Archive for January, 2008


Broken promises

31 January 2008

I don’t really make New Year Resolutions but I sort of promised myself that I’d blog at least twice a week this year.  The end of January is here and I’ve failed miserably.  But with work and knitting I just haven’t had the time.  And now there’s Ravelry.  I still haven’t got much on there yet.  Another promise that’s gone straight out of the window.  I WILL take lots of photos of finished items and post them to Ravelry and here.

My big love at the moment is lace knitting and knitted lace (And, yes, I’m being pedantic.  For those of you who may not know the difference, that’s your lesson for today.  Research and discuss). 

I always found it difficult to knit lace as it took all my concentration to follow the charts.  I couldn’t watch television or even listen to the radio at the same time.  But now I’ve discovered that if I type the chart into normal knitting language (and in large print), I can knit away happily while watching The Bill.  My brain seems to work best with letters and numbers; I forget symbols and can’t hold them in my head.  So now I’m merrily knitting away and creating a whole wardrobe of lace scarves and stoles.   

For those of you who haven’t read it elsewhere,  I should mention that this Saturday is Opera in the Domain day in Sydney, and this year it’s La Boheme.  A lot of knitters gather from lunch time onwards to picnic, chat, knit or whatever else takes your fancy, and the Opera starts at 8pm.  And it’s free, of course.  It looks as though there’ll be quite a crowd this year so if you live in Sydney and fancy a great day out with some pretty good company, then do come along.  If you want any further information, either go to the Australian Knitters forum on Ravelry or post a comment here and I’ll email you with the details of how to find us.   


World Youth Day

16 January 2008

Last July, I wrote to my NSW State Member of Parliament, Greg Smith, to complain about the public funding of World Youth Day, along the following lines:

“I was more than a little horrified last week to read that the NSW Government is seriously considering compensating Randwick Racecourse for its use for World Youth Day.  The figure being discussed was up to $50m.  While I of course can understand the need for compensation to be paid for loss of earnings for what I believe will be a 10 week period, the last time I heard the Catholic Church was not particularly short of a bob or two, so I have no idea why they cannot fund their own festival.  I don’t remember any mention of this “compensation” before the election earlier in the year and object most strongly to being forced in effect to donate something like $10 to the Catholic Church, on top of the other moneys I’m equally forced to donate to their, and other religious organisation’s, schools.  Would this compensation system apply to other religions who wished to hold recruitment drives in this city? ”

I wrote twice, actually, as I didn’t receive a reply to the first email.  I didn’t receive a reply to the second email either.  However, I did bump into Greg Smith on Federal Election Day.  He denied having heard from me and in fact stated that he had received no correspondence at all on this subject.  He also said that he thought I was probably by myself in objecting to this money being spent in this way.  When I asked him if he believed that any other religious organisations would be able to similarly benefit from the State’s largess, he quite categorically stated “No”.

There surely is somebody else out there who doesn’t agree with this use of public money.  If so, PLEASE write to Greg Smith (State MP for Epping), John Watkins (Chair of the committee doling out this money) or your own State MP.  It won’t make a blind bit of difference but I would like them to know that they haven’t got 100% support and that we like to make individual choices about which charities and religious organisations we want to receive our donations. 


“I’m Not A Feminist . . . But”

14 January 2008

Am I the only person who gets really enraged by this statement, which I hear or read so often?  It’s usually followed by “Why should I do all the housework/women should have equal opportunities at work/childcare is not just the prerogative of the mother/there should be more women in Parliament etc etc”.

When did “feminist” become a dirty word, or did it never become a respectable one and I didn’t notice?  Why are intelligent, well-educated women so loath to admit that they’re feminists?  Are they confusing it with being feminine? 

Some Suffragettes died fighting for women’s rights and they at least got us the vote and the right to own property.  By the 1960’s we hadn’t moved much further down the track but a huge vocal movement gave us all legal and employment rights that even the Suffragettes wouldn’t have dreamt of.  The situation hasn’t just changed beyond recognition in my lifetime, but in my ADULT lifetime (and I’m not THAT old).  I was refused the first two jobs I applied for because they “wouldn’t consider employing a woman” and these weren’t even jobs that I would imagine anyone would now consider to be in any way “manly” (computers and market research) – I wasn’t trying to become a miner or deep-sea diver. 

So please, next time you’re thinking of uttering those words – “I’m not a feminist, but…..”  DON’T, unless of course you really do believe that women should hold an inferior status to men.   

For the rest of you, I’ve got news for you, sisters:  YOU ARE.  


A Toast to the Groom and Groom

4 January 2008

Tomorrow (Saturday) a friend of mine, Ian, is getting married.  To another man.  In a legal ceremony.  In Australia!   The land where the marriage regulations were changed two years ago so that they now specifically state that the two parties in a marriage must be of opposite sexes. 

But Ian and Sam are both British and apparently can marry at the British High Commission under British law.  And as Australia is obliged to recognise marriages that take place in Britain, I believe they will be considered married for all legal purposes in Australia. 

Will the sky fall in?  Will we all go to Hell in a handbasket?  Will it affect the heterosexual life of me, my husband, neighbours or (straight) friends?  Of course not. 

Maybe with a new Government in Australia we have a chance to change these ridiculous regulations.  Or maybe not.  Our previous PM said that marriage between two people of the same sex would not be valid because children couldn’t be produced.  On that basis my own marriage would be invalid, but nobody insisted I had a fertility test before I could tie the knot. 

I don’t expect the law to change any time soon in Oz, but here’s hoping commonsense will prevail.  In the meantime, very best wishes to Ian and Sam for a long and happy marriage. 


2007 And All That

1 January 2008

Traditionally this is a day for reflection, so I’ve been pondering my highlights of 2007.

February:  David’s birthday and a wonderful weekend in Gerrungong.  Sailed out in beautiful weather to see the dolphins, and within 20 minutes we were in a thunderstorm.  Rather scary, but very beautiful.

April:  Started my blog after much persuasion from my knitting friends.  I’ve really enjoyed it, I’ve made new friends all over the world and my only regret is that I don’t have more time to devote to it.

Also April:  Easter in Broken Hill – a 13 hour drive each way in an open-topped car. 

July:  The first birthday party I’ve had since I’ve lived in Oz.  Not a special birthday (no 0 or 5 at the end of my age) but it was on a Sunday so a good excuse for a get together.  And my friends certainly made it special.  It was a glorious day. 

September:  Travelled to England for 4 weeks with my family and went to the best wedding I’ve been to for years.  My best friend from school when I was 13 and we lost touch for 38 years!  Shortly after I moved to Oz, she was widowed but she re-married and it was a truly lovely day.  So good to go to a wedding where we’re treated as honoured guests, not just as an audience for the bride and groom’s orgy of indulgence.  And I met up with other people I hadn’t seen since I was 13 as well (the groom, for instance!). 

November:  Election Day – incredibly exhausted after 19 hours on my feet, but so happy to be part of such a history-making event. 

December:  Last night at the Harbour, watching the fireworks.  They’ve become a Sydney icon and it’s good to be part of it.  I’m reminded of them every time I open my blog! 

I’ve realised that most of my highlights involve travelling.  I suppose day-to-day life in Sydney, or anywhere else for that matter, doesn’t provide much in the way of excitement, filled as it is with chores, work etc.  But all in all, it’s been a pretty good year.  Any knitting highlights?  Not really except that I’ve discovered a love for lace knitting and at the moment can’t get enough of it.  That’s the wonderful thing about this hobby – however long you’ve done it, there’s always something new to try and learn.  And any New Year Resolutions?  Definitely not.  

To all my friends, a Very Happy New Year!