Walking amongst the dead…

I have been in my new place for 6 weeks now, that went very quickly. All is going well and the children (young adults) and I are happy (they have mentioned that specifically!).

I have done some gardening (even though it’s a rental), explored the suburb (I like it) and get some joy every day by walking through Perths main cemetery to and from work. I think the world is divided into two kinds of people, those who like graveyards and those who don’t, I am definitely in the former category. I have been fascinated by cemeteries, funerals and grave goods for years, ever since going to Gin Gin cemetery as a teenager and seeing the devastation an epidemic can wield over a small community (Gin Gin ).

Studying Anthropology both at university and informally has only deepened my liking for the fascinating subject of the customs associated with death in different cultures.

Karrakatta Cemetery is the biggest in Western Australia, it is HUGE. I thought it would be full, but there is a load of space for everybody once they leave this life. The amount of money that families spend on honouring their dead loved-ones is truly eye watering. The size of the monument doesn’t seem to have any relationship to the status of the person for whom it was erected, (although a number of famous Perthites  of the past seem to be well-represented by large monuments). There is an ordinary gentleman who has been honoured with (I presume) a life-size statue of him, there he is looking benevolent, leaning one hand on a tree stump, all carved beautifully in marble.

The relatively-new Mausoleum is pretty fancy and is the final resting place of mainly Italians, a throwback to the way people are buried back in the old country. I don’t understand mausoleums, I suppose like most things, they have come about because of necessity (though what the reason is I don’t know), but I don’t really warm to the idea of a body not being disposed of, merely “kept” in its place (for the future???).

There are plenty of pretty ordinary areas in the cemetery, but there are also some really beautiful parts. Ferns, rose gardens, lawn areas, open-air chapels etc etc, it is really a place to relax in and collect ones thoughts (especially after a challenging day at work).

One of my work colleagues is mystified by my affection for graveyards. She finds them scary and very unappealing, my son will walk though the bushland adjacent to Karrakatta, but avoids the actual cemetery saying he thinks it smells strange (does it really?). As an ex-Palliative Care Nurse, death involves many emotions for me, but fear is not one of them.

The place is full of Little Ravens. I don’t know why they live there (there doesn’t seem to be anything edible for them), except that they are largely undisturbed and can do what they want. With gay abandon, they pull the flowers left at the graves, out of their receptacles and seem to scatter them about. Real or fake ,it doesn’t seem to bother the ravens what sort they are, the birds just seem to enjoy playing with them.

Really the only off-putting thing I find about the place is its poor signposting and the ability for sensible people to get hopelessly lost (yes, I regard myself as sensible), even the map is only marginally helpful at getting one on the right path. When I mentioned the organisation (or lack thereof) of the place to one of the multitude of gardeners, he rolled his eyes and told me I should talk to the designers who dreamt it up 100 years ago! He implied that working there didn’t necessarily mean he found navigating his way around any easier than the general public.

My Mother is nearly 88 and in very good health, I hope she stays around for a few more years; we have discussed what to do when she (as she puts it), “Pops her clogs”! She hasn’t dealt with Dads ashes at all, they are sitting in a box in her wardrobe and my brother and I have been told to get rid of them when she dies (thanks Mum!). Since I now live close to the so-called “dead centre” of Perth, I have been talking about a double plaque for her and Dad in one of the rose gardens (as they were/are their favourite flower). This suggestion seems to have some approval (both from Mum and my brother), so that is probably going to be what happens. I think it would be nice to go and sit by them and bring them both up to speed about what’s happening with the family. I know of course, that the ashes are not them and will be just a memento of the two people who gave me and my brothers life, but still….

Question:

What do you think of funerary rites, graveyards and death, do they give you the creeps like my work colleague, or are you more like me with a fascination for all of it?

 

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How to dress an apple so it doesn’t resemble a turnip

Okay, so I don’t really know how do do that 😦

I have spent most of my life being a somewhat waistless thin, but muscly person, then menopause hit and I have become a waistless, flabby woman with waaaay too much “condition” on me.

I think of apples as being delicious, crisp and beautiful  9849406-Ripe-juicy-apple-isolated-on-white-background-Stock-Photo-red and turnips as being ugly, squat and nasty-tasting vegetables. Hence (although I am no longer crisp), I have the capacity to be delicious and beautiful, however, too many times I end up a turnip turnip-24-56a8c50e3df78cf772a074e4

Do you ever find that you start off your working day looking (what you think) pretty great and then you catch a look in a shop window or somesuch and reality hits, it’s a sobering experience that can get you down if you let it.

I have lovely clothes and plans to make even more (time is an issue here), but sometimes I just can’t seem to get it together. Sometimes I make something that just does not suit my body type and I end up wasting a beautiful piece of fabric, other times I just wear unsuitable clothing because I like the quirkiness of it (have always liked the though of being viewed as a little weird!).

So how do you dress an apple? I am liking Lagenlook more and more, the secret to it here in Australia is to make the layers very light in weight, otherwise it’s just too hot in summer.  What isHowever, there is a little inkling that stops me embracing the Look with gusto and that is, it appears that it really only appeals to women in mid to late middleage (like me) and there is always the knowledge that it’s hiding something 😦

I HATE that idea! You see, in my head I am still 23 years old and I do not see any 23 year old girls wearing the Look.

It’s a dilemma for me, this ageing thing.

How do you “cope” (if that is the right word)? I actually love my life, I am happy in my head, happy with the life experience that allows me to not sweat the small stuff (well, most of the time), happy with my face, happy with my family etc etc, but the ageing thing? Nope.

Special Visitors to start the day

This morning we had some visitors in our Marri tree in the front garden- Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos, so beautiful (and noisy!).

I took a video, but the quality was rubbish and the noise overwhelming 😦

This lovely photo isn’t mine unfortunately, but it conveys this wonderful bird just beautifully

Adelie penguins, Antarctica

(c) Keith Lightbody

There is a particularly relevant article here about them, it is sad that since this was written, the habitat of the Carnabys has decreased even further.

They are a lovely bird, full of character and very, very loud! I heard the English comedian Phil Jupitus saying how the dawn chorus in Australia is an assault on the senses (paraphrasing him) and he’s right. It is a wonderful cacophony of many different birds all welcoming the day with their own raucous, wonderful songs 🙂

 

I’ll finish with this spectacular photo and this link to a blog about a wonderful encounter with a group of these birds 🙂

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A fiddly job

While I have been nursing a broken ankle I haven’t been much use around the house, everything is fiddly and takes forever when you are hobbling around on crutches 😦

But, my broken ankle is on the left and I am right-footed, so I can still sew- yay!

My young-adult children are both penniless University students and thus share the use of my very old BMW. It’s a great car mechanically, but it has not been in a garage for the last 10 years and the sun has played it’s malicious part, you only have to look at it and something breaks! The upholstery on the seats was shredding and looking pitiful and I was feeling very embarrassed looking at the wretched thing in the driveway, so when my daughter suggested I attempt to make covers for the rear seat, I jumped at it.

We went to Spotlight and found some funky, burnt orange (very 1970’s) heavy, duty slubbed cotton. It has a backing of some description, (looks and feels like cotton, but it’s probably some fusible webbing). Daughters’ part was to measure the amount of fabric required and make a pattern.

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Hmm, not quite big enough . Oh well, it still looks good and now she doesn’t get ribbed by her friends when she’s driving them around. My son has been off camping, so I haven’t got a judgement from him, apparently he had no opinion regarding colour, so he has no right to whinge if he doesn’t like it!

 

It was a fiddly job. The seat pattern was a little spare, so I got the fabric to fit by lacing it behind, it is now very taut and smooth. The back was just too small, so there is a gap of about 3cm where you can still see the old upholstery-pooh.

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While I was fitting the covers, I noticed the fabric on the headrests was shredding too, so I made a couple of covers for them out of remnnats and an extra piece of orange fabric I had in my stash. they look great.

img_1324 (see the back door panel- no handle and window button is hanging by its wiring, ha ha , I don’t miss those student days!!!).

A muddle of a blog post…

Warning: this post has masses of pictures!

Here in Australia we have a television news journalist named Lee Lin Chin and everyone I know just LOVES her .

Lee Lins’ presence in front of the camera is characterised by a crisp professionalism when required, a razor-sharp wit and some spectacular clothing. lee-lin-1

She has a presence outside of the newsroom too, she appeared on children’s television on a toddlers programme called Playschool (an Australian television institution) lee_lin5 she regularly comments in social media and cuts a fine figure on the awards red carpet.

lee-lin-6 She was recently shortlisted for a Logie Award (television), but was pipped at the post much to the dismay of her fans, it didn’t dent her wow factor though, she came through with an ascerbic wit which left others in her wake 🙂

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This lady is so cool, nothing seems to rattle her, even when the rest of the newsroom let her down she is ever the consummate professional.

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I have a lot of admiration for Lee Lin ….

Well I changed the title of this post to “A Muddle” because It’s kind of a catch-up really and so it is all over the place!

I haven’t been sitting around feeling sorry for myself waiting for the house not to sell; no, no, no, I have been sewing, going to movies, visiting my Mother and other family etc etc. having said that, I actually broke my ankle 2 days ago, so I am a little subdued at the moment!

So, sewing… remember my Christmas dress? It needed a bit of tweaking after all and although it isn’t quite perfect, it is still wearable and here it is 🙂 1 Embarrassingly, it isn’t ironed in this pic and this is the outfit I was wearing when I took my spill and broke my ankle 😦

Having really liked this pattern, I made another one in some lovely Scandi-style printed organic cotton poplin 6 This one has had the modifications done and is a much better fit, sooo comfortable (I have some more fabric to make number 3 as they are just lovely dresses to wear on a hot day for work).

I also had bought some lovely printed rayon before Christmas and ended up making a pair of lounge pants and a couple of tops, here are the pants and one of the tops (the latter was made with a remnant piece not using a pattern but some basic mathematics instead)

2  8 As you’ve probably noticed, I have become quite overweight over the last year (it’s amazing how being unhappy saps your energy and motivation), 2017 my daughter is going to be my personal trainer and motivation coach!

Finally, what do you do with a piece of clothing that has given up, but still has enough fabric to be upcycled? My favourite nightie had given up around the shoulders, but I wasn’t prepared to say goodbye, so I made the bottom into an underskirt and added rectangular panels of bleached calico over the top for interest. It is pictured here with a linen top I made using the Tessutti “Zoe top” pattern, the scarf was a gift from my Mother from Greece.

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Do you make something and it instantly becomes your new favourite? I admit to a certain superficiality in that, this skirt is IT! The drawstring waist is the best for someone with a short-waist who like to wear things just above the hip, soo  comfortable 🙂

A week later and I have an update on the house- we are in negotiation with a buyer, wish us luck! Much as I am not looking forward to the logistics of moving, getting on with life is what we are all champing at the bit to experience 🙂

I will keep you all posted…