My Easter Weekend 2014, Vol. I

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Content advisory: This post includes discussion and an image of killing poultry, and mentions religion, alcohol consumption and controversial movies about sex.

I’ll be doing my Easter post in two volumes, each consisting of multiple chapters, in an homage to Lars Von Trier… you will get the reference a little later on in the piece.

As someone who is not into Easter in a Jesus and chocolate kind of way, I see four days off work with no kids at home as a prime opportunity to get stuff done and hopefully fit in a little bit of relaxing as well.

My kids spend every Easter with their father. This is partly because when I was growing up I always spent Easter with my dad, and partly because my kids’ father is much more of a Jesus and chocolate person than I am.

So what better way to begin a four-day child-free weekend than with a night out.

Chapter 1 – The Pub Crawl

Our last round - two Cosmopolitans and a Harvey Wallbanger

Our last round – two Cosmopolitans and a Harvey Wallbanger

Two Easters ago I had a fun night out with the Yacht Club DJs at Karova Lounge, and this Easter they played there again. I had thought about going, but my sister suggested that we just go to a pub instead. She recently moved into town, an easy walk from many pubs, so the plan was to walk from her place and crash back there afterwards.

This plan somehow morphed into a pub crawl, starting at Irish Murphys and winding our way back to Sarah’s house via several pubs. Except we got to the third one, Jacksons and Co, and stayed. The music was the right volume, the drinks selection was huge, the couches were comfy and the crowd was small and sensible. It was the perfect spot. We stayed until closing, with every drink different to the last.

I had planned to try a different cider in every bar, but after starting with a Bulmers and trying three others, I gave up. There is a frighteningly vast array of bad cider on the market these days. I rounded out the night with a couple of cocktails instead.

On our way home we took a detour via the magic glowing hole-in-the wall known as The Gravy Spot, a phenomenon that is only visible after midnight and after you’ve exceeded .05. Chips, cheese and gravy gave us the energy to get back up the hill, where with what was left of my voice I struggled to sing to ’90s classics in my sister’s lounge room until 4am.

 

Chapter 2 – Processing

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After four hours sleep, Matt and I went home, as I had a goat to milk. Then we went back to bed. I spent the afternoon bellyaching over whether or not I could bear to kill the young roosters I had deliberately raised as meat birds.

Matt put his hand up to do the actual beheading, which I am incredibly grateful for. The rest is yuck and tedious, but not having to swing the hatchet myself gave me back my resolve.

Easter seems to be a handy time for processing poultry. The summer hatches are around four months old by this point, and there is plenty of time to devote a few hours to the job. This time around we had three Silkie cockerals and three Rhode Island Reds. A new hatchet made the end very quick for these birds. Plucking and gutting was a more laborious task.

The Silkies dressed out at 700g, and with their black skin they do look a little odd. I froze two of them whole, along with all three of the Reds, and filleted the third for 400g of meat. We had carrot soup for dinner.

 

Chapter 3 – A New Goat

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Last Easter was punctuated by the loss of my dear foundation doe Tarra Bulga Lucinda. This year we welcomed a new member to the family on Easter Saturday.

I had been on the lookout for another unrelated buck for quite a while, to put over my Tazzy/Jupiter cross daughters. I was willing to wait for the right buck to come along, and my requirements were stringent. I had seen pictures of Fitz as a young kid, at which point his breeder was planning to keep him.

It was pure luck that gave me the chance to be first to throw my hat in the ring when Fitz’s breeder decided that she would sell him. I was on Facebook at the right time when the notification about the For Sale listing flashed up on my screen.

There were some delays with the transport, but Fitz has finally arrived, and he is exactly what I was hoping for. Well grown and strong, with the length, depth and bone that I need to add to my herd. He also has loads of milk in his pedigree. All being well he will be test-mated to one of my young does later in the year and then if that goes well he will get a few more does next year.

 

Chapter 4 – Nymphomaniac

Matt and I are always on the lookout for interesting new movies to watch. During our searches we stumbled upon Lars Von Trier’s two-part story Nymphomaniac.

I don’t watch R-rated movies often. And when I consider watching one, I always do my research. I read reviews and check out the content advisory. What I read about Nymphomaniac certainly piqued my interest.

It would be fair to say that the majority of Americans who commented on the IMDB page hated the movies. Many reported watching, or trying to watch, the first one, and not going back to finish the story. They complained of it being ‘porn disguised as art’, and deemed it ‘too smutty’ and over-the-top. The critics, in general, were able to see deeper into what Von Trier wanted to convey.

In short, Nymphomaniac tells the story of Joe (Charlotte Gainsbrough), a woman found lying in an alley by avid reader and fly-fisherman Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard). Joe sets out to tell Seligman how she came to be beaten and left in the alley, and Seligman interjects with stories of how Joe’s sexual exploits are similar to fly fishing.

The construction of these films is delicate and sophisticated, with cinematic tools and scene composition used to full effect to create the story. The visuals are as imperative to the story as the narrative, and the two complement each other seamlessly. As a film experience, in a world of hollow big-budget blockbusters, Nymphomaniac is undeniably satisfying.

The content seems to have been the sticking point for many viewers, though. If you watch it for titillation, you will be disappointed. For a movie about sex, it is stunningly unsexy. If you are offended by boobs, pubes, pictures of willies, vagina close-ups or depictions of sex and masturbation, including that most taboo – the female orgasm, you will be offended by these movies.

Watching them with my feminist-coloured glasses on left me very pleasantly surprised. There was nothing in these films that offended, shocked or upset me. Actually, there was one thing. But that worked out alright in the end.

The symbolism, the things deliberately included or deliberately left out, the narrative, so many things make these movies a collective masterpiece. They raise so many questions, but leave the viewer with definite closure. There are scenes that can be interpreted in many ways, but the underlying message you get from them will depend on the sort of person you are.

I won’t go into any of it too far, because I don’t want to taint anyone’s experience of these films with my own views. I will go as far as to recommend that you might not want to watch it with your parents. But if you appreciate good cinema, you will appreciate Nymphomaniac Vol. I and Vol. II.

Now I must do some gardening before the weather comes in, but I will return with My Easter Weekend 2014, Vol. II.

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