Happiness as Anarchy #61: Decorative Cabbages

Yes, you read it correctly. It definitely says Decorative Cabbages. These many layered pink cabbages are a cheery addition to the streetscape. I spotted a planter box filled with them in Hobart last week. After the first sighting, I then seemed to see them around every second corner. Some white, some pink, their frilled petals contrasting against the rich green leaves of the background. And if you ever get super peckish, you know you can nibble on a leaf. In truth these are Ornamental Kale, identified by their serrated leaves, but I like the sound of Decorative Cabbage better.

Happiness as Anarchy #60: Big, old trees

In the centre of the central Victorian town of Guildford there stands an enormous, old River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis). I saw it for the first time today on my way back from Bendigo. It is, in the true sense of the word, awesome. Estimated to be somewhere between 500 and 1000 years old, it has a circumference of over 9 metres at the base, and has a number of limbs that have curiously fused together. It makes me think the people making decisions to remove the giant trees at Buangor for a highway have never seen the trees in real life. If they had, they would surely understand what incredible living beings they are.

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Happiness as Anarchy #59: A Sunday Kind of Love

I been listening to Etta James this week (I’ve had a request for At Last for next month’s gigs) and am quite enamoured with A Sunday Kind of Love. It’s a great song written in 1946 by Barbara Belle, Anita Leonard, Stan Rhodes, and Louis Prima. There’s a lot of space in the melody, which I like and it gives someone like Etta James a lot of room to make it her own. The chords changes are straightforward, but peppered with lots of gritty chord extensions that give it a bluesy feel. And the lyrics are fabulous – embodying the grit of everyday life and what one really needs in relationships:

And my arms need someone, someone to enfold
To keep me warm when Mondays and Tuesdays grow cold

Here’s Etta James’ version – it’s hard to go past it and you’ll find or a whole list of others here.

Happiness as Anarchy #58: Sorting

With the threat of moving house looming large over my head, I cleaned another shelf this evening. Now I have a neat little box of papers and notebooks a quarter the size it was, ready to trot off to the new place. In amongst the sorting I have come across beautiful little memories – my great Aunt Amie’s memorial booklet, a heartfelt card from a dear friend, a little letter from an ex-student, and all kinds of odd notes to self. There is much more to sort, and thus many more little forgotten treasures to find.

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Happiness as Anarchy #57: Fun art

I love being able to touch the art. I adore the different textures of things – marble, stone, brass, glass, sand, fabric, water, tile, wood. In the forecourt at Mona there is a big trampoline which has not only interesting things to feel, but you’re allowed to jump on it! For texture there’s the familiar scratch of trampoline mat and the rough maritime ropes as a barrier; the lines of the trampoline create endlessly fascinating pathways for the eye; and the bells animate the whole sculpture with unexpected sound. The big bells are very big and deeply resonant and the the little ones (you can see them if you look closely) tinkle over the top, mingling with children’s laughter and trampoline squeaks. (I didn’t engage my sense of taste of smell by licking or sniffing it, but I’m sure if I did it would have its own peculiar characteristics.)

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Happiness as Anarchy #56: Travelling by boat

Travelling by boat is a real joy for a girl from land-locked central Victoria. Moving on the water has a different feeling from rolling wheels on solid roads. It was chilly on the deck of the ferry to Mona as we pushed up the Derwent this morning – there’s snow on Kunanyi / Mount Wellington – but the waves and the sea air compelled me to stay outside. Perhaps it’s the freedom of sea travel that appeals to me, the absence of lines and boundaries and traffic rules. For the short time of the journey there is a sense of limitlessness and unfettered possibility.

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I took this photo from the Mona ferry. The little red and white ferry is one of the Hobart ferries.

Happiness as Anarchy #55: Bird Breakfast

Birds are fascinating creatures and so compelling to watch. I find it intriguing the way they bob about in little jerky motions on the ground, but are so graceful in the air. These galahs (and a big bunch of their friends) were completely unperturbed by my giant presence observing them this morning as they hoed into their breakfast. Whatever they were digging out of the grass with their beaks must have been absolutely delicious, judging by the enthusiasm with which they were going about it. Perhaps it was a seasonal special available only briefly, the galah equivalent of white peaches.

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Happiness as Anarchy #54: Looking Up

There’s a certain similarity in cities these days – the same chain stores with the plate glass windows and decor. Look up above street level, though, and the character of a city is on show. Hobart is no exception. Street level in the CBD is reasonably generic, but one storey up is a different vision. It’s a pretty city with some gorgeous architecture that tells its history in the lines, colours, bricks and mortar.

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Happiness as Anarchy #53: A New View

New views, different horizons, interesting faces. These are the joys of travelling. Hobart is a beautiful, unassuming city and the walk to the conference I’m attending is thirty minutes of food for my inner artist. I find it so inspiring to look at different streets and houses and trees and faces and bends in the road and then to find the shimmering beauty of the ocean at the end.

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Happiness as Anarchy #52: Finishing a Song

Starting a song is easy – an idea pops up, I play with it for a little while and in turns into something with potential. I’ll go back and work on it a few days or a week later and it gets closer to finished. But actually finishing a song takes hard work, and I often I get stuck on just one line. The first 90% of the song might take a week, and those last line few lines will bug me for a month. On the plane yesterday I finished a song that’s been on the workbench for several months. I’ve been singing it while walking today and I think I’m happy with it. Happy enough to call it finished. I’m not entirely sure about the title, but I think it’s called Never Quite the Right Time.

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