Monthly Archives: November 2019

lamenting for thy hand, Belinda


Re-creating an earlier costume and in part replicating the “lying on a funeral pyre” pose

I am not good at fancy-dress gigs. It’s historically verifiable that my Mum was very good at such things, even thrived on them. Occasionally, however, I don’t mind making the effort for a good cause. Themes are helpful but not always appealing. You might remember my long-ago agonising about what I could do that would be suitably jungly for a family birthday party!

This time, the theme was Queen for a Day. Many years ago, I shared the role of Dido in a production of Dido and Aeneas. The costume was not too extravagant, so I thought I could approximate it without too much effort. That’s what I did. I didn’t have any suitable old sheets, so I bought a length of cheap, narrow, cotton fabric. I folded it end to end, cut it, then sewed the selvages together, so that I had a piece of fabric about the right proportion to go around me twice and leave ends that could be tied at one shoulder. I didn’t hem anything, but I painted the edges of the resulting rectangle with a bronze fabric paint.

Tyrian purple being the name of the game for the real identifier, I bought a length of purple velvet (from the reduction table) and did nothing at all to it. When it came time to dress, I simply fastened the velvet to the front of the costume, and wrapped it around. I reckoned that later it would keep me warm (this proved to be a good plan). Although my original costume didn’t involve a crown of any sort, I decided that this costume would. I made a coronet from a metallic gold ribbon decorated with Phoenician-blue dots. Dr B insisted it needed a ruby. Of course, they’re the sorts of things I have lying around the house! I made do with a small stick-on red rosette.


The idea’s the thing. Right?

Because I could – meaning that I still had them in my jewellery box – I wore the earrings that were part of my original Dido costume. The other Dido had slightly different earrings, which she described as hubcaps. Mine weren’t.


More chandeliers than hubcaps, but they’ve survived remarkably well for cheap costume jewellery 🙂

May your long-ago bits and pieces now and then come in useful for theatrical purposes 🙂

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Posted by on November 25, 2019 in Family history, Sewing


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smoky obscurity


Hills obscured by smoke from bushfires

There are no fires too close to the city, but yesterday there was lots of smoke. Morning commutes to the CBD were hazy enough to require extra caution and it was still hazy – as you can see – when I took this view from the window around 10.30.


nah, too close


Well, um, yeah. Does that count?!

As anticipated, the tree looks fairly dull by daylight. The decorations on the Town Hall are less than stellar. People keep telling me that Christmas is single-digit-weeks away.

Today was what I would describe as a nice summer day. Several of my colleagues described it as too hot. You can’t please everyone. Tomorrow, a large part of our state is facing catastrophic fire conditions. Whatever I think of the temperature, I’m still too much a country kid to be complacent about bushfire danger.

So, if you happen to be in one of the affected areas, may you be well prepared and not have to put your evacuation plans into action.

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Posted by on November 19, 2019 in Musing


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not only at night

Image may contain: christmas tree, night and outdoor

This year’s tree, lighting up the chilly November night.

I toyed with the idea of partying in town, but decided it was far too cold! The tree was lit without my being there. And I can check it out for myself at lunchtime on Monday, although I don’t suppose it will be lit then; or, if it is, that I’ll be able to admire its beauty in quite the same way.

For now, it’s off to more domestica. May your day be full of light and colour, too 🙂

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Posted by on November 17, 2019 in Musing


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maybe just another?


Forever trumpeting above the rushing crowds

Teamwork makes the dream work. Sharing is caring. We speak in platitudes to improve our attitudes. Click, drag, drop; do it till YOU drop.

Yeah, nah. It’s just been busy beyond belief and, like most workplaces these days, we have few full-timers. Throw in the occasional day of anyone away on sick leave and you begin to see that the last-thing-on-Friday hysterics are, well, not so much hysterical as the new normal.

But up there on their parapet, the trumpeters are silently celebrating. Let the braying begin 🙂


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Posted by on November 16, 2019 in Health


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another of those weeks


Spotted out the front of my building, undoubtedly ready for someone to make a quick getaway 😀

There have been days lately where I’ve needed to remind myself that I have a 100 per cent success rate with at least one KPI: I have reached the end of every working day without killing anyone! Yep, yet again, everyone has wended their way homeward, though if looks could kill…

We’re all tired and stressed and we are all busy. It’s a time when being a team player is a cardinal virtue and, yes, it’s true that not everyone is. Oh, well.

Big picture check: is the planet still rotating on its axis? Tick.

Well there you go. Nowt to worry about 😀

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Posted by on November 8, 2019 in Health, Motorcycling


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yeah, well, it’s like this


If you can see the tree from the office window (I had to go to someone else’s desk, but that’s a legit view), it must be OK to sing Christmas carols. Right?! 😉

Another week or two flown by, with allergies continuing to make life miserable. The temperatures are beginning to climb and remain consistently higher, so a lunchtime walk is a wonderful thing (as long as you’re medicated to the eyeballs to prevent sneezing attacks, of course). The building where I work is “smart”, but what that means in practical terms is constant gloom and a cold office. The only place it’s warm and bright is the bathroom!

On our morning bus trip, YoungB and I have observed that the official Christmas decorations are beginning to appear on buildings in the city centre. The trumpeters are up on the heritage-listed Adelaide Arcade balcony. Above a newer development, silver trees grace the portico. A group of Santas is making itself at home above the Cross. As if that’s not enough, the Christmas Pageant takes place on Saturday and the Christmas tree is up in the Square, ready to be lit.

All in all, we agreed it’s reached the time of year when you can whistle Christmas carols at work without fear of annoying too many people. Or at least, a time when you can defend your choice of music. I pointed out to YoungB that, if you have a reasonable repertoire of little-known or even practically unknown Christmas carols you can whistle them pretty much year-round without anyone being any the wiser. To be fair, I have yet to be called on my efforts. Thanks to years as a church organist and a good memory for words I do have such a repertoire, which includes some carols for which I cannot find any online references. I mention in passing that I know a different melody from the one illustrated at the link, which is the one you’ll hear most frequently in a number of online versions).

Christmas is shaping up to be a less grumpy season that has hitherto been the case, which is undoubtedly as simple as all of us being too exhausted to muster sufficient energy to evince grumpiness. Last weekend we attended an All Souls’ Day Mass at the cemetery where the Nonni are buried, talked Dr B into addressing a longstanding sartorial lacuna, helped a friend celebrate becoming a senior, and made the trip into town for another author talk, to mark the launch of Garth Nix’s latest YA fantasy title. Naturally, YoungB and I lined up to get our copy signed.

Earlier this week we marked death anniversaries and a birthday that “would have been”, and that’s about how it will be for the rest of the year. Birthdays and busy-ness. But, you know, able to be made bearable by no-longer-so-surreptitious whistling of cheery melodies. YoungB has brushed up on his singing and dusted off this irreverent version of Frosty the Snowman.

May all your melodies be similarly cheerful, no matter their origin 🙂

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Posted by on November 7, 2019 in Health


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