Daily post: Sink or swim

In 1993 I got a job with the State Government, based in Geraldton. We were living in Newman in the Pilbara at the time. I went on ahead of the family as I had to start work. My former husband and my sons came some time after me.

We had two dogs – Hannah and Angus. Hannah was part Blue Heeler and Angus was part Boxer. The trickiest part of the move was getting the dogs to their new home. The dogs had to fly to Perth and then connect to a regional flight to Geraldton. It was going to be a nightmare, I just knew it.

I should say that I never set out to have dogs but I did come to love them. I am not a ‘good’ dog owner. They walk all over me!

When they finally arrived in Geraldton they had been caged in the cargo hold for many hours. They were not happy! The house we were moving into needed to be secured to make sure the dogs were contained in our yard. A Newman friend had moved to Geraldton prior to us moving and agreed to have the dogs overnight as she had a secure property with good fencing.

The dogs were SO hyper when we got to her place they ran round and around the back yard at one hundred miles an hour. What I didn’t know was that there were goats in the property next door. Amazingly, to my horror, my dogs were able to bound over high fences like Superman! Next they were chasing the goats around and around that property.

I was totally at a loss as what to do. I think if I had a lethal weapon at the point I would have used it (on the dogs, that is!)

So did I sink or swim? I know I wanted to dig a big hole and hide myself inside it. I felt really ashamed of my dogs’ behaviour but even more ashamed of my lack of ability to control them. No goats were hurt in this story, thankfully.

The next day we were able to secure our property and keep the dogs inside the yard. Having a dog is a big responsibility and I really don’t think I am up to it – even though I am sometimes tempted. I can enjoy my neighbours’ dog, Max, next door :-).

Hannah and Angus lived a pretty good life up until they both went on to doggie heaven. I was very sad when I lost them. We all were.

Christmas Pudding

My mother-in-law taught me how to make Christmas Pudding in the way she prepared and cooked it every year for her husband and two sons. The responsibility was passed to me when she passed away in 2010. Each year I say I am not going to make it but I usually give in to howls of protests.

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The tradition of putting the coins in the puddings comes from my childhood. I have 15 x three-penny coins dating from 1921 to 1955. I also have seven six-penny coins dating from 1910 to 1963. I always clean them in boiling water and bicarb soda before mixing them in the pudding! I usually ask the coins be swapped for some chocolate money so as I can continue the tradition the next Christmas.

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Next the mixture goes in two pudding bowls and sealed with kitchen paper and foil before inserting into two pots of boiling water.

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Then they steam for four hours. I need to keep topping up the water so it does all disappear πŸ™‚

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Our deepest fear

English: There is no fear, until we make it up.

English: There is no fear, until we make it up. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Today I was reading through some notes from a course I did in 2006 called ‘Prosper from your Passion’. It aimed to help us participants find what we were passionate about and enable us to develop strategies to make our passions become our realities.Β  The tutor was from http://www.careerwisdom.com.au and she provided handouts of some well-known inspirational messages including Quotes from Marianne Williamson.


The one below is my favourite …


β€œOur deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is
that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness
that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a
child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is
nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel
insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were
born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just
in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we
unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are
liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates

Marianne Williamson,

A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”


Weekly photo challenge: Let there be light

I have chosen a selection of photos to show light in different forms.

Enjoy πŸ™‚



Pros and Cons of Lifestyle Villages

We decided to move into our current home in a Lifestyle Village (a retirement village for people 55 and over) about three and a half years ago. We didn’t look at other Villages and didn’t do much research on the options available.

If you are considering moving into a Lifestyle Village there are a lot of things to think about. Acquiring a Lifetime Lease for our property cost about the same as purchasing a similar house in the wider community. There was a saving in that Retirement Villages are not required to pay Stamp Duty. Retirement Villages are covered in legislation through the Retirement Village Act (currently being amended).

However, there are ongoing costs on a monthly basis, similar to Strata Fees. These fees cover the operational cost of the Village. Currently there are approximately 180 homes in our gated community. Only the occupied homes contribute to the fees that pay for the overall operation of the Village.

The owners of the Village have a Board and a Chief Executive Officer. They employ a Manager to run the place on a day-to-day basis. There is also a Residents Association, elected annually by the residents, to represent the interests of the residents. The Village also employs a contract gardener and a part-time maintenance person.

Facilities include a gymnasium, bowling green, swimming pool, spa and sauna. There is a Social Club who organise a variety of activities plus there are exercise classes, table-tennis, a Bridge club, singing, arts and crafts and so forth.

As with any small community, there can be differences of opinion and sometimes conflict. From my point of view, it is difficult to reconcile the needs of the owners (to make money), the management (keeping things in order) and the residents association (seeking to address the diverse interests of the residents) and the residents themselves. In a perfect world they would all work together for the greater good – but this isn’t always the case, unfortunately!

The benefits include knowing your neighbours (very unlikely to get a bikie club setting up next door, is there Ted & Rae?) and the sense of keeping an eye out for each other – an informal Neighbourhood Watch. It gives one a sense of security. We are fortunate to have great neighbours πŸ™‚ who I consider to be good friends.

If you are thinking of moving into a Village like ours, do as much research as you can, especially about ongoing fees and the likely financial impact if you decide it is not for you. It is hard to buy and sell in the broader real estate market but one needs to be even more prudent with retirement villages. I am sure the houses will increase in value over many years (great location) but they are not a good option for a short to mid-term investment.

The other thing to consider is the impact of living within a narrow demographic of the broader community, especially if one is younger and/or still in the workforce. Obviously we all get older so this can be a temporary issue :-). In a few years I may be complaining about those ‘youngsters’!



Weekly photo challenge: Unexpected

IMG_0023Claremont Council Fire click here

An unexpected fire changes the course of history … A fire destroyed much of the Claremont Municipal Chambers on 19 November in 2010. It was in this building in 1899 that my great-grandfather, James King was elected the first Mayor of the City of Claremont. The photo below was taken in 2006 of me with my two sisters near the foundation stone laid by our great-grandmother.


I was shocked to hear about the fire and saddened by so much history being destroyed. I haven’t been back to the scene of the fire since it happened but I do hope they managed to retain at least the facade of the building.



Daily prompt: FAQs

In considering this topic I thought about someone interviewing ME and what questions I would like them to ask. I came up with some interesting questions but I will need to take some more personal time-out to think about my responses. In the meantime I thought I would share these searching questions with you πŸ™‚ and the frog!

frog1. Do you have any long-term goals/dreams for the future?

Β 2. What do you believe to be your strengths?

Β 3. Do your current strengths support your long-term goals?

Β 4. Do you need to gain more skills and knowledge to achieve your goals?

Β 5. Does your personality – who you are as a person – fit nicely with your goals?

Β 6. Do your goals conflict in any way with your friends or family members? If so, how?

Β 7. Does your current health status support you in achieving your goals?

Β 8. What will you do if you do not achieve your goals? Describe your life, as it would be, without any specific aspirations for the future. Can you live comfortably with that?

You can download the questions below and reflect on them at your leisure πŸ™‚

FAQs in Word

Please note that I am NOT a career counselor and I am just sharing my thoughts with you πŸ™‚



Daily Prompt: Ten Questions

  1. What is your favorite word? Catalyst (as in catalyst for change)
  2. What is your least favorite word? No
  3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Nature (ocean, forest … )
  4. What turns you off? Unreasonable rules!
  5. What is your favorite curse word? S..t (I only use it when I have a close call in the traffic – it just seems to come out of my mouth without thinking)
  6. What sound or noise do you love? Most music but my favourite is the Cello
  7. What sound or noise do you hate? TV advertisements or someone whistling indoors.
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Teaching adults
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Anything that deals with lots of detail.
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?Β You really didn’t need to worry so much, you know, everything is fine πŸ™‚ You did OK

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So what would your answers be? I would love to hear them.



Nightmare on Channybearup Road

Guadalupe Martinez de Bejarano, la primera ase...

Guadalupe Martinez de Bejarano, the first female serial killer in Mexico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Wednesday we drove for two hours to a Farm Stay (holiday house) on Channybearup Road – between Manjimup and Pemberton. We arrived around 2.00pm at the usual check-in time. We thought the owners would live near by but there was only one house on several acres of land. The front door was unlocked so we unpacked and settled in for our short holiday.

There was a note on the fridge to ring the owner if there were any problems. Well, there was only ONE problem and that was no mobile signal! We felt a bit like imposters but reckoned we could find the owners the next day. I settled down for a few hours to read my novel about a serial killer.

We went to bed about 9.00pm only to wake some hours later with what sounded like footsteps in the house. I jumped up and said “Who was that?” Tom very bravely went to investigate but there was no sign of anyone about. I felt really isolated, especially without a phone. Not surprisingly, we didn’t sleep very well the rest of the night.

When I woke in the morning I really wanted to go home. We had booked for two nights but I had an overwhelming feeling of foreboding. I told Tom how I was feeling and we decided to go out for a coffee in Manjimup and decide whether to stay or go home. I realised I wasn’t being logical but I couldn’t shake off the feeling.

After coffee we decided to drive to Pemberton. It was a lovely drive through the forest – very pretty. My mood started to lift and logic won out. We decided to stay on and make the most of our short break. We convinced ourselves that it was unlikely there was an axe murderer in the neighbourhood. I decided to hide the axe just in case.

We later discovered (through reading the guest book) that there are possums that live in the roof. In fact, there was a bit of a smell suggesting a dead possum in the roof. We both slept well for our second night away, but gee it was good to get home again! And I have decided to give up reading murder mysteries and suspense novels for a while :-). We tracked down the owners eventually too so we could pay our bill.

Welcome to Manjimup

Welcome to Manjimup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)