Sunday, 31 December 2006

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone.  I am attaching a couple of pictures ...

First Rosie under the Christmas Tree



and then my dear friend, Audrey, all dressed up to go to Christmas dinner.  She has been poorly the last few months and has been on steroids but is feeling a bit better now, thank goodness.



And heres a photo of my cheeky nephew, Martin, taken at a Polish wedding we went to the other year. 

Thanks to all for your friendship over the last few months.  I really value my time with you all and being part of your worlds.  I wish you all a very happy new year.


Terry x



Friday, 29 December 2006

Party Games

We are having a few friends around tonight who have got children = all over 10.  Anyone got any ideas on any fun party games we can play.  I seem to remember one that you dot each other's faces with ash but can't remember what its called or how you play it.  Any suggestions very welcome.



Thursday, 28 December 2006

Mummy's Memoirs - Part 10 - Diphtheria and Hitler

In school I seemed to have no trouble. Everything went smoothly, I was happy.

One day we were told our school was to be redecorated. We would have to attend the boys school!

We were marched in long crocodile lines to the boys school. Some of the girls cried. I was frightened too. Boys! I’d rather do anything that have anything to do with boys.

But it was not too bad. We had our own classroom. We only saw the boys when we went in or out.

While we ere at the boys school I became ill. Could not drink the milk still so Mother would give me a medicine bottle filled with cocoa in the morning from our breakfast cocoa. At school I was allowed to place it on the radiators, so that by break time it was nice and hot.

I got my hot cocoa that morning but I could not drink it. I felt awful. Felt sick and tired. I started crying.

A teacher took me home.

I was put in bed and the doctor called. I had diphtheria. He gave me an injection and left the phial the medicine had been in for me to play with. I could not play with it, I was too ill.

I could not eat anything, my throat was too painful.

I was ill quite a long time.

Gise came to visit me to bring back my cocoa bottle.

Gise got diphtheria too.

After a while I got better. I was good at reading by then. I read my school books from cover to cover.

The flat was fumigated after I got up. I felt very important. All that fuss over me!


In school we had a big gymnasium, and in the evening I joined a club for athletics.

I loved it, I could do anything - we would do all sorts of contortions on the bars. To music we would drill.

After a time We became aware of the Hitler jungen.

They had a club. We had to pay a schilling a year. Theirs was free with refreshments, lemonade and sausage rolls. Also they were supplied with a uniform, brown shirt, black tie - caps - socks - all for nothing. They would be taken to Summer camp during the holidays. All for nothing.

The boys had all joined. They strutted around the yard in their uniform. We would make fun of tem. If we were caught by them they would punch us.

We hated the Hitler jungen, they were a lot of show offs, Hitler, Hitler, that’s all people talked about.

On the wireless it was the same. Everyone became aware something was going on.


Mother and father took me to Vienna to stay with a girl and her mother. This girl had stayed with us for three nights. She was an artist in the theatre. She was of Czechoslovakian origin and when she came to Berndorff with the Czech troupe to play in our theatre the Czech community put them up. My Mother being so friendly with the Czechs also wanted to have someone.

In Vienna it was lovely. We went to the Prater. The Zoo - it was in a beautiful park, the gardens laid out with flowering bushes.

[My goodness, Mum had a wonderful memory, this is what I found on the internet when I looked up Prater, Vienna.


Many people regard the Vienna Prater as just another fun-fair. But it´s much more than that: it´s a Viennese institution, like the coffee houses or the Heuriger (wine taverns). Its landmark, and one of Vienna´s too, is the 65 metre high Giant Ferris Wheel. It towers over the 200 booths in the Prater, the ghost train, go-karts and grotto railways, the merry-go-rounds and fruit-machine halls, throwing and shooting galleries.

The Prater has something to offer for the whole family: take a ride with the children on the fairy-tale railway, the children´s dodgems and the scenic railway. Plummet down the extra-long slides, laugh yourselves crooked, bent, fat or thin in the hall of mirrors, savour the romantic nostalgia of an old merry-go-round or the great variety on offer from the Prater caterers: from pickled gherkins to boiled beef.

The wonders of the heavens await you in the Planetarium. And in the Prater Museum you can re-live the greatest moments of this fun-fair. Incidentally: each booth in the Vienna Prater is an independent enterprise - which is why you don´t have to pay an admission charge to enter the Prater, and also why the various attractions in the Prater don´t have uniform opening times.

Opening times for most of the attractions in the Prater are from the beginning of March to the end of October - from morning to midnight. Some attractions (ghost trains and grotto railways, dodgems, cafes and restaurants) are open throughout the year. The Giant Ferris Wheel is open from February to November and around New Year´s. ]

Mother was mostly impressed about the layout of the table. First would be a large dinner plate and a soup plate on that. Soup would be served first, and the dinner plate was already warm to serve the dinner on. She copied that style for years.

In Vienna it was decided that I must have a new hat.

We went into this salon. I was shown quite a collection. Then I saw this beret with black spots on it.

It was the latest style, I looked so good. Then I realised the large polka dots were black. I could not possible wear black. Everyone would think I was a Hitler jungen. So they found one with brown spots. No! That was the Hitler jungen colour for their shirts. I made quite a fuss. I would found a green spotted one in the end.

But the young girl when she got out was very serious. She told me I should be very careful to let anyone know my opinions now. Those assistants could be Hitler jungen themselves and might report me and my whole family. People were taken to concentration camps. I didn’t care. I was loyal and true. I would rather die than wear a hat with Hitler’s colours. They did not seem very impressed with me. I don’t know even now to whom I was loyal. I think it must have been the club. They could keep their sausage rolls!

I didn’t know anything about Hitler, the people didn’t seem to like him and were frightened what would happen if he invaded Austria.

We knew no fears and at that time there was no mention that anything would happen to them.

But there was a stir, everyone listened to the wireless intently. Szubnik was killed and it seemed a great calamity. Who Szubnik was I did not know, but something dreadful was going to happen. [I can’t find anything when search for this name]

But life went on. We often went to the theatre. Richard Tauber was the great star of that time. Everyone was singing his songs. I think we went to see him in an operetta.


".......what is astonishing about Richard Tauber's art is exactly that it is by no means based on an outstanding, sumptuous natural vocal talent, but rather on the somnambulant sovereign usage of these vocal means,on a highly sensitive musicality, a hypnotic power of expression, and an infinitely inventive performance vision.........

........Richard Tauber was the greatest Mozart tenor of his time. Of his Don Ottavio on March 5th 1924 the critic of "Die Zeit" wrote "Tauber's performance reached its climax in Don Giovanni. It had never happened before that Don Ottavio, a figure who usually remains in the background, was received with such a storm of applause and that Don Giovanni himself should have been overshadowed." Of the same performance in "Die Deutsche Allgemeiner Zeitung":"He is the polished fine musician who not only knows his part, but the whole score,and creates from the complete ....... He sings the two arias incomparably; how he gives by the power of his cantilena at the end of the G major aria a soaring poised line to that baroque, octave leaping melody; how he fills the coloratura of the B flat major aria with dramatic life is quite unprecedented.".......
James Dennis, 1979]


A Russian troupe was on and we went to see them. I was fascinated by their dancing. The high leaps, and most of all I liked the dance where a dancer would crouch down and fling his legs out. I practised this dance for hours, holding myself between two chairs.

Soon I was able to do it without the chairs, I would do it anywhere - in the street, shops, in the street. Soon I became famous for my Russian dance. When I would go to the shop for my Mother I would be asked to perform. I would be given a handful of sweets, round chocolates with rum filled centres. Soon all the shops knew of my dancing and I was never short of sweets.

Hugs to all.


end of the year

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas.  To me its all about the children enjoying themselves.  I don't think they believe in Santa any more but they humour me along about the Christmas stockings, mince pie and sherry etc.

My sister, Chris, bought me some lovely pjs and matching slippers.  I look the biz now with all my finery going to bed instead of some old jogging bottoms and a tshirt.  Mmm, I think she hasn't admired my bedwear when we have been away together.  She also got me some lovely leather gloves, which I have promised I'll try not to lose this time but I won't be wearing them to bed!

I feel pretty relaxed now, having had a few days off work and I am lucky enough not to be back until next Tuesday, eeeek that is creeping up a bit quickly for my liking.  I am so relaxed I am almost horizontal, so must try to get back into my normal mode soon, e.g. waking up at a reasonable time and maybe getting dressed.

Today was a momentous day!  We finally paid our mortgage off.  Like many others, we were hit by endowment shortfall and had no-one to make a claim to because we bought through an independent adviser.  My sister was lucky as she bought direct from her building society and so got lots back.  Anyway, we were quite a bit short but the deed is done and it is a bit like Christmas, a bit of an anti-climax.  I remember the excitement the day we bought the house and it doesn't seem 20 years ago, the pay off date seemed so far away.  Beans on toast now for us for a few months.

We then went to my niece's place in Letchworth to give them their Christmas presents.  Her baby is 18 months old and very cute.  Matthew and Rosie are a very proud aunt and uncle.  It was a pleasant afternoon, she had made us a little party and her boyfriend had made his own homemade pickled onions which nearly blew my head off!

My nephew, Martin, has accepted a new job in Leeds, he will be going in a week or so.  We'll all miss him and I know its going to be a sad day for us all when he goes.  After my sister died he went travelling and I felt that I was bereaved again.  I hope I will be braver this time.  At least we'll have a bit more room in the cottage ... I wonder if he'll take all his stuff?

He will be back with his girlfriend, Julia, any time now this evening.  She is coming up for the next few days.  He drove up to Stafford yesterday to spend a day with her and drive back here together but I think he has to go to work tomorrow. Its a blimming long drive, too far for me, I just couldn't stand all that motorway. 

I hope that everyone had a good Christmas.  I know that some other journallers have lost family members or have some that are very sick and my heart goes out to them. 

Mum's memoirs will be posted on here ... I can't be bothered to have two journals on the go!



Friday, 15 December 2006

oooh I am so behind

Well, I am so far behind in everything!  I have loads of alerts to read and am slowly getting through.

Last week, we went to Pontins at Prestatyn for a long weekend.  Rosie had won a heat at Pontins Hemsby when we went in the Summer reciting "The Albert and Lion" which she had learned from one of our old cds.  She loves performing and was Joseph in her end of term play at primary.

Luckily my nephew, Martin, drove us to Prestatyn, I couldn't do that long drive .. it was bad enough going to Norfolk.  It was cold, windy and wet on the drive down.  The car was really crowded as Lisa, their older sister, was in the car as well (a small vw golf).  Her boyfriend was unfortunate enough to have an ingrown hair on his bottom and had to have an op to remove it the week before and wasn't well enough to drive there.  I knew it would make it really tight in Martin's car and wasn't keen on the children being so squashed but was worn down in the end by feeling guilty.  She kept phoning me and texting me, saying she wouldn't ask anything else, couldn't I drive so there would be lots of room etc., etc.  Hmmm.  I was surprised she could leave her boyfriend as he was feeling so poorly but she was determined to come, so what could I do.  She was good company though and we did have some good laughs with her.

We were also joined by Julia, Martin's girlfriend who lives in Stafford but she drove her own car down, so Lisa went with her (after 3 hours of squashing the kids).

Most of the kids were semi professional, all singing and all dancing.  I found it all very interesting though.  They had a few different age groups and Rosie was in the 11-14 group against 36 others.  There were lots of disco dancers in very exotic costumes and make up and some very talented singers.  I particularly liked one girl who sang "Where is Love" from Oliver.  She sang without music and her voice was really fabulous.  Her voice had maturity and had a wonderful tone.  She got through to the final heat with 5 others from the 11-14 age group and was the eventual winner of the group and she deserved it.  Rosie was disappointed not to get through to the grand final but was cheered up with her new wheelie roller skates, especially as there were lots of great places in Pontins for her to skate about on and get used to them.

We made a couple of trips into Rhyl.  The sea is so dramatic in the winter and I enjoyed watching the waves crashing against the promenade.  The weather was very windy and also freezing cold so no chance of a swim!

We found a lovely sheepskin rug for Paul which is twice the size of the one he presently has and he is really pleased with it.  It took a bit of persuading on my part to get Martin to bring it home directly with us instead of Julia bringing it when she is coming down here next but I did win in the end!  We also found a Liverpool football clock for my dear friend Audrey who lives over the road.  Its got the words "You'll never walk alone" and we know that she and her husband will love it, I can't wait to see their faces at Christmas.

We were walking down a street in Rhyl and Matthew found a wallet.  Luckily we found a police station just round the corner and although the wallet had no id on it, I hope the person who lost it thinks to check at the police station to see if it was handed in.

We got a taxi back to Pontins from Rhyl and I was chatting to the driver.  We had thought we would give Martin and Julia a little together time as they don't see each other that regularly being so far apart.

We had noticed speed camera signs everywhere once we had got into Wales but saw no speed cameras, so I asked the taxi driver about them.  Apparently they have these vans that go round, hiding round corners etc., and they take no prisoners.  Well, no chance of me ever breaking the speed limit in Wales or anywhere, so I'll be safe, ha ha!  As we got chatting she told me he worked closely with the local Police on the Stephen Lawrence project.  I believe this was the young boy who was killed by bullies in South London a few years ago.  This project is around for children who are a bit different than others and they get introduced to all people from different walks of life.  Anyway, this taxi driver told me that she was involved because she was diverse.  Then when I looked again, I realised she was a he dressed up as a she!  She was very pleasant and we did have a nice chat.  I told her about my gay friend and the time I had my working trip to Rio with him a few years ago (now, that is another story ..... and was very different to Pontins, oooh I still remember my hotel room overlooking Ipemema beach).  We both agreed that you can't judge a book by its cover and that it takes all sorts to make the world go round.

Saturday evening was very pleasant.  We watched x factor and then decided to have a sing song of our own.  Even the love birds joined in with London's burning and it was very uplifting!  We did a bit of frere jacque too but enjoyed London's burning the best.

On Sunday we were supposed to leave the apartment at 10 but as I was first up at 9.45 it simply didn't happen.  We eventually started moving towards home (after everyone went swimming at the local leisure centre) at 3pm!! 

We had a lovely time though and it was a nice experience except for the rubber covered mattress on my tiny single bed!

This week has been crazy, as I hadn't got hardly any presents sorted out and was feeling stressed.  Tonight I wrote out a few cards for the chaps that work with Paul.  I need desperately to do the cards for my family in Poland and get them sent off and must do it this weekend.  I had the day off work today and went out alone and managed to get quite a few presents sorted out for the family and have about 5 to get now. 

Tomorrow I am out all day on a coach trip to Thursford in Norfolk.  I think its a Christmas market and a Christmas show.  We leave at 9am and get back about 10pm.  I booked it months ago and didn't how near it was to Christmas and having gone away last weekend too it has really cut my time down for getting things done.  I am sure we'll all enjoy it though.  We have loads of goodies to eat on the trip, including some rather nice Strawberry tarts!

Take care everyone.





Saturday, 2 December 2006

Memories of our first visit to Poland

I thought I'd write a bit more about our visit to Poland, the land of my mother and my father and indeed all my relatives.  I have gained a family that I was not really aware of and have also developed a deeper sense of patriotism.  My Polish has improved a bit too!

Our family could not have been more welcoming.  Our cousin, Iza, met us at the airport in Warsaw.  She was with her husband, Darek, and daughter, Klaudyna.  We were all presented with roses to welcome us, even Peter. it was very touching.  Also, I had forgotten the Polish custom of three kisses on greeting!  My dad used to do it when meeting Polish friends.  Polish men kiss each other when greeting each other. We really got into the swing of the kissing by the time our visit to Poland was over.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, I must say.  My brother said he had enjoyed it so much he would start kissing my husband, Paul, every time they met when we got home.  When we had first contacted the Bialystok family to say we were coming, they insisted Cousin Iza would meet us at the airport to guide us to the train station.  We thought we would just meet up and have a coffee.

My sister, Christine, got into Iza's little car whilst my brother Peter, Rosie and myself got into the car with Darek and Klaudyna and we left the airport and got our first sight of the city of Warsaw.  It felt so strange to be in Poland.  The city was not unlike the Paris streets.  Little kiosks everywhere selling cigarettes, magazines etc.  Quite wide roads.  They also have a tram service, which was quite fascinating. 

As we drove through to the outskirts of Warsaw, I was surprised when they told us we were not going to the railway station but they were taking us back to their house for a meal.  We really did not expect that.

Whilst we were driving it was strange to see many blocks of flats with washing flapping in the wind.  I don't remember seeing any normal houses.  Just many, many, blocks of flats.

We arrived at my cousin's block of flats.  It looked grim from the outside but when we went up the stairs and entered the flat, it was lovely and bright and modern and had quite large rooms.  They had a wonderful balcony which looked out to woodland.  In the living room was a table beautifully laid out, with lovely crystal glasses and the finest china.  She hadmade us all our favourite Polish dishes,

My cousin and her family treated us like royalty.  I have never felt so welcome anywhere in my life.

my lovely cousin Iza and her husband, Darek

Heres a picture of the lovely Iza and her sweet husband Darek. 

He is a baker and they both work very hard in their business.  He leaves at 4 a.m. every day and doesn't get home until late.  We had some of his beautiful cakes and by the time we had eaten all they wanted us to, we could hardly move. 

It was such a shame my Polish was bad and I couldn't say too much to them both, but I do know how to say thank you.  Luckily Chris remembered a lot of her Polish, I was so proud of her.  Klaudyna, their daughter, was very fluent in English.  I did manage to tell Klaudyna that she had very nice windows, when I meant that she had very nice eyes!  Oche and ocne are very similar, thats all I'll say in my defence.  That caused a real laugh and I don't think I'll live that down.

We had such a connection with them and made arrangements that we would meet up again on our way back after visiting Bialystok before going to the airport for our flight home.

One thing I should mention is that the Pope died just before our visit to Poland.  We arrived in Warsaw the day before his funeral.  Here's a picture of some of the lights we saw.  This was taken in the old town of Warsaw.  These lights were everywhere and it was quite eerie the night we arrived to see them all and everyone out in the streets standing around.



Well, after all this feasting and bonding, we were then taken to the railway station by our cousins and they did not leave us until we were safely on the train to Bialystok! 

Our next adventure was about to begin.

Here's Chris with Cioca (auntie) Lila and Cousin Lila at our second feast of the day.  Doesn't my sister look like my cousin!

Chris, Auntie Lila and Cousin Lila

Our first visit to our cousin's house

More to come on our visit to Bialystok.

Hope you enjoyed this entry.


Terry x