Brisbane, QLD

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


New South Wales
Tasmania  (borrowed from the web)
South Australia
Western Australia
Northern Territory

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Continuing My Story

When we were living in Switzerland in 1970, we drove to England to visit where I was born and where I lived. When it was time to return to Switzerland we booked the car onto a Bristol aeroplane from Lydd to Le Torquet. Bill wasn't taking any chances of me throwing up on the Channel Ferry again. It was a bumpy flight as we were very low but it only took 20 mins.There were 3 cars and five passengers. They were all Swiss. One of them offered to show us a quick way through Paris. So we followed him and we kept driving all day, only stopping for lunch and tea. On the border of France and Switzerland it was snowing. I was excited to see snow again after such a long time, but it was difficult to drive in it. However, we arrived home in Thun near Bern at 10:00pm.
The snow was covering the mountains around Bill's town and they looked awesome
We drove up to Beatenberg where the snow was deeper than in town. I was laughing at the snow on the bench.I had fun playing in the snow and throwing it at Bill, who was bemused at my excitement. He was more concerned about us being able to drive through the Alps to get to Italy and the ship to take us back to Australia.

We had another month in Switzerland. Bill went back to work. He had been given a casual job before we went to England. I went shopping with my in-laws for warm clothes.We did a lot of last minute sight seeing and saying goodbyes to friends and relatives.

Soon the sad day came when we must say goodbye to Mutter and Vater. It was hard for them as Bill is their only child and he was going to live in Australia on the other side of the world.

With the car packed to the roof with our newly acquired belongings we set of for Kanderstag in the mountains where we were putting the car on a train to go through the Alps to  Domodossola in northern Italy. We didn't have chains and only summer tyres because we knew we weren't staying so we were worried about making it up to the station.

I heaved a sigh of relief when the station came into view. I was also struck by the beauty of the snow/ice in the trees. 

We drove the car onto the train and opted to stay in the car as Bill was concerned about getting our gear stolen in Italy.  It wasn't a good move as we nearly froze because we couldn't turn the engine on.We both snuggled under my Kangaroo fur coat but still shivered all the way.

We drove to Genoa staying overnight in Domodossola on the way. I remember trucks trundling past our window all night. It was much warmer though. Bill was worried about someone breaking into the car.We were a day early for the ship departure so we stayed in a hotel .

We were excited when we saw the Marconi at the dock. We found our trunk we had sent ahead and got it and the car loaded onto the ship. After a long wait we finally got on board and found our cabin. However, we were informed that we were not sailing for another 24 hours due to a strike. So with some other Aussie and Swiss passengers we walked into town and had a meal.The next morning we did the same for breakfast and we spent the day walking and walking around Genoa. The next day we set sail for sunny Australia.

Monday, January 18, 2016


Back in 2002 I attended a college reunion, the first in 40 years. We rekindled many old friendships. We have kept in contact with Peter and Margaret from the Hunter Vally, NSW and Ros and Dennis from north Brisbane. Peter and Margaret came to stay with us for a few days.The first day it rained so we went to the movies as they love the movies. We saw "Suffragette" It was a good show. Amazing what women went through in England to get the vote. I had no idea it was so brutal.
The next day it was very hot and humid so we went to the Gallery of Modern Art at the Cultural centre.
We had lunch at the State Library Cafe and then walked through the library to the Gallery. It is school holidays so there were many children enjoying the cultural activities provided for them.
This was one of my favourite installations. It is by Min Thein Sung from Myanmar.

I also liked this huge construction made from timber collected from demolition sites around Brisbane. It was created by Asim Waqif an architect. The installation is embedded with electronic sounds of building construction and encourages interaction.

The next day we went on a City cat ride up and down the Brisbane River, stopping at South Bank for lunch.

Historic Newstead House Gardens and Breakfast Creek 


Soon it was time to take Peter and Margaret to Ros and Dennis' house where they will stay for a few days too.
They have a beautiful house with a huge deck area and acres of land.

We all had a delicious lunch overlooking the geese on the pond.

It is great to keep in touch with old friends. Peter, Dennis and I were at college together in 1962/3
Bill, me, Peter, Margaret, Ros and Dennis.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Continuing My Story

It was 1970 and we were living in Switzerland but we went to England to visit my old home, where I was born, my relatives and my parent's friends.

We put our car in for a service and then we did a lot of sight seeing in London by bus and tube. It was fun finding our way around. We went to Madam Tussaud's Waxworks, the National Museum and Earls Court. 

We found our way to Forest Gate by train to visit my only remaining grandparent. When I left England 21 years before, I said goodbye to my four grandparents when I was six, and never saw them again. Now that I'm a grand parent, I realise how hard that must have been, especially for my Dad's parents because he was an only child. 

Well here we were at my Dad's Mum's house. She opened the door and said," I don't know who you are but come in anyway." I started to explain who I was but soon became aware that she had dementia and was very confused about who I was. The closest she got was that she thought I was her son's wife. It was so sad. In 1965 when my parents returned home for the first time in 15 years my dad had tried to get his mum to come to Australia but she refused and just wanted to stay in her own home. So he organised social workers to take care of her. She also had church members check on her. However, she would open the door for anyone and some people had stolen many of her belongings. There were still photos of me in frames but she still didn't know who I was. We sadly said goodbye and caught a bus to South Woodford to where I used to live.

My Granny's house was the next one along past the lamp post. Its fun to look up Google Map's Street View  now and see how it looks today.

This is Eagle House where I lived in the top floor flat. Just recently my blog friend Marie visited the house as part of her "Above the Underground" challenge. You can see her post here: South Woodford

When we got our car back we drove to Ascot to meet a friend of Bill's mother. Marianne was a Swiss Au Pair for the Pulimbo family who lived in this mansion. The owners were not home so Marianne took us for a tour through this magnificent house. We were blown away by the gold taps, the opulent furniture and the art works. She showed us where the queen had been entertained.

We motored on to Windsor Castle and did a tour of the State Apartments. Once again we were impressed with the paintings.We went on to visit Stratford on Avon and then back to the hotel. Where we rang my mother's best friend in Burnley. We left the next morning to travel to the north country and stay with Mum's friends, May and Charles.

After staying in Burnley for a few days we went on to the Lake district which is such a beautiful area. I loved the houses made from stones.

 In Yorkshire I contacted my Uncle Gil. He apologised for not being able to put us up as they were renovating so he took us to a posh hotel in Doncaster instead. We had a lovely dinner and a long chat.
The next day I was excited to visit Newmiller Dam, where my mother grew up and Wakefield, where I was born. So we had a look around Wakefield  and then went to the dam. My mother used to swim in summer  and skate in winter here.
I couldn't remember where my granny's house had been. My parents told me it had been knocked down to build an estate.

We drove back to London, stopping at Woburn House for a tour. It was the home of the 13th Duke of Bedford. The grounds were beautiful.

Back in London we continued exploring. We visited Hyde Park  and got a shock when we were asked to pay to sit in a deck chair.

In the afternoon we went to Greenwich and  visited the Cutty Sark and Gypsie Moth yachts. We walked through the park to the observatory and stood on the Meridian 0°Longitude.

I contacted more friends of my mother's, Edie and Percy who took us to Chartwell House. The house where Winston Churchill lived, which is a museum now.

They also took us to see Penshurst House in Kent . I loved the architecture of the old houses.
I was very happy to have been able to visit my homeland but I was also happy to be returning to live in Australia. I didn't feel English, I felt Australian.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Continuing My Story

We had been living in Switzerland for three months when Bill decided that he wanted to return to Australia to live. I didn't need any convincing as I realised it would be much easier for me to work in Australia and also much easier to buy our own home. It would cost millions to buy a house in Switzerland. Bill also found the lay back, fun loving, friendly Australians were easier to work with than his Swiss counterparts. We wanted to take back our new car so we made a booking on the Italian ship the Marconi for the 24th November. That was another three months away. 
In the meantime we had promised Bill's mother to take her to England with us. (His Dad didn't want to come). She had never been there. I was keen to return to my homeland and see the places where I was born and where I had lived. It was 21 years since I had migrated to Australia as a seven year old.

We bundled Mutti into the car with a few suitcases and off we drove through Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium. We stayed in Brussels for the night.
Cologne, Germany

The Atomium, Brussels (built for the World Expo,
 there was a restaurant at the top).
 In the morning we drove to Oostend to catch the ferry across the Channel to Dover. We had to wait a while and I was hungry. The only thing on offer at the dock was fast food. I bought a greasy sausage. (Bad decision) The crossing was very rough. The ferry was slamming down and soaring up over the choppy waves. It wasn't long before I felt ill and the sausage and I parted company. I was so embarrassed, I had never been sea sick before. We drove from Dover into London. Mutti was excited, Bill was hungry and I was seedy. It took us a while to find St James Hotel no GPS then.

We took a tour bus to show Mutti the sights of London. We saw Piccadilly Circus,

 and Trafalgar Square.

 Back then, it was the thing to do, to feed the pigeons. 

 The queen's guards at Whitehall.

 We saw the jewels in the Tower of London and watched the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.

We visited 10 Downing St and the houses of parliament.

Bill's mum had to return to work in Switzerland and we arranged for her to fly back. We took her to Heathrow Airport where we discovered there was a security alert because it was when planes had been hijacked. So we were not able to see her board the plane. We were worried because she hadn't flown before and she didn't speak English. Later that day we rang Bill's Dad, who said she hadn't arrived. Panic. We learnt that the plane had been delayed two hours.That night we rang again and we were relieved to hear that she was home. 
Now we had a lot of England to see and many friends and relatives to meet in the next two weeks.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


We visited our friends new home at Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane. They have moved into an over 50's Gateway Lifestyle community and we went to see what it was like. We were pleasantly surprised. They have a nice three bedroom house with ensuite and everything they need. Their deck looks over parkland and a lagoon.

We walked across the road to the river.

It was a dull day and looked like rain any minute.

We stayed overnight and played cards. In the morning we couldn't go walking and exploring because it was raining heavily. So we sat on the deck and played more cards and looked at the pretty back yard.
The rain was dancing on the lagoon.

Soon we had to make our way home. It poured heavy rain all the way. It was an awful drive home.