Magical Memory Maker

Magical Memory Maker



Once upon a time in Brisbane

there was a little worker’s cottage in a suburb called Murarrie,
where a grandma with big bear hugs squeezed the air from little chests,
and ginger nut bikkies and ginger ale were devoured
by knobbly kneed kids, unaccustomed to such delights.

This Grandma was a magical memory maker
and cast her spell on all her grandchildren
so that one day they would also become magical memory makers.

She had ginger hair, turned grey, deftly brushed and restrained
with brown squiggly hairpins, into an abundant bun, always.
She was short and plump, but strong in arm and opinion.

A macadamia bush would greet us, alongside Grandma, at the front gate,
dark green and rich with nuts, more scattered on the grass
leathery casings with lips cracked open to reveal the shiny brown prize
the macadamia nut
eagerly collected by the grand kids, and placed carefully in a hole
in the cement three step staircase leading to Grandma’s kitchen.
Hammer smack.
don’t eat too many or you’ll get a tummy ache
wise words dismissed without delay by hungry children.

Running like crazy around yard and house
searching for new surprises,
close scrutiny of bookshelves was a must
scrabbling through the ever-changing hodge podge
collection of tattered paperbacks –
Biggles and Boys Own Annuals,
the three boys had grown and left home but the books wanted to stay.
Reading material was given, taken, returned, taken again –
an inter generational book merry-go-round.

Wood and glass cabinets were full of dust collectors, but
endlessly fascinating for the mind and eye of a child.
Old styled dressing table with large mirror, so full of stuff,
large hairbrushes, bobby pins, talcum powder,
dangling necklaces, jewellery boxes,
old fashioned perfume decanters –
perfume dispensed at the squeeze of a fabric covered air bubble,
yellow tinged formal photographs
of a long time ago
with Grandpa, black and white, and well dressed
for the annual photo of union leaders,
heading up the plasterers.

A pot belly fridge choking with ice
grumbled at the back of a tiny kitchen,
resenting little hands
opening and shutting,
opening and shutting
don’t let the hot air in.

Monstrous mango trees cooled the little Queenslanders
and protected skin, tin and timber from scorching rays.

A dilapidated wooden fence peeked out from under
the tight embrace of a mulberry bush,
the luscious fruit blushing.

A crooked, cracked pathway on a lumpy backyard
led to the outhouse,
one room backyard dunny
placed as far away from the house as the garden would allow.
A bucket of wood shavings beside the grim toilet was used to hide offerings.
Grandma would say discretely
I’m off to visit me Aunty
I’m going to drop a penny
when needing to go to the backyard dispensary
and I wondered where this lady was hidden, and what happened to the coins.
At night it was always wise to journey to the outhouse in pairs
hearts pounded fast, only slowing when safely back inside,
in front of the old black and white box television,

with alien antennae.

Grandma the cat lady
cats, cats and more cats,
there was the inner circle, her own cats,
and there was the outer circle,
the motley crew of strays,
diseased, skinny, mouldy cats
scary cats
the smell of dried and tinned cat food
competed with sunlight soap
for a place in our memories of
Grandma’s place.

Then there were the thick, putrid smells from the local tannery,

punishing our nostrils when the wind made a bad choice in direction,
hanging about like crows in the school yard
waiting for children to finish lunch.

A Westerly wind would answer our prayers
and the smell was gone,
replaced by freshly mown grass,
marble cake and tea.

Time spent at the gingerbread house,
under the spell of the magical memory maker,
weaved some magical memories indeed.


Paradise pre Federal Election (photos)

Paradise pre Federal Election (photos)

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The race is on Australia

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There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – so there!

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But the spring strawberries are ripening just fine 🙂

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The cumquat, lavender, bayleaf and rosemary patch is coming along sweet

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cumquat may

life goes on

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Buttons the calf will chew on the issues and ponderate the cruel nature inherent in life itself

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The alpacas are more concerned about the state of their hair on a windy day

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Merlin is getting very nervous with the approaching weekend.

Saturday is the annual shear for our alpacas, so get ready to say goodbye to the long locks (oh, and it’s the election #eek)

imagesphoto from googles images


Duck poem for Tessa

Duck poem for Tessa

muscovy duck (reduced)

The Muscovy Duck

Such a strange duck is the Muscovy
So different from the rest.
In terms of vocalisations
It doesn’t quite pass the test.

There’s no flashy quacking or squawking,
There’s not much noise at all.
They sound like a serial killer
Whispering threats in a lingering call.

There is, however, waddling,
Some splashing and displays,
Duck tail snapping and sibling slapping
In the flashiest of melees.

There’s splendiferous wing stretching,
There is tail feather shaking,
There is a flapping and a flopping
And of course duck bellyaching.

The boys are really quite big and fat
The girls are half the size,
It’s difficult to lift those bodies off the ground
And get them in the skies.

In fact, there is little flying done
In the life of a Muscovy duck,
They tend to twaddle and doddle
Like a lazy wuckenschmuck.


ps. For you my darling Tessa and the duck clan that wander our residence (of course). You will no doubt know the name of this duck in the photo – I’m completely confused about who is who 😉


odds and ends

odds and ends


First time Broccoli


Double Trouble – I’m the headless chook bottle feeding Raspberry and Pippin

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Sheba is very unimpressed with the ever increasing size of the pack (and her order in it 😉 )


Can you guess what this is?



Having some technical and other issues at the moment.

My PC is on the way out and needs to be replaced ASAP. It is literally falling apart.

My rural (even though we are only 10 minutes drive to a major town) internet connection is as slow as a wet week (and to make it worse my monthly download allowance has been reached – thanks to the kiddliewinks)

My email is not working so I have to use another computer to access my email! It is some sort of bug related to updates.

And most importantly, my brother Daniel has been very ill in hospital for the past week (though is now at home) and is having great difficulty eating and drinking because of  a chronic condition 😦

The good news is the kids are back at school and almost enjoying it 🙂

Elysian Fields in Autumn

Elysian Fields in Autumn

resized rainbow

Is that a wee leprechaun I see?

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Some of our Muscovy ducks (the ducklings joined them yesterday) 🙂

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Our bamboo forest (some would call it a windbreak 😉 )

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A leprechaun house that fell out of a tree!

resized Edgar Allen Poe

Our new Silkie rooster (Edgar Allen Poe) enjoying the company of his ladies (Snowy – the main gal, Vegemite, Henny Penny and Ms Eagle)

resized vege patch

My newly established vege patch (tomatoes,oregano, basil, capsicum, eggplant, silver beet, chives, lettuce etc.,)

Happy 10th Birthday Tessa

Happy 10th Birthday Tessa

Just seems like yesterday she was a bubba.

Here’s a reposted poem as we are very busy at the moment (I’ve promised to write her another poem 😉 ).

Baby Tessa

On the 12th day of November
Baby Tessa arrives in style.
She is different to her brother,
an alertness in her eyes.

Our gorgy, porgy, precious girl
with a warm bread smell about her.
Skin as soft as a pony’s nose
with squidgy toes and fingers.

Our Chooky-Do is lovely
and yummy enough to eat.
We tickle and make her giggle,
sprinkling kisses on her feet.

We bath and dry and hold her,
a delicate, scrumptious lump.
So warm and soft and sleepy,
milky breath and tummy plump.

Mummy sings a lullaby,
Her mummy sang to her.
‘Rock-a-bye baby …’ it goes,
Rolling through a sleepy blur.

Peaceful in a baby sling,
next to Daddy’s chest.
Enveloped in love and protectiveness
our blessed child at rest.


If you can’t

If you can’t

If you can’t

dodge them dodgems
bumper to bumper action.

If you can’t

dodge them birthdays
he’s 12, I’m 12 plus


If you can’t
beat them, join them,

If you can’t

let your hair down for a day
then you’re in the wrong lane,

move over,
I’m with the birthday kid,

If you can’t

race dodgems,
– then you can have your cake but can’t eat it.


It was Michael’s birthday on Friday and he turned twelve!

Happy birthday Michael xxxx

We’ve had the best few days (we’re making it a birthweek so it lasts a long time) and yesterday went on the dodgems – what a hoot (especially with all that loud music).


Kids as Captive Audience

Kids as Captive Audience

Kids as Captive Audience

School holidays are upon us! I don’t mind at all. I can sleep in; there are no lunches to make and no mad running around morning routine to get the kids prepared for school. There’s no homework to be negotiated (wrestled is the more apt descriptor) and the kids can relax and slowly strip away the horrors (according to them) of the school term.

Kids are great! They entertain and are entertained in turn.

One of the best things about having kids (according to the Book of Gabe) is that they are a veritable captive audience. This is no small thing and must be taken advantage of until children reach that period of life – teenager hood – when they transform into extra-terrestrials and parents put on the cloak of invisibility. But let’s not even go there yet!

Yes, let’s focus on the benefits of the captive audience. Kids are pretty much hanging around their parents for large chunks of time – being nurtured and what not. Take advantage of this time to annoy the hell out of them with spontaneous outburst of song and the telling of bad jokes. You can even throw in some totally embarrassing dance moves from the seventies or eighties, so they know that you were once hip to the groove man (oh dear).

I do these activities at every opportunity. Yes, singing is my forte (or they might say – Mum’s greatest weapon in the torture cabinet) and crazy dancing is a regular habit (with or without music). But I also can’t seem to help myself when it comes to targeting the kids with bad jokes and silly skits (including the use of ridiculous accents and actions).

It is important when torturing, ahem I mean entertaining the kids, that you utilise the favoured themes of the under thirteens. By this I mean the incorporation of poo, fart and bodily function themes into the stage repertoire. I will give you an example (this one popped out this morning 😉 ):

My dogs get fed at the same time each day and if I dare sleep past this time in the morning I will be woken to a cold dog nose persistently pushing into my arm or face. Sometimes I wake to two Labradoodle doggies just staring at me in forlorn fashion. What is wrong with pack leader – doesn’t she know our stomachs are empty and we haven’t been fed for days and days (or so it seems).

Sometimes the kids come in to watch Mum being harassed by hairy carnivores with bad breath! The kiddiewinks feed themselves breakfast and like to do their own thing in the morning, so are in no hurry for Mum to get up (in fact they prefer it that way; less supervision = more fun for kids). But they do enjoy the dog show.

I was trying to ignore these canine encouragements (while trying to get back to a nice dream I had been having) and suggested that Tessa might like to feed the beasties.

‘See how hungry Jazzy is Tessa. Do you think you could feed the dogs?’

Jazzy proceeds to start licking her furry posterior (in the under tail region to be precise).

‘Look, she has already started on the entree – residue of dog poo’, I said in bad French accent.

Tessa is now rolling around, laughing her head off. Michael is laughing and shaking his head.

See, captive audience – haha – take advantage while they are too young to escape.

Tessa also fed the dogs (what a darling daughter).

Kids are the best!


Andy the Great to the Rescue (Sheba goes missing)

Andy the Great to the Rescue (Sheba goes missing)

Andy the Great to the Rescue (Sheba goes missing) 😦

Yesterday was a shocker of a day! Stomach churning anxiety, fear, tears and constricting heart muscles were the order of the day for our family, including the dogs.

Sheba the chocolate (going grey) Labradoodle dandy dog went missing in action. This action is defined as an attempted grooming situation with Jazz and Sheba (who both suffer from generalised anxiety disorder or woosy poodle syndrome).

Both dogs were unenthused with the idea of getting their coats de-matted and clipped. Much resistance was encountered when encouraging the darlings to get in the van that would transport them to the groomers (this is part of the salon service).

I hate sending the dogs to the groomers (only happens when their coats are totally unmanageable) and my stress levels were skyrocketing way before they got picked up.

I have attempted to clip the dogs wool myself (Labradoodles have a sheep’s coat) and purchased the best of clippers and scissors for the job. However, Jazz and Sheba had different ideas when it came to close shaves and refused to participate, resulting in very strange looking Doodle hairdo’s and sore neck and back for moi. Not to mention lots of sneezing from this pack leader (who is allergic to most things on the planet).

Anyhoo, I was relieved to see the dogs on their way and was looking forward to the return of sweet smelling, short-coated greyhound type dogs. I took advantage of dogs in absentia and set to work cleaning the house and mopping the floors (something which is difficult to do with two dogs following your every move).

My husband Andy the Great (who coincidentally had the day off work) answered the phone during the morning. He was informed that Sheba had escaped. She had jumped out of the hands of the groomer in the style of Rudolf Nuriev. She’s a smart dog – she knew that clippers were close at hand and she didn’t want a bar of it!

This had happened on exiting the van that had transported the load of long haired and dirty dogs to the countrified dog salon. A salon situated on acreage with a fully dog proofed fence. The staff called out her name but this made Sheba run faster and faster.

Andy the Great immediately drove, at great speed, the 25 minute journey to the dog salon to encourage Sheba in her return. When he arrived he joined the staff in a systematic dog search, zig-zagging back and forth across the grassy fields. However, Sheba zipped about with a speed that has never been obvious to anyone before (remember this is the dog who thinks she is a cat) and slipped through the gate (yes, the gate was open – doh!), crossed a fairly busy highway, nearly got hit by a big truck (he honked his horn and she did a u-turn), and managed to get to the other side to hide amongst the scrub and bush of the adjacent National Park.

To cut a long story short, Andy the Great and one of the groomers spent the next four hours searching the bush for a brown dog who didn’t want to be found! They also didn’t have any water with them. I was following the action via mobile phone. Andy the Great told me ‘we’ll never find her in this scrub, not in a million years’ – great – heart attack material – tears on toast (or afternoon tea by this stage). I was sick with worry and Tessa was crying and Michael was very concerned. Andy the Great was ropable.

At 3.30pm the phone rang and Andy the Great informed us that he had found the dog; she was bedraggled, disoriented and thirsty. He had gone back to the salon to see if Jazz was ok and Sheba had walked back through the entrance gate (after crossing the main road again – groan!). It seems she had decided that life in the Australian bush was not to her fancy after the luxuries of the Bryden household.

Her paws were grazed and her coat dishevelled, but otherwise she was unharmed. I on the other hand am still recovering from the shock.

She is finding it hard to forgive me for sending her to the horrible groomers and keeps giving me the evil eye. It may take her a few days and many hugs and treats for her to completely forgive. It may help if I tell her that she will never have to go back to that salon in the sticks.

Andy the Great is now basking in the adoration of two kids, a wife and two dogs. I am very impressed with his dogged 😉 perseverance and courage in the face of a long bush search without water. He was quite willing to stay there until after dark to find the woolly beasty. We could have lost both of them!

When he arrived home covered in mud, with hair askew, he cracked open a cold beer and told us all about his day.

My hero!

Andy the Great
A boy and a dog called Jazzy

A boy and a dog called Jazzy

A boy and a dog called Jazzy

Best friends
can be short or tall
bright or quiet
booky or sporty
anything at all
mine just happens to be
a goofy, woolly
poodly, woodly
type beastie
with a coat of gold
soft as marshmallows
melting in the camp fire
pinkest tongue
cool wet nose
that reminds me when
a hug is due
boofy head
that rests on my legs
like I’m the best pillow
following me from room to room
my loyal shadow
liquid eyes
of chocolate brown
forever sad
even when eating
but a shaggy, waggy tail
a heart filled with happy
jazzy, fizzy stuff
that bubbles all around me
tickling me with love.


Note: A repost 🙂