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Posts Tagged ‘My Fair Lady’

image from http://www.toutlecine.com –  From humble beginnings.

One of my favourite films has always been “My Fair Lady” with Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. It appealed to me on many levels. Most of all because my mother had told me from when I was small that “I could be anything I wanted to be”. Of course that meant I had to want it enough to work hard to attain it, just as Eliza did in “My Fair Lady”.  There was something so deeply satisfying when she had managed to shed her  “common London accent” and not only speak like a lady but truly act like one, to the extent that she really was a lady. That, for me at least,  epitomised not just the possibility of attaining your dream, but the reality that anything could be achieved.

From such small beginnings did my dreams and desires become formed. I used the tools of the “Law of Attraction” before I had even heard of it and built up my picture of how I desired my life to be. The inspiration from books and films gave me the scope to build dreams to reach any heights I wished. “Mary Poppins” was another favourite, for a mere Governess she had impeccable diction, far better than her employers. Then, we all knew that she was special in more ways than one.

image from rottentomatoes.com

One of the defining factors in my life was the divisions I saw around me as I was growing up. It was based on how one spoke, dressed and acted, but also on ones perceived place in the community. In England the class system was still in full swing. In a country where a few miles could show a change in dialect, a difference in the way people behaved and the ‘allegiances’ one had, it was  important to learn, if not how to be ‘a lady’, at least how to blend in as much as possible. Things may be different today, I doubt it, but back then it was how the lines were drawn. The Yorkshire dialect is one of the most interesting as you can hear, here.

That may sound like a simple thing to do but in a country where those idiosyncrasies in speech were cast iron identifiers, it was no simple feat. I was a voracious reader and was encouraged by my mother to read anything which interested me. The only codicil, to discuss anything I didn’t understand with her first!  I started copying the speech patterns of the characters in the books. The more I practiced however, the wider the divide became between myself and the children in my neighborhood. It was difficult. Then I won a grant to attend an all girls college on the other side of town. Still safe to travel in those days, it simply meant long days, the travel added to the school day and hours and additional homework to be fitted in. I was one of those unusual people  who enjoyed school luckily. My mother said my first word was ” why” and it never changed.

image from mysteriesandmanners.wordpress.com   Crushed by language and station.

The college I attended had girls from many of the surrounding districts, each with their own unique way of speaking. There was definite group segregation established. This made co-operation in class very difficult to say the least. My English teacher,  one of my favorites decided the “class divisions” would not be tolerated in her class. I need to point out that English was divided into two subjects, English Language and Literature. It all went to feed my love of English, poetry, prose and novels.  Her solution was simple. During her classes all the material being studied would be read aloud. From snide comments and snickers over the peculiar way each group spoke we were all taught to speak with no emphasis on the consonants and vowels, if not perfectly, then with as little emphasis as possible.

It made for quite a unique group within the school since we no longer fitted into any ‘group’ now. For me it was one step closer to throwing off the markers which locked me into a class system and gave me an advantage for the future. The only downside at this time was that it completely ostracised me from the children in my neighborhood. It was a lonely time and my sole consolation was my mother’s admonition that “I could be anything I wanted to be”.

I owe a great deal, both to my mother and Mrs Keighthly since they did make my life much easier several years later.

image from imdb.com   Beautiful, serene, mysterious and an exquisite lady.

After  my grandmother had passed away the family emigrated to Australia, the land of opportunity. It was an enormous culture shock, but I had one huge advantage. When we, my brothers and I, went to school, no-one realised that I was “a Pom”.  You wouldn’t think such a simple label could cause so much angst. With my ‘non accent’ I escaped totally unscathed, but not so my brothers. The ridicule for speaking “funny” was unbelievable. Perhaps most horrifying was the singular mockery from a Kiwi teacher my brother had to endure. Everything from the way he spoke, wrote his essays to his refusal to be cowed by this bullying was a target for this man.

His error? He learned I was at the school also, in a higher grade, and had the unmitigated gall to ask me, in front of my classmates in a loud voice,”How come a girl like you ended up with a brother like him?”  He was referring, of course, to my lack of a Yorkshire accent.

Unfortunately for both the teacher and the school principal they had to deal with my mother the following day. Sometimes justice does prevail. Apologies to my brother, mother and myself were followed by his transfer from the school. I only hope he never taught anywhere else after that.

I was told the other day I sounded like an Australian, which made my husband laugh. I’ve managed to ‘fit in’ so that my background is not immediately apparent, but the idiosyncrasies are plain for all to hear. There is always my love of unusual words, a difference in diction which sets me apart. It’s not that I desire to be different, it’s simply who  I am. I love the richness of the tapestry English language gives me and I unconsciously use it all the time. My brothers have “acclimatised” but retain some of their “Yorkshire ‘isms.’

image from http://www.collectingbooksandmagazines.com  Accents one al all.

The truth is not so strange really.  I’m neither typically Aussie nor typically English. I have, perversely, retained an unyielding dislike for putting ‘tags’ on people, so being a Pom or an Aussie is not welcomed. This is my home, the country I would defend should the need arise, but I don’t require a label to do so. I firmly believe that my choice to live here means embracing all that Australia is, and leaving my past behind. The divisions which exist here, or in any country, due to race, colour or creed are brought about because people fail to understand one simple truth. If you wish to move to another country, for a better life, then you must be willing to accept all that country is.

It does not mean losing your identity, nor your religion, but you must assimilate into your new society and community. Such refusal to become part of your new country is a rejection of the reason you came here. If you cannot accommodate the ways of your new country, in this case Australia, then you shouldn’t be here, you should be back where your way of life fits in.

Perhaps that is harsh, but then life can be harsh. If you want to be saved from the tyranny of your own land then, by default, you should not bring those very elements of your old life to this country and try to foist them on your new country, thereby causing divisiveness here also.  Australia is an English-speaking country and at the least it should be mandatory that all people be able to speak and understand the language of the country. I wouldn’t emigrate to or seek refuge in a foreign speaking country and expect them to change for my sake.

Then, this is simply my opinion, and fortunately we still retain the semblance of freedom of speech. Just to finish my opinions, I reject the implication that we, or any Australians, should be forced to change or subjugate our religious beliefs because new Australians feel they can and will impose their beliefs on the country which accepted them.

image from izquotes.com     The Secret to Freedom Everywhere.

These are my ideas and my experiences. What holds true for me may not for you, but I hope they give you something to think about.

What would you say?

Ciao, Susan

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image from creativepinkdesigns.blogspot.com

“Blessings be on this house,” Granny said, perfunctorily. It was always a good opening remark for a witch. It concentrated people’s minds on what other things might be on this house.”    ― Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad

I seem to be saying this a great deal recently, but it has been a rugged week so far.  I’m not complaining, really, because having finally found a reason for a decade or more of ill-health which no doctor, specialist, alternative therapist and so on have been able to explain to me, I understood that getting well was going to be a rocky road.  The medications which I have to take are – well, not kind on my ‘fragile’ system, and killing off the wretched bugs causes its own misery. Yet, I have to acknowledge that these medicines are a Blessing in themselves.

I have my next batch of tablets to add to the first now and the combination simply increases the …… results. I am getting well, eventually, I simply have to weather the storm in the interim.  So the times when I feel totally wretched and ill, praying for the dreadful itching and vomiting etc to pass, may seem interminable at that time, but they do pass.  Then I can have some pleasant times, escapades if you like and I hold tight to those beautiful times when the bad ones strike.

Following absolutely awful mornings this week I have had afternoons filled with doctors visits and testing – I’m beginning to think it was more than a coincidence that we continually make new and fresh blood, if we didn’t I might be in a bit of a pickle by now! Now that is a true Blessing.

image from lauradoyle.org

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”  ― Lao Tzu

I have been blessed in so many ways, my two wonderful children who have become adults I am proud to say, these are my little children; I have had wonderful parents who taught me to be the person I have become; brothers who are the family I grew up with; and above all I have been graced by the friendship and love of an incredible man who I adore and adores me and we will grow old together… in this world and the next.

During my challenging times he is there, holding my hand, running baths, making cups of tea or making light meals to make me smile and stay strong. He sees me at my worst and at my best and loves me just as I am. A brilliant and wonderful blessing!

Brunch in bed with home  brewed latte

Brunch in bed with home-brewed latte

Don’t you love the serviette to protect those yummy yolk dribbles? I was surprised by this after hours of struggling to wake up, between staggering into the bathroom and getting myself together …. just the ticket and delicious!

Yesterday was my birthday. With everything we  have had to do I had decided a quiet day was the best way to go. Such are the “best laid plans of mice and men (oft go astray” by Robert Burns, “To a Mouse”.)… more tests needed!

So a trip up to the Gold Coast again and I was treated to a lovely lunch at one of our favourite coffee shops. The owner is such a sweetie who always goes out of his way to make sure everyone is happy and comfortable. It’s really old-fashioned service and always appreciated. Just the ticket to strengthen my foundering reserves after the tests.

Yet the SURPRISE of the day – week – month was not to be unveiled until I reached home again. I was looking forward to a cup of tea (always makes me think  of the scene from “My Fair Lady” where Rex Harrison is plopping marbles into Audrey Hepburn’s mouth as she says “Cup of Tea” and he and the Colonel eat cakes and drink tea.) Just a whimsical side track!

Feet up and cup of French Earl Grey tea by my side, I was told to relax whilst a quick meal was whipped up by my husband. A short while later he appeared around the corner with a beautiful silver box in his hand and inside the most beautiful necklace and earrings. Just look at the fabulous colours. WOW!

Beautiful Drusy Quartz necklace and earrings

Beautiful Drusy Quartz necklace and earrings

Followed by the most delicious garlic prawns and stir fried veg with coconut cream dressing…. fabulous.

Garlic prawns and coconut cream stir fried veg.... delicious

Garlic prawns and coconut cream stir fried veg…. delicious

Followed by a tired and resting birthday girl, propped up in bed wearing her jewels.

Happy Birthday Blessings

Happy Birthday Blessings

So, despite the trials and travails which I am going through, there are countless things for which I am grateful and recognise as blessings. They are what I focus on when things are tough. They make the times in between easier to bear and make the better times even brighter. Sometimes its hard to get to that good place, and there are moments, sometimes hours when it’s not easy to reach a happy place, but eventually I get there and count my blessings and realise I can and will go on.

I have fantastic support and understanding beside me every step of the way.  I have riches far beyond measure and I am so incredibly grateful that I can see that know that I will never be alone in my struggle or life.

I have been blessed with a wonderful life.

Every positive thing in your life represents a single unique blessing. Every negative thing in your life has the opportunity to become a double blessing. For when you turn a negative into a positive, you gain twice. You are no longer burdened with the negative situation, and in addition to that you are strengthened by a new positive force”…    Author Unknown

I wish for you countless blessings to lighten your load.

Susan x

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