Sydney

everyday magic

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Sometimes I get so caught up in the workings of day-to-day living I forget things; often which home something is at – we’ve been wondering for a week about the location of an item thinking it was at Taylors Arm but it was right here in the city apartment on a shelf in plain sight.

Similarly, the Belief that is necessary to imbue everyday life with magic wasn’t missing, just overlooked.

The days following the G.O.’s birthday lazy long weekend quickly resumed their everyday feel but with magic restored it seemed like no time at all had passed and I was back at Velvet Garage, this time meeting up with Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and her husband on Saturday morning. After shuffling arrangements we finally managed a catch-up. We exchanged gifts, each sharing a bit of our lives… I offered a few things I’d been accumulating for this purpose, dragon pearls from my friend Nancy-from-Narrabri’s Hip Herbal ‘n Happening Tea, lemon myrtle seasoning from Perry’s and a small bottle of Isabella from Gruber’s Winery at Taylors Arm. I was thrilled to receive lemons from their tree, a jar of Pete’s quince jelly, and package of chorizo. After a pleasant hour breakfasting and chatting we departed to our respective Saturday errands.

May Street, St Peters street art collage
everyday magic on the streets I walk – May Street, St Peters between Velvet Garage and the train station

I headed over to Eveleigh Farmers Market primarily to pick up the beef cheeks I’d ordered. The Linga Longa Farm stall was my first stop, and I waited patiently, as you do at farmers markets, while the 3 people manning the stall discussed the meaty offerings with a customer. Eventually I was noticed, introduced myself and requested “can I pick up the beef cheeks I called the number on the business card and ordered over the phone… leaving a message on Lauren’s mobile”. Response: I’m Lauren – blank look – When did you ring?  Hmmm, I thought… “Wednesday or Thursday”.  [ I checked, it was Wednesday ]. Lauren looked at me as if that explained everything: oh, it was my birthday on Wednesday; your message must have gotten mixed up with the others… Still hopeful, I asked “so do you have any beef cheeks?” Lauren shifted her attention to me once more: no, we’re sold out. A little bemused I waited but that was it, so I stepped to the stall next door and impulse-bought a Thirlmere duck, while the man chatted to me about how much better value a whole duck was as opposed to buying packs of maryland or breast, how to cook it, and rounded the price down from $28-something to $25… once again I was stepping out of my culinary comfort zone.

[Note: Received text on Tuesday from Lauren of Linga Longa Farm offering me beef cheeks this coming Saturday market. Nice gesture but I’m not sure of plans this weekend. However, I’ll call them next time I’m going.]

Wandering home from the markets I found a colourful memo-board free-footpath offering to take up the overload of loose bits & pieces from the fridge door, and spent a couple of dollars at a footpath sale on a decorative cage that I’ll sit a plant in and hang from a hook or in a tree at our Taylors Arm house.

We’re car sharing due to the G.O.’s being in for repairs after a small bingle during the week, so when the G.O. returned from his morning activities, we immediately set out for necessities to driving-distance shops; at which a box of glossy dark plump cherries imported from the U.S. caught my eye. Usually I would think imported-no but I thought duck-yes… and grabbed a handful, and a bunch of orange gladioli that remind me of my Nanna’s garden.

We paused at home again only momentarily, before going off on foot locally to re-visit a couple of items from last week’s birthday browsing-shopping expedition still lingering in our thoughts, to which end yet another old kookaburra and flower picture found a home with us.

everyday magic finds
everyday magic in the objects we find and bring home

Back to normal after the birthday-fest, this weekend was about eating in, therefore cooking. On Saturday afternoon, thinking ahead I quickly chopped and cooked pear & apple compote for Sunday morning porridge; and a bag of tomatoes, onions & basil and put them on to simmer for sauce: later combining a cupful with shallots, prawns, crème fraiche and pasta for a quick Saturday night dinner; and during the week, duck ragu.

Sunday morning was leisurely but chilly so I warmed the apartment with the oven, baking the G.O.’s smoko banana bread; chopped and sautéed kale for weekday breakfast and lunches, chopped cherries and peeled potatoes & carrots for dinner.

I’m new to duck, and had never cooked it whole before, so once the G.O. washed, dried and pricked it I followed my usual slow-roasting practice: into the cast iron pot with halved potatoes, a couple of dried bay leaves, stock and Madeira/Malmsey at 140 C (284 F) for 3 hours, popping in carrots toward the end, then lid off at 180 C (356 F) for an hour.

While the duck & veges were resting on a tray in the still-warm oven, I ladled a scoop of cooking juices with the cherries, 3 slices of fresh orange peel, a dash of Madeira/Malmsey in a saucepan, and set to simmer & reduce. The rest of the cooking juices were saved for the ragu.

everyday magic food
everyday magic in the food we are given, buy, cook and eat: goodies from Celia; roast duck with cherry sauce; farmers market food; duck ragu and penne

I learned a couple of things…

Given the size of the bird, I’d anticipated a couple of roast duck dinners and a couple of duck ragu dinners. The duck was flavoursome, more-so than chicken but there was a lot less of it. So no follow-up roast dinners.

And, as pointed out by the G.O. in response to my gastronomic stage-fright, roast duck was the domain of many home-cooks, including his grandmother and mine, before the elevation of its profile by fancy restaurants and TV cooking shows.

“In fact, people who possess not magic at all can instil their home-cooked meals with love and security and health, transforming ingredients… Cooking is a kind of everyday magic.” Juliet Blackwell

This post is dedicated to Christine of the dadirridreaming blog who I met early on in my wanderings through the WordPress world. Her husband Stuart kindly let her many [blogging] friends know via a touching post of her sudden passing. Many of you would have seen dadirri7’s delightful thoughtful comments on my posts, which I will miss. Christine has been a wonderful inspiration, and very much in touch with the magic of living. I’m sad because I didn’t get to meet Christine in person but I am richer for having known her.

home turf

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Back on home turf after my sister’s wedding life goes on.

Vivid Sydney lights up the CBD.

Someone paints decorates the railway overpass walls opposite our apartment with painted watermelon slices but within 48 hours someone else cleans it off.

Someone goes to the touble of tagging their turf, the wall of the building across the road… again.

The G.O. and I have a Saturday sleep in then wander up King Street to Newtown Community Market.

  • I buy kale with a snail freshness guarantee.
  • The G.O. buys unwaxed unsprayed red pears.
  • We buy an assortment of pre-loved books – guess which are whose?
  • I buy a peg bag for Taylors Arm where we have a Hills Hoist clothesline, and a backyard.

We go to the pub for lunch, enroute I find new street art.

The weather refuses to acknowledge the calendar.

“Imagine a city where graffiti wasn’t illegal, a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked. Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that felt like a party where everyone was invited, not just the estate agents and barons of big business. Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall – it’s wet.”
Banksy, Wall and Piece

it’s not the end of the world

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Apocalypse Yard Garage Sale
Apocalypse Yard Garage Sale

It’s not the end of the world when the G.O. doesn’t work on a Saturday. In fact, it’s very nice. In the construction industry, Saturday work is pretty much a given. But the G.O.’s current work site is located on the South Coast a 80 km each way commute and in exchange for working Monday – Friday 7 am – 5… or 6 pm he’s not been working [many] Saturdays. So on work-free Saturdays we have a glorious sleep in, then over coffee consider possibilities.

Last Saturday, motivated by Celia of Fig Jam & Lime Cordial’s post about Little Flowers, who share premises with Velvet Garage café a short stroll from us, encouraged further by the neighbouring Apocalypse Yard’s garage sale we headed over. Our foray into the garage sale was brief as they were burning something noxious fuelling their Atomic Cafe barbeque, bestowing an acrid authentic end of the world aura to the proceedings. Read the rest of this entry »

us and them

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George Street, Erskineville, NSW, Australia
George Street, Erskineville, NSW, Australia

Local Inner West resident and artist Thomas Jackson painted the George Street wall of Hive Bar in Erskineville, a comment to the recent Western Australian government’s shark cull that began on January 26.

It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things. Terry Pratchett, Jingo

At the same time news headines also declared “Buses the big killers of pedestrians in Sydney’s CBD…”. I ask myself, should the NSW Government take a cue from WA and cull the buses?

burned and bruised

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Bushfires ravage the periphery of Sydney and around the state. The weather has been hot, windy and dry. Bad. It’s only October. And it’s getting worse. There’s a cooler southerly change expected that only means the wind will change direction. There are already more than 90 fires burning and 100 homes lost in less than 24 hours. It’s hell on earth for the residents and firefighters.

The G.O. and I are in no danger. But, this is what the we saw from the inner city and south western Sydney late this afternoon. The city may not be burned, but its skies are bruised.

http://www.news.com.au/national-news/nsw-act/hundreds-left-homeless-as-the-gravest-bushfire-emergency-in-a-decade-strikes-nsw/story-fnii5s3x-1226741636446

the beast

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street art, Rochford Street, Newtown, Sydney, NSW Australia
street art, Rochford Street, Newtown, Sydney, NSW Australia
Sunday, the Sabbath
day of rest
I woke, crying
mourning the life
we feed the insatiable
six headed monster
working week
Monday again
the beast, is back.
 

Lunch Bites: Royal Botanic Gardens – Lion Gate Lodge (4)

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Making the most of a free lunch hour on a day that offered an early glimpse of spring, I went for a walk to visit the big kitties.

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“Lions and tigers, and bears, oh my!”
Dorothy in Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum

2-08-2013 2-45-26 PM

a game of tag

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In the comments to take the money and ride…  I was asked “what’s tagging?” I responded “Tagging is where the graffitists spray letters or a symbol that represents themself or their gang, and as they often spray over street art or indiscriminately, they are quite unpopular.”

But as Frederick R. Barnard said in 1921, a picture paints a thousand words… the pictures in this case being the ones I took this morning at St Peters train station.

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take the money and ride…

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One of the earlier items of street art featured on elladee_images was the old Waratah Motor Spirit advertisement uncovered by the demolition of the neighbouring building after a fire. But some idiot tagged over the Waratah Motor Spirit advertisement, then it was painted over.  Yesterday the G.O. and I spied a new piece of street art on the same wall.

However as the G.O. noted, the empty site on King Street, Newtown is about to become a residential apartment complex, all pre-sold, so the wall and the street art won’t be visible for long… and the developers will Take the Money and Run.

King Street Newtwon, Sydney NSW Australia

Postscript: I went back and tried to get a better shot of the silver spaceship on the right but it’s obscured by the chain wire fence, and lacks the clarity of the rest of the artwork.

making sumfink out of nufink

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“You come into the world with nothing,
and the purpose of your life is to make something out of nothing”.
Henry Louis Mencken