Sunday, 16 November 2014

Some R&R

After finishing up with my Year 12s and their exam last week, I spent Friday evening and most of Saturday in the company of my uncle and aunt on the Mornington Peninsula. 

I enjoyed a relaxation massage at the Peninsula Hot Springs courtesy of a gift voucher from last Christmas - a highly recommendable gift!  Then I meandered down to Sorrento where I wiled away some time in one of my most favourite bookshops - The Antipodes.  Normally I always come away with a book.  Today it was a collection of non-literary items - wrapping paper, a bookmark and handmade Christmas decorations.

I stopped at Sorrento ocean beach to soak up some sea air before returning home.  It was surprisingly temperate and despite the cloud cover, provided a peaceful view.

Whilst I know next to nothing about native coastal plants, it did seem that Spring had made her presence known on the beach too.  I may have captured images of weeds in bloom, rather than native plants, but they still caught my eye with their colour and vibrancy.

If you know the names of these plants (weeds?!), feel free to let me know.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Students vs Shakespeare

Whenever I mark text responses essays at the end of our study of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, I am always gifted with some delightful sentences where a perfectly capable student has lost control of their syntax or their word choice has created a rather amusing alternative.

Today's corker was in response to a question about the complexity of the tragedy.

'Shakespeare put many unfortunate events that did not have to happen to increase the complexion of the tragedy.'

Bless.  I always thought the whole tragedy of 'Romeo and Juliet' had a poxy complexion too. 

Friday, 7 November 2014

Oh the horror, Katie Melua!

Something has happened to Katie Melua.  It made me gasp aloud when I scanned the headline and my poor Year 8s, who were dutifully completing a test at the time, thought something bad had happened to me.

No, kidlets.  Something bad has happened to Katie Melua. 

It is something I feared as a child but as I grew older dismissed as VERY UNLIKELY TO EVER HAPPEN.

But it has happened.

Oh the horror!

Has this happened to you?  
 Do you know someone it has happened to? 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Looking forward

I have been reading Jodi’s new house, new garden post on her gorgeous blog Practising Simplicity, and feeling excitement stir as I will shortly be moving house and am so looking forward to getting to know my new garden.

We bought the house earlier in the year when winter had well and truly drawn her cold, grey cloak over the garden.  I remember briefly exploring the un-landscaped backyard, and noticing a couple of evergreen trees and some patchy grass – but what held my interest were some greyish-barked trees that looked as if they might be of the fruiting variety (!).  Hard to tell when you’re not an expert. 

If they are fruit trees, they will stay.  Even if some of them are in awkward spots in the ‘lawn’.  The ‘lawn’ will have to be re-thought anyway and why remove trees that give something back?

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

‘The Whitlam touch is on us all’

Graham Freudenberg, Whitlam’s speechwriter and long-term friend, spoke these words today at the great man’s funeral.  He was farewelled at Sydney Town Hall by many.  As well as Freudenberg, Cate Blanchett, Noel Pearson, John Faulkner and son Tony Whitlam delivered speeches with the ceremony being presided over by Kerry O’Brien.

We have much to be grateful for when we think of Whitlam and all that he did for this nation.  I don’t pretend that he got everything right, nor do I pretend he wasn’t flawed, but I want to thank him for the inexhaustible list of changes he brought which continue to shape the lives Australians live today.

I thank him for not avoiding controversy when it was necessary for improving the lives of Australians.

I thank him for causing a review of how the nation viewed and treated its women.

I thank him for beginning the journey towards enshrining women’s right to equal pay.

I thank him for establishing support for single mothers and helping to eradicate the stigma these women endured.

I thank him for the fault free divorce, allowing women - and men - dignity in their exists from their marriages.

I thank him for the abolition of conscription. 

I thank him for lowering the minimum voting age to 18. 

I thank him for pouring the red earth into Vincent Lingiarri’s hands.

We are all beneficiaries of Whitlam and his irrepressible crusade for equality and opportunity.  I shudder to think what kind of Australia we would be living in today without Whitlam’s touch. 

There were some ministers in attendance at the funeral today who I bloody well hope were listening.  We don’t want to return to the Australia that existed before Whitlam.

Thank you, Mr Gough Whitlam, for all that you gave us.

Monday, 3 November 2014

A space of one's own

I have been pondering beginning a blog for some time now.  I have hesitated because although I am a fervent reader of many blogs, I have wondered whether I should inflict my thoughts and opinions on others.  I struggle with most talk back sessions on radio largely because many who call in want to blurt their opinion to the world.  Isn't blogging a little bit like blurting one's opinion at the world? 
I did ask myself why I wanted to contribute to the internet’s vast collection of blogs.  And the answer was a selfish one: I need to write and I need some space.

I am an English teacher who loves to write. I have been struggling this year with feelings of frustration about the fact that all I seem to be writing are sample paragraphs, emails to colleagues, updates to parents and endless (endless!) comments on student work.  Whilst all are worthy, they do not give the magic zing that writing for oneself does.  I'm a bit rusty; it could take awhile before I remember how to write for myself.

I can't say what to expect on this blog because I do not know myself.   I won't make any promises.  But let's enjoy the process.  I think that might be where the magic lies.
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