Thursday, February 25, 2010

Silhouettes on the shade.......

Morning shadows.

And look who had to get in on the act!

Awful shots but he came and stood

right in front of me, the little poser!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Yes, I'm a fair dinkum Aussie girl with a French name!!

A Kangafrog, or Frogaroo
My first attempt at superimposing

A few days ago an English blogger made the comment that it seems as if I'm "a fair dinkum Aussie girl with a froggy name".

Well, let me tell you that she was 'spot on'!  I'm very proud to be Aussie and I'm also proud of my French heritage, including my 'Pommy' (English), Welsh, Scottish and Danish heritage!  My Great-Grandfather arrived in Australia from France in the late 19th century and was naturalised in 1914.  I like my name; it was to be Alana, after Mum's favourite actor Alan Ladd's daughter but Grandma had a say and I was named Alaine.

'Fair dinkum' is a colloquial saying used frequently in Australia meaning 'it's true!' or 'are you serious, mate?'  The origin is said to have come from the Australian gold rush period of the 1800s; Chinese gold miners described gold as 'din gum', meaning 'real gold'.  Thus, it means that it is the absolute truth, completely genuine or authentic!

On another slant, according to Melvyn Bragg's The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language, 'dinkum' comes from the English Midlands and meant work.  'Fair dinkum' referred to a fair day's work and subsequently fair play.

'Pommy', as Wikipedia says, is an alternative name for the British, the origin probably meaning 'prisoner of (his/her) Majesty' or relating to their complexions as 'like a pomegranate'.  The dicionary says that it is usually used disparagingly by Australian and New Zealanders but I disagree with that; most Aussies use it affectionately.  And I'm married to a 'Pom'!  Boom, boom!

'Froggy' is a disparaging term for a Frenchman, from 1872 onwards, later WW1, referring to the French being partial to Grenouille (frog).

Another explanation I found is "that the coat of French officers was closed using not ordinary buttons but little pieces of wood attached to a ribbon and called 'frogs'.  That made men recognizable among others and could have awarded them the name."

By the way, the French, in turn, call the English 'Rosbif'.

I was going to include a recipe here for Cuisses de Grenouille aux Herbes (herbed frogs legs) but balked at the picture of them on the plate!  They're my little friends; I picked one up from the carpet the other night and put it in the garden.  I think it must have got in via the dog door, or is that 'frog door'?!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Yay!!! Torah wins Gold for Australia!

Photo: Getty Images: Alex Livesey

Torah Bright is the fourth Australian ever to win Gold at the Winter Games. Source

Torah Bright - Gold in Women's Halfpipe Snowboarding
Reuters: Todd Korol

Congratulations Torah! We watched with watery eyes and bated breath; it was agony! Australia is so proud of you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Making morning last....

Pic: "Tea Time" - Helen McConnell 1879-1915

I just love mornings;
I wish it were morning all day!
The silence before the sound of engines,
the sun still on the other side tingeing the clouds,
soon pushing long shadows across dewy grass,
highlighting spider webs,
shining through lace threaded with tiny pearls.

The soft, snoring of a ball of fluff at my feet;
still savouring the peace of night;
soon to be running to his favourite
morning spots in the garden.

The gentle tick, tick, tick of the clocks
that one barely hears behind the clatter of day.
Soft sounds of complaint coming from the iron roof
as the sun hits;
seemingly it, too, has relaxed over night,
is waking, stretching and gaining strength to face the day.

Oh, I love the morning;
I want it to last!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ekphrasis - using art to inspire poetry...

Greek god of music, healing and prophecy

The following is an example of ekphrastic poetry.

Ekphrasis, a new word to me; yesterday to be exact!

Archaic Torso of Apollo
by Rainer Maria Rilke

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark centre where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur;

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star; for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.


Monday, February 8, 2010

The Auburn had a short life....

Auburn 1933 Salon Phaeton Convertible

Firelight, over at The Keeping Room, posed the question recently about which car King Arthur would likely own. The answer was an Excalibur! I have always loved classic cars; there's so much to love; the smell, the shine, the detail and the sound and feel of the leather when you sink into it.

My father worked for a company that was detailing a Rolls Royce for Queen Elizabeth's visit to Victoria in 1954. Mother and I were visiting him one day and his boss said, "Go on, jump in!". I remember Mum saying, "Ooh, do you think we should?" but in we piled and ever since I then I realised that there were things that just 'weren't the done thing'.

Auburn 1936 Boattail Speedster

Auburn 851 Speedster 1935

The first Auburn automobile was produced in 1900 but production ceased in 1936. The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Northeast Indiana opened it's doors in 1974 in the old Auburn manufacturing plant. As the website states, it is "filled with over 120 automobiles and related artifacts. It also contains a wealth of historic information pertaining to Auburn automobile Company, Duesenberg, Inc., Cord Corporation, Auburn Automobiles, Cord Automobiles, Duesenberg Automobiles, Auburn Automobile Company executives and on and on."

Auburn 852 1936 Cabriolet RH-drive

Auburn 851 1935

Auburn 851 Speedster 1935

Auburn V12 1932 Boattail Speedster

The museum also has an exhibition until April 2010 of reproductions of architect Frank Lloyd Wright's drawings (the originals now part of the FLW archives in Taliesin, Arizona). Also included are two cars he owned in the 50s, a 1929 Cord L29 Cabriolet and a 1952 Crosley Super Roadster.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lemon tree, very pretty.....

I learnt something new today (don't we keep learning!) and that is if you feed citrus while they're in flower, you'll get plenty of flowers but little fruit! What are your thoughts? I'll keep this in mind when throwing the citrus food around.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

While the mountain rains....

A Norwegian Fjord by Moonlight
Knud (Andraessen) Baade 1808-1879

You ask me when I'm coming, I do not know
It's Autumn and the night rain
has drenched the mountain pool.
When can we trim wicks again by the window?
When can we talk all night
while the mountain rains?

Night-rain letter north
Li Shang Yin c.813-858
translation: Francis Chin