Saturday 9 March 2024


 Table talk amongst our children is and always has been, -  a rabbit warren . We start off in one hole and end up in another -  quick smart.  

Nothing new, then, when the grandchildren discuss a variety of subjects at the kitchen table.  

We started off learning about moths and caterpillars.  Insects in general.  And then we digressed.  

I was reading to them -  explaining how each caterpillar has some type of protection installed in their  bodies.  Some are camouflaged.  Some puff themselves up and look really strong and vicious.  Some are brutish looking.  Some are poisonous.  And some smell real bad.  

We were discussing the pus caterpillar.  

"Mama, does the pus caterpillar smell like pus?" 

"Do you know what pus is?" I asked, as I entered down the first rabbit warren...  

"No, Mama - what is pus?

"You know that yellow stuff you get sometimes when you hurt yourself and it gets infected?"

"What's infected?"

"When your sore gets hot and swollen and red and sometimes, yellow stuff comes out of it? Well that is called pus"

"Yes, I know what it is.  It stinks"

"What does it smell like?"   

"Well, if you take off your earrings and smell them, that smells like pus.  It's happened to me.  When I take my earrings off, I get it all over me". 

"What do you get all over you?" I asked

"The smell of pus".  

Earrings were then taken off by their wearers, sniffed and promptly put back on, followed by a chorus of "eeewww" and "yukkkk"


As not to lead these grandchildren down the garden path (or the wrong rabbit warren), I explained that the pus caterpillar is actually called the 'puss' caterpillar, because it's coat is soft and furry, - like a pussy cat.  

They liked that.  They noted the double consonant.  

And they preferred it to stinky pus.

Dead skin cells, bacteria, sebum and sweat are for another lesson.  

Another day.  

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Life Out of the Blue

 I knew it would be a while since my last confession.....

Er... post.  

I didn't realise time would pass so quickly, though.  Massive chunks of it, too.  And yet - grief is in no rush.  It appears when it wants to.  Wherever it wants to.  It constantly alternates.  It whispers and shouts.  

Not long before my beloved brother, Brian passed away, we were walking together in the mall.  

"you know what, Babe?  I think when we go, we'll all go quickly, close together..."

"What do you mean?", I clarified.

"When either mam, dad or I die, the others will follow very quickly.  You won't have to look after us and run around for us anymore..."  

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  Brian was like that.  He had the ability to "move" you.  Good or bad.  Happy or sad.  Sickness or in health...

His predictions came to pass.  He volunteered first.  Then my dad.  Then my other brother, Robin.  And finally - my mam.  All within three years.  

They were dark years.  Out of sorts years.  A Pituitary Macroadenoma appeared too.  Just to keep grief company.  

But so did three more grandchildren - bringing sheer joy and love and well - good measure: 

Arthur Henry

Dolly Mae

Millicent Ray.  

I am reminded of my Mam's favourite of all time movie - The Sound of Music - where mother Abbess declares "where God closes a door, He opens a window".  And my rendition of Maria's quote:  

"A grandmother with seven grandchildren?... oh what's so fearsome about that...."

And so -  I choose to delight in these treasured gifts.  

My focus is refreshed. 

My purpose is set.  

Sunday 2 June 2019



I remained still. 


Then I realised the call was for me. 


"Hello Helen, you look lovely.  Are you going somewhere special?  I love your outfit.  If I wasn't going to jab you with a needle, I would have asked you out..."

And so it began.  Our connection.  Our kindredness.  This phlebotomist - let's call her Janet, shared my kind of humour.  My kind of openness.  My kind of vulnerability.  My kind of outlook on life.  We sped through many topics, during the short time I was perched on the (seemingly high and oversized) phlebotomy chair. 

Another jabber lady -  "the needle whisperer" was called in to seek out my hard-to-find veins.  Within minutes, my A positive blood was flowing down the tube.  No sweat! 

Janet continued with our latest conversation, explaining to me that her son had Down's Syndrome and that he also had a hole in his heart. 

"Tetralogy of Fallot?" I asked. 

Her eyes widened and watered in seconds.  "Do you know about it?"

"Yes, my brother was born with it.  The reason I ask you this is that I want to encourage you in your plight with your son.  There are so many new, improved procedures nowadays, compared to when my brother was treated as a young boy.  Success rates have greatly improved on all types of Tetralogy". 

We then entered the bubble of heart speak (pun intended), where time stood still. 

I told her how my mother, while breast feeding her youngest at that time (no 3), had to travel - per train, many times -  to Leicester Children's Hospital with her other sick child (no 2) to be treated, operated and checked upon.  How after his open heart surgery at five years old, he posed on stage showing off his huge scar - in front of numerous medical and heart surgeons (including Dr Christopher Barnard).  How later in life, he had a valve installed between his two ventricles (my brother referred to this as his 'pig valve').  I told her of my fear to go into Intensive Care to see him after his operation.  I told her how his head had swelled after surgery, and how confronting it was to see him like that.  I told her how comforted I was, though, when he lifted his water filled head off the pillow, looked up at me and said "Hello, Doll", as I knew there and then, he was going to be ok.  I told her of my brother's humour, wit and courage.  And finally - I told her of his passing at age 66.

Tears all round!

Tissues all round!

Janet then told me of her husband, who had suffered an injury and couldn't go out to work.  How she was the only earner in the family.  How she coped with her son.  How she laughed and loved with her son.  How they were waiting for her son's 'big op'.  How others told her how strong and courageous she was, and how she brushed those comments off with "we have to do what we have to do".   She told me how grateful she was that she still had a warm home - and food....

"And talking of food.... I always, in my head, classify and compare people to food, Helen.  You would be a juicy hamburger.  You have it all.  You are lovely on the inside and the outside.  You would be a hamburger with the lot!  The absolute lot!  Whoever has you in their life, has gold.  I'm glad I got you today.  I needed this. Thankyou so much.  You've inspired and encouraged me...."

"And you, me!" I responded. 

More tears, more tissues! 

I slid off the chair.  "Come here, give me some sugar".

We hugged.  We exchanged well-wishes.  I went to leave the room, and as I was closing the door, I just had to share one of my (deceased) brother, Brian's well wishes with her. 

"...And remember to keep your bowels open...."

I closed the door, and as I walked towards the stairs, all I could hear was Janet's hearty Belly Laugh....

Friday 2 November 2018


It's hard to think of my mam as a widow. It's hard to think that one of her sons - my brother - no longer exists. It's hard to even contemplate how she feels: the agony, the distress of both of them no longer with us. And yet... life goes on - for all of us.
Visiting the elderly in a residential home - the 'forever' home for most, is facing life on the brink of death. I don't say this morbidly - but rather - matter of factly. It doesn't mean it is necessarily a miserable place to be. I have witnessed such kindness, consideration, devotion, patience, sweet vulnerability, wisdom and good humour. I often wonder if what I 'think' my mam would need or how my mam would feel, may not always be the reality of the situation.
Maybe (probably) I am totally off the mark.
Today, at lunch, in the dining room, I had the good fortune of a top of the table seat. Prime real estate.

John: "What did your mom say? I'm sorry - my wife died not long ago, and I'm just not coping..."
Fred: "I want to go back to my room. I don't fancy lunch. Please take me back. Oh, wait... is that ice cream?"
John: " she never had hardly any sick days. She was gone so quickly..."
John: "Will you keep QUIET!!"
Robert: "Yes, that's from me, too, Fred. You're so noisy"
Mam: "It's a mad-house"
John: "It's like a circus. Everyone's performing 'cos you're here"

Mable: "Could I have some lunch, please?"
Mam: "What if I need something while you are in Sydney next week?"
Me: "Sarah will be seeing you on Monday, Mam. She will bring you whatever you need"
John: "Don't worry. Your mother won't ever go without here. Oh no. She is a Rock. She is a rock to us all...."
Mam: "Hmmm... the Rock of Ages, more likely"
Fred: "Room please. NOW"

Nurse Aid: "Would you like some tea? Sugar and milk?"
Mam: "No, not milk - tea. Do you have any? Can you get my daughter some?"
Tom - with his hands in his mother's mouth, trying to adjust her cliff-hanging dentures amidst partially chewed silverside "...It's ok, mom, I've nearly got them. Do you want them in or out?"
Mam - pointing over to a couple of ladies in mobile recliner chairs: "Sylvia is 96. Ninety six! Oh, and Phillipa is 94. Awwww....."
Robert to me: "Where's your little girls? They were here the other day. When will they be back?"
Rosie, standing, crippled over with arthritis, fists clenched and wrapped around her walker's handles, staring at me, searching my being while waiting for eye contact:
Mam: "Rosie, this is my daughter. I was telling her about that cushion on your walker. It looks much more comfortable than mine. Helen - look at Rosie's cushion"

Rosie: "Well, goodbye then...."
Mam: "Goodbye, Rosie. See you next time"

Thursday 18 October 2018

Machinists Wife on Debco Engineering

The Machinist and I have been partners in business for 30 years this year.  

We hadn't planned to travel to a foreign land and start a business.  It just happened by default.  The Machinist was offered the use of $15,000 to take over a machine shop; an offer made by the owner of a company he was working for at that time.  An owner who saw great potential in the Machinist.  An owner whose desire was to retire and travel the country.  

It was a great opportunity - from the land of opportunity: Australia.  

We arrived with less than $1500 in our bank account, but with lots of determination to build a new life.  We arrived with very little experience and lots of naivety.  

We used only $5000 of the sum offered to us, which we repaid within six months.  

Our new business miraculously survived through the recession.  We learned as we operated.  

We're still learning.  We still feel like new kids on the block.  We still occasionally feel like amateurs and that we don't know what we are doing.  We are, however, now equipped with a new tool:  Awareness.

And I have to smile as I think to myself 

"'s been a long time coming..."

Ever wonder what it's like 'behind the scenes' of a wholly family owned and operated business?  

I'd like to share - via this blog and our Facebook pages - some of the ins and outs, ups and downs of running your own business.  The reality.  The nitty gritty.  My intention is that it may encourage, inspire or even - help another to not feel so overwhelmed or alone. 

Oh, and I'd also like to share a variety of conversations we have during our short coffee/ tea breaks - aka 'smoko' breaks.  They are often a source of hilarity.  I call them "Conflab in the Fab (Shop)"

Debco Engineering Pty Ltd - for business 

The Machinist's Wife - for home and family 

Sunday 2 September 2018

Farewell to Thee, My Father

His second child, - my second of four older brothers - passed away just five months ago.

I was never really sure how much this news affected him.  He wept, but on subsequent visits, we never spoke about brother Brian's death.  I would have, had my dad initiated it.  But no.  Nothing. 

Was it the British 'stiff upper lip'? 

'Chin up and get on with it'? 

Or was it the opacity of dementia?

Some days, his cloudy brown eyes would drizzle tears - and then, momentarily -  he was asking for an item to be added to the shopping list. 

Oh, the dread, the pain of having to tell his wife - my lovely mam - that he had left us.  She knew he was soon to depart this world.  She was waiting.  She had predicted that the third day of his illness would be "the day". 

She was right.

She lifted her frail hand to her face and cried gently...."He has left me a few times during the earlier part of our 67 years.  I should be used to it.  But this is different..."

"Gonna take a sentimental journey
Gonna set my heart at ease
Gonna take a sentimental journey
To renew old memories"

Oh, the anguish of the widow! 

The agony. 

The grief.

I am so very grateful for my father. He was absolutely perfect for me. He was my jiggly belly gadget man. Soft, and tender hearted. Introverted. A loner, yet still comfortable in company - preferring to listen than to speak.

"I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory
And I heard about the street of gold beyond the crystal sea
About the angels singing and the old redemption story
Oh and some sweet day I'll sing up there the song of victory"

I love you, Herbert Brian Hudson - BA PhD 
(Born again.  Past having doubts - HB Hudson)

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Farewell to Thee, My Brother

I learn that in death there are SO MANY lessons on life. Good lessons. I learn that my grief is secondary to the grief of others that I love. Others that loved him. I want to comfort them. In my rainbow tears, I realise the love I have for all those that loved him. But even every day life - between the sadness, I have "eyes to see". 

I am aware. 

Never before have I been so much in the moment.

My brother knew his time was nigh. That it was getting closer, but alas - I doubt he expected it when it happened.

Then again, who is ever ready? 

Who is prepared? 

Sitting next to the Machinist in the funeral parlour office, which smelt surprisingly fresh without the scents and cleaners, I asked Phil (first name basis) "Phil, from your experience - people who are grieving, do they grieve in strange ways? Ways that they don't expect?"

"Absolutely", he replied. "Basically, Helen - anything goes. Not to sound callous, but people grieve in different ways. When grief hit me, I blanked out for weeks. Months, in fact. I couldn't remember what transpired in that time"

He went on to tell us how he lost his wife, then 8 months later, his daughter...
I'm so sorry...."

"Thankyou. The thing is, I consulted with a great funeral director. He helped me so much. He explained so much, was ready to help and advise me - any time of the day. He was there for me, comforted me in his presence and assurance. Told me that I could conduct my families' funerals any way I wanted to - to honour them. And because of his help, in my time of deep sorrow - well - that's why I do what I do now..."

"So, Phil, you found your purpose?"

"I sure did. This is what I love to do. To be here now, for you - to help any way I can...THIS IS MY PURPOSE"

* * * * * * * * * *

My brother's crematorium music:
Intro: All things Bright & Beautiful (old tune - UK)
Intro: Lets Get Together - Bryan Ferry
Photo Slideshow: Protons, Neutrons, Electrons - The Cat Empire
Exit: Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick - Ian Dury & the Blockheads. 

Never in my wildest imaginations would I conceive a funeral director (A Funeral Director!) to create such inspiration, enabling a client to plan and execute a loved one's funeral with such fervour! 

I hope I did you proud, Bro.x

And to Phil - I'm so glad you found YOUR PURPOSE and you're LIVING IT.

Farewell to Thee

Feel no guilt in laughter, he knows how much you care.
Feel no guilt in a smile that he is not here to share.
You can not grieve forever, he would not want you to.
He’d hope that you could carry on the way you always do.
So talk about the good times and the way you showed you care.
Let memories surround you and he will live forever there.

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Commonwealth Park and Civic Central, Australian Capital Territory

I love Civic in winter.  I love the fallen leaves in Autumn and Winter, too. I like to kick them.  Especially when the wind has dispersed them, then blown them together again.  Or some busy landscaper has raked them all together.  I know that is naughty of me, but I can't help myself.

And if, perchance, I miss a pile, the Machinist dutifully reminds me of it.  He doesn't say anything; he calls my name, and then he turns his head towards the pile and uses his eyes that say to me "Helen, aren't you going to march through that pile of leaves and kick them until they are all over the place..."

Yeah.  I know these things.  I can read him.

Fairy lights strewn through the trees in Civic Central

The Machinist Walks On

(Don't slip on the fallen acorns, Machinist!)

This is how my skin feels in winter.  But... it doesn't look as beautiful

Acorn Melange. I love these short stumpy acorns.  Fat and bulbous. 

Oak leaves never cease to make me smile.  Oh, and one solitary elongated acorn.  Can
you spot it? 

Our shadows as we stand together on the bridge that links Civic to Commonwealth Park -
where Floriade is held each year.

The paved circle as you walk off the bridge with a reminder of where you are.  Knowing
where you are is always good.  At least I think so. 

Built up beds in preparation for Spring plantings.  

More built up beds.  I call this "black gold"

See how the creeper moves in?  And takes over? 

"Oak is everywhere....everywhere you look around..." tra la la
(To be sung to the tune of "love is in the air" by John Paul Young)

Goulburn Railway, Riverside and Wetlands, Goulburn New South Wales

We didn't know it was such a scenic, pretty place - the walk alongside the Goulburn river.  We followed it until it led on to the Goulburn Wetlands, which is still under construction and growing all the time.  It reminded me of the type of area you could base a story on.  The "Badlands" in Stephen King's "It" comes to mind.

(If you walk there, look over your shoulder!)

Rail memorabilia.  Note how blackberry has no bounds.  Takes plenty of prisoners! 

Part of the golf course near the river.  What an ideal spot. I can't imagine the number of golf
balls deposited in the river.  We happened to find one as we passed by.  Small things...

A delightful leaf covered bridge on the river walk

A metal "welcome" sign to the arty-sit-area, also alongside the river

War Memorial, Rocky Hill, Goulburn

Swamphens.  Cheeky!

"Ullo ullo ullo.  Who are you, then?"
The Machinist Walks On.

Lake Burley Griffin 4, Australian Capital Territory

It seems that although Lake Burley Griffin is one vast - well - lake, each direction has different flora and fauna and landscapes.  There's always something that catches my eye.  These geese would have gladly picked at my eye if I had of shown any fear.  

I trembled inside, though.  

Birdlife:  They all wanted to chase me.  But I stood strong.  Gangsters. 

The trunk had split into three lanky branches, which were doing the Mexican wave...

Hey up! Who goes there....?

Silver Birch Splendour 

The Machinist Walks On

Fluff!  I wouldn't have gotten this close if it were Spring.  Lucky that we walked the
Burley Griffin circuit in Winter.

Lake Burley Griffin 3, Australian Capital Territory

As I posted these pics, I realised how blurry they are.  That's because I'm below average on photography skills. Nevertheless, I think you will be able to make out what is going on.  This is another direction of Lake Burley Griffin in our National Capital.  The various Embassies are also in this area.

A wee breeze in the trees.  Not that you could tell with these strong fellas.

Choppy waters

Black Mountain and the Telstra Tower

Part of Yacht Club

How good does the Aussie flag look - towering over the top of autumnal beauty

Bronze galloping horse

Chinese Culture in the Capital
Bronze bird
Living birds of a feather....

This is NOT the place to pee!

The Machinist Walks On


 Table talk amongst our children is and always has been, -  a rabbit warren . We start off in one hole and end up in another -  quick smart....