Posts Tagged ‘Balmain’

The scroll of etchings and all things nude and nature.

July 7, 2020

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-06/my-brain-on-nature-healing-sarah-allely/12266522

We all know the healing effects of nature and that being away from nature can be very damaging. But, how damaged can we get being away from art? Of course, almost everything that give one a feeling of wonderment or surprises, delights or gives us new insight probably can be accepted as art. The dictionary describes art as the creation of works of beauty but then also adds making works of great or special significance. Perhaps things that are frightening or cruel can also include as being art. Dante’s inferno or some images of Botticelli can be very confronting even though we know him more as the creator of beauty and goddesses of love seated on giant sea shells. He also painted some rather gruesome scenes of murder and incitements to wars.

After moving to the new place I discovered a forgotten large roll of butcher paper that has moved a few times without getting a look at. This time my daughter unrolled some of it and it turned out to be a large roll of etchings that I did sometime during the 1990 when I did a certificate course in printmaking. Of course, I have many etchings and I often invite friends to come over and look at my etchings.
During those 1990’s I had set up an etching press in our garage in Balmain and I loved making etchings. The copper plates on which I did the engravings and the use of acid in the baths in which to dip the plates were all part of the Technical college equipment. All I did was to actually print at home the etchings from the finished plates on my own printing press, which was a converted mangle use for mangling clothes… It was simple but not perfect but good enough for my etchings. The works I did were not to achieve technical excellence in printmaking but more as a way in expressing, rather impatiently, images in a more spontaneous way using copper. The fertile mind seemed to express mainly nude women and flowers, but that’s a different story better told at some next time. There is a lot here!
After rediscovering this roll I decided to hang it on my stairs which has a wall with at least a few metres of space to suspend it from. The first thing to do was to get a ladder onto the stairs.
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Ladder
After getting the ladder in an upright position I had to get my legs onto the rungs and somehow with hammer, nails and the scroll of butchers paper all under one arm with the other arm holding onto the rungs of the ladder while climbing right to the top. Not such an easy task. Mind you, I did work for some time hanging outside multi story building swinging from bosun’s chairs. I do not fear ladders or heights. The next photo shows my legs (both of them) getting ready to ascend the ladder.
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Legs, both of them.
At some stage after having climbed past the widow and as high as possible with my head against the stair’s ceiling I had to let go of the ladder’s rungs in order to place the scroll of etchings against the wall suspended by a bamboo rod (all in keeping with the oriental meme of the scroll). It is impossible to screw something single handed. One can imagine doing all this on my own. However, the results speak for themselves. A wonderful position to, after all those decades, have found a way to show this forgotten scroll of etchings.
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The scroll of etchings
In order to try and restore this butcher’s paper scroll of thirty years of age I had to somehow fix the paper’s fragile condition with a good preservative and restore its strength. I gave it about ten coats of varnish, hence the sheen on the surface.
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Etchings
The only problem still to solve is that the scroll now overhangs the entrance to the stairs whereby anyone going up or down has to duck past this scroll. The scroll is longer than the wall.
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overhanging scroll
Nothing is easy but I am overjoyed that my etchings are hanging so nicely.
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The lure of the past and a bed pan.

June 28, 2020

There might be nothing more exciting or upsetting when visiting the past. Over the last three days it happened almost by accident of an emergency. You know that when all has been so settled, quiet and serene for a long while, a suspicion seems to well up that this peace can’t last.

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Our street and house in Balmain where we lived 1976-1996

Sure enough, I received a message that told me in a few crisp lines, that text messages always seem to excel in, but none the less almost always are disconcerting, that my daughter had deposited herself in an Hospital emergency room. ‘Chest pain’, was part of this short text! Of course, the reaction was a trip to Sydney the day after. I had organised the house in such a way to leave our dog Milo an exit in case of toilet visits by placing a stick behind the sliding door, leaving an opening big enough for Milo but not for a robber, no matter how agile or elastic he or she might be.

My daughter after arrival was in the emergency ward and suitable wired up to all sorts of equipment, occasionally a beep would be expelled from one of those machines. I noticed with pride that some of that equipment had Philips as the manufacturer. It is still a Dutch company that originally started out by making light bulbs. It is now a multinational conglomerate employing 80 000 people world-wide

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A closer look at the house.

After visiting my daughter and consuming a delicious toasted cheese and ham sandwich for my breakfast and getting the daughter to keep asking the doctor for more information, I left when her son visited her as well.  She had chest pain but a quick scan and blood pressure test, proved that her heart was alright. A great relief. The bed allows only limited number of people to sit on and the chair was nowhere to be seen or perhaps used in the bed next to my daughter, which was screened off. I saw a bedpan being carried away covered by a cloth. Always a sign one is in good hands. I remember them well from my occasional forays in hospital.

I decided to visit our old house and street where we live so happily for twenty years.  After all, I was back in Sydney. They were really the years that our three children grew up from toddlers to adults. The street has lost none of its charms. The suburb of Balmain is now a millionaires’ nest, hounded by big time foreign currency option dealers,  lawyers and well heeled liberal provocateurs.

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The entrance to our old house.

Amazingly one of my friends that I met here recently in Bowral lived in the same street at the same time when we lived there. Another friend in the same group grew up just around the corner as well. Such coincidences that are so baffling.

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Our veranda with me and the red heeler cattle dog, around 1990 or so.

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This picture is of the street taken yesterday, still charming.

I visited my Daughter again today, and all is well. She might be coming home tomorrow.She was worried about her cats more than about me. But then, I am just a dad.

What an amazing life this has been so far, and still ongoing!

 

 

 

A peculiar story with an enigma.

May 22, 2020

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Manchurian pear.

Only two days ago I visited again my old place at Bowral. It will soon change hands to the new owner who, according to the Estate Agent, wants to let it, and thought it best for me to remove the old washing machine. That was the reason for this trip. I had taken a trolley which had a lot of use over the last few months. It is a good sturdy trolley and I don’t understand how anyone can get through life without a good trolley.  But, prior to that trip, and on a number of occasions I came across a female renting the place next to my old place and that person is really the reason for this article. A peculiar set of circumstances or perhaps just all coincidental.  An mixture of a conundrum and an enigma.

Many years ago it just happened we came across a diverse group of people living in the inner city suburb of Balmain. We ( my late wife  Helvi and I with three children) lived in Balmain between 1967-1973 and again 1976-1996. It was a hive of unruly students, their brick throwing professors, hairy artists and equally hairy girlfriend, anti Vietnam protestors, foreshore defenders , and many others of often undefinable and sometimes dubious backgrounds. Was it really Tom Uren and Patrick White hand in hand marching and protesting against the Vietnam war during those early days?

As it happened we became friendly with a few that were associated with books and publishers. It was the time someone thought up to start a children’s library in the disused Balmain Watch house, which through the lack of thieves and vagrants had stood empty for some many years. I helped out working on that library, mainly through covering the books, and manning the Watch-house when open to the children to take out books.  Libraries in those early days were of short supplies, unlike pubs of which Balmain in its heyday had almost more than citizens. We all know that the Labor Party was also born in Balmain. But I digress.

We made friends within an indefinable and often chaotic world of all sorts of people who seemed united in wanting change, and change did happen. One woman, who is the source of this article , started up very successful bookshops, including in Woollahra and Double Bay which bore her name till at least 2015. She was also part of a group of publishers and book seller friends that included a giant of publishing whose house we stayed in for a week or so in London. Till 2015 he was a former group CEO of the second largest British publisher, Hachette UK. Our female friend, with the successful bookshops, was riding a wave of selling books often promoted by good reviews with the help of the Hachette publisher and coterie of writers. She also had a knack of knowing what would sell with an acumen that is very necessary in the world of books and sales.

But, as the years went on, as they do invariably, and through moving about to different addresses, contacts were lost and as we know, lives can change and often youthful enthusiasm and exuberance can grow mould or a seriousness creeps in whereby a stocktaking has to take place. New horizons are to be explored and as kids grow older times become more serious. It did with us. We left Balmain.

But going back to my recent visits to our former home in Bowral and meeting the new tenant next door. I waved to her and she waved back. This happened a few times, we chatted and discussed the state of the gardens (that were still being cut back to almost ground level,) I noticed this way of her speaking. It was an educated English. She seemed, but I could be mistaken to know me. A small and slim female, nicely dressed and with a face that showed she had lived through much, a well leafed book, yet smiling and still sunny.

I could not get her out of my mind and went to bed that evening mulling and thinking how she had spoken to me, and how she also had patted Milo inside the car. She might get a dog again, she said and looked at me.  Her voice! I had heard it before. It was familiar. Next morning, an epiphany. She is, I am pretty sure the woman with the book shops. I was so happy to have solved it. But, how could I be sure? I decided to try and solve it and bought a small flowering plant on which a attached a small card; To ‘L.M’ which are her initials, from ‘Gerard’. I put it at her front door.

I went back today and the little plant had been taken inside. I now feel I might be mistaken and that she is a different woman altogether, so many decades have past; however she did introduce herself, and her Christian name tallies with our friend with the book shops. She also loved dogs, as did this woman.

I introduced myself and if she is the book woman she would also remember me. It might be she doesn’t want to renew former acquaintances. Who knows and I don’t want to force it? Should I buy her another plant and see what happens next? Her face is very much like the face on Google which still has her bookshops. She has aged as is the nature of getting older. I have to try and solve it. But, why did she not want to recognize me as well.?

The picture above is of the Manchurian pear tree that Helvi and I planted when we first moved into that place. isn’t it lovely now with its autumn colouring?

French Farmhouse checking.

February 6, 2020

The ladder to the loft.

IMG_0421 French farm house checking

The ladder to the loft.

 

I can still see the ladders leading to the lofts of old farm-houses in the South of France. Anyone who has ever been to France might know and acknowledge the lure of old farmhouses. They were being advertised over the world and in the eighties and nineties, it wasn’t unusual to meet people that in conversation around the fondue set, would casually drop, ‘we have bought an old French farmhouse, and we are going there each year now for our holiday’. ‘We are getting a bit tired of holidays at Coffs’s Harbour and its Big Banana!

Old farmhouses with lofts are littered over the whole of the French country like confetti at nuptials. Mouth-watering ancient villages usually have a crop of those old places on cobble stoned lane ways where horses and cladded hooves have carved through the centuries little gutters which during gentle rains directs its water to a bubbling stream. The picture perfect would be the local church.

Of course, those old farmhouses were often riddled with woodworm hence the first task was to inspect the lofts and attics. In modern Australia most houses have internal man-holes to clamber through into the roof space. French farm- houses had access through a little door outside at the very top just below the pitch of the roof.

After several visits to France and numerous clambering on top of ladders inspecting lofts we were so badly infected with French farm-houses we could only think of buying one. Talk about getting a bean in the bonnet!

You know when life has reached a stage when a total change might just give a much needed and restorative impetus to keep plodding and have a go at a fresh start, try something a bit different. There is a term for it that lingers forever once you have absorbed the meaning. Is it called ‘mid-life crisis? The year of the sixty fifth birthday would soon be nigh and with that ‘The Senior Card’ with getting old, so often the banana skin on the doorsteps of the retired.

Of course, change involves risks but so does not doing anything. The risk of middle age ennui and bitter regrets of things we wanted to do but never did, nor tried. What can be more exciting than trying to live in another country? We could not think of a more glorious way of warding off retirement than making this change and move to France and learn the Franco lingo as an extra bonus.

We had already tasted the magic of rural France, the poetry of the potted geraniums on ancient window sills, the endless lanes of plane trees winding around the grape vines of the coming vintage, and the village squares all alive with men playing boule with women around the water-wells gossiping about the newly born or the recently departed.

France is contagious like that, and as mentioned previously, we knew a few couples already who had taken this brave step, and had escaped the dreariness of routine with those predictable daily habits. Marital whiplash with boring squabbles are often relieved by making changes well before the onset of mindless routine with silent evenings before the TV with morbid partner and Dr Phil.

 

(A work in progress.)

 

After we decided to go to France, my wife suggested to stay calm and not rush hastily into something we might regret. She reminded me that I often questioned the wisdom of my parents migrating to Australia from The Netherlands back in 1956. “Do you really want to give up on all your friends and acquaintances made through the years? We are living in quite a lively inner city suburb, within walking distance of so many amenities, shops, libraries, a stately Court-House and with a handy police station for extra measure”. We were living in cosmopolitan Balmain at the time of the birth of footpath dining and cafes.

All that was true. I tended to go on a bit about our first few years after arrival In Australia during the mid-fifties. We, after a short stint in the Nissan-hut Migrant camp, which was a horror on its own after the joy of a five week cruise on the boat between Holland and Sydney ended up living in an outer suburb of Sydney.,

We had moved to Balmain when the apartment in Pott’s Point became too small with the birth of our two daughters, Susanna in 1968 and Natasha in 1970.

We already tried moving back to Europe during a stint as an artist between 1973-1976, but after a while the lure of my large family of brothers and sister with their spouses and children, the Australian bush, and above all, to have the freedom of having rusted corrugated iron roofs and weedy footpaths, the chaotic or total lack of town planning attracted me back a again. Those Fatal Shores by Robert Hughes, spring to mind.

To be followed!

 

 

The first house and Billabong

January 12, 2020

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Billabong 1972 entree for the NSW Wynne Prize. https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/prizes/wynne/1972/24292/

It is a miracle that this painting has survived because, as indicated above, it was shown decades ago in 1972 at the NSW State Art Gallery. Each year this gallery runs a competition for the best portrait, the best Australian landscape, and the Sulman for the best genre or subject painting. It is a yearly well published artistic event followed keenly by the public almost as enthusiastically as the Melbourne Cup, which is a world famous yearly race-horse event where many women turn up wearing funny hats and many men with ties get drunk. Well, not all men, but some do, and then some of those inebriated men end up grabbing women inappropriately (who are wearing the funny hats), and end up in court charged with indecent assault or even worse.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/billabong

But the real miracle about the painting is that it is still in my possession. I am not sure when I painted it because it is not dated. The year after we moved to The Netherlands so I must have taken it with me and then some years later back again. It now rests in my garage at Bowral. Amazing. Another oddity is that not only was this painting accepted for hanging but the very walls on which the paintings were hung were also painted by me. I had won the contract for the painting of the new addition to the gallery of NSW. I am sure that this combination of painting walls and the art object hanging, from the same person, was unusual. I have now been asked to provide a photograph of Billabong in order for the Gallery to update their electronic data. The photograph was taken yesterday by my American friend who has the right very large and heavy cameras.

After the taking of the photo we decided to go around our old haunts where we lived in Balmain so many years ago. The little cottage where I painted Billabong is still standing upright . Here it is. Helvi and I lived there between 1969/73 and from 1972 with three lovely children.

IMG_0384 18 St Mary's Str

We bought the house for $12.500.-in 1969. It was built in 1869 on a very small block of just 135 Sq. m. It has extensive harbour views including Sydney’s harbour bridge, the city itself with lots of water including the coming and going of boats, both large and small, luxury yachts, ferries, pleasure boats, anything that can float and move about on water. Large freighters when being pulled ashore by tug boats and reversing their engines used to make the landmass shake including our old weatherboard cottage. It was probably the nicest place to bring up children and paint pictures. It was a life of excitement. The house was stimulating to live in. In fact all of our places we lived in have been stimulating or at the minimum they were made to be inviting and stimulating.

Here an old photo from the inside;

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Our daughter on the phone

Notice the modest b/w TV now-a-days  overtaken by many people showing giant screens to such an extend they have to have ‘home theatres’. Some TVs are now so large they are being sublet to small families. The house was completely open and all walls downstairs had been taken out by the previous owners, an architect, leaving a large living space that included the kitchen and bathroom. Right in the middle was a slow combustion old cast iron heater that heated the whole house. With the exposed wooden floor and a mat here and there we made it into a lovely and glorious home. Oh, the nicest memories I have of that period now.

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Our little daughter in front of the cast iron solid fuel heater.

Here a photo showing the living room. Behind the pine wall is the bathroom and laundry which we partitioned off. Previous the bath was fully exposed to the living area which our friends thought as rather progressive.

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Christmas party. Helvi looking at the camera.

Notice the modest sitting arrangement on paint drums and wooden planks! We felt like Lords. A real pine Christmas tree on the left.

Those were the times!

( the present value of that timber house is estimated at 2.7 to 3.5 million dollars)

Leave love enough alone.(I wish I could have known.)

January 21, 2019
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https://secondhandsongs.com/work/113101
“The harbour’s misty in the morning love oh how I miss december
The frangipani opens up to kiss the salty air
I know you’re gettin’ ready for the office
I suppose he’s still there, with you
Sharing our morning sun
Winter in America is cold
And I just keep growing older
I wish I could have known
enough of love to have love enough alone
I ‘ve learned something of love
I wish I’d known before you left me
But it’s funny how you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone
And I hope you ‘ re getting all the love you ever wanted
But I wish I was there with you
Sharing our… “
These are the lyrics of a song named “Winter in America is cold.”  Also known as “Leave love enough alone.” The song was written by a man named Jimmy Stewart. We used to know him quite well during the  seventies till the nineties. Our children were young and life was starting to fire up very nicely. The memories of that period are filled with sun, laughter and growing trees. The inner Sydney suburb of Balmain was groovy and Carole King was on the ascent with her song “It’s too late.’
It was also the period of turning green and not waste, a turn against obscene wealth was starting to grow. We spoke of terminal capitalism! A vegie co-op was established and some ten couples would contribute $10 weekly each for which a trip would be made to Sydney’s vegetable markets by alternating couples to buy all the vegetables including fruit. The lot would be shared and put into 10 boxes. One box per couple. Jimmy Stewart and his then partner were one of the ten couples. Jimmy and I would go to this market when it was our turn. Jimmy was a writer of songs and the best known was the “Winter in America.” It was a mild hit in the US but in Netherland became top of the charts for a while. The song was covered by several artists but the Australian Dough Ashdown’s version is by far the best known.
We stayed in contact with Jimmy Stewart for some years. Music was his life and he was uncompromising in this. He had a range of partners and smoked and drank heartily. Last time I heard of him was yet another marriage, and a move to the blue mountains but that is some years ago now.
Here is “Winter in America.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEjZmjYENOk

The dying swan!

December 26, 2018

With Christmas Day over and unruly hordes invading the shopping malls looking for specials I thought I would remain with the Pavlova for a-while. ‘How was your Christmas day and how was the pavlova?’  This would have been a question thousands of times repeated around the suburban landscapes of Australia. I thought of giving you a photo of our pavlova. As written before, the pavlova base was a commercial one from Aldi. I found two trolleys with their two dollars still in its little pockets. It was a good omen. People’s need for frugal shopping seems to go overboard at Christmas time when the deposited coins on the trolleys are so recklessly abandoned.

Here the Oosterman pavlova.

IMG_0228 the Pavlova 2018

As I wrote before, our daughter thought the cream should have been a but more fluffy. It did not matter because the cream got covered up. One less sin to worry about. I like cooking rather roughly and am the last one to follow a recipe to the last letter or exact gram. Not that whipping cream involves much cooking.

The prawns have been eaten but Helvi was most annoyed with my suggestion of leaving the shells in the letter box of the cyclamen thief. She said; “you are just as bad as the woman cyclamen thief, and… worse, to contemplate such an evil act on the day of Christmas when the new borne Jesus was in its little crib being warmed by Mary and a kind ox’s steamy breath.” This, she followed up by; “And you are a Catholic as well!”  Helvi stated,”We  Lutherans live by our main credo and that is to be good, and not just PRETEND.”  That hurt!

I answered, “if I put the redolent prawn shells in the letter box and then ask for forgiveness afterwards, would that be OK?  I was always forgiven before, especially if I did a good repenting and a couple of Holy Marys.” Helvi just ignored this. My guilt went into automatic. I am not going to do anything with the prawn shells now. Mind you, the cyclamen thief gave us  really hell apart from stealing cyclamen. Not all old ladies are benign and kind.

The platter the pavlova is resting on is part of a ceramic colection given to us by a very good friend dating back when our children were small, and together with other couples  used to babysit each other.  It was known as the Balmain Babysitting club. It had some kind of point system to keep balance on the hours we sat in each others houses. They were great times.

But now for the real Pavlova. It brought tear to my eyes, the beauty of this dance.

 

Shopping at Costco.

November 28, 2018

Some time ago I heard of a new shopping phenomenon. It is called ‘Costco shopping’. A bowling friend spoke how he went there and bought new hearing aids. Costco, he explained, is a huge shopping experience and one can buy everything from toilet paper to TVs, nicely crafted funeral caskets to embellished urns, everything for those alive and the dearly departed. The dead are as welcome as the living. This is apart from food, groceries, tyres and petrol. All direct from the pallets or bowsers at vastly reduced prices.

We have an American friend who already some time ago promised us the ‘the full Costco experience’. Last Sunday we arranged to meet up in Sydney’s Balmain where he would then take and drive us to the nearest Costco Emporium for a guided tour.  We are not really in for new shopping experiences but were curious enough to at least go and see it. Getting old doesn’t mean avoiding new experiences. I often regale our expeditions to Aldi. Why stop there? In any case, our friend had promised us to drive; so what the heck?

After arrival we noticed people walking with giant shopping trolleys. The trolleys were huge which, even though most shoppers looked normal sized, made people look smaller in what they actually were. A clever architect could conceivably convert those trolleys in mini-houses. The parking station alone was so large one expected traffic lights,  landings of light aeroplanes, border guards.  And everywhere those giant trolleys with small people pulling them along, all glazed eyed, and hyperventilating with over- excitement.

One needs to be a member for the privilege of shopping at Costco. It costs $50.-. Our friend had a membership card on which we could enter as well. After retrieving a large trolley we walked up several levels to get to the entrance. There were queues entering as well as at the exits. An infectious hurry is what seemed to drive most shoppers. In fact, the whole Costco event is finely tuned to spending and impulse buying . Impulse buying is what it seems to be about. The goods are portrayed at eye level and a kind of mass hysteria is honed to perfection. I would say that it is unhappiness and anxiety in most Costco shoppers which is cleverly taken advantage of and exploited by expert psychologists that try and maximise that manner of shopping. Shopping might well fill an otherwise empty life.

Cooked hot chickens were for sale at $3.90. I watched people putting 10 to 20 hot chickens in their trolleys together with towering packs of croissants. What does one do with all those hot chickens and dozens of croissants? Can you imagine going home with complete sides of sheep or pork? I watched someone taking a large pack of chicken breasts out of their trolley and exchanging it for a battery driven drone. What feverish thinking is going on with the shopper during those instant changes of choices?

The coffins looked nice and were temptingly displayed with white sheets tucked around the chrome handles with white plastic lilies poked in for good measure. I saw an elderly man fondling an upmarket nicely embellished urn ready for an impromptu ashes to ashes event. It was right next to a display of car tyres.

Helvi and I ended up buying some baby beetroots, a box of nectarines. Also a box of smoked German sausages and a kilo of sliced Swiss Cheese. (manufactured in Holland.) Our friend drove us to Bar Italia in Norton Str, Leichhardt. It was heaven and the Spaghetti Bolognaise was superb…as always.

All I all, an interesting day.

 

A vase

April 12, 2018

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Is this a vase or a work of ceramic art? Perhaps both. Please note that this old table has a white painted top as well. A pity our telephone book wasn’t taken away. It seems to spoil the photo by hiding the rest of this lovely woman’s top part of her body. I do like the composition of the photo though, but don’t ask me why. It’s rather unique.  I doubt there is a similar vase anywhere in the world. We bought it some decades ago while still living in the inner Sydney suburb of Balmain. All I remember is going to a ceramic art exhibition in North Sydney and really like this work. It reminded us of the Italian master Modigliani with its elongated neck and general posture. Look at the Modigliani painting below.

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Amedeo Modigliani found little success during his short life but he would be happy to know he now is famous with his paintings and sculptures selling for millions. We went to an exhibition of some of his work many years ago when we were in Paris.

I am sure that the ceramic artist who made this vase could not but be an ardent admirer of Modigliani. It’s funny how we are all influenced by what our eyes take in. Or, would it be better put, we SHOULD be impressed by the visual world and what a blessing eyesight gives us? It begs the question though; if we are so influenced by what our eyes take in, why allow so much visual ugliness to surround us? The madness of materialism now evident everywhere. Those advertising hoarding first invented in the US and almost immediately and eagerly copied and accepted in Australia. Those endless car sales yards with yawning bonnets and happy happy balloons tied to the rear vision mirrors. Is the making of money so important allowing it to override everything?

It’s not everywhere like that though. There are havens of quiet and solitude if one looks carefully. We have a stretch of pure beauty near our house which we walk almost each day and never tire of it. A lovely walk along a small bubbling creek. There are ducks and old men who talk to each other in hushed calm voices. A parrot might fly overhead or we can find a dog scanning the reeds for hidden water fowl. We don’t have to go far to see beauty and that’s a blessing we should not take for granted.

It is lovely and makes it all worthwhile.

A normal nice day at Spice Alley.

March 8, 2018
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With all that’s been going on we thought we would have a day in Sydney.  It came as if seeing doctors, visiting hospitals and getting referrals was becoming a routine. I would wake up, bleary eyed, and ask Helvi; ‘any appointments or doctor visits today?’ ‘ Do we need to get a referral?’ We had invested some money in fridge magnets, and as a result of possible memory lapses now pin appointments behind those magnets on the fridge. Of course, the canny quacks now get their secretaries to phone the day before to confirm appointments. It all adds up to the bottom line, you know.

Yesterday we drove to Sydney and parked our car near a friend who has lived in Balmain for many years. We never lost our love for this inner-city suburb which has now grown into a millionaire’s paradise. Our friend suggested we visit Broadway. In particular a site which used to have a large brewery now converted in smart shops and restaurants.

‘I’ll call an ‘uber’ and we will be there in twenty minutes,’ he said while pulling out revolver-like, his cell-phone. ‘I’ll show you,’ ‘I have special uber app.’  He is American and has always held a love for internet and computing. I have to admit also becoming handcuffed to cell-phones and the day is not far off I too will be applying for apps.

He tapped in his cell-phone the address in his uber app he wanted us to go to and within seconds he showed me a GPS map on his phone with  a spot resembling a car crawling towards our address of departure. It also let us know in minutes how long we might have to wait. It was three minutes. The uber car pulled up. Absolutely amazing. I like uber and so does Helvi.

Our friend in particular wanted to show us a part of Broadway/Chippendale that has an area of converted Victorian terrace house that now house a number of Asian eateries named ‘Spice Alley.’

https://spice-alley.com.au/

It is really an area now buzzing with life. The very essence of a city on the move. Of course, we were elderly just short of walking stick aids (it won’t be long now) and could not be more in contrast with all the hip-student mainly Asian hurriedly looking for a spicy lunch, pedestrians. No one shuffles or are hesitant. The young on the move, ambitious, furiously fast and still clear-sighted.

We also wanted to look at a building designed by a well known American architect Frank Gehry. His architecture is known for difficult execution, a nightmare for builders but brilliant in form and pure art.  Almost organic looking, sprouting from the ground up like a mushroom.

Here it is.

Image result for uts frank gehry

We had a beef Rendang. A lovely spicy well cooked Indonesian dish with rice and vegetables. We shall make visiting Sydney again ‘a must’.