Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Another year older but probably no wiser....!

Today is my birthday, though I'm thinking I should probably just ignore them from now on!  They come around far too quickly these days...I'm still trying to work out where the last 20 years went.  It's school holidays and the munchkins are staying with their grandparents down south for a few days, so it's a quiet little celebration at home just me and Beloved (who is cooking dinner and has the wine chilling as I speak). I did manage to make an effort and polish myself up a bit to take a photo, as I don't seem to have very many of me at all.  So here I am, in the garden wearing my new colours (the purples and aquas seem to have lost their appeal, and I want earthy, foresty colours now).  And of course, my new shoes!

Just for a bit of fun, here's a photo from a VERY long time ago...25 years ago in fact.  Taken by my Beloved (who was just a baby of 19 back then) at Perth Technical College where we both studied Graphic Design (and where we met in fact!).  It's rather dodgy because it's blown up from a proof sheet (does anyone remember those?!), and I'm wearing my 'please DON'T take my photo' face (which probably explains why there are so few photos of me!)  These were my absolute favourite jeans at the time, they'd been through several incarnations of dye, re-dye, bleach by the time this pic was taken.  Ahhhhh, memories!

LATE NOTE:  For the wonderful shoes, go to Fairysteps, and for the super cool Earrings go to Sparrow Salvage!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A little slice of Devon Heaven in the post...

Well, I shouldn't have...but I've been looking at these longingly for well over a year now...and my birthday is coming up soon (though the less said about THAT probably the better)...and I've not treated myself to anything much for ages...so I did!  And for the last two weeks I've been like a little kid standing at the front door looking, waiting, hoping for the parcel man.  And today he arrived...and then went again leaving nothing but a "Sorry we missed you" note because I was in the shower!  Aaarrgghh!  So I had to wait another whole 7 hours before I could pop around to the Post Office to pick them up.  But now they are here, my beautiful Fairysteps 'Pucks' made by the amazingly talented Ren (and her team of tiny elves because I don't know how else she does it) in beautiful Devon.  The photo above really doesn't do them justice, taken with a flash late this afternoon (note small grubby foot of munchkin holding my skirt out of the way!), but I had to share them.  And they are sooo comfortable!  Visit Ren's Etsy shop to see all of her wonderful creations, she makes gorgeous boots and bags and lots of accessories.  And here's a much nicer photo of my shoes!

Speaking of Devon, I heard from my mum today, and they are OK and heading to Devon tomorrow with a possible stop at Chagford, but they are playing it by ear a bit, as they didn't take into account the school holidays in the UK, so that has meant they've had to re-arrange things even more.  Dad is feeling much better, though I do hope they both take it easy from now on.

I have smallest munchkin telling me she's BUSTING HUNGRY MUMMY (despite the pair of them finishing off the loaf of bread other half made this morning AND a jelly-cup each after they got home from school!) so I shall retire to the kitchen to sort out dinner!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bits and Bobs...some Gaelic music, some gentle musing, some good advice...

Just some bits and bobs to share!  I got the link to this fabulous post by artist Austin Kleon from a friend on Facebook (so FB comes in handy sometimes!).  It's funny, but also so very true...there's some great advice in there so make sure you read to the end!  Funny the way my brain works... his website is (as you might imagine) called www.austinkleon.com.  Except that until I actually read his profile, I thought maybe it was 'Aus tinkle on'...hmmm!
Great advice for artists from Austin Kleon!

Now that I've worked out how to upload mp3 files, I thought I'd share this.  I've mentioned a few times that I used to sing in a Scottish Gaelic ensemble, so here is a song from our one and only CD. This was recorded in 1999, back when I was a young(er) thing.  It's a lament and a lullaby, and it's about events that happened back in the 16th century, I won't say any more about its meaning than that.  If any of you are Gaelic speakers, please, PLEASE do not laugh too much at our pronunciation, we tried our best!  The two wonderful singers with me are Melinda (who also arranged this piece) and Jane (and no, it's not me playing guitar!).  If any of you out there have sung in a choir, or even just a small group, you'll know the joy of singing with other voices, when I sang this song I couldn't wait for the second chorus when the other two voices would join in, it gave me goosebumps every time.  I think the final chorus is my favourite part.

And here's an article that caught my eye in the local newspaper.  Now why does it seem to make such a lot of sense to me?!  It's no news that in times of fear and stress (like war) people tend to be more politically conservative.  But it's interesting that political views may be influenced by (or perhaps may influence...they're not sure which yet) which part of your brain is more developed.  Greater development in the area associated with understanding complexity, and your political views are likely to be liberal (that's 'small l' liberals...because here in Australia we have the peculiar situation where our conservative party is called the 'Liberal' party!)  Greater development in the section that processes fear, and you're likely to be conservative.  Of course, nothing is ever as straightforward as that, and the newspaper has probably pulled out the most sensationalist few lines of a report that is many pages long.  I might go a-hunting further.

And for lots of WONDERFUL music, about and by Gypsies, head over to Terri Windling's Drawing Board Blog, marvelous stuff to be heard there!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I almost forgot! Some nice news from the UK....

I've been a wee bit preoccupied the last 2 or 3 days so I only realised today that I haven't mentioned THIS at all!

This beautiful piece, inspired by the incredible Book of Kells, is as I speak, winging its way south over vast oceans, all the way from the UK to me!  The wonderfully talented Carrie Osbourne is celebrating her 1st blogging anniversary, and little old me won her beautiful birthday giveaway!  Carrie calls herself an 'aspiring' illustrator and writer, but maybe she should change that to 'inspiring', her work is beautiful!  Please pop over to her blog (just click on the links above) and explore her beautiful drawings, watercolour paintings and wonderful writing, it's a lovely spot to while away an hour or two with a cup of tea at hand!

More news on the roving parents front.  Mum has a cold now, but dad is feeling much better, though still on two different lots of antibiotics.  They are intending to head off tomorrow and pick their hire car up (with promises to take it easy!), so hopefully from here on they'll be able to actually start enjoying their holiday...and making me insanely jealous again!

As for the weather...well, I can hear rain as I type!  We were promised 5 days of rain and lower temperatures, and though we did get some rain on Thursday, it's been nothing but bright blue skies and HOT since.  But it's 11pm Sunday now and it sounds rather like REAL rain out there (not the half-hearted 10-minutes-worth-that-dries-as-soon-as-it-hits-the-ground kind), so fingers crossed, this might mean the start of Autumn proper.  I most ardently hope so!

Also, a final apology for the distinct lack of anyway vaguely creative here in the last few months.  I think perhaps I should just learn to accept that I'm never going to achieve much in the first 4 months of the year, because my creativity goes into hibernation after Christmas and spends the next 4 oppressively hot months curled up in a cave somewhere dreaming of crackling fires and woolly scarves and hats and big mugs of hot chocolate!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A brief parent update....and a thank you

Thanks so much to everyone who sent good vibes, offers of help and great suggestions, it really does make you realise we are creating a real community here in Blogland.

Heard from mum today that dad came out of hospital.  He's still on antibiotics but the doctors presumably think he is well enough to come 'home', though he has strict instructions to REST.  Mum said he's in good spirits and seemed quite well today.  She has also managed to get a better room at their hostel, ground floor (yay, no stairs!) and with an ensuite.  So they're going to hole up there for at least the next two days, then if Dad is OK, they'll pick the hire car up as originally planned (taking a taxi to the train station this time...no more Tube!), and then head off south west and find a nice B&B and stay for a week or so (I hope it's more, but we'll see).  She says the weather is currently really nice in London so that's also a positive, they might be able to get out and go for some GENTLE strolls in the sunshine.

So that sounds a little better than it did yesterday!  But I'll feel much better when I know they're at a nice B&B somewhere in Devon or Cornwall (most likely), putting their feet up and relaxing and not going anywhere much at all!

Friday, April 8, 2011

When things go pear-shaped and you're 10 000 miles away....

When you get a text from your elderly mum on the other side of the world that begins "Try not to worry, but..." you just know that you ARE going to worry...lots.

My mum and dad are in their 70s.  They're a pretty intrepid couple, for years they've been heading off in little caravans or campers into the wilds of the outback, heading north for a few months nearly every year during winter, or making their way across the Nullabor to tootle on up the East coast of Australia.  I've never really worried about them because they've been doing it since I was a kid, when my brother and I used to go with them.  I guess you have to accept that one day your parents are actually elderly.

They've been planning the trip to the UK for quite a while.  Or rather, dad OVER plans, and then drives mum nuts to the point that she doesn't want to think about it anymore!  But they always work it out.  The problems this time were bigger than ever before though.  Dad is 76 in May, and 3 years ago he had open heart surgery.  He sailed through that and you wouldn't know it to see him now.  He's incredibly spry for his age!  But it means he's on medication that needs to be monitored.  They had all the check-ups and info and go ahead from doctors and specialists that it would be ok to travel though.  Then another health problem came up.  I won't go into details, but he's due to start radiation therapy in June, another reason why he so wanted to go on this trip now.  Then a few weeks before they were due to leave, he got Pneumonia and spent a few days in hospital.  I suppose we could have put the fear of God into him and forced him to rethink the whole trip, but maybe elderly parents are a bit like teenagers...at some point you have to let them go to follow their dreams.  And my dad is not the kind of man who can sit on the couch all day in front of the TV, even if it is much safer than holidaying overseas.

To cut a long story short, mum and dad found their first few days in London difficult.  They've been to Britain before, but it was 14 years ago, and they were 14 years younger but kind of forgot that bit.  So they took the tube from Heathrow into London and had to stand most of the way, also forgetting about the miles of stairs they'd have to negotiate with unwieldy suitcases with wheels.  So both were exhausted when they arrived at their hostel, and rather stressed out, and both came down with colds.  And mum's text this evening was to let me know that dad's cold is now flu-possible-pneumonia and he's in hospital.  They need to keep him under observation because they're giving him IV antibiotics and it will affect his other medication.  So mum tells me it's ok and they managed put the hire car booking off a couple of days, and they'll be in London for a bit longer and she's fine at the hostel for the moment and dad sounds ok on the phone...and I'M thinking maybe they should just COME HOME!  But I also know that they would both be so horribly disappointed, and dad would probably feel that it was his fault...sigh!

So I think she and I have agreed that the best thing to do, is once dad gets the OK from the hospital and is fit to leave, to pick up the hire car, head as far south (and warm) as possible (Cornwall maybe?), find a nice B&B in a nice little town, and just STAY (at least a couple of weeks).  Put their feet up and do NOTHING.  It won't be the holiday they intended (my GOD, you should have seen my dad's detailed itinerary...you'd need to be a fit 22 year old backpacker to fit it all in...and yes, I DID tell him so, several times!), but it will still be lovely.  A different kind of holiday where perhaps they can just experience life in a little English town, take in the changes in the season, get to know some locals, take a few gentle day trips, mum can do some sketching, to stop and smell the roses so to speak.  At least I'll know where they are at any given moment.  There's not a lot else I can do (I don't even have a valid passport anymore) apart from worry!  BIG *sigh*!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A shaggy 'Red' dog story...

I opened up Saturday's 'West Australian' newspaper this morning to find this article about a rather extraordinary dog.  I've known this story a long time, most West Australians probably know of Red Dog, and even the well known author Louis De Bernieres was intrigued enough by the tale (tail?!) to write a book based on the Dog's exploits.  But my interest is a little more personal as the Mrs M. Forrest mentioned is my very talented Aunty!  As an interesting aside, her name is actually Meri, and she was named after an Egyptian princess (one of Akhenaton's daughters I believe)!  My Aunty is a fairly amazing person, being a wife, and a mum to 4 kids (all grown up now) while at the same time managing to find time to paint, sculpt (some quite large pieces too), make jewellery (I still have a beautiful bangle she made for my 16th birthday) and so much more, in a time when women were just starting to think there might be more to life that being a housewife.  In her 70s now, she still has more energy than I'll ever have!  A dog lover all her life, her current 4-legged companion is a rather scatty but lovely Blue Heeler cross who was rescued from the pound (like many before her), and I can't imagine my aunty without a dog at her side.  I don't seem to remember any of her family's dogs ever being bought, most came from the pound or were lost and wandered in and found a home.  I guess it's fitting that the job of making the statue of Red Dog also found its way to her.

So apparently Red Dog (aka Tally, or Blue...because Australians call red heads 'Blue', I don't know why, but I still meet people who only know me as 'Bluey's' daughter, my dad being a Carrot top himself) has a new movie made all about his scruffy self.  Gotta love a lovable dog story.  I'll be going to see this one!

Article in today's 'West Australian'

Photo found here, with a little about the area Red Dog lived in, and another pic and info here.

A short film made recently about the making of Red Dog, narrated by my Aunt.

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