We’ve been clearing out our clutter.

It was well overdue as some boxes hadn’t been opened since we moved two years ago.

I highly recommend it. Not only have we got rid of so much rubbish – we found a few little gems to boot.

My first great find was a sort-of scrap book my maternal grandmother put together. Old newspaper cuttings of births, deaths and marriages of people she knew, interesting stories and other tidbits that caught her attention from the 1930s to the late 1970s.

I found one entry headlined: Mrs A. Fairbrother. It was the funeral notice of my paternal grandmother Annie Fairbrother. It went on to list the mourners including the line: “Mrs R. Fairbrother (daughter-in-law) was unable to attend owing to indisposition.”

That was my heavily pregnant mother and I was the indisposition. Mentioning pregnancy or the imminent birth of a second child was obviously a bit too much information.

I never knew my grandmother on my father’s side. She died following a fall just before I was born. Two different newspaper cuttings list her age as 74 and 75 – good to see accuracy/consistency was alive and well in journalism then.

My grandmother who had kept all these cuttings had an interesting past.

John Profumo BBC Obit

John Profumo. Credit BBC News

I understand she was nanny to the late John Profumo – a British politician who was War Minister until 1963 when he resigned over an affair he had with model Christine Keeler. Later known as the Profumo Affair and the subject of the film Scandal in 1989.

Interestingly enough my grandmother’s cuttings don’t reflect this affair at all – the only slight reference is a cutting from the Daily Mail in which Profumo’s brother Major Philip Profumo appealed to John to come forward and “meet the Press”:

“I am not in touch with him, but it is obvious to me that he must make a personal statement to the public within the next few days.”


The other great find was all my paperwork about moving to Australia. From the first receipt of lodgement of application (23/09/96), to be called for a medical (10/01/97) to being notified of my acceptance (18/03/97).

Among all this great stuff I found what can only be described as my first blog.

It was the 7th September 1997 – I was on the plane leaving the UK for my new life Down Under. Here are a few of the entries:

This is it – left GB at 2057.

2210: Ok – great no video to watch – out of order. Just my luck. Fourteen hours London to Manila and I get no TV.

It’s just gone midnight most people are settling down to sleep – I’ve been trying to myself but I think there’s just too much going through my mind at the moment. The goodbyes, the party – my friends etc. People have told me how brave they think I am – I don’t feel very brave at the moment.

I’ve been chatting to a man (originally from Afghanistan) who is now an Australian citizen living and working in Sydney. He’s been there four and a half years and loves it.

1815 we landed in Manila. It looks a poor but vibrant city. The airport is small and old but air-conditioned – it was so hot getting off the plane.

In the air again – this is it seven hours and I’ll be arriving in Brisbane. Streuth.

About an hour to go and I’m getting increasingly nervous. Am I doing the right thing?

Here we go then… started out descent we’ll land just before 0800 local time. I feel really sick.

Touchdown at 0800 – time to become an Oz.