Blue Bowerbirding

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Blue with red is a cheese and tomato pairing – the smooth salt of cheese with the sweet acid of the tomato – but blue paired with white is like sugar and butter. ‘Sussy butter’ Patrick White called it in his autobiography Flaws in the Glass. I’d never heard of ‘sussy’ before reading the book many years ago, and suspect it’s an Australian slang term from the depression era. I could be wrong but whatever the origin it’s a term I always think of when I see blue and white paired together, a sweet and deliciously ethereal pairing.

My mother was a hard core Blue and Whiter and I grew up amidst dozens of blue and white pots and other ephemera. My father always tried to eject some masculine browns and ochres into the mix but blue and white dominated. And because we are ducklings, imprinted with the preferences of our parents – like it or not – I, and my sister, are always fatally drawn to Blue and White, the heavenly couple of the colour spectrum.

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