Welcome to the blogspot of Melbourne writer, Elizabeth Jane

Welcome to the blogspot of Melbourne writer, Elizabeth Jane

Friday, February 29, 2008

Seth's 18th Birthday

We had Spicy Bhuja Mix in a Swiss bowl and samosas off a Portmeirion plate, accompanied by a Black Swan pumpkin dip with Japanese rice crackers. It was Seth’s Birthday and he got to choose whatever he liked. So we added some Japanese Beers, a Merlot from South Australia, three different kinds of curry with roti, rice and mango chutney. Such Variety: Mr Heinz would have been proud of us.

Phoebe, Seth and I had started the day with brunch at Banks, a local cafe. While there Seth received a text message from his mate Damien. It read:

‘Hey Sexy, Happy Birthday, I’ll be over later with your shit.’

Such eloquence! Who said the English language was in decline? Well, you could imagine how keen I was for Damien to arrive. I mean shit can mean so many things. As it turns out it was two very nice T Shirts. The word present would have been adequate, in my opinion. But I am getting old, I think.

Damien arrived between dinner and dessert (some people have impeccable timing). His mum, Judy and his sister, Lauren followed to add their birthday greetings. When Michael got home he wandered over too. It was a party. We served the dessert, apple crumble, which goes very well with curry (not). We had a bit of trouble with the candles. The crumble was so hot they melted and sagged before Seth could blow them out. But we sang Happy Birthday anyway and, yes, Alice, we even took a photo.

Seth received so much shit for his birthday I can’t possibly list it all here. I will leave it to your imagination. You can fill in the gaps. If you can’t think of anything, you might be getting as old as me.

I will conclude with the obligatory at-the-table shot, just so Carine, Winnie and Alice feel right at home. The rest of the photos are on my Flickr site which is linked from the right hands side of this page.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

My First TAFE Assignment

The Little Team

As a child I did swimming, tennis, judo, gymnastics and athletics. I also played netball. My best sporting memory belongs to netball. It was the pinnacle of my sporting achievement.

It was in my first season of netball. I was in the under eights — the little team. I do not remember my first night at training, or the obligatory thanksgiving service (it was a Methodist team), but I do recall my uniform. It was a grey box pleat tunic with two wide strips along the bottom of the skirt: one red and one green. I had to stand tall with my hands bunched at my sides, my knuckles determining my hemline. I wore a crisp white shirt under my tunic and a red corded belt at my waist. It had tassels like a misplaced curtain accessory.

The winter season was divided into two rounds. Sometimes we played at home and sometimes we played away. Our Mums and Dads took turns driving us to away games. We lined up jostling, hand-in-hand, determined to sit next to our best friend. For home games we brought oranges: one for our self and one for our opponent. I enjoyed the car ride. I enjoyed playing games at practice. I liked the oranges. But I was lazy on the court. I did not like being out of breath or running hard, I did not jump high enough and I did not care overly much about winning. But I was taller than most of the other girls so they put me in defence.

Juanita McCurdy's dad was our coach. He wore a gold neck chain and a leather coat. His skin was more olive than it should be. He made us do drills. We practiced bounce passes and chest passes. We learned how to attack and defend. We endeavoured to catch the ball without stepping. On Tuesday training nights, our breath came in little silver puffs as we giggled our way round the church netball courts. The overhead lights made circles of light on the gritty asphalt. Mr McCurdy was a good coach. We only lost one game that season.

The Grand Final was played on a neutral court. We brought our own oranges. I was skittery-nervous in the car on the way to the game. I checked the length of my fingernails. I checked the length of my friend’s finger nails. My Mum had tied my hair ribbons extra tight. My straggling fringe felt like barbed wire it was held back by so many bobby pins. The team bibs were given out in silence. As I walked on to the court the soles of my Levi sneakers felt too thin. We took our positions. The whistle blew. Suddenly, it was happening.

I do not recall the name of the team we played that day, or the colour of their uniform. I certainly don’t know the score. I remember jumping high, and my Dad’s smiling face, the sound of my mother’s cheering. I remember Susan Lacey and Catherine Purvis popping impossible shots from the edge of the goal ring. I remember sunlight and singing our team’s song with a high, light fairy-floss kind of feeling. I remember winning. Then, after the game, Mr McCurdy bought as all ice creams.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Children

Today was a great day for our nation and not because of a our history, or in response to a great sporting event. It was not about ANZAC day, either. It had nothing to do with war or fighting. Neither was it about industry achievement or economic success. It was a day for saying sorry, and it was long overdue. It was a chance to right a wrong: to set the record straight.

My husband Andrew and his singing partner Monique wrote a song about the Stolen Generation a while back. It sounds best when they sing it. But I thought I would put the words up as my own little way of paying my respects.

Their skin a little lighter, they were mine
We heard the stories, they'd be taken away
I charcoaled them black, 'don't wash it off'
'Hide out the back if the truck comes'

Take my land, take my pride, take my dreaming
Crush them in your stride
Leave my children, here with me
Leave my children, here with me

We saw the dust, then heard the sound
Hats and paper forms, heavy boots and frowns
A trick, the door closed, then their screams
No ! leave my children here with me

Take my land, take my pride, take my dreaming, crush them in your stride
Leave my children, here with me
Leave my children, here with me

I am sorry

Monday, February 4, 2008

Green Tea

It is a curious thing drinking Green Tea. There is a sense of virtue in it. A flushed out, grit-your-teeth, this is good for me feeling. Not that I don’t like the taste. I do, but only when I am feeling happy.

You see, for me, green tea is not an o-my-God it’s morning sort of a drink. That is coffee. It is not a refined, afternoon tea experience. That is Earl Grey tea. Neither is green tea an I-have-to-stay-awake-or-else fix. That is Diet Coke, for me.

Green tea is an all-is-well-with-soul sort of beverage, an I-am-strong; I am invincible; I am woman kind of a feeling. That is why I am drinking it now, in my study, with my dog at my feet.

Here are my reasons for drinking green tea:

I have been to TAFE, and made the right decision about what subject I want to do this year.

I am buoyant in anticipation of what I will be learning.

I have done the grocery shopping and have made a pot of vegetable soup (essential for ongoing weight management).

I have cut up fruit in the fridge.

Tonight I am going back to Welsh and my friend Anna is coming.

Tomorrow I am going to write all day.

I love Green Tea

Friday, February 1, 2008


I just read the young adult novel, Scatterheart, by Lili Wilkinson.

It is a beautiful juxtapostion of fairy tale set against the harshness of the early Australian transportation system. The main character Hannah Cheshire is strong and(at first)selfish but extremely likeable. Her development is subtle, but easy to follow. I particularly liked her realtionship with Long Meg and I fell in love with the little convict girl Molly. Molly's tragic disfgurement and innocent, yet naughty, childlikeness was poignant.

As I closed the book I found myself wondering would happen next? Did Hannah the escaped convict, and Thomas, the fugitive murderer make a life for themselves in New South Wales? Is there a sequel in the making, Lili?