Throwback Thursday #51

Learning New Skills

Lauren is asking the questions this week and I know that my answers are probably going to make me seem a complete wuss. I didn’t like sports of any kind. If we’d ever had kids David would have had to teach them to ride bicycles etc. because I certainly couldn’t have.

1. When did you learn to ride a bike? Were you self-taught or did someone teach you? Any major injuries on the way? Did you master the skill? Do you still ride? If applicable, did you teach your kids?

My bike riding skills began and ended with my tricycle. I rode my three-wheeler quite happily until I physically outgrew it but I never made the transition to a two-wheeler. I remember one time when we were staying at my uncle’s house when I was about seven or eight, I thought I’d try to get on my cousin’s bicycle. She was about my age. It wobbled alarmingly and I didn’t like it. I never asked mum if I could have a bike. I was too scared to ever try again because of my fear of falling.

2. Did you learn to play a musical instrument? At what age? Who taught you? How often did you practice?   Were you in band at school? How good were you? Do you still play? If applicable, did you encourage your kids to play?

Not really, I would have liked to. In my early teens our school music teacher encouraged us to buy Melodica’s. I had one and I learned a few tunes. The one I had looked like this.

User:Peter Ellis, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I don’t recall that I played mine much in the class though. I was the sort of kid who always got the jingle bells or maybe a triangle when the school instruments were given out. I would have liked the tambourine or the drum but usually only the boys got the drums.

Later, in my teens I tried to teach myself to play the guitar through one of those correspondence courses. I gave up on it in the end because it hurt my fingers and by myself, I didn’t have the motivation to keep going.

3. Did you sing in a choir in church or at school? At what age? How often did you practice? Did you enjoy it? How good were you? Do you still sing with others?

At my primary school we had choirs for grades six and seven, maybe five as well. I don’t remember. The Grade 6 choir was all the kids from every class so it was big. Grade 7 we were told “All the girls and any boys that want to. ” That was a bit discriminatory I thought. However, I liked choir although I was not a particularly good singer. They didn’t audition us one by one so it didn’t matter. We learned simple enough songs, folk songs, kids’ songs from the ABC song book and so on. The most complicated ones were part songs. I remember singing “Old Mother Hubbard” and it had about four different parts, I think. Every year there used to be a concert at the local theatre with a mass choir from all the schools who had all been learning the same songs of course. All the girls had to have white dresses. I remember mine; my aunt made me a corduroy pinafore, I think in the US you call them jumpers, and I wore it with a white school blouse. Not exactly dressy.

I don’t sing with others now; in fact, I hardly sing at all as my voice seems to have gone away.

4. Did you have formal instructions on speaking a second language? Were you fortunate enough to be raised in a house with two or more languages? Did you learn a second language in school? Are you fluent in more than one language?

Yes, in high school I learned German for two years before changing schools. We did it using a “language lab” we’d sit in a booth with headphones on and repeat the words after the speaker. Our French and German classes at that school were mainly about conversational language. They would only start to emphasise grammar in the later years of the course but I was gone by then. At my new school I was told “We don’t teach German.” now I think about it I find that odd as it was a much more multicultural area than the predominantly British one, I had come from. They did teach French but in a completely different way and I was very behind because I didn’t know the grammar. I had been getting A’s in my old school but I failed the first term and only managed to get up to a C by the end of the year when I left school. I haven’t spoken either language since.

5. Did you to play on a sports team or learn martial arts? At what age did you start? Did a parent become a coach? Did you practice at home? Do you still play sports? If applicable, did you encourage your children to play on a team?

No. I hated sports and went to great lengths to avoid it. My memories of PE/ sport at school in England and Australia are mostly bad. In England we had to wear gym knickers even when it was cold. They wanted me to walk across a plank between two stools. I was too scared to do it and kept going to the back of the line. In Australia we had swimming lessons which I didn’t like because I had to put my head under water. I did learn to swim a bit but I didn’t keep it up. I didn’t like most ball games because I wasn’t good at running or catching. Did I mention that when running in a race at school in England mum told me that the teachers were laughing at me because I was using my arms like I’d seen runners on TV. I thought you were supposed to do that. She probably shouldn’t have told me.

I did quite enjoy the few weeks we spent on hockey in high school. I liked giving the ball a good whack. It was a less scary sport because the ball was not at eye level. I was wearing glasses by then so I didn’t like balls coming at my face but couldn’t see well enough to play without them.

6. Did you ever take dance, tap, ballet, baton, cheerleading, etc. lessons? When did you start? How long did you take lessons? Did you practice on your own in addition to the lessons? How skilled did you become? Did you encourage your children to do the same?

No, being the shy and uncoordinated person that I was I only participated when I was forced to by teachers. We had compulsory skipping for girls in Grade 6. Of course, I was bad at it. In Grades 5 and 7 it was folk dancing. We had to dance with the boys which made it worse. Most of the boys didn’t want to ask a girl to dance as we were all eleven and twelve and many of them were still at the “Eww girls!” stage. I wasn’t very good at that either. Once I didn’t have to, I didn’t dance.

7. Did you learn to roller skate or ice skate? Did someone teach you or did you take lessons? At what age did you learn? Did you become skilled quickly? Can you still skate? Did you teach your children.

Photo by u00d6mu00fcr Murat Zehir on

Roller skates were very popular when I was a kid. I had some and tried roller skating in the street as most other kids did. I wasn’t great at it. I went to the roller-skating rink with my high school class and tried it there but I fell over quite hard although I didn’t hurt myself. This was all before inline skates were a thing. I never tried ice skating.



I was born in England in 1957 and lived there until our family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband, David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. In 2015 David became ill and passed away in October of that year. I currently co-write two blogs on with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania. In November 2019 I began a new life in the house that Naomi and I intend to make our retirement home at Sisters Beach in Tasmania's northwest. Currently we have five pets between us. Naomi's two dogs Toby and Teddy and cats, Tigerwoods and Panther and my cat Polly. My dog Cindy passed away aged 16 in April 2022.


  1. The questions have made you remember so much about childhood, the small details that we forget. My brothers and I were never much into sports. My husband enjoyed shuttle badminton. He played till the age of 65. He learnt it as an under graduate. He and my son enjoy listening to classical Hindustani music. They enjoy concerts. But I like listening to songs when I am doing something else. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The melodica is an interesting looking instrument. I think I would have loved that! I had forgotten about field hockey. I rather enjoyed that, too. Thanks for joining us. I enjoyed your post.

    Liked by 1 person

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