>spoiled brat

>Found an interesting looking parcel waiting for me at the Post Office on Friday morning:

noticed that it had RAOK* [ random act of kindness ] as the top line of the return address

barely restrained the baser instinct that wanted to rip it open with my teeth then and there, right in the middle of the main street

ditto when I got back to the car which naturally contains scissors in the glove box

in fact I was a positive model of restraint and not only waited until I’d reached home, I even made myself a nice cuppa and took the whole lot out into the sun on the verandah

probably should’ve held off on that cuppa, cos look what was inside:

of course I needed to have a second cup of tea just so that I could ‘christen’ the lovely blue and white floral mug

so huge thankyou to Anne [ sadly blogless but she’s stockingstitch on Ravelry]

and it probably goes without saying – but I will – that David thoroughly enjoyed the choc chicken when he got home

* we have a lovely aussie based RAOK group on Ravelry



>The scene: Friday – a perfect early-autumn afternoon, slightly warmer than usual and bathed in late afternoon glow
Us gathered at Victory Park, Castlemaine for a sound-check [running late of course – they always do ] before the official proceedings opening the Castlemaine State Festival which is a feast of visual and performing arts happening up here until the end of next week.

Family groups began to trickle in with blankets and chairs, picnic teas at the ready, strolling performers moved through [ or above, as the case may be ] the crowd and there was a palpable feeling of expectancy and happiness

So as not to take the edge of the song for later, we used Yil Lul [ which we’ll be doing at the closing Garden Party ] as our sound check and then, spread out three deep in front of the stage, attempted to sit until needed.
Now when I say ‘sit’ I actually mean crouch on the ground, all bunched up and unobtrusive, and hope that by the time Jane needed us to stand, that the combination of numb feet and muscles still protesting from the Blackadder Incident would allow me to get upright with some degree of dignity still intact.

In true Castlemainiac form, there was minimal boring, self-aggrandising waffle.
What we had instead was:

the Elders of the local DjaDjaWurrung [ Jarra speaking ] people, Uncle Brian and Auntie Carmel, garbed in traditional possum skin cloaks inviting us all onto their land, followed by a clay bedaubed Ricky Nelson chanting the Wominjika song. In Jarra language Wominjika means roughly ‘welcome to our country’ and hearing it sung in that strange, eerie nasal voice used in koori singing and accompanied by stamping and the clapping of one boomerang on another was wonderful and powerful.

… even if the smoke from the equally traditional welcome fire was a bit invasive at times

then the response

Jan Wositzky [ local singer, banjo player, teller of tales, composer and all round good bloke ] began to sing his song ” Wominjika” joined by Ron Murray** and [ to great applause ] by the Mayor of Castlemaine, Puck Schieraugmented by James Rigby on guitar.

“Thank you for the welcome to your country
Thank you for the welcome to your land
Can we two walk as one underneath this sun
Thankyou for the welcome to your land

Thank you for the welcome to your country
Thankyou for the welcome to your land
can we two walk in peace by your shining creeks
Thankyou for the welcome to your land

Some of you shed your blood when the long-boats hit the sand
Some of you danced with us, dancing hand in hand
Some of you were stolen from your home when you were young
In this, in this old land – in this, in this old land

Some of us arrived in chains, some with a Bible or a gun
Some to make our fortune, some came for the sun
Some of us sought refuge to start our lives anew
In this, in this old land – in this, in this old land

Then it was the turn of our massed choir [ ChatWarblers, Peace Choir, a contingent of local school children, and several other choirs ] to add harmony and chorus …

“Thank you for the welcome to your country
Thank you for the welcome to your land
Can we two walk as one underneath this sun
Thankyou for the welcome …

wominjika, wominjika, wominjika
Thankyou for the welcome to your land “

[ composed by Jan Wositzky ]
From our side of the mikes it sounded pretty good for an open air effort, and I can’t help but wonder what Jan W. made of it. Apparently it was the first time that he’s heard his song performed by anyone other than himself and while one man singing with banjo is great, it is an entirely different sound with around a hundred male and female voices singing four part harmony!

As we came to the end, the Jarra chant once again rose up and over the top … marvelous… Dave obviously loved it*
The party went on for another couple of hours but David and I left after our singing was done

* David is technically a member of the Peace Choir but the quiet-crouching-all-bunched-up would have been hugely outside his comfort zone so instead he watched from a prime front position with Carer Sarah who also took some of these photos

** Ron is an elder of a different tribe, so he too needed to be welcomed onto DjaDjaWurrung land. If you click on that picture, you will be able to see that he is holding the tail feathers of the Red Tailed Black Cockatoo which is his totem animal – the Victorian subspecies is a highly endangered bird and Ron asked us all to pray /think positive thoughts for its continuance.

>the perils of country life episode 6037

>A rather pungent – in fact it wouldn’t be going too far to say revolting, and distressingly familiar Odeur de Rutting Billygoat insinuated itself into my nostrils, and then my conciousness, as I sat here yesterday lunchtime, innocently trolling the Blogiverse.

My immediate thought [ after the ‘erk …yuck … never smelt him-next-door from inside the house before’ ] was something along the lines of “… that wind must be coming from just the wrong quarter”

Then my tender ears were assailed by what was either a Bedouin in full cry – unlikely in Central Victoria – or a male goat in the throes of passion, serenading the object of his temporary affection.
My immediate thought THIS time was ” that sounds bloody close”
followed by
“that sounds very bloody close”

hell’s bells and jumping catfish
Blackadder’s out!!!!

so I sprinted for the kitchen door, grabbing the camera on the way, just in time to immortalise the sight of a fairly startled looking Robbyn being assured that she is the [current] love of Blackadder’s life
Needless to say PND and Brenda were not home and of course I didn’t have handy any chain heavy enough to fasten him to a nearby tree.

Got any idea how much effort is required to persuade a fully grown 100 kilo plus male goat to go about 200 metres in the opposite and uphill direction from the object of his affection ?
Well I do and I’m here to tell you that it is entirely possible that my right shoulder and upper arm [ not to mention my already dodgy knee ] may never be the same again

and as the final ironic twist in the tail ?

Today all of next door’s livestock have been moved as per schedule to their new farm out at Strathfieldsaye

that beggar knew it was his last chance
I don’t know how he knew


>I would like to think that the image I project on these here interwebs is that of a good and law abiding type … quirky ? maybe …. creative? certainly hope so … mad as a hatter? quite possibly

but definitely law abiding

and you see, that’s the thing, internet appearences can be deceiving:
For your information, I spent a goodly portion of Tuesday behind bars

so there!
I was
in stir
the clink
the Pen
the Big House
the Slammer
the Pokey

and I’ll be going back ‘inside’ soon

but panic not, gentle reader
I haven’t quite descended into a rampant life of crime

and now a digression:

the Old Castlemaine Gaol
is an imposing building set high above the town and was in use from the days of the goldrush, housing in its day, both men and women, in what was considered a model establishment but now looks frankly horrific
… and the thought that it was still in use less than 20 years ago gives me the heebiejeebies

luckily my purpose there was quite benign

The Castlemaine State festival starts tomorrow and so Robyn and I spent about 5 hours on Tuesday hanging 16 of her artworks.
and yes, you read that aright
it took us 5 bleeping hours [ well, okay, four and a half plus lunch ] to hang a grand total of sixteen poster sized works.
Because the building has a heritage listing, one obviously is not allowed to hammer in nails willy nilly – or even at all – and so we had to be very creative in how things were attached and to what … hence the five hours.

Rob is a graphic designer and also an illustrator of children’s books whose signature style incorporates a combination of painting and computer scanned/manipulated photography,
This exhibition of recent works is entitled Quirky Critters [ one of several things happening there for the Festival ] and is definitely kid friendly.
The Old Gaol itself is likely to appeal to that streak, which most kids seem to possess to some degree, that delights in the slightly gruesome. So basically if you’re looking for somewhere to take the rugrats during the festival – March 27 to April 5 – you might want to put this one on the list.

>Giveaway by proxy


My dear friend IRL Jane is having a giveaway to celebrate 600 posts and is giving one of her lovely handmade bags as prize.
Ms Moggie [ her above who is a dead ringer for my Sophie, albeit, Sophie would like to point out, slightly more … ahem … well padded ] says she wants more entries so please go visit and leave a comment on this post or this one

>Economic downturn be damned

>I’m no stranger to the concept of reduced discretionary spending, or a tightened belt, but sometimes you just have to buy something purely because it makes you smile amidst all the doom and gloom

and if it happens to cost less than that $3.50 cup of coffee, that you think twice about and then pass on … well so much the better
Look who was waiting for me at one of the local Op Shops [ Thrift Stores ] on Tuesday when I was on a single minded – and ultimately successful – hunt for more old sheet music for collages :

no price tag and I was on tenterhooks as I asked ‘how much ?’

and the answer? a princely $3 !


>another connection made

>There are very few images in existence of my father’s side of the family
This is mostly because , when my grandmother passed away in 1949, my uncle Joe, who was still living with grandma, carted everything [ and I do mean EVERYTHING ] out into the backyard and set fire to it. By the time his brothers and sister managed the drive down to Lorne from Melbourne they were greeted by the sight of a huge bonfire blazing away – furniture, books, family silver, school prizes, the lot.

Some photos survived the purge but only because they were safely in the albums of other family members and they are few and precious
Imagine my surprise and delight then to find this hitherto unknown [ well, unknown to me anyway ] photo of Grandma Bat

tucked inside an old map of Hobart that I unfolded for the first time last week when I was looking for ephemera for my collages.

I never met Emily Hyams Batterham because she died before my parents married, but now at least I know one more thing about her – she was a knitter !