Monday 27 May 2024

Where’s Wally?

Let me tell you a story……

Last Friday (just over a week ago), I went for a walk while Mick was off practising his bowls.  While walking I had a silly little idea.  I think Mick considers it to be more like a brain snap.

When I returned home I did a little scrolling, and to my amazement, my silly little idea actually looked to be a possibility, so I ran it past Mick when he returned home.

My idea was to take a trip for his birthday, that was coming up shortly.

After a very short discussion, we decided to go with it.  That was at about 5pm.  By 7.30pm everything was booked and I was wondering what on earth I had done.

Saturday and Sunday were a whirlwind of packing and final organising.

On Monday morning we were up at 4am to get ready to head off………and it all nearly came to a screaming halt when the taxi we had booked didn’t turn up!!!!  Fortunately, one of our neighbours is a very early riser and at a moments notice was able to run us in to the train station.

So, we caught a train, then another train, then a plane, then another plane, then a train, then another train, then another train, and then walked and finally on Tuesday afternoon local time, 41 hours after we left home we arrived at our hotel.

We had a two night break and then had another little glitch in our travels.  The weather turned nasty and the ferry we were to catch in the late morning was cancelled.  Fortunately, we heard pretty much straight away and were able to reschedule for a sailing in the early evening.  We were supposed to collect a hire car upon arrival, but that would no longer be possible that day, as we were to arrive at about 10pm.  We booked a taxi and then the ferry was still rather late, with us only disembarking at about midnight.  Fortunately, the taxi was still available and we reached our final destination at about 12.30am on Friday.

Where are we?  We are once again on the Isle of Man, to watch the TT motorcycle races.  I still can’t quite believe that we are here, arriving less than a week after we first considered the trip.

Sunday 26 May 2024

Canberra - The Rest of our Trip

We saw so much more while down in Canberra for our four days.  

A feature beside Lake Burley Griffin is the National Carillon.  As we have our carillon in Bathurst, it is lovely to see this one. It was a gift from Britain and opened by the Queen in 1970.  Currently it is undergoing some works, so not playing.  This is the old clavier, that is on display at the visitor’s centre.

The autumn colours continued to delight.

While at the National Gallery, we saw some famous paintings.  These are the Ned Kelly series by Sidney Nolan.

Blue Poles by Jackson Pollock was purchased in 1973 and initially housed in the Opera House in Sydney.  It was a controversial purchase at the time and is now valued at 800 million dollars.  No, that is not a typo.

On the day after our National Gallery visit, we visited the National Museum.  

There is currently an exhibition on Ancient Egypt.  This exhibition is of the collection of a museum in The Netherlands.

Although the Egypt exhibition was wonderful, I was a tad more excited about another exhibit that had only just been added to the Museum’s collection.

Our generation grew up watching Mr Squiggle on television. The collection of Mr Squiggle items were only acquired in April this year, so there were only a couple of items on display.

“Mr Squiggle, the man from the moon” would arrive each episode in “Rocket”. His pencil nose would poke out the hole at the front.

I actually find it funny seeing Mr Squiggle in colour, as we watched him in black and white.

Our next visit was to the Australian War Memorial, which filled up the rest of the day.

On our final day we visited some markets and then went for a drive, as the weather was so much better.  

We went and saw the Tidbinbilla Tracking Station, officially the “Canberra Deep Space Communicaiton Complex”.  You couldn’t go in, but it was interesting to see.

Next was Cotter Dam.  What a beautiful spot. 

There were several picnic and camping areas beside the river and once again gorgeous autumn trees.

Our final stop was Mount Stromlo Observatory.  

Sadly, in 2003 the majority of this facility was destroyed in bushfires.  You now just wander around what remains.  There has been some rebuilding, but on a smaller scale.

Some small pods have been  since built to cater for public visits.

The Director’s Residence, which was one of Canberra’s finest when built, was gutted by the fire.  

The outer shell has recently been restored, while the interior will remain a testament to what happened.  An interesting place to visit.

On our way home to Bathurst we had a wander around the town of Yass.

It has some lovely old buildings.

And that pretty much wraps up our recent trip to Canberra, one we very much enjoyed.

Saturday 25 May 2024

Canberra - a Century of Quilts

The main reason for our timing to visit Canberra was to see the quilt exhibition at the National Gallery, and in particular, the Rajah Quilt. The exhibition wasn’t all that large, but there were some lovely and varied quilts.

We start with a possum skin cloak, such as the aboriginals made.  This dates from the 2005, so a contemporary interpretation.

Early European settlers also made use of the warm possum skins.  This one from Tasmania has the pelts backed by a woollen fabric.  It is somewhat unusual with the tails still attached.

This quilt was made during the 1870s and 1880s, by a lady who was a dressmaker.  She entered it in the local show each year for 10 years, winning first prize every time.  You have to laugh.  It is edged with a braid and backed with a fabric commemorating Queen Victoria’s 1887 Golden Jubilee.

There were two crazy patchwork quilts, quite different in style.

This next quilt was interesting. Quite naive in style, it was made when the lady was in her 80s and she apparently made at least ten for her grandchildren.  It is unusual, as it features aboriginals in the design.

The log cabin caught my eye. Made between 1910 and 1928, the logs are only about a quarter of an inch wide.  The fabrics were all scraps from a drapery store.

This was an example of a Wagga quilt, made from scraps of woollen fabrics with a cotton backing.

There was a second, more utilitarian, Wagga quilt made from tailoring samples.

From a distance, this quilt is rather bland, but when you look closer, there are some gorgeous 1930s fabrics.  The sashings appear to be a rather fine machine embroidered fabric that would be more likely to be seen on an evening gown.  The maker had rheumatoid arthritis, and had one of the very early electric sewing machines, which made this type of work possible for her.

The next one was rather unusual, as it was made from agricultural show prize winning ribbons for their cattle. She had even made a bag from more ribbons to store it.  It has a lovely subtle colour wash to it.

There was a lovely hexy quilt, which uses fabrics similar to the Rajah quilt, so is dated from 1840 - 1860. Some are fussy cut, while others are random.  There seems to be a bit of a layout pattern, but not really consistent.  It has a gorgeous backing fabric.

There was a beautiful unfinished diamond quilt.  In 1899 the maker died at the age of 30 without completing it.

This beauty is a table cover made from silks, satins and other luxury fabrics.  The design and colour placement is stunning.

There was one other beautiful red and white quilt, but there was a large group of women in front of it and I forgot to go back, which is a pity.

And finally, the Rajah Quilt - just to prove that I saw it.

It was much larger than I expected. There is some rather detailed stitchery, suggesting that at least some of the women were proficient needle women.  There is quite a bit of broderie perse in the applique.  Apparently there was just one free woman on the voyage and at the age of 23, she was sent to coordinate the quilt.  What a task that must have been.  

The quilt was gifted to the Governor of Tasmania’s wife upon their arrival.  Somewhere along the line it was sent back to England.  It is unknown if Elizabeth Fry saw it or not.  Then it disappeared, only to be discovered in an attic in Scotland in the 1980s.  Having been stored away and not used has contributed to the fact it is is such wonderful condition for its age.

Anyway, I’ll let the photos do the talking.

I’m so pleased that we made the trip down to see the quilts, as it is rather rare that the Rajah quilt is brought out, due to its fragility.

If you are interested, there will be a one hour long live stream event by the curator and conservator, held on 29 May at 6.30pm eastern Australia time that will discuss the Rajah Quilt in depth.  Here is the link to register.