Baby Archie is Wearing our Ugg Boots!

Here in Australia we were so proud to see baby Archie wearing the tiny sheepskin boots given to him by retired Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, on our behalf. Called Ugg boots here for as long as I remember (although there has been a legal challenge to the brand name from outside the country) they are made here in the Hunter Valley and they are the softest cosiest things you can put on your feet, so no wonder Archie looks comfy. His tiny toes would be toastie warm!The photo was taken by his Mother, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

Ugg boots are an Aussie icon. Worn by both men and women, indoors or out, they are the nearest thing i can think of to an adult ssecurity blanket! At the end of a long day I would pull on my soft grey original-style ones, feel my toes sink into the soft fleece and sigh as the world slipped away. Sadly, I lost that pair to my teenage son but how could I as a mother deprive him of such a source of comfort? As Aussies we do have an emotional attachment to them, in the country or city.

See the Ugg boots factory website The Mortels website describes itself thus:

Mortels manufacturing base is located at Thornton, and they retail their locally manufactured product from showrooms in both Thornton and Warners Bay. Mortels only distribute in Australia through their own retail outlets to preserve their brand and the quality of Australian manufacturing. They also offer a large range of their products through their website, direct sales to local, national and international customers. Mortels sheepskins are specially selected from Australian grown sheep….

Oops I didnt intend to copy all the above, but this is such an Australian local no-hype company and I have really enjoyed wearing their products. It includes the style of boots Archie is swearing, so now you know where to get them!

Photo courtesy of Mortels web site


Name Dropping: Sir Peter Cosgrove – retired Australian Governor General.

I met Sir Peter early on in his military career in the 1970’s when he was an officer at the Singleton Army base and I was involved in local tourism.

‘A real man’s man’, as they say, totally involved in the running of a busy training camp and the welfare of his troops. A no-nonsence kind of person, got to the point. Got it done.

My connection was through the Army museum on the camp. I remember having a short but interesting conversation about what they were training to defend us from, since Australia seemed a very safe continent. That was a real eye-opener!

He managed to keep the local town of Singleton onside, despite our houses being constantly rattled by the Army’s bombing and shelling practice. He had the total respect of his troops. He and his wife, Lynne Cosgrove were very popular at social eevents.

He has gone from strength to strength but I haven’t followed his career until he appeared on the news doing a good job as our Governor General and the only person I know who could keep this current bunch of politicians in line.

Even back in the 1970’s Sir Peter had a presence, and he is one of the few people of whom I have ever stood in awe.Biography

Get in line girls He’s mine!

From the Topics column Newcastle Herald

Tucked away at the bottom of the Topics column today was a snippet that made my day. Mr D’Arcy and his wife have finally separated. Whoopee!At last he can be mine! Cutting back on chocs and Christmas pud immediately. Never mind a New Year Resolution. What better incentive go hit the gym and finally start the diet. And no I am not sorry for the former Mrs Colin Firth, (the actor who played Mr D’Arcy so succesfully in ‘Pride and Prejudice’. No female forgets his wet shirt scenewatch it here.You’re welcome.). She allegedly had an affair with a hot-bloded Italian journalist for Heaven’s sake, just when poor Colin has reached the pipe and slippers stage. Well he suits me fine ‘just the way be is’ (Bridget Jones).


Cornelius and Mrs D’Arcy
Coincidentally, I only lately connected the surname, after years of reading Jane Austen, with a real, older, charming Mr D’Arcy in my life: My Irish Grandad, Cornelious D’Arcy, pictured here with Grandma in the 1950’s.

Musical Bathroom Chairs

I’m hating this old person thing, buying all these aids, such as a deep sided dinner plate, but I do love my new bathroom chair in the shower.

Simple but effective
Adjustable hand- held or fixed hose works well with he shower seat
Add a clear acrylic long-handled back brush (hanging from tap). Plus a strong double-length grab rail on the wall for safety

Quite expensive through my Occupational Therapist, but there now case of those split- second blackouts I have now and then. My bathroom is tiny but easy-clean low maintenance. No room to swing a cat (pets not allowed). This is the second bathroom chair. The first nearly shot me on to the floor like a slippery dip when wet! Extremely dangerous. The company dont usually accept the return of used goods (I had only tried it once), but they decided the risk of accident and repercussions was not worth it and rang to offer an alternative.

Actually the tall and burly youngish man and I ended up having a good laugh as we tried squeezing nto spaces while we passed each other several times trying to adjust the seat height. I hope the neighbours weren’t listening, now I recall our dialogue relating to the chair, ending with “Yes that feels great. Thank you.”

So I can really recommend a shower chair. It is just lovely to take the weight off and let lovely warm water cascade gently over to ease the muscles while washing with lovely scented shower gel. How I miss no longer being able to use a bath, but this comes close.

A Helpful Medical Fund NIB


I dont know about you, but dealing with these robot pretend chat customer relations people online “does me ‘ead in” but once you get past it can be marginally better than hanging on the phone forever.

Having said that, my medical fund staff and service at NIB Medical Fund are always great, but it was after hours by the time Ihought about the information I needed from them.

The chat robot gave in immediately on the typed chat site, it could not ollow my simple query, and offered to ‘put me through to a human’ (sic). ‘ok hurry up’ I typed teresly, not holding out much hope. I am used to dealing with Telstra.

And voila, there was Nicholas. Now Nicholas was cool. He was right on it. He put me at ease, had obviously read the file in that few seconds, and even worked outside the script.

Nicholas is World Leader in online problem sorting. Fortunarely he didnt have to understand my Scottish accent, since I type in Australian English (apparently there is a difference).

I even asked him a trick question, “since my quote for my 2 teeth on a denture is $1400, I have $760 left with you, you pay $60%, so what will you actually give me?”

This is where Telstra on the phone would have hung abrutly, pretending a line break from Indonesia. Not NIB, not Nicholas.

Without even starting with ‘Duh!’ back he came in a flash. No not a real flash, my tablet is working fine.

This was great news. I felt so relieved. Only $640 to pay. So while I had my new best friend there I asked him why they had rejected my refund for my blood pressure machine, in the faint hope Nicholas could work miracles.

Other customer relations personnel would have sneeringly pointed out that if I had bothered to read their email (I read as far as ‘rejected’), there was light at the end of the tunnel. I had it in writing. Instead he swiftly inserted the relevant print, in clear-to-see print. Impressive.

So he checked the name of my provider. They were approved. Told me how to go about resolving the issue.

I was getting euphoric! I had paid $90 at the chemist for a blood pressure machine. I could claim 60% after all. You do the maths. I was ready to go and lie down, mentally and physically, but Nicholas was firing on all cylinders.

While I was slow-typing he was checking my file and mentioned that I didnt have a third party to deal with things in an emergency on file. So we promptly dealt with that as my long-suffering and highly trustworthy elder son has reluctantly accepted power of attorney.

It was time to wrap things up, and not only had I been treated with dignity, which believe me at our age is rare, I was about to get a refund I wasnt expecting, once I ring the chemist to ask for an official receipt. We will see how that goes. Time to say goodbye. But the elation was going to my head:

Nicholas replied that he liked my sense of humour. What a lovely person. He asked if there was anything else he could help me with. ‘No thank you, I love you, Bye for now’, and I disconnected before he could type ‘DAFT OLD BAT! I had such a good evening after that.

I confess to getting anxious these days when dealing with things that before would not have phased me. I used to organise festivals and functions for Heaven’s sake!

It is partly a Parkinsons thing, but young servers in shops can give that shoulder lift as if gearing for trouble that instantly sends my mind blank and I do end up meeting their expectations, to my inner annoyance.

So hats off to Nicholas and NIB for great customer relations.


Update: Heard from NIB today. The receipt my chemist emailed me for the blood pressure machine was promptly uploaded and today I heard back that $60 is on its way into my bank account. I also copied this item into the NIB facebook page and had a message back to say they would follow up with Nick to let him know his work was appreciated.

A Fridge That Does Your Shopping

You know that moment when you are in the supermarket aisle and you know there is something missing in the fridge that you were going to replace, but can’t remember?

Or you wonder which vegetables you wanted and you wish you could just ring your fridge and ask it to tell you?

Well now you can!

My son was telling me about the latest fridge that you can look up on your smartphone app which connects with a camera inside your fridge and you can actually stand in the supermarket and see what you’ll need. I kid-you-not!

Not only that it’s has a screen on the door that you can use to bring up a recipe to cook, or call up children’s school program and see whether you should be planning something. The the options appear endless because it links online as a cmputer.

You you can be playing music, or watching a movie, catching the quiz on tv or possiblySkyping family overseas so they can watch you cook.

It even keps food cold and fresh, or frozen! Who would have thought it!

I thought my son must be kidding so I looked it up on Google and here it is. In JB Hifi at Kotara, right on my doorstep. This I have got to try.

He then started to tell me about a fridge that you could change around so that one side could be a freezer when you had a lot of frozen items or you could make that the chilling ing side instead and the other side could be the freezer, just by fkickng a switch, but my head just wouldn’t go there.

I used to think having a fridge that made ice cubes in the door was the Bees knees but this refrigerator they call a Family Hub takes the biscuit – and the ice cream, pardon the pantry pun. Oh crumbs.

PS. The style is called a French Door Fridge, and I was going to say ‘but I bet it doesnt speak French, ha ha’, but then I thought that with Google translate it probably does. Bloomin’ eck.

Forgotten whats in your fridge? Look on your smartphone! Click pic for more details on website

Balloons and Tristan the Twister

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How lovely must it be to have a Daddy who is a magician! Daisy and Willow could tell you.

I came across these photos taken years ago when I first met my magic young friend, Tristan the Twiister, or Tristan Stothard. He was entertaining at The Lockeeper during lunch, blowing and twisting bright balloons into all sorts of recognisable shapes, shown in the slideshow.

When my craft shed was erected in the corner of the garden, one of the neighbours said it was like Downton Abbey and needed a Grand Opening. So Eunton Abbey began! But that is another story.

click to visit his website
Tristan and his balloon Union Jack

I sent an invite for help to Tristan who arrived with his lovely daughter, Daisy. He went to work and made me a balloon Union Jack to hang across my stable door.

Then he made grande chapeaus (my French is tres terrible) for my garden party guests. All wonderfully pretentious!

Despite all the merriment, the magician seemed lonely.

Soon after my event Tristan met his new wife and soulmate, Emma,, who totally encourages him in all this wonderful madness, and, as if by magic, along came Willow.

Tristan also made some wedding flowers from balloons to accompany a framed poem I was giving the couple. They were a great hit and lasted longer than real flowers!

Soon after I came back to my family in Australia. In meeting my very kind magician friend at a low point of my life, following the passing within months of my Mum and Dad, those balloons lifted my spirits and left brightness iin my mind that stays in one corner forever.

Tristann is on FacebookLink to facebook page

The Nicest Thing You Can Say

“I forget you have Parkinsons” my helper said as I was struggling to get out of tthe car after our two hour outing. For a professional to say that was praise indeed, for I try hard to stay on top of it.

We had set off for the little shopping centre at Jewells with the great bargain shop that is chokkers with things you forgot you needed, like another $2.50 long-handled grabber and 4 old- fashioned ce cream dishes,

AAA batteries, 3 cans of turqoise spray paint for the outdoor metal bench, some craft clay for kneading to strengthen my weak left arm, plus set of wooden tools to work it (spent a happy hour on Youtube later while horizontal learning how to make things with it. Will take it up to the big table in the community hall during the week and have a go. Should be good for hand brain workout.)

Back to what I call The Treasure Cavern: I have a shopping list app on my phone that works really well, and kept me mainly on track, if you dont count the sundae dishes…and the windmills in the photos. Another weird item I was looking for was a shopping list pad that consists of money- sized colour prints of banknotes from $100 down. Had a bit of fun writing notes on the backs of $100 and handing those over! Used ones decorate my old bookcase as a reminder to keep writing. Yes it may be weird, but it works. My life. I am giving everyone a handfull of banknotes with their Xmas present – in the form of a notepad. Its the thought that counts.

I had left my helper talking to another client we ran into – at my request – and enjoyed looking at the myriad items with the improved focus of my last eye injection. $70 later at the checkout and my usual cheery chat with JJ, who never tries to rip you off like some dollar shops do.

Remembered powdered cinnamon and avocado garlic dressing from the organic veg shop, and we headed into what I call ‘The Geriatric Cafe’ because it is always full of pensioners. We had a laugh at the notice on the counter

but decided to barge in anyway!

I got halfway through my tasty bacon and egg roll when I hit the wall. What they call ‘off time’, when the levadopamine has worn off and the next dose is due…speaking of which…Made the mistake of deciding to wait the 20 mins till I got home – paid later in pain.

I am not conscious that I slow down like the Energiser bunny on the wrong batteries until it is pointed out, because my thinking slows as well, even my speech apparently.

So that was when my helper remarked, in a complimentary way, ‘Sometimes forget you have Parkinsons’, as I was just slowly getting hold of my walker (called Harley) for the longest walk home (the same few short metres I did easily earlier, got in the door, took my tablets, lay down leaving shopping iin bags, moaned and groaned while my muscles protested at the change of gravity, and fell asleep.

But it was a good fun day. Today is Saturday, my horizontal recharging day. I am writing this lying down. My mind says eagerly ‘lets go out and drag the bench over to the grass and give it 3 cans of turquoise spray paint, c’mon!’ My body says, abruptly. ‘Shutup!’

One of the items I didnt realise I needed till I saw it! Got two.


Note: compulsive behaviour is a side-effect of Parkinsons. I consider mine impulsive behaviour, but I have always been that way. Other recognised side effects are gambling (does the occasional $2 lottery ticket count), and increased sex drive. Still waiting.