Thursday 25 April 2013

how to clean a bugle

today is April 25th,
the day on which the Last Post is blown all over the country
as Australia pauses for silence to remember 
those who gave their lives in service of the country. 

wars fill me with horror.
my great-grandfather died on December 10, 1914.
it was the day after my grandfather's birthday

but when i rustled up our bugle this morning
thinking i might let loose a mournful note in memory
it was filthy and housing a number of unfriendly arachnids
clearly something had to be done


now the bugle is nice and shiny
thanks to the helpful acidity of the eucalyptus leaves

 i have a wrap i can hide in
 become a stone among trees

and the bugle yields a much more beautiful note
[Kowhai doesn't care she's too busy digging]

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
 Laurence Binyon

+   +   +

and in the remembering, bear in mind
the words of another poet, Charles Causley
who wrote

O war is a casual mistress
And the world is her double bed.
She has a few charms in her mechanised arms
But you wake up and find yourself dead.

                             (‘A Ballad For Katharine Of Aragon’)

Wednesday 24 April 2013

packing for the pond hop


i am supposed to be packing for the pond hop
but have been momentarily diverted, thanks to my new friend Jane Flower
who not only organised a wonderful workshop in the west
but kindly took the time to teach me a book structure i was curious about

i'm thinking i might make one for the Haystack auction
[lucky me, i'm attending session 2 there as a student this year]

i rather like this binding
it's addictive
and you can keep going for as long as you want

except that i had better get back to packing
speaking of which
thanks to those unspeakable cowards who misused perfectly good pressure cookers last week
my travelling dyepots [of the plug in kind]
are retiring.

i have no wish for cross-examinations by airport security.
[they take excessive interest in my luggage as it is and they can get very cross]

so i'm thinking of bringing this little chap out of hibernation
he runs on methylated spirits
provided i let the flame burn out to the very end
and pack each of the components separately in my back pack
[so i can explain, rather than having my suitcase torn apart]
it won't pose a risk

and now to re-home those spiders...


and in the good old days, i might have taken one of these

Sunday 21 April 2013


 it was a bit sad
bumping out 'muddy waters'

fortunately i had other work to do

eucalyptus magic
never fails to delight

Thursday 18 April 2013

a special 'botanical alchemy' event

those of my readers who have met me
will know that cooking is a passion of mine
alongside my more public pursuits

so when an email came out of the blue
enquiring whether i would like to give a class
at gorgeous Glenmore House in NSW
[on the edge of Sydney]
 famed for kitchen gardening and seasonal cooking days
and for fabulous lunches prepared by proprietor Mickey Robertson
i was delighted and said YES please
[especially as, serendipitously, i was planning to be in the region in any event
to meet with my publisher, on the way home from Queensland]
in this one-day retreat
we shall be dyeing soft wool travel wraps
with leaves from the property
and making a lovely Tsunobukuro bag in which to keep them
while Mickey cooks us a delicious lunch 
please click here for the link to the booking form 

and if you are wondering what's on the plate in the picture
it was today's breakfast
toasted spelt bread
piled with a mix of yoghurt, spring onion, basil, dill, danish fetta
garnished with tiny slices of fresh chili
and more dill.



Tuesday 16 April 2013

earth matters

driving to Murray Bridge yesterday to pack up my exhibition 
took me along one of my favourite local roads
first there's a bit where the eastern escarpment of Mount Lofty Ranges drops away 
into what locals call "the flats"
where looking into the opaline heart of the continent brings to mind that line from Dorothea Mackellar's poem My Country 
impossible to photograph as the camera gives it a one-eyed squint 
that simply doesn't capture the grandeur
it's the kind of landscape that is best drawn or painted

so i can't really show you the big picture

on the other hand i can show details.

 driving along this road should take about 40 minutes
it can take me all day

later, heading back up into the ranges
i stopped for a closer look at a new cutting
and found
contemporary petroglyphs

Monday 15 April 2013

at last

at long last
in this dusty corner of
the driest state
on the driest continent

it is raining. not much
but enough to lift the spirits

housekeeping becomes a challenge for small arachnids

the resident goose is happy again

me too, i'm having raspberry lassie for breakfast

 the whirled is bedecked in moonstones
[my favourite gem]


all Sam wants is a lap
unfortunately for him, Felix is firmly in possession

Friday 12 April 2013


it's quite exhausting
having to help with the bundling
a pig just has to get away from it all
and have a good wallow

Tuesday 9 April 2013

red work book

tucked in between the windowed envelopes
in the pile of mail that awaited my return from the West
was my Red Work Book

made on the spur of the moment
when Moleskine and Milk offered a 'special'.

now i wish i had ordered more than one copy
because it turned out beautifully
and would have been good to have on hand
as a giveaway to nice folks

next time...

Friday 5 April 2013

from here you can see Afrika

when my chillun were small
this phrase was their indication of distance
...'from here you can see Afrika'
[usually announced from the top of the willow tree]

i've been in the Far West
where [if you eat enough carrots and can see around the curve of the earth]
that might even be true

it was a splendid few days
with a delightful fire to heat the dyes
and plenty of leaves for gathering

Jane Flower [an excellent organiser!] found me a wonderful place to stay,
organised a selection of lovely fabrics for students
[all the way from Beautiful Silks]
we were fed royally at lunch by Karen

the sunsets were fabulous
and the magpies serenaded me every morning

dashing back to Perth airport today
[after giving a talk and demonstration for the Bunbury Felters]
i stopped to fill up with petrol
weary and well content with my week
not quite as tired as this mouse