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birdie August 2, 2020

I’m a cranky old bat whom most of you would probably regard as being past her use by date. When I read comments on social media complaining about their rights being infringed, I think back to the stories told me as a child by my English relatives about living in the south of England and London during the war. Hiding under the kitchen table because there wasn’t enough warning to get to a shelter. Night after night spent with the kids sleeping in the underground. No idea where your male family members were or even if they were still alive because they were off to the war. Rationing of food and clothing.

I once nursed a very elderly lady who told me that before the war, she took four teaspoons of sugar in her tea. When rationing began, she stopped taking it because her four growing children needed it more than she did. My very first shoes were fourth hand, having passed through three older cousins because it was impossible to buy things like that. Every stitch of clothing I wore for the first five years of my life, including nappies, was made by my mother.
The generation before mine sacrificed a hell of a lot but, in the case of my family at least, I never once heard a word of complaint, either during or after the war. As a matter of fact, stories were told of the sometimes hilarious results of the ‘make do and mend’ philosophy encouraged by the government.
Now, my ears and eyes are being assaulted daily by people banging on about the terrible inconvenience, not to say infringement of their rights because they have to wear a bloody mask! Dear God people, just suck it up and get on with it! It’s a small price to pay to at least attempt to slow the spread of this virus and it isn’t forever. Just thank your lucky stars you’re living in a time and place where something as simple as this can lead to so much whining from so many people.

birdie August 1, 2020

I simply cannot close this article without commenting. I know much more about adoption than the author and I’m amazed and bewildered in equal measure. The reader may think I’m arrogant because of the statement I’ve just made, but I’m perfectly justified in making it.

Adoption is commonly referred to as a ‘triangle’. I’m sitting on two points of the triangle. I’m an adoptee and my only child is adopted, so I’m also an adoptive parent. In addition, my only living sibling is an adopted sister.
I can never remember a time in my life when I didn’t know I was adopted. It’s been a very small part of my identity in my living memory. Never was I told I was ‘special’ or ‘chosen’. I was simply the oldest of my parents’ three children, another adopted daughter and their own biological son, born when I was 11 years old, whom I loved to bits and who tragically died suddenly last December.
If my sister or I wanted to discuss our adoption, if we were worried, or had questions, Mum and Dad were open and free with discussing it. Other than that, adoption was never mentioned. It wasn’t a big deal. It was a fact of life and, while we never tried to hide it, we didn’t make it a core part of our being. Our birthdays were celebrated on the day we were born and I frankly find the practice of adoptive parents celebrating on ‘adoption day’ disrespectful and cruel. No child wants to be different, whether it’s good different or not and I know two families who’ve done this and both adoptions have been unsuccessful. The children are adults now and screwed up.
Our son was raised in exactly the same way as my sister and I. We’ve always been extremely close and he’s been happily married for more than 12 years and has two children of his own. I asked him recently whether or not he’d consider searching for his biological family and he said he can’t see the point. His Dad and I are his family as far as he’s concerned and he has no wish to complicate his life with another one.
Maybe my son, my sister and I have accepted our adoptions as a fact of life and not agonised over them because all three of us are practical, logical people by nature. If being otherwise leads to the angst that appears to have dogged the author’s life, I thank my lucky stars we are that way.

birdie July 30, 2020

I find Ciarran to be the most revolting example of the male that I’ve struck in a very long time. I didn’t like him from the minute he walked onto The Bachelorette, as I could see he was a poser with a very high opinion of himself.

My husband and I have watched his antics in Paradise with increasing disbelief that anyone could think them remotely okay. ‘It is what it is’, is the biggest cop out saying ever to be introduced into the English language. I too am waiting for some of the guys to speak up on behalf of sanity and decency.
I should add that my lovely hubby is about to turn 75 and grew up surrounded by the ‘bro code’ in the 50s, 60s and 70s. It was strong in those days but, as the song says:  ‘But that was yesterday, and yesterday’s gone!’

birdie July 28, 2020

Seriously Laura! Why would you let this bother you? It’s your life, your family and nobody else’s business. You’re doing yourself and your gorgeous bub a disservice by allowing others, strangers, to control your emotions. You just do you and ignore those who have nothing else to do but trawl social media looking for something/someone to criticise to make them feel better about themselves.

birdie July 26, 2020

How dare the president of the United States expect that people will behave in a respectful, responsible manner? When did it become okay to loot and burn other people’s property for any reason? What’s it to them if there are soldiers on every corner? Protesters need to be reminded that if they want the benefits of living in a civilised democracy, they behave like civilised humans with consideration for others.

Stop making excuses for civil disobedience. Regardless of who the president is, it’s still illegal.

birdie July 24, 2020

I’m a mother of a son much older than yours. I know this would be a very difficult thing to do, but for his own sake, you need to report him to the police. This would get him help. This can’t go on. Your younger children are suffering and you need to protect them.

birdie July 18, 2020

@sara78, I’m so sorry. I relate completely. I was married at 22, we started trying straight away and after multiple miscarriages, I had to have a hysterectomy at 28. We adopted our only child, a son, four years later. The country’s crying out for foster parents, would you consider that? If you’re worried you wouldn’t be able to love a child that isn’t yours, don’t. I took one look at my son and instantly loved him. A lot of children are needing long term care. It’s just a suggestion.

birdie July 18, 2020

Look, I’m sorry but there seems to be a whole lot of negativity here. Every ‘meltdown’ is affecting your baby. I’m in a horrible position vis a vis my health at the moment and there isn’t going to be a happy ending like you can expect. You are so lucky to be bringing a baby into your life and that of your husband. Regardless of the circumstances, rejoice in it. Be happy. It sounds as though you have a pretty charmed life. Think of the future when the madness is over and this is just a bad dream. Your disappointment will have disappeared and you will have a child to love and enjoy for years. This is just a blip.

You might find this hard to believe but for millennia, women have sailed through pregnancy without Pilates and massage classes for dads. Childbirth is a natural function and if you listen to your body, you’ll know what to do do and what help to ask for from your husband. Just relax and count your multiple blessings. A positive, happy mum to be is the very best thing you can give your baby.

birdie July 18, 2020

Surely there has to be a limit on what the government must pay for. People forget that governments have no money. The money belongs to the workers paying tax and the taxpayer expects, often in vain, that the government will spend it wisely. Every day we’re being bombarded with one or another group demanding that the government fork out more and more. The pool is finite unless the government begins to print money and that way madness lies.

birdie July 9, 2020

The article deals with Anglo/Celtic/European majority countries. In countries where this is not the case, white people and other ethnic groups are discriminated against. I know this to be true. The fact is that racism exists in every country in the world to a greater or lesser extent. The only reason it’s been brought to the fore now, is that white majority countries have realised the inequities and are making genuine efforts to redress the situation.

birdie July 5, 2020

This is a terrible situation but I believe the authorities are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. There is a huge difference between living in large blocks of apartments and living in a suburban street. The stair railings, lift buttons, door handles, laundry facilities etc are used by dozens of people every day. Doctors have said that the virus can survive in the air for four minutes. If you leave your apartment for something as simple as going to the foyer to check your mailbox, you could be inhaling the virus on the way there, in the foyer and on your way back.

While I have no love for Daniel Andrews, I don’t know what’s expected of him and his government. Australia hasn’t faced a pandemic for 100 years. Everyone is fighting blind. If hotspots had been identified in these blocks and the government had done nothing, or provided limited management, it would have been said that the government didn’t care about public housing tenants and were discriminating against them.
What I do know is that food, medication, including methadone, and other essentials are being delivered daily. I find it difficult to understand why tenants are being triggered by five days in a warm, safe apartment. They know they’re being looked after and when the lockdown is over, they’ll emerge into a free, safe city. It’s not forever and it’s not that hard.

birdie July 4, 2020

I grew up in the 50s and if my mother and her friends were ‘drunk on Shandi (whatever the hell that is) or high on Valium’ (which wasn’t released in America until 1963, so it would have been later in Australia), they did a bloody good job of hiding it!

My mum and her friends played tennis and golf outside the home, as well as doing tuck shop at the school and holding street stalls selling their own craft items, baked goods and jams, pickles, chutneys etc to raise money for the school or church, if they were church goers. When they went out they took us kids and we played together having a whale of a time. 
My mum and her friends were a cheerful friendly group of good people, certainly not the zonked out zombies the writer would have us believe. What they didn’t do was enrol us in a raft of extracurricular activities that put stress on us and them. Most of our circle of friends wouldn’t have been able to afford it. We came home from school, changed into play clothes, had afternoon tea and went out to play with our friends from the neighbourhood. Home at 5pm and homework. If we wanted to learn an instrument, play a sport or learn dance, we asked, and if our parents could afford it we did.
I feel sorry for the writer but surely she could go out to work if she wanted, even part time. I also know there will be those who sneer at my description of my childhood but we 50s kids grew up tough, resourceful and, for the most part, happy.

birdie July 2, 2020

I have a friend who tells a very similar story, with a daughter. Every possible thing was done for her, including boarding school at one of the most prestigious girl’s’ schools in NSW. She wanted to go there and so she went. She was expelled after several incidents. She disappeared at the age of 16 and didn’t make contact again until she called home asking her parents to organise a lavish wedding. In another state. They complied. She’s now in her early 30s has been married twice and has a preschool son, whose father she’s unsure of. It’s tragic but my friend and her husband are still happily married.

birdie July 1, 2020

My parents had this book in the bookcase and, being a somewhat precocious child, I read it about 65 years ago when I was still in primary school. I loved it then and still do. The original movie starring Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy is very close to the book and very funny. It’s worth a watch.

birdie June 27, 2020

Do you seriously believe that a book written by a bitter woman is 100% accurate and will have an impact on arguably the most powerful government in the world? Like most people who write these books, she has an agenda and it’s nothing more than a ‘he said, she said’.

birdie June 20, 2020

I married 52 years ago in a beautiful wedding venue overlooking the Georges River in Gymea Bay. It was quite expensive, with beautiful antique furniture and gorgeous drapes. The problem was that my husband to be was uncle to two boys, aged two and three. They were absolutely feral kids because my husband’s sister stated that she would never say ‘no’ to her children and wouldn’t permit anyone else to say it either, including their father. 

I knew they’d ruin the wedding, so I had to insist on a no children policy. My sister in law was upset but I think her husband was secretly happy to have a break from them. It was a bit of a shame though, because there were children on my side of the family I would have loved to have had at the wedding.

birdie June 12, 2020

I’ve suffered from severe eczema my entire life and there were no steroid creams available until I was 17 years old. One of the things that I’m allergic to is my own perspiration which makes life difficult in summer. Prior to steroid creams, eczema was treated with coal tar ointment. I know! I went to school every day smelling like a roadworks plant. Needless to say, I never won a popularity contest.

However what I’d love to know now, is if anyone can explain night itching. Some nights, I spend most of the night scratching itches all over me. There’s no rash, no sign  of anything on my skin but I’m scratching all night. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

birdie June 7, 2020

While I think your sister is totally ott still going on after six months, there’s a truth you can’t ignore that I know to be true. Your sister is your sister cradle to grave. Friendships are fleeting. 

Women who were closer to me than my sister have been total strangers to me for decades now. I had my sister and best friend as bridesmaids. I haven’t seen my former best friend in almost 50 years, since we moved away from Sydney. I still see my sister who lives in Perth, 5,000km away.
As we age and begin families, meet other people, change jobs, take up new hobbies etc, we change and our friends change. Our sisters are still there.
My only brother, much younger than me, died suddenly on 29 December last year. Family is precious. Life is fleeting.

birdie June 3, 2020

I saw a minister interviewed on last night’s news. I’m not sure whether or not he belonged to St John’s Church, but I assumed he did because he made the statement that Donald Trump is not welcome at the church. I don’t like Donald Trump as a person; I find him to be too brash and opinionated. However, I’m able to distinguish between my feelings and what’s right. I’m also not a Christian, nor do I have any other religious affiliation.

On that basis, I have two problems with this scenario. Firstly, as a man of the cloth, I would have thought that the reverend would have been aware of the New Testament statement: ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged.’ Secondly, during the interview, the minister was standing in front of the church notice board which proclaims in large letters:

birdie June 3, 2020

I’ve experienced racism myself, so I know how it feels. When we lived in a country town on the mid north coast of NSW, I knew what was going to happen to me when I was walking into one of the shopping malls from my car.

EVERY TIME, I would be greeted by, mostly females, singing out ‘White c... white bitch, white ho!’ Often I would be approached and asked for cigarettes or money and abused when I told them I don’t smoke and I couldn’t afford to give them money. At the time, I was in my mid 60s and walking with a stick.
I only write about this because I know from long experience, that racism exists in every culture. My first serious boyfriend was Aboriginal, whom I met when I was studying in a town in the New England region of NSW. I often had meals in their home and one night, his parents told me we had to stop seeing each other. I was devastated because I really liked them and thought they liked me. However, they told me that many of their family members were giving them a hard time because they were allowing their son to go out with a white girl. They also told me that I would experience hostility from white people, which I already had. It was water off a duck’s back to me but it hurt my boyfriend.
We reluctantly split up but that was my introduction to racism and it came from both white and black.

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