I’m reading the memoir of Joan Lindsay called Time Without Clocks and it’s wonderful. It’s a glimpse into the world before the Depression, of how writers and artists spent their time.
Joan Lindsay was born in 1896 and you may have heard of the Australian movie Picnic at Hanging Rock about some school girls from the turn of the 20th century disappearing into the rocks there? Well, she wrote the book, inspired by the surrounds of Mount Macedon where she lived growing up. (She wrote the book in 1967 and was then adapted into film in 1975 by Australian director Peter Weir).
In Time Without Clocks she recalls the idyllic years (if not at times, especially during the depression) spent at Mulberry Hill in Baxter. She was married to Darryl Lindsay, one of the sons of the famous Lindsay family – all artists and whose works grace our galleries and other places of interest.
The book is a recollection of their artistic life at Mulberry Hill. He painting, she writing and all the wonderful characters (names of famous artists, poets, jockeys, politicians, doctors and more who would visit and stay with them.
What I loved about this book is that it presented a world in between the Edwardian period and the 30s.
I learned about life at Mulberry Hill in Baxter (where their home is listed on the heritage register and open to the public for viewings) the village, Saturday night dances where the women would walk through paddocks with their nice shoes in hand knowing that there’d always be someone to take them home in a horse and carriage as soon as midnight struck and it was time to pack up the community hall, lazy Sunday afternoons walks, chickens clucking around the courtyards of houses.
Joan Lindsay had the knack of stopping clocks when she walked in front of them hence the name of the book however, like Picnic at Hanging Rock, this book also has a mystical feel about it probably because while reading it, you can’t help but feel that their life was not determined by the clock. As artists, they painted when they wanted to paint, they ate when they wanted to eat.
Their life was around their art. Look at the video below to see the wonderful Knick knacks, the brushes, the paints, the shells, the cups, the vases. Everything says a story – and that story is about being unstructured and following your art.
I can’t help but feel that at times we have lost this as we rush to be productive, and tick off our to do lists.
However, my best and most favoured days are the days where I’m not following the clock. Days where I can wake up without an alarm, read what I want, get dressed – or not. I can write, I can quietly knit in some sunny corner, or I can wind my yarn using the hand wonder, listen to music, tend to my pot plants, take Pud out on his leash and sit under the tree in the hammock and look at the cloudless sky. These days always end up going by slowly – and they are most wonderful.
I hope to visit Mulberry Hill which is a short 30 min drive from our place. (And one day, I may even head out to Hanging Rock which we passed on the way to Castlemaine a few weeks ago).