Sunday, December 4, 2011

Polly Dolly: Navy Stripes

I'm linking up with Danimezza for this week's Polly Dolly Polyvore challenge!

This week's inspiration is NAVY STRIPES...

Today Polly Dolly is admiring the view at the Henley on Thames Regatta (and I'm not talking about the scenery...).  She's dressed for the occasion in a navy striped blazer, white linen pants and red accessories.   You can find her cheering for her crew with a champagne in one hand and waving a cheeky 'God Save McQueen' silk scarf in the other.  There's something very fishy about those cufflinks!

You can find out exactly what Polly's wearing here.Polly Dolly: Navy Stripes


Hello my dear bloggy followers.  You've probably noticed I haven't been posting very much recently.  I'm struggling a little with the demands of single motherhood, the emotional rollercoaster of a relationship breakdown and all the every day stuff (work, finances, commitments, etc.) I don't want to give up the blog but at the moment its a struggle to post anything that requires major brain thought.  So please bear with me while I'm trying to pull myself together :)

Love, Eloise

Saturday, November 26, 2011

5 Sentence Fiction: Sacrifice

I'm joining 5 Sentence Fiction with Lillie McFerrin Writes today.

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the inspiration word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just take your inspiration from that word. 

This week’s inspiration word is: SACRIFICE

In the winter of 1912, Amy Beechey stood in widow's black by the side of her husband's grave.  

Alone, with 14 children to raise, sacrifices would have to be made but the family pulled together and with the help of the older children, Amy struggled on.  

Stoic in her sadness, Amy did not know that greater grief was yet to come.  

Less than five years later, five of her kind and handsome sons; Barnard, Frank, Charles, Harold and Leonard would be killed in the war and another, Christopher, maimed for life.  

After the war, swallowed up in a nation deep in mourning for it's lost generation, Amy Beechey was finally presented to the King and Queen and thanked for her immense sacrifice; at that moment she who had paid the ultimate price looked the Queen in the face and replied, ‘It was no sacrifice, Ma’am, for I did not give them willingly.’

NB: The full story of the Beechey family can be found here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Tragic End to a Wonderful Story

If you live in Australia, you have probably heard about the bushfires raging across the beautiful coastline of Margaret River in WA. So far over 30 homes have been destroyed. Although I live in Melbourne now I spent a big portion of my life in and around that area. My sister and her family and my dad and step mum still live there but thankfully they are about 15 minutes further south.

I have been following the news closely from Melbourne and was absolutely shattered to hear that despite the efforts of firefighters and water helicopters, the terrible winds flaming the fire caused it to jump the Margaret River and they were unable to save historic Wallcliffe House.

Wallcliffe House, a picturesque homestead built in 1865 by the pioneering Bussell family, was perched on a small ridge overlooking the mouth of the Margaret River.  Whenever I would drive down Wallcliffe Road towards the beach I would always look out for its chimneys and shingled roof.  I remember my mum taking my sisters and I to visit the house and being amazed at the steepness and skinniness of its staircases.  I always wondered how the Bussell women had managed to climb up and down those staircases in their long Victorian dresses. 

Aside from its character and charm, one of the most interesting things about Wallcliffe House was its association with a famous episode of courage and heroism which generations of Australian school children were taught.

On 1 December 1876, the ship, Georgette, was grounded on rocks at Calgardup Bay just south of Wallcliffe House and began to break up. 

The pitiful scene was witnessed by a 30 year old Aboriginal stockman, Sam Yebble Isaacs, who immediately rode to the homestead at Wallcliffe House to get help.  The only person at home was Grace Bussell, then just 16 years old.  Grace rode her horse to the bay with Isaacs where they met a scene of utter misery with women and children from the boat being thrown into the surf.  Without hesitation, Grace Bussell plunged into the surf on her horse. 
Over the course of four hours, Grace and Sam Isaacs fought the waves on horseback and saved the passengers from certain death.  Almost all the passengers were saved and taken back to Wallcliffe House to recover.  Grace and Sam were later awarded the medal of the Royal Humane Society.

There are two interesting endings to this story….

The bravery of 16 year old Grace Bussell made her internationally famous. A young man from a well known Perth family, Frederick Drake-Brockman, read of Grace’s exploits in the paper and rode 300 kilometres on horseback just to meet her.  They fell in love and were later married.  Grace lived to the ripe old age of 75 and the little house owned by Frederick and Grace in Guildford is only a few doors away from my mum's house.

Sam Yebble Isaacs, the son of a Native American Indian whaler who had absconded from his ship in the 1830’s and an Aboriginal woman from the Wardandie tribe near Augusta, was granted a 100 acre block of land of his selection for his heroism.  He chose a spot on the Margaret River not far from Wallcliffe House and raised a large family there.  Sam Isaacs died in 1920 at the age of 75 (he was tragically killed when a sulky he was travelling in overturned) and is buried in the Busselton Pioneer Cemetery.  His descendents still live in the area.
It saddens me to think that Grace Bussell's family home is no more.  It's a terrible loss for the generations of families that have lived in the home and especially for its current owners, the Chaney family, who have put so much work into the property and gardens.  And it's a terrible loss of history for the wider community.  I will always have fond memories of Wallcliffe House.

Polly Dolly: Drive

I'm linking up with Danimezza for this week's Polly Dolly Polyvore challenge!

This week's inspiration is DRIVE...

Today Polly Dolly is test driving the soon-to-be-released Mercedes electronic sports car on Via Aurelia, the famous curvy road that hugs the coastline of the Italian Riviera.  She's fully equipped for speed in a sulphur yellow leather jacket, Prada's streamlined shield sunglasses, a Marc Jacobs sports watch and Cartier's "Panther" ring in platinum, diamonds and onyx.  Ohhhh, lucky Polly!

You can find out exactly what Polly's wearing here.
Polly Dolly: Drive

Monday, November 21, 2011

5 Sentence Fiction: Lightning

'm joining 5 Sentence Fiction with Lillie McFerrin Writes today.

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the inspiration word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just take your inspiration from that word. 

This week’s inspiration word is: LIGHTNING

Six months into the Gallipoli campaign, dysentery and a monotonous diet forced men to spend hours perched over makeshift latrines and due to recent sniping in the area, orders had been given that men must attend the latrines in pairs.

Consisting of a long, narrow pit with an A-frame at each end supporting two long poles, the lower pole was used to ‘perch’ on with one’s nether regions hanging over the back, and the higher pole, which ran across the middle of the perchee’s back, was there to stop the hapless individual from falling in.

On this night, Guy Atherton found himself in the unenviable position of being asked to accompany Caruthers to the latrine (everyone else in the Mess Hut had taken care to avoid this request as Caruthers had a habit of squatting for forty minutes whilst keeping up an endless stream of small talk punctuated by groans, splashes and grunts).

The night was stinking hot and humid and the stench arising from the latrine was almost indescribable forcing Guy to hold his sleeve over his nose and yet Caruthers squatted there serenely, his posterior glowing white in the moonlight, seemingly oblivious to the smell and the flies.

Just then, an almighty bang shook the earth around them and the sky lit up phosphorescent white, Guy threw himself to the ground only to realize within seconds that it wasn’t a Turkish shell but a lightning strike just a few feet away; Caruthers, to Guy’s amusement, was no longer perched on the A-frame.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Polly Dolly: Gym

I'm linking up with Danimezza for this week's Polly Dolly Polyvore challenge!

This week's inspiration is GYM...

Polly Dolly hates to sweat, so she is taking a Pilates class instead.  The baby blue ballet wrap and leg warmers perfectly set off her Tiffany starfish pendant and earrings and the soft chiffon skirt hides all those bits you don't want to show at the gym!

You can find out exactly what Polly's wearing here.
Polly Dolly: Gym

Friday, November 11, 2011

5 Sentence Fiction: Delectable

I'm joining 5 Sentence Fiction with Lillie McFerrin Writes today.

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the inspiration word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just take your inspiration from that word. 

This week’s inspiration word is: DELECTABLE

Chateau d’Armancourt, just outside Paris, had led a chequered history since its aristocratic owner met an untimely death at the hands of Madame Guillotine in 1796.

A one time convent, insane asylum, boarding school and army headquarters during both wars, the Chateau had been reborn as a luxury hotel and high-end cooking school.

It was also the location for the filming of 'Sex on the Table', a cooking show featuring the culinary talents of Stefanie Lefroy, a former model turned celebrity chef, and the darling of Parisian television.

Inside the white marble kitchen with its grand fireplace, copper saucepans and pots of herbs, the cameraman, Guillaume, zoomed in closely as Stefanie swept a piping hot nectarine tart out of the oven and placed it on the marble countertop, her spectacular cleavage perfectly framing the tart.

Stefanie poked a finger into the shiny glazed surface and delicately licked it, ‘"mmmmm, delectable" she pronounced, winking at the camera….Guillaume rather thought so too.

11/11/11 Who are we remembering?

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the Armistice to end the First World War was officially signed between the Allies and the Germans in a railway carriage near the Compiegne Forest in France.

In 1919, King George V dedicated the 11th of November as a special Remembrance Day for the members of the armed forces who were killed in World War I.

The war ended 93 years ago and, for many Australians, relates only to the distant but valiant story of Gallipoli.

So who are we to remember?

Here are just a few stories of ordinary young Australian men who never came home.

Alfred Victor Momphlait was a 28 year old clerk from Port Adelaide in South Australia.  He enlisted on 17 July 1915 in the 32nd Battalion and was killed 1 year and 3 days later on 20 July 1916 in the Battle of Fromelles (sometimes known as the Battle of Fleurbaix).

Fromelles was the first major battle the Australians took part in on the Western Front.  It was a terrible annihilation with over 5,533 Australian casualties.  Two battalions, including Alfred's were effectively destroyed.  Out of 887 soldiers in the 60th Battalion, only one officer and 106 men survived.

The area where the battle took place was retaken by the Germans almost immediately and the Australian dead were buried in mass graves behind German lines.  Some of these pits were discovered in the 1920's and the remains re-buried in a war cemetery nearby as unidentified soldiers.

In 2007 an Australian school teacher, Lamis Englezos located a new burial pit near the village of Fromelles.  The remains were exhumed in 2009 and 250 bodies were recovered, 203 of these Australian.  Alfred Victor Momphlait was identified by DNA testing.


Rowland Joseph Hill and Alfred John Hill

Rowland and Alfred Hill were born in Echuca Victoria but the family later moved to Perth.  The brothers enlisted in the Army in 1915.  Alfred, a dentist, enlisted in June, and was sent to Gallipoli.  Following the retreat from Gallipoli in December 1915 he was sent to France in March 1916 as part of the reinforcements for the 28th Battalion, joining his brother Rowland.  Rowland, a railway employee,  enlisted in September and was sent directly to France as part of the 28th Battalion.

The 28th Battalion was engaged on the Somme in the Western Front, near the village of Pozieres, the scene of the worst conditions and worst fighting in all of the war.

Alfred, who had survived Gallipoli, was killed in action on July 29th, 1916.  His brother Rowland was killed in action 2 weeks later on August 14th, 1916.  The bodies of both boys were recovered but they are buried in separate cemeteries.  Their poor mother on receiving the telegrams so close together.


Felix George Buck (known as Sonny) and Alexander Percy Buck 

Sonny Buck was 22 years old when he enlisted in Western Australia in late 1915.  Sonny joined the 12th Battalion in France and in August 1916 was severely wounded.  Sonny was shot by a machine gun numerous times in the back and was then buried alive after a shell exploded nearly.  After 5 days fighting for his life he was evacuated to England.  Sonny was permanently discharged from the Army in 1917, before the end of the war, suffering from shell shock.

In 1920, Sonny died from a gunshot wound while out hunting near his home in WA.  It is not known if this injury was self inflicted.  He was 27 years old.

Alexander Buck was 21 years old when he enlisted in Western Australia in 1916.  He was sent directly to France.  In January 1917 he was wounded in action and sent to hospital in England.  He returned to France in July 1917.  Three months later, in October 1917 he suffered gunshot wounds to the head and a compound fracture to the skull.  He was evacuated to England and sent back to Australia on a hospital ship in May 1918 before the end of the war.

In 1923, he died from his war injuries at home in  Bunbury.  H was 27 years old.

Although these two brothers survived the war, their physical and mental wounds ended up taking both their short lives.


William Henry Bowman, known as Bill

William Henry Bowman is my great uncle, my grandfather's oldest brother.  He enlisted in the AIF in July 1915 at the age of 18 and was sent to France as part of the 52nd Battalion.  Bill enlisted because his father and grandmother were German settlers from South Australia.  This was not looked upon with favour by the small country town in which he lived and so he enlisted to serve in the Army as soon as he was able to, being the only son old enough to fight.

The 52nd Battalion were fighting near the village of Pozieres, where Rowland and Alfred Hill were also killed.  On September 3rd, 1916, the 52nd took part in the Battle of Mouquet Farm.  Bill and over 300 men from his Battalion were killed on that day, he was 19 years old.

As the Germans took over this ground, Bill's body was never recovered.  No one who saw him that day survived the battle and therefore nothing is known of how and when he fell, or where.

His mother never recovered from the shock of losing her firstborn child in such terrible and unknown circumstances.

RIP dear Bill.

These are just some of the stories of the soldiers we remember on this day but there are so many more.

In WWI, Australia had a population of less than 5 million people.  Over 416,000 men (almost all between the ages of 18 and 40) enlisted to serve in WWI.  60,000 were killed in action and 56,000 were wounded, gassed or taken prisoner.

My great uncle Bill came from a little farming hamlet in WA.  Of the 27 men who enlisted to fight, only 18 came home.  One third of the young men never returned.

This is why we should remember.

10 things in my life right now....

1. Listening

To be honest, I've been avoiding music like the plague.  Have you ever noticed how many songs apply to you when you're in the middle of an emotional crisis?  Well, maybe not LMFAO's catchy dance hit "I'm sexy and I know it" - I'm not sure that applies at all hahaha -but all the men-hating  ballad/love song type ones.

I've never been one of those people that likes to sit around moping and listening to depressing music when I am down....well, not generally.  And if I was going to sit there in my own misery, I would probably choose something classical and stirring, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata or a Puccini aria (if you have never listened to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata before do yourself a favour, it will stir your soul).

But I had to turn the radio off in the car the other day after a particularly depressing incident during the school run ....Good Charlotte's latest song '1979' was playing.  The chorus lyrics....

All the decades and the years have passed
Not every family is built to last,
No time can take away these memories
Remember when you said to me
That we'd be alright

And I found myself crying in the car thinking about the broken family I come from and the one I have created.  I wasn't crying because it had happened, it was ultimately my decision in the end, but because I/we had failed.  The last 3 years have been so full of hurt, bitterness and resentment and I couldn't make it work in the end.  Its painful to know that our kids will pay the final price for that.  So, yes, I've been avoiding music like the plague.

2. Eating

Still not eating properly....unless you can call Vegemite on toast eating properly :)  Its about the only thing I can be bothered with these days.  I've been cooking for the kids but I find myself sitting down with them at dinner time and either not eating at all or just picking at salad.  The upside of that is I've lost a little weight.  I think what I need is a really good dinner at a really good restaurant, something that will make me sit up and go 'wow! this tastes really good!'.  So I will have to save up my pennies for a big splurge.  If you have any restaurant recommendations in Melbourne, let me know!
3. Drinking

My coffee addiction is being managed quite well, I've been indulging in one or two glasses of wine at night and with the last few days of warmer weather I've even had a beer or two!  I've just discovered a great new bar in the city,  courtesy of the Melbourne Writers Social Group, where we meet for drinks every Tuesday night.  

The bar is called is The Wharf and is situated at the bottom of the World Trade Centre right on the banks of the Yarra.  Its directly across the river from the Melbourne Exhibition building.  Its a great place for meeting friends and having a drink - lots of space, awesome river/city views, great prices and close to transport (Southern Cross Station is a short walk up the road and there are trams nearby on Spencer St near Crown Casino).  Check it out if you get the chance!

4. Wearing

Spandex and lots of it!  What wonderful stuff Spandex warm thanks go out to C.L. Sandquist and Joseph Shivers who invented Spandex in 1959 :)  I remember my mother telling me that my grandmother (who was born in 1916 and lived to the age of 94) wore a girdle every day of her life.  I'm beginning to think this was a fabulous idea!

After having 4 kids in 5 years, my body is never going to be the same again.  Even if I slogged my ass off at the gym for the next 12 months with a personal trainer, there are some things that have been stretched that cannot be unstretched (lol, actually probably quite a few things hahaha) and this is where Spandex is my friend :)

Recently I had to perform infront of a television camera crew while wearing a purple satin ballgown (more on this in coming weeks).  Now we all know that television adds like 10 kilos or something and let me just tell you that purple satin ballgowns add at least another 10 kilos.....but in my Spandex all-in-one sucker upperer, body slimming, fat trimming, flesh molding, boob holding wonder from Ricki-Lee Coulter's "Hold Me Tight" range (available at Big W nationally and from their online store) I felt fantastic!  

Okay, so if I'm ever in a situation where Hugh Grant whisks me off my feet for a night of seduction I will have to own up to my Spandex saviour, ala Bridget Jones and her granny knickers, but I think I'll take that calculated risk :)
5. Reading

I've just finished reading Evelyn Waugh's "Decline and Fall" for the second, or is it third, time.  I do so love reading Waugh and this is a light, amusing read.  Decline and Fall was Waugh's first novel, published in 1928.

I've been lucky to pick up quite a few of Waugh's books at the secondhand Book Fair held every Saturday in the atrium at Federation Square (near the NGV/BMW Edge).  Trawling around the Book Fair is my favourite way to spend a Saturday morning in the city.  

I'm desperately seeking the third book in Waugh's trilogy 'Sword of Arms' so if you see a copy of 'Unconditional Surrender' lying around, please let me know!

Next on my reading list is "The Book Thief" which was recommended to me by a friend in Glasgow (an English Lit professor who always recommends awesome books that I might not read otherwise).  The author, Markus Zusak, is a young Australian guy so I'm very keen to read it.

6. Weather

Its definitely getting warmer in Melbourne, in fact its been quite humid over the last couple of weeks.  A big storm rolled through last night and had my lights flickering but today is all blue skies and fluffy white clouds.

The other afternoon I sat outside on my front steps while the boys were playing outside and felt the sun on my back and I instantly felt like I was back in WA.  Oh how I have missed that warm feeling.  I can't wait for summer to get here and stick around for a while! 
7. Wanting

I really want to take the boys on a holiday - I'd love to do a campervan/motorhome type thing and drive up to Canberra and Sydney or maybe take the ferry over to Tasmania.  But Christmas is approaching and single mum budget restraints do not allow for $2,000 holidays.

So, I figure we will have to stick to camping this Christmas.  I am a little bit nervous about it - having never camped on my own with the kids - but then again, their dad was completely hopeless at setting up our tent and I would generally end up doing it on my own anyway while throwing daggers in his direction for his complete lack of tent-setting-up-ability.

Yep, I think I'm up to the single mum camping challenge :)

8. Feeling

I am feeling less weighed down these days although I still feel like I'm in limbo - not quite married and not quite single.   Its been nearly 3 months and I guess it will take a period of time for things to adjust, calm down and get back some level of equilibrium. It has been a bit of a struggle getting into a routine and sorting out who has the kids when and where but I think we have it sorted now.

As we are sharing custody I end up on my own a few nights a week and one day every weekend so I've been using that time to get out and about and keep busy instead of moping around missing the boys.   In between meeting up with the writers group, choir rehearsals and working on the book, I'm keeping myself pretty busy.  Keeping myself from feeling, anything.
9. Thinking

With all this time on my hands, I've been spending a lot of time thinking - 
  • are relationships fundamentally flawed, 
  • are people supposed to be monogamous, 
  • does compromising mean conceding, 
  • is following your heart to find happiness, at the expense of hurting others, ever okay, 
  • did Neitzsche have it right all along, 
  • should I get a cat, 
  • is it better to protect yourself from being hurt so it can never happen again or allow yourself to be vulnerable, 
  • is 'frisson' just a nicer way of explaining dopamine addiction, 
  • is independence another word for selfishness, 
  • is there any point in dating when you have 4 kids and are not interested in being in another relationship (and are a cynical bitch most of the time)
  • is sex with your ex really the VERY BAD idea that I think it is, etc. etc.
Each and any of these could be its own blog post :) So, if I run out of inspiration in the short term, expect to see a blog post titled 'Should I get a Cat vs. Old Cat Lady Syndrome'
10. Enjoying

I've been really enjoying writing again - especially on the book.  I've written more words towards the book in the last 6 weeks than I have in the last 18 months and it feels great.  Strange coincidence huh.

I've been carrying a notebook with me wherever I go and when ideas/character conversations are going through my head but I don't have time to write I quickly note them down so I don't forget.  The creative juices are really flowing at the moment and not just on the book but new story ideas and plots and themes are swirling around in my brain.  Its been a very long time since that happened.

Writing this blog has been a great help, as have the Write on Wednesday and 5 Sentence Fiction weekly writing challenges.  Probably the biggest motivation and inspiration though has been joining the Melbourne Writers Social Group.  The MWSG meets once a week and is a group of new, emerging, published and non-published writers based in Melbourne.  Over a few drinks we chat about books, reading, writing, plot, themes, scripts, motivation, achievements, goal setting, etc.  This is proper grown up conversation with grown up people and I love it!  Its a very informal setting and less structured than most of the literary 'critique' groups that exist in Melbourne.

You can find out more about the Melbourne Writers Social Group here -

Twitter: @MelbCityWriters

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: 5 Steps to the Perfect Date

for Wordless Wednesday

All images from my Pinterest board "Just because you're beautiful"
apart from the one of George

Write on Wednesday: We are learning to make fire

I'm joining Ink, Paper, Pen for Write on Wednesdays!  

Write On Wednesdays Exercise 23 - Write the words of Margaret Atwood at the top of your page "We are learning to make fire". Set your timer to 5 minutes. Write the first words that come into your head after the prompt. Stop when the buzzer rings.

We are learning to make fire.  It is 117 days since we landed on Callista and our food supplements have run out. Smith caught one of the smaller possum things but none of us are hungry enough to eat it raw, well, not yet.  I ate some of the fruit that looks a bit like a mango for breakfast.  It tasted alright but made my lips go tingly.

The fire making has been harder than we thought it would be.  The air is thinner here than on earth and the fire sputters with a tiny flame because it needs more oxygen.  We are struggling too.  Everything we do takes longer than normal and requires more effort.  We are constantly panting for breath but Captain Denholm says we must conserve our oxygen packs until the shuttle arrives so we aren’t allowed to wear our helmets.

Smith overheard Captain Denholm and Lieutenant Hume talking last night and Base Command has told Captain Denholm that a rescue mission will take 280 days to prepare.  280 take 117 is 163.  163 more days on Callista.

Louisa has gone down to the river bed to bring back water.  I might go down and help her while Smith keeps on with the fire.  The last time I went down there she was washing and I could see everything through her t-shirt.  She crossed her arms real quick when she saw me there.  I think she feels funny being the only girl here.  Even Captain Denholm was trying to sweet talk her last night but I think she likes me the best because I’m the youngest and have the best abs.

I might take my pack down with me.  It will be a harder walk because I’ll be carrying more weight but I don’t trust Smith to not go through my pack.  I don’t know how his psych test went back at Base but he’s been acting pretty weird for the last couple of weeks.  Once he’s figured out how to keep this fire going I might get him to show me how to start it.  If the shit hits the fan with Smith I wanna be able to get a fire going at least.

Well, that’s it for now, gotta conserve the batteries in this if we’ve got another 163 days here.  If I get lucky with Louisa I’ll make another entry tomorrow, haha!  Over and out.
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