Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Kermit the Parking Permit

As those who stay at the Cottage know Kermit the Parking Permit is a very important person! When I first opened the Cottage one of my biggest concerns was to have a client depart with the 'rare as hen's teeth' parking permit. As I state in the welcome letter - he is your lifeline - and mine! Our local Council certainly makes having a permit (paid for) extremely difficult. How to have clients remember to leave it as they departed so that the next client can use it to park certainly put my mind to the test. And so I sewed Kermit the Frog onto the permit and I have to say that in the 10 years I have been running Bowen Cottage - he has only hopped off twice! And it's amazing how many clients comment on him. He is now into his second incarnation - and one client even bewailed the fact that he had changed his suit!
Kermit the Parking Permit - what a smart outfit to greet you!
So I was thrilled to read recently that the Melbourne City Council (not the local Yarra Council) in conjunction with philanthropist businessman Eddie Kutner is creating the most marvellously named Wonderment Walk. Their website (www.wondermentwalk.org.au) states:

Great societies are defined through their art, science and knowledge. Wonderment Walk Victoria (WWV) will strengthen Melbourne’s reputation as a creative city of knowledge by enhancing walking routes connecting places of significance with sculptural wonderments. We aim to create accessible open air galleries of sculptures & installations combining science, mathematics and art to engage passers-by with wonder, delight and curiosity.

I love the sound of a sculptural wonderment! And I was even more excited to read that the first 'sculptural wonderment' is a 2 metre tall Kermit (well frog actually!) who will have a frog's eye view of the city. His creator and 'father' is the renowned artist John Olsen who says he's very quiet - he just makes 'ribbit ribbit' noises. Now we might all laugh at the choice of the first sculpture being a frog but frogs are so important to our eco-system and environment. If frogs are 'ribbiting' then our community is singing. They are sensitive to our environment and absort water and chemicals (including ghastly ones like pesticides, herbicides, fungicides) through their permeable skin. So they are under threat not only from pollutants but also their habitats. 
'Ribbit Ribbit' - The John Olssen frog
A number of years ago I was entranced to hear Melbourne Philanthropist and Educator Ellen Koshland (of the Levi Strauss family) talk about bringing frogs back into the then highly polluted Maribyrnong River - she backed a project with the local schools to clean up the river and the children celebrated the return of frogs to the waterway. It's only now that I realise how important those frogs are to our lives. 
The remarkable Ellen Koshland
I have reflected on why I chose a frog for the Parking Permit - yes I know Kermit the Parking Permit has a certain 'ring' (ribbit) to it, but perhaps Helen's story (and now John Olsen's) just rang a bell (ribbit) with me.

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