Sunday, August 13, 2017

Moving Mountains

Claire's solo exhibition "Moving Mountains" was officially opened at the Stanley Street  Gallery in Darlinghurst this weekend. Needless to say her mountains (paintings, prints and drawings) looked beautiful in this jewel of a gallery in inner city Sydney.

The gallery owners Liza and Merilyn gave Claire wonderful feedback (all deserved) on the quality of her work in this exhibition. She is their "star"! Six works were sold at the opening - always a good sign. We enjoyed the very relaxed vibe of the opening afternoon, especially being able to catch up with people we knew and interesting people we were introduced to - and feeling so proud of Claire's enormous achievements as an artist.

We had great fun with Claire over three days in Sydney, including meeting some of her lovely friends at the Lord Roberts in Darlinghurst, and sharing a wonderful dinner on Friday night at the buzzy Riley Street Garage,
where we met the lovely Rachel (a dear friend of Claire's and a surprise visitor to Sydney this weekend).......
and LOVED our choice of degustation menu. The fresh smokey soy truffle oysters were a perfect starter. 
And the Riley Street dessert platter was a perfect way to end (with a lovely bottle of Inkwell Mclaren Vale shiraz.
We love our Barzura at Coogee - the most perfect beachside breakfast spot......
We finished a perfect weekend with a slow morning at Coogee Beach - at its most perfect too (sigh) .....

And back in Canberra, Rob and I went for a late afternoon stroll to the lake - just for a stretch out after the long drive. It was pretty perfect in Canberra today too, obviously...... love where we live at Campbell!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

That time of the year

Ros and Pete usually visit us in Canberra at this time of the year for our Mum's birthday. We've kept up the tradition this year even though dear old Mum is no longer with us (RIP Betty K - bless her).

We were able to spend a lot of time together over the past three days, although the threat of an imminent sniffle or cough meant some of us had to absent ourselves at times.

There were ten us of us for dinner last night here at the apartment. Ollie and Angus are looking so tall and grown up now......
It's so good to see Maxie out and about and able to socialise - most stylish girl in the oncology ward - indeed most stylish girl anywhere!

Darling Ella and Abi had to pull out at the last minute because of the risk of infection, but still managed to deliver their handmade dessert: gluten free cupcakes, chocolate fudge and fresh berries - all made by Ella and Abi (and Jody). We MISSED THEM so much at our family dinner!!
It was Mum's actual birthday today (103 years ago). We woke to a spectacular sunrise...
...and made our way up to the bushland at the base of Mt Ainslie, amongst the kangaroos, cockatoos and Mum's beloved magpies...................
where we carefully spread Mum's ashes around the base of this very elegant Scribbly gum......... in loving memory of this fearless and remarkable woman......
RIP Betty K from your three "girls" and all the members (and partners) of your beautiful extended family.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

two weeks

Some highlights of the last two weeks?.....

  • Two lovely days with the girls here at the apartment, doing lots of drawing, eating, chatting, park playing and admiring the Merino ram's head! (Wayne's present to Abi who just loves bones!)

  • Finally making the decision to start hanging some of our art work (it's very hard to bang the first nail into a pristine wall - have I got it right??)

  • A couple of happy catch ups with friends and family, celebrating our new home - which in turn makes it feel even more like home!
  • We found some stools we like in Sydney; they look at home here we think...... 

  • With the arrival of the internet the lovely Andrew was able to connect up our blinds, lights & A/C to an App we can control via iPad or iPhone. It's much more comfortable now sitting in the winter garden and being able to control the light (we'd never complain about too much sun on a winter's day though would we?).

  • We're walking every day, either into Civic (via Glebe Park) to pick up our grocery bits and pieces, or around the lake. We did the East Basin walk this morning, in perfect winter sunshine (although there was still thick frost lying the shady bits). The lake never fails to delight no matter what the conditions.

  •  And nice to get a good selfie of both of us!


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

online at last

We moved into our apartment in Campbell earlier this month (on the 3rd June to be exact) and we're FINALLY connected to the NBN (National Broadband Network) as of about 6.00pm tonight - and we appear to have great connectivity and good speeds SO FAR!! It's been pretty tough operating with just our phone hot spots for the past few weeks - especially in a fully computerised building (we've had to have limited service patches to make the secure lifts work (sort of), the intercom the blinds etc etc etc!) - very frustrating.

But one of the things we really enjoy about our new apartment are the early morning light shows through our 40 odd square metres of north facing glass walls. Because it's the middle of winter we get a great view of the sun rising every morning to the north east....

 ......and the the layers of fog and mist around Mt Ainslie - due north.
We don't get a direct view of the sun setting but we still get a great light show in the north - west sky too! With so much north facing glass we haven't needed much heating either throughout June - it's so nice to live in such a bright, sunny, warm and spacious environment.
We've unpacked nearly everything now and found a place for most things too. Most of our old stuff looks OK in the new layout - but we thought this new rug would help a lot to tie everything together!
After the exhausting process of unpacking we've started to really enjoy some of the delights of living here - walking everywhere: around the lake, to the National Gallery, to the Canberra Theatre one night, to our favourite Palace Electric (about 30 minutes from here) to see an afternoon movie, to the Civic shops most days to pick up odds and ends from Aldi & Coles, and of course to our local, The Pedlar, for a beer when we feel we deserve it.

The girls have given the apartment their seal of approval - they like the space for doing their favourite moves.

 ..and most importantly the pantry is nice and big  and full of their favourite food! 

Hassett Park (our backyard) is one of their favourite playgrounds, even though it looks a bit more bleak than usual on a cold, cloudy June afternoon.
Though Ella, very happy in her new top, thanks to the London branch, doesn't feel the cold.

We've done some low key entertaining too in the last week or so - which makes the apartment start to feel like home. We had 9 people around for drinks last Sunday - and Judy L made this amazing cake to mark the occasion: layers of sponge and meringue and cream and lots of passion fruit. Yumm!!
It's taken us almost two years to get here; we feel very lucky to be where we are and we will LOVE making a new life here, but with all the best parts of our old life continuing, in our beautiful new environment. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Melbourne break

We enjoyed a rendezvous with some dear friends in Melbourne this week - including our favourite old inner city hotel - the Rendezvous in Flinders Street, just a short stroll from Flinders Street Station and the famous, vibrant laneways of this most cosmopolitan city.
We drove down from Canberra on Monday - an easy 7 hour drive. It was getting dark by the time we'd settled in to the hotel so we took to the neighbouring streets and laneways to absorb some Melbourne city charm and shake off the inactivity of a day driving. We celebrated afterwards with a glass of ale at the top floor bar of our favourite Young and Jackson Hotel - and raised a glass to Melbourne's iconic Chloe.

Our main aim on Tuesday was to rendezvous with the Vincent Van Gogh  and the Seasons exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.
 ..... while acknowledging, on the way in, the latest Ai Wei Wei installation in the gallery foyer - a new 5 metre tall work of crystals and light from his chandelier series....Wow!
The Van Gogh exhibition comprises the largest collection of his artworks ever to travel to Australia - amazing works lent by leading international museums.  Another huge attraction for us is the audio guide to the exhibition: a beautiful, informative narration by David Stretton, and David Wenham as the voice of Vincent (reading the words of Vincent through the many hundreds of letters he wrote over his short life to his brother Theo).

Vincent's south of France pictures are still as buttery fresh and full of energy as the day they were painted over 120 years ago!

...such a treat to see these works in Melbourne - and in late Autumn too, Vincent's favourite season.
Tuesday night we enjoyed a rendezvous with dear friends James and Fiona - at their beautiful old Victorian era terrace house in Gore Street Fitzroy, then on to the atmospheric Builders Arms Hotel on Gertrude Street, before heading to dinner at the Panama Dining Room on Smith Street, a wonderful overview of some of the best offerings in this super cool part of old Melbourne (with the coolest hosts you could ever imagine).
In the pic below Rob and I are about to share a whole slow cooked lamb shoulder with a pistachio crust and quince jus with parsley and sumac salad. It was to die for (and enough protein to last us at least a month)!!
We had a slow start yesterday - before deciding to take a tram ride to St Kilda Beach - all the way down to the foreshore area, past sad old Luna Park.....
 ..... while shivering in the wind blowing off Port Phillip Bay ......
 ..and eventually arriving at Pontoon at the Stokehouse precinct  on Jacka Boulevard (thank you for the recommendation Fiona).
Pontoon proves to be a wonderful spot to chill out for a while over a glass of Pinot Grigio (for me) on a cold, windy afternoon while we try to define how Melbourne is so gloriously different from Sydney.

Our thoughts include:
Melbourne is John Brack, Sydney is Brett Whiteley
Sydney is brash and beautiful and a bit bogan too, Melbourne is bohemian, cultured and cosmopolitan (and no doubt more than a bit bogan too)
Sydney is all colour, energy, bright blue skies and Pacific Ocean, Melbourne is monochrome, gentler, more thoughtful and wise.........   
But we think that James is the one who's nailed it: Sydney is the girl you spend the night with but Melbourne is the girl you marry!!

Love Melbourne!