Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wendy's garden

We got going early on Saturday after two rainy, cold days in Sydney and found a good (free) park in Lavender Bay. We walked east along Lavender St admiring the view.......

This gentleman's reverie between the palms in Clark Park drew me in.

I walked to the edge of the grassed area and found little pathways inviting me into a much wilder area of garden.....then more pathways and winding rustic steps......then little clearings with picturesque mould covered seats, tables and quirky sculptures...opening up to....what had to be a Brett Whiteley carved wood sculpture.

Then looking up, we saw Brett's and Wendy's Lavender Bay house and realised we were in the garden Wendy has created over the past decade or so..........

WENDY WHITELEY: I'm obsessive about it. It was all landfill originally, for the railway line, and subsequently over 50, 60, 70 years, it was dumped, a lot of rubbish and weeds, old fridges and bits of metal and broken bottles and plastic bags full of clothes, and it was just impenetrable and quite dangerous. And I just started at one end and I've now gone right to the other end and it's still all railway land, but, you know, it's now got a garden. Bit of engineering skills have come into it too, from...must have inherited it.

The garden, the studio, friendships, somebody's life, are all those things that keep you going. I don't feel any great urge to actually paint again. I want to just go and be the mad old bag lady in the garden. I love the fact that Arkie participated in it a bit and loved it. Sometimes I suddenly realise I'm talking about her or Brett or anybody else in my life as though they're still alive. And in a way they still are. And then you realise that they're not there anymore, except in your memory. Or in your bones. In Arkie's case, she'll always be there. And in Brett's case, he'll always be there in part of me. You know? But in her case particularly.
Outside the side door (next to the turret) was a blue and white pale wood handled umbrella. Everything looked neat, ordered and architectural. The house was a symphony of perfectly maintained and freshly painted white.

At the bottom of the Walker St steps - no road - just steps - we saw the wooden pier, stretching out into the harbour, a favourite subject of so many of Brett's beautiful Lavender Bay paintings.

Eventually we remembered we'd actually come to visit the Kirribilli Markets: full marks for the setting but quite dreary with its focus on tacky wardrobe clear outs for the fashionable young set on the inner north shore.

We know that K Rudd does weekend quality time with young Marcus around here when he is in Sydney. Was this K Rudd in disguise?

In heavy rain we checked out the Italian eateries in Haberfield on Thursday - saw Helene Chung (SBS) sitting in the sublime Sulfaro Pasticceria Italiana drinking a solitary coffee and no doubt thinking about the release of her memoir of growing up in Hobart in the 50's: "Ching Chong Ching Girl".

We didn't eat in Haberfield, preferring to head over to Drummoyne for some couscous at La Kasbah in Victoria Rd. We're still hoping to find the "La Graine et le Mulet" (The Secret of the Grain), but no luck yet!

Still raining, and cold as well, we explored Eastwood on Friday - a bit like suburban Hong Kong but without the mayhem. We decided not to go Chinese and chose Korean instead for lunch: Insadong. It was an amazing meal and we loved it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dear Mr Rudd

We know Ignatious Blanchett-Upton did his best to represent the "Teens in 2020" group at this weekend's summit but we hope he didn't miss out on expressing the "big ideas" of this group of his constituents:

More bananas, bananas, bananas, bananas, bananas, bananas......

We need a girl for President (of our Australian Republic, by 2020).

Everybody (but especially kids) needs to paint, draw, dance, sing and make music.

Autumn is creating ever changing colour waves in our garden, and there's been no wind or rain to blow the leaves to the ground.

Rob & I missed the big 2020 Summit weekend, visiting Coogee instead where it was cool and showery. We checked out Oxford St Paddington on Saturday: the Markets at the historical Paddington Uniting Church, coffee and panini at Love Supreme & Sourdough Sisters Bakery, and window shopping Sass & Bide, Scanlon & Theodore, Dotti, Joshua and Sean, Sweet Art and all the other big names along Oxford St.

We found "The Secret of the Grain" was showing at the old but hip Verona Cinema and spent an enthralling (nearly three hours) absolutely immersed in this wonderful French film about a family of Tunisian immigrants and "the couscous" (this is an extreme summary)!

We were so moved we had to stop off at Little Istanbul (up at the Spot) later that night for Middle Eastern food. Although we found the food wonderful there was no mullet couscous nor any sighting of the wondrous Rym (Hafsia Herzi) and her amazing, life saving belly dance.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Amazing sights this week

I was amazed to be greeted by this, parked right up to close to me, when I returned to the car after getting my hair done at Griffith on Thursday. The alpaca's hair looked better than mine did!
This morning we woke to the sound of rain falling. It cleared quickly but washed all the dust off the claret ash - still looking OK in Autumn after six(?) years of drought.

And the Manchurian Pears next door are just looking wonderful this week.

But most amazing of all was watching Miss E in full flight for the first time, walking the length of the kitchen, laughing delightedly in her new black Mary Janes (with a bow).

She had just finished a huge meal of Turkish pide (mushroom filled), pumpkin, potato and banana. Unfortunately some of the contents of her water bottle ended up down the front of her trendy grey marle top from London.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

So Pho so good

We found this great restaurant byline at An's (Vietnamese) in Greenfield Pde Bankstown yesterday. It may also finally teach me how to pronounce this delicious dish (and An's rare beef noodle pho was truly delicious).

We trawled around the Bondi Markets for the first time this morning after killing our extra end of daylight saving hour at our fave Gertrude and Alice in Hall St.

I loved Nth Bondi PS (site of the markets); only 270 pupils learning how to learn opposite the beach on the most expensive real estate strip on the eastern seaboard (the school was built for over 800 kids apparently).

The markets disappointed me: a mixture of Asian imported bling and beach bohemia mixed in with some pretty twee looking local fashion. We much prefer the urban flea market edge of the Rozelle & Glebe markets.

Sabbaba was quiet at lunch today. The end of daylight saving has confused everybody. To end off our foodie weekend in Sydney we found our first artisan baker on the corner of Warners & Glenayr Avenues in Nth Bondi and celebrated by buying a $10 loaf of bread.

Miss E attended her first wedding this weekend and had a ball apparently. She took her first (little) steps unassisted this week. We saw her in action on Thursday night.