Thursday, February 26, 2009

May Gibbs - Visiting 'Nutcote' and Finding Banksia Men

'Nutcote' (1925) in Neutral Bay, Sydney

I did a post on 20 February 2007 - 'May Gibbs (1877-1969) - Darker and Lighter Visions'. Looking principally at her books for children.

May Gibbs at her desk at 'Nutcote' - Creating the cartoons and text for children's books

Today I visited 'Nutcote' - the home she and her husband had built in 1925 in somewhat of a collaboration with famed architect B. J. Waterhouse.

View from 'Nutcote' towards Sydney Harbour

Another View from 'Nutcote' towards Sydney Harbour

I'd expected to see and enjoy more of her artistic and literary work - and there were plenty of lovely things there in this direction.

But what really blew me away were the interiors of the house. All rooms on a small and perfect human scale, flowing one into another through double doors, with only a small space-wasting entrance hall. Solid dark wood everywhere - doors, built-in book shelves, mantle pieces - but freshened up with cream walls, and by light flooding in through ubiquitous big windows. Every room having extraordinary views of the harbour, views almost in scale with the rooms!

May Gibb's work area, with her original desk and drafting stand

The Dining Room, with Servery into the Kitchen

Wish I'd taken more sneak photos - especially of the two cosy and perfect little bedrooms. I just wanted to crawl into bed and snooze for a bit. Or forever. Cos I attempted to do a deal with one of the volunteer guides - I'd be allowed to take over the house (by force if necessary) on the understanding that it would then be divided in two - half for her half for me. She seemed to consider the idea for an unnaturally long time, given her age and seeming respectability.

After her final and crushing retreat from our takeover bid, I slinked off to the garden in search of the totally scary banksia men from May Gibbs' books ...

.. and there they were ...

... with my own ...

... just too tempting not to pillage in an act of tourist vandalism!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Efficacy of 'Homo Soap'!

I bet many of you have traveled and had the experience of seeing things put in English - as one of those languages, along with French and a few others, that are often used for prestige purposes - no judgment on cultural imperialism here, just stating how it is! So - text that made you wonder.

I recently saw soda pop in South East Asia branded 'Sweat' - and loved the association of bodily fluids with something you drink! As some will also find with ...

Sometimes, however, the meaning is not so transparent.

All this being said, what do you think is the idea behind 'Homo Soap'? What'll it do for you? Or is it just branded in this way to target a certain section of the market?

What do you reckon?

This is a really great opportunity to let your imagination rip!
Eight Mystery Desk Objects

I was busily working away on the puter this morning (actually, emailing Alan in Florida) when I realized that many of the things on my desk were somewhat mystery objects - unless given the official guided tour.

So I'm now wondering how many of them you'd recognize - without the tour?

Using the number codes ...

... and just to confirm your intuitions and identifications, here're the annotations:

(1) a sterling silver match box, c1880 - you strike matches on the little ridges on the bottom

(2) three cast bronze antique weights, in the shapes of mythical animals - from Laos

(3) a tuppenny piece, the biggest coin I've ever seen - British, 1792

(4) silver figures of gods, sewn onto a woman's head-dress - from Dali, South West China

(5) a tiny old silver cup for drinking spirits - from Kunming, South West China

(6) antique silver buttons - from Vietnam

(7) an old wooden carving - from a window frame, Kathmandu, Nepal

(8) an early C20 silver and brass letter opener - a Japanese novelty item

How did you go?

Remember someone once said 'Honesty is the best policy' (I wonder who that was?)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Daffodils - Variation on a Theme

Daffodils are of course one of the first signs that spring is on its way. They used to pop up all over our front lawn at home - as if by some kind of magic. Breaking any rules about flowers being in garden beds.

They're also a sign that the season of increasing and sap-rising friskiness is imminent. We're just animals, after all. Well, I am - I don't know about you guys! Who may spend those same hours lost in the translation of obscure medieval Latin texts about ... whatever esoteric topic it is that you loose yourself in.

Daffodils are so amazingly and almost unbelievably fresh-looking - and with a scent the same. Nothing what-so-ever to remind you of the nasty musky odor of that leather cub's furry crack a couple of posts ago!

Now, browsing round Google Images, I was surprised to find so much variation on the theme!

Wish spring was on its way here now!

Bit sick of all the de-friskiness-making heat of the (on occasion) 45+ degree heat we've had this summer!

Lots of make sloth - and not much make 'love'!
What Does Your Fridge Say About You?

You know how sometimes you look at something familiar but with new eyes ... as though you're seeing it for the first time.

Well today, for me, it was the inside of our fridge.

Now, I must I admit I've just been shopping - and so perhaps the look is a tad more sumptuous and enticing than usual. A comparison-confirmation shot from yesterday would be needed to clinch my reputation as having one of the best fridge interiors on the block!

Okay, so what does the inside of our icebox say about us?

I'll tell you - mainly that we're very (and I do mean 'very') serious 'foodies'!

In Europe, the French are recorded as spending the greatest percentage of their weekly income on food - between a quarter and a third. Seems about right to me! And put the right value on eating, considering how often we have to do it!

If any proof is needed, beyond my word and a glance inside our fridge, the kitchen bench top spice dish (as opposed to the bursting spice cupboard) is the first part of my evidence ...

... followed but these photos of suman making in train ..

... and concluded with these other assorted feasts, in preparation or about to be devoured ...

.... and this nut-encrusted chocolate brownie dessert ...

Okay guys, your turn to fess up.

Are you foodies too ... or is McDonalds the main gourmet cook in your household?