Too tight to mention

It’s festival season in Melbourne – the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is currently on and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is about to start – good timing given Daylight Savings ends on 2 April which I’m always sad about as a summer person. The Melbourne Writers Festival has been brought forward this year to May and an early shout out too for Banyule’s Women in Business lunch on Friday 19 May with special guest Lisa Gorman. More on that closer to the time.

Speaking of writers, I’m looking forward to reading Australian writer Pip Williams’ second book The Bookbinder of Jericho which follows on the footsteps of The Dictionary of Lost Words. As a word nerd I’ve also been playing the New York Times Wordle, which is both my guilty pleasure and daily challenge!

Money is tight at the moment for our family and while it’s only a temporary situation, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to live without financial security on an ongoing basis and how much it can wear people down. What it has brought into focus are the important things in life – the love of my friends and family and spending time with them, and in nature. It’s pretty simple stuff and if you’re a creative person, there are all sorts of ways you can continue to enjoy life and make time for joy.

Speaking of simple pleasures Hounds of Heide (in collaboration with The Rose Street Artists’ Market) is being held from 10am – 3pm tomorrow at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen if you are have a (leashed) furry four legged friend, the Alphington Farmers Market is also on as well as the Marketplace Sundays @Eaglemont Village Eggstravaganza where the kids Egg Hunt is booked out but adults can celebrate Neighbours Every Day by bringing one of your neighbours along (as well as some cash and BYO bags). In light of Harmony Week, it’s lovely that the Neighbours Every Day theme is ‘Create Belonging’ – surely something that every person wants to feel.


A couple of galahs

Well…cockatoos to be exact. I’ve been taking much pleasure in the shenanigans of our friendly, feathered friends pictured below who we have coming right up to the kitchen window to say hello. There is much solace to be found in nature and living in the present.

I’ve been reading Phosphorescence by Julia Baird (below) and some of the takeaways have been to look (or ‘regarde!’ by the French writer Colette) and to savour the good things we see and experience – I think this is especially important in a year where so much has been taken away. I’ve taken much strength from her quoting writer Albert Camus – the start of his famous quote begins, “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”

They’re fighting words and I hope, if you too, have suffered loss of any kind this year you will remember to hang on to hope and know you have the resilience and resources within you to keep going. Nothing is forever and everything changes. As much as I may not like where I am, I have accepted my circumstances knowing there will be better times ahead and our beleaguered city and world will return to (a new) normal in time. We still have to enjoy now and focus on the things which give us pleasure and meaning.

I have celebrations in my family, with Christmas and in my friendship circle over the next month and I’m looking forward to visiting some of Melbourne’s CBD-venues which I’ll post about. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been taking place and while I’ve reined in my spending, both my kettle and microwave recently carked it so we’re currently waiting for the new microwave to be delivered but lashed out and bought a Smeg kettle (below) on sale. I have to say it’s made my kitchen bench top look a lot more stylish! I just hope my toaster doesn’t die on me as much as I’ve always wanted a Dualit.

There are a number of Christmas markets coming up including Heide on 19 December in Bulleen and the Alphington and Coburg Christmas farmers markets on 23 December from 2 – 6 pm, for which you do need to register. I also took note earlier this year regarding some of the beautiful care packages available for delivery if you have the budget including those from Kindful Gifts, Soul Bundles and Curated with conscience.

One of the best presents I’ve given people is simply taking them out somewhere special and shouting them lunch or dinner – our time and attention are often way more important than material things. If money is tight this year, you may want to make your own ‘gift’ voucher to give people – cooking, cleaning, babysitting, gardening or providing whatever kind of service you may be able to offer – for me, I’ve been able to help family update their resumes and edit cover letters this year.

Christmas is a time to give – as much as to ourselves and each other – I hope you have plans to spend your day, if you celebrate it, in the company of those you love whether they are biological or logical family. I’ve been lucky to have many caring people in my life reach out and lift me up at a very challenging time – if you can relieve someone else’s suffering, there is no greater gift.