Saturday, April 18, 2009



Over Easter we did a whirlwind 2,200 km trip around south-western New South Wales visiting my darling husband's parents and one of his brothers. Stephen farms on a sheep and cattle station now owned by the University of Sydney but once the property of private land owners. It is the longest continually farmed property in Australia and within its boundaries are convict cells, graves and gold mines as well as miscellaneous buildings and sheds. One of the not-so-historically note-worthy is a small cottage previously used by a farm hand; it's few rooms and outdoor toilet are about to be swallowed by brambles having been vandelised by rodents and the odd human.

Once upon a time my husband and his first wife stored some unwanted possessions there in cardboard boxes and we went back to see if there was anything worth having (that we could also fit into the car this trip). We sort of feel we ought to go and clear it out: although it's Stephen's cottage the ravaged contents aren't his responsibility! We'd intended to take our trailer with us but of course it was ship-wrecked in our shed and we couldn't get to it through the floods so we couldn't do it this time.

Doing a Jan!

I do hope Jan won't mind me saying that I've taken her as inspiration, or at least that's my excuse for $28 of old hard backed books bought this morning from the Coffs Harbour Rotary Club's annual book fair! Jan 'recycles' old books into new hybrids, combining interesting pages from different books with etchings, drawings and quality blank paper. The re-built 'new' volume can then be used as a diary, journal, sketchbook, notebook or any combination of the above. The joy is in the mixture of words, images and paper from something else joined together with your own words/notes/images and I have to say that the idea is wonderful. Probably what I should be doing is spending my money in Jan's lovely Etsy shop but I'm clearly too mean... Actually the intention is to practice my bookbinding skills (or lack thereof) on some cheap books that I won't mind ruining, but I'm doing it in the guise of providing myself with similar eclectic mixtures of paper, words and images that I will naturally fill with exciting notes and sketches very shortly.

The Rotary Club book fair nearly didn't happen. March in Coffs Harbour is a wet month: rainfall statistics reveal average monthly rainfall of 250mm and 30 days of rain. You may be aware that on March 31st Coffs Harbour and the local region received an entire month's rain in a few days, which in combination with the equinoctial high tides caused widespread flooding. The Rotary Club's book store was several feet under water and the local newspaper reported that thousands of books had to be disposed of, so I feel lucky that the fair was on at all!

I picked up some great books:

A 1956 AA Foreign Touring Guide
An undated book of 'Great Stories of the Wild West' with a fabulous cloth cover printed with a recurring pattern of stetsons, pistols and rearing horses
'The World We Live In' by 'the editorial staff of Life' published in 1956 with lovely fold-out illustrations
A 1963 edition of 'Cours de Langue et de Civilisation Francaises'
A 1913 edition of 'A Village Story' by Mrs G E Morton which holds little interest for me except in the beautiful art nouveau style cover
C Hartley Grattan's 1941 book 'Introducing Australia' ("Here America's foremost authority on Australia explains why the continent, tells you why 'the Australians will one day be a great people'")

and others... what a bargain!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


I"ve just had a call from friends further up the Pacific Highway: the road we used to live in is completely under water and cut off from the Highway... so I'm REALLY GLAD we don't live there any more (and there's a small element of me that is mentally pointing out to our former landlord that if he hadn't been such a pain and made us move it would have been us flooded out there and not him - although at the same time I do feel sorry for him because it must be awful). Meanwhile most of the schools and the centre of town are closed today so our daughter is at home. And those High School kids I mentioned? They all had to stay at the school overnight, including the daughter of our friends up the road.


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