Monday, April 30, 2018


Sunshine Beach
A section of Noosa's North Shore
Noosa North Shore...Forty Mile Beach
Randall and me in the Austin Healey Sprite...circa January, 1965

Goggomobil Dart
"Fire Truck" on Teewah Beach...Me and Troy, who was our chef when Randall and I managed a Noosa Restaurant...on a Monday...our day off.

Many years ago when I was a “we”, not a solo “me”, or just solitary “Lee”...when my then husband, Randall and I lived at Sunshine Beach, we purchased a four-wheel drive so we could drive, fancy free, along the North Shore beaches, from Teewah to Double Island Point. 

Back then, in the late 70s and early 80s, I drove a 1958 MG Magnette Varitone; a saloon/sedan, not a sports car. I loved that black and grey car with its wooden-panelled dashboard and leather seats.  It had style; it had class; a vehicle hard to surpass. 

We named the MG, “Remy”, the same name as one of my furry male cat, “Remy”...who is presently, along with his sister, Shama, snuggled up asleep on "our" bed!
You may have already guessed...I like the name.  I used to love Remy Martin cognac, too, in moderation – although, a number of years have passed since any has passed my lips.

Years before Randall and I married – when we were still in our late teens and early 20s, an Austin Healey Sprite was our wagon of choice. Randall sold that little Junior Navy Blue chariot before he headed off overseas in late 1965 – an odyssey that was to endure for nine years.

Before the Sprite came along, a little white Goggomobil Dart was our fun machine– another story from another decade for another day, or decade.

At the same time the MG Magnette was part of our lives, we also owned a Ford Cortina Ghia – cream with a tan roof - having sold the mustard-coloured Volkswagen Passat we'd owned in the prior couple or so years.   

Somewhere in between and along with the Passat, the Cortina and the MG-Magnette, we also had a Holden EH Wagon.  

The Holden wagon was red, with a white roof. Imitation wood-panelling ran along each side, which made the vehicle not unlike the American Ranch Wagons of the Fifties. 

We christened the wagon “Tonto”, and I, because I was the one who drove it most of the time, was known as “The Lone Ranger”. ..a portent, perhaps, of what was to come a few years into the future.   (Previously, I’ve written about these vehicles).

Not wanting to take either the Magnette or Cortina over rugged bush tracks or sandy, salty beaches, somewhere  around 1981-1982, we purchased a 1948 Land Rover from a Noosa hinterland farmer, solely for off-road use.  With its steel box-section chassis and aluminium body, the vehicle had been well-maintained. Under its bonnet was a reconditioned Holden motor. 

Feeling like light-hearted teenagers once again, we painted the Land Rover fire engine red.

Going a step further, we sliced off its top, which made our converted Land Rover look like a high-rise sports car. 

We christened our freshly-painted and altered acquisition - “Fire Truck”.    (There is an anagram there somewhere....if you give it a little thought)!

The sturdy old Land Rover, having been given a new lease on life, gave us many, many hours of pleasure.

Not once did it let us down on our trips through the bush or along the beach of Noosa’s North Shore. 

In fact, on many occasions, “Fire Truck” went to the rescue and towed much fancier, newer four-wheel drives aka SUVs out of bogged conditions. 

Minus a top, our high-rise sports/fishing vehicle was naturally air-conditioned.

I can’t recall ever getting caught in the rain; no doubt we did one time or another.  If we had, it wouldn’t have mattered. 

 We never wore our “Sunday Best” when heading off to the beach for a day or more of fishing and camping.   Our best beach gear consisted of shorts, t-shirts, sarongs and bathing suits.  Nothing more fancy was required.  

And, it didn't matter if sand, salt, fish and bait enhanced the charm of "Fire Truck".  When we got back home to Sunshine Beach, we'd hose it out and then put the garden sprinkler underneath it and let the sprinkler finish of the cleaning job.

The freedom felt when we climbed aboard “Fire Truck” was immediate.  More often than not smiles and waves greeted us as we drove through Noosa Junction towards Noosaville en route to Tewantin and the ferry. Once the river was crossed we bounced along the rough track that led to the beach. 

With the wind in our hair, the sun warming our bodies and the ocean’s incomparable aroma filling our nostrils as we drove along the beach, there wasn’t much wrong with the world.  If there was (there always is), we felt exempt from external controls and restraints over which we really had no control – even if the sense of total freedom was only temporary. 

Everywhere you look, and everywhere you go these days the place is inundated by SUVs - big, shiny and new SUVs.  I wonder how many, if any, are used for off-road exploration - their original purpose.  Or are the sparkling “beasts” for the most part only for show?

One day a few weeks ago as I was driving back home from IGA (which is only a distance of 3 or so kilometres away), to my dismay, and agitated annoyance, a huge, glistening SUV aggressively tail-gated me most of the way; urging and pressuring.  

Breathing down my neck, his unnecessary intimidation continued unabated.  My eyes instead of concentrating on the road ahead were mostly concentrated on my rear vision mirror, for the reason of which I am sure you are aware.

I wasn’t travelling at a snail’s pace, which is very annoying if you're travelling behind someone who does, when there appears to be no apparent reason for them to be travelling at a slow rate.  I freely admit, it annoys me.   Usually, those who do creep along are tourists, with their heads swinging back and forth, mouths open, like those side show alley clowns.  And, strangely, not one of them know how to use their indicators...either that, or, perhaps, their vehicles don't have indicators.    

I do digress....

The speed limit along the particular stretch between where I live and North Tamborine where the supermarket is, is 60kms per hour.  I definitely wasn’t travelling below the speed limit.  The only times I do travel below the speed limit are when the situations make it necessary to do so.

If, perchance, the other day, I’d cause to stop suddenly, the idiot and his vehicle would’ve crashed into and over me and “Lady”, my little Toyota Echo.

Eventually, although I shouldn’t have had to do so, I found an area that allowed me to safely pull off the road; indicating what my intention was.

The impatient, ignorant clown roared past at a rapid rate.  
If he’d followed me into the area, I bet it would’ve been the first time he’d taken his SUV off-road. 

I felt like giving him a large slice of my mind, not just a piece!  

Feeling no shame, I admit, as he sped past, I did give him a recognisable “finger”.... thrust with powerful purpose out my driver’s side window.   The meaning of my gesture would have been impossible not to recognise or understand....if the idiot could see beyond his blinkers, that is.

Savoury Kumara Slice: Preheat oven 200C.  Line a 17cm x 27cm slice tin with paper: leave an overhang on all sides. Cook 400g kumara until just tender; drain; set aside.  At the same time, cook 4 bacon rashers in a frying pan to brown; cool. Whisk 6 large eggs and 1/2c milk; add kumara, bacon, 1c grated cheddar and 1/4c chopped parsley; season. Pour into prepared tin.  Arrange tomato slices over top.  Bake 35mins or until set; serve warm or cold.

Salmon Slice: Preheat oven 170C. Lightly grease 2L capacity baking dish. Place 2c cooked white long-grain rice, 1x415g can red salmon, 1x375ml can evaporated milk, 2 lightly whisked eggs, 2tbs olive oil, 2tbs chopped dill, 1-2tsp curry powder and 1/2c grated cheddar in large bowl; season; mix well. Pour into prepared dish; spread to edges. Sprinkle with grated cheddar; bake 40mins or until set. Cut into pieces.  Add corn kernels and grated zucchini to mix, if desired. 

Apricot-Coconut Slice: Grease and line 18x29cm rectangular slice tray with paper. Finely crush 200g plain biscuits, such as Marie biscuits; add 250g chopped apricots to crushed biscuits. Melt 125g butter and 80g brown sugar. Add crushed biscuits, chopped apricots, 50g desiccated coconut and 200g condensed milk; mix well. Spoon into prepared tray; press down firmly. Sprinkle with coconut; chill several hours. Cut into slices.

Date-Lemon Slice: Preheat oven 180C.  Grease and line slice tray. Melt 125g butter and1tbs golden syrup. Combine 1c plain flour, 1tsp baking powder, 1c coconut, 1c chopped dates and 1/2c caster sugar. Pour over melted butter-syrup; mix well; press firmly into slice tin. Bake, 20-25mins. Spread lemon icing over warm slice; sit 20mins before cutting into slices

Monday, April 23, 2018


Anzac Cove, Gallipoli
Gympie's Memorial Gates and Memorial Park
Major General The Honourable Sir Thomas William Glasgow

The amount of tears I’ve shed when listening to Herbert Marshall’s narration of Paul Gallico’s story  - “The Snow Goose” would fill Hinze Dam.  The recording, produced in 1948, had pride of place during my childhood. 

To this day, each time I read the novella tears flow. 

Over the years I’ve gifted the book to children of my friends with the belief every child should be familiar with the inspirational tale about Philip Rhayader, the reclusive, disabled artist living in an abandoned lighthouse in the Essex marshlands. The story, which includes Fritha, the shy young local lass who found the wounded snow goose, is one filled with pathos, symmetry, hope and tragedy.  Setting aside her timidity, Fritha took the injured bird to Rhayader.  As he nurses the injured bird to good health, Fritha pays regular visits.  A trusting, respectful friendship between the reticent artist and the reserved child grows day by day. 

In 1971, BBC-TV turned “The Snow Goose” into a film, featuring Richard Harris and Jenny Agutter.

Even as I write about this beautiful, poignant story emotion overcomes me.

The Snow Goose, its injuries healed, guides the humble, disabled Philip Rhayader who, in his tiny sailboat, traverses the English Channel - time and time again - selflessly ferrying Allied soldiers to safety during the evacuation from the beaches of Dunkirk, northern France, during the early stages of the Second World War.

A few weeks ago I read about Honorế, a young French orphan boy.  On Christmas Day 1918, Honoré wandered into Germany’s Bickendorf Base where Aussie airmen were eating.  The boy explained his family had been killed at the beginning of the war.   

After the young boy stumbled into their base, the Aussies took care of him for a few months. They called him “Henri” because they had difficulty pronouncing “Honoré”. 

Tim Tovell, one of the airmen, became close to the boy.  Tovell smuggled Honorế back to Australia in May, 1919.  He hid Henri in an oats bag, and then in a basket on a troopship headed for Australia.  When Henri was discovered the captain agreed to keep the lad’s presence a secret.

Once safely back on Aussie soil, Tim and his wife adopted Henri.

Henri lived in Queensland with his new family for five years.

In 1924 Henri moved to Melbourne. He joined the Royal Australian Air Force, firstly as an office boy at Victoria Barracks, then as an apprentice mechanic. 

Aussie author, Anthony Hill tells the heartrending story in his book, “Young Digger”. 
Tragically, in 1928, aged around 21 years, Henri was killed in a motorcycle accident. 

Inexplicably, in the 1950s, his original gravesite at Melbourne’s Faulkner Cemetery was vandalised.  Victoria’s RAFF Association and the federal government restored Henri’s grave in 2009; and a new headstone was inaugurated in honour of Honorế.  

Until four years ago I physically attended the Dawn Service. 

Along with our mother and grandmother, when my late brother, Graham and I were children, throughout our childhood years we attended the Dawn Service every Anzac Day. 

The Dawn Services were held at Gympie’s Memorial Gates, which are the entry to the pathway that leads across to Gympie’s Memorial Park.   The Dawn Service is still held at “The Park Gates”.  

After school on the eve of Anzac Day, Graham and I would make a wreath from the chrysanthemums that blossomed in our garden.  Our wreath would join the others placed at the site the following morning.

Even though, over these past few years, I no longer attend the local Dawn Service here on the mountain in person, I do attend from afar...always in spirit, if not in the physical form. 

To me, Anzac Day is a sacred day.  I devote the whole day, my way, alone, by choice, in memory of those who have served our country in the many conflicts; those who still serve, and those who will, sadly, have to continue doing so in the future.

Many tears are shed throughout the day...of them I am not ashamed, nor am I embarrassed.

Before the crack of dawn, from when television coverage commences early Anzac Day morning...I begin watching the televised services...from around 4.15 am forward. 

Thenceforth, I watch the various services, including the always beautiful, stirring Currumbin Beach Service.  The coverage then leads onto the Brisbane’s Anzac Day march.  My viewing doesn’t cease at the end of the march.  

From there, I watch the live telecast of the emotion-filled Dawn Service at Gallipoli; from there, I then become engrossed by the moving Villers-Bretonneux service in tribute to the Aussie Diggers, along with their mates from New Zealand, who fought on the Western Front.

It is the least I can do in respect of the brave deeds and sacrifices made by so many....

The Sir John Monash Centre at Villers-Bretonneux will be opened, this Anzac Day...25th April, 2018....

(Major General The Honourable Sir Thomas William Glasgow KCB, CMG, DSO, VD (6 June 1876 – 4 July 1955) was a senior Australian Army officer and politician. Glasgow rose to prominence during the First World War as a brigade and later divisional commander on the Western Front. Post-war, he was elected to the Australian Senate, representing Queensland as a Nationalist Party member from 1919 to 1931, before appointment as Australian High Commissioner to Canada.
William Glasgow was born at Tiaro, near Maryborough, Queensland, on 6 June 1876, the fourth child an Ulster Scots farmer. He was educated at One Mile State School in Gympie, Queensland, and Maryborough Grammar School. After leaving school he went to work as a junior clerk in the office of a mining company in Gympie. Later he worked as a clerk in the Queensland National Bank in Gympie.
After returning to Australia, Glasgow formed a partnership with his younger brother Alexander, and they took over his father's grocery store in Gympie. On 21 April 1904, he married Annie Isabel, the daughter of Jacob Stumm, the Federal member for Lilley. He tired of storekeeping and bought a cattle station in central Queensland.
In 1903, Glasgow organised the 13th Light Horse Regiment at Gympie. He was promoted to captain in 1906 and major on 6 May 1912. When war broke out in 1914, he was appointed to the Australian Imperial Force with the rank of major in the 2nd Light Horse Regiment on 19 August 1914.[2] He embarked for Egypt on 24 September 1914 where his regiment trained until called forward for dismounted service at Anzac Cove.)  See more information on the site given above...

Man’s inhumanity to man is never-ending.  Humans prove over and over again they’re unable to live in peace; incapable of living in peace.
Thousands of stories emerge from the brutality of war - stories that are simultaneously inspirational and heartbreaking. 
Wednesday, 25th April, is Anzac Day
For me, Anzac Day is one of the most important dates on our calendar, if not the most important. 

Let us never forget the sacrifices made by the men and women of our Defence Force, past and present – and future.
Members of our Defence Force deserve our respect, moral support and do their families and loved ones for the sacrifices they’ve made, and continue making...


Currumbin Dawn Service, Gold Coast, Queensland

Friday, April 20, 2018


Roses are are some faces...
Don't Fret...It Happens To Us All!

You, me, that fellow over there, the woman waiting at the bus stop, along with millions of others – we’ve all experienced an embarrassing moment or three while travelling along Life’s meandering highway.  We’ve dodged pot holes; fallen down a few; jumped hurdles, not always successfully.

Not one of us can claim to be "Robinson Crusoe"...even he couldn't because he had his man "Friday" there with him, from Monday through to Sunday!

Freely I admit I’ve had my fair share of instances when I’ve gone over my quota of embarrassing moments.  I’ve far too many inglorious disasters to list.  Although, one day I might write a book about this space....

I'm sure my moments of "glory" have not yet come to an end!

You know those episodes to which I refer.  Don’t pretend they’ve never happened to you.  You know they have; and we know they have.  You wouldn’t be human if you’ve travelled this far in life without more than one such moment

Let’s be honest...some embarrassing moments have been very funny.  It does one good to be able to laugh at one’s own self.

There you’ve turned as red as a beetroot, standing on one leg amongst a group of people – and, your stance is not because you’re eager to find the nearest toilet!

You’re posturing on one leg because your other foot is placed securely in your mouth.  It feels like it will be lodged there forever.

With eyes bulging, you’re executing an admirable balancing act, one worthy of an Olympic Gold Medal.   

The achievement is made even more noteworthy if you’ve got a drink in one hand, a canapé in the other, and nowhere to hide – with not an escape hatch in sight.

Where is that rock when you desperately need to crawl under it?   In fact, you discover you are between it and a hard place.

Those cringe-worthy moments of major embarrassment when you feel sure if the lights went out you’d glow in the dark!   Therefore, even under the cloak of darkness, there is no hiding place.

Humans are colourful beings. We are creatures of many hues.

Homo sapiens can be green with envy; purple with rage; cowardly yellow.

Some are black and white (I’m not referring to skin colour); some prefer to remain grey because they feel it is the easier option; many are blue.

Many are as brown as berries; tanned as leather; and then there are those who are orange from artificial tanning gone wrong.  Others are flushed more than the porcelain bowl in the bathroom.

The human palette is a kaleidoscopic spectrum greater than the variegation of a rainbow!

Mingled with our mosaic, colourful patchwork, we seethe, simmer, boil, rage, rant, laugh and cry, interspersed with periods of calm, peace, empathy, love and mellowness.

We humans are a potpourri of ever-changing, mobile ingredients.

We go white from shock; ashen with sorrow; scarlet in shame or embarrassment; blush crimson when flattered.

The moments we want to become invisible, we can’t (although, quite often I believe I have conquered the ability to become invisible).  

Many are transparent when lying.  

Others become dim, unable to understand the punch-line of a joke, or when attempting to decipher a mathematical equation.

On top of our countless talents, we humans are not only capable of wearing spectacles, we are also adept at making spectacles of ourselves.

What a feat!  One that’s hard to beat!

(Acrylic painting and graphite sketch both by me  - once again, I'm probably embarrassing myself)!!