I walked the 4 or 5 kilometers around the big park at the end of my street. It is one of Ballarat's special places. Some native wildflowers still survive among the formal plantings and the huge mown spaces.
There were three parties of anglers along the side of the big pond, lots of dogs and kids running about and picknickers sitting around the tables or on the grass, but it didn't feel a bit crowded. You can see I had no trouble taking a picture without anybody in it.
There was a competition at the Riding Club and dozens of horses and riders sweating a bit in the heat, but they were over the hill, behind the fences and hedges. Just a whiff of sweaty horse and dung, a few horsey noises.
I counted seven cricket games going on, but the park is so big it swallowed them up. I heard the occasional shouts of crickety triumph roaring out and admired the white clad players against the green grass. There was plenty of quiet for me.
Now I'm collecting blues and greens from op shops and bargain bins to knit a blanket for next year. I have a beautiful print of mythical waterbirds by Lisa Kennedy in haunting blues and greens in my room and I want to play with water-cool colours for a while.
(The link is just to a recent exhibition, not to an image of my print)
I may just keep on knitting patches of colour and sewing them up into thick, soft, warm and pliable blankets. Socks will have to wait awhile longer.
I'm prepared to work on a piece of sewing, to wrestle with it, to try and perfect it. I want knitting to be pure pleasure for a while.
The jasmine is flowering over the side fence and I can fill the house with it. Some people find the scent of jasmine cloying, but I cannot have too much of it. Creamy and confident, it goes with the everpresent smell of new mown grass as everyone in the street tidies up ready for summer.
I've had an intense few weeks of thinking about where I want to put my energy this year and of learning new skills.
After a couple of years of just taking potshots with a huge and heavy donated camera, I finally bought myself a tiny camera from Aldi and have done a workshop with Aldona Kmiec whose evocative photos I saw at the Foto Biennale recently.
I've always loved black and white and have been experimenting madly.
I've tried a few portraits, some of which I'll keep.
I've done a lot of playing on the internet trying out things like Flickr, Zotero,Google maps....fascinating stuff, some of it useful, but so time consuming! I can now edit a video with sound (barely), have decided NOT Facebook, found a net of interesting contacts on Twitter, but I haven't had much time for sewing or writing, let alone just walking around and looking. Time to log off, I think, and smell the jasmine.
I found a chopped-up stump by the back fence when we first moved to this house. Thin wands were sprouting up from below a graft line on the murdered tree, so I left it alone to see what would grow back. These are its fiercely pink, serrated blossoms.
Until it fruited I didn't know what it was. It is, in fact, a peach tree producing quite small, but very sweet and juicy yellow peaches. It's a tough tree, growing steadily all through the drought.
Not the usual peach blossom, is it?
And this is my adored greengage plum tree, well established when I arrived.
In blossom or in leaf it is beautiful and its fruit is a marvellous, gleaming yellowy-green
I can hardly ever bring myself to prune it as I love sitting under the low-sweeping arches of its branches.
Typical frisky spring weather today, rain and sleet and then hail. Beads of ice lay thickly against every corner in the city. I watched the hail piling up outside the library while I hunted about the shelves for books.
I thought the hail would have really knocked our nectarine blossom about, but when we got home (with groceries and piles of books), there was no sign of storm or ice in our garden. The day was suddenly sunny. So - probably a tree full of nectarines this summer!
Then in the afternoon, with intermittent rain and sun we had a sky full of rainbows.
This week I've been to a free ABC workshop in the library to learn how to put an image and a story up on the ABC website. Next week we'll do a video! I'm loving this.
There are some really good projects going on on ABC Open - love these 'now-and-then pics' of Creswick's Calembeen Park
Mary Finnan wrote this poem. She was born near Geelong in Victoria in 1906. She was an artist, teacher, unionist and Red Cross worker. Her poems aren't in print now. I'm going to the State Library soon to look at some of her books.
I've known this poem by heart since I first found it in an anthology of 'bush poets'.
Proserpine/Persephone's story is a myth that has always resonated for me, as a child and later as a mother.
The story of Jason's quest and the plundering of the golden fleece is a good one to tell in goldfields country.
Outside Geelong is the little town of Ceres where my mother's family lived and farmed in the 19th century. Ceres is Proserpine's mother, of course.
I don't usually go to writers festivals, workshops, symposiums or talks, but yesterday I broke my habit - and I'm so glad that I did.
I spent yesterday from 9 to 5 at the Writers Festival in Ballarat, run by the Ballarat Writers. Lots of my favourite sort of books discussed by the authors, editors and illustrators of fantasy and historical fiction and picture story books. All locally-based Victorian publishing houses and writers. The speakers were generous and in love with their work.
A really rich day.
The festival was held in the Alexandria on Lydiard Street. A beautiful old building with great food and coffee. It was such a warm spring day that we sat out on the balcony for lunch. Bliss!
When I left to go home the lights were coming on but it was still warm and bright.
I live in Ballarat, an old goldfields town, in the central west of Victoria, but southerly in relation to the world. I love Chinese architecture, the post-goldfields towns and countryside of central Victoria, and I love the practice and the art of history. This year I'm beginning a research project on Ballarat in the 1870s.