Today I want to introduce you to one of my oldest friends, one whose permission I don’t need before we “go public”. Ms Bernina first came into my life when I was seven months pregnant with my first child. We’ve been mates ever since, but like all friends there are days when we have a falling out because things aren’t working well between us. However over the years we’ve shared so many experiences. She’s been such a robust friend, notching up many air miles travelling between Papua New Guinea and Australia, and then coming on a road trip with us to Darwin.
Together we’ve shared memorable moments like christenings, balls, First Communion, school formals, Christmas gifts and ice skating as well as those day-to-day moments like school uniforms, travel outfits, work clothes or new curtains each time we’ve made a new home. So many fabrics have passed under Ms Bernina’s dainty feet: chiffon, velvet, lycra, brocades, knits and cottons in geometric patterns, stripes, flowers, prints, polka dots and paisley. Together we favoured patterns made by Vogue –they may have looked complicated but in a different version of “read the *** manual” were just fine so long as you followed the steps. Butterick and Simplicity also got an occasional workout but Burda wasn’t a favourite.
Ms Bernina is getting older now and after a lifetime spent in humid climates, her joints don’t always work as well as they could, especially if they’re not given a regular spa bath of oil. Many months go past when she’s superseded by that Johnny-come-lately laptop, but there’s life in her yet.
The connection to today’s collage photo is fairly obvious I think. Ms Bernina made this outfit for me when I was matron-of-honour to my sister-in-law. Around my neck I have a simple lilac velvet ribbon on which was a pretty cameo in lilac and green with a marcasite surround, a gift from my Aunty Emily whom you’ve already met.
In the best traditions of family dressmaking, the bride’s lovely frock was made by her mother and she looked gorgeous. It was quite the event in Mt Hagen, one of PNG’s tea-growing areas, as it was held on the tea plantation where the groom worked. The reception was at the Club and the guests were all “ex-India” don’cha know, “not a single Singalese” (property) among them! I smiled and helped serve the canapés…there were benefits to all those school lessons in charm and deportment.
Thanks for always being a reliable friend my dear Bernina…I hope we have a few years friendship left in us yet.