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Lafayette Louisiana

 

We would be in Lafayette for a day and asked the concierge for advice on what to see.  Vermilionville Historic Village was suggested.  This turned out to be very interesting.

 


One of the interiors at Vermilionville Historic Village - Click on this picture to see more
 

Considerable trouble has been taken collecting and restoring the houses and their grounds.  Each house has original furniture and domestic objects from its period and in each of them there was one or more 'explainers' dressed in period clothes and very knowledgeable about 'their' house.  The same applied to the grounds where a shepherd explained that the sheep were historically accurate and a unique flock.  

In one house women were making cotton fabric.  Starting from the raw cotton they showed how to 'card' the fibres then spin the thread/twine.  This is then wound onto multiple spools to be transferred to the drum of the rustic loom and form the weft of the fabric.  The shuttle is also wound with the warp thread and pedals on the loom selectively pull down weft fibres to create various patterns as the shuttle passes between them on alternate passes.  Using this technology the women could be expected to makes enough fabric to make one garment per year.  Presumably not full time.

In another house the host played a fiddle and was difficult to escape as he went through his repertoire of different regional styles.  In yet another we learned how important a guest room was to give hospitality to travellers and how to protect one's daughters' virtue with appropriate architecture. 

Of particular note in one house was a double seat waste closet.  In Australia we would call it a two hole dunny.  Our host invited us to consider using it as a rather too intimate family convenience - presumably avoiding a queue. 

There was also a nice little museum with an environmental and historical theme and more information about The Louisiana Purchase.

 

 

 

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Travel

Denmark

 

 

  

 

 

In the seventies I spent some time travelling around Denmark visiting geographically diverse relatives but in a couple of days there was no time to repeat that, so this was to be a quick trip to two places that I remembered as standing out in 1970's: Copenhagen and Roskilde.

An increasing number of Danes are my progressively distant cousins by virtue of my great aunt marrying a Dane, thus contributing my mother's grandparent's DNA to the extended family in Denmark.  As a result, these Danes are my children's cousins too.

Denmark is a relatively small but wealthy country in which people share a common language and thus similar values, like an enthusiasm for subsidising wind power and shunning nuclear energy, except as an import from Germany, Sweden and France. 

They also like all things cultural and historical and to judge by the museums and cultural activities many take pride in the Danish Vikings who were amongst those who contributed to my aforementioned DNA, way back.  My Danish great uncle liked to listen to Geordies on the buses in Newcastle speaking Tyneside, as he discovered many words in common with Danish thanks to those Danes who had settled in the Tyne valley.

Nevertheless, compared to Australia or the US or even many other European countries, Denmark is remarkably monocultural. A social scientist I listened to last year made the point that the sense of community, that a single language and culture confers, creates a sense of extended family.  This allows the Scandinavian countries to maintain very generous social welfare, supported by some of the highest tax rates in the world, yet to be sufficiently productive and hence consumptive per capita, to maintain among the highest material standards of living in the world. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Remembering 1967

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1967 is in the news this week as it is 50 years since one of the few referendums, since the Federation of Australia in 1901, to successfully lead to an amendment to our Constitution.  In this case it was to remove references to 'aboriginal natives' and 'aboriginal people'.

It has been widely claimed that these changes enabled Aboriginal Australians to vote for the first time but this is nonsense. 

Yet it was ground breaking in other ways.

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Opinions and Philosophy

Holden - The Demise of an Iconic Brand

 

 

I drive a Holden Commodore.  It’s a nice shiny black one.  A Lumina edition.

I have owned well over a dozen cars and driven a lot more, in numerous countries, but this is my first Holden.

I’m starting to think that I can put an end to any car brand, just by buying one.

Holden is to cease manufacturing in 2017.

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