Friday, April 25, 2008

Anzac Day

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

We got up at 4am this morning to attend the dawn service for Anzac Day at my husband's unit. The Anzac tradition is special, and celebrated, by most Australians. Anzac stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp and Anzac Day (April 25) marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. Anzac was even my grandfather's middlename - his Father had fought for the four years of the Boer war, and my Granddad later saw action in Borneo during WW2.

Anzac day is when we remember the sacrifice and courage of all our past and present serving military members. I have always found the dawn service, and subsequent march moving but perhaps means something extra to me this year with my husband deploying to Iraq next week.

You can read more about the Anzac tradition here.

Friday, April 18, 2008


In a nod to the celebration of Virago Modern Classics Elaine is hosting on her blog...I have just finished the collaborative effort of Jane and Mary Findlater Crossriggs - a wonderfully witty novel about a young woman, Alexandra Hope, who lives with her 'fruiterian' and slightly loopy father - 'Old Hopeful', her widowed sister and five nieces and nephews in the Scottish village of Crossriggs.

In love with a married man, she chooses spinsterhood over marrying the local Reverend. She seeks work to support her poverty stricken family; in the process meeting an eligible young gentlemen, the grandson 'Van Cassilis' of the local retired Officer to whom she reads. Alex is such an alive character, as Mr Matiland describes it "you [Alex] have a genius for living! You just know how to do it....You're alive, and most of us, with our prudence and foresight and realisation of our duties, are as dead as stones".

This novel had overtones of Little Women. Both are full of young, idealistic women living in poverty! I loved the tone of the Findlaters' writing:

The close sitting room at the Reids did seem very dingy as they came in out of the brave summer world out-of-doors, for Miss Bessie Reid - good woman!- was skilled in all the little arts that make the home hideous. There was a specimen of her handiwork at every turn - a painted tambourine here, a stark water-colour there, whilst miniature animals in crockery seemed to crawl on every ledge. Framed photographs, of all kinds, were everywhere, and a vase in one corner (Alex blushed, as she noticed it, for the obtuseness of the kind heart that had put it there) held a quantity of artificial almond blossom, made out of pink tissue paper and stuck upon thorn branches. Taste I suppose, is only a constant delicate expression of opinion, and Miss Bessie Reid's opinions - poor dear! - must have been singularly confused.

Too Funny! You shall just have to read it...