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Friday, July 28, 2023

RODD Silverplate

Yesterday I was gifted a set of Rodd silver-plated spoons and forks from my parents. Once owned by my late Grandmother, they were found in the back of the cupboard while cleaning out her place. Slightly tarnished a quick 'bicarb and foil' soak have seen them come out a treat.

G&E Rodd Pty Ltd was a jewellery manufacture founded in Melbourne, Victoria in 1919 by two brothers, Ernest and George Rodd and in the 1930s they diversified into manufacturing tableware — knives, forks and spoons, including souvenir spoons. After the sudden death of Ernest and his wife Muriel in 1948, their son Max took over G&E Rodd. In 1949 the company was amalgamated with Platers Pty Ltd (manufacturers of Hecworth plate) and publicly listed. Rodd Silverware quickly became a household name and if you were married in the 1960s you would almost certainly have received one or more sets of Rodd Silverware as a wedding present. Having become fashionable in 1961 after a set of Rodd Australian gold Jasmine spoons and forks were commissioned as a wedding present from Australia to the Duke and Duchess of York. In the late 1960s the company amalgamated with Myttons Ltd, forming Mytton Rodd (Australia) Ltd. Production ceased in 1991.

Sunday, February 26, 2023


This last week embodied the commencement of another year in Canberra with the first full week of school, the arrival of university students returning to old digs or settling into new, the stirring of activity in commercial kitchens across the Territory preparing for the many functions, conference and work related meetings ahead, and the first of many orchestral music productions. Though instead of gearing up and being amongst the frenzy, I've sidestepped and watched on, recovering from a small surgery last Friday resulting in a now missing lymph node from my left-hand side shoulder. From the sidelines I've come to realise that the lymph node joined a list of things that have gone missing.

Missing dining tables
In conversation over dinner with friends one evening this week the mention of a new interior design trend of removing the dining table and instead using an extension off the kitchen bench for eating was revealed. My dinner companion detailed how two separate friends had independently renovated their apartments recently and installed a no dining table concept. Curious about it becoming a fad, I picked up a copy of a well revered Australian interior design magazine; I couldn’t help notice the advertisement of a dining table on page two and prominent throughout. Personally, I couldn’t bear living without a dining table: it’s the perfect spot for a cup of tea or, my favourite, to spread out papers of a project.

Missing sheep
In The Australian newspaper on Friday (17.02.23) it was reported that 700 merino sheep worth $129,000 - 197 merino ewes with purple ear tags and 493 white Suffolk merino cross lambs with red ear tags - had been stolen from a farm in north west Victoria. It is believed that the heist required at least two four-decker trucks, portable fencing and working dogs - a far cry from a jolly swagman grabbing and storing a jumbuck with glee. While visiting New Zealand in 2019 I was bemused by a similar story where 300 sheep, worth then $65,000, having been reported as stolen and also believed to have required the use of trucks and working dogs. The New Zealand sheep were located a week later and had in fact not been stolen, but rather was the fault of an administrative error in stock numbers. Anyone with information regarding the current heist are urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Missing signs
Closer to home, a group of teenagers in broad daylight walked off with one of the prominent cafe signs that lives on the main road. As the theft occurred a witness called the cafe to detail that she had seen ‘three teenagers walking off with the cafe sign and attempted to get on the bus with it, but they were unsuccessful and had then headed in the direction of A–.’ This was closely followed by a voicemail from another witness: “I’m trying to reach you to let you know three rough looking teens have taken your sign and are walking towards A–. Though since I am unable to speak with anyone I’ll just leave this message” - sounding slightly annoyed that he wasn't about to reached anyone. While heading off to retrieve the looted item, another person had approached the cafe and informed the waiters of the incident - causing a frenzy of messages from the waitstaff on duty to report the incident. Retrieved and returned to its rightful place, there was another voicemail left on returning to the office: “Hello, this is M- from ACT Police, as I can’t speak with you directly - this is not to make a booking - someone just rang up to say that they saw three youths take your sign from the front of your cafe across to A–. So if you are missing a sign you might like to have a look at A–. Unfortunately I’ve got no other information to locate the offenders, but that's where your sign may be…”

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Day 63, finale.

Today the news ticker - a term I was unaware existed until now; derived from the ticker tape, a continuous piece of paper, that had stock quotes printed on it before the advancement of technology in the 1960s - on ABC News24 read “ACT lockdown to lift at midnight tonight, limited restrictions to remain”. It only seems appropriate that with the end of lockdown comes the end of these daily posts. A process that I have thoroughly enjoyed and has helped me get through the days. Throughout these last nine weeks I’ve often been asked “how are you coping?” (and a big thank you to everyone who has checked in) to which my honest answer is that I’ve quite enjoyed lockdown. It’s not often in the middle of life that one gets a large chunk of time to take a step back, breath, and enjoy a quieter pace. I worked throughout the lockdown last year, so this time around it was nice to immerse myself in what I came to term ‘a government funded sabbatical’. There have been many positives that have emerged with lockdowns: less traffic on the roads, the increase of wildlife, the reconnection with simpler forms of enjoyment like puzzles or board games, and the reconnection with green spaces, to name a few. Of course that’s not to disregard the difficult time that many people have been through - losing loved ones, struggling financially, enduring all facets of child bearing, mental health, juggling work-life balance, &c. Though as we emerge out of lockdown and begin “living with Covid-19” I hope that some of these positives find a permanent place in our lives. Besides these daily posts, there is one other thing that has certainly helped get me through: tea. Close to 1.3 kilograms in fact.

Until next time, stay safe, mask up and be kind.

Big hug, MR

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Day 62

Before the Duchess of Bedford ordered a tray of sweetbreads and tea to quench her hunger in the summer of 1840, scones held no particular pride of place within English cuisine. In fact, very few recipes of how to make scones exist in early Victorian times (there is no mention of ‘scones’ in Mrs. Beeton’s for example) though that’s not to say they weren’t being made throughout Britain before the Duchess of Bedford and Queen Victoria popularized them. For we know that the first written appearance of the word ‘scone’ was in a Scottish version of the Aeneid in 1513. Though this would have been in reference to a round flat bread, made from oats and scored into four or six wedges; cooked on a griddle over a flame it would have been known as a ‘bannock’ and the wedges known as ‘scones’. With the advent of oven baking, the round of dough was cut into wedges and the scones were baked individually. Though this is just one theory, as the origin of the term ‘scone’ is still unknown: one suggestion is the name comes from the ancient capital city where Kings of Scotland were crowned, on the Stone (of Scone) of Destiny; another is that the name derives from the Dutch word ‘schoonbrot’ which means ‘fine white bread’; another from the German word ‘sconbrot’ which means ‘fine or beautiful bread’; or the Gaelic ‘sgonn’ which can mean ‘shapeless mass’ or ‘large mouthful’. Interestingly, the history of scones has also been traced to a Welsh tradition, involving the cooking of tiny cakes made with yeast on bakestones. Whatever the origin, there’s no doubt the concept of individual sized sweetbreads, involving a rising agent, wouldn’t have been a far stretch from the far and wide practice of bread making. The recipe of scones being unpublished until after they were popularised doesn’t necessarily mean they weren’t widely consumed, but quite the opposite, in that they were so commonplace; recipes being passed down the generations. Today, ongoing bias gives rise to every other mother, aunt or friend holding the title for “best scones”. I have no doubt that this practice has long been a tradition, well before scones took pride of place alongside tea and of an afternoon.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Day 61

With the ability to reconvene once again with friends, albeit in small numbers, I’m sorry to report that today’s post has been interrupted by life.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Day 60

By the time Queen Victoria ascended to the throne it was long fashionable for aristocratic families to have two main meals a day: a substantial breakfast and an evening meal. As kerosene lamps became widespread in households, the evening meal started to be served later and later in the day and by the early 19th century the normal time was between 8pm and 9.30pm. To help fill the gap, an extra meal was taken at midday, known as luncheon, though this was usually a very light meal and left people to endure the long afternoon with no refreshments. Complaining of a “sinking feeling” around 4pm, Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford introduced in yesterday’s post, ordered a tray of tea (Darjeeling), some sweet breads, including scones, and sandwiches to her rooms when staying at her country house - Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire - during the summer of 1840, and found it to be the perfect refreshment. She was so delighted by the whole affair that she began ordering tea every afternoon and continued the practice when she returned to London. The Duchess started to invite friends to join her and soon afternoon tea quickly became an established and convivial pastime enjoyed in drawing rooms of women of the upper middle and upper class throughout London, taken at precisely 4pm. As the trend set in, so too did the popularity of all the paraphernalia that went with it - Chinese porcelain tea cups, tea pots, caddies, etc. - and furniture makers rushed to capitalise on the movement, designing and making special tea tables and chairs. By the late 1840s Queen Victoria was hosting ‘fancy dress’ afternoon tea parties, which always ended by 7pm to allow time for the guests to prepare for their evening meal. The working class soon followed suit, adopting the practice of enjoying a “meat tea” or “high tea” (usually involving meat broth, as tea remained an expensive import and a mere luxury until the end of the 19th century) at 5pm, the end of the work day - later the 8pm meal was dropped and the tea meal in the early evening became dinner. Alongside afternoon tea, scones served with jam and cream, as we know and enjoy today, also gained popularity.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Day 59

Anna Marie Russell (nee Stanhope), Duchess of Bedford, was born in 1783; the eldest daughter of 11 children to Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington, and Jane Fleming. In 1808 she married Francis Russell, Marquess of Tavistock (later 7th Duke of Bedford on the death of his father in October 1839) - the elder brother of John Russell, 1st Earl of Russell, who served twice as Prime Minister (1846-1852; 1865-1866). Anna was a lifelong friend of Queen Victoria and served as Lady of the Bedchamber between 1837 to 1841. In 1839, the then young and unmarried Queen Victoria was implicated in two scandals involving the Queen’s ladies: the ‘Bedchamber Crisis’ and the ‘Hastings Affair’. When Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837 she developed a close relationship with her first Prime Minister William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (1834, 1835-1841), a Whig. When Melbourne resigned in early 1839 after a defeat in Parliament, Queen Victoria invited the Conservative leader Sir Robert Peel to form a government. Peel insisted that the Queen's Whig associated ‘Ladies of the Bedchamber’ be replaced with Tory ones, which was the usual practice. The Queen refused, so Peel declined to form a government and Melbourne returned to office - Victoria would later reconcile with Peel when he became Prime Minister in 1841, influenced by Prince Albert who replaced Melbourne as confidant and advisor. The Hasting’s Affair started when Anna, along with Baroness Lehzen (Victoria’s former governess), accused Lady Flora Hastings (a companion to Victoria and former lady in waiting to the Duchess of Kent, Victoria’s mother; who Victoria suspected of spying) to be with child, after complaints of abdominal pain. Lady Hastings was unmarried and Anna spread the rumour that Sir John Conroy was the father (Victoria’s old controller who she despised). Lady Hastings wrote to her uncle who leaked the accusation to the press, and when she was later diagnosed with cancer and soon afterwards died, Anna, Baroness Lehzen and the Queen herself came under severe public criticism for blemishing the reputation of an innocent woman. Though Anna, Duchess Bedford, is probably best remembered for afternoon tea…

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Day 58, plug.

During my daily walks I generally listen to a podcast and thanks to ‘99% Invisible’ (Roman Mars) I was recently introduced to ‘Stuff the British Stole’, an ABC podcast hosted by Marc Fennell. If you haven’t listened to it yet, I would highly recommend you check it out.

“Throughout its reign, the British Empire stole a lot of stuff. Today those objects are housed in genteel institutions across the UK and the world. They usually come with polite plaques. This is a series about the not-so-polite history behind those objects.
Each episode award-winning journalist, author and genetic-potluck Marc Fennell picks one artifact and takes you on the wild, evocative, sometimes funny, often tragic adventure of how it got to where it is today.
Over a year in the making, Stuff The British Stole will take you from the streets of London to Nigeria to Kolkata, from the bushland of Cobargo all the way to Beijing.
Each item will illuminate stories of politics, genocide, heroism, survival, and justice. Ultimately this isn't really a series about the past. It's about making sense of the world we have today.
There are traces of the empire in everything from our borders, education, medicine, and of course laws. The way we feel about these traces, whether we should acknowledge them or ignore them, is a hot topic globally — among descendants of colonisers and colonised.
Even if you think you know this story, this series proves that history is not as straightforward as you might expect: for every campaigner fighting for the return of a stolen object, often there's another arguing that its return would be a sticking plaster over a gaping wound of history.
These objects will ultimately help us see the Commonwealth — and ourselves — today in a different light.” - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Friday, October 8, 2021

Day 57

Over the last decade I’ve taken a bit of a sideline approach towards the property market, though have always held a general interest in the design side of things, particularly with new builds; if there is one thing that irritates me in this world it’s poor and stupid design. Something that seems more common than not in modern houses, as developers try to squeeze every penny out of a build, particularly apartment developments. Over the last decade I’ve been in so many new builds and experienced uncountable stupid mistakes, all of which could have been simply rectified if thought had been undertaken in the design process, for example the inability to open the fridge door without hitting a cupboard or unable to put anything other than a Queen bed (and that’s substituting bedside tables for probably just a floor lamp) in the main bedroom. Though this east facing “two bedroom” apartment by one of Canberra’s (hideous) larger developers takes the cake, and it can be yours for just a mere $589k. There are a few immediate issues: (1) the concept of trying to fit a two bedroom apartment into a 60-odd metres square space is unfathomable, let alone unliveable; (2) under such restraints, a second bathroom was certainly a poor use of space and unnecessary; (3) the second bedroom can’t really be classified as a bedroom - it has no outside window - resulting in a glass door, which ruins any sense of privacy or noise protection from the living space; (4) living room has no space for a television or, if the architect was going for something more peaceful, a second chair at least to create a conversational area; (5) the living space isn’t wide enough to have the couch in any other direction - I hope you enjoy watching the dirty dishes; (6) it’s a slim line east facing apartment, there will be no sunshine after 10am in winter and a complete oven in summer; (7) I would be concerned about the ventilation in the bathroom off the entryway, the laundry and the second bedroom; (8) the placement of the air conditioning unit on the already small balcony; (9) that both bathrooms are simply off the living area - one of them isn’t even an ensuite; (10) lack of storage.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Day 56

Today marks eight weeks of what was originally a short, sharp, one week-long lockdown for the ACT. Throughout this time I have found myself jotting down many anecdotes and fun facts, some have led to a post, though many remain untouched. As we draw closer to re-opening I thought it would be fun to showcase a few:If one continuously clicks on the first link of Wikipedia articles, the end point will always be philosophy.
Some 330,000 people left Greater Syria (modern day Syria, Israel and Lebanon) between the 1870s and 1930, mainly bound for America.
The fountain outside the Canberra Centre, known as Canberra Times Fountain, was donated to the city of Canberra on the paper’s 50th Anniversary.
In the event of a house fire you have 2-3minutes to evacuate from a modern day house compared to 17-20minutes of a house 30 years ago. The difference is due to houses today being filled with plastics and petroleum-based products, having more open floor plans, bigger rooms and higher ceilings.
In the US during the late 1800s, pharmacies used to sell ice-cream syrup drinks which once contained cocaine and other hallucinogens.
The Savoy started operating in 1889 and the Ritz in 1906. Cesar Ritz had been a hotel manager at the Savoy before opening the Ritz Hotel and coining the term and hospitality philosophy of “everything is possible, unless it’s illegal”.
Oscar Wilde had many sexual relations with males at the Savoy - where he lived for a period - and it was due to the statements given by Savoy staff that he was convicted to two years labour for “indecent acts.”
The concept of dining or entertaining out, was not done in England until the Savoy Hotel was opened.
A forest of 300,000 oak trees in Sweden were planted in 1830 for the use of ship production. When the government received word that the trees were ready in 1975 they had little use for them due to the advancement of technology.
Chad and Romania have the same flag design, with only subtle differences in the shade of colours.
South Australia has a population of 1.7m people, of which 1.33 of whom live in Adelaide.
📸: Advice from a hotel window sill (taken earlier this year).

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Day 55

One of my favourite food stories is the history of Camembert: in 1791, during the French Revolution, a monk from the Brie region was forced to flee. Finding salvation in the Baisse Normandie region, near the village of Camembert, where a peasant farmer named Marie Harel (or Arel) took him in to hide away from the revolutionaries. Be it compensation for helping to hide or perhaps just because he really wanted some cheese, the monk taught Marie how to produce Brie. However, something went slightly awry - it is now predicted that the milk from cows in the Norman region were different to those of Brie, due to climate and feed - and they created Camembert. The cheese was never officially named, though was enjoyed by the family; Marie passed on her recipe to her daughter. Her husband, Victor Paynel, presented it to Napoleon III who gave it his Royal seal of approval and named it Camembert (after the village). Though the cheese we know as ‘Camembert’ today is more likely to be a result of the industrialisation of the cheesemaking process during the end of the 19th century. In 1890 an engineer known as M. Ridel devised the wooden box - which is still used today - to transport the cheese for longer distances, in particular to America, where it became very popular. Also, before fungi were understood, the color of Camembert rind was a matter of chance, and said to be most commonly a blue-grey with brown spots. It was only from the early 20th century onwards that the rind became more commonly a pure white.

What’s the difference between Brie and Camembert? Traditionally Brie is made in larger wheels and sold in slices, while Camembert is made in smaller portions and sold individually (in about wheels of 12cm in diameter). During the production process cream is added to Brie, which gives it a higher fat content as opposed to Camembert, which uses stronger lactic starters. Brie is typically white and semi-soft on the inside but maintains its shape; Camembert is yellow on the inside and at room temperature will often go “runny”. In terms of taste Camembert is more buttery and rich and has more of an earthy flavour - hints of mushroom and truffles.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Day 54, brought to you by the letter A and the number 10.

After a decade it seems that opera hasn’t sunk this (relation)ship. For those playing at home: when Anthony and I first started dating I was living at home and my sister, V-, was staying with me while the parents & co. were off on a European holiday. On arriving home after work one evening V- found me listening to opera: “Does Anthony know you listen to opera? Because this really could be the iceberg that sinks this ship.”

@Noooonie, thank you for putting up with the opera and for allowing me to share the last decade with you - it has been an amazing journey and I couldn’t imagine life without you by my side. Thank you for always being there, for supporting my every whim, looking after me when I am down, for always pushing me to be a better person and for being my best friend. I look forward to many more decades together.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Day 53

Catherine de Medici (1519 - 1589) was born in Florence and at the age of fourteen was married off to the future king of France, Henry II (1519 - 1559). When Catherine arrived in Marseille in 1533, her entourage included courtiers, servants, artists, musicians, dancers, embroiderers, dressmakers, hair stylists, perfume makers, firework technicians, chefs, bakers, pastry cooks and distillers. While her baggage contained artichokes, lettuce, parsley, truffles, forks, fine silverware, glazed tableware and table decorations, which were all unknown in France at the time. Catherine had a miserable marriage, with Henry II favouring his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who was twenty years his senior and held great influence over him during his reign (1547 - 1559). She was also disliked by the people of France and had a bad reputation, encouraged by propaganda and the general suspicion of foreigners. In order to preserve her power as Queen, she established a legion of beautiful women to engage in gathering intelligence from the boudoir of the French elite, known as the “escadron volant” or “flying squadron”. These women were said to be hand-picked for their loyalty to the Queen, their charm and sexual prowess. Although the story of ‘a cunning group of beautiful female spies working for a foreign queen’ has recently been questioned by historians and it is beloved that the queen most likely selected her courtiers for their intelligence, wit and experience. Henry II, was killed in 1559 from a jousting accident, leaving Catherine to become regent on behalf of her 10-year-old son Charles IX and granted sweeping powers. After Charles died in 1574, she also played a key role in the reign of her third son, Henry III. Though what does all this have to do with an image of a table setting? Prior to Catherine’s arrival in France, the dinner table would have only been set with spoons, knives and a single fork for carving. With fingers, spoons and slices of bread having been the formal way to consume food. Catherine introduced the fork to the French table, which in turn influenced the English which in turn influenced the English - although not until the seventeenth century.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Day 52

From the archives: January 2020 - Entering a new decade I couldn’t help but ponder what would become the defining trends, fads and social movements of the 2010s. In no way comprehensive or researched, the following items came to mind:
  • The awful trend of food being served on boards, slate or on any inappropriate surface, which doesn't capture the juices, crumbs or contain the food. During a trip to Singapore, I once ordered a latte in a chocolate coated cone: an impractical experience to say the least.
  • Smashed avo; unaffordable house prices.
  • The influence and infiltration of social media on political elections and governance.
  • Social media used as a vehicle for protests and social justice: #metoo, #blacklivesmatter, Occupy Wall Street, School Strike for Climate, Extinction Rebellion, etc.
  • Seracha, kewpie mayo and yuzu.
  • Mylks. No longer is coffee, just coffee. In fact, I did a shift as a favour to a good friend at Ultimo once and had to contend with seven types of milks: full, skim, macadamia, almond, soy, coconut and rice.
  • IKEA.
  • Cryptocurrency.
  • Brioche buns.
  • Hipsters: indoor plants, the male hair bun, beards, coffee (see previous point on mylks), vegans, cold brew, coconut water, kombucha, farmers markets, etc.
  • Linen: clothes, bed sheets, tea towels, napkins, ties, etc.
  • Minimalism. Meditation. Mindfulness.
  • The rise of “influences” and standard folk reaching celebrityhood through streaming services and social media.
  • Gay rights, including marriage equality.
  • Fidget spinners.
  • Royal Commissions.
  • The revival of austerity-era fashion; the ‘preppy’ look.
  • Craft beers. I still find it amusing, however, that rebranded VB won the best beer at the 2014 Sydney Craft Beer Festival.
  • The advancement of HIV medication, including PREP, which has eliminated a previously lived fear about HIV and AIDS, whilst also allowing those with the virus to live healthy lives.
  • Hybrid pastries: cronut, chuffin, dangel, sfogembouchatelle, dookie, etc.
  • Cement and wood; the return and rise of Scandinavian design.
  • Tote bags.
  • Diversity of food and the infiltration of food trucks.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Day 51

The Dame Edna Everage famous Melbourne suburb, Moonee Ponds, was first settled as pastoral lands in the early 1840s. When gold was discovered in the Castlemaine and Bendigo areas in 1851, the main route to the diggings was via Mount Alexandra Road through Moonee Ponds, resulting in the establishment of shops, facilities and overnight accommodation. ‘Moonee Ponds’ derives its name from the Moonee Ponds Creek, which would form a series of ponds during the dry season. Though there are a few variations as to the origins of ‘Moonee’. In 1837 the Government Surveyor, Robert Hoddle, marked the creek as ‘Mone Mone Creek’ in a survey of the area. It has been claimed that this derives from the term ‘Moonee Moonee’ a term an aborigine attached to the mounted police. Another theory is that the area was named after an early Crown grantee, John Moonee, who held land near the current day Moonee Valley Racecourse. In 1860 a railway line was opened from Melbourne to Essendon with a station at Moonee Ponds - which closed between 1864 to 1871 as it was privately owned and recommenced as a government railway. In the 1880s several subdivisions were offered for sale in Moonee Ponds, including Whitaker Estate (1882), Essendon Estate (1886) and Hoddle Estate (1888). The Whitaker Estate was classified as one of the best, being located on the north northside of Puckle Street, the future (and current) shopping strip. The street was named after the first vicar of the Anglican Church St Thomas' (1859), Edward Puckle, who moved there in 1858, ten years after the first Anglican services which were conducted in the area by the Melbourne Bishop. In 1881 there were only five addresses in Puckle Street according to the Sands and McDougall suburban directory; in 1891 there were fifty businesses listed and by 1900 there were nearly ninety businesses, mostly retail. Between 1906 and 1922 a tram line ran along Puckle Street, extended from the tram service along Mount Alexander Road.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Day 50

With just a quick rummage through the house I found: Pimms, Silvo, Twinings tea, Gordon’s gin, Dettol, HP sauce, Angostura Bitters, Champagne Bollinger and Royal Doulton. Though what do these things all have in common? They all have a Royal Warrant, which are appointed by H.M. Queen Elizabeth and/or HRH The Prince of Wales for products and services that have been in regular use - for at least 5 of the past 7 years - to the royal household. The first appointments date back to the 15th century, with William Caxton, a printer, being one of the first recipients in 1476. Today, there are currently 816 royal warrants with the longest-serving warrant-holder being Berry Bros. & Rudd, a wine and spirits merchant, granted in 1903. The Royal Warrant itself is the document that allows companies to use the Royal Arms in their promotion and to promote their royal warrant status; it is estimated that companies may earn up to 5% of their revenue as a result of a Royal Warrant. Once appointed, they are reviewed and renewed every 5 years and can be withdrawn for a number of reasons, including a decline in quality, the product or service no longer being required or death of the grantor: earlier this year 35 warrants had their association with the royal household revoked after the death of HRH Duke of Edinburgh; in 2018 the underwear fitter Rigby & Peller lost their warrant after the firm’s director wrote a book revealing details of the royal family; in 2012 Carr’s Table Water Biscuits lost their warrant due to the ‘changing tastes’ of the Royal Households; and, in 2000 Harrods lost their 44-year-old warrant granted by the Duke of Edinburgh after the owner, Mohamed Al Fayed, accused the Duke of masterminding a secret service plot to murder his son and Diana, Princess of Wales. As a result Al Fayed banned the Duke from from visiting his stores and never reapplied for another warrant - at the time Harrods held four Royal Warrants by HRH Her Majesty, HRH Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Prince of Wales and HRH Queen Elizabeth, Queen’s mother - and he burnt the royal warrants stating they were cursed (which the Guardian labeled a “fairly rubbish curse” having taken 86 years to work).

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Day 49, Thursday 30th September (it has a slight ring to it).

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new month and excitingly sees the relaxation of minor restrictions in the ACT, namely the allowance of up to two visitors to a household. I am sure this will be welcome news to many. While reviewing these changes and studying the ‘Pathway Forward’ in further detail earlier today, I was reminded about the same process of when restrictions were being relaxed last year and the difficulties that emerged with each stage (particularly in a hospitality setting).

I was also reminded of the above image which must have been taken around early August; it was certainly within the first few weeks of when restrictions had eased and patrons were allowed to dine in restaurants - observing limited capacities, physical distancing and contract tracing methodology - and the first opportunity I had to catch up over a meal with some friends. As we were sharing our lockdown tales and discussing our future predictions, I couldn’t help but notice the restaurant booking diary sitting on the counter. Closed, the book would have been 2-3 inches thick and the edges of the pages, between the covers, told a very telling story: ruffled, blackened pages, followed by a thick row of clean edges and the beginnings of ruffled ones again. It exemplified a timeline of hospitality in 2020 in physical form (which has, sadly, been repeated again a year later).

Soon after this dinner I was reading an article pondering the question ‘what should museums and historical collections obtain to best represent 2020?’ The article went on and detailed the obvious items of hand sanitizer bottles, masks and other PPE, health warnings signs and posters, etc. It also, interestingly, told of how only a few objects remain from the Spanish Influenza outbreak, as after WWI and the pandemic people simply wanted to move on and forget. The restaurant booking diary, in my opinion, would make a perfect artefact to represent and help tell the story of Covid-19 (and it’s impact) in Australia for future generations

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Day 48

The Pavilion Building, or West Portal Cafeteria as it was formerly known, was a purpose-built cafeteria for public servants working in the ANZAC Park West (and I suppose also ANZAC Park East) office building, to take a break from national administration and dine on roast beef sandwiches, sausage rolls and scones - it is no wonder I have always admired the building. Built in 1969 it is a 535sqm single level rectangular structure comprised of brick walls on three sides of the northern end, which house the facilities and service areas including once a kitchen, and full length windows with a wide verandah to the three sides of the southern end, around the former dining area. It has a copper tile clad roof with concave cantilevers that extend three meters along all four sides, and a curved spire with a lantern positioned central over the dining area. The verandah and dining room ceilings are battened with Western Red Cedar and the northern wall in the dining room is clad with Queensland maple battens laid vertically, which conceal the doors into the facilities and service areas. Interestingly, it is one of eight hospitality services that existed to accommodate public servants in the ACT during the 1970s and which operated until 1988; today It is one of three surviving buildings constructed for these services (another being ‘The Lobby’ opposite Provisional Parliament House). For these unique architectural features and its specific operations tied to life in the developing days of Canberra, it has been heritage listed. Currently it is being used as a display suite for ‘The Griffin’ complex being constructed next door and is listed for sale by expression of interest, advertised as being “suitable for hospitality, office & more.” I doubt it’s future potential though as it certainly wouldn’t suit its original purpose anymore: it faces the completely wrong direction and has sweeping views of a major roadway, Parkes Way. In fact, I don’t understand why it was ever built facing south in the first place, as even in 1969 it would have had the same poor surroundings. Though a beautiful building nonetheless.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Day 47

Around this time last year Anthony and I were fortunate enough to visit Tamworth in the slither window period between lock-downs. While there I was given the privilege to browse through a collection of postcards written to Anthony’s great-great-aunt between 1903 and 1930. The postcards, often referred to as “posties”, were usually used to send off a quick message, be it of thanks or a snippet of gossip, but more often as an apology for not being able to reply in full to a received letter and promising a full response soon. Using the information contained in the cards and doing some further research since, I have been able to map out a family tree and have discovered some interesting details on life in country New South Wales during the first half of last century. One of the things I adored in reading over the ‘posties’ was the common sign off “remember me to your family”, along with the quant handmade cards often sent around Christmas. Amongst the ‘posties’ I did find one item that particularly peaked my interest, a letter dated 30th January 1919:

“Dear Sirs,
The member of the Warehousemen’s Association of New South Wales, appreciating the prompt action taken by the State Government to suppress the outbreak of Influenza, are most anxious to loyally support them in every possible manner, and with the end in view they desire to draw the attention of their clients to the following extract of the report of the Medical Profession […]: The following simple rules should be observed:

- Keep away from the cougher, spitter, or sneezer as much as possible.
- Keep out of crowds.
- Keep in the fresh air and sunlight as much as possible.
- Keep out of doors if possible, or in a well ventilated room.
- Be temperate in eating, and avoid alcohol.
- Wash your hands and face immediately upon reaching your home.
- Change your clothes before mingling with the rest of your family.
- Exercise, short of fatigue, should be taken regularly.
- Keep the mouth and teeth clean.

If the epidemic should break through quarantine, go to bed in a room to yourself, directly you feel symptoms […]”

Monday, September 27, 2021

Day 46

On this day five years ago @boydbydesign and I were departing San Francisco after a five week trip abroad, taking me to the UK (where I met up with Boyd) and us to Denmark and the USA. Going through photos, paraphernalia and notes while reminiscing over this trip, I found the following post from an old blog, which interestingly details the roots of my now travelling modus operandi and, I feel, what helped embed such cherished memories from this trip:

“A few months ago I was having a conversation with a fairly new friend, and the subject of travel came up. I was surprised to learn that this friend, although older than I, had never travelled, and in fact made the comment: "I don't see the value in spending $10k plus to go somewhere and come back with a small, cheap trinket." I remember thinking at the time that he had missed the point of travelling. In thirty days I will be embarking on a five week trip starting in Edinburgh, UK, before travelling east to west through the USA. At this point of time it still hasn't quite sunk in that I am going (that reminds me I must purchase travel insurance), although I do find myself daydreaming at times about all the possibilities that this trip may hold. I have always had this fantasy to go travelling with the aim of truly engaging with the experience. What do I mean by this? I remember when I was travelling in Europe with a few other people and at the end of one of our days in Paris I asked one of my companions what she had been up to, her reply: ‘I just walked around, had lunch in a small family run cafe where the owners told me about their life, and walked up Montmartre.’ I remember being in awe. That's what experiencing a place takes, not running around according to a minute by minute schedule, but exploring and being in the moment. For this trip I want to get lost, I want to explore and I want to interact with the locals. I aim to keep a daily travel log, write, draw and really engage with my surroundings and the experience. I plan to come back with more than just a trinket. However, I must pick up a cheap souvenir for my friend.” - July 2016

I am looking forward to the day we can travel once again.