This is the big week for our little Central Highlands town 78km north-west of Melbourne, when the power poles in the main street magically sprout loudspeakers and spring to life on Sunday. We hadn’t moved in this time last year so Sunday will be our first one … luckily filmmaker Patrick Bonello captured the action and posted it: looks wild!
Our lifelong friend Dallas Scott has gone into retail in the Outback town of Longreach, Queensland. and opened “The Garden Shed”, a spot for specialty botanical-theme gifts. Always the practical one, Dallas says she has stocked her shop with practical wares, “to be put to good use immediately … no dust & bug collecting!”
So practical that her shop provides free Wi-Fi for customers, lovely!
Dallas describes “The Garden Shed” (in Crane Street … every street in Longreach is named after a bird) as “a taste of South Melbourne in Longreach” and for once a sloganny-sounding promotion is rooted in truth … daughter Patience lives in South Melbourne and has added her tasteful stocking advice and big-city brands to the line-up. Let’s see: Helen Kaminski hats, Portmerion Botanical china, Mor Marshmallow products, French Hansi lemonade and mustards as well as what Dallas says are “the most expensive tea towels offered in Australia”.
As well as practical, Dallas is also generous: she says: “Every month a selected charity will be showcased in the Garden Shed to raise awareness and collect gold coin donations for the charity.”
Were you ready for New Year’s Eve? We dug in for the NYE buffet right on the sand at St Kilda in Melbourne, at Beachcomber, which turned out to be directly in your line of sight if you’re sitting out the front at the formidable Esplanade Hotel, The Espy, home to the wonderful Rockwiz series.
We visited the Espy just before Christmas and sat in the front bar cradling our pots and chips. Only pots, the young woman behind the bar insisted. Interesting place … interesting décor. Then we trouped through the passageways in search of the Gershwin room and a look at where Brian, Julia and Dugald pump through the questions and scores, and James Black, Mark Ferrie and Peter Luscombe pump through the classics and the mysteries (visit). Another curious drinker was on the same mission. But we came up against a locked door and, well, didn’t get in.
The Beachcomber NYE buffet was $50 a head including all the food we could eat, and our party of six (aged a la palindrome from 18 to 81) had a great time. The oysters and prawns were in superabundance and the barbecued beef was cooked to perfection. It was our first time for dinner at dusk at Beachcomber and it was a delightful surprise that we had picked just the perfect spot to enjoy sundown over Port Phillip Bay and the sights of the lights right along Docklands. We hung around until 9.30pm but didn’t see any of the hoped-for early fireworks from the city … so it was off home in the Rav4 to settle down in front of the tele with a little something to sip.
Where were you on NYE? Please leave a comment today …
IT’S BEEN a big month of exhibitions and galleries here at EDSDA (Eat Drink Sleep Shop Australia) and we’ve had a ball. Took the Qantas great iron bird north to Brisbane and saw the newly launched 2012-2013 Asia-Pacific Triennial (the 7th since 1993).
Then we jetted back to Melbourne to become acquainted with the ever-changing exhibits at the Museum of Victoria …
… and the slowly-being-restored Royal Exhibition Building opposite.
I’ve always wanted a black Fedora hat and yesterday was the big day … here’s my new “Bogart” from the Akubra range at City Hatters in Flinders Street, Melbourne. For the princely sum of $145 shop manager Christian helped me select this rabbit-fur beauty then hand-steamed and brushed it ready to wear out into the CBD crush on what was a perfect hat-day … windy, overcast, and just a little chill in the air.
An art-lover’s shower rose in the bathroom at the Heide Museum of Modern Art just north of Melbourne. I’ve photographed showers before because they’re often the things which leave the longest-lasting impressions … and this one takes the cake at nearly a foot wide.
Here in the front room at Heide we found a wonderful array of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves bulging with examples of mid-20th century publishing in the house established by John and Sunday Reed (read the story of their art-loving lives, their publishing and their patronage of Australian cultural greats). We were captivated by original works on display created by legendary artists Sidney Nolan and Albert Tucker.
Back to earth at the yummy Melbourne food and wine supermarket, Leo’s at Camberwell, where we discovered these pickled eggs: how many varieties can one have of these things?