(Me with my friend Sunday.)
I can’t seem to escape convents. I’ve worked on five – yes, five – convent exhibition projects (also one monastery) and spent a lot of my professional life thinking about how convents and former convents can be repurposed. I spent most of the first fortnight I was in Melbourne staying in a former convent, now a hostel/guesthouse – so that’s one idea. Another is to do what they’ve done with Abbotsford Convent, just a few kilometres outside Melbourne’s CBD, and throw the buildings open to artists and arts organisations.
There are studios and workshops for artists, a bandstand for musicians to practise in, a bakery, a bar, lots of lovely outside space to wander around. And butting on to the convent grounds is Collingwood Children’s Farm.
There’s a great café – outdoor seating only but they supply you with big blankets should you need them.
There was a small calf, just two months old (if I’ve worked it out right, that’s the equivalent of an Irish cow being born in November, which just seems wrong) and very sweet.
There were chickens (I can’t call them chooks, I just … no.)
There was a peacock hiding in a wheelbarrow.
There were pigs living in very stylish pig condos. This is Greta.
There were horses, of course. And everything feels so much like being in the countryside that it's a shock to see the skyscrapers on the horizon.
There was another peacock on the compost heap, eating peppers. (I can’t call them capsicums. See above.)
The calf and I spent some quality time together. He was missing his mammy. I know what that’s like. See! Our hair is almost the same colour.
I wouldn’t mind being a nun if they let me drink coffee in the sunshine and play with baby cows all day.