It Takes A Village To Raise A Child

When my daughters visited from interstate a few weeks ago I subtly asked them about the 17 large packing cartons that I have been storing for them in my garage. Being subtle with girls who are both taller and brighter than their mother is an art form. We managed to unpack and sort through seven cartons, making only another ten to wade through on their next trip.

Fluffy toys, board games, letters from first boyfriends, and a collection of snow domes surfaced from within these boxes, as did a disco ball, karaoke machine and at least one hundred children’s books.

Most of these treasures have been rehomed. Well, except for the pink LEGO set. I have always had great fun with LEGO and this was the first developed with females in mind. I think I can have fun with this one Friday night with a glass of plonk.

The local High School is having a massive Garage Sale this coming Saturday and were only too pleased to be the recipients of much of this gear.

Funds raised will be going towards the Schools Chaplaincy program. The Chaplains are not wholly funded by the Government and as they are non denominational I truly believe they provide a respite, a quiet haven, a listening post, to many a student in need.

My tall, bright daughters attended this school over ten years ago. It is a tough school, a State School. It was the first High School in Queensland where the students held a sit-in on the school oval. I don’t mind a little Bolshoi. Indeed, I think these times call for more of it, but I digress…..

My girls did not utilise the services the Chaplains provided but I was always pleased to know there was an avenue for them should it be required. The vibe was very much “ it takes a village to raise a child”.

Some of the funds raised from this Garage Sale, which will have the local Community Centre full to the brim with furniture, brick a brac, plants, and an additional 100 children’s books thanks to our tidy up, will be donated elsewhere. And I just love this:-

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Funds will be donated to The Library Project which is a group of local schools, churches and community service organizations who have banded together to provide libraries on the South Pacific Island of Vanuatu. This beautiful but poor little Island ranked last in Literacy and Numeracy in a list of South Pacific countries. The Library Project states that “the journey of a lifetime starts with the turning of a page”.

WOW, is that powerful stuff or what?

Talk about it taking a village to raise a child……And there is a lot more space in my garage too.

 

 

 

Refer http://www.thelibraryproject.com.au

Updates Only.

News in from the Uniting Church’s Hands Up monthly newsletter states : “January saw the Brisbane Bookfest and what a whopper it was! Over $1.459 million raised to support our 24 hour Lifeline Crisis Support line which was over $200k above the target!”

That’s a lot of preloved books, comics, magazines and CDs sold for charity. And here’s the rub – Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city. What must the figures be like in Sydney and Melbourne? And who said it was the time of electronic reading devices?

We do it all again mid year. I’m already squirrelling my gold coins away!

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The Little Street Library Project which I instigated will be fully functioning by late March. After spotting one of these mini constructions whilst holidaying I initiated the building of something similar on my own front lawn, only to realise that in a cul de sac there would be minimal traffic to take advantage of the facility.

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So I took the concept to my local Councillor who ran with the idea of erecting a mini library in the local parkland. Construction has been completed by the local Men’s Shed as a community project using steel for anti vandalism purposes. The Councillor has arranged for the locking and unlocking of the Little Street Library to be part of the daily tasks of the cleaner, employed by Council, when he attends to his duties each morning and night. So that’s kicking Vandalism’s butt also.

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So why the delay? In an attempt to beautify the area in which the Little Street Library will be installed, and because the surrounding area is native bushland that abounds with wildlife, the Councillor has organised a bushland mural which will soften the look of the building to which the facility will be attached, adding to the total ambience – touch wood.

This is the pattern of the mural:

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The books are ready for inclusion, thanks to friends for donations, especially the magazines and children’s books. I’m wondering if I should add a couple of small family board games…….

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I also have a box of pre loved DVDs and CDs , all very playable, though have concerns about possible claims of damage to electronics. I’m told a couple of blokey sports books would also be appreciated. Yeah, like I have anything of that genre laying around…….

The LOML is donating a couple of books festooned with Dragons, and is adamant that the collection include a book covering chakras/meridians/astrological influences. Because the local Leaf Blowing Brigade will just love that!

Any additions required, you think?

 

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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Where Things Can Take You….

A few years back the High School I attended celebrated its 50th year with an array of celebrations, including a series of Class Reunions. Although I was unable to attend any of the events the festivities provided the opportunity to reminisce with many neighbours, friends and acquaintances from all those years ago via social media. The beauty of the internet is that I have since enjoyed catching up over a meal with people with whom I shared my ratty teenage years, as well as a play mate from the sand pit in kindy.

With all the nostalgia someone recommended a book called “Goodnight, Crackernight” by young Australian Author, Justin Sheedy. This book was always going to resonate with me as Cracker Night, in Sydney, was originally celebrated on Empire Day, May 24th, the day after my birth date. I grew up believing, with assistance from my parents, that the fireworks were in honour of my birthday.

Yes, I also believed in fairies at the bottom of the garden, leprechauns, and Unicorns. Didn’t you?

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The blurb on the back of the book sums it up :

“Crackernight! One night a year, the infinite normality of the suburbs is shot with utter magic. Goodbye, Crackernight is the story of one boy’s childhood in 1970s Australia. It is a story of fireworks, of fun that cost nothing, of second-hand bikes, UFO-crowded skies, streakers, lime green Valiants, half-sucked Sunny Boys and electric pink hotpants. It is a story of growing up and innocence left behind – at a three-day swimming pool party. It is the tale of an era, of far simpler times, of an annual neighbourhood festival and an Australia long since gone”.

“Goodbye Crackernight”: A portrait of growing up when a child’s proudest possession was not a Playstation but a second-hand bike.”

So, I became a fan of young Justin Sheedy, who just happened to be a military aviation tragic, and who had written two books of a Second World War trilogy, and was busy working on the final instalment.

My old Da had served in Bomber Command during WW2, but did not talk about his exploits. A house full of women, and the stiff upper lip attitude as was expected, you see.

So I naturally gravitated towards Sheedy’s fictional military history books. Firstly, because I had a need to learn more about how and why young Australians were excited to head to the other side of the world to fight the Nazis in the sky, and also because Sheedy spins a darn good yarn.

Sheedy’s books have taken me on a journey that was never anticipated. After using his fictional characters in historically correct situations I have learnt so much about the Empire Air Training Scheme, London’s Kangaroo Club, the amazing Guinea Pig Club, the female pilots who ferried aircraft, and most recently, Malta’s role during the hostilities. WOW – all great stuff. This interest has led to the hunting down of further reading material on these subjects which is another task which gives me a total buzz. I guess, in a small way, it gave me insight into my Da as a young man, before he had the quarter acre block, the mortgage and me.

So now that I have settled on my new Christmas lunch recipes – Smashed Brussel Sprouts and a Cous Cous and Roast Pumpkin and Feta Salad – I am looking forward to the coming recluse time, when the blinds are pulled down, the music plays quietly, and recovery from another frantic year can commence.

Number one priority is to complete this Airfix Kit. It’s a Halifax from WW2. Bizarrely, the nose art on this Kit plane is exactly the same as the nose art on my Da’s plane.
A sponsored ad for Airfix Kits just popped up on social media just over twelve months ago when I was sitting up reading late one night. Let’s just say apoplexy set in.

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Where things can take you, hey….

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Update 1: Project – Street Library

I recently shared with you my interest in creating a Little Street Library in my local neighbourhood.

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Why?

A) They can enhance community spirit and
B) Encourage a love of books.

If you are at all interested please refer to: https://streetlibrary.org

Where am I up to with this project?

As my residence is in a cul de sac with limited passing traffic, both vehicular and foot, getting a Street Library off the ground becomes a little more complicated. There is a park only streets away on the main thoroughfare through the suburb which is the focal point for the local community – walkers, joggers, mums with prams, families – which makes for a far better position.

Of course, this is why it all becomes so much more complicated. If it were my property it would be just a matter of building and fixing in an appropriate area. Bit like all the possums I have in the back garden.

Council Property makes the proposition a whole lot trickier, so of course my first task was to make contact, putting my suggestion to the Councillor that manages my electorate. The Councillor’s reply was prompt and receptive and she wants to drop in for a chat to hear my ideas.

Essentially, this week I’ve been ideas gathering as well as shining the tea pot for her visit.

Council Funding is always a dicey one, right? So what about we get the local Men’s Shed on board to do the build?
A)This saves the Council money
B)Provides a valuable task for the fellas that volunteer at the local Men’s Shed.

Not heard of the Men’s Shed Movement before? Very big here in Australia, and to be honest, the saviour of many marriages when a bloke retires and finds he has too much time on his hands. They are a venue for lots of Secret Men’s Business, as well as projects such as building toys for disadvantaged kiddies, restoration of equipment for museums, and other worthwhile projects. They’ve also been known to cook a decent snag on the BBQ at fundraising events and create a bond and comerarderie. Refer http://www.menshed.org

My work colleagues are all book hounds, so the initial supply of reading material to house is no problem, and more importantly, at NO COST to the Council. I may have to filter some of the popular New Age and Alternative books but that’s okay. A few pre loved children’s books from the local Charity Shop is a minimal expense, and I enjoy an excuse to browse in case there are any Errol Flynn biographies not yet setting on my bookcase.

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My last concern, and the biggest, is the need to canvas the thoughts of the residents that live adjacent to the parkland in question. Do I or don’t I? Personally, I think as a matter of courtesy it would be the right thing to do. It may even enhance “ownership” of the facility by neighbouring properties.

Any thoughts on this would be most appreciated – thank you.

Off to bake some Anzac Biscuits. The way to a Councillor’s heart is via their stomach, or something like that………