Thursday, 17 July 2014

A well traveled quilt

Hi all.   
By the time you read this I have arrived in Melbourne and will be getting ready to go and speak to the North of the Yarra Quilt Group tonight.  I get to tell my faourite story - the story of Aussie Heroes, about all the fabulous quilts and laundry bag makers and all the wonderful heroes and how they respond to us. I get to tell lots of stories that never make it on to the blog.......fun!  My only problem is sticking to a time limit.  Wish me luck!!!

I have a good story for you tonight.  Sometimes a thank you email comes in and it is just too good to share with all the others.  This is one of those times.   First this fellow wrote to me to let me know that his quilt had arrived. He told me he was going to write to Rita M so I wanted to wait till She had heard of him before sharing this story. Of course he sent her letter via snail mail so it has been a while but now you can enjoy both messages.

:-)

 Jan-Maree, I think this is about the third time I have started to write back, and then had to restart my drafted message, as have been dragged away on a variety of things and locations ... so my apologies for the delayed response.   
Firstly, yes all is good, and I received the Brumbies Rugby Quilt and Aussie Wallaby Laundry bag... great job, love it.   They have been on a journey with me, which I will come back too in a moment.


By my way of saying thanks, I will send a note to Rita (aka Grannysmith) for the lovely gift.  



The Ruggers quilt arrived in time to be used as a weight on top of my bed doona through the rather brisk weather in the Persian Gulf region of the Middle East, before being bundled into my kit bag and travelling with me over the last two months.  The Brumbies Rugby quilt has spent quite a few weeks in Kabul with the snow capped mountains and very, very white mornings with late winter snow covering the ground in northern Afghanistan.  The quilt has also been down to the plains region of southern Afghanistan in Kandahar.    The snow was less present in the south, but remained present on the mountain ranges through what was the tail end of winter and into early spring, so given the cool to cold weather the quilt has been very handy.  



I did receive a few funny looks from the Americans that I was bunking down with in Kabul, and once I explained the history of where it had come from and how a great group of ladies were kind enough to support the troops with something that had been hand made and crafted in Australia, with a bit of personal tailoring to add a bit of flare as to peoples interests - they loved it.   


I had a laugh in Kandahar when I rolled in to bunk down with some Aussies, and noticed the colourful laundry bags... your gifts from the quilters can be found dispersed throughout theatre at each of the Aussie outposts.  


Anyway, the Brumbies quilt has been on the road through several countries in the Central Asian States and Persian Gulf.   It has also traveled back to Australia on an aircraft when I left to fly back to Canberra for a break in late Apr to early May, before repacking it to bring it back to the Middle East, and it is currently in my digs with me in the Persian Gulf.   While in Canberra on leave, I was able to show my wife Robyn, and she loved it.  I had also planned to take the quilt it to the Brumbies Rugby match in Canberra on ANZAC day, but the weather was very mild... rather unusual for Canberra in late Autumn, so it was left at home where my boys were starting to lay claim to it! 


 
After securing it off the boys, with quilt in hand, it was bundled back into my kit bag and returned with me to finish the deployment.  The quilt and laundry bag are now back with me in the Gulf, and will travel home to Oz in July.... while the weather has picked up and is hitting high 30's in the Gulf, I have taken to using the quilt with just a sheet at night, as you need a little something to cover you at night.  Anyway, I will get organised and send a photo shortly.
Once again, sorry for the delayed response, but we have been on the road and a bit of journey (with the lovely quilt in my kit bag). 
Regards,





And this is the note that Rita received.  

Thanks for the lovely quilt.  I have greatly treasured the quilt and Brumbies ball that you sent me.  Whilst the ball remained in my room in the south, the quilt has been on a road trip and taken to each location that I have been working.

I really enjoyed dragging the quilt around the Middle East and Persian Gulf region during my deployment.

There are several items that hold sentimental value to us over here in the Middle East.  The scorpion on a Southern Cross has been our theatre logo since Australia became involved in the War on Terror in 2001.

As for the Sisters in Arms, well that is a different story.  Within the Al Mindad Air Base (AMAB), Kabul and Kandahar in Afghanistan, our ladies have been working closely with a number of our coalition partners.  It was through a female New Zealand officer, that a regular group of our service women came together to network and share their professional experiences of the operational deployment.


The initiative has evolved into the Sisters-In-Arms.  A tangible means of promoting Sisters-In-Arms was to design a t-shirt that you now hold in your hand.

The support we have received from the fantastic quilters of Aussie Hero Quilts has been cherished by our soldiers, sailors and airmen.  Having seen the work you and the other volunteers have given to our deployed personnel, I wish to express my thanks.

Kind regards,

:-)

Just before I go - the following ladies and gent have sent quilts and laundry bags away this week.  If you are not on the list and think you should be please let me know.

Anna
Anne
Charmaine 
Christine
Debbie
Evelyn
Julie
Kitty
Jennidee
Lynn
Pamela M
Pennie
Robin
Robyn W
Robyn B
Ross 
Su

Till next time........keep spreading the word and happy stitching!  JMxx

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