draughts, also of the not-zephyr variety

1983-07-09 Woodville SA_01

Back in 1983, we held a surprise party to celebrate your 70th birthday. Just fancy, Dr B is now the same age as you were in this photo. He certainly doesn’t have as much hair!

Dear Dad

It’s your birthday! You would have turned 106 today. The wondrous thing is that some people do actually live to that sort of age. You were never going to, but that’s OK. You did well. Knowing how little you liked the cold, I can say with some certainty that you wouldn’t have enjoyed today much, at least with regard to the temperature.

It is cold, wet, windy and unquestionably wintry. In short, it’s a good day to stay home in front of the fire, with big mugs of cocoa and a plate of hot, buttered scones, accompanied by a book (or two), or perhaps a spot of knitting (or crochet), or a board game or some euchre. Given the number of technology problems we’re having – by “we”, I can probably infer half the country, since there was a major communications outage yesterday – it’s certainly a day where the simpler things hold great appeal.

Fancy a game of draughts? To counter the other sort that are announcing their presence loudly and making our ankles chilly? Yeah?

Tell you what, because it’s your birthday, I’ll let you go first 😀


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believing something I’ve read


Demholm family grave at the Cheltenham Cemetery, Port Road, Cheltenham, South Australia

You might recall that a few years ago I undertook a semester-long unit of online study, “Writing Family History”, via the University of Tasmania. The writing part wasn’t difficult, although I appreciated the discipline of having to fit something meaningful into the 250-word limit allocated for most of the exercises. Researching the family history and finding ancestors was often trickier, but one perk of the study was free access to some otherwise costly online resources. Via Ancestry, I tracked down a potentially intersecting family tree that had a date of death for one of my great-great-grandmothers, whom I had never been able to trace at all in any local resources.

Because that other family tree contained names and dates that seemed dodgy to me, allowing for what I actually knew and for which I had concrete evidence (such as the above photo of the family grave), I included the date of death information in my own family tree as a query; but haven’t really stopped looking for secondary sources or corroborating information for the GGGM in question.

I am presently undertaking another short course on family history, because it’s an obsession I can now indulge (the beauty of being between jobs, I suppose). Also, it’s useful to keep updated about new techniques and database changes. People who do it all the time – the course is being taught by people from the state genealogical society, so it’s their full-time passion – are usually on top of that in a way that we who do it more sporadically are often not. I am certainly not.

Part of this week’s homework was to find an ancestor by using Trove. I refined my searches and did all sorts of fancy things, and would you believe it? I found one reference, and only one, to Ellen O’Grady: her death notice in the Advertiser on Wednesday, 30 Jan 1901. Well, I never! She was properly Mary Ellen, I believe, but obviously always known as Ellen; and perhaps that’s part of why I’ve struggled to track her down. I now need to dig further to find out when and where she arrived in Australia.

As the death notice only names two children, I also need to follow up to ascertain if there were others. I say that because a death notice I found for a great-grandmother includes the name of only one of the children; and I know there were four who survived to have families of their own. So, the fact that only two are mentioned in the O’Grady death notice does not necessarily mean that there aren’t others.

Her connection to the above grave is that her daughter is the Ellen Teresa Denholm there interred, who died at the ridiculously young age of 54. She’s another mystery because, although I’ve viewed her death certificate, tracked down three separate newspaper death notices and have a photo of her grave, I have yet to find any information about her birth.

Ah, the thrill of the chase! I hope all your chasing is as thrilling as mine has been this week 🙂



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adventitia, and perhaps adventure

11.07.03: The Cardiovascular System: Mechanics and Dynamics

Cardiovascular system of the human heart. Copyright Yale.

I’m delighted to report that, so far, YoungB is thoroughly loving his job. Yes, I know it’s early days. But I can remember jobs for which I’ve had zero enthusiasm from the outset, so it’s good that he comes home buzzed. At this stage, thanks to my nursing background and a good memory, I still know a great deal more than he does about the subject matter. That will change rapidly as the project gets into full swing. However, I’m happy to revise as we go along. 🙂

Yesterday, Middle Aunt and I had a short catch-up at a relatively nearby coffee shop. I confessed to her that, no matter what I think to the contrary, I obviously have a massive ego because I was mortally offended recently when someone suggested that I should do a medical terminology course to assist my job-seeking. You what? To be kind, it was perhaps a slip of the tongue and the speaker intended to suggest a medical reception course. Well, yes, if I were intending to apply for those sorts of jobs, then familiarity with relevant specialist software would indeed be beneficial; but, as I’m actually looking for work at higher levels (in line with what I’ve been doing for years), then it’s irrelevant.

It’s the case that I am doing a couple of courses. I’m pushing on with my genealogy short course, which is purely vocational and thoroughly enjoyable. Additionally, I’m struggling somewhat with popular business management acronyms in a diploma course that I now have not only the time to deal with, but also the physical and mental energy; well, almost. YoungB agreed that he would not have seen business studies as my field of interest – he’s right! – but that a better handle on the terminology and an actual diploma at the end of it will be useful. Yeah. That’s the idea.

So between queuing at Centrelink, going through all the rigmarole of updating every known contact so that workplace information is deleted, and replacing some worn-out shoes, I am feeling accomplished. I’ve also done a spot of shopping on YoungB’s behalf, namely a couple of new, lightweight jumpers so that he can cope with the workplace aircon. I found myself apologising last night because they weren’t handknitted by me!

Who knows? Now that I’m less stressed, I might find my knitting mojo again. And then, with a bit of luck, he might get some handknitted-by-me jumpers for work purposes. There’s an upside to everything. Right?

All the very best with your terminology and jargon challenges. 😀


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all change!


SAHMRI on North Terrace, Adelaide. Copyright SAHMRI.

You know how YoungB has been working as a bartender for almost two years? Well, he’s finally found a full-time job in his professional field. He’ll be working in that fabulous building, known locally as the Cheese Grater (we’re an obvious lot, as I’m sure I’ve said before). He starts work the day I start my long holiday. We’re all excited for him.

Though I say holiday, it’s actually unemployment. Of course I’m still looking for work. Equally of course, my age is more against me this time; and it was a definite deterrent last time. Realistically, however, I do need a holiday before I commence any new position, because I am physically and mentally exhausted. It’s almost five years since I started the job from which I’ve just been retrenched, one that was described by my predecessor as a nice little “roll into retirement” job.

Yeah, not so much. It was busy when I started. I put that down to end-of-financial year reporting requirements, which did play a part. But it not only never stopped being busy, it became even busier, and the obligatory two-week break over Christmas is more about exhausted collapse than genuine R&R. The last year has been a nightmare by anybody’s standards.

As mistaken as my predecessor’s comment proved, I didn’t think that I would finish, a week short of five years later, thinking, “Good riddance,” but that has proved to be the case. So, after the doors shut on Friday, we had a wake at a nearby watering hole. It’s an end, and a very sad one, but also a beginning. What sort of beginning is yet to be determined in my case.

First up, though, is some genealogy homework arising from a short course that I’m presently doing. This week it’s tracking down missing or collaborative information for some yet-to-be selected ancestor from a not-too-distant generation. I’m only looking as far back as my great grandparents for this exercise, meaning there’s hope for me to find the information without too much head-scratching. In any case, it will be a distraction from constantly rewording my resume to capture all the subtle nuances attaching to “excellent”. Yeah.

May all your beginnings reach successful conclusions, and may change be always a positive thing for you 🙂



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luckily, I don’t need to breathe – much

Lunchtime concert.jpg

YoungB performing at a school concert in 2006.

Days like today are entirely too few.

Dr B has been practising his classical guitar quite religiously for weeks now, because he has a hand condition that improves with precisely the sorts of exercising involved in playing guitar. YoungB has commented upon the audible improvement to Dr B’s playing.

Today, we were all sitting about feeling various stages of unwell – Dr B is almost over the URTI he passed on to me, and I’m probably about halfway but with a twist he didn’t manage (namely raging sinusitis, so my head still feels like it’s going to explode if I lean over too far), and YoungB, despite his considerable dedication to not breathing near us more than he absolutely has to, is probably coming down with it.

What do you do on a day like that? Well, if you’re Dr B you call me in to help with a couple of piano questions (easily sorted once I realised I couldn’t actually read the bar numbers and Dr B pointed out which bar he wanted me to play). If you’re YoungB, you dose up on anything you can find – Vitamin C, garlic, ginger, lemon, whatever tea with honey – and haul out your flute so you can practise up some of that fun music from primary school. And if you’re me, because you’re there you stay at the piano and grab the accompaniment so you can play along with YoungB.

Although I’m not in that photo – it’s an old one, taken in poor lighting from much too far a distance for the camera’s capacity, so please forgive its graininess – on that occasion, I accompanied YoungB. He thought his schoolmates would laugh at him, but he got up there and performed anyway. So did I, on a piano even less up to the task than the camera! In fact, YoungB’s mates actually thought it was pretty cool and probably only Dr B and the music teacher were as disconcerted as I by how bad the piano was. YoungB has forgotten all of that. I haven’t.

Today, I don’t care what housework didn’t get done. To be fair, I’m too sick to do much but laundry, and the menfolk aren’t much better. We’re getting by on the occasional supermarket dash and perhaps too many pre-prepared meals, but we are in no danger of starving or dying of malnutrition, and we are resting. All of that aside, the main thing is that we had an afternoon of making music together. Money can’t buy that sort of pleasure and fulfilment.

Then, in light of the news of Franco Zeffirelli’s death, of course we’ve spent this evening sitting upright on the sofa and rewatching – for the I couldn’t tell you how-many-eth time – our old and somewhat dodgy recording of his fabulous La Traviata with Teresa Stratas and Placido Domingo. Yeah. I can sit there and gasp, and nobody cares whether it’s because I’m trying to breathe or just gasping in awe.

Vale, Franco, and thank you for all the pleasure your artistic vision has given to so many of us for such a long time. The world is a lesser place.

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Posted by on June 16, 2019 in Musing


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what goes round

Image may contain: sky, grass, plant, tree, outdoor and nature

Photo by missfarmerjojo |#ABCmyphoto

In Australia, what goes round is often a Hills Hoist – ie, rotary clothesline – in the backyard. Speaking from the experience of having close, personal contact with other methodologies in various part of the world and a variety of climates, I can say with some conviction that I see no reason to change my childhood view: the rotary clothes hoist was one of the most useful domestic inventions of all time!

The above image popped up in my newsfeed this morning, as part of a discussion as to whether people starting again would instal such a thing. The majority of commenters were overwhelmingly in favour. Sometimes modern homes lack sufficient space, so you’re left to deal with something pull-out or pull-up. The biggest criticism of those, which I share, is that air circulation is often not as effective, and therefore drying time is longer.

When we moved here, there was a pull-out retractable line installed so that’s what I used for years. YoungB snapped it a couple of times, the trailer-cage got tangled up in it when – ahem – Someone Else forgot to retract it before… well, you get the idea. Around the time of that lot of repair and replacement, I broached the notion of a rotary hoist but was told, “No.” For other reasons, such as space for the trampoline and fruit trees, it would have been tricky, so I shut up and continued to do my best.

Move on a few years: with YoungB wanting to do maintenance on his motorbike and slide in and out under the car to help mates with matters mechanical, the discussion arose again. Someone asked – hesitantly, as if I might be against the idea! – if I would consider a rotary hoist? So, after a 20-year hiatus, I once again have a good clothesline.

You wait long enough. Right? 🙂

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Posted by on June 15, 2019 in Musing


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amidst the gloom

Tropical paradise – imagine being there 🙂

Life, of course, is never all entirely one thing, so there have been some joyful events, chief amongst them Eldest Nephew’s recent wedding in a faraway tropical beachside paradise (which probably looked nothing at all like the one in the picture). There’s to be a very large housewarming party when they return from honeymoon.

And, as silly as this sounds, it gave me great pleasure to see YoungB swearing a beautifully laundered-by-him but ironed-by-me shirt, as he set off for a day of work and jollity! Yes, I know. Sad, innit? I iron only when I absolutely have to. But I agree that a lovely cotton shirt always looks better for such treatment, so hen he asked me if I would iron a couple of his shirts, I did so willingly.

Oh, and while I had the iron out, I pressed a couple of my own work blouses. No point wasting all that input if you’re not going to ensure maximum output Right?!

I hope you’re also managing to maximise your outputs 🙂


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