What we know now

Drought and flooding rains have always been part of Australia’s weather landscape but climate change is also real. I’m always baffled about people doubting climate change yet still believing what our meteorologists tell us – I don’t think you can have one without the other in terms of the science behind both.

Climate change is also thematically expressed at the new Ivanhoe Library and Cultural Hub and my friend ceramicist Lene Kuhl Jakobsen has a number of pieces on show (above) exploring this theme. I’d love to visit sometime instead of just driving past the new space (usually in a hurry). Term 1 has been a bit crazy with the return of children to school and the full gamut of out of school activity – I’m not surprised numbers are down for community sport as parents question the lunatic running around we did pre-COVID-19 and the chance to chill we’ve had over the past year.

I’m wondering how I will cope returning to the office for a likely minimum three days in a government organisation. Mr Rosanna and I are deliberating about the need for a second car. We’ve managed as a family with just one car all these years in Rosanna until now but with two lots of Saturday morning sport (in different locations and different times over the summer) and me returning to a (close to) CBD-based job, we may have to bite the bullet and buy a second car. Used car prices are at an all-time high due to the pandemic so some new car prices are actually comparable to second-hand. We will have to do some further research and investigation as well as toss up whether it’s another family-sized car or a smaller city car. While I’d love ‘a fun car not a mum car!’ – I don’t think I have much choice.

Aikido Shudokan HQ – Heidelberg West Industrial Estate

Speaking of investigation, Mr R and had an impromptu lunchtime sojourn during the week to the Heidelberg West Industrial Estate (also known as the Heidelberg West Business Park) while running errands. We were buying groceries from the new Fine Food Depot after dropping off a poster to be framed at The Print and Framing Company on Dougharty Road and decided to check out Ugo Cucina Popolare for coffee and cannoli – out the front of the Cannoleria HQ by That’s Amore cheese.

Let me just say that you can find all sorts of things in the back streets of the estate – Aikido! Badminton! Pigeon Racing! Neon signs since 1956! There are over 600 businesses to be found in the estate and you do need to keep your wits about you with all the trucks. I think it would make for a really interesting walking tour in time. We didn’t get to find Gridlock Coffee, Melbourne City Rooftop Honey, the Noo Moo vegan food truck, the little veggie patch co or Second Bite (next time!) but met the lovely Manon at Ugo where Mr R and I stopped for an al fresco coffee and got a takeaway box of cannoli (vanilla, chocolate and tiramisu-flavoured ricotta).

Manon behind the Ugo front counter – Cannoleria HQ

The other big surprise was parking across the road from Empire Music Studios (formerly Studio 52 located in Collingwood). Mr R has actually recorded a whole album’s worth of songs over the past few months and had already walked through the front door to explore before I crossed the road. We met the owner Paul Higgins who very kindly took us on a tour of all the studio spaces (there were some Pacific Islander musicians recording there on the day). He’s been the recipient of a Banyule Business grant and at a time when local businesses in the CBD, at the airport and in hard hit western suburbs are suffering – it’s a positive sign to see other businesses growing.

I’ve mentioned before that small businesses are the life blood of the Victorian economy. Most people think of the big retailers but it’s the many mums and dads out there, franchisees and start-up entrepreneurs that contribute to business in this state. Despite this, business owners often have less protection than mortgage owners in terms of bank loans and debt. If you are struggling, there is a Small Business Debt Hotline 1800 413 828. While some businesses will make it through this time, sadly many others won’t due to the level of debt they’re carrying or lack of customers (or both) and sometimes it’s better to cut your losses, get out early and take action to help yourself from falling any further behind.

Surely Easter must be coming soon and lucky you if you’ve started your break early taking leave this week.