Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Mapping our World

Another outing, another exhibition, another treat.

We are on a bit of a roll at the moment.  Last week we went to our National Library to see 'Mapping Our World:   Terra Incognita to Australia.'

I find old maps romantic.  Here be dragones...  And they are frequently beautiful.  And I am amazed at their accuracy - and sometimes at their inaccuracy.

Photography was banned at this exhibition too.  And they were very serious about it.  Mobile phones turned off (and a guard or two in each room).  Large handbags/shoulder bags to be checked in before entering.  So again I have bought postcards - which I am happy to share.  Let me know in the comments if you would like one.

I took a few photos (on my phone) before we went in.

And then to the exhibition.
Starting with a fridge magnet (of course).

Amazingly, this exhibition was free.  And the crowd control was very well done.  Relatively small numbers of people were allowed into the exhibition at a time, which meant that looking at the exhibits, reading about them, absorbing them was not only possible, but enjoyable.

The earliest map featured was from c.1050 and was itself a copy of a map originally created in 425 AD by the Roman philosopher Macrobius.  It shows the way that Europe viewed the world, dividing it into zones or climates.  Pretty amazing for the time.  Macrobius imagined the Antipodes to the south as a large, frozen and undiscovered land.  And was surprisingly accurate when Antarctica is factored in.

The most recent map in the exhibition was published in 1814 after Mathew Flinders had completed the first circumnavigation of Australia.  And the detail and the accuracy was phenomenal.

The exhibition includes maps, atlases, globes and instruments - including a long case clock which travelled with Captain Cook (unsurprisingly it apparently was in need of repair by the time he reached Australia).

I was, and am in awe at the courage, initiative and sheer skill of the early explorers - and the cartographers.  Many of the maps are works of art.

I could rabbit on indefinitely, but won't.  A selection of the post cards follows instead.  Clicking will embiggen them so you can see some of the details.

And, as I said, I am happy to share them and will post a card to anyone who wants one - until I run out.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Sunday Selections #160

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 

The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.

Like River I usually run with a theme.  This week?  Sort of.  There are some photos of things which against all the odds are surviving in the garden, some shots of the veranda revealing more of the begonias and a sunset.  Same old, same old.  As always, click to embiggen.

 I do love cyclamen - and I weakened and bought these at the Farmers' Markets recently.

Part of the reason I am fond of begonias is for the beauty of their leaves.  Great colours, great shapes, great markings.

A Belladonna or Naked Lady lily which miraculously appeared in the garden bed the plumbers butchered.  Last year there were over a dozen of them.  Hopefully some will come back.

Sedum - and bees.

And a hibiscus.

On Wednesday afternoon the skies opened up.  In three hours we got more than three inches of rain.  Buckets and buckets of it.  And the sunset afterward was spectacular.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Two Blogger's Books

Many of you know that I am an unashamed bookoholic.

Here in the blogosphere I have found many, many talented people.  Who include authors (something which fills me with awe).  Lots of the authors here have found support and receive generous, and deserved, outpourings of bloggy love and appreciation.

The two bloggers I am featuring today seem to have slipped under the radar.  And, in addition, both of them are doing it tough at the moment and would, I am sure, appreciate a bit of love (and book purchases wouldn't go astray either).

Last year Cindi Summerlin who is one of those talented authors sent me her three books.  You can find her posts here.

You can buy it here

 The first of Cindi's books is the most directly autobiographical.  With Trooper, a rescue dog, she escaped an abusive relationship and both of them grew.  Yes, she made mistakes, but who of us can lay truthful claims to perfection.  There is laughter and there is pain in their journey.  Which sounds like life to me.  And, as a warning.  This book caused me to weep.  Several times.

Trooper is still a huge part of Cindi's life and I think it would be a very hard call to decide whether she gives him more support and love, or he gives more to her.

You can buy it here

And this one can be bought here

Trooper's Run also has an undercurrent of domestic violence, and again features Trooper (and Cindi's other animals too).  Sara Powell is running from her ex-husband Owen.  He is a truly nasty arrogant and vindictive man and is furious at her defection.  He is determined to track her down and 'make her pay'.  Sara has been forced to change her name and become Cidney and start a new life for herself  as far away from Owen as she can get.  This novel is a murder mystery, an exploration of human courage, draws skilfully on Indian mythology and includes romance and redemption for extra savour.

Eagle Visions is a sequel to Trooper's Run.  Cidney is happily married to her soul mate Dan, and has put the trauma of her relationship with Owen in the past.  If only it was that simple.
Cidney's deep spirituality and connection with the land and its protectors are pivotal to the course of yet another harrowing read which doesn't shy away from some very confronting issues.  I was intrigued at the way in which two very different, but equally believable reactions to the trauma of the 9/11 attacks were examined and explored.

The second blogger I am featuring in this post is Dana Joy Wyzard wbo blogs as Lotta Joy here.  And this is her book (and I hear she is planning a sequel).  And she better had.

You can buy it here

Another book with confronting issues.  Drugs, violence,  religion.  And an innocent caught up in it all, fighting for her life against impossible odds.  However, much to my pleasure, the innocent isn't the heroine.  That honour goes to an elderly widow, Nelda Pike, living alone in the backwoods town of Treadwell.  She is independent, capable and feisty to the max.  She is a firm believer in 'don't get mad, get even -and then keep going' and has a wonderful and lifelong friend of similar calibre.

I am tired of women who need men or youth to resolve the issues confronting them.  And this type of fatigue didn't get a look in as I read Dana's book.  I have heard a rumour that here too there is an element of autobiography.  And I am not surprised.  Grown men would certainly be wise to pull their own heads off (with apologies to Monty Python's Flying Circus) before facing Nelda in a rage - and I suspect the same is true of Dana.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Sunday Selections #159

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 

The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.

This week I am not really going with a theme, but putting up a few relatively recent photos which pleased me.

The garden has suffered badly this summer.  Not only has it been hot it has also been very, very dry.  We had less than 10 per cent of our usual rainfall in January.  However, yesterday we got some beautiful gently soaking rain.  By eleven we had more rain recorded than for all of the preceding month.  Bliss.  I am hoping that some of the things which have been crispified will drink deep and recover.

So just one garden photo - one of the begonias which reside on the front veranda.

OK, I lied.  Three of the begonias which decorate the veranda.

And some hot sunsets.

And a couple from a day made murky by smoke from bushfires.  Bushfires quite a distance away which still 'perfumed' the air and tainted the sky.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Gold and the Incas

One particularly hot day last week we took a break from domestic duties and went on an outing.

We went to our National Gallery, which has another block buster exhibition 'Gold and the Incas Lost Worlds of Peru'.

His high and skinniness irritated me all the way there by reminding me that he has been to Peru, seen Machu Pichu, walked the Inca Trail (also known as the Inca Trial) and generally knew all about it.

How wrong he was.  The exhibition was an education and a delight for us both.

Its title was a bit of a misnomer.  The Inca Empire only lasted a hundred years (but goodness what they achieved in that time).  The Inca State of at least 12 million people fell very rapidly, due to superior European military technology, civil war and new diseases, especially smallpox.  It has been estimated that perhaps 90 per cent of the native population (more than 10 million people) were killed or died of disease and famine after the conquest.

Most of the exhibition was devoted to other, earlier cultures.  Cultures about which neither of us knew anything much at all.

For more than 2500 years before the Spanish conquered Peru, great cultures flourished, were conquered by others or absorbed into them.  Almost every artifact which survives was buried with its owners.

Gold there was in plenty.  Masks, crowns, earrings (and they make the plugs of today look positively tame), and knives.  Silver and copper work was there too.  And platinum which surprised me.

However it was the ceramics and the textiles which blew me(us) away.   Exquisite work, beautifully preserved.  I lusted after rather a lot of it.  Sadly, there are no post cards of the textiles.  Which is very sad.  The colours and the designs were incredible.  There were some shawls? woven by the Chimu people (who were conquered by 1470) which were very, very beautiful.  Open work, with fishes and big cats woven in.  How they did it I have no idea - but I was not surprised to read that the textile makers were highly regarded.  Other cultures also produced textiles, mantles, headdresses, and tunics made from alpaca and llama wool.

The Moche Culture (100-800AD) had a ribald streak.  Rather a lot of sexually explicit ceramics have been found.  And these mice on the vessel made me smile.  Wine vessel?  Water?  Oil?  I don't know, but the fact that they were buried with their owners says that they were valued.

This owl bead is also from the Moche culture - and is made from gold and turquoise.  A lovely thing isn't it?

The llama vessel is another ceramic.  This time from the Huari Culture (600-1000AD).  It was quite large too (67.0 cm x 54 cm)  And in astonishingly good condition.

Another ceramic.  This time from the Chimu Culture (1100-1470AD).  And apparently hairless dogs in Mexico are still known as Inca (or perhaps it was Peruvian) dogs.

There were more than 200 works of art in the exhibition and we spent several hours wandering from piece to piece.  In awe.

Sadly, photos are forbidden, so the images in this post are from post cards I purchased.  The first image of the post is a fridge magnet to add to our collection.
I am happy to post the cards to anyone who says they would like one.  There are only four though so it is definitely first in, best dressed.  Leave a comment if you would like one - specifying which you would like (or loathe).  And I would be happy to post them in an envelope so you can send them on - or not, as you choose.

I can see that, for a change, I am going to have to do some reading and educate myself a bit more about these cultures.  

Monday, 10 February 2014


First and foremost, thank you all for your messages of support.  I really appreciated each and every comment and email.  You made my already misty eyes leak.

My time out was a bit of a mixed bag, some achievements and some failures too.  A bit like life really.

The hospital is still refusing to give us a firm time frame for the skinny one's next surgery.  February/March (perhaps) is as far as they are prepared to commit themselves.  Sigh.

His sister has decided that she will NOT come down for this surgery.  He is ambivalent, so we will see...

We got some quotes for digging up and repairing the driveway that the plumbers destroyed.  The quotes are so different that we will need to get another this week.  Both firms seemed competent and said that they would do the same job - but one quoted more than twice as much as the other.  Three quotes should clear the air a little.

I bit the bullet and went through the overflowing bookcases seeing just what I was prepared to give up.  Himself managed to surrender three books.  Which I find irritating since he doesn't reread books.  I was as ruthless as I could bring myself to be.  Not as ruthless as I needed to be, but a good start was made.  Several hundred books have now left the building.

The house is looking tidier.  Though today another problem reared up and bit me.  The cord inside the curtain tracks in the lounge room has jammed.  Off to the hardware store tomorrow.  And I need to pick up a replacement tap fitting too.

The garden has had some work.  I was heading out just after first light and doing a mammoth weed and tidy until it got too hot.  But then I broke my little toe which made digging and or standing difficult and gave me the excuse to stop.  I have damaged other toes too - klutzdom rules.  And yes, I should wear shoes much more often.  My body and my mind are still both behaving badly - which is what they do best.  And I intend to ignore them both.

The paperwork is done - and is now with the relevant professionals.  Yay.

Later today I hope to be able to visit you.  I have indeed missed you.  Rather a lot.