Pens and Pencils


When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?


I have terrible handwriting, I always have had. It’s big and messy and I can’t even read it myself. I write a shopping list every Sunday and every Monday I get to the supermarket and have no idea what some of the words are. I stand there looking at it thinking – what the hell is that meant to be.

One thing I do remember now is that  1 x tin toms is in fact 1 x tin of tomatoes and not 1 x packet of tim tams as I used to think. When reading it written in my messy scribble is was easy to get the two confused.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pens and Pencils.”


Modern Families

If one of your late ancestors were to come back from the dead and join you for dinner, what things about your family would this person find the most shocking?

They wouldn’t be shocked but maybe amazed, excited, interested, thrilled. Not about the family but about the world and some of the things that have happened.

I’m thinking of my grandfather, Papa, world traveller and photographer (among many other things). When he left the house he always had his camera and a bag full of film with him and when he got home he’d go up to his darkroom above the garage and develop his film or he’d post them off to Kodak and have them developed into the thousands of little slides now sitting in my mothers garage.

He died in 1989 so he didn’t see the arrival of digital cameras, phone cameras, Photoshop or the internet and I know he’d get such a blast out of it. Last week I sent photos of his to France, Canada and Germany and I can just picture the look on his face and the little – well I’ll be damned – laugh he’d have if he knew.

I think he’d even get a laugh out of everyone thinking they’re a photographer these days, throwing a filter or some HDR on a shot and getting hundreds of people liking whats basically a crap photo on Instagram. I’m sure he’d have fun using some of the filters and software out there but his photos don’t need it because he had a good eye and patience and Kodachrome colour which has stood the test of time. They usually just need a bit of a clean up, scratches removed etc.

These are two of my new favourites (although that changes every week). They were taken in Aden, South Yemen (which is now The Republic of Yemen) which now seems like a strange place to go for a holiday, especially a family jaunt. I love, love the red parasol in the first one – she looks as if she just dropped in from another time and love everything about the second one, especially granny in her pink frock and the signage. These were taken in 1964.



Junk Food Junkie – it’s all about the chips

What’s your biggest junk food weakness? Tell us all about it in its sugary, salty, glory.

For me it’s all about hot chips. Not fries – chips. Fries are what you get at McDonald’s or KFC or other places like that and they’re just little worms and scraps that are usually either too soft or too crispy. Chips come from a fish and chip shop, or a corner takeaway or from the kiosk at the beach. They’re thick and actually have potato in the middle and they come in a cardboard cone and they’re good with just a bit of salt. My daughters like to cover theirs in tomato sauce or gravy, gravy is ok but you have to be in the mood and it has to be good gravy – not tinned stuff.

These ones came from Nobbys Beach kiosk and had a bit too much salt and a few too crunchy but they did the job. I had some really good ones a few weeks ago from Bar Beach Kiosk – they were really chunky, lots of potato.

hot chips

Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile

If you’re feeling blah, what is the one thing you do that you can count on to put a smile on your face?

Spend some time with little funny face Chicken Little, she’s a clown. Anyway you can’t be depressed or cranky or upset around her because she picks up on it and it makes her all worried and nervous.

Chicken Little

Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer

What’s your travel style? Are you itinerary and schedule driven, needing to have every step mapped out in advance or are you content to arrive without a plan and let happenstance be your guide?

Funny you should mention it. I was trying not to think about travelling today as I’m getting on that cruise ship tomorrow. A great big heavy ship, with lots of people on it, floating about out on the seas – in the dark. Not permanently dark obviously but it departs at night so we’ll be straight into night-time.

I don’t like being on boats; I like the idea of being on one until I’m actually on it and out in the middle of a large body of water. It’s the large body of water that I’m really afraid of so I should be grateful that I’m in the boat.

But you can’t let your fears mess with your mind and I really do expect it to be a lot of fun and at least this way I’ll know if it’s a sailor’s life for me.

When our kids were small and we travelled I used to map it all out and have a plan because kids like to have a plan; they need snacks and a spare set of clothes and activity books and drinks – but now that we travel mostly without them we wing it more.

This cruise ship came into our harbour a couple of weeks ago and it was pretty impressive. Maybe not for the passengers though as they don’t pull into a nice terminal, they pull in at our coal terminal, which I myself think would be more interesting.

Here it is coming around the lighthouse past dog beach (which is the beach where you can take dogs). It looks like it’s floating by in about 6 inches of water – it’s always amazing to stand there and watch them go by, you feel as if you could just about reach out and touch them.

Bon Voyage!! (There doesn’t appear to be a lot of life boats does there)


Daily Prompt: Let’s Dance

 What are your earliest and fondest memories of dance?

Well I can’t say I remember them fondly but the dance memories that first come to mind would be those tortuous times at school when we had to forgo ‘real’ P.E. for a term and do dancing instead. Endless hours in a hot school hall practising delights such as The Pride of Erin and The Progressive Barn Dance with a little of The Chicken Dance thrown in for humourous relief.

What a cruel thing the progressive barn dance is for a hall full of teens; hot, sweaty ones at that. First of all you have this large circle of hormone riddled boys standing there being hormone riddled boys then you have the girls who have to be passed from one boy to the next until they’ve completed their horrifying journey around the circle and held sweaty hands and been handled by every single one of them.

Oh, unless you were one of the poor girls they considered ugly or dirty or germy and then they’d all laugh about having to hold her hand and try not to or just touch fingertips before pushing her on to the next boy with a laugh and a comment such as – here comes your girlfriend.

Then there were the boys who weren’t in the cool club who were just so shy and nervous and mortified about the whole event that they tried to be gentle and not overbearing which was just so painful.

It was all just really clammy and unpleasant and unnecessary really.

My husband tells me he had to do dance as well at school. I thought it might have just been a country thing but he was a city boy (a westie mind you but still city as far as I’m concerned). He said they all hated it as well and they were pissed off that they had to give up P.E. for a term which was their favourite subject at school. He tells me no one wanted to touch ‘the ugly girls’ (sigh) and that they usually had more boys than girls so some boys would have to pair up with each other and all the other boys would insinuate loudly that they may have  had homosexual tendencies in a manner that only 13-year-old westie boys could.

When it comes down to it I would have rather have been doing trigonometry.

Which for me is saying something.

Definition of a Westie
The term “westie” is often used to associate someone or something with a stereotype. This stereotype depicts people from the outer suburbs as unintelligent, undereducated, unmotivated, unrefined, lacking in fashion sense, working-class or unemployed. Clothing such as flannelette shirts, Ugg boots, leopard-print fabric, Adidas outfits with clear stripes, white singlets are associated with the stereotype, as are the “uniform” of black t-shirt and ripped jeans

Lol – but he’s my little westie.


Daily Prompt: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

What is the best dream you’ve ever had? Recount it for us in all its ethereal glory. If no dream stands out in your memory, recount your worst nightmare. Leave no frightening detail out.

I don’t know if I mentioned it before but I’m going on one of those sampler cruises in a few weeks. The date seems to be rushing towards me at an alarming rate; who’d have thought March would arrive so quickly.

Anyway my sister in law was visiting about a month ago and she said she was going on a three night sampler cruise as her family wants to go on a longer cruise around the Islands and she wants to make sure she won’t hate it first. She said – you should come and I said – yeah right. But then I thought about it and the next day decided we’d go because people who go on cruises seem to love them and if my mother ever does decide she wants me to go on a longer one with her I’ll know if I can hack it.

So it leaves from Sydney on a Friday night and gets back into Sydney Monday morning and it just goes up and then down the coast in between.

I was pretty excited about it and now I’ve moved into slightly freaked out about it and I’m hoping to move into pleasantly anticipating it next week. I’m not worried about getting sea sick or anything, it’s just the thought of being on a boat – out in water, I don’t really like boats or water but face your fears and all that.

Anyway last night I had this dream that we were on the boat and seriously it wasn’t much bigger than the Manly ferry – in fact it looked like something people smugglers might have sold to the cruise line. There was definitely no pool or waterslide or fancy restaurants or shopping malls on it. It makes my tummy feel a bit wobbly just thinking about it actually.

Bon Voyage – The Bergensfjord – taken by Papa in Scandanavia in 1956.


Daily Prompt: I Did it My Way

Describe the one decision in your life where you wish you could get a “do-over.” Tell us about the decision, and why you’d choose to take a different path this time around.

Well I’m turning 50 next week so there are about a million things I’d do differently but whats the point of doing that. Do one thing differently and I’d have lived a whole different life and this one hasn’t been so bad.

When I was 18 I was going to do nursing – I’d been accepted and was finishing up all the paperwork. ( Actually I was finishing up the paperwork the night I heard the plane flapping about that went missing and has never been found that the police didn’t believe I heard – maybe they should go back and do that bit differently and they might have found it). Anyway I can’t remember why I didn’t go nursing but if I had of I would have led a whole different life with different friends, husband, kids etc and who knows, it might have been better, might have been worse but there’s no point in even thinking about it. Maybe if I’d gone ahead and done nursing I’d be sitting here now going – damn, I wish I’d moved to Sydney and worked in the sandwich shop my sister was running at the submarine base.

It’s like that movie whatever it was called – you go back and try to change one thing for a better outcome and you just stuff something else up either for yourself or someone else.

You’ve just got to deal with it people – live in the now. You made your choices and they put you where you are – if you made bad ones then just try to learn from them and make better ones from now on.