• 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 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…

  • KJ's Kitchen,  Life Matters

    Cabin Fever and COVID-19

    Spending too much time alone or confined indoors can bring on cabin fever. The term cabin fever is not a medically diagnosed illness, however it is a recognised condition. The lockdown we are experiencing in our homes due to COVID-19, apart from going out for essential services, can bring on cabin fever. I believe most of us are aware of the importance of following the COVID-19 regulations, including social distancing, to keep us all safe from the virus. That is, apart from the young woman at the supermarket, when I asked my One & Only (O&O) to step back at the checkout, told me it was all a load of…

  • Life Matters

    The coronavirus classroom: Cardinal George Pell

    We are all part of a social experiment due to the coronavirus (Covid-19). Our lives have significantly changed. Living in a free-market, capitalist society, we could always choose how to live our daily lives. But this choice has been taken away by the coronavirus. We do not know what will be our ‘new normal’ that is weeks, months or a year away. Given our new way of living is this an opportunity for learning? For me, I feel like I have been placed in the coronavirus classroom – a new place of learning. All of us, in our digital age, have an opportunity to acquire new skills. There are self-help…

  • Life Matters,  Self-Sufficiency

    And the birds still sing

    There have been many changes in our lives over the past couple of months and we are all making adjustments to life – at home. Despite this, some things remain the same. The other morning when I awoke I heard the sweet melody of birds outside the bedroom window. The birds continue on with their lives as usual. They are unaffected by COVID-19. They have no restrictions on their activities. And yes, the birds still sing. What’s up these Easter holidays As the birds still sing, others across the world are joining in, singing. Well known entertainers are live streaming their songs and encouraging others to ‘hang in’ during the…

  • Life Matters,  Out and About

    Courage mingled with vulnerabilities (CV)

    What a difference a few months can make. No longer do we have control over where we go and what we do. The coronavirus, COVID-19, CV for short, is controlling us. I am now controlled by the government and the rules of movement and social behaviour. But I do not mind, these are in place for my protection and to protect those I love. Therefore, I have to face the world with another form of CV – courage mingled with my vulnerabilities. The level of control and the change CV has bought into my life was evident to me yesterday when we visited the pharmacy and the supermarket. We arrived…

  • Life Matters,  Live Simply to Simply Live

    Welcome to our world

    About 30 years ago my One & Only (O&O) and I travelled to Sydney from Brisbane to catch up with my mother (Valma) and the new man in her life (Kelvin). My father had passed away. Some years ago, I wrote an article about Valma and Kelvin and how they married 44 years after they first met.  Believing they were too young as 20-year old’s for a serious relationship, Kelvin’s mother hid Valma’s letter from him. He was heart-broken, but he had to get on with his life. When Valma spoke to Kelvin on the phone over four decades later she said to him ‘you broke my heart.’ While both…

  • Health Matters,  Life Matters

    Flowering gums and flying foxes

    I am fortunate to live in a treed area in Toowoomba with flowering gums. They are tall and stately trees mostly found in the bush, but one is in the corner of our backyard. There are also a few other trees nearby on neighbouring properties. Where we live was developed around 30 years ago and many mature trees were preserved. We bought our home in February 2016 but did not move in until a few months later. One night in February we stayed overnight (air mattress). My sleep was disturbed by what I thought was possums moving around at night. Life went on and it did not occur to me…

  • Life Matters


    Martin Luther King Jr said ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Injustice comes to most of us in many varying forms as part of our life journey. But we have to rise above it. We must never give up. We are all born with the ability to rise above adversity. Nothing more to say today, I said it all in my book of 90,000 words published last year.