??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


No stronger bond

Writing 101: A Room with a View (or Just a View)
Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?

Today’s twist: organize your post around the description of a setting.

If I could be transported to any place right now, I’d take that journey to the white house with the gables and the picket fence. This is how my mum used to describe our family home to taxi drivers that would bring my mum, nanna and 2 sisters home from many a shopping trip. There was always much pride about her home. This house was built of wood that my mum told me was log cabin design. My parents built this house before I was born. When the days of aluminium cladding of homes in Sydney began to trend my mother would get very angry at salesman that wanted to cover up that beautiful timber. I know eventually my dad won out and those magnificent gables were clad in aluminium. My dad didn’t like getting up on a very tall ladder to paint the wood. I never said anything to my mum but I didn’t actually see a Iot of difference in the aluminium to the wood. We grew from kids to adults. It was a place for carefree times- a cubby house (big enough to rent out to tenants we laughed about as we got older). Cats came and left families of kittens under the cubby – always a source of fun – until they would be taken away to ‘a party for cats’ never to return. I remember well the afternoon my dad installed a mini Putt Putt style golf course for us using empty plastic flower pots as the holes…and remember Mum’s face displaying much less happiness than ours when she saw her flower beds somewhat disturbed. Then came the swimming pool!! We also had a small hill – like dome in the centre of our block which was fun to ride scooters over. Buried beneath this was my dad’s first car that he refused to part with. Metal occasionally made its way to the surface of the dome. We also had his second car parked in the yard, rusted and draped at times with choko vines. Colour tv came to this house long before it came to others. This brought with it a lot of new ‘friends’ and visits from family as we shared this gem. Dad always loved up to the minute electronic devices. Food was a source of nourishment used for celebration, commiseration and of course family meals around the table. So many happy memories – my strong family bond was cemented at in that home.

And so it was …my family home…now the home of another family. Time moves us, shapes us, gives us depth of character and in our case seeded a family bond that lasts beyond time.



A Different Kind of Family Album

This blog post was written by my sister. It has touching memories of my childhood and is a a piece of the big puzzle that makes me ‘ME’. Blue Bird Cafe has some great ‘retro stories with a twist’ that I’m sure you would enjoy. http://bluebirdcafe14.wordpress.com/about/


Ghost of Christmas past

Looking back to Christmas seen through the eyes of younger me…

Putting up the tree. The tree was old and made of foil and the most beautiful thing to me was a set of glass birds that were secured to the branches by clips that were attached to their feet. Their tails were fine filament ( some type of plastic I suppose) and although we weren’t to play with them I can remember ‘patting’ them on the tree. It stood in the corner of the lounge room and was the first thing you would see as you entered the room.bird


Christmas cards draped on strings covering the curtains. We never put them through the venetian blind slats as my mum didn’t like the way the blank sides looked from outside. There were so many they draped windows in the lounge room and were pinned to the windows of the dining room.

Christmas bush in vases. My grandfather brought this to us and it really was a ‘brown paper package tied up with string’ although it wasn’t entirely wrapped of course. I think we may have had a bush too but it. Was the bunches laying on the dining table ( we called it the kitchen table) that I loved. Small red petals of the delicate flowers left behind when the vases were arranged would be sprinkled on the table and floor along with the greenish leaves, before being swept away and the place once more tidy.


Fake poinsettia flowers. Mum had a bunch that she would ceremoniously place on the stereo. Dad would ‘unceremoniously dump’ them on the floor so he could use the stereo.


Cherries. They were large and plump and stained our fingers with their rich purple juice. They sat in an aluminium colander in the fridge and if there were no guests we could set them straight from the colander.


Watermelon. On the hot summer nights leading up to christmas we would sit on our front porch eating it and spitting the seeds. My grandfather frequently brought them for us. They were long unlike the round ones we have now. They were deep red with large black seeds speckled through. I loved the colour contrasts in this fruit. We weren’t allowed to eat near the white as my mum was convinced a poison was contained in it and to eat the white would make us ill. Not sure where that information came to her from.


Listening to Christmas carols and stories on LP records and reel to reel tapes. Funny the things you remember. I remember a story Small One particularly the  part of story where the donkey was being taken by his master to the tanners before Joseph took him. The storyteller spoke of the hooves tapping out the rhythm of the donkey’s hooves ‘Going to the tanners, going to the tanners’. I can remember tapping it out in my head. Then we had the story of The Happy Prince (Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince,’will you not stay with me for one night, and be my messenger?” ) and  the Match Girl ( I can still remember the line “it was so dark , she couldn’t even see her fingers” in the voice as it was spoken). I tried lots of places in our home in an attempt to replicate this so I could feel how she felt. It was near impossible living in a house in the suburbs with big street lights set night. I still think about this when we have had street lights broken and it is in the dark of night. And, of course, we had records of  Bing Crosby singing.

We also left out gifts of cash ‘for a drink’ for those that delivered things such as the baker, milkman, soft drinks ( yes these were delivered!!) and of course for the garbage collectors. I don’t know how my mum managed that one though. I know she left the others in the places where the deliveries were made but to this day I don’t know if she got up and ran outside when the truck rumbled past around 3 am or if she tied an envelope to the garbage bin lid… mystery that maybe my sisters can answer perhaps.

Fairy light night. We weren’t ones to go out much at night but each year we would go to a local shopping centre where Santa arrived and gave lollies to the children. This Santa fellow is up there with clowns for me. This was the one time I was pleased my sisters would push mad into the middle seat of the car!

On Christmas Eve we left out homemade fruit cake for Santa. This was a traumatic night for me as the thought of a stranger walking in my home while I was asleep was frightening. I don’t think I ever got much sleep on this night as every noise or creak would have me in fear this man wax going to pop into my room. I liked the presents but not the courier haha.



Christmas Day with relatives. Our day was split in half . In the morning we would go for lunch at my maternal grandparents. We were the only grandchildren and Santa left more gifts here for us. My mum cooked all the food as my nanna was where I inherited my cooking genes from . Then in the afternoon we would head to our paternal nanna’s house for another feast. The best plum pudding was served here. We had lots of cousins here so it was fun catching up. We never took our new toys incase they got broken and all I thought of all day was getting home to play with them.

pudding 1










Then it was home to catch up on the sleep I missed due to dreams haunted by that Jolly Red Fellow.


What are your early Christmas memories?

PS  Read here for The Ghost of Christmas Present

NB photos aren’t mine so  contain links to their site embedded in the photo.



“Dusk is just an illusion because the sun is either above the horizon or below it. And that means that day and night are linked in a way that few things are there cannot be one without the other yet they cannot exist at the same time. How would it feel I remember wondering to be always together yet forever apart?”

Nicholas Sparks, the Notebook

I love sunsets! There is something magical in their colours, developing from a blue sky into an array of purple and red hues. Sometimes they are clouded from vision, the black silhouettes of clouds hiding true beauty. Sometimes they are totally hidden but we know, even though we cannot see them, they are still there. In a world full of rushing (least that’s my world) it’s something that can’t be hurried, it can’t be stopped mid tracks to be appreciated later, it can’t wait for you. The sun sinks on its own agenda.

sunset 1                                               Sunset at White Cliffs NSW

I’ve watched sunsets from many places in Australia. I’ve seen it sink behind Uluru. We managed to get ourselves set up in time to watch the sun slowly drift down behind the monstrous rock, casting shadows giving the impression the rock was going to sleep. I’ve watched it set over the paradise of the Whitsundays, orange glows signally a drop in heat and a blind closed on the day. I’ve seen it hide behind the Blue Mountains’ sheer sandstone cliffs, drop over the city of Broken Hill, the vast flat earth of White Cliffs, over the glistening white salt pans of South Australia, and a billabong in Kakadu to mention a few . I never tire of watching this splendid act.

sunset 2

Sunset over Darwin

Today I was looking through the millions of photos I have stored on my computer and was able to find quite a few sunset photos I’ve taken.

I found a program online that allowed me to make a collage using some of them. It’s called Collage.com. I’ve only used it for fun on a slow tv night.  I saved my picture to my computer and have used it here but there is provision, it seems, for you to have the pictures printed for a cost .It’s possibly an American only product for this service. It has an apple app too!


Another case of Google is my friend !! HA HA

What do sunsets mean to you? Is there somewhere special you have watched a sunset from, or perhaps a special memory you hold you’d care to share here?