a change in time

musings on behavioural change – the small stuff and the big stuff.


Our memories connect us

Yesterday Peter, Louis and I just happened to be driving near Pakenham, the place my family were living when I joined the Williams clan. The only memories I have of the house are based on photos taken by a neighbour. Fortunately Hugo, was old enough to remember some of the events that happened at the time. He could tell me the name of the street, and that we lived next to a creek which had flooded our house one year. This was enough for me to find the house on google maps.


The house is the one on the left just above  ‘Pakenham Creek’. 

I sent him a screen grab from street view and he was pretty sure it was the same house.


I was surprised that the house has been repainted since this image was taken. Things can change quickly these days; what you see on street view may not still be there. 

Peter, Louis and I dropped by to take a closer look.


Peter caught me contemplating what life was like for me as a young child in this house. 

In studying the photos of my brothers and I from those days, the house detail in the background convinced us that it is definitely the same house.


It was the detail on the corner of the house in this photo that had us thinking that it had to be the same place. I obviously hadn’t learnt to say ‘cheese’ yet! 


The fuchsias from the last photo connect this photo to the same location.


On the back of the photo, our father had written, John 6, Rodney 4 & 1/2, Ruth 18 months 

It’s a strange sensation to return to a home after almost sixty years and find that it is still there. Especially in these days when townhouses and apartment blocks win the toss against family homes.


We couldn’t help wonder if the residents were looking through the window wondering what in the hell we were doing! 

Hugo asked why I had suddenly become interested in that old house. I told him how, at lunch on Tuesday, our mother had told me that she couldn’t remember what I was like at a child. It occurred to me that Hugo was now the keeper of our early family memories, thank goodness for older siblings! And younger ones – Jann joined us in 1961, making the family complete.


Plastic is the hard evidence

When you have one of those nice little chats about ‘the fate of the planet’, you most likely focus on the fossil fuels vs. alternative energy debate. You might even discuss the high percentage of methane in the atmosphere caused by livestock and landfill. Today I’d like to have a go at investigating the role that plastic plays in such discussions.

While Peter and I have managed to break a few plastic habits over the years – forgoing plastic shopping bags and water in plastic bottles – there is still a way to go. (Please contact the author personally if you want to know the ugly details.)

My plastic awareness metre went off the scale just a few weeks ago when I joined a local group in picking up litter from the banks of Darebin Creek.


This packaging has escaped from the yard of a business that backs onto the creek. Guess where it is heading.

In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned how the sustainability class I attended at Swinburne University was introduced to the fact that when we throw something ‘away’, it actually goes somewhere, and while this sounds annoyingly obvious, it is a concept that has only wired into my brain since having to pick up stuff that has been thrown away.

Other than plastic bottles and syringes, the third most common item I found while creek sweeping was plastic straws, a seemingly innocent item that Peter and I have been using in our morning smoothies for some time now.

With this new found awareness of straws, I went searching on the internet to see what other people are saying. I soon discovered that I am not the only one acknowledging our over reliance on single-use plastic items. Celebrities like Adrian Grenier  and Jeff Bridges have recently added their voices to the call for us to refuse single-use plastic items.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 10.57.26 am

It seems that Americans use 500 million straws per day, this “could fill over 127 school buses each day, or more than 46,400 school buses every year!http://www.ecocycle.org/bestrawfree/faqs 


You don’t need to join a group, celebrity-led or not, as this refusal to use single-use plastic items is something we can do on our own accord. If you need some inspiration however, you could check out The Last Straw, a group based in Perth that ask us to ‘Sip. Don’t suck’.

Besides, sometimes groups with good intentions end up creating a whole lot more ‘rubbish’ that we don’t really need.


Sorry to focus on SIDS fund-raising, but they are a perfect example. 


Finally, I’d like to tell you about a little girl who had high hopes for the future. That little girl was me. I remember as a child thinking that, while children could be unkind and thoughtless, adults were wise; they knew what to do when a problem arose.

hopeful ruth

Here I am sitting in Auntie Myra’s backyard in Bendigo. I’m wondering if mum was taking a photo of the garden and then decided my red jumper would bring out the red in the flowers in the background. 

It didn’t take too many years for me to discover that grown-ups can be just as unkind and thoughtless as children. As an adult, I feel a responsibility to do what I can to tread lightly on the earth so that those who come after us know that we did what we could.