The Villas.

After reading about scary walks in the night it has prompted me to tell you a story that really did happen to me at 17 years of age.

In 1967 I enrolled to train as a Psychopaedic Nurse – Psycho = mind , Paedic = child. Years ago any child that looked a bit different and didn’t fit into the norm in society were put into Pyschopaedic Hospitals to live their lives until they passed on.

Those were the days when nurses trained in hospitals. This hospital was called Templeton Hospital Farm and Training School. It was located in a rural area away from society on the peripheral of Christchurch City in New Zealand.

Unfortunately I cannot find a photograph of it so I will try to explain the plan of it. The hospital was set out in a rural farming area. Sexes were separated apart from one villa. All the male patients were living at one end of the farm and the females at the other end. Staff lived in the nursing home which also were separated.

In between the two parts of the hospital was training school. Some patients would go there during week days and learn skills such as weaving baskets and making leather wallets.

I worked on the girls end which consisted of several villas that were not structurally connected. The patients were placed in villas depending on their disabilities. At the Female end I can remember one villa was all little Down syndrome Boys which also had some older Down syndrome males that would help look after the little ones with the nurses.

While on night duty I had to do what they called ‘the wet run’. I had to leave the senior nurse in the villa on her own with about 30 patients where there was a mixture of children and adults. I had to walk to another villa that only had one nurse and help her toilet and change patients, beds etc.

One cold dark night I was walking to the another villa. I heard a noise that sounded like a bicycle so I walked faster, the noise came closer, so I walked even faster, almost running. Then a man with a deep sounding voice called out ‘ It’s alright nurse, its only the night stoker’. That was scary , but I can laugh about it now.

There’s more stories about that place but that will do for today. I trained there for one year only. A few years later the hospital was closed down. Patients were placed in residential care places in the community.

Sunday Escape From Four Walls

I had seen local ads on the net advertising exhibitions at the Museum of Brisbane.  I was interested in seeing ‘Micro Histories and Fashion.

I decided  yesterday that I would venture into the city on Sunday.  I live on the north side of Brisbane CBD.  I never drive the car into the city these days, public transport is just fine for me.

Today I started my journey from the Mango Hill Train Station, it’s quite new and even has lifts and an overhead walkway  to get over to the other side of the track.  The journey takes about 40 minutes. I took a photo of me waiting at the station and put it on Facebook, a friend immediately commented that I should smile because it might not ever happen, she thought I worried. ( I am not good at taking selfie’s). I took another once seated in the train and did my best to smile.

I was pleasantly surprised to see some Aboriginal Art Work on the exterior of the train but needed to wait until the train arrived at my destination to take the photos that I couldn’t resist.

I disembarked at Central Station.  My journey now is walking everywhere, pleasant day, blue sky and not too hot.

I love taking photos with my cell phone. The first place of interest was a heritage listed building. It was originally called ‘People’s Palace – a temperance hotel owned  by The Salvation Army. It was a place of sobriety, safety and peace.   It was later sold and is now called ‘Base Backpacker Brisbane. Directly across from the Central Train Station which is great for tourists

People's Palace

I mentioned Central station. It is not considered to be the main railway station in Brisbane.  Roma Street Station is the other station which caters for local and long distance train travel, also has a bus station. Anyway back to talking about Central Station, its in the heart of the city, a very busy station for locals and visitors to the city.  My impression of the station is that it is a real eyesore and let down to Brisbane City.  I took one photo from across the road looking towards the eyesore. The other photo was taken while I was walking on the ramp up to the station ( shouldn’t written about this later as it was on the way back to head home) . The ramp is a bonus, it feels like it is padded with rubber, so comfortable to walk on after a long walk around the city.

I decided to walk along a road which I don’t normally use often to get to the Museum of Brisbane. I spotted The Salvation Army Brisbane City Temple.  I paused for a moment to read the history plaque  on the building. A man in his 70’s dressed in Salvation Army Uniform greeted me. There was no pressure  just a friendly hello and how are you. I spoke to him about what time the service would start. It used to be at 11am but now 10.45am.  I looked at my watch , it was now 10.30am and then without hesitation I went inside and sat down.

In my younger days I used to go to the Sallies all the time. I started going in 1960  I got married, we attended the Sallies and had our children dedicated there. This all happened why living in New Zealand. I stopped going in 1983 when I when through a disastrous time, that’s another story.

Here I was this morning sitting in the temple feeling quite at home and comfortable. Today is Palm Sunday, beautiful service and sermon. I used to play a cornet in the band and sing in the songsters so it all brought back wonderful memories.  I sat with retired Army Officer’s  Ron and Bernice , Ron was the lovely man who spoke to me at the door. I might even go back next Sunday.

When the Palm Sunday Service was over I headed for the Museum of Brisbane which was is part of the Brisbane City Hall.  I attended a ceremony at the hall in 1997 when I became an Australian Citizen.

Brisbane City Hall

By the time I got inside the hall and made my way up the lift to where the exhibition was I had lost my motivation,  my cataracts were giving me grief, my vision was rather blurry, plus my dry eye condition was causing my eyes to water – the joys or the pits of aging.

I did look briefly at ‘Micro Histories’ – Artworks and artefacts are paired with buildings by six of Brisbane’s most exciting architectural firms in Micro Histories, an exhibition exploring the relationship between architecture, art, people and places.

Once outside again I took a few more photos because afterall  the visit to the city was to be learning about architecture.

  1. Inner city building and hotels
  2. King George Square –  Brisbane City Hall is located there. It often has markets and promotions there. It’s a great place to sit and do nothing.
  3. The Uniting Church – It’s a spectacular building. I once attended a wedding there many years ago.

My stomach started growling at me. I headed to Mos Burgers – Japanese infused. I have been there several times. Today I ordered Crispy Fish which was truly delicious.  No after effects, no reflux, plus economical lunch $6.00.

Mos Burger

After lunch I popped into a little shop that sells essential oils and diffuser’s  etc.  I recently bought a set of three essential oil online  – Calm and Relax Set.  I have got a diffuser so that’s good.  Today I was looking at ‘carrier oils’ which is something I didn’t think to get with my order. I was amazed at all the different types of oils.  While in the shop I had a sample of hibiscus tea.

Time to head back home. Back at the lovely Central Station it would be 16 minutes until my train was due to depart. I was feeling a little dehydrated so I bought myself a 50 cent ice cream from MacDonald’s , but not with the flake.

I was once told by a student doctor that those ice creams were made with pig’s fat, he would eat one every day.  Paleo which I quite like wouldn’t mind if it was just pig’s fat but MacDonald’s website give the ingredients in details such as  – milk, cream , sugar, flavouring etc but no pig’s fat mentioned.


Well that was my Sunday Escape From Four Walls.

Cheers everyone xo 🙂

The Money Box

A money-box was given to my parents for me when I was born.

It is in the shape of a round coin, coloured brown and made of plastic.

On one side it reads ‘Penny Bank of New Zealand’, and on the other side ‘1950’ ‘Save the Pennies the Pounds Will Take Care of Themselves’.  There is also a bird resting on fern branches, to me it doesn’t look anything like a Kiwi which is a New Zealand native bird.

I never did find out who gave me this gift.

My only childhood memory of the money-box was when I was fourteen years of age. I had a crush ona young man who played in the Salvation Army Band every Sunday morning. Bob did not wear the traditional uniform worn bu other Salvationist; he wore a Military Army uniform because  he was always on Padre Duty every Sunday. Bob looked spick and span . I would sit, gaze and smile at him, and he would reciprocate.  Bob’s parents were Salvation Army Officer’s . They invited me to their place for Sunday dinner. After dinner Bob offered to drive me home which consequently lead to a kiss and cuddle. Bob gave me a ten shilling note.

On returning home I never told my parents (they were not Salvationist’s) about Bob or the money because my father would have wanted to kill Bob and would have made me give the money to my mother for food.

In the privacy of the room that I shared with my sister Heather I showed her the ten shilling note and she watched me fold the note and push it through the slot on the money box.

A few weeks later I wanted to buy something. On opening the box I was disappointed that the then shilling note was gone. Heather denied all knowledge of where it might have gone.

For 68 years that money box has been with me.  It does have a few New Zealand coins inside it.  I never played with it as a child.  I have now found another use for it. I am happy that I can now use my money box as a percussion instrument, it brings music to my ears and I can sing along to Abba’s song:




Autumn In Australia

These photos were taken from Gardening Australia post on Facebook. The Currency Creek Arboretum was also shown on the ABC Gardening Australia TV program this weekend.

Autumn in Australia is a time of wonderful colours and textures, found not only in leaves but in the trunks and branches of eucalypts !

Pic credit: Dr Dean Nicolle, pics taken at the ‘Currency Creek Arboretum.

All Aboard

Over the past few years I have written a few short stories, fiction and non fiction. Today while browsing through my stories I came across ‘All Aboard’, a non fiction story that I wrote. The story is about a return train trip than I did in November 2014.   Brisbane – Townsville – Brisbane.

The Sunlander long distance train was used to travel between Brisbane and Cairns.


ALL ABOARD    You will need to click on the link All Aboard to read the story. It should open in a microsoft word document, Please let me know if the link doesn’t work.  Enjoy the journey.

The new Spirit of Queensland that commenced in November 2014.