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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Thinking of my mum

It was ten years this week since my mother died. I went up to Auburn, on the 18th, and had a really happy time with dad, and also spoke with all my siblings and with various other Auburn pals during the day. Mum was a really lovely person, and I feel very lucky to have had her love, support and her example too. Here are some pics, of mum at various stages (photos of photos, obviously), and of the day with dad on Wednesday.

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Celebrations (Part 2 – The Book Launch)

Yesterday was another great opportunity to celebrate, this time the release of Mag Merrilees’ new book Big Rough Stones. Mag has featured here before, at least once at another book launch, and this was similarly a fantastic, warm, celebratory community event. This book is related to the previous one, with some of the same characters, and featuring earlier incarnations of their lives as well as ‘the present’. The book focuses on the community support and interweavings of friendship, activism and solidarity among the lesbian characters – and indeed among those many people present at the launch whose often invisible lives this book celebrates. It was an honour and a pleasure to be with such a fantastic group of mainly women and to know and notice again the strength and power that arises from straightforward support and love for women, by women.

The title comes from a beautiful poem written by Miriel (Moo) Lenore, which I hope it is all right to quote here:

the walls of lesbos

to build a lesbian wall
take big rough stones

don’t cut to fit
they are themselves     undressed

balance each with care
use no cement     no force

large gaps remain
the strength is in the touching

and the spaces

Mag reminded us that Moo’s 90th birthday is imminent, and that she is working on another volume of poetry, so hopefully there will be another book launch to celebrate soon. Warmest congrats to you Mag for your terrific work, and thanks to all those present who contributed to the night and to lesbians one and all for their contributions to all of our lives… (Don’t forget to click on the pics to make them bigger)


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Celebrations (Part 1 – The Graduate)

It’s been a good week for celebrations. On Thursday my dear friend Arefa graduated from her social work course, and I went along as part of the team. It’s been a long time coming – 8 years – and heaps of work of course, but she made it in the end, got across the stage with ease (despite the nerves) and is now ‘officially’ a social worker. I am thrilled, and I know she is already an asset to the community in her work in the domestic violence sector. I’ve seen Arefa’s tenacity, determination, openness, curiosity, hard work, wisdom and sense of fun at close range throughout the years of study, and am very lucky to be her friend. Hooray Arefa!!!

Here are some shots from the event and afterwards (doing photos for this blog is a mystery to me – I have just seen the post on the website and the pics are in a totally different order to how I put them, so my advice is, click on the pics and they all enlarge!)…


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Autumn, light, water, clouds, reflection

Daylight saving ended last Sunday, so this week the sun has set earlier, and there is a sense of autumn really arriving – albeit that the weather is unseasonably hot and dry. I went for a walk today at sunset, and was struck by the way the sun’s last light shines on the trees and then the water, down at the beach. ‘Nature’, in its guise as sea, is very big and present, but there are also many windows and cars and other human made things that reflect the last light of the day too, the sky, the clouds and so on. It’s easy to totally ignore or be oblivious to these small reflections of the world around us but it is somehow a little special to think of the big elusive sky, the cosmos even, shining on car roofs, windscreens, windows. We’re close to infinities (to put it a bit more grandly than it mostly seems), if we only notice it.

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Palm Sunday

It’s a bit late, but I wanted to have a record of the rally I went to last Sunday in support of refugees. I went along primarily of course to support the cause, and to register my disapproval of the mean and shameful policies we have towards refugees and asylum seekers at present, but also to see some friends and hear the singing of the choir that has been formed to contribute to such events. Mary Heath, who has been featured previously in this blog, and Nicky Page (ditto) and Mag Merrilees (also ditto) were some of those who were singing, plus heaps of other lovely people. One of the most potent of the songs they sang included the lyric “we are gentle angry people” – fantastic notion of singing being a way to register anger in a gentle way. I also saw people who are actively supporting new arrivals, such as Jill G, from the Hills Circle of Friends, and some of the lovely folk from my book group. It is always a treat to go to rallies – in a way it’s like a party, which I haven’t had to organise! (Nicky has sent me a link to the very moving report she completed on the rally for Radio Adelaide – here it is)

Here are some pics (click on them to enlarge)…

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Mama’s crocuses

I am in Auburn this week, and have noticed these modest little flowers blooming all over the place. In particular there are lots of yellow crocuses across the road from our place. They were planted by my grandparents, who lived there throughout our childhood. Helen, who lives there now, has a lovely garden, including trees and some flowers that have been there since back in the day. Mama really loved crocuses – they flowered in March, in time for their wedding anniversary on 1st. It is a sweet reminder of her to see them flowering again, nearly 40 years after she died. Memories are a bit like flowers perhaps – they bloom, sometimes ‘seasonally’, as we remember special people at particular times, no matter how long it’s been since they were here, alive, with us.

As mentioned, I’ve noticed other crocuses flowering in different gardens around town, and have taken pics of them, both the purple and yellow varieties.

Here they are…


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Leaves (damage)

I pick up the occasional leaf when I see any that appeal while on my daily walks. They are always damaged and beautiful – which seems like a metaphor for all of us – we are inevitably knocked about by life, and hurt along the way, but we remain glorious (though sometimes you have to look for the right angle to see this!). I have recently listened to an audio book “Flesh Wounds” by Richard Glover, about his family and upbringing – even the title hints at this idea of damage – and the epigraph in a book I just finished reading (The Fighter, by Michael Farris Smith, a writers’ week selection) is “To be alive at all is to have scars” (John Steinbeck). As I get older, my own physical imperfections become more obvious – the arthritic hobble is a prime example – but these leaves remind me that damage can add to beauty, and the deteriorations of age have a tender loveliness. Here are some pictures of a few of my leaves… I wonder what happened to them, the lives they lived on their trees (but who can tell a history of leaves after all…).

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