Wednesday, December 19, 2012


As we rush through shops piled with all sorts of enticing wonders, spare a thought for this community, making the very most out of what they have...


Friday, December 14, 2012


At this time of year, we get overwhelmed with Christmas stories, poems, and themes...  so to save you reading all you have before here, I will just give you the link to return, if you wish, to a number of posts from last year... 

 You can work back via Older Posts if you wish...

 Thank you for your support over the last year, with all four of my blogs.  Without you, dear reader, there would be no purpose in this.. so, it is you who are responsible. 

Of course, that doesn't mean I won't post new Christmas posts, so, watch this space. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I have taken this directly from my friend, Pauleen's blog ... I am a little past the start of Advent, but here I am... revised and republished..
You can read her answers here...

 To be involved, please copy the questions as below and add your own answers, then follow up by leaving a comment on Pauleen's blog, so she can collate the answers in a short while. It will be great to read of others Christmas traditions, what a beautiful way to unite us all at this time.
Thank you Cassmob (Pauleen).

It's the start of the Advent season today and I thought it would be fun if we shared our different experiences of Christmas and how we celebrate it around the world. By doing this through a geneameme we'll be able to compare our responses and see whether we do things very differently or if there's lots of similarities.
For this meme, it doesn't matter whether you're religiously inclined or not, just tell us how important this season is to your family.
It would be great if you joined in from around the world– the more the merrier (and it's the season to be merry!).  I've tried not to be Australia-centric so please pull me up if any of these are unclear…we should all be able to "have a go".

1. Do you have any special Xmas traditions in your family?
1.We always get together for Christmas lunch rather than a dinner, and follow the way that our family has always done with mainly hot food, no matter what the weather. 
2. Is church attendance an important part of your Christmas celebrations and do you go the evening before or on Xmas Day?
2. We used to when we were small, but not now...

3. Did/do you or your children/grandchildren believe in Santa?
3. Of course, I still do :-) Our children and grandchildren believed, sad to say the grandchildren have decided they don't now, so that has left a great big gap in Santa's life...      but Santa has given me his private email, so I can pass on Christmas wishes

4.  Do you go carolling in your neighbourhood?
4. No, it would spoil everyone's Christmas.

5.   What's your favourite Christmas music?
5. I love all kinds, from traditional to pop. There is something really special to me about Chris Rea's Driving Home For Christmas... I can't help thinking about all who will be making their way home at this time.

6. What's your favourite Christmas carol?
6. Adeste De Fideles

7. Do you have a special Xmas movie/book you like to watch/read? 
7. Not really... I am usually a bit otherwise occupied, but my husband loves "White Christmas" and "Joyeux Noel". I tend to listen while I work.

8.  Does your family do individual gifts, gifts for littlies only, Secret Santa (aka Kris Kringle)?
8. We used to always do individual gifts, but it's now a mixture, always gifts for the children and our own kids and parents, then  Secret Santa for the rest. There are now 16 of us for Christmas lunch, at least... The group is smaller, back to individual gifts

9. Is your main Christmas meal indoors or outdoors, at home or away?
9. We take it in turns around the family, though as we don't have air con, we will be back at our daughter and family's place to make it easier for our elderly parents. It's mainly indoors, though they do have a pool. Our parents are no longer with us, we're the oldies mother in law passed in 2013, my father, in 2014, each aged 91. Still sadly missed.

10.  What do you eat as your main course for the Christmas meal?
10. Roast turkey and vegetables, cold meats and salads...

11. Do you have a special recipe you use for Xmas?
11. Many of them, from gingerbread to kourabiethes (Greek shortbread), the Christmas cake and pudding .. plus. How this has changed, just a pudding this year, unless I get very enthusiastic and find a few extra hours over the next couple of days..

12.  Does Christmas pudding feature on the Xmas menu? Is it your recipe or one you inherited?
12. It certainly does, with my recipe, that I have been using since I was a girl and decided that I would change the way it was done. Not many eat Christmas pudding now, but I still make at least one. There was a time when I'd make at least a dozen, the same with Chrismas cakes... and many batches of kourabiethes and gingerbread men..

13. Do you have any other special Christmas foods? What are they?
13. See answer 11...  the grandchildren always come to bake the gingerbread men, as did their mother and uncle before them, with various cousins in between. That too, has changed, they are in their late to mid teens now..

14.  Do you give home-made food/craft for gifts at Christmas?
14. Yes, often puddings, cakes, etc. sometimes things like passionfruit butter and sauces. I have made everything from Santa Sacks to stockings, from Christmas wreaths to garlands...

15. Do you return to your family for Xmas or vice versa?
15. Always.

16.  Is your Christmas celebrated differently from your childhood ones? If yes, how does it differ?
16.  We don't have as many people these years, and while we have always had decorations, many of them now are electronic, or bought, whereas it used to be all fresh flowers and leaves, Christmas bells made from milk bottle aluminium tops, chinese lanterns from old cards and crepe paper streamers and home made cardboard stars.

17. How do you celebrate Xmas with your friends? Lunch? Pre-Xmas outings? Drop-ins?
17. A mixture, but many live away now, so not as much celebrating these days. We still keep up with various family members and friends when we can, sometime over the Christmas/New Year period.

18. Do you decorate your house with lights? A little or a lot?
18. It varies, not a lot this year as we will be elsewhere, but we are gradually switching to solar so that will make a difference.

19. Is your neighbourhood a "Xmas lights" tour venue?
19. No, not at all, though a few more around this area are putting up lights as young families move back into the neighbourhood.

20. Does your family attend Carols by Candlelight singalongs/concerts? Where?
20. No, not since the children left school.

21. Have any of your Christmases been spent camping (unlikely for our northern-hemisphere friends)?
21. When we were younger and our family returned home for Christmas, we would 'go home' with a caravan and that would become the kitchen for the day. It would be taken out to the local headland, where we would swim or paddle, etc. and often catch extras for Christmas lunch which would be cooked there and then.

22. Is Christmas spent at your home, with family or at a holiday venue?
22. Always with family, but spread around 3 homes in turn. I suspect that will change in future years. Now, mostly between two homes, but always visit others.

23. Do you have snow for Christmas where you live?
23. Not really an option in SE Qld, we have had many storms with hail, that's about as close as we get.

24. Do you have a Christmas tree every year?
24. Always... it has gone from a gum or she oak when we were small to various live pine ones, which used to grow in bushland near by, but now is an artificial one. Over the years, when it was a more crowded house, we have still managed to have some sort of tree, no matter how small.

25. Is your Christmas tree a live tree (potted/harvested) or an imitation?
25. See above... I should have read further on. 

26.  Do you have special Xmas tree decorations?
26. Yes, many are home made by the children, there are small framed photos of family members, some are from our very first married Christmas, others are crocheted by my mother in law, some are the children's choices as they were allowed to pick one decoration a year.

27. Which is more important to your family, Christmas or Thanksgiving?
27. We don't have Thanksgiving in the southern hemisphere, which is a good thing with the seasonal heat. I can't imagine all that so close together.

Feel free to participate in this Christmas Geneameme and share your Christmas experiences!
Don't forget to leave a link to your geneameme response in the comments section or on Google+ or on Twitter using hashtag #xmasgeneameme. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Our lives are made of many moments in time, some we barely notice as they pass on by, just like so many before them.

However, some make you sit up and take notice... they leave an impression that stays with you.

They don't necessarily have to be the momentous moments, such as births, marriages or deaths, just something that means a lot to you, even if not to others...

One such moment came to me recently. I was totally surprised and honoured to be have one of my blogs selected by the National Library Australia to be archived in perpetuity by PANDORA, to be listed among many of the sites I follow.

You can see the lists of archived sites here...

The blog is " Irish Graves - they who sleep in foreign lands."

 This site is for those graves outside of Ireland, particularly isolated graves, in the hope that those researching may be able to 'find' their ancestors.

There are a number of pages, listed on the side column... you will notice that there is a Pandora button and a Pandora search box which I am honoured to display.

The opening post is of Norfolk Island...

                                       (c) Jeff O'Keefe

Here are just a couple of photos to give you some idea of what to expect.  Details of how you can contribute are also in the side column on the site.

 (c) Jeff O'Keefe

 (c) Jeff O'Keefe 


My sincere appreciation goes to all who have kindly contributed to the Irish Graves graves site and all those who have encouraged me. Irish Graves is very much a work in progress, so please return as you can. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Passion for family history is something so many of us can identify with. 

We don't quite think like others, we're always searching for just one more clue, one snippet of information that might answer that question that has been bothering us. We read newspapers and can't remember the headlines, but we do recall that the village of "MaybeThatsIt" was mentioned in a small paragraph and wasn't that where 5th cousin Eldred's 2nd wife came from? 

We find ourselves lost in a world of shipping lists and indexes, of certificates and obituaries and get excited about graveyard transcriptions. Some of our families worry that we live in the past, they don't understand that we are looking to the future... so that others that follow will know exactly from whence they came. We also do a pretty good job of keeping all our relatives connected and informed...

One man whose passion for genealogy or family history gave him so much pleasure and opened up so much of the world to him was Chuck Dzarnowski. When Chuck couldn't go out to the world, the obvious solution was to for him to bring the world to him, just as his mother had done... However, he had the advantage of the internet and, well, best read the rest for yourself....

Tracing his family's history was man's passion

By Denise baran-Unland Correspondent November 4, 2012 5:26PM

Chuck Dzarnowski

"Chuck became fascinated with his family's history after his mother traced it back to the 14th century. When post-polio syndrome forced his retirement in 2000, Chuck made it his "business" to continue the research and update his website's home page with interesting facts about family members."
Chuck's full story can be found here...

Linked with permission...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


 Now if you really want to find The Way They Were, go to the Queensland State Archives site and search through the indexes. Shipping records vary in the amount of information they contain, but you just might be the lucky one... Remember, there are assisted passages, though in browsing through, I have seen some who 'paid full fare'. Have fun!

Assisted immigration 1848-1912
These registers contain passenger lists of immigrant ships arriving in Queensland. Details vary over time and between registers but include the names of ships, their dates of departure from European ports and arrival in Queensland ports, the tonnage etc of ships and names of masters, surgeons etc as well as the passenger lists, usually arranged by type of passage (eg free, assisted, remittance, bounty, steerage) or sometimes by type of immigrant (eg railway workers).
Details for each entry for a passenger include the name, whether married or single, male or female and age, whether a child 1 - 12 or an infant. A summary of passenger totals, including births and deaths, may also be included.
The passenger lists are primarily for assisted passengers from the United Kingdom and Europe. Please note that this list does not include passengers from New Zealand, the Americas, Asia, Africa, other Australian ports or those passengers who paid their own fare (in a few lists there are fare paying passengers included).

This index does not include all immigration records for that period. The records for the 1860s are incomplete because they were inundated in the 1893 floods. The registers held at Queensland State Archives were rewritten from the damaged originals during that period.

The images below (click for larger images) are pages from the registers. On the left is the page for the Great Queensland, page 772, and on the right is the register page for the Cloncurry, page 1. This arrival of the Cloncurry was in 1884. 

Coincidentally, my husband's grandmother, Mary Christina Callanan arrived with her family on the Cloncurry, just two years later, in 1886. She was but a wee child at the time, and disruptive enough to have been put into a cabin alone for a time. She became Mary Goopy... Nana to many, who lived till almost 92. I have written a little about her here...


Friday, October 12, 2012


This really was That Moment in Time... can't see this being posted today...

"May 1755 - The marriage of Bartholomew Vogwell (Woolcomber) and Alice Bisset, the late Joseph Harris's whore with five Base children. signed:George Boughton,Vicar"

from "The Devon Family Historian" No 54, May 1990, page 2. It was from the PR of Hatherlleigh and was submitted by J. Glanville.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


When I first met my husband's Irish grandmother, she was full of questions, as I expected...  What I didn't quite expect was that she and I would form a firm bond on that day because of a shared interest, reading...

 Nana asked me what I liked to do, other than spend time with her grandson... the first thing I thought of was 'be with family'. She told me she already knew that or I wouldn't bother coming to meet her... she was a sprightly 87 at the time, at least in mind... The second answer was reading...'"That's more like it" said Nana..."so do I, what do you like to read?"

"Just about anything and everything... there is so much to learn and so many books to read." 

With a big smile, she bade me come closer, and whispered  "I can lend you Lady Chatterley's Lover if you like... it's banned, you know..." Trying not to laugh, I whispered back... "I've read it, but I can lend you Brendan Behan's 'Borstal Boy'.."

 She couldn't wait for me to return with the book. Nana read until her eyes would no longer let her, but she remained a very interested and interesting lady till she passed at the age of 91 years and almost 9 months.

 How times have changed... those two books seem so tame these days... I actually thought that Lady Chatterly was boring at the time... a bit outrageous for the time, but not well written. I've never bothered to reread it to see how it stands up now. I would be interested to hear what you think...

 Prior to that, Edna O'Brien was making waves in Ireland, with "The Country Girls".. not one I've read, but had heard of. This is a review of her memoirs... an interesting life for a woman who caused such a stir that her own mother 'hid' her book... how times have changed.

Country Girl: a Memoir by Edna O'Brien: review - Telegraph

Three years before the Chatterley ban and the Beatles' first LP, Edna O'Brien's debut novel, The Country Girls (1960) introduced sexual intercourse to Ireland. The book, whose subject was women in love, was suppressed and in some places burned; even the postmistress in O'Brien's home town in County Clare held that the author of such filth should be kicked naked through the streets. Many years later, O'Brien discovered that her mother had hidden her copy in a bolster case with the offending words daubed out in black ink.
Country Girl is the memoir that Edna O'Brien swore she would never write, but because her stories have tended to mine the seam between fact and fiction, much of what she tells here – her escape from the tyranny of the church into a tyrannical marriage, her journey from a time-locked Ireland to an England on the cusp of the Swinging Sixties – will be familiar to readers of her novels. For those expecting further revelations from the Goddess of Love, her reticence as an autobiographer will disappoint: O'Brien has done a good deal of kissing but does very little telling. While passion is one of her themes, the people she has felt passionate about are kept to the margins of the tale and not even the name of the "powerful" politician who broke her heart is revealed.
Her concern is with impression rather than confession, and, as someone who has done her time in psychoanalysis, O'Brien follows the logic of free association rather than the strictures of narrative chronology. This gives her prose, from the start, a dreamlike, hallucinatory feel, and the opening chapter begins with a dream in which O'Brien is "walking up the avenue towards Drewsboro, the house I was born in, and it is a veritable temple".
The resemblance to the start of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca – "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again" – is surely intended: O'Brien's memory is marinated in literature, and the seductive power of words and writing have shaped her life.
Born in 1930, Edna O'Brien was from peasant stock on her mother's side and landowners on her father's, although the family wealth had been gambled away by the time she was born. Her dual heritage, she believes, reveals itself in her "two sides": she is both party animal and recluse; a sexually independent woman, she has no interest in the "sisterhood", and her life itself has been divided between England, where she has lived for more than 50 years, and Ireland, from which her writing comes and to which it endlessly returns.
As a child, O'Brien's longing for fulfilment was directed towards women, first her mother – "everything about her intrigued me: her body, her being, her pink corset" – and then a pale-faced nun with whom she fell in love at her convent school.

 Read more here...

Monday, October 1, 2012


Sometimes, we need to see things just for fun...

JANE SEABROOK is an illustrator and designer who lives in Auckland, New Zealand. In recent years, her artwork has focused on paintings of wildlife for the Fury Logic series of books. She shares her life with her husband, two teenage children, and a growing menagerie of assorted animals. Following are some excerpts from her Fury Logic books. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


A rail journey fit for a king: Paris commuter train has 
carriages transformed to resemble rooms
from the Palace of Versailles
Few commuters in Britain would describe their train journey to and from work as a pleasant experience.
Passengers have become used to overcrowded carriages, not to mention finding discarded newspapers, sweet wrappers
 or worse on the seats.
But some lucky commuters in France enjoy an altogether different ride, as these amazing pictures show.
Lavish: A commuter train serving Paris in France has been decorated in the colours of the Palace of Versailles in an impressive project
Incredible: The refurbishments mean that the train's carriages resemble rooms from the royal palace
A train on the main rapid transit system in Paris, the RER, has undergone a dramatic refurbishment - to resemble the 
rooms of a royal palace.
The train carries the colours of the Palace of Versailles , which was once the centre of political power in France .
And passengers who take a journey on the RER C line between the Palace, which is 20 kilometres south-west of Paris , 
and the centre of the capital do so in lavish surroundings.
Ornate paintings and golden sculptures line the aisles and even the ceilings are intricately designed. Other attractive 
improvements include the creation of a mock library in one of the carriages.
The refurbishments are designed to evoke memories of seven different areas of the royal chateau and its grounds, 
including the Hall of Mirrors, the Gallery of Battles and Marie-Antoniette's estate. The changes, which were funded 
by the Palace of Versailles , involved layering the interior walls of the train with a high-tech plastic film.
The refurbishments were carried out thanks to a deal between officials at the palace and rail operator SNCF. 
Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when King Louis XIV moved from Paris, 
until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 during the French Revolution.
Striking: An image of a statue from the palace grounds looks down on passengers
Splendid: Ornate images can be found on the back of comfortable seats
Colourful: Giant scenes from Versailles have transformed the appearance of the train, which runs on one of Paris 's 
main commuter routes
Enormous: Branches sprawl across the ceiling of the carriage in this huge painting
Powerful imagery: The train carries the colours of the Palace of Versailles, which was once the centre of political power in France
Beauty: A golden statue is reflected in a glass mirror on the train
Reflections: The refurbishments are designed to evoke memories of seven different areas of the royal chateau and its grounds
Booking details: Passengers can take their place alongside an amazing display which resembles a library
Vibrant: A once-dull door on the train has been transformed with bright red and pink colours
Facelift: The changes, which were funded by the Palace of Versailles, are the result of a deal between officials at the palace 
and rail operator SNCF
Swirls: Another decorative ceiling design based on furnishings from the Palace of Versailles
Unexpected: The exterior of the train gives few clues to the incredible displays found inside