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Meet Lovely Linda

Updated: May 27



Hi everybody,


I hope you are all being well and happy - it's all about the being than the doing, so I hope you noticed that!


Please let me introduce you to my lovely, inspiring friend and steel pan band leader/president, Linda.



I first asked Linda last year, to permit me to ask about her interesting life and share some of her insights and photographs I would take around her airy and artful home. I believe in divine timing, so although it is longer than anticipated, I always have that thought to fall back on!


I caught up with Linda just a few short weeks ago, to spend some quality time to relax and chat in her garden to capture the essence of this gentlewoman, that I am sure will be quite interesting to you all too. Linda resides on a large patch of land, outside of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. With native wildlife in heart and mind, Linda has already planted thousands of trees and plants around her property.



This was our very comfortable setting, surrounded by two acres of bushland that is a haven for native wildlife and greenery. Linda also sings as second soprano in her local choir group and knits and sews but is a reluctant confessor of being artistic!



Linda is currently at level 72 of her human life years and was born in Merton, Surrey, (now a part of London), England, UK.

With 1 son, 3 daughters and her husband David, there has always been lots of love, affection and camaraderie in her life.


From working class origins, born in Wimbledon, London in Post War Britain - Linda emigrated to New Zealand by boat in 1963.

With David's job, over the next couple of decades or so, they also lived in Bangkok, Khon Kaen in Thailand and Lesotho, which is a little country of British Protectorate inside South Africa, on a little island.


Image source: blanketwrap.com and tripsavvy.com



In 1982 Linda moved to Hong Kong for 6 years, where two of her babies were born. London was home again for the next 5 years, along with another baby addition to their growing family and on to Singapore for another 5 years, to include their 4th baby being born. On the move again, they all moved to Michigan, U.S. for 2 years.

Linda worked as a Civil Engineering Technician and became a Civil Engineer after earning her degree in Bristol, England, UK, where she worked as a Transport Planner.


As you may have guessed, Linda has collected some interesting pieces of furniture and home decor pieces from her many homes in many countries. The 1st image shows a chicken cupboard from Singapore. The centre cupboard is Lacquerware from Hong Kong. The 3rd cupboard is much larger and came from Singapore. Both of the cupboards purchased in Singapore, actually originated from China. The photos do not show their full glory, of course and their comparative sizes vary considerably.



How did Linda end up living and settling in Australia? It's a funny story. After Linda's husband's contract finished in Thailand from redundancy after working for the same company for 26 years, their 2 older children were now in uni' and the younger 2 were in high school.

A colleague of David's mentioned the possibility of a 6 month contract in Dubai, to which they agreed upon. It transpired that it was not Dubai at all but Mackay, (pronounced 'Mack-eye'), which was in Queensland, Australia. Being intrepid, they came anyway!


These are some of Lindas' collected wall art pieces from Thailand and Indonesia


It was back in England that Linda discovered her love of the Caribbean steel drum that originated in Trinidad. Linda's 15 year old daughter was very musical, so when she saw an advert in her local paper, they both ended up joining this community steel band. Linda started learning on the Double Seconds pans and then her 12 year old daughter also joined them. It was at one of these rehearsals when her son came to pick them up, that he thought how great the band was and joined too. They are quite the musical family, of the majority.

Linda and their community band, participated in the famous London's Notting Hill Carnival in 2006.


Linda was fascinated with the steel pan when she was younger and it was her father that educated her on how they were made. If you're keen, you can learn the history of the Caribbean steel pan from this interesting article:


The steel pan, possibly the only instrument made out of industrial waste, has become an icon of Trinidadian culture.


Here is Linda, in her element, (front, centre/right)


When Linda arrived in Australia, she knew that she wanted to continue playing the Caribbean steel pan and to join a community band, so after discovering the Australian Academy of Steel Pans, got in touch with them and joined a workshop with her younger daughters, where they all met up and rehearsed in a car park. Linda's son, Matthew moved to Australia and after a few years it was Linda and her son that kept it going and it began to grow, with her sound determination. Rivercity Steel Band is still going strong. "It had never occurred to me to start a band. I just wanted to keep on playing," Linda added.


Their first gig was at a Brisbane school, where it was very well received, with 8 people playing. Back then, their most significant gig came when they played as part of the Bands In Parks in King George Square, Brisbane, followed by the Australian Steel Pan Festival in 2013, when around 7 bands came together from Victoria, Cairns, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and New Zealand for a Panorama, which is a Trinidad & Tobago tradition.


This petite but mighty gentlewoman, has achieved tremendous accolades in my eyes and has even managed to have us playing on the larger stages, supporting the great reggae legend Stranger Cole, (one of the original Rude Boys of Ska music from Jamaica), and other local big bands, namely Sunny Coast Rude Boys and Melbourne Ska Orchestra. Over 15+ years, there have been too many to mention!


A gig was from last year, performing at The Triffid live music venue in Brisbane


Here is Linda and her son, playing at a gig back in 2014


Linda's son, Matthew, on the bass pans, looking out to the crowd at The Triffid in Brisbane.

The amount of work that Linda does behind the scenes, is phenomenal. I am in awe of her resilience and determination

An interesting shelf in the sewing room


Lindas' handcrafted decorations really add to the warmth of her beautiful home




Does Linda have a message to the world? Indeed she does:-

"Tolerate each other. Understand each other. Learn about all religions and for children to learn to respect different cultures."



I hope you have enjoyed reading about Linda and browsing her collections around her home.


I'll be updating you all soon, with some new handmade pieces. :-)


Bye for now

Love Debra x

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6 Comments


What a remarkable yet humble woman. So grateful for Linda and everything she does for the community!

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Debra
Debra
Jun 03
Replying to

Hi Elizabeth, thank you for your comment. Yes indeed. Linda is a blessing :-)

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This is such an interesting read Deb, thank you for sharing the lovely Linda with us!

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Debra
Debra
May 27
Replying to

Hi Tracey, Thank you so much for commenting and I am happy that you enjoyed learning about lovely Linda :-)

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Hi Debra, A interesting read, Linda has led a varied life. I have used some of that elephant paper (that you sent me) in a journal. I will send you a photo. Deborah, NZ

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Debra
Debra
May 27
Replying to

Hi Deb,

Thank you for reading about Linda and enjoying it! I'm looking forward to seeing your elephant paper artwork too :-)

Love Debra

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