I'm going to start on the positives from this week. 

Firstly, here is a magnolia blossom blooming on the tree in the front garden. Usually, we only have flowers around August/ early September during the depths of Winter, but it put out two this week for some strange reason. I have no idea why, it has been hot here for weeks, as you can see by the leaves which are always burnt off by this time of year and make me long for Autumn when they drop and the tree looks less half dead (it isn't, it's perfectly healthy).


I managed to get to one talk at Writer's Week this week - I went on Wednesday to a talk on The Raj, with Anne de Courcy and Harry Ricketts. Anne has written many books on Social history from the beginning of the 20th Century, and I've read a couple (The Viceroy's Daughters, about the Curzon sisters, and 1939 - The Last Season). She's also written one about Diana Mosley (formerly Mittford), and her latest The Fishing Fleet - husband hunting in the Raj was what she was primarily talking about. Harry Ricketts had written a biography about Rudyard Kipling, and was very knowledgeable about India as well. It was quite a fascinating talk about the apartheid in India under the British, the strict stratas of society and the formal and pampered existence there, and about the way women were sent out to India to find husbands after two seasons in London - they were told not to come home without one. The pressure!

In much the same way, My husband's Great- Aunt was sent from Adelaide to London in the 1930's to find a husband, and was presented at Court etc. She didn't succeed, and returned home after 2 years. Her mother apparently refused to go to the docks to welcome her home as she was so furious, and the following season she was sent to India, where she did meet an appropriate groom, and had a rather disastrous marriage. Thank goodness times have changed.

blue skies and burnt grass and the tents under the palm trees for Writers Week


It was a rather hot day (36C), but the event is very well run, and absolutely running at full steam. I managed to find a seat in the shade and there were so many interesting talks and authors during the week - I only wish I could have gone to more. I'm adding The Fishing Fleet to my reading list.... once I finish War and Peace that is!

Last night I went to the theatre to see one of the big Adelaide Festival imports One Man, Two Guv'nors, with an award winning British cast. Hands down the most hilarious theatre production I've been to in a long time. I went with my friend S. (Mr AV got back from New York yesterday afternoon and was too jet lagged to go with me), and we both laughed through the whole thing. There is lots of slapstick (good slapstick - the actors are excellent), a little bit of audience participation in a very clever way, and a funny plot line based around the classic The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldini. I Highly recommend it - it's now touring Australia, so check to see if its on near you - definitely worth going to see, it was a fantastic night out. Part of the entertainment included a 4 piece band, who played during set changes and before the play started. They started off playing Buddy Holly style music, then it switched to more Beatles style (the play is set in 1963). Brilliant fun.


I wore this favourite Lela Rose dress (old picture, sorry, didn't have time to do a selfie before leaving!)


I picked up some wallpaper samples for the powder room, naturally they didn't manage to get hold of the charcoal that was my primary interest - but isn't it beautiful? It's seagrass with an overprint of the Hothouse flowers pattern. It's always so hard to get samples in Australia!!


And here is a salad made up with the roast vegetables I showed a picture of last week. I ate this a couple of times this week for dinner or lunch. I added avocado and rocket and a dollop of pesto to the roast vegetables.


 Now for the disappointments. No action on the demolition of the back of the house. The building permit was approved on Friday afternoon (at last, this Inspector is seriously snail like in giving a fairly straightforward approval), so they are starting Tuesday. As we have to have some asbestos removed, not much will happen this week visually, but it will make me feel better that something is happening if they get the asbestos out by the end of the week (it's in the vinyl floor tiles - quite common in the 60's so if you are removing old vinyl, always have it checked).

The other disappointments involve shopping - the Shopping Gods were not smiling on me the week before last on the Internet. Not only did I manage to buy chargers instead of dinner plates as detailed in my blog post, but I bought a lovely skirt from the Outnet's Oscar de la Renta sale, and it was too small. I could zip it up, but I couldn't sit in it, so that was a slight problem. It's gone back, but it kind of squashed my mood somewhat. It was so pretty!


I did do a bit of Internet shopping this week to make up for my lonely nights without Mr AV..... and my busy days in the company of people aged 7 and under. The only problem with this is that he is now home and will watch the parade of delivery men dropping off parcels this week. Fingers crossed these things fit and I'm not having to send them back.

Hopefully there will be a busy week of builders this week. I don't mind living in a horrible mess as long as I can see progress, so no progress this week and squashed into the front of the house hasn't been good for the mood.

Hope you had a good week. xx


22 comments:

  1. I too am disappointed! I let slip my future baby name to my loud mouth sister. My magnolias had all its leaves burnt from the heat but has recovered and is flowering too. I recently waited 2.5 months for fabric and wallpaper samples only for the order to be cancelled and them saying oh well. At least I have a bit of renovation progress. My fireplace is moving along nicely. Hoping it will be complete before the baby comes. I also have asbestos in vinyl tiles in my kitchen. I love your kitchen renovation plans! Heavrn ! Can't wait to see the progress.

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    1. I have a loud mouthed sister too Laura, so I feel for you on the baby name front! That's very frustrating with the samples.... I was pretty annoyed about the samples, seems we're at the end of the world and they can't be bothered with samples. Glad to hear the fireplace is moving along - it will look beautiful once its finished. And yes, I can't wait to see some progress too on my place!! xx

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  2. Viceroy's daughters is one of my favourite books EVER!!!!! Luffed the Oscar stuff but all far too pensive xxx

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    1. We went to Keddleston Hall in Derbyshire 14 years ago, you should see the Vicerines gowns which are on display - the most stunning beading and embroidery completely covering them. So, so beautiful.

      The Oscar stuff was quite expensive..... although the boxes coming this week contain some more items from the sale. Couldn't resist the Ikat dress and the one with roses on navy background. Naughty me! Hopefully they fit though. I seem to be slightly between sizes, which makes things difficult, either too big or too small. xx

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  3. Those talks sound so interesting - love going to talks nowadays over movies.

    I hope that all the little mishaps are made up for in the building department.

    Plus, you are gonna think I am nuts but the one astrological thing I am sort of mindful of is mercury retrograde where this sort of things happen. But I don't take too seriously as I decided to defy it and go traveling...!

    But that skirt is very cheery.

    Good luck on the builders! Xx

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    1. I don't get to the movies terribly often - too many bad movies for a start, and too many other things I'd prefer to go to when I do get a babysitter. That's funny re mercury... I don't really follow my astrological sign, but I'm happy to blame the plates, skirt and building progress on that! xx

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  4. shame about the skirt! your salad looks lovely!

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    1. the salad was delish - highly recommend that combo! xx

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  5. Sorry to hear about the lows this week... so annoying about the skirt - I find that so many times I seem to be between the sizes and the diffusion lines do tend to run a bit small for some reason. Perhaps it was good for my bank account that all the things I liked on the Oscar for Outnet sold out in the UK before I managed to sit down with my laptop and a cup of tea late afternoon on the first day. I hope that the other things you ordered fit perfectly! love love love the ikat dress!
    Love the cultural outings this week! x

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    1. I missed all the start of the sale too... but I then stalked the site a few days later as the returns dribbled in. I managed to get the skirt one size up, so it should fit ok, but the blue silk dress with the roses was a 2, like the skirt, so hopefully it isn't too tight on the waist or shoulders (I'm sure it will be just fine around the bust line!). The Ikat dress was a 4, so may need to be taken in. It was annoying as they said fits true to size. It was a fun week with the cultural things - love doing different things from the norm. xx

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  6. Talking of loud mouthed sisters , Im also a member of that club.

    The books about India in the time of the Raj sound fascinating , I havent delved into India though have read about Happy Valley in Kenya quite a bit..all pretty racy if you were part of the in crowd. Having re read The Secret History by Donna Tartt for about the third time am now dreaming of ancient Greece.

    Talking of husband hunting my grandfather's first cousin Patricia (from Sydney) married the Earl of Jersey sometime in the 1930s.. to my knowledge she is still alive, living in London and has never returned home for a visit .

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    1. I read "The Bolter" a month or so ago, which was all about Kenya and the Happy Valley. Have you read it? I didn't know much about India either, except from reading EM Forsters "A Passage to India" many, many years ago.
      How fascinating re your grandfather's cousin. I suppose she has assimilated nicely, and has absolutely no reason to ever want to come home. She was obviously much more successful on her hunt in London society than Mr AV's great Aunt (and grandmother, who did the same thing bar India then married his grandfather back in Adelaide). xx

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    2. Yes I've read the Bolter fascinating but rather sad .

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  7. Love the magnolia bloom Heidi. Kudos to you for braving the heat during Writers Week. It's very Adelaide-like weather in Melbourne at the moment, so I am hanging out for Thursday's cool change.
    I love that you are engaging in some retail therapy while Mr AV is away (phew...I'm not the only one who does this!). I spend most of my time trying to 'judge' when to wear something new so the Husband won't ask too many questions ;)
    Stay cool and goodluck with the builders this week!
    K x

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    1. Fingers crossed we are getting the cool change tomorrow - today has been horrific, like being in a fan forced oven. Fortunately Mr AV was in Sydney for work today, so didn't see the two parcels that arrived. Shall have to work out how to introduce them into rotation without too much attention. I tend to shop all at once. Can go weeks and weeks and then get three things in one week. xx

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  8. Dear Heidi
    Yesterday on Canberra's 100th we visited the Burley Griffin exhibition at the National Library and I thought how interested you'd have been to see it. We didn't allow enough time but it was fascinating: their training and history, especially hers, as one of the first women architects. Their time with Frank Lloyd Wright,etc. And the curious little documentary featuring the housing development at Castlecrag - which also includes ballet dancers and a mock kidnapping by sheiks!! Quite bizarre.
    When I thought about what you wrote on the "fishing fleet" I recalled our time in Cambridge in the late 60s early 70s. There were quite a few Lords kicking around in those days - so maybe the modern fishing fleet should have called into port there. I worked with one and we became friends over coffees, both complaining about our jobs and telling jokes and stories to brighten the day. He subsequently succeeded to his father's title and has been an Earl for years. He wasn't married back then but I'd already met the love of my life, which is why I was in Cambridge in the first place. My best friend (a neighbour) was the grand-daughter of a duke (but very modest and low key and I only discovered this years later) and another good friend (another neighbour) was the son of a well known peer. So there were lots around. Even Prince Charles was at Cambridge in those days. But most people gave him quite a wide berth as they didn't want to be thought attempting to suck up to him. Our friend (above) said one day he was really late for a lecture and saw that in a very full room there were only a few seats vacant, in one of the front rows, so he dashed in. Then realised he'd sat himself next to PC. He kept referring to him in those days as timber top. Best wishes, Pamela

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    1. I read quite a bit in the weekend papers about Canberra, and of course we were taught about the planning at Uni. I read a a very interesting book "Loving Frank" by Nancy Horan about the woman that ran off with Frank Lloyd Wright (and was subsequently murdered at his home, along with her children). It doesn't really paint the most flattering portrait of him, and of course goes into a bit about his working relationships with Burley Griffin and Marion as well. Worth reading if you haven't - a very interesting book (it's fiction based on facts).
      Your time in Cambridge sounds like you were in with the right set! We just hung out with other Aussies/ Canadians etc (when I was up on weekends from London that is to see Mr AV). Not sure there were too many peers hanging around, perhaps more in the undergrad crowd. I did meet a few in London through my work, but they weren't terribly nice people! xx

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    2. Heidi
      Not sure about the right set, but there were amazing people around, some quite zany. For a time we shared a house with several people as husband (by then) was post-grad and one of our housemates had a boyfriend who was a Footlights star. Which is how we got to meet and dine sometimes with Clive James. Our friend - and husband's best man - had also been Clive's best man.

      It was usually just crazy students together - I remember fondu parties (the rage just then) when the Spanish post grads would bring along best Spanish wines and we'd all be poured into a van at the end - and many other mad parties and May balls and bumps. We had a few Aussie friends but mostly we mixed with the Brits and the other foreign students. Though husband did generally play in the annual cricket and Aussie rules matches in the Cambridge team against the Aussies at Oxford. As for peers, like everybody else, there were good and bad ones. We never ever took their titles seriously and because we were Aussies they were fine with that, at least in student days. Much later as part of work I got to meet (and at least with one or two, to know fairly well) a small bunch of them and we seemed to get along well. Probably the fact that I'd lived in Cambridge and, as an Aussie wasn't snowed by their titles, made a difference.

      Have seen a few documentaries about Lloyd Wright and his life. Agree, he doesn't sound very simpatico - or honourable. I read or saw somewhere that he even dictated the colours his first wife could wear as they were not allowed to clash with the interiors he'd designed. Think she mostly had to wear brown. Minor compared with his other flaws and peccadillos, but still!! However, I love a lot of his buildings and would die to see Fallingwater! Envy a friend who's off in May on an architectural and art tour of US: Chicago, Washington, New York etc, particularly doing FLW. Tks for book tip. Best wishes, Pamela

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    3. Clive James was a big presence in town when Mr AV was there. An Australian friend of ours knocked on his door, introduced herself and he invited her around for a BBQ one Sunday! Mr AV played in the Oxford v Cambridge AFL game too. I watched, and have never been so cold in my life. It was 0 degrees, on the fields at the Backs, with an icy Arctic wind whistling across the Fens. We went to a lot of Bops at other colleges and the May Balls of course. Lloyd Wright was a fairly typical character for a "great architect". Flawed genius type! It's a good book to put on your list. xx

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    4. Remember that icy wind too - stomping up and down beside the field with my feet frozen in my boots! They used to say that Cambridge was in the path of the wind from the Siberian Arctic, or wherever. There were no mountains to block its path and it blew along the Urals - I think that was the story. Certainly it often felt like it. How interesting that your hubby also played in the Cambridge Aussie team! Clive went on to become a real celebrity but wasn't quite so well known back in our day there. Was then very tied up with Footlights which was really his only claim to fame at that time. Their performances were really brilliantly zany - such talented people. Did you ever see one of his Footlights productions? Best wishes, Pamela

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  9. I think this ridiculous weather is making everybody cranky - so I am very impressed that you still went to the writer's festival talks. Always brilliant, going to stuff like that - great to get some new perspectives on things. We are struggling through the heat, and am not going to quite as much as we would like with the various festivals on at the moment. And how lovely to have magnolias now. They are such a fabulous scent that they are welcome any time of the year - a lovely prize for surviving this heat! xx

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    1. The heat at night is the worst - 26C being a minimum temp is ridiculous night after night! No relief (thank God we have air con). And yes, it does mean I don't feel so energetic to get out and do things which is sad as there is so much on (why Adelaide packs everything into one month, and the rest of the year is bare is beyond me though!!) The magnolias didn't like the heat either - they were a one day wonder sadly! xx

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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