Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yakety yak

Prepare yourselves for a thesis on "The Domestic"... one of my favourite topics.............................
Now that women have a great deal more equality in the Western world and are spending less and less time at home, the previously undervalued domestic skills that are being lost are now much more highly valued. There is a new celebration of the domestic and a tidal wave of interest in craft blogs, fabric sites, knitting classes, cooking shows on TV and film.
My friends and relations are no exception to this and have taken pleasure in showing me how the revolution is progressing in Melbourne and Sydney.
My new best friend Ro Cook is one of these talented women who has successfully combined the two worlds of domestic arts and business. She's been such an inspiration and one of the reasons I stayed longer than anticipated in Sydney. Ro got some work sewing for a theatre production company in Sydney and was making more money per hour than I ever have, suddenly I realised it was possible to make a living from sewing, my confidence was greatly restored and I felt I had a worthwhile skill. Part of the remit was to sew a linen lining onto a yak skin!!! We had such a great time, her sewing and me yakking (well she did quite a lot of yakking too).
Ro had to buy fabrics for the job and she took me to some of Sydneys best fabric shops. Here are some photos of the fabrics at Remnant Warehouse for you to dive into. Something about the colour and texture of textiles has a beneficial effect on me. It's almost magical how restorative it is.
The other restorative factor has been Jim Conway and his wife Helen. Laid back and lovely, these two. Most days Jim would let me have a cry and a reminisce about Ricardo.
They took me to the Leichardt organic farmers market on Saturday morning for sago puddings, sugarcane juice, steamed lemon myrtle muffins and shiny apples.
Then Helen and I went to yet another fabulous swimming pool. (I hope I don't make you all too jealous with all the sunshine going on here.) This time it was the Dawn Fraser pool. The oldest pool and swimming club in Australia.
A heavenly view on a hot day. The pool lies in a small cove in Sydney's harbour and is tidal so at times there is a beach with sand for sandcastle making at the swimming pool.
There was no one around at this upper level changing area that reminded me of a Victorian cricket pavilion.
and no one eating a Vegemite sandwich at this picturesque pit stop.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sad, wet or mad?

A week or so ago I came to Sydney on the train. An 11 hour trip of empty seats,
plenty of time to read
and rain, rain, rain. I've never seen country Victoria look so green nor the rivers so full.
But 11 hours is a long time to think all by yourself even if you are accompanied by good books. No one to play cards with, no one to laugh quietly about the other passengers with. The rain was a perfect reflection of how I felt.
So I was thrilled to be met at Central station by one of Richard's brothers in all but biology, Mic Conway. Here he is with his beautiful AND talented wife Ro and the ever patient and shameless Gypsy.This was the view out of Mic's van.
The fabulous view of the Glebe bridge.
I have been staying with Mic's brother Jim and sister-in-law Helen. The Conway brothers have been treating me like royalty and I have been so very grateful. First up Mic took me to the Leichardt pool, 50 metres of pure paradise on a hot summers day. Luckily Mard had given me a fabulous Esther williams bathing suit so I was into that water quick smart.
The next day Helen took me to the Redleaf pool. A perfect pool in Sydney's Double Bay. No sharks because of the fence around the pool. Quite a walk down very steep steps so by the time you reached the top you felt like going back in again.

Then a few days later the lovely Kerry Dwyer
took me past amazing gardens and a winding path
to another spectacular pool at Coogee. This time an ocean pool. (Those bathers have really been getting a work out)

Some kids had been snorkeling in the rocks and found these living bits of seaweed. Beautiful black sea slugs.
Later that night after swimming with Kerry, Jim & Helen took me out to a film preview that their friends the Pigram brothers play music in and helped produce called "Mad Bastards". It screened at the Sydney Uni quadrangle. A remarkably English building on a very un-english balmy night. The film was great if a little hard to hear because of the echoing site, but the Pigram Brothers playing beforehand was a rare treat.
We indulged in a little celebrity spotting!!!

As Molly Meldrum used to say "Do yourself a favour" and listen to this wonderful youtube clip of the Pigram brothers. Let it transport you to North Western Australia.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Sorry I've been absent from the blog for a while but it's actually been quite nice to have a rest from the computer. I've had time to read, and my friend Mardi has provided me with some great books. To start with... Alex Miller's "Lovesong" and next up will be "The swan thieves" by Elizabeth Kostova. For this very reason I have booked a ticket to go to Sydney by train, just think of the luxury of 10 whole hours on a train with a couple of good books.
Mardi has the most amazing heart shaped life here in Eltham, Victoria, Australia with her wonderful husband Macgreg and indeed as a portent of what was coming, she was born with a heart shaped map on one arm.
The wonderful Macgreg is a truly renaissance man and can turn his very talented hand to anything. There are amazing bits of sculpture all over their property like this...
and he's building a bungalow for daughter Sunday May out in the backyard..
It has been incredibly hot here and there has been a lot of swiming in the pool but today it's a beautifully cool 20 degrees and so the pool has been abandoned for more indoor pursuits.
Here's their dog Blue (the perfect mix of Blue Heeler and Jack Russell) getting snuggly on the couch.
and the very gorgeous Olive Honey lazing about with Lamby...

Thank you my wonderful 2nd family for giving me the precious gift of a little bit of time to relaaaaaax.