Monday, June 30, 2008
When your parents have been dead for as long as mine, you think you have found and seen every image of them that exists, and then you find this one - taken before they married in 1949. For our family this little photo is a treasure because all the photos we have were taken after marriage, and on the wedding day - but this one has a carefree look about it. Mum would have been about 21 and Dad about 29. The good thing was that at the end of life together (dad was killed almost 40 years ago, they were still as happy with each other and I remember my parents smiling often and looking like this when the glare of the outside world was not on them.
I was visiting Dad's brother who is dying (he's almost 90) and his son bought out an old album. There are more photos of dad, some real beauties from his early 20's and a couple of mum and dad. I didn't have the heart to ask for more, as their family is suffering right now, but asked could I copy those ones of interest next time I come .
I sat beside my uncle and he held my hand and I his for some time - it was very sad to leave knowing that I will never see him again. I am not really up to hospital stuff yet - and his eyes had that same look Don's did not too long before he died.
My aunt said he'd been talking about my dad a lot, so I have to hope that there are angels sent to be with someone as they die, and hopefully my dad is one of these. He would be if he could be.
So as I unpacked the most precious thing in my whole bag was this photo which I have sent to my sisters .
I was amazed to see the images after all these years and pleased that my cousin understood how important they would be - the others seemed unable to comprehend how important these images would be to us, and they'd been closed away in their album for decades unseen. I like to imagine that mum and dad are as happy now wherever they may be in whatever form if any, as they were when this was taken over 60 years ago.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I was curious as to why I couldn't find mention of the petition we took to Parliament mentioned anywhere in Hansard when the Rev Nile's pissy little petition of 182 names was mentioned along with others about changing speeed zones etc. So wrote to the MP who presented it. Wonders never cease in the cover up, which is what he now calls what happened to Don - and which is what I knew anyway.
This is his response to my query,
Andrew has asked me to contact you regarding the petition lodged last week.
Unfortunately this office has received advice that the NSW Parliament will
not accept the petition because in the wording it is addressed to the
Premier, not the Parliament.
In light of this, I have forwarded the petition directly to the
Premier. In the covering letter Andrew requested that the Premier
respond to you directly and this should happen within the next few weeks.
As a result, Andrew lodged the following motion in the Parliament:
295. Mr STONER to move—That this House:
1. Acknowledges a petition addressed to the Premier containing over 2,000
signatures, regarding the preventable death of Mr Donald Mackay of Port
Macquarie at the hands of the NSW Health System.
2. Condemns the Government’s cover-up in relation to Mr Mackay’s death.
3. Calls on the Premier to respond to the petition by way of writing to Mr
Mackay’s widow, Mrs Therese Mackay. (Notice given 19 June 2008)
Andrew will have the chance to debate this motion in the Parliament after
we resume in September.
If you have any questions, please let me know."
So as far as the Government of Adolph Iemma is concerned because of one word which I was not to know they can slither out of axknowledging any accountability at all - at least they think they can. I had a feeling this might happen. I will make sure that
all the media I can contact are aware of what has happened and of what
action Andrew is taking. So am hoping to try to turn this around - like to show juat how bad they are. This is not a petition asking are you in favour of ths or that - its about a death, and an extremely cruel death.
Unfortunately I cannot get home till Sunday - but maybe need this time.
I would expect Premier Morris Iemma to accept that the petition was done "in good
faith" and that because of the issue involved any Premier and parliament
worth its salt would accept this and not nit pick. The petition form I
used was I believed acceptable when I began it. I should have gone on line to
the NSW Gov site to make sure - but it is a sad show when what was done
with the right intention can be blocked because of a word or two. It is
the spirit of what is done which is important I feel.
My initial response when I understood that it had not been accepted was to
shed a few tears, but that was soon over. Alison (youngest) followed me up after I first got the news and gave me a good talking to, as to how this could be turned to a positive etc re publicity - and was good to be with her at that time so i didn't wallow in bitter disappointment too long as one can at times its funny to realise that the girls are wise women these days - and can teach and tell me things I need to know.
Don was the most vulnerable of patients, but the strongest man I have
known. I owe it to him to not give up on this. It would have been easier
for the health minister and the Premier to have done the right thing some
time back because all we wanted was acknowledgment and to know that no one
else would ever suffer how Don did. Now that is not enough. Our family
will follow this through till we feel enough has been done, and that the
cover up of his death is fully exposed.
I really am grateful for Andrew's help because without this it would have
been even harder.
Hopefully the Coroner's office will have good news tomorrow - if so it
will not look so good for the Government not to accept the petition. Have
to be hopeful.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
the first one was at the beginning of getting the petition together
This one was done more recenlty just before we took the petition to Pariament (17/6)
Sunday, June 15, 2008
So proud of the Irish from the irish Republic - brave and with more commonsense than the rest of Eurpoe combined - clap clap clap!
Thank you Ireland for having saved our nation states today!
Ireland defeated the Lisbon Treaty for Sweden, not the Swedish government. This treaty was already ratified without referendum in the majority of the EU countries, and without any public media debate.
But on behalf of mankind, the Irish defeated the Lisbon-Doctrine overwhelmingly today.
Now we own thanks to the Irish people for having saved us from a dictatorship in Europe!
Ireland was the only country to put the treaty of Lisbon to a free democratic vote of its people]
Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern says substantial vote tallies across the country show the European Union Lisbon reform treaty has been rejected.
Tallies are not official, but Mr Ahern says it is clear the No vote is ahead in a vast majority of constituencies.
This would scupper the treaty, which must be ratified by all members.
Only Ireland has held a public vote on it.
Mr Ahern is the first senior figure from the Irish government to admit that it looked like the treaty had failed.
"It looks like this will be a No vote," Mr Ahern said on live television. "At the end of the day, for a myriad of reasons, the people have spoken."
He said it looked like other EU countries would ratify the treaty, so an Irish No vote would leave the EU in "uncharted waters".
Earlier, Europe Minister Dick Roche had admitted "it is not looking good"
In Irish polls, tally counters in each constituency watch votes being sorted and make their own count, giving early indications of how a vote is going.
State broadcaster RTE said initial results and projections suggested a certain win for the No camp.
The BBC's Oana Lungescu in Brussels says EU leaders are bracing for defeat but are expected to press on with the treaty, which is meant to streamline decision-making in the now expanded EU.
However, she says, the third failed referendum in three years on the EU's reform plans is bound to undermine the bloc's public legitimacy and dent its confidence when it faces other big players on the world stage.
European leaders earlier said they had no "plan B" for how to proceed if Ireland's electorate voted No.
"If the Irish people decide to reject the treaty of Lisbon, naturally, there will be no treaty of Lisbon," French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Thursday night.
Declan Ganley of the anti-treaty lobby group Libertas said that if the No vote had indeed triumphed that it was "a great day for Ireland".
"The people of Ireland have shown enormous courage and wisdom in analysing the facts presented to them and making the decision they have," Mr Ganley said.
The No campaign was a broad coalition ranging from Libertas to Sinn Fein, the only party in parliament to oppose the treaty.
The treaty is due to come into force on 1 January 2009.
Fourteen countries out of the 27 have completed ratification so far.
The Lisbon Treaty replaces a more ambitious draft constitution that was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005.
Just over three million Irish voters are registered - in a European Union of 490 million people.
In 2001, Irish voters almost wrecked EU plans to expand eastwards when they rejected the Nice treaty. It was only passed in a much-criticised second vote.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
From a DVD how does one convert it so that it can be uploaded to U Tube ? - my uploads all fail...
Also from an Audio CD (news item) is it possible to put these on Blogger?
Way back it was Sling who helped me master putting U Tub videos on blog spot... and now want to get ever more adventurous
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I just came across these photos again and had to post. It was the last year of high school 1970. I was talking to a sister recently and commented that I hadn't changed my hair style since I was about 13 - and the comment was hahah "I didn't think you had a style as such" fell about laughing at this one. I am pretty bemused by how short we were allowed to have out box pleat tunics (top photo) and I recall how we used to hike them up over out belts to make them as short as possible and show no undies - and this as I can see from the clothes was in winter. Winter in Scone (Australia) was ccchilly and I remember having to prize my hands off the school port handle after walking to the bus stop.
Then you look closer and remember how many of these kids you know have already died - one kid died the next Christmas in a motor bike crash, another who I was dead keen on died in his late twenties - never found out about that for some years...he was my first real kiss and I had the biggest crush on him... that rocked me for a while, because you imagine that they are all alive somewhere having their lives.
The school was a new high school in a country town and I had the best time there, and the most fun possible. I had run away from a boarding school and refused to go back to it (Lochinvar - or Locked in bars as we called it) and when I arrived at Scone High School I was at first shocked at the lack of rules, although the rules they did have would seem excessive by today's standards - We were still pretty much easy to control and knew our parents would always back the teachers so no whiny stuff to them would cut water -unless it was off the planet. I arrived on the first day there, mid term with a tunic below my knees - much to the class' amusement - by the time I got on the bus that afternoon, I too had the requisite length of legs showing that no self respecting girl from that era would be seen dead without.
We were a pretty unsophisticated lot... many of the kids being from farms, and the rest of us from the small towns surrounding Scone. We thought the ones who lived in town were lucky because they got to see their friends after school or on weekends.
Parents did not/ I repeat did not drive you to friends' places ever! Nor were there sleepovers. It was not expected and we wouldn't have dreamt of it.
It was lucky that I ran away when I did, because in the bottom photo it is 1969, and by the time the top photo was taken in 1970, my lovely Dad had been killed and I would have missed out on those last few months with him.
Just when you think you are making your own decisions life seems to have a remarkably complete set of plans already worked out for you - in hindsight!
In the top photo I am in the second row fourth from the right. In the bottom one I am second last - in that one year I lost a lot of weight - not that it worried me too much , i was always a happy little Vegemite -but it was a terrible time after Dad died - and poor mum was left with all of us kids, and no place to work in because of the size of the town - apart from the abattoirs and I am so glad she didn't work there. I think it would have destroyed her.
Luckily we owned our own home, and when Dad was killed although there were no savings - impossible for a labourer with five kids and a wife, but also to mum and dad's credit there were also no debts - none at all. I left home the next year, still 16 and worked in Newcastle for the princely sum of $27 a week at Woolies fruit and vege... but I was getting two dollars a week less than mum got on the widow's pension and with little kids (the youngest was 4) she got $29. She managed to feed them, and clothe them and somehow kept her head above water and held the family together... which was tough as the little town (Aberdeen) we lived in was at that time a really scummy town and some real bad bastards descended on mum and practically stripped her of all Dad's tools, guns, mower etc etc - nothing like that good ol country feeling - she was just too lost emotionally to see what was happening when they "borrowed" from her. I know now where her head must have been, but the gratitude I have for mum and dad is that the childhood they allowed me equipped me for the life I was to live. Without their allowing me the freedom of thought and of being loved safely in a good family - the things I have been able to do and the family Don and I raised would have been much different.
I left home in 1971 (January) and met Don the next year... the rest is history - We were not children for long, although childhood as such seemed to still exist at 16 - although unsophisticated, we were all as we should be "curious" so as soon as we gained independence some of us got off to a very early start with relationships and kids. Didn't do us any harm - some of us are still alive.
Its starting to feel like a long time ago...where not that long back it felt like yesterday. I guess when your kids are in their thirties you have to admit that its only in your head that you still might be sixteen - which is a good thing - nothing worse that mutton dressed up as lamb... although its an interesting look - my niece says that they call those women "Hoochie Mummas"
But then I could never bother being a hoochie mumma, I'd have to make an effort and actually have to change my hairstyle - it keeps my neck warm in winter/ and summer??
I'm not nostalgic about the past - like most of us, miss my mum and dad a lot still, but don't really miss the times - people could be as nice or as cruel then as they are today, I miss the girls being little, but am so pleased to have the privilege of seeing the women they have become and thats what its all about (ha now for some bloody grand kids girls), I miss being with my husband and how it was but also I am so grateful he will never suffer any more pain ever again and no one can ever hurt him and that means something - there was too much cruelty. I hate cruelty more than anything on this planet.
So you can never go back. Change is the nature of the universe and thats as it should be, but of course if you had a happy childhood and a lot of fun, in a time when you didn't have to be responsible, its wonderful to remember.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
(This release got us a spot on Prime TV evening news which I really appreciated - next stop hopefully the Coronors decision!!)
"Andrew Stoner MP for Oxley received the Mackay Family petition for lodging at NSW State Parliament 17th June 2008. Mr Stoner has been very helpful in agreeing to do this for us and the family and all those who signed our petition are grateful for his help.
The petition generated by the Mackay family asked that “We, the undersigned residents of and visitors to NSW request that the NSW State Premier and Health Minister begin a full, independent and open investigation into the surgery, treatment, care and subsequent death of Donald William Mackay, as a result of the five weeks he spent in Royal North Shore Hospital between 11th April 2007 and 17th May 2007 (the day he died). We ask that those responsible if found culpable then be subject to disciplinary action. Our reasons are briefly – A RNSH Internal Investigation into Donald Mackay’s hospitalization and death, signed by RNSH’s Dr Hoyle who in writing, admitted many failures in Donald Mackay’s care; such failures, which we believe led directly to his death after five weeks of unimaginable suffering”
To date we have achieved over 2000 names on this petition and we are very happy with this as this was not a simple petition to explain to people and most people took the time to read and understand the issue before signing which was important to us. The collection of names was for the family very stressful as it necessitated reliving the dreadful treatment and death of my daughters’ father, and my sisters’ brother in law and my husband. We did this because he deserved justice for what happened to him and hopefully to ensure that we help in a small way to prevent the same happening to any person from this area forced to go to hospital in Sydney.
It is moving to understand that almost two thousand people felt strongly enough to become informed, sign and show that they support our fight to have a full investigation into Don Mackay’s death begun. Many people expressed shock at the level of suffering and the many mistakes made in his treatment which caused his death. That support makes us all the more determined to keep pushing to ensure that the truth comes out and that people are accountable as they should when a wrongful death is caused. "
Friday, June 06, 2008
"How to Handle a Difficult Customer For all those who have suffered in customer services:
A man with a bald head and a wooden leg is invited to a fancy dress party. He doesn't know what to wear to hide his bald head and his wooden leg so he writes to a fancy dress company to explain his problem.
A few days later he receives a parcel with a note:Dear Sir,Please find enclosed a pirate's outfit. The spotted handkerchief will cover your bald head and with your wooden leg you will be just right as a pirate.
The man thinks this is terrible because they emphasized his disability, so he writes a letter of complaint. A week passes and he received another parcel. Dear Sir,Sorry about the previous parcel. Please find a monk's habit. The long robe will cover your wooden leg and with your bald head you will really look the part.
The man is extremely furious now, because the company has gone from emphasizing his wooden leg to drawing attention to his bald head. So he writes a really rude letter of complaint.
A few days later, he gets a very small parcel from the company with an accompanying letter:
Dear Sir,Please find enclosed a tin of Golden Syrup. Pour the tin of Golden Syrup over your bald head, stick your wooden leg up your arse and go as a toffee apple
Moral of the story: You will NEVER please everyone, so do not take it personally. "
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Yesterday morning after a few days of rain I came out and where there was once dry land, there was a little lake, and what wasn't there the day before was suddenly populated with ducks (and the house Maggies who are always here).
Don't know where these ducks are normally but as soon as it rains enough to leave pools of water laying about they are everywhere.
The elderly lady who lived here before us said to us that when it rained out here it was "a paradise of birds" - she was lovely and strangely it was her personality and the shine in her eyes and on her face that had decided me to live here.
The house was really run down but solid and she was happy to sell to us . She wanted people in here who would keep it as lovely as it was, and she knew we fell in love with what you could see outside the windows not what was inside - but that was nice because of the people who lived there.
She wanted to be with her husband who died about 2 months after we moved in here - he had end stage Parkinsons and she was physically incapable of taking care of him towards the end- so she got her dream of being with him in those precious last days, and now where she lives is close to her daughter and borders a natural lake - so she is happy enough that way.
Across at the dam were the Ibis' and various and sundry, but it was the ducks who took my fancy -
When we were kids Dad would often bring home wild duck for cooking. Its an acquired taste! But we had to be careful because sometimes there'd be the odd bit of shot left in the duck.
Needs must - he fed his family and often it was his extensive vegetable garden and his rabbits and ducks which helped us through. Some of us have their sensibilities too finely homed to imagine eating such beautiful creatures - but it was not done for sport - it was need. Now days i don't have that need and like many of us can afford the luxury of looking at these lovely creatures and seeing how beautiful they are. I have no doubt my Dad did as well, knowing the spirit which drove him.
There is a big difference in going to a supermarket and picking up the cleanly wrapped bits of meat which you don't have to clean or pluck and taking them home to cook.
I never learned to shoot, never had the need. But sometimes it pisses me off when people get precious about those who actually put the food in our butcher shops and fish shops but are more than happy to dine out on fish and chicken and , yes ducks.
The modern farming practices with battery farming of all livestock are far more cruel than anything done by those who still farm in the old methods, with a care for the land and for the creatures. The main point I made to the girls when they began eating meat again was not to waste it - that is the crime. and to be as aware as you can be of the origin. In other words boycott battery farms where the animals are treated like objects without needs and feelings.
When I was fourteen I became a vegetarian which puzzled mum and dad no end - both of them would have known genuine hunger during the Depression and would have gone without during the War years. I only lasted about a year. The same with Melissa and Alison - they lasted a bit longer - Not everyone can thrive without eating meat. We are all O+ blood groups - and no doubt our ancestors back to the beginning of humankind ate meat. Some groups of people just don't seem to get enough iron and protein from being vegetarian and no one should judge another's way as far as I am concerned - we have become a nursemaid society where people assume they know more about other people yet spend precious little time honestly reflecting on their own actions and thoughts. I remember when I was very young how black and white things seemed - and as I grow older the edges blur.
Bit of a thought train! And sorry to spoil the images of the wild ducks with talks of eating them etc - I have enough to eat and so the ducks are safe from me. But when there is hunger then those same ducks would be food - and no doubt a real poultry farmer who free ranges his stock would look at the little chickens playing about and the mother hens scratching about and see the beauty in them as well - knowing what their end would be.
I came to this from a conversation sometime back with a person, who while delicately nibbling away at a bit of Duck L'Orange (or whatever) spent time condemning the farmers and declaring that all farmlands should be turned into National Parks - Not sure where she thought her next bit of grub was going to come from - she just didn't think apart from the "pretty" images she had in her head of a sort of land before humanity arrived, with its teeth and knives and empty tummies. Whats got me beat is that those who admire so much watching lions and other meat eaters rip and tear to feed and feed young, have not the same compassion for humanity itself, which is not a blight on this earth, not alien, but as much a part of this earth as every other living creature.
The many many wrong turns we have taken in our understanding of nature have not come from simple people trying to stay alive but from the monolithic Government bureaucracies which forced farmers in the 1950's to accept fertilisers and pesticides - (many of which were designed during World War II as for more nefarious reasons),etc or they wouldn't allow them to sell their produce to the big wheat boards etc which took over the smaller markets - and now these same bureaucracies are creating even more problems such as Genetically Engineering foods and animals, which is an abomination -
They just can not leave things which are not broken alone - along come the greedy companies, and the compliant lazy bureaucrats and things are being bought into being which will change the world as we know it for a long time. But its not the ordinary people doing this - we are being kept in a state of "bread and circuses", dumbed down and cowed and believing that we live in democracies - which is a nice faerytale till you start testing the bars of the prison society - its all very pleasant and comfortable inside the cage, and you can still stick your arm out and feel a bit of freedom, but if you try to break out, or to go against the accepted way of acting - those bars get bigger and bigger - and stronger.
I think sometimes those wild ducks are far more free than most of humanity, but I feel also that there is a turning tide and people are beginning to awaken from the slumber and realise how things are being manipulated in almost every part of life - in my case the awakening came decades back when my father - her who shot the ducks for food, was run down by a drunken driver - who was part of the old boys network - which dad never was nor wanted to be - and the drunk driver got off - then never even tested his blood - but they tested my dead father's blood to try and prove that somehow it was all his fault - which it wasn't. at fifteen I figured out how the world worked. It would have been an easier life not to have realised this but when I met Don he had had the same experience when his sister and the whole family were also wiped out again by a drunk driver who got off -
we both didn't know this about each other back then - that all came later - but across that bar the night I met him, apart from the fact he looked like a blonde Jesus Christ painting - there was something I recognised and something he recognised so that three weeks later we moved in together and we had come home - He knew and I knew the way of the world and this coloured our lives together - it was very colourful at times - many spats, took a while but we reached a place where we were so much at peace -
And out here amongst this beauty is where we found a few short years of peace and those memories can never be taken from him (wherever he is and in whatever form) nor from me. I look for him in the sunlight, under the trees, along the path...and wherever I feel peace and beauty and calm - or if something really makes me laugh out loud I feel, there he is.