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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Noticing Yellow

I have taken lots of photos of these yellow flowers this week – they are called Aeonium arboreum apparently (or Pinwheel desert rose, or tree houseleek, or tree aeonium, or thickleaf aeonium or…(see Google for more!)), and they are out all over the place – great colour in the middle of winter, and fantastic succulent leaves too. I am a fan (and I never really noticed them before). Click on the pics to enlarge.

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Girls can do anything!

Frances Phoenix

Frances Phoenix and Dot Day with the Festival Noarlunga Tapestry, as photographed for the Messenger Press in 1990

Frances, as indicated by the above photograph, has been a community member and artist down south for years.  She has been ill for some time also, and died just recently. In thinking about her, I want to acknowledge the power of community based art, and particularly of women’s creativity, which has shaken things up in all sorts of forums over the past few decades particularly. Feminism has been amazing for bringing women’s lives and many previously hidden issues into the light, and Frances was part of this history and this energy. What a good thing to live an active, creative, positive, contributing sort of life, and though she has died, and too young, she was supported, loved and cared for by a fantastic team of friends and loved ones through the long time of her final illness. This post is for them, with thanks to Frances for her life, and to those around her for their devotion, support and true friendship.

Frances Phoenix 2

Poster created by Frances in the ’70’s or ’80’s

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We are here. It is now.


Australian Space Project. Open Space – Lots of it

I went to a terrific exhibition last week. Photographs taken by Mark Thomson of roadside signs in isolated spots. He has thought a lot about time and space and the big distances in Australia, and come up with some funny philosophical notions. He made the signs and they look as if they have been in situ for ages – they seem worn out and very permanent. After making them, he took them out and placed them where he wanted them to be, then took pictures of them. For all their wit, they are also quite thought provoking, and the photos are beautiful. I love the do it yourself nature of the project, and Mark’s curiosity and ability to come up with the idea and do something about it.

Here are some pictures of the signs and the photos as they appear at the exhibition (click to enlarge.



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Singing and friendship

Great Performances - Joan Baez 75th Birthday Celebration

I have been catching up with friends recently, dear ones that I don’t see all the time, and have really been enjoying reconnecting. At a delicious lunch last weekend in the hills (thanks particularly to you Bet), Ed and Bet gave me a cd of Joan Baez’s 75th birthday celebration which I have been playing all week in the car. It is wonderful – the generosity of the playing, the songs, the gratitude expressed by everyone, and particularly the sense of friendship throughout the whole performance. Joan sings a number of songs by herself, and her lovely rich, mature voice is a treat, but the collaborations on many songs with a whole series of other performers is just marvellous. The harmonies and interweavings of the various voices are so moving (even more so than Joan alone), and have had me thinking about how friendships are a bit like that. A friendship is like a kind of duet, each a little different from any other pairing, our lives meandering around each other as we practice our particular tunes and get better, hopefully, over time at ‘singing’ together in whatever ways we do that. Creating our lives, living them day by day is so enriched by those around us – singing/living in connection with others is so rewarding and rich and produces, at its best, our own songs with us living our own lives. I’m getting a bit carried away here, but isn’t it true; how precious are friends, and how much do they help us be ourselves and sing our own songs (together)…

Of course, you tube has the link to most of the concert itself, so if you have a spare hour or so, you can listen to it. One of the many highlights is Joan singing with the Indigo Girls and Mary Chapin Carpenter (all pictured above). They come in at around the thirty minute mark  with the most glorious harmonies and singing a song about helping each other through life. Perfecto! (For another version try this one…)

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Glitter in winter

It rained today, for the first time in ages, and although the atmosphere, the heavens, were gloomy and grey, I was really struck by the shimmery light and reflections on or in water – puddles, footpaths, and drops of water on plants. It had that newly washed look, so despite the cold, there was a freshness and brightness that was good to be out in. The tiny sparkles of light on water are gorgeous, and easy to miss if you aren’t looking.

Here are a few snaps…

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Autumn in winter

The trees are still glorious, the skies blue (yesterday anyway), the mornings are crisp, the season hasn’t closed in. It has been very dry, and cool but not really wintry much yet. I went looking for colour yesterday, when thinking of this blog, and I wasn’t disappointed. Here is some of what I found…

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The library, the footy, it’s a small world

Football spectators 1923

Spectators at a football match in South Australia 1923

I was at the State Library today and saw an exhibition there about football in South Australia – 140 years of it. It was terrific – some fantastic old videos, photos, memorabilia, not just of the SANFL teams, but country sides too, where footy was a big part of local life and in some places still is. There were quite a few people there having a look, and I ran into Jason, a colleague from work. We exchanged thoughts about the 1972 SANFL Grand Final (highlights were on view) – North defeated Port. My dad is a big North fan, and Jason, my colleague is a Port supporter and said he had been gutted as a kid when they lost that match.

When I was a kid, Auburn had a football team in the Mid-North Football League – the other sides were Riverton, Saddleworth, Mintaro-Manoora, Robertstown and Aberdeen (Burra). The netballers (it was called basketball at the time) also played against the same towns, so women and men all headed in the same direction every Saturday afternoon through the winter months. We had a terrific footy team for a few years and were premiers in 1968. The women were successful more consistently than the men – I was a member of the C2 team which were runners up in 1971 (we lost to Saddleworth) (the highlight of my sporting life!). Mintaro-Manoora (Min-Man) had a long period of dominance in the footy – we always put it down to the fact that they got players from all over the place – our family name for Min-Man was Min-Man-Far-Wart-Black-Loo for Mintaro, Manoora, Farrell Flat, Watervale, Black Springs, Waterloo!

Anyway, it was always a great part of the week – heading off in the car to the local ground or away to neighbouring towns, cars parked around the oval, with tooting horns when our side kicked a goal, and pasties at half time from the respective kiosks. Netball games were also played throughout the afternoon – oranges at half time, assisting with scoring in matches for the other grades, barracking wildly when finals came around or in close games.

So it was good to see the displays today – old minute books from country clubs, mascots, team photos, the women’s league, the big names, church leagues, Aboriginal sides (apparently Koonibba is the oldest indigenous football club in Australia), badges, player scrapbooks, football programs, Magarey medals, footy stickers, Mail Medal winners (awards to country footballers in the various regions sponsored by the Sunday Mail) etc etc.

Football team 1925

The Koonibba team of 1925 – the white guy in the back row is the pastor, and at the front is the umpire. Not sure about the chap on the right with the hat.

Apparently football matches stopped being played during world war one as so many men were away, but in 1918 or thereabouts there was a match between two women’s teams – almost 100 years before the start of the women’s AFL.

Football women's team 1918

The women’s football match, 1918

The display also included Ken Farmer’s scrapbooks. Farmer played for North Adelaide, so I have heard a lot about him from dad. He was an amazing goal kicker – quite incredible. Once he kicked 23 goals in one game – against West Torrens: apparently he kicked 23.6 out of the side’s total score of 26.11!!!

Football Ken_Farmer_SANFL

Ken Farmer

Libraries are wonderful keepers of records and play a key role in reminding us about the ways we have lived.  The items on display are quirky and so marvellously ordinary – they give a really strong sense of what life has been like for many people. What a gift to us all.

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