It was a weekend of fanfare for Danielle Wood’s Housewife Superstar: The Very Best of Marjorie Bligh and the star of the book herself.
Fuller’s Bookshop in Hobart hosted the launch on Sunday, which was very well attended, and Danielle and Mrs Bligh signed books for an hour.
Danielle gave a moving tribute to Mrs Bligh in the form of a recipe and poem, in the tradition of the great woman herself.
How to Make a Marj
Mix together the community of a small Tasmanian midlands town, adding a dash of state school education and a generous helping of Sunday School. Take one small child, of precisely the same vintage as John F Kennedy, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Vera Lynn, add to mixture and allow to marinate for 14 years.
Remove one young woman and transfer to workplace, stirring constantly while rapidly introducing many and varied domestic duties. Add one boyfriend and thoroughly agitate on the handlebars of a rickety old bicycle. Now swiftly splice in marriage one unexceptional Thursday, then decant to Campbell Town. Keep warm until two boys appear in the mix, then percolate in curvaceous dream home for decades.
When initial aromas of contentedness are overtaken by fumes of bitterness, moderate with a bouquet garni of success in show competition, then sweeten with the introduction of a second husband. Drench in a syrup of love notes and breakfasts in bed, then swiftly remove and souse in a basin of grief.
Steep in loneliness for a few years before splicing once again, this time to a silver-haired bus driver. Infuse with comparisons to Dame Edna Everage and season, very liberally, with a heady mixture of book writing, gardening, needlework, newspaper columns, scrapbooks, toby jugs, souvenir teaspoons, Scrabble games, dancing gowns, poetry and organic compost. Serve on a platter of frankness and garnish with a radish crocheted from preloved pantyhose.
To make a Marj takes many years
Pounds of laughs and gills of tears
You’ll need tenacity, drive and grit
To learn to crochet, darn and knit
You’ll need to garden, reap and sow
And be completely in the know
You’ll need to call a spade a spade
And turn your hand to every trade
To tell the truth, it can’t be done
When it comes to Marj, there’s only one
Danielle told Mrs Bligh that she hoped she’d done her proud.
Mrs Bligh responded: ‘Look out if you’ve mucked it up.’ (That was also what she wrote inside Danielle’s copy of the book.)
Monday saw the opening of an exhibition at the University of Tasmania library of Mrs Bligh’s books, scrapbooks, diaries, pictures, dresses, bags, craft and other examples of her prodigious output over her long domestic career.
On display are some classic photos not included in the book:
Marjorie Bligh may be 94, and may have only recently finished a stay in hospital, but there is no doubt she is still a force to be reckoned with. She and Housewife Superstar have taken Tasmania by storm—next stop, the world!