I sat on what happened for over 50 years. I had to think long and hard about whether I would include it in my recently published Memoir – “A Spanish Love Affair”. But as it has had such a profound effect on my life, I decided I would.

“When I gaze at the old black and white photo, I feel very sad. I am 11 and still a child. I am in love. I feel just like I do as an adult. But I am not ready for love – nor especially the aftermath. When my tennis coach dumps me for a 14 year-old who wears pancake make-up and goes all the way. I am heartbroken.”   Excerpt from “A Spanish Love Affair”.

I often wonder what I would have been like if I hadn’t been sexually abused by my tennis coach when I was 11 – which of my personality traits are mine – and which are as a result of the abuse?

When it happened, it felt like the rug had been pulled out from underneath my feet. At the time I was enjoying a typical Northern Beaches childhood of sun, surf and tennis – lots of tennis mainly “death matches” against my brother John on the beautiful loam court at our home in Narrabeen. I was a well-behaved child and did well at school – always in the top 2 in the class. Then disaster struck.

In my case it wasn’t so much the sex part, although I have never felt all that comfortable about penis’s since my tennis coach aimed his erect member in my direction behind the tennis shed and told me I wouldn’t get pregnant because I hadn’t had my periods yet – it was the loss of confidence when I found out that the “grooming” which he undertook leading up to the abuse was nothing to do with love – the emotional turmoil and heartbreak it caused – the loss of innocence – the sexualisation of my childhood before time. I had to struggle through it on my own. I didn’t dare tell my parents.   I knew if I did all hell would break loose. Dad would have killed the perpetrator.





                     That’s me in the back row third from the left

My life changed dramatically – I rebelled totally. I smoked, developed an eating disorder, I ate erratically and put on weight, sprouted pimples, attacked my hair with scissors and peroxide, disassociated from friends, misbehaved at school, didn’t do my homework, couldn’t concentrate, was grumpy, moody, generally obnoxious and hard to get on with. I became a loner. I didn’t trust anyone –  myself in particular.

I always wonder why my parents didn’t pick up on it. They attributed my change of behaviour to “teenage blues” and “puberty” or perhaps some kind of health problem. They even took me for a medical examination. Unfortunately, no-one probed. If anyone had got anywhere near asking me the right question, I would have broken down and told them what had happened. But never in their wildest dreams would it have dawned on my parents because I was always right under their watchful eye. Or so they thought.

Unfortunately, my change in behaviour fell through the cracks at school too because the abuse happened in 6th class finishing just before the end of the year. Somehow, I still managed to come 3rd in the class and my school report didn’t indicate that there was anything amiss – my behaviour hadn’t noticeably deteriorated despite the upheaval. However, the next year things went downhill fast. I couldn’t cope at all. In the half yearly I came 26th and by the end of 2nd year I came 44th out of 45.

In 5th class, I’d dreamt of becoming a Doctor although Mum put the kybosh on that saying that I’d get married and have a family so it would be a waste doing all that study.   After the abuse all dreams of my future disappeared. I tried just to make it through each moment of each day.

I was lucky I played tennis. Tennis and had a very stable family life with loving parents and routine allowed me to pull through to a certain extend – at least not go completely off the rails.

I was also fortunate that I was good at tennis because it gave me a certain amount of self-esteem when every other part of my life had fallen apart. All the practice in the morning before school, in the afternoons, comp and inter-district on weekends, country tournaments on long weekends and junior championships during the school holidays also kept me busy – less time to dwell. It was only in those lonely hours at night alone in my bedroom that all my despair engulfed me. I clung to my ever-faithful Teddy and cried until in the end there were no tears left.

I’m a loner. I don’t like to get too close to people or see them too often. I found traveling with my tennis partners very difficult bordering on claustophobic and felt a certain relief when each chose to return home.

I like being by myself. I enjoy solitude.

I don’t like groups. I find them hard to navigate.

I enjoy being with people but in small doses and not too often. I am a mixture of an introvert and an extrovert although the former tends to dominate in recent times.

I look at people out with their friends having coffee, going away for weekends in a group, attending large public events or on a cruise and shudder.

Would I have been like them if I hadn’t been abused?

Would I have been so impulsive, adventurous even foolhardy if I wasn’t abused? Would I have fallen in and out of love with such frequency? Would I have chosen such unsuitable partners? Would I have been a better Mother?

What kind of career would I have chosen? Neither tennis or real estate were my choices but fortunately I enjoyed aspects of them both. What I love is writing and performing.

Would I have suffered from Chronic Fatigue?

It’s taken me a long time to acquire the stability I now have. I have had a lot of ‘struggle’ which I only became more aware of just how much I struggled when I read through some of my old journals.



I am amazed that I managed to make it.

Every cloud has a silver lining and probably what has seen me through is the resilience and strength I developed at a young age by having to deal with what happened.

And has all the creativity that continually insists on being expressed emanate from being sexually abused?

The Japanese say “Out of misery comes creativity”.








Ho ho ho! It’s that time of year again.  I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas and the very best for 2018.

My Mother was right. She said that as you get older the years go by more quickly.  This year has flown by –  one minute it was January and now it’s Christmas Eve.  Whoosh!   It seemed that something was happening every minute – for me it’s been a year of ups and downs.   I’ll start with the ups.



The big news is that finally after slogging it out down the coalmine for 10 years and sitting on my story for over 50, my book is just about to be published. In fact, if you are an electronic reader, it is now available on Kobo, Tolino, Apple, Barnes and Noble, OverDrive and Amazon.  However, if you are like me and would prefer to read a “real” book, then your own autographed copy will be possible somewhere between the middle and the end of January.   The publishing world, I have discovered, is hard to pin down.


As a former girl guide I am prepared for when the neighbours read “A Spanish Love Affair”.

My book has undergone a change of title. I think “A Spanish Love Affair” encapsulates the contents and story of my book better than the working title “Escape From Spain”.  Numerous other titles were considered.  Trust me.

I have already made my first speech about my book for a video for the Thomas Keneally Library. I felt honoured.  It is the oldest lending library in Australia having opened in 1833 so it is exciting to think that my book will be on its shelves.   Also, the other writers were impressive e.g. Thomas Keneally himself.  Wonder if he’s related to Christine?  You can look at the video below.  It’s only 7 minutes long.


I’ve also been invited to speak at the Northern Beaches BookLovers’ Club at their March meeting.   So that’s exciting.  The date for my book launch has yet to be negotiated with my brother John Alexander, who will be the MC.  Now that he has been re-elected to Bennelong it will have to fit in with the parliamentary calendar but I will let you know as soon as the date is set.  I’m hoping it will be somewhere between my birthday on 23rd February and Mum’s on 19th March.  So I’ll be celebrating my birthday as well as launching my book.

I’ve really spent the major part of the year working on my book and now that’s it’s published I’m working on the marketing side which many writers say is harder than writing the book. (Couldn’t possibly be) Marketing these days is mostly done via Social Media which is not easy for someone like me who suffers from technophobia and is a luddite. I have to be dragged kicking and screaming when it comes to technology. Just ask my husband, Markus. I think this condition emanated from the time when I managed to wipe off all of the 1,000 tenants at Roy Ross’s real estate office in Manly.  Computers and I are just not on the same wave length.  But I’m pressing on.  As you can see above, I have a Website and a Facebook Page.  But it’s been a struggle.


I’ve done various courses this year – how to build your own Website. Got nowhere with it but luckily was recommended to Zena Shapter who has done a great job.  I also went to a course called Facebook For Business – in fact I’ve done this course twice – and the only thing I got out of it was a bad case of the flu, which I proceeded to give to my husband, Markus.  As you can imagine I wasn’t popular.






Synchronicity – An Amazing Coincidence

I love everything about Spain – the people, the way of life, the music, the wonderful food and wine, the magnificent landscape, the beautiful buildings, both old and new, the bridges, ancient Roman to spectacular modern structures spanning lush valleys replete with the engineer’s name emblazoned at each end, the art – everything – except for bull fighting – it is definitely not for me.

I am soft-hearted when it comes to animals. In fact, I gave up eating meat as a young girl when Mum, who was a country girl, told me that the little lambs gambolling around the fields and the sad-eyed calves peering at me from behind the fence would soon be gracing my dinner plate. I told her they would not, and they never have. Continue reading Synchronicity – An Amazing Coincidence

A Spanish Love Story

Welcome to my Website. I am so excited about this first step into social media as a writer. I hope you will make visiting me a regular habit and recommend it to your friends. Not only will I keep you updated with my progress in self-publishing “A Spanish Love Affair”, I will put blogs, snippets from my book and photos to pique your interest. I will also let you know when and where I’ll be launching my book and speaking about it.

Writing “A Spanish Love Affair” has been a long haul – it’s taken me 10 years. I sometimes compare myself to Geoffrey Smart, the artist, who couldn’t help dabbing at his paintings on exhibition much to their current owners’ horror, decades after he’d sold them. I could keep dabbing myself. But the time has come.

Over the past year I have been submitting my manuscript to publishers – albeit without success. I’m 68. Time is running out.  So I decided that I would bite the bullet and self-publish. Continue reading A Spanish Love Story