I’ve been reading about the meaning behind Halloween, which is celebrated on 31 October (All Hallows’ Eve) with All Hallows’ Day (which is also known as All Saints’ Day) on 1 November and All Souls’ Day on 2 November. It’s lovely to remember the Christian origins of Halloween as much as I’m not a huge fan of the commercialisation of it. I guess I have similar sentiments about Christmas and can’t quite believe my local newsagency is already stocking Christmas cards this early.
I visited Westfield Doncaster today while my car was being serviced nearby and kikki.K‘s window display was also similarly festive with Christmas stationery. Come on people – we haven’t even celebrated Melbourne Cup week! However, the seed was planted and given I had a number of hours to kill – I did end up starting some early Christmas shopping. I always head to Australian Geographic for children’s presents and it’s great there’s a Readings book store (pictured above) now at Doncaster too. My other favourite place for buying living presents in the form of plants and trees are the local nurseries – The Greenery in Heidelberg and Bulleen Art and Garden. You can also buy indigenous plants at the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary. Both nurseries stock beautiful and exotic gifts as well and I’ll be making a beeline for one of them soon as the cockatoos have managed to decapitate one of the succulents that I left on the outdoor table (I should have known better!).
Mr Rosanna and I went out for dinner last Friday night to the former Village Tavern on Burgundy Street in Heidelberg which has now been re-born as modern Greek restaurant – Elia (meaning olive). It is now more upmarket and the prices have also gone up but it’s now a much more ambient place to eat and it was packed. The next generation of the same family have taken over and it’s reflected in the menu, decor and dress of the staff. If you go try the slow cooked lamb which was sensational – I’d also try the calamari or char-grilled octopus next time. Their version of saganaki with pear and star anise is also highly recommended.
Welcome to Spring! The day has finally arrived and while it will still be cold, I’m loving seeing all the blossom on the trees while at work, the baby kangaroo joeys greeted me at the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary this week. I also had an interesting journey home the other night at the Lower Plenty and Rosanna Roads intersection watching as a mother duck and her ducklings were trying to cross the road at peak hour.
There is a need for calm in the world at the moment and I do wonder what things would be like if there were more female heads of state. Do we need such aggression and chest beating to prove how strong we are or is there more strength in being prepared to back down, keep the peace and talk to each other rather than displays of military might…there are no simple answers sometimes.
On a brighter note, I went out earlier this week with my work colleagues for a communal meal at the Moroccan Soup Bar on St Georges Road in North Fitzroy – a place I hadn’t been to in years. There was a queue spilling out into the street when I arrived as they were turning over the tables for the 7.15pm session. Had I been more prepared like my friends, I would have brought some tupperware containers with me as there’s so much food! We opted for the $30 banquet over the $25 which gives you a bit of everything and includes mint tea and sweet treats at the end, if you can fit them in. One of my friends was regretful about going too hard at the start with the dips and bread.
It was lovely to see the Bargoonga Nganjin purpose-built community space all lit up when I left the restaurant. It opened in April this year and I commend Yarra City Council for being able to get this project up and running – it includes a library, maternal child health service, playgroup spaces, Council customer service area, community meeting rooms, exhibition space and a rooftop garden. Having worked closely with staff and councillors at Banyule and Darebin Councils now, I appreciate the difficult job they have in meeting the needs of residents and determining their role and the recent furore over Australia Day has left our household in disagreement. As I said, there are no easy answers sometimes. I am looking forward to the proposed Ivanhoe Library and Cultural Hub where community consultation is still taking place if you’re interested in attending an information session. I’ve got friends involved with the Resolve Rosanna Road/North East Link project and I know that there have been some pretty fiery meetings regarding this controversial project as well.
Speaking of local events, the Fairfield Spring Art Fair by iArt Studios is on tomorrow at the Backspace venue at 14 Montefiore Street Fairfield from 11am – 4 pm. OLMC in Heidelberg is hosting a high tea on Sunday 10 September while Banyule Primary School is holding its Green Day at Heidelberg Golf Club on Friday 29 September – a golf day, lawn bowls, high tea and cocktail party (they’re covering all bases!). I noticed too when ducking into Leo’s Food and Wine the other week, that Hahndorf ‘s Fine Chocolates has opened on Burgundy Street in Heidelberg and I hope they do well. Have a wonderful Father’s Day weekend.
I’m ready for you Friday night! It’s been a long week back at work and my brain is still catching up…I’m hoping to feel less fuzzy next week now that I’m at least back up to speed with things.
NGV Friday Nights is currently on until 10 March and as part of the David Hockney: Current exhibition, La Trobe University is uniting art with the environment as the NGV’s Learning Partner. Inspired by Hockney’s landscapes, the Living Landscapes project invites you to create and contribute your own 3D plant to La Trobe University’s virtual landscape. In return, La Trobe University will plant one in reality at their Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is so close to my office that I’ve now seen the kangaroos and emu that live there….I’m just hoping not to see the snakes!I actually returned from leave to find a beautiful gift (above) from the University’s other partner, State Library Victoria, in the form of a Haigh’s chocolate and nut mix packaged in a book box – such a clever idea and so fitting. I’ll be holding four of my eight Bold Thinking Series lectures there this year.
Speaking of books, the Words and Windows Exhibition Launch and Family Event is being held on Saturday 21 January at the Eltham Library and will be launched by best-selling author and Australian Children’s Laureate Leigh Hobbs. I was lucky enough to work with Leigh Hobbs when I was the publicist at The Light Factory Gallery and his illustrations are just as delightful.
If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, the Heide Makers Market is on this Saturday from 9 am – 2 pm. January is still feeling relatively sleepy with people still being away on holiday. I’m looking forward to starting again with Chinese New Year later this month and I will have a fitting local profile up very soon.