Buttons and bread

Buttons

Buttons are small daily objects that quietly connect things. They join things up, they hold us together. This blog features buttons as a way of reminding us of the little things that lie behind the actions we take to build strong communities.

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The other part of this blog’s title represents the nourishment we get from participating in community life and that we can offer to others also. It is not the nourishment of the exotic, but the everyday sustenance of regular connections, ongoing work and play – bread rather than caviar.

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Salut tout le monde

I have reconnected with France this week. I had a letter from folk in the little village, Cour L’Eveque, where I stayed in 2001; I caught up with my old French teacher Cecile, who lives here part time and in UK part time – she came originally from Lille; my pal Bet is in France now at a language school in Foix (which looks to be incredibly beautiful); and of course the Notre Dame fire has been prominent as well. So this week’s post celebrates the connections we have with other places, cultures, languages, peoples (and particularly France and French). It is also a reminder that adventure and travel make a huge difference to life – being able to connect with people far away from home is a privilege – and being able to connect with others when they are far from home likewise. My own photos of France were taken in the pre-digital age (or my pre-digital age!), so I am using pics from the internet, plus a couple from Bet, taken while she has been away.

Cour L’Eveque is a tiny village in the Champagne region, and scene of an air crash in WW2 which killed my mother’s first love (a very clear reminder that war is no way to see the world). The whole crew are buried there – and there are shots of the place on line (thanks to whoever took the photos below). I will do another post about it sometime – it’s quite a story.

Paris, taken in the past couple of weeks by Bet

Helicopter and castle from Bet’s window in Foix. The Castle is being repaired apparently

A view of Foix from the internet, showing the castle. Thanks to whoever took the shot. What a gorgeous place!

The path leading to the forest where the plane crashed near Cour L’Eveque

In the forest, monument in the distance

Monument and propeller from the plane, in the forest near Cour L’Eveque

Another view of the monument and propeller, with forest behind. It is a beautiful place

Another view

Close up showing names

In the forest, Cour L’Eveque

The path leading to the forest

Four of the young men killed when the plane crashed. Mum’s friend, Malcolm Payne, is in the middle at the front.

A view of Lille from the internet – thinking of Cecile!

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Stripes of quartz

I walk by the sea regularly, and have been thinking about the veins of quartz (which are actually thin sheets of the mineral) in many of the boulders that act as a breakwater at ‘my’ beach. I have been trying to find out how these sheets of quartz form – there are a couple of main ways it can happen apparently – most commonly the filling of cracks in rocks under conditions of high pressure and heat, underground, as part of tectonic or mountain building or other big-time geological processes. I haven’t really got to the bottom of it – the web pages I have read are full of strange terms – but these stripes of white rock running prettily through so many of the boulders at the end of the road are a reminder of the great lengths or time and the mysterious and powerful forces that are at work around us all the time, which for the most part we take no notice of. Rocks are quiet. They just sit there, not being explicit about their stories, unless you know how to read them I guess. So, in honour of aeons of time and the mysteries of the earth, here are a few photos (click on the photos to enlarge)…

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Flight testing

Minton Farm birds

This morning I went to Cherry Gardens to the fantastic Minton Farm Animal Rescue centre. It is run by amazing people with a decades long commitment to helping native animals and birds recover from injury and accidents (actually they have other animals at the centre too – I saw sheep, shetland ponies, a pig). I have been looking at articles about them on the internet – and found a connection to Auburn – Minton Farm cared for 6 barn owls from a farm there a couple of years ago. The birds’ nest fell when the tree branch it was on broke and they were tiny. The farmers found them and contacted Minton Farm. They had 6 weeks of intensive care with Bev, and were successfully released back in Auburn afterwards. What a result. (There is a photo of them borrowed from the internet above…)

Today was the official opening of Minton’s round bird enclosure – it is designed to assist in rehabilitating birds by allowing them to fly safely and for longer periods of time while they recover. The new enclosure doesn’t ‘end’, so their muscles can strengthen by flying round and round. Of course this can’t happen with long enclosures, where the birds must ‘turn’ at the end. There were lots of people there – many of whom are associated with either Minton Farm itself or other animal related groups. Many of these groups use the facilities and assistance of Minton Farm anyway, and they will be able to use the bird enclosure free of charge too, I understand.

It was great to talk to people who spend so much time supporting wildlife in a range of ways. Karen, from Wombats SA (which started life in 1960 as the Natural History Society of SA), spoke about their 5 conservation reserves in SA, and their work in conserving the environments that wombats and other animals live in. I also spoke with Anne, from Flinders Private Hospital – she brings all manner of out of date or unusable medical-related supplies to the Centre – items that can’t be re-sterilised, betadine that won’t be used at the hospital (if the bottle is open, apparently it has to be used within a short time period), out of date supplies also. A great way to use items that might otherwise be thrown away – and again, the commitment to and thought about wild animals and birds is great to see.

The Suzanne Elliott Charitable Trust has contributed to the bird enclosure (I wrote about it a bit in this post) and we went to celebrate with everyone. It was really inspiring…

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Feathers

If you look, feathers are everywhere. Little leftover bits of birds strewn around, dropped by the wayside, hints of flight underfoot. I have a few here in the house, pied ones mostly, but others too, some from birds whose names I don’t even know. In the car I have a parrot feather hooked into the sun visor. In Auburn I see tiny soft pink from galahs, and chook feathers. I went to see Pam this week –  she has heaps of feathers collected in jars throughout her house. They look beautiful; a reminder of those lovely creatures who are true (and mostly wild) companions of our lives.

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The poetry of protest

In small and large ways resistance to oppression, needless pain, foolish policy and injustice occurs all the time. Over lunch yesterday my Muslim friends talked about the many acts of support and solidarity that have occurred during the week (their faces alight, their voices positive and animated). The student strike for climate action, with thousands attending, was a couple of weeks ago now, and down south, the local Extinction Rebellion group (here is a link to their facebook page) decorated the southern expressway with climate action messages this week. It was great to receive the link to a video of the event. Thanks Mag and Nicky, and to all the group for the cheerful reminder that there is another way, and that it is good to play a part in moving things in a more life-affirming direction.

This week (on 21 March) it was also World Poetry Day (and the full moon and the equinox). Poets too have played their part in acting for change, using those marvellous tools the pen, the imagination and words.

Here are a couple of poems (including a song) of protest in honour of those who work for change.

Big Yellow Taxi
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half to see ’em
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And they put up a parking lot
Hey farmer farmer
Put away that D.D.T. now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
Please
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot
Songwriter: Joni Mitchell
Next up are the first couple of verses of Walt Whitman’s poem ‘To a Foil’d European Revolutionaire’, which I like in part because it specifically includes reference to women, and to the long term work that is involved in making change:

Courage yet, my brother or my sister!
Keep on – Liberty is to be subserv’d whatever occurs;
That is nothing that is quell’d by one or two failures, or any number of failures,
Or by the indifference or ingratitude of the people, or by
any unfaithfulness,

Or the show of the tushes of power, soldiers, cannon, penal statutes.

What we believe in waits latent forever through all the continents,
Invites no one, promises nothing, sits in calmness and light, is
positive and composed, knows no discouragement,
Waiting patiently, waiting its time.

And finally here is a beautiful, very pain filled poem of witness and sorrow:

Simic

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River of time

As mentioned in the weekend’s post, it was dad’s birthday this past weekend. He turned 96!! It was a lovely few days – he is in pretty good form at the moment, and we enjoyed celebrating with various family members at different times both before and during the weekend. On Saturday, his actual birthday, we went out to lunch (fish and chips at the pub), went for a drive – including a drive by of Mrs Wright’s Nursing Home that was, in Saddleworth, where he was born, and caught up with special people. We also had the traditional ‘blow-away’ sponge birthday cake (recipe in the post highlighted above) – delicious – and Richard and I sang him the birthday song. We also spoke of my friend Romi, who was celebrating her grandson’s first birthday on the same day, over in UK. Dad commented that he has a pretty good day for a birthday!

I took a few photos – not many as it turns out, but also took some snaps of photos of him taken earlier on in his life. We have very few pics of dad as a child – one that came to light just a few years ago was a tiny snap of him, his mother and his sister, out in the yard with their chooks, when dad was just a toddler. It is hard to really see, and the slightly enlarged photo we have is a bit fuzzy – but marvellous to have a sense of dad as a tiny boy, and then on his wedding day, and now. Here is a link to a pic of dad and me when I was tiny – and below is one taken on Saturday. The river of time flows on, and who we were then is just hinted at in pictures and in our memories…

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The no pictures post

I am in Auburn this weekend celebrating dad’s birthday (an annual event on this blog as well as in life of course) – and brought everything with me to do this post except the cord to connect the camera to the computer. So I am doing an interim post of an old faithful amusing you tube clip about the vicissitudes of cat/dog relationships. I am more of a cat person, and know well the power cats have because of their claws – this video makes this very clear… I’m am happy though that there is a sense of some rapprochement towards the end for some of the duos, and sometimes the dogs work out a way to move the cats on too…

 

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