It took a pandemic

… to get me to write a blog post after more than 12 months!

Here I am, stuck at home- which is pretty normal since I can’t go on holidays all the time! Last year we didn’t manage any holidays but we managed 2 in 2018 and sneaked one in during the first week of Feb. this year. That was the mini cruise around Southern Tasmania and it was stunning and unique.

The mini cruise took just a week but was on a very small cruise ship owned by Coral Expeditions, with only 40 passengers instead of 72 due to the imminent coronavirus spread. It meant really personal attention, gorgeous food, an assortment of interesting people we could tolerate, breath-taking scenery and wildlife no one else usually sees.

But I’ll leave that to a special trip blog post. There is such a lot that’s happened and not happened in the past year, most of which is dead boring for you guys out there in the virtual world. The good bits have been some repairs and improvements to our little abode and the nasty bits concerning the death of our kitty, Tenzing, 12 months ago. I also managed to damage myself several times and get pneumonia (again).

I have been trying to sort out excess possessions, mainly comprising hobby materials I accumulated over the years when depresson prevented me from doing most activities. Almost all the stuff I needed to get rid of has gone to the local Refugee Resource Centre and I still have some stuff to sort through. However, I feel that I deserve a bit of time DOING the craft activities NOW rather than endlessly getting rid of things because I might drop off the planet and never get the enjoyment I anticipated.

This reminiscence also made me think at the beginning of lockdown here in South Australia, about all the wonderful experiences I have had in the past that I can never have again. There are so many things I enjoyed that I hadn’t appreciated sufficiently at the time and now wish I could remember more of their substance. For instance, when I was a junior lecturer at a local university I drove to Melbourne [726.8 km according to Google Maps] to see a Bruce Springsteen concert at the old MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), after buying some tickets from a medical student who had to sit an exam or something. It was an amazing concert- just on the flat, no seating and I was small enough that my partner could sit me on his shoulders for short periods so I could see better! There is no way that could happen these days, we are such relative crocks! Naturally enough I had to miss giving a lecture on the Monday as we were still driving back! I had asked a colleague to do his scheduled lecture out of sequence but he ended up with a sore throat and the students couldn’t fathom why they’d been abandoned. Oh well, it was worth it to me, and they got their lecture on Friday instead of Monday. This was the first setlist. And he played about half a dozen encores!

Springsteen setlist

We also had a lot of walking holidays in Europe over the years and I can hardly remember any of the experiences, even when I look at the photographs. There are a few photos that bring back vivid recollections  of goats wearing huge bells on colourful braids or wild bear berries growing on the top of flat rocks in the mountains of Norway, but they are few and far between. I also wanted to return to Venice again to enjoy all the sights with my partner and take more photos to replace the ones that were in my camera when I was mugged in Amsterdam so many years ago. Luckily this one was on a finished roll of film in my luggage.

Venice 1980

Meanwhile back at the ranch, we are enjoying our redesigned back garden with its red Japanese-looking arch and lots of hanging baskets with white petunias. The new kitties are enjoying it too, as we had to get a pair to fill the gap left by dear Tenzing. The new kitties are both rescues, found dumped in the bush, recovered from all sorts of maladies and cared for by dedicated human foster-mums.

Here are Fisher and Paykel:


WHISPER: One word prompt

I HATE hearing whispering!! I have always hated it.

There is a particularly spitty p-p-p lip flapping whisper that my parents used when they had their early morning cuppa at about 6 am. They whispered because they thought it would not wake me up but when it DID they just kept whispering.

I told them time and again from about the age of four that I couldn’t stand it and could they speak softly in normal voices. But no. They whispered until I left home just before I was 18 to go to uni in the city.

It’s that ear-drum vibration that whispering creates that I can’t stand. I have trouble even these days if I am depressed and a bit agitated, then someone speaks with a spitty voice. My ear-drums start buzzing and I have to run away. It must be the high-pitched sounds that are near or over the upper limit of true hearing because other people say they can’t perceive the spitty sounds. No matter what, it bothers me, so this prompt was bloody easy!

DSC00377 (2)

Some bright types tell me it is an angry reaction to my parents wanting to talk privately and I felt left out. But I couldn’t have given two hoots what they talked about; it was merely the manner in which they went about it. I could have done with the extra sleep. They were probably compiling the grocery list or gossiping about the neighbours- not of ANY interest to a little kid. I got my neuroses from what my parents DIDN’T do or say as much as from what they did.

Whispering is just an innocuous activity that pisses me off mightily, out of all proportion to its significance!


Another one word prompt: Conversant

OK. I’m conversant with a lot of topics and issues. In fact some people call me a “know-it-all” but I DO know a lot about a variety of things and that’s definitely a fact! On quiz nights I’m quite handy except on sports and most things Hollywood.

In my various jobs as a university lecturer and a researcher I had to be conversant with a certain range of topics before I got those jobs. As time went along the jobs themselves required me to become quite conversant with new-to-me concepts and to integrate those with the knowledge I already possessed.

Now I’ve got into family genealogy I am almost wishing I was NOT conversant with the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)! That might seem a strange pairing but believe me it is mighty annoying to look at the alternative spellings of surnames in BDM (Birth Death and Marriage) databases and wonder how anybody could pronounce them alike. For instance how are Cable and Cafley or Coville alike when spoken  by a native English speaker? cant2Sure the first two have some letters in common and have two syllables, but, honestly I cannot imagine anyone confusing them when spoken. However, the database never spits out any Kables (my name), Cabels, Cabells or even Cavel. Being conversant with the sounds of written names just leads me to frustration as I vainly search each separate possible spelling as deduced by myself.

I first became conversant with the IPA when I was 11 years old and we met Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales for the first time in our English class. Chaucer sounded really good when our teacher read it out, much better than the odd spellings looked on paper. In our textbook there was an explanation of how to pronounce examples of Middle English plus a copy of the IPA. So I taught myself how to sound out the IPA and then “translated” a page of Chaucer into phonetic symbols so I could have a go at reading it properly myself. It was great!cant1

But seriously, about the so-called phonetically similar alternative names in the FreeBMD and the England General Register Office of Births Deaths and Marriages, someone should give their basic programs a good polishing up, separating names that sound alike from those that might look alike when written in long-hand. They need to remember that names were often given to children by illiterate parents who could not tell whether the Parish Clerk or County Clerk was spelling them correctly when they registered their child. There is also the transcription of handwritten names to longer district lists and to “Bishop’s Transcripts” for ecclesiastical purposes. Once handwriting was mainly superseded by typewriters, then computers, there was another level of transcription to surmount. This is where the shape of a word or name becomes important and the shapes of letters in various styles of handwriting can have a large impact on both the spelling and pronunciation.

I have made some huge breakthroughs for some friends in the world of ancestor-hunting by finding that Jane Brown became June Bourne on her own marriage certificate through ambiguous handwriting. And Kable became Havel! Just last night I decided to try “Hedge” as an alternative to the surname “Kedge” when the database was trying to sell me “Kates”. I won! The shape was more important than the exact letters.

In conclusion I would say that being conversant with something is not always an advantage but at other times it’s almost miraculous what you can achieve!

Links to some BDM databases for anccestor-hunters and beginner genealogists:

  1. FreeBMD (UK) URL:
  2. General Register Office of Births Deaths and Marriges for England and Wales: URL: GRO
  3. South Australian BDM compiled by volunteers (not a government site): URL:


The prompt is: Assay

This prompt immediately brought to mind the time when I discovered a tin of heavy metallic blobs among the assorted possessions of my deceased Uncle Norman.

Uncle Norman was great to have as an uncle. He had no kids of his own and only a few nieces and nephews who lived a hundred or more kilometres away, as did I. When I went to visit him on his little farm near Armidale in the Northern Tablelands he let me join in and do things I could never do at home.

Firstly, he had some cows and sheep and some farm dogs to work with the stock. I would go out into the fields with him to fetch the cows up to the home paddock in the evening. The milking cow (or two) would know when it was time to go to the dairy each morning just on sunrise and Uncle Norman or Auntie Molly would let me have a go at milking. I was fairly hopeless as I didn’t want to hurt the cows! Besides, my hands were so tiny that I couldn’t get a good grip around the udder above the nipples – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

During the day with the animals happily taking care of themselves my uncle sometimes took me rock-hunting. He had a huge collection of rock specimens from all over the world, though he had only collected Australian rocks himself. sapphmapHe used to trade rocks with other people to get the overseas ones but the vast majority he found on the East coast of Australia. Around Armidale you could find many different minerals and gemstones, the best known of which are sapphires.

We would regularly go to spots along local rivers and pan for sapphires and we found many, some of good gem quality. These were either nice deep blue transparent stones or star sapphires.

The best sapphire he found he made into a ring for Auntie Molly and today I have this ring. An expert gem cutter shaped the stone for him but he actually forged the metal part of the ring himself using gold and a little silver he had scrounged himself. I was quite impressed that he was able to make the ring as he was an electrician by trade and usually did wood-turning as a hobby, not metal forging. sapphringThe ring is quite simple, just a few claws to hold the stone and a plain band. However, that leads me to the prompt, the Assay.

When I found the heavy tin of metal blobs I thought they might be leftover material from forging the metal from that ring. I knew that an assay was a method of measuring the metal content of a mixture of geological materials but had no idea who could do it. Secretly I was hoping there might be a little more gold in the mix that could be made into a few more rings or something. So I looked up metallurgical companies in the Yellow Pages and found one close by that was prepared to analyse my little sample.

A week later I was quite excited when I went in to find out the results. It was just a tin of slag! They thought it was probably left over from various attempts to produce a jeweller’s metal and contained no more precious metal that could be re-used. Oh well, it was interesting finding out!



It’s a word I look up repeatedly as I don’t really use it. I was thinking it meant something to do with the ringing voices of a choir of archangels but it’s actually about dancing. What prompted me this time was the name of a woman who was the the mother of a distant cousin’s husband – she was named Terpsichori and her son Andrew Demetrios Antonatos married a Miss Bayliss in 1925 in Mudgee, New South Wales.

As quite a few other bloggers have done (look them up!) I looked up the meaning of Terpsichore again and found:

“In Greek mythology “Terpsichore” was one of the nine muses and goddess of dance and chorus…”

There is some suggestion that voice might be included as in a chorus or this could more resemble a “corps de ballet”. Anyway it’s an interesting word and a difficult name to pronounce so no wonder it’s sometimes converted to Teresa in Australia. I couldn’t find a Terpsichori Antonatos in the record of Australian deaths and burials, but there was a Teresa.

Terpsichore is usually interpreted by artists as a seated woman dressed in a classical toga with a lyre. She is not dancing but playing music so my interpretation may not be so far off the mark.

Terpsichore, the Muse of dance

As Mr Antonatos was listed in the Electoral Roll as a Confectioner, I looked up Sydney confectioners to see if he was notable, but nothing turned up. There is a family of Antonatos listed in Wikitree in Australia using the surname “Donnes” from the 1830s but Terpsichori’s family was claimed to come from Romania, although the names are clearly Greek. I concluded they were some type of refugee from Greece due to regional,political or religious persecution.

I was going to expand on the word meaning here but it seems to be far too late, so that’s it! Blog done for the day. Ariel??

Pink hearts, mechanical sheep and flamenco

[This was dashed off ages ago, but I’ve only just re-discovered it. I’ve had stacks of dreams since but this one marked the end of YEARS without memorable dreams. A landmark in the unconscious world you might say.]

A dream, after all these years! This one was a strange mixture inspired by the movie I’ve just seen A Little Chaos, a trailer for another movie X + Y and some clips from the Motionographer* blog (I think). I knock on a door and behind I can hear a little girl yelling and running about saying fairly random and bizarre things. When the door opens, its Kate Winslet looking like her character in A Little Chaos but dressed in a light pink frilly dress with red hearts printed on it. She quickly conducts me into her backyard which is about Adelaide suburban-sized within a paling fence. There are garden beds and squares of lawn and it’s mainly flowers and vegetables in old-style beds. Sweet peas on strings, some tall odd-looking things; (hollyhocks?). These flowers probably originated in Alice Through the Looking Glass.

We sit down on a pink quilt on a square of lawn. The little girl flits about yelling and talking to herself. A plant is giving itself a vigorous brushing- it has grey stiff leaves and a drying head with tendrils like hair. A mechanical sheep about 6 inches high and looking like Shaun from the poster for the movie toddles around.


There is suddenly an old dining table and carpet in a room. Musicians are on a few chairs holding Renaissance instuments. A woman in a long wool jersey dress does some flamenco steps. We try to clear the room of debris and furniture so she can dance. The lamb toddles about, chasing real kittens.


The kittens have apparently been starved as I have forgotten to feed them for weeks. Perhaps I’ve been sick? Steve yells at me for starving the kittens! [What has HE been doing?] He chases me from the house and says he’ll never forgive me and not to come back. The kittens are mewing and clutching their stomachs. I can’t remember them being so tiny and me not feeding them. Oddball stuff.

Maybe I was supposed to wake up and answer the kitties’ call for breakfast instead of writing this blog entry?

Example of typical Motionographer blog’s clips:

Sprint vector trailer

#dreams #fantasy #kittens #kitteh #movies #Kate_Winslet

Just bloody do something!!

[Instructions to self]

I replied to a Facebook Friend’s post where she described getting stuck into a new quilting project with this:

“It would be so lovely to feel “free” enough to embark on a much-anticipated project, to enjoy doing it and [eventually] completing it! My mental state these past few months just will not allow me to have a decent series of days where I feel happy engaging in my hobbies. If I could keep other things from getting on my “list” I would be fine but I have no power to say “NO” to the other activities and they always end up winning. If I do the nice hobby things I feel guilty about not doing the boring things, it clouds my enjoyment and I stop. Grrrr! what is your secret? I think I need more pills- my mind is not responding to instruction! I’m going to put this post in a blog!”

If you’ve read my blog before, you will realise I have reached another “stuck” time. I HATE being stuck! I feel competent enough to do a heap of tasks related to my interests yet I cannot get myself to do them or complete them. Part of it must be procrastination with a touch of “fear of failure” but some of my interests like writing tunes on my Korg nanoPad are not classifiable into success vs failure. I merely like to noodle away and enjoy myself.

Things I could do at the moment include sowing salad seeds and looking after them, finishing a top I was sewing for myself before Christmas, making a colourful quilt to my own design, knitting something from some of the wonderful yarns I have, embarking on a new photo project or writing some tunes with cumbia rhythms.  This site is a great source of rhythms.

To me it’s obvious that something is going on with my inner reward system. I seem to make my hobby activities contingent on having first done things that are useful but which don’t give me any pleasure, like doing the washing or fertilising the pot plants. Am I not worthy of these pleasurable activities? Admittedly my self-esteem is very much tied up in what I do with my time as it was when I worked in paid employment.

I always needed a job that I found interesting or I would slack off and/or become crippled by depression. When people made my pleasurable job less enjoyable by imposing irrelevant conditions on it- like having to write down what I was engaged in every 15 minutes – I became rebellious, angry, then depressed. It took me a long time to get back to my old level of performance; the exact opposite of what the bosses were trying to achieve. Mind you, how was a researcher supposed to improve by interrupting their train of thought to report on it? Admittedly, a lot of entries on my log said things like “spent 15 minutes wondering how I would analyse the data from X, Y and Z”. When quizzed about what I had “produced” in an hour, all I could say was that I had consumed a certain amount glucose processing thoughts in my brain! Not what they wanted.

So why can’t I just barrel along with my train of thought and enjoy my hobbies now? I don’t need to work for an income now I am retired as my superannuation has cut in. There are no other humans to care for except whatever I can contribute to household maintenance and there are the two healthy little cats who spend far more time having fun than I ever will!

Yummy fresh basil for tearing over pasta or making pesto.



OK, so maybe I need to get more mindful of my hobbies. But how can I impose this when the actual imposition will destroy the pleasure of the activity? Sure I could meditate and practise etc but I’m not getting anything useful from this.

Fluffy, juicy parsley to eat straight from the bush!





What about looking at the products of my activities already achieved? There is lovely water-well pot full of basil and parsley in the backyard that I regenerated after it was attacked by looper caterpillars and snails! I enjoy going out in the courtyard and pinching off some basil leaves and parsley to eat, right then and there and that is rewarding. However most of my interests involve doing something which I enjoy in the moment, even the music. I don’t get anything from re-listening to music I have “finished” or abandoned. It was the creation I enjoyed.

So where to now, baby blue? I’m leaning towards a temporary hike in pills. Will go see the doc.


I would like to make this quilt.


References on reward systems and depression: 

Pleasure systems in the brain.

The neurochemicals of happiness.

The abysmal luck of Alice Mary Ashlee

This unfortunate woman was born on 18th February 1895 at the beachside town of Margate, Kent in Southern England. I assume her parents, William Henry Ashlee and Mary Ann were a poorly resourced couple as were most working people in those days; though if anyone knows the contrary I’d be pleased to hear from them. Alice Mary seems to have been an only child and I have no idea if she ever experienced caring for other babies before she had her own in quite sad circumstances.

The tiny trawler, Sarah Alice, sunk by a German torpedo from a U-boat 26 September 1916

Sarah Alice trawler

When Alice Mary married a second cousin of mine, Frederick Norman Cadby, in mid 1916, she immediately fell pregnant and Fred went off to sea to work. As the previous post revealed, Fred’s boat was torpedoed on Tuesday September 26th by a German U-boat and he never returned to his wife and new son. The boat was merely the trawler Sarah Alice, commissioned by the Royal Navy as a mine-sweeper. Fred and his mates went down in 15 seconds. Fred Junior arrived on November 2nd. Poor Alice.

Now the plot thickens. Alice reared the young Frederick Norman William Cadby with help from her family until she married a Charles Cox in 1921. It sounds as though Mr Cox was rather a con-man as he already had a wife named Mabel Florence Cuckow whom he had married as Victor Cox in 1918. Evidently he became dissatisfied after their first baby, Walter, was stillborn and the poor girl was probably quite upset at the time. Never mind, his solution was to insinuate himself into Alice’s home, change his name slightly and marry again, bigamously.

James Charles Victor Cox and Alice had 4 children, Ernest Victor Cox b. 1922; James L Cox, b.1923; Edward G Cox b 1925 and Winifred b.1929. In the 1940s, the Cox boys somehow discovered they were the result of a bigamous union so two of them decided to revert their surname back to their mother’s at the time of their birth. They were so angry at what their biological father had done that they had their births re-registered as Cadbys! A child of Winifred Cox contacted me and explained all this after seeing my Family Tree on the American “A” site. What an intriguing story!

Here is the re-registration of Edward Cox’s Birth:

“Births Mar 1949   (>99%)
CADBY Edward C [mother’s surname] Ashlee; Folkestone Vol. 5b  page 925

The above transcription represents what is in the GRO index but it is referred to by the following entry :

Births 1925 Mar: Cadby,Edward G,Cadby,Folkestone,5b,See M49

After separating from Charles/Victor, later in life Alice married a man oddly named Lewis Fright, dying as Mrs Fright. My apologies if a reader shares this surname, but I find it a bit scary!

On a slightly happier note to end this saga: JCV Cox’s first wife Mabel Florence Cox (nee Cuckow) met a much nicer fellow, Percy Mabb, married, and had a daughter named Estella. I also had a letter from Estella’s grand-daughter recently, telling me that her part of the family seemed to be quite stable and content these days.

#52Ancestors #genealogy #Cadby #Cox #Cuckow #Mabb #Ashlee #Fright

Who ARE these people?

As my friends irl know, I have been involved in chasing up my ancestors for a few years. On one side my mum’s forebears have been thoroughly researched by others because they were the first Australian First Fleeters to come ashore at the founding of our country in 1788. Legend has it that my GGG Grandfather, convict Henry Kable (also spelled Cable, Cabel, Cabell and Cavell), and another guy named Green carried Governor Arthur Phillip ashore through the shallow water left after the landing craft was rowed in. They placed him on the sand in Sydney Cove and there he raised the British flag and founded the new penal colony of New South Wales at Port Jackson, later renamed Sydney.parttalm

My father’s family were, in contrast, extremely difficult to trace, not least because Walker is an extremely common surname, especially where his family originated in Midlands Britain. I didn’t even know the names of dad’s parents and only vaguely knew some of his brothers and a sister. It took me two years to locate records for the correct father for my father whose name was William Walker although his mum, Gertrude Lawrence was much easier to trace. I remembered at some stage that my grandmother had the same name as a singer from way back and that’s how I knew who to look for in the Births Deaths and Marriages, otherwise I was clueless.

How I discovered the rest of my Walker ancestors back to 1810 is a long story, peppered with false leads and a stack of logic tables, so I’ll save that for another time. Meanwhile I came across a twisted little tale with some 20th century descendants of my GG Grandmother, Eliza Cadby (born 4 May 1812 in Birmingham, Manchester, England; died Jan 1878 Dudley, Worcestershire).

This little tale started when I had a lot of trouble tracing what had happened to a descendant named Frederick Norman Cadby who was born in 1892. He married Alice Mary Ashlee in 1916 and she bore him a son in 1916 F N William Cadby. After some searching I found another son, James Leonard born in 1923, but no more children. As I had no idea of Fred the father’s job, since he hadn’t been an adult during the 1911 Census, I had a look in the Electoral Registers but couldn’t find him anywhere! Perhaps he had joined the Army and got killed in World War I? So I consulted the Deaths section of the BMD and discovered the poor guy had died in 1916, one month after his marriage! He was killed on a trawler that got torpedoed by a German U-boat and his body never recovered. He left his wife with a new baby to care for and the course of her life changed forever. But, hey!, where did the son come from who was registered in 1923, seven years after his apparent father’s death?

Then I discovered that Alice Mary had remarried to a Charles Victor Cox in 1921 and had a further 4 children, including  the one named in the BMD as James Leonard Cadby. Had Alice met one of Fred’s brothers later, or what exactly was going on here? It took a contact through that big American genealogical company to reveal the hidden twists and turns of Alice Mary’s life and I will leave that for tomorrow’s blog post. See if you can work it out!


Oops! Slipping a bit.

Didn’t manage to blog yesterday. No excuses. Today I wasn’t wildly inclined either but I’m trying. (Yeah, I know – very trying!)

Yesterday I was trying to tell someone that other people don’t really care what happens to you. She has a hang-up about caring and she thinks everyone should make allowances for her when she’s been ill, just because she says she’s been ill. She frequently says things like “They don’t care about me. I could drop off a cliff in front of their eyes and they wouldn’t notice”.

Now in real life I know some people are very attentive if they know you have been crook, but these people are few and far between. Most of us say we care and we think we are caring people but we don’t ever follow up with some caring act. And that’s what is the norm. Sure we care while we’re saying it but we forget a minute later and never do anything. This is accepted but is abhorrent to people who are Narcissists (who also never do much for anyone else either). Narcissists think everything is about them. If their electricity goes off during a suburb-wide outage, they have the loudest voice at the front door or on the phone, describing all the disasters the outage has created at their place. They never ask if it caused a major inconvenience for you even if you’re obviously halfway through drying your hair. But their oven clock stopping is everyone’s problem and you’ll never hear the end of it. It will be sooo difficult to restart and you have to run through the whole twelve hours before you can reset it to afternoon time… and it’s sooo hard for her to hold 2 buttons down at once with her fresh nail job!P1120036 (2)

Narcissists also prey on people via social media. They have some problem and they want everyone to pay attention to it. For instance, it might start with something simple like where to buy a certain type of light bulb. But when they get little response they can up the ante until they’re demanding you come over and stop them from over dosing or similar. Kind but naive people can become virtual servants to narcissists who operate this way and start phoning or going around to check they are OK! The best thing to do to protect your own mental health is to kindly and firmly explain to the narcissist that this is exactly what you are doing. Tell them you are protecting your own mental health and you can’t afford to be taking care of others at this time. Advise them of the accepted channels for getting urgent help and wish them well in therapy, meditation or whatever they may have chosen to assist them after you cut ties. Then un-friend or cut contact, block their number on your phone if you have it and start concentrating on yourself again!P1120067 (2)