Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Not Rudolph, but clearly one of Santa's reindeers. They are probably snoozing right now, preparing for their big dash around the world tonight.
We are at the shack, counting down the minutes (literally). Impending current excitement is a visit to Spog's Shed in Minlaton, where vintage Famous Five books can be bought for cents, not to mention broken guitars, shabby chairs and aluminium trunks.
The Gent is going fishing with his fishing buddy this afternoon,after raking all the pine needles and gum leaves out of the garden. This morning he plucked a whole bucket of fresh apricots from a burdened nearby tree, so we should dine will tonight.
Imogen and Hal are desperately hoping that 9 pm Mass will be cancelled tonight in order avoid any deviation from present worship. Crazy Gill's gifts arrived in very good time and look splendid in their wrapping under the tree. Kiwi Cousin's are also snuggled there. Oh, brother mine, I think your parcel has been delayed...
We decamped here on Sunday morning, after my big work function at (Clivv Pagg!) the Adelaide Cricket Oval! All went jolly well, and The BeatNIX, flown in from Sydney, were fantastic. Is it tragic to love the Beatles? It was compulsory listening in Earlswood Park as a child.
I am able to write this as Gent's new super status gives him a laptop with wireless connection. However, I was not prepared for this excitement, and thus have not brought my password for my regular email with me.
Fear not, dear readers! You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
I shall supply you with more thrilling updates on Christmas Day.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
You can’t quite see the delicious cruddiness of Hal’s self-chosen outfit; it’s finished by faded black shorts, stick thin legs, several bruises and cuts, and dark red Timberland boots. He insists on wearing the too-small Christmas hat at every available moment. Naturally, he looks very sweet. My neighbour, Jodie, thinks that Hal is a freckled piece of perfection, like Dickens’ Pip. A boy who never moans or grumbles. A skinny child, intelligent, dedicated to good manners and gentleman-like behaviour. He takes after his father...
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Instead, the children made this Advent Box, covered in the material for my Bridesmaid's dress, and furnished with a handle supplied by Daddy, a stud from his Mess kit.
Each night, the Fairies leave a little treat...fairy dust, gold coins, lollies. Hal is hoping for DVDs and Matchbox cars!
I told him the Fairies are only small, and they don't like greedy children.
One of the good things about having family overseas is that their gifts arrive in the mail. Hal's birthday present arrived a little later than his actual day, providing nigh-on hysterical joy for the whole family.
Wrapped to perfection by David Jones, the box was deliciously enormous.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
After almost scorching ourselves with the hot glue gun, then asphyxiating ourselves with the silver spray, the children and I have made countless tiny silver things for the Christmas tree.
Hal is taking some to school tomorrow, for the classroom tree. Boy, Room 3 is lucky.
Below is the photo of the quangdong nuts in their natural state, and in the front, the new, turbo boosted silver plated version.
Call me crazy, but I'm not starting a small 'quangdong' business yet.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Am I getting ahead of myself?
These are to send to Sydney for the Kiwi Cousins, along with a birthday present, so I sort of have an excuse.
I do love Christmas.
This weekend we are going to make decorations from pine cones and quangdong nuts. The latter are also known as native peaches and grow wild.
The Absolute Gent's father, George, adores pies made from them. Recently, we found a veritable orchard near the shack, and loaded our sun hats with the small, bright red fruit.
I divested them of the nuts and stewed the fruit, adding a generous helping of sugar.
And more sugar.
And quite a bit more.
They were still very, very bitter, with an aftertaste of bitter.
So we didn't eat the quangdongs, but we kept their nuts.
Imogen and Hal are very excited about the decorations. Hal has to take one to his beautiful teacher on Monday for the class tree. We met said lady at our local shops this evening. Hal proceeded to throttle himself as a means of overcoming his excitement/pleasure/embarrassment that his most loved teacher was before him, discussing cacti and carols (as you do).
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I was keen to write about this film partly because of the incredible cinematography by Roger Deakins.
Unfortunately, these images don't do it any justice whatsoever.
The Assassination... has suffered criticism for being too long, too slow, too lacking in suspense. Yes, it is slow and long. But it is incredibly beautiful.
It is a film about hero worship, in all its ugly, misguided, scrabbling pathetic-ness, but it remains visually captivating. The capture of nineteenth century Missouri is bleak yet breathtaking.
One of my chief feeling of unease when watching the film is that I failed to care about anyone in it. Not Jesse James, nor Robert Ford.
And yet. And yet. The acting of Pitt and Affleck was superb.
Flawed, interesting and a must see for its aesthetic charms alone.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
We have been doing a minor bit of entertaining lately. Last weekend it was brunch for some long-owed 'return of invitations' guests. I love doing brunch - the cheat's way to entertain. We had sausages and bacon, roasted winter vegetables with rosemary, home baked bread and savory muffins, plus chocolate cake and a fruit platter.
It's easy to cater to all tastes, especially on the plonk - champagne for all, and orange juice for those not imbibing. The children had a similar menu outside and could grab and go in the garden, making for a more leisurely meal for the grown ups!
And yesterday was the Pirate Party Sleepover. It continues as I write this early Sunday morning! Hal is plaything to three very energetic girls!
Immy and Hal did all the decorating of the Pirate Cake. My cake making skills are like my sewing skills - full of good intentions, love doing it, rather mediocre results. But clag a whole lot of butter icing and some smarties on, and you're laughing.
Friday, May 30, 2008
I'm sharing this teeny little row cottage (terraced to the Poms) that's for sale in the centre of Adelaide. I thought it was a tiny piece of genius; absolutely minuscule but beautifully realised. There are no windows on either side walls, and the long, narrow design means that the space would be rather dark and claustrophobic.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Imogen is turning 9 in June.
She made this fantastic invitation for her two special friends, and in two weeks' time they will be arriving for a sleepover (pirate theme).
The agenda includes: tea and games (includes pirate ship cake), a girls' movie and then sleep. Well, it's meant to include sleep. I hope The Absolute Gent and I get some at some point.
There is much excitement building here!
Thursday, May 8, 2008
The domestic history of the late Victorian, Edwardian and War years fascinates me. When my teenage friends were discovering New Order and blue mascara, I was visiting the kitchens of Cragside or riding the steam train at Beamish. (I grew up in the North of England).
I love old domestic manuals. This one, Selfridge's Household Encylclopaedia, was published in 1929 in London.
I bought the book here in Adelaide about ten years ago. Perhaps Phyllis and Samuel migrated here before the IIWW? Perhaps he, in an act of unparalleled adventure, suggested they sail out and stay with his Uncle Jim, who had arrived in the Twenties and was doing rather well for himself in Port Adelaide?
Whilst I'm unfailingly philosophical about my own life's history being firmly behind me (as memory and events allow) I am constantly intrigued by the tiny details that ruled our predecessors lives.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Let me tell you: our current home is uuuuug-leeeeeeee. It's a rectangular brick box with zero character and rather nasty net curtains. It is a rental; one of the perks of The Absolute Gents' career.
Gosh, I thought when we found out that it was the only house available to us in the whole of Adelaide, talk about a sow's ear.
After 18 months there still isn't a great deal of silk to be found. We are not allowed to change the paint or curtains, or anything really.
But it's home. It really is. Red aluminium windows, flowery nets and the most revolting nylon carpet you could imagine (let's not talk about the 'I'm a slate floor on ice' lino floor covering 40% of the floor.) This is where we live and love, where we squabble and learn, where we share meals and rest our heads.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The bedroom above is furnished with pieces by Francis Jourdain.
In the dining room, a strong Mallet-Stevens lacquered dining table is balanced by delicate Eckart Muthesius glass furniture.
A Ruhlmann black lacquered sofa underpins The Archer, by Adriaan Joh van't Hoff, inspired by the 1926 Olympics. [Who says sport isn't political? Go Tibet, I say.]
On the whole, the juxtaposition of seventeenth and twentieth centuries works, although some of the more avant garde pieces are a little confronting.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann was unboubtedly the star of the Exposition Internationale Des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Moderns, held in Paris in 1925, and from which the term Art Deco was born.
Which, as history marched on and Art Deco became more renowned as being the mother of the Modernist movement, is somewhat ironic. Ruhlmann had his roots in Art Nouveau, and was profoundly dedicated to quality, craftsmanship and the exclusivity of his so-called precious pieces. Modernism, influenced by the sometimes ambiguous principles of the Bauhaus movement, ultimately became dominated by a breed of designer dedicated to the production of mass produced, machine made items.
Ruhlmann made his money by running his deceased father's painting and contracting business, and lost his money by selling his exquisite furniture at a price lower than the cost to him to produce it.
There is an oriental influence in some of his designs; note the circular plate in the buffet below, a recurring theme in his work.
His interior schemes - he started an interiors business in 1919 with colleauge Pierre Laurent -are elegant, pared down, masculine spaces punctuated by sinuous, restrained curves. He specified gracious lighting, powerful prints and decorative mirrors.
Unfortunately, Ruhlmann's reign last only until his death in 1933. After he learned of his fatal illness, he planned for the finishing of the remaining commissions in his workshops and arranged for the dissolution of the company when all remaining work had been completed.
Contemporary American furniture manufacturer Pollaro is reproducing Ruhlmann designs for purchase today.
Absolutely sublime dressing table. I would be happy to see myself growing old in that mirror!
Exquisite cabinets. Note the metal cross-banding and tassel handles.
These armchairs are a perflect blend of comfort and elegance.
This inlaid side table with drawers speaks of Ruhlmann's obsession with eighteenth century furniture design and craftsmanship.
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