Sunday, 29 July 2012 see Advance Australia Wear..

Shane Wombat with Aussie flag

...... Or should that be where?

It’s certainly not fair.

The fabric of this place is tearing, this week a huge sign of the threadbare nature of our Nation was exposed with the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the disgraceful behaviour of the four right wing State Premiers attempting to score political points off the backs of all those with disabilities and their carers.
What was exposed was not so much their “born-to-rule” contempt of the most disadvantaged in Australian society but signalling the unedifying, malevolent and destructive hubris that will be exhibited if Tony “the Rabbit” Abbott wins the next Federal election.
So confident are they that the conservatives will win the Federal election that the Premiers threw common-sense to the wind with “Big Bird” Baillieu  (Silvertail Incompetens) literally leading the pack. It is a salient point that Big Bird’s Government has a majority of one (1) in Parliament and it accurately provides insight into his political brains and “smarts”.

Most of them have since backed down; only the public disgust at their unethical behaviour changing their tune. All except Queensland Premier, Campbell “Benito the Clown” Newman, who was heard to utter this gem in relation to the NDIS and the Queensland economy. “I’m saying that if we fail to act in a way we are that Queensland would ultimately be the Spain of the Australian States”.
 He runs a State?

Pentland Hills Near Bacchus Marsh Lawrence Winder
Pentland Hills near Bacchus Marsh Canon 5Dmk 2 w/ 70-200

Here in the Tardis State (Where all goes Backward) the cuts to Technical and Further Education are producing the obvious with campuses closing, staff being made redundant and courses being cut.
The largest manufacturer of Wind Turbines in regional Victoria has just shed 150 jobs as the restrictions on wind generator siting, bites. 

Un-Planning Minister Matthew “developer” Guy looks as though he has put his foot in it again by interfering in a $285,000,000 re-development of the Windsor Hotel.
Halim Group who own Windsor are not happy… think there is “something fishy” going on…. “sniff, sniff….not in the Tardis State, surely?
The bloke wants to be Premier, too.

The ABC is a media outlet you can generally trust to be accurate, fair and unbiased in its reporting.
Except for the Melbourne anchor of TV’s “7.30” current affairs program, Leigh Sales.

I don’t know if she is being mentored by Pru Goward or whether she is still paying her dues to Ch. 9 but her style seems to be increasingly opiniated/bitchy, “Prime Minister, how does the real Julia feel about these constant leadership mutterings?:  a thoroughly obnoxious sequence of  thin questions to retiring (ex-speaker) Harry Jenkins, masquerading as probing journalism (Federal Labor, and a gentleman, too) : and a promo presentation about government evidence presented in “Slippery Pete’s” trial that indicated the opposite of what was actually put forward in the bulletin. 
Is Sales’ a closet member of the I.P.A?   
It’s a form of presentation used by them; intersperse misleading, suggestive or wrong info amongst true stuff which the audience generally doesn’t notice but it chips away, chips away.
Content-wise she’s certainly no Kerry O’Brien and do we really need more of the Alan Jones/ Kyle Sandilands bogan approach to current affairs?

Is there a silver lining? 

Pentland Hills Near Bacchus Marsh Lawrence Winder
Rainbow, Pentland hills, Canon 5D mk2 70-200


Seeya Possums,

Saturday, 21 July 2012

... finding gems

G’day Possums,
No, I’m NOT touting for the Australian Olympic teams' attempts to wear gold in London.  

It’s just that t’other day I visited a friend of daughter No1, Paul Stewart.


Paul’s a jeweller who makes bespoke objects of great beauty at his “Atelier Paul Stewart” at 32 Queen’s Rd.  Hawthorn.
Atelier, Paul Stewart

Pauls’ work reflects his interest in the delicate sophistication of Ottoman decoration and he showed us some lovely gems particularly the Australian diamonds.

Australian Diamonds

The Sapphire and Diamond ring pictured was an interesting education.
The setting struck me a almost Edwardian in style and I wondered about the “weight’ of the ring band and its square shape until Paul placed it on one of his fingers. Its weight was absorbed by the finger and the squareness of the band became a subtle contrast to the gem arrangement as it changed shape to the gem clasps. Lovely stuff.

This is real hand made work that has the individuals personality at its core.


Christopher (The Whyne) Pyne thinks that class size is not important in educating young people.
All one needs to do, he says, is to attract better, brighter candidates to teaching…..  saying that whilst Big- Bird Baillieu (Silvertail Incompetens) and his fellow Liarbril social incompetents in Victoria, savage spending on public education and actively pursue strategies to reduce teachers wages and legislate to sow discord through the entire public teaching service.
For someone who bolted out of the parliamentary chamber rather than vote, I wonder what Pyne was taught about civil conduct, manners (unfortunately, a re-occuring issue with Liarbril party members) and the responsibility of office by his school, St Ignatius, Adelaide.
Must have had lousy teachers or too big class sizes.

Catholic Diocese of Melbourne shakes its Crozier at “Greens” and says, “Support Labor” in this weekend’s State Election …. That’s a turn-around that would have Bob Santamaria  turning in his grave…(Psst.. it’s alright Bob, no-one except Big-Bird Baillieu trusts the Catholic Church any-more).

A large slice of Greenland’s Glacier Ice (the size of Manhattan Island) has broken away to rendezvous sometime with Clive (the biggest miner) Palmer’s “Titanic2” on its maiden voyage. Clive’s mates reckon climate change is a myth, too.

Mr Abbott (aka Rabbit) has, mercifully, been out of the country for a bit except that he has been bad-mouthing our defence spending/capability to the Americans in a performance more like a dysfunctional family member at another persons party than a would-be-leader or statesman.

Cheers petals,

Friday, 13 July 2012

.....being constrained

Travelling through the lovely little Town of Jouhet in the Poitou-Charente region in France on our way to the abbey of St-Savin a little C12-14th eglise (Notre Dame) was indicated so we pulled in and investigated.

Gartempe in Jouhet

It may have originally been a Late Romanesque church but it had been much altered and didn’t hold any obvious interest except for the mirthful corbels on either side of the pillars on the approach near to the altar.

I couldn’t derive a meaning at all (indicating how far I’ve lapsed) and it wasn’t until the image was part of a work in the Ballarat International Photo-biennale that some-one opined “…Holy Communion…stick your tongue out!”
That may not be wholly accurate but it seems a good fit.  It was perhaps an instructional sculpture.
Mrs Wombat who had been out looking around the town came in and said that just across the road there was a C15th Chapel of St. Catherine with frescos and that the key was down at the shop.

Chapel, St. Catherine.  Jouet

 Key duly obtained we let ourselves in to this delightful 9x4 (?) metre space.

Chapel Interior, Jouhet
Christ Pantocrator, heavily re-worked and with a avuncular but worried visage surrounded by his Archangels and Seraphim, presiding over the rising dead; to his right an Eagle ?, (St.John) who has been beheaded by a renovation. On the window frames, four female saints in C14th dress.
On the floor the last resting place of “M. Jerome Victor Auboutet 
Chevalier de St.Louis…. Mort 1852 de 84 ans.”

On the ceilings

Genesis: Adam and Eve, Tree of Knowledge, Expulsion of the Serpent by The Eagle  and Lion (John and Mark)?
Below a morality play: a’la Traini’s  “Triumph of Death” in Pisa, of C15th courtiers hunting and hawking whilst seeing the crucified Christ and subsequent death and resurrection and opposite….

…. the resurrection, the weighing of souls and redemption and below a nativity scene, again in C14th dress.
Upper visual lessons could well be much earlier than lower panels as iconography is different and the story elements simpler.
Interesting too, that the “Lessons” unfold on both sides from the entrance toward the altar.

Returning the key to “the shop”, discover it is a Bar, Restaurant, Tabac; and as it’s luch-time, stay.
Warm Chicken and Ham Salad, Terrine, Chicken / Mushrooms, Potato Gratin, Cheese, Marshmallow and Kiwi Fruit dessert, ½ bottle vin blanc and minus E46.10  2 1/2 hours later we walk out, well satisfied.
The Wombats’ can recommend “Le Val de Gartempe”, 8 rue de la Gartempe. 86500 Jouhet.

Le Val de Gartempe

St. Savin started as a monastery under Charlemagne around the year 800 and its present highly decorated, solid Romanesque form developed from 1010.

St. Savin

The walls and ceilings of the porch have scenes from the Apocalypse:

The lady and the Dragon

The Plague of Locusts

St. Savin, Ceiling
The deft sinuous calligraphy of the C11th artists (monks ?) who painted here over 17 metres up is reminiscent of  illuminated manuscript work and the bible story runs chronologically from Genesis to the Exodus as you perambulate down one aisle then around over to the other side in order to “read” the whole book.
Meant primarily for the monks and brothers of the monastery they were a means of inculcating a consistent understanding of catholic dogma and belief.
Prosper Merimee began a rescue and restoration of St.Savin in the 1840’s and in places you appreciate the difference between the robustness of the original work

and the "politeness" of the restored or re-made….

…which made me think more of the whimsical paintings of the French, Melbourne artist, Mirka Mora, than as “beasties” who might want to rip your soul out.

It was a beautiful place but I did wonder about the inculcation of fear to maintain control…. to “toe the party line” and to be  controlled so directly

Bondage takes many forms.
I don’t mean the self inflicted consensual BDSM kind (which seems to be having a Renaissance, on-line, at least) but the position of being enslaved to a tribe, person, religion, a political party’s ideology or the mores of a social group and, there, not be able to actually express yourself freely, as an independent and individual being.
So were we seeing here the development of the “Stockholm Syndrome”?

Scary shit !… as Wombats are inclined to say.

Politics in the Tardis State (where all goes backwards)

Peter (I-know-Nuffin) Ryan has wished his ministerial adviser, bye-bye after OPI said they couldn't find enough evidence to convict, regarding the Overland case. Seems like a “Not Proven” verdict. 

Big Bird, Baillieu (Silvertail Incompetens) is no-where to be seen.

Matthew Guy Un-Planning Umpire, delivers another “goal” to developers with Armidale residents angry at excessive height of new buildings.

On the Federal front Mr Rabbit is “swearing in Blood” to repeal Carbon Price if elected. I’m waiting for the “Horst Wessel” song next.

Cheers, Petals

Thursday, 5 July 2012

...reflecting on Sophie M.

…..reflecting on Sophie M

Hello Possums,
Recent events here in the Tardis State (where all goes backwards) led me to remember again our visit to Musee Rodin last May.

Les Invalides behind Contemporary Sculpture, Musee Rodin

Iris, Messanger of the gods... still so modern.

I have already mentioned a delightful experience there in a previous post, “…on a tangent”.
On the day we visited, Musee Rodin was quite crowded with tourists, a couple of groups of school children, a film documentary crew and seemingly littered with bits of Rodin’s work:  maquettes, plaster casts of limbs, bronzes, marble, waxes and some really quite weird work by Rodin’s tragic mistress, Camille Claudel. 

Narrator and Film Crew, Musee` Rodin

The complexity of visual stimulation and the cultural contexts in this place can be seen in the shot of the narrator and film crew. To the left is the early masterpiece, The Age of Bronze its front reflected in the mirror, then La Defense, a work for a competition Rodin didn’t win but later bought by the Dutch Government as a memorial to those who died at the battle of Verdun. Near the narrators hand, a bronze portrait bust of Jean Paul Laurens, (painter and sculptor) behind the narrator a marble bust of a female, possibly English beauty, Miss Eve Fairfax and between the camera-men a bronze portrait of the painter Jules Dalou. And then there is the chandelier, the reflections, parquetry, panelling and Rococco paintings above the doors of this C18th house. We moved outside to wander amongst the works in the garden…. a visual sorbet if you like….

Young Woman in Hat, Terra-Cotta, Garden

…and  found The Burghers of Calais, The Three Shades and the Gates of Hell…and there….

Burghers of Calais

…fell into conversation with a French woman. We were both looking very intently at some “putti-like” figures on the extreme right of the “Gates” and began to discuss their possible meaning, the turmoil of death and the intensity of humanity being expressed in this tumultuous work and perhaps prosaically, why actual ropes were cast into the edges as well….?

Gates of Hell, Musee Rodin
Gates of Hel,l Rodin. Musee` Rodin,Paris

Three Shades, Musee` Rodin

Wandering further into the garden our conversations with this lovely urbane French woman led to what the Wombats’ did and where they came from etc. The French woman told us she had been doing studies into refugee immigration to France. 

Seems the French allocate places for 80,000 a year but double that actually arrive.
(Italy has 2-3 times that number)

She made no comments like “TURNBACKTHEBOATS” but expressed concern at the refugees plight, future and the stretching of the French economy that was happening in providing services to the refugees.

“But”, she said “…..we have to look after these people …it’s our responsibility”.

Wombat Droppings

Fast forward to Q and A t’other night…. Sophie (Pit-Bull) Mirabella honestly expressed her true worth when Simon Sheikh, director of “Get-Up” collapsed on-camera ….she seemed to be the last to be aware of his state sitting next to him...  and then Graeme Morris, Liarbril "strategist "expressed sincere belief that gloabal warming is a myth and possibly in a flat earth, too!

Carbon Pricing has been set in place and to Mr Rabbit’s Henny-Penny surprise, the sky didn’t fall in but Brumby’s Bakery boss sent an email to franchisee's suggesting they “up” their prices anyway and blame the Carbon Price.

Professor Ross Garnautt shakes his head in dis-belief at the “trivialisation of the debate on climate change.”

Shock-Jock from Sydney with a loose grasp on facts and allegedly a penchant for London Toilets, Alan (Bondi) Jones, came to Melbourne to ginger-up the angry masses with his queer views on carbon pricing. 99.96% of Victorians stayed away.

Compensation for price increases is being given to all except those on $90,000 p.a. or more… so there were a flurry of talk-back calls by people on more than 90,000 complaining as to how unfair it all is “After all” said one, “I try to do the right thing and send my kids to Private schools. What compensation do I get”? 
Uhhhh, perhaps a warm inner glow for thinking you doing the Nation a favour?
Aspirational, selfish, blinkered, nasty, perfect Liarbril individualism in action. 

I once had a neighbour who sat in on classes in three schools to see if they came up to his expectations of a good education for his daughter. They were for Grade 1 in State Primary Schools!

Queensland Liarbrils are fighting over spoils that have yet to be delivered.

sendbacktheboats ! sendbacktheboats ! sendbacktheboats ! sendbacktheboats ! sendbacktheboats !

Australia has given the Indonesians 3 or 4  C-130 transport aircraft.
Why? They already have around 520 aircraft and we….380.
To transport materials filched from occupied West Timor and West Papua?
Refugee boats can’t be sorted out by them either .. they only have 31 patrol vessels. We have 14!

This country has lost its way.

In The Tardis State (Where-All-Goes-Backward)
UnPlanning Minister, Matthew Guy is in court defending his backflip on the re-zoning of land from agricultural to residential for one Liarbril mate because other Liarbrils mates started bitching about it.
How much is this going to cost the Tardis State?
Sniff, sniff… a whiff of corruption here?
He’s also being noted for ignoring his departments’ advice and just signing off with a “ I want this!”

Man bashed by transport security people refuses $120,000 hush money… wants his day in court.
And he had a ticket…

Big Bird Baillieu (Silvertail-Incompetens) is being sneaky about extending tolls on existing roads.
FOI is not within his ken.
Noblesse Oblige is NOT  Democracy Ted

Cardinal George Pell’s comments re: abuse of children by Catholic religious makes Henry 2’s campaign in the C12th for one law for church and state look positively modern and now very, very necessary.

Seeya, petals.