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Renovations...and Manners with the "Tradies"...

It all started in summer last year. My partner and I were having a two week holiday at my beach house, a good time to get the little jobs done around the house and garden. It is an asbestos clad modular house built about 1970.  I have co-owned it since 1989 and loved it for its rustic, very casual ambience, never worrying too much about maintenance as it was just  "The Beach House. Being in the country, at Guilderton 100 kms north of Perth, which is located at the mouth of the Moore River where the river flows into the Indian Ocean, I was advised to have a termite/white ant checkup as the house had not been inspected for some years.  From the moment he arrived the termite expert looked worried..."there's a lot of activity around the garden" (activity being termite trails) and when he finally climbed to the top bedroom and I casually mentioned a bit of a "bounce" in the floor boards, he pounced.  With what appeared to be a moment of almost glee he pul

Pukupuka...a Remote Island...and Wonderful Manners

Teresa in the island's beautiful church (photo LP) Some years ago,I received the following letter from a young woman who lives on one of the most remote islands in the world, Pukapuka, in the Northern Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean.  I was fortunate to meet her and stay in her house during the infamous voyage on  SV Discovery   through the Suwarrow National Marine Park and other islands in the region in May 2011. Teresa's letter Prior to our departure I asked Edwina (Teresa to us) what she would like me send her from Australia. The island is regularly short of what we would regard as ordinary staples like rice, sugar, flour and medical supplies. The island " supermarket" with empty shelves (photo LP) But what Teresa particularly wanted for her family were vegetable and fruit seeds.  The islanders are largely restricted in their choice and eat mainly taro, every islander has their own small patch of soil in which to grow it, and cocon

Chivalry...and Manners...and Confusion

I gave an interview yesterday regarding the place of “chivalry” in modern society…whether it is a dead concept, and how a “gentleman” should respond when his polite behaviour is met with derision by a woman. But what is chivalry?   In his study of Chivalry,   The Broad-Stone of Honour ,   Kenelm Henry Digby   offered the following definition: 'Chivalry is only a name for that general spirit or state of mind which disposes men to heroic actions, and keeps them conversant with all that is beautiful and sublime in the intellectual and moral world.'   The Oxford dictionary defines chivalry as:  courteous behaviour, especially that of a man towards women:   he still retained a sense of chivalry towards women . While 50 years ago it was normal for a man to pay his date’s way, hold the door open for a woman and pull her chair out at a restaurant, today’s etiquette is not so simple.  As I was quoted in the article in The West Australian: “I get phone calls about t

Sisters, Daughters and Girlfriends...Life's Friendships

Class of 1973, CCGGS, Canberra, Australia An invitation to attend the Reunion of the Class of '73 at the Canberra Church of England Girls' Grammar School has recently arrived, in a very modern manner, via a closed group on Facebook. For the "girls"with whom I have already spoken, it had been a surreal moment in it really 40 years since we left school.? We all know we have changed, have had major life experiences along the way, and so why is it that we all feel so much the same? I have been thinking about the concepts and realities of friendship. I met my first girlfriend on my first day at school in 1961 at Loreto Convent Kirribilli, in Sydney.  We were seated next to each other and when we emerged from our very first day at "big school" we found our anxious mothers standing beside their cars speaking with each other.  For both of them it was the first day at school for their first born...many years later I was to empathise wi

Australia Day

I am, You are, We are Australian...The Seeker s The Pinnacles, Western Australia  I am celebrating Australia Day tomorrow.  Over the last decade or so Australia Day has become an important holiday, in fact not unlike Thanksgiving in the US. Not only because we have a day off from work,  but because we Aussies respect Australia Day. It's a day which is marked by many with time at the beach, barbecues, and having a beer or wine with friends;  and it finishes here in Perth with the annual Skyshow....fireworks over the Swan River. We are a tolerant and multicultural society;  our Anglo Saxon roots no longer define us. In  fact, since I was a little girl going to school in the 60s most of my friends have always had family names which weren't Anglo Saxon.  Sharing languages and cultures is part of the Australian psyche. So what is it that makes me have a tear in the eye when I am choosing YouTube clips for this post?  What is it that makes me Australian?

Cooking Shows...and Grammar

It's the season for long, languid lunches in my courtyard Having had an afternoon cooking and simultaneously watching a cable cooking channel I have been annoyed by the number of presenters who use the " we" when speaking to their television audience: "Now we take our eggs, break them into our bowl..." etc. We, the audience, are not there with the presenter; they are joined by a camera operator, lighting operator and others to assist in their presentation, none of whom are helping with the actual cooking process. Prawns and oysters to start... By the time "We are now plating our meal" was announced, I was so removed from the whole experience that irrespective of how delightful the menu appeared, I was distracted and uninterested in its outcome. Language is continuely evolving, but irrespective of whatever language we are speaking, or learning, we should try to grasp the correct use of its grammar. The taste of summer... Television is