??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


Cinderella – a modern day tale – a Zoom to Broome  

Once upon a time, Cinderella was transformed to a princess for a weekend, and flown to Broome. Her fairy godmother QANTAS cast the spell after viewing Cinderella’s competition entry video. You see, in this story, it wasn’t a prince looking for a princess but QANTAS sharing the celebration  of their 30 years of Frequent Flyers program with ordinary folk , also celebrating a special milestone in their lives. The competition involved either 25 words or less, explaining the milestone ( but as those that know this Cinderella know, this wouldn’t even see me finishing my introduction ) or a 30 second video. With a picture saying a thousand words, Cinderella saw this as her best chance. Her milestone was 30 years of marriage.

Proud of her effort she waited anxiously for the day the winners were to be announced. The day came and went and Cinderella thought the fairy godmother hadn’t chosen to be hers. But, just a day or two later, a phone call informed her she was in fact going to the ball….oops Broome. With a loud “Whacko the derrio” in the ear of the poor girl on the other end of the phone she zoomed on cloud nine before deciding just who her  lucky 3 guests were to be.  She took her own prince, and to accompany them were to be her son and daughter in law.

But fairy tales are narratives, and as such need a complication. This came in the shape of a broken ankle for her son. Surgery to place two pins and a metal plate ,  the wearing of a  moon boot and nil weight-bearing  provided  the complication. Seeking solutions she was met continually at brick walls as she searched her family for who to take now.  Her daughter and life-partner couldn’t make it logistically due to distance. Two sisters – maybe- but again one was distance challenged. Two  sets of ‘inlaws’ arghhhh….but then, one hadn’t been to Broome. And so the complication was solved. 

She started her magical adventure at Sydney Domestic Airport. After check in ( yes she needed a bag for all the clothes and accessories she would need for her 34 hour adventure) she headed off to the first ‘ballroom’ aka QANTAS lounge.  Entering the ( normally for her) forbidden doors she glided up the escalator with a grin rivalling the Cheshire Cat!! She wallowed in the fun, made herself a toastie and lined up for a barista coffee. 

Then, the flight board announced time to move to the next ‘ballroom’. Cinderella flew in the luxury of a private QANTAS flight on a 737-800. She sipped on cocktails and wine as a princess should. She ate foods that a princess should. The staff was so magical and ensured she was treated like a princess should be! On arrival in Broome a fairy godmother ( aka flight attendant) went the extra kilometre to allow Cinderella to sit in the business class seat and the flight captain let her peek in the cockpit. 

Cinderella’s bucket list already had so many ticks. Could it get any better?? Well it is a fairytale so we know anything can and does happen. Whisked away on a charter bus, she arrived at the resort to be entertained by a champagne reception. Even Mother Nature played her part with temperature ( 30C – excellent winter’s day !!)  and the bluest of clear sky. 

Entering her room at Kinberley Sands Resort, Cinderella noticed two bags of goodies.  Each contained a beautifully soft, large round beach towel, QANTAS bag tag ……and wait for it…QANTAS pyjamas- something Cinderella had only ever dreamed of, being an economy flight traveller. The room was beautiful and overlooked an azure pool, which at night was lit to a beautiful deep sea blue. 

A splash in the pool and then it was time to prepare for the dinner to be held at Cable Beach. A white dress affair, Cinderella managed to borrow suitable attire from a friend. It’s quite hard to find white summer clothing in the middle of a freezing winter. 

The sunset at Cable Beach deserves a photo. The hues change and colours deepen as the sun slinks to hide behind the ocean. As an east coast girl, sunset over the ocean thrilled Cinderella. Silhouetted against the sunset, a camel train made its way over the sand. A smoking ceremony signalled the beginning of the evening feast. And that it was, a feast for all senses!! Dinner was a night of sparkling pearl white, with a delicious menu to devour, washed down with quality wines, while listening to a melodic duet. Cinderell ate and drank like a princess should and had many laughs and interesting conversations. 

Next morning, saw Cinderella partake in a sumptuous breakfast before heading to Willie Creek Pearl farm. Here she held pearls that she could only have dreamt of ( one worth approximately $8000),  and enjoyed learning about the pearling industry, before taking a short cruise on the crystal blue waters to see the pearl farm. 

Regretfully now  for Cinderella, the hands of the clock seem to speed up. Before she knew it, she had boarded the flight home and was seeing the familiar sight of the marvellous harbour that is Sydney.  Her fairy godmothers and godfathers, in the form of QANTAS  staff, waved her a fond farewell . Cinderella doubted they could ever know the impact their actions had made on her. She did tell them, but knew they deserved more. 
On behalf of Cinderella I want to thank QANTAS for running this competition . I’ve often been a naysayer thinking these types of competitions weren’t won by real people but now I know different.  I encourage you, if you see a competition that has a prize you want, enter. You have nothing to lose and who knows, you too might be another Cinderella.

The glass slipper of memories will live forever in this Cinderella’s mind.
And someone missed us while we were gone for the weekend.



Dreams do come true!

With Father’s Day tomorrow in Australia, I was looking through early posts on my blog. I knew I had written one about my dad and wanted to re-read it. I found it (take a peek if you like). I also found a list of dreams I had written – not dreams as in sleep time but dreams of things I wanted to achieve. I wrote it 2 years ago so decided to see if I could tick any off the list.

The Ticked

Visit Port Douglas and the Daintree Rainforest

Almost ticked. The flights and accommodation are finalised and we will be there in around five weeks time. We are traveling around Cairns to Kuranda and up as far as Cape Tribulation. It will be a planes, trains and automobile style trip ( oh and throw in a cruise ship too!)file2101291129795

Visit the Blue Grotto and Pompeii

In June last year my family (husband and two grown up kids) traveled to Italy. It was an amazing holiday, made extra enjoyable by us all sharing it together. We didn’t actually get inside the Blue Grotto. Heavy seas, high tide fast approaching and a long queue of boats meant we only saw it from the outside. But, still we saw it (and a lot of other pretty grottos on our sail around Capri


Pompeii is hard to put in words. It’s like you can still feel the lives of the people there both before the catastrophe and as they faced it. I cannot even imagine the fear that filled them as some struggled to escape (but to nowhere) nor those that curled up tightly with their family aware they could not beat this beast. And, there, looming in your vision is the all powerful Mt Vesuvius.

P1020152 P1020145

Do a Sound of Music Tour

What an amazing time we had in Salzburg (July 2015) fulfilling this dream. The Mirabellplatz Gardens were opposite our accommodation. This Garden is the scene of the ‘Do-Re-Me’ steps, gnomes and trellises .Of course I sang the song as I jumped steps,tapped gnomes on the head and of course skipped ( yes skipped!!) through trellised walkways. I also did an organised SOM bus tour where I danced around a rotunda singing walked around lakes and saw the church of the marriage.

use steps notes

Watch Sunrise and Kochie Live

Sunrise is an Australian morning news TV program. It is filmed at Martin place and is visible from the street.I’m a Kochie fan so was excited to make the trip to Sydney to stand outside to watch.I was extra thrilled when a few months later I actually got to be part of an inside audience, something they don’t have very often.

tv screen pixkochie Fixed

Cook a three course meal

My cooking IS getting better. Maybe because I don’t do it so often now we are empty nesters. This makes the times I do it no longer the compulsory chore it used to be.

carb fettcake

Learn more conversational Italian

My Italian is still VERY limited but I loved listening to others using it during our travels. I was able to read the train ticket machines which was helpful.I also had a few(very simplistic) conversations-mostly transport or food related. Sadly since our return non-use means I need a HUGE refresher course.


These on the list are YET TO BE COMPLETED but are still important to me.I’m taking Abbey Lee off the list though as I don’t watch the show much now.

*Visit USA again and see Abby Lee Dance Studio – and hopefully Abby Lee 🙂

*Visit Churchill to see the polar bears in the wild

*African wildlife safari

*Go to the Melbourne Cup

*See the Canadian Rocky Mountains by train

*Fly over Antarctica – preferable ice class 🙂

*Attend a dawn service for ANZAC DAY

*Be on Sydney Harbour for New Year’s Eve

*Write a children’s picture book

*Write a collection of short stories

Have you ticked off any of your own dreams lately? Did they live up to your expectations?


A Convict comes a’calling

Although the precise dates are a little sketchy, I’m relating here a story of a series of dreams my mum had. The sketchy dates go back to around 1970 when the dreams started, although I was told the story maybe five years later when I was older. These stories relate to the old home I told you about in Dundas Dreaming, although my mother had the dreams long after she had moved out of the home and was living in her own home.

Her dreams started with a convict visiting her in a dream. She told me and my sisters of the feeling of being awake while he spoke to her. He wore the traditional arrow styled clothing.

black_arrow  Convict Arrow to show ownership of property by British Government

His message to her each time he visited was that he had been wrongly convicted of a crime of theft. He needed her help. He told her the records were kept in a storeroom underneath the stairs at the Dundas house. He wanted her to get the records and cross out his name. She said he virtually begged her to do this for him. Mum knew this storeroom existed but had never in all her time gone down the stairs.

He visited often, each time revealing more about himself. He told her his name was John James Huntington and he had a friend called Molly Brown. Each time he implored her to help him retrieve the records. All he wanted her to do was to strike off his name. Each time he visited, Mum said she had felt no danger from him (fear yes, of the unknown though).


We frequently visited my grandparent’s house and Mum told of how she always thought, with a sense of uneasiness, about the dream when she was there. One day she felt compelled to look down in the storeroom. We were outside with my grandparents. She apparently opened the door under the staircase but said fear overcame her and she couldn’t go down the stairs. He came that night and told her she was so close and to go finish the job but she knew she couldn’t / wouldn’t.

One night he came to her, but this time his message was different. Recently the house had been sold to a developer. Sadly the plans involved bulldozing this old homestead down and replacing it, and the large land parcel, with new modern homes. The old homestead had been bulldozed down that day, a chunk of history reduced to rubble that probably became landfill for the new homes.

This was to be the last time he ever visited.  He told her that there was nothing she could do now. The records were buried forever now. He apparently looked disappointed but again Mum felt no menace from him. With that message he was gone and never returned (to my knowledge).


Once the internet opened up the world to us (maybe mid 1990s) one of the first things I did was search this convict. The dreams Mum spoke of had always captured my thoughts and stayed on my mind despite no further talk of the topic. I am a believer, as was my mum, in spirits returning. I didn’t have high expectations but was intrigued.

The internet wasn’t as easy for me to navigate then (I’m the Google Queen now). Not knowing where to start, I remember typing in the name. I didn’t find it then but having a personality of a dog with a bone, just wouldn’t let it go. Over time I found how to locate the muster lists of the first to third fleets that transported to NSW.

 Of all the convict lists, I found just ONE convict by the name of James Huntington. He was transported to New South Wales aboard the Matilda. At that point he was just a name on a list , but a real person never the less and the fact that there was only one convict by that name (many convicts shared other names like Smith )made me more convinced this was the man in Mum’s dream. I was able to share this information with mum who, like me, believed it was the visitor to her ‘dream’.

Then I began tracing where the convicts on board the Matilda were sent to. The convicts from this ship were sent to Parramatta for work consignment. For those not familiar with the area Dundas is a suburb of Parramatta city. They were sent Parramatta to help build the settlement and to further farm the land. “resulting in the erection of dwelling places for the governor, the officers, the convicts and some of the troops, together with several store-houses.”  http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/phillip-arthur-2549 

 Unfortunately my mum passed away before I found more information on John James Huntington. I located his details of conviction.

He was convicted of stealing 3 sheep, 2 bushels of barley and 2 hempen sacks.


Though somewhat hard to read here the original can be found at http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/ConvictsDetails.aspx?convict_id=2805

As to his friend Molly Brown – a ship called the Mary Ann sailed to NSW with female convicts also bound for Parramatta. On board were two Mary Browns. Apparently Molly is the nickname form of Mary. Maybe his friend? She too had been sentenced in Lincolnshire.

Now ,as if this story isn’t intriguing and spooky enough I’ll let you in on a few other odd facts. As I told in Dundas Dreaming, my sister spent around 5 years of her life in this house. Being an only child her old lady imaginary??  ‘friend’ was dismissed as an invented being. Strangely enough though, one of the names my sister wanted for me was Matilda (the transport vessel of John James Huntington). Was this lady in fact Molly?

I am still searching John James Huntington. Strangely I feel compelled to see if I can right the wrong or at least find out some more. I have found a death certificate in his name (and from the Parramatta district) which I intend purchasing from Births, Deaths and Marriages to see if it’s him. If so, it’s very tragic as his death was just one year after arriving in Australia.

That house held many secrets, some now buried deep, but still it manages to haunt dreams, but now it’s the dreams of myself , my sister and my niece…but that’s a whole other installment ! Trust me it will put more goosebumps on your goosebumps!



Dundas Dreaming

I was reading on a blog I follow about dream meanings. I have had some strange ones in my years as have other family members.

Many centre on the house of my grandparents. So, today I’m going to set the scene for a collection of weird dreams and strange events by describing the family home at Dundas in NSW, in which my mum lived her life until her late 20s. This time span also included her first few years of marriage so my sister lived here too for the first few years of her life.

I have hunted through old photos I have but I have none of the house. This one however is a close match. My grandparents house however had a second storey. The columns however were not ornate as those in the picture.


This area was originally called The Ponds and if you are interested for more historical facts the article found here contains information about early land parcels in the area.

The main road it was located on (when my mum lived there) obviously wasn’t built at the time the house went up. I say this because the real front faced out towards the plant nursery my grandfather established when he had the property in the late 1920s. The street front was actually the back, a closed in area. The walls were the thick sandstone blocks, about 18 inches thick. The only other places with thick sandstone and similar in appearance that I can locate in that area were those places belonging to James Ruse or MacArthur (Elizabeth Farm and Experimental Farm).

Elizabeth Farm


Experiment Farm


Never one to sit back, I have since written to Parramatta council to see what information they may be able to glean on this.

The real front of the house had two rooms off the central hall. One was the bedroom and the other the lounge room. It was rarely used (well not when we were there which was often). Behind those rooms was the kitchen and laundry. My sister suggests they would have probably been separate from the house and reached by going outside originally. There was also a small room under the stairs. Upstairs were two rooms. My sister lived in one when she was a child; the second one was dark and had a closet over the window. I believe my mum pushed it there because of an old time story of a little girl and a lady… but that’s for later. It was a cold room and I couldn’t enter it though I did open the door occasionally. We were never encouraged to go upstairs. When my younger sister and I were brave we would put the house cats into this room. It was the only room the cats escaped from with speed.

I never did understand why this house was allowed to be pulled down to be replaced with a modern housing estate in the late 1970s. This house certainly had its own stories to tell, that’s for sure!

Next installment….A convict comes to call



With some free time on my hands , I decided to look through others’ blogs and found one entitled The Simple Woman’s Day Book http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/ 

There I  found a day book with a series of questions to answer about your day. I couldn’t resist filling out my own answers.

Outside my window… washing flaps gently in the breeze, little chance of it drying fully because the temperature is too low today and the line is in the shade.

I am thinking… that I have so many things I want to do to de-clutter my home. I have brought pretty, minimalistic things to replace those I have tossed from the bathroom. It looks good!The next room is our bedroom.

I am thankful… for the relationship I have with my kids.Relationships don’t just happen and need to be worked on continually. Over the last few days we have been talking together about adult issues close to their hearts and it made me appreciate the closeness we have, to be able to share those things – the result of the trust we have built in each other. They never cease to amaze me in their positive drives  and enthusiasm.

In the kitchen… its a mess around the sink. The dishwasher died a few weeks ago so its back to they two partition contraption called the dual sink 🙂 The first week it was such a novelty to wash the dishes that we all took part. Then it was Brian and I doing it …now its the one who “can no longer stand seeing the dishes” piled first. Last night that was Brian, I MIGHT have to give in today…just maybe..or not haha

I am wearing… brown leggings that clash terribly with the red black and white overshirt. However as I have been cleaning and de-cluttering I thought the outfit ok. I just wouldn’t open the door to anyone though. I’m leaving it on for now to motivate me to go start on the de-cluttering of our bedroom .

I am creating… a notebook file on fairy tales to use at school. That’s my grade’s theme for Term Three. I love everything magical so its taking longer than it should as I stop at too many websites looking at pictures and listening to the stories.

I am going… to have breakfast tomorrow at a cafe connected to a local garden. Last day of holidays for Brian and I so we are making the most of it . I love cooked breakfasts , even more so when  don’t have to make it ( Shuddering contemplating the washing up too, lol)

I am wondering… how my daughter’s bike ride is going. She hasn’t ridden in a while and is off on a bike path that fringes the lake. Its a nice day  to be in the sunshine. The path she is riding I used to take her and her brother on . They rode scooters and I walked behind. We would take a picnic to have along the track.

I am reading… The story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp. I love  Sound of Music and was recently looking over photos my BIL had added of his current European holiday and saw those Swiss Alps. I started a ‘google train’ and found this book on iTunes. I had some money to spend on my iTunes account that my son had given me for my birthday and couldn’t resist this.

I am hoping…  the Eels football team win or at least aren’t slaughtered by their characteristic 50 point loss. My son and his girlfriend are off to the match and too often its a disappointing trip home for him.

I am looking forward to… September holidays 🙂 Its our wedding anniversary during the break so we always plan somewhere special to go. Not sure we can top our 25th celebration last year (NT adventure). We are thinking of the Melbourne Colonial Dining Tram ( Of Kath and Kim fame – if you are familiar with the show)

I am learning  to use snap chat.

Around the house… I’m going to make a bigger effort to be organised  – a place for everything and everything in its place (just don’t quote me on it hahaha).

I am pondering… a psychic show I went to with friends. Why do these spirits make themselves known to be there yet never have messages to convey? Why is their ‘data of validation’ so vague and not specific? Why don’t the medium’s own spirit family members not converse with her?  That’s just scratching the surface of my ponderings 🙂

A favorite quote for today… ““I stay up late every night and realize it’s a bad idea every morning.”  Anonymous

One of my favorite things…  holidaying away from home.  It doesn’t matter if its 5 star, motor home  or in between. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been there before or not. It doesn’t even matter who I’m with or  if I’m alone….I love that on holidays away I don’t have to justify my laziness to myself nor do I feel I should be doing something other than having self indulgent fun. It’s one time I feel no guilt about doing nothing or everything … and most importantly no housework 🙂

A few plans for the rest of the week: At home to contact the plumbers about work done. We had one plumber do work on our taps and box a water meter (it needed to go underground ) only to have the tap break in the same way a month later. When the second plumber came out to fix the job he couldn’t turn the water off at first because the original plumber had actually buried the tap rather than box it as he had done the section you read the meter from. After digging up the earth over the tap the second plumber fixed the tap problem with new taps (nice chrome look I chose so now all the fittings have had  to be changed from white lol). Then I noticed under the sink the new tap connection is dripping leaving a small puddle on the cupboard shelf (insert loud ARGGHHHHHH!!! here ) 🙂


What are you up to?

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