Oh, can I wimp out and say I love autumn and spring best? Generally I love warm weather, but not stinking hot, and after last summer, the prospect of another one is filling me with fear and trepidation. Having said that, I don’t do extreme cold well either – I can’t bear the permanently cold hands and nose and the scurrying from room to room and back to the fireplace. Gee I miss central heating, although I do like snuggling up by the fire with a book or my knitting.
Tim tams are OK, but what do you think about the other ones with mint (called mint slices)?
Yep, they are mint slices and I adore them, although rarely buy them because I have absolutely no will power. However if pressed to choose which I’d take to my desert island, I couldn’t go past Tim Tams.
If you didn't live in Victoria, where would you live?
Are we talking realistically, or in my fantasy so things like needing to work don’t come into it?
Realistically, there are lots of places I would possibly live. Most likely of them all would be nearer my parents in Queensland. I could perhaps live in Brisbane in one of those suburbs that has those fabulous old Queenslander houses – all wood and shutters and up on stilts and with huge wide wrap around verandahs and decorative fretwork and ceiling fans and frangipani in the gardens. I believe Red Hill and Paddington are the two suburbs I’m thinking of. Years ago when my parents moved to Queensland they tried to talk us into following them (although they live on the Cold Ghost and we would have to live in Brisbane in order to
Fantasy? Venice for half of the year and a sustainable house in a remote lush green valley somewhere warm for the other half. But not hot. Or humid.
How long have you ever left the household detritus just pile up and spill over while you indulged in a book, some sewing or some knitting. Days? Weeks? Hours? or never?
Oh my, you haven’t seen my house have you? I have whole areas of my house that are permanently like that. The study, for example. And the storage room. And the filing pile that lives in a basket on the kitchen bench but which I recently dealt with (yay me!) after THREE YEARS of inaction. I felt six kilos lighter that day.
How have the recent bushfires affected the way you feel about living in the bush? Do you still love it? Do you feel safe? Do you feel stronger as a community, or more vulnerable?
An interesting question that I suspect a lot of relatively new-to-the-bush people like us are grappling with this year. I do still love it, and it has certainly brought the community together in many ways, such as the re-establishment of neglected Community Fireguard Groups and so on. Our street has got its Group up and running again and had several meetings and a street walk with the CFA, and although there is much anxiety and hard work, the street suddenly feels like a neighbourly and coherent community. We make our fire plans in conjunction with each other (ie. there's a phone tree, and notations of who plans to stay and who to go, and if there's no warning and we all have to stay, which house everyone gathers in with the children and animals and the adults protect that house, etc. Plans B, C and D).
I know that for the first time since we moved here, the community fire information meetings are packed, and every weekend the buzz of chainsaws echoes around the hills as people clear undergrowth and fallen branches. And Bunnings has run out of gutter plugs.
However I don't feel safe. Who could, after 7th February? Our plan is to evacuate (sorry, 'relocate' as per the new terminology) but what if that's not possible? It's scary.
And Steiner schools... do you think it has made a difference to your kids and the way they see themselves and the world? How much do you think kids are influenced by schooling as opposed to home life?
That first one's a hard one, because I don't know what my children would be like if they hadn't had a Steiner education. I can guess, but it would be just that.
I do believe they have a deep sense of belonging to a community in the true sense of the word. The children stay with each other and the same teacher for so many years and the bonds are incredibly strong. They learn true social responsibility; there is a very powerful group dynamic in each of my boys' classes. I hope when they're adults functioning in other communities such as their workplaces or families, they will appreciate the grounding that their schooling gave them and the tools with which it has [hopefully] equipped them.
They learn so many practical life skills too, that they can't help but gain confidence and a belief that they can turn their hand to anything. They grow vegetables, cook, camp, build, carve, knit, play musical instruments, sew, perform in a play every year, camp, write poems, you name it, they do it. Yesterday Son #1 came home and said Oh by the way Mum, we're making hoodies in craft at the moment. Hoodies, as in sweatshirts with hoods. They just do it, and I reckon that's a huge gift to give children in a society which encourages them to consume, not create. It's got to have an impact on the way they see themselves and their place in the world, right?
As for how much kids are influenced by schooling as opposed to home life, I would say it works out roughly equally. In the primary school years probably home life is the greater influence, but later is balanced out in the teenage years where their peers and school environment are everything. So, both but to different extents at different stages of the child's life. That said, we try to keep the messages and strategic directions (sorry, I've been at work writing reports all day today, can't think of more appropriate term but you get what I mean?) at home broadly coherent with those at school. Broadly.
Phew. You people are making me work.
Favourite Elvis Costello song? Comparison to your choice of (a) Paul Kelly and/or (b) Nick Cave?
Ah, a trivial interlude. Thank heavens.
My favourite would have to be Shipbuilding although I also adore Alison and Veronica and Watching the Detectives. I've had that wonderfully descriptive line She's filing her nails while they're dragging the lake in my head all week. I was never a Nick Cave girl I'm afraid, he just was too dark and brooding for me, but Paul Kelly, oh yes. Paul Kelly is a poet in every sense of the word and it's impossible to choose one favourite, there are so many.
The other day I opened a news website and a picture of Paul Kelly flashed up and my first shocked thought was OMG he's died (glass half full, not, etc). It was just an ad, not a news item but I was quite jolted and realised that if it had been true, I would have wept there and then. It gave me a whole new insight into celebrity and our emotional investment in it, as well as a fresh understanding of all those people who cried when Princess Diana died (I was shocked, but I didn't shed tears), or John Lennon (shocked but not the least bit personally affected).
Robert Downey Jr. versus Alan Rickman. Discuss.
Ok so you all laughed the other day when I said I got Paul Newman and Paul McCartney mixed up. Well, I also used to get Ben Mendelson and Russell Crowe mixed up until they reached their 30s and Crowe became hairier and more aggressive, and I also get Robert Downey Jr. and Rob Lowe mixed up. Stop it, I do. So there I was thinking Hmmm, Snape or Sam from West Wing? And then I got all twitchy and Googled which of course immediately set me straight and there is no discussion possible. Alan Rickman it is, all.the.way.baby.
Is there anything you'd never knit again or a yarn you'd never recommend to a friend?
Novelty yarn, and the Zokni sock. (And most certainly never together).
That is the Zokni sock and it is destined to be a single lonely sock, because I sure as heck am never knitting this again. I'm not even sure I'll ever finish it, and yet look how close it is!
I'm gagging for a cup of tea so ... let's do this again on the weekend. Said the bishop to the actress.
ps. Oh joy, my 15 year old self sufficient Steiner educated child just offered to make me the cup of tea. He is such a gift to the world with his practical skills.