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34 responses to “Lazy Sunday”

  1. Mahaut1329

    I was very fortunate in attending a musical evening at All Saints church in Canberra. This church started life as the station at Rookwood cemetery in Sydney. When no longer needed there it was brought bit by bit the Canberra. We listened to the ANU choral society sing a range of composers including Vaughan Williams and Saint Saēns. I had great pleasure in listening the two accompanying organs. We don’t hear enough organ music theses days. When one experiences the beauty of churches and the sublime music, it is easy to comprehend why these ceremonies played such an important part in the lives of our ancestors.

  2. paul burns

    Am now reading the Select Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.
    After the first few pages it reads like an 18c thriller or something. Remarkable, and great fun.

  3. Mahaut1329

    Paul Burns. That sounds like lots of fun. Did she get caught up in the French Revolution?

  4. Mindy

    Discovered that the call sign for ‘Don’t move there is a 4 foot brown snake in the grass right in front of you’ at our place is “ooooh shit snake!”. The snake has of course made itself at home in the long grass around the tank which I had been going to whippersnip into submission this afternoon.

  5. paul burns

    Too early. (1689-1762). She was the wife of the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, from whence she brought smallpox inoculation back to England. She eloped with her husband some years earlier (her account of that reads like something out of Clarissa almost). After Constantinople she returned to England after which she traveled around Europe, finally settling in Avignon, then in North Italy, Venice and Padua. She was a friend (for a while) of Alexander Pope, an accomplished poet, linguist and translator in her own right. Probably lots more. At the moment I’m reading her letters from Constantinople.

  6. Su

    Good luck with the gardening Mindy–nice long boots? Yesterday morning I saw a Pale Headed snake on the ground, which is very strange as they are almost exclusively arboreal and nocturnal. It may have been hanging around the water dishes I’m leaving out for the wildlife, or ferreting around in the potted citrus for some eastern dwarf tree frogs. Things are so dry that everything is behaving a little differently. The usual spring explosion of insect life hasn’t eventuated and that’s having a knock on effect.

  7. Mahaut1329

    Paul Burns
    It sounds like a book I would love. I’ll put it on my list of To Reads for the future. I am a fan of Selected Letters ….

  8. paul burns

    It gets better – the scandal, debauchery, and politics of London 1721-1735 has to be read to be believed. Though I hasten to add MWM was an innocent bystander – her husband would probably have killed her if she had not been – at least that’s my reading of him – though she was an excellent purveyor of gossip. I also suspect as her sister was the wife of a top Jacobite rebel of 1715, the Worseleys had to move carefully in the early Georgian world as they may have been under suspicion. Mary’s letters to her sister in Paris provide details of much of the colour of her world.

  9. Fran Barlow

    Things I’ve done this “Lazy Sunday”

    1. Painted urns for my front step plinths
    2. Got three loads of washing on and off the line
    3. Posted 2 political pieces over at another site
    4. Put in compost device by digging through 650mm of clay and mulched on top
    5. Polished three brass doorknobs
    6. Waled dogs
    7. Did the edges with the whipper-snipper

    I feel so ‘renaissance’. OK onto drafting a Year 7 Geography paper — the very thing I was putting off doing! 😉

    I feel tired by uplifted

  10. Fran Barlow

    Oops … that last line shouldn’t have been there and if it had, it would have been but uplifted …

  11. Mahaut1329

    Paul Burns
    I have ordered a copy from Abebooks. Thanks for ‘review’.

  12. GregM

    [email protected] You waled your dogs? What did that involve?

    Nothing that will bring your local council or the RSPCA down upon your head I hope.

  13. David Irving (no relation)

    I went to the Adelaide Cheese Festival, with a couple of my sons. The company, wine and cheese were all great and the band they’d hired was … cheesy.

  14. Moz of Yarramulla

    heard Tallis Scholars at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney. They’re amazing live, and especially the William Byrd pieces were great.

    Sullied, unfortunately, by the building. For all that it’s a nice enough church as churches go, it’s not the right place to host that choir. Something awful happened to the acoustics – the high registers bounced around and gave a really harsh ringing accompaniment. It makes the price cut ($100/seat to $50) seem a bit cautious, IMO.

    I’d definitely like to see them again, but in a proper venue.

    Also, what is it with the grumpy old people? Queuing up there were a couple of “I don’t like queuing” types ranting at everyone, then inside a gentleman of privilege had a go at my partner for playing with her phone (silently).That said, the audience was remarkably quiet for a couple of thousand people.

  15. Paul Norton

    My father would sometimes say to me “I’ll wale ya!”. The phrase had connotations of impending unpleasantness that could be avoided by prompt compliance with his wishes.

  16. Helen

    I think Fran meant to say “washed dogs!”

  17. Fran Barlow


    I think Fran meant to say “washed dogs!”

    Nice theory but not quite — the “k” was missing. I walked the dogs. I’d never harm a dog.

  18. paul burns

    It gets better. At the age 47 MWM develops a secret unrequited passion for a young Italian poet, which ultimately sees her leave EWM, her husband – he apparently disowns her for running up huge debts on stock-market speculation and sends her off to Europe indefinitely with an annuity. Said poet, I suspect, is also involved in a homosexual affair with the notorious bisexual libertine, Lord Hervey, a friend of MWM. There are also a whole bunch of aristocratic English Catholics running around behaving most inappropriately in Bath. One of them marries a baritone.
    Am about to read about the delights of Venice in the 1740s.
    As I said, fascinating read.
    Let me know what you think of it.

  19. Paul Norton

    Fanfare for the Common Man, in text:

    Bum bum bum.
    Bum bum bum.
    Bum bum bum.
    Bum bum bum.
    Bum bum bum.
    Bum; bum; bummm.

  20. Mahaut1329

    Sounds compelling. I am hoping my copy arrives in time for my upcoming short vacation in Brisbane.

  21. Russell

    One of my tedious duties is to compile a calendar of events for our intranet. “Social inclusion week” is in November so I went to the website of the government’s social inclusion unit, only to find this sad little note:

    “On 18 September 2013 the Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, was sworn in by the Governor-General. On this day, the Governor General signed the Administrative Arrangements Order and the Social Inclusion Unit and the Office for the Not-for-Profit Sector was [sic] disbanded.”

  22. Helen

    Jeez, I wouldn’t mind being sent off to Europe indefinitely with an annuity (Paul @18). Wish I could get a gig like that.

  23. Helen

    Talking of famous women and scandals, etc. I just read that today’s Australian Story is about Elizabeth Jolley, who, I’m informed, consistently lied (via fictional letters) to gaslight a family she’d broken up. Wow, what an arseholish thing to do! I like her much less now. (And if you’re about to lecture me on being priggish, just spare a thought for the other family, who aren’t feted and loved and in the public eye as Jolley was.)

  24. paul burns

    Helen @ 22,
    MWM makes the best of it, though she is somewhat fearful before she gets to Venice that the Inquisition might confiscate her box of books, all of which she used to read intensively; she’s no mean poet in the style of Alexander Pope, or critic. She is well received in Venicer’s diplomatic circles and well thought of there. The Italian poet, she eventually realizes is toying with her emotions – he remains in Paris et al and he has a reputation for being gay and infected with the pox. Once more she settles into an easy, comfortable relationship with her husband, but remains abroad. In the midst of worries about her wastrel son, and her daughter losing a child, MWM’s grand-daughter she is caught up in the War of the Austrian Succession and is moving around Europe to avoid it.
    Quite an exciting life. (And a comfortable one, as you note.)

  25. paul burns

    I met Elizabeth Jolley once, many years ago, in 1975, at the ABC. We didn’t have much to say to each other. She seemed okay, but she was just starting out then.

  26. Helen

    Extraordinary fact from a SMH article on the upcoming program: Her daughter and the other woman’s daughter were pretty much the same age, and Leonard’s former wife (Joyce) babysat Elizabeth’s daughter while Elizabeth was starting out in her writing career. Not knowing, that is, who the father of E’s daughter was. Wow. If I found out I’d been providing free childcare to my husband’s affair partner… Strangulation would have been the least of it! What bloody chutzpah!

  27. Russell

    Ah but Helen, she had fallen under the spell of that charismatic uber-hunk Leonard ……

  28. Mahaut1329

    Paul Burns
    The threat of losing her box of books would have been an existential crisis for her. I remember being in Beijing and running out of books. And nothing in English to be found anywhere. Still makes me breathless to recall.
    One wonderful quality of my IPad is its store of books I alway carry with me and the capacity To download more if need be.

  29. Helen

    !! 😉

  30. paul burns

    True. But perhaps more because in that era libraries were small and books were loved and read over and over again. These people valued books the way we might our motor cars.
    MWM could speak and write fluently in English, Latin, French, and Italian. She apparently could at least speak Turkish, and possibly even Arabic and Ottoman, though its unclear from her selected letters if she could write Turkish without a dictionary.
    So she probably didn’t feel as at sea in a non-English speaking country as many Australians might nowadays.

  31. Bernard J.

    Those people discussing Jolley might be interested in Phillip Adams’ interview with Susan Swingler:


  32. Graham Bell

    Moz of Whatyoucallit @ 14:
    Tallis Scholars were on ABC Classical FM less than an hour ago – delightful.

    I like your “gentleman of privelige”; that really is a nice polite synonym for “born-to-rule [turkey/drongo/dill/DC/FW/ etc.]” or “pompous galoot” or “arrogant twit”.

  33. Graham Bell

    Paul Burns:
    Was flipping though a book of quotations – more news there than in the mainstream misinformation media – and, by chance, a few lines of poetry by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu leapt off the page
    “Be plain in your dress, and sober in your diet:
    In short, my deary! kiss me, and be quiet.”
    How’s that for serendipity?

  34. paul burns

    GB @ 33,
    Indeed. Strange stuff, isn’t it.
    Finished the book. MWM survives the ravages of 2 wars, critical Jacobites, possessive Italian landlords, papal and Venetian diplomats, worries about grandchildren, gardening, a useless wastrel son, going blind, travelling across Europe etc etc to die eventually in her bed in London. She dies of breast cancer.