Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Birthdays and Readathings

Okay my lovelies - the challenge is on....

A couple of weeks ago we had a knit-in at Avid Reader with my good friend Grand Purl Baa.

Now we need to prepare for the Readathing in August.

August 22 to be precise.

Which also happens to be the day after my god-daughter's birthday.  Happy Birthday in advance Lucy!!

And my father's birthday.  Happy Birthday Jim!

Very shortly it will be my daughter's birthday.  Happy Birthday Bel!

Not to mention my niece's birthday - ten days later.  Happy Birthday Grace!!

Do you have months like that?  Where it's everyone's birthday?

Anyway back to the Readathing as organised by Librarything.

I have to read in public for an hour.

Where should I do it boys and girls?  Suggestions please.

I will be reading The Passage by Justin Cronin.  It's about vampires and such like....

Pray for me - it's 766 pages....

Monday, July 26, 2010

Orson Welles and the Chelsea

Good friend Karen and I took advantage of a free double pass to see Me and Orson Welles yesterday - a sneak preview before it opens on Thursday.

Directed by Richard Linklater (Waking Life, School of Rock) Me and Orson Welles is one of those great period pieces where the subject matter is rich for mining post-screening.  Yes, I want to borrow books from the library and find out more about Orson Welles.  Yes, I want to borrow all the Richard Linklater films I haven't seen yet.  Yes, I want to buy the soundtrack.  Yes, I want to find out more about the cast and crew.

It stars Claire Danes (Romeo and Juliet) and Zac Efron (High School Musical, 17 Again, Hairspray).  Christian Mackay plays the part of Orson and is described as a newcomer.  Brisbanites will be interested to learn that he studied at the Queensland Conservatorium, touring Europe and Australia as a successful and acclaimed concert pianist.

For an old luvvie like me, this film captures the magic of putting on a production.  The magic of youthful ambition and all the other gorgeous sub-plots that go with being young - not least of which is falling in love!  Orson and his company are putting on a ground-breaking production of Julius Caesar.  Orson won't be pinned down on an opening date which as you can imagine was a source of great aggravation to his partner, John Houseman, played beautifully by Eddie Marsan (Vera Drake, 21 Grams, Little Dorritt).

Julius Caesar is amongst other things, a story of power and betrayal and this is reflected in the main plot.  Shan't tell you too much more cause it will ruin the story.  Karen and I stayed in our seats til the very end of the credits - reluctant to leave that wonderful world.  I noted that Zoe Kazan played the part of Gretta Adler.  "Hmmm" I wondered to self, "Is she related to Elia Kazan (On the Waterfront)?"  Yes indeedy, she is no less than his grand-daughter.  If I'd paid more attention to Revolutionary Road I would have known that.  

Me and Orson Welles was shot by Dick Pope BSC, probably most renowned for his partnership with Mike Leigh on eight films.  If you google the film, do choose the US website - for some reason it's much better than the UK website.  Oh and use the back button on the website itself rather than the back button in your browser or you'll go mad being re-directed to the main website which is useless.

Afterwards Karen and wandered through all the restaurants at Palace Barracks, finally settling on the Chelsea.  Zucchini and garlic soup with warm bread was sufficiently delicious and comforting before we attacked Coles.   It was necessary to stock up on ingredients for lasagne and replenish chocolate supplies to sustain us for last night's saga - the Great Debate and the Masterchef Finale. What waistline?  What gym?  What youthful figure?

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Okay - well, if you didn't know....one of my obsessions is family history.  I have been doing a great online course in Caribbean Family History through Pharos Tutors.  Guy Grannum teaches it.  He works at The National Archives (TNA) specialising in Colonial history and genealogy and runs a website called Caribbean Roots.  The course officially finished yesterday.  Guy has written a very helpful book - now in its second edition called Tracing Your West Indian Ancestors.  The next edition will be an e-book - very exciting.

Our last class was about slavery.  To quote Guy, "People of African descent make up the largest population in most Caribbean countries.  Their ancestors are among the estimated 1.6 million people transported from Africa to work in the British Caribbean colonies as slaves on the plantations and households."

Guy encouraged us to look at the slave registers - a census of all slaves held in the Caribbean from about 1817 to 1834.  Original registers might have survived and be kept in the relevant country archive or register office.  Duplicates were sent to London and are kept in The National Archives.  Ancestry has digitised and indexed most of them.

So.....my husband on his mother's side has ancestors from Barbados....one of the surnames we are researching in that area is Proverbs.  We've got a few Johns, an Isaac, an Ambrose and some Marys.  For the time period 1817-1834 we've sort of lost our Proverbs....they've morphed into Donovans and Johnsons.  But for argument's sake, we will look at the John Proverbs listed in the slave registers as....slave owners.  Our Proverbs were from the St Philip part of Barbados.

This is what I found ....on 3 May 1823 John Proverbs of St Philip had 1 slave - in right of marriage with Mary:

Two are listed:
Phillis aged 17 Black Barbadian
Margaret aged 14 Black Barbadian -only Margaret was sold to Josiah Bladey.

George Donovan (our Donovans are Samuel or Mary - nee Proverbs) had 27 slaves ranging in age from 5 to 72.  Some were inherited from John B Ashby when he died.  Some were purchased from Andrew Donovan.  Some were sold to Andrew Donovan.  Some were born into slavery.  Some were given up to the creditors of John Payne deceased to whom they reverted at the death of Mabel Payne.

Here's a link to a slave register so you can see what they look like....

Sobering reading n'est-ce pas?

By the way, slavery officially ended 1 August 1834 but did not completely end until 1 August 1838.

PS Just realised that last sentence is a bit glib.  Slavery, for the purposes of this historical exercise, ended in 1838 but of course still exists today in one manifestation or another - sexual, economic etc.  If you want to find out more Stop the Traffik is probably as good a place as any to start. The Jammed was a great Australian movie made about this topic.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grace Green

Meet Molly.  Molly is sister to Milly aka Milly Mazda.  I named Milly Milly because Milly means hardworker and lord knows my car needs to be a hard worker - driving people to sporting events, horsey dos, parties, work, family etc.  Molly is called Molly because of Milly Molly Mandy - my favourite book when I was a child.  No, we will not be getting a Mandy. And no, Milly hasn't died...it's just that Robbie's van is on it's last legs and there are more drivers in the family now so competition for wheels is hotting up.....

Molly is a diminutive of Mary which could, according to the Behind the Name site, could mean "sea of bitterness", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child". "However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved" or mr "love"."  Let's go with beloved.

I would call the colour military green but according to the manual it is Grace Green.  I have never heard of green being described in this way - have you?

And while we're on the subject of Grace Green...did you know that there is an author called Grace Green?  She writes Harlequin/Mills and Boon type books with titles like An Eligible Bachelor, The Only Man to Trust, Forever Wife and Mother, His Potential Wife and oh my goodness ...it gets worse....A Bittersweet Promise and Trouble in Paradise.......Do I want to drive this car anymore???????!!!!!!

Let's go back to Milly Molly Mandy - much more reassuring.....

If you haven't read Milly Molly Mandy by Joyce Lancaster Brisley, you simply must.  There is all manner of advice in this series of books from how to budget, how to redecorate bedrooms, how to be a friend and so on.  When I was little, I was lucky enough to have a friend who looked just like Milly Molly Mandy and since I have grown up, I now have a friend called Susan who I meet once a year at the Movie Convention.  I am truly blessed.  What was your favourite book when you were little?