Something to Think About




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Ask Aunty S


Dear Aunty S

I was widowed a while ago and all my old friends have drifted away.
They included me for a while after my husband’s death but now they ignore me.
I feel sad and lonely as I have no other friends and have no idea how to start looking for new ones.
Why have they done this?
Do you have any suggestions how to make new friends?


Aunty S responds

My dear girl, I have heard this story so often over the past few years.
Their rejection on top of your husband’s death shows what kind of people they are so at the end of the day you are better off without them.

Usually it’s the women who instigate the breakup of the friendship as they all of a sudden feel either, ‘insecure about holding on to their husband whilst a rampant widow is on the loose’ or ‘frightened that the death bell may ring for their husband if they associate with a widow’.
The average man just goes along with what the wife wants or says just to keep the peace.  Of course there are some that stand up to them but not many.
Seriously you don’t need them and as you live in a great town with plenty of groups, you will soon make new acquaintances and friends.

I have sent you a list of the groups that I would join if I was you which I sort of am as we are both in the ‘Widows Club’.
Remember there will always be an insecure woman lurking in the bushes who may believe you could be after her husband if you talk to him longer than the allocated 2.5 minutes.
Always ignore their looks of thunder and smile sweetly and ask if they are feeling okay as they look so dreadful!!
Their reactions are priceless!
The pain of losing old friends will ease over time.
Trust me.
Keep me posted.

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I have heard from many folk who have been bullied or are being bullied since I raised the topic and when I replied privately to them I  supplied them with the following; ‘Basic Description Of The Types Of Bullies’ which I found on the web.  It is a very precise piece of writing.

I have now been asked to post it for all to peruse hence you will find it below.

Please remember, if you are being bullied, don’t isolate yourself as this is what the bully wants.  If the first person you talk to says ’I don’t want to get involved’ it usually means, ‘I don’t want the Bully looking in my direction after he’s finished with you’.

Don’t give up, there will be someone strong enough to hear your devastation and to support you as trust me, you will need support.

The bully often acts alone but can work as a husband and wife team if of similar personality or two workmates who have a co-dependency issue.


There are several different types of adult bullies, and it helps to know how they operate:

  1. Narcissistic Adult Bully: This type of adult bully is self-centered and does not share empathy with others. Additionally, there is little anxiety about consequences. He or she seems to feel good about him or herself, but in reality has a brittle narcissism that requires putting others down.

  2. Impulsive Adult Bully: Adult bullies in this category are more spontaneous and plan their bullying out less. Even if consequences are likely, this adult bully has a hard time restraining his or her behavior. In some cases, this type of bullying may be unintentional, resulting in periods of stress, or when the bully is actually upset or concerned about something unconnected with the victim.

  3. Physical Bully: While adult bullying rarely turns to physical confrontation, there are, nonetheless, bullies that use physicality. In some cases, the adult bully may not actually physically harm the victim, but may use the threat of harm, or physical domination through looming. Additionally, a physical bully may damage or steal a victim’s property, rather than physically confronting the victim.

  4. Verbal Adult Bully: Words can be quite damaging. Adult bullies who use this type of tactic may start rumors about the victim, or use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate or humiliate another person. This subtle type of bullying also has the advantage – to the bully – of being difficult to document. However, the emotional and psychological impacts of verbal bullying can be felt quite keenly and can result in reduced job performance and even depression.

5:     Secondary Adult Bully: This is someone who does not       initiate the bullying, but joins in so that he or she does not actually become a victim down the road.

Secondary bullies may feel bad about what they are doing, but are more concerned about protecting themselves.


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Busy times

Sandra reporting in after a hectic January.

This is my 23rd Fruit Season and as usual I am thoroughly enjoying myself.

Ruby is my right hand man in the Fruit Stall whilst Sam is in charge of the day to day running of the Orchard so everything is running smoothly.
It can be very hectic at times but all is going well.

There has been no spare time to get back onto my laptop as we all dive out of bed at 4am to greet the day.

I am so pooped by the end of the day; I am the first one to bed and often sneak away as early as 7pm.
In my defence I’m old!!!!!!!
I can’t believe I used to do such long days!! Ah ah ah.

And can you believe the summer we’ve had so far???….I feel so guilty whining as the poor folk in England, America and Australia, to name a few countries, have had appalling weather conditions during January.
Homes lost, livelihoods lost, lives lost……
All too sad.

For us February will probably bring us warmer weather, which will be a welcome relief.
Ruby has taken over bottling again this season.
She is a ‘little mini me’ as I used to have that enthusiasm.
Not these days though.
I marvel at having such a wonderful daughter.

We are once again hosting Wwoofers and so far this season we have hosted Jasna, Derrick and Vivienne
Such wonderful young people.
They are all from the Northern Hemisphere so I haven’t had to apologize too much for the weather as their home countries are in the throes of winter and our cold summer is still much warmer than what they would be enduring if they were at home.

This Fruit Season has brought much sadness once again; many customers have not returned as they departed from this Earth during the year.
We have met hundreds and hundreds of wonderful folk throughout the years and each passing is just so sad.
The other day a dear customer/friend, Avis, passed away suddenly.
We looked forward to her visits when she came for her Moorparks and Peaches faithfully each and every year and assumed we would see her again this season.
How wrong we were.
We shed many tears when she lost her Jim a few years ago, and now we shed the same amount of tears this time round.

I have been replying personally to my ‘Aunty S’ column and will post some of them as time permits.

A big thank you for all the emails during my absence during January and as an added bonus, I have been pleasantly surprised to discover how many customers read my blog.
Thanks ever so much for all the positive feedback.

I have found getting back into writing has been so therapeutic which is of course why Sam and Ruby talked me into writing a blog.

To be honest I didn’t even know what a blog was until they sat me down and described it blow by blow.
Ruby is my ‘moderator’ so she checks for spam and indecent comments daily.
Can you believe it; I an old lady of nearly 60, receives the odd vulgar comment!!   Strange world.
Ruby protects me from all this!!!
Isn’t she wonderful?

Sam made the blog for me. I described it and he built it to perfection!
My wonderful son.

As Aunty Belle always says to me, “Our kids Mum” with such a proud look on her face , as she cuddles me ever so tightly.   She may have very limited speech but can always convey her pride in Sam and Ruby whom she loves to bits.

Alex would have loved my blog as I used to write under a pseudonym in my younger days when I was a teeny tiny bit of a controversial writer.
He was always proud of my writings and insisted I put my name to each piece but of course being the coward I was, I didn’t.
But hey I did generate a lot of conversation though!!
That was enough for me.
He was so supportive.
How I miss him!!!

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if you planted hope today


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Ask Aunty S

Dear Aunty S

My mother lives alone in a large house and cannot keep up with the housework.

Her fridge has old food in it and she hasn’t cleaned the carpets in years.

I want her to move to a Retirement Village but she refuses.

She has enough money to buy a new home without selling up so could move instantly.

Any ideas as to how to make her see sense?


Aunty S Responds:

What about hiring a ‘home help’ to go in once or twice a week?

You could share the cost amongst your family or siblings.

Are there any grandchildren who could mow Nana’s lawn?

You describe her as having all her facilities so I can understand her reluctance to move.

I’m in my 60th year and I’m afraid there are things I can’t do anymore as old age has certainly caught up with me!

You sound like a caring, concerned daughter but my darling you need to stop worrying, as I am sure your Mum will know when it’s time, if ever, to move into a Retirement Home.

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Ask Aunty S


Dear Aunty S

I often spend Xmas holiday with my kids but this year my ex wife has taken them on holiday to the beach.

They were given the choice of going with me or the beach, and they chose the beach.

I am angry with my ex for bribing them like this, as I can’t compete with extravagant holidays.

What can I do to stop her in the future?


Aunty S Responds:

You won’t like my answer I’m afraid.

This has got to be about the kids and the added information you have given is that your ex is actually thinking of the kids.

This holiday that she has taken them on is an adventure and what kid wouldn’t want an adventure and certainly isn’t extravagant.

Be happy that your ex is prepared to rough it to make the kids happy and to ‘memory make.’  Tenting is hard work!!!!

Imagine if she was the type of mother who is quite happy to sit at home with a bottle of gin with the backdoor open for the kids to play in the street!

You and your new partner have a new baby so focus on your new life.

Furthermore, your ex has never stopped you from seeing your kids so don’t rock the boat.

The fact that the kids are coming to you for the last two weeks of the school holidays should make you a happy Dad.

One day soon they will be of an age where they will take stock of all the drama of their childhood so now is the time to make up for breaking up the family unit by not creating more drama in their lives, as they certainly didn’t ask to be in this situation nor did your ex-wife.

Keep being a good Dad to all three of your children.

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Cyber Harassment



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cyber bullying

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Cyber-bullying case 2

Emails have been piling up in my inbox over the past week from folk who are or have been cyber-bullied so I will write further on this subject.


First off, I must reiterate.

Don’t isolate yourself as this is what a bully wants you to do.

There are some occasions where the bully has total control so you will be alone through no fault of your own.

In this case phone relatives or friends who live further afield and tell them what you are going through.

Remember don’t be embarrassed as to your plight.

This is not your shame.

You need folk to validate how you feel.


One man told me of how his work colleague wanted his job so started both a cyber and social bullying campaign against him, dragging his wife into the mix as well.

He thought it was best to ignore, hoping it would die down, but of course the bully took this as a sign of weakness so he upped the intensity of the attack.

As they lived in a small town and with many of their friends believing what was said/written they felt alone and betrayed.

Not one friend came to them to ask for their version of events.

The bully had total control.

The ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on the bully’s Facebook page were from friends they had known all their lives.

These foolish people had no idea they were part of a well-orchestrated campaign to drive a man out of his job so the bully would be promoted which is exactly what happened.

In the end he simply couldn’t stand the cruelness any longer so they sold and moved many miles away.


A few months later the bully was found out and was fired.

This was cold comfort for this man as he was well and truly worn out mentally from the whole saga.

He has a minimal chance of ever finding work again as he is close to my age and to make matters worse, the job he was bullied out of, had been his job since leaving school, which makes it ever so sad.

There are so many stories I could relay but I think you get the picture.

A victim is often asked,

“What have you done to make them hate you?”

In response to this question I ask you to remember back to your school days.

What did you do to make the school bully throw your lunch in the bin?

What did you do to make the school bully tell you how fat and ugly you were?

What did you do to make the school bully punch you?

What did you do to make the school bully tell lies about you?

What did you do to make the school bully rip your towel off you in the changing shed after a swimming lesson so as to humiliate you in front of your classmates?


The answer of course is “nothing”.

And never forget; a bully is a sad and weak individual who feels empowered when disempowering someone else.

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Throughout the past few months since my blog has been up and running, I have received many emails and phone calls from widows both young and old.
The common theme, being how harsh life is now without their husbands and how surprised and hurt they are by family and friends’ cold indifference to their grief.

Whilst I am sure there are many widows who have wonderful supportive friends and family, there are others who are not so fortunate and this is what I want to talk about, as it appears to be a taboo subject.
Many widows feel very alone and are unaware that others are being treated just as harshly as they.

One woman described how she had more sympathy offered when her dog died.
Another told of how she and her husband had for many years holidayed overseas each year with friends and after he died; the thought of the holiday in seven months time gave her something to look forward to.

Then out of the blue her closest friend told her that she was no longer welcome as it was for couples only.

An elderly widow told of how she is not allowed to mention her late husband anymore as her family is ‘sick of hearing of him.’

The most vocal of the bunch was her son.
He then lost his wife and finally understood her pain; now the other siblings are picking on him as well!

One woman received ‘attention’ from her best friend’s husband and when she rejected his advances he went home and told his wife that she had come on to him.
Her friend believed her rat bag husband and severed their sixteen-year friendship.

Another was told that she was no longer welcome at the monthly dinner parties as it was for couples only.
She had hosted and attended them for fifteen years.


A young widow came home after the Funeral to find her house stripped of all the furniture and her husband’s belongings.  
Her mother in law had organized a removal firm to attend to it whilst they were at the Funeral.
The mother in law insisted that she had furnished the house for her son not for her so everything belonged to her. 
The widow was too devastated to fight as she had two young children to care for her so she went home to Australia within days.


One son asked his mother the day after her husband’s Funeral to move into a “Home” as he wanted her house signed over to him now rather than when she is dead.  She is only in her late 60’s!!

A widow arrived home after burying her husband to find her family had already started dividing up her furniture as they had decided she wouldn’t be needed it all now that she was on her own.

Another widow wrote to say how her brother in law turned up the day after her husbands funeral and told her he would look after her late husband’s restored Valiant and when she asked about it a few months later, she found he had transferred ownership into his name and it had been sold.
He insisted she had given it to him!

There are many more stories to tell but I think you get the picture.
Where is the empathy these days?
Are we becoming more and more a materialistic selfish society where possessions are more important than people?


Things to say and things not to say to a Widow


‘I am so sorry’ is all that is required if you truly don’t know what to say.

Don’t gossip about a widow as this is cruel and unnecessary and when she comes out of the horrendous black hole of grief, watch out!!

‘When are you going to smile again?’ is a really stupid thing to say.
Try being a widow and see if you can smile!!!!!!

Chatting about how you and your husband are going on holiday to Sydney for a week or moaning about your husband’s shortcomings isn’t really appropriate.

My personal favourite:
‘Sometimes I think I’d like to be on my own too Sandra.’

‘I am so sick of my husband.  Sometimes I wish he would die.”
(“I am sure he feels the same about you my dear,” is what I wanted to say but of course as I am a lady I bit my tongue.  Silly me…)

“You will find somebody else”  Oh really, will I?  Maybe I don’t want anybody else. Do I get a say in it?

‘Life will get easier after a few weeks.’  And you know this how?

“I wish I had only me to cook for.”  Gosh it’s great to know that you thought I starved Mum, Aunty Belle, Sam and Ruby!!!!


On a personal note since my husband died, I have seen the best of people and sadly the worst.

Rather a sweeping statement you may say but it is the simple truth.

97% of folk were and are still brilliant. 
No problems with this bunch. 
It’s the 3% who did the damage and sadly some are still doing so.
They will eventually find another dog to kick so my family and I must endure it a while longer.

Within hours of Alex’s death we were inundated with food, which was gratefully received, as the thought of eating or shopping didn’t enter our heads.

I focused on keeping the same showering, watering and feeding routine going with Mum and Aunty Belle as neither could comprehend where he was and their devastation was huge.


As there was no warning of my husband’s death, the shock was tremendous.

Being self-employed we were unable to take the time to fully comprehend our grief.

The fruit wasn’t going to stop ripening and we needed our income.

Money wasn’t going to fall from the sky; we had to work.

The very day Alex died, Ruby and I were sorting cherries in the Fruit Stall whilst Sam picked.

Our customers, town folk and friends inundated us with either food, kindness or both during those first horrific weeks.

A busy Orchardist taught Sam how to spray; a job Alex had always insisted was his domain; a retired accountant spent a day ensuring our books were up to date; offers of assistance came from all quarters…we were so humbled by the caring.

A huge bird dropped off on Xmas day fed us for two days.
Xmas meant nothing as our minds were preoccupied with the Funeral for Alex, which was organized for a couple of days later.


A few weeks after Alex died, our Haven peach trees were stripped under the cover of darkness.
Robbing from a widow is a bit low I thought.
The odd apricot tree close to the road was stripped every now and then as well.
One car pulled up one night at 10pm just when Sam was coming up from the river block.
The poor man scrambled back into the car whilst the driver gunned the motor and took off at high speed.
It was a bit of light relief that Sam needed at that point in time.

There were other areas of thieving that affected the running of the Orchard but the ”what goes around comes around’ philosophy paid off in the end.
It was a long wait but eventually they were exposed, much to their horror as they thought they’d gotten away with it.
Pathetic revenge tactics seem to be their new strategy so yes I know what it’s like to be taken advantage of when you are a widow and I know they wouldn’t have dared do this if Alex had been alive.

Dreadful things have happened to me and are still happening but not to the scale that some poor women have to cope with.
We are all in the widows club; a club we never signed up for, membership was thrust upon us by the death of our husbands.

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