It’s not been much of a summer given it’s an El Nina year weather-wise but after the catastrophic bushfires last year, I think it’s been a relief. While it’s all about COVID-19 and vaccines at the moment, I hope that climate change will continue to be addressed during and after the global pandemic.
Locally, while Twilight Sounds won’t be on this March, live Australian music at Park Sounds will be held over two different sessions on Sunday 21 February at Sills Bend in Heidelberg. Speaking of live music, we watched Emma Donovan & the Putbacks (with a surprise guest appearance from Paul Kelly who was in the audience!) this afternoon at the Heide Summer Festival in Bulleen. If you go, I’d set up your picnic blanket to the left on the hill which lends some shade as the sun sets as it gets pretty hot when the sun is out. Mr Rosanna and I noticed too a number of families with their supplies in a Wanderer beach cart.
The Ivanhoe Library and Cultural Hub opening has also been delayed until Friday 26 February from 6 – 8pm which you can attend online. Details will be going up on the website closer to the time. While that’s been delayed, it was good to see posts about The Little Social cafe that opened at Rosanna station during the week. I hope locals will support this initiative run by Youth Projects.
It’s Chinese New Year this coming week (bring on the Ox!) as well as Valentine’s Day next Sunday and these Earth Greetings cards have caught my eye if there is someone special in your life and not necessarily a romantic partner but your parents, your family or your friends.
Finally, I’ve been following Australian artist Sam Michelle for a little while now as I’ve fallen in love with her still life paintings. Her new online exhibition The elegance of Spring goes live on Tuesday 9 February from 10am at Gallerysmith. Her work reminds me of Margaret Preston’s and I may have to put one of her paintings on my wishlist.
It’s the name of one of my favourite songs from 90s band Soul II Soul whose re-scheduled concert is being held late 2021, but something we need to keep in mind no matter our circumstances and especially at this time. And while COVID-19 is the gift that keeps on giving with Greater Sydney and NSW now a red zone – I don’t think Dan Andrews had any choice but to close the Victorian border given our freedoms so hard won over Winter and Spring. If you have family in NSW or were intending on visiting or vice versa, then I am feeling for you.
It is important to savour the things we can still do and are able to celebrate. My self-funded, self-catered divisional Christmas party was held under the trees fittingly near the big holly bush (above) at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen one hot afternoon last week. My fellow Culture Committee members pulled together an ISO Spotify playlist (and meaning behind the songs chosen by individual staff) and online kudoboard of all the things we were grateful for and lessons learnt this year. One of my colleagues Jenny aka Mother Christmas outdid herself with a table of beautiful individually wrapped homemade Christmas treats (below). While it was sad to say goodbye to my colleagues and my manager who has taken voluntary redundancy, life goes on and I have chosen joy at this time.
I had dinner with a couple of colleagues the following night at Alphington Social – the former Paladaar Thai restaurant housed in an old Art Deco bank building, which was virtually unrecognisable to me after having had a substantial new internal fit out and outdoor courtyard. We had a great meal with starters including gin-cured ocean trout and parmesan encrusted crumbed calamari followed by house made pasta. There were a number of predominantly all-female groups enjoying a night out and it is on the noisy side so better for groups rather than an intimate dinner.
Speaking of social, social enterprise cafe The Little Social has opened at Rosanna train station and the new Ivanhoe Library and Cultural Hub is slated for opening on 18 January 2021, where I hope to return to in-person yoga classes with Pamela Speldewinde at Action Yoga. I’ve heard whispers that a new pilates studio is soon to open at the Greville Road shops in Rosanna so stay tuned on that one. I’ve missed doing reformer pilates with my work friends in the Core Cave at La Trobe Sport, which has re-opened if you live close to Bundoora or Macleod.
Tickets have gone on sale for Live at the Bowl in the city if you’re missing seeing live music but wish to do so in an outdoors environment. If you’re visiting the city, also look out for the Uptown outdoor art exhibition on show at the top end of Bourke Street. Closer to home, I’ve bought tickets for the Heide Summer Festival – a 9-week program of live music in the outdoor Sculpture Garden, which is great given the cancellation of other outdoor music events like Zoo Twilights this summer.
If you’re having trouble finding your Christmas spirit this year, you might want to visit the best Christmas lights in Melbourne to see the best displays in your suburb given no Ivanhoe Boulevard Lights in 2020. Alternatively, you might want to look at the night skies half an hour after sunset tomorrow night for the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. While some have mistakenly referred to it as the Christmas Star or Star of Bethlehem, there’s no harm in making a wish upon it for a better year in 2021, and for some perspective on how diminutive we truly are when compared with the stars above us.
I wish you joy this Christmas and in this remarkable year, despite the many losses, I hope there have been silver linings for you and your family (whether biological or logical) and things for which you are grateful. To paraphrase German philosopher Friedrich Neitszche, that which hasn’t killed us this year, has only made us stronger. Strength, hope, resilience; I hope you hang onto these given all that we have been through together in 2020.
Neitszche is also the author of another famous quote, which I will leave with you to ponder, “One must have chaos in order to give birth to a dancing star.” May you find your own dancing star this Christmas and may it guide you into the light in 2021.