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.