Saturday, April 30, 2011

A very royal wedding

"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today.

I think this message, taken from the Bishop of London's sermon to the bride and groom is so powerful in summing up their commitment.

The royal wedding of Prince William & Catherine Middleton on Friday 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey, London was spectacular. It had it all - nobility, glamour, style and most of all love. Despite the ceremony and grandeur, there were glimpses of nerves, beaming happiness and humble pride.

Congratulations Duke and Duchess of Cambridge! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lest we forget

ANZAC day commemorates the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, and has become a day on which we remember the lives of all Australians lost in war time.

This year I attended dawn service at Tuross Heads, on the New South Wales coast.

We stood in the early morning darkness at a memorial site standing over the ocean - the sound of waves crashing against the beach below set the scene. The faint sound of a lone drummer grew louder as he marched closer to the memorial and signaled the start of the service.

I proudly sang We are Australian with the locals and holiday makers who had turned up this morning to pay their respects. I imaged the soldiers who fought at Gallipoli all those years ago, and wondered what the values of community, mateship and courage must have meant to them.

I noticed a burly man who stood on his own in front of me, shifting from foot to foot, constantly fidgeting as the service went on. Then as the bugler started to tune the Last Post and we all stood in a minute of silence, the burly man stood as tall as an arrow, arms straight down by his side, thumbs at his seams, still as night. Proud. As we all were.

Lest we forget.

ANZAC Day dawn service, Tuross Heads

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter eggs & holidays

Traditionally, Easter celebrates the promise of life in the face of death. It's a time to reflect on peace and forgiveness - even in the face of suffering, injustice and hardship. The chocolate eggs and bunnies we share and eat symbolise new life and new beginnings - the potential of so much more to come.

This Easter I’m thankful for time off work to spend with my family and friends. I'll be celebrating Easter with my family, sharing a friend's birthday, visiting a new baby and taking time out with Mr Couture - sounds very promising indeed!

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wheels of Change: how women rode the bicycle to freedom (with a few flat tires along the way)

This delightful National Geographic book by Sue Macy tells the story of how women got moving and active – thanks to the bicycle. I hadn’t before thought that the simple bicycle held such profound significance as a cultural agent of change, yet it radically redefined the ideals of femininity in the late-nineteenth-century.

To men, the bicycle in the beginning was merely a new toy, another machine added to the long list of devices they knew in their work and play. To women, it was a steed upon which they rode into a new world.” Munsey’s Magazine, 1896

Not only did the bicycle do away with the need for a chaperone, but it also liberated women from the constraints of corsets and giant skirts. The bike-riding women pioneered a more radical dress, including a dual garment which consisted of a divided skirt worn under a long coat, breeches beneath skirts, and bloomers and jackets. The idea appealed to many as sensible and practical. A more public airing to the idea of women wearing appropriate clothes for safe movement in activities begun, and more liberal, free fashions started emerging. The new fashions also cut the weight of the women’s undergarments to around 3.5 kilograms!

Susan B. Anthony, said in 1896 “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel.” 

Me too. Only now I know why!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wistfully wishing

Why must I be at work, and not peddling around on my lady bike, buying flowers and looking at the new shipment of jackets arriving in the shops...

Bicycle Lady II
Jo Parry

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lunch riding

The autumn weather was so beautiful today I indulged in a lunch time bike ride. It was heaven, I was so free...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dessert for four

It's true that at times I have proclaimed myself to be "the best cook in the world". I love cooking a restaurant-worthy dinner on the weekend - glass of wine in hand... music blaring... chatting away to Mr Couture and/or dinner guests... flamboyantly chopping, stirring, tasting and seasoning.... being the star of my very own couture cooking show...

But. This self-promoted title is limited to savory courses. When it's time to serve the dessert, my good friends know to expect store-bought luxury chocolate items. And these usually go down a treat.

I must have been feeling very adventurous when I offered to bring dessert to a friend's dinner party. And I didn't even start to panic until the morning of said dinner party when I was up at dawn googling a number of spectacular but impossible dessert options.

When it came time to unveil my much anticipated last course, there was a large degree of fanfare and gushing on my part as I assembled my bits and pieces in the kitchen and busily made room on the dinner table. I was proud of my efforts - a small step from chocolates on a plate; a large step towards making an actual dessert...

Chocolate fondue