What's in a name? A public holiday by any name should be as sweet. However today, 'Australia Day', is one with which I have particular difficulty. My pommy origins and my anti-nationalist politics make the 'founding' of this nation by British colonialists a very uncomfortable reason to celebrate for me. I notice that there is an increasing inclusion of indigenous ceremony and story telling in the day's events but I know many, many Aboriginal people consider this day 'Invasion Day' or 'Sorry Day'. The legacy of dispossession, disease and despair Europeans have visited upon this country's original occupants is still having appalling impacts in 2010.
So if no celebratory activities were indulged in, how did I spend my day? Well the run up was fine. I am so enjoying Desirelines -the memoirs of Peter & Richard Wherret - which I am reading for our book group, that I read that for 2 hours in bed, until midnight last night. But when today dawned our kitchen renovations beckoned or at least my role as supporting actor to my husband's cutting & nailing of cladding did. We should be up to sarking and undercoating by now, but bugger me, if we didn't find an infestation of termites in our teenage son's bedroom and as a result spend about 6 hours completely reorganising and cleaning the room to make access to (and hopefully extermination of) the blighters possible.
Today in Sydney has been a soggy scorcher (if that isn't a contradiction in terms). Both very humid and with the sort of summer heat that fries vegetation and makes walking barefoot painful (for chubby northern hemisphere types at any rate). Very ungreenly, we had 2 air-conditioners running all day, but we all still quickly became irritable and sweaty and spraying anti termite gunge under the house almost killed the ageing pater familias.
I would like to say my new addiction to posting photos & comments and playing Scrabble on Facebook took a back seat, but whenever the heat and dust (our son had not vacuumed or let me vacuum in his room for months) became too bad I retreated to the PC for a fix. It was interesting to see via their postings that one niece is a champion of 'Don't change the Aussie flag' and the other joined me in 'Invasion Day' unease.
A second shower and letting the local Chinese restaurant provide dinner enabled a dog walk and some semblance of relaxation after 7 pm but all in all I would rather have been reading. Perhaps to satisfy my protestant work ethic it should be something more demanding than tales of the Wherret's evolving sexuality. Australians all let us read Joyce on 26 January? No wait that's got to wait until 16 June!