Moving out

Our daughter is moving out. She is moving out for years and the process has not ended. It is a piecemeal operation by a thousand cuts. Perhaps it is a friendly departure from childhood and her parents.

The Bed

The bed, disassembled, is awaiting removal and another slice of her youth will be removed. We, the parents, have to let go. Just another cut.

The view from her window

Over the years the view from her window has changed. Where once we could see the escarpment in the distant there is now a wall of bushes. They form a peaceful, but at the same time restrictive and protective, wall.

Two of her trusted companions of her childhood are looking on and wonder when it will be their turn to leave home and join Caroline.

Alf and Big Bear

Perhaps never and they will be part of our new “Quiet Room” we want to establish here. No electronics, not even music ūüė¶ , will be allowed. There are a couple of bookshelves with mainly books on history and novels. So we can immerse ourselves in the past. Isn’t that what old people do because they don’t understand the present.

The past, fearing the future and not understanding the present, becomes the last refuge for the elderly!

ps. The photos have been provided by Auntyuta

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Our Fred

Saw Fred the other day;
in long trousers and walking on a stick.
It could not be, not our Fred.

“It’s me knees, you know,” he said.
Kept walking, slowly with his stick
would not give up, our Fred.

He used to run along the lake,
in his split shorts ‚Äď for his long stride.
We all knew him ‚Äí our Fred

Once in Singapore on a trip
a woman saw him dripping with his sweat.
Aren’t you the runner from Oak Flats?
Yes he was ‚Äď our Fred.

He would not age,
kept running for a longer life
and now this.

I remember quite well
he was interested in Annabel
whom he met on a running track.

He liked her long legs
and the shape she was in,
made eyes at her and conversation,
was in love with her, our Fred.

Saw him limping past the house
were Annabel lives on her own.
Still interested, our Fred

He finds her in the garden,
stopped for a chat,
points to some roses with his stick.
And Annabel? Smiles at our Fred.

Why don’t you come in, she said.
Share a cuppa and a snack.
That will be nice, said our Fred.

4 Days in May

I went to Sydney yesterday to see a movie that was being shown as part of the German Film festival.  It is called 4 Days in May  (4 Tage im Mai). The film is only 90 minutes long but it took me nine hours to go there and back again.

But, as it turned out, I could have been travelling back in time. Set on an island off the Baltic Coast of Pomerania it deals with the arrival of a group of Russian soldiers, on reconnaissance, at an orphanage.

The apprehension of the German women and children is palpable. The story really is about a thirteen year old boy, who wants to be a hero,  and his relationship with the Russian captain who leads the group.

The set was perfect. All the equipment used was from that time, even the American Jeeps and trucks being used by the Red Army. They all  had the automatic weapons used at the time and some soldiers even carried the map holders as I remember the Russians had at the time.

The Captain was such a good man and soldier. He was a similar person as my saviour was  on my birthday, in May 1945. The boy was a nutter, but not surprisingly so. To the big plot sub-plots were added that  made all the characters believable.

It was a war movie, but that was not the story. The story was how people behave in such a situation. Enemies have to behave in a certain way to each other. But here, good and bad people were not only on one side.

The Captain and the boy were the main characters and like in  a love story they were drawn to each other and in the end they had to stand together against a common enemy.

At the end there was a battle around the orphanage, ironical after  the war was officially over on the 8th of May, but it was not between the given enemy but between the good and bad people.

The film was very emotional for me as I knew the times and events from my own experience.  Memories were awakened and a few times I was close to tears. The battle scenes were not too bad and were in silence or with piano music in the background.

I’m glad it was a German / Russian co-production and not a Hollywood film.

The only mistake I found was the full moon they showed. It should have been the last quarter. The film is worth watching because it shows real people and not celluloid heroes.

Easter 2012 – Pt 5

All good things come to an end. We had a beautiful day but wanted to end on a high note. Not far from Warburton in the Yarra Ranges National Park is the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail.
Tristan was keen to show us this beautiful nature spot.

Three generations

It wasn’t far and soon we were up there.

Father and Son

It was so beautiful that Uta could not be stopped. She felt invigorated by the fresh air that we had trouble keeping up with her. That’s her in the distance.

Uta is disappearing


The trail is along an old disused aquaduct. Tall Mountain Ashes and Tree Ferns abound.


The Mountain Ash reaches to the sky

After we walked for a while we saw deer tracks from one side of the track and disappearing on the other in the bush.

A sign of life in the bush

The sun was setting behind Mount Donna Buang and it was time to say “Good Bye” to Tristan. Uta received a final hug from Tristan and Martin drove us back to Essendon. We had an outstanding Easter Sunday.

Easter 2012 – Pt.4

After our not so French coffee break we continued our drive up the mountain road. Thanks to GPS, installed in the car, we were always sure where we were and where we were heading. Martin had no trouble finding the place we wanted to go to, while Uta and I enjoyed the scenery. Suddenly we were stopping at the drive way

The Drive way

We could hardly see the house for the trees. Somewhere up the hill it must be, we thought.

Living in the Bush

Somehow we found a way up there and sure enough the reception committee was waiting for us.

We hadn’t seen our Grandson and his young family since the Christmas holidays and they had moved to a new location. There are still a lot of things to do for Tristan and he looks like a pioneer of time long gone. Still, he found the time to read his girls a story and they were listening very intently.

The modern day pioneer

The two girls Kianga and Jakira will grow up differently from other girls in suburbia, that is for sure. They will be more involved in real life, learning how to grow things and milking the goat.

Kianga Arachme and Jakira Achillea

The adults are resting the children are busy

"Jaki" throwing grass at her Great-Granddad

And the goat is looking on.

The girls were always active never settling down. So much to do !

Helping Mum putting together the new blackboard

Helping Dad

Drawing on the new blackboard

Only the goats need a rest

After watching all these activities by the girls we grown-ups needed some refreshments. The birthday cake came out, the sparklers were lit and the cake was cut by Granddad.

He will never be as young again.

The girls had fun and even their Granddad was happy the way things turned out. It is not often that his birthday and Easter Sunday fall on the same day. We were four generations together – and this is something to ponder about. I never knew any of my Great-Grandparents. Seeing my great-grand children in this beautiful part of the world was something really great – for which I’m thankful.

Easter 2012 – Pt 3

Easter Saturday was a rather quiet day. Martin was busy and we used the time to make a cake for his birthday the next day.

The Birthday Cake

Next day, on Easter Sunday we had a long drive to Warburton, over 80km away North East from Melbourne. The first half of the trip took us through the suburbs and there is not much to talk about. But ones out of the suburbs the road becomes quite scenic and climbs up steadily towards the Yarra Ranges National Park and Mount Donna Buang. We departed early enough to incorporate a coffee break. Sure enough we found a beautiful spot off the main road with a French sounding name.

Mont De Lancey

Our vision of fresh croissants and coffee was soon crushed as we were told it was their last day of business and they would close for ever. ūüė¶
Many of their furniture and decorations had been removed with the coffee machine. A well, scones with cream and jam was still on offer. We chose percolated coffee instead of the obligatory English tea.

Visitor Centre and Cafe


The bare essentials

We had a good conversation with Christine, the proprietress, about travel in Europe in general and Berlin in particular. Finally the scones arrived.

Scones, cream,plum jam and coffee

I'm tucking into them

After the coffee we wandered around a bit.

The Chapel



It was a beautiful spot and we were sad that they would close down. But there is hope that there would be another cafe in the future and we decided to check it out next time we are in the area. We took off and headed for Warburton.

There is a God

We were supposed to go to Sydney today to see a play at the Belvoir Street Theatre. The play is Every Breath and the reviews were so bad that we were praying for divine intervention. But when you have a subscription you feel bad not going. One is masochist enough to sit through an unloved performance. We love the Belvoir and feel sorry if they have a bad play. It feels like an own goal kicked by your beloved soccer team.

Yesterday, thanks to Face Book, we were notified that some cast members were ill. Perhaps there is a God? We intensified our prayers sending out more bad vibes. Just as we got ready today we got another message via FB that the matinee has been cancelled. We will get a credit for the missed performance. We were saved by divine intervention.

Perhaps it was Thalia herself who could not stand the play any more.

Now we are praying for the speedy recovery of the ill cast member or members. We are so sorry it happened like that and we are looking forward to our next visit to the Belvoir on the 16 May, on my birthday.