Friday, April 28, 2023



                                                        As Time Goes By...Frank Sinatra....


ANZAC Day Dawn Service 25th April, Elephant Rock, Currumbin

Time certainly is flying by at a rapid rate of knots.  At the pace it’s going, if it doesn’t watch out, it’ll be booked for speeding. Perhaps that would be a good thing, making time slow down a bit. Don’t look now but, very soon we’ll be half way through 2023!  Someone removed the sand from the hourglass and replaced it with quicksilver aka mercury when we weren’t looking, or when we were sleeping.

On Tuesday, just passed by, 25th April, once again, ANZAC Day fell…a special day here in Australia when we honour our men and women of the Australian Defence Force, and those of our best mates from across “The Ditch” (New Zealand)…who fought, and fight. alongside us…past and present.

From the Elephant Rock Dawn Service held at the Gold Coast’s Currumbin Beach, through to the afternoon (AET) in witness to the Villers-Bretonneux Dawn Service in Northern France, tears filled my eyes constantly…tears that overflowed frequently.  As time goes by the depth of my emotions felt never lessen.  As time goes by, we must never forget the valiant deeds of our men and women of the Forces. They deserve, and are worthy of our gratitude and our respect.

It’s very disturbing humans still haven’t learnt, nor heeded, lessons from past horrors. Are we slow learners, or just plain ignorant?

Old-fashioned, I am…and old, am I.  Both are impossible to disguise. So be it.  

In years of yore, back in the 1700s to be exact, (I wasn’t around then, if that’s what you’re thinking) author, Jonathan Swift, in a moment of great wisdom said, “Everything old is new again…”  Further along the track, Aussie entertainer, the late Peter Allen, played and sang the similarly named song, while also kicking up his heels, and all that jazz.  As time went by, I forwent kicking up my heels.

Once upon a time, Friday night dances were held in local halls.  On Friday nights, Gympie’s (the town in which I spent my childhood and teenage years) RSL Hall was a hive of energy.  The young, old and “in-betweeners” clad in their Friday night finest crowded the floor while performing the Fox-Trot, Quickstep, Waltz, the fun Progressive Barn Dance etc., etc, et al.  Over in a far corner those feeling hip dodged the Quickstep, and chose to jive away to a rocking beat. Each Saturday night country dances in the outer realms were well attended, too. The dances were not to be missed. And, then, to add to the fun, record hops became hip. No wonder we were trim, taut, and terrific back in the day. As time has flown by, the trim, taut, and terrific part has passed by. I’m referring to me, of course. I’m no longer a spring chicken…these days I’m an old winter hen!

Much time has gone by since hula hoops became the craze of the day. Every kid in town, including me, had a hoop. Yo-yos made their resurgence around the mid-50s.  Between hoops and yo-yos, we kids of the era enjoyed loads of fun times   Spinning, twirling, and defying gravity simultaneously became challenges worth attempting. We didn’t care if we tripped up. As time went by, with practice, every now and then, we mastered the feat, with both feet still on the ground, and our pride intact.

Upon a shelf here my high school Oxford Dictionary sits gathering dust, as does my Pitman’s Shorthand.  Both, like me, are ancient.  As time’s gone by, I guess, shorthand is old hat, too.

Returning to ANZAC Day…I was a “goner” from the commencement of the Elephant Rock Dawn Service.  It was a bleak, cool, damp early morn. Amongst the crowd a father and his young daughter sat. The child looked like she was around the age of seven years, give or take.  The little girl, curled up on her father’s lap, snuggled up closely, hugging him and nestling her head under her father’s chin.  Holding her close, the love shared between the father and his little daughter was palpable.  The scene tore at my heartstrings. My unexpected, uncontrollable tears flowed freely.  Suddenly, like a giant boulder, the reason for my feelings of deep sorrow hit me. Not once in my life have I ever experienced the loving arms, the tender embrace of my father’s arms around me.  He never played a role in my life, other than the obvious one of how I was created.  My late brother and I never knew our father…and, likewise, he never knew us.  Our parents separated when my mother was pregnant with me.  That sight of the little girl and her father really struck me.  Sad, though, it was (for me)…it was a beautiful moment….one, I know, I will vividly remember….

As time goes by…the memories, and the thoughts, the wondering do not diminish, nor do they go away…..


Quick Chick: Preheat oven 220C. In bowl, combine 1tsp salt, 1tsp paprika, 1/2tsp garlic powder, 1/2tsp thyme, oregano, parsley, or other herbs of choice, and 1/4tsp ground black pepper. Coat 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in 1tbs olive oil; generously rub spice mix over chicken; place chicken in baking dish; cook 20-25mins, until cooked through.  Rest a few mins, then serve.

Fasta Pasta Spring Chicken: In saucepan bring 2c salted water to boil; add 1-1/2c pasta of choice. Cover; cook 10mins.  Cut 2 chicken breasts into strips; chop ½ medium onion and ½ red capsicum.  Heat 1tbs olive oil in pan.  Add onion and capsicum; sauté 1-mins; add 3 minced garlic cloves; sauté 30secs, until lightly golden. Add chicken, 1/2tsp each salt, pepper and garlic powder; sauté until chicken is browned, and almost cooked through. Add 1c marinara sauce; simmer 5mins, covered.  Drain pasta; add pasta to chick mix; add 1/2c shredded mozzarella; turn off heat; top with grated Parmesan; serve.  

Chicken Stroganoff: In pan heat 1tbs olive oil; add 600g diced chicken breast or thigh; cook on high heat, 5mins, stirring, to brown all over. Tip chick and juice onto plate. Lower heat; add small knob of butter to pan; melt; add 1 diced onion and 100g sliced mushroom; cook 3mins, until lightly browned. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves, 3tsp smoked paprika, salt and pepper, to taste, plus chicken and juices; cook over low heat, 3mins, or so. Add 150ml sour cream; heat gently; don’t boil. Turn off heat; add 2tbs chopped parsley. Serve with cooked rice, pasta, mashed spuds or crusty bread, and green vegetables.     

Thursday, April 06, 2023


 Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin & Friends..."Where or When"



When my now late brother Graham and I were kids our Nana and Mum gained a great deal of pleasure every time (about a million) they presented us with an age old riddle.  At the time we thought they had invented the riddle…e.g… ”Where was Moses when the lights went out?”  There are a couple of answers to the riddle, one of which is…“In the dark”. 

Mum and Nana’s inventive answer was always …”Under the bed looking for the matches!” 

The bemused looks upon my brother’s face, and mine every time we were asked the question never failed to cause gales of laughter from Nana and Mum.  Obviously, our bewilderment and groans were funnier than the actual riddle! 

My brother and I never did see the funny side.  I do, however, laugh at the memory of those childhood moments. I think Mum and Nana asked the question so often of Graham and me just to enjoy our always blank expressions. Our reactions never failed to cause them much laughter.  I imagine everyone has those “I remember where I was when that occurred” moments.  I, for one, do. 

Early on a Saturday morning Nana woke me with the shocking news of John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s assassination…22nd November, 1963. That day, when JFK was senselessly killed, created a devastating, unforgettable moment in history.

Mid-morning 21st July, 1969, AEST, having escaped the office, along with a crowd of like-minded curiosity-filled humans, I stood in awe staring at a television screen in one of the windows of Penney’s building in Queen Street, Brisbane.  The massive crowd had gathered to witness history being made… “Mankind took one giant leap…”

A Saturday morning in January 1964 I was at my then boyfriend’s (much later husband) flat, doing his laundry while he was at work. How spoilt he was! Randall was an announcer at Gympie’s radio station, 4GY. 

After his shift he’d raced home. Out of breath caused by his haste, he gushed; “This morning I played a fantastic track by a great new singer! She has an incredible voice! I predict the world’s going to hear a lot more from her! She’s fabulous!  Wait until you hear her…you’ll agree!”  The singer to whom Randall referred was Barbra Streisand whose single, “People”, had just been released.  How right he was!

Finally, we married when Randall arrived back in on home turf after living and working in New York for many years. He and I were in the throes of renovating our house, a “Queenslander”, in Torwood, a western suburb of Brisbane.  I was high upon a ladder painting tongue and groove walls in the dining-lounge area, and Randall was tiling in the kitchen when the news echoed over the radio….Elvis had left the building…The King had died.  It was Tuesday, 22nd August, 1977, AEST. Elvis was unique.  The myriad Elvis impersonators throughout the world will never be able to do him justice.

Monday, 8th December, 1980, Randall and I were attending a Rotary evening held at the Noosa Heads Golf Club, when we learned of the untimely and shocking death of John Lennon.  For me, that, too, remains an unforgettable moment in time.

September, 2001…shortly after 10 pm Tuesday, AEST, I’d not long arrived home from work.  At the time, I was the chef aka cook at a Gympie function house-restaurant.  Having switched on my TV, unbelievable images filled the screen.  9/11…the day the earth stood still...

The list of “when and where” moments remain embedded in my mind, with a few least notable among the most notable.   I wonder if Moses ever found the matches…..


Parmesan Brussels Sprouts: Preheat oven 200C. Trim bottom ends of 450g Brussels sprouts; slice each Brussels sprout in half, top to bottom. Prepare large baking sheet (line it with baking paper if you like). Pat the sprouts dry; place in bowl. Add 3tbs olive oil or melted butter, 1tsp Italian seasoning, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1/2c or so grated Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Toss gently to coat evenly; then place sprouts on prepared baking sheet, spreading evenly into one layer. Bake on the centre rack. 25-30mins. Adjust the time depending on your oven…the vegetables should be golden brown.  Transfer to serving bowl; sprinkle with chopped parsley, if you like.

Pan-Fried Mushrooms & Zucchinis: Add 1tbs olive oil and 1/2tbs butter to large pan; set over med-high heat.  Add 2 small zucchinis, cut into thin, half moon slices; season; cook 3-4mins, or until fork-tender.  Remove from pan; set aside.  Wipe out any liquid left in pan.  Return pan to heat.  Add 2-1/2tbs butter; melt.  Stir in 1 smallish finely diced onion; cook 2mins, or until just softened. Add 450-500g small button mushrooms, cleaned and patted dry; cook 5-7mins, until tender and browned. Stir in 3 or 4 minced garlic cloves, and 2tsps fresh chopped herbs of choice, or 1tsp dried herb e.g. thyme and oregano; cook 2mins. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and grated Parmesan; serve.