We have slowly been knitting bits and pieces for the Winterwarm project. Tomorrow all the items that have been knitted will be collected by Sally and sent on to Melbourne, where they will be parceled up and sent to Afghanistan. It's been fun - trying patterns, incorporating new ideas and using up old stash. The greyish yarn was spun by Sandra's mother some years ago, and has been waiting for just this opportunity to be used. My contributions in the left hand photo; Sandra's in the other two.
Some progress pictures. First, the view of the kitchen from the yard. Windows are now in and the shape of the kitchen fittings is scratched out on the floor. We have the plan for the kitchen units and are waiting for plans of the bathroom vanities and some built-in cupboards that are going to be made by the same company.
Some views from upstairs. That odd-shaped little window is in the walk-through robe and I love it. Later we would like to get some stained glass put into that one and the one over the stairs.
This is the wallpaper that was above the ceiling in the kitchen - there were three ceilings in the kitchen, and this went up to the original wooden one. It probably dates from the 50s. We'd thought that the kitchen had been added in the 70s or 80s, but obviously not.
All the rendering is now done downstairs, and the gib boarding on the stairwall and upstairs will be done this week. Then the stairs can go in, which will be very exciting. That ladder is not an easy thing to negotiate.
In 1987, when I was first coming to terms with the understanding that I was in love with a woman, someone found me a book in her university library. It was Lesbian/Woman, by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. I devoured it, even though it was about American lesbians. It was the only thing I had.
Del and Phyllis founded the first gay rights organisation, The Sisters of Bilitis, in the 1950s and what was probably the first lesbian newsletter, The Ladder, at around the same time. My masters thesis in Women's Studies was written on the New Zealand lesbian newsletters of the 1970s and 1980s, so I know how important these mimeographed pages would have been to the isolated and lonely women who received them.
Del and Phyllis worked together on lesbian and feminist issues for nearly 55 years, and were among the first lesbians who married in their home state of California in June. Sadly, Del died yesterday, aged 87, after a lifetime dedicated to helping women understand that they were not freaks or wrong for being who they are. More detail on Del's life and work can be found here. Thanks for everything, Del
We had breakfast at Southbank then spent the rest of the morning at the Art Deco exhibition. And very lovely it was too. Those beaded dresses were to die for. Amazingly, we bumped into Sandra's cousin from Sydney and his family. And we saw our new front door - just a small matter of getting it out of the National Gallery and up to Sydney. Maybe we'll have to look for something similar. The picture is of the roof of the area where we queued for our tickets. It is stained glass and it is an unbelieveable sight - how does it stay up?
It is cold here (lots of chances to wear our woolies!), but on the banks of the Yarra the trees are budding and the echiums are flowering. This is something I miss in Sydney: really clearly defined four seasons
We walked over to Federation Square, which I hadn't seen before. I love the facades of the buildings that line this great space. Then up in the city I bought a pair of interesting shoes - black with white stitching. This evening we took the train to Brunswick St and had a Schezuan meal - very good indeed.
We like Melbourne. But one mystery - why does no-one pay the fare on the tram?
I have fourteen little hearts on my Rosarie in Rav. I feel quite humble - other people have hundreds of hearts on some of their projects, but these feel quite personal. If you have hearted my Rosarie in Rav, thank you.
What an amazing thing Ravelry is. And how hard to explain to anyone who hasn't experienced it.
Views from the hotel window. Those are Victorian confections - originally legal businesses - barristers chambers - I think. Nothing like this in Sydney - or anywhere else I've ever been. I think this is some of what people mean when they refer to Melbourne as 'European'. We had a very good meal last night at a bar opposite the hotel - in the ground floor and basement of one of these buildings. Now I'm off to explore
Later... more Victoriana for you. I only got completely lost once - I discovered I had walked one block in the completely wrong direction down Bourke St Mall. But that was easily fixed. When I'm on foot I have a really dreadful sense of direction and have to turn maps around to be ale to work them out. However, in the car I'm fine - I'm always the navigator on our travels and have almost never lost us. The only exception, an occasion when both of us were completely defeated by a map, was at a certain roundabout on the Oxford ring road. It should have put us onto the Abingdon Rd, one of the main arteries of Oxford, and I think we went through it four times, from different directions, but never found the correct exit. We eventually took another road and asked directions from a local.
The commenters at Yarn Harlot are having a proper discussion instead of the more usual praise-fest. Very interesting it is too, if you're interested in the role of libraries in the community, knitting and children. Some good issues are raised. No easy answers.
I found the religious meeting of Obama and McCain completely bizarre. You can get a real flavour of the religiosity of the event here. It was so inward-looking, so predictable, so self-serving, in the sense that they were each serving their own ends and not challenging any of the US paradigms. Effective leadership means taking risks, and I think that it's very sad that the election machine (here as well as in the US) has evolved to the point where risk-taking by candidates is unthinkable.
I have to admit to have a different attitude to US election campaigns and the way the US executive operates since I watched West Wing. Up until then it seemed quite mysterious, used as I am to the Westminster system. Our systems are very different, but neither seems to me to have much life or vivacity in it these days. Goin' through the motions. I know that it's said that's happened because of the media - being constantly overseen, even back views being available into their youth, makes potential leaders try to appear as inoffensive as possible. But I think that the public has a part to play too - no-one's perfect, and maybe if the level of judgement on potential leaders wasn't so high they could afford to relax a bit and appear like human beings instead of worded-up robots. West WIng pointed this process up so well - the candidates were briefed and prepared for every possible question from every possible angle. They became creations of their staff, who were in turn receiving instructions from armies of 'researchers' - people who are continually crunching numbers generated by polling.
I'm grateful that we're never likely to see an event like this here. The religious overtones of the meeting made it uniquely part of the US way of doing things. But I think that our elections are now run by polling experts in the same way as the US ones are. And I'm not sure that it is necessarily bringing us better leaders. If you get the chance to be polled, remember that this may be as much of the democratic process as your vote and take it seriously. It may be our only real chance to influence the system.