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Margaret Vera Peaty

22June 1924 - 14 October 2001
In memoriam

 

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 Eulogy printed for Maraget's funeral

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Eulogy printed for Margaret's funeral

 Margaret was born in Oswestry in England as the only child of George and Alice Allen. She qualified as a teacher and her first job was teaching at an infantís school in Shropshire, England in 1944. She also in 1944 met her life partner Charles, while both were working at a camp in the English countryside. Margaret and Charles married in 1947 at Knighton in Radnor, Wales. Margaret continued working as a teacher until 1949 when Tristan the first of six children was born. Over the course of the next 14 years Gaynor, Mark, Ella, Adam and Suzanne were born. During this time and afterwards Margaret continued to work as a teacher when it was practicable.

Margaret and Charles resided in several locations in Wales and England up until 1966. They then emigrated to Australia arriving in Fremantle with the children on the 1st of January 1967. They lived in Kelmscott until 1973 and then moved to Yanchep National Park where Margaret managed Gloucester Lodge, a rambling guest house and tourist centre. In 1976 they moved to Glendalough, staying there until 1978. From then on they lived in the Shenton Park and Daglish area until June 2001 when they moved to Beaconsfield.

Margaret was a gentle and kind person who loved art, literature and music. She was herself a skilled artist who for many years loved to draw and paint. She had a passion for fabrics and perhaps in another life would have worked as a costume designer, given her extensive collection of fabrics and the many thumbnail sketches of figures in costume that she drew over the years. Her knowledge of the etymology of the English language was phenomenal and she could always be called upon to answer any query about a wordís meaning or itís origin. Margaret enjoyed travelling and with Charles she travelled to many countries and parts of Australia.

Margaret started to have serious health problems in 2000 and these problems increased in 2001 leading to her death on the 14th of October 2001.

Margaret will be remembered for her gentle nature, dedication to her family, loyalty, creativity and great sense of humour.

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 My words:

 It's impossible to summarise a human life in a few words and I am not here to relate a history or biography. But for my mother Margaret it's more than worth the effort to sketch out something subjective.

Some key words come to mind: Margaret was a very private person, she was kind and she was loving. She loved us enough when we were small, to have a wooden spoon handy for the quelling of riots and insurrections! Mind you the other day - in a quite moment - certain of my sisters purported that the business of the wooden spoon was mostly bluff.

"I could run faster than she could" was what someone said.

Was I the only one who was fooled? I'm not so sure about that. Maybe the wooden spoon was waved more than it was whacked, but it always seemed to me to be a very big wooden spoon.

Margaret was intelligent and artistic, she trained as a teacher and taught school before the arrival of her own children. I know she did relief teaching when I was a preschooler because I remember one day being parked up the back of a classroom in a place called Howie, which was close to LLandrindod where we lived, I guess she couldn't find a baby sitter. I had a Dinky toy dump truck and used it to cart around blue and yellow poster paint powder I found in the store cupboard at the back of the room - which was fun while it lasted. On reflection I think it might have been me that put the Kibosh on her teaching career. I was child number three!

Mum encouraged us in reading and, as we grew older, in thinking for our selves. She was a good and tolerant listener even though as the number of us kids increased to six her daily work load of chores became enormous. Getting us "out of the house" become part of her winning strategy in the war against the dirt and disorder that we brought into it. That may explain why I have the impression that I was allowed enormous free rein to wander the countryside around the various towns we lived in. I believe this was not sign of neglect on her part but a quiet confidence and expectation in our abilities to do the right thing and more or less keep out of trouble. She would draw the line very clearly and credibly when necessary - memories of that wooden spoon again! - because, for example, when I learned how to climb out of an upstairs window onto the roof of a large house we lived in and she found out, she forbade me this treat and I obeyed her. This almost certainly saved my life.

Margaret was a child of her time. Born in 1924 she grew up in a world still recovering from the first world war. [Her father George Allen was one of those who "put his age up" to go to the war and he got a dose of mustard gas for his trouble, so had no sense of smell from then on.] I don't know if the "Roaring Twenties" was a time of plenty for the English working class, I tend to think not, but certainly the Great Depression of the 1930s and then Hitler's war of 39 to 45 and the years of rationing that followed taught Mum a habit of saving things "because they may come in useful later". And save things she did. I wouldn't like to imply that any kind of major structural damage or subsidences occurred because of her diligence at saving things but in every room of the house you could find draws and cupboards full of all kinds of interesting stuff which might or might not have got used again sometime.

On a related theme, Mum shared with Dad a certain kind of gullible scepticism, a sort of fascination with gadgets and gizmos of innovative technology. She was thus a prey to certain types of salesmen who could sell her things like patented electrical boot-warmers which must have sounded very plausible on the doorstep in that climate of rain, sleet, snow and wet shoe leather. I must admit it made sense to me but I do seem to remember a lot of laughter around the discussion of plausible alternative uses for them.

Or there was the hand-cranked topical massage device with its patented adjustment for strength of vibration. We boys, being post war babies, loved to get hold of that thing for use as a pretend machine gun but she was very jealous of it.

Well I could go on and on but Where to Stop? Let me finish with a little recap.

Mum was a very private person who was a blessing to all those who knew her, and was a pillar of strength to us her children who, like children the world over, took her so much for granted. I believe her inner strength, determination, selfless giving, and maybe above all her composed and almost regal sense of decency, have rubbed off on all of us her children and probably kept us out of more trouble than we ever care to mention.

I would not be Mark son of Margaret - and Charles - if I did not add that she showed us that many apparently little things in life are really important, and one of these is that one should not take oneself too seriously.

So with Love and Affection I say goodbye.

 

 

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