How to really grow food in your backyard Here I share with you the secrets that have transformed me from a gardener with a not-very-productive vegie patch, to growing most of my family's fruit and veg.
Traditional Foods My health has dramatically improved after changing my diet for a more traditional way of eating, as advised by Sally Fallon.
Food Flower Poster Forget the food pyramid! It was developed by the agricultural industry, not by nutritionists. Instead, print this Food Flower poster, which shows a visual guide to choosing nutritious and satisfying traditional foods.
￼The best thing about the puppet festival was seeing other magnificent shows - there just isn't much in the way of marionette theatre in Australia and for us to spend a few days seeing wonderful show after wonderful show was so thrilling. Jesse got inspired to make his own puppet show and made notes in his journal with his plans. I got lots of ideas for marionette techniques which thrilled me.
Amazingly, everywhere we went at the puppet festival, people knew who we were, had seen our video on YouTube, thanks to Sergio, and were ready to roll out the red carpet for us. We had instant status and credibility at the festival, which was such a treat for us! We even scored an invite to return there next year to perform. Best of all though, was that when Sergio did private demonstrations of all his marionettes for us, we could see that he really is a genius. He wasn't performing in the festival but he was happy to give us a taste of his work with all the marionettes that line his workshop. His marionettes are magnificent, so exquisitely made, both simple and yet sophisticated, and I was fascinated to see how he solved many problems that I haven't been able to work out solutions for.
He had a simple method with a clothes peg to make eyebrows on a puppet go up and down. He'd connected an iPod to the control so he could play music while his puppets "play" an instrument. I had my notebook out constnatly, scribbling ideas, techniques, notes and reminders to myself. I want to go home and re-string my puppets!
Forgive the long silence on my blog.. I haven't forgotten about you - I just ran into technical difficulties while I was on the road, and didn't manage to find another place where I could convert my images to the right size for this blog. Anyway, we are back in Australia now, but I really want to blog the rest of our trip away, so I'm going to do it over a series of blog entries that'll automatically come up every few days, there'll just be a bit of a time lag as these things really happened a little while ago now.
Anyway, we caught the train to Turin (which was the most gorgeous city - all old and medieval but without the crowds of Rome), and then the bus to the small town of Pinerolo where Sergio lives. Sergio Barrios is the man who first inspired me, back in Guatemala several years ago, to start working with marionettes. I've held his inspiration dear to my heart ever since, and repeatedly Paula and I have recalled the magic that surrounded his shows and hoped that for some people in our audiences the magic has happened too. How many times I've longed to ask him a question, to learn more subtle details than I was able to pick up in the few quick days we knew him!
We've kept in touch though, sending each other photos or DVDs every now and then in lieu of actual communication since the Spanish/English divide is pretty limiting when it comes to emails. When I sent him an email saying we were coming to Europe, and could we meet up, I didn't know how he would respond. He represented a life-changing, pivotal moment in my life, and he gave me something that has taken me in a direction I never thought I could go. But we hardly did that for him - we were just a couple of travellers, a few more fans perhaps. Did he maybe think we were rather rude young upstarts, grabbing a miniscule slice of marionette knowledge and thinking we could turn it into a career?
It turned out he was very warm and invited us to visit him at his home in Pinerolo, and by amazing coincidence, the very dates that we were available to visit him, there was a puppet festival in Pinerolo, hosted by the theatre where his wife Bianca works (sometimes the universe just provides, eh?)....
Still, when the time came for us to go to his house, suddenly we were rather nervous. Paula especially so, and she begged me to stop in a bar so she could have a quick drink first! We walked past his house to go to the bar, and were sitting there when Sergio ran down the street! He'd been working on his marionettes when he looked out the window and saw us walk past, and was terrified that he would miss us, so he tore down the four storeys of his building, raced out the gate and down the street, until he finally found us. And instantly everything was fine - he was so warm, so friendly. He made it clear that from the videos he loved our work, was very impressed, and he treated us both with so much respect!