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.

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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

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Sunset at Dobell Park, Wangi Wangi, NSW

January 4, 2015 at 5:35 pm | Posted in Australia, Family, Gratitude, heritage, Leisure activities, Nature | 6 Comments
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After dinner on the second day of the new year, my husband and I, with our son and family who were visiting from Queensland, went for a walk on the shore of Lake Macquarie. Being summer, it was still light when we arrived at Wangi Wangi village, almost two kilometres away.

images[2]The local park is a popular one, overlooking the lake on the southern side of the isthmus. It is named in honour of our late local celebrity, Sir William Dobell, a well-known and sometimes controversial artist. We had walked past Sir William’s house, now an art gallery, on the way there.

We all sat on the grassy slope to watch the sun make the last of its descent past the horizon. I took some photos, as it was a lovely scene.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????This old and battered fibreglass dinghy sat forlornly on the beach.

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Then we walked the almost two kilometres back home. It was a lovely end to a busy and very pleasant, family-oriented day.

Photos (c) Linda Visman

Share Your World – 2014 Week 51

December 30, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Australia, Family, Family History, Gratitude, Nature | 3 Comments

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This is the last Share Your World for 2014. It has been a pleasure to be a part of Cee’s journey around the world for the last several months. Here are Cee’s questions for this week 51, and my responses to them (we missed out a week in November/December due to the holidays in the USA).

 

Would you prefer snowy winters, or not, and why? 

I came from England with my family in 1954, at the age of five. In the February we left, there was five feet of snow on the ground. My mother couldn’t wait to see the end of it. It was high summer when we arrived here – a bit of a shock. Most of us haven’t seen snow since then.

I am grateful to be living now on the east coast of Australia, where, apart from an occasional fall in the mountains to our west, we get no snow. Our winters are mild here, and a great time to get out and about in the bush, the coastal beaches and around our Lake Macquarie.

So, you’re on your way out and it’s raining. Do you know where your umbrella is or do you frantically search for it all over your apartment/house?

Unless it is raining heavily, I don’t worry about an umbrella – we don’t get cold enough to worry about a little damp. However, I always know where all our umbrellas are – at the front door, and in both of our vehicles, where they are easy to get at.

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?

Hubby likes to eat his separately, starting with the food he likes least and saving his favourite until the end. However, I like the mix of flavours that you get when you combine, say meat and vegetables on your fork. It also means you can mix bland and tasty food in the one mouthful.

What is set as the background on your computer?

At present, I have a photo of all my five sons and their families in a group. The photo was taken when my eldest visited from Japan, in October 2013. It had been three years since they’d all been together, and it will be at least another year or two before it can happen again.

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 a lovely time with hubby’s three kids and their families for Christmas Eve.

My second-eldest son arrives with his family today and will be spending a few days with us. Fantastic! It will be the first time we have seen in the new year with any of my kids for about fourteen years!

Share Your World – Week 50

December 25, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Posted in Culture, Family, Family History, Gardens, Gratitude, Leisure activities | 6 Comments
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Many thanks again to Cee, for the questions for this week’s Share Your World.

Do you have a signature dish? If not is there one in your family?

This is a good question for Christmas time, as the only signature dish I have only makes an appearance at Christmas and New Year. It is a trifle, made with sponge cake, jelly, custard, whipped cream and topped with strawberries. When I go to Christmas shared dinners, that is what I take, and it is always very well received.

The trifle recipe is an old family favourite, and is made differently to all the other trifle desserts I have seen. My sisters and I learned it from Mum, who learned it from her mother, though I don’t know how far back from there it goes. Still, a hundred years is a pretty good family tradition.

Do you have a favorite board game?

I haven’t played board games for many years. However if I were to play one, it would be Scrabble, as I love any word games.

Is there a household chore that you enjoy?

Not so much inside the house, I’m afraid. However, I love mowing the lawns and keeping the yard tidy, as well as building anything needed there.

What is one thing you will never care about?

Being rich and famous. What’s the point, when it leads to the loss of your soul!?

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

Last week – Being able to at least deliver the Christmas gifts for my grandchildren in Queensland in an aborted visit (caused by my getting sick). Also, spending time with hubby as we travelled to and from there.

This coming week – relaxing for a few days at home before my second eldest son and his family come for a visit from Queensland.

(c) Linda Visman

Share Your World – 2014 Week 48

December 11, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Australia, Family, Gratitude, Leisure activities, Nature, Social Responsibility | 4 Comments
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Here are more of Cee’s questions, which we answer and share with others. The questions are great also for looking into ourselves and seeing what is important in life. Thank you again, Cee.

What is your favorite toppings on pizza?

We have a pizza shop in our village that makes the best pizzas I’ve ever had. They are not wimpy scatterings of a few ingredients on a piece of thin, brittle pastry that you get in the well-known chains. Instead, they are a good, solid feed with plenty of topping on a decent pastry base.

One of their toppings they call ‘Rosita’, and that is my favourite. It is basically lots of lovely king prawns (you call them shrimps in the U.S., I believe) with pineapple and cheese, and a yummy sauce.

I want to learn more about …

Life. Mainly, I want to know how to stop being so terribly affected (angry, upset, distressed, disgusted, demoralised, depressed) by the awful things that people are capable of and the destruction of our world.

What are three places you’ve enjoyed visiting?

Central Australia; the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney; and the South Coast of New South Wales. In reality though, I love to visit anywhere in Australia’s mountains, coastal areas , the bush and the desert.

Do you prefer eating the frosting of the cake or the cupcake first?

Neither – both are too sweet. I prefer a fruit mince tart.

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 a lovely half a day in Sydney at the Powerhouse Museum, with  two gorgeous granddaughters and their lovely mum (hubby’s daughter).

Next week we are going to see most of the kids & grandkids from my side of the family – 4 of the sons and 6 of the grandkids.

(c) Linda Visman

Share Your World –Week 47

November 30, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Posted in Australia, Family, Gardens, Gratitude, Leisure activities, Mental Health, Nature, Reading, Travel | 7 Comments

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Since this has been Thanksgiving in the USA this week, Cee has given us just one question to consider in sharing our world.

List at least 50 Things You Enjoy. 

I am also giving thanks for what I enjoy. These are just as they came to me – in no particular order. I think I got to 55, but I enjoy, and am thankful for, a multitude more than just these.

My 5 sons; photo taken early 1981.

My 5 sons; photo taken early 1981.

*   being with any or all of my 5 sons

*   being with any or all of my lovely grandchildren

*   going for a drive and a coffee with my husband

*   going camping with my husband

*   driving – just about anywhere

*   being in our yard with the trees and birds

*   mowing the lawns

*   going for a sail in our little sailboat with my husband

*   Skyping with my kids & grandkids

*   my owl ornaments

*   being with my writing friends

*   coffee with friends

*   dinner with friends

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*   a good book – print or kindle

*   blogging

*   reading good blogs

*   watching people

*   writing my journal

*   writing stories

*   writing poetry

*   music

*   helping others with their writing

*   thunderstorms

*   putting together our writing group’s newsletter

*   going for a train ride

*   going for a ferry ride

*   mince tarts

*   a glass or two of wine

Scrapbook 2 (1280x662)

*   scrapbooking

*   being around positive people

*   taking photos

*   being by the sea – beach, rocks, cliffs

*   the pounding of the sea on the shore

*   Nature – in any form

*   the Aussie bushIMG_4088

*   a walk in the rainforest

*   a walk by the lake

*   my husband’s love

*   photos – re-living good memories writing my Dad’s story

*   cheese

*   chocolate – but not too often

*   casual clothes

*   shopping for gifts

*   learning new skills

*   the magpie’s warbling serenade

*   the round of rain on the roof

*   the sound of children playing

*   shopping for scrapbooking materials

Eucalypt leaves

*   raking leaves

*   listening to the birds

*   seeing new places

*   a good movie

*   dancing (a rare occurrence

*   feathers

*   our little rocks & crystals collection on the windowsill

(c) Linda Visman

Share Your World – Week 46

November 19, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Posted in Family, Gratitude, Leisure activities, Mental Health, Nature | 7 Comments
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Here is another interesting set of questions from Cee for Week 46 of Share Your World.

 

On a vacation what you would require in any place that you sleep? 

Our camper van

Our camper van

A comfortable bed is essential. I think that if you have somewhere comfy to sleep, you can handle anything else a holiday has to throw at you. But there is one more thing I need – a comfy chair in which to relax, to read, to enjoy a wine at the end of the day.

In our little Toyota HiAce camper, we have a lovely comfortable bed, based on the seat cushions and topped with two layers of foam. That bed stays made up for the duration, and we either do without a table or use the one that attaches outside.

However, our van doesn’t have a comfortable chair, at least not inside. The front seats are separated from the back of the van by the engine housing, and when we stop, any extra bits and pieces are stored on those seats until we set off again. The floor space is small, with no room for a chair. Hubby loves to read or otherwise relax lying down, so he’s fine, but to relax I need to sit. So the only times I can do so in comfort is when the weather is good enough – and the mosquitoes non-existent – to sit in the folding camper chair outside.

Music or silence while working?

I lived out in the back blocks of Central Australia for many years. When you just needed a tape recorder and a few of your favourite tapes, my partner and I used to play music all the time. When we moved back to civilisation, she played music more than I did, but I always had it playing in the background as I did my woodwork in the garage.

Once I began writing my family’s history however, music distracted my thoughts, so I got out of the habit of playing it. Now, years later, in a different state, with a husband who also loves music, we have lots of CDs to play. But we don’t play them! We don’t really know why.

However I think it is time we did something about it. Perhaps I should find out if music will stimulate my creative writing rather than distract me from it.

If you were to move and your home came fully furnished with everything you ever wanted, list at least three things from your old house you wish to retain?

Dad in his woodworking shed

Dad in his woodworking shed

My photo and scrapbook albums, my folders of family history records, my journals, and my computer external drive with all my writing and photographs would have to go with me. I would also want to take the few family keepsakes I have – Mum’s sewing things, her old teapot, her small paintings and shells, and the small tables, wooden bowls and knick-knacks that Dad made. I don’t have Mum and Dad any more, but I want to keep something of them by me.

What’s your least favorite mode of transportation?

I can’t say I have a least favourite. I love to travel, so any way I can do that is good. My most favourite mode is driving myself, always has been. I used to drive 1,700-2,500 km each way to visit my family in NSW twice a year when I lived in the Northern Territory. It was also a 320km drive to the nearest town (Alice Springs) over mostly dirt roads just to do business and buy groceries. I loved 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 four days we were able to relax and enjoy the Aussie bush, sleeping and eating in our camper. I was also really happy that we could have dinner with my younger sister and her husband and catch up on each other’s families and busy lives. As we get older, we become even closer to each other, even though we are different in many ways.

I am looking forward to going to the local art gallery with my neighbour friend to the launch of a book about our town’s most famous person, the late Sir William Dobell, a major Australian artist of the mid twentieth century.

(c) Linda Visman

Share Your World –Week 41

October 18, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Posted in Australia, Experiences, Family, Society | 13 Comments
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Here is week 41 of Cee Neuner’s Share Your World, where we answer Cee’s questions to share a little of ourselves and our world with others around the planet.

Would you rather take pictures or be in pictures?

Both hubby and I love to take photos, to record our lives as we live them. When we visit family, we are both busy taking photos of our kids and grandkids. We only occasionally get a look-in ourselves. We will often come home to find there are no photos of us among the hundred or two we have taken!

Although many people hate having their photo taken, I don’t mind it. I would like my family in the future to know what I looked like and how life changed me through the years. I look back on my childhood and mostly can only imagine what my family looked like, how we grew, what we did, where we lived and where we went.

There are very few photographs to see, because in those days – the 1940s to 1960s, the cost of a camera, film and developing was too great for struggling family. Nowadays, we can take as many photos as we like at little cost. We need to remember to print them though. If anything happens to digital photos or they are not accessible due to changing technology, then people in the future will be the same as we were in the past, with little or no record of their lives.

What did you most enjoy doing this past week?

Last weekend, I was part of a Community Fair. My writing group had a stall to publicise what we do and how we can assist budding or novice writers to improve their craft. It was a beautiful day, with lots of people about browsing a myriad of stalls in the main street which had been blocked to traffic.

I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who came over to look at the books and magazines our members have produced. Many of them stayed to chat about writing, and quite a few were interested in coming along to our meeting to see how we operate. The best was that two of those interested are young teenage girls.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Books. It is so hard to resist them!!

Which letter of the alphabet describes you best?

It is difficult for me to choose one. Instead of looking at the shape of the letter as many will do, I am listening to the sound of it. When I do that, there are several that could apply to me at some level.

B          I want to be myself and not other people’s versions of me;

I           I – me. There is a selfish gene on one side of my family history that I always have to fight. I am getting better at it, though I still often like to get in my opinion on something;

U         I am becoming more empathetic to others as I get older, and enjoy helping you where I can;

X         Some twenty-five years after being divorced from my first husband, he finally found someone else and allowed me to be his ex-wife;

Y         I often ask why. Why is there so much hatred in the world? Why do we have to destroy our environment for the sake of short-term financial gain? Why this or why that? Maybe I should rather be asking, ‘How?’: ‘How can we fix things?’

Here are a few bits of fun too: ‘A, what did you say?’ – ‘C, I told you so!’ – ‘E, that scared me!’ – ‘G, that’s amazing!’ – ‘L, not again!’ – O dear, that’s terrible!’ – ‘RUOK?’ – T and biscuits anyone?’

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

Skype is a great way to keep contact with my children and grandchildren, who all live far away. It was great to talk with one of my sons and his family.

I have a fairly light week coming up, with few scheduled commitments. I am looking forward to doing some of the things I have been putting off.

(c) Linda Visman

Share Your World – 2014 Week 40

October 7, 2014 at 12:11 am | Posted in Australia, Culture, Family, Gardens, Nature, Reading, Writing | 12 Comments
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Every week, Cee, at Share Your World, posts a few questions for us to answer. This is a great way of getting to know others, and to let others know about our own world. Here are my answers to Cee’s latest Share Your World Questions.

You’re given $500,000 dollars tax free (any currency), what do you spend it on? 

I would give each of our eight children $50,000 to reduce their mortgages or, for one, to buy his own place at last. The rest I would use to pay off our own mortgage and to pay for us to visit the countries of our birth for the first time since we left them over 60 years ago.

What’s the finest education?

I must say that, of all the formal education I have received – primary (elementary) and high school, Teachers’ College diploma, a university degree and graduate diploma – nothing can compare to the education I have received from life itself. To be open to what is around you, to observe and learn to understand the world, its people and yourself grants you an education that is second to none.

What kind of art is your favorite? Why?

Although many people will say it is not an art, my favourite is writing. I have always loved reading. I love the worlds and the characters and the situations that are created by writers, and I have become one of them myself.

I believe that those who cannot be impressed by how words can be put together in artistic, creative and meaningful ways to create works of wonder and beauty – and even horror and violence – are missing a piece of what it means to be human.

Is there something that you memorized long ago and still remember?

When I was in primary school, I learned a poem that expresses much of what our country (Australia) is. That poem is “My Country” by Dorothea McKellar (1885-1968) when she was in England, and homesick for her own country. It was first published in 1908. It compares the softness of the English countryside with the starkness of the Australian. I love the poem, as I have seen so much of what it expresses.

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

Through the last week, I spent quite a bit of time in the garden. It is spring here in Australia, and there are so many plants and trees blooming that there is a riot of colour all around us. The blossoms also bring the birdlife, and I enjoy listening to them warble, twitter and even shriek through the trees that surround us.

In the week ahead, I will be spending plenty of hours with my writing group, being stimulated in my word-production, helping others with their writing, and hopefully letting non-members know what we can do to assist them if they want to write.

Share Your World – Week 37

September 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Posted in Family, Mental Health, Politics, Society | 2 Comments
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Here are my responses to Cee’s latest Share Your World questions.

List three pet peeves.

  1. Politicians;
  2. “Tossers” – those who leave their rubbish for others to clean up;
  3. Splashing water around when washing the dishes.

What makes you unique?

Just about everything! There is nobody in the world who is just like me – in appearance, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. I am the only one of me.

What would be your ideal birthday present, and why?

My ideal birthday present is being taken out to dinner; a day without having to cook or prepare any meals myself.

Which way does the toilet paper roll go? Over or under?

The toilet paper definitely goes over the top! If I find it the other way, I change it – no matter whose bathroom I am in.

There are several reasons for that. The first is that it is easiest to find the end when it is on the side next to you. The second is that spiders and other creatures sometimes hide under the paper if it is hidden behind the roll against the wall (I’m not afraid of them, but who wants to be startled by a spider?). And the third is that if the roll is right against the wall, it can be hard to get hold of – and if the wall is a brick or stone one, then you can scrape your knuckles against it – which I have done.

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 several beautiful sunny spring days when it was a real pleasure to work out in the yard.

I am looking forward to travelling interstate this week to visit some of my kids and grandkids.

(c) Linda Visman

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