Kate’s mate

When I was little girl, we lived next door to my maternal Nan and my Auntie (we called her ‘Dig’). Dig worked at a nearby factory.  Every day around 7am and again at 3pm the factory whistle screamed the start and end of the working day and everyone in town would hear it.  When the afternoon whistle blew, I knew that Dig would be home soon and I would run next door to my Nan’s place, stand on the gate and wait for her to come walking up the lane.  On most afternoons before I was old enough to go to school and on weekends I would help Dig with household chores such as gardening, chopping wood, and anything that needed to be done around her and my Nan’s home.  Tammy was the family dog for most of my childhood and she was always hanging around us to keep us company while we worked away in the garden. 

Dig would always say as she walked up the lane towards me, standing on the garden gate – “Kate sat on the garden gate, waiting for her little Mate”.  For Dig’s 80th Birthday I finished her little ditty with the following poem to celebrate the most memorable and wonderful time of my life – spending it with my special Mate.  I knew when I wrote this poem that one day I would read it at her funeral, that day arrived on the 11 May 2016. 

Kate’s mate

Kate sat on the garden gate
Waiting for her little mate
Up the lane she’d come each day
Kate would scream a loud haray

Soon as Mate walked through the gate
She was working with little Kate
Chop the wood and stack the pile
Gather veges once in a while

Then Nan would say its tea time
And Kate would duck next door
Until tomorrow arvo comes
And Kate came back for more

The weekend came
And Kate would know
That back to work Mate didn’t go
And Kate would start the game

Kate snuck next door and jumped in bed
And Mate would wake and shake her head
Get up, get up little Mate
We’ve got to fix the garden gate

Nan would cook em breakfast
And they’d go outside to work
They’d mow the lawn and trim the trees
Til Tammy went beserk

Monday came, the whistle blew
And Mate went off to work
Come 3 o’clock and Kate just knew
Where she would have to lurk

Kate’d be on the garden gate
Waiting for her little Mate
Soon as Mate walked through the gate
She was working with little Kate


 Loved forever, forgotten never!

A Friday wif me daawder

I arrived at my daughter’s house on Friday at 5pm, the time she said she’d be at home.  As I arrived she called to let me know her watch stopped and she was working to an earlier time, therefore she’d be 20 minutes late.

Although I don’t have a key, the neighbour does and he also had my granddaughter as he picked her up along with his kids from school. So I got the spare set of keys and my granddaughter and I made myself at home until my daughter arrived with my grandson who was a child care.

Before I go on with my story I need to point out that my daughter is a highly strung perfectionist, with the emphasis on highly strung.  She has little patience and doesn’t like deviating from her organised plan when it comes to the kids.

My granddaughter Matilda and I were chatting about her weekly routine of school, dancing and swimming when her mother arrived home with Charlie.  Charlie, who’s three,  held out his arms for a big hug and kiss which is always welcoming and not always expected from my emotional little man.  My daughter’s greeting consisted of a quick ‘hi’ whereby she immediately launched into organising dinner.

Unlike my three kids who ate almost everything, never ever turned back a meal unless they were sick,  Charlie is something else. It’s a meal time battle ground every night, or at least every night I’m around. Charlie won’t eat anything other than chicken wings and rice and of course chocolate and lollies which he doesn’t get often so essentially he almost doesn’t eat, something that frustrates me no end.

Therefore, mealtimes at my daughters end up in a yelling match with Charlie who refuses to eat and after 15 minutes of crying, yelling and sending him to his room  he finally and begrudgingly ends up at the dinner table picking what he likes from his plate all the while pulling a face like it’s going to poison him.  In the meantime, my daughter is cranky and explains her mood started the minute she picked up a naughty Charlie from child care and of course her mood only exacerbated with the food battle.

Not to inflame the situation, I sat quietly at dinner while the food battle was raging. It would only take a single word to blow my daughter right out of the ball park but my daughter knows that my silence indicates that I’m holding back my opinion, which I was but decided to shut well and truly up.

To alleviate the situation, after dinner I bathed and dressed the kids which gave my daughter some time to relax and calm down – but not for long.

It was Friday night and the kids are allowed to stay up a little later to watch a DVD, and to my pleasant surprise it was Mary Poppins. I loved this movie when I was little and was happy to share the experience with my Grand children.

I should also mention that earlier in the evening, prior to the food battle, Matilda talked me into letting her to sleep with me.  I’m not too keen on the idea as I love to sleep on my own but she looks at me with her big wide expecting blue eyes so how can I say no.

As the movie neared to an end my daughter reminded the kids their bedtime was looming. Matilda announced she was sleeping with me.  Now forgive me for thinking I should be applauded for being a loving Nanni who gives in to such requests but on the contrary I got myself a dressing down for allowing such a thing and the reasons given included:

  1. What about Charlie?
  2. I shouldn’t upset Matilda’s sleeping routine.

Firstly I’d already made a pack with Charlie that he could sleep with me next time but the little bugger played up none-the-less citing the unfairness of not being able to sleep with me which of course added fuel to my daughter’s wonderful mood  –  I just can’t win sometimes and this was certainly one of those times.

A Mother’s gift, my gift

There is too much to write about one’s mother, so here is the tip of the iceberg…

It is amazing to think you have been there for me from the moment I was born until now when you read my gift. Not only have you been there physically, your presence in my life has been more than just a mother.  You are my best friend.

You know all of my thoughts without an explanation. You comforted me when my heart was broken. You have nursed me to good health when I have been sick (even when my sickness was self induced and against your wishes).

You have seen me through each year and every special moment in my life, acting not only as a mother and protector but also a friend to share my joy.  You have shown me how to push myself to achieve everything I could ever need or want.

Your strength has made me into the person I am today and if it wasn’t for you, I don’t know where I would be.  Your drive and direction has lead all of us. No one could ask for a better mother and I only hope I can one day be half the mother you have been.

I tried to pinpoint events or things that remind me of you, but I don’t need to be reminded. I think of you every day and smile.

All that lies beneath the water’s surface is too precious for words and can only be expressed in the love I have for you.

I love you Mum




This lovely letter was written by my beautiful daughter long before she was married and long before she became a mother. And I can say she has turned out to be a wonderful mother and a wonderful human being. Everything she writes here I can easily apply in return because she is to me what I am to her.

Like three peas in a pod

Last Sunday my daughter, son-in-law and two grand-kids picked me up so we could visit my furniture designer.  My daughter got into the back seat in-between the kids, my son-in-law didn’t know where to go so I popped into the driver’s seat and away we went. We were happily chatting about design ideas for my daughter’s bedroom when all of a sudden a stupid women decided that my lane looked more appealing. I think she had the idea that she was the only one on the road and therefore didn’t give any warning about her move into ‘my’ lane.

Needless to say I was rather upset by her lack of driving skills and given my propensity to swearing profusely, especially when under the influence of road rage, I began to launch into my usual barrage of profanities using all my favourites such as the ‘f’ word and depending on the driving offence at hand, the ‘c’ word is another favourite. I must add here that all this is done within the confines of my car, so no one is the wiser.  Before I got my favourite words out, I realised that my impressionable grand-kids were behind me.  Immediately I stopped and finished the sentence with “you damn idiot”.  Feeling rather unsatisfied because I couldn’t finish what I really wanted to say, I finished the rantings with mumblings under my breath.  I looked over at my son-in-law for sympathy but all I was presented with was a look of surprise followed by the rolling of his eyes.  “What?” I asked.  “Like two peas in a pod” was his reply.

Now this is not the first time my son-in-law has had this same surprised look or uttered the old English saying, like two peas in a pod, which dates back as far as the 16th Century.  I think the look of surprise is when he realises yet another instance where my daughter and I show remarkable similarities.

No sooner did he utter the words when my daughter followed through with “look into the future, Mum’s just me twenty years older”, then she launched into an infectious giggle which I immediately caught and so did my son-in-law.  After a moment or two I stopped giggling and said “what’s wrong with that?” which only inflamed the giggle session.

I’m sure at the end of the day, my son-in-law is bestowing a compliment on me. We’ll that’s how I see it anyway.

Like I mentioned, there have been many occasions my son-in-law has given the same look and has uttered the same thing. He’s even said many times that me, my daughter and grand-daughter are like three peas in a pod.

I must admit the similarities aren’t lost of me either. Sometimes I feel like I’m watching a re-run of my life and thankfully that’s not a bad thing.  And the older my daughter gets the more she’s turning into me and the older my grand-daughter gets I see my daughter at that age doing, saying and acting the same way.

And I can’t finish this blog without mentioning my two sons who I have watched turn into their fathers.  My eldest son is the spitting image of his dad and that’s great because his dad died and I’m so lucky to watch his legacy live on in our son. My youngest son looks, walks and thinks like his dad and luckily for him, his dad’s pretty cool.

And then there’s my beautiful baby grandson, who reminds me so much of his uncle (my eldest son) and in turn reminds me of my eldest son’s dad. As I’m sure my son-in-law’s mother sees similarities between the generations as well.

It’s comforting to know that our legacies are being passed down the generations and from what I see of my kids and grand-kids, it’s one to be proud of even if the legacy includes the odd occurrence of road rage, albeit road rage no one ever hears or sees unless you’re in the same car, as my son-in-law can testify too.