Iconic Sydney

From modern skyscrapers to quaint historic masterpieces and gnarled old trees, Sydney has it. Here’s a selection of arty photos during my visit this month.

Old warehouse rooftops making a point
The old and the new live peacefully side by side.
Peeping through the leaves at Sydney’s iconic bridge.
Ancient trunks doing the quickstep





Connecting with aran cables

DSC07310Saturday 11 July 2015 was a special day for the Coggin family, and especially for me.

Together with Theo and Andrew, we were invited to be part of the Mogoba family as the Black Methodist Consultation paid tribute to Rev Dr Mmutlanyane Stanley Mogoba for his chairpersonship of this body from 1980 to 1982.

I was particularly delighted that my dear friend, mentor and second father Stanley Mogoba wore, for the first time, under his doctoral robes and with his World Methodist Peace Award resting on it, the aran jersey that I designed and made for him with its three main cable themes.

From outside, the first cable represents his incarceration on Robben Island; the second cable stands for his freedom and the centre cable represents the Trinity and the ministry to which he was called. In between are the “ancestor” cables, protecting and guiding him throughout his life.

I designed the aran from a book of cable patterns that my dear sister, Gil Thomson, gave me. These are not “official” interpretations of the aran cables, but rather represent my creative understanding of them. And they fit rather nicely in with the story (generally held to be a legend!) of aran cables representing particular Irish families.

DSC07301The second photo on the page shows the detail of the cables.

The 82-year-old Mmutlanyane (which means “little rabbit”) proved as prophetic as ever during his short speech, when he said: “We are free, but a sick nation. We are a nation with an ongoing liberation struggle. It [the liberation struggle] should be over, but it goes on. We are free; but are we really free? The churches must remain a voice inside the struggle so that when the people are desperate, the church talks”.

May he enjoy many hours of warmth in his aran!


Let’s create, not destroy

Photo: SApeople.com
Statue of Rhodes at UCT being covered with black bags. Photo: SApeople.com

The current rumpus around statues, and the attendant destruction of them, worries me a lot.

First, a statue is a work of art. An artist has created it. And works of art should not be destroyed because of some political agenda.

Second, the presence of a statue does not mean that the person or ideology that it represented is necessarily being glorified. In fact, it may serve to remind the public of the horrors of that particular ideology, or the unjust or evil actions of the person represented.

Societies that forget their history are prone to repeating it. Pulling down or destroying statues is a step towards forgetting our history. Not a good idea.

Third, where does the line get drawn? This afternoon, I drove past King Edward School and St John’s College. Both are beautiful buildings, representing the architectural period in which they were built. They were also built during the colonial period, which is now decried. Are we going to tear them down as well? Heaven forbid.

So, let’s be a bit creative about the statues. Use them to warn society not to repeat our past. Appreciate them as works of art. Build another statue next to it that represents something or someone more acceptable.

Let’s create, rather than destroy.

Getting ready for TGSS

I’m not supposed to be doing this. In fact, I’m supposed to be posting material to the new website of our church, http://www.stfrancisparkview.com. The trouble is that I can’t work out how to post as St Francis, and not as Quo Vadis Connect!

So I noticed that this poor old blog hasn’t had much attention over the last while, and maybe I should address this.

Right now, we’re in the middle of August. That means September is around the corner. And that means……

The Great Spring Swim (TGSS) that takes place anually on 1 September.

In preparation for this, we’re working a miracle. Up until two days ago, the swimming pool was a deep, murky and muddy brown. Not green; brown. Dark brown. In fact, Theo insisted we would find rats (EEEEEEEK!) at the bottom of it.

This is where the miracle comes in. Moi fills up an empty milk bottle with some of the dark brown water, and off moi goes to the friendly local swimming pool shop. A surprisingly small dent in the plastic credit card later, moi arrives back home armed with Burn Out (to break down the organic material – the rats?), Algaecide (to kill the algae), and, most importantly, the wonderful FLOC. This stands for floculant, and if you ever have pool problems, it’s a miracle worker.

Two days later, the pool is (passably) blue. In the meantime, no rats were found, but a few balls and a pair of underjocks were retrieved. These are undoubtedly the work of the Chocolate Labs, Wagner and/or Beethoven.

The pool still needs a bit of attention to add that all-important sparkle, but it’s nearly ready for TGSS in a few weeks time.

The next task is to psych moi-self up for the terrifyingly low temperature of the water. Hmmmm….