Tonight we babysat Tom and Alythea (first time for Alythea), while Tristan and Blaine went to the Robbie Williams concert nearby. Because it takes half an hour to get from their place to ours, we gave them all an early dinner before giving Tris and Blaine a lift to the concert. Of course Jeanette was there as she always is when Tom is around. She has a special connection with that little man…

Blaine had been telling me about Alythea’s routine and ways for some days, and I’d done my best to remember it all. I was very grateful that she brought me written instructions that night, just as she had when we first babysat Tom.

We enjoyed the usual noisy meal we have when the children are here, farewelled Tristan and Blaine for Rob to take them to the concert, then commenced bed-time. Jeanette and Christopher helped Tom set up his bath (which means him running betwwen his toy box and the bath the that evening’s bath toys and Jeanette holding back any soft toys he might try to throw into the bath), bathed him, read to him and put him to bed in his portable cot. He’s very good about going to bed. I bathed Alythea, gave her her bottle, burbed her and put her to bed in her bassinet. She had trouble settling, as she often does. I went through all the suggestions that Blaine had left me but to no avail. Fi had told me that sometimes a massage-type of stroking can help babies to settle, so I tried that, speaking softly to her just above the classical music she likes to have in the background. That worked.

As soon as she was settled I sms’d Tristan and Blaine so they wouldn’t worry.

Then Rob, Jeanette, Christopher and I sat around the family room and shared some red wine and chocolate!

RIP Eilean

It was Eilean’s funeral today.

She was more of a friend to Donna than me, yet when I invited everyone to celebrate my return to health after the heart surgery she was there with Donna.

She sent me photos of her graduation last month as a PhD doctor, which I have on my screen saver. so she pops up every now and then:-) She was either sitting down, or held up by friends, because she was very, very weak by then.

Her son Rob has been wonderful, keeping us all informed of how she was going towards the end when she could no longer handle the computer.

First Roberta, now Eilean…

That’s middle age I guess, and I was especially grateful to walk in the early morning today.

Rotto again

The day after Fiona left Rob and I moved onto Dusky Dolphin for almost a week and set sail for Rottnest. Unusually there was very little swell in the ocean around Rottnest, so we could safely plan to spend the time there without the risk of having to sail back to Cockburn Sound to avoid rolly anchorages.

We spent a happy few days on Longreach Bay, walking ashore each day to the settlement. One day we took a bus from the settlement to tour the main lighthouse. The history of this old building was amazing – the way the lighthouse keepers tended the lighthouse in all weathers. It was very isolated, yet there was a small school for the children. Must have been very lonely for the wives…

On the Wednesday the year 12 school leavers arrived on the island the celebrate finishing their school years. Many of them achieve this with rowdy parties, so we moved  out to the west end of Rottnest on the Tuesday to avoid this, mooring in Rocky Bay. Our last full day their we walked out towards the West End where a privately chartered bus gave us a lift right out to the West End, where Rottnest meets the Indian Ocean. It’s always an amazing energy here, with the waves rising up to meet the shore, seabirds wheeling and calling, sometimes dolphins surfing (but not this time). We walked back via the western-most bay, and spied the boat of friends of our anchored there, complete with its own small school  leavers party!

Today we sailed back to Fremantle Sailing Club – a real romp with good winds giving us a good speed through the waves. It had a been a good week, but we were looking forward to seeing our family again.


My sister Fiona left Perth today, to return to her home in Tasmania. She’d arrived here last Saturday and stayed in the room where Tom and Elwyn sleep when they are here.

She puts a huge effort into our family (Mum, Rose, Nigel and their children, and Helen’s children), but Helen ignores her as she does me. So it’s good to just spend time chatting when she’s here between visits to everyone else. She sees Mum every day, taking her out for a coffee or lunch. And one day she took Mum to one of her favourite places, Araluen. The tulips were fading, but they had a good day there, although as I find it’s hard physical work because Mum is quite infirm these days.

This visit we didn’t get any lengthy times together, but we connect about so many things that somehow that didn’t matter. I’ve really enjoyed hearing about the house she’s building on her block of trees in southern Tassie, near the D’entrecasteaux Channel where Rob and I chartered a yacht a couple of years ago. She’s quite a developer, and as she told me about it all I reflected on the way Dad developed Oakleigh Buildings in Perth so many years ago. If he’d still been alive he would have been very proud of her.

My best speech ever (so far)

Last night I gave my best speech ever – to the Zonta Club Annual Founders’ Day Dinner in Guildford.

It was a special night. Not just for Zonta, when they remember their founders. But also it  was Remembrance Day, when I always think of those who gave their lives that we might live in peace. And it was my mother-in-law’s birthday, Ruth. I never knew her, for she left this world before I even knew Rob. But every year on the 11th we think of her.

So to speak before these warm and generous women on such a day was a true privilege, and perhaps that’s what I was tapping into as I spoke of the story that they lived in Zonta, the story that has made them what they are.

And some of them came up afterwards glowing with pride at what they had created:-)