Posted by: jkirkby8712 | December 29, 2011

Thursday, 29 December 2011 – more on books and some memorable reading.

Dull and overcast outside first thing this morning, then all of the sudden, the sun breaks through, and we realise that those predictions of a hot New Year’s Eve weekend, are going to bear fruit, like it or not.  Another  ‘restless’ night for your personal essayist, who arose this morning not really feeling like doing very much at all!  Some might say, well, you don’t have to, you are retired now, give yourself a break!   But, being a few too many of those lately, must get on the move!  No doubt we will, as the day proceeds, it’s in the blood!! But I think I will at least watch the closing stages of Australia’s 2nd innings batting first – it may not last very long!  In actual fact,   a good morning session for Australia, with the bowlers adding a few valuable runs to the overnight score of 8 for 179, to take Australia’s total on to 240.  That leavers India with 292 runs needed to win the match. By lunch, on Day 4, they had lost their first wicket,  for 24 runs, still requiring 267. Unless there is a collapse of wickets, the match is unexpectedly, unlikely to finish today.

Susan came home quite late last night, and whether she left again during the night, or early this morning, I really don’t know  – in fact her car was still here this morning, but no Susie!!  I seem to have little knowledge of her whereabouts quite often these days, and I suppose that if she wasn’t living here, that would generally be the case anyway! Certainly, yours truly is alone for a large part of the time lately, and while that doesn’t specifically worry me, it would be occasionally nice to be informed now and then, as to where one’s daughter is gone to! Maybe it’s the beach, or somewhere similar today, with friends. Not aware of any daytime concerts on at this stage. She arrived home in fact, just before 7pm!  I hoped she’d had a good day, had she been to the beach or somewhere?  That enquiry, or conversation point,  was greeted with a look of ‘what a stupid question’, so I didn’t proceed any further down that line, just remained feeling ‘stupid’ though not sure why!!!

Yesterday’s mail, as well as including a late Christmas card, also included the Summer edition of the ‘Art Gallery of Ballarat’s’  quarterly publication, simply called ‘Association’. An amusing start to the President’s column  –  “My first year as President has been…um….interesting to say the least. There have been tears, laughter, confusion, hizzy-fits, and that’s just coming from me!”  Thankfully, that sentence was a misleading indication of the many positive things she had to relate about 2011 activities at the Ballarat Art Gallery. For a moment there, we were going to have a long tirade about the dispute during the year over who should take possession and care of the historic Eureka Flag. In fact no reference to that subject – that came a few pages later under the ‘Director’s Say’ [Gordon Morrison], and that was relatively brief, and positive with the issue not yet resolved apparently. He had this to say.

“In early December we will also be welcoming back the Eureka Flag after its lengthy conservation treatment at the Artlab in Adelaide. While I did see it once during the treatment process it is going to be almost as much a surprise for me as it will be for Association Members to see it in its new display case in the Selkirk Gallery. You can expect to see it arranged according to its original proportions, and the colour of the backing cloth will be somewhat less obtrusive but the main changes arte things which you will not see, like an amazing honeycomb aluminium backing that is strong, inert and flexible – without being too flexible!  The negotiations with the City of Ballarat for its loan to the new Australian Centre for Democracy at Eureka are still ongoing but, assuming that the remaining issues are resolved, the Flag will be placed on loan at the Centre after the middle of 2012”.

With that last statement in mind, I must make another visit to the Gallery before too long  –  apart from the potential loan of the Flag to the Centre for Democracy, part of the ongoing debate is that the Centre believes should be permanently displayed at its new venue, while the Art Gallery, where it has been on display for decades, obviously wants to retain that display. I agree with the Art Gallery to where it was originally donated for safe keeping by descendants of the original Eureka participants, and I would prefer to see it remain on display in the outstandingly created Selkirk Gallery within the main building of the Art Gallery complex.

Reading some more of the William McInnes/Sarah Watt book today – a little paragraph about one of their friends  –  it sounded familiar, you could almost be describing this writer, and his ‘;hesitant’ but consistent involvement in community affairs  –  from p. 162   –  “He was a funny bloke. In many ways he was a shy man. He never liked being made the centre of attention if people were trying to praise him. But the fact that he found a place in the school community and became part of its bedrock speaks not only of his generosity but of also how much he felt at home there, sensing something in this community that was worthwhile and decent”. I spent every year of my children’s schooling [between 1987-2007] as a member of the respective school councils on two of the three schools they attended] and a great part of that time as the council president. Yet through all that time, I maintained a low profile, not wishing to throw myself at the forefront of the community, just quietly working away in the background and in conjunction with the relevant school principal and/or staff.  I felt that William McInnes’ description fitted that ‘profile’ as soon as I read it.

Unless there is a collapse of wickets, the match is unexpectedly, unlikely to finish today  – that’s what I said above!!!  Well, the Test Match was over before 5pm, and not because India scored 292 runs in record time, but because the Australian bowlers took all 10 wickets in a session and a half of cricket!!  Australia, against all the odds at the beginning of the day, won the 1st Test by 122 runs. Team scores were:  Australia – 333 and 240  defeated India 282 and 169. Man of the match was James Pattinson of Australia, playing just his third Test match  The total crowds at the MCG for the four days of the match were 189,347 [including 72,000 on Day 1, Boxing Day].  The teams were:  Australia Brad Haddin, Michael Hussey, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Peter Siddle, David Warner, James Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Lyon, Ed Cowan   India  Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Zaheer Khan, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Ishant Sharma   The 2nd Test commences in Sydney next Tuesday.

In the meantime, I finished reading  the book I referred to earlier, ‘Worse Things Happen At Sea’ by Sarah Watt and William McInnes this afternoon. A beautifully written book by this husband and wife team. On page 240, Sarah writes:-  “I don’t know when I will have to go. I give myself small aims; get through the summer, get through the winter. See Clem finish school. Get Stella to the stage when her friends are as important to her as I am. But I don’t believe it’s in my control. I have seen the most excellent and deserving people do their absolute best to control their own biology, and fail. I would feel a fake and a traitor to them if I thought it was up to me. Cancer’s a disease, and good people die”

The book was published in 2011.  Sarah Watt died of  the cancer of which she was speaking on the 4 November, 2011, aged 53 years.  Reading from Wikipedia, we learn that Sarah Watt, who was born in Sydney in 1958,   “completed a Graduate Diploma of Film and Television (Animation) at the Swinburne (now VCA) School of Film and Television, Melbourne in 1990. Her student film “Catch of the Day” was to reflect the style of future work. In 1995, she directed a short film, Small Treasures, which won Best Short Film at the Venice Film Festival. In 2000, she made a program for the SBS series Swim Between the Flags. She received the Australian Film Institute’s award for Best Director for her 2005 film Look Both Ways.  Watt returned to the VCA School of Film and Television to teach animation and was to assist in the development of many animators including Academy Award winner Adam Eliot in 1996. Watt was instrumental in the development of scripts for all of her students, but left the School to further develop her own projects, returning on occasion as a script and final production assessor.  During the post-production of Look Both Ways, Watt was diagnosed with cancer. Her second film My Year Without Sex was released in 2009.  She died on 4 November 2011 after suffering for six years with breast and bone cancer, aged 53.  Sarah Watt was married to actor William McInnes.  They have two children, Clem (b.1993) and Stella (b.1998]” [the two children referred to in the book quotation, above].

Sent a message to Jodie, thanking her for that book as a Christmas present.






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