Sunday, September 25, 2011


I've made a cardigan for the Historian!

He has problems with the concept of the "cardigan". He has problems with the concept of hand-knit too. Born, I suspect, out of years of hand-knits from loving relatives that were too short, or wide, or acrylic, or otherwise weird.

I've been able to knit something he'll actually wear in the past but have until now had no success on the cardigan front. He thinks they're fuddy duddy.

Here's the thing.

The Historian didn't think that History was a crusty enough profession for him and so he is now in the thick of a post doctorate degree in Archeology.

Now an Archeological Historian or a Historical Archeologist simply must wear cardigans, don't you agree? . . . preferably with suede elbow patches and corduroy trousers.

I'm pleased to say that he has finally embraced the idea of hand-knits and cardigans but I can see with his new profession that I'll have to be careful not to steer him down a wrong path...

Mick Aston from the Time Team

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nothing is sexier than a good brain

Thinking a lot about evolutionary biologists lately (more on that later). In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure, a mind altering talk from one of our world's sharpest minds; and an evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins. Who is married to Princess Astra/Romana from Dr Who by the way (remember her?).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Neighbourly Lessons in Gratitude

I love where I live.

I met an inspiring woman the other day. She's in her eighties and lives a few streets away. We got talking about the neighbourhood and old houses and she invited me into see hers. As soon as I stepped past the threshold I knew I was in the home of a remarkable person.

Every neat-as-a-pin, yet comfortable, room was sparingly furnished with elegant teak pieces that looked as though they had been newly purchased last week . . . in 1955 and on every wall hung enormous, beautiful painted canvases, mostly portraits with pleasant personalities that seemed to reach out of the surface asking you to get to know them better. I lingered at a handsome smiling young man that absolutely shone with yellow tones from mustard to marigold.

"My long ago paramour, he stayed in France," she sighed.

"Are you the artist?" I asked,  impressed.

"Yes, most are mine. Oh, I wanted to see how it was done," she said as she noticed me studying a really convincing copy of the Mona Lisa that hung in her sitting room.

She told me that she has traveled and lived in many places around the world but that this is where she has put down her roots. She has lived in the house for 55 years, her children grew there, her grandchildren love to visit and she has two studios out the back where she takes small groups for painting lessons. She said that when her friends come to stay from overseas that they are blown away at how close she lives to the city and yet what a relaxed and idyllic life she has.

"It's paradise here," she said smiling at me.

I came away changed from that meeting.

I had been feeling rather antsy, flighty, foot-itchy lately. Some friends have recently relocated to London (making me really envious, it sounds so exciting) and Dette is about to set off on her incredible European escapade.

Blah, I thought. Boring, I thought. We should pick up and go somewhere. Relocate. Have an adventure. I even made a mental (googled) list of places that I thought would suit me: Victoria, Canada; Aarhus, Demark; Gotland, Sweden; Somewhere nice that I haven't narrowed down yet in New Zealand?...hmmm.

But I do actually love where we live.

I love our lifestyle. I love that we have roots and family here. I love the community. The people, who will share life lessons and readily invite strangers into their homes! The skinny musicians loping along with guitars slung across their backs - just like generations of hip kids before them. Elderly Italian and Greek families with bursting vegetable patches, illegally planted but ignored by the authorities, on their front council verge. The pink and grey galahs nesting in street trees and the magpies hopping about in their brilliant white and black below them.

I love the mild winters and the spectacular spring and autumn days (we don't have to talk about summer). I adore our house that we are making so comfortable and beautiful and the memories that my children are creating here daily.

I love the open blue sky that we enjoy (3200 hours a year).

I love that we're walking distance to friends, the best park in town, foreign restaurants, art galleries and cool little wine bars playing original music. I love that we can holiday nearby in really pristine wilderness, deserted beaches with the softest, whitest sand and world-class wine regions

Perhaps I'll just content myself with fantasy international holiday plans. That way I can come back to "paradise".