Xenia and Xanadu

It’s not every day you hear those two words put together!  I was out at Xenia on Lygon Street in Brunswick last night having dinner with one of my bosses Professor Chris Mackie who is fittingly, the Professor of Greek Studies at La Trobe University, as well as the Professor of Public Scholarship for the Bold Thinking Series.  Xenia is the ancient Greek word for hospitality, which was plied on pretty thick last night at this Cretan hot spot.  I was marvelling how my old stamping ground had changed a lot in the 10 years since I left – so much more development and a lot more built up.  I can’t imagine living back in Brunswick with children, although people do.

Pinkie cafe – Ivanhoe

The food was sensational – we shared starters of saganaki and haloumi and shared mains of the slow cooked lamb, moussaka and a seafood dish with rice which was like a Greek paella served in a pan.  It was all pretty delicious and there is a more upmarket sister restaurant in Moonee Ponds called Philhellene.

Inside Pinkie with my little coffee companion this morning

I mention Xanadu as well because my team were very busy at the start of this week looking after Olivia Newton-John who received her Honorary Doctorate of Letters from La Trobe University on Monday.  She’s someone who’s had a remarkable life and career and it was also a very fitting honour for her.  I’m reminded every time I drive past the Olivia Newton-John Wellness and Research Centre in Heidelberg of her other achievements in the scientific space for people suffering from cancer.  It’s a devastating disease to which most of us, including me, have lost friends and family.

Craft Lab+ image via Bundoora Homestead Art Centre


On a happier note, I stopped in at Pinkie cafe (photos above) in Westley Avenue Ivanhoe today which is at the bottom of a new housing development.  It’s a great idea which is working well and I know that Funkie Brewster in Rosanna is now Ivy and Pearl – it’s very handy to have a good cafe park-side.

I have now officially stepped down from the Board of Management at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre but wanted to mention Craft Lab+ which opens tomorrow if you are into knitting, quilting, embroidery, macrame, tapestry, patchwork, felting or any other textile-based craft (phew – there’s a lot to mention!) – it’s a good opportunity to join something community-based just in time for winter.