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Saturdays in the Sun July 11, 2016

Posted by Robbie in Musings.
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Its the depths of winter here in Central Victoria.  This morning there was ice everywhere, mist in the valleys and early morning smoke from kitchen stove hanging in the air. It was crisp and bright with promise of a cold but clear day.

This is about as far away from summer as you can get.  I decided that I would spend the day scanning, sorting and filing some of the family archive images.  Despite my resident feline’s best attempts at disruption, I managed to get a small of work completed.

This image caught my fancy:

Day at the Beach Web

At a rough estimate, I would suggest that it was taken about 1959-60 and would have been somewhere like Sandringham beach.  The young man to the left of the image is my immediately younger brother, and I am the young lady in the fetching ruched bathing costume.  There are no annotations on the image to identify the other children but I suspect that the gentleman is a neighbour – his profile was almost instantly recognisable to me even after all this time.  The other children would then most likely be his two eldest sons.

Then there’s the odd dark mark in the sky….. Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

It was possibly a grain of sand on the lens…. whatever it was, it prompted memories of the brouhaha that always erupted with reports of UFO sightings.  Reports of strange lights, odd shaped flying crafts and weird looking creatures were a regular feature of news reports of my childhood.  I wonder whether the ease of access to affordable cameras and photography as a skill being more popularly spread post World War 2,  led to this explosion of ‘falsified’ images purporting to represent theses extraterrestrial beings.

Classic summer experiences of childhood like these bring back the pain of too much sun…. I was, more often than not, red raw by the end of the day.  There was always a tube of zinc cream about – but my fair skin just didn’t appreciate too long an exposure. These days,  I prefer wild beaches in the depths of winter.  No people about…. no sticky sand flies….. no risk of sunburn!

 

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Wedding Wednesday Revisited July 6, 2016

Posted by Robbie in Wedding Wednesday.
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Some twelve or so months ago, I wrote a post about the Richardson family Honiton Lace wedding veil.  As part of the post I included a copy of the only image I had found amongst the family treasures of my grandmother Dorothy Una Ophelia (Richardson) Stockfeld.

Posting this image has resulted in some wondrous happenings – firstly it connected me with a hitherto unknown second cousin. That connection has resulted in some profitable exchanges of information, pictures and stories, new friends on Facebook and, just last month, the chance to meet with said cousin and one of her sisters.

Whilst they were here, we worked through the information I had collected on the maternal side of our family, we exchanged more information, we explored the area where their grandfather (my great uncle) was killed in air crash in 1945, we ate a great deal and talked for hours.

After they had gone home, I started back at work on the latest units of study in the UTAS Diploma of Family History.  One of those units covers images – so back to the box of photos I was steadily working through archiving, scanning, identifying and storing.

Yesterday I found a negative – just floating about loose in the jumble.  A quick look as I held it up to the light revealed what looked like three figures suspiciously like a wedding party. This morning, with some help from the resident tech expert, the image was revealed.

Dorothy Una Ophelia Richardson (centre) Others unknown, photographer Stewart Tompkins (sp?) Camberwell 1926

Dorothy Una Ophelia Richardson (centre) Others unknown, photographer Stuart Tompkins  Camberwell 1926

What a delightful surprise it was to find another part of the story of my Gran’s wedding day.  Now the challenge is to identify the two young ladies accompanying her on her special day.  It is possible they are two of Gran’s Dixon cousins as she grew up with a great tribe of girls around her.

Perhaps one of these ladies, seen here with my Grandmother some 55 years after the wedding, might be one of those fresh faced girls?

Dorothy (far right) circa 1985

Dorothy (far right) circa 1985 with her Dixon cousins, Surrey Hills Vic

Study…. July 1, 2016

Posted by Robbie in Musings.
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I’m often asked why I spend so much time on researching family history – not just mine, but other people’s families as well.  History of any sort has always been something that I have enjoyed.  Whilst at high school, I took every history class I could.  I attended high school at a time when classes were streamed with either a Maths/Science emphasis, Humanities or Commercial emphasis.

Those in the Maths/Science stream were invariably tagged as the bright kids, the Humanities tended to average but creative and the Commercial were going to be the early school leavers. The Commercial stream subjects included Home Economics, Typing and Shorthand; subjects I could never have imagined myself needing or wanting to study.

I fell into the Humanities basket – creatively average!  I hated the languages but was forced to study them right through to Year 12. I also just managed to scrape through to Year 12 in the basic Maths class which was also compulsory.  Where I had some choice was in the History areas. Over the latter years, we could choose – and I chose them all.  Everything that was offered, I did.

I’m not good with the dates or the major wars – that sort of History isn’t captivating.  What fascinates me is the how people lived, what factors influenced  their life choices, how world events could affect the ordinary person, how did the not-so-ordinary person function within the society’s strictures, customs and expectations at any given time.  The list could go on and on.

At one point, I spent a great deal of time looking at the history of people marginalised by their sexuality or their calling – there’s not a lot of people about who would read for ‘entertainment’ histories documenting the dire fates awaiting homosexuals in the 18th Century if they were discovered. Such reading enabled me to understand the influence of the church on the law, societal standards and double standards, impacts of industrialization in UK and Europe and how women could be financially independent at a time when they were still regarded as property. So illuminating!

Is it any wonder that, when I discovered that the University of Tasmania was offering units of online study in Family History,  I jumped in boots and all?  I haven’t studied formally for the best part of 40 years.  I wasn’t going to let that stop me although I doubted whether my research and writing skills would be of the required standard, let alone my computer skills.

It seems I needn’t have been too concerned.  I was up to the mark – and I have developed somewhat of an addiction to study.  I have to date completed three units of the Diploma of Family History and am currently enrolled in two more. There are three more to complete for the Diploma and my name is on the list for those.

Just because I could, I have also undertaken three units in the Health Sciences field and a Photography unit in the Arts stream.  My results have all been pretty good – High Distinctions – although in the Diploma we are only given an ungraded pass as a final result, we are marked and graded as we complete each assessment.

Why am I doing this?  Why not? Just because I am technically a “Senior” doesn’t mean that I can’t continue to broaden my horizons, expand my skills, meet new people and generally want to be challenged by the unknown.  I want to learn – so why not learn about something that intrigues and delights me?

I can hear the observant muttering “But what about those Health Science units she mentioned.  What’s that got to do with family history?” Good question.  They were offered and I thought that I might give them a try after having successfully completed the first unit of the Family History diploma. They hooked me in too as they were just as much about answering some of those questions posed earlier. What factors influence how people behave/eat/exercise?  More opportunities to explore social issues in a health science environment couldn’t be ignored. Besides, they helped out with better equipping me as an effective volunteer in the health and aged care sector.

So, one creatively average high school student has evolved into a multidisciplinary mature aged university student.  I’m studying History, Art, Health Sciences and English across three different study plans online at a Uni I will probably never set foot in and I’m having the time of my life!

I’ve realised, having got to the end of this post, that my real reason for writing was because I had received the latest unit results today.  I wanted to celebrate my achievement.  Instead I’ve reflected – that English class must have taught me something after all!

Anniversaries…. June 7, 2016

Posted by Robbie in Social Media.
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There’s lots of things that warrant an anniversary celebration or recognition. The last thing I expected to be celebrating was the anniversary of my blogging with WordPress!

WordPress seemed to think it was worth noting I had been playing about on their platform for 8 years…. I could have sworn I had been here longer than that as it seems like centuries ago that I took this step, but that’s what they are telling me!

 

Wordpress

I know when I started out in blogging land, I was a novice at dealing with anything that required any knowledge of the way websites or blogging platforms worked – it was a whole new way of using language and foreign languages weren’t ever my strong point.  I learned by experimentation – and by not being afraid to make mistakes.  I learned that WordPress had a feel about it that was Mac friendly and that was a definite bonus!

I learned a whole new level of frustration when I couldn’t make things do what I wanted them to do – but I persisted.  I don’t profess to know a lot but I do know enough to be able to help others like myself into this wonderful way of writing, of connecting with people, with self publishing, experimenting with images, recording journeys and learning.

Yes, still learning – its a great way to learn about yourself as well as what the world has to offer.

Here’s to another 8 years!

champagne-toast

Merry Month of May Movie Meme May 12, 2016

Posted by Robbie in Musings, Views and Humour.
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One of the blogs I follow on all things Geni-related is that of Pauline Cass – Family History Over the Seas.  Just recently she invited her fellow bloggers to take part in a fun exercise all about movies – not the sort of thing I would normally get involved in but there’s always a first time!

Pauline’s instructions are: copy the questions and add your responses, link back to your post in the comments section on her blog and have fun!

Well, here goes!

  1. What’s the earliest movie you can remember: The Wizard of Oz
  2. Where did you go to the movies (place or type of venue): Somewhere in the city – Nana would take my brother and I as small children for an occasional treat
  3. Did you buy movie programs: Not that I recall
  4. Did you take in food and drink (and what did you like): No, not when with Nana, later when at the drive-in, it was always a hamburger at interval that made the car smell badly for the rest of the night!
  5. Movies of your teenage years: To Sir With Love, The Taming of The Shrew (a school trip), Woodstock
  6. Do you remember how old you were when you went unsupervised: No
  7. Mischief you got up to in the movies: ‘Goody two shoes’ never did anything mischievious
  8. Did you watch movies at home: Rarely (late adopters of TV)
  9. What was your favourite movie to watch at home: N/a
  10. Do you prefer to watch movies at home or at the cinema: I think there are some movies that work better in the theatre setting – I was a big fan of the Drive-In
  11. Does your family have a special movie memory: The Wizard of Ozthey can’t help reminding me how I spent most of the movie hiding under the seats!
  12. Movies you fell in love to/with: Sounds odd but Hunt For Red October – really liked that one….own it, watch it often.
  13. Favourite romantic movie theme music: Don’t do romantic movies – was scared forever by that Ryan O’Neil /Ali MacGraw number, the name of which escapes me….
  14. Favourite musical movie: Cabaret (followed by Billy Elliot, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and of course, the one mentioned below  🙂
  15. Which movies made you want to dance/sing: Can’t help singing along to The Rocky Horror Picture Show and I might even occasionally get caught time warping around the place!
  16. Do you watch re-runs or DVDs of old movies: How old is old? 
  17. Do your children/family enjoy the same movies: Harry Potter seems to be a likely candidate here
  18. What’s your favourite movie genre now: Thrillers/Drama
  19. Did you read the book before or after the movie: Depends… more often than not I have read the book beforehand; that’s often why I have gone to see the movie.
  20. Which did you enjoy more, the book or the movie: Both usually have their positive qualities. However, having read The Exorcist, I have never ever wanted to see it as a movie!
  21. What’s the silliest movie you’ve seen (silly funny or silly annoying): Annoying – Austin Powers
  22. Pet hate in movies: Unnecessarily loud music
  23. A movie that captures family history for you: How to Make An American Quilt followed closely by The Dressmaker (both are about the dynamics of family and the importance of memory)
  24. If you could only play 5 movies for the rest of your life, what would they be: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Japanese Story and The Fifth Element. Ask me in a few years time and I think I would have a completely different answer to this …..
  25. Favourite movie stars (go ahead and list as many as you like) Harrison Ford, Sean Connery (esp in The Name of The Rose), Kenneth Brannagh, Glenn Close, Geoffrey Rush, Kate Blanchett, Judy Davis…. to name just some.

And, as Pauline says:

I hope my blogging mates join in and share their memories of movie moments.

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Maldon, Victoria, Australia

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