Wander north

I’m excited about moving to Ivanhoe as much as you’ll still see me frequenting the shops and parklands in Rosanna. While I’m not a drinker – most of my friends are and gin is a favourite tipple of many of them. I discovered the interesting sounding Wander North with Imbue this week – a local bar in Ivanhoe that serves as the Gin Tasting Room for Imbue Distillery. They also run a Wednesday night book group and are closed today with the Melbourne Gin Festival on.

Images above & below via Wander North

Ivanhoe itself has the distinction of the longest running book club with the Ivanhoe Reading Circle established in 1920 by Presbyterian Church minister – the Reverend Robert Wilson Rock and I intend to spend some time checking out the Ivanhoe Library and Cultural Hub once we move. The upper end of Heidelberg Road is the arts precinct of Ivanhoe given the Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra also regularly performs at the Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School performing arts centre.

Wander North bar

Meanwhile close by is the Eaglemont Artisans Hub pop up shop which is currently running until 30th May and would make for a lovely morning or afternoon out given there are a couple of cafes at Eaglemont Village. I’ve always loved the Art Deco buildings there and hope it also revives in time as a number of businesses closed for good over the pandemic. Interestingly it could be local businesses that bounce back more quickly over CBD with many people continuing to work some or all of their time from home.

I’ve also recently also read about the evolution and innovation of local milk bars come cafes. I visited Matilda in Mont Albert not that long ago and have had brunch at Jerry’s Milk Bar in Elwood pre-COVID (where my girlfriends and I spied swimmer Michael Klim dining at the next table) but Tyler’s Milk Bar in Preston looks great and I wish there was something similar in Banyule. Four Leaves Cafe in Rosanna did pivot to a grocery store during lockdown but has since reverted back to a larger daytime cafe. Still, I feel very lucky to have cafes within walking distance given this is not the case in the western suburbs. I don’t take these amenities for granted and it’s what makes suburbs more attractive to live in.

Image via Yum Sing House

I was also excited to read about 1960s Hong Kong-inspired Yum Sing House in the city where you can dine (Yum means ‘to eat’ in Cantonese) and then sing (literally!) with karaoke upstairs. I think my family will be paying a visit at some stage soon. I know that 1960s Hong Kong is also the inspiration for Mongkok Tea Room in Camberwell and the movie In the Mood for Love – a classic if you’ve never watched it.

Despite the new Omicron variant now circulating in our community, I’m glad to see so many outdoor events and festivals have still gone on including the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Melbourne Fashion Festival (apparently green is the new black!), Brunswick Music Festival, Moomba Festival, Melbourne Design Week (including the Kotodama exhibition in Ivanhoe) and the upcoming Melbourne Comedy Festival. Locally, the Warrandyte Festival is on today.

It’s important to remember that life is to be celebrated and lucky you if you’re a Fairfield local who yesterday got to watch artist Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhales take off into the skies. It has been nothing less than a triumph for all of us to have got through the last two years and such a joyous thing to witness.

On a final note, funeral details have been released for another lover of life – Blaise van Hecke – which will be held at Montsalvat in Eltham (as well as livestreamed). Attendees have been asked to wear orange (or other bright colours) or something that is birds and/or wings-inspired as well as a single flower to place on her coffin, which is fitting for those who were lucky enough to know Blaise. I hope she is soaring away in the next plane somewhere looking down on all of us. She will be greatly missed.


Flooding rains

Two years ago I posted about the bushfires engulfing the Eastern seaboard and prior to the pandemic, climate change was most young people’s number one concern. The flip side to drought and fire is of course, floods and again Queensland and NSW have borne the brunt of extreme weather events. Yes it is a La Nina year and yes, Australia is prone to both drought and flood however I can’t help but feel that climate change has upped the ante with regard to our weather. If you are interested in helping out at more of a grassroots level locally (pun fully intended), the Warringal Conservation Society environmental group has been around for over 50 years.

I’m feeling most grateful to have a roof over my head and while my belongings are a little scattered at the moment, they are still here which is more than I can say for locals in Lismore – some of whom are lucky to have escaped with their lives. I do feel like there’s a lot going on at the moment in the world – issues with the global supply chain, rising petrol prices and other living costs, labour shortages and the nature of work. I read this article on Labour Day by Deputy Lord Mayor and ANZSOG alum Nicholas Reece with interest, as well as this article on Co-working spaces that mimic hotels to attract tenants and it is a very interesting time of transition in the workplace.

ANZSOG hasn’t been immune from the labour shortage and I think at any given time in the almost 12 months I’ve been there, there has been anywhere from 5 – 15 vacant roles – a lot in an organisation of less than 60 people. I worked last Friday as I’d organised an Alumni Advisory Council member to speak plus two First Nations alum to do an Acknowledgment of Country and Maori welcome mihi to the graduating Executive Master of Public Administration cohort at the online ceremony (which is normally held face to face in Wellington, New Zealand).

Palermo internal wall wine rack

In the absence of all the graduates being in the one place to celebrate – local jurisdiction dinners were held so I found myself hosting two tables in the private dining room at Argentinian restaurant Palermo (owned by the same group that run San Telmo and Pastuso) last Friday night. I walked down Hardware Lane on my way there and it was packed with lots of young people enjoying themselves which was great to see as much as it felt strange after all the time we’ve spent in isolation. The food and service were excellent but it’s probably not a place for vegans or vegetarians given it’s focus on meat – there was a big display in the window. A number of guests had flown in from other states and while my colleague and I left to head home afterwards – most of the grads went to party on with drinks at the newly opened HER rooftop bar.

Palermo private dining room

I am feeling a little sad tonight and those of you who know of Busybird Publishing in Montmorency may have heard about the sudden passing of founder Blaise van Hecke. I was invited by her as a guest some years ago to attend one of her writing retreats in Kinglake. She was an incredibly inspiring person who saw more, lived more and did more than so many other people in this lifetime including walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain and celebrating a milestone birthday dressed as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. This post is dedicated to her memory and my heart goes out to her mum Lin, her partner Kev and their children, her creative partner Les Zig and all at the Busybird studio.

Forever Miss Rosanna

It’s been a while and there’s been a lot going on in the world since I last posted – from the death of cricket great Shane Warne to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia to the return of office workers to CBDs after two long years and our city coming back to life with the many festivals now on. I’ve had a lot going on both personally and professionally – my year last year may have ended on a whimper but it’s definitely started with a bang in 2022.

My big news is that after over 10 years of living in Rosanna, Mr Rosanna and I executed on a long held ambition and goal of buying our forever home in Ivanhoe to be closer to family, just before Christmas. We’d been priced out as a young family when we initially moved from Brunswick to here, where we also have family and I have to say there have been no regrets.

Within the last two months we have both bought a house and sold a house and while things were always going to play out fast – 10 inspections in three weeks almost killed me particularly lining up for the first inspection. By last month, we were match fit with hiding spots for all our clutter. We have been very lucky and feel very grateful to have sold to another young family also with ties to the area who’ve come from the inner city to create a life here.

I’ve had a number of friends now ask me if I plan to change the name of this blog but the answer is no, in the same way I’ve never changed my maiden name. I don’t think Miss Ivanhoe has quite the same ring to it and while one of my uni friends jokingly suggested the very modern Miss Rosanna-Ivanhoe – that’s not going to cut it either.

After over a decade living here, Rosanna is now part of my DNA, it’s who I am and who I will always be. I’ve seen things, done things and been things I don’t think I would have ever tried had we stayed living in Brunswick. In creating an online persona, Miss Rosanna has forced me to step up in real life and become the bigger, bolder and braver version of myself. Writing this blog has been a cathartic experience and I hope it’s been helpful to those of you not only in my local community in Banyule but to those readers overseas who also follow this blog, which always surprises me.

My path in Rosanna has led me to here and now and I’ve loved every minute of it – the good, the bad and the ugly (and there have been down times I’ve deliberately not posted about suffice to say that my street has been a microcosm of life and what can sometimes go wrong). Rosanna has shaped the person I’ve become with many life lessons along the way. Lessons in patience and acceptance, in the development of equanimity and letting go, and simply being knowing that life always changes. I’ve found a wonderful community of people I’ve met online and later in real life – people who’ve become my friends – you know who you are. As I said in the article I wrote about Rosanna many years ago, Rosanna has embraced me with her arms open wide and the feeling will always be mutual.

So what now for Miss Rosanna? Things are still playing out on the professional front for me – I’ve returned to an incredibly busy work environment with my team now directly reporting to the Dean and CEO and more changes ahead in ANZSOG‘s 20th Anniversary year – I will keep you posted. I have a house to pack up and the closing of one chapter but the beginning of another still right here in Banyule. While I may have found the forever home in Ivanhoe, in my heart and on this blog, I will always be Miss Rosanna.