Archive for July, 2009


A Visit To My Local Brothel

29 July 2009

Oh, have I had a lovely day!  It’s my birthday so I played hooky from work and went out to play. 

First stop, the Zoo.  I’m not a great lover of the concept of zoos but I think the one in Sydney has got it about right.  It’s run mainly as a brothel for the animal kingdom.  Bring endangered species into the country, introduce them to others of the opposite sex and then sit back and wait for the babies.  As soon as they hear they’re being shipped to Sydney, these animals must be rubbing their hands (or paws or whatever) in anticipation of the pleasures that are awaiting them.  And the noise at night must be deafening.

On 5th July, an Asian elephant calf was born – the first in Australia.  And I really wanted to see him as I love elephants.  Unfortunately he didn’t appear to feel the same way about me and I couldn’t get him to look me in the face.  But isn’t he gorgeous?  His name is Luk Chai and his mother is Thong Dee 

Elephant 2Elephant 1

And this is his father, who has so far thoroughly enjoyed his time in Sydney as he’s fathered another calf (by a different elephant) expected in November 2010. 

Daddy Elephant

And this is what his mother and aunts thought of me:

Elephant 3

‘We did find time to have a look at some of my other favourites –

Gorilla with baby. a beautiful giraffe, a red panda, meerkats and a stunning peacock.

Gorilla 1Camel 1Red Panda 1Meerkats 1Peacock 1

And of course we finished with “my” animal.  I was born under the star sign of Leo and in the Chinese Year Of the Tiger, so if I believed in any of that rubbish, it may explain why I love cats, big or small.  

 Lion 1

And then a proper afternoon tea, but I’ll tell you about that next time.


My Knitting Factory

28 July 2009

I’m quite pleased with my knitting output this month – items actually finished AND sewn up. 

First off the needles earlier in the month, was another one of these bias-ridged hats I’m so fond of.  This time in Cleckheatons Vintage Hues. 

Hue Hat

Then a stocking stitch Baby Surprise Jacket, with hat, for a baby expected in the next couple of weeks.

 Baby Cabrol BSJ1

And an Ishbel shawl – knitted with glorious yarn (the picture doesn’t do it justice).  Fleece Artist 100% Merino which knitted like a dream.


I also finished another item, which I forgot to photograph, and which has gone off to England as a birthday present.  It hasn’t arrived yet so can’t really talk about that one.

I’m not trying to open a knitting factory here but I also have a cardigan and a jumper on the needles which should both be finished in the next couple of weeks.  I do spend nearly two hours a day on public transport so at least I’m using that time productively.  

And I MUST sew up two jumpers I’ve knitted for the Winterwarm Project.  Don’t forget, everyone, to join me at Rosehill on 23rd August for a bit of knitting and chatting to support this great project.  If you’re knitting for this, and won’t be able to come along on the 23rd, just drop me a line and we’ll arrange another time for you to get them to me. 



I Won A Prize!

26 July 2009

I have been VERY slack in saying a big public THANK YOU to Lyn for the beautiful prizes I won in the anniversary draw she held over on her blog. Today has been the first free time I’ve had to get the camera out and catch up on my “knitting photography” (at which I’m truly dreadful).

She gave me a gorgeous quilted project bag, made with her own fair hands.  I don’t own anything like that (sewing really isn’t my thing) and put everything I’m working on in plastic bags.  I really feel I can’t just shove any old piece of knitting in there but I’ve just started a lace shawl in 2ply Claudia Hand-painted silk which I think is of a quality appropriate to such a beautiful bag.

AND she also gave me a skein of The Knittery’s Merino Cashmere yarn which I’ll save for something else a bit special (particularly as the Knittery has now closed down I believe so I’m never likely to get any more).

 Gift from Lyn

Isn’t that just gorgeous?  Thank you so much, Lyn.


Explanations Needed Please

20 July 2009

The Sydney Morning Herald this morning had on its front page a photograph of my local newsagency.  The owner, his wife and I think sister, and two of their children were beaten to death in their home over the weekend.  It’s so wicked I can hardly comprehend it – and when I walked past the shop tonight where flowers and cards have piled up outside, I had a tear in my eye.  I’m not a truly hard bitch but it’s unusual for me to shed a tear over people I don’t really know.  At the moment, the police don’t seem to have much of a clue (that they’re sharing with us, anyway) as to the motive.  It wasn’t robbery. 

It’s cast a shadow over my whole day as my mind keeps going back to this poor family and the 15 year old girl who’s left behind (she arrived home from an overseas school trip to this news). 

The only thing that’s briefly brought a smile to my face today is a letter also in the SMH.  People have been sending in stupid or incomprehensible signs that they come across and this one is bizarre.  It was seen in Cabarita Beach, which is on the far north coast of NSW.

“Historic Site.  At this precise point, on the morning of 12 December 1927, nothing of significance is known to have occurred”.  And it’s signed by the Australian Landscape Heritage Trust. 

I look forward to the explanation (which I’ll pass on) that I’m sure will be forthcoming over the next few days.

But, far more importantly, I look forward to the police being able to explain to this young girl as soon as possible why her entire family has been murdered and by whom.




18 July 2009

One of my knitting friends in Sydney, Ness, has just produced the pilot episode of her video blog.  And it’s very professional.  Very smoothly presented with no umming and aahing at all.  

And I’m thrilled that I feature in her very first episode – looking about 85 years old and though I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards (but it HAD been a hard day!).

Please go and support her by checking it out. 

Great work, Ness.  Keep it up!


State-Sponsored Subversion?

16 July 2009

Before anyone else asks me – NO, I’m not currently knitting squares to be wrapped around lamp-posts or trees, or used in any other way to adorn the landscape.

And Kris explains the reasons beautifully here.   


Evil Or Sick?

14 July 2009

I talked here recently about the people who are filling up our prisons – very few evil, a great number inadequate.

NSW Justice Health has just released a survey of NSW inmates, carried out last year, and it confirms so much of what I said – alcohol and drug problems, unemployment, dreadful family life, little education.  About half of those currently incarcerated in NSW prisons were expelled from school.

But the most interesting fact for me was that more than half have suffered a serious head injury.

I have a good friend in England who works with male prisoners and my sister, who worked with young people who’d suffered head injuries, suggested to him that, as a matter of interest,  he should ask his inmates if they’d ever had a head injury.  He was stunned by how many had.

And we know a young man (16 or 17) who came off his bicycle and was taken to hospital where he received rather perfunctory medical attention because he was so aggressive and abusive to the staff. They assumed he was drunk. He was then arrested for his behaviour and died in police custody.  There was no evidence of alcohol or drugs in his bloodstream BUT he had suffered a frontal lobe injury. 

I have no idea whether anything can be done to stem the behaviour that apparently can follow such an injury (help me out here please, Judith).  But if there is something,  it looks to me like we should be doing it as a matter of urgency.

It would be dreadful to ignore such a statistic. 



There Is Lots Of Mistakes!!*

11 July 2009

I’m NOT a pedant!  No, really;  I’m not. 

I do appreciate that the English language changes.  And that accepted vocabulary and grammar are not the same in all English-speaking countries.  And that I’m not perfect in my use of English either.

BUT . . . .   I DO know that a plural noun DOES NOT take the singular form of a verb.

AND . . . .  I DO expect those who are “keepers” of our language to at least show some basic understanding of the ground rules.

In the latest edition of The Week (An Australian weekly news magazine), we have a full-page ad. for Penguin Books. 

“Popular Penguins  –  Now There’s Fifty More!”


*  Deliberate error – honestly! 


Stitches & Craft Show and Winterwarm

7 July 2009

Last year I knitted for the Winterwarm Project, which is based in Melbourne and provides warm clothing (through the Save The Children Fund) to babies and children in Afghanistan.  The temperature in winter gets below -15C so they need all the help they can get.  A number of friends joined in and we collected 80 items to add to those collected in Melbourne.

This year I’m doing the same, but with an added twist.  Living Creatively, the people who now run the Stitches and Craft Show at Rosehill, have kindly donated a stall for us on Sunday 23rd August – the last day of the show.  We can have a knitting “get-together”, collect items that people have knitted, encourage passers-by to pick up a pair of needles for a few minutes to help towards a scarf or blanket, and if there are enough of us willing, we can do some teaching. 

So do try to come along.  Admission to the Show is $10 which includes some excellent seminars.  Go and look on the website for all the events taking place that day.  Please bring along anything you’ve made to contribute (socks, gloves, jumpers, cardigans, scarves, blankets, hats – all knitted in wool, please) and bring your knitting,  If you haven’t made anything for Winterwarm, don’t worry  –  but I WILL ask you to add a few rows to unfinished items!

The Show runs from 19th – 23rd August but we’ll just be there on that last day. 

I do hope lots of you will join us.  I know we don’t normally need much of an excuse to sit around and knit but I believe that this is a VERY good excuse.

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Fabulous Knitabulous

5 July 2009

May I use my blog to shamelessly plug the wonderful hand-dyed yarn produced by a good friend?

Yes?  Good. Then just go and look at Knitabulous.

Ailsa uses the very best base yarns and hand-dyes them with extraordinary colours.  The quality is superb. .