Thursday, 22 December 2022




Christmas Day is almost upon us

I saw Santa today..and yesterday

and the day before..surrounded by children, 

of all ages…one even had grey hair.

Smiles from passers by 

as Ms Grey Hair sat on Santa’s knee.

Some little ones asked their parents..

“Why is that lady sitting with Santa?”

“She’s whispering to Santa and he’s smiling..”

She gave him a hug, said “You’ve made my day”

And wandered off, smiling, with damp eyes.

I happen to know Santa’s helper quite well

and saw her later on, having a coffee break.

She came over and sat with me 

and said that she’d seen me earlier.

I didn’t ask, but she answered the question 

I would have asked.

“Her grandchildren moved to another state

and she had always told them that she knew Santa 

... whenever they were not acting as they should.”

The youngest had called her asking her not to tell Santa

that she had eaten her brother’s cake 

or he wouldn’t leave her any presents.

Grandmother had a dilemma.. should she just agree

or should she teach her not to eat other peoples’ cakes.

She decided to send a photo of her with Santa

just to be sure that the lesson was learnt.

The photo worked.. her granddaughter asked her 

to tell Santa that she was sorry 

and that she gave her special cake to her brother.

Grandmas are just grown up clever children.

(c) Crissouli Dec 2022

Sunday, 28 August 2022




’Tis not the basic facts 

That matter most to me

Nor the dates I find on papers

They are just another one, two, three..

Rather it’s the people 

That I’ve met along the way

It’s the friendships formed among them

That make the search more fun. 

Whether it’s a conference 

Or just a simple lunch

You can be sure there will be laughter 

From a very friendly bunch.

Advice is always welcome 

And we share all that we find

For family genealogists

Are known for being kind.

We love to share the stories 

Of families near and far

This is the way we celebrate 

Thank you all for who you are.

© Crissouli 28th Aug 2022 

Image courtesy of

Saturday, 20 August 2022




Boxes of photos, 

and birthday cards too

letters from family, 

I have quite a few.

I kept all the envelopes, 

they give me a clue

as to where people were when 

and when they moved home

like so many others

they tended to roam.

I love the few treasures

from each I have known

it might be a trinket

or a plant they have grown..

it could be an address book

filled with names they did know

some searching is needed

to make the family tree grow.

I have a beautiful rug that 

my grandmother wove

kept in a great leather port

with which my grandfather did rove..

and even some trinkets 

in gold, silver… and mauve.

From one Aunt ..candle holders

a liqueur set from another

and an artists box filled

from their talented brother…

There are so many memories

 entrusted to me

as the keeper of treasures

of our extended family.

© Crissouli 19 Aug 2022 

Papauli's suitcase..

Floral arrangement vintage-flowers

Friday, 12 August 2022




       No tent or caravan, 

        nor fancy flat to rent..

        But still we packed for holidays

         With every thing to feel content.

             A single mattress for Mum and Dad

       Soft eiderdowns for kids

          Mum packed several saucepans

       Including all their lids.

         Of course there was a Primus

        And a teapot with a lid

                 With cups for Mum and Dad of course

           And a beaker for each kid.

          Clothes were in a suitcase

        Shoes were in a box

         Another held the ‘extras’

          Including all the socks.

          The pillows and the blankets

          Were piled up really neat

            As well as several hessian bags

        In case of dirty feet.

              We always took some books to read

             with a torch or two as well..

          But mostly read by candlelight 

           It somehow cast a spell.

           Cartons held some food of course

                And an ice chest had the drinks

               We had everything we’d ever want.

               As well as mozzie coils (and stinks!)

          Everything was nice and neat

         Canvas covered the whole lot       

        We felt so very happy

         As in our truck we got!

         Crissouli © 11 Aug 2022

Thursday, 4 August 2022



I cannot help but smile when I hear his name

or come across a photo… 

He was my hero, my special person

He was the one who always had a smile, 

a hug, and a lap to snuggle on.

I can still smell his pipe 

and feel the softness of his cardigan..

and see the diamond pattern on the front.

He was very tall, and had strong shoulders

that gave me a favourite place to ride. 

“I’m nearly up to the stars, Papauli..”

“You are, mikroúli mou.. nearly there!”

He taught me how to drain honey from the combs

and to always wear gloves “just in case”.

He didn’t think it was at all strange 

when I named all the chooks .. 

and it was he who quietened my grandmother

when she was about to tell me 

which of my feathered friends was in the oven.

I was his shadow.. wherever he was, so was I. 

He helped us pick fruit and flowers ..

so long as they weren’t our grandmother’s special ones…

No one in need ever went away empty-handed 

and there were always a few logs to chop

for those who needed a meal but wanted to ‘earn’ it. 

His kindness and generosity was valued by all 

as was shown by the enormous procession 

(that I at first thought was a parade)

that wound it’s way through the town and out to the cemetery.

I was just five years old, 

with a heart that never completely healed.

Crissouli Aug 2022

‘Papauli’ is grandfather, ‘mikroúli mou’ is ‘little one’ in Greek.

RIP Theodore Haralambos Catsoulis

21 Jun 1878 - 19 May 1953

A true gentleman…much loved and still missed.

Monday, 25 April 2022




He had been wandering near the cliffs and along the beach

Searching for days, hoping he would find his son..

'Missing in action' they told hope of finding him now.

There was so much debris, so many abandoned dugouts..

Destroyed equipment, parts of tents, dead animals, and mass graves..

Some had wooden crosses, some, parts of uniforms..

Few had names. Here and there, there were departed souls..

Waiting for burial. His heart swelled with sadness..

So many young lives lost. 

The battle was over, but the debris remained, shrouded in horror.

He'd been told by many that he would have to accept his loss..

His son wouldn't be returning to the farm. He would be alone..

He heard the birds before he saw them...

They were picking about a pile of discarded ration packs. 

He heard a groan, surely no one had survived this carnage..

Maybe, just maybe..he called out as he stumbled towards the rubbish..

The birds flew off and he heard a voice..

He pulled away the heap of rubbish and saw a face, badly injured, 

but alive..

'My boy, my boy!' he cried..but not his boy..someone else's son..

Half buried in the dirt. He scraped around him, 

freeing him from a heavy plank..

He wore the uniform of the enemy,  just a boy, 

about the same age as his son. 

He couldn't leave him there, his family would be mourning him..

He half carried him, half dragged him to his farmhouse 

a short distance away.

The young soldier was confused, not knowing what lay ahead.

He was treated with nothing but kindness and after some time, 


The war ended and the young man eventually returned to his own home, 

never forgetting that it was a father's love for his son, 

that had saved his life.

Crissouli 25th April, 2022

Saturday, 10 July 2021




that you would have been celebrating your 91st birthday today...I wonder if you would have changed as little as your sisters did, both of whom reached 92 years...

I'm sure that your always encompassing smile and open heart would be the same. I remember your laughter, those twinkling eyes.. your pretence at being upset when Dad teased you about something.. and those swinging hips when you were actually annoyed. Dad would shrug it off, saying that you would be fine... or at least he hoped so.

You loved nothing better than being surrounded by family and friends..

It seemed the jug was always boiling, teapot warmed and that small kitchen table always had room for one more setting. Both you and Dad would be the first to offer help to any and all in need..  We were taught from a very early age that the greatest gift you could give anyone was to listen and reach out... I lost count very early on of the numbers of people you cooked a meal for, made up a bed, delivered "just a few items", took care of ill relatives or friends, offered a lift .. or in some times, dug through your own small wardrobe to clothe someone else.

What I miss most is having you see your grandchildren grow up to become the wonderful people they are.. and your great grandchildren... 

So much to say, but so much already said.. 

Today, the anniversary of your birthday, I, along with so many others, remember you with love and admiration. Rest in peace, beautiful lady.

Pa (Roy Swadling) Peg & Vince Catsoulis (Mum & Dad) Scarborough c 1965

Photo above..

Margaret Joy (Peg) Swadling 17 yrs, Dorrigo, NSW