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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
It’s the name of the new book by Meg Mason I had started reading but not got far into since beginning my new job 4 weeks ago. I do want to cut myself some slack though as I realised last week that in that time I’ve written the ANZOG alumni strategy, operational plan, an Alumni Advisory Council presentation pack and my own performance plan so I’ve been a bit tired!
Hopefully once the plan is confirmed as such – the execution will be easier if the groundwork has all been done. Work notwithstanding, I feel like Sorrow and Bliss’s title is reflected in the state of the world at the moment with such terrible scenes coming out of India and yet things in Australia being relatively normal (minus Perth). While I feel our government had no choice but to close our borders as a short-term measure to protect our largely unvaccinated population, I hope we can open them as soon as it is safe to do so given the 14,000 people wanting to come home. As an Australian, I think we all have a right to be able to return to our home country.
Before Mason’s book, I had sped read a number of Jane Harper’s books on my kindle which has reminded me that Rosanna library (where I renewed my online membership during last year’s lockdown) is now scheduled for re-development (in partnership with Woolworths). While the marriage between public and private sector is becoming increasingly common especially for large scale development and infrastructure – I’ve only recently become aware that public consultation is now (May and June) if you have any concerns.
If you’re an aspiring writer, I also wanted to wish Blaise, Les and the team at Busybird Publishing a happy 8th birthday and while their June writing retreat has sold out, I believe they are running another session in October – it would be a good opportunity to do something creative over winter. Then again, you may feel like doing nothing at all – this New York Times article on ‘languishing’ caught my eye during the week. I’m going to try to exercise and socialise as my winter mantra whether I feel like it or not. I’ve kept up a number of outdoor walkie talkies this year with my friends and work colleagues – walking is good for you in so many ways.
Mother’s Day is upon us next week but to be honest, while it’s nice to support local retailers who produce or sell more sustainable fare, I’m pretty happy just to have a home cooked meal and some afternoon tea with my immediate and extended family and spend some quality time together and I’m sure many of you feel the same way. Here’s to luxuriating (not languishing) in simple pleasures this year!
I’ve almost reached saturation point and my brain isn’t coping with the amount of events I’ve had on over the past fortnight including two birthdays in my family, which kill me every year before Christmas. I am hoping this week that things start to quieten down although work is still relatively busy given I’m now in planning and programming mode for 2019.
One of the birthdays was Mr Rosanna’s and he’s always a tricky person to buy for in terms of gifts – he’s quite fussy and isn’t materialistic so I always scratch my head trying to work out something creative, experiential and personal. I think I did well this year as I bought him the Japanese best seller The courage to be disliked (above) which a number of high-profile people have read – it’s a self-help book based on Adlerian psychology and written as a dialogue between a young man and a philosopher. I’m looking forward to reading it after Mr R finishes it. Some people scoff at the self-help genre but I think that the greatest power you have is to be able to change the way you think, and therefore the way you behave. Easily said but not so easily done particularly as we get older and more set in our ways.
I had my Irish friend Colum’s birthday a few weeks ago now and also picked a book for him –Normal People (above) a novel about two high school (and later University) students set in modern-day Dublin by Irish writer Sally Rooney which has won the Man Booker prize and she herself has become the poster girl for Millennial fiction writing. I’ve read the Granta excerpt and it also had me intrigued so I may be borrowing Colum’s copy from him once he’s read it!
The second part to Mr Rosanna’s birthday present from me this year was a Busybird Publishing book writing gift voucher given Mr R has actually started a manuscript for a novel. The Busybird 2-day book writing boot camp is being held 26 – 28 April next year at Busybird HQ in Montmorency so would make a great Christmas present to anyone in your life who has put writing a book down on their bucket list.
We are slowly coming to the end of the year and I hope you’re also starting to wind down, reflect on the year that’s been and plan for the year ahead. You can dream but if there’s no plan behind it to action in a certain amount of time, then a dream remains a dream.
I read Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie while I was away – it’s loosely based on the ancient Greek story of Antigone which I thought was a fitting read in Greece. It’s relatively short but breathtaking – I won’t reveal the end but it was a cracking read. I’ve since moved on to one of Mr Rosanna’s books by Gail Honeyman called Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine, which is by turns hilarious and tragic at the same time. I’m not yet sure what has happened to poor Eleanor in her short life but the beauty salon incident in the early chapters had me laughing out loud while I was at swimming lessons last week.
I also wanted to mention that local writer, editor and publisher Blaise van Hecke from Busybird Publishing is having her book launch this week – a whimsical memoir of short stories based on her unconventional childhood called The road to Tralfamadore is Bathed in River Water. Also launching this week is the A1 Darebin Art Salon at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre showcasing the work of local artists and For I have learned to look on nature at Hatch Contemporary Art Space in Ivanhoe – an exhibition of tree portraits by local artist Fran Lee using the words of William Wordsworth’s poem.
Despite the cold and wanting to hibernate instead, I dragged myself out on Saturday night as I had a friend in town from Brisbane but ended up having a great night out at Garden State Hotel in Flinders Lane which was going off inside despite it being the middle of winter, having dinner in a cosy booth seat for four at the Garden Grill. The whole place is very noisy and half of Melbourne was there enjoying the footy on TV in the pub section at the front through to counter meals in the middle and underneath, so I was glad to have booked somewhere quieter at the back where we didn’t have to yell at each other. The food was excellent – I had the roasted fish special and shared a coconut sorbet dessert with my bestie Jules. It also helped we had a handsome French waiter called Carlito but besides his looks (!), the service was excellent and it is a place for more serious dining and drinking by the looks of many of the all male tables of diners around us. I was also spoilt by Jules who gave me a belated birthday present – a handmade bowl (she is a woman after my own heart) by Byron Bay based homewares company Kinfolk & Co. which is now housing my fruit on my kitchen bench.
If you’re a train commuter at Rosanna, then I’m feeling for you this week and until March next year. I was running past the whole level crossing development on Lower Plenty Road at Rosanna parklands over the weekend and it is a major construction site. I’ve also been very sad to see all the gum trees removed from Turnham Avenue and at the top end of the park. I just hope the new level crossing is worth it once it’s built.
I am also feeling for neighbouring businesses and with this in mind, have happily accepted a sponsorship deal with Hunter Lane Cafe. Like me, I hope you will continue to support them by visiting (even if it’s by foot or bike instead of car) during this temporary period. A big thank you too from me to Dani and Dennis at the cafe – it was lovely of them to ask me. While their logo will feature on this blog and I’ll be doing regular shout outs for them, I will still be visiting and posting about other cafes in the area but flying the flag for Hunter Lane whenever I can, which will be acknowledged.
It is Spring and the start of term 4 so my crazy weeks juggling work and ferrying children to their various activities will start all over again. I did want to mention that the Jagajaga Community Sports Awards are being held this Thursday night at Eltham High School from 6 pm onwards. I did nominate a couple of people this year including representatives from the Ivanhoe Harriers Running Club and Yarra Tennis Coaching in Eaglemont and they have been successful so will be receiving their Awards that evening, which is very exciting! The special guest speaker will be Laura Duryea, Melbourne AFLW Football Club Defender so it’s nice to see a female featured instead of a bloke.
Good health is indeed, wealth and it’s the name of a book and In Conversation event with author Kitty Cheng hosted by Busybird Publishing and also being held this Thursday from 7 – 9 pm at Busybird HQ – 2 / 118 Para Road in Montmorency (look out for Oscar the office dog if he’s there!). Without health, you have nothing so it’s always good to find out more about how we can better look after ourselves and enable us to achieve more. Have a great week!
It’s the name of local author Les Zig’s debut novel published by Pantera Press which is being launched at a special event on 2 September at Beer DeLuxe as part of this year’s Melbourne Writer’s Festival, which starts on Friday 25 August. Les and I were having a chat when I attended Busybird Publishing’s Karma Kinglake writing retreat last year and I know he loves his beer so no surprises there. The book is a psychological drama that explores the complexities of human relationships and I think a lot goes on in the suburbs, where most of us live. My own street is a microcosm of society at large with all sorts of things happening that I didn’t anticipate when I moved to sleepy Rosanna almost 10 years ago from the inner city. It’s not as sleepy as I first thought!
If you have kids, the Harry Potter Day on Sunday 3 September at Fed Square in the city, also as part of the Writer’s Festival, looks like a lot of fun if you have a Harry, Ron or Hermione in your household.
Locally there’ll be a pop up book swap at the Harmony Centre in The Mall at Heidelberg West during Literacy Week, also starting next Friday and running until 1 September. The Eltham Bookshop too has recently celebrated its 20 year anniversary, which is a real achievement by owner Meera Govril. I’m still not making a lot of head way with my reading and seem to be drowning in paperwork at the moment – it’s almost de-cluttering season again and I need to continue with a number of rooms in my house.
I was also reading with excitement about the upcoming exhibition The House of Dior at the NGV and associated Gala ball being held on Saturday 26 August – two tickets of which you can actually win through Telstra. It’s being compared to the Met Gala in New York and I think is one for all the fashionistas out there.
The Healthy Body Book launch at Busybird Publishing at 118 Para Road, Montmorency is being held on Saturday 22 July from 3 – 5 pm and I’m happy to say that my sponsor Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training in Macleod is one of the co-authors! Refreshments will be provided – admission is free but you do need to RSVP by 18 July if you’d like to come along. This is the second book of Busybird’s Health Conscious series and Donna Campisi, author of ‘The Unlikely Marathoner’ will be launching the book.
I made it to a morning class at Cinch today and have needed to be consistent with exercise over these colder months, particularly given I’ve had a couple of dinners out over the past week. Mr Rosanna and I had dinner with some friends last Saturday night in the back dining area at one of my old favourites Paladarr Thai restaurant and cooking school housed in a former Art Deco bank building in Alphington. The food is still great although they do kick you out early being in a residential area – we were served our bill along with hot towels at 10pm! Still, the duck curry and steamed fish dishes in particular are recommended.
I spent last night catching up with an old work friend at Spanish restaurant Tinto in Burwood Road, Hawthorn and managed to snaffle a park right on Burwood Road as it was very busy when I arrived. Tinto’s been there for a while, and like Paladarr Thai, is a warm and cosy place to go in winter – it was full house last night. My girlfriend Kath and I shared both the smaller and medium sized dishes which included amongst other things some yummy field mushrooms, a seafood casserole and broccolini. I did exercise some restraint and didn’t order the churros (Spanish donuts) as much as they were tempting.
My next lecture is one for the foodies so I look forward to letting you know what that’s all about closer to the end of the month. It’s been a very sombre week world-wide and a number of my friends and colleagues are heading to London in the coming months so I am hoping they stay safe on their travels, and you as well if travelling.
It’s the name of Kasey Edwards’ new book , which is a meditation on the guilt women feel about their bodies, relationships, pregnancy and childbirth, motherhood and careers. It’s published by Black Inc. Books who have partnered with La Trobe to form La Trobe University Press and the University’s 50th Anniversary book – From the paddock to the Agora – a copy of which was given to me as a thank you from Vice Chancellor John Dewar for working on the 50th. Kasey’s invited me to her upcoming book launch, in conversation with Clare Bowditch, being held on Thursday 25 May at Readings Hawthorn in Melbourne. If you’re interested in attending, it’s free but please register on Eventbrite. Being the small world that it is, Kasey has previously worked with Mr Rosanna while I have had dealings with her partner, an Associate Professor, who works at La Trobe University.
I missed the recent launch of local author Les Zigomanis’ book for Young Adults called Pride (published under his pseudonym Lazaros Zigomanis) the other week. I met Les last year at the Busybird Publishing Karma Kinglake writing retreat as he is the Publications Manager there, working closely with owner Blaise van Hecke. I love the preamble to his book ‘dreams mean nothing unless you have the courage to pursue them’ so it’s another one to add to my list.
Indeed it was interesting to note at the Leading Now 2017 leadership summit some of the practices of our greatest leaders include waking up early, yoga, meditation and reading books, and lots of them. Apparently Elon Musk reads two books a day on average and many leaders curate the content of what they take in – choosing books over the noise of traditional and social media and being pedantic about their energy management. I think it’s something the average person can take on board as well so we’re not feeling drained at the end of every day.
It’s Mother’s Day this weekend so I just wanted to wish all the mums out there a fun day on Sunday. If you’re interested in doing something arty, there are also two exhibition openings on tomorrow afternoon at the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre – Technician’s Choice and Group Formalism. The Homestead has recently re-introduced a lunch menu but also does great scones and jam.
Nb. Miss Rosanna is a Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board member