The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever!


My daughter and I and some dear friends went to Sydney Park last Saturday to pay homage to Kate Bush, whilst at the same time, denouncing domestic violence. I used to listen to Wuthering Heights as a young girl, living under the oppressive understanding that a violent and possessive man would be deciding when my life would end in the near future. I didn’t have to imagine him telling me that I was ‘going to lose the fight,’ nor have ‘bad dreams in the night.’ He told me routinely, and I indeed had bad dreams. I imagined coming back dressed in red, banging on the window, trying to get somebody (anybody), to hear me and welcome me in. Never in my wildest dreams would I have envisioned joining so many others, dressed in red, dancing to this song so many years later! It was a powerful remembrance of how far I have come, watching my little girl twirl by my side. St Peters has a special place in my heart. I was a young poet/artist when I lived there, selling my wares to the little shops up King St. I would take my little dog, Mitzi Winstopple to Sydney Park each evening, and dream of the future.

In preparation, I raided our fancy dress box and my daughter found a 50 cent gown that fitted her beautifully.

It was cathartic, and I felt cleansed. We wandered up King St to the Union Pub, where scores of other Cathy’s gathered. We bought felt hats for $10 at a bargain store, and I told my friend of my life in St Peters, and the sadness I felt at leaving. I came back not only to pay homage to Kate Bush, but to retrieve something I had left behind; myself.

The next day, I paid for my dance. I wept with the pain, but it was worth it. If there is a price to be paid, always make sure it’s worth it. Two days later, my spine is coming good. I can’t wait until next year!

 

Manchester


My daughter has been my companion to many concerts. Some operatic, some classical, some pop and some rock. The squeals of joy echo through my home when I inform her that we have tickets to a visiting performer. She carefully selects what she is going to wear, and we make plans to have dinner somewhere nice beforehand. Watching her dance and gaze at the performer in awe is all the reward I need. We went to Sport for Jove’s rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, shortly after I heard the dreadful, unfathomable news about the terrorist attack at Manchester Stadium. I looked around at all the young people laughing and delighting in the performance, and was struck cold by the thought that it could have been us. It could have been us at any performance we had attended. Afterward, my daughter chatted excitedly about the play, and how much she had enjoyed it, and we stopped at a shopping centre in the heart of Sydney for lunch. A policeman with an Irish brogue came up to us, and started chatting. It felt as though three humans were connecting, trying to make sense of the evil which had just occurred. He smiled at my daughter, and I knew that he was thanking his stars that it hadn’t been a Sydney concert. It could have been.

A friend posted a warning last night that a van had been spotted next to our local park, with a fellow lingering long enough to cause suspicion. I almost despaired. Should we now add concerts to the long list of things we need to be wary of? Are backpacks set to become suspicious, not just when left alone on public transport, but also when securely strapped to someone’s back? Parents could be rendered nervous wrecks, incapable of venturing out with their offspring, let alone allowing them to venture out by themselves. I must admit, my immediate desire was to bustle my daughter home, where she is safe. However, this is no way to live. Once upon a time, I was a hermit, a bad man stalking me. I barely left my room in three years as a teen. I remember feeling angry that my life had been reduced to an isolation cell, whilst he was roaming free.

I eventually stepped out by myself, and what a revelation it was! I determined never to close the door and put myself into solitary confinement again. I won’t do that to my daughter either. Did you know that amongst all the horror, several homeless men (who were sleeping rough near the arena), ran to help? They comforted children, stemmed blood loss and helped get people to safety. What I will say to my child, is always look for the helpers… There is always helpers. We will still attend concerts, but sadly our innocence has gone.

Newsies


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I didn’t quite know what to expect when I attended the preview of Newsies, a movie filmed on Broadway during a live performance. The sublime music and spectacular dancing entranced both my daughter and I, dropping us gently into New York circa 1899, and the beginning of an uprising. The whole audience cheered for the street-smart newsboys, and sneered when the villainous mogul slithered onto stage. It is heartwarming, especially knowing it is based on real events and real lads. It opened up a discussion with my daughter about trade unions, and how essential they have been in bringing workers decent conditions. I highly recommend taking the kids to see the movie this Sunday.

Here is an article from the illustrious Elissa Blake on Newsies.

Newsies is being screened for one day only, on Sunday 19th February at Event Cinemas. Book here.

 

 

Gnome Convention


On the 26th January, the Gnome Convention was held at Glenbrook Park. This annual event is put on by the Rotary Club of the lower Blue Mountains and we look forward to it all year!

 

 

It is whimsy at it’s best. We were entertained by the extraordinary bush poet, Greg North. If you haven’t experienced his act, you are missing out! Check him out here! img_0553

Brendan Kerin had us enthralled with not only his music, but stories. Did you know that the Didgeridoo’s actual name is Yidaki? It originated from the top half of Australia and was named the Didgeridoo later on as that is the sound it seemingly makes.

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We bought Gnome Hats, and had a grand time amongst the gnomes and fairies. It is my birthday today, and I bought this delightful Green Man incense burner (the smoke comes out of his head) for $15. We all need whimsy in our lives, and knowing that the money raised goes to charity is extra incentive to get your gnoming game on!

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Light it Red for Dyslexia


It’s that magical time of year again! This is what I wrote last year. The other day, my daughter read a whole lesson plan out by herself! It has taken eighteen months of frustration and tears to build her confidence, but she now believes that she can do it, in her own time and way. We have tools in which to help her, and her involvement in drama, the arts and singing have contributed greatly to her heightened self-esteem.

She joined the RSL Rural Commemorative Youth Choir, and it has given both her and I such joy. The choir had a camp at Cockatoo Island, and sang at Government House recently, Damien Leith and Mrs Hurley singing alongside them. My daughter was so buoyant after this experience, it was hard to recollect a time when her confidence was at rock-bottom.

When she has a dramatic performance, she learns her lines by singing them to a beat. When she learns songs, she tends to do so quickly. It has been fascinating, observing how she learns and also humbling. She walks with a skip in her step and her head held high, just as I dreamed she would.

For more information on Light it Red for Dyslexia, click here.

Simply Red


I love surprises of the pleasant kind! A dear friend texted me to ask if I wanted to go see Simply Red at the State Theatre. She had free tickets given to her by her DJ sister. Her sister lives in London, and had arranged it from there! Now my friend had a very bad car accident a few years ago, and had many injuries, including a broken back. She is in constant pain. My reaction to this lovely offer was the same as hers had been. We both thought of the practicalities of getting in there, and whether we would be able to stay awake until the set finished at 11pm. We worried about our pain levels escalating, and how we would feel the next day. We checked in with each other the day of the concert, and we resolved to go. To hell with the consequences! Now came a comedy of errors. We found parking under a popular city landmark, and I alighted the car with my trusty walking stick. My friend went to retrieve hers, only to find that the only aid she had was a hefty three-legger with a folding seat!

  
We went to the lift, only to find that we couldn’t go through the shopping centre. We saw security manning the business foyer, and we both burst into peals of laughter upon discovering that the escalators weren’t working and were cordoned off. We had no choice but to walk up the steep stairs alongside. We asked how on earth we could get out, and the security guy said that he would push a button to make the lift go up. Outside, we were completely discombobulated. We are city gals, and know our way around, but our pain-addled, weary minds couldn’t get it together. We punched ‘State Theatre’ into our smart phones. Well, the bloody things took us in the wrong direction, a fact that only dawned on us after a block or so! We put the phones away and relied on our wits. After a  stiff drink, we arrived!

  

 By the time we got to the theatre, we were late, and Simply Red were on. We were guided to the VIP area, which happened to be in the lowest section of the grand old theatre (which didn’t have a lift). We laughed some more as we negotiated our way down many steep stairs. I am sure Mick Hucknall looked straight at us as we hobbled along to our seats. Our tricky bladders were up to their usual mischief and we had to find a loo at differing times. I had forgotten just how pure and emotive Mick Hucknall’s voice was, and man, the band were in fine form. We moved in our seats, performing our unique interpretation of dance. We squeezed each others hands, thrilled that we had gotten here and were doing this. It was a celebration of having survived, for her and I. It was an act of defiance of the pain we will have forever. We were sneering in the face of exhaustion and depression. We were simply two women out on the town, listening to the sublime Simply Red.

I noted my friend’s jaw tightening toward the end, and I asked if she was ready to go. She nodded, knowing that I knew all-too-well, and she didn’t need to conceal her discomfort. We quietly left, walking through Pitt St Mall and to the carpark. We once again had to walk up to security, in order to operate the lift. We then had to negotiate our way around the cords and machines that the cleaners were using. We chatted all the way home, mostly about who we had been before our spines were broken, and then about our wonderful kids. We talked of the joy of sleeping for four hours straight, and what a rarity it was. It was a gift of grace, being in the company of a soul sister, one for whom no words are necessary. We laughed at the same time upon seeing more stairs and barriers. We knew when each other had reached our threshold. We grumbled about uneven paths and sticky-out objects blocking our way. Mick Hucknall, if you happened to look in our direction as we were leaving early, I can assure you that we had an extraordinary time in your company. Your music was the perfect accompaniment to a night of revelry for two ladies with damaged spines. We left on a sweet note, to your dulcet voice caressing our ears.

Memories Of 1969


This lady has quite a story to tell about 1969 in Sydney! Check it out!

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1969 was a year of big changes for me. You might say it was my first venture into adulthood – I became an Aunty for the first time; I left school at not quite 15; moved from Penrith to live with my Aunty at Rozelle; and went job hunting on my first Monday in the big smoke (Sydney).

My first job interview was at McDowell’s department store. The personnel officer was Mrs O’Donnell, a lovely lady. I asked her if I could have a job in the “button department”, as my brothers girlfriend use to work there. She smiled and asked me my age and why I wanted to leave school so young. I replied with “My Mum left my Dad, I’m living with my Aunty…”. In fact, the poor lady got my life history and family woes in just a few minutes, you know those days when you really…

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David Bowie


I think most of us were stunned when news broke of David Bowie’s death. We in Australia heard the breaking news last night. Mr Bowie’s music was the soundtrack to my youth, and his music was taken on every hospital visit. He was unique, and in turn, encouraged us to be. I applauded the way he reinvented himself over and over again. You were always a Starman, Mr Bowie, before we even knew your name.

I love this photo, taken at Newtown Fire Station.

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The artist Karen Hallion, has offered a beautiful free download of David Bowie as the Goblin King in Labyrinth today in tribute.

MvaKzQhIf you would like to download it, click here.

Vale, David Bowie.