Category Archives: Family

Thank you Dad, I knew you were watching over us………

My sister Jane told me yesterday of the spine-tingling encounter that she had with my Dad’s spirit a few days ago….quite unbelievable but real.  I knew dad was watching over us as I have felt his spiritual presence many times and often felt he was talking to me silently (no I haven’t totally lost my mind yet!).  This incredible incident Jane experienced reassures what I thought all along… is still with us in spirit and this great amazing man said he is not alowing him self to pass on to a higher plane until his work is done, helping and guiding his family…….OMG!

Happy Birthday Dr. Ken Stephens

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Dr. Ken Stephens celebrated his 82nd Birthday yesterday and we ate at a fantastic Mexican Restaurant in Riverview, Florida called Mi Casa.  What a great little gem of a place this was.

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Steve made us some mean margaritas! before we left and off we went ……………

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It was a fantastic restaurant and a fun night…..thanks Ken, hope you have many more to celebrate in the future…….

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Congratulations to my brother Gary Kirwan who is getting married on saturday in Melbourne, Australia!

Congrats to my older brother, Gary Kirwan and the gorgeous Mel who are tieing the knot (at long last!) in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday.  Well done you two….it’s been a long time since you have been hoping for this day to happen……I know you will both be blissfully happy….Have a brilliant day and we’ll see you in the new year x

Oysters and Champagne on my Birthday?….definately next year….. but not this year in this part of rural England in Autumn.

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My love of oysters with champagne or NZ Sauvignon Blanc is not a secret, but living in rural England we ‘do as the Romans do’ and had a lovely pub lunch in a local village Inn, Blackmore Vale Inn in the gorgeous village of Marhull in Dorset.

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We started with a magnificent walk up Melbury Hill and surrounds…..cold to start with but beautiful sunshine, such an invigorating start the the day.

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After a decadent shopping spree in Waitrose!, we headed off to Marnhull for a special pub lunch….it didn’t disappoint.

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The roast pork I ordered was melt in the mouth material……served with an additional jug of the lushest gravy and fresh veg….a wonderful dish on a cold Sunday in Autumn…..and although I didn’t have my beloved oysters and champagne,  I was not disappointed….it was perfect for a Birthday lunch in England.

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Steve chose the Beef and Tanglefoot Ale Pie and gave me a sample….fantastic…..fall apart, tender beef in a flavoursome rich gravy, topped with puff pastry.

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………and then there was the evening…..Steve bought some divine things from Waitrose….I will be fasting tomorrow!!!

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There was Duchy Organic pork and onion marmalade pate, Keens West Country unpasteurised cheddar cheese, Petit Pont L’Eveque cheese, Duchy Organic dry cured oven roasted ham, Walkers original fluted pork pie, Branston Pickle and a fresh stone baked sour dough baguette.  What a feast we will be touching on this evening!!!!!

Happy 48th Birthday to me!!

Yep, that’s me, a happy smiling healthy little girl leaning over the fence at dad’s farm in Trentham, Victoria …… I think taken 40 years ago with my brothers and sisters and cousins.  Dad was drenching and crutching sheep that weekend and I remember loving being up there so much…….I’ll be thinking of you dad on my special day tomorrow, missing your gentle voice, wishing me a happy day.  I love and miss you so much X

Thank you for being ‘you’ and loving me the way you do!

My dad dying recently has changed my world completely and I realise more than ever before, just how short this life is here on earth.  I just wanted to say ‘thanks’ to my ever loving, supportive, positive, inspiring husband.  Steve you are a strong force and your attitude to life is awe-inspiring.  I have never met anyone with such a positive outlook on life.  You wake up in the morning always with a positive purpose and spring in your step, just amazing….I feel very lucky to have you in my life……..I love and thank you forever!



Happy 25th Anniversary to us!!!!

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What a magnificent sunny Sunday in Dorset today, celebrating our 25th anniversary to the day Steve and I met and started going out together.  We booked a table for lunch at the Cricketer’s Free House in the near by village of Shroton and again it was wonderful……..melt in the mouth roast lamb and a great red wine!

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Steve booked our favourite table in the ‘snug’ away from all the noise….although that was short lived after the people arrived at the table opposite (but that’s another story!)
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I was a 23 year old girl when I met Steve and turning 48 in a couple of weeks I can’t quite believe it all!!!!!
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My lovely favourite white lilies Steve gave me this morning……..thank you and I love you so much!!

A bottle of my favourite Aussie sparkling red will be opened later today….perhaps while watching the Singapore Grade prix together………and Downton Abbey starts again tonight …….you little beauty!

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Sparkling Shiraz for two……


It was a Thursday night in South Melbourne 25 years ago when I met this cheecky, scruffy, blonde haired painter…..

Wow!!  I have a tear in my eye and feel so emotional as Steve and I have been through a huge journey together over a period of 25 years exactly to the day tomorrow…times we will treasure forever (and times we will want to forget!!)  Through good and bad times, our relationship has grown and evolved into a partnership I had never envisaged…..a personal respect, a tenderness, and a deep love for each other I have never, ever known.  25 years tomorrow we will be celebrating our time shared together…..a massive milestone really and I know we will have great day!  I feel very blessed and I know my dad will be looking down on us and raising a glass of sauvignon blanc ( Margaret River of course!) and saying, ” Congratulations to you both….keep looking after each other..I love you both.”  Thanks dad, we love you too……

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Steve and I at his mum’s place in Florida on his 50th Birthday!


Darling Dad……………

This was the last time I saw my dear departed Dad.  I flew down from the Gold Coast to visit before my departure back to England.  It was a great visit….he was happy and well and mum treated me with the most magnificent dinner of roast lamb with all the trimmings……and an apple crumble to die for!  Dad loved her apple crumble with lots of vanilla ice-cream!!!  Life without dad will always be incomplete…….

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Dad it’s one year on and my heart is still heavy……………..

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A rainbow lit sky from our kitchen window in Dorset

It’s exactly one year ago today that I rang St John of God Hospital in Bendigo (early hours of the morning Australian time from England) and spoke to the nurse in charge on the hospital ward my dear dad was on.  Dad was taken back to hospital after a brief stay where he was being treated for severe back pain after a fall at home.  I asked the nurse about his condition and she said he was stable and doing OK.  I asked her the question, ‘He’s not going to die is he?’  ‘No he’s fine, doing well’ she told me.  I went to bed that night with such relief, I was able to get off to sleep much better, until I was awoken with the tragic news a few hours later from my brother Peter in Australia.  “Dad had slipped away peacefully……..’   He  had a reaction to the morphine medication and developed phenomena.  His body was too weak to fight this, so all is organs shut down and he went into a coma……

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Dad loved light aircraft and this plane we saw today at Compton Abbas Airfield was wonderful, flying acrobatic stunts while we were there…….just fantastic!

So, it’s one year on and although I’ve stopped crying every day now, I am still heavily in grief and long to hear my dad’s voice.  Playing his voice mail message on his mobile phone is how I can hear him.  But where is he I ask myself?…….in a better place out of pain is the answer.

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Compton Abbas Airfield….a little gloomy today but a place I love to visit as it brings me closer to my dear Dad

Happy Mother’s Day Mum……in Australia!

My darling beautiful mum is getting together today with the family in Melbourne to celebrate Mother’s Day in Australia.  Dad will be looking down thinking what a wonderful mum she has been to all of her five children and what a caring, loving wife he cherished.  I love you mum and thank you again for all you sacrificed in bringing up five children… have given us all so much XXXX

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Mum and her three daughters!….Fiona at the front and me and Jane standing…..taken at our brother Gary’s 50th Birthday party in Melbourne.


Happy 53rd Birthday Steve Clark…….you don’t look a day over 30!!!

My honey is having a Birthday today and I will spoil him as usual….53 years old today and he’s looking pretty good for it I must say.

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Bring on the hills…..taking a breather while waiting for the photographer! climbing Ball Hill in Dorset


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‘On top of the world!’…….Melbury Hill in Dorset (our back yard!)

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‘Happy Birthday’ my honey, may you have many more to come……….I love you XXX

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Hi Birthday Trail Running shoes……… hasn’t had them off his feet!!!!!


Happy Anniversary… was a loving marriage……….


It’s the 3rd of April today and mum and dad would be celebrating their wedding anniversary, but sadly this will be a very tearful day for mum (and all the family) as dad has left this world, leaving behind a huge void in all our lives.  Mum, I am so sorry, but I believe dad is looking down on you and loving you on your special day, just as he did every day.  He loved you so much and his children too……he always finished his phone call with me by saying “I love you Jen”  What a loving father he was and will always be in my mind and spirit.

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Dad loved his family so much….they were his world……………

I can’t bare life without you Dad……….

Joan and Mike

Dad, I am missing you so terribly…….I am trying so hard to cope with the loss of you…..a dear loving father.  I will get through this I know but it’s a rocky road.  I am hurting so much inside and my heart remains heavy in grief.  I have been hiding it well, but keeping it contained has it’s own problems.  Today has been hard….but these episodes are fewer now……..I just need to hear your tender voice again and hear your positive words you always used to tell me…..”Everything will be alright”

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I was exploring the cutting garden the other day and to my delight discovered a large Daphne bush in full bloom.  This put a smile of my cold ridden face as I am a huge lover of this beautifully fragrant flower.  My mum had Daphne growing at Strickland Road and I remember going home at weekends picking a massive bunch to take back with me to Melbourne…….. (along with her home made soup, bread, sausage rolls, corned beef……… and whatever else she had lovingly made for us at the weekend to send back with us to cater for the week ahead!!)  We didn’t go hungry that’s for sure.  I remember when I was living in Armadale still looking for work, when mum and dad drove down from Bendigo with a load of wood in their boot, just for me as they knew I was struggling and had no money to buy wood for the open fire.  They were the most caring parents and I will never forget the sacrifices they made to make sure we all were OK.


On my last visit to Strickland Road in Bendigo, mum had an arrangement of Daphne on my bedside table….she thought of everything!

Mum made a gorgeous apple crumble that night I visited…………
After a wonderful roast lamb dinner served on a beautifully set table……all for me. I think this was the last meal I shared with them before Dad died….

Another course of antibiotics……..will they work this time?

My 5th week in toothache hell on earth……….Another visit to the dentist today for my problem tooth which has undergone two root canals…..unsuccessful ones.  So, before a 3rd invasion, the dentist has put me on another different course of antibiotics to try and clear up the infection that has re-emerged.  To say I am fed up is an understatement, but my employers have been very understanding throughout this saga, not to mention my husband Steve, so I am thankful for that.

I remember how much pain my dear dad was in before he died….severe arthritis, immobility problems, his back pain….the list goes on and the last few days he had on this earth weren’t pleasant for him, tragically developing phuemonia after a brief stay in hospital where he was treated for the pain associated with his back after a fall.

The pain I am experiencing now is insignificant when I think what my dad went through in his life on this earth.  You are resting in a peaceful place now dad, I know and feel it.  I love and miss you so much………