Monday, January 25, 2010

Cushions and Three More Things

Recently I have been the unworthy recipient of some awards.

From Julie at Being Ruby, a 5 Diamonds award.

From Jacqueline at Home, a Happy 101 award.

From James at Garvin Weasel, a Kreativ Blogger award.

Thank you all. In the interests of playing fair here is a little grab bag of things that make me happy\sad\inspire me\that may be vaguely interesting or that you might not already know. No kittens or puppies or flowers will appear in this post, even though these things all make me feel reasonably happy.

1. Cushion-mania

Like many others, I too have discovered the magical thrill of making my own cushion covers and thereby defeating wily over-priced cushion purveyors world wide.

(cushion made with Pakistani textile remnant)

(cushion made with an Amy Butler Midwestern Modern fabric for the green room)

(cushion for sunny lunches outside)

2. Sir Graham Berry

Does this man not have the most interesting, slightly ruthless yet elegantly dishevelled face? A man of Churchillan determination and persistence, born in London in 1822, the son of a victualler, he emigrated to Australia in 1852, set up a grocer shop in Prahran, 9 years later was a member of Parliament, first for East Melbourne, then Collingwood, then Geelong. He was premier of Victoria three times between 1875 and 1881.

A newspaper owner, protectionist and staunch adversary of the Legislative Assembly, at that time controlled by Victoria's land owning squatters (who owned most of Victoria's land), his actions as premier gave rise to class conflict, with massive torchlit processions. Some saw Berry as a radical, who sought to do away with legislative protections. Others as a man of the people who sought to defy the Assembly which 'robs the people of the gold in the soil'.

I mention him first because he is one of Victoria's leading early liberal lights and one of my favourite politicians and second because he is my great-great-great-great-great grandfather. Of course in the manner of families (mine is secretive - although aren't they all?) I only found this out about two weeks ago.

(Disclaimer: it is possible that half of Melbourne can claim Sir Graham as an ancestor. He had 20 children. No mean feat. But of course even more impressive for his two wives).

3. Invitations from a lost era

Well maybe not lost in the sense that WW1 destroyed the Edwardian era. But 1988 sure seems a long time ago.

I am an unsentimental nostalgist. Or should that be a disorganised hoarder? Actually I am so organised that we have a section in our filing cabinet for Lego instructions for every Lego item we own.

I have also kept every single invitation, postcard, letter, thank-you letter, birthday card, travel brochure, ticket, receipt, program, love letter, doomed first novel attempt I have ever created or received.

And these go back a long way:

(Now a fantastic architect so this invitation was very apt)

(1987 - note price of the evening - $32 including full bar)

(engraved invitations from 1988)

(relaunch of my favourite youthful haunt, the Redhead in Albert Park, in 1994)

4. Overeducation

I have three degrees, one in Fine Arts, a Bachelor of Laws and a Master of Laws.

My favourite judge ever is the incomparable Lord Denning, Master of the Rolls, Judge of the High Court and Privy Council in Britain, who died in 1999 at the age of 100. I am not alone in this of course. Every law student finds his judgements an oasis in the desert of verbosity so often seen in case law.

A man of succinctness and razor sharp intellect, he was a reformist lawyer who had no difficulty seeing right from wrong and worked hard to ensure the law remained relevant.

How can you not love someone who commenced a judgement thus:

''It happened on April 19, 1964. It was bluebell time in Kent'. (Hinz v Berry (1970) 2 QB 40)

During his time as a judge he made many significant changes to the common law including creating the right to recover for negligent misstatement, the principle that the state should have to prove that a war veteren's injury was not caused by service (previously the injured person had the burden of proving the cause), the right of a deserted wife to remain in the family home and many more.

This could be said to sum up his approach to change and reform in the law:

'What is the argument on the other side? Only this, that no case has been found in which it has been done before. That argument does not appeal to me in the least. If we never do anything which has not been done before, we shall never get anywhere. The law will stand whilst the rest of the world goes on, and that will be bad for both' (Packer v Packer [1953] 2 AER 127)


Engracia said...

Oh my husband and I have kept all invitations we have received and when we firsts started dating we discovered this titbit and went through our collections just to compare. It was hilarious to discover how many times our paths could have crossed in the past 20 years since we left school (he is a few years older)and yet we didn't till 7 years ago, finally at a party we were both invited to.
I love Lord Denning too, what a human being.

Millie said...

Congrats on your well-deserved Awards Jane (you are a worthy recipient, despite what you said!). A truly wonderful & eclectic list. MOTH met the first Mrs. MOTH at The Redhead. And I'm a Lord Denning groupie from way back. I wish I had the hoarding gene, I'd struggle to even find a spare of our own Wedding invitation if needed for evidence!
Millie ^_^

Devon said...

I cannot believe that you have all of these invitations. How unbelievably cool! I've started saving all of our christmas cards for the same reason--nostalgia is one of life's true treasures.

A lawyer eh? I knew we had more than just decorating and design in common!!

Laura said...

What a wonderful idea! I ought to start holding onto those things...I've thrown out some beautiful invitations over the years...I love your choice of judge by the way. I know nothing about him, but having dipped my toe into case law from time to time for work, and having read some decisions along the way, I've discovered that succinctness is a rare yet beautiful quality to have in a judge!

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Jane
Well I too think you are quite deserving in all your awards... Always something of interest and education over here Jane.. In fact today's post I get to learn about Sir Graham Berry [he does have creepy eyes] and Lord Denning who seems to have struck a blow for the unheard and unwanted.. good for him..

Well I am a bit of hoarder too.. but every now and then just get crazy and throw everything.. and always live to regret it.. I love your saved memories.. they are perfect...

Have a great day... today and tomorrow celebrating Australia Day!! xx Julie

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Hi Jane,
Lord Denning was quite a controversial figure here in the U.K. and it was a shame that his downfall was due to his prejudices(not the best side to his character).
My dad kept every piece of memorabilia that he ever laid his hands on and my sister and I are the same. Over the years, though, I have cleared some of them, as it just takes over and fills every drawer and cupboard.
It is great that you have found a new ancestor...perhaps you could start doing your family tree.My husband has traced his family back to Henry V111. XXXX

Mise said...

How do you store everything, Jane? You must have a lot of boxes or filing-cabinets. I'm so impressed that you've kept every receipt. I'm not good at hoarding but I do have all my credit card statements ever since I got a card, as they speak to me so much of my lifestyle and social life. And Lord Denning is wonderful.

Mise said...

By the way, I too have three degrees (though in mathematics rather than law) - would you be interested in founding a hugely successful all-female soul band with me? It would give us a chance to dress up a bit.

Elaine Prunty said...

gosh jane , all this AND the 'appellation'
Snuggles Turnbull you are a very lucky woman indeed
thank you for sharing

brismod said...

You are so interesting...but that was evident with your excellent choice of topics! I pray you don't have a genetic predisposition to your great-great-great-great-great grandfather's facial hair...

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Happy Australia Day Jane!!
xx julie

pve design said...

What about framing those fine invites arranged and hung next to all your awards! I love vintage invites and photos and awards to reflect back on.

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