Sunday, March 28, 2010

In which our hero rests after slaying a gelato

Munson & Gelato 1 Munson & Gelato 2 Munson & Gelato 3

Munson approves of the new Cow & Moon artisan gelateria that’s opened up the road. Just the thing for a hot autumn day.

Post gelato

PS My March 1 post was the 1000th on this blog! You didn’t think I was going to take my clothes off for anything less did you?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ann Lyons

 Ann Lyons birth certificateAnnie Pearson c 1932 (far right, age 76)

My family tree researches have picked up again lately since meeting my cousin Annie, who found me through this blog. She’s at least the second or third family member to stumble on me thus, through my listing of our common ancestors.

I’ve written about my Swedish great-great grandfather Sven Pearson (from Malmo) before. He married Annie Lyons in Adelaide, South Australia in 1880. Until very recently I had no information at all on Annie’s background: whether she was born in South Australia ( or indeed in another state ) or, like Sven had arrived from overseas. The surname Lyons is almost certainly of Irish derivation, but when was that connection made?

Cousin Annie has been doing the hard yards with archives in South Australia (their BDM records are still not online), using family stories to pin down more information. As I know too well, few of my female ancestors were on intimate terms with their real ages through their lives, so working backwards from an event like the birth of a child or a census and believing their recorded age is just a recipe for pain. And they start fibbing out it very early in their lives!

The 1880 wedding certificate lists Annie as 21 years of age. Subsequent life-events would have one revise that down to 16-18 if taken at face value.

It seems that Annie arrived from Plymouth, Devon with her mother Ellen, sister Margaret and baby brother Arthur on the Duntrune in 1876. We suspect that they left England not long after the sudden death of her father Daniel.

While the birth certificate above confirms that Annie was born in Plymouth and was in fact nearly 24 when she married, this doesn’t give me another strand of English ancestry. Her parents Daniel Lyons and Ellen Ahern were married in Plymouth, but hailed from Cork in Ireland.

So this gives me the first Irish ancestry on my father’s side of the family, closing up one more gap in the records of the countries where my ancestors came from.

Ann Lyons Pearson passed away in 1935 in Stanmore Sydney, only about 5 minutes drive from where I live today.

Next steps:

1. try to uncover more about Daniel and Ellen. I’ve ordered their wedding certificate and what I hope is his death certificate, with the aim of uncovering more precise ages (possibly birthdates) and names of their parents.

2. Learn what became of Ann’s siblings Margaret and Arthur. After Sven’s early death in 1900, the family moved east, with all of them ending up in Sydney. I’ve not found any records of Margaret or Arthur in NSW or Victoria (which is easy for me to check online) so they most likely settled down in South Australia. Unfortunately that would require a paid researcher to look for potential BMD records.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bark in the Park 2010


Time for Bark in the Park again, and Munson was volunteered for one of the dog washes administered by the two kind ladies here.

This Sydney BITP was nearly 2 months earlier than last year’s, sadly Bondi’s last outing. It was very cramped this year as the overall radius of the event area had been halved and most of that space was obstructed by all the lines running out of the mostly single sponsor’s tents like spokes in a bicycle wheel. It’s really not so much fun when it all just seems like a pitch for  a single food manufacturer.

Munson and pom pup #1 Munson and pom pup #1

Later in the day, Munson met this fifteen week old Pomeranian pup. They represent the largest and smallest of the Spitz breeds.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Bondi's World

A couple of weeks ago I prepared this short tribute to Bondi for the Queerscreen Pet Project competition. It was a very much last-minute effort  - I started it at midnight on the day of the deadline and finished it around 5.30am.

I just had a call to say that the film won their Audience Choice award. Unfortunately I wasn't notified of the screening at the local Dendy Newtown cinema on Sunday so I've missed the chance to see it on a big screen :-(.

Here is the YouTubized version for you. Apologies for the occasional wanders in the synchronization between narration and photos - the software I was using was a  little erratic. It also  truncated the end credits. I actually delivered two oh-so-slightly different edits to the competition organisers, but not sure which was screened. The main difference was due to "distant nudity" in one photo, but since I've now declared my hand on public nudity, I've uploaded that earlier edit, which also has uncorrected caption typos and layouts.

Oh yes, and I've won a year's supply of flea treatments. Next time I'll get Munson to make the film, as I think he needs it more than me….

Munson miscellany

Munson - test pic with new camera

Munson with Liebe, German Shepherd puppy A few catch-up pictures of Munson from the last few weeks.

 Fair Day meeting Fair Day hat

Munson meets Carol Munson on his hill

Monday, March 01, 2010

No rest for the naked

I've not had much chance to do any photo-blogging for a few weeks as my new camera has been out of action.  A few days after I returned from Tasmania, one of its rechargeable batteries exploded on my bed while I was out of the house, burning through six layers of bed-linen and into the mattress. Panasonic asked for the battery remains and the camera (which was not in the house at the time) to be sent in, and it was only after repeated requests that they supplied a replacement camera. Getting all my bedding replaced is the next step.

The following weekend, Munson's playmate Morrissey (the 6mo mal) died under tragic circumstances. Within minutes of leaving the Mardi Gras Fair in Victoria Park, Morrissey suffered a series of convulsions and died before veterinary treatment could be obtained. From the timing and symptoms it is believed that Morrissey either drank from a doped water-bowl or picked up a tab of the drug dropped on the ground. Our hearts go out to Morrissey and his owner, Nick. Munson and I had been there earlier in the day and I had a sick feeling for days at how easily it could have been Munson in his place. It's hard enough making sure he doesn't pick up other dangerous discarded foodstuffs ( chicken bones especially ) without worrying about near undetectable dangers like these.

In happier news, I signed up to participate in photographer Spencer Tunick's latest art project at the Sydney Opera House. (Warning, lots and lots and lots of public nudity to follow, and in above link).

I caught a 4am bus in to Circular Quay and was surprised to find myself in a line that stretched nearly a kilometre back from the Opera House along Circular Quay's ferry terminals. Macquarie and Bridge streets were similarly backed up with people driving in for the event.

Circular Quay to Opera House The couple ahead of me in line were in their flannelette pyjamas, a lovely touch.

At the edge of the Opera House grounds I handed in my "model release form"  and received a clear plastic bag to put my things in when it was time to strip off later.

Thousands of people ahead of me had arrived early enough to get tickets for a separate installation to be photographed inside the main concert hall. In the meantime, I was herded into the top of the Botanic Gardens to wait on the grass as the crowds swelled further.

There was nothing to do really until sunrise and it was too dark to spot anyone I knew apart from some friends who were working as part of the marshalling crew.

 waiting for dawn in the Botanic Gardens

Sometime after 6am, the word came for us all to strip off, and with great woops of excitement, everyone took off their clothing, packed it into the plastic bags and surged into the area of the Opera House forecourt. It was a very joyous, liberating experience, and the body heat of the 5200 people who had turned up definitely helped dispel the dawn chills we were feeling by the harbour.

Over the next couple of hours we stood in various configurations on the south steps, facing in different directions, and also lying down, foot to shoulder. The final setup had the crowd pairing for warm embraces. During it all we were buzzed by press helicopters, and cruised by the commuter ferries and the local whale-watching boat (haha).

Opera House steps (Mark Sutcliffe)-1  tunick1-601

I've been able to pick myself out from the shots above - one from a friend's phone-cam, and the other from a Reuters picture. Everyone seemed remarkably unselfconscious, people of all ages and body types, even a few babes in arms. Stripped down to nothing, only warmth and humour remained.


After the outdoor shots were done, we returned to our bags to re-robe, while a lucky few thousand went into the main Concert Hall for some further shots. I was going to stay for the last shots in the Botanic Gardens but decided that waiting a few more hours wasn't worth it for the cold and tiredness I was experiencing.

A great life memory. I'm looking forward to seeing the official photos in coming weeks.