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.
It’s the name of the book by Natalie Walton, which has recently been published, considering the art of simple living and what makes some houses feel more like homes than others. I’m really looking forward to reading it and it makes a beautiful coffee table book or gift for someone with an interest in houses and design. I have friends like me, who love watching Grand Designs with Kevin McCloud and it remains one of my enduring favourites – that and watching a lot of Nordic Noir! Mr Rosanna and I have just finished bingeing on the last season of The Bridge. The other book I want to read is Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie which was long listed for the Man Booker prize and is a modern-day version of the Greek story of Antigone.
I was out last night for dinner with some ex-work colleagues at Ocha Japanese Restaurant in Church Street Hawthorn – a place I hadn’t visited since it opened many years ago originally in Kew. The food was good and not surprisingly, it was an older, more sophisticated and monied crowd dining inside. Dishes are for sharing and with drinks, it was on the pricier side at over $80 a head – it’s not somewhere I would go to regularly but worth a visit.
It’s been a warm Autumn and Mr Rosanna and I are still working on our house wondering whether to paint it or not before Winter is upon us. We’ve been trialling different paint colours and still haven’t landed on the right shade. We live in an open plan house with floor boards and I’ve discovered that as much as open plan is fantastic for living areas, I do prefer zoned bedrooms and other spaces. We’ve already put on a door to the kitchen for noise reasons and now considering a Crittall-style steel and glass panelled internal door for our formal living room. I love the look of these steel windows and doors prevalent in the 1930s and still produced by Crittall in the UK but suspect the price will blow us out of the water.
Speaking of artisan, the Eaglemont Artisans market is on tomorrow if you are a lover of all things creative. I had a brief drink at Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna today having a chat with the owner Dennis, where I got a bird’s-eye view of the final stages of the Level Crossing, which still feels like a massive construction zone. They’re now talking about it being ready by Monday 7 May instead of this coming Monday but I am dubious about it being complete, and safe, by then. I am hoping it looks a lot nicer than the current behemoth that it appears to be now when looking at it from ground level.