Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend fun: Sunday


I did go to the Lifeline Book Fair, and took my sewing frame and a few unsewn Transmigrations to sew. It was fun sitting there sewing, and the frame attracted a lot of interest, especially from the Book Fair volunteers themselves, who are all, of course, book nuts. Then I went into the final few hours for a greedy graze of the leftovers selling at $10 per stuffed green bag. I got a lot of light reading for my upcoming convalescence, and a lot of interesting yet unwanted bindings to cut up & renovate.

redneck poetry
This is one I didn't buy, but just want to remember fondly. I love the gold sticker that heralds that it's an autographed copy, suggesting that the un-autographed copies might be worth collecting.

I also found a whole heap of sci-fi paperbacks that appealed to me as a collective read/snort/study. They're so appallingly trashy to look at and I shall take the time to list their blurbs, but will save the cover scanning for when I have lots of time and I've read them:

IMPLOSION (D.F. Jones, 1967)
When a foreign power puts a sterility drug in Britain's reservoirs, the result is all too predictable. The birth-rate plummets and the country's future looks bleak. There is only one way to save the nation; all women with a natural immunity to the drug must be placed in special camps where they can be bred from like prize cattle. They must be given special hormone treatment and artificial insemination so that they can produce triplets, quads, quins time after time until they die of exhaustion. they must become National Mums, the sole hope of a desperate people. They must be pampered and disciplined to accept their role. Even if one of them happens to be the wife of the Minister in charge of the whole affair...

Don't you love the fact that the absolutely worst thing pitched to the potential reader is that the MINISTER'S WIFE IS NOT EXEMPT? Ay yay yay.

FALSE FATHERHOOD (A. Bertram Chandler, 1968)
cover: what would a world be like if there were no women, generation after generation?
back cover, top: A world without women but not without love

Sparta [O PLEEZ] was a backwater planet in a forgotten corner of the galaxy. An isolated world where the majority of men had never seen a woman--and did not know what they were. Their history books and their literature made no mention of a second sex, and the custodians of the Birth Machine and of the laboratories where each new generation was created kept the secret with fanatic zeal.
This was the situation when John Grimes, Master of the Interstellar Federation ship
Seeker III, arrived on the planet. But when the Spartans saw the strangey shaped 'men' among the ship's complement of officers, the results were catastrophic for their society.
Without any knowledge of women, these men were still attracted by them.
They did not understand why but they were determined to find out.

GAWD. Looking forward to discovering the secrets of heterosexuality in that one.

Cover: All men are subordinates on the planet of Medusa [GAH] for that is the planet ruled by the Star Maidens [catchy!]

On Medusa, the laws of nature had decreed that the female of the species should reign supreme--leaving the lesser able males to take care of domestic chores, nursery duties and other menial tasks.
For eons, the Medusan women ruled their world. But then Medusa entered the orbit of Earth, and rumour got out that here was a planet controlled almost entirely bymen... a paradise planet to which two of the most rebellious manservants managed to escape, so beginning the feud between Earth and the incredible STAR MAIDENS.

WHO NEEDS MEN? (Edmund Cooper, 1972)

Rura Alexandra, Madam Exterminator, had recently graduated into a 25th century world where men had become biologically less important, where women could reproduce as they wished by cloning and parthonogenesis.
Her task was simple -- in theory, if not in practice: to wipe out the last few thousand men who had taken refuge in the Highlands of Scotland.
But an ambush near Loch Lomond led to rape, and the killing of her fellow-exterminators. And Diarmid MacDiarmid, the last remaining rebel chieftain proved too much of a fascination.

Mills & Boon meets Braveheart in the future! Wacko!

and finally,

SEXMAX (Hughes Cooper, 1969)

cover: The most excitingly different original science fiction novel since Brave New World and 1984. [ahem]


From cradle to grave, life was maximized by a benevolent State. War had been abolished long ago. So had most illnesses. Men who lived to be fifty were rewarded with a period of state-sponsored sexual licence -- Sexmax. Widows could comfort themselves with a service assignee -- a young man computer-matched on the basis of propensity and performance.
It was a fool-proof system as long as one didn't make a fool of oneself and fall in love. Fortyish Emma Beasley did just that -- fell in love with her 19 year old Sexmax partner, James. The computer wasn't prepared for this. Nor was it prepared for young Josie, who decided she wanted james for herself. And to hell with Sexmax!


My golly goodness, I'm looking forward to lying in bed reading these. My only fear is that I'll hurt myself laughing.

Please note that these were all written by men between 1967 and 1972. I found them on the very last day of the fair, with one swoop of the table, not looking too hard. How many others in this vein are out there? This may become a new obsession for me. Is it any wonder feminism gained strength around this time? Look at this manifestation of fear and excitement!

Gosh, time to rip myself away from the computer. Best Beloved has just left for Thursday Island until Thursday (heh) which means...


...I have three whole days to myself! Bliss!

I overheard my mother-in-law on the phone to BB yesterday fretting that I would be spending my birthday on my own. Oh my, she doesn't know me very well. I love being able to work / eat / sleep without constraints of family duty. Doesn't everyone? Maybe you just haven't had the chance. It's wonderful, but even so, I wouldn't get rid of the family...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekend fun: Saturday

Well. Let's see. I started this as one post, but I think I'll split it, for reasons that will become quite obvious in a minute.


was Lady Duck's birthday. Her and my birthdays are four days apart. That makes my birthday...

Parti Hatz = Stoopid

...this wednesday.

So we had a picnic at Floriade on Saturday. I've been having birthday picnics at Floriade for about 15 or so years now, off and on. I thought it would be a quiet day there, since most of Australia was glued to the tv watching Hawthorn flog Geelong, but no, it was PACKED. Obviously there are a lot of people out there who care as much about football as I do. Which is not a lot. Mind you, Colonel Duck came but ran away to watch the football, as did some other picnic-goers. Never mind.

Anyhoo, the day was gorgeous, we had yummies, and since mum and I are Librans, I gave us cake options, mainly because I couldn't decide which one I liked best and I knew she wouldn't be able to decide either:

cake choices

These are slabs of Amore Cakes, from the Canberra Farmers' Markets. Clockwise from top left:

-- Ginger and macadamia cake
-- Lemon polenta cake
-- dark chocolate cake (not as sweet as you'd expect; made with Stout, and quite zingy)
-- Clover honey and Lavender cake
-- Sour Cherry cake
-- Pumpkin Lime cake

Gosh, it was fun to carve it all up and sample bits. That box fed lots of people with leftovers for brekkie this morning, it's all so rich!

That was the only photo I took of the actual picnic, because I got so caught up chatting to everyone. After about three hours, it's traditional to wander around the flaars and have a few rides on the fairground things, and then take photos of the annual gnome-painting competition. I remember vowing to enter this some year. This year the theme was Aussie films, and while I didn't enter, I did take photos:

Where's Wally Gnome?
This is what whole swathes of grass looked like, covered in sometimes very roughly painted gnomes (done by little children) and at other times very well-painted gnomes. Somewhere in here is Wally. And the other dude from Where's Wally (Waldo in other climes). Dunno what they had to do with the movies, but they were fun.

The Gnomes that Ate Paris
These are The Gnomes that Ate Paris. They have everything to do with Aussie film.

chopper gnome 1
Chopper was pretty popular. This was one of the better ones...

chopper gnome 2 was this, complete with bleeding ears, lurking in the grass.

Kenny Gnome
Kenny, as we all know, is now completely iconic, joining the ranks with

Gnomella of the Desert
Priscilla, and

Muriel's gnome

A new, loving addition to the ranks is

Dark Gnome
Heath Ledger playing the Joker in that cult hit The Dark Gnome. Please note Tina Turner from Mad Gnome III in the background.

I loved the extra thought put into a few things this year, like

Stormboy and Gnome Babe
Storm Boy! Standing in front of one of umpteen Babes.

Mr Perceval finding Gnemo
And Mr Perceval made an extra appearance, hungrily eyeing off (g)Nemo.

Wicked gnome of the West & friends
These were in another section that seemed to be devoted to 'random' entries.

And this could be from any movie, your guess is as good as mine, but Zoe and I liked the rendition of their hair.

For the Term of His Natural Gnome
This was pretty cute...

Picnic at HangingGnome
... as was this, Picnic at Hanging Gnome. If you're wondering why the gnomes are wearing Scout uniforms, it's because the Scouts submitted this and I suspect they've recycled the gnomes from another display. Or perhaps they're making a joke that if the girls had been Scouts, they wouldn't have got lost.

And so we went home, replete and entertained and glowing from a day in dappled shade. Colonel and Lady Duck took Bumblebee (who survived the Big Merino dumping -- sorry to leave him stranded in the narrative back there. His dad picked him up :) ) down to Bega for most of this week, and Best Beloved and I had a late afternoon nap that lasted well into the evening -- you know when you shut your eyes for a minute and suddenly it's hours later and you awake in the dark? I hate those times.


Sorry for the late notice, but if anyone local is heading out to the fabulous Sunday bargains of the Lifeline Book Fair, check the Rare Book Room between 12 and 2pm, as I'll be sitting there with the Canberra Craft Bookbinders' Guild stall, sewing some of my books. We have people on the stall all day, doing interesting booky things.

After 2pm, I'll be inside the Fair proper, stuffing my green bags full of assorted things to read and/or cut up. [salivates]

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Enjoying Jeff

Jeff Peachey's bookbinding blog is a fantastic way to spend a while. His latest post comments upon the above window installation in New York, where books have been opened, wet, and rolled into trunk-like configurations (which, looking at them again are probably more likely to be an arrangement of blowsy roses, which fits the kind of shop it's decorating). I like Jeff's air of offence and the reasons for it; I'm more ambivalent, but probably would have preferred this to be in a more 'intellectual' spot than just decorating a shopfront. I'd like to hear from the designer, and how much they'd thought it through. Still, it stirs my altered book juices.

Another fabulous read on Jeff's blog is his page on treating a part of a Gutenberg Bible. The irony of someone hand-writing part of a printed document that was meant to be counterfeiting a hand-written document is delicious.

Postscript, about a week later: I seriously like JP -- blindfolded bookbinding! Crazy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Noise, and other things

A confession: I took the weekend off. I ran away. It was lovely.

I pulled the Bumblebee out of school at lunchtime, flung him out of the car at The Big Merino in Goulburn, then scooted to Sydney, where I started by exploring the delightful shop that is Artwise Amazing Paper (pretty much your best option for buying a variety of decent bookcloth in small amounts in Australia these days. If you know of any others, please tell me.) and then wandered down City Road to attend the new-look Meanjin launch at Gleebooks.

I had a lovely time, listening to some damn good writing, meeting poets, filmmakers and journalists, and ended up in a pub somewhere near Sydney Uni comparing fertility stories with amazing women and admiring Sophie Cunningham's intense sunburn.

My hostess, who lives in a stunning townhouse in Enmore, had been meanwhile attending a family funeral, and so I hadn't clapped eyes on her yet. She had assured me by text message that she'd left me a key and turned the alarm off, but unbeknownst to her, her partner had come home in the meantime and re-alarmed the house out of habit before he went away for the night. So I got back, well-lubricated, opened the door and got fully upstairs before I became aware of a high-pitched squeal that made me pause mid-step. Could it be? I started downstairs immediately, and only got halfway before the alarm started, a noise that assaulted every cell in my body, vibrated through my teeth and seemed to put a hot needle through my ears. Ay yay yay!

Luckily I'd been told the code last time I visited, and although I am numerically dyslexic and dreadful with names and dates, I rarely lose a pin or code (something to do with the body memory of the movements on the keypad). Within seconds I'd turned it off, and the silence that resulted was almost as loud as the alarm. Wow. If I'd really been an intruder that noise would have physically pushed me out of the building. Even earplugs wouldn't have helped. I guess it works as a security measure. And a sobering one. Heh.

Saturday, as anyone who lives in Sydney would know, was a scorcher. 33 degrees! It's Spring, that's crazy. This is why I would never live again in Sydney. G (my hostess) and I cruised Enmore and Newtown, eating breakfast and exploring shops. I found another good paper shop and an excellent button shop. Then we picked up Best Beloved from the airport (flying in from a air security conference at the Sunshine Coast in Qld -- tuh) and kept moving down towards Brighton le Sands.

Sophie seemed to have spent Friday lying on a beach, forgetting to turn with the sun (she had a very directional sunburn!). Our time at the beach was quite different. All of us pale and wimpy -- G especially so, since she favours the white Victoriana pseudo-goth look -- we preferred to sit in the shade and enjoy the sea-breeze and watch the weirdness that is the Eastern Sydney Jet-ski Gangs cavorting on the beach. It smacked of Puberty Blues, with jet-skis substituting for surf-boards, right down to the pairs of mismatched girlfriends in bikinis, sitting amongst but separate from the tanned, beefy, strutting blokes in groups flinging footballs around the girls for extra attention between bouts of jetskiing.

We stayed there for a while, eating fish & chips, fascinated. Or at least, I was. I love people watching. At one point I said 'What do you think these blokes do after a day on the beach -- do they stay in a pack & have a BBQ? Go to a pub? Go home to their mothers? What do you reckon?' And G and BB stared at me and couldn't believe that I bother thinking these things. But I do. One of my personal fascinations with life is that there is only 24 hours in a day for everyone, but we all make completely different choices about how to spend that time.

The other thing that struck me was the amount of noise. There we were, sitting beside a beach, and there were planes landing across the water from us, jet skis and boats churning around in between, cars and motorbikes roaring behind us, and yet I could still hear the waves coming in and out. But I couldn't hear much else...

That afternoon we went from the ridiculous to the sublime. We dropped G off at home, and then headed to the Southern Highlands to spend a night with Bernice Balconey. She lives on a humble piece of land owned by someone else, in a lovely little house surrounded by garden and bush. Apart from the trains that rumble past infrequently, it's serene. We did little but eat and read and talk. And go to a market where I found a vinyl copy of ABBA Arrival to replace the one I'd STUPIDLY sold when I was 16 to raise enough money to buy a packet of cigarettes. Talk about great regrets. I feel like a part of my soul is restored. Even if I never play it again (which is unlikely, I love my turntable), it is good to know I can look at it and remember things, like how dumb I was at 16.

Of course, when I got home on Sunday afternoon I had to jump straight on the computer and meet a couple of deadlines that were looming so close I could feel their hot breath on the back of my neck. But I still managed to watch Dr Who, on the edge of my chair. PFFWWORR. Can't wait for next week, even if I have qualms about the next Doctor (ok, I googled him. I'm a curious cat). I just have to have faith in Russell. He hasn't let us down yet.

And this morning I decided to catch up on the weekend edition of the Canberra Times and discovered a death notice for a nice old man I've known slightly for the last ten years. He's a classic WWII veteran, overlooked by the young, appreciated by his peers who, as he left the room, would say in hushed tones, 'He was interred, you know, by the Japanese. Never talks about it.' He was always dressed beautifully, with freshly bryl-creamed hair and ironed shirts. He had a great sense of humour, and even when diagnosed with demensia, wore it with dignity. The last time I saw him, I sat next to him in a doctor's surgery, and we had a wonderful conversation about life, the universe, etc and the Legacy Ladies he looked after. He won honours in the war, and is being given full Air Force Honours at his funeral, tomorrow. I don't know his family well enough to go to the funeral, but I wish them well. He was a lovely man.

Speaking of lovely people, did I mention that while I 'wasn't blogging', I lost another auntie? It's been a year for that sort of thing. She lost a battle with cancers and other lurgies. She was a lovely person, married to the uncle that flew over from Fiji when my brother died and consoled me with my first plate of Oysters Kilpatrick. Gawd, the things you remember. I would have like to get over to WA for the funeral, but it just wasn't possible. Colonel and Lady Duck went instead, and caught up with extended family (hello!).

I believe in the power of threes; you know, that bad things come in threes. I know it's a superstition, but it seems to work for me. I was worrying about this the other day, about the aunties, when a great-aunt of BB's died. I've relaxed now. That's enough aunties for the universe, methinks.

Time for work. I've decided to make book covers today. A nice, big batch of them.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Spring is springing springily

Dammit, this isn't working at all. I just can't switch off that side of my brain that wants to blog things. I've tried writing things down elsewhere, and it still doesn't work. Go figure. There's something about the knowledge that you're writing TO someone that makes blogging all juicy and sparkly. I like writing to you. It's like the letters I never write to people but are still in my head after years and years and years.

And it's Spring. I can stay quiet most of the year, but Spring just gets me bouncing off the walls. In other places in Australia Spring is an abstract concept, but in Canberra it's REAL. The sun is warm, the air is fragrant and cool, and there are tantalising smells and delightful colours everywhere. All the windows suddenly look dirtier (and we're not allowed to wash them) and the car gets covered in rich red dust blown in from the mass ploughing in the Central West.

I find myself succumbing to random acts of cleanliness. The other day Bumblebee was ill, so I threw him out into the back yard with his sleeping bag to lie in the sun and rediscover a box of his old kid's books, and then attacked the inside of the microwave with a toothbrush before settling down to do some work on the computer. I'm now eyeing off the inside of the oven, and it's cringing in response.

Best Beloved and I get about 3 weeks of Spring gardening energy every year, which usually consists of him going out and buying a truckload of new plants that get put in the ground, watered, fed and mulched lovingly and then forgotten about for the rest of the year and they die. I've called a moratorium on new plants. This is the Year of Maintenance, when we try to reverse the look of utter neglect. Honestly, all we need is a car wreck or three to make the place look worse.

Riding the bike is delightful. The gloves are off, the jacket lighter, the Nepalese felt-lined hippy hat that fits under my helmet shoved to the back of the cupboard for another year. Warm fragrant wind through my flippy growing hair... ahh. This is the life. This morning B and I laughed as we rode down the bike path in Lyneham as we watched a magpie swooping a dog who was happily running along under the magpie trying to catch it with his teeth. Such a variant of the usual magpie-swooping-a-screaming-child-on-a-bike scenario.

A short while ago, after teaching my 2nd-year printmaking student class (learning a very loose variant of letterpress, since I only have a total of 24 hours to teach it), I wandered lonely as a cloud down to the Student Union and failed to meet any daffodils. Lots of wattle, though, and just as yellow. I dithered between the spring rolls and the rice paper rolls and chose the latter because, perversely, they were springier. Things like that make me want to write to you.

So bugger it. I can't stay away, although mostly I'll try. It's just too joyous a time of year, even if I am stuck at the bottom of an in-tray.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Because someone just said I don't self-promote enough*

Artisan Books have just mounted pictures from their Into the Fold exhibition. There doesn't seem to be any connections between pictures and artists, but it looks like it was a interesting and varied show. The book Byrd and I made is second from the top on the left.

*I'd like to know what this blog is if it isn't shameless self-promotion :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

And the winner is...

Sorry, that's a family joke.

I went to the Prime Minister's Literary Award bestowal. The winners were flabbergasted. And very happy. Well, why wouldn't you be, getting a tax-free bundle of $100,000 notes plopped into your lap?

"Welcome to the house of non-fiction," said Kev. "This is the House of Representative side of Parliament House. Over there, on the Senate side, is the House of Fiction. Oooh, that'll get me into trouble next week."

The judges and contenders (five from each house of fiction/non-fiction, the short-listed) wriggled in their chairs.

The chairs are worth mentioning. Someone (probably one of the Shiny Young Things who hovered constantly) had put out one less chair than was needed, so for most of the award ceremony one of the hosts, judges or contenders had to stand awkwardly until someone else vacated their seat, and then hurriedly take that seat (repeat, repeat). Finally, a woman who looked like she was involved somehow came up, put her organiser and keys and glass carefully down on the floor and moved a chair into the zone of awkwardness, then picked up all the bits and shuffled to the back. She didn't add a chair, she just made the zone of awkwardness slightly less obvious.

The compere set the tone of the evening. He was jolly and approachable and oddly familiar, in a handsome, personable sort of way. I couldn't place him until Pen* told me that her six-yo would be disappointed he missed seeing Rhys Muldoon. Aahh! Different generation of Play School host from my eleven-yo. Apparently he recently hosted the Ned Kelly Awards for Crime Fiction, and he may have other literaturish connections. But more likely he's just a good personable bloke. The ceremony wasn't terribly well organised; they handed out prizes, did a bit of musical chairs, let the winners stand in the Awkward Zone for a while, and then slapped their foreheads and brought them up on stage for a speech each.

The winner for fiction was Stephen Conte, for his novel The Zookeeper's War, which made a number of people audibly gasp. His speech was short, pithy, delighted, and smacked of gob.

The prize for non-fiction was given to Philip Jones, for Ochre and Rust: Artefacts and Encounters on Australian Frontiers. His speech was longer, more deliberate, equally gobsmacked and very very interesting. It talked about the process of writing in hurried moments, of delighting in artifacts and their stories, and of the weirdness of sudden glares of fame.

Peter Garrett (who is absolutely awesome when he stands in front of you) spoke about lying in bed with a torch, reading until the batteries went. Kevin stood up and said that as a kid he did the same thing, albeit in a shorter bed. They have to make jokes like that, because when they stand and walk together, it's a sight to behold.

Podium fun
Apologies for the blurry photo -- I wasn't sure if I was allowed, so I took it very quickly. The main part of the crowd is to the left of the photo.

The champagne flowed, the nice nibblies were nibbled. It was an interesting crowd, not that I got to see a lot of who was in it, since I was standing by as Helper. We were deep in Parliament House -- really deep, took AGES to walk to the venue from the carpark -- and it was noted by someone that it may have been better held at the National Library. But I think that was the point of the whole exercise. There were a lot of writers and publishers in the room, but there were also a lot of odd but very Canberra choices -- a commercial printer who supports the Canberra Art scene, curators and academics, bookshop owners. This event was clearly trying to differentiate itself from the usual Literazi, to be -- dare I say it? -- relaxed, and comfortable.

I got to gaze fondly across the room at John Doyle (yummy) and Thomas Keneally (sweet). Germaine and Clive weren't there, poo bum. Neither were Dorothy Porter nor David Malouf (he's in Tuscany, poor man). Oh -- and the runners-up got gold pens. In nice boxes. In nice wrapping paper.

I did get to shake Kevin's hand. He's like a little cartoon of himself, with a very round face and oddly plastic hair. His minders were very young and very stressed and when I overheard them were saying that 'we've almost got him out of here' (I was close to the exit). I got to talk -- properly -- to Peter Garrett, and thoroughly enjoyed it. He does his best to really engage with you, no matter who you are. I wonder when that will get knocked out of him.

Coincidentally a Midnight Oil song played on the radio as I drove home, and that was a weird moment. But the whole thing was a bit surreal.

*A shy hello to Fiona and Pen, who did come up to see if I was Ampersand Duck. I enjoyed meeting both of you.

[cross-posted at Sarsaparilla]

Monday, September 08, 2008


I don't seem to be able to stay away, do I?

Well. I've just been invited to the Prime Minister's Literary Awards ceremony on Friday night, as the assistant of my Aged Poet friend, so I just thought I'd yoo-hoo out there to any of you blogging literary types who may be attending as well. I'll be with the nice old lady using the walker. I'll probably be dressed in black, like everyone else. I may be scowling.*

Come and say hello.

*Because of the pitiful selection of works to be honoured. You're fucking up, Kev.

Friday, September 05, 2008

epso-lute-ly* marvellous

I'm rushing on to say that tonight I saw Bumblebee perform with his school in the ACT Wakakirri heats... and they were FABULOUS.

When I heard that they were going to do an interpretive dance on the Stolen Generations and Sorry Day, I must admit I rolled my eyes a touch.

But -- oh. It was amazing. I've NEVER been so proud of that school and it's teachers. tonight's performance made sense of this entire year's curriculum up to this point. They've read books about Aboriginal History, had visits from Aboriginal dancers and musicians, watched movies and had lots of discussions. And they've practiced this dance routine for 18 weeks, and worked really hard.

The ten-minute performance was respectful, sorrowful, angry, fearful, joyful and TIGHT. They not only did a great performance, but they got the entire audience involved involuntarily. It was on par with a Keating! performance... we gasped and cried, and booed a very accurate John Howard impression, then laughed and spontaneously applauded a very accurate Kevin Rudd impression. And it wasn't just the parents of our school -- the whole thousand-strong audience went crazy.

I wasn't allowed to take photos or film it, but they've made it through to the finals, which will be screened on national tv later in the year, so I'll let you know. It's a performance that I think should be seen by everyone, if only as a great rendition of a very exciting part of our shared history.

A few moments that stuck in my head (and throat) -- the lights rising to Aboriginal music, with a group of Aboriginal children in centre stage, obviously in pre-settlement times. The background group was other children from the school, but the main cluster at first were actual Aboriginal children from the school, looking strong and proud. Then the whites arrived.

Later -- they'd recreated a missionary school scene, with 'teachers' wielding canes, children in pinafores learning, being hit if they gave a 'wrong' answer. In the background were other kids in pinafores and overalls, the boys holding spades and digging, the girls holding sheets. The girls would flap the sheets high in the air and let them float down in time to the music. It was gorgeous, and beautifully choreographed.

Sigh. Bumblebee is exhausted, it's 10.30pm, and I'm writing this while he showers and changes. Have to go. He needs a hug. I'm so proud...

*I'm channelling Bernice Balconey. I always love it when she says that. She's not from NZ, she says it's a western Tassie accent.