The Stone Crown

The Stone CrownThe Stone Crown is a book written for secondary students. Malcolm Walker was a lecturer in English at Adelaide University and created the book as a PhD thesis. Yes, there is an aspect of young adult fiction about it but it is still a well written tale with characters well drawn. It develops a plot around the interaction between King Arthur and a modern day family on the Scottish border. This family has a connection with the Arthurian legends. The book has atmosphere, builds tension and creates an involvement because the detail is well thought out. I enjoyed it and an adult version would have been preferable for me but this one is pretty good as a diverting, well constructed read. Malcolm Walker is a fantasy author from South Australia and it’s reassuring to know we just keep producing good quality writers here.

Royal Adelaide Show 2016

I had been  going to the Show for 20 years and then decided to have a break. After 13 years I got back there this year and was so pleased to be a part of the Royal Adelaide Show again and to have the chance, as it turned out, to be there with my now grown up daughter. It was an interesting day for both of us. We had always been there as a family and with Grandma. It was always a big event in her young life and she loved to have the chance to sit with the brochure and work out the best showbags for her money and then to work out what she wanted to see and which rides she wanted to go on. The rest of us then worked out what we wanted and the Wool Fashion Parade was always the top of my list. Sadly, it is no longer there. I used to love the featured sheep. I used to love seeing Australian fashion and I love wool. We caught the train and got off at the Show stop. That makes it so easy. Before we were taking the car and with the recent rains the parking might have been interesting! The train stop is perfect. We also had our e-tickets on our phones so that was all easy too. The first thing we saw were all the rides and it was so noisy. Show noisy! We then found coffee and cake so we could look at the map and get ourselves oriented in a leisurely way. We went first thing Tuesday morning and so it wasn’t busy – not until lunch time when everyone just kept coming in. My daughter wasn’t looking forward to the showbag hall because she had remembered how squashed and intimidating that was as a child. We always sent two big men ahead of her to clear the way and lifted her up when she was really small. She couldn’t believe how we could just walk around this year. Me either. It was bliss. I scored two great bags with so many products which I have now used and tried and some great magazines to read and two very useful shopping bags. She didn’t do so well. The sorts of bags she was interested in were not good value for money. They do need to look at pricing and what is in the bags. Showbags are a big part of the feeling of the show but I can imagine a number of people would have passed them by. We loved looking at all the other things, especially pixelbrushart. I also had a great experience at the Kenyan tea stand. The people were so helpful and serious about their tea. We did a lot and then I just had to have a baked potato for lunch. For me it is not the show without it. I do think we need to get the Adelaide foodie thing going at the show though and have more choices and a range of prices. Maybe we should have looked at the food court. We decided not to because we always used to go there. The show was a great experience. It was done well. We need to ensure people are enthusiastic and keen about it. It’s a unique experience and one which we can build and move to this era. The music was great. That was so good to have the live music right out in the middle there. There are so many opportunities for local artists of the performing and visual arts to be showcased at the show. I ‘d love to see more textile arts and features on wool, spinning and the sorts of things they do in the Textile and Art Gallery , Better Worlds and the Jam Factory. We have our plans for next year now and are already quite excited about it!

Handspun wool

Beanie

I have just used the handspun wool from Aldgate Crafts which I found in my stash. Pretty sure I didn’t buy it from Aldgate Crafts. I would have maybe bought it at a craft fair or at Hahndorf. I don’t think Aldgate Crafts is what it used to be. It was like the Textile Arts and Crafts Gallery in the Adelaide Arcade. . I might be wrong. Isobel Corbally is one of our successful water colour artists. The handspun wool still had the lanolin in it and so was really soft and lovely to work with. We do have some good hand spinners in Adelaide and those who spin on a wheel and who dye wool. They don’t really get enough attention paid to them. They are promoting our wool industry, keeping skills alive, contributing to our textile arts and crafts. The Handspinners and Weavers Guild does a lot to keep alive something we are good at and which is a part of South Australia . We need to notice.

Paparazzi Dogs

paparazzi dog The four Paparazzi dogs by Gillie and Marc aren’t exactly featured in Adelaide Central Plaza. I don’t know if there are four there or not. I just see this one and always love it.  You bump into it is and it is an incredible surprise. It is under the escalator as you walk in off the Mall and you don’t see it unless you are walking around that way. There are supposed to be 4 of them and they do not get enough attention or accolades. They are beautiful bronze sculptures which have a real impact. They are designed to show how people become victims of the paparazzi but that is not really an issue here in Adelaide. Here they are creating that surprise artistic encounter and if you look into the dog’s eyes you feel like he is representing how we don’t always make the most of those picture perfect , artistic moments in Adelaide. Unless you go into Central Plaza you would miss these gems.  Everyone knows the pig statues in the Mall and they create a lot of interest and fun. They are well appreciated. These dogs have dignity and a real sense of art and style and in some respects it’s a shame they are hidden. On the other hand their style really adds to where they are. People respect them and are a bit in awe of them. There is not much about them and why they were placed in Central Plaza or how we came to get them. I love seeing this statue. It’s in a league of its own.

Robert Hannaford Exhibition

adelaide art galleryI am not overly fond of portrait painting. I wanted to see this exhibition , though, because Robert Hannaford is South Australian, he won last year’s Archibald prize and I believe in supporting our own. I also believe in supporting our art gallery because it has come a long way and it is now a lovely place to be. It is virtually windowless and so that in itself is a challenge but the gallery now makes good use of those spaces and allows people to get lost in different worlds and around each corner is a surprise.
The Robert Hannaford exhibition was downstairs. It was well devised, well thought out and well Robert Hannaforddocumented. To have a quiet space organised where people could draw and develop their ideas was a good decision. By the time you had finished you really understood why Robert Hannaford was such a skilled and powerful portrait painter. You had watched him grow. You had witnessed his development. He does capture the spirit of people. The portraits almost talk. GreenhouseI particularly liked his portraits of Paul Keating and Tim Flannery and then there were two people I did not know, Kate and Tom and his portraits of those two were just beautiful. He had captured what was special about them at that time of their life.
That is what he can seem to do. Show how individual and special people are and how much they are to be appreciated for being themselves on that day you meet them.

Christies Beach

ChrChristies Beachisties Beach is changing in a good way. Some people will miss the empty, natural beach front with just the green railing fence but the improvements are welcome and have been well thought out. The big  wooden walkway onto the beach means you can get down there more easily and people keep jogging down it or take their dog and it is easy. The trail along the cliff face is well used and popular and seems to have been improved. When the wind dies down and the rain holds off I intend to go and explore that to see what they have done. It is better with more people and more life at the beach front. It makes it safer. It has become a beach where people enjoy the outdoors and exercise. It is not a good swimming beach unless you stay in the shallows. There are rip tides which are very difficult to deal with.  Deja vu is a newish cafe right on the Esplanade at Christies and overlooks the ocean. Very friendly and very civilised. A lovely spot. The park on the corner has been upgraded with play equipment for children and seated areas so people can have a picnic. The apartments have food and shops and I guess that will expand and the views from those apartments will be spectacular. Without Port Stanvac Oil Refinery it has returned to being a a really great place to be on a nice day where you can just relax and enjoy the laid back, ocean life style .

Nuclear Waste in South Australia

Senator Scott Ludlum of the Greens party in Western Australia has narrated this video and I thank him for informing South Australia and for making a video which allows us to recognise that storing nuclear waste is a very serious matter. I have two words – Chernobyl, Fukushima.  Anything nuclear is disastrous and nuclear waste is not safe. If you want to know what we have agreed to already as a nation you can read it here on the World Nuclear Association site. There is currently a Royal Commission going on in SA and there have been consultations. What has been missed is too many South Australian are mostly unaware of what is going on and are not able to say what they think. Much of this is being presented as a fait accompli with varying degrees of plausibility with regard to information. At least Scott Ludlum has explained it so I understand. I don’t think it is like visiting lions in a zoo as was explained in an article in the Conversation. Nuclear waste is devastating and other places around the world have fought hard to keep the waste away from them for obvious reasons. Nuclear waste and people don’t go together. What has occurred here is they have allowed people to volunteer their land. That means we have been bypassed. Our opinion is irrelevant if people are going to be allowed to volunteer their land. Not a nice way to treat people in my opinion. A News article has covered that quite effectively.  Solidarity explains about the Anti-Nuclear Alliance and our situation in SA. Now you have information gathered in one spot because, as it stands, the information is here and there and we do not have a proper picture of what is occurring. I do not want South Australia to become a nuclear waste dump. It will not be a tourist attraction . It would impact on tourism, though. I wouldn’t visit a nuclear waste dump. Would you? Then there is the small matter of safety because no one is addressing the issue it a  massive safety issue.

Free phone charging

phone chargeI  swear I just had a cup of coffee this morning! I have no idea why the picture is blurred. I was in Signore’s having their special breakfast and coffee. It was cosy and warm and the atmosphere was friendly. Outside was cold and the day only deteriorated which is how Adelaide has been this winter. Freezing. Then not too bad and then more freezing and often rain. We have certainly had plenty of rain this winter and our Artesian Basin will be grateful. I was sitting at the side of Signore’s downstairs  in  Adelaide Central Plaza looked out and saw this sign. What a great idea. We are so battery challenged these days because technology development has outperformed battery development. Until the boffins come up with a suitable cutting edge solution this is a godsend for those who find their phone has just run out of power. They can sit in a civilised environment, have a cup of coffee and charge their phones so they can stay connected. Since a lot of working people frequent that area of the Plaza then it’s a very considerate gesture.

Grandparent Carers

grandparent carers Image: CotaNSW

I am not a grandparent carer. I was asked to research about it. There are over 20,000 grandchildren in grandparent care in Australia. There is such a lot of information and it is all over the place. There are new policies coming in next year so that grandparent carers will have some better access to funding but understanding what rights and entitlements you have as a grandparent carer is not easy to establish. The funding will be good news for grandparent carers who are either full time carers, part time carers or required as carers by law. A number of families are using grandparents as day carers since day care is so expensive and working hours are long and erratic for many families.There are also issues with parents who cannot parent their children for long periods of time or not at all. There have been some articles about it but probably not enough to keep everyone informed and clear. There is a lot of information on the Commission for Children and Young People site. It is a global issue. How big an issue it is in South Australia is hard to determine. There are fewer organisations which offer support and help compared with interstate. I have gathered resources on Trello to do with Grandparent Carers in South Australia. Our best resources for information and support seem to be:

GrandparentsforGrandchildren

Seniors Information Service

wyza

Better World Arts

Better World ArtsLast time I was at the markets I made a point of getting out and about to see the specialty shops. The food areas can be so enticing so I had to do a deal with myself and set a time limit on my shopping! It was great to see how these specialty shops have all embraced the spirit of the markets but also enhanced the venue. The one which really caught my eye was Better World Arts. It had some lovely things on display and they were all very eye catching, attractive and beautifully made. Different. Better World Arts is a way for our aborigines to connect in their own way with everyone. Better World Arts is a place where these cultural gifts and talents are showcased. They have a web page explaining about the organisation and who the artists are. Their Facebook page is excellent. It is regularly updated and you can see what is available. You can also come to understand that this shop is supporting the Kaurna language too so that our aboriginal people have a way of maintaining their own authentic identity.

Stop the abuse

dondalekidsImage : Amnesty International SANT 

No, it’s not just the young people at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre. It’s Nauru, Manus and this week as well it’s also an Adelaide nursing home . As Australians some of us seem to have become very good at abusing and harming vulnerable people. We have crossed the divide to the other side and , you know, we are actually pretending we don’t do it. We keep trying to ignore it. We keep trying to hope it will go away. Four Corners had our eyes wide open and our hearts in pain. The news of what had happened in a nursing home then sent shockwaves through us. We have people in nursing homes. We know people who have people in nursing homes. That one cut just as deeply and then there is the ongoing hideous abuse which we know is occurring on Manus and Nauru. It been thoroughly documented. The UN knows. We are still quiet. So what do we do? Think it’s all too serious and too big for us? Keep quiet hoping someone might fix it? We have seen it . We have confronted it , we have talked about it and now we have shut down. We feel powerless. Talk of royal commissions is not very helpful. There was, I believe a royal commission in 1998 with over 300 recommendations. Did we implement them? It is a dire situation and we have no integrity as a nation while it remains like this. We have never thought of ourselves as such a harmful nation . The evidence is there. Most people are deeply concerned. Are we saying anything? There is this thing that if you say something you feel you will be judged. For standing up for respect and dignity for the vulnerable? For asking that young people in detention be treated humanely, people in detention be treated humanely, and old, weak people be treated with loving care? As South Australians we have had a long and good history of working with the Northern Territory. I would want to see us working with them now. I would love to see South Australia be who it is and just go to the Northern Territory as we have done forever and just work alongside as we always have done so not another young person is abused. Sarah Hanson-Young has fought long and hard for some humanity and human rights on Nauru and Manus. She has not once given up or given in. She has been a voice for the voiceless . Irrespective of our politics we should be pleased she is South Australian and doing the decent thing of making her voice heard. As for the abuse of elderly people. All homes now should be under review. All staff should be under review. All families should have a place for mandatory reporting as other people in the state have. We need mandatory reporting laws for older people as well as for younger people but at this point in time we all need to know that our nursing homes are treating people properly. We have done the really hard part of seeing it all and hearing it all. Now we need to get a plan together so all this abuse stops now. Right now. Not one more minute of abuse for anyone. Not one more bit of pain for anyone. We need to reinstate our integrity as a nation in the only way we know. By not putting up with the blatant mistreatment of others and listening to everyone’ s side of the story.

myGov

mygov

Even though it has been hard dealing with the unknown  as I have been transitioning from long term paid employment, a life I knew well and a fixed income situation to the world of alternative income streams, Centrelink, allocated funds and MyGov I have to say that both the private and government people I have dealt with over the last couple of months have been really helpful . They have been good at giving practical advice and support. I like the MyGov site. It operates well, it is easy to navigate and the fact you can link up government organisations to it like Centrelink, Medicare and so on makes it convenient to have a one stop shop available on a computer or mobile device. I like how I get phone messages to alert me to new information and I like how my phone supplies another layer of security for logging in. I also like that you have to present yourself personally with your identification papers to enable your online sites to be linked to MyGov. It may seem annoying you have to keep proving yourself but I am happy with that because the government sites are doing everything they can to ensure I am me and that I am the one gaining the benefit and information on and from these sites. What I also like is that the Centrelink people I talk to can let me know what the processes and procedures are and can show me how to navigate sites and get the advantages of the system working for me. Like Jo this morning at Centrelink. She could listen, she could provide straight forward instructions, she could understand my problems and she could also give me information about linking my Medicare to MyGov and the easiest way to do that. She wasn’t just confining herself to my questions about Centrelink process. She had a broad sound knowledge of govenment procedures. MyGov really does encourage you to use technology to make life easier in terms of  not having to go out and run around when we have phones, laptops, desktops and connectivity which can enable us rather than be shoved aside so we stand and wait or sit and wait and then find out we have to go somewhere else. I have had sound help from my private and government contacts to ensure I genuinely understand the process and feel like I am making headway in this new lifestyle set up. I found MyGov had everything I needed to get me going once I had gone through the registration process and it is a site where you can find what you need. Uploading information is very effective and online form filling is very clear and efficient. When it is then backed up by good phone help and private organisations which do their bit , it has put me in the position of feeling confident at navigating my way through this changeover.

You know the rules

You could hear it. “You know the rules.” It’s a bit of a catch cry in Adelaide and one we know well. We were frozen, we were a bit wet and we were waiting patiently on both sides of King William Street to wait for the lights to change so we could cross to the mall or to Hindley Street. One woman just walked out and crossed over to the island. We watched her and as one we were all thinking, “You know the rules.” There are trams there, there is plenty of traffic and some people had their children who had probably been through the road safety training at school as well as at home. Wait for the little green man. Don’t cross when the little man is red. So then there is an adult who decided the rules were not for her. It stood out so clearly. There are plenty of You Tube videos of pedestrians being hurt because they do not work with the traffic signs. Then there is the video of the little dancing man who seems to be having an effect but , as one of the commenters has said , the effect will wear off. The rules are for everyone but not for me. This is something we are very conscious of in Adelaide. You know the rules has come into play a lot this week. Our weather has been cold, wet and uninviting. You can hear us calling , “You know the rules! Winter is not supposed to start until June 1st.” We actually believe that it is unfair to start winter before then! We’ll do winter but not until it’s time. Adelaide is funny like that. Same as when I was walking back along the mall to get to the train station. I picked up my step because I didn’t have a lot of time to get there. I walked past a man and he then started walking as fast as I was and then he pushed into me. “Why are you pushing into me?” he asked. I thought he was joking. It was cold and wet, I was in a hurry and I thought he was just trying to lighten me up. He pushed into me again. “Why are you pushing into me? ” he asked again and I said , “Sorry, I am not pushing into you,” and by that time we were at that concrete block and columns outside the Myer Centre. He started up. I could not just turn and walk away from him.  I was wedged. He obviously wasn’t quite right and I needed to get away. I am small so I pulled my shoulders in and took off to get to the lights on King William Street and the safety of the crowd. It was then I heard those familiar words. “You know the rules. Don’t rush.” He may have found it disturbing I was rushing. People don’t rush in Adelaide. They amble and they take their time and if they miss the train they complain about it and catch the next one. No big deal.

Cold and wet in Adelaide

Hindmarsh SquareIt was cold and wet in Adelaide when I went there this week so I went onto Rundle Street to do a bit of exploring. Bauhaus is as great as ever and in the shops I visited the staff were warmly welcoming and very helpful which was a contrast to the weather outside.

Miss Gladys Sim Chun
Miss Gladys Sym Choon

One of my favourite shops is Miss Gladys Sym Choon. I have not been able to be there for a while so I was pleasantly surprised by all the hard work which has gone in to change the image of the shop inside and allow items to be more visible. It has been well thought out. I got good advice about the shoes I was looking for and was well pleased with my purchase. I noticed there is a dedicated Miss Gladys Sym Choon shoe store back up Rundle Street towards the Mall. Have made a mental  to go and look at it. The shoes are always good quality but a bit different. The weather was so cold and everyone was just trying to deal with it and Adelaide faces were unusually straight. I was glad to have breakfast in Signore’s downstairs in the David Jone’s basement mall. Their breakfast special was good and I got a Rewardle Card which I could connect on my phone but still have no idea what it does and how it works. To me it’s not obvious even when I looked at their video. I guess I’ll work it out. Signore’s was so warm and the staff were really pleasant.  With free wifi it was a good way to deal with the weather on a cold day. David Jones had its push notifications but I did not see that as bad. It’s a good idea if you have come out shopping ,the weather is uninviting and you just want to be able to be gently led to where you might want to go!

The Honey Shoppe

The Honey ShoppeAdelaide has been a bit under siege with the weather this past few days. Today wasn’t so bad but it was dismal and windy. A trip to Adelaide Central Markets seemed in order because it is always cheerful there. One of the places I always go is The Honey Shoppe. I buy bulk rosewater there but it is a fairyland of soaps, organic self-care products and then honey. It is well worth the visit because it has a good range of prices , a lot of locally produced items and then some really nice products which would make good presents. I love the range of soaps. I got some of the organic shampoo today to try for a change. Gilbert's HoneyThey sell Gilbert’s honey which is really nice. It is made at Marino which is one of our coastal suburbs. I will always support local if it good quality and so much of Adelaide produce is good quality. Gilbert’s honey is really worth trying but I have to say it is hard to beat Kangaroo Island honey which you can also get at the markets.

Great venue, great value

Tequila n Tacos
Chicken nachos

Tequila n Tacos has become my favourite place to eat with others. I have been there a few times now in the last year and  it never disappoints.Quite the opposite. Anyone who has never been there before wants to be back there as soon as possible! Yesterday was a family celebration and the food never ceases to please those who have not been to the restaurant before.The recommendation is to choose the mango or guava frozen margarita over the plain one.  They do take-away as well. The meals are beautifully prepared and substantial. It is good value for money. Last year I went with colleagues from work and we all loved the entrée and it got us off to a good start. On that occasion I had the chimichanga which was incredible but so big I did not eat the whole of the next day. Yesterday someone had the chimichanga and just enjoyed it! For me the chimichanga is something you could share with two people and then have an entrée or a dessert. The fajitas are great fun. So tasty and served in a really interesting way. I am featuring the nachos my daughter ordered and I think I shall have that next time! I have also had the quesadilla which are lovely and fill the gap for someone who doesn’t want to eat so much. Each time I have been I have loved the relaxing dining, the effective and friendly service and the venue. It is hardly any distance from the beach so there is always the option of walking off that lovely food afterwards on a nice day.

You can find the menu here on zomato.

Textile and Arts Collective Gallery

Textile and Arts Collective Gallery

The Textile and Arts Collective Gallery is in the Gay’s Arcade which is to the right in the Adelaide Arcade as you walk towards Grenfell Street. It is a lovely little gallery of textile art and design work by Adelaide artists and serves as a point of sale venue for them as well. I really enjoyed browsing the gallery on Tuesday. It was a poor day weatherwise in Adelaide so being in the gallery was very positive.The things were beautifully made, very original and just lovely to look at. I am very much into textile arts and the sorts of things I make are similar to what is on show so it was very inspiring to me to see we are supporting textile arts so well in Adelaide. Technology can threaten these sorts of skills but the gallery demonstrates that textile arts can very much be a part of our world. I loved the scarves and I especially liked the ostriches. You can find out more about the collective on the Tarts web page.