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The Story of Our Family, by Julia Millen. Kelburn Normal School 1954

Posted by Julia Millen on Monday, July 10, 2017,
Part 1: In Hokitika & Oamaru

In 1935 Myra Josephine was born in a little town on the west coast of the South Island called Hokitika. Two years later John Macdonald was born. Macdonald is the Scottish clan which we are descended from. Mummy is half Scottish and so is Daddy. Daddy was working for the Bank of New Zealand and when, in 1939, the family moved to Oamaru, Daddy was the Bank's manager.

The Bank house in Oamaru was made of one-foot thick Oamaru stone. It was large and roomy and had a bi...
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Fluffy takes flight, by Julia Millen

Posted by Amanda Symes on Thursday, March 13, 2014,
Fluffy was still perched high in the sycamore tree on shaky, spindly branches. Bob was at the top step of the ladder, but he couldn't reach Fluffy's branch. He had a strange machine in his hand. Suddenly there was an awful screeching noise. Bob was holding onto the ladder with one hand and jabbing at a lower branch with the machine. With a crash the little branch below broke off and was gone - Fluffy was still on her branch but she was flying. The ground was a long way below, and getting clos...
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Fluffy

Posted by Julia Millen on Monday, March 10, 2014,


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Fluffy's Big Adventure - by Julia Millen. Continued...

Posted by Julia Millen on Sunday, March 9, 2014,
Fluffy clung to the spindly top branches, swaying with the wind. 
'There she is.' Annette, Bob and the other man were standing at the foot of the tree looking up and pointing.
'How do we get her down?'
'She'll come by herself - when she's hungry.'
Fluffy stayed where she was. Annette kept on calling, but Fluffy would not move from her perch. She was scared of the dogs. The wind howled and shrieked in the treetops.  
Darkness came with more wind and rain. It was a long night. Fluffy was wet and co...
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Fluffy's Big Adventure, by Julia Millen

Posted by Amanda Symes on Tuesday, March 4, 2014,
Not long after breakfast Fluffy was sitting on the porch having a bit of a wash: a big effort with extra long fur. She heard an engine noise: a Ute was coming up the drive. She watched as a man got out and then she saw them: three big dogs in the back. Fluffy made a quick dash under a bush. Annette and Bob came out of the house. The dogs started barking and then jumped down to the ground: Bella - a golden retriever; Murph - a ginger mongrel; Lucy - a retro-doodle. The dogs were nosing about a...
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Babu's song, by Julia Millen

Posted by Amanda Symes on Monday, March 3, 2014,
Babu had been in his new home for 2 days. Still a bit nervous, he spent a lot of time hiding behind the piano or under the bed. Sometimes he came out to practice his old tricks - like shredding the cushion covers and biting leaves off the indoor plants. He was pleased when the new people gave him tastier food. On his second night he had fresh fish - one of his favourites. That night the phone rang. It was the children from his old home in Auckland.
'How's Babu?' they said.
'He's settling down...
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Babu goes exploring, by Julia Millen

Posted by Amanda Symes on Monday, February 3, 2014,
Babu jumped out of the beer crate and began exploring. His legs felt a bit wobbly after his long journey and he nearly fell over, so he had to walk slowly. It was a strange house and very draughty. He realised he'd have to start growing a new fur coat. Walking about, sniffing and listening he suddenly pricked up his ears, peeked around a corner and there it was. A fridge. It was purring at him. He didn't feel like purring himself - not just yet - but he gave the fridge a little rub down, just...
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Babu's New Home, by Julia Millen

Posted by Julia Millen on Monday, January 13, 2014,
Tom met me at Wellington Airport.
'Where is he? He seemed to be expecting a furry black varmint to be peeking out from my handbag. 
'Have to go to a separate part of the terminal.' I said. 
We collected my luggage and then drove the car around to the freight section.
Inside we wandered about until an attendant came out from the back.
'Is this what your'e looking for?' he pointed. There was only one item on the counter - a beer crate.
'That's must be it.' Tom picked up the crate and we went back to ...
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Babu goes south, by Julia Millen

Posted by Julia Millen on Thursday, December 12, 2013,
Next day I was packed ready to go to the airport. My brother had nailed slats on the top of the beer crate to make a lid and with a black felt tip pen we put an arrow on the side and wrote: This Way Up. The whole family got in the car. Then we looked around. Where's Babu? The children got out again and dashed about trying to find him. They looked under the bed - not there. They looked in the kitchen. There he was - sitting, waiting by the place where the fridge used to be. The little boy pick...
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Babu takes off, by Julia Millen

Posted by Julia Millen on Wednesday, December 4, 2013,
The whole family was worried. Especially Babu. How was he going to live in a house without a fridge?
At this stage my brother looked at me.
'How would you like to have a cat?'
'Well. I'll have to ask Tom what he thinks,' I said.
That night I rang Tom in Wellington. 
'Would we like a cat? He's very handsome. Black with a tuft of white under his chin and he has big yellow green eyes.'
'OK by me,' he said. 'But he'll be a furry bundle of trouble.'
And as it turned out, Tom was right.
My next job was t...
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Babu's continuing story, by Julia Millen

Posted by Julia Millen on Sunday, December 1, 2013,
Babu sat staring at the space in the kitchen where the fridge used to be. The family were only a week away from sailing into uncharted seas. If they took the cat with them he would probably be washed overboard and drowned. They tried to find someone who would like to adopt a cat. They thought they had found a family. They piled into the car with Babu in the back seat. They drove to the address where the family lived. The children looked out of the car window - then they saw it. A dog. They lo...
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Babu's story

Posted by Julia Millen on Friday, November 22, 2013,
On our dining room windowsill is a small wooden box with a label. Babu. This furry rascal came into our lives when my brother and his family were getting ready to sail around the world in a 40 foot ketch. I went to Auckland to see them before they left. In their rented house in Onehunga, they had sold or disposed of most of their furniture including the fridge. The cat was having a nervous breakdown.  
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