Buttons and bread


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.


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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Harvest time (and Hamley Bridge)

Hamley bridge

I was up at Auburn today, and driving back particularly noticed that wheat is being harvested. Big machines reaping in twilight paddocks, the dust like mist across valleys. It is very beautiful at this time of year. The light can be harsh, it is so strong, but the brown dirt softens it. The gold is dusty, and evenings in particular, with their long shadows, and tonight a gorgeous orange sunset, are restoring. I am reminded of going up to Auburn on the (Broken Hill) train, before I got my driver’s licence. It was a great trip, through Gawler, Roseworthy, Hamley Bridge, Tarlee and to Riverton, and then the bus from there which stopped at Auburn railway station on the way to Jamestown. Chugging along on the train through wheat fields, and in particular going over the river into Hamley Bridge was just beautiful as the sun went down. Of course there is no train now, and I don’t know many/any people who remember that trip – but I have tracked down a photo (above) of the railway bridge at Hamley from the net that gives a little hint of what it was like.

And there is wheat ready to harvest at the top of the road in Auburn – I took some photos a couple of weeks ago…

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Month of Action (including another Butterfly Walk)

November (and it’s immediate surrounding weekends) is known as the Month of Action on Domestic Violence in the city of Onkaparinga. I have taken part in three activities this year, culminating yesterday in the Butterfly Walk, which has featured here before and before and before. I find it really uplifting to participate in these activities. It’s great to be part of community activities that help to make changes in attitudes in the wider world as well as in individuals’ lives. Another activity I attended was the launch of the latest Photovoice project. This provides women who have experienced dv with a chance to express their feelings and explore what has happened to them using photography. I had the chance to take someone with me who is currently in a domestic violence relationship. She found it very powerful. (I went to last year’s launch too.) I also went to a breakfast fundraiser (hadn’t done that before) at the beautiful Victory Hotel at Sellicks. This is the only time the hotel opens for breakfast all year – it’s fantastic that businesses and all parts of the community are part of this effort. Again there were inspiring speakers and the chance to take more photos.

Here is a selection from the (50000!!) snaps I took (firstly from the Butterfly Walk)…


Here are some from the breakfast…

And finally some shots of the Photovoice launch…







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Purple Rain

After work yesterday I went, briefly, to Unley. This post is not about the market I went to, nor about the rain that threw itself out of the sky in a blast of weather at about that time (it was spectacular), but about my amusement at the thought of that funkster Prince being inspired to write his famous song by – jacarandas.

Unley is full of jacaranda trees – there are lines of them down Unley Road, and along many side streets, and with the rain and wind last night, drifts of petals carpeted the ground beneath the trees. Walking to and around the market, purple blooms were falling from trees along with drips of water, little parachutes of colour falling steadily, like their own rain. It was beautiful. I tried and failed to get a shot of a petal in mid air; they didn’t seem to fall quickly, but I guess they were obeying gravity like everything else, and when it comes to photographs, it was a bit too fast.

But here is the evidence of their having fallen (with laden trees for comparison)…

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Mag’s blog

Following up from last week’s post, which was inspired by Mag Merrilees and her terrific book Tales Queer and Familiar, here is a link to her blog, where ‘Tales…’ make their first appearances. You may like to subscribe. The latest post features the stone story that I spoke about here in last week’s post. I hope it’s ok that I have put the picture from Mag’s post here (drawn by Chia Moan)…




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Sowing seeds

turks turban seedlingpumpkin pic

A Turk’s turban pumpkin – seedling on left (in the garden in Auburn) and the fully grown thing (photo from the internet).

I wrote this post in the early days of this blog (November 2013 to be exact), but didn’t post it at that time for some reason – and all this time later, it seems like the moment has come. I haven’t seen Josh for a while, but feel sure that he will still be doing interesting things – there have been changes for some of the other people mentioned in this blog too. I still hang out with Arefa though, and still go up to Auburn of course…

I went to the CoCreate festival a couple of weeks ago. It was held at Bowden, just near the parklands, in this old factory area which is apparently going to be demolished sometime soon. It was a great space for a community event. I went with my friend Arefa, and it was immediately apparent when we arrived that we upped the median age of the gathering just by arriving. There were a whole heap of mainly young men at the door, doing parkour – jumping out of the first floor window onto some mats and old chair inserts, and then running and jumping almost back into the window. Really impressive. Inside there was a lot of action too. Workshops happening in different corners, a children’s area (with no children at that time), art  works, food, and things to join in with.

We went to Josh’s stall – he is a student at Flinders Uni who has initiated a community/urban agriculture/garden program. His was one of the most active stalls – he was running a quiz about Australia’s food system. It was fascinating – questions about what kind of food we buy, who is biggest, Coles or Woolies, what we buy, how many of us eat the recommended amount of fruit and veg per day (6% if you want to know), and more. It was intriguing. Afterwards, he gave out heritage pumpkin seeds – Turks Turbans I believe.

I found out about CoCreate through Josh. He has been coming to Food Matters and told us about it at the last meeting. It was fantastic to see a whole heap of people from the group at the event on Saturday arvo – Josh, of course, but also Peter, Christina, David and Patricia as well as me. It was an indication that some seeds have been sown through the connections that people have made at Food Matters, and it was lovely to see them come to a kind of fruition on Saturday.

Neither Arefa nor I are good gardeners, but we took a seed each after taking part in the quiz, and Arefa accidentally left hers in my car. I took them up to Auburn on the weekend and we put them in dad’s garden. I have every faith that they’ve got a much better chance there, with the compost and chook poo mixture we planted them in, than they would have with my non-green fingers at home here. I’ll let you know how they go.

(Well, sadly not very well – the plant grew as I recall, but no pumpkins fruited. Dad has planted some Jap and butternut pumpkins though, the past couple of years, and we did have some pumpkins off them for truly authentic home made pumpkin soup.)

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Putting down the stone

Today was the first day of the Feast Festival here in Adelaide, and I went to a book-reading in the city by Mag Merrilees, whose warm and funny book Fables Queer and Familiar has featured here before. It was a really enjoyable afternoon, with some readings from the book and others from what will hopefully be the second instalment. Mag highlighted reflections on marriage – pertinent as we come up this week to the result of the postal survey on marriage equality. There was the hilarious section in Fables where poor James, the grandson, gets totally discombobulated at the thought of the grannies potentially having an ‘illegal’ wedding and worries himself sick at the thought of them being in trouble with the police. And where his dad has to try to explain why he and James’s mother haven’t got married and don’t intend to, but that Julia and Anne should be able to if they want to. Later, though, in the reading from newer work, one of the characters speaks of ‘carrying a stone’ (I think that was the phrase), an internal stone, of pain about lack of acceptance, and the hope, the yearning for this (acceptance I mean) that is part of the push for marriage equality. This made so much sense to me – marriage not being something that I particularly care about as such – but the importance of acceptance for all of us, especially those of us (probably most of us if we could really know) who feel outside of the main stream of society in some way or another. In particular this week, those in the LGBTQI communities. Hooray for Lesbians I say! Hooray for all LGBTQI-ers!

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Bee happy

Today was the final day of the bee project that started a few weeks ago. The idea was to make pots to grow plants that will attract bees as part of CHO’s Year of the Bee activities.  It was great fun and we all enjoyed ourselves a lot. I was amazed at how relaxing it all was, and was reminded of how much I used to love doing crafty things when I was young – I don’t get to it nearly as much as I would like to these days. I forgot to take pics the first week, but have done so since, so you will get an idea of the different people and their pots. One of the other very interesting things about the sessions was that we started up with the same lumps of unformed clay to start with, and all of our pots turned out so differently. A classic example emerging in front of our eyes of our own unique styles. All beautiful of course. Many thanks to Connie for leading the way with her great skills, and to all who came along and made it such a happy experience.

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