Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Shame Julia, shame.

Down here in Oz we have just made history. We have a woman Prime Minister.

She was installed last week following internal Labor Party wrangling and political intrigue. Given the coup, I had mixed feelings on day one, followed by increasing optimism on days two, three and four. Today is day seven and for me the honeymoon is official over and I’m not sure if I’ll even stay faithful.

Julia Gillard announced today that she will not support legalising same sex marriages in Australia.

So the bar just got higher. I’m no longer happy with a woman as PM. I won’t be happy until we have a gay, married PM. Male or female, it doesn’t really matter. We need a leader who is willing to stand against discrimination and for a just, fair, respectful and equal society.

Maybe for Bob Brown…It’s Time!


Friday, June 11, 2010

What to Wear?

Who would’ve thought we’d be cocktail-partying this weekend? It’s a 10th wedding anniversary bash and all I have is in the wardrobe is daywear. The attendees will be young and svelte and Swedishly gorgeous. The hosts are gorgeous too, and they’re genuinely unpretentious so I know they won’t give a damn what I show up wearing.

I was going to pack a little black dress, just in case. It would have been perfect. (I’m worried I’m starting to sound a bit too Sex in the City…). I didn’t pack it because it was in a box in our Melbourne garage somewhere, awaiting a move to the seaside and I couldn’t be bothered searching for it.

Will I need a little black dress when we move? Who knows! It might be all caftans and rainbow head-bands and bonfires on the beach. Meanwhile, tonight I’ll wear jeans and a string of pearls. I never leave home without those!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Backyard

It’s the place where we Aussies cook on the barbie, play cricket, kick the footy, hang a tyre-swing, install a swimming pool, build a sand-pit, sunbake, plant perennials, curse possums, rake leaves, throw a tennis ball for the dog and hang out the washing on the ubiquitous Hills Hoist.

Inevitably, we make it our own. Depending on our background, interests and other proclivities, we build ferneries, install sprinkler systems that save water by dripping not spraying, create retaining walls with retired red-gum railway sleepers, string up hammocks, plant extensive vegie gardens or design yukka lined-perfectly paved courtyards and populate them with expensive outdoor furniture.

The backyard is where we do our own thing, our private, suburban kingdom.

By contrast, in central Stockholm a balcony is gold! It’s a much-coveted piece of outdoor space. There’s never enough room for a vegie garden or a ball game, but it’s still a treasured space. Minimalist clothing is common in the summer and beers go there to chill out in the winter. Hanging out the washing, it seems by unwritten decree, is strictly forbidden. But for any activity more expansive than intimate dining or tending to a flower pot or two, the park is the place to go.

The recent summer weather has drawn legions of Stockholmers out into the green spaces. By simple necessity, city-living Swedes do in public what we do in private. It’s one big backyard community with smoking barbeques, Frisbees, eskies, picnic rugs, dogs, kids on bikes and naked flesh. It creates a vibrant, colourful, festival atmosphere. So, whether you’re sunning in S√∂dermalm or grilling in Djurg√•rden, next time you’re out there, raise a toast to Stockholm’s big backyard and enjoy the fact that you don't have to mow the lawn!