Freddy Mercury or Col Porter?

When I told the daughter of my intention to see the movie, Bohemian Rhapsody, this week she said , “ Mo, you’de be better off getting Thai Takeaway, opening a bottle of wine, and listening to a CD.”

Always good advice.

Enjoyed the Villanova Players production of High Society instead.

When said daughter graduated from University with a couple of degrees, as well as dark rings under the eyes, we celebrated with a fine meal in the city and some Bubbles. As you do. Did I hand her a set a car keys or a pair of diamond earrings as a gift for four years of study?

Of course not! What kind of mother do you think I am! My eldest daughter and I located a movie poster for High Society and had it professionally framed. Looked schmiko too. Cait is a huge fan of both Bing and Cranky Frankie, and this movie also ignited her interest in the music of Satchmo.    (Louis Armstrong).

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High Society was released in 1956 with a simple storyline :” Jazz artist C.K. Dexter Haven (Bing Crosby) is still hung up on his ex-wife and neighbor, socialite Tracy Samantha Lord (Grace Kelly), however Tracy is engaged to another man (John Lund). Matters are complicated even further when a magazine reporter (Frank Sinatra), in town to cover Tracy’s wedding, also winds up falling for the beautiful bride-to-be. As Tracy tries to decide on the ideal husband, each suitor works hard to convince her he is the best choice.” – wikipeadia

Supported by great music and lyrics by Col Porter as well as some truly gorgeous gowns this movie was nominated for Academy Award for Best Story, Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written Musical, and Academy Award for Best Original Musical.

So you think Col Porter music is no longer relevant? Pop star, Robbie Williams, has been reintroducing these tunes to a new generation. And doing it so damn well too.

I took both my daughters to see Williams perform in 2006 at Suncorp Stadium. Suncorp is a sporting venue, affectionately known as The Cauldron, but its beauty is that regardless of where you sit you are right on top of the action. I took an out-of-towner there once and he was more interested in the sound from the roaring crowd than any on field action.

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So we’re way up high in the bleachers, almost touching the stars. Robbie’s on stage doing his thing, and my girls are moving with the music. The eldest loses herself completely. ( My fault. I did that hippie thing and placed head phones on my tummy whilst pregnant). Spent the night holding said child around the waist as I was so fearful she would take a tumble and we would lose her. Literally.

Here’s to another community theatre group bringing great entertainment to the locals, and a stage band putting life back into the music of Porter. The music is in the bones…

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Yep, Caitlin, good advice.

The Notebook Makes Eating Chocolate Guilt Free.

In 1986 I delivered a Christmas baby. A round, brown baby that arrived like a freshly baked loaf of bread. Worst summer of my life, let me tell you. I continue to give her grief each and every December about the lack of bubbles in my life that year. I must confess that when the Doctor recommended an increase in my calcium intake I took to having a Tia Maria milkshake each and every day.

So my beautiful Capricorn daughter has a birthdate so close to Christmas that she never had a party with friends on the actual day – a situation which at 32 years of age she continues to hold against me.
( Never her father. Why is this so?)

Having a birthday so close to Christmas has created so many issues over the years. Most significantly it effected her relationships with Significant Others. Young men were always judged according to two criterias:

1. Does the young man in question buy separate Christmas and Birthday gifts ?

Several good looking prospects went by the wayside after gifting only one combined parcel to cover these two major Life events. It’s not that the daughter is materialistic. After all, she is the grand daughter of Depression raised folk (and a tight arsed mother).
“ Mo, it’s the principle”. Oddly, I kinda get that……..

2. Does the young man in question sit through the movie, The Notebook, with her, from beginning to end?

Well, that one definitely sorted the wheat from the chaff. Have you ever sat through The Notebook?

The Notebook was the first book written by Nicholas Sparkes in 1996 in a long list of easy-to-read romantic novels. It was adapted into a film in 2004, starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as the younger version of a married couple of 50 odd years, in James Garner and Gena Rowlands, following their love story from before WW2 till the onset of old age. And as Bette Davis once said, “ old age ain’t no place for sissies”.

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I’m not a real good gauge of chick flicks, with a preference for sword fights and bows and arrows. Nothing like a good scalping to make a girl happy really. However, The Notebook is a great movie for when you are in the mood for a little weep – we all have those moments, don’t we? – or when the need arises to eat a box of chocolates without any remorse.

It’s a movie with visual impact, with McAdams, Gosling, and love triangle John Marsden all looking damn fine. Some of the scenery is breathtakingly simple yet beautiful, especially the scenes on the lake.

The movie is a huge improvement on the book because of the photography and complementing soundtrack, although having recently reread the book I found it more layered than I remembered, with more glimpses of humour. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack too this weekend. It’s kinda spooky when you can identify the scene from the music alone, isn’t it?

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My Capricorn found her Keeper in a military boyo with seven tours of duty under his belt. If he survived The Notebook he can survive anything.

Recommendation : Box of tissues with a block of Dark Chocolate.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=I_U3Qk0tLWc

Spring Updates.

1. 4,000 Poppy Seeds failed to germinate. My plans for a display of colour in the front yard for Remembrance Day in November have been thwarted. I’ve bought myself a scarf instead.

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2. The Little Community Library continues to gather support. The local blokes seem to be into swapping fishing and camping mags – unless it’s just the wives doing a little Spring Cleaning?

3. I’ve read three of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books in three days from the Library. Three is enough. Not putting my hand up for the movie/s. Tom Cruise ? Just so wrong….

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4. The Queensland Symphony Orchestra performed Music From The Movies locally. Highly recommended if you get a chance to see musicians at play. Music can be so very stirring.

5. Which reminds me……I was sprung, still in Phantom of the Opera mode, singing along happily to myself whilst awaiting my Smashed Avocado and coffee the other morning. The proprietor applauded my attempts at a rain dance. Talk about embarrassing.

6. My Bing Crosby loving daughter tells me that the recent theatrical production of Calamity Jane in the ACT was brilliant and that when you purchased tickets there was the option to select seats on stage at the bar. Be part of the performance. I so want to do this! I loved getting dressed in my Annie Oakley outfit when I was five. Please please please.

7. A new movie due for release next month. I’m feeling anxious.

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Apologies. In limbo land, in between being expected to contribute and achieve and not giving a rats. It’s an uncomfortable place, a strange place, an unfamiliar place.

Remember though – “Spring has sprung, the grass has riz”.

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The Inaugural Peter Allen Festival In Tenterfield, NSW.

When I was 21 I experienced my very first overseas adventure. To New Zealand. Yeah, I know, just across “the ditch”. But all those years ago, air travel was still expensive, and ENZED seemed so very far away. It was a great trip, and I loved experiencing the best that she had to offer, though you know my fondest memory of that beautiful country with it’s glorious palettes of blues and greens?

Flying home over the iconic Opera House and the Coat Hanger (Harbour Bridge) in all their glory, surrounded by the beautiful Sydney Harbour, with Peter Allen’s anthem, “ I Still Call Australia Home” playing over the PA system. It was a true Kleenex moment as I sobbed into my tissues……

“I’ve been to cities that never close down
From New York to Rio and Old London Town
But no matter how far or how wide I roam
I still call Australia home
I’m always travelling
I love being free
And so I keep leaving the sun and the sea
But my heart lies waiting over the foam
I still call Australia home”

Lyrics by Peter Allen

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Peter Allen was an Australian born singer, song writer and all round entertainer, best known for his wild Hawaiian shirts and flamboyance. Many of his songs were made international hits by other popular recording artists of the day.  To be honest, he was a bit before my time (1949 -1984) though interest in his music continues to grow thanks to the award winning musical based on his life, The Boy From Oz.             ( Personal aside : I’m a Todd McKenney girl, not Hugh Jackman).

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Born Peter Richard Woolnough, he is being honoured in the town of his birth, Tenterfield, NSW, in the Inaugural Peter Allen Festival this September.

Of course, I’m going. Accomodation booked. Tick. Tickets to concert booked. Tick.

Tenterfield is a small country town in northern New South Wales where Allen’s grandfather, George Woolnough, worked as a saddler. For 50 years the quaint blue-granite Saddlery on High Street was the meeting place for those who enjoyed a chat. It was the compassion of George Woolnough that attracted so many to the High St Saddlery from 1908 until his retirement in 1960.

On 26 November 2005 an extension of the Tenterfield Library was opened and named the “George Woolnough Wing”.

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Allen’s father, Dick, became a violent alcoholic after returning from World War Il and committed suicide by gunshot when Peter was still young, an event from which George nor Peter never recovered.

Young Peter travelled the world and married Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland’s daughter, with the “interesting face”, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Tenterfield is home to galleries, wineries, a lavender farm and some hospitable country pubs. This weekend will include market stalls, fresh farm produce, and no doubt, an array of colourful Hawaiian shirts. I’ll let you know how it goes…..

Intention to have good fun?  Tick.

Hawaiian Shirt? NOOOOOO!

 

 

 

Mother’s Day 2018

It’s Mother’s Day in Australia this weekend.

I was going to rant about the commercialisation of this date on the calendar and how these days have become mere marketing tools. But I am mellowing as I get older, so instead I will share some fun things.

First of all, my gift through the post from my youngest daughter, who writes Government policy for a living. WARNING : if you are feint hearted – don’t look.

A card from the eldest daughter thanked me for “ teaching us all the important things in life, like how to make a platter, the Hollywood Classics, and the best reads. Thankyou also for sharing with us your love of music and introducing us to Carole King”.

Platters. My kids were brought up on platters : good food, good wine, good social skills whilst grazing. What could be better? Here is a recent Easter platter.

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The Hollywood Classics. Some people have replicated Monet’s on their walls – I’ve always had Errol Flynn lobby cards. Now both kids have a collection that rivals mine, with one owning a collection of singing Bing Crosby dolls. I kid you not. They’ve both told me that everything but my Errol’s is going to the dump when I’m dead.

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Books. Because we all live in different parts of the country the youngest instigated a book club amongst the three of us, so each time we met up for a long weekend, we would sit around a champagne breakfast on the Sunday chatting about the designated book. This went really well for several years until the eldest nominated Book 1 of Game of Thrones. 1052 pages. I can remember the battle to get through each and every page. What a struggle, but mother can’t let the side down, can she? So, when we finally get to discuss this epic, number 2 intelligently discusses themes,
comparative history lessons, politics and feminism. I am gobsmacked but manage to comment. Number 1? Informs us she watched the television version instead.

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Music. Soothes the soul and suits all moods. My father eased each loss with music, as have I. Music has also been celebratory which I have shared with both daughters. Music and Theatre. Expensive interests, but “you’re a long time dead”. ( Thank you, Father Bear, for my mantra) . After our recent Queen with Adam Lambert Concert we made a pact to travel anywhere in the world to be at their last ever concert. Brian May is looking so damn good that might be another fifty years down the track.

So Happy Days to all mums and dads, grandparents, uncles and aunts, sisters and brothers, and all those who have had a hand in shaping our younger ones. With the grey hair comes the great memories.

Oh, and I’m off to see Beautiful, The Carole King Story.

PS I still have no grey hair.

Updates and Fluff

I’ve been reading “fluff” over the last week or so. Sometimes a girl just needs too because that well in the head runs dry. So I sit with the fluff, with a glass of white and my music. It keeps me grounded.

There’s a preloved book sale all this weekend, run by a local Service organisation. Because it’s so local the books keep being recycled – you buy them, then take them back, and so on – which keeps the prices really cheap. $2 is an expensive book. I tend to fill a bag for five. Blame the Depression parents, okay…..Normally the funds raised go towards literacy projects. This year the funds will go towards rebuilding the Scout Hall where the event is held each year. An arsonist torched it a few weeks ago which is a shame as the building had been gifted to the Scouting movement from the American navy, when it was Macarthur’s port of call, and was relocated after the war. Although architecturally insignificant it was one of our last links with that era and has been a well used community space for yonks.

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Buying books under the shade of the towering Gums should be fun. Fingers crossed for a coffee van, hey…

I have a market stall coming up in a few weeks in conjunction with my friend, The Geranium Lady. All funds raised will go towards Wounded Heroes which is a very hands on organisation that helps our exservice personnel get a hand up and means I have only a few weeks to make more Basil Salt and Rosemary infused Olive Oil. The poor plants need to buck up as despite being 2 months into Autumn the days remain warm and humid. Hottest April ever recorded! My daily singing to the Rosemary shrubs to boost their growth and morale is beginning to annoy the LOML – can’t even imagine what the neighbours think.

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Here’s a chilling statistic I read today :

From The Age, 31st December, 2017.

“An estimated 84 defence force veterans committed suicide in 2017, sparking an attack on the Federal Government for allegedly failing to protect them.
Veterans’ advocates say the toll is a “conservative estimate” based on notifications from families and police reports.”

That means I will continue to sing to my plants!

The Poppies I planted and envisaged blooming for Remembrance Day in November have not survived. Blame the heat. I have purchased another 2,000 seeds, though am unsure if it’s worth the effort to replant. Blame the Gemini astrology : easily distracted.

 

And lastly, the Little Street Library:

Talk about Bigger than Ben Hur! The latest from the local Men’s Shed, who volunteered to create the structure which will House all the books and magazines in the local parkland, apparently had trouble fabricating the steel. The local Council gave them a grant to purchase a $3,000 machine to do whatever was necessary, so my little box on the wall, fuelled by the goodwill of so many, has become an expensive little exercise. Thankfully, it will be finalised within the fortnight. Emotionally and intellectually I am swinging from “bloody idiot – why did I ever get the Council involved” to “ fantastic, the expensive gadget means they’ll have the machinery to build Little Libraries all over the community.”

Here’s one I spotted recently:

 

Have a good weekend, one and all…….

From The Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

With limited time in Canberra my visit to the Australian War Memorial was reduced to hours. No matter. I focussed on the most recent Exhibition : Australia’s Special Forces.

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I’ll share more about this another time. A lot to process and quite confronting.

So I pressed on to see the artwork depicting Teddy Sheean. Up until twelve months ago I was clueless about Edward “Teddy” Sheean, a sailor in the Royal Australian Navy during the Second World War. A friendly Tasmanian who was fond of both a story and a drink told me about this young, Tasmanian lad.

From Wikipedia :
“Ordinary Seaman Edward Sheean was killed during the attack by Japanese aircraft which sank the Bathurst Class corvette HMAS Armidale in the Arafura Sea on 1 December 1942. Armidale set out from Darwin for Betano, Timor, on a twofold mission: to take relief troops to Sparrow Force, the Allied presence on Timor, and to bring back withdrawing troops. Under frequent air attacks, the ship was unable to complete its mission and sank within minutes of being hit by two torpedoes. After the order to “abandon ship”, Teddy Sheean, although twice wounded, stayed at his post at the aft Oerlikon gun, bringing down an enemy bomber. He was still firing when the ship sank”.

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Artist :DaleMarsh

Sheean was posthumously Mentioned in Despatches “for bravery and devotion to duty when HMAS Armidale was lost.” In May 1999 Sheean was honoured by the Royal Australian Navy when Collins Class Submarine No. 5 was named HMAS Sheean. This is the first occasion on which a RAN vessel has been named after an ordinary seaman.

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To this day there remains a push to award Sheean the Victoria Cross.

Forever Eighteen by Lee Kernaghan.

With Anzac Day less than ten days away the AWM is in full throttle preparing for thousands of visitors from interstate and overseas. It is both an amazing building, and a humbling experience.

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PS Gone Fishin’.

Welcome To The She-Shack.

 

With downsizing as a part of my transition to (my second) retirement, I have claimed a room in the new house as my own. Entry is by invitation only. Please sit whilst I pour the tea.

It’s not decorated according to Home Beautiful nor is it filled with girlie bits and pieces from the renovation shows on the TV.  Never cared about that stuff, you see.

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Downsizing, remember. My daughters have made it quite clear what will be going to the dump when I’m dead so I beat them to it. Boxes went to charity stores, others went to friends with an appreciation for same.

There are a few indoor plants currently suffering from the heat, a candle, and a few memories from places I have visited along the way. When the temperature drops I will invest in fresh flowers on a weekly basis. More importantly, I am surrounded by my music, books, and my favourite movies.

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It is a pleasant room. A comfortable room. A light and airy room. Nothing flash, but it is my space. It’s the very first time I’ve had my own space and boy, have I earned it!

The view out the window is lovely at night as the fairy lights are trained up the palm tree. Sometimes you can spot the odd possum on his way to the fruit trees and blossoms down the back. The plants are another of my interests : they are grown mostly from cuttings and when they have taken and are strong, I hope to sell them at the local monthly market to raise funds to help our service personnel transition back into civilian life. Not an easy task for some.

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I have two books on the go at the moment. Both are proving challenging, but I’m not giving in.

Hellfire by Cameron Forbes tells the story of Australian POWs at Hellfire Pass on the Thai – Burma Railway during WW2. It includes many personal anecdotes and was written at the time of the 60th anniversary when a group of veterans returned to the site of their imprisonment, spreading the ashes of their revered leader from the time, Edward (Weary) Dunlop. I’m finding the author’s writing style a bit “ other worldly”.  May be it’s just me, maybe it’s the ghosts of so many……..

Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes is definitely “out there”. Lots of talk about Psychology and Jungian Theory. OMG. I’m still trying to get my head around it, though the exercise in that alone is worthwhile.

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It was recommended by an Australian author who writes Chook Lit for women ( romantic fiction based in a rural environment), who claims the book gave her strength. Interestingly, in real life with a farming background and working on the family property, after her divorce she left the farm whilst the son in law ( with minimal farm skills) was asked to stay on. Good old patriarchy. I’de be so bitter and bloody twisted. Not this lass. She has moved on and is bringing marvellous new environmental concepts to farming communities. Way to go, girlfriend! That’s the way to beat’em!

The plan was that most of my projects could be completed in here without disruption. Not all things go to plan though, do they?

Sometimes, this is where I come to do nothing. Sometimes doing nothing is more important than doing something.

Across the corridor is also the coffee machine and the bar fridge, which you may read as meaning that I’m never without sustenance nor inspiration.

What about you. Do you have a space to call your own?

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