Tag Archives: culture

Arriving In My Past

Johannesburg is a rich tapestry of lights – arterial amber globs and backstreet silver pinpricks.

As we descend, the land’s undulations are black sheets studded with lights: paper with rounded upper edges, placed upright one behind the other, obliterating the lower parts of those behind – a simple art project for children.

Then the lights separate from the whole and form themselves into buildings. We are in the city.

On the ground we walk the South African way. Continue reading

The Elves and the Moccasins

Perhaps it began with The Elves and the Shoemaker (still one of my two favourite fairytales).

I’m no Imelda Marcos but when I was a child I did long for a pair of pointy red shoes. (I couldn’t believe my fortune when my cousin gave me her outgrown ones – the very pair that had seeded the yearning.)

When I was a teenager I made my own knee-high ugg boots. Mum sometimes tanned skins from our sheep and I snaffled a brown one of those. I bought leather thonging and spent evenings sewing by the fire. The boots were utilitarian rather than decorative and terrifically snugly. It didn’t bother me that they were not as tidy as other people’s store-bought ones.

There’s something very pleasing about meeting one’s own needs. Continue reading

Muscovite Mouths

One final thing about Russia.

Well, two.

Plus some photos. Continue reading

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Yellow Rope

And obligingly, she does. Well, the machine in the tower does. It’s not low enough to catch hold of and climb up but it kept a lot of loud-voiced fathers (and a certain husband) occupied.  (Soon I will embed here a video of this event. For now, the technological wizardry of movie transfer has defeated me. I await the intervention of my actor and movie-maker child.)

This place is a fairytale come almost true. In fact, it’s a plethora of them. Continue reading

Catalan Culture

I really like old churches: the musty smell that entwines you as you step in the door; the feast of art – statues, windows, frescoes, paintings; the furniture – decorative fonts, austere pews; little elevated preaching places like children’s castle turrets; the story-telling architecture; the soaring ceilings; the building materials themselves; the steps, worn to bowls in the centre, with the passing of masses of feet. I enjoy wandering the church yards with their lichened grave stones, grasses and blooms. As previously mentioned, Australia has a penchant for destroying old buildings so I am thankful to be in a place where humans have preserved something beautiful and meaningful. Continue reading