Saturday, February 17, 2007

The fabric of our nostalgia

This morning's A2 in The Age carried an advertisement for The Nature of Things: Relics and Time. Unfortunately, Miss Eagle won't be going. She is hoping and praying to go to WA in May for the launch of ARIDS (as posted below) so will have to minimise expenditure. But Miss E thinks The Nature of Things must be a real experience.

She was particularly enchanted by the photograph (above) on the website of a tablecloth and serviette which have been taken as a theme for this theatrical presentation. Enchanted - because back in the late 60s to mid 70s when Miss Eagle owned a house at 682 Ruthven Streen, Toowoomba (I believe a motel is there now) she decorated with some soft furnishings.

What did she use? This very colour and this very fabric - a hopsack. A circular table was covered with a huge circular cloth. She remembers being down on hands and knees with a pencil tied to a length of string marking the fabric - folded in quarters - with an arc and cutting along the pencilled line to cut a large circle which was hemmed with same colour bias binding. Then there were the serviettes whose edges she frayed. The cloth was worn and went the way of all things long ago. The serviettes lingered on. There may still be the odd one lurking somewhere.

Now to see someone else's tablecloth and serviette in a house long ago in Italy becoming the focus and starting point for a theatrical production in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, which in turn connects nostalgically with a long ago house in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia is remarkable.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Life in my hands : Rings around my heart

PhotoFriday: Self-Portrait 2007
This is one of a pair of hands of a 62 year old woman. Miss Eagle is no glamour puss. The atavar on the sidebar is a wish - somewhere between Suzy Parker and Mame.

Over the years, the hands have been busy. See the profile. These hands have changed the nappies of three children, stamped thousands of library books, handed out thousands of leaflets and how-to-vote cards. They have helped to keep food and fluids up to a dying husband and they held the sobs when he left to continue his journey seventeen years ago.


But it is not the hands that Miss Eagle wishes to talk about: it is the rings. The ring on the ring finger is a sapphire and diamond cluster. This ring is a combination of Miss E's engagement and wedding rings. While her husband was dying, the engagement ring band wore through from years of rubbing up against the wedding ring. They were not a matched pair and the engagement ring was always a little larger. A long time passed before Miss E did anything about the worn through ring. Then she decided. As a symbol of life to that point, Miss Eagle would combine the two rings and mounted the setting on the wedding ring. So there is now a unified ring.

The ring on the middle finger is of great sentimental value. A large part of Miss Eagle's life has been lived on the Barkly Tableland - Queensland side and Northern Territory side. Miss Eagle purchased this at a Tennant Creek Show. It is of plaited silver strands and is the work of Carmel Wagstaff. Carmel and her husband used to manage the legendary Brunette Downs Station in the Northern Territory. So it is with great fondness that Miss Eagle thinks of the creative talent of Carmel and the wonderful people and places of The Barkly.


So - the hands hold experience; the rings carry emotion.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Cloud on cloud


Miss Eagle does not take many photos of a thing called The Sky or things called Clouds. But this afternoon, coming home from work, a huge cloud (don't know what they call this in Melbourne - but in the tropics it would be called a Thunderhead) with a small cloud in front of it. It was striking - so Miss Eagle pulled up the car and out came the camera. What a co-incidence! This week the Photo Friday theme has been Sky. Click on the picture to enlarge.

Australian Research Institute for Desert Spirituality - ARIDS

From Ian Robinson:

May 17-20 VOICE IN THE DESERT .
A national retreat on desert spirituality is to be held actually on the edge of the Australian desert 70km east of Southern Cross, Western Australia.

The official launch of the Australian Research Institute for Desert Spirituality (ARIDS) will be held in the Koora Retreat Centre, hosted by Rev Anna Killigrew and Rev Peter Harrison. Costs are still being finalised, but they will be modest! They include good food, campfire, desert plains, salmon gums, toilets, showers are beds.


We will keep silence. Trisha Watts is our keynote prayer leader. Out of our times of silence will come the sounds of a ‘still small voice’ that she will help us to share and to welcome. Many of you know Trish’s outstanding music and gracious workshop leadership, and you others are in for a treat.


There will also be time for words. Papers on some aspect of Desert Spirituality are hereby called for, and if necessary will be selected by the working group composed of Rev Dr Anna Killigrew, Rev Ian Robinson, and Rev Tracy Spencer. Only a smallish number of papers will be offered.


Access to Koora is via Perth or Kalgoorlie by air, train car or bus. Contact Ian Robinson, at idtr@westnet.com.au, and Ian will help you find share transport.

Picture: Rabbit Proof Fence 25nm to the East of Southern Cross

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Lady has left...

On Thursday 8 February 2007, the light and life of Trixie went out -
after a twenty-four hour illness.

Princess Trixie Wigglebottom of that long line of Wigglebottoms mentioned in Debrett's.
Trixie on her cushion with Rose the SpartaCat
Trixie in her Christmas jewels.
Trixie lying in her basket.
Trixie playing one of her games - Beyond the Fringe
Herself with FootFoot on the left and Trixie on the right.

Trixie was an indulgent woman. Think the Queen Mother without the G&T. She was a not-quite-fourteen-year-old Miniature Fox Terrier. She loved the good things of life: sitting on the couch beside Herself and drinking tea from her cup; checking out everyone's food. And Trixie and bones: never such demolition since the world began.

Miss Eagle and Trixie had their own special game, Trixie Tipping, in which Herself would frequently join as well. This meant tipping the rotund Trixie over on her back, head resting on a cushion, and tickling her tummy, under her arms, under her chin. She loved it and would beg for more. Our last game was the night before she became ill.

Trixie, with FootFoot, have been part of Herself's life for nearly fourteen years and part of Miss Eagle's for the last two and a half years. FootFoot has lost a lot of his bounce since Trixie has left this world and Herself and Miss Eagle are finding out the changes in life that no Trixie brings.

To remember Trixie and remind everyone who and what a canine friend can be, the piece below seems fitting.

Tribute To The Dog
George Graham Vest (1830-1904) served as U.S. Senator from Missouri from 1879 to 1903 and became one of the leading orators and debaters of his time. This delightful speech is from an earlier period in his life when he practiced law in a small Missouri town. It was given in court while representing a man who sued another for the killing of his dog. During the trial, Vest ignored the testimony, but when his turn came to present a summation to the jury, he made the following speech and won the case.

Gentlemen of the Jury:

The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us, may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens. If fortune drives the master forth, an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even in death.

George Graham Vest - c. 1855




Monday, February 12, 2007

Photo Friday

The Photo Friday challenge this week is Sky
Yes I know this picture does have quite a bit of land in it -
but it is a sunrise.
This was taken last August (late winter in Australia) when I was at a retreat at The Nine Mile, a sheep station just outside Broken Hill, in western New South Wales.
This scene is of sunrise looking across the homestead dam (known as a tank in The Western Division) through the trees - notice large eucalypt on the left - to the sunrise.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Of acorns and consumerism

The finishing touches applied to the mega store which hopes to build mega consumerism.
From acorns mighty oak trees grow is the famous old saying.
Miss Eagle, on her way to work, walks past the latest addition to the Mega Mile in Whitehorse Road, Nunawading, Melbourne.
It is with mixed feelings that Miss Eagle sees one more mighty temple to the worship of consumerism erected.
Between the car park and the footpath, Miss Eagle found the acorns dropped from these oaks above.
One day - notwithstanding climate change and combustion engine fuels and chemicals - they might become mighty.

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