Hanging Dean Martin

On the 25th of December, 1995, entertainer Dean Martin died at his Beverly Hills home. He was 78 years of age.

Why is Dean Martin’s death a significant memory for me? Because along with Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”, Dean Martin’s “Christmas Album” was the soundtrack in the family home over the Festive season, ( with a smattering of Burl Ives, but let’s keep that just between us, ok).

I’ve shared previously that my youngest daughter collects Bing Crosby Dolls. My eldest collects Dean Martin ones. (Yeah, the apples don’t fall far from the tree….). She retains some memories of Xmas crooning and brings out Deano each December, although probably more as a hommage to her grandparents rather than the entertainer. Her Pop would sashay around the house, drink in hand, crooning along with Martin, though he preferred Resches Pilsner or a red. Her paternal grandmother didn’t sing, though she did her bit to ensure whiskey share prices never plummeted.

One of my next projects is to frame some of the old vinyls I have gathered over the last 45 years in their decorative sleeves. Not many – just half a dozen or so. They have all been transferred to CD as well as those stick things, yet I’ve been unable to part with them. Good music has always filled a hole and I can’t let go of them yet.

Why cant my kids just collect Beanie Babies ?

When I was in the process of splitting assets many, many years ago was it property or shares that caused arguements? Nope – it was the record collection. ( And my paintings but I’m not bitter and have let that go. Kind of * thinking how good it would feel to throw a brick or two around right now. Besides, I snuck James Taylor into my pile by switching with Jonathon Livingston Seagull. So there).

Framing records is a thing apparently. My youngest has been on trend for years. I’m not sure I’m ready to have Dean Martin looking down at me from the lounge room wall just yet…..


Cait’s Bing. Who else?









Lili Marlene and the Things You Learn.

Easing into yet another heatwave and a long weekend celebrating Australia Day. I’m not touching upon Australia Day this year : it’s gotten way too combative way too early in the year.

The shades are drawn and the pantry and fridge are full so there is no need to leave the comfort of the ceiling fans. Yesterday I collected a book, Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (AKA J K Rowling), the fourth in the Cormoran Strike detective series, from the Library and I was counting on the 600 plus pages for occupation. Three chapters in and about done. Have read the ending so know exactly what’s going to happen, and to where books five and six are leading.

So focussing on some projects instead.

Firstly, an Airfix Kit I started two years ago. I finished my first Kit of a Spitfire when I was 17 and had a boyfriend interested in aircraft. One of those shared interest things and it seemed a better option than pulling car engines apart. I did all the construction and all the fiddley bits, he listened to music and painted the end result. That was a pattern that never really changed so sayonara sweetheart…..

So now I’m working on a larger, more in-depth model of a Halifax. What’s more important on a personal level is that the nose art on the model is the same as that on the Halifax my father flew in during WW2.

How did this come about? No idea, though I have been on the trail for some time now.

What I have learned does put some things into a better perspective. My Dad was an old song and dance man, and if he wasn’t bursting into song he would be on his harmonica. ( May I share with you how embarrassing it is to have your father pull out his mouth organ at your wedding ?) Although the war was rarely mentioned in a house full of women he was extremely proud that he “used to earn extra beer money from singing in the pubs around London.”

I have memories that one of his favourite songs was Lili Marlene, made famous by both Marlene Dietrich and Vera Lynn. I don’t know which was his preferred version though as he moved into his late 70’s he and Vera would do duets on the record player.

Underneath the lantern. By the barrack gate. Darling I remember. The way you used to wait ‘Twas there that you whispered tenderly. That you loved me. You’d always be. My Lili of the lamplight. My own Lili Marlene.

So back to the nose art on the Halifax which I have only recently learned from the grandson of a gentleman from the other side of my world features……taa daa…. Lili of the Lamplight.

Each of the figures on the plane represent a crew member, the figure with the walking stick being the pilot as at 28 years of age he was considered “old”. I’m working on identifying the other figures.

Heatwave or not I have enough to keep me out of trouble. Damn!

The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay

Still puppy, plant and house sitting in The Hunter Valley. Loving the green rolling hills and abundant wildlife – hating the heatwaves. Yes, plural. The Labrador continues to wake me up three times a night for ablutions. One of us will be popping Valium shortly and it won’t be me…

Kangaroos Across The Road

The Library at Maitland currently has a lovely exhibition as part of its Walls That Talk series, celebrating 100 years since the publication of The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay.

”At a time when children’s books were usually filled with fairy tales and whimsy, Lindsay’s tale of a quarrelsome, endlessly renewable pudding marked a complete change of pace. Lindsay complemented his playful use of Australian slang with over 100 distinctive Magic Pudding drawings.
Norman Lindsay’s timeless classic follows the adventures of koala Bunyip Bluegum, sailor Bill Barnacle and penguin Sam Sawnoff – owners of the much-desired Magic Pudding ‘Albert’ – as they try to outwit Possum and Wombat, the professional, and extraordinarily persistent, pudding thieves.
First published in 1918, it is still in print and has been translated into Japanese, German, French and Spanish as well as having been published in Britain and the United States. It is regarded as a classic of children’s literature.” – Courtesy of Maitland Library.

The Magic Pudding is right up there with The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie as Classic Australian Children’s Literature. I think everyone of a certain vintage grew up with Bill Barnacle and Albert.

I hear tell that prior to Christmas the Library was selling Xmas Puddings too. What a fun initiative.

Courtesy of Maitland Library Facebook Page

The Exhibition finishes next week. If you are in the area it is worth dropping by. You can pick up the Labrador as you go past.

It’s In The Cards

I was recently gifted a box of Dreamtime Oracle Cards by a friend which are based on the beliefs of our Indiginous people. Stop rolling your eyes – I know what you are thinking……

Oracle Cards have never been my thing though in my last working arena it was a tradition to read the Cards around the table at the annual Christmas luncheon. (Don’t even ask). No Work Christmas function this year so I thought I would continue with this ritual at home. Funny enough the cards have never been wrong. Didn’t I ask you not to roll your eyes?

My card this year was the Campfire Card which explains the importance of fire for both cooking and the sharing of knowledge amongst our ancient people when they gathered around the fire to eat. My own life very much resonates with this as I hail from folk who came together at day’s end and
dined with a glass of wine or a frothy, music playing quietly in the background, making time to share the days events as well as events of the past. They were storytellers and we grew up looking for the fairies at the bottom of the garden and the pot of gold under the rainbow.

I continued this ritual when I had my own family. No morning or evening television at meal times and always, ALWAYS, a clean tablecloth. Actually, no morning TV – EVER. No time nor inclination.

There was always space at the table to share with friends and enough food to go round, and my humanitarian daughter was regularly bringing home young men and women who needed a feed and maybe even some respite. “ Mo, some roast beef and Yorkshire pudding will sort them out”.

Food and Stories have been the constants of my life. The Depression parents instilled in me that it was “ better to pay the butcher than the Doctor”.

I am fortunate in this sphere to be connected to storytellers too, with tales of food, of camerarderie in hard times, of books, movies, gardens, of journeys and all sorts of adventuring. Some of you even share stories within stories for which I am grateful.

My Oracle Card said “ Everyone has something to share, some knowledge that you did not yet know. Knowledge can come from the most unlikely of people and places, so value the sharing of wisdom, whenever you get the chance.”

No resolutions, no goals for the New Year. Never bothered with that stuff. But I’m gonna embrace the advice of the Dreamtime Cards with a firm hand.

A Scone That Hasn’t Quite Risen

In the first week of December I had dinner with my daughter in Canberra.

In the first week of January when I met her at the local airport she greeted me with “Mo, you’re going grey!” Happy New Year to you too, biatch.

So five weeks into retirement what possibly could be sending me grey?

Is it because I’m missing the daily two hour train commute?
Is it because all the healthy living – food, exercise,mindfulness – doesn’t sit well?
Is it the freedom to do my own thing that I’m not coping with?
Are the decision making processes required to decide which book to read each day just too demanding?

Nope, none of these things. I’m putting all the blame on Bentley, my Labrador Grandfurbaby, with whom I am currently sharing living quarters. A lovely dog with a beautiful nature he is just simply exhausting.

First of all, he has me up three times a night for bathroom duties. Three times a night!!!!!! My human babies were sleeping through the night within six weeks. I’m a morning person – up with the chooks and often before them – but this broken sleep is a killer. I’m very close to hitting the wall especially that we are now into our ninth day of heatwave conditions.

I acknowledge that it’s a positive that he lets me know when visits are required and that there have been no accidents. How does he let me know ? By licking and slobbering all over my face. Holy Guacamole! Is it a really sad state of affairs to admit that I’m almost at the stage that I’m used to being awoken in this manner?

Oh, and Bents doesn’t like the rain so thanks to my daughter’s poor parenting practises one is required to stand there holding an umbrella over him mid stream.

Can dogs be diabetic, I’m wondering?

Bentley always wants to eat. I’m already nervous that the daughter will weigh him when she flys in as she likes her dog lean and trim. Did you know that Labs have a chemical imbalance which stops them from knowing when their tummies are full? Might have to use that excuse myself…..

And not just kibble, but pumpkin or prawns too

With his hearing impediment (totally deaf) he doesn’t pick up on social queues. You can be walking him down the street and a growling Rottweiler appears and Bentley wants to lick him. He can’t distinguish between friend or foe, which is sad and also awkward (and sometimes scary). I’m thinking I’m going to have to walk him with a golf club in hand for emergencies.

Yes, Bentley is a scone that hasn’t quite risen. Love him to bits but I’m buggered.