Beating pandemic blues and loving life … from her apartment

Beating pandemic blues and loving life … from her apartment

By Brendan Rees

For retiree Rosemary Noble, beating pandemic boredom is proof that nothing is impossible: she has published a book, is learning Italian, and loves tapestry.

“I have a go at all sorts of things,” the Docklands resident of 13 years said. “I’m making the most of what’s around me and living it as much as I can.”

One of her proud achievements was editing and publishing a book that celebrated 150 years of the Victorian Artists Society (VAS) of which she is a council member.

Over three years, Ms Noble, a former teacher, writer, editor, and TV producer, spent countless hours bringing the book to fruition before it was launched last November.

“It was really quite different from anything I’ve ever done before,” Ms Noble said, who described her contributions to the 104-page full-colour book as a “labour of love”.

Titled Victorian Artists Society 1870-2020: Celebrating 150 years, the book consists of anecdotes, sketches, and paintings from the society’s alumni past and present.

It also features the early years of the society’s inception including honouring members such as Fred McCubbin, Tom Roberts, Charles Conder, and Arthur Streeton, who were key to the Heidelberg School art movement.

Much of her research included scrolling through the society’s vast archive files and listening to the stories of current VAS members.

With the help of contributions, she said, “I think it’s lovely and I’m quite proud of it. It’s been widely accepted … everyone in the society loves it of course.”

At 72, Ms Noble said keeping her mind busy was good for her mindfulness, and was “not one to sit around the television without something to do with my hands, I’ve got to have something going on.”

Throughout the pandemic, she has been undertaking lessons in Italian and loves needlepoint and tapestry.

“My apartment is full of my handcrafts. I’ve always enjoyed textile crafts of various kinds like spinning and embroidery and dressmaking,” she said.

“All my friends own cushions or bags or something that I’ve made over the years. They all got things like that for Christmas because I spent so much time on it last year.”

If that wasn’t enough, she loves tending to her courtyard garden and enjoys listening to audiobooks (with a passion for crime fiction) and will “get through a couple of hundred books a year to keep me going.”

“My friends often say to me I never keep still … you can never say there’s nothing to do. There’s always lots and lots of things to do.” •

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