Every month I go and spend a weekend with my sister. We generally sit up way too late talking and laughing about all sorts of things. On several occasions we started hearing a woman’s voice even though we were the only ones in the house.
At first we thought that it must be someone passing by on their way home from the nearby pub. Then we thought it was rather late for that. At 2am everyone in this quiet little country town would have long ago gone to bed.
This happened on two or three consecutive visits and both of us were starting to get a bit uneasy about it. The house is an old one and my sister had a couple of unusual experiences there when she first moved in ten years ago but she’d never heard voices before.
We grew up listening to mum’s stories of spirits that she had seen and my sister also seems to be sensitive to such things so we were really starting to believe that something out of the ordinary was happening in the house.
Finally one night as we were about to go to bed we heard the voice again but this time my sister was a bit closer to where the sound was coming from and could hear the words more distinctly. It turned out that it was the anti-virus program she had installed on her computer announcing that it was doing a scan.
We were immensely relieved and had a good laugh at ourselves for being so suggestible.
I often daydream about what I would spend my money on if I were to win big on the lottery, the only way I’m ever likely to get rich. I’m not as mundane as Hubby, who, when asked the “What would you do?” question starts talking about investments. I like to think about the fun stuff that we would do after our finances were taken care of.However, I don’t daydream about having a sports car, a luxury mansion or my own private jet. I am happy with my ordinary life and so is Hubby so although I would like to have a nice home I don’t see us living ostentatiously. It’s not our style.
Travel is one luxury I would enjoy spending my newfound wealth on though. I make the most of any trip I make and I don’t have to go first class but I dream of one trip where money is no object. One thing I would dearly love to do is to sail from Australia to the UK or vice versa as I did as a child but this time I would do it in style.
If I were sailing to the UK I would start my journey by travelling to Sydney a few days before my ship sailed and would stay in a 5 star hotel close to the harbour with a view of the water. A bit of shopping and sightseeing would put me in the holiday mood. Naturally I would already have bought new clothes for the trip as the jeans and trackies I usually wear are hardly suitable for wearing to formal dinners on board ship.
My first choice would be to travel on one of the Cunard or Holland America line ships or possibly one of the smaller cruise ships. I like a ship to feel like a ship. If I wanted to go to a resort I’d go to one. I would have a suite of my own so that I would be sure of having plenty of room to move and a view from my window. My suite would have a balcony where I could relax by myself with a good book. I would disembark to explore at every port of call along the way.
I would love to travel the Suez Canal route as I did when we emigrated. I would visit Cairo and the Pyramids and maybe try to find out where my grandfather was stationed when he was in the army there in the 1920s. However, I’d be equally happy to take the longer route around the Cape of Good Hope and visit Capetown, South Africa.
After a relaxing voyage I’d arrive in Southampton ready for more travels around the UK and Ireland before flying home to Australia.
I used to think that I had a fear of heights but what I really have is a fear of falling. I am not worried about flying, well not much, and I can enjoy the view from the top of a tall building providing there is a comforting wall all around me but ask me to climb a ladder and I turn into a quivering mass.
I don’t think that I was always afraid but certainly by the time I went to school I was. At my first school in England we had to do gym. One of the things they would make us do was to walk on a plank suspended between two large stools. I don’t suppose they were very high but they seemed so to a five year old. I was terrified to do it but too shy to tell my teacher. I’d just try to make myself invisible and keep going to the back of the line. In those days they would probably have made me do it even if I had said something.
If we went to the playground I wouldn’t go on the big slide because I didn’t want to climb up the ladder. I do wonder if I had an early experience that made me afraid. Mum did tell me that once when I was very small my father brought me home from the playground covered in blood after a fall. I don’t remember this incident at all but maybe that was the start of it.
Fear of falling has continued to be a nuisance all my life. Occasionally on outings I’ve missed out on doing things because they involved ladders. Last summer at the Maritime Museum in Sydney I found that I could not tour most of the ships on display because doing so would have involved climbing down ladders.I would love to sail on a tall ship but even before I became too unfit to be much use I would not have been able to pull my weight because there was no way I was ever going to climb the rigging. I’ve never been to the top of a lighthouse for the same reason even though I would love to do that too.
When I was younger I could sometimes overcome my fears if the motivation to do so was great enough. When I was a Steamranger volunteer I was for a short time able to climb onto the roof of a train carriage. My greatest achievement I think was to climb Ayers Rock. It’s not the done thing to climb the rock these days, it’s considered disrespectful to the indigenous people who consider Uluru to be a sacred site. However, in the 1980s a lot of people did it. Hubby and I were there with an American pen friend of mine and although she and I were both a bit anxious we decided that we would try it. Hubby elected to remain on the ground. I really expected that I would be too scared to go on once we got past the first section where there was a chain link railing to hold. Surprisingly I wasn’t; it felt firm underfoot, not slippery and although we resorted to some undignified sliding on our bottoms on the way down we both made it to the top. I could never do that now.
The food that I find the hardest to resist is bread. I cannot imagine life without it. I start my day with two slices of toast for breakfast. My dog looks on hoping for a crumb or two. I’m afraid I started her on this bad habit myself as I had always shared my breakfast with our previous dog. She was the only one who was ever awake at 6am when I got up for work. I’m always hungry when I wake up so Cindy doesn’t get much.
When I was a child mum used to tell us that we must eat our bread and butter before we could have any cake and that eating your crusts made your hair curl. Even now I can never understand people who cut the crusts off their bread. It’s the best part I think and yes, I do have curly hair. My sister who never liked them has straight hair. On Sunday mornings we would have fried bread with our bacon and eggs. I have to admit I rarely make this now but I do like it.
Mum used to make a delicious bread pudding from stale bread sometimes. I wish I could find the recipe for it. I used to have it; not that we ever seem to have bread long enough for it to get stale at our house. I think Bread Pudding must be a very English thing. People here don’t seem to know much about it. It’s not the same as Bread and Butter Pudding. I remember that you have to tear up the bread into small pieces. This recipe sounds the closest to it although I think mum just used caster sugar. It was something you made with what you had in the house to use up the left over bread.
Sandwiches and rolls were what I lived on when I was working. I’d either take some from home or buy them at work. Hubby makes great toasted sandwiches in the sandwich toaster I bought him too.
I would not dream of eating soup without bread. I will eat white bread but I really prefer wholemeal or multi grain bread and I love rolls. Croissants are nice too but they are a treat. I like to have them for breakfast when we travel on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry to or from Melbourne.
I also like the flat bread used in wraps. My favourite place to get lunch if I’m in Hobart for the day is Ready4Lunch where you can get a salad wrap with just about anything in it you can think of in it.
I’ve made my own bread from time to time with varying degrees of success. Getting it to rise correctly is the part I have the most trouble with. I’ve done it by hand and with a bread maker. But making bread doesn’t really save a lot of money. We like it so much we eat more of it!
Bread dough which has risen and is ready to go in the oven (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Whether it’s books or blogs the thing that always gets me to read it is the hope of being entertained. If I see the name of a writer whose work makes me laugh or who tells a good story I will be eager to read what they have written. I enjoy the humourous take on everyday life that I find in some of my favourite blogs.
If I don’t know the writer I’ll look at the subject matter, if it is non fiction is it about a subject I’m interested in? Is it relevant to my specific interests? For example I like cricket so I’ll read biographies of players but I wouldn’t read a book about the laws of cricket or a blog giving an interpretation of the LBW rule unless the writer made it funny because I would get a headache!
Is the title appealing? An intriguing title will at least get me to read the first few paragraphs to find out more. Sometimes it turns out to be not what I thought it would be but sometimes it will turn out to be a good read.
Fiction is a bit trickier to choose than non fiction. When I was at school I often used to enjoy the fiction extracts in my English text books so much that I would search for the books they were from in the library.
I don’t like to read books with excessive violence or bad language, so as well as reading the plot outline, I will usually skim through a book trying to get a feel for it before I settle down to read. There have been many books which promised to be good stories that I’ve walked away from because they were just too graphic for me.
Sometimes I read something because a friend has recommended it or I’ve read a favourable review but only if I think it sounds interesting myself. If I have enjoyed a film that was based on a book I may decide to read it but I won’t read best sellers just because it is trendy to say you have read it.
What was your favorite plaything as a child? Do you see any connection between your life now, and your favorite childhood toy?
How could I resist writing about toys? It’s hard for me to pick just one favourite plaything but two things stand out. Train sets and dolls.
I can’t say for sure whether I was given a train set because I liked trains or I liked trains because I had a train set. I think it may be the former because I have liked trains for as long as I can remember. It was a little unusual for girls to play with trains in the early 1960s I think but my sister and I were lucky that our parents encouraged it. My Triang Hornby train set was a favourite plaything from the time I was given it until we left England. I didn’t play with it so much after that but mainly that was because of lack of a place to set it up permanently. I have posted on this blog about model trains recently and my love of railways large and small endures to this day.
As children we played with our dolls a lot too and we had plenty of them, big dolls, small dolls, dollshouse dolls, paper dolls. I loved all my dolls but my favourites were probably the teenaged fashion dolls like Sindy. We played with those dolls long past the age that girls these days seem to. When I was in my teens I gave many of them away but my interest in them didn’t die. Today I have a doll collection and a doll blog so dolls are still a big part of my life.
Is there a connection between these childhood favourites and my life now? Very much so. A lot of the dolls I collect are from that era of the early 1960s when I was a little girl. I like them best because they remind me of my childhood. When I watched James May’s Toy Stories I understood exactly how he felt about his little Hornby train. My sister has started a collection of toys and we both get a great deal of pleasure from her finds, especially when she finds some old childhood favourite. Nostalgia, certainly but I think we all enjoy being kids again even if only for a short time.
There used to be a big toy fair held in Adelaide every year and we would always go to look for items for our collections. There were families there with children but I think the vast majority were people in their middle years excitedly pointing and saying. “I used to have one of those.”
Here are some dolls and toys that I like. The dolls are mine, the model trains were photographed at the Hobart Model Railway Show and the toys are from my sister’s collection.
The internet is full of rants. Help tip the balance: today, simply be thankful for something (or someone).
This Daily Prompt post struck a chord with me because since I started “My Other Blog” I have used it quite often to rant about things that annoy me. I am not really a cranky person but I do enjoy the opportunity to publicly vent.
I’m thankful for many things though. I’m thankful that I live in Australia. For all the things that we complain about we are far luckier than people in many other countries. We have the right to vote for the government of our choice and nobody will try to kill us for it. Our cities, while they have their poor districts, are not deserted wastelands or riddled with gun toting gangs. If we can’t find work we get some support from the government to help us.
For myself I’m grateful that we own a home of our own and have no mortgage and that we have enough money to eat, pay bills and still enjoy some of life’s little pleasures.
I’m thankful that I live in a state with beautiful scenery, a wonderful climate and friendly people.
I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to travel and see some of the places that I always wanted to see.
In fact I feel like I have had a pretty good life, some sadness and hard times of course, we all have that but I’ve not experienced the tragedies that some people do and for that I’m the most thankful of all.