I recently enjoyed reading the two following books for the book discussion group I belong to.¬† Both are by Australian authors, and both of were long listed for this year’s Miles Franklin Award, but neither made the short list.¬† However, that doesn’t diminish their stature,¬†and both relate to the impact of WorldWar I on our newly independent nation.¬† Although ‘independent’, Australia was still part of The British Empire, and as such rushed to support the allied war effort by supplying troops representing a large percentage of our young men.¬†¬†That war was brutal¬†leading to people feeling it must be the war to end wars.¬† It didn’t of course.
Today it’s raining – not yet¬†cold but I think we’ll be having our first fire in the next day or so for sure.¬†¬†I received¬†this new¬†scarf and glove set in an end of year secret santa exchange -¬† I have fellow mahjong player Sally-Anne to thank for¬†them¬† – they’re¬†black and¬†animal print, my favourite colour!
I’m wondering if it’s possible to wear just too many animal prints¬†in the same outfit?¬† Because I have a nice warm jacket,¬†and an angora beret in black/grey, both in charcoal/black jungle print and they go together well – however¬†adding the scarf plus trimmed gloves to that¬†might all be a bit much!¬† Oh, and I have a couple of pairs of animal print jeans and pants …
In this shot of the Casino Hotel Carrasco taken from¬†the other side of the Rambla (esplanade)¬†the hotel¬† was nearing the final competion of the massive restoration project that has just been finished – at last.¬†¬†¬†It first opened in 1921, and became an iconic building within the city of Montevideo,¬†but after many years of gradual decline,¬†the hotel finally closed about¬†17 years ago and stood forlornly looking out over the River Plate as it crumbled¬†in situ here in¬†Carrasco at the eastern end of Montevideo, 10 minutes from the airport.¬†¬†¬†Down the ensuing years¬†several attempts to carry¬†out the massive¬†restoration job fell through, one after the other, so that locals became rather used to the huge¬†abandoned building in which the actual casino part continued to function, until that was closed to enable the restoration to begin, again.¬† But this time the job was completed.¬†¬† It took several¬†years, perhaps 3, for this grand,¬†fin de siecle hotel to be¬†transformed as a modern 5 star hotel. ¬†We never did get our invitation to the gala opening ….. but I heard that was very political, and so we’d have been out of our league, but we enjoyed the fireworks anyway.¬†¬†One of my friend’s sons is a manager there, but¬†even she couldn’t wangle an invite, either.
But¬†I’ve noticed one strange thing about it – walking on the beach about a year ago, heading westwards towards the hotel, I¬†saw for the first time that the two ‘towers’ on top are not¬†parallel, and my keen quilter’s eye detected a lean of perhaps 3-4 degrees off vertical in the western tower.¬† It’s hard to photograph because if you get up closer you can’t see it properly, but I took this recent pic in favourable early morning light:
No one I’ve talked to seems to have noticed or have any idea about it, and so I have no idea¬†if something¬†happened many years ago or if it is moving ever so slowly, like the Tower of Pisa, Italy !!¬† think I’ll get a confirmation of the situation before I spend time there …
So far, like many people thronging around the complex,¬†we’ve been in to have a look around, but haven’t yet had lunch, dinner, or spent a night there.¬† Rooms start at, well, 5 star prices¬†;-p and gorgeous suites can be had for the thousands of dollars according to the¬†website!¬† It looks lovely.¬† You can phone up and have a guided tour of the hotel, which we might do sometime.
In the Casino, much like other casinos, really, ¬†there’s garish lighting of course, typical of casinos everywhere, and not many places¬†to sit, but¬†I thought these chairs looked very a nice,¬†stylish shape, though I wasn’t mad about the upholstery fabric which on one chair was aready showing a split seam at a corner.¬†¬† I do think¬†leather would have been far classier,¬†as¬†they produce heaps of really lovely leather in this country – colours, textures, stamped designs, beautiful.
Of course I tried one for comfort, and am sorry to report these are the most dreadfully uncomfortable chairs I have ever sat in – well, more like¬†’perched on’, really, as the back rest is so far back at a difficult angle which leaves you literally sprawling in the chair – horribly uncomfortable, and¬†there’s no way to sit in a ladylike manner.¬† Mike commented they don’t want you sitting around the gambling areas, anyway…. and¬†he¬†has a point.
Since the height of their popularity in C19 and C20, the popularity of golliwogs as toys has declined as the opolitical incorrectness of their use as anti-cultural icons has increased.¬† From Wikipedia – where there is a lot of interesting reading if you wish to pursue the subject:”The golliwog, golliwogg or golly was a black character in children’s books in the late 19th century usually depicted as a type of rag doll. It was reproduced, both by commercial and hobby toy-makers as a children’s toy called the “golliwog”, and had great popularity in North America, Europe and Australia into the 1970s. The doll is characterised by black skin, eyes rimmed in white, clown lips, and frizzy hair. While home-made golliwogs were sometimes female, the golliwog was generally male.
This fellow, from Graciela’s collection, doesn’t quite conform to the type descriptor above – but we recognise him, anyway, as one of these figures.¬† And, to me he¬†looks¬†rather Uruguayan, not just because his wristband says so, but his headgear and short dreadlocks are¬†somewhat reminiscent of candombe drummers, whose music¬†is listed as a World Cultural Heritage from the Rio Plate area.
This muneca¬†(doll) propped up on the couch is the second of a group I have acquired from a creative knitter, textile artist, who¬†sells her creations on a couple of the regular street markets in Montevideo.¬† And, I think she has done a lovely job producing the unmistakeable Charlie Chaplin. That’s his bendy walking cane he’s holding in his hands.
When I asked, she told me she works out the patterns herself, and that each one this size, about 45cm, takes at least a whole day to make, often more ¬†depending on the detail.¬†¬†Some of her designs require specific colours and patterns in their clothing which makes them more finnicky. ¬†Some parts are machine knitted and other parts, the smaller segments of the design, are hand knitted.¬†The facial features of course, are stitched by hand.
I have one more, so far, to show you in a few days’ time, and I have decided that they would be a fun wall display in the downstairs loo aka here as ‘social bathroom / bano social.