Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Meeting Oslo

The Melbourne Writer's Festival is in full swing and between sessions I took a wander through the Atrium at Federation Square (right near the NGV Australia entrance). Saturdays are always 'alive' with readers who pop in for the weekly Book Market. I never fail to pick up a second hand book at a bargain price. 
Oslo Davis in the Atrium
Imagine my surprise to see one of my favourite cartoonists Oslo Davis painting away capturing the crowds. Oslo can be found in The Age about 3 days per week and he never fails to capture my attention and imagination and he often makes me laugh. Stopping for a chat with him was one of the highlights of the day. His ink wash drawings just kept happening whilst we were chatting. The brush never stopped. I asked him how difficult it was having to come up with a 'cartoon' at least three times a week - just imagine the pressure. "Well sometimes it's difficult, and sometimes I don't get it right but you have to move on". 
Oslo with his selection of cards and book (the brown covered one is in the Cottage Library)
I purchased his book of sketches for the Cottage Library and was delighted when he signed my copy. I'm sure it's worth a small fortune now. 
Best wishes to Jan (and the Cottage readers!)
Most of the sketches relate to a series he did on the State Library of Victoria.The following appeals to me as it reminds me of the NGV International and particularly their upstairs gallery showing our wonderful  collection of international art - it looks just like this!
Art, art and more art
And just to show that I am not just a one-eyed Oslo fan here is today's cartoon (on a non-Oslo day) by Weldon.
Writers and Wrongers Festivals!
Don't you just love people who think outside the square. It's so obvious when you see it. But I would never have thought of 'wrongers'. Thanks Oslo and Weldon.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Shoe Box Survey

Although there seem to be a lot of empty shops in Bridge Road at present - a sign of these tough times (as we keep being told!) - it seems that those who are Imelda shoe-a-holicks like me have kept virtually all the shoe shops open for business. 
Shoes, shoes glorious shoes - nothing quite like it for removing the blues!
Now I'm not one who normally 'checks on the rubbish left by my clients' but I do pop my head inside the recycle bin (!!) - on its way to the street on garbage collection day. I'm always fascinated by the number of shoe boxes en route for recycling. It seems that shoes (both male and female, big and small) are on the priority lists of most guests while staying at the Cottage. 

A stack of shoe boxes
One regular client always arrives for her annual visit with a large empty suitcase which returns home with her full to the brim. I can't put her in the survey of shoe boxes because she advises that she leaves them at the shop - the boxes not the shoes! Of course she keeps enough space for other essential items like clothes!
Shoes for every man, woman and child
So here is a list of some of the 'local' shoe shops currently selling their wares in Richmond.

BRIDGE ROAD: Working from Punt Road to Church Street
Bennetts Wide Calf Boots - 8 Bridge Road
Alberto Piazza - 69 Bridge Road
Alberto Piazza - 75 Bridge Road - clearance
Crocs - 79 Bridge Road
Gorman - 92 Bridge Road
Nine West - 109 Bridge Road
Claudia - 125 Bridge Road
Batsanis - 130 Bridge Road - men
Zu - 138 Bridge Road 
Aquila - 158 Bridge Road - men and women
Betts - 177 Bridge Road
Hype - 192 Bridge Road
Novo - 216 Bridge Road
Wittners - 240 Bridge Road - this is not their outlet store (see the Swan Street list)
Rivers - Richmond Plaza (where Coles is located - Cnr Chapel St and Bridge Road) outlet

SWAN STREET: From Lennox to Church Street
Wittner - 122-126 Swan Street - outlet  
Diana Ferrari - 95 Swan St - outlet

Of course I'm sure I've missed some! Or it maybe that by the time you read this the shop may have moved or closed. Suffice to say there is an enormous choice and the prices.... Just remember to leave your boxes at the shop or the shoe-box-survey-police will be counting the boxes in the yellow recycle bin!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Orient Express - in Richmond!

Don't worry! Monsieur Hercule Poiret has not boarded the Orient Express train to travel from Istanbul to Venice and along the way become involved in murder most foul! You won't find Agatha Christie tucked up in the corner writing another of her who-done-its. 
A tempting array of exotic spices - will Hercule find them laced with strycknine!?!
At The Orient Express right here in Richmond you will find a charming warehouse FULL of wonderful Asian artifacts and a lovely coffee shop as well. There is nothing nicer than sitting in an 'exotic'  environment to enjoy a coffee and a treat. I'm so tired of 'grungy' cafes with rough tables and uncomfortable chairs, stools and boxes to sit on (not for my bottom!) loud music to entertain the staff (sorry about the paying clients who can't hear themselves think!) and certainly not an environment for Agatha to pen her next best selling crime novel.
A quiet oasis in bustling Richmond
The outdoor courtyard is divine on a sunny day (you might be lucky) trickling water, tinkling bells, birds tweeting. Speaking to one of their regular clients recently he rather summed it up for me "I come here every day - it never fails to please". 
An eclectic cafe with an Asian feel (comfortable chairs and no loud music!)
The Orient Express can be visited 7 days a week at 449 Victoria Street, Abbotsford, 9421 3288 right near the corner of Victoria and Church Streets - either walk, tram, ride or drive from the Cottage - it's up to you.
Asian artifacts - where to start?
Bowen Cottage client comment: We love your house. It is fantastic. Thankyou for having us as guests

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

City vegetable gardens

If you are popping into Federation Square/NGV Australia/ACMI and more then take a small detour to the roof of the Federation Square Carpark where you will find a Veggie Garden to 'die for'! This Pop up Patch is a joint initiative with the Little Vegie Patch Co and includes more than 150 recycled apple crates as the garden base. 
Federation Square Pop up Patch looking towards the MCG
Each of the restaurants and cafes in Federation Square have their own plot and grow fresh ingredients for their daily menus. The plots are subscriber based and cost $3.50 per day (although you can't just buy one for a day - it's an annual fee!). This edible gardening club allows its members to grow and farm their own produce right in the centre of the city. What a great initiative. 
Great use of a container - from which useful advice is available!
If you happen to be around on the weekend then there are all sorts of additional 'activities' including Scarecrow Making (and taking home) every Sunday. The trendy Taco Truck will be on-site to serve you while your child creates a scarecrow (12 - 12.30 - Free), wander through the gardens, shop for seeds etc at the garden shop, and every second Saturday there is a hands-on and interactive workshop (1-3pm - $30 book on line here) that will teach you how to grow your own produce. Don't you just love it!
Make a scarecrow, hug a scarecrow and take him home on the tram!! (FedSquare)
Melbourne is full of surprises. Recently the city opened its doors to the public for the annual weekend to visit buildings - many not normally open to the public - in a magnificent Open House initiative giving access this year to 111 of Melbourne's most significant and interesting buildings. I had gone into the ballot to visit the top of the Manchester Unity Building (only 10 people were lucky enough to win out of 35,000 applications!) - but sadly the cards didn't fall my way. The crowds for some buildings were enormous but I happened upon a roof top terrace which was fascinating.  Tucked on top of a small inner city building (in Queen Street) was a whole new world.
I wish my land garden was this lush
Rosemary, basil, parsley, thyme and even fruit trees in profusion
The city skyline including Eureka Tower - amazing
Both these initiatives certainly take urban farming to another level!  Do you agree?