Another day of writing pieces that won’t end up on the blog. I feel like I am failing Blog June but I am also enjoying sharing my old photos that I didn’t share in the moment I took them. I took this one in Yass, the Australian town visited by the (new) Queer Eye stars for their Yass Queen! photo ops but they have nothing on my own Yass moment!
Here’s a photo taken on Broadway (Sydney) near the University of Technology’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology Building also known as the cheese grater. My favourite Sydney night building. Someone once told me that the binary code screen that encases the whole building actually spells out Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology in binary code. So cool!
Another work day, another busy night. The first time in years I got to embrace the Greek in me and go visiting after 8.30pm …on a weeknight! I felt sooooo….Mediterranean. LOL.
Another photo from the phone archive. This was taken on a walk around my neighbourhood during lockdown last year. It made me laugh.
Note: The sign on the door writes “”Do not block this garage door with bins”.
Today, I’ve had an excellent writing (and marking) day however none of it is for the blog. I have two days of travel to faraway workshops from tomorrow so I won’t stay up to write a post.
Meanwhile, enjoy this photo of the Sydney skyline and the harbour taken from Birchgrove.
I returned home from my mini-trip. It wasn’t a holiday. It was a workshop day in the Hunter Valley. Tomorrow is a work from home and then I have two more travel days. Here are two more photos from yesterday’s hotel. Their dining room is full of embroideries and samplers. They remind me of my mum and her family’s total obsession with framed stitched beauties. Quite the comfort.
The hotel was such a delight.
Today is a travel day so I don’t have any writing to share. However, have a look at the funky retro furniture at the hotel (Vine Valley Inn in Cessnock) where I am staying. No, this is not an ad or promotion or review. I have no energy for that sort of palaver.
Feel free to play “Where’s Shallowreader”. LOL.
Observation Note 109: No time for sitting. I don’t sit in the quiet of my backyard. I may have all the tea trees, lilly-pillys, bottle brushes, peach trees, lemon trees all framing the lush green grass bu they do not interest me.
Noisy miners in the grevilleas, rainbow lorikeets in the lilly-billy, pigeons on the tea trees. Indian mynahs nested in the old unused chimney of our home regularly swooping down at our dogs, intimidating them to steal their food. For years, I stand over Bo and Cleo while they eat, a long range water pistol in my hand to spray the mynahs waiting for my exit. No harm comes to them, just a water stream to create a barrier between them and the eating dogs.
The quiet back yard holds no interest for me. It brings me no comfort. It’s primary use is for the dogs to run around, to sun themselves on our outdoor table and chairs, to play hide and seek amongst the clivias and box hedges and [whatever those weird plants are], and to bark their hellos to the neighbour’s dog through the fence.
Observation Note 110: Do I really feel this way? Most people I know in Australia relish their backyards but for me it was a place best left to the birds, to the bat-shit-scary rat that always seems to saunter out of my garage, to our dogs. The occasional possum and the nightly fruit bats, and to our never-ending laundry air drying off lines. The view through our back doors so pretty yet this small square of nature holds little appeal for me. The backyard to me is a place to escape, to not engage with others. However, my front verandah is all about looking across to my neighbours as they walk past, drive pass, ride pass, be it on foot, by car, bike or pony.
I’ve written about my verandah before (see Observation Notes 89-90) and my love affair with it has not diminished at all. But my attendance to it has waned this year as I have been out of the house a lot more, teaching in person, and running workshops across Sydney. I go out to my mum’s home, I drive across the city to meet up with a friend, I travel West to buy my cashews and pistachio nuts from the nutroasters half an hour from home. I go to the new Greek pasticceria in the suburb next to mine. I feel like I am too busy again. I am rushed. I don’t sit. I don’t read. I don’t watch anything any more. And all this energised movement is all done in an N95 mask. I am not in denial, the world should not revert to the Before Times, I am willing to move in the world masked and ready for the future, but it is all starting to tire me.
This is weird to admit: I miss the restfulness of being in lockdown.
Observation Note 108: I need pots. So this
gardenia geranium loves to grow. In the gutter facing North, in a pot facing South. It is hardy as you can see here.
In March last year, my sister-in-law gave me a clivia. She put it in a plastic shopping bag so it wouldn’t drop dirt in my car as my husband drove it home. Carrying many items into the house, he left the plastic bag in a corner, leaves popping out the top. The plant seemed happy enough so I threw some water into the bag, thinking that I need to go out to buy a pot for it. A year later, the clivia was still in that plastic bag. It had flowered in the Spring, I had moved it to the backyard, it dropped its flowers, and it survived the cataclysmic rains of La Nina in February. Then a few weeks ago, I noticed that the plastic bag was disintegrating, so I finally transferred it whole and (nearly) healthy into this pot.
Observation Note 107: More flowers. Some of the ground flowers I have are clivias, daisies and a barely surviving, rarely flowering banksia rose which I planted twenty years ago. Instead of a flowering vine, lush with leaves and yellow flowers, the banksia rose just hangs in there, limp and boring. On the other hand, my geranium initially was growing in our gutter, right next to all the electrical wires. It was flourishing and cool, up on our roofline for a good long year. I guess a bird must have dropped a seed in the gutter, leaves having gotten caught and blocking access to the downpipe. We were too scared to get up and remove it ourselves and frankly it was lockdown. Sure, we could have called someone in to do it but we could barely take care of ourselves in 2020 let alone a rusty gutter with a plant lushly growing out of it. In 2021, we finally got motivated and hired someone to put in new gutters. Instead of throwing the plant out, the labourer saved it for us and we repotted it and have ignored it ever since and it continues to flourish.
Observation Note 106: When green appeals. I do know the names of the flowers in my backyard. I have a grevillea that is visited by rainbow lorikeets (Photo 1 is like a Magic Eye pic, squint and you’ll see it) and noisy miners. I have a lilly pilly (also loved by the lorikeets), a peach tree and about eleven tea trees that frame my small (medium for the Inner West) yard. The seats are mostly used by the dogs. It tends to be a green splendour all year round. With the exception of the peach and lilly pilly trees, the rest are all evergreens. Perfect if you are drawn to green.