5 years ago.
Crumpled in the hallway, lowest point of the narrow, brick-baked over-4 days heat cheap terrace house.
Magnetic to a chunking desk fan blowing damp air through an old towel on to my still body.
Broiling, gasping and just waiting, begging, for the inevitable cool change to crash through.
Tuning the battery radio to news, and listening through the horror of the streaming, endless and unfolding updates.
Wandong, Marysville, Callignee, Flowerdale.
Names, bodies, towns and lives.
Weeping quietly there in the hallway- heat, tears and sweat.
5 years ago.
Funny how something as small as a punctured tyre can change the course of your night.
When we got off the train to ride home, husband had a flat tyre. Whether it was ‘Grumpy Man’ who parks his bike ruefully next to us taking his lame vengeance on us for ‘stealing’ his prime park, or a rogue nail wrong way up on the road, we’ll never know, but it sure as heck was flat.
And I was hungry. Real hungry. And it was hot.
So instead of walking the bikes home, and cooking something when we got there, we punctuated the journey with a pit stop at the pub.
Now, when I say this is an old fashioned Australian pub, shy of shotguns leaning on the front fence and roo-bars on all the utes, its’ as stereotypically old fashioned Arstraaaylian as you get.
Which is why, when we, with our Danish designer bikes, short hair on a girl dear god, and dove grey pinstripe suit on a man, rocked up, the locals thought it a bit of a novelty.
We strutted in past the bar with an air of false-belonging, and we gingerly sat down in the bistro section and we waited. And we soaked it all in. The red and white check tablecloths, wilting plastic geraniums, cow hides pinned to the walls, beer stained carpet underfoot, heatstruck blowflies banging their heads against the glass windows, and we kinda for a moment felt like we were in Pulp Fiction.
The waitress sauntered over in her tootighttooshortthenagainIwouldifIhadherlegs dress and gave us our menus.
Husband lost the telepathic coin-toss and went to the bar for the first round. I fanned myself with the menu, smiled into space, and listened to the only other customers debate who their favourite contestant on The Biggest Looser is.
Twenty minutes later, he returned from the bar…with a big grin and the statement ‘they’re all lovely’. He’d managed to not only make friends with the publican, but also the local blokes, one of who was still the ‘newbie’ after 10 years.
We sat, and ate our steak and parma, and wondered if this place would be our new local. They all waved us goodbye on the way out to wheel the bikes back.I think it may just be.
Our really nice knife broke. One of two big, wide, heavy but not cumbersome, knives was dropped at a party and it broke. It snapped, steel on solid tile, right at the handle. A clean break and snap, as if it were dark chocolate and not a knife with a lifetime warranty.
So, even with it being over 3 years old, I was pretty sure I had the receipt burried somewhere in a folder.
Turns out I didn’t, but I found many other things.
A wildlife release-to-care form. Smeared in tear-stained shakes, as I handed over the shocked, panting and crumpled parrot wrapped in my very best winter scarf. I found him lying on the tram tracks in Nicholson st, scooped him up and rode with him squaking qiueitly in my lap on the tram, and then in a cab urgently through the back streets to the wildlife care centre when his brown eyes looked at me as though he just wasn’t going to make it through.
My $45 parrot probably didn’t make it, but he sure departed life in a pretty dramatic way.
I like cleaning.
More to the point, I like things to be clean.
I like waking up and padding over to the kitchen to boil the green kettle and make the brown tea, when there aren’t itty bitty little shards of toast rind sticking to my socks and I can see out the window without tilting my head to see past the grime.
Below are some things I have recently learnt about making what was a very dirty house in the country into a very clean (bleach scented) house in the country.
- tiles that initially appear blue in parts, are often blue in entirety, when scrubbed on hands and knees by a husband with a large bottle of Jiff and a bucket of hot water.
- the suckedupinsidethefilterbag contents of your vacuum cleaner will change from containing fine grey urban inner-city smog dust, to a thick soup of random bits of twigs, spiders, ants, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, ants eating spiders. Tasty.
- you will consider it a success when you can say that only one type of arachnid dropped on your head from a blind or ceiling fan. Well, that you noticed, anyway.
- Bunnings will become your favourite store and you will spend a ludicrous sum of money on drawer sachets, outdoor and indoor bug spray, and carpet beetle killer potions. And your friends will start buying you bulk boxes of Pine o Clean wipes from Costco. And you will think this is the most fantastic gift ever.
Anyway, the journey continues.
At least by the time my first Ballan CWA branch meeting comes around, my oven will be clean enough to bake scones in!
Ears are funny things. They’re hard to close.
On the train today, someone’s life story seeped in to mine.
He sat behind me and I imagined his face, as he talked to the pro-bono lawyer of growing up on a farm outside Ballarat.
Of working, unpaid, everyday from age 7-17 as labour on the farm, helping his dad crotch sheep, harvest and keep the lot of them hoping and wishing and waiting for things to turn around.
Of 40 more years of grinding pattern, and then escaping back to the familiar in an unfamilar place. Labouring on farms in New Zealand, sending money home, breaking a knee falling down a weathered hill side slicked with the gnarled crevasses dug by vertical cow’s hooves, clinging on to the side of rolling green mountain cliffs in the winter.
Of then returning home to his widow-mother’s farm, to find the title changed in his absence and to be beaten in the face by his own ice-addicted brother over a dispute about the one remaining tractor not bound up in a legal file in an office in the city.
And then having both arms, majority bones, to a pulp, along with the other leg, face and memory-loss in an industrial accident a year later. 3 weeks in intensive, 3 months in rehab. 57 years a battle.
And then, of now finding himself on 7:52 train to the city courts, with lawyer in tow to fight the last fight he has wheezing in him.
Not sure who the winner will be, but my ears wish him the luck he never had.
So I’m back. Back in the swing of things.
This time is different though. No more selfies, vintage dress lust and vapid open-mouthed side-tilting-stares.
As much as my ego can help it, that is.
Here will be attempted a space for more genuine things and for cataloguing change, rather than glorifying it though old fabric.
Things that matter now. Like sunsets, good friends, sunrises, optimism, and making a nest of our own in a new tree in a small townlet called Ballan.
The last year has been big, and we still have a long way to go.
We’ve married, bought a house and moved in to it.
Along with a room full of Stuff. Stuff that will be slowly but surely sold off, on ebay, etsy, at the Camberwell and Ballan markets.
And then we can clear space for new Moments, and not more Stuff.
Here’s to minimalism of materialism, and maximalism of experiencialism.
if it isn’t a word, it should be.
|white leather 1950s sandals. Have been worn, but were recently resoled and reheeled and have not been worn since.||width outside of the bridge part:8cm||inside sole:25.5cm.||Heel:7cm|
|black suede, leather and velvet leona edmiston shoes. 1940′s styling.||width outside of bridge part: 7.5cm||inside sole: 25.5cm||Heel: 11cm.Front Platform: 2.5cm|
|red and white patent leather slingback Fiorrucci shoes- have been worn twice – come in original box.||width outside of the bridge part:8.5cm||inside sole: 25cm. Outside sole:20.5cm||Heel:9cm|
1. White glomesh bag with gold trim and detachable strap.
Hangs at 64cm from shoulder to base
Depth: 14.5cm. Width: 28.5cm
2. Brown lizzard skin bag with bakelite clasp (no strap)
Hangs at 52cm from shoulder to base
Depth: 18cm. Width: 27cm
3. Red leather convertible bag.
Hangs at 57cm from shoulder to base
Depth: 24cm. Width: 31cm
Charcoal wool 1960′s suit with velvet trim and coated buttons. Really soft wool with a beautiful pink silk lining.
Skirt waist: 35cm. Jacket waist at pockets: 39cms. Bust jacket: 45.5 cms. Skirt hips: at zips end: 47cm. Jacket at base: 45cm. Skirt length: 69cm. Jacket length: 50cm. Arm length: 59cms.
Green, black and white wrap around tie skirt made out of vintage 50′s cotton by a Melbourne Designer. Trimmed with green tie.
Waist (keep in mind this is a wrap around and will fit any waist): 38cms. Hips (taken 20cms down the skirt): 48cm, Length: 64cms.
1. Lilli Ann 40′s silk jacket. The pictures really don’t do this one justice. The silk is the most iridescent gold shimmery loveliness…Divine. Is missing one button but a new one could be made up with same fabric from hem, or all replaced.
Waist: 35 cm, Hip: 44cms, Bust: 48cms, Length: 59cms, Arm length: 59cms. All measurements taken flat.
2. Lilli Ann 40′s silk/mohair blend suit. Has one small stain on front, have not tried to get removed. Again, pics don’t do it justice, it is a pale silvery teal blue gunmetal kinda colour.
All measurements taken flat.
Skirt Waist: 34cm, Skirt Hip: 48cms, Jacket Bust: 48cms, Jacket Waist: 37cms, Skirt length: 77cms, Jacket length: 63cms.
First set of items for sale. (yay!)
These will all go on ebay and etsy, unless sold prior. Please contact me for prices, or make an offer!
1. 1940′s grey silk and wool patterned riding jacket with black velvet trim and glass buttons. Pink/beige silk lining and hip swag.
Waist: 37 cm, Bust: 45 cm, Hip: 43.5, Length: 58.5, Arm length: 30cm (all to be doubled)
2. Beige/oatmeal linen 40′s suit with lucite buttons and the most amazing collar ever.
Jacket Bust: 45 cm, Hip on Jacket: 49cms, Skirt Length: 68cms, Jacket length: 56cms (all to be doubled)
3. Black and white velvet trimmed 60′s cotton weave (?) suit.
Jacket Bust: 48 cm, Hip on Jacket at base: 47cms, Skirt Length: 57.5, Skirt waist: 34cms, Jacket length 52cms, (all to be doubled)
you know what?
maybe I’m not still here.
I don’t want to buy anything new or old, don’t want to take vain pictures of what I wear, and sure as heck don’t want to keep making the assumption anyone cares.
I was talking to a friend some time back about having possibly ‘cured’ myself of years of a quietly increasing (and normalising) need to buy pretty things.
To possess, care for and display beautiful 50’s satin cocktail dresses, feathered 30’s hats, shiny leather handbags, glorious coloured shoes, soft gloves and scarves… THINGS.
A cure coming from a range of sources, but primarily a realisation that like any other obsessive addiction, there is no destination.
It doesn’t stop anywhere.
This cure is a good thing.
Sure, I still gasp when looking at the new Dior offerings, or my favourite Etsy stores, but I just don’t need it anymore.
Recently, I was invited to assess an enormous pile of vintage clothing.
Rooms full of vintage clothing.
A life full of objects.
Belonging to a lady who had it all.
Whatever she saw, and liked, she had the capability to buy. And buy she did. 10 gloves, all in the same style, different colours, just because she could (I thought).
No, it was because she didn’t know how not to.
She couldn’t leave it alone.
She needed it.
She needed to own 4 harlequin jumpsuits in sizes 6-16 when she herself was a size 12.
She needed to own the pretty 60’s dresses with their tags intact. She needed to own them, but never wore them.
Where once I would have done almost anything to have been that lady, have that lifestyle and leave that legacy of velvet, lace and elegance, it now has started to scare me.
I have enough things.
I have more than enough.
This section of the blog will go on hold for a while.
I’ll start writing again.
Start putting beauty in to things, rather than just capturing what is there.
Investing in people, not clothes.
I’m not wealthy enough to do both properly.
80′s does 50′s blue and purple stained-glass cotton 50′s dress.
Red belt, gifted.
Wooden green snake-skin bangles, gifted.
This was an outfit to cure a craving for wearing a petticoat in winter. Worn with stockings and a singlet under.
Amazing bright kittenbow shirt, made by the very talented Kitty.
they go back to their full time carer on Sunday.
email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
I don’t really know where to start.
A lady who was a hoarder.
Melbourne in the 50′s.
Mostly unworn, some with tags on.
All for sale.
Email brandnewarmour(at)gmail.com for measurements and prices.
They need new homes. They deserve good ones.
No pictures could do this justice. It’s phenomenal. Heavy red velvet, with a scooped neckline, pleating at either side 3/4 way down the front, bow at the waist. It is just superb.
Late 50′s chocolate brown lace beaded cocktail dress, red and white houndstooth suit jacket (has matching skirt), with ribbon at sleeves and neck, double buttons. Pale blue striped 60′s jacket with bows.
Sublime pale turquoisey blue silk 50′s ballgown with a pleated cross over bust, and silver embroidery.
Emerald green linen a-line skirt with self-covered belt and pleats at the front.
Pink and white harlequin print scooter dress with white collar, white front and double buttons. Pink, blue and green silk/dacron scooter dress.
Black and bright floral halterneck poly late 60′s dress.
Red and white silkish-poly a-line 60′s dress with great collar, bow at neckline and self-covered belt.
Black velvet a line 60′s dress with pink bow at Empire waist line, with tags on.
Creme glomesh bag, pink velvet and beaded hat, black hat with bows and netting, yellow silk hat with flowers, orange, yellow and blue gloves (all unworn with tags on), beaded and diamante clip on earrings. Pink, purple and gold necklace and clip-on earring set, blue and silver necklace and earring set, green stone and gold screw on earring set.
Pale yellow embroidered soft linen late 40′s day dress with belt and pleating. Orange cotton 50′s dress with ruched waistline and plastic buttons, 3/4 sleeves.
Orange, pink and yellow paisley 50′s dress with asymetrical and cut-in bustline, belt and pleating.
Glorious pink and grey polished cotton 50′s dress with gathered 3/4 sleeves, square neckline and such a full skirt.
Blue, white and pink 50′s dress with great buttoned asymetrical bust, and full skirt.
40′s cotton (?) blue and pink floral dress with lovely detailing.
Here’s me. In spearmint long sleeved jumper with creme cardigan, and a silk scarf.
And then here’s me now – smug and oh so happy with the addition of THE most remarkable blue teal wool 40′s coat. Aha. You heard it. How could anyone be less than ecstatic in this coat, with its fabric covered buttons, high and deep pockets and perfect silver lining. Oh, I die.
The skirt – blue silk German thingy. It had the best silver acorns on it. They’re now in a drawer.
You can’t see it that well here, but there are the most amazingly huge shoulders. Huge football player shoulders. Ah. Ok, I’m off to drool on it now.