I rescued a tiny succulent from a crack in the concrete on a street in Parramatta several years ago. I brought it home, found it a pot, and it keeps growing towards the light. Its curious leaves hold so many happy memories from that weekend – of strolling the streets and op-shops with a kindred spirit, sharing a house with friends who are dear to my heart, participating in a wonderfully inspiring and interesting gastronomy conference, connecting with a beautiful man, eating, drinking, talking, singing, walking and savouring. Every day this little plant gives me a wave and sends some happy memories my way.
My grandmother was an avid gardener. For most of my life she lived on a five acre block that she transformed from an empty paddock into a wonderful garden. I inherited her plants last year and am loving having indoor plants for the first time. She loved flowers and her camellia has just started to flower in my front yard – a pretty, delicate thing with white petals edged in pink.
Beta vulgaris of the Chenopodiaceae family is a descendant of Sea Beet from the Mediterranean coast. It self-seeds in my garden with gay abandon and when they first pop their heads up, the baby red rainbow chard plants are as cute as a button. They are tough, grow quickly and look wonderful in rows in my veggie patch. The leaves are also quite delicious and full of million nutrients.
The unabashed prettiness of pink roses is always a joy to behold. The best ones are terribly thorny and heavenly scent. I’m collecting cuttings of pink roses at the moment for a planned Pompadour bed in my garden, in honour of the arts she commissioned and inspired. In 1757 the Sevres Porcelain factory, of which she was a great supporter, created a colour named after her – Rose Pompadour. Bleu Celeste is a gorgeous blue made by the same chemist. The history and recipes for these colours and other decorative materials from the period are wonderfully documented at Makers and Materials.
It is quite remarkable the amount of wonderful old resources one can find on the internet. Today’s find was a map of Versailles from 1746, including the place, gardens and surrounding farmland. It still blows my mind that twenty years ago you had to physically go to Europe and visit the library to see this kind of image and now it’s at your fingertips in seconds.
My evening walks are becoming a habit and something I look forward to. The autumn colours, golden sunshine and brisk air wrap me in a blanket of energetic calm. I fill my eyes with beauty and return home with problems solved. This evening presented a particularly stunning sunset sky.
I love being able to bat ideas around like tennis balls. Most of the time they go over the net, other times under, and there are a few that go over the fence never to be seen again. Playing the conversation game cannot be done alone – it must be a collaboration. It is one of my favourite games and is responsible for so many of the tiny ideas that make up the big projects in my life. I’m very lucky to have a lots of friends to play intellectual tennis with and I am particularly grateful for my regular Monday match with fellow creative, Jim.
This brilliant graphic is from his theatre show Heart of a Dog.
The creation of my 18th century gown is a long, slow process, but given there are no deadlines right now, that’s alright. I have taken apart the jacket to make it fit me better, as I think I cut the pattern and forgot to check my measurements against it. I’ve adjusted the darts and shoulders, and just fitted the sleeve back in. This is a very satisfying task – making a tiny gather in the top for a hint of puff, then fitting it inside the armhole, and stitching around curves without wrinkles. Hopefully the other sleeve will go in easily too.
Finally I have my home recording studio set up. It took rather a long time to sort it out and for that little red box to arrive in the post. Now that I’ve set it all up, it’s ridiculously easy to record – plug in and go. Not only that, but it’s small enough that I can pop it all in a bag and go out and record in interesting places. Ooh, the possibilities!
I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I must confess I’m watching more these days. It’s just nice to see some faces, hear some voices. I find Australian shows particularly comforting, probably because it feels like seeing ordinary people from my ordinary world. I watched Love in Lockdown yesterday. It’s a tiny tv series – there are six episodes, each less than eight minutes long – about ukulele lessons and it’s a delightful mix of ordinary and annoying, with a feel good ending.