Things I Love About Autumn

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  • The scent of autumn leaves.

  • The sunset colour of the leaves from the browns through to the yellows and reds and claret.

  • The scent of woodsmoke fires at dusk.

  • The crisp morning air, where you can pull the covers up under your chin.

  • Warm sunshine with a cool breeze.

  • The budding Daphne and Camellia plants.

  • Figs emerging on the trees for a June harvest.

  • Autumn root vegetables for slow cooking.

  • Knitwear!

  • Boots!

  • Warm and colourful scarves.

  • Hot coffee with friends while sitting in the fresh air at a cafe.

  • Slower days and slow cooking.

  • Red wine and crosswords.

  • Fluffy socks and slippers.

  • Entire weekends watching TV while wrapped in a blanket, because there is a cold spell.

  • Drives to country markets and antique stores.

  • Football.

  • My birthday!

  • Enjoying apple season by making an apple pie.

  • Making pumpkin soup (this is my fave recipe for it.)

  • Picking chestnuts, roasting chestnuts, eating chestnuts.

  • Making a fire pit or buy a fire dish and toast marshmallows outside.

  • Hanging fairy lights in your house to create some sparkle during the dull nights.

  • Having a movie night with your beloveds, eat popcorn, watch a new movie and an old fave.

  • Planting bulbs for a colourful display in Spring.

  • Playing board games with family or friends.

  • Making a dessert with a crumble topping, add ice cream.

  • Putting flannel sheets on your bed.

  • Learning to knit or crochet.

  • Taking long walks in the park or on the beach.

  • Reading in bed with a cup of tea.

  • Slowing down and taking stock of life.

  • Starting a new book to read.

  • Bringing out blankets and throw rugs for the sofas and bed.

  • Lighting candles that smell like spices.

  • Jumping into a pile of leaves, or watch dogs and kids do this.

  • Baking bread and give it to friends and family.

  • Taking walks at dusk and smell other people’s dinners.

  • Putting cloves into the knitwear drawers.

  • Having a weekend away in the country and walking and eating and napping and reading.

  • Visiting art galleries and wandering while the rain falls outside.

  • Sunday lunches with friends and family.

Happy Autumn to those in the Southern Hemisphere!

xx

When the boat sank - Sanya's story

Today we hear from Sanya who is a young girl who escaped Sri Lanka with her family. Sanya’s boat crashed off the coast of Indonesia, where people died, including three young siblings. Sanya and her mother had swum for between two and three hours in high seas to reach shore. This is her story with a little added fictional embellishment at the end, because we all need a happy ending, especially Sanya.

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Hot Weather Plans

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There is a sense of ritual to readying your house for a spell of hot Australian weather. As the temperature gauge heads towards 35°,  I start early on the task of keeping the cool in, and the heat away.

Blinds are drawn as soon as I wake, and the air conditioner is turned on to maintain the cool house.  Ice trays are filled, and small household tasks are taken care of now,  before you melt into a puddle later in the day.

Washing is hung on the line because the minute Aussie women hear the words 'heat wave', they think, 'Good drying day.'  The washing will then dry in stiff, awkward shapes, to be taken off in the dark of the cool night, just before bed 'in case it rains overnight.' (NB. It won't rain for three weeks.)

Plants are watered, and umbrellas or shade cloth placed over vulnerable plants, with a small prayer sent to St Don Burke that the hydrangeas survive the heat.

Old takeaway containers,  filled with water are left under gumtree trees for possums and birds who need to cool off, and maybe ice block filled with fruit treats are left for the animals.

Then  a quick trip to down to the shops for a roasted chicken and salad for dinner. Maybe there are some small potatoes boiling on the stove for a potato salad, because, it's a fact that your potato salad is nicer than the one from Woolworths because you use the Donna Hay recipe.

Summer berries cooling in the fridge for later, with bottles of cold water lined up on the metal shelves.

A quick tidy round of the lounge room, where the air conditioning is best because it's going to get messy later with everyone congregating around the cricket.

The rabbit has a cold pack in her hutch, and the dogs have ice treats in their bowls.

And the only one happy about the sun is the small gecko on the hot paving outside. You can see it skating about, dancing like an Anthony Robbins fan on hot coals. Good luck to you, I say, as I close the blind in the lounge.

I'm ready.

This is summer in Australia. I wouldn't have it any other way.

 

Anonymous Was A Woman

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  I have a theory that the rise of domestic violence is directly influenced by the rise of women's rights and our push for equality.

Many women in the public eye and are afraid to say they're feminists, yet they benefit from those who marched and starved for their right to vote.

They say they believe in equal rights, which is fine in theory but until women are paid the same as men, then I'm a feminist working towards equality. I just don't see them walking the talk but they reap the benefits.

There is a type of woman who side with sexist men because they are afraid of being bullied for demanding equality. They say, 'Don't demonise men, not all men hurt women.'

No, not all men do, but the statistics of women dying in domestic violence in Australia is at an all-time high right now.

Australia is a parochial country that seems to struggle with women at the top of anything, except a dance podium.

The Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) has released state data for the past year, which showed an 8 per cent increase in the number of family incidents, with 69,442 cases.

There has been an upward trend in the number of family incidents over the past five years, with a 65 per cent increase since 2011.

But in the past five years, more and more women are stepping out from behind men in their careers, and in public life, and asking to be respected on their merit.

More women are stating they won't be silenced with a punch to the face, threats of rape or objectification. More women are saying no to being held as a prisoner in their own home. More women and asking to be represented in government, and to be paid the same wage as a man who does the same job. More women are asking for men to be included in their children's lives and to be present in their celebrations and sick days.

And more women are dying,  by the men they have held accountable.

In five years, more women have asked for equal rights, control over our bodies, to be considered for jobs that historically would go to men, and to be represented in government. And in five years domestic violence has gone up 65%.

Think about it for a moment.

The epidemic of violence needs to start with an education campaign that women are a man's equal. That men and woman should respect each other. That neither is better than the other. That both matter. Start this now with children in schools and in the home. Start it now and in a generation, we may manage to conquer this disaster.

In some ways, I think every one of the 66 women who have died this year at the hands of a man they knew, are suffragettes. Their deaths have highlighted the incredible epidemic of anger and fear in many men, as we fight for our right to exist beyond being a vessel for children and a housemaid.

With every step forward a woman takes into a boardroom, an operating theatre, or into a courtroom, there is a man who is shaking his head in disbelief. There is a man who is spewing venom that a woman got 'his' promotion just because she has a vagina, or a man who is sending abusive texts to his ex-wife because she had the courage to say she will not be treated like a chattel. There is a man who refuses to obey a court order to stay away from his wife because she is his, and his alone.  There is a man who asks his partner to explain every credit card charge, as it's 'his' money. A man who berates her for not giving him enough sex in front of her family and friends. A man who burns her possessions when she leaves him. A man who kills her so no one else can have her.

I believe the answer to this godawful situation is refuse to be silenced and ask for more reinforces while we are at battle. To ask for more women to represent me in places of note. To  ensure the Minister for Women is not a man! To allow women to make their own choices for their bodies and their careers. To make men accountable when they try and push us down. To make safe places for women and children to be until the partner is arrested. To make it harder for them to get to the woman. To act quickly on threats and to stand up for those who have been beaten down.

Right now, we are in a war of the sexes. Some men are fighting with us, many are not.  I have been called cynical by men at work because I don't agree with their opinion. I have been called bossy, because I get stuff done. I have been called ugly, fat, and stupid when they can't think of another way to argue with my opinion. I have been told to shut up, been told 'a wife isn't worth listening to' by a teenage orthodox Jewish kid, and I have been told I'm a bad mother for working and having a nanny.

Yesterday I was bullied by a tabloid columnist after asking her why she wrote that poor 'unsuitable' women are to blame for domestic violence and that they choose to be on welfare and breed with 'feckless' men.

(Is she Jane Austen? The use of the words unsuitable and feckless are hilariously out of touch.)

Her article turned into a shitstorm on the internet, and instead of arguing, she became defensive and combative. She is one the women who benefited from those who fought for her rights, yet she refuses to call herself a feminist. She blames women without money or opportunity for allowing themselves for being hit, and for choosing the wrong men. She chooses to deliberately ignores the many men from middle and upper classes, and probably her some of her peers, who hurt their families.

She insulted and bullied a domestic violence survivor and advocate, and retweeted every one of the few supportive comments, to attempt to shore up her ignorant argument.

She then blocked me and sent her right wing cronies out to lynch me online.

It didn't work. I won't be silenced. One of them tried to insult me by calling me a whinging feminist.

'Too right I am. Thanks for noticing.' I responded.

And I won't be silenced.

My name is Kate. I am a feminist. I will stand up for you until you're strong enough to stand up for yourself.