(in which I get political, unusual for me)
Every year on the 26th of January, we celebrate Australia Day.
By celebrate, I mean we get a day off, usually attached to the weekend if at all possible and have a barbie and a booze up. That is the classic Australia Day.
For some people, it is Invasion Day. For others, it is Survivor Day. The indigenous don't have much to celebrate.
For me? This year I have a feeling of dismay. I'm so disappointed in the direction my country seems to be heading. We've been an inclusive society for all of my life and longer, though the first immigrants breaking the White Australia policy found things pretty tough (and I'm not even talking about the Asian refugees of the 60s and 70s - I'm talking the Greek and Italians who came to Australia after WWII. Yep they are white but the wrong colour white - not the lily white skins of Poms who burned red in the fierce Australian sun).
We are turning into a society of haves and have nots (there's always been a bit of that but now the gap is widening), and I really don't know what to do about it. There's enough loud, racist and hating mouths that they can be heard over and above the moderate majority of the population, and it seems some of them are now in government. I didn't vote at the last election - being out of the country means I don't have to vote (voting is compulsory in Australia but if you are out of the country you may not have the means to get and return a postal vote in time). My vote would not have changed the way my electorate voted anyway. I'm on GetUp!'s email list, I add my name to petitions and that probably means I'm on other watch lists, but well what am I meant to do? Sit back and see all I hold dear about my society turn into petty, mean, closed-mind gimme gimme gimmes, stuff you, I'm alright Jack, I'm better than you crap? I add my little voice to those that stand up for what we believe in. And surely if you've been reading for a while, you would know I'm a latte sipping leftie bleeding heart liberal (except I don't drink coffee or milk so leave out the latte thanks!).
I was raised with the idea of a "fair go" - giving everyone a chance. It is different to the American ideal of bootstrapping yourself because there isn't the implication of if you don't make it, you weren't working hard enough or you are dumb or stupid. Australians generally recognise that there isn't a level playing field, that some people have blind luck and others rotten luck, but everyone should be given the same opportunities, a decent (free) education, low cost/free medical care, be able to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads even if things have gone down the crapper, that sort of thing. It doesn't always work and our indigenous population mostly isn't even on that playing field but it is something to strive towards. What we have, we share. We look after each other and we look after others the best we can too.
We took thousands of boat people in and gave them a home in the 60s and 70s. The suburb next to mine at home was a major migrant intake point, the place where the newcomers learned English and how to survive in this strange new place. They bought homes there and built businesses and sent their children to Australian schools and now their grandchildren are growing up Aussie, just like the kids and grandkids and great-grandkids of the Greeks and Italians from the 50s did, as did the descendants of the English who settled here. They helped make Australia what it is, along with the government policy of the day of multicultural Australia.
But now we treat boat people like rubbish, flotsam. I find it sad that my government's actions may be breaking the Geneva Convention. What we have we'll keep for us. We're alright, Jack, but you can nick off back to wherever you came from. We don't want your type here. There's not enough to share. At the very same time we have a government that wants to keep the economy growing growing growing and the population to keep growing (even though we probably cannot sustain a population that is heading for 25 million in our vast, dry land) to keep driving the economy.
I guess I'm a bit sad about broken dreams. Many of the things that I hold dear probably never really existed. They're sorta like the idea of Truth, Justice and the American Way and about as real as Superman. It's a nostalgia for a place that probably never was, but it is what I'd like to believe my country could be.
|This is a place that I'll do a lot of sitting|
over the next while.
Apart from that, life continues. We've had a few sunny days again, which has been good to recharge the old solar batteries - I need sun like flowers need both sun and rain. It'll be back to winter blahs again this week though and it might even get cold enough to snow in a week or so, but we'll wait and see. It better not get too cold - I've just planted a bunch of what we used to call polyanthus but are really called primulas along the front path way. I'll have to whip out and get some of that mesh stuff to cover the plants with if it looks like being frosty for long. I'm just desperate for Spring to get here. Less than two months now - by March we'll have lots of things starting to bloom, bulbs and stuff. They are already on the rise.
|Someone else's tulips|
I've been knitting like a madwoman on a new top for me. I spent two days just working out what colours to knit it in - it uses a lot of colours and stripes them in interesting ways. My first three choices weren't working, so I did quite a bit of frogging and starting again and frogging and starting again, but now I'm fairly satisfied with how it is going. Pics later when there's more to show.
|Nope, have this sideways pic. The deeper green|
was too lightweight for the aqua and white yarn,
so I'm using the blue/mauve with the aqua/white.
Our plans for the house are changing pretty much minute by minute. We are getting so much advice from so many quarters and every different source says "No, don't do that, this would be better" that we have no idea what to do. There's so many choices! We can't even get the garage done at the moment as we are waiting for the owners for next door to get back to us with permission to alter the garage. Why do they need to give permission? Because our garage exceeds the 35' from the centre of the alleyway rule by 1'8", and to change that portion that is over the 35' rule, we have to have an agreement with the next door neighbours, and they are overseas. If it was on the other side, we'd have the agreement done in a flash as they own the place and live in it. Ah bureaucracy, you gotta love it.
|The sun is moving northwards again.|
But we do have a nicely lit up during the day lounge room now. The two solatubes are in and they make a big difference. On sunny days they look like fluorescent lights and they throw a heap of light into the living room even on dull days.
|Solatube emitting light!|
Because I am knitting from stash, I was bad and bought some yarn to replace some of the stash. It is pretty pretty self-striping yarn. How could I resist a yarn called Vulcan, even if it is more the colours of the inferno than the other Vulcan, plus some other yarn that will be lovely to knit with too....
|Pretty pretty sideways yarn.|
So in a nutshell, life continues. We putter along, getting there eventually, even when we're not sure where there is ;-)
|The back deck comes through again.|