Photos on Friday – Bugs in my Garden

January 29, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Posted in Australia, Gardens, Insects, Nature | 11 Comments
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I am not a photographer, but I like to take photos of family and the places we go. I also like to take photos of things I find interesting – and that often means something outside, in the bush or by the water.

Today’s photos are of insects I found around our home during the past week. Two of them are very unusual, and I don’t know what they are. The third is a caterpillar, but I know not what butterfly or moth it will turn into.

I hope you find them interesting too.

The first is a little green bug I found on our verandah table. Its body looks like a tiny green corncob.

 

Little green bug cropped & resized 01

Little green bug cropped & resized 02

 

The second bug, a white one, I found on a young bottlebrush in our back yard. I literally could not make head nor tail of this one!

 

White bug cropped 01

White bug cropped 03

 

The caterpillar was on the end of a stick I picked up in our front yard. Its head is towards the end of the stick.

 

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If anyone can tell me what these three are, I would be pleased indeed. By the way, all three creatures were allowed to go on their way, or stay, unmolested.

Do you like taking photos of little creatures?

(c) Linda Visman

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Share Your World – 2015 Week #4

January 28, 2015 at 11:36 am | Posted in 1950s, Australia, Family History, Gratitude, Memoir | 6 Comments
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How quickly week 4 of this year has come along! Here are my responses to Cee’s week 4 questions on Share Your World.

Where did you live at age five? Is it the same place or town you live now?

Hey, you’re taking over my Memoir Monday topic here!! LOL!

When I turned five, I lived in the Lancashire country town of Oswaldtwistle. Our home was a three-up-three-down, in a row of stone terrace houses that had been built in the 1890s for the workers at the cotton mill across the back alley. Oswaldtwistle was an old cotton town, and so had lots of big mills. However it was quite a small place, and we were close to the surrounding moors.

When I was five and a half, we emigrated to Australia. At first, we (six of us) lived in a fibro migrant cottage with my aunt, uncle and baby cousin. This was in a small rural town in NSW called Dapto.

A couple of months before I turned six, we moved into a small (4-berth) caravan that Dad parked on the edge of Dapto, between a creek and the football ground called Reed Park. Later, we spent a couple of months parked in the foothills of the ranges, next to a dairy farm.

I have lived in many places in several states since then, always in country areas. I now live on the western shores of Lake Macquarie, a 4-hour train ride north of where I grew up. It is another lakeside village.

You are invited to a party that will be attended by many fascinating people you never met. Would you attend this party if you were to go by yourself?

Probably not. If it were just a couple of fascinating people, then I might.

Did you grow up in a small or big town? Did you like it?

Part of my story is in my answer to question 1. When I was about six or seven, Dad bought a block of land south of Dapto, on the shore of Lake Illawarra. It was a rural area, with dairying the main industry, apart from the steelworks at Port Kemble, across the lake. We lived there in the caravan at first, then Dad built the house we all grew up in.

I loved it there. We had open paddocks and bushland, and the lake. Being a girl, I wasn’t allowed to do the things my older brother could, so I was jealous of that. But it was a great place for kids to grow up in. Unfortunately it is no longer the same, having succumbed to the cancer of urban development. Where there were farms, paddocks and bushland, there is now a sea of roofs.

I couldn’t live in a small city, let alone a big one

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a young kid, I didn’t think of the future. As a teenager approaching the end of my schooling, I had a few preferences. I wanted to join the RAAF and be a pilot, like my dad had been during the war. I wanted to be a journalist too. However, being a girl in the early 1960s severely limited career options. Girls were only expected to work until they married, so they had few choices: shop assistant, hairdresser, office assistant, nursing or teaching. I ended up being a teacher.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week, we had coffee with good friends at an outdoor kiosk by the lake. Last Saturday, I had coffee with another friend, a fellow writer, and we talked books and writing. Both of these were wonderful, and I always enjoy and am grateful for the company of good people.

On Saturday this week, we will be attending the 90th birthday celebrations of another lovely friend.

Linda Visman

Emigration to Australia (2)

January 26, 2015 at 7:03 pm | Posted in 1950s, Australia, England, Family History, History, Memoir, Migration | 6 Comments
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monday-memoir-badge

 

Today is Australia Day in my adopted country, where I am a citizen. How appropriate is seems that it is the day to post the Memoir entry about my family’s first arrival here.

The ship New Australia was a rebuilt and re-named steamship originally called the Monarch of Bermuda, owned by the Shaw-Saville Line. After WWII, it became both a migrant ship and a troop ship, carrying British migrants from England to Australia, and then transporting troops to the Malayan Emergency and to the Korean War. It then returned to England to pick up more migrants.

S.S. NewAustralia Harbour Bridge 1955

Dad told me that on the ship, most families were split up, with boys staying with their fathers, while girls and all babies stayed with their mothers. Two families often had to share a cabin. However, our family had one of only two six-berth cabins on the ship to ourselves. It was situated on the poop deck, at the rear above the main passenger decks. Its location meant we had good ventilation in the hot tropical latitudes, whereas those on lower decks often suffered from the heat. Mum, Dad and Peter (8) slept on the three top bunks, and Pauline (almost 7), Sheelagh (almost 4) and I (5) slept on the lower bunks.

Children were expected to eat at a separate sitting to the adults, but Mum and Dad wanted us all to stay together, so they simply brought us to the adult dining sessions. We were all well behaved and nothing was ever said about making us eat with the other children. Dad told me that, though there were play areas for the children and most children played there, although we did go there once or twice, we all preferred to stay with our parents. They entertained us with books, stories and games.

All except Dad were very seasick as we sailed through the Bay of Biscay, which is on the western side of France, and Dad became our nursemaid. Otherwise we were well.

On our voyage from England, we passed through the Straits of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. I don’t know if we stopped at Malta or not, but from the Med, we passed  through the Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea. My brother Peter reminded me that, as the ship passed along the deep canal, our deck was at ground level, and we saw Arabs travelling along beside us on their camels – that would have been really exotic to the sheltered and inexperienced children that we were.

Ship sailing through the Suez Canal

Ship sailing through the Suez Canal

At the end of the Red Sea, the port of Aden was the ship’s last stop before we sailed out into the Indian Ocean towards Colombo in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka.

A memory: We are on a big ship on the way to Australia. We are in a port (Port Said) and there are little boats crowding all around the ship. There are brown people in the boats wearing funny clothes, and they are selling things to the passengers. I can see all different kinds of fruit and other things I don’t recognise. They haul them up in baskets to the ship by long ropes. The passengers send down the money to pay for them. It is very strange, but bright and colourful and noisy.

Port Said "bum boats" selling to passengers.

Port Said “bum boats” selling to passengers.

We reached Fremantle in Western Australia first, and were allowed to land and go for a walk. The bunting that had been put up everywhere for the new Queen’s visit shortly before we arrived was still flying. I remember many years ago Mum saying that they spoke to several people who had come from England years earlier and who thought Australia was a good country to live in. We all got tired on our long walk, as for many weeks we had only the decks to walk around on.

From there, we carried on towards Adelaide and Melbourne, sailing along the southern coast of Australia and the Great Australian Bight, where we could see the great sandstone cliffs far to the north of us. We had been told the Bight could be very rough and Mum dreaded the thought of being sick again, but the weather and the sea remained lovely and calm.

After Melbourne, we rounded Cape Howe and were in the Tasman Sea, sailing north towards Sydney along the east coast of the continent, where we could occasionally see land and sometimes smoke from bushfires. My older sister Pauline had her seventh birthday on that final leg of our voyage.

Everyone was excited when the ship arrived in Sydney and went under the Harbour Bridge, but it was night time so we had to stay on board until morning. We disembarked on the 10th of March, 1954. It was six weeks since we had left England in deep snow. When we arrived in Australia, the temperature was in the nineties, fahrenheit.

SS 'New Australia' sails under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

SS ‘New Australia’ sails under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Most other immigrants went to various hostels, but we never had to set foot in one. Dad’s sister Mary and her husband Eric had sponsored us and were giving us somewhere to live until we found a place of our own. I can’t remember it, but I know that, after six weeks aboard a ship, we had to find our land legs again.

We also had to go through the process of immigration, but I remember nothing of that. Like the details of the new life ahead of us, it was Mum and Dad who had to worry about that. Like my brother and sisters, I was looking forward to getting to Aunty Mary’s house at last.

© Linda Visman

Photographs on Friday – Scrapbooking

January 23, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Posted in Family, Family History, Love, Memoir, Photography, Scrapbooking | 6 Comments
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I have decided that, when I can, I will post some of my photographs on a Friday – I was going to call these Friday Photos, but I decided on Photographs on Friday instead. I like the alliteration in both, but prefer the rhythm of the latter. I haven’t learned how to make myself a logo for these pages yet, but hope to do so soon.

I have been scrapbooking for a couple of years now, mainly to get digital photos printed and preserved. I could have just printed a whole lot and put them in an album as we used to do in the old days. However I decided to take up scrapbooking and add meaning to them.

Scrapbooking is more than just sticking photos on a page – the. It is also more than sticking photos on a page with lots of fancy embellishments. It is telling a story that you want preserved. Yes, embellishments can be used, but they are most effective when they enhance the story.

Because I am a writer, I often like to add the written story too. Sometimes, this is written or printed and adhered to the page like a photo would be. At other times, the written story can be tucked behind a photo or an embellishment or hidden in other ways.

In these pages, I have told two stories of farewell that I have been putting off since my father died 18 months ago – one to our parents and one to our childhood home. I have used photos and embellishments, some of which I purchased, some I made myself.

Here are photos of these two pages, created just this week.

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The ‘Leaving 73’ page has journaling hidden behind the biggest photo (that my brother enhanced by adding a photo of Dad). In is on a card that can be pulled out, with the ‘Memories’ tag stuck on it. The ‘Mum & Dad’ page tells its own story.

I will probably post more ‘normal’ photos next week.

(c) Linda Visman 23.01.2015

January 20, 2015 at 9:55 pm | Posted in Friendship, Gratitude, Social mores, Writing | 3 Comments
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Share Your World blog badge

 

Here are Cee’s Share Your World questions for Week 3

 

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

I don’t really know, apart from my family and friends. I am not a celebrity follower, rarely watch TV (and even less if it’s commercial TV), don’t often go to movies or follow sports. The only possibility I could see would be an author whose work I enjoy, so we could chat about writing.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

I sang to myself a few days ago as I listened to the radio whilst doing the ironing. It’s a good way to make the job (seem to) go faster. I’ll often sing a few lines of a song to my husband when I am reminded of one that seems appropriate.

Because I know a lot of (usually) old songs, I developed a habit that he’s also taken up. When we hear a phrase or sentence that brings a song to mind, we’ll start to sing it. Sometimes we can hardly have a conversation because so many come up! We usually laugh a lot then too.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

I would like to get back the passion and enthusiasm I used to have for my creative writing. It seems to have gone walkabout and I cannot find it anywhere.

What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

I am looking at the broader context of society here, and child sexual abuse should never be something to joke about. There is nothing funny about such a horrendous crime.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week, we were invited to dinner by our good friends. The meal, the wine, the conversation and the friendship were all wonderful.

This coming weekend, we may be able to go out in our sailing boat to join people from our Careel Cruising Association to enjoy friendship and celebrate Australia Day, which falls on the 26th January.

Linda Visman

Emigration to Australia (1)

January 19, 2015 at 11:51 am | Posted in 1950s, Australia, England, Family History, Migration | 7 Comments
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monday-memoir-badge

Dad had first applied to migrate to Australia in 1947, a year after he left the R.A.F. He had joined up in mid-1941, and had trained as a fighter pilot in Canada. He served in the Defence of Britain, in fighters and fighter-bombers around the coastal seas. The only time he was on duty overseas was when he joined a special operation just before D-Day, dropping spies into France. Whilst in the RAF, Dad met many Australian pilots, and liked their carefree approach to life. He learned a lot about the country from them, and decided that Australia was where he wanted to raise the family he knew he and Mum would have.

 

Mum & Dad with eldest son Peter, about Oct. 1946.

Mum & Dad with eldest son Peter, about Oct. 1946.

 

From that first application, it took almost seven years before he was accepted. At first, Australia was only taking single men for particular industries, like coal mining. Dad talked with a friend of his younger sister, Mary, about the opportunities available to anyone who was willing to work. The friend applied, and emigrated soon after.

Then the conditions were relaxed to allow married men with no children. That’s when, sponsored by the friend who was now living and working there, Mary and her husband, Eric, also applied to emigrate. By the time they left England in 1952, Mary was pregnant with their first child, though they didn’t tell Australian Immigration that.

It seemed that everyone Dad spoke to went off to the “Land of Opportunity”. However, with four children, he was still ineligible.

Linda,Peter, Pauline,Sheelagh 1952

 

Then in 1953, the conditions were relaxed even more, and families were at last allowed to emigrate, as long as they had a sponsor or a job to go to. Dad re-applied with Mary and Eric as sponsors. As an ex-RAF fighter pilot, Dad was eligible for free passage, so we were not the “ten pound Poms”  that many people talk about.

In January 1954, Dad received a telegram advising him that our family had been successful in our application and that there was a six-berth cabin available to us if we could be in Southampton the following week.

Dad ‘sold’ our house to Mum’s brother, lock, stock and barrel (my uncle just took over the payments and Dad put the house in his name). Dad gave notice at his place of work and he and Mum packed up whatever they could take with us. We caught the train from home in Oswaldtwistle on a cold and snowy January day in 1954. After staying the night in London we caught another train to Southampton, where we boarded the steam liner the S.S. New Australia.

S.S. New Australia

S.S. New Australia

 

We were off on a voyage half way around the world to a country we kids knew little about, and leaving everything and everyone we did know behind us.

 

© Linda Visman

 

Kicking the Habit with Love

January 15, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Posted in Experiences, Friendship, Gratitude, Health, Love | 6 Comments
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Helping each other

 

Yesterday, I read author Kim Kelly’s blog entry on how she gave up smoking. She tells how she overcame the cravings and emotional and physical withdrawal symptoms with the aid of drugs, yes, but also with love – the love and support of her friends. Her post reminded me of my own story.

This is the relatively long comment I wrote on her blog:

The road from nicotine addiction can be a very difficult one indeed, Kim. It is wonderful that you were able to travel it and come to your non-smoking destination. Congratulations indeed.

I gave up smoking almost twelve years ago after having smoked for most of the previous 36 years – one to two packets a day. Unlike you, I enjoyed smoking and, as I lived most of that time in rural and remote areas, I wasn’t alone in the habit. I know I wasn’t physically addicted; I was emotionally addicted.

My five sons tried to get me to give it up but, because I have a stubborn streak, I resisted – for many years.

Then I caught up with a man I hadn’t seen since high school and we fell in love – we were both divorced at the time, and we also lived in different states.

He was willing to take me on, even though he hated the habit – the smell that was all-pervading and the smoking itself.

On my road trip from S.A. to N.S.W., I stayed overnight in a motel at Narrandera. I was outside having a smoke when I called him on my mobile. It was right then and there that I realised that if he wanted me enough to take my disgusting habit too, then I could give it up for him. I put out that cigarette and have not had one since. I haven’t even wanted one.

It is amazing what love can do!

One of my sons, who also worked and lived in the country took up the habit, but he has been a non-smoker now for several years, thank goodness. None of the others took it up.

A friend knows but loves you

I am so glad I gave up smoking. The stench is gone. I no longer allow my money to go up in smoke. I don’t have to isolate myself because of my habit. And my health is so much better. My husband thought he was taking on an invalid at the time, but was still happy to look after me. It turns out that he hasn’t needed to, and I am so glad.

I put it out - you can too

 

Today is the fifth anniversary of my first blog post. I started it in order to get some self-discipline into my writing. It took a long time, but I am getting there.

 

5th anniversary logo

 

Linda Visman

Share Your World – 2015 Week #2

January 14, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Posted in Australia, Gardens, Gratitude, Leisure activities | 4 Comments
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Here are my responses to Cee’s Share Your World questions for Week 2 of this year.

 

Are you a hugger or a non-hugger?

I am definitely a hugger. There is something warm and accepting about a hug, and I love to pass that on to others. We all grew up in a demonstrative family, and it was considered normal to hug when arriving and leaving home; and I hug friends as well as family. I carried that into my adult life and my five sons are all comfortable with hugs. I can almost always tell when a non-hugger arrives though, and back off so they don’t get uncomfortable.

 

What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor?

Boysenberry! However it is a rare treat to have ice cream.

 

Do you prefer exercising your mind or your body? How frequently do you do either?

I like to exercise both. Physically, I am quite active. I mow our double house block which is on a slope, do fairly heavy work in the garden and the house, and go (irregularly) for walks. I can’t be a book-chair or computer potato for too long before I need to move.

My reading, writing and extensive work with my reading group has kept my brain active for some years now, and I love crosswords – both regular and cryptic. My scrapbooking also keeps my creative side alive and kicking when my writing falls off.

 

Are you more of a dog person or a cat person? Why?

I am certainly not a cat person, and I am astounded at the fuss people make over cats. It seems in many ways they worship them! Cats are beautiful creatures in every way except for one – they are superb killing machines. They seem to be like humans that way; killing for the sake of killing. Much of Australia’s natural wildlife has been destroyed since cats were introduced to this country, taking millions of small animals every year.

Dogs can go feral too, but they are capable of wonderful relationships with people – unlike cats, who use people as their slaves. I would love to have a dog, but circumstances do not allow it.

 

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for the terrific man I married – that is ongoing. I was glad to see it raining steadily for several days, as we needed it for the garden, and to cool off the summer heat.

Next week? Nothing much planned early in the week, but the Australia Day holiday is coming up on the weekend of the 24-26 January, and a cruise with our sailing club to celebrate. Hoping we will both be okay to get the boat out and join in on at least some of the festivities.

 

Linda Visman

Memories of England (1)

January 12, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Posted in 1940s, 1950s, England, Family, Memoir, Oswaldtwistle | 8 Comments
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This is the first of my entries for Monday Memoir. I am using the Monday Memoir logo from my friend Queasy Peasy’s blog. Thanks to her inspiration, I intend to post entries in this category each Monday.

monday-memoir-badge

 

My Early Childhood

I was born in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, England in 1948, and lived there until my family migrated to Australia in February 1954. The Lancashire climate is humid, and the cotton industry flourished there in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. When I say the climate is humid, I mean that it rains a lot there!

Remains of Rhyddings Mill, Oswaldtwistle

Remains of Rhyddings Mill, Oswaldtwistle

There were many huge red-brick cotton mills in and around the town, carding, spinning and weaving cotton products for domestic and overseas markets. There were also all the support industries, such as dyeing and maintenance. Streets of terrace houses had been built by mill owners for their workers. It was in such a terrace house, a “three-up-three-down built of stone, that I and my older brother and my two sisters were born.

By the 1950s, the cotton industry had been killed off by cheap imports from places such as India, and engineering had taken over as the major industry of our district. My father had been a moulder before World War II, but joined the R.A.F. in 1941. When he returned home after he was demobilized in June 1946, he hated being in a foundry and worked outdoors whenever he could.

Mum & Dad with my older brother, 1945.

Mum & Dad with my older brother, 1945.

I have very few concrete memories of my life in England, even though I was old enough to begin school there after the summer holidays until we left in mid-winter. I attended St Mary’s Catholic School with my older brother and sister. We walked over a mile there and back each day in sun and wind, rain and snow and sleet. The only memory I have of school is sitting next to a girl who had head lice; I didn’t like her.

Mum, me & my older sister, about 1950

Mum, me & my older sister, about 1950

Here are a couple of earlier memories that I do have:

Hospital – I was in isolation at Blackburn Infirmary, suffering from glandular fever; aged about 2-3 years.

I’m in a cot. I don’t like being in a cot. I’m standing in the cot and holding the bars, and looking at the door. There is a smell. I don’t like the smell and I don’t like being here. Mummy and Daddy are coming. I can see them. Maybe they will take me home today.

Me and my siblings 1953

Me and my siblings 1953

Toy HorseI am about 2-3 years old

I’m on my horse outside the front of the house. The house is on Roe Greave Road. It is made of stone and is big and solid and dark from all the smoke. All the houses are joined together and there is a whole street of them with doors opening onto the footpath. The footpath outside the house runs between the front wall and the cobbled street. My horse is made of wood and has wheels. I push it along with my feet, but every time it comes to a nick in the footpath it stops, and I have to lift the front wheels over it. It is a bit heavy, but it’s good fun.

 My brother and I playing on the footpath in front of our house c.1950

My brother and I playing on the footpath in front of our house c.1950

Leggings – I am about 3-4 years old

We are going for a walk. It is winter and here is snow on the ground. Mummy is putting on my leggings for me so my legs won’t get cold. I have a coat on over my dress. My leggings are made of thin leather and they are soft and brown. They cover my legs from my shoes to my knees. There are lots and lots of little buttons down the sides and Mummy has to do them all up. I love my leggings and all the little buttons, but I can’t do them up myself.

 

 

Buttercups and Bluebells

We’re all going for a walk up to the Top Reservoir, my Mum and Dad, my two sisters and my brother and me – Sheelagh is in her pram. Buttercups cover the ground, bright and golden and cheerful. When I pick one I hold it up to my face. When you hold them up to your face the gold shines on you. Little bits of yellow powder fall off the flower and cover my nose. We come to a glade. Farther on there are trees around, and under them are carpets of bluebells. The whole ground is blue.

When we get to the moors near the water, we have a picnic. Dad cooks baked beans and bacon on a fire. I feel good.

Buttercups – looking over Oswaldtwistle in 2010

Buttercups – looking over Oswaldtwistle in 2010

© Linda Visman

Getting into a Blogging Routine

January 11, 2015 at 10:39 pm | Posted in blogging, Discipline, Writing | 5 Comments
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My friend, also named  Linda, blogs at Queasy Peasy, and she is much more disciplined than I am. Her latest post, 2015 Blog Plan, has at last stirred me to action, and I intend to have a blogging plan of my own.

I actually devised a routine at the start of 2014, but I never even started it, let alone stayed with it. My plan was for three posts a week: Memoir Monday; Wildlife Wednesday; and Freestyle Friday.

I did manage to complete the whole of the April 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge, and intend to join that again for this year. I have also joined Cee’s Share Your World challenge, and have managed to post every week since I began it in August 2014.

So I have proved that I can rake up the discipline if I want to. After all, if my friend can do it working four days a week, then surely I can when I am retired! I just need now to make a marathon commitment, not just a sprint. And I need to be organised enough to include these blog posts into my already fairly busy schedule.

I intend to join Queasy Peasy in what she is calling her Monday for Memoir. I will continue to post weekly to Cee’s Share Your World. And I will do my best to post an entry each week on Australian flora and fauna (especially from my area) under Wednesday Wildlife.

Now I just need to work out how to make a banner for the memoir and wildlife posts. My friend did tell me how to do it a couple of months ago but I forget now. All right, where is that notebook I wrote the name of the program in?

Linda Visman

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