HAPPY DAYS


A a merry morning on Youtube with all the old pop music – putting faces to the songs,some for the first time. Electric solid guitars were a new invention. New sounds, new rhythms, new dances. My first disco was in Leeds in 1966, while I was doing my Tax Officer training. Several of us on the course went. Dark cave-like place, blue and white flashing lights. Came out couldn’t hear each other speaking for ages due to the damage from very loud music! Good times.

PS While in Leeds I bought the three-tiered veil for my wedding in 1967. The embroidered second tier doesn’t show up here, nor the fabric flower headress. The silver sling-back shoes with silver leather flower held on by a diamonte’ centre were bought in Sheffield. The treebark satin A-line (ultra-trendy) dresses were all beautifully made by Mum, very reluctantly since she wanted me to have a proper, bought, bridal dress! But I have never seen a wedding collection I have liked more. Thank you Mum.

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My Issue With “Stopping the Boat People”

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!

LeftWithLouie

boat 5

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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My Son Saved Cliff Richard’s Life!


They have a very droll sense of humour in Worksop, Nottinghamshire. It isn’t the brash humour of Yorksire, even though on the border, but a certain dry wit delivered deadpan and leaving a beat for you to get the point. 

Lee Westwood the champion golfer has it, though I daresay his PR team has tried to tone it down. My Wee Pal Barrie (as Dad called him) has it. At first I took offence. Worksopians don’t do endearments. They ‘take the Mick’ instead. You are supposed to feel loved and special. Humph! It only works if you didn’t grow up elsewhere. 

I grew up in Scotland. Our humour is Billy Connolly (not necessarily with the swearing). As for Aussie humour, it may be laconic but the TV humourusually seems to be second hand; sending people up, not often kindly. Ive been here 34 years. Judge for yourself.

Now my sons were both born in Worksop but left at a very young age when we emigrated to Australia. Their father was a Yorkshireman with a dour disposition, so we will discount him. But they seem to have absorbed that unique Worksop style of humour at birth.

My eldest, who prefers to remain anonymous (don’t you Richard?), comes out with some classics, usually at my expense. 

     “We’ve got a new big tv Mum. We can watch the videos you send on it…Oh no, we will need an extra wide screen!” 

To which I replied:

    “I can still have you adopted.” (No I cant, he is in his forties).

His best though, was a few years back when he took me to see Cliff Richard live at the Entertainment Centre here in Newcastle, which he informed me he would suffer through because he got free tickets. I am an extra large fan of ‘Cliffy).

Now you younger readers may not remember that many women used to throw their panties at ‘Ciffy’ on stage, as a sign of their adoration.

He must have cupboards full of scanty panties.

We were just settling comfortably in our rather good seats for the start of the concert when Eldest Son muttered to me:

     “Mum, don’t throw your knickers at him – he would suffocate!

Very funny – not.

Watch Cliff Richard in Concert on Youtube

Very early photo of Cliff Richard
Photo courtesy of Click here for web page.

Top photo fromMore interesting information on Cliff Richard (unofficial)