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Appendix - More about my family

 

I have just about reached the end of my tether and enthusiasm for writing stories, but because you have requested me to do so Wendy, I will now endeavour to do one more “just for you” especially because you seem to have shown the greatest interest of all my other stories to date.

Cousin Bill and his wife Margaret had four children; Billy, Ray, Jean and Rosemary.  Practically the whole Evans family were atheists and did not have any of their children baptised. 

A strange quirk of fate; when Ray and Rosemary grew old enough to think for themselves they had themselves baptised and became missionaries up in the mountains of New Guinea.  Margaret visited him once by plane and four wheel drive.  When he came back both he and Rosemary preached the gospel for a time in Queensland.  As I said some time ago, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. 

To my knowledge Frank and Mavis had two children, Joan and Gary.  At about age 12 Gary came down with cancer and Frank was so involved with his beliefs that he would not even pray to save his son’s life.  Within a year Gary was dead. 

Aunty Bessie and Uncle Bill only had one child, a daughter named Marjory.  Because she was a girl I did not have much to do with her.  She was several years older than me and her interests were far removed from mine. She is still living and Lucy makes contact with her sometimes.  Every time mum took me to see them sometimes all uncle Bill and mum talked about was politics and aunty Bess just sat there and listened.  She always struck me as a very meek, shy and worrying sort of individual. 

Every other weekend I would ride my pushbike which I had won at the ‘flicks’ all the way from Merrylands to Eastwood just to see them.  I first started when I was only 10 years old.  They were very nice people and I loved them very much. The other weekend I would alternate to Dundas to see Bill and Frank.  A pattern I had set myself into that I don’t remember stopping.

In 1945 when I was still in the army tobacco was almost unprocurable. I didn’t smoke myself but if I chose I could get a pretty generous ration which I then passed onto my uncle Bill.  But Joan put a stop to that and ‘demanded’ that I give it to her father instead, ‘ole Aub’.  It was never the same again after that.  Looking back now, in hindsight, I should have given them half each but knowing Joan like I do now she would have demanded to have it all.

At about age 65 or 70 both Uncle Bill and auntie Florrie died, not all that far apart from one another; victims of old age, or whatever, that left two very lonely people, Uncle Frank and auntie Bessie.  Both of them were at a loose end and in need of companionship so they started keeping company, which was accepted by all as a good idea until they wanted to get married only about three months after the deaths of their spouses.  All hell broke loose and vicious innuendos which I did not think for one minute had any truth in them. Mavis in particular was very upset and abusive about it and told me in no uncertain terms what she thought about the whole thing.  But as time passed it was eventually accepted and nothing more was said. 

Now that leaves my auntie Mary and Uncle Ted.  They had two boys, Teddy and Darcy and one daughter called Mary.  The boys were older than me and queer types who I did not relate to very well. Mary was a very nice girl but I did not have much in common with her really. Auntie Mary was almost a clone of my own mother with similar characteristics. 

Uncle Ted did not have all that much going for him at all; he had a very bad habit which was quite sickening to watch:  whenever there was a young girl close by who was unfortunate enough to be in his presence, he would come-on with his slimy smile and oily charm.  Even as a young boy I couldn’t help but notice it.  Beryl and Lucy tried to avoid him at every opportunity.

They owned a cow; it was a Jersey.  It didn’t return as much milk as a Friesian but the milk was a lot richer and had a much greater cream content which was essential for making butter.

I can remember my auntie Mary putting a big aluminium container full of milk in the ice-chest and the next morning the whole top of it had all this cream as thick as your thumb which she then scraped off into a container.  What you didn’t consume yourself; i.e. putting heaps of it on top of blackberries and other delicious snacks (cholesterol was neither known or cared about in those days), was put in a deep dish and beaten fast and furious for about two or three minutes with a wooden paddle and all of a sudden you would see all this white cream turn into yellow butter right in front of your eyes.  Amazing!  What was left was buttermilk which was either discarded or fed to any poddy calf that happened to be around at the time.

Well I’m afraid that’s all I can tell you about my family Wendy; I hope you are happy with it.

I remain your loving father.

Dad

 

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Travel

Denmark

 

 

  

 

 

In the seventies I spent some time travelling around Denmark visiting geographically diverse relatives but in a couple of days there was no time to repeat that, so this was to be a quick trip to two places that I remembered as standing out in 1970's: Copenhagen and Roskilde.

An increasing number of Danes are my progressively distant cousins by virtue of my great aunt marrying a Dane, thus contributing my mother's grandparent's DNA to the extended family in Denmark.  As a result, these Danes are my children's cousins too.

Denmark is a relatively small but wealthy country in which people share a common language and thus similar values, like an enthusiasm for subsidising wind power and shunning nuclear energy, except as an import from Germany, Sweden and France. 

They also like all things cultural and historical and to judge by the museums and cultural activities many take pride in the Danish Vikings who were amongst those who contributed to my aforementioned DNA, way back.  My Danish great uncle liked to listen to Geordies on the buses in Newcastle speaking Tyneside, as he discovered many words in common with Danish thanks to those Danes who had settled in the Tyne valley.

Nevertheless, compared to Australia or the US or even many other European countries, Denmark is remarkably monocultural. A social scientist I listened to last year made the point that the sense of community, that a single language and culture confers, creates a sense of extended family.  This allows the Scandinavian countries to maintain very generous social welfare, supported by some of the highest tax rates in the world, yet to be sufficiently productive and hence consumptive per capita, to maintain among the highest material standards of living in the world. 

Read more ...

Fiction, Recollections & News

My car owning philosophies

 

 

I have owned well over a dozen cars and driven a lot more, in numerous countries. 

It seems to me that there are a limited number of reasons to own a car:

  1. As a tool of business where time is critical and tools of trade need to be carried about in a dedicated vehicle.
  2. Convenient, fast, comfortable, transport particularly to difficult to get to places not easily accessible by public transport or cabs or in unpleasant weather conditions, when cabs may be hard to get.
  3. Like clothes, a car can help define you to others and perhaps to yourself, as an extension of your personality.
  4. A car can make a statement about one's success in life.
  5. A car can be a work of art, something re-created as an aesthetic project.
  6. A car is essential equipment in the sport of driving.
Read more ...

Opinions and Philosophy

Losing my religion

 

 

 

 

In order to be elected every President of the United States must be a Christian.  Yet the present incumbent matches his predecessor in the ambiguities around his faith.  According to The Holloverse, President Trump is reported to have been:  'a Catholic, a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, a Presbyterian and he married his third wife in an Episcopalian church.' 

He is quoted as saying: "I’ve had a good relationship with the church over the years. I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion..."

And whatever it is, it's the greatest.

Not like those Muslims: "There‘s a lot of hatred there that’s someplace. Now I don‘t know if that’s from the Koran. I don‘t know if that’s from someplace else but there‘s tremendous hatred out there that I’ve never seen anything like it."

And, as we've been told repeatedly during the recent campaign, both of President Obama's fathers were, at least nominally, Muslim. Is he a real Christian?  He's done a bit of church hopping himself.

In 2009 one time United States President Jimmy Carter went out on a limb in an article titled: 'Losing my religion for equality' explaining why he had severed his ties with the Southern Baptist Convention after six decades, incensed by fundamentalist Christian teaching on the role of women in society

I had not seen this article at the time but it recently reappeared on Facebook and a friend sent me this link: Losing my religion for equality...

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