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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Creativity and imagination

I had a great time earlier in the week at the opening of an art exhibition put together for World Mental Health Day by Sarah and friends at the South West Community Centre (which has featured here before also) in the city. Mark, whose art work has also appeared previously in this blog, was one of the featured artists, along with Michael and Hali. I really love the way Mark just keeps going with his art – he draws and draws, every day, and he has been exploring more colour of late, including using glittery pens. His work is really imaginative and creative, and has a strong beauty that I really like. It’s also funny and quirky. Mark has never had many opportunities to take his work further, but he has just kept going, and kept enjoying making the work. The launch really was terrific. It was great to meet the artists, all of whom have had different challenges, but still had the guts to put their work out in public. Mark did a great speech and I felt really proud to know someone so creative and imaginative. It’s a big thing to allow others to see your work – it puts you in quite a vulnerable position, but Mark and the other artists showed a lot of panache, and Mark for one really really enjoyed the day. The exhibition is on till next month, so if you are around town and can get to Sturt Street and the South West Community Centre, go in and have a look!

I took a few photos of the event – not as good as I would have liked, but it gives a flavour of things.

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‘Birds’ (part 2)

Once you start looking out for something (in this case strelitzias), you see them everywhere. These bird of paradise plants are flowering all over the place at the moment, and I couldn’t resist a few more snaps of them to follow up from last week’s post. I think they have migrated from the north somewhere, and have landed in gardens everywhere for the season.

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Una mujer feroz

Today I went to a celebration party for Megan, my dear friend who has had treatment over the past 18 months or so for cancer, and has come through now to a place of remarkable health and vitality. It is amazing and wonderful to be at this point, as pancreatic cancer, which she had, has a very poor prognosis. The party was held at the Community Centre at Aberfoyle Park, with a great band – The Cherrypickers – fantastic food, lovely company and a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the power of love and friendship, solidarity through hard times, and the precious amazing mystery of being alive.

Chris and Megan both made great speeches – Chris taking some time to reflect on Megan’s many wonderful qualities – in particular that she is Una Mujer Feroz (they walked part of the Camino de Santiago trail in Spain a few years ago, hence the Spanish) – a fierce woman – “that is to say, she is bold, exceptional, full of zeal, furiously active, devoted and determined. She takes her friendships and relationships enormously seriously; she feels deeply and she loves fiercely.” What a wonderful way to live! She is also kind, warm, insightful and funny.

Megan for her part spoke about us, her family and friends, and the difference it makes to have people around to hold us when the going is hard. I know this too from my own life, but I also know that when things are tough, it’s not always easy to reach out, or to ask people for help. It often feels simpler to close ranks and draw inwards, so the grace and generosity of Megan and Chris’s rallying of us, and openness to us, really meant a lot.

It was a wonderful afternoon, with wonderful people whom I am very grateful to have in my life. Here are some pictures…

 

 

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Bird-watching (sort of)

Spring has definitely arrived, and I am a bit obsessed with all the gorgeous colours and flowers that are in gardens, on verges, everywhere you look at the moment. In previous years with this blog, I have featured wisteria, jacarandas and flowers generally. This year I have been on the hunt for strelitzias, or Bird of Paradise plants. They are so striking, with flowers like alert birds, on guard in gardens all over the place. Once you start looking out for them they’re everywhere… Here are a selection taken on my morning walks, or out of my car window sometimes, or sometimes I park the car and walk to the garden to get a better shot. And I have found them on walks with friends, and when I am out on home visits at work. We even have one in the garden here at my place. And there are a couple in pots at the office too (not pictured below as I forgot to take a photo during the week).  And in neighbours gardens. (Don’t forget to click on the picture if you want to see a larger version)

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Making pots, attracting bees

This year CHO has a theme of ‘bees’ and recently we got a community grant from Council to make planter pots for home and community gardens within which we can grow plants that attract the little honey-producing darlings. I went along, and had a great time. There were about 10 of us there, and it was such fun playing around with clay and learning how to build a pot. Connie, who led the session, has appeared in these pages before. I got off the track and forgot to take any photos, so I am putting up some pics from the internet to give a bit of a flavour of what we got up to.

Now, just for a laugh, here are some beautiful finished pots from the internet also – ours will no doubt not be massively like these! (I’ve mostly chosen photos of raku pots. We have been using raku clay today.)

 

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Outside the fence

Spring is here and there are flowers blooming everywhere. I went for a walk the other morning and was struck by how many people have planted on the verges or by the footpaths outside their front gates (or side gates). Mostly they are unprepossessing, hardy plants, but at this time of the year even the most ‘ordinary’ are coming into their own. It seems such a generous, cheerful, neighbourly gesture, and I am really enjoying the results.

Here is a selection of what I came across…

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Waste not…

 

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Pete from Peat’s Soils based at Willunga

I just saw a fantastic segment on Landline, the show that features items about agriculture in all its forms, and which is on tv every Sunday – it featured a local guy who runs a composting and soil firm, and showed how he is involved in every aspect of recycling biological waste to run his business. Not only turning all sorts of plant and animal waste into compost, but also turning waste and dirty grease from restaurants etc, into bio-fuel, and even growing plants to turn into ethanol so that it can be part of that process of running the trucks with bio-fuel to carry the waste or soil. As the program says, Pete, from Peat’s Soils, is a real ideas man. Amazing!

Here’s the clip from the show

(But be careful as it contains images of dead animals)

 

 

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