I have no Italian heritage but have loved things Italian since Kenney and I bought our first car together which was a Fiat 1500.

I was born in Canberra when it was a very small city (about40-50,000) and grew up here. In fact I have lived most of my life here except for several years in Canada and a couple in the UK. I do love living here even though I am almost the last of my family (7 siblings) here as the others have moved elsewhere.

Kenney and I met at university and got married two days after I finished my degree. We saved madly so we could shake off the dirt of Australia and move elsewhere where governments might be more enlightened! Of course we discovered that Canada was much the same as here, despite having Pierre Trudeau as PM, except for having the opposite climate!  I guess I got the travel bug then as when we left Australia we went across land through many different countries till we reached England.

I have two sons, who were both born in Canada. Mike lives here in Canberra and Greg lives in Sydney. They both have two children who were all born within 3 years of each other. They are all best mates.  Unfortunately Kenney never knew them as he died seven months before Lachlan was born.

When I finished my degree I didn’t know what sort of work I wanted to do but saw an ad for the PIT (Programmer in Training) course being run by the bureau of statistics. Back then universities weren’t really doing computing courses. I was accepted and had a great year studying FORTRAN and Cobol and Assembler and learning bridge at lunchtime. Programming and project management has been my career both in Canada and here and I loved it working across many government departments.

I am not very sporty and don’t like team games. I spent many years playing friendly tennis and now enjoy walking, cycling and swimming plus intermittent tai chi.

I love to travel and visit old favourites such as Italy and Greece or new places that I haven’t visited before. Even alone it is exciting to arrive somewhere totally new and find your way about. This year I will be visiting five new countries!  Maybe next year I will take it a bit easier. I have started a program with my grandchildren of taking them on a trip when they are eight. Last year Lachlan came to Borneo with me and we had a fantastic trip. This year Oscar is coming to Japan with me. I don’t know where I will go with Patrick and Gina but we’ll find somewhere interesting and safe.

I am not very musical as I only learned the piano for a couple of years but I love singing and dancing even though I am not great at it. Too stiff and inhibited!  I heard the Dante choir many years ago at an exhibition of Italian cars in the park behind Albert Hall and thought I would love to join as the singing seemed of a standard I could join. It was great that it was in Italian too. Kenney and I both joined. We used to practise in the very cold Italian cultural centre after the conversation classes. It was so cold everybody came rugged up with scarves and beanies for singing. It has been a great pleasure in my life to belong to the choir and I hope my singing has improved somewhat. I have really enjoyed meeting everybody and getting to know them.

[Ruth has been with the Dante choir for about ten years]