Fab Feb Photo Collage Festival: Day 28 Far and away

4 x 7UP collageThis is the finale of my collage series and while it hasn’t been precisely 4x7UP it’s covered the key events of my early years. In this post, I’m once again going to indulge myself a little so I hope you’ll come along on the trip and see some of our travel from a child’s point of view. Pinching the inspiration from Kristin at Finding Eliza my plan is to interweave quotes from some travel notes and my letters back to my parents.

Finally the Darling Daughters (DDs) 1 and 2 were getting the opportunity they missed a few years earlier. We were off to Europe! At the same ages then as our grandchildren are now, I still wonder what we were thinking taking two small girls on a Grand Tour to Europe, England and Scotland with a “dessert” of Delhi, Kathmandu and Singapore. Obviously we had way more stamina in those far-off days of our youth, as did they!

Every girl needs a haircut big trip...Ms DD2's sawtoothed fringe was crafted for her by DD1, just days before we left.

Every girl needs a haircut before a big trip…Ms DD2’s sawtoothed fringe was crafted for her by DD1, just days before we left.

It’s greatly to the girls’ credit that they stood up to the demands of the trip so well…trains, buses, boats, huge ferries, small and large aircraft and multiple sights and cultures. For children who only travelled by car or plane, there were new experiences aplenty.  “The kids enjoyed the train to Florence” and DD2 apparently “LOVES buses!”

Travelling by train was fun for the kids whether in Europe or Scotland. They even survived overnight sleepers.

Travelling by train was fun for the kids whether in Europe or Scotland. They even survived overnight sleepers.

I wrote to my parents: “we are all well, having arrived safely unlike those poor souls in Tenerife” …this was a reference to a horrendous KLM-Pan Am on-tarmac crash with 583 casualties the day before we left Moresby.  We had “arrived at Moresby airport at 11.40am on Monday and arrived in Rome 27 hours later.” After a three hour stopover in Manila “we did not get off in Bangkok as the kids had not long gone to sleep…Likewise in Karachi.

Jet lag, little sleep, strange city: our first day in Rome. Thank heavens for gelati but even that didn't put a smile on anyone's face.

Jet lag, little sleep, strange city: our first day in Rome. Thank heavens for gelati but even that didn’t put a smile on anyone’s face.

Not surprisingly by the time we landed in Rome the kids (and we) were exhausted, and not impressed at having to be reclothed in warm attire (them). Miss DD1 who had been so peeved to be denied the earlier trip with us, decidedly announced “she did not like Rome and why had we come?! My sentiments exactly at that point!” Isn’t long-haul travel grand, not to mention jet lag. They were so tired they fell asleep on the airport bus and “missed the Colosseum and the man sitting in a truck full of artichokes“. “Rome station is an interesting place at 8am in the morning –you see all the latest fashions –high heeled boots, skin tight jeans and tartan skirts.  The Cass kids are IN already.” (Peter’s mother had bought the girls kilts while they were living in Scotland the year before.)

The "on trend" Cass girls in their tartan rubbing the pig's nose for luck.

The “on trend” Cass girls in their tartan rubbing the pig’s nose for luck.

However after a good sleep we all felt much more human and willing to be tourists. Staying near St Peter’s we “showed the kids the statues, Swiss Guards and the Pieta but I suspect what they’ll remember is the pigeons and horses!” Actually pigeons and coin throwing, initiated by the traditional Three Coins in a Fountain at the Trevi Fountain, which “took the kids fancy”. When Miss DD2 would get tired or grumpy we’d shoo her off to terrorise the nearest pigeons…there were always some.

This may be where DD1 acquired her love of Italian food and culture.

This may be where DD1 acquired her love of Italian food and culture.

Florence was a huge hit with the kids as they were spoiled by stall holders in the markets with little leather shoulder purses and per DD1’s letter home “Mummy bought us a dolly”, one each actually. Too true, but little did we suspect that DD2’s chosen baby doll, dressed in blue, was actually a fully-appurtenanced boy (it was Italy!). She (DD/Mum!) was a tad surprised but made a good recovery.

Watching the photo shoot wistfully.

Watching the photo shoot in St Mark’s Square wistfully. No shortage of pigeons here.

The kids were enthralled by Venice: DD1 jumping up and down with excitement at her first sighting of gondolas and the Grand Canal. But have you ever had to find public toilets for four-year olds in Italy, especially Venice? A nigh impossible task! As we travelled we selected charms for the girls to remember their grand adventure. They never wanted them on a charm bracelet but a couple have recently been added to a birthday gift for DD2.

Easter in Lucerne.

Easter in a snow-sprinkled Lucerne.

Lucerne was once again a thrill, it’s such a chocolate-box-picture kind of place, and it’s handy to be able to speak a little German. “It’s about a week earlier than when we were here last time and it has been snowing since about midnight. The roof tops have a covering of snow as do the trees and grass. It is all very picturesque if rather more winter than spring…It came down in big flakes mid-morning and we all went out for a look and a feel.” I wrote “we caught an overnight train from Salzburg to Zurich…to be sure of getting a room here for the Easter break”. We managed to “get a three-bed room plus kitchen and balcony overlooking Lucerne for $18 a day which is good for here” Of course being in the country of chocolate is the perfect place to be for Easter <smile>.

Don't they look just so cute?

Don’t they look just so cute? DD2 and DD1 in Interlaken.

We left Lucerne on Easter Monday, travelling via Interlaken. Despite telling the children repeatedly not to walk into the snow or their feet would be wet all night (another overnight train trip), quite naturally that was exactly what they did. This is one of our favourite photos of DDs1 and 2 from this holiday.

Over the sea to Skye and Peter in his new woolly coat.

Over the sea to Skye and Peter in his new woolly coat.

Much as we loved the Netherlands it caused us plenty of hassle when Peter’s shoulder bag was expertly “picked” on a near-empty tram in Amsterdam one Friday evening, removing his passport, rail passes and travellers cheques. Luckily we each carried our own travel documents, and I had the girls’, or we’d have been in a pickle.

In my aerogramme to my parents I said we “couldn’t file the report with the police as they were called out to a robbery, grabbed their guns and (leather) coats and took off! Quite impressive!…Whatever else you lose it is imperative never to lose a passport- you can’t move without it –literally or figuratively”. The consequence of this mini-drama was a trip to The Hague for a new passport and trawling all over London to get new visas to Nepal and a new entry permit for PNG. American Express was amazing, replacing their travellers cheques quickly. Our Australian bank much less so!

There's always time for sandcastles, even on a chilly day by the Dutch seaside.

There’s always time for sandcastles, even on a chilly day by the Dutch seaside.

We mostly avoided the churches and art galleries and looked for child-friendly outings. On this particular day at Madurodam, DD2 had been excelling herself wanting to throw coins into the myriad waterways: as I said, one of her travel addictions. If you look carefully at mother’s fingers you will see that her sentiments may not quite have matched her charming smile.

Madurodam, the Netherlands.

Madurodam, the Netherlands.

Kathmandu had long been on Mr Cassmob’s travel wish-list so when my friend and her husband relocated to Kathmandu and invited us to visit, the temptation was too much. The family story (totally true!) goes that after I’d chased DD2 who’d escaped outside the travel agent’s, I returned to hearing the agent recap our flight bookings, including a stop in Kathmandu! It would have been too stressful to be staying in hotels there so we were fortunate to be in our friends’ home. We were also pleased that the husband was in charge of airport electricals when we arrived in the midst of a major lightning storm. Kathmandu was an eye-opener for all of us, even after living in a developing country, but it was less discouraging than New Delhi which drove us all mad with the constant hassling. Still, despite the practicalities I rather regret we decided not to make the day trip to Agra. I suspect we never will see the Taj Mahal.

aerogramme 1977004

Our stay in Singapore ended up being rather longer than planned as the Australian airport baggage handlers were still on strike. One of the moments when you’re glad you have some credit cards but also a good chance to chill out by the pool. Finally the strike broke and we raced to the airport in company with some colleagues’ family, who handpassed the girls over people’s heads, such was the crush of humanity in the terminal that day. We also got a side trip to Brisbane, because we’d had to re-route our tickets if we were ever to get home to PNG.

We were on top of the world on our Everest sight-seeing flight.

We were on top of the world on our Everest sight-seeing flight.

The Qantas aircrew were as pleased to be finally going home as we all were and as soon as the doors were locked, announced free drinks all round. As the steward pulled the cap off Peter’s first XXXX beer (that’s its name) in a long time, the beer spewed everywhere having been languishing in a hot plane for over a week. Spilling all over the steward, he announced “wouldn’t that rip the fork out of your nightie”. We knew we were once again heading for home!

Fab Feb imageFamily Hx writing challengeThis is the final 4x7UP post for the February Photo Collage Festival and the Family History Writing Challenge.

Sepia Saturday 163: Snow deep and crisp and even

This week’s Sepia Saturday image fairly shouted “Kinsale” (Ireland) to me. In a surreptitious test I asked Mr Cassmob what it reminded him of….”snap” …he said the same thing! Why don’t you have a look at the professional image online here and see what you think…not only snow but a snowed-over barrel outside the pub! I have always loved this photo, which I bought it as a souvenir on one visit. Paradoxically it reminds me of a photo my daughter took from near here with a background of spring-blooming flowers.Sepia Saturday 9 Feb snow

Anyway, back to task. Snow isn’t exactly common in the tropical and sub-tropical areas where we have lived but somehow in our travels we’ve managed to come a long way since the days when we whispered to each other on a European train “is that snow falling?” Even our choices of major snow falls covered places from New Zealand to Switzerland and Scotland, Yorkshire to New England. However many seemed to be situated in a natural context and I wanted at least one photo with an urban perspective like the one featured.

The snow-sprinkled rooftops of Lucerne, Easter 1977. © Pauleen Cass 1977

The snow-sprinkled rooftops of Lucerne, Easter 1977. © Pauleen Cass 1977

We were in Lucerne for Easter way back in 1977 when there was a massive dump of snow overnight and then more the next night. With two little girls who lived in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea (not to mention the adults!) you can imagine the excitement! We were staying in a pension up on the hill so we had a lovely view over the rooftops of the town. Later in the day after a bout of snowman building and snowball throwing, we headed down to the Lake where the exquisite Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) over the lake was iced with snow.

The old Kapellbrücke over Lake Lucerne under snow, Easter 1977. © Pauleen Cass 1977

The old Kapellbrücke over Lake Lucerne under snow, Easter 1977. © Pauleen Cass 1977

And how could I resist including these “wilderness” images of the Rest and Be Thankful pass from Loch Lomond to Loch Fyne, and ancestor country.

Rest and Be Thankful Pass, Argyll, Scotland. © Pauleen Cass 2006

Rest and Be Thankful Pass, Argyll, Scotland. © Pauleen Cass 2006

A rest stop at Rest and Be Thankful, but perhaps not in the  snow.

A rest stop at Rest and Be Thankful, but perhaps not in the snow.

My A to Z challenge: what’s it all about about?

I am participating in the A to Z 2012 blog challenge throughout April. My theme is a genealogical travelogue or a travel genealogue (I’m not sure which).

This is how I introduce each post, but really, what is it I’ve been trying to achieve? There are, as I say, two strands to my stories: family history and travel. Mostly it’s the former with occasional sprinklings of the latter.

Those who’ve been reading the A to Z posts (well most of my posts) know that I don’t really do short and sweet. I probably could, but it’s not a priority. I want to tell a story, which is why I much prefer the description of family history to genealogy. In this particular challenge I decided I wanted to talk about the places of significance to my family history, wherever they are in the world. I wanted to describe the place, give some sense of its essence (if I can manage it) and explain why it’s important to my family history.

Rather like the 52 weeks of Personal Genealogy and History series, this theme has been an opportunity to bring a collection of writings together which I can leave for my family, so they know the places of importance to our family tree. Obviously I also hope that some elements of the stories will be of interest to my readers, however if that was my only purpose I’d probably only focus on one place for each letter and leave it at that…more likely to be a small meal rather than a buffet.

Some of the elements include more recent family history because it occurred to me that even our children possibly don’t know all the places their paternal grandparents lived and we visited. An unanticipated outcome from the series is a “to do” list for future research.

My intention is to batch this theme with the 52 weeks posts from 2011 and put them in a book. I’ve already done this with Blurb for my general 2010-2011 posts but I wanted to keep the thematic posts separate. Much as I like technology and instant access around the world, at heart I still believe books will survive longer. Maybe I’m wrong, but then I’ll never know, and anyway I’ll have done my best.

As to the travelogue, mostly it’s pure self-indulgence with the excuse that it keeps the story alive, and hopefully my readers entertained. Australians tend to be travellers, but even so we’ve been very fortunate to be able to travel a fair bit. Neither of us was born with a silver spoon in our mouths, rather we decided that travel (and family history) was important enough to prioritise so that we had no regrets. While we have informal bucket lists, that’s as much about going back to places as exploring new ones. Let’s hope there are yet more adventures ahead.

Meanwhile if you enjoy dabbling into these posts and reading a little about the people and places, I’m pleased. I really feel my readers are part of a community to which I’m proud to belong. I thoroughly enjoy getting your insight and comments. Thank you!.

52 weeks of personal history & genealogy: Week 8 Technology (Part 1)

The challenge issued by Amy Coffin and Geneabloggers for Week 8 of 52 weeks of Personal History and Genealogy is:

Technology

Part I: What are some of the technological advances that happened during your childhood?

Part II: What types of technology do you enjoy using today, and which do you avoid?

As a baby boomer I can see so many changes that have happened in my lifetime, and even in my pre-adult life. Those who are a generation older must be amazed when they look back over their lives and see how much life in general has changed. I decided to approach this question as being the changes in technology before I became an adult just because it was simpler. Some of these changes occurred on the world stage, others had more impact on a day-to-day level.

The Space Race

The biggest and most amazing technological changes in my childhood involved the Space Race: the competition between the USA & USSR to get a foothold in space first. Both trialled the process by initially sending chimps into space and I remember photos of the first one to return…quite probably there were other unsuccessful attempts which never made the news just as the testing-animals also never returned. The poor creatures must have been terrified out of their wits, with no idea what was going on. You can read a story about this on National Geographic News at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/05/photogalleries/space-monkeys-fifty-years/

Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova

The Russians pipped the Americans to the post in the race to get a person into space, with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, just a few weeks before American Alan Shepherd (There’s a great book about the early astronauts called The Right Stuff) The Russians also sent the first woman into space, Valentina Tereskova…I cheated and had to look up her name, but I do remember the images of her at the time. Then while I was at uni, the Apollo mission landed the first man on the moon – an amazing technological advance.

The Atom Bomb

Another dramatic technological backdrop to these years, was the world’s capacity to build and use an atom bomb. Baby boomers came into the world on the end of the terrible destruction of Hiroshima and Yagasaki and knew that it could happen again. When the US went head to head with Cuba in the Cuban Missile crisis we all watched nervously as we wondered whether this terrifying technological capacity would again be brought into action. The Cold War was the tapestry behind international affairs at the time and there were numerous books and stories about new and innovative ways of killing other people. It had a similar impact as the threat of Terrorism does today.

Television and war reporting and world news

The advent of television is something we generally see as a vehicle for entertainment and daily news, but it also played a pivotal role as a new medium in the 1950s and 1960s in regard to war reporting.  For the first time, everyone could see the vision directly from the war zone and realise just how brutal and horrendous war is for all concerned. Images do speak more clearly than words and the impact was dramatic. As a Vietnam-era person, this was something that was very sobering, and perhaps led to the shabby way we treated our returning soldiers –for the first time civilians had some genuine inkling of what it meant to fight a guerrilla war.

It’s  now impossible to imagine a world where we can’t see images and stories direct from a conflict or disaster zone. A sobering sideline to this is that 850 journalists have lost their lives on duty since 1992 (www.cpj.org/killed).

Photography

Well that was all more sobering than I intended it to be when I set out, so I’ll return to a more retro mode. I well remember when my mother’s aunt and uncle (the “rich” relations) returned from a business trip to the US in the early 1960s, bringing with them colour film for Mum’s camera –she must have asked for this favour. Until then all our photos had been black and white and so it was very advanced, and exotic, to actually have colour photos. When you had studio photos taken of special events, the pictures were, I think, hand tinted to add colour. Perhaps my love affair with colour photography started then as I still prefer it to black and white despite the artistic appeal of B&W. Even as I entered adulthood, photos were available in colour and black and white, but were still expensive and not the everyday occurrence they became later.

Travel

As a child I never imagined that I would be able to travel overseas: it was the prerogative of the well-off or occasionally the young Aussie doing a year overseas. Travel from Australia to England was by ship and the voyage (apparently) an adventure and a couple of my friends did this in their late teens or early twenties. My personal experience of international flights came with my relocation to Papua soon after our marriage.

Long-distance and national travel is now readily accessible to many, if not most, people – though the young Aussie remains ubiquitous overseas! Air travel did not become cheaper until I was a young adult and it made long-haul flights feasible but slow: a flight to Europe from Papua New Guinea involved landing at Manila, Bangkok, Karachi, Teheran and then Rome. Smoking on flights made it unpleasant for anyone who didn’t smoke, food was served in large quantities and at fixed times, and you were invariably just about to sleep when you had to get off at the next landing place. There was no in-flight entertainment of any sort. On the plus side, they offered you magazinesJ

Transport & Telecommunication

Where I grew up it was normal for people to use public transport as most households didn’t own a car –it was only as I moved into adulthood that car-ownership became more common. Those who did own one car-pooled and shared with those who didn’t –which when you think about it was very generous of them. My father rode a push-bike (un-geared) to work every day of his working life for probably over 25 years in all weathers: not for environmental reasons but because there was no other choice, public transport being restricted during his shift hours.

Traffic lights were also much less common then than now. Intersections were manned by policemen who took pride in ensuring the smooth and efficient flow of traffic. In Brisbane when I went to high school in the city, there was a policeman called “Dancing Dicky” Daniels because he had such a flamboyant and skilled way of keeping the traffic moving. You would groan when you saw a novice on traffic duty because you knew everything would take longer. Even the Gabba intersection with its five-ways roads was managed by a policeman. Many intersections had neither traffic lights nor policemen so you had to know your road rules to competently get through without an accident. It was good preparation for driving in Port Moresby J

Trolley buses & trams were a feature of Brisbane during my childhood. The trams with their slippery tracks were a hazard for learner-drivers. Our bus route had trolley buses and it could be quite tedious when the pole fell off the connector (no idea what it’s called) and the driver had to hop out and push it back in place –always a hassle if you were running late to an appointment or school. Both trolley buses and trams were phased out in Brisbane around the end of my “childhood”. I found a great picture of the trolley bus on my old route to school, shown in the Valley (Fortitude Valley). It’s a bit shocking to find how much the Valley has changed, and with a lot less character. The image is part of express000’s photostream on Flickr and permits the use of the image for non-commercial purposes: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25653307@N03/4261373355/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Tram conductors –yes, these are people, not technology, but as the technology came in to make it possible to buy tickets in advance or directly from the driver at the time, conductors like other “technology” became obsolete.

Telephones, like cars, weren’t a common household item and again neighbours would share their phone when a particular need arose, but for general chats, it was the red phone box down the road. Telegrams were used to communicate urgent or important news –wedding congratulations, exam results, births or deaths. By the end of my childhood, telegrams were still being used as a matter of course, but more and more homes had phones.

Housework

The main technological change that sticks in my mind was the mechanisation of washing. As a small child I remember my mother heating the gas-fired copper and washing the sheets before putting them through the wringer. Wash-day was hard work and potentially dangerous with the boiling water. Then in my teens came the twin-tub washing machine which certainly took a lot of the heavy work out of washing day…but still involved a lot of heavy lifting. Of course many who had grown used to the copper were not convinced the new machines made the sheets and towels as clean.   As I moved into adulthood more people had automatic washing machines which made such enormous time-savings, not to mention energy-saving.

A sub-set of the washing changes was the development of cold-water washing powder so that it was considered rather avant-garde, though not good housekeeping, to wash in cold water, not hot.

Music

Music styles changed throughout my childhood as they do in every generation but it’s probably fair to say that the 1960s were a period of massive musical influence…many of the big performers are still going now, and their baby-boomer cohort often remain big fans, influencing their own children’s musical history with the songs of the 60s: my children remain addicted to Cliff Richard’s Summer Holiday, rather to my bemusement I must admit.

Music technology also changed dramatically in the 50s and 60s. From music on heavy records played on gramophones, to the new, more financially accessible, vinyl LPs and 45s. Portable record players could be taken to parties letting teenagers groove to the music. Transistor radios got smaller and replaced the heavy, cumbersome lounge-room radios of our early childhood, making music accessible away from parents and available 24/7. Cassettes were introduced in the late 60s and again diversified our music listening. Portable record player c1960s