Monday 31 July 2023

July Wrap Up

Apart from stitching, I have only posted about the Winter Festival and our tour of the Carillon for July.  We have been up to other things as well.  However, the month was actually quieter than the last few, which was a nice change.

I met most of my goals as well.

I read two.
This one was set in Belfast during the 1980s and the troubles.  Not a bad read at all.
The second was a very simple read, so really doesn’t count. I was cleaning out a cupboard and discovered this little gem that I have obviously picked up somewhere along the line.  Although I have been aware of Brambly Hedge and seen the crockery, I’ve never read any of the books.
The illustrations are delightful, featuring sweet patchwork quilts and even a patchwork tea cosy in this one.  There is so much detail in them that you could look at them for ages and still see something extra.  I can see why they were so popular.

Yes, this is Creamy Chicken Simmer Pot, from Taste.  Yummo!  There were left overs and I think it tasted even better the next day.  A nice winter’s night meal.
Not a new recipe, but Mick got out the camp oven and cooked a delicious roast pork dinner.
Karen from Karen’s Korner shared a recipe for a Coconut and Lemon Slice, which sounded rather nice, so we had to try it out.  Another recipe added to the book to use again.

We still managed to have a few.  The Winter festival and Tour of the Carillon, of course.

We also went to the Mudgee Small Farms Field Day.  We used to go to this every year, but haven’t been for about six years.  We did very well, as all we bought was a coffee and our lunch. We did catch up with two lots of friends we haven’t seen for a while, which was nice.  Funnily enough, they had both purchased a green house.  Even funnier, we didn’t, as we already have our little potting shed/greenhouse, but we did go to their talk on using them and when we got home ordered their specialised reflective shade cloth for our shed.  That was the sewing I did with Mick’s fishing line.

Anyway, we had a really nice day out.  A highlight of the day used to always be the fashion parade, sponsored by Woolmark and featuring clothes made from wool.  There used to be queues to get inside.  That has all changed now and the fashion parade is just clothing that you can purchase on the day.
One of the designers made beautiful patchwork coats from upholstery fabrics.  Rather lovely, but I don’t know where I would wear one.  They were nice to see, anyway. Sorry about the poor photo quality.
It was rather muddy under foot and I was glad to wear my little ankle gum boots, unlike some ladies wearing suede shoes and boots.  I hope they were able to clean them up OK.
The scenery is always nice on the drive over there. I loved this small patch of sunshine in the otherwise grey day.

As expected, we didn’t go for a motorcycle ride or use the caravan.  I didn’t completely catch up with blogs, but am so very nearly there, which is a relief.

So, what else is there to report?

Let’s start with the weather.  At the start of the month we had some cold and dreary days.  Not a lot of rain, but quite a few pea souper fogs, that Bathurst is renowned for.  However, in the second half of the month we have had some good frosts, but glorious warm days.  Our back yard has reached 20 degrees C on a couple of occasions.  Warm enough to be down to a tee shirt, which is just crazy for July.  The next week or so is also forecast to be quite warm.

Our garden has a few tiny pops of colour, if you go looking.
We have a few different coloured violets.
 A couple of little jonquils are in flower, as well as a polyanthus and several hellebores.  

I do so love finding these little blooms at this time of year.  They are small, and most are tucked away, where you have to go looking for them.
A few days ago, I was outside just on dusk.  Looking to the east, the sky had such a pretty pink tinge to it.  Probably nicer that the actual sunset.
We have had our stereo system for over thirty years and it has finally given up the ghost.  Really?!  They don’t make things like they used to any more.  LOL. Having said that, the turntable died quite a while ago.

Anyway, time to go shopping for a replacement.  It was really hard to find what we wanted, but in the end we are happy with our new setup.
It is so small compared to our previous one.  The sound is great and the fact that the turntable is connected to the speakers via Bluetooth, makes everything so neat and tidy.  The little cupboard it sits on used to belong to Mick’s Dad. It is just the right size to store Mick’s record collection.  We used to have a retro toy truck sit on here, which we used to display one of our little Christmas trees. We remembered that Mick’s Dad displayed a vintage gramophone on the cupboard, so it has come full circle, which is nice.  Meanwhile, we are having fun rediscovering some gems from the late 70s and 80s.
Finally, Mick has been playing with the tow bar setup of our ute and caravan.  After a couple of days tinkering he reckons he has it set up just about perfect.

And that about sums up the month of July.  Now to look forward to August and whatever it may bring.

Sunday 30 July 2023

Stitching Wrap Up For July

Here it is, the end of July already.  Happily, I achieved all but one of my stitching goals.

Yes, I finished it this morning. At the last minute, as usual.  That’s the thing about making the goal something that I need a little push to work on, it may be at the last minute, but at least I am getting it done.  Otherwise, it would still be sitting there.
The reason this has been sitting on the back burner is that I was a bit daunted by the amount of appliqué, in particular, all the “pesky petals” and “blasted berries”.  They would have been quicker to work by hand.   However, once I made a start and did a bit each day, it came together nicely. 

Now that it is completed, I can finally start adding borders to create the quilt, rather than just making components.
I am also happy to have completed my giant granny rug.
I added another coloured wool as well and it ended up a nice size.
This will be delivered to Ronald McDonald House next week, together with seven little quilts I have made over recent months.
One of my neighbours is the local co-ordination for Wraps With Love and she requested that I complete a crochet edging on a rug that had been donated, as she only knits, not crochets.
It was a simple edging to complete.

As a result of our chat, I will also be delivering fourteen rugs to Ronald McDonald House on behalf of Wraps with Love.
I’ve started a new project as well.  I think I’m allowed, seeing as I have finished the granny rug.
There have been a couple of Chookshed Stitchers Zoom sessions this month, which have been great to participate in.
I ended up with no hand stitching, knitting or crochet during yesterday’s session, so finally made a start on a sashiko panel I purchased a couple of years ago.  Sashiko seems to be the flavour of the month at present, so why not see what all the fuss is about.  The panel is going to be pretty, but I have no idea what I will do with it once completed.  Anyway, yes, it is enjoyable and relaxing to work on.  Just as well, seeing as I had purchased a couple more panels at the quilt show last month.

You can see what other stitching I managed during July back here.

Oh, and the goal I didn’t achieve?  I still haven’t got a leader and ender project set up to work on, which kind of annoys me.  I really must sort that out.

Also, a wish, but not a goal, was to make another donation child’s quilt.  That didn’t happen either.  Not to worry, it is still there, waiting in the wings for another day.
However, I did manage my 15 minutes of stitching each day.  That is really becoming second nature now, which is nice.

My stats are:
15 minutes a day/week = 7/7
15 minutes a da/July = 30/30
15 minutes a day/2023 = 200/211
Success rate = 94.79%

I’m linking up over at Elm Street Quilts and Life in Pieces. Pop over to see what the others achieved this month.

Monday 24 July 2023

Bathurst War Memorial Carillon Tour

In the lead up to the Bathurst Winter Festival I read that there would be tours of the Bathurst War Memorial Carillon.  The Carillon is one of the main landmarks in the centre of town and it is really rare to get to see inside.  I straight away rang and booked the tour, which I am glad about, as there were only two tours, with eight participants in each.

Our Carillon is rather special, being one of only three in Australia, the others being located at Sydney University and in our capital, Canberra.
We had toured the bell tower on the nearby Anglican Cathedral a couple of years ago, which was really interesting.  I can’t seem to see that I blogged about it, which is a shame.  It was only built in the last 20 years or so. This photo was taken during the Winter Festival.  Our town centre is unusual as we have the cathedral bell tower, carillon and Courthouse tower all in a row.

Anyway, back to the tour….

Firstly, a bit of history….

Just a few days after Australia declared war in 1914, several local men volunteered to go to fight.  They were sent off on their big adventure with much fanfare.  By the end of 1918, it had become apparent that WWI was not a big adventure but a nightmare with huge losses.  Bathurst lost many men, including the Mayor’s son.  It was decided that a memorial should be built. By the end of the war nearly 2,000 Bathurstians had gone to war with the loss of 460 lives.  That was a huge impact for the town at that time.

It was decide to build the memorial in Kings Parade, which is a lovely park in the centre of town.  The site had previously been the home to a market hall, which had been demolished.  At the time, a memorial for the Boer War had been built at one end and another statue was under construction at the other end to commemorate the surveying of the route to and site of the town.
The initial memorial consisted of a simple flagpole in the centre of a garden in the centre of the park, shown here with the Courthouse in the background.

Plans commenced in 1919 to build a proper memorial, but there wasn’t a great deal of enthusiasm in the community, as the war was still rather fresh in everyone’s mind.  Not only that, the design of a memorial could not be decided upon.

In the mid 1920s a new committee was formed to progress the memorial. One of the committee members had been impressed by a War Memorial Carillon he had seen in England and it was ultimately decided that we would build one too.  After a competition, this design was chosen.  Building commenced in 1927, progressing only to the huge footing and the surrounding first brick level below the tower.  Then the money ran out.  Nothing happened for a few years and the Great Depression came along.  In the early 1930s the new mayor said that it either had to be built, or the current eyesore should be demolished.  Fund raising recommenced, firstly by people donating pennies to cover the area of the platform that had already been built, then by a “buy a brick” subscription.  
Building started again, with completion in 1933, with the dedication taking place on Armistice Day, 11 November, 1933.  There are 212,000 locally made bricks in the tower, which stands 30 metres tall and was built at a cost of 8,000 pounds. But….according to the original design, it wasn’t quite complete…… More on that later.
There were 35 bells installed in the tower.  
The largest three were inscribed with memorials to the soldiers, sailors and nurses, while the smaller bells were named after each of the local villages in the area.
The Carillon is the centrepiece of Bathurst’s ANZAC Day events. We always attend the Dawn Service.

Now to our tour….
We entered the room at the base of the tower.  This houses the ‘Eternal Flame”.  The original one was installed in 1965.  However, it was replaced in 2019 with the current version, as the smoke from the gas flame was damaging the interior.  The new Eternal Flame was revealed on ANZAC Day in 2019 and we were there.  Please take the time to read my blog post from that day.  It also shows the old Eternal Flame and my family connection.
We ascended the stairs, stopping at the first landing to look down on the top of the Flame Room.
On the next level was the playing room.  The 35 bells were played on this keyboard via a pneumatic system. The keyboard was considered the easiest way for the bells to be played.  
The bells remain stationary and the clappers in the centre are hit against them. This allows for a range of tones to be achieved when playing.  
There were regular recitals, one being at 1 o’clock on each Saturday, which I remember well, as it can be heard all over the centre of town.  This photo shows Hecter Lupp, one of the former carillonists, carrying out maintenance on the bells.  He was an institution in town, being the local piano tuner.

The keyboard was decommissioned in the 1980s and a computerised system to play was installed.  This did not use the clappers on the inside of the bells, rather there were clappers that hit the outside of the bell.  The Carillon now chimes every quarter hour with the Westminster Chimes and some tunes are played, but there is no subtlety to the sound like could be played on the keyboard.
Looking out the window to the Courthouse, overlooking the iceskating rink set up for the Winter Festival.

Back to the history….

Since about the year 2000 there has been another fundraising effort to finally complete the Carillon to its original specifications.  This would involve a further twelve bells being installed, and most importantly, the installation of a Clavier, which is the traditional way to play a Carillon.

I was eating my lunch in the park one day as they were installing the final twelve bells by crane, which was fun to watch.  These bells are collectively known as the “Peace Bells”. There are now 47 bells in the bell chamber.
Another feature not initially included was an honour roll for the fallen in World War 1.  This was finally added in 2018, on the centenary of the end of that war.

Back to the tour…..
Up a further flight of stairs we reached the Clavier Room.  So, what is a clavier?  It’s a rather unusual instrument. 
It is connected to each bell by wires and once again the bells are played by the clapper inside the bells.  Each wooden peg is like a piano keyboard with the top row being like the black keys on a traditional keyboard.  The pegs are played by hitting them with your fist.  Like an organ, there are also foot pegs.  The effort required to play each bell is related to the size and weight of the bell.  The lower notes have quite large bells and require a lot of effort, especially if being played loudly.  It is a really specialised skill.  We currently have three carillonists, with two more in training.  They have been trained by the carillonists from Sydney and Canberra.  There is a second clavier located at our Conservatorium of Music, which is used for practice, but does not give the true feel of the weight of the bells. 
Jennifer Roberts gave us recital of a variety of pieces.  She was wonderful to watch and it was really surprising how physical it was to play some pieces.  It was also apparent that playing with the clavier can give so much more variety and quality to the playing.

The computerised system remains in place, still chiming on the quarter hour.

The recital was the finale of a truly interesting tour.  One we felt privileged to participate in.  I have to thank the Friends of the Carillon for providing the opportunity to get a further insight into this wonderful building.  We are so fortunate to have such a landmark in our city.
One final picture of the Carillon.  See that little plaque to the right of the door….
It is to commemorate 60 years from the end of World War Two.  My Dad was one of the three ex prisoners of war who unveiled it on 15 August 2005.   This photo was taken shortly afterwards.