Sunday, July 29, 2012

Scott, machine men and the statuesque

I found a picture at one of the lesser opshops this week.  It's one of the ones that rarely has anything worth buying, but you have to check because just occasionally...and they did.  I noticed the lovely frame and I must confess that I bought it for the frame but I am getting to like the picture.

The title is 'The waves roll whitening to the shore' which seems to be a mis-quote from Scott, but on the back of the frame is a sticker from Foy and Gibsons Art Gallery and Picture Framing, Perth.

I thought this would make it a bit traceable and so I went a'huntin on the interweb to see what I could find. I now know far too much about Foy and Gibsons AND the history of telephone exchanges in Perth for my own good.

Turns out that the picture (its probably only a print, btw) - well, the framing of the picture, to be exact, dates from around 1914ish.  I intend to investigate further and obviously if you need to know the absolute detail I am happy to send you a long email upon receipt of a considerable fee by credit card.

Happily, I have several other very similar frames, in which I intend to place my own drawings, and now I at least know a bit more about them.  Also old telephone prefixes, Scottish poets, Scottish seascape painters and chocolate coated Teddybear Biscuits.  A girl has to eat.

The rest of the week was a bit of an anticlimax, treasure-wise.  I got a copy of The Midland Railway Workshops this morning, I love the pictures and stories of the old workshops and the people but it always makes me sad that all of the skills and craft of making and repairing those machines is basically being lost.  I went there after they closed and when the refurbishment and renewal started and I can very clearly remember the buildings all empty but a real sense of industry and history.  There was, in one of the buildings, the most fantastic collection of 'foreigners' on display - things made on the premises over the years which probably shouldn't have been.  I recall being amazed and delighted at it all.

I also picked up a partial collection of ceramic chess pieces which I have been happily playing with all afternoon.  I like the contrast with the plumbing type bits and I think they will look quite interesting en masse.  I found other old bits while looking for the rusty bits for these so once again, not a lot of actual housework was done and there are more bits set aside for new projects.

Sport has hijacked my televisual entertainment once again.  I've decided to immerse myself in Game of Thrones while knitting my jumper, being temporarily bereft of the Walking Dead episodes which complete series 2.  By next week I may be wearing some sort of fur cape and carrying a large sword. (I tend to get over-involved in these things.) I may knit a wolf.

If nothing else I can spend time contemplating why Sean Bean's name isn't pronounced Shorn Born or Seen Been.  Some weeks, it's the small things.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The insouciance of the German mouse

It's OK.  I've recovered from last week's umbrage at the failure of the local authority's impression of a recycling program.  Well, not completely recovered but maintaining the rage while busy elsewhere.

I have to say that yesterday was the most picture perfect day for winter in this vicinity - dawn to dusk, warm, blue-skied, and not a whiff of wind.  Not a whisper. The water was mirror-like, people went about their business cheerily - if not a bit suspiciously, with one eye on the horizon for possible thunderstorms. 

The morning went via a garage sale selling genuine antiques at reasonable - although not particularly cheap - prices and my saling friend grabbed a lovely oak dresser for $90 and a table for $170.  I picked up a lovely old tin but when I looked inside it was full of money.  We're a trusting bunch here and the people had wandered off and left the cash tin (marked at $15, btw) on the table.

I spent the rest of the morning setting up a little exhibition at the local Library, where artists take turns in occupying the display cases with their work.  I have two weeks in occupation as an exhibitionist and am always amazed that it takes so long to set up these displays, even if you think you've prepared in advance.  Of course, I have a bit of stuff kicking around at home so it wasn't as though I had to make heaps of special stuff just for this show.

It's quite hard to photograph display cases so although I took some pics I've included some shots of other work on display for those unable to stagger by.  Lots of people said they liked it as I was setting up so hopefully it will make some people smile. 

But going through and choosing and packing up has uncovered some more new ideas and now I have a heap of new work to do.  That, and deal with the mouse (rodentia insouciantia terminalis) who is so comfortable under the work table that it sits and watches me go past before departing via a mouse hole, in an casual and some would say provocative manner.  Rodent, this will not end well for you.

From my good friends at Wikepedia I observe that the German for mousetrap is Schlagmausefalle. 
It sounds somehow more poetic. Don't ever say this blog is not educational.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Zombies, Darwinian selection and more jobs for lawyers

We went to the tip shops today - the local, City of Albany, and the slightly differently philosophised Denmark one.

At Denmark, it was all a-bustle, people dropping off things , chatting, fossicking, looking around. Fair enough, looks a bit tatty but their landfill doesn't seem to be bulging, and there are weird and wacky items which make you smile. (like this)
There were re-upholsterable chairs and couches, tables, cupboards, footstools, you name it, it's there.

At the City of Albany it's all lovely and tidy, because everything but books, shoes, crockery and apparently random chipboard furniture goes to landfill.  It's like a scene from the Walking Dead, with the ever hopeful few shuffling zombie-like around any vehicle which drives through, only to turn away disappointed and watch the seagulls welcome another deposit.

We pondered this at length as we watched a perfectly restorable club lounge chair make it's way straight to landfill.  The nice gentleman who was working patiently explained that there are serious liabilities for Cleanaway, who contract to provide the 'service' for the City.  If you buy a chair or couch or bed or cushion (or presumably any item which involves a porous surface) it may be infested with insects and you could sue.

Taking this to it's logical conclusion, one could say that if I get a papercut from one of the books I bought today, and the papercut becomes infected and my finger falls off, then I have a case for compensation.  If I buy a plate and drop it getting it out of the car and cut myself picking up the pieces - woohoo, new holiday home for me.  Presumably, any timber is expected to be infested with white ants/woodworm and other passing bugs which may leap off and chew my head off, rusty nails on which I may impale myself, or homicidal splinters.  The shoes which are for sale - surely they are a podiatric disaster waiting to happen.  It's a long and lingering death from blisters or bunions.

I can understand the case regarding electrical things.  Not so long ago, I was listening to a man at the Denmark tip shop dealing with an unhappy customer who complained that he had bought 4 computers from the tip shop (for a couple of dollars each) but none of them worked.  As the representative of local government in the area explained, ''s a tip shop, mate, people don't bring 'em here if they work.'  The apparently eternally optimistic customer kept on looking.  He did not appear to be accompanied by his legal team.

Today, in Denmark, I bought a BGE electric bar heater, age unknown but probably pre 1950's.  It looks all stainless steel and minimalist chrome and space agey and I was assured it still worked, although the person who brought it in didn't want to use it any more.  Certainly, it would have zero by way of energy stars, and in terms of Australian standards, it could be considered lacking.  It would be fair to say that running on full heat it would be a random mass of red hot metal and throbbing completely exposed radiator bars.  Never mind not sticking your fingers in, your whole head would fit.  Items nearby would spontaneously combust.

It's true, the local authority could have wrestled it from me, wrenched it from my fevered grip and consigned it to become some archaeologist's future delight.  In fact, they had the good sense to know that I would not be buying it for use in it's designated field, but rather for display.  They divined, on short acquaintance, that it was unlikely that I test power points with my tongue and/or a sharp metal object and that I can be trusted with such an item. Frankly, if I did use it and it went horribly wrong, I'd put it down to Darwinian selection and call it a fair thing.

If you can put up a sign saying don't fall off the cliff into the water, how about one about purchasing at your own risk?

Our pondering concluded that the Albany tip shop probably doesn't show much profit, because there simply isn't the stock turnover to generate one, because there's hardly any stock.  People are paid to open the shop and collect the meagre 'allowed' consigned goods, and wave the rest through to holes in the ground (various). (And the Saturday guy is improving his golf swing, by the looks). Presumably, the shop is therefore costing the ratepayers double - they have to pay to dump their stuff in landfill AND pay for the relentlessly tidy shop to stay open so they can drive through.

It's not really a recycling service, because very little actually gets recycled beside cardboard and glass.  The rather specious argument regarding liability is apparently ignored by local authorities in major cities and towns all over Australia, which have thriving recycling and re-use via their well run and well patronised tip shops.

Presumably the education centre (who paid for that?) is used to brief solicitors and silks, or possibly archaeologists. Or it's used for plotting the location of the next big landfill project...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

On Wednesday morning, I clawed my way to morning consciousness to this view from my bedroom window.   The whole 'red in the morning' thing appears to be a guideline, rather than a rule, because the day went on to be sunny and of no threat whatsoever to any nearby shepherds.

On the weather report here there is often a warning to sheepfarmers - but they are never specific.  What sort of warning, one may ask?  Diversify or perish?  Don't buy a new tractor?  Don't wear that hat with those boots? That flannel shirt would be better with shoulder pads and some darts?

But I digress.  I survived my first (shortened) week back at work after the grand tour, largely through liberal application of chocolate and cups of tea.  It's not really to be recommended and cuts appallingly into one's social and art time.  Apparently the working week's vicious cycle starts all over again tomorrow (Monday).  Good grief.

 The early morning chill had caused me to consider buying a fur vest.  I should explain that trends are sometimes a trifle slow to reach this little backwater, and fur - fake or real -  hasn't really made the re-entry splashdown here that it has elsewhere.  Like others, I had the lapin jacket in the 70's but I sold it on before the trend began to fade.  

I was toying with bidding for a faux fur vest on Ebuy, having seen a young lady looking splendid and warm in one just the other day.  On reflection, I decided that perhaps, as in the 70's, it's a look best left for the young and that I run the risk of looking too much like mutton dressed as rabbit.  I shall persist with my collections of faux fur snoods and scarves as long as they are warm and I do not attract foxes.  I left behind a vintage mink at a garage sale this weekend - not a coat, but a stole with a face and ears.  I did get this rather snuggly hat, styled after the 60's, for a really cold day.

A very fetching faux fur hood, from the 60's, with fluffy dangling bobbles was snatched from my hands last week by the girlchild, who tells me that she has received many a compliment and envious glance.

During an unscheduled stop at Good Sammies on Saturday, I snapped up some perfectly-fitting Doc Martins in a fetching and non-muttonly Union Jack design.  They are my new equal favourite boots, with the red faux snakeskin-but-actually-really-soft-leather ones I've had for years.

They'll look fetching with the hat.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Spring bulbs, vintage fishing and antique cameras

The first of the spring bulbs have optimistically burst forth in the garden.  Just love the scent of jonquils.  Hopefully there will be lots in the next few weeks, having planted a humungous bag of bulbs bought at a garage sale for $1.

The weekend's garage sales, op shops, and tip shops were on the whole disappointing.  I guess the winter-cold-wet-dreariness of the time of year is impacting.  

I've been collecting vintage fishing gear for an upcoming exhibition and some very cool vintage lures arrived in the mail this week.  Getting back from the grand tour to a stack of parcels was just like Xmas, and almost made up for getting back from the grand tour.  I long ago gave up dragging stuff with me and post home - way cheaper than paying excess for baggage and way lighter for the bags.  The vintage cameras did manage to set off every airport xray security system between Tassie and Perth though.

I'm due back at the pit of despair this week, and I've got heaps of ideas for projects I want to finish before the (shortened) working week commences.  I've had a lovely day of paint and tools and mess, but now my little friend is having some serious snuggles.