Celebrating Half a Century


The last few months I have had a special top secret project.  I have been making a book to celebrate my dear husband’s 50th birthday.

But I haven’t been making it alone.  His friends, family, students and more have been emailing and sometimes telephoning me stories, and photographs.  There have been poems, telegrammatic messages,  a caricature and anecdotes from those who know him and appreciate him for who he is.

His sister did some editing for me as well as tracking down networks I couldn’t.  Just brilliant and so helpful.  His friends, many of whom don’t consider themselves writers, dug deep and put into words what he has done for them as a mentor and friend.

What emerged from this process was a very special book, which was full of tributes and jokes, photographs I had never seen before, and his friend’s versions of stories which our children have often heard him tell, but which they can now also read, and which have shown him just how special he is to all of us.  He was incredibly moved by the stories.

In addition to this I included certificates, photos, letters, card excerpts, and some of his own writing, as he used to send me the most beautiful poems about life, and my own account of our lives together which referenced people who have made a difference to our lives.

As the book is done through blurb, there is a pdf that any of his friends  and family may request from me if they want a copy.  As well as that I can order physical copies for the children to share with their own familes when they are older.

As for my husband’s response to this book, he truly loves his present; it is the best one I have ever given him.  He has been especially impressed by the tribute from former student, Dan and his dear friend Johana.  He has had a good old giggle at some of the stories and been completely humbled, even floored, by the esteem many of us have for him.

I think the book has shown him that he has made a difference to a lot of people in his life, something teachers and parents don’t often have said to them.  On top of that I hope it has shown him it is never too late to achieve other dreams he may still wish to.

In making this book, I did my best to lay it out as beautifully as I could and edit the text submissions.  I thought about my husband’s many loves like: Afl football, cricket, teaching, family, science, study,mentoring, and his faith.  All of this was going to need to be represented in the book.  Sometimes I just let photographs do the talking.  I captioned images where I could, because well one day, someone other than us or our children will be looking at the book and might like to know who the people are. In all, it took 192 pages to achieve what I wanted, 300+ photographs, countless friends and family, and nearly 5 months of work, including waking in the middle of the night towards the end to finish it on time,  and yes, there could have been much more.

A huge thank you to all of the people who helped me make this book.  We do hope to visit many of you soon.

Inspired by this project I am now planning my next family book, but for now I have a few other writing projects of a very different kind in the works.

Have you ever made a special family book?  What was the response to it?  Who helped you make it?

Dan’s Tribute
From Johana
First page of account from David’s Mum
From our dear family friend Owen

(c) June Perkins

How to use Silly to Cope with a Natural Disaster


Today I flew in to Jedda Bradley’s facebook space for a chat.

It was bucket loads of fun – the full interview mentions reality tv, chocolate, guinea pigs, chainsaws, and Hamish and Andy.  

To read why visit  Jedda Bradley’s Artist Page.  Here is a short extract.

Chatting with Jedda

Ten BIG, medium and tiny Questions for June….who lived through the terrifying nail-biting cyclone Yasi that hit the Cassowary Coast of North Queensland and then she had to clean the s*** up. Really not fair! I mean, it’s bad enough going to a scary movie and having to remember to take my popcorn box and my coke container to the bin but this kind of clean up you can’t even get the hoover out and just let it suck everything up.

So June….

1) What implement is most effective in cleaning up after a cyclone?

If you have one, or can borrow one, a chainsaw!

2) What clothes are best for cleaning up after a cyclone? And if you had to create a brand of unique clothes just for cleaning up after a cyclone what would you call it?

Anything you’d paint your house in and don’t care about, because it can get messy and sweaty. Hat and protective gloves, and reasonable boots would be helpful.

I have no idea what I’d call a clothing brand that was made for cyclone clean ups. I do know I would like such a brand to be non-profit, designed by comedians, and given out by Council, Red Cross and charities.

It would be great to have a funny, inspirational and educational clean up tshirt with reminders on the back like ‘take care with power lines, drink plenty of fluid, don’t do too much, help a friend, be kind to the SES, etc’ and a space for people to write on the tshirt their own personal saying or slogan with a fabric pen.

I wonder what Hamish and Andy would call a clothing brand.

3) Who was with you during the cyclone? Did you get ring crunch because you had forgotten to take off your wedding ring and were holding David’s hand too tightly?

My hubby, our three kids, four pet guinea pigs, our lovable but crazy bird Peep (who took off to bring other birds to our house for shelter), and two pet quails.

For the entire interview visit  the delightful Jedda Bradley’s Artist Page

If you want to be eligible for a free ebook or free photo print visit Jedda’s facebook space and leave a comment just like Melissa has.


We are at the half way point of the blog tour. I look forward to the next stop at Carol Campbell’s poetry blog.

Better get busy making sure the final launch activities are ready.  Thanks so much to everyone supporting the tour.

Eggs: To eat or not to eat?

This is my neice’s nutrition blog, if you want to learn more about this evolving science, from a qualified nutritionist, head over there, and follow her blog.

Nourish Me Simply

Nutrition is certainly an evolving science. As more and more research is done into the health effect of different foods, nutrition scientists, health bodies and dietitians are constantly reviewing the evidence to ensure that the advice they give people is up-to-date. Occasionally, new evidence emerges to show that this advice is not accurate. and needs to change.

In my view, there’s no better symbol of this than the humble egg. Until relatively recently, people were advised to limit the number of eggs they ate. This was because, being high in cholesterol, eggs were thought to increase one’s risk of heart disease. (To put this into context, this was before we tested for “good” (HDL) and “bad” (LDL) cholesterol separately, and instead lumped it all into a single category. If your total cholesterol was high, that was bad. If it was low, that was good. Simple. Of course, we now know that it is…

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Hidden Walks

Have been writing a few pieces inspired by photographs.
It’s important to write some of these down whilst I remember the emotions and places. How long will my memory last, how far back can it reach?

Following the Crow Song

banana field Banana Field in Tully Town – June Perkins

Every town, urban or rural, has the hidden walks.  These are the ones the locals know about and love.  These walks can be found in the oddest places.

They might be alongside a river, behind a school, near a local airport, through a school or field, down a road you found one day,  or up a hill to a street with the perfect view.

These are the places I love to walk and photograph with my family, because they are not so obvious.  Yet they are the places you come to know if you live somewhere for any length of time.

I loved that a rural town like Tully has banana and cane fields right up to the border of town.  I loved that when you headed around the streets walking you found small creeks almost everywhere.

It had a hidden beauty…

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Firelight Sing-a-long

A memory triggered by a photograph of music by the firelight.

Following the Crow Song

2012-08-18 2012-09-08 001 113 (2) Firelight Singer – By June Perkins

By the firelight we singalong.  We’ve asked eldest to bring out his guitar and he’s become our karoke machine.  He knows so many songs.  But he doesn’t sing aloud with us yet.

Hubby sings the loudest, to the beat of his own drum, daughter and youngest sing louder to help him sing with their tuning.

I sing if I know the lyrics to the songs they have chosen.

We sing to the moonlit cane.

Once we even see a horde of runaway rats in the trees once the cane provides no more shelter.  Perhaps they have come to hear us sing, and we need to employ eldest like a pied guitarist to take them back into the fields.

Eldest’s voice has been breaking, and he’s kept it a secret.  We have no idea what it sounds like yet.

Sometimes I think I hear him…

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