• Life Day By Day

    No second chance

    Once the coronavirus restrictions were lifted and café’s opened Alison and I met for lunch in Toowoomba at the Parkhouse Café. I patted down my windswept hair as I walked into the café, elated that I was catching up with my bestie after months of home isolation. I looked around the café, the tables were scattered sparsely across the café floor. I had to wait to be seated and the disposable paper menu was handed to me at the table. It was different to other occasions when the café was a buzz with diners and people lined up at the counter to order. I kept reminding myself not to hug…

  • Life Day By Day,  Life Matters

    A day to remember

    We all thought we knew what to expect when the Johnston family met for a reunion in Adelaide in 2013. After all, we had attended six previous Johnston reunions. On the 2 June 1953, the Johnston family of eight (four boys and two girls) left Lisbellaw, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The family were immigrating to Australia. Their first destination was England’s Tilbury docks where they boarded the P & O Ship, the SS Mooltan. June 2 was a memorable day for Charles and Violet Johnston and their children. It was also a memorable day for Great Britain, and all the nations of the Commonwealth. It was the day of Queen…

  • Life Day By Day

    The child is growing older

    The sun is shining through the shutters as she pulls the bed coverings over her head. All she can hear is the sound of the clock, tick-tock, tick-tock, as if to say – time to get up! But it is a cold winter’s morning and she must be persuaded to get out of her warm bed. There is a solitary silence surrounding her as she gathers her dressing gown tightly around her. She passes the mirror; her hair is tousled and untamed. Her hairbrush has gone missing, but she will find it later. Always known for her agile and graceful poise she would glide to the breakfast table. However, today,…

  • Life Matters

    Childhood memories – the family home (Part 2)

    The backdoor of our family home, where Christine and I grew up, was open. I knocked on the door, Christine did the same. As there was no answer we tentatively walked in – uninvited guests! As I stepped into the small porch childhood memories came flooding back. I then walked into the adjoining room, the laundry. There I saw the same concrete tubs. They had been there for 65 years! Back then there was a small table in the corner. This is where my sister Susan and I sat while our mother washed our face and hands, grubby from playing outside. One day, during the ritual of face and hand…

  • Life Day By Day,  Life Matters

    Childhood memories – the family home (Part 1)

    My parents build their first home in Toowoomba in the 1950s. To realise their dream my father, who had  been in the Air Force, borrowed money through the War Service loan program. I was four years old when we moved in, two years older than my sister Susan. The house was a simple structure, made of fibro, three bedrooms and one bathroom. The toilet was in the backyard. The house had a lovely treed outlook, opposite Newtown Park. During World War II Newtown park was a military camp, home to thousands of Australian and USA soldiers. Most of the soldiers were accommodated in tents. There were halls and other outbuildings…

  • Socio-Political

    What were they drinking?

    If you watch television or listen to the radio, you will have heard about the Federal government’s home renovation stimulus scheme. Since it was announced there has been an outcry about the sensibilities regarding the scheme. Another way of saying sensibilities is ‘what were they drinking?’ That is, the politicians and public servants who concocted the scheme? This morning Senator Jacqui Lambie was interviewed on ABC Radio National by Hamish McDonald about the scheme. Jacqui who is known to ‘shoot from the hip’ said, ‘what the hell is in their cigars?’ The sub text here relates to the 2014 photograph of the then Treasurer, Joe Hockey, and Finance Minister, Mathias…

  • KJ's Kitchen

    Cooking to a Latin beat

    Cooking can be hard work. Look around any busy home kitchen and it is not long before the dishes pile up! Take the Banana and Date cake I made yesterday. On two occasions I started with the wrong size bowl. Therefore, that added two more bowls to the washing up. It was a new recipe and it looked great when I put it in the oven. Before long, I heard my One&Only (O&O) calling out ‘your cake is falling all over the side of the loaf tin and dripping into the bottom of the oven!’ I removed it from the oven and placed a tray underneath the cake tin. Before…

  • Life Day By Day

    The Backyard

    In my lifetime I have lived in many houses, all with a backyard. I live in Queensland where we have perfect weather to spend time outdoors. Therefore, it is no surprise to me that our Premier wants to keep our backyard, Queensland, free of COVID-19. While tourism is feeling the pain of the lockdown, there could be more pain ahead if Queensland opens its border too early. Even though New South Wales and Victoria borders remain open to one another, they are the worst affected states. On the Darling Downs, where I live, we have not had a COVID-19 case for over 40 days. I do not want to see…

  • Enjoying our COVID-19 recreational drive.
    Out and About

    Our COVID-19 recreational drive

    After hearing the news we could take a recreational drive up to 50 kilometres, we planned our first post COVID-19 outing. My One & Only (O&O), Matt and I talked about where we would go. As the topic a few days earlier had been around fishing spots near Toowoomba we decided to go to Lake Cooby (37 kms away). The lake is stocked with silver perch, golden perch, and Murray cod. We wanted to check out if this was a good place for my O&O and Matt to hook a fresh fish dinner. On Wednesday morning we were extremely excited about the outing, a longer trip than the few kilometres…