Monday, November 18, 2019


Goggomobil Dart...(Fibre-glass body)
Randall and me in the Sprite...around the time we became engaged
Randall in his New York Apartment...East 88th Street, Upper East Side, Mabgattabm New York City
Taken in the front yard of Randall's parents' home in Geebung...the afternoon of our very relaxed wedding party...and a party it was...21st March, 1976.  No flowing white dress for me...not my style, or desire....
A feast of mud crabs Randall and his best mate, Peter, caught in Lake Weyba, Noosa.Heads..circa 1984.  And feast we did!

The hands of old Father Time are moving very quickly this year - faster than Scott McLaughlin’s Ford Mustang GT, or Sebastian Vettel’s Formula One Ferrari.  Once again we’re on the downhill race towards the end of another year.  Christmas is around the next corner, down the road a bit.  New Year aka 2020 is furtively peeking over the horizon, ready to pounce.  Sorry to have to bring your attention to these facts.  I’m probably wasting my breath, doubt you’re already aware.

2019’s turbulence is never-ending.  For those dealing with the heartbreak of devastating drought and destructive bushfires let’s hope relief and peace of mind come soon.   Life hasn’t grown any easier for our battling farmers and graziers, either, as they watch their livestock and crops wither and die. Their resilience is beyond belief.  

Life writes its own biography.  Life writes the script.  We are the cast...mere players.

This year I won’t be making Christmas cakes.  It will be the first Festive Season in a very, very long while I won’t be doing so...fifty years or more.

For many years I made an extra fruit cake to be part of a tantalising potpourri of Christmas treats for Randall, my ex-husband.  Randall loved my fruit cakes.  He spent quite a few Christmases with me here on the mountain.  We’d spend the day talking and laughing, covering old and new territory while feasting on fresh seafood, with music playing in the background.  One Christmas he brought with him a couple of freshly-cooked mud crabs...crabs he’d nabbed in pots set in the lake in front of where he lived down on the Gold Coast.  He knew I loved mud crabs.  He loved them, too.

Throughout the years my rich, moist Christmas cakes were an integral part of our shared mutual Christmas traditions, but no more. 
Sadly, Randall passed away on 14th August.

This Christmas the Lions Club charities will benefit from my not stirring the bowl, mixing the fruit. Perhaps I’ve done enough stirring for one year ...but, although moving quickly, the year is not yet over...

In 1963 a handsome, brash, young man with a silken, resonant voice – a voice envied by his peers - arrived in Gympie, my hometown. eager to take command of Radio 4GY’s airwaves.  It was not only his looks that grabbed was the car he drove, as well...a little white Goggomobil Dart (Affectionately also called...."Goggo")!   The townsfolk had never before seen the like!  

The two-seater Goggo had no doors.  The seats could be raised up and backward...and in you climbed.  In those years, straight, tight skirts were in fashion, too!!  Fun! Fun! Fun!  And it was fun....

Randall set many a young lady’s heart a-fluttering, but it was mine he stole. 

Randall was an intelligent, highly-knowledgeable person, one who could turn his hands to almost anything...without having had formal training in whatever it might be. His mechanical and carpentry skills were skills I always admired.  He was well-read. His knowledge about so many vast and various subjects never ceased to amaze and intrigue me.  His mind was like a absorbed so much,  and held onto what he had researched/read.   From when I first met him as a young man of 19 years, what he had stored in his mind held me in awe.  We used to talk for hours upon hours...

After a couple of years at 4GY he moved on to Colour Radio 4IP, Ipswich, to join the original “Colour Radio Good Guys”.  Colour Radio 4IP, in the mid-Sixties was a brash, brave radio station that dared take on the larger, more well-known Brisbane city radio establishment.  Ipswich is 45kms, give or take, from Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland.   

Colour Radio 4IP shook up the radio world, arriving on the scene with a huge bang, taking no prisoners – offering no apologies.  Colour Radio 4IP and its lively, young, keen announcers, and its solid ownership and management (Sir Frank Moore and Allen Brandt, respectively...and respectfully), beat the city stations regularly without missing a beat. 

Between 1965 and 1977, 4IP was the most successful music...hit music...station in Brisbane, and surrounds.  

In the early ‘70s the station moved from Ipswich to take up residence in its new studio in Brisbane’s CBD.  There, the radio station continued taking over the city’s hit music airwaves.  Later the station morphed into River 94.9...and it still commands a wide demographic across south-east Queensland.

Upon Randall’s passing, to my surprise, I received emails from a couple of “voices”/”faces” from the past...people I never knew very well...and have not seen or spoken with for many, many, many years....each expressed their condolences...and, still, to this day told me, as I mentioned above, how they always believed Randall had the best voice.  I concur....he did.

Before Randall left 4GY, he and I become engaged.  A few months after he left Gympie, I, too, left the town.  I relocated to Brisbane to live and work.  Brisbane was a lot closer to Ipswich than Gympie.   Toowong, one of Brisbane’s inner western suburbs is where I chose to live, just around the corner from the Toowong Railway Station.  The train trip to Ipswich was a reasonably short trip.  It was an even quicker trip from Ipswich to Toowong for Randall in his blue Austin Healey Sprite!

Randall had dreams. Dreams he’d harboured long before he and I met.  I wasn’t prepared to stand in the way of those dreams...they were his, not mine. To stop someone from fulfilling their dreams was not my way.  

Vividly, to this day, I remember the night we first discussed what he wanted to do - his dreams.  We were sitting side by side on the top step...on the my home...the in which I'd been raised.  He'd arrived home to my place from his on-air evening shift at 4GY, as he always did before going home to the flat he shared with a friend, another 4GY announcer (who remains a very good friend of mine.  He, his wife and I spoke together only last week).  

That night, Randall and I sat there, side by side, talking well into the wee, small hours of the morning.  Even though I was hurting inside, naturally, not once did I try to sway him from his chosen direction.

For nine years Randall lived and worked in New York City, as well as, when time allowed during his odyssey, exploring various other areas and countries throughout the world.   

For his first couple or so of years in New York Randall was in the employment of the New Zealand Mission to the United Nations.  His direct employer was the now late Frank Corner (1920-2014) who at the time was New Zealand’s Ambassador to the United Nations and the United States.  Randall held Frank Corner in very high esteem. When, in 1967, Mr. Corner and his family moved to Washington as New Zealand’s Ambassador to the US, Randall left the NZ Mission, and, for a brief period worked for the British...the UK Mission to the UN.

In my possession I have the letters Randall wrote home...letters written not only to me, but those written to his parents, as well.  He was a prolific letter-writer in those years.

While Randall was fulfilling his dreams, living his life in “The Big Apple”, and travelling to Central America, Europe, the UK, and Northern Africa...i.e. Morocco...I remained in Brisbane, gainfully employed by the The Kolotex Group of Companies (hosiery, mens/women’s wear/Glo International – metal mesh handbags etc.,)...going from strength to strength in my position within the company as the Queensland office expanded, and the national company grew. 

After leaving his work with the various Missions to the UN, Randall managed a bar and restaurant - "O'Brien's"- on the Upper East Side.  During the summer months he managed the sister-bar on Long Island.

In the meantime, even though knowing I couldn’t, and didn’t want to stop Randall from following his desired path, I decided to marry.  The step I took was in rebound...I knew that at the did those close to me, but take it I did.  I’ve never regretted the short-lived marriage of around two and a half years.   It probably stopped me from doing a lot of stupid things...

My first husband, Mervyn and I had known each other for a long time.  Actually, his family home was in a street over the back from where I grew up – in Gympie.   

Mervyn, like my older brother, was a lifesaver in the Noosa Heads Surf Lifesaving Club.  He was a couple of years older than my late brother, Graham, and five years older than me (still is)!

Even though Mervyn and I never dated, as such, in the early ‘60s he was living and working in Brisbane, but always returned home on the weekends of the Gympie ball seasons...and he always partnered me to the balls...four balls per ball the years between 1960 to 1963. It was before Randall appeared on the scene....and changed the landscape...

Over the years my first husband and I have remained on good terms, as have I and his second wife.  There’s never been any reason for the situation/attitudes to be otherwise.  He has never had a bad word to say about me, nor have I about him.  His wife and I have always gotten on well...only last week she and I spoke with each other via the phone.  We don’t ‘socialise’, and we never have...but we’ve always respected each other. Their three children...a girl and twin adults in their early to mid-forties...have always been aware of my existence.  There is nothing to hide...we have nothing to hide.

Randall arrived back to Australia late November, 1974.  We immediately picked up from where we’d left off.  The only difference was when he stepped back on Aussie soil he spent a couple of days at his parents’ home in Geebung, a northern suburb of Brisbane, before moving in with me.  Once more, I was living back in Toowong, having moved from New Farm, an inner city suburb, after Mervyn and I parted six years previously.

Thirteen years after our initial meeting Randall and I married - in March, 1976; eleven years later we divorced. 

However, to the end, we remained the best of mates. We were in regular contact; every other day - often every day.  Often, I go to reach for the ring him about something or other...something of interest to us both...or either one of us...and then, reality hits me in the face....

Over the past couple of years Randall’s health deteriorated.  It’s been a bleak time for those who loved him; those who cared about his welfare. 

Earlier this year I wrote about a pleasant luncheon Randall, his brother and I enjoyed at St. Bernard’s back in January.  I’m grateful to my ex-brother-in-law, Howard, for making that special interlude possible.  I knew it would be the final time...I knew from that day forth things would never be the same...we would never share moments such as those ever again...

Out of love for his ailing brother, without complaint, Howard, was there for Randall during the past couple of years; and more so over the last few months.  Howard and I were in constant contact.  Most of our contact we kept from Randall.  In particular, I didn’t want Randall to think we were conspiring...we talking about him behind his back.  We were...but for very good reasons.  Howard agreed, and willingly went along with my covert operation.

Having sold their home on the Sunshine Coast earlier this year, with plans to hitch their caravan to their giant four-wheel drive/SUV to become “grey-nomads” for a while, and head off around Australia, Howard and his wife put their plans on hold.
They relocated to less than a stone’s throw from – within arm’s reach - of Randall so Howard could attend to his brother’s needs. 

Standing up to the plate, Howard, about 18 months younger than Randall (and me) was a loyal, loving brother.  My admiration for him has no limits. 

An unassuming man, he’s never had the desire to blow his own trumpet; to fly colourful flags to show compassion. He has never sought accolades...he deserves many.

Out of the goodness of his heart, selflessly he was there for his brother. Nothing was too much trouble, or too difficult for him.  He feels the loss of his brother do I...

There are people in this world – like my ex-brother-in-law – the humble, quiet doers - who deserve recognition, respect and appreciation.  He has mine... 

Vale....Randall....11th January, 1944....14th August, 2019

Tipsy Christmas Cake: Place 250g chopped prunes, 200g chopped dates, 450g raisins and 250g sultanas in bowl; add 200ml port and 6tbs rum or brandy; cover.  Soak 1 day or up to a week; stir occasionally. Preheat oven 160c. Beat 250g butter and 250g dark muscovado sugar until light and creamy; gradually beat in 3 large eggs until smooth; add a little flour if mixture curdles. Stir 250g S.R. flour, 1tbs mixed spice, 1tbs cinnamon and 100g glace cherries into creamed mixture with the fruit; mix well; spoon into greased, lined, deep, 23cm round cake tin. Bake 30 mins; reduce oven temp to 150C for a further 1-1/2 to 1-3/4hrs. Cool in tin 1hr; turn out onto wire rack to cool. Decorate with extra cherries, and/or walnuts, almonds or pecans, if liked. Cake will keep 2 weeks in a cake tin, but as it is very moist should not be kept for any longer.  If liked, slice and freeze.

Raisin Apricot Cake: In a medium saucepan, combine 2-1/2c water, 1-1/2c light raisins, 2c chopped, dried apricots and 1/4c sugar; simmer slowly 30mins. Cool to room temp.  Cream 1c butter, 1/2c cream cheese, 1-1/2tsp vanilla and 1c sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 4 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after additions. Sift 2-1/2c plain flour and 1tsp baking powder.  Fold half into creamed mixture; fold in cooled fruit mixture; fold in remaining dry ingredients. Fold in 453g chopped glace cherries and 454g mixed dried fruit. Bake in greased, floured tube pan, or 2 greased, lined small loaf pans at 162C about 1hr. Cool in pan/s, 10mins before turning onto wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


The “experts” in the various newspapers/tabloids, magazines and online sites...those who think they’re “in-the-know” (more often on the nose), won’t be happy until Harry and Meghan have separated and divorced.  Day after day, they dream and scheme.

Nicole and Keith split up every other week, in between Nicole being pregnant, or running away with Alexander Skarsgård, who played her abusive husband in ‘Big Little Lies”.   It’s all lies, you know...

If the myriad stories are to be believed Nicole is permanently pregnant; permanently fed-up with Keith strumming his guitar; and/or they’ve got two dozen kids hidden away somewhere. 

Take read it here first - Jen and Brad never separated and divorced.  The six kids Angie drags around are, in fact, Brad and Jennifer’s offspring.  It’s been a well-kept secret, but the time has come to divulge the truth...Angelina is J & B’s nanny.  Justin Theroux was their gardener until they rounded him up, and gave him the boot for spraying their garden, killing everything in sight.  It's the pits!

If a woman is caught with her hand on her stomach she’s pregnant.  I’m not sure what it means if a bloke puts his hand on his belly.  I'm totally at a loss what it means if you put your hands on someone's bum, or shoulders, as shown in the above image!

Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, is another who is always pregnant. Frequently, she’s expecting twins.  I wish she’d call everyone’s bluff, and have triplets.  Some bright spark came up with the tale Kate and Megan were due on the same day. They failed to explain the duchesses were due to arrive at the same function on the same the same time.  The girls aced it by turning up together at Wimbledon, having shared an Uber. 

To put a halt to any case there are misconceptions about Immaculate Conception...if you see me touching my tum when I’m out and about in the public arena, I assure you, I am not up the duff.  I’ve either got an itch or, I’ve had an extra muffin for breakfast. 

By the way...I read somewhere Chelsy Davy wants Harry back.  I believe the story was a misprint.  Chelsy wanted to hurry back to Zimbabwe.  

One week Harry went missing; then Kate went missing, followed by Meghan.  William called out, “Coming, ready or not!”  He found them hiding behind the drapes in the throne room in Buckingham Palace.  Liz tipped him off...spoil sport!

It’s a no-no to be photographed not smiling.  Not smiling is a deadest omen of doom... trouble is in the air; a break-up is imminent. The gossip-mongers won’t be content until everyone has had six sets of twins; three sets of triplets; separated, then divorced; and, err...George Clooney announces he’s making a sequel to the “Return of the Killer Tomatoes”; or Fergie and dear old Phil.. who won’t be driving.... have scarpered off together to Saint-Tropez to do some toe-sucking.

I don’t care what hairstyles Donald or Boris have.  

Karl Stefanovic (if your interest has been alerted....Google him those of you in the Northern Hemisphere. He interests me not!) is forever packing his bags. Which is to be expected, I suspect, before he jets off, tomorrow, or interview someone or the other – or just to have fun.  Boys, as well as girls just wanna have fun.  Karl’s new wife, Jasmine could pack his bags for him but, she is expecting sextuplets...

Lleyton and Bec Hewitt have been on the verge of divorce since before they married.  I saw Bec on “Home and Away” the other night, strolling along the beach hand in hand with Alf. Watch this space – new couple alert imminent! 

And, then there’s the Beckhams - they constantly bend the rules of marital harmony.

Breakfast Muffins: Preheat oven 175C. Line a 12 muffin tin; spray.  Whisk 3 large eggs and 1-1/2c egg whites (or 9 large eggs) 30secs. Add 1/2c cottage cheese, or 1/4c feta, 1/4c shredded mozzarella, 1tbs onion or garlic powder, salt, pepper, some chilli flakes. Add 1c cooked quinoa, 2c coarsely chopped broccoli or asparagus, 1/2c chopped parsley and 2 chopped shallots. Fill each muffin 3/4 full; sprinkle mozzarella on top. Bake 20-25mins; serve hot or cold.  

Pancakes: Add 1/4tsp apple cider vinegar to 1/4c coconut milk; set aside to culture 3mins. Combine 3 eggs, 2-1/2tbs coconut oil, and coconut milk mixture. Add 1/4c coconut flour and 1/4tsp baking soda; don’t over-mix. Heat pan to med-heat with coconut oil spray. Use 1/4 cup measure - spoon batter into pan. Cook until edges are set and bubbles are in the middle. Flip; cook 30secs. Add favourite toppings.

Breakfast Tomatoes: Preheat oven 175C. Cut a large circle into the top of 2 tomatoes. Remove core, stems, seeds, leaving wall of tomatoes intact. In bowl, combine 1/2tsp each salt, pepper and 1tbs finely chopped parsley. Rub half of the mixture onto inside wall of one tomato and other half onto inside wall of the other tomato. In pan, heat 1tbs olive oil over med-heat. Add 3 sliced shallots, green and white part, and 2 minced garlic cloves; cook 5mins. Divide mixture in half; place into bottoms of tomatoes. Divide 1/4c chopped spinach in half; place over top of onion-garlic mixture. Divide 1/4c shredded Parmesan in half; place over spinach. Crack raw egg into each tomato. Put tomatoes on a greased baking tray; bake 25-30 mins, or until egg is cooked through. Top with shredded Parmesan and finely chopped fresh parsley, or chives.

Thursday, November 07, 2019


It is true!  I’m behind the times – and behind the eight ball.  I’m running late, but I guess it’s never too late rattle the pot.   It's never too late to have a bit of fun.  It's never too late to have lots of fun!

I’m old-fashioned.  I’m a stick-in-the-mud even when there’s no mud about. There’s no point being in denial. I can’t run from the fact.  If I ran I’d trip over a blade of grass, making a fool of myself - a feat easily achieved on any given day, grass or no grass. Even my shadow is an unavoidable hazard at times. 

I’m a boring old tart (I know the other word that rhymes with ‘tart’ is flooding your mind, right now...I don’t mind...go for broke...go for it). Being all of the above and more, doesn’t mean I’m easily tricked...treat with care...tread carefully! The Shadow knows!

I don’t have a mobile phone, nor do I have an iPad or iPhone. I own no Smartphone, Cleverphone, Intelligentphone, Brightphone, or Ingeniousphone.  I say this quietly so as not to hurt the feelings of my landline phone.  Just because it is none of the above, doesn’t mean it is a dumb phone!  My landline does all I require of it. It does the job it is designed to do, remaining in the one spot while doing so.  

Like me, it’s a hermit I frequently admit to being.  It prefers to be at home. Going to the supermarket with me is of no interest to my landline phone.  And, of course, its cord doesn’t extend that far.  Imagine the chaos the extension cord would cause...tripping up cars, cyclists and pedestrians left, right and centre!

I’ve no desire to talk on the phone while wandering along our local supermarket IGA’s aisles; and none while driving. Talking on a phone while driving would interrupt my singing, anyway.

For a brief period I had an el-cheapo mobile, one I purchased when Cyclone Debbie decided to disrupt communications. I used it three, maybe four times. I had to stand at the sliding glass, screen door, almost outside for it to work properly.  Eventually it died a quiet death.  It’s now immobile, having given up the ghost.

Taking selfies is not my “thing”.  The reason for not taking them is glaringly obvious, of course.  It’s not only because I don’t have the necessary equipment, but I have no desire to take photos of myself. I know what I look like, and, take my word - it’s not pretty!  It’s scary enough for me to have to look at me in a mirror if and when the need arises.  The vision I’m confronted with makes me jump and recoil.  I try not to approach mirrors at night because nightmares would follow.  Recording my image for all to see would be classified as cruelty to others, not only to animals. I’d be locked up for such behaviour.  Terrifying my fellow humans should be limited to Halloween. And then, witch-ever witch way, performed in a sense of harmless, good fun.   

Halloween was last Thursday I thought of turning myself into a money-making machine for the day, or longer, if my enterprise proved successful.  Instead of going around banging on doors trick-or-treating in the hope of getting a heap of lollies, I thought of hiring myself out as a witch.    I stayed home, deciding it best not to put fear into the hordes.

When I was a kid we celebrated Guy Fawkes' Night.  We'd race home from school, eager and excited about what lay ahead that evening.  We had a ball - building a bonfire; making a Guy, buying the local Penneys (now Coles) and Woolworths stores out of fireworks - spending our hard-earned pocket money....but "Cracker Night" was banned in the younger generations have missed out on the fun we had.  Let's not deprive them of the innocent fun of Halloween.

These days I don’t need a costume or a mask.  I do have a straw broom. A Ferrari, it’s not, but it flies. I’d save on fuel, too. 

Often I’ve related the story how, back in the early 80s, I scared the living daylights out of some kids doing the rounds of the neighbourhood on Halloween night.

At the time, my then husband and I were living at Sunshine Beach, on the Sunshine Coast.  To a party in Noosaville, a nearby suburb, we went...he dressed as a, a witch.  Our costumes and masks were fabulous. The poor little kids who, unfortunately for them, were in the street when we arrived at our destination headed for the hills screaming their lungs out at the sight of us.  To make matters worse, I’d put my lit torch up under my grotesque rubber mask - those kids are still running across the Nullabor Plain!  Probably by now they’ve made it to South Africa....having created a miracle by running on top of and across the Indian Ocean! 

Monster Mash Dip: Process until finely chopped 2 garlic cloves; add 2 cans drained, rinsed black beans; process until pureed. Add 2tbs tahina, 3-4tbs lime or lemon juice, 1tsp cumin, chipotle pepper or chilli, to taste, 3tbs yoghurt (optional); season; process until smooth.  Pipe a cobweb on top using either yoghurt or tahina; place plastic spider on web, or make one from black olives.

Cap-O’-Lanterns: Place 1c rice in saucepan with 1-1/2c water’ bring to boil; reduce heat to lowest setting; cover. Cook 12-15mins until water has evaporated and rice is cooked. Finely chop/process140g mushrooms. Melt 25g butter with a splash of olive oil in pan; cook mushrooms 3-4mins; stir constantly; season; set aside. Heat a little olive oil in pan; cook 1 diced onion and 2 crushed garlic cloves, 3-4mins. Add 500g chicken mince; cook, breaking up meat. Remove from heat. Stir through mushroom, 1tbs each chopped thyme and flat-leaf parsley, 1/3c grated Parmesan, 100g crumbled feta and 2tbs tomato chutney. Preheat oven 200C. Cut tops off 8 red capsicums; discard centres, seeds, membrane. Carve jack-o’-lantern style faces into each capsicum. Fill with stuffing; pop tops back on. Pour 1c passata into base of baking tray. Place stuffed capsicums snugly in baking tray; bake 45mins.

Boo-tiful Brownie Pops: Melt 125g butter in saucepan; stir in 1-1/2c caster sugar, 1tsp vanilla essence, 1/2c cocoa and pinch of salt.  Remove from heat; cool. Whisk in 2 eggs; fold through 1c sifted plain flour and 1tsp baking powder; add 1/2c white chocolate chips; spoon into greased, lined 18x28cm slab tin. Bake at 170C, 25-30mins.  When cool, cut brownie into ghost shapes.  Melt 200g white chocolate; then pour into squeeze bottle/bag. Cover tips of icy-pole sticks with melted white chocolate; then insert into the bottom of each ghost brownie to create a pop. Use rest of melted choc to draw ghost shapes on top of brownies. Cut tiny eyes and mouth shapes into 1 sheet of black fondant icing; place on top of white chocolate while still wet.