Thursday, January 01, 2009

Holiday happenings

For several years in a row we have made an annual pilgrimage to Canberra, our nation's capital. Canberra was established halfway between Melbourne and Sydney, inland in the middle of the bush really. It was a planned city so there are circular drives and straight roads very much like wheels within wheels. There are mostly offices in the CBD while the population lives in satelite suburbs.

In 2007 for various reasons we weren't able to get away, so this year I was determined to have at least a few days down South to recharge our batteries. Eventually DH booked a room for 3 nights at the Crowne where we usually like to stay, next to the Casino right in the heart of the city and just a walk from all the eateries. So on Sunday 28th December we drove down, arriving after 3 hours which included a stop at historic Berrima.

On Monday we visited the Museum of Australia, a very modern building well worth seeing in its own right. Here is the view heading towards the entrance.

And the extension on the roof of the walkway from the carparking area, the kids love the path to nowwhere !

As well as the permanent exhibitions, this time there was an excellent exhibition about Charles Darwin. Lots of information about the man as well as his theory of Evolution of the Species. There were letters, journals, diaries, and a facsimile of his study at Down House during his later years. 2 live lizards were also on show, a beautiful green tree iguana with a long 3 foot tail, and a striped blue tongue lizard which looked like a model till he blinked !!

I'd also arranged to meet one of my web friends in Canberra so Doreen G. drove into Canberra and took me on a guided tour of the ACT Embroiderers' Guild headquarters. It was interesting to see how their Guild operates as compared to the NSW Guild. We have about 15 times as many members but probably operate out of smaller rooms than does the ACT Guild. Certainly sounds like the ACT members have a lot of fun and Doreen has her hands full co-ordinating the Recycled Goods tables and serving on the Guild committee. I really enjoyed meeting her in the flesh, and seeing her completed TIF crazy patchwork block cloth book so beautifully finished. Wish I'd been more disciplined with TIF in 2008, but there's hope for me 2009 with Sharon's Stitch Explorer each month.

On Tuesday we had tickets to the Degas exhibition at the National Gallery. We didn't take an audio tour, and perhaps that was one reason I was a bit dissapointed with the exhibition. Or it could have been that we went in the afternoon after a mixup at the hotel with our tickets, and we were a bit tired. The Exhibition was quite busy, and the crowd was 3 deep in front of some works. There were more prints and etchings than paintings, but the ones on show were worth seeing. I was most impressed with the scupltures and photos I guess. The Victorian man's obsession with the female nude figure always intriques me - the everyday clothing of the late Victorian women were so enveloping and modest, sombre in the British Empire after Prince Albert died. But behind closed doors, in certain establishments and on the Continent, oh la la !! I'll just say that the images typical of Victorian French postcards were very well represented in the Degas exhibition.

Wednesday saw us enjoying our 3rd large cooked buffet breakfast at the hotel then packing to start the homeward journey. I must say we dined very well on the whole trip, out to dinner 3 nights in a row and cooked breakfasts. Lunches were neccessarily smaller affairs, usually just a snack really. I can well imagine what my DH says when away on business, after being away for a long time and eating out you just feel like a cup of tea and a slice of toast with vegemite for your dinner sometimes!!

We detoured back to Berrima on the way home, as I hadn't been to my favourite antique shop for a couple of years and was itching to see what was in stock. Peppergreen's Antiques is a great rambling building with several large rooms. They regularly receive container loads from agents in Europe and I wasn't dissapointed with a recent shipment from France. Fabrics, threads, bed coverings, clothing of all sorts vied for my attention. I was determined though to buy myself something for my birthday to add to my Victorian and Edwardian underwear collection. I sorted through a bin labelled corsets and bras and reluctantly put them aside. There were several fabulous early brassieres made of pink satin fabric and ingenious in design, but not my era. There were bins full of glorious early 1920's and 1930's lingerie, all satin and lace and some completely hand embroidered which had to be put aside. In the end I chose 2 machine knitted woollen ladies combinations, pre WW1. They probably came from Europe as they look very warm complete with the divided crotch for WC convenience and below the knee legs. One has small gussets let into the front lowered neckline for accomodating the bosom, while the other is higher and has slits at the appropriate level with inserted gussets. Such a hoot, will try to photograph them and post later this week. I also bought 3 pairs of over the knee stockings. One in knitted lace is quite beautiful, one in plain cotton with the brand still stamped on the upper leg and one which is reputed to be a maid's stocking with a period mend on the toe and her initials worked in fine crossstitch on the top. Photographs to follow of those too.

So quite a nice short break, not long enough of course, but we hope to plan a few more such breaks in the near future.


Doreen G said...

It was my pleasure to meet you as well Christine and I hope we can arrange it again sometime.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping the Degas exhibition would still be there when we get there, but I think it finishes the day we leave here!
Have a happy new year!
Judy B