Hello dear friends
It has been a busy weekend and I have taken a moment, in the midst of packing our caravan to go away, to write and let you know of the happenings in this ‘neck of the woods.’
Isaac’s Peppa Pig Pirate Party in the Park
It all began yesterday with Isaac’s fourth birthday Pirate Party in the park. We arrived to see Isaac, dressed up in his pirate hat and complete with pirate tattoo, sitting at the party table eating watermelon. Now, can you imagine a pirate eating watermelon as a starter when there are chips, lollies and even cheerios right in front of him?
This was no ordinary pirate! And so, the Pirate Lady, who was in charge of the little ones, entertained all and sundry (and even some of the parents) for almost two hours. She was certainly worth her weight in gold.
One thing I will note here: bubbles never fail to amuse, delight and entertain. There were oodles of them with the help of large bubble wands. Chasing the bubbles (when you are under five) is a delight to behold and is free into the bargain.
Now for today. It is Father’s Day here in Australia and we gathered at the local Tavern for a buffet breakfast with the family. Maria’s two girls, Alice (12) and Violet (7) were so excited when they appeared with Grandpa’s gift for Father’s Day: a Coffee Machine to take away in our van!
When I said to Violet in my saddest voice: “Darling I won’t see you for a couple of weeks” she responded brightly, “But Grandma, at least you have a Coffee Machine to take away!” Yes, it seems that that makes up for it … apparently.
Okay folks, about Father’s Day. I got to thinking about my father this morning. He has been gone for 24 years now, so today, I got out the book he wrote about his adventures in Australia (mainly Western Australia). He had arrived in Fremantle aged 19 years in 1929, only to find out we too were in the midst of The Great Depression.
He, and many other young men of the same age, were lured to Australia to escape the Depression in Europe, with promises of jobs and money, only to find it was all a lie. Poor Dad, he was shocked, but he didn’t stop to shed any tears, he simply rolled up his sleeves and got to work wherever he could find it: chopping firewood, digging, painting houses,, planting crops.
He had come from the slums of London, so he was used to roughing it, and that’s exactly what he, and a whole group of other young men did. They ‘jumped rattlers’ (stowed aboard trains) and slept rough under trees or bridges while trying to find work.
In his older years, he wrote a series of stories about these years in his poorly written English (grade 5 level); his grandson Wayne typed them up and published them under the title “just call me Ted”. He died two months later and had lived just long enough to see his book in print.
Today I re-read some of these stories and I remembered all over again, the tales my father told about his ten years spent wandering all over Australia before he met and married my mother. I was reminded why he was such a unique individual … and why us kids loved him so much. His life had not been easy; he’d worked hard and was the most gentle soul one could ever hope to meet.
I want to share one of his tales with you today as he wrote it, wrong grammar and spelling and all; look for the mistakes! He was always working on properties and often found himself being pursued by women, married ones at that! Here is one typical tale:
I meet my match again
“I got a job with a Mrs Marlo. One Pound was good on my standards, and the food was excellent. Rose Marlo was Blond, not that I cared, with my cold nature. Her husband had cleared out with another Blond, so I thought Blonds must be good. I soon settled in and the three children called me Ted.
She was more than happy with my work. She enrolled me into an art school and waited up at night till I came home. A cup of tea was always ready. I came to the conclution she wanted someone as an excuse for a devorce. I was on my guard. With the painting over, she made use of my carpentry skills. I built wardrobes. I was contented so was Rose.
Her room was last. I spent a lot of time to make it look nice. Rose at times changed her dresses within my reach and each time hoped that I had looked. I still was suspichous and never came in to make romance on the cheap. As the weather warmed up, so I made my way to the beach, to be joined later by Rose. She encouraged me but I never wanted a readymade family, and on the beach I had to tell her. She never got peeved or upset, but contenued on her lovely way.
She showed me her lovely nightys but I back off, she had started geting letters in the post and to me, that was danger. I got ready to take off when the time cam. I decided to find another job, I was getting to like her. I had reached a stage where perhaps one night would do no harm. Instead I had a chance for another job and I took it, and my reputation was spared once again.
Rose would miss me, but not as much as I missed her.”
Hilarious! After Dad married Mum, his adventures lessened somewhat, especially where women were concerned! However, he would often find excuses to go and build fences on a property in the wild west, or to work on the building of a power station up north or he’d go to Sydney to build units. My childhood was peppered with these adventures yet Mum and Dad still managed to have six children despite it!
I don’t think my father ever recovered from the wonderlust of those early years; only in his retirement did he learn finally to stay at home with Mum.