Meeting up with oldest most inspirational friend in Hamilton as she is catching the train down to shop for a swimsuit in the trendy swimwear shop to wear for her swimming exercise at the local gym. My swimsuit hangs in the wardrobe having never seen daylight, let alone water. Gwen meets her health issues head on and keeps going. After two hours total sleep I am struggling to get ready and go worship at the feet of this geriatric goddess! Just battling my way into one swimsuit in Spandex would require a lie down for me but the walk along the shopping street and good coffee will loosen me up and Gwen is a tonic at any time. So much to talk about and will come back determined to step up my exercise – after a lie down!
Like all non-Indigenous (Aboriginal) Australians I am an immigrant . I have lived here much longer than I lived in my home country.
I identify on a basic level with refugees and boat people who are desperately seeking entry into Australia.
We came for a better life, and found it. But it wasn’t easy and plain sailing, pardon the pun. We, however had the option to return to our former home, not to a pile of rubble, or torture and possible death.
The plane trip in 1972 with tiny baby and toddler was bad enough. We were ‘Ten Pound Poms’, one of the first families to fly for Ten British Pounds instead of taking the six-week cruise to Australia. Otherwise we would have been legal boat people.
My former husband was a skilled Fitter i the mining industry. He had a job interview inland, up in the Hunter Valley. The scheme to import skilled workers ceased soon after. We didn’t know they had already closed the Greta Migrant Camp that we were booked into until we got off the plane from Sydney. Our arrivaI was so awful we wanted to turn back.
We were bussed with others to Coogee Migrant Hospital, as our only option. Hardly anyone there spoke English. The staff in the shop were Hungarian and the goods were foreign to me. We were in the totally wrong city we had applied for and the office staff didn’t know what to do with us.
I had been forbidden to bring my baby formula through customs so we had a frantic search for different formula for a two and a half month baby., who by now was screaming from hunger . The formula we bought, or the change of water upset him even more, till the people in the room next door who were from South America and spoke no English, complained. I had been travel sick on the plane, had not slept properly for days, and it was all a complete nightmare. Totally surreal.
My husband and two-year old went out discovering, and loved what they found. Coogee Beach in particular. I have yet to see it! While he looked after both children I had to go to a packed canteen for a meal. Mental exhauston had taken over. I was on another planet. It felt horrible.
Things got worse before they got better ; no family support, no easy phoning overseas, the sense of isolation, total foreignness of absolutely everything (even the Aussie English language was different). The Poor baby finally settled in his carrycot on top of the table in the train carriage on the journey from Sydney to Newcastle. The scenery on the two hour journey was fantastic, and I remember a glimmer of hope.
We were going to the unknown. With nowhere to live, and no family apart from some unknown stepbrothers and stepsister. They turned out to be lovely and got us on our feet, then on to the train to our new life in Singleton, New South Wales.
It had taken nine nerve-wracking months to get approved for immigration, during which our second child was born. We had sold our house and a stayed with parents, who were devastated when we took their two adorable grandchildren to the other side of the world. Now it seemed I had made a big mistake but I began to love the country town,its quaint buildings and fantastic scenery with big blue skies. The children and I made new friends we have kept to this day.
The next few months awere filled with overcoming difficulties of settling into a country town with a husband on night shift. My husband was either asleep or uncommunicative. He had his own issues and it was not the dream we had been offered. The townspeople were wonderful, and when Santa came to Burdekin Park we first felt part of the community.
We were ‘Poms’ to them, and it was up to us to prove we belonged. We built the dream house after some tense times with interest rates. The marriage lasted sixteen years in all, but the boys grew up healthy Aussies and now have their own families.
Yes we had great times. I have done amazing things. We were part of a growing, successful country. We were thelucky ones. We thought we were escaping an oppressive government but nothing remotely like today’s refugees are running from. No doubt bad people got through in our day. Who knew?
I hope these poor people find peace and acceptance here. They have nothing left to lose but much to offer.
What I went through was devastating for me, but a drop in the bucket compared to our new settlers experiences. The kinder and more helpful we are, the happier and more settled our new people in the comunity will be. Simples!
For the benefit of those reading this from a foreign shore, our island home, Australia, is currently mid way through a federal election campaign.
Like most election campaigns throughout the world, this campaign has a number of slogans that are constantly being drilled into our ears in the hope of provoking some kind of emotional response that will prompt us to vote for one of the two major parties. The slogan that has really caught my attention in this campaign is “Stop the Boats”.
Before I go any further, a bit of background is needed. As you will all know, Australia is an island nation and therefore, the only way to get here is to fly, which is rather expensive, or to arrive by boat. After World War II we encouraged immigrants to arrive here by boat, in fact we sent ships over to Europe and other parts of the…
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Xmas is not a good time for me, for many reasons, and I am one of many. Apart from the joy of the Christmas story I can’t wait for all the hype to be over. These days giving presents can be more of a competition than giving unconditional love, and to many, many children it is a time of poverty. The modern Xmas is cruel. Rant over.
So why so maudlin? This is the first time I have found that I cant do something as easy as decorating a tree, because both my wrists shake too much both to hold the delicate ornaments and my vision is distorted so things aren’t always where they think they are. It came as a shock, because I was only trying to glue these stars on the marble tree. BUT..I persisted, and did it. It isn’t as fancy as I planned but hey, I still have two hands, two eyes (one blind but with enough peripheral vision that I don’t walk into walls though I do catch corners). I am not in a wheelchair, and I am in total awe of those achievers who are.
I am a bit sad that this year I didn’t do any craft work for gifts this but I am working on an alternative. Surprise! I am grateful for the many years I had as an artist, and for the many things I was able to make with my gift. I have hundreds of photos I took of them for the record.
I am merely growing old, and grumpy. But also grateful, and I want you to do today what you were going to do tomorrow, because you never know, and it is called making memories.
In the meantime I am off to make a cop of tea, which is becoming a challenge, and not only am I assembling this (below), but using my long-handled grabber to place the Xmas ornaments in it as the alternative to a proper tree. Watch this space. We WILL have a Happy Christmas just not a consumerism-driven one! Love. Xx
Redhead Beach is not far from here. It is not as popular as the main beaches, and the surf can get rough. It is also near a small island where sharks like to hang out and breed. Hence the icreased number of sightings close to the beach.
Global warming and all that.
The surf club is trialling drone surveillance in addition to the usual Surf Club monitoring and aerial reconnaisace.
So Barb was swimming there the other day, as you do, having a lovely time and keeping fit as well.
She is petite, and looking down at her sleek black one-piece thought: “I look like a seal! Sharks like seals.”
At that instant the siren went off. Shark sighted, leave the water! Barb couldn’t hit the beach fast enough, along with all the swimmers (between the flags), and the surfers. They are not so blase’ since the recent spate of attacks along the coast.
It turned out to be a hammerhead shark only a metre from the beach. Not sure if they eat pink black and blonde seals but Barb will be wearing bright swimmers (swimsuits) in future, as recommended.
And of course they will all be back in the water.
This is ‘Straya’ after all.
Breakthrough Fans! A normal night’s sleep thanks to natural kava as suggested by Paula Morrow, naturopath. Slept so deeply I couldnt move my knees when I woke because the bones had locked! Normally I am constantly on the move in bed to be comfortable. Had to get up now cos left leg has spasms. Im documenting for my fibromyalgia friends. People who dont understand how life altering it is. They write it off as mental but more is being found on the chemical aspect causing neurological and physical problems. Natural solutions are taking the place of mind altering (and addictive) prescription drugs that affect the whole body. My recommended duo of paroxetine and amitryptalene are now said to be counter indicative and even toxic! No wonder I have been sick for months. They did stop involuntary muscle spasms and some pain but my head felt ‘squashed’ and creativity deadened. Then my left arm started with jerking tremors some time go. My chemist noticed, researched it seems those meds can cause this. I am one of thousands with fibandro. Related to muscular sclerosis, chronic fatigueand other syndromes. Nights were awful with broken sleep but no rest if awake, making days such an effort. I also have Hashimotos Disease of the throid because my autoimmune system is too strong. And arthritis everywhere. This also causes inflammation everywhere. I tend to give people the impression I have mental problems but my physical issues afffect my mental state. I know writing about this may go against always putting on a brave and funny face all the time but this is an important stage of my journey. If this natural approach works for me it may help many others when just one night’s rest feels life changing. Today just getting out without help seems possible. One day at a time. Thank you for all your prayers. They are the wind beneath my winds.
Foods that are helpimg:
Ginger -digestion, nausea
Magnesium – tremors
Vitamin D – muscle pain
Look them.up for full details.
photo courtesy of Jenny’s web site
I wanted to share this brilliant new initiative happening locally. Jenny also does breathing coaching which is something I need….
Women with Spirit – Women across the world are Sitting in a circle
Since last circle I have been doing some research and to my delight have found that the Circle of Women is happening all around the world! There is a ground swell of women gathering together to sit, listen and discuss all sorts of topics from a woman’s perspective.
Circles are crossing boundaries of age, race, and creed providing a rich space for all women to develop and grow.
These groups take all different shapes and forms depending on the need of the area and meet to explore a range of topics which are heard and discussed from a women’s perspective.
The one thing in common is that we are all women, ready to be present for one another and support and nurture each other in our process and divine rights in the world.
It feels right to be part of something that is happening across the globe and no wonder I was so intuitively drawn to start one up right here in Charlestown!!
Not sure if you have something to contribute?
Too fearful to sit and speak with strangers?
Last month, as we passed around the talking bowl, we allowed each woman to answer the question:
What does Spirit mean to you?
There was a mix of women who knew each other and those that didn’t.
When the bowl was passed to one woman she said: “I don’t really have anything to say!”, and then a miracle happened!! Because she had the bowl, she was the only one allowed to speak and after a comfortable pause she shared with us what Spirit meant to her. It filled my heart with joy!
This taught me that most of the time we are under pressure to say and do what we think others want to hear and often don’t talk at all because of this.
In the circle though, all others just listen with no comment or judgement or rescue, allowing the speaker to say what is in her heart.
Later, when the bowl had gone full circle. We openly chatted about how we related to one another.
The September Circle is about Core Values:
What are your Core Values? The ones that guide you every day and filter what you see and do?
Did you inherit any of these values from your mother, grandmother?
Have your values changed over time?
Bring something for the altar that represents your core values. Something that speaks to you and conveys your thinking around core values.
Come and sit and listen with us.
When: Saturday September 3rd
Time: 11am to 1pm
Where: The Place, Frederick Street, Charlestown Square, The Haven Room
Bring: Water and come as you are 🙂
I found the easiest access is to park in the Charlestown Square carpark from the Frederick Street entry and walk.
This is a venue change just for September as the library is booked by the Council for local government election.
Yours with Spirit
Our mailing address is:
14 Moonah Avenue, Charlestown, NSW 2290
WBreathe Learn Live · 14 Moonah Avenue · Charlestown, Nsw 2290 · Australia
After my incident with dolphin watching (more about that later) my stomach will not cope with the up….down motion of the boat,but even seeing a whale from the cliffs here is excitiong so going close up must be awesome. The whales travel up, then back along the east coast of Australia as part of their breeding cycle.http://novacruises.com.au/m-v-the-princess#!prettyPhoto
Now that Nova Cruises will be going direct from the harbour it will be so exciting!
Less dramatic, and staying on calmer waters in the harbour, Some of us are going on the M.V. princess for the Lunchtime Harbour Cruise on my 70th birthday soon.I am already excited!
Check out this link: http://novacruises.com.au/m-v-the-princess