CUWAM- The sun goes down, the moon comes up

A week passes…The sun comes up, then goes down, replaced by the moon, the stars. This sequence has been repeated 7 times since my last blog entry….

Note to self: Insert  British boyband pop music to best explain this phenomena

A relatively quiet week….work and play, tv dinners and time spent with Flora the cat….

I still feel slightly off kilter….neither here nor there….living within the confines of my inner world, and its thoughts, worries and fears ….And as ever, writing helps, enables me to make sense of the day to day… find comfort in the familiar, provides time to reflect of what really is…inspires me to be in the present, whilst reflecting on what has passed…

It was a strange kind of week…2 days of office trivialities, a public holiday, and then another 2 days of office mayhem. The result….a state of confusion….Wednesday, the public holiday  felt like Saturday, and returning to work on Thursday had a Monday feel…Friday therefore felt like Tuesday…and the weekend appeared to sneak up on us all….

Wednesday was Anzac Day, a national public holiday to honour the Australian men and women who have served in the many wars staged since the turn of the 20th century…it was, and rightly so, the only highlight of the week that was!!

Both my Grandparents served in the 2nd World War and both are still alive and kicking…well and truly in their twilight years ( my Nan turns 92 in November….go Nan!!)

In previous years I have had the honour of watching my Nan and her best friend Eileen, who also served during the 2nd World War, marched, arm linked together, down George Street Sydney as part of the city Anzac parade….

The saying might go ‘ Age shall not weary them’….but sadly, it has….My Nan has lost here eye sight, macular degeneration and a stroke, suffered 12 years ago has affected the right side of her body, movement in her arms, legs is often painful…as for her spirit….well nothing is seems will ever dampen that!!

I walked into my Grandparents apartment on Wednesday morning to find Nan in front of the television….

‘ Hi Nan, its me! What are you up to?’ I asked, as I was simultaneously embraced by a gentle Nan style hug.

‘ I’ve been watching the Anzac Parade…such a great turn out!!’

I smiled, my Nan is legally blind…and watching something is out of the question…She  was , however, doing an almighty job of  listening to the commentary, probably being transported back in time, to a dark part of our military history…no doubt experiencing a range of emotions that come with military service…pride, loss, grief, joy….My Nan…an Anzac day legend!!

The tv was turned off, and I joined my Nan and Grandfather at the breakfast table…the joy of old age…there are not deadlines…Breakfast can be eaten at any time of day…The conversation danced around topics of my brothers impending wedding, my recent trips to Perth and Victoria and the new Channel 9 show ‘ The Voice’, to which my Nan declared ‘ We think Delta is just lovely’…At 11am, as my Grandfather munched on his 3rd piece of toast, I took to the road…Places to be, people to see…

I headed into the Rocks to soak up some Anzac spirit of a different kind…Two-up and beer drinking. I was to meet my mate Ali, who has recently relocated to Sydney after 11 years in London. Finding Ali was not to be…The Australian Hotel in the Rocks was on FIRE…not literally…The roar of the crowd when the two silver coins were tossed into the air was deafening…Two- up, the heads or tales way to gamble away truck loads of cash…a sight to behold!! I grabbed a beer, a watched the great spectacle unfold…

An hour passed, and I decided to relocate…I was feeling the effects of the drink, and was promptly swept up into the crowd who had ascended on the MCA at Circular Quay. It was a rather overwhelming transition…surrounded by a crowd of beer swilling pub patrons, to a crowd of modern art lovers

I could not do the museum justice that day…To do that I would it would be best not to be under the influence of alcohol….Intent on viewing one work only, that of friend and work colleague, Kate Murphy…I located this video piece and sat down….Kate’s work ‘ Prayers of a Mother’ is beautiful. I would encourage all to see it….As mother prays, you hear her voice, but do not see her face, yet you witness the effects of her words on her 8 children, their faces alternate for the viewer on 4 separate screens….I have said to Kate that ‘ She see’s things that other people don’t’…that she takes the time to document what many of us take for granted in our day to day lives….Kate’s work reminds us that it is in the everyday and the ordinary that true beauty lies….

A quick look at the new roof top café and bar at the MCA convinced me that one day I would dine there…stunning views of the Harbour, the Opera House and ‘ that ‘ bridge’ thing that looks like a coat hanger!!

The rest of the week can get stuffed…You know the drill, office antics, gym sessions, pet grooming, mindless shopping expedition to Westfield Bondi Junction and the CBD… wishing that I had a secret stash of cold hard cash at my disposal to purchase WHATEVER I fancied….

But happiness does not lie in material things!!…I have to remind myself that as I put back the Marc’s coat- priced tag $459.00.

The Anzac spirit and beautiful pieces of Modern Art on the other hand…have longer lasting effects…and they have sustained CUWAM during a week that was otherwise just the sun and moon playing hide and seek….

Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Buscuits

Anzac Buscuits

Friendship Fire starter: something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people.

The Anzac Biscuit….A fitting time to bake them really,  given that tomorrow is Anzac Day, a public holiday in Australia, which commemorates and honours the lives lost, the sacrifices made by men, women and children in the First and Second World War.

As I mixed this humble mix of kitchen staples together on Sunday afternoon, the flour, the oats, the sugar…I thought of a time gone by, when food rashions were in place, when eggs and dairy products were priced beyond the means of the average family income…The result…the emergence of  the Anzac buscuit…A sturdy, chewy, sugary, oatey treat….

The Anzac Biscuit was economical cooking  AND  it  kept well. Wives, mothers and girlfriends could whip a batch of oatey goodness  and send them to their men, their boys serving in the war…A cheap treat, that not only tasted good but was guaranteed to taste good for months on end.

Anzac Day, the 25th of April…a time to pause, a time to reflect….If I am honest, if was not till my early 20’s that I began to register the significance of this day….And not till after I returned, aged 24, from a 2 year UK adventure, that I took any interest.

Both of my Mother’s parents served in World War Two….this much I know…My Nan marched in the George Street Anzac Day march for 34 consecutive years….only recently hung up her marching shoes, opting to watch the march on television.

There is something about this day that I find intrinsically sad…I have watched the Sydney march, even walked arm in arm with my Nan one year…and I am forever struggling to hold back tears…A combination of bag pipe music ( gets me EVERY TIME!!) , crowds, and the immense pride shown by those marching, each step often a conscious effort, one foot in front of the other territory…. time has crept up on the those who served in World War 2,  the Vietnam war, they are old, aging….Yet the Anzac Parade brings out their super hero qualities…and we , the audience,  have to accept that this is something they want to do, they need to do…All you can do is cheer, clap and applaud  these brave men and women who sacrificed so much for our country….

So tomorrow, why not bake a batch of our national biscuit: the Anzac?… Chances are you have all the ingredients waiting to be thrown together and baked at 160 degrees!!

Anzac biscuits Makes 24

Preheat oven to 160 degrees

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup of coconut

1 cup plain flour

1 1/2 tspn bicarbonate soda

2 tbspn boiling water

1 cup sugar

125 g butter

1 tbspn golden syrup

Combine rolled oats, flour, sugar and coconut. Combine butter and golden syrup, stir over gentle heat until melted.

Mix soda with boiling water, add to melted butter mixture, stir into dried ingredients. Spoon dessertspoonfuls of mixture on greased oven trays, allow for room for spreading.

Bake in slow oven  for 20 mins. Loosen on trays while warm, allow to cool.

Eat , Enjoy…Share with those you love and treasure….

Lest we Forget


CUWAM- The Fragmented Self

CUWAM has made a conscious effort to rebuild her sense of self over the last 7 days.

It has been a time for reflection….which in turn has led to the realisation that whilst travel is good and catch up with friends are GREAT, moderation is key.

Life is the slow lane, it almost a foreign concept…and I must admit the previous weekend spent in relative solitude , containing only one phone conversation and a smattering of general chit-chat at the local coffee shop and newsagent…was challenging….For I had started to believe that to be happy, one must always be busy, buzzing around a new city, or town, constantly on the go…..

Yet this busyness belief resulted in a feeling of mild burn out….I was starting to go about life, running of half a tank of fuel….The concept of slowing down scared me….To be with just me…a harsher term…alone….

When you are alone with yourself, the silence can be scary…And for me, the tendency to fill that silence with inner chatter is all too familiar…I entertain thoughts that pop into my head ( I have the time to!!). These thoughts are most commonly self-critical, I over analysis, worry…

My fear was that I would enter the working week, exhausted by a weekend of worry, unable to relax, crippled by fears that ( as always) fail to materialise….

But this did not happen…the worries were there, but I could still go about my day….gym sessions,reading, kitchen cook offs, house work and pet grooming,

When Monday came, only a little baggage followed me to work ( and most of it was my lunch!!)…And sure enough soon my weekend worries dissipated…And I was pleased….for clearly I was making progress…Time spent alone was now starting to be…..enjoyable!

With this outlook, and a new sense of rejuvenation…it was time to take to the streets…Sydney, you have much to offer. So hold onto your hats as a relay the week that was-

It goes without saying that between the hours of 9am-5pm- I was office bound….enough said!!

Monday- Cocktails and Schnitzel in Darlinghust.

I admit that the fact I had this to look forward to on Monday evening, made the weekend of isolation bearable….Under the bright lights of Darlinghurst, Fairy Floss Martini’s were consumed at Li’Darlin

And then with a click of our shoes, my girlfriend Alex and I was at Una’s- Schnitzel Emporium, were we failed to consume even half the portion of schnitzel laid out before us….xxx

Tuesday- A 7am down pour of rain….both outside and INSIDE my residence…A spectacular storm, streets flooded, foot paths disappeared, and water streamed down my hallway and through the man-hole that allows access to the roof….Flora was beside herself!! Clawing onto my mattress, as if it were a life raft…this was scary shit!!

No sooner had the rain started, that it stopped, and I hazard a guess that I had collected about 5 litres of water INSIDE…A phone call to my landlord was in order.

That evening, flat resident Thomas, a builder was enlisted to assess the roof…And to celebrate this victory…I went to the gym.

Wednesday- Come to think of it, the indoor flood may have occurred  on this day…I am not sure!! But of one thing I am sure, Wednesday evening was again a white wash of bad weather…Flash flooding, heavy downpours…But when their is a birthday to celebrate…one has no choice but to put on there best wet weather gear and get amongst it!!

To the Norfolk Hotel, Surry Hills for pre dinner drinks….then a meal at the divine Nourishing Quarter…for a vegetarian extravaganza to herald in April, the birthday girls coming of age ( well 28th year of life on planet earth)

Thursday- For the life of me I cannot remember what I made of Thursday…lets just say I was a looser and watched ‘ The Biggest Looser’

Friday – Half day in the office, mid morning coffee at Dues Ex Machina, Cycle works shop- Surry Hills, farewell lunch for colleague at the Royal Hotel, 3 hours worth of office administration followed by birthday drinks for former colleague, Scottie D….Yippee…The cider flowed, as did the conversation with colleagues past, present and future….

Saturday- Read much like the previous weekend…tv watching,reading, kitchen cook offs, house work and pet grooming…And as the sun took a bow, I began to feel  restless…It was time to get amongst it!!…well dessert anyway. I hopped in my trusty vehicle , placed the Cold Chisel cd on high rotation and drove west, destination, Bar Italia, Leichhardt…for Tiramisu and conversation with my former flatmate Sarah.

Sunday- Inspired by Saturday tv watching , re-runs of Channel 9’s Celebrity Apprentice….I got caught up in David Hasselhoff’s enthusiasm for beach culture and took a morning swim at Bondi beach, shopped at the markets and sipped coffee with the locals….

The afternoon comprised of coffee, cake and conversation with a friend in Woolarha, Anzac biscuit making in the evening and more Channel 9 tv watching.

And it seems fitting to end with a tune… to bind this post and my sense of self together…a song that inspired me to get of the house on Saturday night, drive 30 minutes in a westerly direction for a desert comprising of lashings of mascarpone cream and coffee soaked biscuits….

Ode to Peter Allen

Peter Allen– ‘ The Boy from OZ’

I don’t remember when I first feel in love with the music of Peter Allen….if I had to take a stab in the dark it would be as a young child, when my neighbour would  play her record collection on high volume….the cool summer breeze carrying the tune  ‘ I go to Rio’ through my bedroom window.

And I would dance…..

I didn’t know the life story of Peter Allen till my late teens….and I am continually inspired  by the path he dared to take on this journey called life. A young boy, destined to be an entertainer in an era when ‘ men where men’ and women where women’…the odds where clearly stacked against the dancing, singing, flamboyant Australian boy from the bush….

A man who hid from the spot light his personal struggle  with his sexuality, found freedom in the form of his craft, his singing, dancing and painfully honest lyrics……His movement of stage was effortless, he exuded pure joy….

A man who dared to express himself through song, through movement….I am in awe of his achievements, both personally and professionally….Despite all hardships, Allen found the strength and courage it took bring his ‘ all dancing, singing, one man show’ dream to fruition.

I was 13 years old when Allen passed away…..And throughout my childhood, his lyrics would float through my bedroom window, and I would be transported by his beautiful melodies, to Rio, to regional Australia, America….

I was 19 years old when the musical ‘ The Boy from OZ’ opened in Sydney’s theatre district. I could not have brought a ticket quick enough. With my equally keen girlfriends, Jess and Rhonda, we high tailed it to the big smoke one Saturday evening, and watched performer Todd McKenny embody Allen, and tell his life story through song with accuracy and precision.

Fast forward to 2006, and the ‘ Boy from OZ’ came back to Sydney, this time with Australian superstar, Hugh Jackman in the lead role. Staged at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, the show was bigger and bolder, yet still true to the music of Allen. Jess and I returned to see this production….but it did not live up to our expectations….

Part of Allen’s talent as a song writer, was the ability to connect through his lyrics to listener…In such a large venue at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Jackman’s version of Allen’s songs failed to connect..

As I write this homage to Allen, I am listening to his music….on high rotation whilst thinking of my childhood neighbour, and thanking her for refusing to turn the volume down on such joyous music!!

His sweet melodies will continue to be played for many years to come…at dinner parties, catch ups, birthday parties and picnic, in car trips to the supermarket….And friends and family will dance, sing and smile as the infectious songs play over and over…

Friendship Fire Starter- Common Interest- Modern Art

Friendship Fire starter: something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people.

The re-opening of Sydney’s Museum of Contempory Art ( MCA) Gallery at Circular Quay has reignited my interest in all things modern and art.

It has also forced me to examine the person I am, the person I was and the person I want to be.

Some might ask, how can the re-opening of a Modern Art space force a person to evaluate the nature of self?

To better understand the MCA’s hold over me I must return to 1996, when I was a  17 year old High School Art student in Wollongong.

High School…I cringe as I recall the person I was, quiet, closed off, lacking in confidence…qualities that impacted all attempts at artistic expression…My artwork was restrained, I never really found my own way to express myself, choosing to  imitate others.

Mid way through this year, when our regular Art teacher took annual leave, our class was graced with a relief Art teacher…from Sydney.

The name of this teacher escapes me…but such details are not important…what was important that this women took a look around our class, and the art work we were producing and was not afraid to tell us that it was all ‘ rubbish’….it was ‘ too safe’ it was not ‘ challenging’ or ‘reflective’ of the individual.

Our class has never been subjected to criticism…It was if everything we had ever produced was ‘ wonderful’…Yet this outside from ‘ Sydney’ begged to differ….’ What you all need is a good shake up’ I recall her saying one day….

And shake things up she did…She sent me from the class room one day, to head down to the beach, to captures the true essence of the landscape, the formation of waves, to inspire freedom in my brush strokes and drawing…’ You can’t continue to draw pictures of the sea within classroom walls!!’

To me it felt I was being expelled…I was humiliated….but looking back on the experience I believe this teacher was right….Our class did need a big shake up, we needed to be a bit freer, creative in our expression….but in all honestly, creative freedom for me did not come till much much later….But I look back on this 1996 life lesson with fondness…It was just the beginning for me!!

And then this teacher dared to take us on an excursion to an Art Gallery, in Sydney, on a Saturday!!

‘ You all need to be exposed to what is currently being produced in the art world…and we will do it on a Saturday’

Outrageous, unheard of….Amazing

The Museum of Contempory Art, Sydney….a group of motley 17 and 18 year olds from Wollongong ascend on the gallery, welcomed at the entrance by a 15 metre tall puppy sculpture, covered in live flowers by Jeff Koons…

Koons Puppy outside the MCA 1996

Koons Puppy outside the MCA 1996

Fast forward to 2012, and the MCA has undergone a transformation, it is now bigger, bolder and more beautiful than ever, a world class creative space to house an eclectic mix of modern art from around the globe.

I too have undergone a transformation, one cannot help but do that with the passing of time.

That wonderful teacher who’s name escapes me might have even played a tiny part!! Yes, I still went on to submit art work in my final year of high school that was both cautious and safe, and academically I was penalised for it!!

But the passing of time has lead to the emergence of a person no so constrained and constricted, more at ease and freer…both in herself and her creative expression.

Sometimes I wish that I had been capable of throwing caution to the wind back in 1996, when this Art teacher tried to show me another way of being, in one aspect of my person , but I was not bold enough, confident enough to what back then, seemed like a monumental step.

But in the here and now, 2012…I am ready…and so I encourage you to take yourself, a group of friends, that special someone in your life to the MCA…Just as it does for me, may the gallery and its content challenge you to be your authentic self.

CUWAM- Coast, City, Country

If I was had the strength, this blog entry would be called ‘ Burning the candle at both ends’….but I will save that for another day. I have was well and truly over done it this time…Having taken Catch up to a Mate motto a little too serious, taken it coastal, city and country in a matter of 6 days…and the time has come to STOP, to force oneself to take a long hard  look in the mirror, re-evaluate, re-group and re-focus.

Too much of a good thing…it is the only to describe the week that was….there is no denying it was good….Yet as the saying goes too much of a good thing ….

Has left me feeling burnt out by the experience, suffering from blogger’s anxiety, writers block….This entry contains the  words of a fragile soul…but it is a tale worth telling, so that others too, might learn from my experience


The Easter long weekend arrived. Good Friday…and you were good. The sun shone and I took my pale white body to Bronte beach for a dip in the sea pool…..A summer day had finally arrived in mid Autumn. Sitting quietly on a hill in a beach side park, I sipped on my coffee and whilst sunning myself and thought ‘ Isn’t life grand?’

Once home, I collected a few worldly possessions, namely Flora the cat, and drove South, arriving at the parental home is time for a chin wag and cool drink before joining some girlfriends at the local for a pub meal. Catholic guilt got the better of me, and despite the fact that I have not been to a Sunday Church service for 15 years, I refrained from eating meat, at ate a fish meal instead??

The catch up was great…A pregnancy confirmed, an infectious smile from a first time Mum relishing in her first ever girls night out since the birth of her bub…steady flow of conversation and drinks…..

Catch up with a Mate’s coastal experience: smiles all round


Upping the tempo a bit, I was to board a Hen’s bus to the city on Easter Saturday…My little brother is marrying his true love…What is not to celebrate?

The Hen and me

The Hen and me

An early morning seaside stroll and a coffee at Austinmer beach to kick start the day…Constrained laughter from my Father as my Mother and I attempted to ‘ Glam it up’ for the AAMI Golden Slipper Race day at Rosehill Race course.

My mother and I do glamour….but of the understated variety…A day at the races calls for in your face glamour and we struggled with a concept foreign to us…

The party bus left the sleepy south coast at 10am….city bound. 40 women, decked out in their finery, all intent of celebrating with Tennelle, the prettiest Hen of all. We laughed, chatted and drank on our bus ride to the West, then we laughed, chatted, and watched our money go west throughout the racing carnival!!

Come 5pm, it was time to call it a day…39 people got back on the party bus bound for the South…I took the high road ( or the low road, depending on how you look at it!!) back to the city….5 city rail carriages transported the drunk, the sunburnt and the penniless back to Sydney city….for come sun up Sunday morning…Catch up with a Mate was heading to the Country


Exhausted, I awoke early, packed a bag of summer clothes, and took the streets to catch the 7.30am public bus the Airport.

Arriving at the domestic terminal to be told I had missed my flight to Melbourne because it left from the ‘ International’ terminal…

Not one to be shocked by much anymore, the knowledge repressed from days working in the travel industry…this situation was real…Some domestic flights DO leave from the INTERNATIONAL terminal, and you need to get there 2hrs prior to departure with your PASSPORT!!

Forced to purchase a new ticket, my fear that I could be out of pocket hundreds of dollars was quickly quashed…$80.00 later I was on my way to Melbourne.

I was collected from the airport at 11am by bride to be Naomi…and we drove 2 hours north east…destination, Shepparton…to be part of the illustrious 88th Shepparton Tennis Tournament ( well part of the crowd anyway)

The Tennis Tournament had started on Good Friday, and arriving on Easter Sunday felt like arriving half way through a Steven Spielberg blockbuster…You weren’t quiet sure what had happened…Felt a bit lost….A dinner party guest who arrived as dessert was being served, having missed entrée and mains….awkward!!

I did my best to get involved, I drank a few beers and caught up with the locals I had befriended during my 2011 visit. I became an active spectator, clapping and heckling on demand, cheering court side for winners who went on to be winners , consoling would be winners who became losers…

And aside from tennis, I looked to my friend Jess for advice on what to do in Shepparton…Eat, drink and be merry…Coming from a very small family, I have long been in awe of Jess and her large family, it seems to grow bigger each time I am swept up into the maddess!! The Easter Sunday meal catered for the masses…on last count I reached 25 bodies…Realising this I hit the champagne!!

My time in Shep was short…3 nights and 2.5 days…I had failed to pack for the chilly weather conditions, and as a result wore the same outfit for preciously 3 nights and 2.5 days…I have my sights firmly on the 2013 Shep Tennis Tournament…Arrival date : Good Friday…Next year I will not be the party guest who arrives for dessert only!!

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In need of solitude I caught the 7am bus from Shepparton to Melbourne City on Wednesday…I spent a good part of the day in St Kilda and then took a tram to Carton, Cinema Nova and watched a mid week movie. But during my one day silent retreat, I realised I missed the company of my Shepparton family…I admitted to Jess that I felt ‘ bored’…or maybe that was code for exhausted??

I retired to bed early…for in the morning…it was back to reality…office work in Sydney!

Thursday morning, my 5am alarm signalled the start of the epic journey home. You know you have over done it when you have to catch 2 buses, 1 train and a plane to arrive at the work for a 9am start!!

In summation

Hindsight is a strange thing….I look back on the week that was and think it was pure madness to think that my sense of self would remain intact as I navigated coastal, city and county landscapes at such a fast pace….Madness….

Madness, yes, that is what it was, but it is my nature to cram things in…I once took a round the world vacation in under three weeks…Madness…Lesson learnt? Only time will tell, but my track record ain‘t good!!…By recalling the events of the past 6 days, reflecting on the highs and lows, it is my sincere  hope that I can help myself in the future, to slow down, smell the roses…and if I can’t save myself….maybe this tale with resonate with  fellow reader!!

Ode to Bic Runga

Friendship Fire starter: something that promotes friendship, encourages a catch up or strengthens a bond between two or more people.

My events calender is looking a little bare…so whats a girl to do?

Get out the credit card and book an event….a concert, at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney to be precise…to see the one and only, Bic Runga, a captivating free spirited New Zealander perfomer, coming to our shores in May, 2012.

I was introduced to Bic’s music back in the in 1997, when her  smash hit ‘ Sway’ played down the airways…I brought her debut album and have listened intently to any music she has produced over the years.

Her haunting redition of ‘ Somethings got a hold of my heart’ in the 2005 Australian movie ‘ Little Fish’ reignited my love for her melodies…When Bic toured OZ in 2006 or was it 2007, one of my most treasured friends, Jess and I made sure we had front row seats at the Sydney gig.

This post is reading like a roll call of dates, of years gone by…the passing of time…and yet my appreciation for a good tune has endured.

And I am lucky to share this appreciation with Jess…a common love of a strong voice, sweet melody, well crafted lyrics.

Appreciation of music is a common interest, it has been a defining feature of our friendship over the years.

The concert in May is guaranteed to add another layer to our appreication to the power of the human voice….

Till May Ms Runga….Looking forward to it!!

CUWAM: Postmarked for Heaven

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post…an ode to Alice Boo Boyle, the family cat who cashed in her one-way ticket to heaven last Thursday. Alice Boo Boyle, you managed to seduce so many during your 18 year and 9 months on planet earth…even humans who professed to dislike cats.

You charmed many, especially me, and so I sit and write this epitaph to you, my sweet bundle of black fur…thank you for so many wonderful, funny memories…A senior family member said of your passing…’ You were the cement in our family’….Of this I am certain, and your parting legacy and gift to us all is that as family unit, we are stronger for it. Thank you

Alice Boo Boyle, I will attempt to do your life story justice with a few words…18 memories, one for each year of your extraordinary life….detailing the story of a cat who definitely made the most of her nine lives and then some.

For none pet lovers it is OK to check out now….all you need to know is the following Alice Boo Boyle, the family cat, lived a great life.

Alice Boo Boyle

Alice Boo Boyle

1- Alice, we first meet you at the RSPCA. As a family we were heartbroken, our beloved Siamese cat Albert had recently succumbed to kidney failure. It was wintry July day, cold and windy…as at the assistant at the RSPCA informed us ‘ It was NOT cat breeding season’. And so our choice of feline that day was YOU…just YOU.

I was not happy about this. As a teenager still mourning the death of Albert,  I thought it was too soon to collect a new pet, that you weren’t interesting enough, too plain-looking and ‘not cool’ to have no choice in the matter…On that day it was simply YOU Alice…. OR wait till breeding season started in a couple of months.

Against my better judgement, and after leaving the shelter to ‘think about it’, we went back 60 minutes later and signed the adoption papers. It was there and then that you became Alice Boo Boyle.

2-  Alice you were super cute. You fit in the palm on my teenage hand. Your fur was plain black, with a tuft of white fur near your nether region….You had a big personality, huge….and we loved you for it.

You had been with us for a couple of weeks, school holidays had ended. Still grieving Albert’s passing, I came home from school one day, to find the basement were you spend your days empty…you were GONE.

I was home alone, I searched EVERYWHERE….I then resorted to walking around the garden, tears streaming down my face, crying out your name ( which I was not certain you even new was yours!!)

My neighbour saw me…’ What is wrong?’….’ It’s Alice, she has run away’ I sobbed whilst looking at my neighbours scratched legs, claw marks from her ankles to the top of her calves…

Instantly I knew…Alice was with her.

Like a parrot resting on a pirates shoulder, our Alice too insisted  this lofty resting perch. For many summer months I wore jeans to prevent leg damage and she clawed skyward!! But my poor neighbour has been in a  knee length dress that day, and had suffered.

‘ Alice is safe with me’ my neighbour said, hugging me tightly and handing over the tiny escapee…

Alice Boo Boyle…it was the first of many great escapes!!

3- An extensive appetite for food, there was nothing  you would not try…and I loved you for it…

Corn of the cob, spaghetti, tim tams, pumpkin soup, fruit cake, puffed wheat….You were a modern day Dyson vacuum cleaner for food waste…Yet nothing induced a more rousing display of cat like behaviour than when a plate of freshly cooked broccoli was placed before you….It appeared your would KILL for a piece of this green plant….

As one of your admirers remarked at your passing ‘ Keep eating those veggies in heaven’ xxx

4- Alice, you possessed a kind and loving nature…You were our only family Pet who did not kill another ‘family’ member!

Albert managed to do away with Bruce ( Number One) the bird, Marmalade the mouse and her litter of nine…Bruce ( Number Two) committed suicide, taking his own life, drowning himself in the washing up water….

But Alice Boo Boyle, you let ‘family’ members not only live, but  thrive!!

Milo and Elle the budgies lived happy long lives…Bart the fish enjoyed 5 long years in a fish tank, before he too saw it fit to take his own life….

The animal world loved you….no more so that a blind, overweight poodle.

5- Alice and Claude the Poodle. An unlikely love match ( no doubt Claude greeted you with a big smooch at the pearly gates of  heaven last week!!)

There is truth in the saying love is blind….I have seen it with my own eyes….Alice was a cat, Claude a dog. Alice was black, Claude ,white. Alice had use of her vision, Claude was blind. …and the rest as they say is history.

Alice and Claude sitting in a tree


First comes love, then comes marriage

Then comes a baby sitting in a carriage

Heaven is richer now for you both call it home

Paw entwined in paw, forever you shall roam

6- Alice you inspired to Arts. I dabbled with the idea of capturing your beauty in my Year 12 major assessment piece….But the  medium of paint, charcoal or pastel could not do you justice…You personality was too BIG…So I abandoned this idea and did something  mediocre…

You often posed for Christmas portraits, and when my brother took up photography classes you became his ‘muse’ …You where a beautiful subject to photograph…Striking, making the camera work for you, with the flick of a whisker or a strategic yawn to indicate the trivial nature of the industry you loved to hate.

Such was your influence in the Arts world, that for your 10th birthday, a song was written and performed live in your honour at your family home…Can any other cat claim such an accolade??

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7- Alice, while BOO was your official middle name, destruction might have been more appropriate….

You used the family lounge as a scratching post, such was your desire to obtain three meals a day, that you shredded the seal on the family fridge, you destroyed fly screen doors and window screens on not one, but two family homes….but despite the mounting cost to repair your trail of destruction….it only made us love you more….

8– Alice Boo Boyle… thought you could fly… where not meant for this world! In 2001, you tested this theory and came of second best…Falling some 5 metres from a cedar tree, and winding up with a broken leg that would be placed in a plaster cast.

I lived in the UK at this stage….and thought this all sounded hilarious ( distance is a funny thing) I demanded photo evidence, and it promptly arrived by post addressed to  Willesden Green, London Town.  The story of Alice the flying cat went international….a priceless story to be shared over pints of beer and packets of crisps!!

9. Alice you always made Christmas FUN….You seemed to enjoy opening gifts more than anyone sitting round the Christmas tree…The games you played with wrapping paper…If only it gave me the same joy.

And you were always so cheap to buy for and always happy with your gift….

One Christmas, when the summer heat got the better of us early, Dad and I  sat in the backyard and threw flower buds in your direction…you were our target…It was the simple things Alice, you were always obliging….Did you do it because the  petals smelled  sweet?…

Christmas Cheer, could have almost been your middle name , along with Boo and Destruction.

10- Your 10th Birthday party in 2003…Wow wee….A night of nights, one I over catered for and overcommitted too…But it was so worth it…You lapped up the attention, sitting in front of the fireplace all night, party goers paying there respects and showering you with gifts….a pink diamonte collar, an array of gourmet treats…

In you honour, we all wore black and our musician friend Denise, wrote you a birthday song…

That night will always be legendary ….I have it from good authority that YOUR party lead to a surge in party plans for felines…You were a pioneer Alice, paving the way for the animal kingdom.

11. Eight years may have passed, but there was much hype and speculation ( Would you make it??) to your Eighteenth birthday. You did…and in style.

Carried around in a washing basket ( you were almost beyond walking) so that people could pay their respects. A testament to you Alice, those you where there at your 10th b’day, reappeared at your 18th.

You where even gracious in allowing Carlos, the fox terrier, to steal the limelight that night…You were after all ‘ Over it” in a big way….2011, the year Alice turned 18 or 112 in cat years.…Finally of legal drinking age

12- Alice Boo Boyle, you taught me about love….supplying  me with endless amounts….So much so that I welcomed Flora the cat into my home in 2007.

Alice, I am certain that had the experience of living with you not been such a fun filled ride, Flora may not have the life she leads today…Nothing Flora does surprises me Alice…You set the bar too high!!

 13- Alice you confused people. Not everyone understood the effect you had on my family….then again, not everyone turns to the animal kingdom like we did for companionship and understanding .

Birthday parties for cat,  Santa presents at Christmas time…lenghty discussions about your level of intelligence and wit….Many outside our family merely tolerated our adoration of you.

But the movie ‘ Red Dog’ released last year in Australia, has done wonders for deepening the understand of our bond. As I cried down the phone to my friend Jess, expressing the sadness I felt as your passing, she gave you the ultimate compliment

‘ I can’t relate, but I think of Red Dog, and it helps me to understand how you feel’

14- Alice Boo Boyle, born in an era before face book and email, skype and video conferencing…despite this your friendship circle was expansive, inclusive and well maintained. Doctors,  poodles, lawyers, artists, school children and teachers alike sang your praises…and often…

15. Which lead me to the outpouring of grief that has been expressed since you cashed in your one way ticket to heaven…text messages, face book posts, calls from interstate, messages from overseas…

Despite the fact that you never uttered one word in English  ( or any language for that matter)…you spoke an international language of love and friendship…and your disciples are untied in grief.

16- Alice Boo Boyle , the was a secret hope of mine that you would live until my little brother ( aged 29!) walked down the aisle in June of this year…but alas, that wish cannot be.

I understand, that your time was up, your number called, you one way ticket to heaven in need of validation….

17- Alice Boo Boyle, I thank you for choosing my family to be your carers, heaven knows we needed you !! I said it before and I will say it again…’ You were the cement in our family’….Of this I am certain, and your parting legacy and gift to us all is that as family unit, we are stronger for it.

18- RIP Alice Boo Boyle

Enjoying her life

Enjoying her life

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