O'Donnell Kerr Financial Planners
  • 09 March, 2015

Sago and tapioca

Today’s blog has not been written by either PK or Tealey but by a guest blogger, Wayne Clelland.

Wayne is a work colleague of PK and Tealey. Wayne has been involved in the financial advice industry for too many years to mention (over 20)! Prior to working in the financial advice industry, Wayne worked for a number of years as a nurse and a nurse educator so has a wonderful wealth of knowledge and experience. Spending most of early life in regional Australia, Wayne brings a dry wit and candor to Realise Your Dream.

Please enjoy our first guest blog post…


This article has a G rating – for geriatrics. This means if you have never eaten or heard of Sago or Tapioca then you are too young to be reading this.

I quietly entered my sixth decade a few years ago and surprisingly it was easier than I thought. As part of the aging process, one tends to reflect on life’s events and experiences. Well, I call it reflecting but my wife says I’m ‘Nanna napping’. Sixty years seems like a long time but it really is short in the big scheme of things and there’s a lot of reflecting to be done. Last Sunday my lovely wife said to me,

‘What are you going to do today?’

‘Nothing,’ I replied.

‘But you did that yesterday,’ she added.

‘I know,’ I said, ‘But I haven’t finished yet’.

Good creative reflection is not to be rushed.

Which leads me to the title; ‘Sago and Tapioca’. So much has changed in terms of the food we eat, advances in medical science, treatment of illnesses and disease and in our lifestyle in general. As a child we had dessert most nights. Sago with tinned peaches, rice and milk, jam roly poly pudding and banana custard. The latter was referred to by my grandfather as ‘the lazy woman’s dessert’. Incidentally, he would have been 118 years of age if he was alive today. I don’t know why people do that; William Shakespeare would have been 450 years old if he was still alive, so what?

So back to the desserts. Gone are sago and tapioca. We now swoon to crème brulee, tiramisu and tarte tartin, and the ‘lazy woman’s dessert‘ has been replaced with a banoffee pie. Ice cream is no longer a luxury and chicken is readily available every day of the week.

As a kid growing up in regional Rockhampton, having roast chicken on a Sunday was a luxury. The process involved my grandfather catching one of his home grown chickens, humanely separating the thinking end from the business end, dunking the bird in hot water and then plucking its feathers. During the cleaning process he would invariably find one or two egg yolks, which were collected in a bowl and given to my grandmother to use in baking cakes.

As an adult with a wife and two small children living in the country, I thought I would try to emulate those early childhood memories and be somewhat self-sufficient. For six months I practiced chopping the heads off rubber chickens so that I could perfect the technique. The police came one day and told me to stop it because I was scaring the children in the child care centre next door.

So apart from desserts, what other notable things have changed in the last 60 years? Oddly enough, one which springs to mind is the introduction of an insurance policy known as Trauma Cover or Critical Illness.

In 1980/1981 in South Africa, Marius Barnard, brother of world famous cardiac transplant surgeon Doctor Christiaan Barnard had developed, and was promoting trauma insurance. This insurance provides a lump sum payment for people who have suffered a heart attack or other serious medical conditions and need time to rehabilitate.

Oddly enough, at the same time my Dad was having a heart attack (cardiac arrest) in Brisbane. I don’t think he did it deliberately, I think it was probably a coincidence. He was 45 years of age, technically dead on two occasions, but went on to live until he was 75. With no insurance in place, and Dad unable to work for many months, the family budget was reduced to one wage, my Mum’s. To help make ends meet she took in ironing at night and on weekends as well as working her usual 5 ½ days a week.

That taught me a lot, and I have had trauma insurance in place for nearly 30 years. Ironically enough, the race is now on between me and the insurance company. They’re betting that I’m not going to have a heart attack before the policy expires at age 75 so they don’t have to pay, and I’m betting that I will. You know, I hope the insurance company wins this one.

In the next article we’ll look at our how our attitudes to health have changed and we’ll find out the difference between ‘ divers’ and ‘divers’, why having a Bex and a good lie down was not such a great idea and why people who have Alektorophobia don’t tell jokes about chickens.

Wayne Clelland

Realise your Dream

The Realise Your Dream blogs are written by Peter Kelly and Mark Teale. More information about the authors can be found here

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