Category Archives: Family history

seasonal woes – and colour

Vibrant colour from the callistemon in the front garden

The theme for this year’s Girls’ Night In, the annual Cancer Council fundraiser organised by a former colleague, was Wedding Party. I reckoned I could mange that, hand on heart and no trouble at all, simply by grabbing something from the wardrobe. What I wore to Eldest Son’s wedding, a very long time ago, fitted the theme: the jacket is glittery and glamorous and – most importantly, given the present chilly evening temperatures – it has long sleeves. I declared myself to be the Mother-in-Law from hell, stating that, “None of those women is worthy of my son!” It’s never a very serious business, although the underlying cause is dear to all of us. And the food is always like the guests: fabulous.

That was Saturday. On Sunday, the menfolk were out on motorbikes, making the most of the unexpectedly summery weather. I had an appointment on the other side of town, not far from my long-ago workplace that burnt down after I’d finished there. No satnav assistance required and a pleasant day to be out and about.

And then, you know, the weather having finally – we thought – turned warm, it (re)turned (to being) cold with torrential downpours and allergen levels that saw YoungB suffering hay fever like you wouldn’t believe. But the tree is up in Vic Square, the pageant happens tomorrow and my email inbox is all but overflowing with seasonal offers of discount gin (among other things) and enticing specials on thises and thatses.

My email inbox also receives occasional family history gems. Recently, receiving a couple of historic photos dating from 1917 saw me diving into all sorts of online records to find additional information. I also dived into my hardback family history volume to cross-check dates. While I was about it, I updated the electronic version of my family tree to reflect the results of my researches. It’s satisfying to be able to do that diving without having to worry too much about what else might or might not be getting done while I’m so engrossed; or wondering whether I should call it quits so I can be compos mentis for the office tomorrow. No need 🙂

And meanwhile, the seasons are rolling. I hope yours is being agreeable, wherever in the world you are.

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Posted by on November 11, 2022 in Family history, Health


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officially not retrenched

Last photographic update: lots of concrete

So we rolled through September and reached the long weekend that celebrates Labour Day and, you know, here I am, busily retired (for real; not the way I thought I was a redundancy or two ago). This is the last ‘view from the window’ update. Progress was more obvious during the demolition phase.

Not at the office, I’m trying to walk daily at an hour when I can see where I’m going (as long as it’s not raining or blowing a gale). I’m steadily chipping away at reducing the volume of incoming emails by unsubscribing from professional organisations and removing duplicates that have crept in over the years (when email addresses change, not all earlier variants die, although the technology sometimes does). I’m gleefully signing up to workshops that take place during working hours (genealogical research, here I come, rubbing my hands and sharpening my pencil).

So, yes, it’s all baby steps as YoungB would doubtless describe it. But the good part? If I’ve had enough, I don’t have to keep going 🙂

I hope you’re in a similarly positive frame of mind, whatever your employment status.


Posted by on October 14, 2022 in Family history, Health


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mature. or maybe not

Not that he wouldn’t, but that the bike couldn’t 😉

YoungB recently admitted to being partly at fault in a near-miss when he was coming home on his motorbike. This surely can’t be the same man who once said, when commended for NOT doing a mono at the traffic lights, not that he wouldn’t do that. Oh, no. He instantly replied that you couldn’t do a mono with the learner-legal bike he was riding because it didn’t have enough torque. Not that he wouldn’t do it. Dear me, no. Most improperly, I laughed.

So, on that recent occasion, I looked carefully at this adult admitting to his own poor behaviour and less than sound judgment. I suddenly understood my Dad once commenting, “You’re nearer 30 than 20 now.” O-kay. I’d come home from night duty and was simply enjoying a morning cuppa with him before I turned in. I could imagine him thinking how it wasn’t so long ago that I was a tiny baby – as indeed I was – and now here I was, this responsible, grown woman with a house, a car, and a couple of cats. Quite the credibility gap. I laughed at that, too.

Happens to most of us. We do it. We grow up. But I still laugh at things I shouldn’t 🙂


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bloody brilliant

Would easily double as a travel blanket 🙂

Recently, I was trying to refine almost 40 years of friendship into 250 words, for inclusion at a commemoration ceremony we couldn’t attend. I failed. I managed in about twice that many, and cheated by adding a few more to accompany musical excerpts I forwarded. The musical excerpts were often for things that you could consider travelling songs.

In Australia, and particularly once you get beyond the major cities, there’s plenty of time to sing, often unaccompanied. When I was a child, my family had rounds down to a fine art. When his children were small, our late friend’s family preferred the call and response repertoire. We sang Three Blind Mice while they sang the Banana Boat Song.

Then there are songs that don’t fall neatly into either category but without which no trip would be complete. I have some memories of Botany Bay featuring in our repertoire because of its easy chorus. Our friend’s family was much more likely to belt out a song taught them by an Irish-Australian primary school teacher. I am only a little surprised that the (said to be traditional) Irish funeral or wake song Isn’t it Grand, Boys? was never in our repertoire. There might have been too much profanity for Mum’s tastes, although the rest of us would have been happy to roar it out on top note. In any case, I am delighted to have acquired it now as an extra for any trips we might take in future.

While I was auditing versions of songs to choose versions, I worked on the last few rounds of the temperature blanket. The days are cold enough now that it was a welcome addition. And it is nearly finished. There’s only one round left, and a weekend ahead.

You know where I’ll be 😀


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lots of rosemary

Chrysanthemums because they’re traditional

On Mother’s Day, my mother sometimes visited the cemetery where her own mother was buried, and put a bunch of white chrysanthemums on the grave. I’ve not had the opportunity these past couple of years to do the same for her. So, it having been Mother’s Day last Sunday, I bought some flowers from a local seller just down the road. I’d have been happy to add coloured flowers, too, but their bunches weren’t particularly well mixed. One coloured flower, lots of white ones and half a bush of rosemary was the sum of my endeavours. The rosemary came from our garden.

The Bs were out on with their motorcycles, so I made the northward journey alone. Traffic was moderate in the suburban fringe but, as ever, once you turn off the Sturt Highway, there are few other vehicles to worry about.

I scrubbed and polished the granite and swept up the leaves. If Dr B and YoungB had been with me, we might have sung a chorus or two. I hummed as I worked. That’s legit enough.

If you celebrate Mother’s Day, I hope yours was enjoyable.


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new directions

Ready to brave the carpark that main roads become at peak hour

YoungB’s contract finished and he’s now in another job. It’s with a different organisation but in a related field. The physical location is not at all convenient for public transport. Hence, he’s hopped in his car until he sorts out the end-of-trip facilities available for his treadley.

At least, that’s what he’s saying and I don’t for a moment suggest that the distinctly unfriendly morning temperatures could be a factor. Not. At. All!

I hope your morning temperatures aren’t too unfriendly?


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their view of the weekend

There might even be fish! Photo by Gianluca D. Pompili

Aside from yesterday’s cousin catch-up, my weekend view has been mostly about laundry – I could hardly believe the number of SOCKS in YoungB’s basket! – interspersed with large amounts of cleaning and tidying, updating genealogical info, and some crochet.

The Bs’ weekend? A motorbike road trip that end up with them camping overnight in a national park. Yeah. Life’s tough. Like Dr B’s recent previous overnight camping trip, this had been postponed a few times and the decision to seize the opportunity was somewhat last minute. I’m led to believe it was worth the wait.

I hope you’ve been able to seize a few opportunities lately?


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north via the bakery

I bought a plain batch, but the cousins were on sourdough

I met up with visiting cousins this morning; it’s been over a year since we last saw each other. They sent me a message telling me where to meet them. I couldn’t work out where they were relative to where I was. My nav app wasn’t helpful. It said something like head north, and then shut down saying I’d reached my destination when I hadn’t moved! Yeah, right. So while I had a think about that, I went to a nearby bakery and bought some hot cross buns (not my photo, it’s a stock one from the web). As you do. Right?

I love the Markets – I’m sure I’ve said so before – but there’s no doubt that the decibel level is a deterrent to easy conversation. I was able to return a sheaf of genealogical notes and a few additional pages. My explanation as to where those additional pages fitted into the overall picture was necessarily brief because I was rapidly becoming hoarse.

I hope you’ve been able to catch up with the chit-chat in person?


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whitewashing the lingo

26 years ago, just singin’ in Italian!

Although we speak Italian at home, it is not my mother tongue and nowadays my fluency is poor. It is, of course, Dr B’s mother tongue and YoungB has native proficiency, for which he is often complimented by other Italian speakers. However, for a variety of reasons, neither of the Bs has a readily identifiable regional accent or cadence, and they use few dialect words that might help a discerning listener to pick that they are northerners. They can be a real puzzle.

Today is YoungB’s birthday. Twenty-six years, if you don’t mind. I don’t know where they went, I say, scratching my head in a puzzled manner. He decided he wanted to – and I quote – “eat Wog food” today, so we had lunch at one nearby eatery and afternoon tea at another. At the latter, the menfolk mentioned the celebratory nature of the day when ordering at the counter. One of our cakes came with a birthday candle and the offer to sing. We thought it was a great idea, so Dr B and I joined in. We, however, broke into “Tanti auguri” rather than “Happy birthday”, and the conversation was entirely derailed.

The waitstaff were astonished at how well Dr B speaks Italian. Uuh, yeah. We laughed and explained. The eatery workforce is almost all southern Italians, and Dr B plainly does not fit their mould. He has decided he has a credibility problem. YoungB has decided that we’ve all been whitewashed. I’ve decided we need to throw a few more dialect identifiers into our conversation. The odd word of Friulano would do, but none of us speaks it. We’re trying to remember a few of Nonna’s best offerings so that we can polish them up to provide a spot of colour to the whitewash.

May your lingo not be so whitewashed that it’s unidentifiable 😀


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ten more tiny toes

Another little cousin joined the family

Three elderly cousins in Italy didn’t make it to the end of 2020. None of them succumbed to COVID, but their age-related frailty saw the family tree lose a few more leaves at a time when families perhaps couldn’t visit, and certainly couldn’t attend funerals. We saluted them virtually and reminisced about happiness we’d shared in the past. We also sang a rousing chorus or three for the one with whom we’d done such a thing many times during her life.

In Australia, we lost two interstate friends suddenly and unexpectedly. Here in SA, we lost an elderly cousin, less unexpectedly. She had somewhat lost the will to keep going after a fall that had severely impacted her physical sprightliness. Youngest Aunt and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend the funeral ceremony. It was strangely difficult to enforce staying two arms’ lengths away from everyone else. Sometimes, when one of the older, frailer folk needed a steadying hand at the elbow, the practical aspect ruled: wiser to provide that than to let them struggle and/or fall. As is often the way with funerals, it was also an opportunity to catch up with other family members whom we hadn’t seen since physical distancing and lockdown changed life for everyone.

On the plus side, we welcomed our two great nieces and, around Christmas, another little cousin joined the clan. There were a couple of weddings and another cousin announced his engagement. Life is always shadow and shine, flower and thorn. Nobody could dispute that 2020 had more than a few thorns and a great deal of shadow. There is some comfort from knowing that a young person is secure enough in his employment to commit to marriage; and the flowering promise from new lives has helped restore at least a little of the shine for us.

My your 2020 also have had some beautiful things to balance the unbeautiful.

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Posted by on January 24, 2021 in Family history


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