'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menologue; The OZ Venture

Settle yourselves down. This one requires concentration.

Monday had a very special purpose. I don't think I have mentioned anywhere in the bloggy about relatives in OZ. Distant, but bloodline nonetheless. Well. Norma, technically, was not 'blood' - her husband was, being my mother's cousin; but the dear ol' thing, who was all but blind and equally as deaf, knew absolutely everything about everybody within even a remote bood-cell of connection!

Her daughter, Denise is a retired school teacher (though still doing relief work) and she recently had a knee replacement operation. Then there is Sally; her father was my mother's cousin and brother to Norma's husband, so she is my cousin thrice removed and Denise's direct cousin. Her husband sadly passed away suddenly 18 months ago and, understandably, she is still a bit rocked by that. In the meantime, of her twin sons, Chef Andrew (who works for a high-class London restaurant) got married this time last year, over here in Ayrshire. Then the other twin, electrician Daniel, who stayed in OZ, got married the week before I arrived. During all of which, Norma became unwell and passed away two weeks before I was to travel.

You following? More about these connections later.

I was most upset with Norma. She was supposed to hang on till I got one more visit with her. What is more, given that time span, there was no expectation that I could even attend funeral.... then, the day before I flew, Sally emailed that the funeral was to be held on following Monday, 9th November... down in Dapto. I could attend!!!

Helpfully, I have marked Dapto in big orange letters upon this map, generously loaned by Mssrs Go&ogle.

Recall that yesterday I remarked how far North of Sydney Hornsby is, Mt Colah being a further five klicks above that. You may surmise, then, that this was to be a major trip.

Three and a half hours, to be precise. First there was the train from Mt Colah station down to Central. Then change platforms to the country trains. As you will see from photo below, Eric joined me on the journey and was guardian of the picnic.

Very glad I had that, for it turned out that the little tea party after the memorial service was not at all inclusive of vegetarian choices.

The cuppa chamomile tea was good, though, and there were cakes...

At least the day had dawned bright and warm (got up to just over 30'C at the top) and afforded a grand view of one of Sydney's iconic features...

The gathering at Dapto was 19 souls. Norma knew a great many more than that, but a goodly number of them would have passed themselves and, it has to be said, removing her from her lifetime home in Western Sydney for the last two years of her life precluded any surviving older friends from attending. It was a long way for me, never mind octogenarians. Apart from two ladies who were colleagues of Denise, the balance were the immediate family. Denise's brother and his three children, down from Brisbane; Norma's nephew and two nieces and spouses; an older cousin and her son from the Aussie side; another of my/Sally's cousins, Mark, who came over from Adelaide.

Twenty minutes at the memorial and ninety minutes at the tea.

Sally had to drop Mark back at the airport for his return flight, so I went with them and caught the train from Domestic Terminal, again changing at Central.

My trip down had only cost me $5.10 - the shorter return trip cost $19.80..... don't travel from airports unless you really have to, is the message there!

I was out the door at 8am that Monday, and got back in at 8pm. It was a long and tiring day for so short a time spent at the other end, but I got to meet a cousin I had never met before, see others I had not seen for years (and am not likely to see again, such is the way of things); but most of all, I am so very, very glad that I got to say goodbye to a wonderful old soul.

On an observational level, I have no idea why the decease date on this memorial card is marked as three days after the event. It was actually the morning of the 27th. ...but what's three days, after 82 years?


  1. YES... it WAS well marked in Bold Orange... We can See just how far it was to travel... Using the ... heheheheh generously Loaned... Map from M. Google... LOL BOL...
    So glad that you were able to attend... that is a real PlUS to the Trip.

  2. Wow, you nose how to do this globetrotting thingy like a professional Aunty Yam.
    Don't forget wiv you relativing that yous also special Aunty to a Princess in the depths of Bedfordshire!
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  3. Well done you, for making it down to Dapto to say that last, important goodbye.

  4. It certainly was worth the effort; family is. A lot of travelling, though.

  5. We're glad you had a chance to tell her farewell but of course it would have been nicer if she could have held on a bit longer. She looked like a lovely person. You are quite the traveler!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  6. I didn't realize you had family there! What a time you've had. Can't wait to read more! xx

  7. Well Crikey ... No wonder you were cranky. She should have held on for a few more weeks for you, aye but maybe it was just meant to be. You needed to practise your travelling techniques so you could find me? She looked like a very sweet lady with quite the twinkle in her eye.

  8. Some things are worth travelling a long way for. That is actually the one thing I am worried about living abroad: what if my family becomes ill and I can't get there in time.


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