Day 113: Living the Martha Life

I called it a little early in my last post…now my transformation into Martha Stewart is complete. I had a bunch of tomatoes sitting around that I bought during my “clean eating” binge and never ended up using, so today I made pasta sauce out of them. What on earth is happening to me?!

Seriously it’s something that would never have occurred to me to do until now. In my youth I’ve never been much of a housewife. I never really cooked much, never trusted myself around the kitchen, never had any interest in cleaning, tidying or organising. Now I spend my leisure time cleaning my whole house, I dance around the kitchen like…a cook, and I make my own fresh tomato sauce. I’m enjoying the #marthalyf immensely, and I want more. I want to learn how to bake things, how to make more and more food and meals from scratch, from real food. I want to seriously scrub my whole house from top to bottom. I want to learn how to garden, how to weed and fix my lawn properly. I want to learn how to grow things. I want to learn everything there is to know about…living in a house as an adult. I suppose it’s about time.

I swear, the Stace from six months ago would not recognise this person whatsoever. And I mean that in a good way. I’m learning things, I’m doing things I never imagined I would be doing. That’s the whole point of this gig.

Speaking of learning things…let’s get back to my bread and butter: history. Here in Australia Anzac Day is coming up on Saturday, a national holiday for remembering military service, loosely equivalent to Memorial Day in the U.S. I guess. It falls on April 25th because that is the anniversary of the ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) landing in Gallipoli to fight the Ottomans during WWI, the most famous military event in Australian history. And it’s 2015 this year, marking the 100th anniversary of the landing, so every TV special, doco and news story has been focused on the subject. We’re in Gallipoli overload around here.

So here’s my thing. Judging from the news coverage you’d be forgiven for thinking that Gallipoli is the only military event in Australian history. But it isn’t. We all went through Australian history in school and know the greatest hits, but it occurs to me that there is so much I don’t know about our military history. So in celebration of Anzac Day coming up, I’m going to educate myself and fill in all of the gaps. I’m not sure yet if this will be my usual “let me entertain you with quirky little facts” style of history post. Speaking as a graduate of high school in this country, I can promise you that Australian history, on the whole, is generally…well…it’s dull. No offense Australia, but it is. At the moment I’m more concerned with genuinely informing myself about our history than with being entertaining. This stuff matters. I know my grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-uncles fought in wars, but not much more than that, and I really should know much more than that. Not only is it my country, but it’s my family. MY history. I need to have more than just “we landed at Gallipoli”, you know?

Despite having just attested to the relative dryness of Australian history, I have already learned my first interesting tidbit. The Australian colonies sent troops to fight for the British in the Boer War – leaving in regiments from individual colonies (soon to be states), and then halfway through the war being amalgamated into one Australian force after Federation in 1901. Furthermore, Lord Kitchener himself specifically requested some Indigenous Australians to be employed as trackers, hunting down Boers in the South African bushland, since our respective climates and conditions are so similar. At least two such trackers are known to have gone over there, but nobody knows how many more there were, or what happened to any of them during or after the war. Information is scarce, all I could find on the subject were a few articles (ABC, Indigenous Histories) and a frustrating lack of information. These guys were shipped across the ocean to use their skills and expertise in the war effort…and then when the war was over, they were left on a different continent to fend for themselves. It’s possible that they weren’t allowed back in because of the White Australia Policy, which would create the irony of all ironies that a policy designed to protect the country against new immigrants would inadvertently exclude people who had lived in this country for thousands of years.

See, this is already paying off! I should never have doubted how absorbing history can be. Even our boring ass history. So today I’m going to do something that will make every Year 9 student in the country think I am clinically insane: willingly study Australian history. I shall report back. And you won’t read the word “Gallipoli” once, I promise you.

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