Australian

Turning 90

Today I am inspired by ageing. I know you are probably thinking that it is a funny thing to find inspiring  but if you age well there is much to be inspired by. This all stems from my attendance at a 90th birthday party yesterday. The gentleman who was celebrating his birthday is an inspiration. If I am like him at 90 I will be pleased.

He still has a great sense of humour, something I imagine helps one to accept that they are ageing.

He still attends the gym, something that certainly contributes to good health.

He still looks after the Church garden, something that gives him a great sense of contribution to a community he is proud to be a part of.

He still travels, although last year he didn’t renew his passport conceding that he is too old to travel outside Australia. Actually he admits he doesn’t feel he is too old but the insurance companies think otherwise.

He can still hold an intelligent conversation, something that keeps him connected with many of different generations.

There is also inspiration to be found in what he has seen in 90 years. If one reflects on what has happened not just in his personal life in his 90 years of living but in the world, there is much to gain inspiration from.

The changes in technology in his 90 years is incrediable. His great grandchildren take the television, the computer, the internet and the mobile phone for granted.  They would find it very difficult to imagine how their great grandfather entertained himself at their age.

His grandchildren have always bought their bread and milk from a shop. They can’t imagine a horse and cart delivering these everyday commodoties to their home.

 

The most inspirational thing is that he is happy and able to share these experiences and all with a smile. He will proudly tell you why he has chosen certain plants for the Church garden. He will laugh when he tells you about pumping weights at the gym. He will have a wicked grin when he tells you a joke.

He will share stories about collecting manure  from the delivery horses to sell to gardeners.  He will tell you about all the billy carts he built and rode.

He is 90. He has lived a full and eventful life. He has aged well. He is an inspiration.

 

The Mighty Sea

Today I am inspired by the mighty sea.

Last week I spent a few days at Dalmeny on the south coast of New South Wales. It is a place I have visited often, in fact on average, twice a year for the last 24 years! It is a beautiful coastal hamlet with two glorious long beaches perfect for walking on and one small beach perfect for taking time out to reflect.

The mighty sea and wind were at their angriest the week before my last visit. A huge storm travelled down the east coast of Australia. Winds battered the coast, waves swept in with a mighty force. As if that wasn’t enought there was also a king tide. It was as if nature and the mighty sea were saying “look at me.”

Whilst in Dalmeny my husband and I took a walk along a 2km stretch from the small beach to the boat ramp. I was inspired by the waves crashing in and the whirlpools created by their force. This was a normal winter’s day. No king tide or storm, just waves crashing onto the coastline.

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The mighty sea stirs so many emotions. It can be fierce and frightening. It can be calm and reflective. Quiet or loud. On this day the sea was strong and bold. It was powerful. It was mesmerizing. The white peaks were fresh. The whirlpools were crazy. It was inspiring and fascinating. I was at times standing there totally mesmerized by the beauty and power of the sea.

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The storm and king tide have left an impact on the coast line. The small beach perfect for taking time out to reflect is now sandless. The king tide and storm have stolen all the sand and left sharp edged rocks in its place. Trees along the edge of the beaches are flattened or swept back against the face of their protective cliffs. Bits of trees are scattered on the beach. New rock pools have formed. Cunji, seaweed and sea urchins are lying hopeless amongst the rocks.

All of it a reminder of the storm and king tide. All of it a reminder of the power and wonderment of the sea and nature. All of it inspiring.

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Brothers Angels and Demons

Today I am inspired by a gig I attended on Saturday night: Brothers Angels and Demons.

It’s probably best I give you a little bit of background. I am a huge fan of the rock band The Angels. The first of their concerts I attended was in February 1981, the last time I saw them was in 2010.

Their lead singer was Doc Neeson. A charasmatic, mad Irishman who was the best front man ever (IMHO)! He left The Angels in 2010 to be replaced by singer Dave Gleeson, a singer I have never been a big fan of, hence why I haven’t seen the band in recent times. Sadly in 2014 Doc passed away after fighting brain cancer for 17 months.

The Angels were formed by Doc and the Brewster brothers, John and Rick. They had great chemistry on stage and wrote brilliant songs including this one.

 

John and Rick are the third generation of professional musicians in the Brewster family, however the first to play rock music! John’s son Sam is now a member of The Angels. So basically there are four generations of the family celebrating and enjoying music in the professional arena.

Because this band have always  inpsired me and given me much music pleasure I wanted to see this show. It has toured in Adelaide (their home town) and Sydney several times but only one other time to Melbourne. On that occassion I couldn’t attend. This time around I was determined not to miss the show.

Brothers Angels and Demons is the story of the Brewster family’s musical journey. With an MC to ask questions and prompt story telling, John and Rick share stories about their grandfather and father, about learning classical music and discovering Bob Dylan. Stories about writing songs with Doc, about nearly giving up on a music career and the highs of success. All of it very inspiring. They also share music.  The music includes a classical piece written by their grandfather, improvised music from their first professional band The Moonshine Jug and String Band, songs they co-wrote for The Angels and for their Brewster Brothers CD and songs that have inspired them.

Performing in this brilliant show with John and Rick are John’s three sons Sam, Tom and Harry. An inspirational show of a talented family who clearly not only enjoy music but appreciate what a great opportunity it has given them. If you are a fan of The Angels or simply Australian rock music, then see this show. It will inform. It will inspire. You will enjoy.

 

THE BEEKEEPER’S SECRET

Today I am inspired by a lovely Australian book, The Beekeeper’s Secret by Josephine Moon.

Josephine Moon is an Australian writer who loves writing, to quote her, Foodie Literature. Her previous two novels are The Tea Chest and Chocolate Promise, also books that I can recommend.

The Beekeeper’s Secret is set in Queensland and is a tale of guilt, love, reunions, The Catholic Church and bees. Maria is the beekeeper living and managing a retreat whose profits are used to fund an orphanage in Cambodia. Maria, an ex nun, is enstranged from her family. Tansy, her niece, tracks her down and is determined to reunite her aunt with the family. But of course it is not all straight foward. In getting to know Maria, Tansy learns of her Aunt’s past, of her secret and her guilt, all whilst she is coming to terms with  some big decisions she and her husband need to make.

I love Josephine’s novels and this one did not disappoint. Josephine has a talent of bringing her love of food to literature. She researches her topics well, in this case bees. I did not read this book expecting to learn a great deal about bees, but that became an added bonus to this lovely story.

 

If one of Josephine’s goals in writing this book was to inspire her readers to be more interested and concerned about bees, then she has been succesful, with this reader at least!

Magda Szubanski

Today I am inspired by Magda Szubanski and her beautiful memoir Reckoning.

Magda is well known in Australia for her comic work, paricularly as Sharon in the TV series Kath and Kim. Reckoning is her first book. This memoir is not just Magda’s story but also the story of her Polish father, in particular his life in Warsaw during World War II.

It is inspiring to read a memoir that is not a celebrity gush or gossip feast. As one podcaster said recently it is more of an Australian story than a celebrity story.

Her frankness about her struggle with her own sexuality, her weight and her father’s past are refreshing and insightful.

If you are a fan of Magda’s you will enjoy this book. If you enjoy celebrity gossip then this book is not for you. If you are interested in Australian stories then this is a must. If you have an interest in World War II history then this will feed your hunger for knowledge.

Leap : A great read

What inspires me today is a fantastic Australian book that I recently read. The book is Leap by Myfanwy Jones. This beautifuly written novel is set in Melbourne Australia. It deals with the topic of grief and the leaps taken to cope with loss to be able to move forward in life.

The two main characters are grieving the same person, the young Jen. The leaps the two characters take are different. They are complex but also simple.

The most inspirational aspect of this novel is how it has me still thinking about it days after completing it. Every now and then I am reminded of the story, of the characters and find myself wondering where their next leap has taken them.

I highly recommend this book.

Here Comes The Sun

Today I am inspired by Jeremy Oxley and Mary Oxley Griffiths and their book “Here comes the sun”. Jeremy Oxley is the lead singer of Australian rock group The Sunnyboys. Mary is his wife. In the 1980’s at the age of 22, Jeremy was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He went through some harrowing experiences with the mental health services and of course his own mental health.

Mary had been widowed for 5 years, working as a nurse when she met Jeremy. With the encouragement of her twin boys Mary pursued a relationship with Jeremy after she had discovered he was unwell.

I am inspired by her strength, her dedication, her patience and love to help Jeremy believe in himself again and eventually be confident enough to take to the stage again.

I am inspired by his strength, his resilience and his honesty.

The book is well written. If you are a fan of The Sunnyboys you will find it inspiring and interesting. If you are interested in mental health issues you will find it inspiring and interesting. If you believe in the power of love, patience and resilience you will enjoy this book.

Theatres of War Exhibition

Today I am inspired by The Theatres of War Exhibition currently  being held at the Victorian Arts Centre, StKilda Rd Melbourne.

 

The content of the exhibition is varied. Programs and posters of shows held in Australia to raise funds, clothing worn by people such as Kylie Mingoue, Doc Neeson, Patti Newton. Photos and letters telling stories of war and entertainment.

One thing that struck me in particular was a story the curator’s included with the program of the Vienna Mozart Boys Choir 1939. The choir had been touring Australia and were waiting in Fremantle, Western Australia to leave the country when War was announced. The choir master was interned in an internment camp and the boys were considered to be War Aliens. They were taken under the care of Catholic Archbishop Daniel Mannix and formed the nucleus of the St Patrick’s Cathedral choir in Melbourne. This story alone has inspired me to conduct some research to discover if the boys ever returned to Vienna.

Much of the content inspires the public to read about war history. The conditions back home and why entertainment was such a pivotal part of fundraising for the soldiers. The history of war zone entertainment. Which countries provided entertainment and how did this service start?

Finally I am inspired by the performers themselves, from opera singer  Dame Nellie Melba to pop sensation  Kylie Minogue. Rock star  Doc Neeson to comedians Hamish and Andy and many many more entertainers. These people provided their talent as a service during wartime but above all they basically risked their lives to enter war zones to bring some light relief and fun into the lives of the soldiers.  That’s inspirational.

My Mother-in-law

Today I am writing to you about my beautiful Mother-in-law, who sadly lost her life just over 2 weeks ago. She was an inspiration in so many ways but especially through the love she gave and her ability to cope with change.

Sixty years ago her and my father-in-law sailed from the familiar shores of England to a far off land, they knew very little about. They traveled to Australia with three young children with the determination to make the most of the opportunities promised in this country that would enable their children to have a plentiful life. I cannot imagine how frightening it must have been to sail away, knowing you were leaving, not only a familiar place but family and friends, that you were starting a new life in a young country with a climate dramatically different to what you were used to and no extended family to lean on. But she did. They all did and they not only coped, they thrived.

My mother-in-law has had to cope with the change that losing loved ones brings. Tragically her only daughter was taken away in a fatal car accident when she had just reached adult hood. The lose was great, the pain of her broken heart and grief with her always but she did cope. She thrived on the memories of a wonderful daughter, a happy girl/lady who was popular, hard working and beautiful. She missed her for the rest of her living days but learnt in time that life must go on.

When she lost her husband just a few months before their 70th wedding anniversary, we did not know how she would cope. Theirs was a solid love, a beautiful love of admiration and respect, their marriage one of the traditional roles of wife cooks and cleans, the husband works hard and keeps the garden neat. Of course her grief was heavy. There were nights when she cried herself to sleep but she did cope with this change, living in the family home right up until just 5 months before her own departure from this world.

My mother-in-law had health issues but rarely complained. She had aches and pains that occasionally warranted a moan but she shrugged and said “What can you do, it’s age I suppose.” She smiled whenever she saw us arrive in the driveway. Greeted us with the biggest hug and a cup of tea.

An inspiration to the end and continues to be each time I think of her and all the love and kindness she gave and the determination to make it through life’s changes. R.I.P.

The Palais Theatre StKilda

The Palais Theatre in the Melbourne beach side suburb of St Kilda is an inspirational beautiful old building in much need of some tender loving care. The local council and state government need to commit millions of dollars to save this theatre.

Windows need replacing, the external structure needs repairing, the exterior needs resealing, it needs fire protection works and much, much more! The I Love My Palais campaign has had two major boosts this week. On Wednesday night Mick Jagger made mention of the campaign at the Rolling Stones Melbourne concert and today it has been announced that musician Tex Perkins is a candidate for the state election in 3 weeks, with his main platform of concern being The Palais Theatre restoration.

Many musicians and music industry people live in the St Kilda area and many have performed at this inspirational art deco theatre. I have been to many performances there including shows by Australian rock band The Angels, American legend Bruce Springsteen and English pop singer Leo Sayer to name a few. I have seen the Jon English Rock Show, The Rockwiz Christmas show, Pirates of Penzance and attended the Countdown Rock Awards in the Palais. The Palais has suited all beautifully.

It would be a shame to lose such an iconic theatre. It would be a shame to lose such an historical building. It would be a shame to lose such an inspirational venue. The powers who are in control of money distribution need to see beyond today. They need to look back at what this theatre has provided. They need to look back at its past beauty. They need to look forward to what it can provide. They need to look forward at how beautiful it can once again look. They need to see the need to fund the repairs through the eyes of investment. To fund the repairs is an investment. More shows in the theatre equates to more money not just to the owners but to all the businesses surrounding the theatre. The restaurants, the bars and the carparks.

Tex Perkins is today an inspiration. He is prepared to stand up for an iconic building. He can see the value of restoring it. He has been inspired and will inspire.

palais wikipedia photo sourced from Wikipedia