Kung hei fat choy! Wishing you lunar love and light this Chinese New Year of the Dog. It’s a special weekend again in the city as White Night Melbourne is being held on Saturday night with the Melbourne Chinese New Year dragon parade in Chinatown on Sunday.
I’ve got family who have long been members of the Chinese Youth Society of Melbourne if you are of Chinese descent and interested in joining – these are the young men and women who stage the lion dances, dragon parade, dragon boats, drumming, folk dancing and other performances for Chinese celebrations (spectacular if you’ve ever been to a wedding reception and seen them perform). The CYSM is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and holding a special concert at The Plenary on 2 April if you are a fan of Asian culture.
Locally, the Fairfield Farmers Market is temporarily being held at Alphington Station tomorrow until it moves into the Melbourne Innovation Centre in Wingrove St. If you’re a fan of all things Moroccan, my friends at Metroscope in Collingwood have opened their 50% off sale to the general public if you’re looking to pick up a bargain.
I was also dismayed to find out that local nursery Bulleen Art and Garden is likely to affected by the planned route for the North East Link and there is currently an online petition if you’re interested in signing up. The nursery has recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary and I’m sure there are many of you like me in the local community who would hate to see it go.
It’s going to be a dog of a year or rather, the Chinese Year of the Brown Earth Dog is pattering in this Friday and given dogs have a reputation for being honest and loyal, as well as trustworthy and reliable – I’m looking forward to the coming 12 months especially as we now have a dog of our own (although not so happy about the hole in my leather couch).
Locally you can celebrate with the Lunar New Year Festival this Friday night from 5.30 – 8.30pm outside WaterMarc in Greensborough. From lion dance troupes to stilt walkers to ribbon and fan dancers to a fortune cookie giveaway – there’ll be lots to see and do.
My favourite yum cha restaurant, Golden Dragon Palace in Templestowe is also holding a number of special Chinese New Year banquet dinners this Thursday and Friday nights with two sittings at 5.30pm and 7.45pm.
Speaking of food, if you’re a fan of CERES and organic fruit, vegetables and other products, you can now order online at ceresfairfood.org.au and pick up from Jen and Olley in Rosanna between 5 and 8pm on Wednesday nights.
CERES Fair Food is an online grocer and carbon neutral food delivery service in Melbourne helping to create healthier, happier and more secure local food systems. It’s also a social enterprise that employs and trains a team of hard-working people who haven’t always had the easiest time finding a job. Certified organic food from local farmers and artisans delivered locally – I call that a win win for us lucky local residents in Rosanna and a big thanks to Jen and Olley for providing this service.
Ah yes…there’s a bit of that around the place in my household. I am someone who gets a sense of closure from finishing what I’ve started, particularly at work, but when it comes to certain projects around the house…maybe not so much! It’s also the name of the new summer exhibition at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe showcasing sustainable art practice by two community groups – Unfinished Business by Textile Art Community and Re-Create by Victorian Woodworkers Association. I bumped into local woodworker Andrew Potocnik not that long ago at the Rosanna Parklands and he’s involved in this exhibition as well as another one (#urbansalvage#zerowaste) at Bulleen Art & Garden’s Bolin Bolin Gallery on 9 March. Andrew’s an interesting person and I’ve been amused by the antics of his resident possums’ daily lives on his Facebook feed.
Speaking of unfinished business, if you are trying to KonMari your home, there are two free de-cluttering workshops with eco-organiser Tanya Lewis at the Watsonia Neighbourhood House and at Council Chambers Ivanhoe on 22 March and 19 April respectively – they are free but bookings are essential on 9490 4222 and Banyule residents are entitled to two free hard rubbish collections per year.
Currently, it’s not easy being a Banyule resident if you catch the Hurstbridge train line which will be closed from Clifton Hill onwards from Friday 16 March until the end of April (with buses replacing trains) when the new Rosanna Station level crossing (image below) will hopefully finally be completed. We bought in Rosanna due to its proximity to the train line and I just hope it’s worth it as well as the proposed North East Link, which I also hope lessens the amount of trucks, noise and traffic congestion on Rosanna Road.
I’ve been a fan of Shaynna’s for a while given she is a Warrandyte local, a former single mother of two and jazz singer, as well as being a now famous Interior Designer on Selling Houses Australia and The Block. Those in the media make it look easy sometimes but the juggle behind the scenes is a big one. When I worked with Virginia Trioli last year at my evening lecture, she had been up since 3.30 am. Tickets are still available for the two course Women in Business Lunch on Eventbrite.
I wandered past soon to be opened Sideshow Burgers in Beetham Parade today and have now been to Mister Nguyen a couple of times so I’m loving the local food scene at the moment – it’s been a big change from when I moved to Rosanna almost 10 years ago now. The time has passed quickly! I’m also in the process of locking in panelists for my Bold Thinking Series food lecture in April after the success of last year’s lecture – watch this space.
How has your week been? I’m glad it’s Happy Friday as I’ve been out every night this week and we are suffering from holiday hangover in our house adjusting to the return to school, appointments and extra curricular activities, which seem to be never-ending. This week while travelling home at twilight I’ve seen both a fox and a full moon (or a super blue blood moon to be precise), which has felt a little auspicious or maybe it’s just the superstitious Chinese person in me! Chinese New Year is coming up next month, which I always look forward to as it’s a chance to start your year again if things have been less than ideal but perhaps that’s just life – full of change and imperfection.
A couple of things I wanted to quickly mention today – a reminder that the Summer Vibes on Qwere St Midsumma Street Party in Montmorency is on tomorrow night from 6pm until midnight and if I didn’t already have something on, you would see me there as I’m a fan of Kylie Auldist who is one of the headline acts.
I hope you had a great Australia Day long weekend. While the date of its celebration is a vexed conversation at the moment and with great respect to the First Peoples of this land, I am a proud Australian and it was lovely to spend the day amongst friends. One of the highlights – as cheesy as it sounds – was singing Advance Australia Fair and as a patriotic Australian, it is the one song that always gets me choked up when I reflect on what it means to me in terms of its underlying themes about fairness and egalitarianism in what is still largely a very lucky country for most. As an Asian Australian whose great-grandparents came here with nothing, I feel nothing but gratitude for the opportunities I’ve had in my life in terms of education, a career, family and friends and I have wondered on occasion what would have become of me if they’d stayed living in abject poverty in rural China.The highlight of the day was going for an evening swim with my family and looking up into the pink sky to see a kookaburra in the enormous tree next door – a highlight only surpassed by seeing a koala (with a gum leaf stuck to its nose) on the road near the Korumburra general store on Australia Day a number of years ago while driving with Mr Rosanna on a regional road trip. There seems to be an influx of Australian animals at the moment as one of the best sights this summer break was Mr Rosanna and my eldest son seeing a large grey kangaroo hopping down Lower Plenty Road while picking up takeaway pizza from Pasquale M. I’m just glad the roads were quiet!
A few wonder women I wanted to mention today before the madness of the school year starts. My good friend and Iyengar Yoga teacher Nik Hills is taking a special yoga class ‘Yoga For The Girls’ to raise funds for girls’ education in Sri Lanka next Sunday afternoon at Laburnum Primary School in Blackburn. It’s a $20 entry fee and you will see me there if you go – please email email@example.com to register and BYO mat and shawl/blanket. I am also returning to regular weekly yoga classes with Pamela Speldewinde at Action Yoga in Ivanhoe as well as training classes with Nikki Ellis at Cinch PT in Macleod and looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. They are both good indoor disciplines to take up given the heat of summer at the moment. Stay cool!
People of a certain age will remember the film Xanadu, or at least the soundtrack, featuring Australian singer Olivia Newton-John and if you are a fan of old school roller skating you might be interested in the Collingwood Underground Roller Disco being held this Saturday from 3 – 10pm at 44 Harmsworth Street in Collingwood. If you are hanging around for the Australia Day long weekend, this child-friendly event (kids under 14 are free but all children must be supervised by adults) sounds like a lot of fun.
When I worked with chef Shane Delia last year he mentioned an SBS documentary he was filming at the time, which has actually been screening on Thursday nights called Shane Delia’s Recipe for Life. I’m yet to watch it but it’s now on my list as well as having dinner at some stage at his restaurant Maha. I’m in the middle of cobbling together another Bold Thinking Series lecture on Food later this year but this one will have a different flavour (pun intended!).
I hope you are staying cool this Summer – for me the year doesn’t really begin until after this upcoming Australia Day long weekend when everyone is back at work and reality, and routine, set in. Interesting too the ongoing debate about Australia Day and the date on which it’s celebrated. I had coffee last week with Darebin Councillor Susanne Newton where we discussed the topic at a bit more length but it’s definitely a larger conversation that’s happening around the place.