Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Pokemon Cards November 22, 2016

Filed under: Family Photos,Parenting,Pokemon Cards — Janet @ 5:36 pm

pokemon_collection  I have 2 grandsons who are obsessively collecting  Pokemon cards. It gives me such pleasure to see the excitement  and joy they express when I appear with a new packet for each of them.  Let joy be unconfined.  Am I trying to ingratiate myself with those two rascals?  Well, frankly yes.

img_1494  the grandsons with a friend looking at Pokemon cards

Even more rewarding was to find that the older and more reserved of the 2 boys had written a story about the excitement and pleasure he finds in collecting Pokemon cards.  Many of his classmates complemented him on his story.   I too was touched to read that Grandma’s generosity was cited in the opening sentence!  Little things mean a lot!

img_1346  looking at cards while waiting for the school bus



An Earlier Move – Many Years Ago December 30, 2010

Filed under: Family,Family history,Memories,Moving house,Parenting,Travel — Janet @ 8:25 pm

In getting on with our unpacking and trying to get things in order, I have been stopped in my tracks by some old photos.  The following are photos from 1972 when we made our first move as a family of 5.  We departed Dublin in October 1972, headed for St. Lucia in the Caribbean, a 2 year contract with the British Government and the Government of St. Lucia.   James was 3, Andrew 2, and David 4 months.  It was a long trip.  In fact, I think it was the longest flight that what is now British Airways did.  It was a time of heightened airport security and we were each searched thoroughly, even David.

 September, 1972 – James, David and Andrew

Boxes piled up in our porchway, all packed for sending to St. Lucia.  James and Andrew thinking it all great fun.

Boxes being loaded onto the lorry outside our house, note the pram wheels – those wheels never did turn up in St. Lucia.  Happily though the rest of the things did.

October 1972, checking in at Dublin Airport, Ian at the counter, Andrew ready to assist

  many hours later – yes we survived the journey, even the harrowing thunderstorm as we flew in a small plane  from Hewonarra Airport in the south of the island around to Vigie in Castries.  No one there to greet us but Leo St. Helen turned up eventually and we were taken to the nearby Malabar Hotel and flopped into our beds.  This photo was taken the next morning, x hours after we had left Dublin the day before or was it 2 days before.  I’ll have to work it out.  Anyhow, it was lovely to be there!  And having breakfast on our terrace there at the hotel.

  And here we are in January 1973, enjoying the tropical life

Following is an account of the trip.  I wrote this a few years ago – we’ll see how my memory serves me – and I am trying to move it from my Mac computer where I had it stored in Dublin to the PC where I am writing this blog – I am technically challenged here.



In 1972 Ian accepted a 2 year appointment as Town Planning Adviser in the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.  This was to be our first overseas assignment as a family and our outbound trip to that idyllic island was one of many memorable journeys.  This departure set the pattern for many to be undertaken in the future.  Given that any pre-departure time spent in a hotel would not be paid for by our employer we usually stayed in our house until the day of departure.  I always underestimated the number of last minute things that had to be done.  When I think back on it I’m not sure how I did it at all with the boys so small and having to leave the house clear for an unidentified but hoped for in-coming tenant.  Although we left the house furnished, we still had to leave the house bare of our more personal belongings and any food.  So of course there was always the problem of the last meal, the sheets used for the last night, etc. 

For the St. Lucia departure in early October, David was 4 months old, Andrew 2 yrs. 4 months, and James 3 yrs. 5 months.  James and Andrew were at a particularly lively stage.  David was a good sleeper.  Andrew was still in nappies and still liked to drink from a bottle.  James was more independent – a good easy child but he could be quite headstrong.  And Andrew could be just plain ornery.  I can remember the anticipation of the night before turning to sheer fatigue as the evening hours moved on and there were still tins of  food in the cupboards and the number of last minute boxes we were taking over to our neighbours (Agnes and Phil) and the boxes we were putting in our carport store seemed endless.  This first time we went overseas we stored our things with the Shaffreys who lived in Monkstown, a 15 minute drive from Dundrum.  For other assignments in subsequent years as our storage requirements grew, we used C.I.E. who stored our belongings at Broadstone Station. 

The items we selected to send to St. Lucia had been packed and sent  several weeks earlier.  The shipment included favorite toys, books, items for operating a household there – sheets, blankets, towels.  We also sent our blue Volkswagon to St. Lucia – I can’t remember at what point we relinquished the car for shipment from Dublin, but I certainly remember getting an unexpected sighting of it in the dock area in St. Lucia.

                What with needing things for the last minute in our house in Dublin and also wanting to provide as much as possible for our new house in whatever country we were going to, we somehow always seemed to end up with too much (or too little) of various items. 

                On the eve of the departure itself I don’t think we got to bed before midnight  and then we were up at about 5 a.m. to get ready to go to the airport for our early flight over to London.  I had to have many many bottles packed for feeding Andrew and David.  James and Andrew were excited.  David was good as gold and slept most of the time for the whole trip.  We had a bit of time before our flight to St. Lucia which was scheduled to leave London around 2 in the afternoon.  But then our flight was delayed and also we were very slow going through security.  It was at a time when hijacking was a real threat and security procedures were slow and laborious – I remember they even searched David’s nappy.

                At last we were on the plane ready for departure – the longest of British Airways flights.  I don’t know how many hours it was before we landed in Antigua – David had been so good sleeping most of the time – no trouble at all.  James had been grand but did require entertaining.  And Andrew had never stopped moving, squirming, wriggling, etc.  He only fell asleep just as we were about to touch down in Antigua.  At one point he spilled butter on Ian’s brand new shoe.  Ian was cross.  James had slept part of the way so he was ready to get off the plane with me in Antigua.  Ian stayed on the plane with Andrew and David.  I was weary.  James wanted some airport trinket, I didn’t have the energy to figure out how to pay for it and James howled for a long time in protest.  Back on to the plane for the further 2 hour (?) flight to St. Lucia. 

Finally we landed in Hewonara in St. Lucia at the southern end of the island.  It was nighttime, hot and steamy.  James said to Andrew, “come on Dandu, let’s have a look around” and those two little boys  tried to set off into the tropical night. 

                We still had the final leg of our journey to complete – a short flight in a small plane around the north end of the island to reach the capital Castries.  The flight was delayed, there was a thunderstorm, Andrew and James were throwing up.  The carry cot hadn’t appeared from the hold of the big aircraft so I had to hold David while we were waiting in the airport.  We were pretty weary!!!  Finally the flight was called.  Some kind woman offered to hold David but I declined her offer because the plane was so small that she would have been in the back and I would have been up front.  The flight was very scary as thunder rumbled and lightening flashed around us.  Finally, finally – I can’t tell you how tired we were – we arrived at Vigie Airport in Castries.  We were supposed to be met but the designated person was no where in sight.  Somehow we made our way to the Miramar Hotel which was only a mile or so away but it seemed like 100 miles.  After the usual check-in formalities we reached our room and flopped into our beds, absolutely exhausted.   What a lovely view awaited us when we opened our curtains in the morning – the ocean, palm trees, green grass, tropical flowers  – magical to the revived weary travellers.        













Attention Librarians and Booksellers September 21, 2009

Filed under: Authors,Books,Censorship,Librarians,Parenting — Janet @ 12:43 pm

I subscribe to A Word a Day, a free service which sends me an interesting word each day.  Today’s word is comstockery – a word I had never heard of.  Anu Garg is the Wordsmith and he introduces his word for today by writing that librarians and booksellers are two of his favourite people.  (Well since I am both of those I think I would like to meet the man.)  He goes on to write that he feels it unfortunate that some people feel threatened by certain books and call for them to be banned or destroyed.  He feels that people have a right to be offended by any book, but in that case all they have to do is not buy or borrow it. The problem begins when they try to impose their views on others by trying to ban it.

As an antidote to banning, the last week of September is observed in the US as Banned Books Week.  So this week Anu Garg is going to feature five words relating to censorship and mutilation of books.

Even though people after whom some of these words are coined have long gone, censorship is still alive. But there’s hope. Anu leaves his readers with this thoughtful letter from a librarian to a patron.

From the Wordsmith:




noun: Overzealous censorship of material considered obscene.


After Anthony Comstock (1844-1915), founder of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. He crusaded against anything he considered immoral. Nothing escaped his wrath — even anatomy textbooks for medical students and the draping of mannequins in public view in shop windows were obscene to him. He lobbied for laws against mailing any material that could be perceived as promoting immorality.
He was appointed postal inspector and he seized books, postcards, and other materials by the boatload. He boasted that he had arrested more than 3,000 people and driven more than 15 to suicide. George Bernard Shaw coined the word comstockery after him when he attacked the American production of Shaw’s play “Mrs. Warren’s Profession”.”


My encounter with censorship – I worked in the library of the American International School in Bangladesh for close to 5 years and eventually reached the position of  head librarian.  One day, a mother of a child in the lower grades, came in to browse and select some books for herself. (We had a rather large adult section to serve the needs of parents and friends, books in English being rather scarce in Bangladesh at that time.)   I knew this parent socially and thought her reasonable enough.  However, she came into the library and upraided me in no uncertain fashion for having a book by Raoul Dahl on our shelves.  I cannot remember which book it was – this was about 25 years ago.  I was puzzled by her outrage but did not feel articulate enough to counter her.  And I decided it was no big deal to just quietly withdraw the book and say no more.  Then I put it back on the shelves when this particular parent had moved on.  It wasn’t as if the book was in great demand anyhow – it probably hadn’t been taken out in years.