The Liebster Award

liebster Thank you Suzie Tullett author of Going Underground and Little White Lies and Butterflies, for nominating me to take part in this ‘award’. It’s for newish bloggers/writers, and the idea is I list 11 facts about myself, answer 11 questions from Suzie, choose a handful of other newish bloggers and put 11 questions to them… and so it goes on! I shall try to be as entertaining as possible and not to bring shame on Suzie’s taste for selecting me.

I must confess I don’t blog as much as I would really like, or should, and the excuse I make is always that I am busy either at work or at home doing all the things that have to be done to keep a home running. Every day I promise myself the time to sit and add more to my books or to write a splendid blog about something totally awe-inspiring, and every night I retire to my bed with someone else’s book to read and wonder where the day went.

I’m not as clever as Suzie with her prowess at other languages, unless you count my ability to swear when the occasion demands strong words! So now on to the 11 Facts about me.

1. I will sleep in an awkward position for most of the night and wake up in pain, rather than move my cat from his comfortable spot (usually on top of me) when he is sleeping so soundly and peacefully. clayton in bed 2. As well as cats and dogs, cows and horses increase my heart rate on sight. I have always been like this and God help anyone seen abusing any animal by me. Cruelty to animals is high on my list of what should never happen in this world – in my view there is no excuse for it. None. At. All.

3. I am the youngest of 3 girls. By the time I was old enough to notice people around me, my two sisters had grown up and were in High School, so I was virtually an only child. I was treated like a boy by my father who wanted a son, and grew up learning how to change tyres, drive cars and trucks, dig a garden and grow veges, mow lawns, chop wood and all the general stuff boys did back then. I could run rings round my boy cousins at my grandparents’ farm with milking and hand raising the calves, piglets etc. My uncles were all very important to me and indeed I liked spending time with them far more than with my aunts who all seemed to be ‘picky’ and ‘snippy’ like my sisters were. My mother and Gran however, were the most loving, kind, calm and understanding ladies I have ever known.

4. I love warm climates. I thrive in the heat and wilt in the cold. The cold goes right through my bones and if I don’t see sunshine for a few days in a row I suffer SAD – (Seasonal Affected Disorder).

5. The Kennedy Family and everything about them fascinates me. I have read many books about them especially JFK and Jackie. I can remember clearly where I was on the day he was shot.

6. I did my nurses’ training straight from school as it was a means for me to leave home and my father. Training hospitals had nurses’ homes attached. The Matron (British trained and super strict) lied about my age to get me into the first exam, and that resulted in me being the youngest person ever to become a registered and qualified nurse in my home state, with honours. The downside to that is it was not ‘known’ as my age had to remain a secret. Below is a photo of what used to be the Nurses’ Home.

Front ent to Nurses' Home

7. During the 7 years I lived in the South Island of New Zealand, I worked part time and managed our farmlet where I hand raised friesian calves, pigs, chooks, lambs and 2 kids. My then accountant husband did very little apart from chartering small planes to go to horse race meetings. This is what our farmlet looked like below.


8. My favourite colour is red but I wear a lot of black.

9. I like to cook for large crowds rather than 2 or 3 of us.

10. I was sent to school with the nuns as a young child because my mother was ill and my father too busy.

11. People thought I was from England when I was a kid (and sometimes still do) because I can mimic the various English accents, especially when talking to someone with an accent.

So much for the facts about me. Now if you haven’t drifted off to snooze-land, here are the questions set by Suzie:

1. What did you want to be when you were young? 

I wanted to be a doctor. I wasn’t allowed to continue my studies though as my father was of the belief that girls just got married and had kids so further education would be a waste of time and money.

2. Kindle or real book and why? 

After much resistance, I now have a Kindle and am enjoying it due to the fact I can read at night in bed without the bedside lamp on to keep my husband awake. Even so, I adore the real thing – there is nothing to beat that book smell whether it’s a new book or an old one. The feel of a book in my hands as I read and turn pages gives me much pleasure.

3. Looking over the last 10 years, what is one goal that you have achieved, and one that you have not achieved. 

Well the goal not achieved is the easier of the two! I have not finished any of the books I’ve been working on for far too long now!  The major goal over the past 7 years, was to create a garden on the 3 acres where we built a large home here in Victoria. By the time we sold up, the garden was looking very established with tree lined driveway, hedges neatly trimmed, conifer trees on the fence lines for privacy and David Austen heritage roses doing very well despite the black spot and aphid problems in the area.



4. What are your plans for retirement? Will you travel and if so, to where and why? 

I don’t know if I will ever fully retire. I tried to once when I first gave up the job I loved in Perth to come here to Victoria, but after a few weeks I got myself a job with a little local newspaper. The people there were all ‘cowboys’ and I couldn’t bear it for long so I quit and worked on establishing the garden as mentioned above. Three years later I decided there was only so much talking to the cats, dog and plants one can do before going a little crazy. My part time hours suit me just fine.

I’d like to travel overseas again. The river cruises in Europe beckon. Also a catch up trip to New Zealand is on the list of priority-to-dos for us.

5. Who is your favourite poet and why?

I’m not really into poetry but I do like ‘Funeral Blues’ by Wystan Hugh Auden. Both my husband Tim and I love this and I have promised him that should he kark it before I do, I will recite it at his funeral. The words “he was my North, my South, my East and West’ sum up exactly how I would describe what my husband means to me. ‘Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun’ will be, I am sure my feelings if it ever comes to be that I am the one left behind.

6. Name three words that describe your personality. 

I asked my husband about these words….he said ‘intelligent, honest and humorous’ – which are good enough words I think. I also think I’m patient and generous but not when it comes to fools.

7. What was your latest blog post about? 

Our new wuppy Daisy…she is an adorable West Highland Terrier born just over 3wks ago now. I found out about her birth through a good friend of mine, and soon enough was put in touch with the lucky lady who has Daisy’s parents and 2 sisters. For the past 20 or more years now I have wanted a Westie but the time has never been right, or there has never been one available. I refuse to buy from pet shops as that is helping keep puppy farmers in business. It’s true that patience pays off. We collect our new baby in about 5 weeks’ time. So excited! Here is a pic of her just for good measure…

Daisy 3


8. If you had to choose one place in the world where you would spend your remaining years, where would it be? 

We have already made plans for this. Last March we flew up to Queensland to look at homes with our wonderful real estate agent, Trevor Newman. Trev found us the most delightful home that ticked off the features we listed. It had to be a Queenslander (big high set home with verandas, the more the better). It had to be in a nice street with a nice garden or one that could be easily made nice at least. The timber etc had to be in good nick and if at all possible it had to have a Poinciana tree. The house called Morning Light was built in 1856 and is superb. It ticks off all the features listed plus more. I’m really looking forward to sitting on the verandas in the cool breeze on a delightfully hot sunny day, and watching the world go by or reading a wonderful book, or maybe doing some patchwork quilting again. The options are endless and I’m looking forward to it all.


9. What’s your favourite genre to read?: science fiction, fantasy, comedy, romance, crime…? 

I am not a big fan of science fiction in books or movies, fantasy is ok. Being a bit of a scaredy-cat I didn’t like crime too much until recently when I read a book by a gorgeous author friend of mine George Rigby called ‘Candy Man’ and I have been pretty well hooked since. I do enjoy my comedies and romance though and if the two genres are a mix in a book, I’m in heaven.

10. How many school friends are you still in touch with? 

None actually. I was in touch with a girl for quite a number of years, but we had not seen each other in that time. Then I visited my home town after my first divorce to spend time with my father who was having a knee replacement, and I took the opportunity of visiting this girl. Over lunch it was clearly obvious we had nothing in common and couldn’t even keep a conversation going. She was right into her kids, the school, her husband’s plumbing business, her parents and family, her friends in town etc and she could not understand my lifestyle at all. I had committed the ultimate sin of a good Catholic girl and was divorced, I had a career and I lived in a beautiful house by the river in a big city….that was too far from her spectrum of what life for a female should be. I have not been in touch with her since. On the other hand, I have a darling friend I nursed with who is like my sister – love her to bits – and another who was my best friend during my first marriage and divorce etc. As I said to the latter recently, it’s lovely being able to talk to someone who knew me back then.

11. The Internet – a good friend or a necessary evil? 

When the internet first began coming into our homes on our PCs, and we could email, message and look things up on the ‘net’, I really wasn’t that thrilled. I worked on a data based computer system at work and by the end of the day a computer was the last thing I wanted to see. Time changes everything though and over the past 10 years I have used the internet for everything. I don’t have a telephone book in the house – banking is done online – shopping is mostly done online – contact with everyone is done online and of course there is face book. I resisted joining face book for years but gave in as it was really the only way to keep in touch with my beautiful Irish writer friends when our website went awry. I probably spend too much time online when I’ve got the spare minutes to sit in the office on my PC, or in front of TV with my laptop. I really don’t care. I love it.

So who can we look forward to reading about in the not too distant future? 

Well first we have the wonderfully talented writer Anne Ireson. Her book The White Cuckoo was a wonderful first publication. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good story with a bit of mystical romance to colour it.

The White Cuckoo

Another author I have invited to take part in this blog, is a fellow Aussie Pat Ritter. I’ve been enjoying some of the pages from his book The Shearer, on his face book page where Pat generously shares it with friends.

The Shearer by Pat Ritter



We will also hear from the lovely Anabelle Bryant author of ‘Wicked Scoundrel’ which I truly enjoyed reading, and her second just released book ‘Duke of Darkness’ which I am yet to read but have had it on my Kindle since release day. Both stories are beautifully written and romantically typical of their era – I was delighted to submerge myself in Anabelle’s first book and become a character watching from the sidelines.   Pics of her beautiful books below.

Until then, hugs to all. xx



duke of darkness

wicked scoundrel




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7 thoughts on “The Liebster Award

  1. Suzie Tullett June 24, 2014 at 12:34 pm Reply

    What a lovely blog post, Jo. I love the way you describe your surrounding at various times in your life. I can just see you tending to all your animals, flora and fawna. Wish I had your skill in the garden – unless you fancy a trip to France so you can get stuck in on my behalf x

  2. joskehan June 24, 2014 at 1:46 pm Reply

    Don’t tempt me to travel to France for a spot of gardening Suzie….that would be wonderful! xx

  3. Jane Risdon June 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm Reply

    You’ve worked so hard on your garden you must be sad to leave it but I guess you will start all over in your new home. Happy days there and do keep writing. 🙂

  4. annieye June 25, 2014 at 3:22 am Reply

    Fascinating post, Jo. I can almost smell the farmyard, feel the wind in my hair and the glorious sunshine of Australia. I hope you enjoy your retirement and new home, but I bet it is heartbreaking to be leaving your spectacular garden. Daisy is going to be so spoilt! She’s a lucky pup to be going to such a great loving home. I really enjoyed reading your 11 facts and the answers to the questions. Thank you for nominating me. I have a lot to live up to.

  5. joskehan June 26, 2014 at 5:13 am Reply

    Thank you Annie and Jane for your comments. No doubt you will be sick of my blogs about our new home etc, so fasten your seat belts, lol. xx

  6. anabellebryantauthor June 29, 2014 at 11:17 am Reply

    It’s always fascinating to find out a little about a friend’s childhood. It allows a peek into the soul. This was great fun. Thank you for including me too.

  7. joskehan June 29, 2014 at 12:01 pm Reply

    I knew yours would be very interesting Anabelle and I thank you for taking the time to take part. Much appreciated. Happy writing my friend. xx

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