Weekend reading

8 November 2013

My beautiful mother, Jean St Claire McGrath, died 20 years ago today. If she were alive now, she would be 94 years old. Even now, there are very few days she doesn't tip-toe into my consciousness. She was a truly remarkable woman. RIP mum. I miss you.

= = = ♥ = = = 
One of my heroes, Paul Keating and I grew up in adjoining working class Sydney suburbs. Both born in the 1940s, he eventually became Prime Minister of Australia and I believe, an outstanding Australian. This is an article about the upcoming series of Paul Keating - Kerry O'Brien ABC interviews. I love what he says about the asbestos suit of motherly and grandmotherly love.
Ruler boxes - a wonderful gift idea
Home maintenance tips - there is everything here from how to repair a screen door to fixing a leaking toilet.
Exchange Stores at Nundle I was searching for a Falconware 1.5 litre teapot at a reasonable price ($35ish) when I came upon this gorgeous store out in the bush, near Tamworth. What a treasure trove it appears to be. It's like shops used to be in the old days BC (before computers). Check out their history as well as their stock.
Orange self-saucing pudding I can't stop obsessing about food made using oranges. I had some of the most delicious blood oranges in winter and it tipped me over the edge.
The wartime kitchen and garden - youtube
The Noble Knitter

From the comments here during the week
Simply Free
Meadow Orchard
Sweet Journey Home

I hope you enjoy your weekend and use part of it to relax and recuperate. If you're lucky enough to have your parents near by or far away, take the time to say hello to them over the weekend. There will come a time when, no matter how much you want to do that, you can't.

See you next week. :- )


  1. We lost my Father-in-law three weeks ago this Saturday. We had just been to visit him a month before and had a wonderful visit. My Mother-in-law has been gone for 4 1/2 years. The kids went to the house after the funeral and took what they wanted from the house. It was as if we had just lost them both. So sad. I brought home my MIL's 'Etiquette' by Emily Post. Her mother had given it to her before she married in 1948 and she always kept it to refer to in any social situation. It was still on the stack of books next to the chair where she always sat. Inside are some carefully pressed small, white flowers. We will always wonder why she saved them and what they meant. The things we brought home and spread around our house are staring to make us smile instead of making us sad. Hug your parents while you can and give them some of your precious time. I wish we had given more but we did arrive only 3 1/2 hours prior to my FIL's death and were able to be there and tell him we loved him. As he started to slip away I could smell my MIL's scent in the room. I think she had come to get him.

    Your mother was a beautiful lady. Keep those memories close.

    1. Thank you, I will. It sounds like you're part of a fine family. I'm sorry about your loss.

  2. Awww, bless your sweet mother, who made such an impression with her love and kindness in your life then, and now as you nurture and care for those around you just as she did. (((hugs))) to you as you remember her on this special day. <3

    1. Thanks Amy, your comment reminds me of something our ex-prime minister Paul Keating said recently.

      “You’ve got to go through life with someone thinking you’re special. You know, when you’ve got to get the sword out for real combat, I think having the sort of love quotient working for you is very powerful.”

      This grandmotherly and motherly love “radiates for you and gives you that kind of inner confidence. It’s almost like wearing that asbestos suit – you go through the fire but you’re not going to be burned because someone loves you, you are complete, you are together.”

  3. You are exactly right. My own mum died 15 years ago, when I was just 26 and a new mum to a toddler. It was a hard time for all of us, and although my dad is now 84, he is in decent health and I make sure I speak with him a couple of times a week and we get together every other weekend. My dad is my children's only grandparent, so he is really important in their lives too. Thanks for sharing your lovely photo xx

  4. My mum died seven years ago at 97. One of my classmates from school recently lost her mum and said 'Life will never be the same again!' and she was so right. Yes it is so important to say the things we want to say to our mums while we still have them.

  5. What a lovely tribute to your mother. I too blog about my Dad (who died almost 4 years ago at not-quite-ninety) around either his birthday or the anniversary of his death. The poem that brought me the greatest comfort around his death was by St. John Chrysostom :

    She whom we love and lose
    is no longer
    where she was before.
    She is now
    wherever we are.

    Here's to remembering (and telling the tales) of the lovely people who loved us unconditionally and raised us to the best of their ability.

  6. Hello Rhonda,
    Your Mum was indeed a lovely looking lady. I'm sure you treasure her memory.
    I've missed writing recently as I didn't have an account.
    Your post yesterday got me thinking I would have one.
    I am a bee, always thought I was a bit odd!
    Of course I adore being with my family, but I am quite happy with my own company.
    Someone said here yesterday, it might be something to do with simple living. I think that is a valid point.

    Best wishes Angela (south UK)

  7. My Mum would have been 94 as well. My sisters and I all miss her, and miss being able to ring and have a chat with her.

    Next time I go to Armidale, I'll make time to detour back through Nundle; that store looks fabulous!

  8. Rhonda I have only just come to your post as I've had a busy day. It's interesting looking at the photo of your Mum and yours beside it. Both of you hold your heads the same way, the shape of your mouths are similar and both pairs of eyes address the camera in a similar way.

    1. I agree with you, Rose. I was very much like my mother. I think it's interesting in these photos here that she is about 18 and I'm 65 so it could be a role reversal.

  9. I think you are all lucky to have had your mum for so long. My mum died when I was 10. Although I hardly knew her (we were apart for a lot of my life), I still miss her despite having so few memories. My dad died a few years ago but we were not at all close. I loved my father and mother in law dearly and miss them both as well.

  10. Thank you very much for including a link to my blog!

    I think the Wartime Kitchen and Garden are part of the same series as the Victorian Kitchen Garden and Victorian Kitchen (I have a literally ENDLESS list of this kind of series):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOF49wIxDrA (can't find a link to the Victorian Kitchen but it used to be around somewhere - making preserves with sugar cut from a cone and sealing the jars with writing paper and flour and water paste...)

    1. Hi Nickie. Once you get onto youtube and watch one of these videos, you see just how many videos are there. They're part of a wonderful collection.

  11. I always light a candle for my dad every anniversary. He seems so close when I do.

    I was born, raised, schooled and worked in a working class Sydney Suburb. My father worked in two physically challenging jobs; yet I rarely heard him complain about it. I worked in the tomatoes whenever they had to be picked; no afterschool sports or anything for me ever. Migrant girls weren't encouraged to 'go out' with the Aussie girls - God forbid. I also went to Lurnea High School - one of NSW schools with a very bad reputation and poor schooling record - as reported by Four Corners a few years ago. Haha - doesn't sound like it's changed very much.

    I can remember the day when Gough and Margaret Whitlam attended out first Multicultural Day at High School. Twas quite the fanfare.

    So - do I feel denied or in some way underprivileged? Nah. The opposite actually - I feel blessed that I went to just about the worst school in the state. My husband also went to state high school, so when it came to make a choice about where to send our kids - the choice was easy - our closest state school. I can't believe the obsession with people and the need to send their kids to private or they feel as though they're letting them down. I just can't understand it.

    It's good to have heroes I guess. I prefer the term 'role models' and I'm afraid Paul Keating isn't one of them. When it comes to pollies, past or present, I don't have much faith in any.

    1. I think heroes and role models are different. I don't want to be like Paul Keating but I admire the man he is and what he's done. Politics being just a part of that.

    2. Politics. It's very disillusioning - so few politicians with a real moral compass these days.

  12. Hi Rhonda!

    Thank you so much for including a link to my blog in you last weekend's reading post. I did wonder why the number of visitors to my blog had increased quite noticeably. Until one new reader told in her comment she came to my blog via yours. That figures ;-)

    As for your lovely comment in my blog, with the query about Zara, the dog... she is a labradoodle (she does look more like a poodle than a labrador).

    1. Thanks Mia. Zara is a lovely dog and she sure loves that fire.

  13. Beautiful tribute and photo of your Mom. Not a day goes by that I don't think of Mama as well. Thank you for sharing a link to my blog, Sweet Journey Home!

  14. How we miss loved ones who have passed! What a beautiful picture of your mother.

  15. My mother died many years ago. I feel so close to her as I do those hospital corners on the beds, dice a vegetable a certain way, try to remember to do a pantry inventory before I shop, when I wake in the morning and think here is a brand new shiny day and many other times during a day. Thanks for the photo of your mother it sounds like you cherish her memory as I so my mothers.
    How is Tricia recovering from the stressful time of the fires? Hope Hanno is still improving, gout is so painful.

    1. Tricia is fine now and Hanno is about 80% recovered. He's still hobbling around but the pain has almost gone. :- )

  16. Rhonda , I feel your pain , I'm sure it feels like yesterday. My Dad aged 77 died 29 years ago and I still think of him so often. My Mum outlived him by 20 years and died at the ripe old age of 97 (2004) . I bought 2 small shrubs for them and now I have a constant reminder in my garden and can see them both from my kitchen and Dining room windows.. May you treasure the memories of both your parents ♥


Comments with links or email addresses won't be published. All spam and business advertising will be deleted.

Children read my blog so I always make sure the information here is family-friendly. I don't publish comments containing links or email addresses now because I don't have time to check them.

All comments in English, please. Thank you.