Coffee and cake

Meeks has decided to catch up with friends by posting her coffee and cake. I am missing the catch ups with friends too, usually down at the local coffee shop. So let’s chat over a morning cuppa.

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I have used the tea cup my Mum gave me for my birthday.

The cake is a German apple cake, although don’t ask me why ‘German’ (the apple is obvious!) My friend, with whom I often have coffee, recently came out of the mandatory 14 day quarantine at a hotel chain, after returning form overseas. Each day she and her husband were given two pieces of fruit each. The fruit mounted up. They knew that it would be thrown out if they left it, so, brought it with them when they were released into the fresh air. I received a bag of apples.

I pulled out the Nursing Mum’s Cookbook, which is one of those fabulous cookbooks with every basic recipe you could ever want. The cake is very tasty!

If you would like to have your own coffee and cake, link your post to the comments on  Meek’s page. It doesn’t have to be fancy baking, it is the chat that is important.

GERMAN APPLE CAKE

Cake

  • 125 gm butter
  • 90gm sugar
  • 1 cup plain or self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 3 cooking apples
  • 2 tablespoons sultanas
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • juice of 1 lemon

Cake: Melt butter in a large saucepan, add sugar and stir until it is beginning to dissolve. Add flour and stir well, beat in egg. Grease a 7″ cake tin and using fingers spread a little more than half the mixture over the bottom.

Filling: Peel, core and slice apples, place half of these in layers over the cake mixture. Mix together sultanas, sugar and spices and sprinkle over apple slices. Cover with rest of the apple slices. sprinkle with lemon juice. Spread resining cake mixture on top, in spoonfuls.

Cook in a moderate oven for 45 minutes.

 

Interpreting the Wetlands

Down the end of my street is an oval. When I moved into my house decades ago it was enclosed on three sides by a large, old industrial site. The site was owned by ICI, and aside from the far corner there was little activity. For many years I walked the fenced perimeter peering in at the old buildings, musing about what might have gone there.

The oval was only used by the cricketers and footy teams, and the occasional dog walker. A creek meandered through the site, sometimes buried, sometimes encased in a drain, eventually making its way to the nearby Maribyrnong River.

Of course the site was prime inner suburban land, and after remediation, it was sold to developers. The development wasn’t too bad. The best part though was that the creek was freed from the drain and turned into a wetland. The fences were removed from around the oval, and the space was opened up.

Now I can walk down the end of my street, across the oval and into the wetlands, where there is always something going on.

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Now  that the fences are down the oval is an integral part of complex and is well used.

I am very fortunate to be able to walk here as my daily exercise. The Fella walks around the oval while I go further around the wetlands and often join up with him on the way home. It is a safe place for kids and scooters and bikes and dogs, there is room for us all.

For me though, it is more than just a place to exercise. I am intrigued by the textures, the reflections, the light.

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My fascination never went further than many photos and a thought in the back of my head to translate what I am seeing into art. Then, by wonderful serendipitous luck I enrolled in a course with Tara Axford, whose art I have loved ever since I came across her on Instagram.  She takes the different elements of the bush around her home and makes artistic sense of them. The course is designed to help us see past the clutter and messiness of nature to interpret our special places.

I am loving this course, loving it so much that I am taking it slowly, absorbing, learning, allowing my mind to play with the ideas Tara gives.

What’s not to love when the first module encourages me to beachcomb though the wetlands on my walk, picking up treasures as I go. Tara calls these ‘pocket finds’, a term that is perfect! I was so inspired after watching the first video that I went down to the wetlands in the wind and rain to see how different it would be. Of course I came back with many pocket treasures.

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Over the last few days I have been creating vignettes with my treasures. Rather compelling and very satisfying.

 

I wonder how the next modules will help me further interpret the wetlands.

 

Masks

I was inspired by Kate’s fabulous looking mask.

There is great debate about the efficacy of non-medical grade masks. The prevailing wisdom seems to be that, if you unknowingly have the coronavirus, wearing a mask may prevent you from spreading the virus further. They are not for preventing the virus getting into you. And I would imagine that this is more so for the cloth type that I have made. The US Centre for Disease Control has suggested that everyone wear a mask when outside.

Don’t forget that which ever mask you use it must be taken off carefully and disposed of/washed properly. The virus may be on the outside of the mask, or on the inside if you have it. Fold it carefully inside itself and dispose of. Then wash your hands. For 20 seconds and with soap. (The soap destroys the outer coating of the virus and it takes at least 20 seconds for this to happen.)

And of course, if you have symptoms STAY INSIDE!!! Mask or no mask!

Kate’s pattern came from CraftPassion’s blog and you can find out the details here. Watch the video, as it is for an updated version of the mask, which allows filtration material to be inserted.

The pattern comes in a couple of sizes. Yesterday I made the women’s size. When I was road testing it this morning I decided that it was too small. It wouldn’t stay in place, especially when I talked.

Today I made the Men’s size, and was happier when I road tested it. (I am not sure what that says about the size of my face. 😳) It stayed in place better, but talking was still a challenge, as the mask wanted to move around more. It may be a problem with the tightness of the strap. Conversation was doubly difficult because the Fella is quite deaf!

The issue of my glasses fogging up is better resolved now that I have a trusty bread tie to hold the top of the mask in shape around my nose. A pipe cleaner would probably be the best, but there aren’t any lurking in my stash.

I was particularly chuffed with the tie. CraftPassion has a neat tutorial for making yarn out of an old t-shirt. I realised that I only needed to cut one strip from the bottom of the t-shirt, about a cm wide, and cut it at one seam, to have a length that was ample. Tug it a few times and it rolls in on itself.

They are easy to make….well the second one was. For some reason I kept stuffing up the first one. One mistake was attaching the bread tie holder to bottom. That had me confused for a little while! And then annoyed when I had to unpick it.

I don’t do selfies, but it is hard to show off a mask without one….

 

Beeutiful, belicious 🐝

There is a world out there…..

Let me show you some of the bee magnets in my garden.

Salvias. I love them, and so do the bees. Also I have seen a wattle bird drinking the nectar. Now a wattle bird is more the size of a blackbird than a hummingbird. The stems certainly sway when this bird comes to drink, making me fear for the bush when I see one feeding, as salvias are quite brittle. The bees are much more gentle.

I have also had a couple of blue banded native bees visit. Maybe it is the intense blue of the flower. They do say that bees are attracted to blue.

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Rosemary. If you have one, you know how the bees love it. If you don’t, think about popping one into your garden. They grow well in pots. I am going to plant a prostrate one at some point.

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Sedum, Autumn Joy, I think. Not only does it attract bees, but the dried flower heads make a lovely feature either kept on the plant in a winter garden or brought indoors. And it is so easy to split the base and roots and replant elsewhere.

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However the most attractive flower to bees is this little unassuming one ~ oregano, if I remember right. It flowers for ages and whenever I look there are usually at least half a dozen bees in attendance. The bush sprawls its way over everything else, but I never have the heart to cut it back until flowering has well and truely finished. By that time it is already sprouting new shoots from the base.

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Of course bees are not the only good helpers in the garden, so I like to encourage others too. This strategy has the added benefit of allowing me to be lazy, letting things go to seed instead of clearing and tidying. Hover flies and ladybirds love the parsley flowers and the newly setting seeds. So parsley umbels stay, set seed and drop their seed everywhere. Parsley seed is best sown fresh. Consequently I have way more parsley than I could ever use.

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If you are stuck inside, longing for the outside world, my Instagram posts might help a little. On every daily walk I try to find something in the outside world that makes me feel good. When I can’t walk outside, I will post from my garden. And there is usually a bit of arty/sewing going on there too.

Stay well my friends  🙏🏽

 

Well, here we are then….

You know, I feel so overwhelmed by everything that I don’t know where to begin. Everything seems too huge to be able to get anything down on the page. And of course EVERYONE is feeling exactly the same. It is quite startling to realise that EVERY SINGLE HUMAN on the PLANET if facing the same threat AT THE SAME TIME, and needing to deal with the very basic emotions and fears AT THE SAME TIME. Has that ever happened before? That’s another quite mind blowing concept.

I decided a few days ago that I would give up trying to work out my opinion on many things, such as the debate about opening/closing schools. The bottom of the problem with schools seems to me (see, I do have an opinion!) to come from not really knowing whether children are asymptomatic carriers or not. Will they spread the virus into the community, and elderly relatives especially, or are they better off being slightly more quarantined at school, keeping the vital health workers at work rather than at home caring for their kids? The experts are divided about this, because NO ONE KNOWS THE ANSWER. They can only work from data from overseas, mathematical modelling and medical understandings of disease spread. Data from overseas can only be a guide because each country has very different health systems, testing regimes, and are at different points along the curve. How can I have an opinion?

I only know that

  1. It won’t be over until we have a vaccine
  2. Our world will be a very different place then (but what it will look like is dependent on all the actions that take place along the way, including what you and I do.)
  3. I am so grateful that I do not have to make these big decisions that impact on every aspect of our lives.

So, to cope, I am doing what I can to make my life as healthy ~ mentally and physically ~ as possible.

  • Physical distancing, of course; washing my hands as frequently as possible (I may stop wearing rings as a result!); changing my clothes when I come inside and hanging them in the sunshine
  • I say ‘physical’ distancing, because I am still keeping a social connection, just through other ways. In fact I am in touch with way more people than usual! Kate wrote a great post about sending letters. Australia Post is still operating, even overseas, although there are delays to just about every country. It’s a great way to connect to people who don’t use the internet. I have been reading blogs, and love the way we are keeping each other’s spirits up. Every blog has its own way of doing this, and I thank you.
  • Eating well. Supply chains have been disrupted, mainly because they are scrambling to keep up with the over-the-top demand for food. The Fella and I are okay, and we have enough toilet paper, thank you for asking!
  • Sleeping well. This one is a tricky one. I am sure you understand how the dark thoughts flourish at night. I have a routine of calming tea, nourishing reading (not on a screen) and deep breathing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t I watch rubbish on TV and try to remember that things will be easier to deal with in the daylight.
  • Walking. The fresh air is a great antidote to the darkness. I have added in a daily sketch, which I am posting on Instagram. When I can’t walk outside I will sketch something from the garden. The point is to help me remember that the flowers are still growing, the birds dashing around and the bees are still making honey. The world still turns.
  • Each day I am looking for little things that are beautiful or joyous or connect me. Like these hearts in the window of a local shop, that closed today.

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We have had supportive messages from our neighbours, so I put this sign on our letterbox today.

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  • I am being careful about where I get my news. I haven’t looked at Facebook. I am relying on the sensible coverage of the ABC, our public broadcaster, as well as some recommended sites. I want information and well informed opinions from experts, not hysteria nor ‘I’m no expert but….’.
  • And lastly, of course I am adding creativity into the mix. Although, the odd thing is that I haven’t had time for much sewing lately. Keeping in touch as well as making sure I have the various supplies I need uses up quite a bit of time!

So I hope your strategies for keeping healthy, especially mentally healthy, are working well. Now, I am going for a walk and a sketch.

Stay well.

Namaste 🙏🏽

PS forgive any typos; my brain is scattered and my fingers are following along!

Sewing and mending

Before I launch into my sewing tales, I want to ask if you and your loved ones are okay? I do hope you are staying healthy while this virus rampages around the world. All is good here.

Now, onto other matters:

While I haven’t made a lot of progress on my hand sewing ~ The forest regenerates ~ I have had a productive week with the sewing machine. Once I had it out, one thing lead to another.

  1. A linen jacket

Every so often I hanker to sew a garment. This time I fancied something to layer, not a heavy coat, something lighter. An autumn and spring something.

After a look online I headed to the shop to buy the pattern. Simplicity 8468

[Can I diverge here for some advice? I often look at indie pattern makers, and like what I see. However, I have two obstacles:

  • the price I would have to pay for postage often doubles the price of a paper pattern
  • or they come as a PDF, and I wonder about printing them off. Have you bought PDF  patterns? How did you print them? How would you advise me?]

This shop is one of those huge chain stores, so I wasn’t going to buy my fabric there. Instead I headed to Fibresmith, in Yarraville. When you look at the cloth they have, you will understand why I went there ~ and why I had so much trouble choosing.

My eventual choice was sage green linen. It sewed up so beautifully, giving me a jacket that I know I will be wearing often and for a long while. I love the almost hidden pockets!

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Even the Fella said “Not bad” when I did my super-model act for the photo. And I was pleasantly surprised by the photo he took, as I only had to delete half a dozen previous attempts!

So, fired up I moved on to:

2. An addition to a top.

I bought a top in Japan. I wanted to wear it with leggings, again, adding layers. (I love layers!) But it never quite worked. Was the material too light? To floral? Was it too long? Too much like a nightie? Then I came across an idea on Ann Woods’ site. Do you know of her? She is a great one for mending, adding patches, as well as creating owls and mice and dolls and all manner of little things. Most of all I love her gentle writing.

Ann calls it a front bustle, and you can see a photo of hers if you scroll down almost to the bottom of this post.  This is my version.

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So maybe the solution to my Japanese top was to alter the hemline. We shall see. (Note how the Supermodel Slippers add an extra elegance!) It was quick and easy to do. Ann has instructions if you fancy something similar.

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3. Simple mending

I use old table napkins under the cutting board on my kitchen bench. The hems have given way. The are perfectly useable with wonky hems, but I thought a fancy border might be good. So I did.

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4. Slightly more difficult mending

I love long black jumpers, which layer wonderfully, but perfect ones are very difficult to find. I was annoyed when I discovered one of my favourites had been munched. I am sure I had to darn a sock back in my Brownie days, maybe for my Thrift Badge? It gave me a vague idea of what to do. Now I have a jumper that is full of mends, rather than holes.

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There will be more, as the poor thing has worn thin over the years. I took a photo showing the light coming through the jumper. You can just make out the green garden through the window!

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You know, with all the chaos in the world, it was lovely to do some mending. I can’t mend the world, but I can mend a few little things that I come across. Someone wise on the radio was speaking about the Climate Crisis, and how we feel so overwhelmed. What can one person do? She used the analogy of the Covid-19 pandemic, where we are all doing things to slow down its spread. They might be simple things like washing our hands and not hugging people, or bigger things like self-isolation, but they are things that work. They not only help to protect us and our loved ones, but the wider ~ indeed global ~ community.

We won’t save the world one darn at a time, but add up all the things we do across the globe. Maybe…..

Stay well and healthy.

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I have been creating some smaller abstract embroideries that I am calling ‘The jewel-sea’ series. I am going to show them off in my Letter from my Studio this weekend. Sign up if you would like a sneak peek.

Anne Lawson Art

How to get better

The last seven months have been tricky for my partner, Terry. He has had multiple medical issues, and has been checked out from top to toe; literally ~ head, ribs, heart, guts, toe. He has had operations, scans, x-rays, iron infusions, injections, blood tests and heart monitors. He has seen specialists galore, a number of podiatrists and physiotherapists, nurses of course, and his wonderful GP.

I must tell you that we have an amazing medical system here in Victoria. I recognise that it has many problems and is stretched to its limits. Also I live in inner Melbourne, close to the action, not an outer suburb or regional area where services would be so much harder to access. For us, those services have been amazing. Not just the acute, hospital care, but also the follow up at the Outpatients appointments, the wound care clinic, the falls and balance clinic, as well as linking him to a dietician, a podiatrist, a physio, occupational therapists and other government services. And it has all been free. (Friends in the US may want to close their ears at this point!) As Terry is on the Aged Pension he has been able to access all these services, including over a fortnight in hospital. Only now does he pay a small amount for ongoing podiatry etc.

The good news is that we are getting to the maintenance end of all these medical issues, the time when the different specialists say “I want to see you in two months/six months/one year”. Oh news to my ears!

And each of them has listed more or less the same things to do over that time, to make sure Terry is recovering well. They are such simple, obvious actions, and work for building bones, improving vascular systems and blood flow, keeping upright, indeed, probably most things.

So here is my list of 7 actions, from the professionals who know about these things, to get better and stay well:

  1. Keep taking prescribed medication
  2. Eat well, as unprocessed as possible; include protein and dairy
  3. Exercise ~ within your limits but anything you do is better than passive sitting. There are the added benefits of building bones, improving balance and helping blood flow carry oxygen all the way from brains to toes.
  4. Sleep well
  5. Reduce stress
  6. Stop smoking “Do you smoke?” is one of the first questions asked. Fortunately Terry was able to answer “Not for a long time”, but some of his issues began when he was a smoker.
  7. Enjoy life

So, my focus is Terry, and making him as ‘right as ninepence’, with these simple things as my guidelines.

(I realise that again we are in a very fortunate position. We have access to good quality food, and can afford it. We don’t have added stresses that come from jobs, or job insecurity, tight financial situations, homelessness, family tensions, trauma or the myriad other things that will create stress. We know that there is a correlation between poor health outcomes and lower socio-economic lives. It is astounding that we, as a society, are unable to do these things which would enable people live healthier lives.)

Beware…woman on a mission

My Mum came for a sleepover last weekend. We went up to Kyneton to see my work in a group exhibition; we had lunch with a friend; we chatted; we ate yummy food; we had a lovely time.

My studio (aka the Playroom!) doubles as the guest room. So to have Mum stay, which I love, and is so important to me, I have to make space to unravel the sofa bed. That means packing up and moving my stuff out of the room, dumping it all somewhere else.

After the success of getting the hall sorted I am on an anti-mess campaign. I was determined to not just throw it all back into the room after Mum left. I was a woman on a clean-up mission!

The first step was to put up a window blind. I did this without killing myself or my Fella and only a truckload of swearing, especially after I realised I had screwed the attachments too far apart.

Next I sat and pondered how to organise the room better. The answer ~ that I needed shelves ~ binged into my brain. On to the computer, where I soon found the answer to my dreams. Clicked on “Buy me” and two hours later I had picked two of them up from the local branch of one of those global behemoths.

I love to jump into things and was on my way to assembling the first one. I had the pieces all laid out when we were offered an appointment at the Falls and Balance Clinic that day. The Fella is priority so there was no hesitation in saying yes.

Back to it the next day. The book cases came together easily ~ much less swearing than getting the blind up!

This was the some of my disorganised stuff

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The work in progress (sorry if this photo gives you a touch of vertigo!)

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Finished, but on the floor

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Next came the fun part of deciding what to move into the little cubes.

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My work table fits nicely up against the wall. However, it means I have to sit with my back to the widow. Firstly I don’t like working in my own shadow. Secondly, I don’t look at the treasured stained glass window that my Dad made for me. I wonder too whether having most of my art materials on my left side will be a problem. Anyway, I’ll try it.

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There is still a lot of mess left, but I am determined that I will sort through each box and basket and messy pile.

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For now I am basking in the delight of a very clean and very tidy work space. It’s amazing what a woman on a mission can achieve!

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Some of you may not know that I write a fortnightly letter from my studio. Well, it has been rather erratic over the last months, but I am going to get back into the fortnightly schedule. i hope to write one this weekend. So, if you would like to know more about my art, you can sign up here. You even receive a free drawing of one of my ink feathers.

The bushfires and climate action

You know that there are mega-fires burning in Australia.

You know that fires have been burning for months now.

You know that lives have been lost, many houses burnt and huge areas of bush land scorched. If you would like to read more depth about the fires, including the background to the extended fire season and the extent of the fires and scary videos, read this article and/or this one. My heart goes out to those who have lost their loved ones and their worlds. And a huge amount of gratitude to the fire fighters who have done such an incredible job, sometimes sacrificing their lives.

You know too that the generosity of people from around the world has been overwhelming. More about donations later.

So, read elsewhere for the facts and figures; I want to give you my opinions.

There have been horrifying images of injured and dead wild life. Many of them are our iconic koalas, whose population is already stressed by land clearing and disease. The fires on Kangaroo Island have torn through a koala population that was healthier than many others on the mainland. It is tragic.

Australian flora has evolved with fire and many species need it to set seed and germinate. Once the fires are out it will not be long before we see the new growth sprouting out of the epicormic buds of the eucalypts. That will give us hope in the areas of East Gippsland and the Alps, home to the majestic mountain ash gums.

But these fires have been so intense and the land so dry  that they have burnt areas considered to be ‘unburnable’ ~ rainforests of Queensland, bogs in the Alpine areas. These habitats have not evolved with fire, and do not rely on it. It is quite possible that they will not regenerate.

We need to think beyond the fauna and the large swathes of flora. Let me give you two examples of how disrupted the environment will be.

There has been research into the amazing Mycorrhizal network under the forrest floor. It has been dubbed the Wood Wide Web, because it is thought to be, at the very basic level, a fungal system that allows the transference of nutrients, minerals, water etc between trees. It may be a system that is so much more than this. There is a short video here, or this TED talk.

Could that Mycorrhizal network have survived? I doubt it, and yet it is vital for the health of our forests.

The second example concerns orchids. Research by the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne has shown that our native orchids need two things to be successful ~ a specific pollinator, often a wasp, and the right fungi in the ground (yep fungi again). Again, I doubt whether these would have survived the fires.

It is important to care for our marsupials, our birds, our reptiles, but it is just as important to create an environment for the less glamorous, the unknown like  pollinators and fungi.

I started the post with things that we know. Here’s another one….we know that, while there are a number of factors contributing to this fire storm, the underlying one is climate inaction. Climate change is not something that will happen in 10, 20 years. It is happening now. A resident of the little coastal town of Mallacoota, which was cut off by the fires said it best ~ “Climate change, we are standing in it.”

However our Liberal government, especially our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, is wilfully ignoring the issue. Just a couple of examples:

  • Our previous Prime Minister, Malcom Turnbull, was deposed because he tried to get a National Energy Guarantee. Scott Morrison became the Prime Minister.
  • Morrison brought a lump of coal into the Parliament, waving it about, saying “It’s only coal, it’s nothing to be frightened of”. His government has always been a strong advocate for the Carmichael Mine, also infamously known as Adani, which will be one of the country’s largest thermal coal mines. The Coal Industry is a very powerful lobby group.
  • At the recent Paris meeting Australia argued that we should be able to use carry-over credits from over-achievement on the Kyoto Protocol as part of our emission reductions. This sleight of hand accountancy means the government can say “We are reducing emissions” while doing nothing of the sort. In fact our emission will probably increase.
  • While the country is burning, and in severe drought, we are told that now is not the time to talk about climate change. If not now, when?

This is Morrison’s statement today

“In the years ahead we are going to continue to evolve our policy in this area to reduce emissions even further and we’re going to do it without a carbon tax, without putting up electricity prices, and without shutting down traditional industries upon which regional Australians depend for their very livelihood,” he said.

In the years ahead? What? We don’t have years. But let’s leave that aside, because I want to give you an analogy that seems to make sense to me.

The economy changed drastically at the beginning of World War Two. What’s more it changed because of Government intervention. Manufacturing was turned from domestic to military armaments; fuel was rationed to make sure the bulk was available for the armed forces; clothing was in short supply as the industry turned to making uniforms; food was rationed. The British economy had an even shorter turn-around period.

If changing the economy can be vital to the war effort, why can’t it be vital to mobilise all necessary resources to prevent more global warming? Well the answer is because it is not seen to be in the national interest. As Morrison said above, traditional industries (ie coal) are far more important than the health of the planet.

With the right political will we could become a leader in renewable technologies, electric vehicles, habitat regeneration, innovative solutions to world problems. So, if we can’t rely on our ‘leaders’, we have to look for leadership elsewhere, to look for those willing to be innovative and be change makers.

We also have to listen to our Indigenous Elders. Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders People have been caring for our land for tens of thousands of years. They used fire to manage the land, not burn it to a crisp. Their grief at the harm done to Country is immense. We must listen and learn from them.

I mentioned above about the generosity of so many people around the world. It is truly moving to know that there is so much support and care. There are many worthy organisations to donate to ~ but be very wary of scammers ~ as money is what is needed now. The ABC, our national broadcaster, has an excellent list of links. As you can appreciate, my heart is looking to the environmental future, so I would add these organisations:

But your support doesn’t need to be here in Australia. Climate change is global, and needs a global response. Maybe the best international help is to focus on climate change action wherever you are. Whatever you can do ~ from contacting your local representative to planting more trees to attending rallies ~ helps. If our ‘leaders’ are talking about vague action in the years ahead, we need to take action now.

(BTW, the photo was taken from my local park. If you look closely you can just see a 30 story apartment block behind the spires of the church.)

 

 

 

A special gift

It is a busy time, but I just had to drop in…..

We know there are deep divisions in the world, and we despair over what we are doing to the world. We feel anxious. It is easy to succumb to the negativity.

But then along comes the postie, with a special gift made by a special person, to remind me that for all that is wrong with the world, there is an awful lot that is right.

The gift was from my friend Kate, who blogs at Tall Tales from Chiconia. I know that many of you follow, read and comment on her blog (and if you don’t, you should). You will know her as a very generous soul. I know her too as a dear friend, even though we have only met a couple of times ~ the distance between McKay, where she lives in tropical Queensland, and my home in Melbourne is huge.

These last six months for me have been full of medical matters for my partner and my Mum. Both are on the mend, but everything has been a distraction from my artistic work. Kate has picked up on this, and sent me a beautifully quilted brush roll. She hopes that it will help me get my creative mojo back, and I am sure it will.

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Kate has not only made something special for me, but her extra layer of thoughtfulness is that the pattern of the material is watercolour feathers. It was a special piece of material from her stash.  She knows that feathers are important  to me. How special is that!

I have often admired the brush rolls of other painters, but none compares to mine, because theirs have not been made by a thoughtful and insightful friend. Their’s don’t have feather fabric nor custom made pockets to hold a variety of things.

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So thank you Kate, for reminding me of all the good there is in this world. Enjoy your Christmas with those you love! 💕

Have a lovely festive time. I hope you spend it doing the things you love with the people you love. And that Father Christmas brings you an extra special something.