Australian convict, 1880s.

A studio photograph, dated 1880s, of Tasmanian convict Bill Thompson, in convict uniform and leg irons.

By the time this photograph was taken, Britain had already stopped transporting convicts (in 1868).

Visiting Port Arthur really drives home how horrific the conditions for convicts were. I still can’t understand the mentality of Georgian (and later Victorian) England where crimes that were often not very severe resulted in people not only being shipped to the other side of the world, but being treated far worse than animals.

Considering the crimes those with money managed to get away with, the hypocrisy is infuriating! I mean, kill someone in a duel and you’re a hero. Steal a loaf of bread for your family, and get shipped off to New South Wales or Van Diemen’s Land! Strange.

A studio photograph of Tasmanian convict Bill Thompson, showing the convict uniform and the use of leg irons. Dated 1880s.

Cyanamid in your milk?

1958; photo by Jon Abbot. Cynamid.

American Cyanamid, 1958. Photo by Jon Abbot.

American Cyanamid was a major US company. They produced everything from organic chemicals to animal feed additives to shampoos to antibiotics.

Then they became even bigger, and at one point owned more US golf courses than any other American company. They were everywhere, doing everything, basically.

My eyes started to glaze over as I was reading about chemicals and additives and bovine growth hormone, so I’m not even going to try and explain what it was this mega corporation was doing to “safeguard” Americans’ milk, but it all seemed a little odd. The name in itself is bizarre!

I only did any research at all because I thought the picture was kind of cute and I wanted to know what it was all about!

Lost in Austen – Episode Four

AmandaLost inAusten

Something that bugged me about this miniseries – though I know it wasn’t really anybody’s fault:

It was filmed in cold weather and it’s supposed to be summer! Everyone is prancing about outside in their pretty, floaty, short-sleeved dresses and it’s so cold you can see their breath!


So much to resolve and only one episode to do it!

Lost in Austen episode four Mrs Bennet Jane Amanda Sonya Heaney

Amanda’s appearance in the middle of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice world certainly caused a mess. Jane is married to Mr Collins, Mr Bingley is the one acting like Mr Wickham is supposed to and Mr Darcy is in love with Amanda instead of Elizabeth (who he hasn’t even met).

Lost in Austen episode four Amanda and Mr Darcy Sonya Heaney

Even though I knew it was the final episode, I did double and triple-check, because I expected happy endings for everyone and didn’t see how it could be done in one episode. It didn’t help that there was more drama heaped on top of everything else that had gone wrong so far!

My two favourite parts of this episode were:

#1 Mrs Bennet and Jane finally snapping and telling off Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Mr Collins.

Lost in Austen episode four Jane Mr Bennet Mrs Bennet in 2008 Sonya Heaney

#2 The moment everyone blasts back into the present day. As Mr Darcy says, ‘What is this dreadful place?’

Lost in Austen episode four Mr Darcy in 2008 Sonya Heaney

What did I think of the ending? Well, it was as convenient as you would expect, and I honestly don’t think Amanda would just settle in happily in the life she has chosen.

However, this is a show about a time-travelling portal in a bathroom and a book world coming to life, and so yes, it shouldn’t be taken too seriously! There’re some massive anachronisms and some very hard-to-believe situations, but then isn’t that exactly what you’d expect from this show?

I’m glad I got over my fear of Amanda’s too-modern hairstyle and watched Lost in Austen. I’m not one to have a fit when little tweaks are made with Jane Austen’s work, and I’m always happy to see different takes on famous and very familiar characters.

Anybody with an interest in period drama wold enjoy this – but just make sure you know the plot of Pride and Prejudice first!

Milk delivery in 1950s Australia

A milkman delivers milk to a woman at her home in 1950s Australia.

I’m going to take the National Museum in Canberra at their word about copyright and post this here!

Whenever people decades older than me do one of those Remember When? nostalgia posts, the milk delivery thing always comes up. Of course, teenagers today would have a hard time getting their head around it, but it’s not as far in the past as people seem to think. I have very clear memories of putting out the milk bottles to be swapped. However, we had much bigger bottles than that!

We actually had a local milk delivery business around here that kept on running until really recently. I’m sure they made next to no money from it, but I believe the same family ran it for decades, so maybe they kept it up until retirement… Sort of sad to see it go, no matter how impractical it was!

A milkman delivers milk to a woman at her home in 1950s Australia

On this day: the independence of Lithuania

On the 16th of February 1918 the Council of Lithuania (Lietuvos Taryba) declared the independence of Lithuania and the re-establishment of the Lithuanian State.


The reason I know about this? Because I was watching the live feed from the protests in Kyiv, Ukraine and they talked about it! Three months of protests and look at all the people still there!