Northside

Is where I do prefer to be. I have friends and family who live in the inner west, eastern and south-eastern suburbs but have largely been a northsider since leaving high school (with a brief period house sharing in Windsor during my university years). There’s a new photography book called Northside: a time and place by Warren Kirk which has just been launched by Scribe Publishing with it being a praise for suburbia – where many of us are now working and living our lives in lockdown.

It’s Love your Bookshop Day on 3 October if you can support local bookshops in the area: Fairfield Books, Robinsons Bookshop in Greensborough and Northland, Readings and Dymocks at Westfield Doncaster and Eltham Bookshop as well as the Yarra Plenty Regional Library – reading is one of the escapes I’ve turned to over these past few weeks and months living a more restricted physical life. Trent Dalton’s new book All our shimmering skies and Michelle Obama’s book Becoming are both on my list.

I hope today’s easing of restrictions (and steps being brought forward based on cases not dates) has brought some greater hope and happiness that things will return to some semblance of normal. I’ve been amused reading about scarecrows in Thornbury and it also brought a smile to my face coming across some hand decorated wooden ‘spoonies’ at Rivergum Walk in Heidelberg the other day – there is definitely life in the suburbs!

I’ve been suffering from Covid brain and finding there’s too much noise on social media these past few weeks so have gone back to basics catching up with my handful of ‘heart’ friends I’ve known since my childhood and teenage years. Exercise helps as well as immersion in activities like cooking. We’ve enjoyed watching My Octopus Teacher on Netflix and The story of Science Fiction on SBS Viceland as a family, while Mr Rosanna and I have loved the Quincy Netflix documentary on the extraordinary life and musical talent of Quincy Jones – it’s a very inspiring story.

I completed the first of four online professional development sessions last week as part of my recent scholarship award. Unfortunately I’ve been unable to attend these live given US/Canadian eastern standard time slots but it’s still been a really valuable experience for me as an early career professional in the world of Alumni Relations. All the more interesting was watching presentations from African American education professionals and their segmenting of university graduates not only aligned to affinity ie shared professional backgrounds or disciplines studied, but along race and gender lines with identity.

The changing student demographic in the US will shift from predominantly white Anglo-Saxon backgrounds with minority black and brown groups to the reverse in coming decades, reflecting the greater racial diversity that some businesses and organisations are already preparing for now. Given the recent backdrop of Black Lives Matter, it has felt quite prescient and it’s been interesting to see diversity play out in Australia with the recent Archibald visual art prizes being awarded to Indigenous artists and in the UK and Ireland with the Booker prize in literature. It’s an interesting time to be in the world! I’ve not yet watched the Cathy Freeman documentary with her running performance that stunned the world at the Sydney 2000 Olympics but consider it one of the all time greatest moments in sport.

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Hallows, Saints & Souls

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.

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Image via Nest Architects

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.