Morning markets

We are still travelling to significant family places and are now in Rijeka, Croatia. The city is also known by its Italian name of Fiume. Love these morning markets – why would you ever go to a supermarket!

All at sea

American cruise ships are renowned for their abundance and excess. I don’t mean this in a disparaging way, but merely as a generalised perception of the ingenuity of the American way, However, as we embarked on our first even cruise – all cliches aside, we really did not expect the luxury, the cleanliness and yes of course, the abundance which we encountered. We really felt like “fish out of water”, sorry – bad nautical pun.

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Our main aim for this eight night escape was to see the ocean, relax, read and enjoy the tropical South Pacific. Embarking from Sydney, where we were lucky to spend time with Daughter Number Two and her husband, before we set sail, our departure lounge was the magnificence that is Sydney Harbour.

The view of the Harbour, the Bridge and Opera House never tires and never disappoints, it is truly one of the great harbours of the world. It was then, as the ship slowly manoeuvred away from the dock that it hit me.

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You see both our families, just a generation before us, came to this great land by ship. My parents and grandparents as refugees from Europe in 1949 and Colin’s mother and grandparents from Malta just three years later. In fact this ship was registered in Valetta, a beautiful port, which I have been fortunate to visit.

With these thoughts, I couldn’t help feeling how difficult it must have been for them to leave their respective countries and experience a voyage of uncertainty. Indeed, their thirty days at sea would not have been as enticing or our indulgent as our short cruise. Despite this, I knew that my experience on this ship would have me reflecting on those remarkable journeys of our collective history.

No doubt this sea crossing will give us time to reflect and put into perspective, our blessings and opportunities.

Please check out my other blog “finding stanley vodak” which is written in conjunction with Sydney daughter and our hope to delve further into our past, on the other side of the ocean.

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Tea Cups and Kisses

There are times when distance certainly makes the heart grow fonder, as they say. For the women in our family, we are separated by many kilometres up and down the eastern coast. Daughter Number One in regional South East Queensland and Daughter Number Two in Sydney. As for my own mum, she is in Brisbane and still living in the house in which I grew up.

We are all busy living our lives. However, I know that we often miss being able to just come together and chat over a cup of tea or go for a shop or simply take a quiet walk in the garden.

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The month of May is traditionally the month when we commemorate our mothers or significant women in our lives. The month of May for me has become a reflective month. On Mothers’ Day it will not be possible for me to spend the day with any of them. I am grateful, however, that I will spend it with other mothers.

The month of May is also the month of my own grandmother’s birth. We had a very close relationship and she was a great source of home grown advice. Her cooking and baking accomplishments are still vivid in my mind. I recall her poppy seed cakes, the traditional palacinke and the plum gnocchi – north east Italian specialties – a legacy of the Austro- Hungarian Empire. The kitchen utensils she brought with her from Fiume hang in my kitchen as a constant reminder of our connectedness.

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One of her favourite pots was the aluminium jug she lined with brown paper to fill with squid and chips! Cleaning squid in the kitchen sink became a much talked about event usually eliciting shrieks of horror as we watched her poke out the eyes of the squid with her sewing scissors! The old, yellow sink would turn a deep purple from the accidentally punctured ink sac. After much rinsing, the tentacles and the translucent tubes would be coated in white flour and shallow fried – only a few at a time! I can still hear her cautionary words! I was delighted when Daughter Number One completed the same nifty feat in my kitchen sink last Christmas! This time, adding salt and pepper instead and, thankfully, no squid ink in sight!

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My own mother, now in her eighties, would always be counted on to assist when one of us were ill or in need of a last minute baby sitter. She and daughter number one were particularly close those many years ago.

The month of May is also my little granddaughter’s birthday. There is much to miss. In our technological world where we can Skye and talk and use fantastic APPs on our I-Pads we cannot touch, we cannot bake together, we cannot share a cup of tea or feel the gentle kiss of a child.

The month of May is also dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Whether or not you believe it adds depth to a month which is set aside to commemorate the mother.

Therefore, for the month of May, may I wish for

Many memories of good times together
United by those invisible bonds only mothers and their children have
May my daughters love as profoundly as they have been loved

Whether you can be together or not – Happy Mothers Day !

Thanks for all your gifts, love and kisses – from a distance. How do you commemorate your mother?

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