Word of the year = Goblin mode

Charlie-Helen Robinson says… I’m in goblin mode.

No, in many ways, 2022 was a very successful year. Different, but good stuff was done. The Vintage Ball was a highlight and we got to raise lots of money for grassroot charities. Big love for the VB Committee in the pic below – Laoise, Sonia, Liz, Peter and Bel.

Previous predictions list 2022; CONTENT | 2021; CALM  |  2020; CURIOUS | 2019; CHILL 2018; CONSUMERS 2017; COMMUNITY | 2016; CRUSADE | 2015; CHUCKLE | 2014; CRUSADE | 2013; CONFIDENCE | 2012; CONVERSATION | 2011; COMMENCING


Research participants required

The dilemma for positive ageing lifestyles and wellbeing examined through the introduction of a social media foundation to facilitate and enhance creative decision making. There comes a time in everyone’s life when self evaluation and assessment is needed. There seems … Continue reading Research participants required

How the COVID pandemic changed digital journalism

So much more is now being asked of broadcast and digital journalists, but with that has come greater freedom to source and create stories. Fewer editors, videographers, lighting and sound technicians mean journalists are more in control of the way they weave and distribute their news. Coupled with that is the removal of traditional PR “gatekeepers” and the rise of media-savvy figures who understand the importance of being accessible via social media and directly engaging with journalists. Continue reading How the COVID pandemic changed digital journalism

Eulogy for Gwendoline Frances Stevens

A life cherished

Mum would sit by the window in the last few months of her life and watch the blossom turn on the tree outside and the birds play. She would be annoyed that she could no longer paint or embroider her teddy bears however she could still read. So she did that.

The last book she read was titled ‘Death of a nurse’ and she had a school girl twinkle in her eye when she showed me. It was being read just before that final fateful hospital trip.

A comedian til the end.

It was during that last hospital trip, and after we learnt she was to go home to palliative care, that she wanted to reassure me that she’d had a wonderful life and that we’d all be OK. But she was ready to go. She disliked COVID a lot and the isolation it created.

On reflection, she was right about her life.

86 wonderful years.

Her eldest sisters are Sheila (watching via Zoom from Swan Hill with her daughter, my cousin, Kathy), Joy (now deceased but who lived in England) and Valerie (the youngest sister who still lives in Queensland).

She was the loving wife of Eric – who she used to call Steve

She is the adored mother and mother-in-law of…
Susan and Dean (who live in Clare)
Maureen and James (who live in Swan Hill, Victoria and are also watching via Zoom)
And twins – Helen (Charlie – me) and Wade.

She is the cherished Nana of…
Sally and Rhiannon – the children of Sue
Ramon and Karrina – the children of Maureen
Amber and Jessika-May – my children

She has 5 great-grandchildren who she loved very much – and with who she cherished her visits, letters and facetime chats with.

Like in any lifetime, for mum there were ups and downs. We all have our moments, some that are perfect, and some that are not.

It’s very true that it had saddened me over her final years when people spoke to her differently (or like a child) because “she was living in aged care” (especially in the hospitals) because in the main, to me she was still as sharp as a tac and the “she who must be obeyed” mother from my youth.

There were the occasional moments of failings sure, generally when her health faltered, but it wouldn’t last. She was very sure of herself and her mind, right til the end.

Reminiscing these past few days has reminded me again of the wonderful life she gave us.

It brought home fully that she was sooooooo much more than her aged care years which have been such a huge part of my own life and focus these past 10 years.

Growing up we had a firm but fair upbringing. Dad was firm. Mum was fair.

She was the one who made our house a home. She baked cookies, held discussion groups around the kitchen table, learnt all the kids names, drank Sherry with the school teachers, made clothes, patchwork quilts and teddies, and sent us to sunday school so she could have a sleep in on a Sunday.

She was human.

But she was heaps of fun to have as a mum and she encouraged us to always do the right thing. Of course we all had our moments when we didn’t do the right thing, and the odd slipper would follow us down the hall (its ok she was a bad aim).

Doing the right thing included her expectations from her aged care home. We counted no less than 30 feedback forms in her room PLUS she kept a book of dates and times when they didn’t live up to those expectations.

She didnt have expensive standards though – just simple comforts.

I recall one of the stories from her youth, was when her Uncle Wink (her mums bother) let them (Gwen and Eric in early married life) use an old bakehouse to make into a flat. They painted the walls and installed a fireplace and chimney, and managed to get it ready for when Susan was born.

Then, when Maureen was born they moved to Horsham for Eric to complete the serving of his five years in the Army Reserve. They then came to Australia when Sue was four years and Maureen one. Once in Australia, they worked and saved enough money to buy a block of land on Kingborn Avenue, Seaton. Mum used to talk about the orange crates they sat on.

Mum was a crusader of creative thought, writing, reading and the arts, saving the environment, deep conversations and singing, even if or when we couldn’t really sing.

I remember dancing around the lounge room on a Saturday afternoon with the record player blaring – her favourites were Helen Ready, Glenn Campbell and Bos Scaggs to name a few. Of course there are others… David Hobson came later.

She was a forward thinking conversationalist who loved being around people.

Mum would look to the community for activities to keep herself busy and for example, was elected to the Woodville Library Friends committee. When I was working at Woodville library, I persuaded mum to join the Book Discussion Group and she agreed, but only if the discussion group was based on non-fiction books.
It’s not surprising as she was doing the cryptic crosswords right up until the end of her days. In fact, it was her eyes which failed her, not her mind!

Continue reading “Eulogy for Gwendoline Frances Stevens”

Fires, Floods, Fevers.


Your welfare is always of utmost importance to us, as is our entire community. Hence why we raise money for mental health and wellbeing through organisations such as MOSH Australia.

Our initial reaction to COVID-19 was to ensure our fundraising event continued and that our supporters and suppliers were not impacted. It soon became evident, due to the announcements from the PM restricting events of over 100 people indoors, that we would regrettably need to postpone the Vintage Ball. This we did.

Onwards. I am immensely proud to announce the Committee isn’t one to rest on their corks. After all, like the wine group, corks have a history! Our ethos is to support those in our community.

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

We are action orientated people who love to socialise.

Let’s unpack COVID in this way:

(C)ompassion, (0)riginality, (V)aliant, (I)mpact and (D)efiance.

There’s a lesson in each of these words. In everything we do, we have compassion for our community. Our events have always focused on originality – as you don’t need a bunch of volunteers running a social club doing what you can do at your local pub or through a major event organiser, but you do need us to inspire you to fundraise for our favourite charities and to look at wine socialising in a new light. It’s what we’ve always done best. To boldly go… it’s our original tag line, written by the one and only Steve Davis – it inspires us to be valiant in our efforts.

Did you know that Cork has been used for thousands of years as a stopper in bottles? It has even been found in the tombs dating back to ancient Egypt. Ancient Greeks and Romans also made good use of it, and it was found use as floats for fishing nets, sandals, wine bottle stoppers and even personal flotation devices for fishermen.

It’s a device we could all turn to for inspiration in times of COVID. Yes, the CORK!

After all, I reckon it’s seen a few human plagues, fires and floods in its time. In a modern world of synthetic materials, cork continues to lead the way. This amazing and natural material has a wide range of applications far beyond the oft thought of wine bottle stopper. With new ways to use it being thought of all the time, it is sure to continue to be an environmentally friendly favourite for many years to come. As is our social group!

But I digress from the Vintage Ball…

To have impact with our fundraising… to not just follow the crowd, we must always look outside the square and consider “what else?”.

So, it’s with these sentiments of “what else?” we will go forth in defiance against this disease and work with all to keep our friends and followers thriving.

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

We have a caterer who just postponed significant revenue for us (and all the meat/veg suppliers behind them), a club who is losing money from lost revenue, entertainers who, while they may love and support our charities, are losing money from their day job.

We are a community and it’s times like these we need the originality of thought to inspire our next steps. So, the committee has produced a calendar of events to consider until our actual Vintage Ball takes place at Halloween… and if you are self-isolating..? Simply join us from home – we will include pictures via Facebook so you don’t feel left out (hey, I may even video again).

Continue reading “Fires, Floods, Fevers.”

Coronavirus: 5 ways to manage your news consumption in times of crisis

Republished Victoria Heath/Unsplash Mark Pearson, Griffith University Thousands of employees internationally are already working from home in COVID-19 self-isolation because of their recent travel, related symptoms or immune system vulnerability. But to do so while habitually checking the news on … Continue reading Coronavirus: 5 ways to manage your news consumption in times of crisis

REPUBLISHED: How our residential aged-care system doesn’t care about older people’s emotional needs

Republished from The Conversation Most aged-care residents don’t feel like they are loved or belong in their facility. Image from Lee-Fay Low, University of Sydney All humans have fundamental needs. These are physiological (food, drink, clothing, sleep), safety (emotional … Continue reading REPUBLISHED: How our residential aged-care system doesn’t care about older people’s emotional needs