Monday, November 30, 2009


                                     Three Mile Island Plant

A few days ago I read in our daily newspaper that the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania had had a radiation leak forcing the evacuation of 150 workers the previous weekend.  There was no explanation why the disclosure had been delayed, only that management felt the levels of radiation were not considered harmful.....

In April 1986, the world's worst nuclear disaster occurred at Chernobyl.......No exact figures are known for the number of workers killed as a direct result of this meltdown.....or the number of people who died from the fallout.....  A code of silence existed.  The contamination spread across countries, affecting crops and livestock, poisoning the soil for further plantings.  But what was even worse was the knowledge that future generations of Russian children could be genetically damaged.......In 1993 two children affected by this disaster came to live with us and be part of our family for nearly two months.....and this is their story

Through our Lions International Club my husband & I had said "yes", when families were asked to host one, but preferably two children from the contaminated areas.  We were told that some were unwell, most had eye problems, some needed dental work..... but they were well enough to travel to a country with clean fresh air, sunshine and uncontaminated food, in the hopes that their recovery would be hastened.

From the list we chose two little 8 years old, and one almost 9.  I prepared their room...twin beds in an upstairs bedroom...with a larger bedroom/sitting room adjacent, with TV and Stereo (This had been my younger daughter's domain before she left for Melbourne and the bright city lights!).... neighbours gave me the most beautiful dolls for them ...then we waited....and waited....

Finally we had a date of arrival and we couldn't wait to collect our two little girls when the bus arrived.  Imagine our shock when we were told that illness had prevented their travel and would we take Alexandra (aged 13), and Alexander (aged 10).  Of course we would....but what about the dolls...and the twin beds!  Plan B needed to be put into operation!

They were tired and hungry...had not met before boarding the bus at the airport.....Alexandra spoke few words of English......Alexander didn't speak at all....nothing....but they seemed happy to be with us if not a little wary. I had tears in my eyes as I unpacked the young boys clothes...threadbare... and the soles of his runners were worn through in places, but Alexandra was quite the young lady.... with a good dress, casual clothes, and some jewelery.  I wondered how I would manage as my husband left for work the next morning with the words..."Good Luck"

I could write pages and pages......about the time we had getting to know each other....gaining their confidence....taking them shopping for new clothes.... "Are always these many clothes in shops"  Sasha asked of me. ( Between us we had decided on short names... Sasha for Alexandra, and Alex for Alexander, as it was quite it was for them also... as Sasha is also a boy's name and short for Alexander).
Alex finally spoke some Russian and then he learned some English words...and we in turn learned some Russian!

The joy they brought to our home was unbelievable....they made friends with the neighbours.  Alex could play soccer and was snapped up for a local team.....Sasha went to a local college a couple of days a week with a neighbour who was the Deputy Principal....they washed cars....watered the garden.... ("May we wash flowers?" ) Sasha would ask.  Alex made cakes....Sasha learned to cook Spaghetti Bolognese...and excitedly told her parents on the phone. They went to the beach....and on picnics.  And they ate....and ate...(.bananas up to 3kgs per day!) ...they gained weight and their cheeks were pink....laughter filled the house.

                                        At the beach in Winter...brrr
                                                     (why no people swim?....THEY did!)

Alex loved to be with my husband....(apart from his mother, he had a big older sister and younger twin sisters . He would only have been about 3 when his father died from the fallout)...and so this relationship blossomed.  He would come downstairs every morning and sit in the chair next to my husband while he read the paper, and would be there again at night beside him watching TV.  At one time Boris Yeltsin appeared on a news bulletin.  He pointed to him...."Bad"....he said.

                                                                        Good Mates

We celebrated Alex's 10th birthday with a party at MacDonalds. He had made lots of friends....and the manager presented him with a watch....not one of those toy ones, but a beautiful gold plated one with a leather band.(I think he would have preferred one with Ronald on the dial!)

Happy Times

Too soon it was time to go.  We packed up their ones had been bought to cater for all the extras they were taking home.  Sasha had a tennis racquet..(and balls)...for her father... they had clothes and gifts from neighbours. Alex was presented with the soccer club's uniform and a team photo...they were happy....they were excited........we were sad

The neighbours gathered in the early hours before dawn to farewell them...there were kisses and hugs....and tears.  We were on our way to the airport in Brisbane where they would board the British Airways Jet that would take them home.

We didn't say much on the way back.  It was a long drive and we'd been up since before dawn.  We needed a coffee and a good sleep.  It wasn't until the next morning when we woke to an empty house that we realised they were really truly gone....just Alex's fingerprints left there on the lowered ceiling as he used to bound down the stairs then reach up to touch the sky......

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I have just posted The Booklist for 2010.....(See Side Bar).
None of mine ....unfortunately, but we do get to read one of Obama's.  (Looks like I'll have to read Sarah Palin's on the sly)

Not a bad collection though I must admit...some even appeal....and if I can get through the lot of them, how much more knowing will I be....(mmm.....don't think I'm gonna make the full list...)

Not even a "Twilight " in sight!..... I'm out of luck.... again    (Have just removed tongue from cheek)

Has anyone read any of these?.....please advise! 

Friday, November 27, 2009


Fresh figs......delicious.....almost dripping with their own nectar.

On this very hot and humid morning.....what a breakfast treat!

They looked so great, I wanted to share them with you all.....

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The Lemonade Award .....
 Imagine my surprise ....and find that my blogging companion Journaling Woman had thought my blog worthy of this nomination.

This is my acknowledgment of her faith in me as a blogger, albeit a somewhat misplaced one, as I have not posted as often as I would have liked these last months.

I'm rather new to this game...but it is now a special part of my life, as I've discovered just how much alike many of us are, disregarding age, location, family situations and the like. 

The reason I became a blogger was the hope that in the years to come when I am just a fading memory, something of my being would be captured in my musings and would become a permanent memory for my grandchildren who at times seem a million miles away, even though we visit, and talk on the phone. My family is the mainstay of my life.

So thank you Teresa....and all who drop by.....for taking the time to welcome me into your lives....sometimes offering words of encouragement, comfort, joy and laughter......  You are all so very special, and much appreciated.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


 I belong to a Bookclub..... 

 I have been a member of this fascinating group now for over 10 years,
and considering we read one book each month...  (except for the month of January.... which allows us to get into some really trashy reads over the Christmas break  )... a lot of books have been stacked on my bedside table at one time or another!

At this time of year we have to choose the books for the following year.  Much discussion takes place as titles are put forward and rejected...(or accepted).  Considering we have to choose 11 books and we have a membership of around 20, I feel rather elated when I have a book on the list.

Belonging to this club has broadened my reading horizon.....I often have to read a book I wouldn't have chosen in a fit....and sometimes.... to my surprise.... I've really enjoyed it. 

But what I most enjoy are the diverse opinions of our members as the Book of the Month is discussed.  There are usually those FOR and those AGAINST.....and we have one member... (an educated,erudite woman in her  50's ....a writer of scientific texts for University study).... who hardly ever enjoys any of the reads... unless it's a grisly murder along the lines of Silent Witness.   Sometimes these discussions give you a greater appreciation of the novel, and a fuller understanding of the characterisation, motive and plot.   

Such is our group...ranging in age from late 30's to 80's... teachers, doctors' wives, a solicitor, a literary critic, an engineer (male), a scientist....mostly retirees....and me.    I'd say we are a pretty conservative lot.....they don't like too much swearing, sex or other non acceptable behaviour...and to some extent, that's why some of the books I put forward are rejected out of hand !

So I wasn't unduly surprised when I suggested we read Sarah Palin's ' Going Rogue '....." It's a love story"  I said "and it's about a woman who loves to exercise....she's gonna RUN" humour was lost on the group who gave it the thumbs down.

 I'm undeterred however....I'm trying again to get on the list with the book of the moment.


Yes....It's "Twilight"

and don't you just love this pic
(courtesy of "The Weekend Australian Magazine)

It's supposed to be for teenagers..... the answer to Harry Potter


it's Harry Potter on Hormones

It's attracting OLDER WOMEN readers!!

It will be interesting to see whether I make it to the 2010 list !
How do you think I'll go ?

And here I am with some of my Bookclub friends

(No prizes for guessing that I'm the one on the left)


Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Alas, alack....woe is me....I'm too busy.....just too busy to post to my blog....  Just too busy reading what other folks are posting  to attend to my own.   But what a wonderful time I'm having....

It will have to stop.

But how fascinating is this blogging life?..... What wonderful fulfilling lives some people lead..... How many happy.....sad.....insightful....informative....laugh out loud things have I read about that stir my interest... touch my heart....occupy my thoughts?

"You will never be lonely in your old age "  my husband says of this new found interest which has taken up residence in our home.

How sweet is that dear readers......I AM old.......but this blogging life has a lot going for it.  Yay !!!


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