‘Black and White’ Scrapbook

This is my favourite and easiest to work on scrapbook. I add to it any time, in any order and on any page, using black and white scans of images which are usually accompanied by typed journalling – various bits and pieces I have gathered from family and friends over the years.


The title page…


The first entry…


Published in: on July 17, 2018 at 9:18 am  Leave a Comment  


‘A very special diary’ continued…

Samuel Alexander and Michael Christopher

January 8th 1994

...I constantly ask myself what I could have done so right to deserve two healthy baby boys at one time. I hope having twins is something I never take for granted – now I consider it a wonderful gift. Life with twins is busy of course but so rewarding. It all makes for interesting writing which I hope to put down someday, as much as my memory allows. No time yet. With our little boys formally named, baptised and already past a year old, I wonder what my next entry in here will be. As I look at them sleeping peacefully in their cots nearby I realise how quickly they’ve grown – and they’ll probably be at school by the next time I put pen to this paper. Until then…

The next entry is dated June 23rd 1996…

Published in: on July 2, 2018 at 9:07 pm  Leave a Comment  


A very special diary
This precious journal holds sixty three pages of my then very small and usually neat printing – weekly handwritten entries about the first year of our first child’s life, followed by almost as many for our second. Beyond that there are various monthly and yearly updates though not nearly as many as I hoped to find or should have done. From time to time this book was misplaced and neglected but I try not to have any regrets, rather to be thankful for the memories that were recorded and for the family and friends, especially my Mum, who filled in the gaps for our next four children by saving letters I’d sent over the years after our transfer from Melbourne to Brisbane. Perhaps one day I’ll type up and save to the computer everything within such treasures – meanwhile I’m sharing just a snippet from the lined paper leaves within this floral fabric covered piece of gold.


June 23rd 1986

What a shame that this is the first time I have written about little Geoffrey, already 9 months old. It certainly is busy caring for three children and number 3 gets far less of the kind of attention I gave Amy – hours of playing together, lots of home cooking etc. However, Geoffrey is a very happy baby and loves the attention from Amy and Timothy. They entertain him which helps me. It was a lovely stay in hospital with Geoffrey. The private room plus Frankston’s belief that Mum does everything, meant we had many hours of getting to know one another. Geoffrey slept as well as possible as a tiny baby considering our trips in the car to and from school then later pre-school. Very fond of ‘titty’ as were his sister and brother. Sat up at 6 months, first tooth thereabouts. Crawled in the usual way last week. Pulls himself up to stand also.

April 15th 1989

Thank goodness for photographs – memories of recent years certainly won’t be found in this diary. As I write now I’m leaning by the bathroom doorway of No 118 while Geoffrey (3 yrs and 7 mths) is making bubbles with a straw in the bath. Baby Paddy is asleep in the cot by the front door. Mark and Timothy are watching Rumpole. Amy is spending the night at Emma’s house. We’ve finally had Geoffrey’s baby photo framed and while comparing his to Amy’s and Tim’s I noticed Timothy was toothless, the others not. It prompted me to check Timothy’s notes in here. Where have the years gone? Now Tim’s favourite pastime is writing diaries. I’m sure it will be at least another few years before I add more to this, especially with our soon to be move interstate. Since the June 86 entry so much has happened of course and could never all be written down but hopefully photos and thoughts will bring it all back. After the disappointment of a miscarriage after Geoffrey I was delighted to become pregnant for a sixth time and darling Patrick Ainsley was born in a rush on Lesley’s birthday. Our bicentennial baby. His past six months have flown by like six weeks. Even now I can still feel like I’m waiting for him to be born. Quick birth, busy days and nights, plans to make etc. But he is thriving and adored by his brothers and sister. Amy will always have a special bond with him, having seen the birth.

The next entry is dated January 8th 1994…


Published in: on June 18, 2018 at 11:39 pm  Leave a Comment  


A link to my blog for children and the young at heart: For Children (like me)

Published in: on November 9, 2017 at 9:04 am  Leave a Comment  


Stories from childhood…for Patrick ‘Paddy’

Image (1024)

Image (1025)

Image (1028)

Image (1026)

Image (1027)

Published in: on June 23, 2017 at 12:04 pm  Leave a Comment  



(originally from a Tupperware or Besssemer recipe)


Image (943)

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups milk

1/4 cup oil

1/2 cup plain flour

1 1/2 cups grated cheese

1 1/2 cups grated zucchini

other fillings optional eg

grated carrots, cooked and diced broccoli, diced and cooked onion

ham or salmon is a nice addition


Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into a greased pie dish and bake in a moderate oven until set and browned. Serve hot or cold.

Image (942)

Published in: on March 30, 2017 at 1:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Me and Mine

Belated Birthday Blogging

Image (658)

I found this greeting card while thrift shopping over a year ago and set it aside for my significant ‘born in 1957 and turning 57’ birthday. Then after resurfacing (and before joining other bits and pieces in a scrapbook) it suddenly became the perfect inspiration for journalling. Apart from my current age and year of birth relevance, the number 57 isn’t a particularly memorable number – being over a month more than the number of weeks in a year and three years away from the ‘big 60’ milestone. But take the numbers apart or play around with them mathematically and for me they take on a whole new meaning. Five, seven, five plus seven, seven minus five and five times seven. Numerology at work……


Age five – school and piano beginnings 

Being forever a homebody and prone to serious homesickness, my first days at school were tearful especially when assigned a teacher my siblings knew to be mean. As luck would have it there was a random first term juggle and within a few weeks I happily landed in Kindergarten 2 instead of Kindergarten 1. My new teacher, Jocelyn, was to become a friend for life. I wrote to her regularly after she was transferred to another school and we visited one another through the years until sadly she passed away from cancer in middle age. I quickly grew to love learning and adore all my teachers after that (except two) until my school days ended in 1976 with a second round of year 12 to try boosting my marks for entry to Medicine. That unsuccessful attempt and more about my school years and other teachers can perhaps be a topic for another time.  

I recall age five was when I first showed an interest in being a pianist by mastering ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ on a tiny red wooden toy instrument and I’d also demonstrate this accomplished tune on pianos belonging to various neighbours and friends. .

Five fingers (on each hand)…were made for chores and creating and cuddling and caring

How fortunate we are to have full use of our hands and fingers and to have them frequently occupied. During a typical day mine will open cans of cat food and comfort kittens, carry things from here to there, sort and organize clutter, handwrite and type, cook (occasionally these days though once very often) and clean. Sometimes I’m in awe that my fingers can create such variety – from the simple paper aeroplane my Dad showed me how to fold….to a complex Beethoven piano sonata my music teacher taught me how to play. And I wonder how many times these hands have cuddled babies and how many nappies they have changed over the years..and how many more yet to come. 

So often I talk about the number 5 while music teaching. Finger numbers remain a very important part of piano instruction from elementary through to advanced level. Note to non piano players – the thumb is labelled finger one! 

Five healthy pregnancies

I was blessed to have five full term pregnancies result in the arrival of six beautiful babies – Amy Mellicent 7lb 13oz, Timothy Mark 9lb 11oz, Geoffrey Stephen 9lb 6oz, Patrick Ainsley 8lb 9 and a half oz, Samuel Alexander 8lb 5 and a half oz and Michael Christopher 7lb 2oz. There are well documented accounts of these pregnancies and births in the family archives and various parenting magazines. And now I am blessed to have six grown up children, all very special and much loved adults. My life’s greatest achievements.


Seven colours of the rainbow

Being more than a little colour obsessed a rainbow is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of this number – and Roy G Biv the man who helped me remember the correct order of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Colours, colour combinations and colour matching are very important to me.  My favourite colours in general are mushroom pink, sage green, red, maroon, lilac and sky blue. I also like cream, beige, apricot, chocolate brown, navy blue, yellow and dark green. Least favourite colours used to be orange, hot pink, magenta, lime green and grey but now I embrace them for certain things or occasions including baby clothes and Halloween. If black and white count as colours I love them too – especially black clothes and pianos, white snow and white rabbits and all of our white guinea pigs that are named ‘Rabbit’. Favourite colour combinations are pink and green (fit for a Queen my sewing teacher would say), black and white (especially for piano keys, pandas and whales), red and green and red and white (for Christmas and kitchens), black and orange (for Halloween) and pale pink and pale blue or a mix of pastels (for babies).

Seven letters of the music alphabet

Although there are 26 letters in the reading alphabet there are only seven in the music alphabet A B C D E F G. Sounds easy…however a musician needs to know these seven letters forwards and backwards without hesitation and repeated across the range of their instrument. An 88 keys piano begins with an A and ends with a C.  Additional music trivia – the distance from one letter of the music alphabet to the same letter of the music alphabet eg C to C is eight notes or an octave and two octaves is 15 notes, not 16.

A piano and piano lessons at age 7

I still have my first piano – a German iron frame ‘Belling’ now in much need of restoration – and clearly remember going to the music store with Dad to purchase it. I loved having piano lessons once a week after school with a local teenager named Janis Heath and stayed with her until we moved interstate when I was 15. Although I continued to play and successfully put myself through exams and have some mentors and music related jobs along the way I didn’t have regular formal instruction again until I began lessons with Pamela Topen in 2002, a experience that has only recently and regrettably come to an end. 

Seven wonders of the world

Though I have always had a fascination with memorizing facts and lists such as Academy Award winners, books of the bible, nursery rhymes, French words and foreign music terms when trying to name the seven wonders of the ancient world I am quick to answer “The Hanging Gardens Of Babylon” and have to look up the remaining six…Great Pyramid of Giza, Statue of Zeus At Olympia, Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Colossus of Rhodes and Lighthouse of Alexandria. I keep meaning to check for the seven wonders of the modern world.

Seven stones on my eternity ring

I’m not sure exactly what the tradition is for time and reason to give or receive an eternity ring but mine was bought during a holiday to the city where my husband and I were married (and where four of our six children were born) when our youngest were five. Unplanned but an event long on my wish list I saw in the window of a jewellry shop exactly what I had in mind – white gold with small diamonds in a row. It wasn’t until I tried the ring on that I saw there were five diamonds and a tiny one at each end to make seven altogether. Always one to look for meaning in everything I decided the five diamonds would represent my five healthy pregnancies and the smaller stones for the two babies I lost.

Trying for a 7th child

It’s not a well known fact among family and friends that we did indeed try for a seventh child although it would have come as no surprise to many – and in fact readers of Mother and Baby magazine in those days would have seen my ‘even bigger family’ wish in writing among letters to the editor. Over the years a few people have asked me if our twins were a result of IVF. No they weren’t….although the pregnancy was preceded by the keeping of an ovulation chart for one month, as recommended by my gynecologist, due to a few false alarms in previous months.


Twelve months of the year

January: our wedding anniversary, Australia Day

February: Tim’s birthday, Valentine’s Day

March: St Patrick’s Day, Easter 

April: Easter

May: Mothers Day, Bailey’s birthday

June: Mum’s Birthday, Michael’s birthday, Mark’s Mum’s birthday, Mum and Dad’s wedding anniversary,

 July: Dale and Kane’s birthday

August: Mark’s birthday, Jaiden’s birthday, Dad’s birthday,

September: Father’s Day, Geoff’s birthday, my birthday, Patrick’s birthday

October: Halloween

November: Amy’s birthday

December: Samuel and Michael’s birthday, Christmas Day, Sebastian’s birthday

Cheaper by the dozen

The title of one of my favourite movies – the original with Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy and the remake with Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. If nature hadn’t stepped in and ended my fertile days we very likely would have gone on to add another half a dozen children to our family.

A dozen eggs (of the edible kind)

Eggs are one of my favourite foods – love them boiled, poached, scrambled, fried, omelettes and used in quiche and frittata. I can’t eat anything that mixes egg with chicken – eg a chicken omelette or chicken quiche. I adored Mum’s curried eggs and rice and I love curried egg sandwiches. I am ‘famous’ for my mini quiche, a savoury treat that is the first thing to disappear at parties. Son Geoff loves my devilled eggs and long ago I would make Scotch eggs too. Eggs of course make me think of Easter – especially our Good Friday tradition of having a cellophane carton or two of twelve Cadbury chocolate eggs in the refrigerator for helping ourselves to throughout the day (to balance the buttered hot cross buns from the oven). The movie Steel Magnolias comes to mind because of the cartons of pastel dyed eggs they had ready for Easter egg hunts. Memories too of our own Easter egg hunts – real or plastic ones – down the backyard with children and grandchildren. Another fun tradition has been to grow cress in empty eggshells to make egg head men and then cutting their ‘hair’. And many an empty egg carton has been used to make caterpillars, trains, boats and mini gardens and to sort buttons from my huge button collection.

Twelve years old

It’s not unusual for a child to quite suddenly grow up at this age with all the adventures of maturing and starting high school ahead. I was fortunate to attend an Anglican Girl’s College for three years delighted with the formal uniform and strict rules and eventually becoming accustomed to the half hour train ride to and from school each day. But a certain incident of abuse from a neighbour took away my innocence and made me grow up overnight and the memory will haunt me all the days of my life.  


All things even

I’ve always liked even numbers better than odd – in fact for a long time it really bothered me that I was born in an odd numbered year until I added the numbers together to make an even 22. I often buy two of anything that I like a lot – in order to have a spare to give away or in case an item is lost or damaged. 


I had a fascination with multiple births from an early age and listened intently to Mum’s stories of twins in our family tree where sadly one or both babies did not survive. I do, on my Dad’s side, have twin cousins James and Andrew a few years younger than me. Even my Sindy teen doll had twins! As a child I kept a scrapbook of cuttings about a set of quins – one of the five being a Samuel, a name I loved and would many years later use for one of our sons. Now that I’m an avid baby doll collector I have a few twins and doubles or more of the same sculpt doll in my collection. We found out at nine weeks of pregnancy that I was having a multiple birth and then a scan at 20 weeks revealed two fraternal boys due January 8th 1993 (arriving on December 22nd after being induced).


With easy internet access and little left to the imagination these days I’m sure my ‘age 35’ entry will barely rate in the ‘too much information’ category. But feel free to skip reading the next part if girly body talk offends. Although in the past I have not discussed the nitty gritties of my reproductive years or the ending of them..for family medical health history I think I should. 

I’m not sure exactly how I would have coped with being unable to have children of my own – extreme disappointment and devastation no doubt and a willingness to resort to any and all fertility treatment available. I am grateful this was not something I had to face – and as with other females in my family had no problems conceiving as a young woman. 

I was very maternal from an early age and adored my baby dolls of which there were many (some I still have today). My bedroom was set up like a nursery, baby health center and children’s hospital and I would spend any pocket money on real baby clothes for my dolls (and on sheet music). I loved and would seek to spend time with other people’s babies and children and as a teen enjoyed part time babysitting jobs. I was fascinated by pregnancy and birth although in those days such topics were rarely discussed. I also had a strong desire to study and learn and though I knew I desperately wanted to be a mother one day I also wanted to be a doctor…and chose my school subjects accordingly – English, Maths, Chemistry, Biology and Physics. 

I got my first period on August 11th at age 13 and the next a whole year later at 14. I’d heard friends complain about ‘the curse’ but I was excited to begin my womanly journey, my heart set on having a baby one day. To shorten a long story (and leave the sharing of detailed pregnancy and birth stories for another time) I was thrilled to became pregnant at age 21 and our first child Amy was born 11 months after Mark and I married. Timothy, Geoffrey, Patrick, Samuel and Michael followed with gaps of three to four years between each new baby…and four minutes between the twins. I wasn’t aware prior to becoming pregnant with twins that multiple births are common in the mid to late thirties –  due to nature’s way of releasing an extra egg before there are no more eggs to release. Surprise!!

The twins were born when I was age 35 and my monthly cycle didn’t return in the two years to follow, not an unusual occurrence when breastfeeding two babies. By then I was unbelievably ‘clucky’ again despite being busy with six children including a pair of toddlers. Although I’d been having severe hot flashes and I knew there was a strong family history of child bearing days ending early for some women in our family – my auntie at 29 and my mother at 40 – it didn’t for one moment occur to me that my baby days were over. But there I was at the local GP with all the symptoms of what I felt sure to be another pregnancy, so sure in fact that there was a layette already set aside for another new arrival or arrivals and I waited with excited anticipation for an approximate due date. The result was indeed positive. For menopause. Zero estrogen. A few months of the fertility drug Clomid to try and trick my body back into action were to no avail. It was a difficult time for me and there was little sympathy, empathy or understanding from anyone considering I already had a large family. “Don’t be greedy” one doctor said as he tried to trivialize the situation and push Hormone Replacement Therapy at me. From that day on I kept my feelings of shock, loss, disappointment and grieving at the unexpected end of an era to myself, real as they were. It has since been suggested to me by more caring medical professionals that I should have had counselling at the time because early menopause is very significant in any woman’s life no matter how many children they have already. Greedy it may seem to some but at least I’m honest enough to admit that to this day, even at age 57, I still wish on every star for ‘just one more baby’. Surely we are all entitled to at least one unrealistic dream in our lifetime along with the gratitude we have for the many that came true 🙂


Published in: on October 1, 2014 at 4:19 am  Leave a Comment  


New Year’s Eve

Don’t look so sad, it’s not so bad you know. 
It’s just another night, that’s all it is, 
It’s not the first, it’s not the worst you know, 
We’ve come through all the rest, we’ll get through this. 

We’ve made mistakes, but we’ve made good friends too. 
Remember all the nights we spent with them? 
And all our plans, who says they can’t come true? 
Tonight’s another chance to start again. 

It’s just another New Year’s Eve, 
Another night like all the rest. 
It’s just another New Year’s Eve, 
Let’s make it the best. 
It’s just another New Year’s Eve, 
It’s just another Auld Lang Syne, 
But when we’re through this New Year 
You’ll see, WE’LL be just fine. 

We’re not alone, we’ve got the world you know. 
And it won’t let us down, just wait and see. 
And we’ll grow old, but think how wise we’ll grow. 
There’s more you know, it’s only New Year’s Eve. 



Published in: on January 1, 2014 at 12:18 am  Leave a Comment  



Of all the online places I visit including facebook, forums and youtube, my favourite place to be yet the one I am most absent from is wordpress. I suppose in a way these infrequent visits make sharing photos and journalling here more special. Something comes to mind and I think to myself…I really must take the time and make the effort and use my imagination to blog this.

A determined resolution to eat more fruit instead of chocolate was the prompt for this entry. Who would have thought an orange would make me remember……

Dad and ‘Uncle’ Bill – chapter one

Image (603)

Aside from his casual attire of bermuda shorts and long socks for Saturday mornings cooking in the kitchen or trips to the shops and his even more casual old shorts and shirt for gardening and fishing, this photo above is how I mostly picture Dad during my childhood. A business man in a suit leaving early in the morning and returning late at night. But oh the fun and interesting things he shared with us and the friendly and fascinating people he introduced us to outside working hours. A world of dining in special restaurants,  entertaining clients at home with dinner parties and music and home slide shows and movie nights enhanced by Mum’s beautiful cuisine, receiving presents from overseas travels and being educated about anything and everything from speaking French to calculating the area of a circle to having a little bet on the horse races to the skill of catching a flathead or bream with a handline wrapped around a toe instead of a finger.

One of the best things about his business world was the new friends we made. One of the most difficult things – losing friends who left for business reasons that made no sense to a child. Thankfully many friends remained lifelong ones – like our ‘Uncle’ Bill who would always visit with smiles and laughter and treats – and who shared Dad’s passion for fishing and for music. Bill delighted in hearing me play the piano or joining in with a family ensemble – Dad with his harmonica, Mum with her comb and wax paper and all with their lovely singing voices.

Image (604)

But what does Uncle Bill have to do with oranges? Well he once gave us a huge supply of them and as a thankyou Dad decided he and I should thank Bill with a song. We practised long and hard memorizing something sure to charm a fellow music and fruit lover and set about turning ‘Thanks for the Memory’, that we had heard Bob Hope sing, into ‘Thanks For The Oranges’….”the little ones were sweet, the bigger ones couldn’t be beat, the yellow skins we  threw in the bin, the juice was running down, how lovely they were….”. I can still sing it like it was yesterday. I wonder where are you now Uncle Bill?

Mark and Susan’s supper – chapter two


Mark and I met on 12th October 1974 during a blind date. Of our almost forty years together few of them have been without the joy and company of children. If I wasn’t babysitting I was teaching little kids to play the piano or guiding Brownies or making music for tiny ballerinas or allowing my heart to be melted by any baby that crossed my path. (No reborn dolls back then but I still had my childhood baby dolls tucked safely away). We became engaged October 28th 1976 and married on the 14th January 1978 and within a few months discovered our first baby was due to arrive November 30th. Beautiful Amy Mellicent was born on Saturday 25th November.  Five gorgeous boys followed – Timothy Mark, Geoffrey Stephen, Patrick Ainsley, Samuel Alexander and Michael Christopher – and two precious lost souls along the way. Time to ourselves was always rare but even when when we had the chance to arrange escapes, with the help of grandparents and friends, I usually preferred to have the children with us. No lectures on the importance of husband and wife bonding please. My strong maternal instinct is something I wouldn’t change for anything or anyone. I wasn’t exactly against taking a baby into bed with us from time to time however we did manage to get everyone to sleep at once most evenings while the children were young so we could enjoy some quality time watching movies or listening to music or just talking etc. Midnight snacks were something we looked forward to and often consisted of boiled eggs and toast and…at last getting around to an explanation for the photo above…the frequent hand peeling of oranges and sharing of fresh orange segments.

The twins  and Pa – chapter three

Image (571)

Image (570)

Samuel and Michael were almost three when my Dad passed away suddenly from a heart attack.  Sadly, being so young, they don’t really remember spending time with him. Thank goodness for cameras and family storytelling to keep a person’s presence and spirit alive. These photos of the boys were taken during our last visit with their Pa at home in Ocean Shores NSW. Dad was very proud of his fruit trees and keen to show two inquisitive rascals these delicious and round edible treasures in nature, ripening as they should on the tree, very inviting but not quite ready to be picked. “Not ready to be picked!” emphasized Pa.  When he said something he meant it or beware his disapproving look. Hmm, alas they simply couldn’t resist. All was eventually forgiven after they’d helped themselves to one each without permission – and he gave in to letting them have the thrill of picking a few more, ready or not. Delightful pictures at the time and how much more meaningful these photos have become now.

A music teaching theme – chapter four


I guess you could say I am easily inspired – and inspired by all sorts of things. The creative mind can be exhausting and difficult for its owner and for people around it to bear sometimes. Mine is particularly over-active. Always has been and always will be for as long as I have full use of it and old age or medication don’t diminish my brain pathways and eccentricities. I am also easily pleased and more than a little obsessed with acquiring the unattainable – especially when it is clearly ‘not for sale’. Few people would get truly excited over a cardboard prop in a supermarket but there I was having a desperate ‘must get it’ moment at the sight of a fake fruit tree laden with oranges (mandarins or peaches it was later suggested to me to which I turned a deaf ear). My back to school ‘oranges’ theme was realized. Unsuccessful visits with greengrocery staff and store managers plus phonecalls to other shopping centres followed until one kind young man said “Sure we’ll hold it for you. We were only going to throw it away”  Just what I wanted to hear. I am also very keen on rescuing and recycling junk. Add some rhythm flashcards and the orange tree becomes a music tree ready to greet students. To cut a long story short other orange items were hunted for and found – including artificial orange blossom, scratch and sniff stickers and plastic orange savers to which I hid inside theory revision questions.


Today – chapter five

Apples have also played a big part in our lives since Mark lived and worked on an apple orchard during our early years together. But I will save that fruity tale and the spin off journalling and photos for another time. I have pretty much lived by the ‘apple a day keeps the doctor away’ belief for as long as I can remember but today I’m reflecting on my original prompt for this blog post and thinking that there’s really no need to give up chocolate for fruit when you can find fruit IN chocolate!


The end

Published in: on November 21, 2013 at 2:04 am  Comments (2)  


Published in: on April 27, 2013 at 6:59 am  Leave a Comment