the biggest yacht in the race; so the Ulverstone Yacht club, put ‘a rooster’, as Dad called him, on board to see that there was no foul play.

Dad silently objected by going below to make a cup of tea. He was always partial to a cuppa. By the time they had had their tea, the other boats had left, and Dad appeared unconcerned, ‘They appear to have left us behind!’

Christopher being competitive was totally frustrated. Eric and Frank enjoyed the trip, but the man was dropped unceremoniously on the Ulverstone wharf, where they had to return him.

Angus said the only time he remembers Dad swearing was when he was below in Valkyrie. As

Mum and Dad on Valkyrie

Mum and Dad on Valkyrie

he checked the speedo log, he said, ‘this thing is f****d!’ Valkyrie was eventually sold to some Victorians, who sailed her back to Victoria, only to sink her on the coast line on their return.

Later in the 70s Dad moved shop. Gordon built another shop with materials from some demolition work, and Dad was more than willing to utilise the materials. Here at East Devonport they built a solar panel shop with slow combustion heaters on one side. His marine shop moved to the other half, next door. Nigel worked with my Father, so they ran the businesses together. Dad was always interested in the environment. His organic garden with chooks flourished; this was well before Permaculture became popular.

Devonport developed; there was now an arcade next to Churches’ jeweller’s shop. That was the arcade my father told Christopher not to visit on a Friday night, ‘ Be careful lad, don’t go there, it’s the tunnel of love.’

 

Punctuation :-)

Today’s daily prompt is about punctuation. This is an interesting subject, as I find that my punctuation has changed having become a blogger. There are additions of  🙂  and 😀 and many more, with my favourite ❤ . Not only with these changes, but also with exclamation marks; I would not use in my more serious writing yet I use liberally in posts. Is this a sign of changes afoot? Maybe the semicolon will become a thing of the past? I do hope not, as it does help when reading to have ‘correct’ punctuation. The computer is telling me to revise my semi colon use…. I use them when it needs more than a comma and less than a full stop. Isn’t that what it is supposed to do? I’ve now lost confidence in my own judgment.

My children send me messages on their mobiles; the abbreviations are quite a new language. Blogs too use abbreviations; M-R introduced me to ROFL and I had to Google it to find what it meant. I printed off a couple of pages of abbreviations and now they have disappeared into the detritus of papers that surround me.

It seems that most take these changes in their stride. I struggle to keep up. There are so many changes and I’d love to get on top of things. The computer is an awesome appliance, but I still hesitate to change my blog. I’d love to be able to separate my posts into categories, so that I can put, for instance, children’s stories into one folder. My children live such busy lives, and when they visit, there never seems time to waste on the computer…

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By the Dots

We all have strange relationships with punctuation—do you over use exclamation marks? Do you avoid semicolons like the plague? What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us about your punctuation quirks! Ben Huberman

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/by-the-dots/