Wednesday 27 April 2011

Sunday, Georgie and Sunday, Mirka and Me

On a crisp, golden autumn day, I went to Heide Museum, the former home of Sunday Reed (Sunday 1), with Georgie and her little girl Sunny (Sunday 2).

Apart from the fact that Heide has a stunning collection of Australian art set in beautiful grounds, we were there specifically to see the Mirka Mora retrospective.  Mora is an artist I've come to know and love since living in Melbourne; born in France, she emigrated to Melbourne in the 1950s.  Her work has echoes of Matisse and Chagall, but her stylised birds, people, fish and flowers create a magic all her own.

She's still alive and painting and created this mural on the window of Heide I (the Reeds first home at Heide) as a tribute to John and Sunday Reed, her friends and patrons.  


Georgie and Sunday,

Mirka and me.

Monday 25 April 2011

Happy Easter! (I'm Still Here)

The problem with having a blog that you update (semi)regularly is that when you go quiet for a few weeks people start to wonder and even worry.  Thank you for the messages of concern.  No, I'm not dead, or in a ditch or even stuck in New Zealand.  But if I have a hint to offer travellers to New Zealand it is that free wifi is not standard in hotels - of course you can pay for it and the price of a small car will buy you about an hour online.

So since your correspondent last checked in 12 (oops) days ago I have:
- been back to Heide
- been to Auckland
- done lots of work 
- climbed a volcano (and had weird dreams afterwards)
- had a drink in the Hilton in Auckland Harbour and watched the container ships load and unload (I find this mesmerising and could watch for hours) - the Hilton looks like a ship and has a great view over the water
- been to St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne for the Easter Vigil (two and a half hours, including archbishop, baptism, much incense, two choirs, 20 seminarians - where did they find so many young would-be priests??? -  and kneelers with no padding.  Hard core.)
- been to the Melbourne Comedy Festival
- drunk champagne outside in the unseasonably warm sunshine
- started running again
- eaten chocolate, because it's Easter and it is my duty.

I hope your past fortnights have been equally varied and fulfilling and I promise, hand on heart, that there will be more blogging this week.

With love (and best wishes for ANZAC Day - you should try an ANZAC biscuit, they're delicious) from HTLT.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Halfway Day

When I was at home for Christmas, I described to a friend my feelings about the different cities I've lived in.  London was the first serious relationship; it had a big impact and I'll always think of it with affection - but it was time to move on.  Cape Town was the holiday romance: gorgeous, hot, I'll treasure the memories always, but not long-term material.  And Melbourne - I really thought Melbourne might be 'the one', but then I decided we were just going to be good friends.  

That was in December.  Since returning to Australia in January, I've realised that Melbourne has got under my skin.  I really love it and yet, and yet, and yet - it's just so goddamn far away.  I think ours is destined to be a long distance relationship, conducted via email, skype and the occasional brief visit.

Why am I thinking about this today?  Because today is halfway day.  As of today, I am into the second half of my stay and experience tells me that the second half always goes by faster than the first.  Which makes me think two things:
1. It's not that long before I go home.  Yay!
2. It's not that long before I go home.  Make the most of the time I have left here.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

A Country Line

Last week I had to go to the Goldfields and decided to take a more historically-appropriate means of transport than usual.  No, I didn't walk (I think I've done enough walking in Australia to last me for a while), nor did I take a stage coach (the horses are so hard to find, these days).  Instead, I took a train.  

Arriving at Southern Cross Station, I found the tracks divided between city lines and country lines.  And at 8 in the morning you could spot the difference: the city line platforms were full of commuters in sharp suits and Melbourne black; the country line platforms were chockful of old ladies with big shopping bags, bogans and men with hats.  

There's a funny kind of tussle between the suburbs and the countryside, giving rise to this kind of scene - an Orthodox church surrounded by scrubland.

There were lots of little country stations that all looked the same.

And then, suddenly, there were no houses, just wide open space.

Oh, and this place, where old farm machinery goes to die. 

On the way back, I noticed the long, straight roads ...

... light shining on the creeks,

and sunshine in Sunshine.

Monday 11 April 2011

I Will

Dear Conor,

You don't know this because you're only a day old, but sometimes I do special birthday posts on my blog.

For your birthday, I thought I would impart to you the secret of my mad babysitting skillz.  Ssshh - don't tell anyone.  My secret weapon is this song, works like a charm when used at just the right moment (+ instills love of The Beatles, very important):

Aren't you feeling sleepy now?  Are you sure?

With love always from Auntie E

Friday 8 April 2011

Overheard: Brunswick St, Melbourne

Where: Mario's, Brunswick St, Fitzroy.
When: This (gloriously sunny) morning, on my way back from yoga class.
What: Edith Piaf, l'accordéoniste.
Effect: Confirmed that my life is about all things French just now.
Slight note of irony: Mario's is an Italian café.  But they do an excellent breakfast, endorsed by The Breakfast Blog (I love this blog and if you are a fan of breakfast you will too.)

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Autumn in Fitzroy

I wish I could capture the magic of this evening as I walked home from work.

The warm weather we're having this week brought people out onto the street, drinking wine, making it feel like late summer ... but then the dusk was definitely autumnal.  The long drawn out twilight combined with the lighted up buildings to make everything seem extra luminous.

And there I was, walking along Brunswick St with a bunch of red freesias in one hand (held aloft, a la Statue of Liberty) and a small, perfect, orange pumpkin (homegrown, gift from a workmate) under the other, feeling like the véritable Spirit of Autumn.  

I wish you could have been there.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Autumn Leaves

Autumn is playing with us.  One day (yesterday, say) it's cold and grey and Melbournites break out the hats and scarves.  The next (today, for example), it's a little bit crisp in the morning, but then blue-skied and warm for the rest of the day.

But despite the sunshine, there is some incontrovertible proof of the changing season - falling leaves.  I spotted these on a walk through North Fitzroy and I liked the mix of more and less usual foliage...