By nature, I’m quite a shy, reclusive person – if there’s a party going I can easily get sick with the ‘flu at the thought of having to put in an appearance. I don’t like to go out on consecutive days … the fact that my current interests/commitments require my absence from home on three days in a row each week is a constant source of frustration to me; but clearly my desire to go outweighs my desire to not go …..
So where is this leading, I hear you mutter … well, in a frenzy of self-inflicted sociability, I have just come to the end of an EXTRA three days in a row – and, I’m appalled to
hear see these words leave my fingers, but I enjoyed them.
Day 1, Saturday: I had booked into a seminar on Blogging for Family History at Richmond Villa, the headquarters of the Society of Australian Genealogists at The Rocks – a most appropriate place for Australian’s researching their roots. Whilst not covering everything I’d have liked, I learnt a lot of interesting tit bits about making better use of my computer, and family history resources for bloggers.
When the seminar was over, I decided to walk back to the train, at The Quay, through The Rocks – since Grandpa Flea retired nearly 8 years ago, I have had very little “me time” , alone with my thoughts, and especially, very little time to go window shopping and browsing without a body guard intent on making sure that I buy nothing unless it can be eaten – “Can you eat it? Don’t buy it!” – not that it stops me, but it becomes a little wearing over the years …. so I spent a wonderful couple of hours wandering the streets. I had intended to go to Buttons, Buttons, Buttons the antique button shop in Nurses’ Walk, but I was quickly distracted by the street market in The Rocks, and by the Craft NSW gallery. Before I knew it, it was getting dark, so I reluctantly left.
Day 2, Sunday: On Sunday morning, I met a friend at Customs House at The Quay. We had intended to have lunch there, but the outdoor cafe must only be erected for special occasions as it had, very annoyingly, disappeared. After lunch elsewhere, and much talking, we headed up to The Museum of Sydney for a talk, The Fabric of Society, by Dr Annette Gero who has just published a magnificent book, by the same name, on the history of quilts in Australia. Her talk was associated with the current exhibition at the Museum, Skint and concentrated solely on the history of waggas and contained a lot of information accompanied by some very interesting slides.
I should say here, that I very nearly headed today’s post Synchronicity, as I had brought a book, The Gentle Arts, with me to show my friend a photo in it of a wagga rug that my mother-in-law, Lucy, had made. In the lead up the Bicentenary in 1988, community groups received grants to identify and document objects of historical significance in their local areas. Lucy had been approached about her wagga rugs and some letters she had dating from early last century. She happily donated one of her waggas to the Pioneer Women’s Hut at Tumbarumba, and it later was included in a Bicentennial touring exhibition of women’s quilts. When Lucy was alive, she was very disappointed that her wagga was not identified with her name, in either the book (which I had come across by accident in the optometrist’s while waiting for an appointment), or the touring exhibition. Wagga rugs have been part and parcel of my husband’s family for generations, but until I met the family, I had never seen one. Our family claim to historical fame was a fox skin quilt that my father had made – he had shot the foxes, tanned the hides, then cut and sewn them into a double bed quilt which had the fox tails hanging down each side of the bed. Both waggas and the fox skin quilt were products of a need to stay warm with limited money. My friend had never heard of waggas and was most interested in the book and the talk.
After the talk was over we raced upstairs to have a quick look at Skint before the Museum closed. And this is the amazing, slightly scary, sychronicity of it all – there, under glass, was Lucy’s wagga. Beneath it, a little sign with the attribution: Mrs Lucy Gallagher, 1980. I very nearly cried. She would have been so proud to have seen it. So, there will be another, less hurried visit to the exhibition with Grandpa Flea and our eldest daughter who was very close to her grandmother. And I know that a few tears will be blinked away that day.
Day 3, Today: A full day outing to Sans Souci where, along with the members of Grandpa Flea’s Probus club, we boarded a rather rickety looking boat for a “luncheon cruise” along the Georges River.
I don’t often go on these outings – originally because I went to a Knitters’ Guild meeting on a Monday, but these days because I try to catch up with the things that I don’t have time for in the rest of my busy life (ROFL) – but today I went because was hoping the boat would go past the waterfront house I lived in for 6 months when I first arrived in Sydney. In those days a waterfront property like the one we rented was not an object of desire – quite the reverse – we lived there only because we could afford the rent. There was no road access and we had to cross a narrow footbridge across the Georges River in an inlet, then follow a goat track around the waterfront for quite some distance to the house. The house would have been a beautiful old home in its day, but it was then very run-down. It had a long shotgun corridor down the middle, and the doors were all locked on one side of the corridor. We had a very large room at the front of the house which served as the bedroom – my mother put the wardrobes across the room to divide it into two sleeping spaces, one for my parents and the other for my brother and me. To get to the other rooms, we had to go out on the verandah. The end of the verandah had been closed off to make a bathroom and a small kitchen. From the kitchen we walked though the verandah doors into a very dark living room. The people who owned the house lived on the other side of the locked doors. The pan toilet was outside behind the house – heaven only knows how the “dunny man” lugged the clean and dirty pans to all the houses off the track.
And did I see the house? Well … maybe … we certainly went by the inlet where the house had been, but we weren’t close enough for me to be sure which inlet it was. I guess I will just have to drive over there one day and walk around the track again.
All in all, a VERY satisfying three days. And now I’m off to bed – exhausted – don’t bother knocking on the door until tomorrow afternoon!