Tonight there were only three of us home for dinner. I cooked chicken and asparagus pie. Two of us had Coke glasses and one had a French glass. One of us had Coke in his Coke glass. We lit the new candle bought yesterday at the Sunday markets and made by Benedictine nuns. It burns perfectly, leaving a neat round chasm filled with the melted wax. Though we often eat outside on our deck now the evenings are warm and the days are long, tonight the wind picked up and kept us at the kitchen table.
This morning at 10 am it was about 25 degrees, blue skies, perfect. I was here at this small church with some of my family. That’s my husband in the spearmint green shirt.
I pointed my camera at the tree and a bit of sky, and found the sun shining straight onto my camera, so it’s glary at the top. As it is in life.
Perhaps these people were waiting for their weekly challenge, too.
This is another photo from my father’s war album. It would have been taken in the winter of 1941. I researched the acronym he wrote next to Don Gray; AACS probably means Army Airways Communications System personnel.
Looks like a cold place to be waiting for something to happen…
Today I’ve been to three places, my small camera tucked in my hand, looking for the right stranger, someone doing something I wanted to remember. I discovered an underground bookshop of uncatalogued books, and in a side nook, a café and a musician. He was the right stranger.
He sang a song I didn’t know: The Spider Song (Or Somewhere in the car) by Pat Drummond. I’ve just found the lyrics online as well as the stranger’s name. Fred Pilcher. Now I know who he is but he doesn’t know me. I’m the stranger.
The lyrics are a good read: http://www.patdrummond.net/Lyrics/Laughter/Somewhere_In_The_Car.html
29th Jan – My son and his fiancée showed us a circle of firs in a park, a green cathedral, where they will get married. If it doesn’t rain.
30th Jan – Tonight, just after falling asleep, I woke screaming. A large heavy painting had fallen off the wall behind my bed and slipped down behind a chair.
31st Jan – A woman in the Housing flats opposite my window just bought one heaped-up ice-cream cone from the Mr Whippy van. She’s holding it out for 5 children from the neighbourhood who take licks in turns.
1st Feb – I crossed the line today to congratulate another couple in the flats on the birth of their baby. They were gracious, grateful and clean-mouthed.
2nd Feb – A short walk from my house, in a small university run by the Dominican Order, monastic buildings enclose a round cloister and a garden, in which I found rose beds and a sign: No Smoking in the Rose Garden.
With my hands I’m typing what you are reading. With them I write letters and stories that you will not read. I can even add calligraphic flourishes. I can cook, drive, ride a bike because I have hands.
But I can’t play an instrument.
For twenty years I’ve taken my sons to piano and guitar lessons, and now I hear live music in my home. How rich my life is because their hands play instruments.
I thank my son for playing This old love by Lior so I could photograph him. I could listen to him for hours.
2nd Feb: Words
I found this photo in the war album. I had to play with the levels because the words were barely visible in the original 2″ x 3″ photo, and I was amazed when I darkened it and saw what was written on this huge sign. It’s derived from Winston Churchill’s London broadcast on 22nd June 1941, following Germany’s invasion of Russia.
I don’t know where this building is, though it’s probably in north Africa. The album contains photos taken in 1941/42.
Here’s the original photo, untouched-up:
For a couple of years I’ve had a small copy of this painting on my wall. It reminds me of one of the photo challenges for January: Launch. On this last day of January, I want to show it to you. It’s a blogging analogy. On 1st January I started this blog, lifting off in colourful company. Some float with me, some observe from solid ground.
The hot air balloon launched at the Chateau de la Muette was the first untethered manned flight. It was invented by the Montgolfier brothers; thus, in French, it’s called a montgolfière. The painting above is part of the National Library collection here in Canberra.
A few poems in the anthology are copies of other soldiers’ work. Several are written by girlfriends and wives left back in Australia. They always express hope that they’ll see their men again, as in these two verses: