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.


World, interrupted

It definitely feels like that right now, and indeed this whole year. It’s been hard not to feel a bit disheartened and dispirited in Melbourne this week given the daily numbers. All I can say is that next weekend we’re into the last month of Winter and the countdown to Spring when we will (hopefully) be out of lockdown. It has felt quite dystopian seeing pictures of an eerily quiet CBD and people wearing masks in my neighbouring streets and Rosanna parklands.


I’ve been lucky to have resourceful extended family members make masks for our family to wear this week. If you are wanting something a bit more stylish, Flat Iron in Kew is making masks to order in three different colourways and selling three for $60 or one for $24. While it felt a bit weird wearing a mask outside the first time, I think it will start to be the new normal in time just like it has been with Zoom meetings and work. While I’veĀ  tried to wear a mask while running, I have found it too hard to breathe but have kept one on my wrist to wear once I stop to warm down and taken alternative paths to walkers.


I’ve been ordering my groceries online through Biviano and Sons if you’re wanting to avoid going to the supermarket and I have also seen ads for Lower Plenty Fresh. Conga Foods is moving from Bell Streeet to a new location mid-September at 60 Dougharty Road in Heidelberg West and renaming itself as the Fine Food Depot. My friends at Banyule Council are looking at innovative ways to help small business with their ‘Rediscover Local’ campaign launching next month. If you own a business in Banyule and want more exposure to customers, it’s free for you to participate. Just fill out the form from the link in their bio.


Open House Melbourne 2020 launched earlier this month if you’re wanting an explore some of the best architecture our city has to offer online. La Trobe University is holding its virtual Open Day next Sunday 2 August and enrolments for both undergraduate and post-graduate courses have exceeded target so there are many people looking to up-skill and ride out the pandemic in a meaningful way. MOMA in New York is also offering free online creative courses and I read with interest this article on the 5 types of creativity and Everyday Creative book written by Mykel Dixon. You may recognise yourself in one of the the types whether you think you’re creative or not given creativity manifests itself in many different ways. It is something I hope to instil in my children who are already showing great creative promise in terms of their musicality and art.

Finally, how lovely was it to see wedding photos of Princess Beatrice wearing her grandmother’s vintage Norman Hartnell dress and tiara and re-wearing her Valentino shoes underneath the rose-covered archway with her new husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. Whether you are a royalist or not, it was beautiful and inspiring at a time when we need to see more beauty and wonder in the world.