The Warmth Of The Sun

A beautiful winter’s day here in Brisbane. I am feeling so blessed to enjoy the warmth of the sun while enjoying coffee on my little veranda.

A magnificent tree in the yard where I live. Sorry I can’t tell you the name of it. I am amazed at the size if it, the stunning colours and the blue sky peeping through. I really must find my paint brushes.

South Bank Brisbane

In my previous post about Buddha’s Birth Day Celebrations I was at South Bank.

Before we get to South Bank I will share some photos that I took in the city.

Local Aboriginal Busker’s. The man is playing a Didgeridoo which is predominantly an Aboriginal instrument which is usually made from Bamboo. I have been told that only men are allowed to play the Didgeridoo.

A photo of one of four entrances into the Queen Street Mall ( no cars allowed) and then two photos taken while I was waiting for a bus.

Finally arrived at South Bank.  A colourful display of BRISBANE reminds you where you are .

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South Bank is a beautiful relaxing venue free for anyone to use. It is part of the beautiful city of Brisbane and is just across the river.  To get there you can walk across the bridge, drive your car, catch public transport such as bus, train or citycat.  There numerous spots to sit and relax, eat a cafe, have a picnic, cook your food on the free BBQ’s.

There is a man-made beach to enjoy.

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If you don’t fancy the beach you can swim in the pool IMG_20190504_133835 (2)

Most weekends to can go to the Collective Markets where you can find items such as essential oils, soaps, candles, locally made clothes, shoes, leather goods, homemade sweets, jams and pickles, arts and crafts.   You might be tempted to buy a chilled drink of homemade lemonade, or have corn on the cob or a crispy potato swirl.  You might even  like a cold beer at the pub which yesterday had a German Band there, real catchy music.  You can also enjoy a lovely walk under the arches that usually have a canopy of lovely pink flowers which I guess are seasonal.

You could take a trip on the citycat to get back over to the city shops or you might decide to go cruising down the river on the steamer and have lunch or dinner.

You might even like to go on a River Cruise. From my past experience please don’t go on a rough day.

I paused briefly and watched a Dragon Boat Race, they were too fast for me to get a good photo with my cell phone.

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If all that is too exhausting how about a boardwalk where you can enjoy the greenery and water features.

Time to sit, relax and reflect while meandering along the boardwalk


You can walk, scoot, ride your bicycle along the waterfront or just sit and watch the world by. The city looks so grand across the river and there are many bridges

The rain came down just as I was thinking of heading home.  Its Autumn here in Brisbane, still quite warm.  It took me almost 90 minutes to get home by bus, train and car. On arriving home I was pleasantly exhausted and slept like a log.

I hope you enjoyed seeing a few photos of Brisbane.

Colours Of My Life

If you have been following my blogs you will know by now that I started going to a Senior’s Beginners Art Class nine weeks ago. So far we have used mediums such a graphite, charcoal ( but I havent tried that one yet), soft and oil pastels.

At the last class we were introduced to Watercolour Paints. There is a world of information out there about all the different brands of paints, brushes and the best type of paper etc to use with watercolours.

Three subjects to be completed for homework over the next fortnight were:

  1. Using the same colour paint and create 3 cubes lighter to darker
  2. Create your own Colour Wheel done in 12 segments which is part of learning about the relationship between colours  – Primary and Secondary Colours
  3. Then copy a scene which included mixing  colours.  Unfortunately the printed instructions given to us were missing parts of the picture , so I just painted what I could see.

Homework 1

Homework 2

Meanwhile on Face Book I came across an ad for Art2life Artists – Nicholas Wilton. He was offering for free – three instructional videos about getting started with art, it also included joining a closed community face book group.

I signed up, no hidden catches.  Over the last week I have watched the three videos and also have watched  some follow-up live interactive times to chat with the producer.

The three videos gave clear instructions / information about Design, Value and Colour. Personally I thought they were excellent value for me as a beginner. Others in the group who are professional artists thought the same.

I mentioned about the community group on face book. It has been somewhat overwhelming.  My news feed has been bombarded with posts of people’s art work.  I might say at first I felt inadequate but then had to remind myself that they also had to start somewhere and also this was never meant to be a comparison or competition with others.

I sometimes like a challenge so I recently asked my friend could I have a photo of her belated cat ‘Teddy’ as I would like to paint a picture for him.

Teddy was a beautiful loveable Burmese Blue Cat. Teddy is seen here sitting on my friend’s recliner.

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To begin my challenge I have drawn a practise sketch of Teddy.  I am thinking of using acrylic paint on a canvas board slightly larger than A4 in size.

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The theme of this blog was ‘Colours of my life”.   My mind has been so busy with all this new exciting information going on in my head, sometimes having almost sleepless nights thinking about what colour should I use, what parts should I make loud or quiet.   Last night I decided to try to clear my head and get some sleep . I started off by using my diffuser with some essential oil  – dream.


I then put on a CD ‘Chakra Breathing Meditation’.  I have only ever listened to this CD a couple of times months ago. To my surprise the focus of the meditation was on breathing, focussing on specific areas of the body and you guessed it COLOURS.

Today I googled about Chakra Colours.

Last night I went off to bed about 10pm, woke briefly at 2am , back to sleep and didn’t wake up until 9am.  I never wake up that late . I slept well.

We all need colour in our lives.

The Villas – Part Three

Thanks to everyone who has been following my stories about The Villas, your comments have been appreciated.

Thank goodness the toxic place was closed down.

Years ago there was no such thing as Unisex accommodation for nurses.  At Templeton hospital the female and male nurses homes were definitely separated , there were of course rules. ….what a laugh.

At the female nurses home we had a Home Manager whom I will refer to as Miss B.   There were very strict rules they were often broken.

I didn’t turn up for duty one day. They found me asleep in my single room, there was a mess from vomit. I was put into the nurses home sick bay – what a joke – I was poorly cared for,  they wouldn’t let anyone visit me. I was in the sick bay for several days and sometimes  for hours on end never saw a soul.  On return to my room four days later I had to clean up the sick mess.

Because some of the male nurses worked in a male villa which was located in the female end, for what reason I never knew,  we did get to met them.  While on duty they would come over to the Dining Room for meals. I was often put on the roster to work there with them.  One morning I had slept in, I rushed across the grassed area and went straight into the day room through another entrance, a male nurse hid my navy cloak and I tried to act innocent.  The deputy matron had spotted me and said ‘caught left right and centre, stay back at the end your shift to make up the time’.  The charge nurse let me go 5 minutes after the end of the shift, lucky me.

The hospital was set in a rural area, poor bus service so we were often stranded out there unless we took the risk of taking a lift with another nurse male or female that had a car.  We did develop friendships and sometimes intimate relationships, definitely positives and negatives there.  We sometimes played sport such as basketball and tennis and also would go swimming at a public pool on our days off.

I didn’t go home much because in those days it was a long way, two buses there and two buses back again. My father said he was not a taxi driver and if he drove back which he did a couple of times I would have to pay him not only for fuel but also for wear and tear on the car.

One wing of the female nurses home was unoccupied .  It was often leased out to groups of people for conferences etc. Because it was in a rural area the location did attract groups involved in environmental  aspects such as farming  and horticulture.  I can remember one of the groups prior to leaving put on an evening for the nurses which included the male nurses.  We had a good night of music with dancing and a nice supper.

The dancing was good.  I danced a fair bit with a male nurse that I had worked with.  He invited me to go to the local town for a late night hamburger and chips.  Big Mistake – oh well we learn from our mistakes.  On arriving back at the nurses home the place was in darkness, the front door was locked.  I decided to try a side door that I knew some of the nurses used for sneaking out, it was locked.  I had no other option but to ring the door bell at the front. Miss B let me in and gave me a serve. I went straight to my room.  I had left my room unlocked and the window open, didn’t have a key with me. Oh dear it was now locked and the window closed.  I had to go back to the office and ask Miss B to unlock it for me which she did but didn’t hang around.  Once inside I turned on the light, holy heck there was a man asleep and snoring under my bed. There was blood on the light switch and some on the floor.  I left the room, shut the door and went and reported it to Miss B.   Miss B rang for  male back up. The man under the bed  was a new fully trained male nurse, had just arrived in Christchurch from England and had been only been working at Templeton for one week.  He was removed from the room.  I was given the keys so I could sleep in vacant room that night.

A cleaner came the next day.  The blood stain stayed on the wall by the light switch. The man had urinated over my portable typewriter, fortunately it closed and there would always be a stain to remind me.

I went on duty that morning and then was called to the Matron’s Office.  The male nurse was dismissed  and had already left the hospital grounds.  As for me well I was given a dressing down by the Matron.  She admitted it wasn’t my fault about the man in my room.  She was more interested in me going out with a man who was married, had three children and didn’t live at the nurses quarters.  I told her that I never knew that.  She said your Salvation Army parents would be horrified if they knew what I was up to.  I politely told the Matron that my parents had nothing to do with the Salvation Army,  I was the only one in the family that went there.  She then said that I was a good nurse and let’s  move on and forget that it ever happened.  I should add this was about 8 months into the one year that I worked there.

You might be wondering how come the man chose my room.  Apparently he had a crush on me, he asked one the nurses which was my room and of course they told him and he obviously sneaked him either through the door or the window.

For the next four months every time I went into my room I had flash backs of that man. Miss B would not move me to another room.

I nearly forgot to tell you I had a caged budgerigar  in my room which had been there for several months, no one had ever complained.  Miss B said “Have you got a bird in your room, get rid of it now’.  I had to pay my father to come and collect the bird  he had an aviary at home and that’s where it originally came from.

When I had completed my first year, passed practical but not academic it was time for a one  month holiday.  While on holidays and completely free from that place I decided as much as I loved my work with the children I knew I couldn’t work there again. I  resigned and collected all my personal belongings from the room.

Thanks for reading this morbid story.  It really is all part of my life’s journey which I have gained strength and lessons from.






The Villas – Part Two

I have recently posted a short non fiction story ‘ The Villas – Part One’ which is about me working at a Psychopaedic Hospital when I was 17, it  mentioned about the terrible fright I got one night.

Several people had read the story and have asked me for more information about working at the hospital.

I was born in New Zealand.  There were four us kids, a sister who was three years older than me and two younger brothers.

I left school the day I turned 15 because my father said I had to get out and work.   My father was an abusive man, we all suffered physically and emotionally and were terrified of him. I don’t think he  hit mum but he definitely mentally abused her.

A few months after starting work in retail my father physically abused me badly one day.   I left home and found a bed-sitter close to  the city where I  worked.

Mum wanted me to come back home  which I did only to get another bashing.  I was not a bad girl and did not provoke my father. This pattern of leave and then come home happened several times.  I then found a live-in  job working at a residential children’s home. The children stayed there  short-term for several different reasons such as family breakdowns and physical illness  with one or both parents.  The matron and her deputy both recommended that I go and do my nursing training. The problem was I had left school without completing the necessary training required  to enrol in nursing.

I always had an interest in psychiatry. I applied at the one and only psychiatric hospital in Christchurch.  I was not accepted because my sister had been a regular recurring patient there.

I then applied at Templeton Pyschopaedic  Hospital and Training School.  They knew I hadn’t completed my schooling but were willing to take on because I seemed genuine about what I wanted to do.  I should say that the Matron was on leave the day I was interviewed and accepted.

Just to remind you  Pysch = mind  and Paedic =  child.

Back in those days most children who were born with abnormalities  and were deemed  not suitable to fit into the norm of society were placed in psychopaedic hospitals. There were thirteen of these hospitals in New Zealand.

In 1930 – 1940’s and even later than that parents were discouraged by doctors never to see their disabled baby,  let them be put in care and forget about them.  Institutionalised for life.  If parents did take their baby home there was no support until that late 1960’s . parents who did have their child at home could apply for respite care and there child would spent a few days at the hospital where I worked.   I should mention that some families did forget about there child, it was very sad.

Children born with Down syndrome , physical or intellectual disabilities  were  put into care.  If a child was taken home and was later deemed mentally defective they also were also  placed in care.

These institutions were like factories. Even though some of the staff were kind clothing, housing and routines were communal and individual identities denied.

In the villas where I mainly worked  the bedrooms were cold crowded dorms with about eight  to ten beds in each one.   During the day the majority of residents would sit in a Day Room.  Some of the less physically or mentally disabled would be taken to the training school or workshop.  Meal times was like a production line, taken into a dining room in their villa, restrained in chairs and force-fed.

The residents that were less disabled would sometimes go on a bus trip.  Every year the hospital would put on a musical,  residents that were capable would sing and dance – they loved music.

When it was my turn  to care for residents in the day room  I would take my portable record player to work with me. I would be there with about 30 residents and one other nurse. The music was a God send, they loved it.

One day while in the Day Room with the music going I was approached by the Matron. I had never met her and didn’t know who she was.  She said ‘turn off that racket off’  and then said ‘you have an apology to make to me’. Apparently I had to apologize to applying for the job at the Psychiatric Hospital and how dare I do that.

I didn’t manage the academic class training but passed my practical work with flying colours at the end of my first year.  I could stay on and work as an assistance, get myself educated  and then start training again.  During my 12 months while I worked there I had been receiving english tuition on my days off  from an elderly retired english teacher, sadly he died.

There were lots of incidences that I saw happening at the hospital that I didn’t like so I decided to give in my notice. In my mid 30’s I did train and qualify as a Registered Nurse which entitled me to work in General, Psychiatry and Pyschopaedic’s .

That hospital was a toxic horrible place. There were reports of physical, emotional, sexual, medical, spiritual, cultural abuse and  neglect.  I personally saw some shocking abuse especially physical and mental happening, I reported it and nothing was done about it.

In the late 1960’s there was a national enquiry about these hospitals. I am happy to say by 1973 residents were being placed in foster homes or into houses in the community. Some of the adult residents were transferred into the local Psychiatric Hospitals.  Many of the patients in  those hospitals  were also later housed out in the community.

I am not sorry that I worked out for there for 12 months. I was able to escape from my abusive father and learn to cope with life.

I will post Part Three tomorrow.





The Villas – Part One

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.