Farewell to a man of grace and dignity

I was going to write a different  post. However, today I listened to the broadcast of the state funeral for Anthony Foster, and wanted to acknowledge him and his work. I never met him, but I know that our society is better because he was in the world.

Most of you have probably not heard of him, but if you have, you will know that he was a man of incredible courage and dignity.

Anthony and his wife Chrissie had three daughters, Emma, Aimee and Katie. Emma and Katie were repeatedly raped as young children by a paedophile Catholic priest. Both young women were traumatised by the abuse:

Emma Foster suffered from eating disorders, drug addition and self-harm after the abuse, and in 2008 she overdosed on medication and died at the age of 26.

Katie Foster developed problems with alcohol after her experiences, and was left with physical and mental disabilities after being hit by a drunk driver in 1999.

Anthony and Chrissie became tireless fighters for justice for victims of abuse. Their work brought about the formation of a Victorian inquiry into abuse and the federal Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. This Royal Commission has uncovered grievous abuse of children in a range of institutions, especially the Catholic Church, where the coverups of paedophile priests seem to go very high up the hierarchy.

The elegies at the funeral spoke of Anthony Foster as a man who not only had the courage to overcome his own trauma and grief to fight for justice, but also gave unstinting support and friendship to abuse survivors in their fight for justice.

As his daughter, Aimee said, “We will be OK because you showed us the way. We will continue to love, laugh and share. We are thoroughly better human beings for having had you in our lives.”

And that goes for all of us.

But there has to be more. As Joanne McCarthy says:

Anthony Foster deserves a state funeral. More than that, his death requires us to honour his memory by demanding governments act on the royal commission’s recommendations.

Most certainly.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-07/tributes-paid-for-anthony-foster-at-state-funeral/8589872

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4691002/the-man-who-was-integrity-personified/

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Newsletter time ~ take 2

Well, the first newsletter came out last Thursday ~ phew!

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The opening section of the newsletter

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A little article about split complementary colours

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Some links that I added (NB this is only a photo, so the links won’t work!)

I still haven’t found a way of attaching the sign-up button to my blog. (Anybody out there know how to do it? Or know if it can be done?)

And I think I may have mucked up with sending the newsletter to blog readers who wanted to be on the list. So, if you didn’t receive it, and would like to, you can click on the link; you should go to the sign-up form. (Let me know if there are any gremlins here.)

Sign up for the newsletter

The next edition will be out on Thursday. Hurray!!

 

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It’s newsletter time

The idea of sending out a newsletter has been floating around at the back of my brain for quite a while. Sometimes it surfaces and then gently floats down again. But for some reason, this week it has surfaced, and become a rock that all other thoughts are scattered against.

An overblown metaphor? Maybe, but it has been like that. My compulsion to get moving on a newsletter has overtaken everything else. I am even thinking about it in my sleep! It is only 6:30 in the morning, but here I am, with my cup of tea, telling you about my grand plans.

I have set up a Mail Chimp account, which seems to be the platform that everyone uses. It is NOT an easy process, and I have been surprised by that. It is not Mail Chimp’s fault; they have excellent information, with links to helpful articles. Maybe I am overloaded by all the information. But, their terminology is odd. It took me a while to realise that what they call a ‘campaign’ was where I was to write the newsletter. I am only writing a humble, fortnightly newsletter, not creating a marketing campaign.

I have written the first newsletter (hopefully in the right spot), which was okay, once I worked out how to upload photos, change there size, add in fields for writing etc. Bloggers are used to doing that sort of work.

What I am confused about is the behind the scenes things. I need sign-up forms, and then forms to thank people for signing up, and then opting out forms, and a whole list of others. I think (hope!) that by doing one I have done the others. I am encouraged to make sure that codes are embedded, and I have codes that I can embed in other sites. I can connect with my Facebook page (natch!), which I thought I had done, but can’t see anything on the page.  It seems to have vanished into the ether. Hopefully the ‘sign-up’ button on this blog will work.

At some point next week I am just going to press publish and hope that the first newsletter gets to someone who has asked for it! All the other things can be tweaked because one of the big things I have learnt in this internet world is that there is very little that can’t be changed or added further down the track. (Unless you have signed up for a Nigerian Bank offering you a million dollars and a Russian bride!)

On rereading this I notice that I have used ‘hopefully’ quite a few times. That sums up my attitude at the moment ~ hopefully it will all work out!

Enough grumbling…..

Why am I writing a newsletter? When we sign up for a newsletter we are making a conscious decision to know more about the product and the person behind it. We are not just saying “Yes, I give you permission to tell me more”, but “I want you to tell me more”. That permission means that I can send an email about my art right to someone’s inbox. I don’t have to fight past all the cat videos, ads and happy snaps to get their attention.

I love telling people about my art work, and of course, love selling my art. Why not talk about it to people who are engaged audience and want to hear more?

So, why not do this with the blog? There will be overlap, and I am going to be linking back to articles I have written. If you read this blog regularly the newsletter will seem very familiar. And I certainly have a very engaged audience here! However, what I love about my blog is that I can chat to you about a whole range of things ~ books, my garden, travels, the Little Free Library, whatever takes my fancy. The newsletter will be targeted to my art work, more of an “In my studio” focus, as well as a focus on selling through my Etsy shop.

It will have a section linking to other people, articles, exhibitions and the like, because I am a great believer in Passing It On. People give me so much support and encouragement; I want to do my bit to help others. Let me know if there is anything you would like me to share/promote.

Let me tell you about Ann Wood. She makes the most amazing creatures, crafted out of vintage fabrics. As well, she has an elegant newsletter that is one of my models.

My main task at the moment is to build the list. So….if you are interested in receiving my fortnightly newsletter click on the button, which hopefully(!) is on the side bar. If that is not working send me an email to annebags@optusnet.com.au with your email address and I will sign you up. (Mail Chimp is very particular about making sure people give permission to receive the newsletter, which is good to know.)

I would love to know your thoughts on newsletters. What do you like about them? Or don’t like? I hate those pop up notices that ask you to sign up before you have even had a chance to look at the site. What advice do you have for my fledgling newsletter?

 

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Little Free Library

I first came across the idea of the Little Free Library on Alys’ blog. When I read her post Little Free Library Debut I was smitten, just like she was when she saw her first one. (Alys is renovating her Library at the moment, which you can read about, as well as the fairy garden that sits next to it, and her peaceful Buddha gardens.) I thought the idea of having a neighbourhood book swap was the most wonderful thing. However, I never quite got to creating one outside our home. So imagine my delight when I saw this, only a street away.

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The Little Free Library in Ascot Vale

Yes, a Little Free Library of our own! We have much loved and well used public library just up the street, but this is a bonus.

It was begun by a group of young girls. You can read their full story in this article in the local paper.

A GROUP of Ascot Vale girls have set up a community street library to encourage more people to get to know their neighbours.

Group founder Sophia, 10, felt the need to reach out to neighbours after hearing stories of her Dad’s childhood spent with friends.

And that story makes my smile just a little broader.

With the Little Free Library they have created a little neighbourhood oasis. It has three library boxes ~ for Grown Ups, Young People and Little Ones ~ each at the right height. There’s a sign post and a notice board, and a night light! As well there is a little seating area under the shade of the tree. All this hosted by the Church of Christ.

I visited today, taking a book and leaving one. It’s a simple idea with deep roots, helping to build community and connections.

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Now, which book will I choose? Which one would you take home?

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More trees

I have really appreciated the feedback you give me for my oil pastel trees. You have left me so many positive comments, as well some sales.

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Image and photograph copyright: Anne Lawson 2017

Oil pastels as a medium still excites me. In fact tomorrow I am going to a workshop where watercolour and oil pastels as mixed. You can imagine how my eyes lit up when I saw that one advertised!

I still have a lot to learn about colour, but I know that putting some colours side by side will make each one sing. To create with oil pastels I layer marks over other marks, as well as sometimes smudging the marks together. My usual method is to just pick up the colour that seems right; usually this works, but sometimes it doesn’t. I have decided to try  more rigour.

So I started my experimenting with a colour wheel.

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Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2017

The triangle in the middle of the wheel shows the hues that make up a split complementary. Those three were my my dark, middle and light tones. What would I get if I limited myself to these six pastel sticks?

First layer were the blue and purple, to create the dark park underneath the canopy. Some smudging to merge the marks.

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copyright: Anne Lawson, 2017

The browns add some vibrancy.

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Copyright: Anne Lawson, 2017

Adding the light pastels creates the magic because they also smudge the other marks. Can you see how the yellow over the blue has created a blue-green? And how it changes the colour of the browns? So the six original colours have mixed to create more, and unexpected ones too.

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Image and photograph copyright: Anne Lawson, 2017

The next stage is to draw the ink branches and trunk. In black ink or brown? Probably brown, but maybe not…..

And after that I might have a play with another split complementary.

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Autumn

Autumn may be my favourite season but it’s like picking a favourite book. However, I do love Autumn. I love how it encourages us to wind down from the heat of summer, to enjoy the rain and the chilly nights, to see the world changing.

It is also a good time to garden. The weather is neither too hot nor too cold, and there is enough rain to encourage you to believe that the plants will settle in okay. The soil still has some Summer warmth, and our Winters are mild enough to let plants burble along until the burst of Spring.

I cleaned out the summer vegetables, and prepared the soil for a winter crop. This was mainly compost and warm castings.

 

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Cabbages and brussel sprouts, with onions in the background. Over by the fence is the currant bush.

Now the cabbages are starting to look like cabbages. I spent time yesterday rubbing the eggs of the cabbage moth from the back of the leaves.

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We chopped back the rosemary bush and offered sprigs to the neighbourhood.

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The spring onions, pak choi and spinach are all holding their own.

The seeds for the pak choi and spinach were a gift from Hanna and Al, to thank us for coming to their wedding. If you know Hanna you will not be surprised to hear that these little tags were all hand-created by her, with some input from Al, I am sure!

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The silver beet (chard) is begining to flourish now that it has come out from under the beans. (Who knew there was any way to slow down the growth of silver beet?!)

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Work has gone on in the very neglected back yard. For a few years now it has been left to its own devices, it is time to wrench back a bit of control. I have been planting beside the fence…..a grevillia (Robyn Gordon) and a little eremophilia vernicosa. This is described as a delightful small shrub with pink flowers in spring, drought tolerant and good for heavy soils. What more could I ask for?

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The tiny leaves of the eremophila

Also planted is a ground cover, Helichrysum argyrophyllum. It has lovely everlasting daisies from early Summer to Autumn. Behind it is a small tea tree, Leptospermum scoparium. It sounds quite spectacular with pink flowers that cascade from Spring to Autumn, with narrow leaves that provide a dramatic backdrop. (Well, that’s what the label says!)

 

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Next to them are two roses, ‘Red intuition’ and a white Iceberg. The Iceberg is very special as it was grown from a cutting for me by my sister

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There is more work to do in the back. I have a big bush to remove and more plants to plant. They won’t get in the ground now, so will have to wait until the soil warms up in Spring.

I want to leave my Autumn theme with a little poem, or a blessing. It is by one of Australia’s unique treasures, Michael Leunig, from his little book “When I talk to you”:

Autumn

We give thanks for the harvest of the heart’s work;

Seeds of faith planted with faith;

Love nurtured by love;

Courage strengthened by courage;

We give thanks for the fruits of the struggling soul,

The bitter and the sweet;

For that which has grown in adversity

And for that which has flourished in warmth and grace;

For the radiance of the spirit in autumn

And for that which must now fade and die’

We are blessed and give thanks.

Amen

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ANZAC Day

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Originally posted on Anne Lawson:
Last Saturday was ANZAC Day, the day in which we remember the men and women who have fought for Australia, and New Zealand, in many overseas wars; remembering too the many who are still serving. This…

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Travel theme: Earth

Thanks to Ailsa at Where’s my backpack? for this theme, which is in celebration of Earth Day. Hopefully we will be able to encourage our politicians to have policies that support our Earth too.

It is tempting to publish beautiful photos of sunsets or mountains or glorious landscapes. I want to show you one of my favourite parts of the Earth, the area around Menindee. It is an arid area of Western New South Wales, an hour away from Broken Hill. It is flat and looks uninspiring. However, the more you look, the more beauty you see in this unique landscape.

Big skies…..

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red dirt…..

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and amazing colours.

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What part of our Earth do you cherish?

Posted in Beckler's Botanical Bounty, Odds and Ends, Plants, Texture, Travels | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Thanks John, you will be missed

John Clarke died suddenly last weekend, and I want to add my tribute to the many that have flowed. Australian readers will immediately know John’s humour; it may be the first time overseas readers have come across him.

John Clarke came to Australia from New Zealand, where he had developed a character, Fred Dagg. There are many examples on Youtube, but I couldn’t resist this gem on real estate.

Clarke was a brilliant satirist and these are just some of the creations he has been involved with, some of the joy he has given us

  • The Games, a mockumentary of the Sydney Olympic Games, described on Clarke’s website as: “a series in which the problems of organising an event of this magnitude were identified, re-labelled and buried at sea in a lead-lined container.” This snippet from the show is a classic. The Prime Minister of the time, John Howard, refused to apologise to the Indigenous People for the many injuries inflicted on them over the time of European colonisation. This is how the problem was solved on “The Games”.

  • Farnarkling Never heard of the sport of Farnarkling? Let Clarke himself fill you in (taken from his website):Farnarkeling is a sport which began in Mesopotamia, which literally means ‘between the rivers’. This would put it somewhere in Victoria or New South Wales between the Murray and the Darling. The word Farnarkeling is Icelandic in structure, Urdu in metre and Celtic in the intimacy of its relationship between meaning and tone.

    Farnarkeling is engaged in by two teams whose purpose is to arkle, and to prevent the other team from arkeling, using a flukem to propel a gonad through sets of posts situated at random around the periphery of a grommet. Arkeling is not permissible, however, from any position adjacent to the phlange (or leiderkrantz) or from within 15 yards of the wiffenwacker at the point where the shifting tube abuts the centre-line on either side of the 34 metre mark, measured from the valve at the back of the defending side’s transom-housing.

    Clarke gave farnarkling reports on the famous satire TV show, The Giles Report.

  • ‘Death in Brunswick’, a film he acted in with Sam Neil

However, I most remember him for his interviews with Brian Dawe, another brilliant satirist. Together they created short segments of interviews, where Clarke would be anybody, from a politician to a financial advisor to a quiz contestant, and interviewed by Dawe on political topics of the moment.

Ahhh, I could go on for ages. If you want to see more, just search for Clarke and Dawe. But I can’t leave without showing you my very favourite one. To me it summed up Jeff Kennett!

The word will be a poorer place without John Clarke stripping away politicians’ cant with humour and a sharp scalpel. He will be very missed.

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Email to the PM re #Adani

The Adani mine is planned for Queensland and is generating a lot of opposition, for a range of reasons. One of the most compelling for me is the damage it is likely to do to the Great Barrier Reef, both directly and indirectly through CO2 emissions from burning the coal. Meeks from Meeka’s Mind has written a great letter to our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, giving him reasons why Australia should not loan Adani almost $1 billion to build a rail line from the mine to the coast.

Meeka's Mind

I just sent this email to the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull:

Just for the record, I do not know the PM, but I did ‘chat’ with him by email after he lost to Tony Abbott, way back when. At the time, I wanted to congratulation him on being a man of integrity, even if he was a Liberal. I still receive updates from his staff.

And that brings me to the second point I want to clarify: I know the PM won’t read this email of mine. It is quite possible that his staffers won’t read it either. In all likelihood, the subject line of ‘Adani’ will be more than enough to get it binned sight unseen.

But…

I know Climate Change is real.

I know its caused by us, and

I know that our long-term survival requires that we do something about it.

Digging up more coal…

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