I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


It's nearly three years since I blogged about my gorgeous ex-brother-in-law, Gow. I mentioned there his having come through a major health scare. Alas, there is every sign that his disease has returned.

Two days after I arrived in London, I met my sister after work at Green Park tube station (she works in a small investment bank in Mayfair) and we travelled north to Belsize Park, where he was in hospice care. It was a balmy spring evening, and it was a pleasure to be out of my usual Bloomsbury haunts and out into the leafier suburbs.

Gow was thin, and being medicated for pain relief, but his usual good humour and grace were shining through, though there were a few moments, I have to say, when we were all conscious of the gravity of his situation. His room was full of flowers, and he was having lots of visitors. He'd been out in the garden that afternoon, too. The hospice was clean and bright, and his room was lovely, but he had been there for a couple of months, while the doctors worked out what the next steps might be, and while he gathered strength for the next round.

He showed us these extraordinary collages he'd made, images of his internal organs and the weird eruptions the body produces: really, the art therapists must have fallen all over themselves when they met him...

 A close-up, to show you how he made these assemblages from rolled threads and twists of fabric:

 And my favourite, which I'm calling "self-portrait with giant medications."  In this one you can particularly see the influence of the blue and white Japanese textiles amongst which he has been living and working...
 And here he is, smiling through...

Gow is keen to go back to Japan, if he can, but at least the first step of that journey is complete, as I heard last week he had checked out of the hospice and gone back to his own flat in London. And his brother is moving back to London to New York to help care for him.

It was wonderful to see him, and to see how strong the friendship between him and my sister still is, after all these years. We are now facebook friends, and I said I would load up my pics onto facebook as well, which I'll do now, too. Keep on shining through, darling.

1 comment:

Jeffrey J. Cohen said...

Quite a moving post. There is something radiant about his smile in that picture ... and affirmative, like the art he creates from his experience.