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.

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie – the Gumnut Babies.

With the recent unpacking of cartons containing the books of my children’s childhood, I have been a little reflective of late. Let’s blame May Gibbs, shall we.

May Gibbs was an English-born Australian children’s author, illustrator, and cartoonist. She is best known for her gumnut babies ( also known as bush babies) and the series of books about Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

As a child May lived in rural communities in both South Australia and Western Australia spending much of her time observing the beauty of the Australian bush.

I grew up on the stories of the beautiful little gumnut babies who were always being chased by the wicked Banksia men. To this day, when I am going past a Banksia tree in the wild I acknowledge a slight fear because I know full well the intentions of those “ big, bad Banksia men”.

My eldest daughter has always been a huge fan of the gumnut babies, and as a baby chewed threw her first copy of the book. Literally. When she left here recently she took the replacement copy along with her, teeth marks and all.

My ex father-in-law was a worldly man. A Liverpool Scouse who had travelled the world as a Merchant Seaman and Master Mariner, and towards the end of his career was working to keep the unions in line.

It was only when the grand daughters entered his sphere that this tough old bugger became acquainted with Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and he became enchanted with the artwork of Gibbs. I still remember a Devonshire Tea at Gibbs’ house in Sydney surrounded by her beloved bushland many, many years ago. “ Charming”, I can hear him say in an accent that took me three years to decipher. Charming is not an often used word from an old sea dog……

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie remain much loved figures to this day. One hundred years on their images are to be splashed over Customs House in Sydney during the coming Vivid (Arts) Festival.

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Theses are the stories we need to keep alive……