In loving memory

In loving memory of Sue

Sue

It is three years ago today since the death of Sue, my closest friend.

Sue and I met in September 1989. We had both just arrived in Australia from England to work as newly recruited, registered nurses. Sue was a Yorkshire lass, and I was from Liverpool. It was the first day of our orientation course, at the Austin Hospital, in Heidelberg. We gravitated to one another, having spotted the other, across the room. We were both dressed in our typical English attire and had strong, northern accents. We shared a tendency, to see the absurd, or simultaneously, crack up laughing at some silly thing, such as noticing someone’s bung elastic undies, or a boogie peeping from a nasal passage.

Sue was four years younger than me, and she was ravishing. We had both enjoyed our teenage years during the mid seventies, and growing up in Northern England.

Chillin'

Chillin’

Our nurse training had been very much the old hospital based system, and as a young, third year student nurse, it was expected that, we would assume a fair degree of responsibility, the term, ‘being thrown in, at the deep end’ was often appropriately used, however we thrived on the challenges.

We loved to talk about our memories of, ‘the good auld days and, how we had performed our nurse duties, in the typical old-fashioned Nightingale wards, the type featured, in post war cinema, and where the hospital beds were aligned in long rows on either side of the huge, high ceilinged ward. We wore starched linen caps, buckled belts, and adhered to the rank and file system, and were required to address our seniors, as ‘Nurse Short, or Sister Whatever ya name was…’

As friends, we shared so much. We were both married within the same week, during the summer of 1991. We had our babies; breastfed together, babysat for each other, celebrated good times, and supported one another through the difficult times, particularly Sue’s marriage breakdown to the father of her two young children.

Sue and I had many wonderful, frivolous weekends at The Langham Hotel, in Southbank and shared a twin room with all the luxurious benefits of fine Belgian chocolates, and pink champagne. We adored lolling about in fluffy white dressing gowns, placing a room service order at 1am, and chatting and giggling in the dark, while marvelling at the magnificent,vistas of the city. As we drifted off to sleep, we held hands, and like the Brady Bunch, we’d whisper into the darkness, ‘night – night.’

I will miss you sweetie. xo

At The Langham

Cheers hon!

During the summer of 2007, and while I was away on holiday with my family, I had a dream about Sue. In the dream, Sue told me that she was dying. Upon waking from this dream, I felt understandably unsettled. The following day, Sue rang me to tell me that she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and had developed metastatic spread to her peritoneum. She was forty-two.

For five years, Sue fought a hard battle. She married Bob, her teenage sweetheart on the week prior to undergoing a hysterectomy, and subsequently endured many rounds of chemotherapy while also, continuing to work as a nurse in a busy accident and emergency unit.

Brave

Brave

During this time, I celebrated my fiftieth birthday with one hundred very special guests, at the Paris Cat Jazz Club, a bohemian little underground boudoir bar, tucked away, in a narrow lane-way in the city. Sue honoured me that night, by delivering a moving speech. It was indeed a tribute to our special friendship, but, the resolute tone and strength in her voice belied her own private agony. The previous day, Sue had had a procedure to have an IV pic line inserted to facilitate the next aggressive chemotherapy treatment. As my friend stood on the stage in front of the lectern, hidden from sight and beneath her silk top, she wore a dressing to cover the intravenous cannula insertion site, that was snaking into the large, deep veins of her heart.

Her cancer had spread into her lungs, liver and bones.

Celebrating

Celebrating

With Sue

With Sue

Three years ago today, in a dimmed, private room of a palliative care hospice, in Melbourne, I sat, at three am, with the lifeless body of my dear friend, Sue.

Tonight, I am remembering. I miss you sweetie. May you rest in peace.

Rest in peace

Rest in peace

Shelagh

xoxo

Grief and Loss

Grief and Loss

To weep

Grief

I am prompted to write today about grief and loss.

When someone we love is taken away from us or, that love is somehow severed, either by rejection, abandonment, injury, illness or, through death – we experience a reaction to this loss, this is called grief. The crippling pain of grief is as much a part of the journey through the passage of life, as the thrill and joy of love. It is, perhaps the ultimate price we pay for love, and the cost of attachment and commitment.

Grief creeps up insidiously, like a thief in the night. Grief threatens when we least expect, shaking our very foundations, and dislocating us from the secure, familiar safety of every day life. The journey through the convoluted labyrinth of grief is lonely. Often the traveller treads uneven ground, braving dangerous unmarked territory and sometimes may becomes bogged down and overwhelmed with anger and guilt. It is a struggle to negotiate this difficult terrain – pockmarked with sadness and depression.

We can be uncomfortable and uneasy with the subject of grief, perhaps because it forces us to address our own mortality and that of those dear to us. Yet grief will touch us all in some way within the course of our lives. If we can endeavour to understand this most painful of human emotions, we may ourselves be more adequately prepared for loss, and be able to provide compassion, kindness, support and empathy to those around us who are grieving.

Loss and grief have been shadowy companions throughout my own life, and I often wonder if, in bearing the surname Grieveson, she who grieves… I might have a predetermined propensity to experience grief.

A couple of weeks ago – on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, my family received the tragic news that Molly, the young mother of Sue, my youngest teenage daughter’s close friend, had passed away suddenly.

As the afternoon rolled on and Aussie Rules football matches were broadcast live to air – my family struggled to absorb and assimilate the circumstances surrounding Molly’s untimely death.

My daughter Amelia had forged a strong friendship with Sue who was Molly and Peter’s only child. When Sue and her family moved to Tucson, Arizona, Amelia was invited at the age of fourteen to holiday with them twice within a three year period and likewise Sue also spent her vacation with us, here in Australia.

Amelia had a wonderful time with Sue, they camped at Grand Canyon, sailing down the grand Mississippi, cruising the coast of Mexico and The Bahamas. One of the coolest parts of the adventure was in LA where the girls hung out with the cast and crew of a Nickelodeon production where Molly’s brother was the scriptwriter.

Molly and Peter led a charmed life. Peter worked long hours in finance for a multinational company and his work took him overseas for extended periods of time. Molly and Sue were naturally close; Molly had chosen to give up her highly specialized work as a research chemist making DNA for a cutting edge, high tech bio company, to be a full time mother to Sue.

Two weeks ago Molly and her almost eighteen-year-old daughter were halfway into an amazing trip to Alaska when Molly developed a severe headache and displayed signs of confusion. Sue took her mother to the nearest hospital where an MRI scan revealed that she had a glioblastoma brain tumour. This type of cancer is malignant and spreads rapidly.

Two days later, Molly passed away during neurosurgery, she was forty-four.

We mourn for Molly from the other side of the world and send our thoughts and love to Peter and Sue.

I lost my own mother suddenly when I was just twenty-one. My mum had a massive cerebral aneurysm and just like Molly, she was beautiful and young. I have never really healed from this profound loss at an age when I was only just beginning to understand what is to be a woman.

Mother loss at any age is difficult – but as a young woman, to lose your anchor, the linchpin of the family, your female template at the tender age of seventeen is heartbreaking.

My thoughts are with you dearest Sue.

xo

Names have been changed to protect privacy

Inspiration in the closet

 wot top to wear

 Inspiration in the closet

My girlfriend, Effie, is preparing for the trip of her life. Effie and her three teenagers are going on holiday to Greece for a seven week, well -deserved break.

I am delighted for Effie, she has worked so very hard to make this trip come to fruition, and it hasn’t been easy. Effie asked me if I was able to pop over to her house the other night for a quick glass of bubbles and so that she was able to show me the various, new little skimpy tops and summer dresses that she had purchased for her trip; btw – she’s gorgeous and sexy and certainly doesn’t look her age!

Effie

Effie

We were giggling as she was trying on different outfit combinations, and deciding what matched with what and what items might be the most practical to pack. I reminisced about my own trip to Greece.  After exploring Athens on my own, I had arranged to meet up with Tracy, a dear friend, whom I’d not seen for fourteen years. We both had a wonderful time.

IMG_0223

Exploring Oia with Tracy

As Effie paraded about her bedroom in various stages of undress, I decided to write about my travel experience, outbound from Australia to Greece. It was, a flight to remember.

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A funny thing happened on the way to Athens… A short play

A short play

Written by Shelagh Grieveson – June 2015

      Airplane taxi

INT. EVENING AT TULLARMARINE AIRPORT – MELBOURNE  

The United Emirates Plane taxi’s slowly onto the runway. It is packed with holidaymakers, back packers, and dreamy honeymooners. The middle-aged folk are dressed in comfy trackie daks, and running shoes, in readiness to depart on the long, overnight flight to Athens. The Aircrew prepare for take off, and everyone is seated, belted up, and yawning as they observe and listen to the safety demonstration.

AIRCREW

‘Listen up you lot. If in the event of an emergency, please notify the crew, who will be sitting, with a glass of wine, or a Scotch On The Rocks, and will have their shoes and socks off, and their feet up, at the rear of the aircraft.

Airhostesses smoking

Flighty, hot Hosties

.

Passengers, please note that, the prettier two lassies, of the crew of six, might well, be in the cockpit, helping Captain Birdseye and his Co Pilot to navigate the cumulus cloud. If oxygen, is required, in the event of turbulence, masks will drop down, on top of you. If, any of you feel the onset of the heebee gee bees, a flashing strip of lights, will illuminate the floor of the two, main aisles, and might enable you to find your way to the bar, and where, we will serve you complimentary ‘Mile High’ cocktail drinks, to calm you all down, and get everyone bonding together.

Please remain in your seats with your seat belts securely fastened until the seat belt sign has been switched off.’

Miss Moneypenny – A La Olga

.

INT. INSIDE THE PLANE

Prudence Fucklberry makes her way to, the G window seat, in row forty-five. She unpacks her Danielle Steel novel, and a Greek phrase book; she feels good, she is waxed, plucked and tasered, and wears her gun-metal Nancy Ganz body suit, with detachable chiffon, well ventilated, buttoned knickers, and Prudence is delighted with her decision, to wear this lingerie under a marl grey, velour, two piece pantsuit, and a cheesecloth T-shirt.

Prudence is very excited about her holiday, and hopes to fill her bags with hundreds of, ‘glow in the dark’ Greek, good luck key rings. She has read somewhere that, these novelties are available, in a variety of colours, and help to ‘ward off’ the evil eye.

Prudence receives her meal tray from the Air Hostess, and chooses the flavoursome, grainy, tannin spice, infused Chateau Tanunda Cab Sav. It is the perfect accompaniment to the gourmet sausage, and is served on a on a Sunblest roll with a dash of harissa and caramelized onion.,

Airhostesses serving meals vintage

A very dishy, middle-aged man is seated in the C chair next to Prudence. He has salt and pepper, short curly hair, and sports a loose, grey V-neck, wool sweater, over his shirt. They don’t speak but Prudence tries hard to make her profile look dreamy, nonchalant, and effortlessly sexy, in between taking little nibbles of her sausage. Every now and then, Prudence wets her lips, and rubs a smidgen of Poison, behind her ears. The perfume had been an unexpected gift from Chuck, a former boyfriend.

PRUDENCE

Excuse me, do you mind if I put the armrest down?

DISHY MAN

Sure, that’s fine with me.

INT. MOVIE TIME

The cabin lights are dimmed, and the passengers begin to relax and watch the in-flight movie entertainment. Prudence settles into her cozy G spot, and decides on a sad, tear-jerking film, called, Brief Encounter. The movie is very moving, and Prudence begins to sniffle and needs to blow her nose. She does hope that, the dishy man can’t hear the little piggy snorts, as she sneezes into her hanky. Prudence does not need to bother her, red henna, coiffed head at all, as, the dishy man is fully absorbed in a thriller, and sucking on his peanuts.

plane night time

After a while, Prudence calls the, Hostess with the Mostest.

PRUDENCE

Would you mind, bringing me a glass of water please? I’m feeling a bit hot, and flustered.

HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTEST

Of course Mam, I will bring you a glass of water, straight away.

Cartoon airhostess

INT. WITH THE DISHY MAN

The emotional film finishes, but Prudence has not been able to stop her nose from running, and so, she decides to take a trip to the toilet, fetching herself a Clary-Tune tablet and her little overnight pack, so that she can fix up her hair, and change her knickers.

PRUDENCE

 Ahem, I might just squeeze past you if thats  not too much trouble, I need to nip to the … y’know … the loo.    

THE DISHY MAN

 Not a problem, can you manage to get out?

PRUDENCE

Yep, just perfect, thanks.

 

INT. MOVING THROUGH THE CABIN  

Prudence pads her way to the toilet, but becomes acutely aware that some of the passengers looking at her as she passes. A handful of young children who, are sitting, either colouring or playing with finger puppets become distracted by Prudence as she makes her way through the cabin. The children’s faces change, from appearing happy, and content, to sheer terror, and in fact, a couple of toddlers begin to cry, and grab at their mothers breasts.

The dishy man reclines his seat, and he begins to wonder, if he’s sitting next to a Nutter… and resigns himself to the fact, that it is, just his bloody luck.

Prudence enters the toilet, slips the lock over on the door,  illuminating the small area, and pulls down her Nancy Ganz knickers.

knickers on toilet

As Prudence hovers over the toilet seat trying very hard to use her quad muscles, to maintain control, and without needing to, make contact with the seat, a crazy looking woman stares back at her! Prudence makes a very high pitched, Janet Leigh type of scream and almost falls off the toilet.

PRUDENCE

Ahhhhh!!!! Oh my God! Bloody Hell!

INT. TOILET

After a moment, Prudence realises that, it is indeed, her own reflection that she is seeing in front of her, in the mirror. It dawns on Prudence that, while she had been watching the in-flight movie, her nose had been bleeding profusely. She had been unaware that, each time she had touched her face, she had in fact, been rubbing her hands in her own blood, and smearing it all over her face.

bloody hands

She looks just like someone, who has been stabbed in the head, and so she swiftly attempts to, clean herself up. Her oyster pink, Calvin Klein T-shirt is, so bloodstained – that it looks like, a tie-dye, sixties style remnant, and she turns it, back to front, and inside out – over her pantsuit.

Prudence returns to her seat, and the dishy man makes room for her to pass him. He thinks, ‘oh gawd, thank God for that!’

PRUDENCE

Thanks so much.

THE DISHY MAN

You’re welcome

INT. IN THE G SPOT

Prudence shimmies past the dishy man’s, stone-washed, Levi clad legs. He is wearing canvas loafers, and has tanned ankles. She settles back into her tight G spot, and drifts off to sleep, so soundly and for hours, that, her mouth remains open, and she looks just like a guppy fish. The dishy man feels very uncomfortable and trapped. He is unable to move, as Prudence, in her somnolent state, tends to loll over him, and dribbles onto the sleeve of his new chambre shirt.

The plane arrives in Athens, and the passengers wait to disembark. Their tired faces are creased, and they become impatient to retrieve their bags from the overhead lockers.

AIRCREW:

Good morning passengers. Welcome to Athens. Please remain seated with your seat belt fastened until, Captain Birdseye informs you that it is safe to remove them.

INT. PLANE 

The cabin crew prepare to, take the arms off the cabin

PRUDENCE

 Phew, glad that’s over!

DISHY MAN

Yeah, it’s always good to go down

PRUDENCE

 Hmmm…You’re not kidding…

EXT. ATHENS AIRPORT

The dishy man locates his bags, and assists Prudence with her hand luggage.

Athens is, a sweltering hot, forty degrees, and Prudence feels embarrassed that she is wearing a thick suede jacket over her inside out, and back to front, oyster pink tie-dye top, and pant suit. She looks a bit like, Joan Rivers, on crack cocaine.

On the other side of the airport, Prudence catches a glimpse of the dishy man. He is greeted by another man and he too, is very dishy and, Prudence thinks, that he looks a bit like, Spiro from her local souvlaki café. The two men kiss one another twice, on each cheek and, walk, arm in arm.

PRUDENCE

Oh well, Cie La Vie…

INT. JOURNEY INTO THE BELLY OF ATHENA

Prudence climbs into a taxi, and sits back inside the plush cool sedan.

The bald-headed, moustached driver asks Prudence, if she has come from the North Pole? She takes a deep breath, and informs him, that she has come from Melbourne, in Australia.  Prudence emphasises that, she is wearing a suede jacket because the weather was extremely cold when she was about to leave her home, in Melbourne, and that she also felt that she was, coming down with a chill, and explains to the driver, that Melbourne is a city, with four seasons in a day. Prudence uses her arms and fingers to convey this to the man.

The taxi driver looks decidedly puzzled and becomes quite cross-eyed.

athens walls

The Sleeping Goddess

TAXI DRIVER

Allo, my name is Kosta. Welcome to Athens!

EXT. JOURNEY THROUGH ATHENS

They speed through the olive, and citrus, tree-lined boulevards, and wide paved squares edged with cafes, and restaurants. Magnificent sculptures and historic artifacts adorn each street corner.

The city is alive with people. Prudence sighs, and smiles to herself.

PRUDENCE

Thank you Kosta, my name is Prudence. I’m so looking forward to my stay in your beautiful city.

KOSTA

Ella. I take you to see the sights, yeah?

PRUDENCE

Ooo – I’d like that very much, thank you Kosta!

athens splendid

Glorious Athens

THE END

   

0000

Arty farty bits and bobs …

Out and about with my third eye... 👀

Out and about with my third eye… 👀

In recent months, I have neglected this blog – for many reasons really – life just seemed to become chaotic and as is usually the case … Murphy’s Law – ensures that everything that could possibly happen, does happen, all at once.

Reluctantly I find myself with time on my hands – hmm… literally.

I sustained a crush fracture of my right wrist just over a week ago.

I’ve had surgery to secure all the bone fragments and with the high-tech, metal plates, screws and bone grafts, Ash, the clever, competent surgeon has also managed to repair the torn ligaments.  It is these stringy, white ribbons of elastin and collagen fibres, that help to bind the joint together.

My wrist and hand are painful and swollen, but I know that with rest, time, ice (hmm…lots of drugs!)  keeping my arm elevated & supported, and putting my wrist joint through a range of movements, frequently –  flexibility and function will return. I just need to be patient.

So – hello again dearest abandoned blog! How you goin’ eh? Let’s rendezvous and try to get something creative happening’ here.

I hope  that I will be able to paint and draw again with my dominant right hand – but until I do – here are a few snapshots of some of my work – both paintings and photographic images.

Do drop by and say hi – and I’ll wave with my left hand. 👋

Being good company and being real

Human engagement

Human engagement

Being human, real and honest

If you are sitting with someone and you’re enjoying their company – and likewise, they seem to be comfortable being with you too… Listen to them, share some of your own experiences, engage, show a genuine interest in them, ask questions, laugh, cry, wet your knickers if you have to … whatever it takes
Because… this is being human.
Don’t sit there, stone faced, untouchable, silently judging or comparing…
And whatever you do…

DON’T TAKE NOTES!

Creating a support network

 “Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” E.L. Doctorow  Seeking support, guidance and knowledge Once you have a couple of first drafts, put the writing away for a while and distance yourself, perhaps for … Continue reading