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!

Monday, January 26, 2015

My Year with Bluestone: "What's all this nonsense?"

Driving through Richmond last week on the way back from the Epworth, I was trying to take short cuts and quick routes to avoid the busy main roads. I found myself heading towards Victoria Park, the home of the Collingwood football club, and realised I had taken a wrong turn and would end up driving through Clifton Hill. But as I turned a corner by the railway line I found myself exclaiming aloud, "What's all this nonsense?"

Dear reader, it was nothing but some bluestones laid in a diagonal pattern. Just a humble patch of bluestone on the road, perhaps to slow traffic very slightly.

I don't know when this patch was laid, but its diagonal structure is so clearly not a nineteenth-century pattern. If, like much modern bluestone use, it's made from older pitchers, then some of them have had to be cut into these irregular triangular shapes to form the diagonals. A new kind of bluestone labor (manual? or using what tools?)  but one that will make it harder to use these stones again for any other use. Bluestones are often re-used, and buildings re-assembled or moved. They are like nineteenth-century Lego blocks. Cutting them up like this seems somewhat short-sighted.

 I laughed, though, at my own reaction. So accustomed have I become, already, to seeing bluestone everywhere and remarking about it and thinking about it, that this unusual pattern made me exclaim, stop the car and get out and take a photograph. Because I am blogging daily, too, I am thinking about the project every day. How quickly the square form of bluestone and its right-angle layering have become normative.

No comments: