Tomorrow morning early I'm off to Brisbane for a conference that looks as if it's going to be really interesting: the Association of Internet Researchers. There will be wireless there (as of course you'd expect) so I may be able to update you in real time as it goes. I have two sock toes prepared so I can knit on mindlessly during the sessions. Here's one, in Lisa Souza's lovely 'Blue Pacific'.
So, Raelene Boyle, when Andrew Denton was intervewing you last night and he brought up the subject of your partner's support for you during your struggles with cancer, why didn't you take the opportunity to talk about her? I suppose that it's possible that she doesn't want you to mention the fact that she's a woman. These days it's not usually an issue, but maybe she is in a job where it could be a problem for her. Can't think of any other reason why you'd be so coy. Can anyone else enlighten us?
And do we think that Andrew's tongue was firmly in his cheek when he thanked her for her honesty? Sure, she'd talked about her stalker, and her cancer, and her struggle with depression. But why not mention that other dimension to her life? I guess she thinks that it's none of our business. How strange, that we can learn all the details of her ill health and, vaguely, about the effect it has had on her relationship, but not that the relationship is with a woman.
Enough Rope works best when the guests give something of themselves. I didn't think it worked with Raelene last night.
There's a new knitting podcast that I think is showing promise: purl diving, by Katherine Matthews. Much as I love Brenda's podcasts, you do have to set aside some time to listen to them, and weeks tend to go by before I remember to check and discover that I have quite a few to catch up on. Katherine intends to create smaller little pearls for our ears, just enough to fill in a few minutes in our busy weeks. Her first episode reveals a pleasant voice, something to think about and some unusual music. Her webpage is simple and elegan. She seems to understand the rules of attracting and keeping an audience that I wrote about once. I don't listen to many podcasters - I don't think most of them are very interesting - but I think this one is a keeper.
I just did a photo shoot (well, had a few photos taken) for a national daily, the Financial Review. Their education supplement is doing an article on blogging in Higher Ed and the journo got pointed toward me by a friend. I'll let you know when it's going to be published, but the paper isn't really online - it isn't the paper of choice of business types for nothing - so I might not be able to point you to the article. However, they do seem to sometimes feature articles online, so you never know.
... after our lovely break in Canberra. This morning we spent an hour at an exhibition of Clarice Cliff ceramics, which was just wonderful. I wish I'd had the nous to start collecting her thirty years ago. I'd never be able to afford even one of her pieces now.
And I return to find that the garden is bloomin' lovely. I love a garden with lots of colour for as much of the year as possible, not too neat and tidy but with an interesting juxtaposition of different kinds of plants. I've been in the house for just over three years now and I think the garden is beginning to look like mine. Long-term readers will remember my battlewith bamboo last winter, and I think I've finally won - no bamboo shoots have appeared at all this spring!
Here's the view as you come up the side passage: Wisteria in front, with a pink and white azalea below, some purple and yellow pansies and freezias nearer the front, little tree ferns and native 'blue hibiscus' going mad at the back.
Closer-up view of the garden under the wisteria - click on the pic for a better shot. This is the bed that was full of bamboo at the beginning of last winter.
Flannel flowers, another lovely Australian native. I'm going to get more of these; they are so beautiful and they will fill the gaps in my native bed, which is the dry, difficult bed at the end of the garden that I created a year ago.
This is what is under the tree ferns - clivia and an azalea called 'Ward's Ruby' - how could I resist! Hard to believe how much the bamboo dominated before.
And here is one of the biggest plants in the garden, the 'blue hibiscus' (Alyogyne huegelii) that I bought as a little baby plant only a year ago. It's growing like a mad thing!
Mar (by the way, Mar, I sent the link to your 9/11 blog entry to friends in the US, some of whom live in NY. They were all moved and asked me to thank you) is surprised that we have Starbucks. We sure do - we've had them for around 5 years in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. I've never understood why - Sydney is rampant with excellent coffee, thanks chiefly to Italian immigration after WWII.
Having tried to get a decent cup of coffee in NY in 2000, I can understand the appeal of Starbucks in the US - it seemed to be the only place we could get coffee that wasn't both over-roasted and too weak for our tastes. Narelle and I bought a thermos from Macey's and walked two blocks to Starbucks to have it filled with cafe latte before we went to bed each night. Then each morning we could have coffee in bed before we got the day started.
The Starbucks outlets in Sydney always seem to have lots of people in them, but I've tried the product a couple of times and wouldn't bother again. Thursday just confirmed that. The young men were obsequious and the coffee wasn't coffee, it was fluffy milk. It was a lovely spot to sit; confortable and with an interesting view over Civic (the square in the middle of Canberra). But I'd rather have good coffee.
You might be cheered to read that near where we live in Sydney two MacDonald's chains closed a few years ago - one in Balmain and one in Newtown. First ones in the world to close for lack of patronage, apparently. I loove living in the Inner West!
So, possums, I'll be able to keep in touch with you all.
Has a lovely drive down. Were forced to stop at Bowral and visit Victoria House, where Rowan was 50% off. Unfortunately, I was mugged by a huge ball of Rown Big Print and lost consciousness for a few mintues. When I came to I was clutching a bag of Rowan Cotton Glace in red, black and green and my credit card was still smoking. I suppose that now I'll be forced to make yet another another another cotton top. Further on in sunny downtown Bowral we found a shop that sells sensible shoes (to which, of course, I am addicted). They stock Naots, which are like gold in Australia except harder to find, and I wanted something like this, but I couldn't find any to suit me. I did leave clutching a pair of Joseph Seibels, stitched, in denimy blue leather and suede. Sensible and stylish.
When we arrived in Canberra, dragging our purchases in a trailer behind us, we were met by Mon. Joyful reunion at Starbucks - where the ambience was great but the coffee was... weak doesn't begin to approach it really. Milky. Was it really coffee or did I order frothy hot milk by mistake? Maybe the barista forgot the shot?
Off to Canberra, Our Nation's Capital, in the morning, darls. Having a few days of concentrated PhD work while Sandra does the conference thing. May not be able to get the internets where we're staying. See you when I see you.
Celia asks where she can hear Judy's music. I've checked iTunesAus, but (surprise!) they don't seem to have heard of her. Google is your friend, Celia. There are some tracks you can listen to here: http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/store/artist/album/0,,296252,00.html
It's not a recent album (13 years old!), but there's some good stuff there. Unfortuntately I can't get it to play - windows media can be temperamental on a Mac.