Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Dragon Eye - Attribution

Catherine Victoria Edmonstone

24 March 1926, Dubbo, Central West, New South Wales, Australia. Unknown photographer, maybe Victor Roseberry Gladstone Bootle.
Right - Catherine Victoria Edmonstone (b 1897)
Left - Blanche Maggie Bootle (nee Edmondstone) (b 1901)
I spent a lot of time when very young with my great aunt, Catherine Victoria Edmonstone. 

Her seanathair (old father or grandfather) came from Ireland. A doctor, he disappeared in the Victorian goldfields after the Eureka stockade uprising.

She lived alone in a large cool house in the inland town of Dubbo, on the banks of the Macquarie River, far from the cities along the edges of Australia. On her dressing table, a single picture of a young soldier, killed in a gas attack, on the front lines in the Great War.

In the picture above she holds the hand of her younger sister on her sister's wedding day, after the Great War. Unlike her sister, Catherine Victoria Edmonstone never married. 

Instead she was an explorer and insisted on others calling her "Vic". She bought herself strange and wonderful horses, buggies and then cars. She travelled to unimaginably far places, bringing back pieces of coral or petrified wood. To get the petrified wood, she once went up to Northern Australia (where ordinary people cannot live because it is too hot, and they survive only by slowly adding alcohol into their blood) and she found a forest of petrified trees in the desert. She found a man (she used men for various menial tasks) to blow a couple of these up with dynamite and brought the pieces back and used them to teach me about how, even in ancient times, there were good years and bad years, and how you could tell them apart using tree rings.

Once she caught a steamer to New Zealand with her camera, and spent weeks there, getting to learn the language and partly cooking herself in medicinal mud.

She loved new technology, driving fast, climbing high, flying and pressure cookers. A short wave radio took pride of place in her sitting room. She would listen to stories on the radio, often with tears in her eyes. On special evenings she would project slides onto a blank wall and tell us stories of her travels.

She had lots of stories. She was the first to tell me about the little people, the dark aelfs. She thought that they lived in red mushrooms in the deep woods. She was sure that they collect vast stores of gold coins and travel the sky using rainbows. They bury their loot at the end of their rainbows. She loved rainbows and would chase them with great determination. 

She also had lots of recipes. Her recipe book can be found HERE or be copying this link into your browser: https://goo.gl/eDYyia

A while back I used one of her stories to start a story in G+. I would like to attribute some of the words in the story to my grand aunt.  It has been a long time since I heard her stories as a child. I cannot remember if she spoke these words, or whether she is whispering them to me now. Indeed she would not have recognized the story, but then, I am sure that she embellished the stories she told me a little as well. I do know she would have loved the future we are living in.

"You cannot kill a dragon. You cannot resist the touch of a dragon's smile, eyes or words. You should resist it with every ounce of your being.  But in the end, all you can do is not become one." - Catherine Victoria Edmonstone (b 1897)

Peter Quinton
February 2015

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