Breaking Eggs with a Stick

In my family, this means getting busy and achieving a lot. It’s a turn of phrase I learnt from my mum. And then it occurred to me.

IT MAKES NO SENSE.

Unless by ‘achieving a lot’ they mean achieving your goal by the quickest but not necessarily the neatest way possible. Unless ‘getting busy’ is another way of saying  ‘it looks like you’re doing a lot but actually you’re just making a mess’.

So, I Googled it.

Turns out, Mum got it all wrong. It’s Australian slang implying you’re working in an ostentatious or flamboyant manner, usually well beyond the requirements of the given situation.

This makes more sense.

Except, now I’m disappointed.

I liked to imply my busy-ness with this phrase. I guess people don’t usually say this to describe their own actions.

And I’m more disappointed.

I’ve been using this phrase my entire life and no one has corrected me on it. Perhaps they were unsure of the meaning themselves so kept quiet, or they believed I used the phrase correctly by either flamboyantly and excessively achieving goals, or actually breaking eggs with a stick.

I’m  not sure.

What I do find pleasing is spending so much time talking about this in a flamboyant excessive manner.

*makes a wild flourish with arms*

nanopoblano1

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Please hold…

Not that you’ll notice the difference but I’ll be travelling for SIX WHOLE WEEKS! I’m not as organised as last time, so I haven’t scheduled any posts while I’m away.

Be well everyone. I’ll looking forward to blogging on my return.

In the meantime, please hold…

 

Ancestry Obsession

Sometimes, I toy with the notion that I would have been a great detective. You know, had the opportunity knocked. Had Sherlock Holmes needed a Wally instead of a Watson. Had Poirot been the sort to hire a sidekick. Had both those characters been real outside of my mind.

I love a mystery. I love a story. I love the stories of objects.

This bring me to the Bible of Jesse Wallis. I’ve mentioned before that I have a collection of old Bibles and prayer books. Not because I’m especially religious but because they are so tactile and so treasured. I think of the hands they have touched as they were passed through the generations.

Of course, I bought it at a market and although it’s not in the best condition, it’s dated 1847. Pleasingly, when I got it home I found it was full treasures – two receipts from a saddlers dating 1895, a bookmark and a love token probably dating from around 1915.

 

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The inscription on the inside cover tells me it was gifted to Jesse by a clergyman. The back of the book lists the date of his marriage and the births of his children.

How can I not ask more questions? How do I contain my curiosity when I possess enough information to know more?

[Insert timelapse of my computer-based research frenzy]

Like many colonial Australians, Jesse was a convict. More unusually, he could read and write. His records say he was 5’3” and was born in Berkshire. At the age of fifteen he was found guilty of arson and received fifteen years transportation. His convict record was exemplary – his report card is blank – instead Jesse states he’s innocent of his crime. He received his ticket of leave within five years (like parole) and was pardoned in ten.

Curiosity feeds curiosity.

What of his family? What happened to them after he was transported? The detail of his records allowed me to trace his family back to England and the 1841 UK Census. A search on his father revealed he too was convicted with his son and received transportation for life! I traced his mother to the 1851 Census and she listed herself as a pauper and a widower. I could not trace his brother.

The receipts contained with the Bible pertain to Jesse’s daughter, so the Bible remained within the direct family for at least two generations.

This is what happens. Whenever I have an object that peeks into another life – I must explore it. What happened? How long did they live? Often I struggle to stop.

Once, such research allowed me to reunite a photo album with its family. I once found a book belonging to a friend’s great grandfather. I observe the movement of objects. I recognise the history objects contain and I protect them until there’s (hopefully) another person who values that too.

This is weird, right?

Follow the Green Rabbit

I’ve been blogging for three years and in that time, I’ve never found a gravatar image. I always intended to find an image for my WordPress self, I’ve contemplated using my Twitter avatar but that never seemed right.

I’ve thought about using this little guy:

Walle

He represents a lot of who I am and I almost share his name. But, you know. Copyright. As connected as I feel to WALL-E, the image was not my own.
Then, Ra and I had this conversation:

Conversation

Of course, she thought of it because it was such a Wallyish thing to think. But I had not seen the bunny and pink was not my colour.

Ra had seen him though. When she found him, she sent him to me – rendered in both pink and green. He was mine if I wanted him.

It was love at first sight.

My husband said he was my bunatar.

He left the room and came back a moment later. ‘You should call him Pat’

‘Get it? Pat Bunatar’

The green bunnyI love him, Ra. Thank you.

 

Cross Your Heart

We visited Ireland two years ago and it felt like home.

I could say it was my Irish ancestry, but my last ancestor set foot in Ireland four generations ago – it’s not like I have relatives beckoning me back. I could say it was my vague Catholic upbringing, but it seems I only attended church (and Sunday School) to please my grandmother and The Church because my mother had to prove she’d denounced Protestantism. Pretty much like my Protestant grandmother did in the previous generation.

Hypocrisy aside. I’m getting off track.

Australia is home too, but Ireland resonated with me in a way I cannot easily explain.

As readers here probably know, I’m not especially religious, in that, I no-longer attend church. And while religion plays a part here, this post is mostly about people. Random people who briefly shared a moment of their lives with us when we visited Ireland.

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The Rock of Cashel

In Kilkenny, I followed an older woman down the street carrying two grocery bags, one in each hand. As she walked, she shifted the groceries from her right hand to her left. She crossed herself and returned the bag to her right hand. We’d walked past a church.

I don’t know why I loved this so much. It was so real and honest and an action I’d never witnessed outside of church.

I have always loved churches. They’re like buildings of made of peace. History has shown us, of course, religion has caused much conflict. But churches for me are sanctuary, bundled by walls and pews. I’ve always found them to be peaceful, beautiful places.

I lingered around the entrance of a church in Wexford and wondered if I should enter – could I take photos? A woman bustled up beside me. She dabbed her hand into the font at the entrance, crossed herself and went in. I followed her. She lit a candle and rested it, flickering amongst the others. She said a prayer.

I crept around to the aisle of the church – my camera a heavy thought at my side. I marvelled at the windows and the architecture. With old habits I crossed myself and took a pew and noticed others already had – their heads lowered in thought, or prayer.

I mentally confirmed with myself it wasn’t Sunday.

Then I had another thought: People are actually using this church.

It made me feel so areligious. Australia is so full of empty churches.

I sat there. I took a moment.

I didn’t take any photos.

While in Wexford, we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast. It was unlike any other B&B we’d stayed in, simply because the owners had made little attempt to separate their business from their house. Essentially, we were boarding. We’d had an awkward introduction because minutes before we’d arrived, our host had received unexpected guests looking for a bed. We were ushered to our room, which wasn’t quite ready.

‘Weren’t you arriving on the 4 o’clock ferry?’

The next morning, our host was calmer, but frustrated because the other guests had decided to sleep in for breakfast. Which was a shame, because it was delicious.

We returned to the B&B after a day’s touristing, but struggled to get a park. Once inside, our host had prepared some salmon for us. She knew Seamus, who knew Peter, who knew a fisherman. She asked about my Irish roots and the places we’d been in the day, adding comments like, ‘you would have seen Eamon’  or ‘you must eat at Patrick’s’. Our host was a living street directory.

There was a knock at the door.

Our host’s neighbour’s neighbour greeted her. ‘Oh, I’ve just come from Siόbhan’s, I don’t know if there’s more I can do.’

They entered the kitchen and my husband and I were sitting there, munching on salmon. Introductions were made, but their conversation continued.

‘I’ve just taken around a casserole.’

‘I went around and did the dishes.’

‘You’re a good woman, Caitriόna.’

An elderly woman in the street had passed away. Everyone knew her. She had five children and several more grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The street was in mourning and a funeral procession was expected in the coming hours.

‘Will you go?’

‘Probably,’ our host nodded, ‘You?’

‘I don’t know, I don’t like an open coffin…’

Conversation circled like this for a while. Talk of life and death and family. We asked questions which were answered honestly.

The sense of community was overwhelming.


We saw many wondrous things during our travels through the UK and Ireland.
These unexpected and beautiful moments were among my favourites.

Do you have an unexpected, wondrous moment to share?

Memory

It’s Day 25 of Nano Poblano (Ra’s version of NaBloPoMo) and I’ve drawn a blank. Fortunately Ra kindly left a prompt page for such occasions. Although they are list-prompts, I aimed to find one that inspired a non-list post.

“Things I have memorised”

I did drama at school and frequently joined school productions. I always felt safer playing someone else.

My school at one time, participated in a local drama competition. It was a big thing, and boy, did we rehearse. We rehearsed so much that one day, when one of the cast members was off sick, our drama teacher asked if anyone else could say the lines. We all raised our hands. We all knew the entire script. We recited it in unison, our teacher’s mouth dropped open before she said, ‘alright then!’

I wonder sometimes, if I’d still remember. If someone read me a line, I would remember the next?

I still remember some poetry. I gave up drama for more ‘sensible’ career choices but decided to memorise a few poems. The most impressive, was this one:

From Ulysses
Alfred Lord Tennyson
…Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

This is an excerpt, but I learnt the whole poem off by heart. Poetry played a huge part in my life at the time I decided to commit this to memory. The film, Dead Poets’ Society aided this – the main character reciting these very lines.

*Sigh*

O Captain! My Captain.

Also from my poetry days, and possibly from my badly rhymed poetry days, I became very adept with rhyme. If I had to rhyme ‘board’ for a poem, I could run through the alphabet (including nonsensical words) until I found something that might work. Aord, board, cord, dord, eord, ford, gord, hoard, iord, jord, kord, lord…

I studied piano as a child. It could not be said I was good, but I was diligent. Being as slow at reading sheet music as I was with the written word, I survived by memorising it. I called it hand-memory. Through dogged repetition, I remembered where my hands had to be to play the relevant notes. Of course, any mistakes would break the memory, I’d lose my place in the music and I’d panic beyond recovery. I still remember many of them, but I don’t practise much these day and my hands forget.

I’d describe the study of language here in Australia as lazy. My school experience isn’t perhaps the best example, but without commitment, the best you’ll come away with is the ability to count to ten in French, Japanese and German with ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ and ‘my name is …’ thrown into the equation. I still remember most of this.

What have you memorised?


nanopoblano2015darkDay 25 of Nano Poblano! That is, Ra’s version of NaBloPoMo.

We’re posting everyday in the month of November!

When I say ‘we’ I mean these awesome folk.

Husband’s Repartee

I’m trying to sleep.

My husband is breathing evenly beside me and his nose starts whistling.

Thweeeeeee
Thwooooooo
Thweeeeeee
Thwooooooo

I try to ignore it, but it’s like a mosquito.

“I can hear your nose” I said.

In the darkness my husband replied:

“I can smell your ears.”

 

 


nanopoblano2015darkDay 21 of Nano Poblano! That is, Ra’s version of NaBloPoMo.

We’re posting everyday in the month of November!

When I say ‘we’ I mean these awesome folk.

And today, I’m trying to make Ra smile.