Monday, 29 September 2014

So old, so special

Once the colour was a strong blue, and the border was yellow.
Today I discarded a treasure I have owned for most of my life.
Yes, when I was about 8 years old my sister and I were given cotton scarves for Christmas. Mine was blue and hers was red. That's 55 years, almost. Maybe they were called kerchiefs; maybe. The style that was fashionable at the time, as I remember 50s films and magasines, was for the scarf to be tied at the neck with the knot slightly to the side at the front.

I have taken my scarf with me as I moved from home to hostel to flats to houses, from town to town. Always folded the same way. Occasionally it was worn, but not often. Now it is ragged at the corners and speckled with age marks. The colours have faded through washing and time. We have so much in common.

Today it was worn for the last time to protect my hair as I dusted fans and so forth.
But into the bin.
I wonder if anyone else has kept such a simple item from their childhood for so long. And I wondered how you felt when it simply had to go.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Vintage Needlework

This little gem is just one of the treasures from Iva Rose.
When I was a little girl we had a needlework book in the house that was really old. I think it had belonged to my grandmother, my father's mother, but I am not sure. The pictures and projects were from the late 1800s.
I am not sure what happened to the book but I have found something similar.

If you like old books then have look at this site.

At Iva Rose old patterns are scanned, cleaned up, and then sold to the public. Nothing elaborate or outrageous about the publications, just ready for a creative person to do something.

You may have to hunt about for a while as there is quite a big collection on this site. I found this book of crocheted edges in the section Books Under $10.

If you enjoy making or wearing vintage styles, or making them for theatre productions, you might also enjoy looking at these sites.
Vintage Dancer
Ageless Patterns

Sites like these make me realise just how hard many women had to work in the past and how fortunate I am to live in more liberal times with greater person freedom.

I am thinking that a couple of pattern books might make a wonderful Christmas or birthday present for someone. Thinking also about how to make the postage worthwhile.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Thinking about domestic violence

In my knitting group are several women who have experienced domestic violence from their husbands or former husbands. I have a very close friend who has been a victim of domestic violence by one of her daughters. Sometimes I see and hear news reports about cases resulting in deaths.

Behaviours are learned; we all know that. I am thinking a lot lately about how the perpetrators learned these terrible behaviours. As a teacher did I accidentally teach someone to be violent? Children learn to be polite or selfish or kind or studious, among other traits. I know I learn information from sources like documentaries on TV. I learn fitness information from websites and general popular press. Did the domestic violence behaviours come from films and songs? Video games? News items about wars? Are the people desperate for understanding and friendship but something is going wrong? Not all the victims are poor, some are very wealthy. Not all are European; all ethnic and racial backgrounds are involved. All religions too, I suspect. One of our local politicians was recently in court for behaving openly in this way to one of her family members.

I have been wondering if I am violent too. How would I behave in similar circumstances? What actually are the circumstances?

Then I think about how we react to reports of violence. I wonder why some actions and reactions generate lots of support, but not others. Is the media condoning violence, being an enabler?

I saw this chart and wondered what other people think. This illustration is about husbands and wives. The chart does not cover everything; it is a beginning. Do you think domestic violence is about feeling superior to another person, or is it something else?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A Town Like Alice

My home is not quite as dust-free and fabulous as it might be. I have wasted (???) far too much time lately chasing an old memory. But it has been fun.

Deborah from The Beautiful Matters wrote that her book club was reading A Town Like Alice. I had read this while a high school student, along with a couple of other Nevil Shute novels. Instantly, I was hooked. Jumped on the internet to find out more about Nevil Shute. It's amazing what you either have forgotten or never knew. Researching the author was fun.

I live just a day and a half's drive from Alice Springs and have been there many times. My daughter lived there for a while. But in the book Joe, the hero, goes to live near Willstown and there is a need for that town to become more like the Alice. Willstown is modelled on Burketown and Normanton which is a region where my mother lived when she was young. You have not died and gone to heaven when you visit those places. Isolated. Conservative. Flies and heat and dust.

I downloaded a copy of A Town Like Alice from the Gutenburg Project, as the novel is not available locally, even through my library services.  It is also available from  and This is not an arduous book to read. Relaxing. Simple. Engaging.

I found two versions if the film on Youtube and watched them. Yes, I accidentally found one version dubbed in French!! Watch out!
The original film was made for cinema in 1956 and covers just the first half of the novel. Peter Finch and Virginia McKenna play the leading roles. It is well made and I enjoyed seeing places I had visited as a tourist.
The second version is a television miniseries (1988) and is in three parts. This is close to the novel, with Bryan Brown and Helen Morse taking the characters of Joe and Jean. Lovely. The only negative with this version is the overload of Aussie expressions. Television, movies, and the internet have changed the way we speak now.

When I was at school reading this book there was still a very negative reaction to anything associated with World War II. Many families, including mine, had someone who had been a prisoner in Changi or similar places. These matters were not discussed, as the professional advice given at the time was that the ghastly memories would fade if left alone. So this book and film were not popular in my town. But attitudes are different now.

Have a go. The book is free for your Kindle or computer. Maybe it is in your library. The films are free. Housework is a mere drop in the bucket. If you do it, nobody notices anyway; so skip it for a while. Enjoy yourself.