Sunday, December 28, 2008

I am ....

Working: On the The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)

Being Called: Amanda Muggleton, Bob, Ruth, Tracey - by the characters of TCWWS during the course of the play.

Sleeping: at Bondi over the past three nights, during the bump in and rehearsals of TCWWS, because of the late finishes, early starts and Trackwork.

Reading: James Ellroy - The Big Nowhere as recommended by Jennifer Byrne and team on the First Tuesday Book Club; An intense, complex and enthralling read.

Watching: TCWWS and Life on Mars Series 2, the first because it's so funny and the second because it's a damn fine drama.

Knitting: the lovely Touch Yarns Angora into a scarf and mittens for a friend who admired the yarn - the bunny fibre is sooo soft and smooshy. I have to complete it by tomorrow lunchtime so one more show should do it.

Buying: 1 skein of Debbie Bliss Silk yarn from Morris and Sons sales to supplement the 6 balls of cotton/silk, Classic Elite Patina I'm using for the Stashbusting sideways Jacket. Any excuse to go and browse a sale.

Waiting: for Virginia Farm to reopen so I can buy dye suitable for colouring Linen fibre - then I can finish the Linen Jacket.

Sheltering: in the dark, air conditioned, coolness of the Playhouse Control Room away from crowds of hot tourists.

Missing: the cool Blue Mountains air, the King Parrots on the back Verandah, and my boys.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Trees

There's the big one;

the little one;


the ones growing in the garden;

and the bush.

They all have their place but I know the most popular is the one in our house.

Happy Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Social Events

The past few weeks have (once again) been busy but this time it hasn't all been work. It is the time of year for social occasions but most of mine have centred around family and the odd bit of knitting.

Just looking through Picasa (the only way I seem to keep track of what I've been doing) I've found our day at the Zig Zag Railway;
We travelled on the last trip of the day and they let us ride in the cabin while they shunted - Big thrills for the whole family. Because it's only 30 minutes away I've joined up with them - the whole organisation is run by Volunteers and they do a damn fine job - as well as being a lot of fun.


Then there was the Star Wars exhibition at The Powerhouse; we arrived very early and left before the crowds became too much.


It was a great display of Props and Costumes and it showed the amount of detail required before the days of CGI and Green Screens.I loved the costumes while The Lad was more into the robots and the villains.

On the same day we caught the last performance of The Umbilical Bros. These two guys are the most talented and funny performers I have seen for a long time. Despite rushing to catch a taxi to the airport after their last show they still managed to find time to sign an autograph for a 10 yr old fan and his pushy mother. (Dave was still in the shower but signed it as he packed up the props)

Is it any wonder I yearn for the green tranquillity of the back verandah after a few weeks of this?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Blossom

I know that Summer has officially started and that the time to celebrate Spring blossoms has passed but our garden was never one to stick to convention.
Several trees have been putting on a beautiful show for the past three months so I pay credit to their prettiness.

The Blueberry Ash is a mass of pink tutu flowers surounded by bees and insects. I've given up on the blue berries surviving because the birds always get there first.

Its neighbour, the Lemon Scented Myrtle , is a bit more subdued with clusters of soft cream and lemon blooms.

Next to them the Black Wattle is past its best but its creamy flower puffs can still be seen. Despite its name this tree is not an Acacia;

"Callicoma serratifolia is a plant of historic interest as the first timbers used for the wattle and daub huts of the early settlers were cut from these trees. This plant was common at that time around Sydney Cove. Because of the close resemblance of its flowers to those of Acacia it was then known as black wattle, a name which is now applied more appropriately to some true Acacia species."

We have plenty of real wattle trees in the garden but their flowering period is long gone. The Big Boofy Cockatoos are having a great time ripping into the new seed pods and scattering the cuttings over the front garden - there is a layer of mulch about a foot deep over the lawn and the path and the car and the postman, if he stayed still for 10 minutes.

The one plant that is thriving is the Oca - so far my attempts to ward off snails and possums and birds have proven successful. The recent rains have been extremley beneficial to my Yam trials so I'm keeping my finger crossed for a good crop.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Adventures in Colour


Moss - a wonderful gold, green colour from Landscape dyes on Moda Vera Linen Mode and a skein of "Natural white Merino ultra soft boucle yarn in 100g skeins" from Virginia Farm.

The boucle shows the true colour despite the linen blend simmering in the dyepot for about half an hour.
I got tired of waiting for the dye to exhaust so I popped the merino yarn in for a few minutes while I rinsed the linen out. The results were impressive - it really does live up to its "dyes beautifully" description.

The reason why I was dying the Moda Vera was to get an alternative to the lime that was the only green shade Spotlight had in this fibre. It wasn't as successful as I would have liked but I can still use it to complement the taupe shade I'm using to knit this loose-flowing swing cardigan. Big needles, simple pattern and budget price yarn.

On the other set of needles I am nearly finished another swing cardigan - this time in lovely silky-soft, Atlante bamboo yarn from Naturally. It's 4ply and very slippery so its not a relaxed knit - I have to ensure my tension is constant as it doesn't allow for any mistakes or variations. the end result is worth it though - a slinky, cool summer top in rich Gold.

The other colour adventures we are having are Royal Blue. The Boy Bowerbirds have been practising - even though they are still without their mature, deep-blue plumage they've been dancing and preening, building bowers and collecting bits of blue booty. The bowers are a bit scrappy, their dances and songs obviously need a bit more work and all their booty is constantly being pinched by the adult bird, but they keep on trying. One of these days they'll be off their 'P Plates' and doing it for real.
In the meantime we get a lot of entertainment watching them rehearse.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Our Visitor


This chap is a regular visitor to our balcony. Of the many King parrots who use the bird feeder, he is the only one brave, or foolhardy, enough to venture near the house. Just how near I discovered a few days ago when I left a container of seed inside on the coffee table.





His unique wing markings readily identify him so I know he's gradually getting more and more bold in his adventures.







The next day he attracted a female to join him but he wasn't too keen to share the spoils.

Although it is nice to have such a close association with the local wildlife I won't be promoting this behaviour because it's probably not good for the parrots to get too complacent with Humans. My experiences with local possums and the Big, Bold, Boofy, Cockatoos also show how much damage some of these lovely creatures can create.

On a completely different topic I do hope to post some pictures of my latest knitting project. The Bamboo yarn I bought with the help of my Guild Raffle prize voucher is 3/4 finished. It has produced a lovely silken drapey garment which attracted a lot of attention at yesterday's Branch meeting.

Once I have cleaned off the bird seed, bird poo and silkworms from the table I'll take some photos to post.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bloody Titus

For I must talk of murders, rapes and massacres, Acts of black night, abominable deeds,Complots of mischief, treason, villanies Ruthful to hear, yet piteously perform' ActV:Sc1

Books, blood and a bucket; apart from the nine male cast members they are the main components of the Bell Shakespeare’s production of Anatomy Titus Fall of Rome, a Shakespeare Commentary.

Adapted by Heiner Muller, translated by Julian Hammond, directed by Michael Gow and dramatically lit by Matt Scott, it is a fascinating modern/period/Australian hybrid production. The play's misogyny, cannibilism, racism, and implicit violence are gruesome and extremely confronting, even with Mullers modern commentary and its context of it being a typical 'revenge tragedy' of its time .

This 2 hour long performance has a mixture of period language and contemporary references that deviate between absurd blood letting, a la the Braindead, schlock-horror of Peter Jackson, to acts of violence and rape that recall Abu Grave and Janine Balding.

The whole performance is an antidote to the steretypical "men in tights" perception of Shakespeare and graphically prove that Quentin Tarintino and The Texas Chaisaw Massacre brought nothing new to the stage.
Despite this there is humour and meaning to what could be perceived as an indulgence in graphic violence and bloodletting. Most of the reviews have been positive although the audiences have not been huge. I've watched several people leave in the first hour because it is so disquieting but this is no reflection of the quality of the performance. As Rosemary Sorensen aptly states

"Concentrate on the words, director Michael Gow is telling us. Listen to how eloquently Shakespeare writes these speeches, allowing us to enjoy the elegance of the argumentation and the clever imagery right in the teeth of the monstrous situation we are witnessing."

The play ends with most of the protagonists being dispatched in a bloody game of ‘tag’ while the curtain call looks like the line-up from “Day of the Living Dead”.

This is a powerful play, skillfully directed and performed and, in spite of the big clean-up job for the Stage hands and the ASM, a pleasure to work.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Award Night

An obligatory bit of Knitting with bespoke stitch markers

I'm afraid I'm not the best with Blogger Etiquette. Several times I've been sent memes or other bits of Blog socialisation that I've neglected to answer and then felt bad about. The trouble is after reading all the feeds I have on my Blogline account and then (sometimes) commenting on them or checking out the interesting links they suggest, I find I'm all blogged out.

My Blog's upkeep is erratic to say the least. If I'm snowed under with work or life then I don't feel up to documenting my day-to-day trials of life. Despite this, while I'm travelling (or in the shower) I often find myself writing posts in my head about things I've observed or experienced.

Happyspider has written an interesting post about blogging and the Knitting 'Verse which does encapsulate my feelings about these interconnected activities. There seems to be a bit of a global "comment drought" about at present so I'm not too upset if my posts are not acknowledged. I've even stopped reading the Sitemeter statistics because I couldn't see the point in it.

Notwithstanding all these blog musings Lynne has nominated me for this Award and I feel very honoured, thank you Lynne.
In keeping with the spirit of the award these are the conditions I must fulfil to truly earn the Blue Ribbon.

1. Please put the award on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. You must nominate at least 4 fellow bloggers for this award.
4. Add links to the recipients.
5. Leave a comment so the recipients know they have received an award.

Witty Knitter
What I do, what I think and what I knit.
One of the first blogs I started reading from a very internets savvy, witty, knitter.

Birdchick Blog
To show the world that you can be a birder without being a geek.
I found Birdchick Sharon via Neil Gaimans Fanblog. I am fascinated by her bee posts and her wonderful bird photography

Knitting and Chocolate
Because they go so well together
Chocolate Trudi combines two of my favourite pursuits and always has something interesting to read about.

Disco Knitter
Knit One, Hug One....
Lara has been through some big life changing events in the past year - most of them centred around a little Spawn by the name of Inigo - but cute with it.

I could also have mentioned Pom Pom (but she already has the award) or web-goddess, or missyfee, or KnitTatPug or ... but I'm restricted to 4 choices and that's pretty good out of the 92 I have on my Blogroll. It's no wonder I don't have enough hours in the day.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sad tale of the Flaccid Fern

The beautiful Tree Fern that grew in our front garden has been transplanted to the back with varying success. It was growing so well out front that it became a hazard to the Gas Meter Reader and the verandah.

Tree Ferns are apparently not as easy to move as their cousins the Dicksonia fern so we are hoping that the new location below the Red Cedar and surrounded by other ferns will aid in its recovery. At the moment it looks very flaccid and dejected but the soft mist and gentle rain of the past few days may prove beneficial.













The rest of the garden is bloomin' marvellous. The Native Frangipani is in full fragrant flower, the Isopogon and Mountain Devil are looking pretty and the Port Wine Magnolia fills the late afternoon with its rich scent.






The Fruit Shop cont...
The most recent information about the exciting "park your car in the shop" incident is that the driver was wearing THONGS which became caught in the accelorator resulting in the potentially fatal collision with the shopfront. Even after the car had travelled as far as it could into the building the motor was apparently still running at high revs. I was on my way to buy something for dinner and sill get a cold shiver when I think what might have happened if I had been 20 minutes early.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Call me Alec

"*Alec! - Bring up the lights so I can talk to the people""

While I'm not a big fan of Jerry Lewis I cannot fail to admire his sheer tenacity and professionalism. Last night this 82 year-old Comic veteran performed his stand-up act to a big crowd of adoring fans for over an hour.

It was a very, very, simple show technically, so I had plenty of time to watch this American Icon deliver a routine that would have sounded hackneyed coming from a younger comedian.
65+ years of experience on the Boards has given him a slickness and ease of delivery that belies his age, though his jokes and comments often bordered on the offensive.

After watching the rehearsal earlier in the day I was impressed by his transformation from an aged geriatric in slippers and comfy trousers to the tuxedo-clad, suave Hollywood star. Despite the many omissions and deviations from the running sheet I was given at the top of the show his performance was constantly engaging. The only indication of his advanced years was his increasing breathlessness and a director's chair to sit on towards the finale.

In my advanced years I could only wish for a fraction of the energy and alertness of Jerry Lewis at 82 and he joins the ranks of Super Troupers I have been privileged to work for.

(*Electrician - boomtish)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Yams are Go!

The yams, aka Oca, aka Oxalis Tuberosa, aka Yummy Sweet Things, have been planted. the seed stock started to sprout in the storage box so I took the hint that it was time to put them in the ground.

Here we have several bags of Mushroom Compost mixed with some Peat soil and generous spadefuls of homegrown compost all mixed together in a sunny spot below the kitchen window.




I needed to have them close because of the antics of these fellows - the Bowerbird tribe are always on the lookout for a quick feed and I've heard that Yam flowers are considered a delicacy.


They are not short of a feed though - we left a full bed of lovely strawberrys for them to munch on in the vain hope they would leave our raised beds alone - you can see they're not keeping to their side of the bargain.

At the moment there is a squabble going on between the pushy Wattlebirds and the Bowerbirds over a bit of sourdough I tossed out - they match each other for noisiness though the Wattlebird is the winner in the aggression stakes.


An early trial of Yam horticulture is already showing signs of success - I put a tuber in a tyre bed with lots of compost and mulch and a little shoot is coming through. The leaves bear a strong resemblance to its relative the nasty weed Oxalis so I'll have to ensure I'm not nurturing a crop of them.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Whales and Other Wonders


Back in the city, working the weekend (me, 2am Saturday night finish, the other, 7am Sunday start) so I had a chance to see Sculpture by the Sea.










The day was brilliantly fine with a deceptively cool breeze that disguised the fierceness of the sun. Past experience at this event has shown me that too much SP30 sunblock is never enough. The local Surf Life Saving Club had stands offering zinc cream and sun block for the price of a gold coin donation.




Despite this there were a lot of bare headed, lobster-faced people near the end of the walk that just had not got the message.








As with the past few years the sculptures were wonderful, some quirky and cute while others were graceful and elegant.


The delicate lace-like filaments of Kozo Nishino's dragonfly wing well deserved the Kinetic Artist Prize .

While the Whale Helicopter was a big hit with the kids about 100 metres out to sea we watched a whale, preceded by a pod of dolphins, gracefully travel south, rolling over now and then to wave a flipper in the air or arch down into the smooth blue water.
I wasn't able to catch this wonderful event on my little camera but it just made the day perfect.