Hazel to Nancy and Steve, 1994

6 Vincent St,
Balmain NSW 2041

28 July 1994

Dear Nancy & Steve,

We have just received your second card and photo -- your Paul Klee card which was very Paul Kleeish as opposed to your Sir John Lavery card which was fabulous -- "Girl in a Red Dress by a Swimming Pool" -- I should like to call on Lady Semphill in London and see the original. I'm sure she wouldn't mind.

Your letters are a treasure. I think you should know that I'm keeping them. Your photos were great. "Thumb and Cymbidium"; "Dog and Knees (female)"; "Dog and Knees (male)". I can't believe all that growth the other side of your front porch. What is it? The cymbidium looks wonderful -- especially the ones on the front porch. I'd be ashamed to show you ours or, should I say, our remnants.

(I'm having to put you away for the moment because I'm about to be descended upon by J & Z when I will drive him (J) out to his piano lesson. It's really more like a general music lesson which he really enjoys while Zoë stews over the fact that she's too young to start.)

It's several days later now. By the way, thank you for all the anecdotes about Mike H. and Leslie & July 4th etc. It's great to feel in touch with your world. I was waiting to get this letter off to you quickly as I've decided not to go to England to my niece's wedding. I was spending so much time brooding about whether I should go or not that I decided the sensible thing was not to go so I could stop brooding about it. My main concern was buying the ticket and then deciding that I really wasn't up to it. The chemotherapy is fine but gets marginally worse each month and I didn't want to be the only glum face on the wedding photos.

My sister Pat is going to come over in October which will be great. And I thought if there's still any chance of you coming over in November that would be great -- it's such a great word, great, isn't it? especially for us a semi-literate. So if it fits in with your plans, your finances, your work etc it would be wonderful to see you. My chemotherapy finishes in September and they're going to give me radiotherapy that should be over in October. So think about it and if it looks as though it might work we'll start planning details.

My art classes finished this week -- the teacher is off to Europe for 7 months. Some of us are talking about getting together in a studio to continue painting. I'm really hoping it comes off as I really hit it off with a couple of these students and they know a hell of a lot more than me about painting and they're very helpful.

Did I tell you I'd taken up blues piano lessons? As a result my piano teacher (a blues pianist of many years standing) has been "instrumental" in getting us down to the local jazz/blues venue called "The Basement" for a number of gigs of people she considers to be the top in their field. So far we've seen Junior Wells and the Chicago Blues Band -- a terrific night -- not only were they a joy to listen to but they would have been terrific to paint too. The other week we saw Jimmy Smith the virtuoso Hammond organ player -- I think it's his first trip out here but he was a great success & is sure to be out here again.

Rob's promotion committee meets on August 13th (he's already had the interview) and he should hear at the end of the month (August). In the meantime he's been having regular attacks of gout and something else which they've decided probably isn't gout but tendonitis which they don't seem sure how to treat. He's working hard at the moment and is generally in good spirits. Joshua is still crazy about cars, buttons, knobs and levers and Zoë is 3 going on 21. She has very clear notions about what she wants to wear -- she likes fancy frocks and likes to change 2 or 3 times a day. They enjoyed your photos -- though a little bit puzzled about why Steve chooses to paddle his canoe fully clothed in a swimming pool.

Good luck with your big trial, Nancy. Our office is doing more and more major project litigation -- people are really worn down by the end of it -- so take it easy and get some help. Good luck with your job hunting, Steve. We'll write/talk again soon. All our love for now

Hazel, Rob, Josh & Zoë XXXX


P.S. I'm sending some photos -- one of which shows Joshua on our back deck with the "bushfire" sky above taken at the height of the bushfire -- we are 10 minutes away from the city -- this was taken when Rob was visiting you in the New Year.

I know exactly what you mean about the joy of walking through all those wildflowers on your walk with Gaby. A few years back we went to stay for a weekend at a friend's house at a place called Kangaroo Valley. Her house is perched on a hill where 2 valleys meet with a cliff behind. We went for a walk on the cliff top and found ourselves in a glade of head-high boronia -- a woody flowering plant -- you didn't have to stoop to smell the flowers -- the smell was all around you and the flowers brushed your head and shoulders. It was a great week/end. (There's that word again.)

Better close now I can hear J & Z coming. Hope everything works out for Seldon & Gaby.

Bye for now,

All our love

Hazel Rob Joshua & Zoë

PPS. I have just finished reading Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth -- a good read.

Last Updated 17 April 2005