Exhausted after Saturday but managed to get up at the promise of cute dogs. Here’s the morning face with an attractive inclusion of the air conditioner. (Can add ‘an air conditioner is in the background of a wintertime portrait’ to the list of You Know You’re in Australia Whens.)
And to the other side of the city for the market. It’s a pretty strange mix of teenage wardrobe clear-outs, antique furniture and pirated DVDs. No luck (again! cursed!) but I did manage to see a bunch of caramel spaniels, patient golden retrievers and a German shepherd legitimately named Rex. Busker boy-bands covered songs from the Aristocats. I had a hot-dog. It was a good morning.
And this woman with absolutely the best jacket going.
On to my first crafty session with DIY miracle-gal M. I’m not a crafty type at all but an afternoon spent next to a log fire forming tiny, steep-roofed houses and golden stars is too dreamy.
If you’d like to make a little home you can find instructions here. Let me know if you do one — they’re so intricate and impressive! We moved on to stars and J arrived to lend a hand and drink kettles of milky tea. We had a pretty efficient assembly line in the end.
M’s house in the sun — I love this place, there are flowers and stacks of books and chairs big enough to curl up and sleep in. It’s a real homey kind of home; absolutely the perfect tea-drinking afternoon sort of place.
It grew dark; we kept on. The stars became a mobile and also a sort of crown that fell over one eye when you put it on. And I used a stanley knife all afternoon (crafternoon) and didn’t even cut myself.
I hated my job and London was still so cold and foggy, even in May. Stockholm turned out to be near tropical, which isn’t why I chose it but was a pleasant surprise. It was complicated, to me, to try and cope with pine trees and humidity at the same time. I lived off icy-poles (which were cheap) and Thai food (which was not, but was excellent). One night some Russians fed a bottle of honey vodka to a quiet boy from Malmö and he watched nearly half of Borat without headphones at 3 in the morning. It was high school graduation and students drove through the streets in buses blaring ABBA. One day, I caught the ferry to Vaxholm to buy gifts that I ended up keeping and to sit in the sun. Upon reflection I did very little in Stockholm but I had a wonderful time of it.
If you’ve been away for a while, returning to all the things you used to do is so exciting and fresh. It’s like breathing new life into old memories. The weekend in Melbourne was grey and rainy and abruptly, blindingly bright. More importantly it was cold, really painfully chilly (by Australian standards, I mean); I missed hurting from the cold when I was in Sydney. Winter in Melbs is so delicious and cosy — just cold enough to make being warm really valuable. Much appreciation for winter sun, too.
Saturday was beautiful in the beginning. I wandered around the neighbourhood with sunglasses on and admired all the old buildings. At least a third of all houses in Williamstown must be converted pubs. Ended up at Cobb Lane for coffee and doughnuts with M, who has the most wonderfully infectious laugh I’ve met. Maybe not the most nutritious breakfast going but I feel like the lemon doughnut covers part of my fruit intake (it had zest in). The other was salt caramel which probably doesn’t.
Williamstown was hosting its annual vintage fair at the weekend and I ran into some good luck to get a ticket from the fine ladies of Dames of Distinction. It was all the things suburban vintage fairs should be; heavenly good fun. There were lots of sweet old ladies pointing and saying, ‘Oh, I had one just the same,’ before silently adding (I assume), ‘Think of the money I could make today if I’d held onto it’. Nothing for me but a lot of heartache.
Such dreamy jewellery too from Vintage Sisters, sent direct from one sister to another across a few oceans.
The town hall is so pretty, too. All the old signage is still up, wish I could have taken a picture of the entrance to the bathrooms without the possibility of an arrest.
The weather turned in the afternoon when I went to see T in the city. Haven’t seen her since London so it was a sort of reunion. Talked about travel and cake and the benefits of Melbourne having a Uniqlo (these benefits are endless and come in every colour).
Little details I love about Melbourne.
Finally to finest Nieuw Amsterdam with lovely flowers for a lovely birthday girl. More doughnuts — this time pumpkin with cinnamon and buried in brandy-cream. Could go on for years about this food.
An extra for dreaming:
It’s been a year since I backpacked around Europe now. Maybe it’s the fact that I just moved, maybe it’s that everyone I ever added on Facebook seems to be in Paris or Barcelona or Berlin — whatever it is, nostalgia is getting to me. I’ve put together a few pictures from each place I travelled (less Munich and Česky Krumlov, because I was too busy eating chocolate and buying shirts with little foxes on). If I can’t travel the least I can do is wallow in my own wanderlust.
The nice thing about saying goodbye is that you finally see everything you’d been meaning to with everyone you’d been meaning to. My last week in Sydney was relaxed for such a hectic time; mostly just good cafés with good people. The best was probably Cornersmith, which everyone in Sydney has been, or has been meaning to go, to. They make their own honey on the premises. I thought this might have been a workplace health and safety issue but maybe they have bee suits.
Had a cute day with M and T around Marrickville, looking around fabric stores and op shops. Scored a collection of Gibson sketches which made up for a total lack of my favourite cheap 70s Agatha Christie paperbacks.
Vargabar, who make pesto fetta scrambled eggs to convert vegans and was a only heavenly minute away by foot.
I’m really going to miss living in Newtown. Of course there were downsides (the busker who only knew I Love You Baby, the busker with the penny whistle, etc), but it was so convenient. Maybe it’s a blessing and a curse to have everything within walking distance — it makes it difficult to get motivated to go anywhere else. I’ll sure miss walking to uni, though.
Poor Sydney; poor International and Global Studies. Bluntly: I’m moving back to Melbourne and transferring into an Arts degree for a lovely, untainted schedule of history (+German, +Film Studies, +etc). It means moving back in with my parents after 18 months out of home, but most importantly it’s moving back to a city where I know I thrive. I can wait out my undergrad years, get the piece of paper and move on (probably to Bath — I’d like to study museums in a living museum). I can not pay rent and hang out with my dog and take cheap flights to Hobart. Who knows, I might actually get a life.
I have a month off over winter and I really can’t bear to wait. Current plans: coffee, scarves, the lucky Swedish coin in my coat pocket, berets, rabbit meatballs, braids, Russian folk tales and learning dates.
See you in winter!
Le Week-end holds the record: I’ve seen it five times at the cinema. For once Australia’s absurdly delayed releases were a blessing and I managed to split my viewings between late last year and late last month. It’s fair to wonder what the attraction could be — it’s received some condemnation for being boring. I don’t think boring is the word at all but I do see where they come from — Le Week-end is one of those films where nothing really happens. It’s just a weekend in two lives. Nothing’s changed too drastically and there aren’t any explosions, nobody steals any art, nobody rides a jet ski.
But what it is is a weekend in Paris. It’s a weekend of extravagance and cheekiness and dinner parties with Jeff Goldblum; it’s a weekend of two regular-ish people with regular-ish problems. And, for a film about a couple on the edge of retirement celebrating their wedding anniversary, it’s wonderfully relatable. Maybe it’s the snooping round alleyways, or eating, or the constant desire to do and be something fantastic.
Don’t expect anything from Le Week-end. Like any weekend away, if you expect grand things you’ll be disappointed. Go in with an empty head instead, and I promise it’ll be filled with good things.
I’ve been heavenly lucky and to have back-to-back autumns. Autumn #2 is passing quickly under the weight of uni — that is, under the weight of actually having something to do — but Autumn #1 stretched out and lasted gloriously; and it was cold. Scotland delivers.
Sometime in the middle I had a visitor from my gap year muse, a beautiful and excellent human being. We met in London by her walking past the kiosk where I worked and recognising my voice from the one time we met at a mutual friend’s party — in Melbourne, months earlier. The weight of coincidence is so staggering that it affirmed my belief in something spooky and beyond our understanding — but that’s another story. I’m talking about a long weekend we took in Glasgow to see the Cat Empire and Flap!. Glasgow’s a pretty cool little city; rough around the ages but with a great heart. Also it has the tallest cinema in the world so, really, it had me at hello.
Digging through the archives I found these, and also realised (too late!) that I didn’t manage to get any half-decent pictures of the two of us. But the memories are good: we treated ourselves to shopping at Waitrose (the snobby supermarket), visited heritage buildings, went to creepy markets, drank hot chocolates, laughed at postcards, ate risotto and lived well. Also, we stayed around the corner from this magical Victorian conservatory.
Granted, there’s a decent risk I’m just going to spend all my time here telling you about film soundtracks. I thought Carter Burwell’s score for In Bruges would never be topped, or even equalled, but hot and holy damn. It’s a lot of Owen Pallett and a lot of Arcade Fire and just enough Karen O. I want to have it playing always. I think life would be really manageable that way.
So: if I were you I’d listen to it all; if I were you in a hurry I’d skip ahead to the 8-minute mark.
(PS: YouTube’s been scrubbed of copyright infringements but there’s a playlist of the songs individually here.)
Pull enough money together, somehow, someday, and rent a cottage in the forest. Spend two weeks: take a first aid kit and a big bag of lentils and a stack of books the height of me. No clocks, no phones, no internet, no noise. Sort of like shutting your computer down properly instead of just closing the lid. Take long walks through the ferns and pictures on film, and drink the local mineral water (which is always awful) and don’t meet a soul; don’t say a word, not even to yourself. Forget what it is to be a functioning member of society for a while. It’s important to dream.
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8