A moving funeral to farewell infant Jayden

The sad couple pay respects to their infant son

The sad couple pay respects to their infant son

It is a beautiful Adelaide Hills garden setting and we are gathered in rows of white plastic chairs, not for a wedding, but for the saddest event.   There is  a tiny white coffin sitting on a lace-covered table cloth  at the funeral of my niece Chelsea’s infant son, who was stillborn a week ago.   Chelsea married her husband, Allan, last year, so this new marriage is gripped by tragedy. Allan and his brother have carried the coffin, with its pretty blue-ribboned bouquet down the shady garden path  into this quiet glen.  The grieving young mother followed in a lovely white lace dress, to match the coffin.  There is a silver plaque on the coffin stating that this little baby has been named Jayden, and although he did not take one breath, he is loved very much.  His young parents are heart-broken.  Chelsea’s infant child had died in her womb, at 37 weeks’ gestation. Labour was induced and when he was born the umbilical cord was wound tightly around his neck.  The tragedy is that Jayden was perfect in every way – 48.5 cms long and weighing 2.5 kgs – with a well-formed body and a mass of black hair.  But, just a week after her fun-filled baby shower, Chelsea noticed that her baby had stopped moving.  Tragically, at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital the ultrasound revealed a still little heart.

Flowers, a teddy and an iconic cross decorate Jayden's coffin

Flowers, a teddy and an iconic cross decorate Jayden’s coffin

The minister, a young woman, read a heart-felt letter from Chelsea to her son and we wept at her poignant words of loss.  Both grandmothers – including my sister Anne – also spoke of their sadness and we were deeply moved by their words, that they missed not knowing the colour of his eyes. They promised him that he would never be forgotten.    Allan, Jayden’s grieving father,  wrote more profound words of sorrow, read by my nephew.  After the minister’s address and her prayers, we listened in silence to beautiful contemporary Christian music.  Then,  it was time for the mourners to file past Jayden’s coffin, to touch it and say “goodbye darling boy”. May you be an angel in God’s infinite heaven.



Art Gallery to show iconic Paris fashion

Adelaide fashionistas have an exciting – and rare – chance to visit an amazing exhibition of some of the most famous post-war fashion masterpieces ever created by the world’s top designers at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

“Fashion Icons”,  a major international exhibition of  French fashion  from Paris’s Musee des Arts Decoratifs, raises the thorny question of whether haute couture fashion is art.  The musee  (a popular bus stop on Paris’s famous open-top tourist buses), is closed for renovation and Voila! the exhibition- exclusive to Adelaide –  is here until February.

In a quantum shift in how fashion has edged its way into Art Gallery space, the Art GAllery of SA is   one of three Australian capital city galleries to stage major fashion exhibitions. However, for the sheer scope of the six decades of ground-breaking masterpieces of display, Adelaide  has achieved the coup of the country.

The fabulous exhibition will feature  93 ground-breaking and fantasy French haute couture items from 1947 to today as well as classics such as Coco Chanel’s two-piece trimmed suit, the style made unforgettable by Jacquie Kennedy.   It begins with Christian Dior’s ground-breaking gown, ironically named “Adelaide” and becomes a mind-boggling showcase of “emblematic haute couture garments” created by France’s greatest fashion designers over the past six decades.

Fashion curator of 20th and 21st century Fashion and Textiles, Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, Pamela Goblin has curated the exhibition which features a fashion design roll-call such as post-war French designer, Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, Sonia Ryykiel and Thierry Mugler.   Christan Dior revolutionised fashion from 1947 with his “New Look’ which in turn inspiring Coco Chanel to return to Paris from her self-imposed exile during the war.  And from those two giants, has flowed a river of fabulously talented fashion designers. More historical documents that mere clothes, they reflect pivoting change in fashion through iconic garments to drool over or snigger at. It includes garments over six decades from glamorous gowns of the 1950s, amazing pieces by Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, and Madame Gres and some flights of fashion fancy such as Dolce & Gabbana’s 2007  chrome bustier, worn by Lady Gaga Paparazzi video.

One extraordinary example of haute couture is the 1973 Jean Muir gown and another is Karl Legerfeld’s lavish 1996 Coromandel gown which needed 1200 hours of hand embroidery. There will also be one of Nicole Kidman’s stunning red carpet frocks.  However, each garment brings its own story and moment of glory for its designer, invariably French.

Garments are set in eras from the 1950s to the beginning of the 21st century and exciting film clips give an interesting historical context to the garments displayed.

Pamela Goblin, who has handpicked the garments says : ‘(Collectivelyh) they paint a unique picture of Parisian style within the context of contemporary fashion design since 1947.”

Co-ordinating curator Robert Reasons of the ARt Gallery of SA, says the exhibition is likely to be a tourist draw-card over the Christmas-New Year holiday period for interstaters who follow fashion trends. He says, the collection brings understanding how so often, Paris designers created signature gowns and garments, which define fashion eras.

Fashiobn Icxons extends into a series of special film screenings, panel discussions and workshops. More information on fashionicons.com.au.


Flowers fertilise the soul

My beautiful fancy irises brighten my kitchenIf flowers fertilise the soul, then my spring garden with its gorgeous crop of fancy irises and first rose blooms are the reason for my tranquil pleasure.  The lavender bushes are in flower, the herbs are lush, the pansies have yellow faces smiling at the sun and the “seduction’;’ roses are  bursting out of their buds.    With clippers in hand, I have gathered a selection of greenery and blooms for an arrangement in the hallway and in the kitchen is a stunning arrangement of irises.

Spring flowers and foliage from my garden

Spring flowers and foliage from my garden

My beautiful fancy irises brighten my kitchen

A Snake Sneaks into my Spring garden

It began as one of those lovely lazy spring days, which erupted into fright when the bloke visiting the house shouted  “There’s a snake behind you!”.  A nonisecond beforehand, he was quietly reading a novel in the living room and we two women were scanning cookbooks outside in the al fresco. “Quick! Where is a shovel!”.  And as we were frozen to our chairs, he added “Look out!”  Sure enough, slithering its way confidently across the front of the alfresco no more than a metre and a half from where we were sitting nonchalantly a second ago, was a brown snake. Its small head, luckily for us, was slightly lifted up heading due west. “Where is a shovel?” he asked in an urgent tone rushing back from the garage.    Then I click into action.  “There isn’t a shovel by the house,” I called out.
“It’s in the shed”.

While I ran to the shed, he kept an eye on the intruder, by now moseying his way down the stairs in a kind-of zig-zagging movement and as I  handed over both an axe and a shovel,  the snake wriggled its way through the sleeper wall and disappeared.

“We lost him,” said the bloke.

The worrying thing about this story is that this male friend was a country fella for half a century and he reckoned this snake was not fully grown yet.

“I’d say he is three-quarter grown.”

“He would be deadly enough, though” he added.

We human beings never quite accept the fact that while we bask in the first day of Spring 2014 to reach into the 30s, the snake population in the Mitcham Hills might have the same idea. Clearly the lovely warm day had enticed him out to survey his environment.   Last year,  my neighbour and I had cornered a big brown snake (obviously a parent) in the rear paved area and though he/she was trapped a solid two metre cement wall and slatted gates to the ground, but by the time we got the snake-catcher to the house, the intruder had vanished like Houdini.   The snake-catcher had inspected the property without any success. But, what I really fear is that this big brown, fully-grown snake, perhaps five feet long has had baby snakes in this past 12 months and one of the young ones had wandered from the nest.

It strikes fear into my heart that I am no longer alone and I wonder how I am going to ever feel safe pottering around my garden again when it could contain  a nest of snakes.