Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Day Is Over

Christmas Day has been and gone
Christmas tree is all but done
Preparations frantically made
Memories so quicky fade
Resolutions each year promise
Preparations will be better
But there’s no way, I’d keep that vow
Even if I started now!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


A few months ago I joined a couple of email ‘lists’ which provide questions, answers, queries, by people all over the world who are interested in genealogy in similar geographical areas to me. For example, I may be researching a long lost relative with the surname ‘Blogs’ who lived in the mid 1800’s in Blogland. I may send a query to the ‘list’ about the possibility of Blogs marrying say ‘Webb’ (fictitious name in this case) in 1856 and asking one of the listers to do a ‘look-up’ for me to see if this was recorded somewhere in the genealogical records of the past which they have access to. It really is a great way of not only gaining information but also of ‘meeting’ a great bunch of people who have wonderful memories and resources which they are very willing to share.

Now that I look back on it, it was a spur of the moment thing – but I offered my services to help with transcribing some areas of the 1871 census. I had in the past transcribed some old New Zealand newspaper listings and found it relatively uncomplicated so thought I’d probably be able to manage the census transcript OK.

What has happened in the process of transcription though, is not just straightforward typing, but an endless fascination and contemplation of the lives of those who lived in 1871 in a particular street and a particular house. Where did they all fit? Many families with large numbers of children, all living at one address. Occupations such as seed sifter, relic stamper, envelope folder, feather hand, boot closer, to name only a few, push my mind into overdrive trying to imagine aspects of their lives which I’ll never be able to relate to. So many of them, young in years to our way of thinking, whose wife or husband had died, leaving them with many children to raise, in conditions we couldn’t imagine in our time of material comforts. Huge numbers of kids who never went to school, and even larger numbers of 10, 11 year olds out working, presumably to help the family keep their heads above the financial high water line.

My part in transcribing their information is minute - but recording some of their history is an important step to making sure they are never forgotten. We may only know them as names on a piece of paper, but no matter who they were, what their story was, or where they came from, they have been part of history that has in some small way, brought me to where I am today. To them then, I am grateful!

Monday, December 17, 2007


It really wasn’t meant to happen at this time of the year – December – summer – heat – sun! There’s no accounting for the strange kind of weather we’ve had recently and Sunday’s ‘dousing’ was a ‘doozie!

Around 3.30pm and the sky looked so threatening – all black and grey and huge storm clouds rolling our way – the wind got up – then the hail started. I was so afraid the glass skylight in the roof would be broken. The lawn was littered with large hailstones and debris of branches and leaves from the many trees around our area.

We were fortunate and didn’t sustain any real damage to our house – the car certainly was peppered with dints though. Many were so much worse than us – two suburbs over from us the hail was as large as cricket (or tennis) balls and huge damage was done to hundreds of properties. Our daughter who lives only 3 kms from us though got no hail at all. Apparently the storm cut a definite path hitting some properties and missing others only feet away.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Pudding

I haven’t been slacking it since last writing this journal – have had other things to do like making my first ever ‘real’ Christmas pud! Yes actually wrapping it in calico cloth and boiling it for 6 hours. I’m not sure if it turned out the way it should but the crumbs sure tasted good when I unwrapped it. I’ve frozen half and the other half will do for our Chrissy dinner that will be plenty for those who enjoy the taste - the others can have fresh fruit salad, ice cream and whipped cream – YUM!

While mixing it and spreading it in the cloth, I remembered years gone by when my mother in law made the most wonderful boiled Christmas pudding in the old fashioned ‘copper.’ This was a large bowl shaped tub which stood on the floor of the laundry made from – you guessed it – copper. A fire was lit underneath it to heat water. When the water was absolutely steaming, the clothes would be put in and stirred around with a long wooden pole. Once having steeped for a good while in the water and washing soap, they were hooked out with the pole into a tub nearby and rinsed. In those days everything was wrung out by hand – even bed linen and other large items. What bliss when the new-fangled ‘wringer’ became available – this was positioned on the edge of the tub and one could pass the clothing through it by turning a handle and the water would be squeezed out between two rubber rollers. To dry, they were pegged on a long wire line which was held at both ends by sturdy poles and in the centre hoisted with a forked branch of a tree to hold it well above the ground.

Well, come Christmas food preparation time, the same ‘copper’ was used to boil the pudding. In those days with 5 growing boys and several other relatives and friends who shared Christmas day fare with the family, it was a very large pudding that was made!

This time of the year surely brings back lovely memories of those days doesn’t it – well, if you’re as old as me it does!

Have a blessed and joyous Christmas!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Oh! My tomato plants are going crazy! As you can see from the pic, they are now past the top of my fence which is 6 ft tall. I’m not sure how I can contain them if they go any higher as the stakes holding them up are also only 6ft tall. After a fairly rugged very hot day last month when the tops of them got quite burned, they have survived the ordeal and grown another foot since then. There’s a bit of fruit there but not as much as I thought there might be. You can also see the little fabric bags I've made to contain the fruit - trying to stop bugs and caterpillars from attacking!

They’ve been in the ground 10 weeks now so I’m hoping it won’t be long before the tiny fruit starting to form on the many flowers that are sprouting at the tops of the plants will begin to swell and ripen. Hopefully we’ll get to eat some of them before any stray caterpillars do!