Interview With Ben (age 10) About Saving Forests

Today, we had an interview with Ben, aged 10, a school boy in New South Wales who is doing a project on rain forests and the need for conservation.  Ben sent me his questions by email and we hooked up with Skype, so he could record the interview.

I would like to share his questions and my answers with you – along with some of the photographs I sent to him by email for his project.  The questions were all set by Ben and I simply answered them as I saw fit.  His mother was present during the interview and was very pleased with the information Ben received.

 1)     How can we best preserve our rainforests?

Ant Lion Homes In The Sand

It is very important that we understand the depth of their bio-diversity and that habitat is not just trees. Many people overlook little things about habitat: it is the fallen leaf litter and the decaying logs in which the lizards and the beetles live, as much as the beautiful butterflies in the tree tops.

I have been to Cairns in Northern Queensland and to Sabah in Borneo, to visit rainforests and to try and understand how we can ignore their value as part of our environmental health. [Read more…]

Photos, Memories and Time.

Cats!  A veritable lifetime of cats: Dim Sim, Muggins, Mao Tse Tung, Ten Sing Tung, Splinter, Amber, Lloyd, Kitten and others.  Dogs!  WACL, the black labrador, Choti the miniature dachshund and two Pepper dogs, (dalmations who were entirely different from one another) whose consecutive lives spanned more than 30 years.

There was Burt, a pink and grey galah who escaped after 27 years of captivity and who now flies free with the local flock at Warren and Lisa’s place.

Did I mention three children and their marriage partners, some stepchildren, lots of grandchildren, my parents and dozens of associated family members?  There were cars, jeeps, tractors; a shade house, frogs and frog gardens. Two husbands, too.

Having never done it properly before, at the beginning of 2011 I decided to collate all my printed photos into a set of lovely albums.  I bought a matching set of 10 photo albums at Things over the holiday break. These will hold 2,000 photos and postcards and I bought as many albums as I expected to need, so that they will make a beautiful display as well as keeping my precious pictures safe.

While I was at Warren and Lisa’s (cat sitting as usual), I started sorting those I had taken with me (mostly Bali) as best as my memory will allow.  T-shirts are a good indication of photos taken at the same event, or the fact that one hotel had a swim up bar and the other did not.  A good tip on sorting printed photos is to line them all up on one edge and sort them into groups of pictures of exactly the same size.  Photo shops, especially in Bali, cut the pictures so they are just marginally different in size and it is quite easy to get all the photos from one film sorted from the others.

Once I started sorting them, three things became abundantly clear:

  • Lots of photos I wanted and remembered were not amongst the ones I had taken with me to sort out while I was cat-sitting at Warren and Lisa’s house, although I could not imagine where they were – since we had recently moved houses.  Some of them I really wanted for my stories, too.
  • My idea of collating by topic was nowhere near as good as putting them into chronological order.
  • I needed more photo albums.

I also needed my old passport!!! Immigration and customs stamps are invaluable when you are sorting old photos.

Over the years, there had been five trips to Bali, with funerals, weddings and visits to the homes of our Bali friends; not to mention my white water rafting and para-sailing while Robbie held the fort and the beachhead.  We had regular visits to Sanur, the volcano and the black beach with Jimmy and Mickey from the Bali Bagia, where they would take a day off from work and play “tourist” with us.

My own seven or eight overseas trips – including Hawaii, New Zealand, Las Vegas, Mexico, London and Sabah meant that somewhere I still had loads of photos to find.  While there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of pictures on disc, printed photos going back to around 1992 need a good chronology.

I have committed myself this year to also cataloguing many of my father’s photographs of his career in the mining industry of Western Australia and tunnelling in the Snowy Mountains because he has hundreds that need his explanations; his memory is excellent and he is a living treasure of history in this, his 94th year.

I have made the first start on his collection and we were lucky enough to espy a whole box of photographs from our earlier years exactly as I remembered them: stored in a bright gold gift bag – last seen in the shed at Stoneville when we had packed up one more time to flee a summer bushfire. This time, they are safely stored in a big plastic box in my little garden shed.

Last week, after spending about three hours with Dad, I chose the first ten photographs to begin creating a series of stories for this Nana to tell.  I will keep bringing them out and putting them into their right order. I think I might need a few more albums, too.

plan to write one story a week and trust that we will get them all done.  To take notes while I interview him – even though the story may be written later – seems to be the way to go. Sorting our photos of family and work, my Dad and I, our lives spill out before us on the table – a patchwork quilt of memories. It is a good life. One that we can share with our families for many years to come.



About sharing this post:  Lesley Dewar is a well known blogger and workshop facilitator who writes regularly on Social Media, marketing and customer service in the category of   Business Tips

Her free eBook can be downloaded directly at Networking To a Plan  Sharing this article is permitted providing this footnote is not deleted – all rights reserved. (c) Lesley Dewar 2012

The Fragrance of Christmas

Angus-kangaroos3House sitting in Stoneville is a regular pleasure for me – while Warren and Lisa travel to different parts of the world, sharing their lives with family and friends.  One Christmas, they were on their way to Canada while I was holding the fort from my own house, just down the road in Stoneville.

I don’t actually remember who was in residence for them at the time and I see some irony in the fact that the recent photo album put up on Stories My Nana Tells on Facebook called “The Plumber Comes” was for the same house as the one mentioned in my poem, in which I now live with my Dad.

The Fragrance of Christmas


Crabtree & Evelyn Christmas Oil
Blended spices and tangerine,
evergreens, amber and incense.


Environmental Oil, with Dropper
says the box, imbued with the exotic
heady bouquet of foreign lands


Tucked away in my bedside table
A joyous fragrance of northern winters
Each time I open the drawer.


Now, the eyedropper is melted and
the glass holds nothing but little
molten drops of pure essence.


For twelve years this gift allays
my fears while your dreams take you
and your wife to Canada.


Help! The tenants phone for a plumber.
But the landlord and his wife
are on their way to see you, my son.


From the bedside drawer, I take the CD
with their travel notes and numbers.
No friendly plumber listed!


I search the Yellow Pages and scan
your brother’s sparse notes while I telephone,
juggle emails and open web pages.


Frustrated by unanswered phones
and wrong numbers, I fan the CD cover.
A warm and gentle aroma teases me.


I search my memory, and suddenly
I remember with a smile.
It is the fragrance of Christmas, my sons.




What Else Do You Want To Know About Lesley Dewar?

Baby Sea Lion

One of Australia’s first Financial Planners, Lesley Dewar maintained a very high reputation for twenty six years until selling her practice in 2009, to launch her new online business, Stories My Nana Tells . This was a long planned career change, as a writer of stories for children aged seven to twelve years old that helps them improve their literacy and provides parents with a tool to help measure comprehension.

She is highly regarded for her skills as a networker and her business knowledge; Lesley has enjoyed a very successful career in motor sales, real estate and financial services spanning over 40 years and received numerous awards. Her career includes innovation, foresight and persistence and she now recognizes “networking” as part of her “life’s purpose” and one that she shares freely  “As a networking enthusiast, it is my goal to see everyone have the success I’ve enjoyed,” she says, “by helping them to find the person or resources that will give them the solution they need at that time”.

Lesley is widely recognised as being highly proficient with Social Media. Lesley has appeared on the Kerri Ann Kennerly Show (Channel 9, Australia) to talk about Social Media; she occasionally writes for the Australian ABC Technology website as their #SilverSurfer, writes monthly for Swan Magazine (an Australian high quality LifeStyle monthly magazine), gives panel presentations and is an experienced conference and platform speaker.

She is a member of Women’s Network Australia, Women In Business WA, National Speakers Association of Australia and attends at least four networking events every month.

She has published her first eBook Networking To A Plan for business. This book has had wide international success, with internet distribution across the world and it can be downloaded as an eBook without charge.

Lesley Dewar is active on Twitter and also on LinkedIn .  She administers the Facebook page for Stories My Nana Tells and the Facebook Group “Asking Nana” (for members of StoriesMy Nana Tells).

She is a breast cancer survivor and wrote twice about her experience: Getting My Mojo Back!half way through her chemo treatment and then, when it had been completed Being A Cancer Survivor – Is Fabulous!.



Welcome to Stories My Nana Tells

What Do You Want To Know About How Lesley Dewar Created This Helicopter Adventure?

What A Party! What A Blast!

If there is one thing the financial planning industry knows how to do well, it is how to party!  And what a party we had, when Lesley Dewar “retired” as a financial planner after 26 years, to launch Stories My Nana Tells!  And there are no photos!

In June, 2009, 97 Clients and 29 Friends let Lesley Dewar introduce Amanda Doyle & Bruce Ponting as the new financial planners for her practice and then joined in the launch of Lesley’s new online venture Stories My Nana Tells

As Lesley tells it:

“Two things I forgot about retirees: they always turn up on time (by 4:30 about 70 were already there), and they stay! We said we would party from 4:30 till 9:00, and they took me at my word!”

Andrew Wright (PIS) was very busy helping to put out more tables and chairs as the clients streamed through the door, being met by Amanda and Lesley and taking a lucky number for a door prize.

This is not the picture the guys wanted autographed.

The Guildford Landing Function Centre was bright and cheerful, the tables set with white linen and decorated with red & green balloons; a big banner for the new business Stories My Nana Tells was hung on the wall. Professional Investment Services (PIS) signs reminded our clients that Bruce and Amanda were licensed Financial Planners, too; the fabulous picture (and only framed one in existence) of the  Navigator ladies was out the front by the entry. There was one of Lesley herself from her “glamour” shots by Gary Sarre up front and centre as you walked in the door.  (Some of the guys did ask for an autographed copy!)  The one we have here is NOT the one which called for autographs.

Her favourite photo of Robbie (Growly Granddad) was off to one side, where he would have been, as always, making sure everything went to plan.  But he was there, in spirit, as always.

Lesley’s Dad – Nono – climbing up on to the roof, after a full knee reconstruction.

Her Dad, Bluey Nancarrow (Nono – one of our story characters)  was fantastic, never mind for being 91 years old and having had a full knee reconstruction at age 90 – before he was photographed climbing up onto the roof of Warren & Liza’s new extensions!

He was quickly pressed into service, handing out “loot bombs” (chocolate; hand cream and bath salts) to all the ladies and PIS carry bags to everyone.

They contained the latest edition of The Swan Magazine which featured a story about Lesley’s retirement as a Financial Planner; a current PIS Financial Services Guide and Bruce and Amanda’s Advisor Profiles. Along with a business card for the new venture, there was also a block of 70% dark chocolate (antioxidants are important at our age) or a model helicopter to celebrate the launch Lesley’s new business. (There was some swapping going on – too, over the chocolate and helicopters!)

Lesley had set up a continuous slide show, the first part a reminder of a PIS Seminar done at the Hyatt a few years ago – and, of course, that was to introduce Amanda to her clients as the new bus driver on their financial planning journey – followed up with a segment to introduce Stories My Nana Tells.

In New Zealand, we landed on a glacier before heading off over the Incredibles to Milford Sound.

It featured photos of Lesley in and out of helicopters around the world, including Hawaii and New Zealand as well as being a tribute to her family and friends, including a photo of one ‘adopted’ grandson, Ian.  It did include a couple of photos of her, hard at work at PIS and AFA conferences, as well!

There was live entertainment, with a great singer called Miss Poppy – who sang everything from rock and roll, to blues, jazz and pops.  She kept everything bopping along and only handed over the microphone to Lesley for the drawing of the door prizes and a very short thank you at the end of the evening.

Four couples won helicopter rides over Perth as door prizes, and there were other gifts for “grey nomads” including four autographed books of photography by Bob Litchfield – Master Photographer

One of the helicopter rides was won by Lesley’s very first client, from Perth Building Society days, Mike Read and it was great to watch old friends reunite through the magic of “financial planning nesting” with retirees and staff from various employer groups catching up on current lives and old times.

One client suggested Lesley’s bad neck came from peering into all those “nests” over the years – keeping the baby birds safe, which she rather liked.  The other noticeable thing was that she wore flat shoes – and now everyone knows how short Lesley really is!  Her answer was that if she had worn flat shoes and had to crane her head up to look at all of those tall men who were her clients, she would probably have had to retire five years earlier.  One client arrived, a little perturbed at the size of the crowd and said “but I won’t know anyone here” and to her surprise, was quickly reunited with some old workmates she had not seen for many years.

Bruce Ponting and Amanda Doyle

Everyone said they had a great time, the clients absolutely loved Amanda and several of them asked Lesley if Amanda was actually her “Plan A” – because they did not want to have to go to a “Plan B”.     Fortunately, she could assure them that she was her “Plan A” – “A” for Amanda. Her “Plan B” is Bruce Ponting, in any event, so they have nothing to worry about!

Lesley was happy to pay tribute to her Dad and Warren and Lisa at the end of the night, too, because family is everything.  With a couple of weeks in which to actually close down the office and move out, it was a fitting way to end a long and happy twenty six year career as a financial planner.

The Official Retirement Lunch at Jo-Jo’s on the Jetty

Lesley is looking forward to catching up with friends for a coffee and a chat – and to watching a new circle of friends and clients grow through the new venture. No photos?  “We were so busy on the night, we forgot!” Lesley said.  But there is one photo, from the official PIS retirement lunch at Jo-Jo’s on the Jetty – just to prove that it did really happen!

PS: The next time you see a helicopter overhead, you might just wonder if Lesley is aboard!