Sunday, October 25, 2009

Girls and their Art

It was all about girls and their Art by the end of last week. Maxie and Claire were getting lots of publicity and expecting lots of visitors from the very effective promotion of the Queanbeyan Arts Society Open Studio and Arts Trail.

Ella on Thursday was in a very artistic frame of mind, completing some of the most focussed and layered pictures I have seen her do at our house. She responded well to the new "rolling" oil crayons and got very inspired by incorporating flowers from the garden and her water paints.

She looks so much more grown up since returning from "overseas".

On Friday we met up with Tania McM. in Sydney at SCECGS Redlands in Cremorne and spent a wonderful hour or so with her Morgan experiencing her final Visual Arts portfolio presentation for the International Baccalaureate year 12 assessment in the rather gloomy Redlands Hall.

We found it an extraordinary privilege to gain this insight into Morgan's thinking and talents through her amazing art works: installations, sculpture, photography, drawing and painting...a very mature and insightful body of work!

Morgan has grown up as a global citizen, most recently as a Londoner but previously, for an extended period, in Tokyo, Japan, and lots of other world travel during school breaks. She was born in Canberra and attended Ainslie PS, when I knew her better!

Her embracing of other cultures, the world of books and ideas, and the life of the mind have all been great influences on her work. She is obviously a deep thinker with multiple talents and an extraordinarily hard worker, and is heading for quite a brilliant IB score.

But I loved her unaffected warmth and great optimism the most.

We celebrated over lunch afterwards with Tania at Delante - Cafe and Deli in Waters St Neutral Bay and tried to analyse how she had done such a brilliant job in producing Morgan (albeit with Allan's help).

Sesqui Boardwalking

We started off Saturday in Sydney with a walk to Bronte; extra exciting for me because it was my first time on the new Sesquicentary Boardwalk, skirting the old Waverly Cemetery and bravely constructed on the edge of the sandstone cliffs overlooking this beautiful part of Sydney's coastline. Its a distinctly different experience to the old days of negotiating the narrow crumbling paths of the cemetery, fighting to keep your place against the oncoming waves of sweating, lycra clad joggers.

Apparently though the locals are a little daunted by the unusual name for their boardwalk, as reported in

But the big question on the lips of locals was not “who did the wonderful design” or “which viewing deck was their favourite” but “who on earth came up with the ridiculous name”. Sesqui Boardwalk is named in honour of Waverley’s sesquicentenary, that’s right, sesquicentenary. It’s not really an oft used word in the average Australian vocabulary and why would it be. Afterall, 150th’s are not really the most common of anniversary’s to celebrate. Locals are wondering why the walk couldn’t have been named after a local flower, landmark or person. “Something pronounceable, something memorable. That wouldn’t be too much to ask would it,” said one local who didn’t want to be identified.

The only consolation for those we spoke to was that “ we hate the name, but it doesn’t matter because we’ll be calling it the Bronte Boardwalk”.

There were a lot of suburban "festivals" happening this weekend in celebration of the Sydney International Food Festival . We chose a little event from the dozens available and headed off to the Chippendale Food for the Future Fair in Kensington Street. This sweet little hippiesque affair (so not like Sydney) marked the launch of the Chippendale Fresh Food Co-op, and introduced us to the characters who make this pretty grotty inner suburb, with its converted terrace community Arts spaces, so interesting.

In one of the studio spaces in Kensington Street a small installation from the Big hART gold project told the stories of farming families in the Murray Darling Basin who are coping with the worst drought on record in Australia.

Zoe Serafina

Storms and rain in Sydney on Sunday spoilt our plans to meet up with Sydney Clare, Spiros and Zoe at the Dank Street Festival at Waterloo. Instead, we were invited to spend the afternoon with them at Glebe, admiring Zoe's walking and stair climbing (and descending) skills and her enthusiasm for blueberries and various electronic technologies. We enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with her and her Mummy and Daddy over great coffee and light as a feather pikelets and fresh cream.

Spiros is encouraging me to understand my beautiful Canon digital SLR camera better. He has been incredibly patient and generous with his time in taking me through the basics of the electronics and providing me with some wonderful web based resources (and organic chocolates). He is such a lovely man. No wonder Zoe loves him to bits!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


We've been looking after Nellie the Beagle all week while her family has been holidaying in Bali. She waits all day for us to come outside and pay her some attention. She's still very playful for a dog of such mature years, although she tires a lot more quickly these days.

We decided not to wait any longer for warm dry weather and we both got out into our rain soaked garden this week. Lawns to mow, lots of weeding, cow poo to spread, and pea straw too, planting out the petunia seedlings and setting up some new herb pots filled most of the weekend.

With dam levels at just under 52% and still more rain predicted we're even going to give our tiny patch of green grass in the back garden a treatment with organic fertilizer - first time we've bothered doing this in quite a few (drought filled) years.

This rhododendron in our front garden has waited the past 8 years to flower like this. Amazing Spring!

I waited since the 2 October to hear that the small lump on my face was perfectly benign. My clever doctor has left a very small scar on which I am now trying the organic rose hip oil treatment.

We are waiting with great excitement to see Ella and J&J again on their return from Bali. I hope Ella has scored herself her own pair of beaded shoes so she'll be able to stop clacking around in her Mummy's at last.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sydney subdued

I celebrated my birthday last Friday by having an "excision" performed on my face (by a plastic surgeon), for strictly medical reasons I hasten to add, not for enhancement! It needed 3 stitches and a very noticeable dressing (which quickly became blood stained), so I felt very self conscious and somewhat subdued (sub Jude as Rob termed it) for our 3 day long weekend in Sydney.

Rob did his best to cheer me up on Friday night with a lovely birthday meal and beautiful wine at our favourite Morroccan Feast in Randwick. When Saturday dawned cold and rainy he extended his good cheer to tolerate a couple of hours with me at Westfield, Bondi Junction where I was able to update my collection of Metalicus staples.
To end off a day of self indulgence we walked up to the Randwick Ritz (in quite heavy rain) to see the enthralling Mao's Last Dancer. Although the critics don't seem to be overly excited about this film, we just loved it. I felt so proud to see that the amazing choreography in the dance sequences had been devised by Graeme Murphy, with dancers from the Sydney Dance Company and the Australian Ballet.
We explored the Danks St, Waterloo area on Sunday - another cool and rainy day in Sydney. We discovered the wondrous Sanoma bread at Fratelli Fresh Food (the bread Tetsuya uses), ordered organic coffee at Wholefoods House and checked out the groovy and stylish Danks Street Depot.
I was expecting the foodie delights. What I hadn't expected were all the beautiful quality homeware and interior design showrooms. We found Abode Bazaar in Danks Street very much to our liking and brought this beautiful antique Zulu meat platter home with us to celebrate my truly unique sub Jude birthday in 2009.

No one in the Eastern suburbs seemed to be showing any interest in the NRL final game on Sunday afternoon....until we just happened to be walking past the infamous Coogee Bay Hotel at 6.00pm on Sunday. The bars and courtyard were crammed with excited people and masses of balloons in the Storms and Eels colours (I can't believe I knew the teams!). I guess it's reassuring that the CBH has found its groove again after the great icecream debacle last year. The beachfront itself was pratically deserted in the grey, windy dusk with storms threatening all around us.

It took us longer than usual to do our end of stay clean up yesterday. I guess I had been too sub Jude when we first arrived to really notice the thick layer of red dust on all the window sills and skirtings. Our apartment obviously isn't very airtight in a dust storm.