Saturday, December 31, 2011

On the sixth day of Christmas ...

... we visited Heide.

I've visited Heide quite frequently over the last 25 years or so. Originally only the 'new house' (Heide 2) housed exhibitions. My favourite part of the estate was always the kitchen garden just down the hill from Heide 2, on the way to the river.

These days the kitchen garden is looking rather unkempt but the restored vegetable gardens and orchards around Heide 1 (the original farmhouse) almost compensate. I was delighted to discover that the garden supplies herbs and vegetables to the café, so I took a photograph of the rocket bed that may have contributed to my lunch.

For my birthday my sister gave me Sunday's kitchen: food and living at Heide. The library in Heide 1 holds a shelf of cookbooks owned by Sunday Reed. The books range from health food cookery to French and Indian cuisine, including the little known Indian cookery by E.D. Veerasawmy. It seemed appropriate that we celebrated my birthday (again) with dinner at an Indian restaurant that night.

On the fifth day of Christmas ...

... I attended a High Church Anglican funeral service at St John the Evangelist, Soldiers Hill, Ballarat. The requiem Eucharist was to celebrate the life of Rosalie Bonighton, a composer of liturgical organ and choral music of great renown in the region and beyond.

In the words of David Oulton's homily:

"Her music was like the symphony of her life, complex, rich, exacting, encompassing a wide range of style and sparkle. It was beautiful, enchanting, heady, clever."

The music at the funeral service (which included Bonighton's Melbourne Mass) was sung by Vox and the Ballarat Grammar Chamber Choir and was just beautiful. The Eucharist was almost identical to a Catholic Mass but with enough extra prayers and readings thrown in to extend it by a good country mile.

After the service the congregation gathered silently in the church grounds listening to the tolling of the newly installed automatic bell.

Later we enjoyed a few moments of quiet contemplation on the shores of Lake Wendouree before driving back to Melbourne to continue the next days of Christmas.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

On the fourth day of Christmas ...

... I hit the highway (specifically: CityLink, the Westgate Freeway, the Western Ring Road and the Western Highway) and after a quite relaxing drive through the green and pleasant land that is Victoria this year, arrived in the sunny and majestic city of Ballarat.

Ballarat in my childhood was the city that broke up the journey between Geelong and Ararat and, later, Melbourne and Ararat. We may have stopped for petrol or a loaf of bread, but never to stroll around the streets and admire the magnificent Victorian architecture or to marvel at the picturesque railway crossing with its signal box (now rather decrepit) and impressive signal gantry.

We certainly never stopped for a Ballarat Bitter at Craig's Royal Hotel, even in the cricket season. And we could never have contemplated sitting on a couch in the bar at that hotel, writing a blog post on an iPad while watching Mr Cricket steer Australia through to stumps.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On the third day of Christmas ....

... I went to the cricket: day two of the supposedly traditional Boxing Day test. This year's ABC cricket magazine (one of the many periodicals which is the bane of the serial cataloguer's life, having changed its title from the perfectly respectable ABC cricket book and still popularly known as such) points out that the Melbourne Boxing Day test has been an annual event only since 1990.

During the tea break I dropped into the MCC Library as a change from visiting the Hugh Trumble courtyard bar. The library has a superb collection of sporting books, free fact sheets, the Yorker magazine and stunning views across Jolimont towards the city. It even has a special display of ABC cricket books.

Amidst all the noise and confusion of the Boxing Day test crowd, the MCC Library provides a place for reflection, contemplation and serenity - before the inevitable return to the Hugh Trumble.

On the second day of Christmas ...

... I cooked zucchini slice. Inspired by my aunty's legendary zucchini slice which is an all time favourite at the traditional Christmas night get-together, and armed with one of the 'smaller' zucchini grown by my cousin (not the same one who gave me the brick), tonight I attempted to recreate the famous dish.

For something so simple there are so many recipes, but one of the best is found in the charming, practical and sustainable book Homemade: the Handmade Help recipe book, which consists of recipes donated by home cooks and well known cooks such as Greg Malouf. This book is the brainchild of my former colleague Beverley Laing and others who gathered the recipes and distributed the book as a gift to the Victorian communities affected by the bushfires of 2009. Funds raised from sales of the book are donated to the Salvation Army.

I hope the contributor of the zucchini slice recipe in this book does not object to my leaving out the bacon. Even my aunty never cooks zucchini slice with bacon anymore. Instead she serves a small dish of finely diced bacon sprinkles alongside for those who must, and vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike are happy.

Monday, December 26, 2011

On the first day of Christmas ...

... my cousin gave to me: an early birthday present. Being in a reckless kind of mood I decided to open it straight away rather than wait three days.

The bag felt very heavy - rather as though it contained a brick. On opening the bag I discovered that my cousin had indeed given me a brick for a birthday present. But not just any brick: it was an Alice's Adventures in Wonderland brick from Daryl Fitzgerald's Light Reading collection.

The weathered Glen Iris brick from 1956, complete with Olympic rings, is imprinted on its 'spine' with the title, author and artist's mark.

Absolutely the perfect gift for a librarian who lives quite near Glen Iris and loves her sport.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 7: The newsagent

On the way home from the supermarket, post office, fruit shop and bakery, I dropped into my local newsagency, which I have not needed to visit much since I got the iPad. The owners still remember me and greet me by name even though it is years since I had the paper delivered. They even remember where I live: "Are you really going to walk down there with all that shopping?"

They have decided to close on Sundays soon as they have so few customers. Feeling really guilty about not buying the paper any more, I bought some cards that I didn't really need and slunk out of the shop.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 6: Friday

Oh happy Friday. The whole office seems lighter and more frivolous on Friday. A burden has been lifted. Another sunny summery day and the city is sparkling.

For the second time this week I escaped to the top end of town, this time for a late lunch at the Cricketers. Still grieving for the unfortunate withdrawal of Daniel Vettori from the New Zealand team, I didn't pay much attention to the cricket on the TV, but enjoyed my Little Creatures with chips and aioli. In the immortal words of Toby Keith 'I love this bar'. The staff here are really lovely and I was delighted to see the same barman who was so friendly to us on our previous visit last week.

Back on home territory the cicadas are going crazy, there are birds everywhere and once darkness falls the moths and tiny beetles begin their invasion. The giant lemon scented gum is starting to shed its bark and great strips of it lie across the footpath and driveway. Sumer is *definitely* icumin in.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 5: Meetings

Another beautiful sunny day in Melbourne. Another early arrival at work. A meeting with IT involving a high level analysis of reporting requirements, Bengal kittens, rhubarb and Z39.50 logging. My first ever minutes with pictures (the new way of capturing whiteboard scribbles without resorting to those old fashioned paper printouts).

Then followed a flurry of activity on Yammer which some of the staff have recently appropriated as a communications platform. After a quiet introduction it is starting to take off. In our experience to date the desktop app only tells part of the story - you have to use the web version to experience all the features.

My second meeting of the day was held over Skype with the agenda in a shared Evernote file. One day I might work out how to get the numbering and formatting right, but meanwhile the Evernote html editor presents some challenges. Skype is a reasonable substitute for meeting in person with remote staff members but there is nothing quite like real face to face contact.

At the end of the day I crossed over the road to the Sherlock Holmes to fortify myself for the trip up Collins Street to the grand Reader's Feast privileged readers night opening. I was delighted to discover that 3G access is now available in this cosy basement bar, so I was able to while away a happy half hour or so with a pint of Fat Yak and the twitterverse.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 4: The green shoes

Today I decided it was time to think about fulfilling one of my new year resolutions: to take a break from work around lunchtime each day.

Thus at 12.30 I walked up Gurners Lane and New Chancery Lane to the Queen and Bourke tram stop and before too long was trundled up to the Paris end of town. I like this end of town for three reasons: having gone to school in East Melbourne I'm very familiar with it; several years at Casselden Place made it even more familiar; and it boasts both the Cricketers Bar and one of the few op shops in central Melbourne.

Pausing just for a few moments to step into Mitty's newsagency (one of the few newsagencies in central Melbourne that supplies the Geelong Addy), I made my way to the Salvos op shop. $11.95 later, I was the proud owner of two Belgian cushion covers and a pair of green shoes.
The green shoes

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 3: Rhubarb

After a refreshing glass of rhubarb juice and a pot of Russian Caravan tea, I walked to the station earlier than usual this morning. This proved to be both a good and bad decision - bad because I had to stand all the way to Richmond, but good because there was a Flinders St train on platform 7 which meant I could avoid the trip around the loop and the long walk from Flagstaff station.

Even better, I met Christian at the Degraves St barrier when his myki failed to scan and he held up a line of impatient commuters - but finally he was through and we walked to Collins St together chatting away about javascript, xsl and a replacement for the new books program - some of my favourite conversation topics at the moment. We also discussed where and when to have my going-on-leave drinks next week, with some support for The Elms, for old times sake, but probably for expediency we will go with The Mitre.

Work was a mixture of meetings and dealing with unexpected things from left field (a pretty normal day really). I really need to set aside some clear time to work on a project proposal before the end of this week.

I also had company on the walk home as I met my neighbour at East Camberwell.

When I got home Michael made me a rhubarb juice cocktail. Now I feel ready to face the evening.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 2

Just prior to day 2 I fell asleep before Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy were united.

On the way to work this morning I decided to resume reading the e-book I recently borrowed from Melbourne Library Service - but alas the loan had expired. Fortunately only a couple of stations passed before I had successfuly re-borrowed it via the Overdrive app. It even took me back to the exact spot where I'd left off, which was pretty impressive. The book is Devil's food by Kerry Greenwood.

Flagstaff Station was mercifully quiet so the walk down the usually congested William Street was more pleasant than usual, particularly with a beautiful clear crisp Melbourne morning exerting its rare charm.

Before too long I was at work and spent the day sorting out the usual assortment of minor crises, issues, queries, problems and occasionally being productive. LibraryThing for Libraries is now live in the online catalogue after too long a delay.

Tonight I made rhubarb juice, which I'd never heard of before. Not sure if I'll actually drink any of it but it looks pretty. After about three hours pottering about I decided on a very simple dinner - marinated tofu, mushrooms, onions and red capsicum baked in a cast iron pan in the oven and served over baby spinach.

Tomorrow's task will be to choose an iPad blogging app that will allow photo uploads - BlogPress looks promising but seems to have a few issues so I think a bit more research is in order.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Vegetarian Inn

Does anyone remember the Vegetarian Inn in Glenferrie Road Malvern in the 1970s?

Tonight I turned to one of my all time favourite soup recipes, Tomato soup with Tamari, and the memories came flooding back.

The restaurant was run by a French family who cooked a set menu of vegetarian macrobiotic food. The first course was soup with home made flat bread. The main course was a platter of mixed delights, a combination of grainy things, salady things and veggie things. I don't remember if there were sweets. While waiting (often quite a while) for the meal to be served, we listened to Alan Stivell on the stereo and enjoyed a glass or three of wine and beer and the company of good friends.

One night the soup was so delicious that I ventured to ask for the recipe, which was generously given. This is a beautiful soup with a lovely fresh taste, best served of course in a 1970s style pottery bowl. In fond memory of the Vegetarian Inn, here is the recipe.

Tomato soup with Tamari
1 lb tomatoes
1 onion
1 medium zucchini
1 medium potato
2 cloves garlic
Mint, parsley
1 1/2 pints water

Saute chopped onion, mint, zucchini, potato and minced garlic in oil. Add chopped tomatoes and water, simmer one hour.
Put through mouli, add Tamari, salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley.

Here is a picture of the soup in preparation.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Antipasto TableThe Antipasto Table by Michele Scicolone

This book was published twenty years ago and in the fashion of its time it's all about the food. There are no glossy photographs (or any illustrations at all, if it comes to that). The recipes speak for themselves.

There are so many new ideas that I'd like to try - Frittata di ceci, Taralli (crisp fennel bread rings), Frittatine di cavolo (miniature omelets with cabbage and leeks). And I am determined to follow the author's insistence that beans must be baked in the oven in the Tuscan way: 'the result is far superior to beans cooked on top of the stove'.

A beautifully written book full of beautiful recipes.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Morgan Bach published

Some time ago I promised to let you know when the Ancora Press publication Morgan Bach became available. That happy time has arrived and the book may now be ordered from Ancora Press.

A wonderful description is available in Trove.

An image of the title page is available on Flickr.

Morgan Bach is the haunting tale of a mother and son separated and reunited after Morgan's voyage to Australia in colonial times. Setting the original poem in Welsh posed many challenges for the journeymen and master of the Ancora Press and we are very proud that this beautiful book is now available.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


This evening I decided to use up a backlog of olives by making tapenade. I searched around for vegetarian versions and found that capers seemed to be the generally agreed substitute for anchovies.

Scorning such niceties as exact quantities of ingredients, I squashed my olives with a big knife to remove the stones, chopped them roughly and chucked them into the mortar with a squashed clove of garlic and a spoonful of drained capers.

The olives were a mixture of kalamatas marinated in olive oil with lemon and chili from the wonderful Boroondara Farmers Market. Some miscellaneous green and stuffed olives had been languishing for a few days in the same marinade.

Adding a little more of the marinade and some lemon juice, I worked the mix with the pestle until it was broken down but still a bit chunky. Then I added some chopped rosemary and a few pine nuts and ground it up a bit more. Finally some coarsely ground pepper and a bit more lemon juice, and it was ready to scoop into a bowl and serve with some olive bread croutons (made from olive bread thinly sliced and dried out in the oven).

Not exactly a recipe which would pass the MasterChef test of being able to be reproduced exactly by any competent cook carefully following the instructions, but it worked for me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Le tour

Three armchairs; three knee rugs; three personal electronic devices; one crackling fire; one TV tuned to SBS. Welcome to a living room somewhere in Camberwell. Sleep is a luxury and watching the Tour de France a necessity on these cold winter nights.

We are watching out for our favourite bike (Pinarello), our favourite team (BMC) and our favourite rider (Cadel). The travelogue of the French countryside and historic sites adds to the magic.

First we watch the previous day's highlights. Next, Gabriel Gaté's Taste le tour inspires us to use even more butter in our crêpes. And then the stage begins.

Now we are learning the history of a 12th century church; next we see a close-up of the breakaway group at 'la tête de course'. Oops, a crash - but this is what happens on these nasty little roads in Brittany, according to Phil and Paul. Some of the riders enjoy a natural break. The team car hares up the left-hand verge and overtakes the peloton. We see an aerial view of a chateau which has been turned into a town hall - cut to Mark Cavendish flexing his legs, followed by the most tattooed man in Le tour.

Le tour - we love it.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A perfect day

I couldn't have asked for a better last day of June. A day off work; a lovely clear blue Melbourne day; a visit from some very dear friends (you know who you are, Lif and Russ); and a trip to Brunswick to see my cousin sing with Chiliad. Perfect.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tale of a journeyman

Today I discovered that my official title at Ancora Press is 'journeyman'. This means I'm trusted to do routine tasks such as setting, distributing and sorting type, but must follow the direction of the master for more complex tasks including actual printing.

We are now engaged on setting the introduction and notes for Jack Lindsay's D.H. Lawrence poem. I predict that this is going to take a long time. Meanwhile Morgan Bach is expected back from the binders any day now. We are planning a very special launch of our Welsh masterpiece.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


After the raging success* of yesterday's blog post about the colour scheme of my living room, today I will introduce the study.

The same red walls flank the other side of the double doors between the study and the living room, but the remaining walls are painted a dark purple up to the picture rail, with a tasteful cream above. The woodwork, ceiling and cornices are white. The paintwork of both rooms was conceived and executed by #1 son, who is rightly appalled that I haven't yet organised proper window furnishings for both rooms.

The angles manifest themselves again in this room, with a right-angled section off the front porch featuring opaque glass panels with an art deco gazelle design. These panels are 'temporarily' covered in cast-off purple cotton curtains, waiting for me to organise something more suitable.

The other two windows are diamond leadlight casements, again at right angles to each other, which sound terribly romantic but are horrible to clean. So they're not.

I can't show you a photo of the windows until I fix the curtain situation, but here is a picture of another part of the room.

A corner of the study
*Two comments via blog/twitter so far! And counting!


My living room is painted a lovely apple green colour. The house is an early Californian bungalow style built in the 1920s. The original rooms and the hallway are all very small and have odd angles. The living room walls angle into the fireplace. The wall above the fireplace is painted a sandy colour which contrasts nicely with the green of the other walls. A couple of other bits of wall are dark red, and between them are some white sliding doors leading into the study. For such a small room it has quite a range of colour, but it is a very restful space.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bircher muesli

This week I've had Bircher muesli for breakfast every day. Here is my version of the famous recipe.

In the evening, grate one small or half a large beautiful pink lady apple from the farmers market. Dr Bircher-Benner says to leave in the seeds, but I usually pick them out. Put the grated apple into a container with a lid, suitable for carrying to work the next day.

Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the apple.

Scatter a couple of tablespoons of natural muesli on top of the apple. If you don't have any muesli on hand, you could use plain rolled oats instead.

Spread a couple of tablespoons of natural yogurt over the muesli. Use plain natural yogurt, not the 'Greek' variety which often has all sorts of additives. Keep it simple.

Scatter over some craisins. If by some unfortunate chance you don't have any of these, blueberries would probably be even better.

Cover the container and leave in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, just before you rush out the door to catch the train, break up a few walnuts over the top of the mixture, replace the lid of the container and pop it into your bag.

Once you're safely at work, grab a spoon from the kitchen, stir your muesli up a bit and eat it at your desk while catching up on your twitter and/or email.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Past vs future

This evening I had to make the difficult decision whether to help out as usual at the Ancora Press, or go to a VALA meeting on web scale library services. The VALA meeting won out and I was pleased I attended for two reasons. Chris Thewlis gave a very interesting presentation on OCLC's transition to cloud computing services - lots of implications to consider, particularly for school libraries who are used to having their libraries operate in a relatively closed and controlled environment.

The other highlight of the evening was meeting one of my twitter friends in person for the first time - a kindred spirit who is also a librarian and Geelong supporter!

Navigating to the Leigh Scott room at the Baillieu Library was also rather fun. The ground floor is completely inaccessible at present so you have to enter through what was once the Economics building, go up three floors, walk through the Giblin Library (formerly a completely separate branch of the university libraries but now physically connected), go down two floors and there you are. Simple!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Bloomsbury tragic

Yes, I'll admit it. I wrote my honours thesis on Virginia Woolf. I own the complete set of her letters and diaries, the Quentin Bell biography and numerous other books by and about the members of the Bloomsbury Group. I even have the beautiful portrait of Virginia by George Charles Beresford hanging on my bedroom wall.

Yesterday I randomly typed my usual keyword search into an American university library catalogue in the course of investigating the change of its discovery service from Voyager to WorldCat local. I serendipitously discovered this wonderful book about Charleston, the home of Virginia's sister Vanessa Bell and her fellow artist and sometime lover Duncan Grant. And even better, it was available in my local library, albeit it at a far-flung branch.

At my command it was soon wending its way to my favourite branch ready for collection this evening. Thanks to OCLC, Libraries Australia and Boroondara Libraries for their collaborative services that made this discovery possible - fairdinkum unbelievable!

Friday, June 17, 2011

A taste of summer

Melbourne's wet weather has not been kind to tomatoes. Especially mine. Despite being given some beautiful seedlings last spring, I didn't get around to planting them until well after Christmas, which as Kevin Heinze could have told me is way too late to plant tomatoes. Meanwhile a couple of self-sown plants bravely emerged from the compost.

But lo and behold now in the depths of winter a few hardy plants have survived to give me a tiny taste of home-grown goodness.

Here is a picture of the latest little batch.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lawrence and Lindsay

The latest Ancora Press project is a poem by Jack Lindsay about D. H. Lawrence. The free-verse poem laments Lindsay's failure to meet Lawrence during Lawrence's visit to Australia - although Lindsay and Lawrence corresponded after Lindsay moved to England, unfortunately they never actually met.

My job for tonight was setting the notes, which taught me that Lindsay, Frank Johnson and Kenneth Slessor edited a literary quarterly called Vision in 1923-24. Thanks as ever to Trove for the bibliographic details. I also learnt that Lindsay lived in a rented house in Bondi before his move to England.

The setting of the poem is nearly finished but it will take some time to set the comprehensive notes and the introduction by John Arnold. Publication will probably be in early 2012.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

MCC library fact sheets

One of the hidden treasures of the Melbourne Cricket Ground is the Melbourne Cricket Club library. For every match day at the MCG the staff and volunteers produce a fact sheet, full of fascinating historical and statistical information about the teams playing that day.

On Saturday night I dropped in as usual to pick up the sheet, but was stopped in my tracks by a lovely exhibit dedicated to Bob Davis. Earlier in the year a friend and I took a tour of The Crooked Staffe exhibition which gave a great insight into the collection of cricket books and artefacts of the MCC library and the MCC museum. If like me you're lucky enough to be an MCC member you can visit the library any time; otherwise I highly recommend you go on a tour.

Here is the link to the online version of the fact sheets. Make sure you check out the fact sheet for the Geelong v Hawthorn match of 11 June 2011, featuring the Bob Davis tribute.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

E M Forster

For some unknown reason I've suddenly developed a hankering to read E.M. Forster again. I haven't read his books for many years and I wonder if I'll like them as much this time around. I don't think I have any on hand in the 'home library', so was pleased to find Howard's End and A Room With a View available via the Stanza app. Looking forward to rediscovering them once I finish The Ice Princess and the L.M. Montgomery books (currently reading Rainbow Valley, only Rilla of Ingleside to go).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grown larger

One of our favourite pastimes while perusing the menu in a restaurant is checking for typos and other oddities. The most consistent error we find is 'Crown larger', which we like to interpret as a misspelling of 'Grown larger', rather than the name of an overpriced beer.

Today I found in my letterbox a free sample of craisins, with a promotional brochure and recipes. I had never heard of craisins until I visited Boston a couple of years ago, where they popped up in a salad, along with edamame. I was very taken with them and delighted to discover that they could be purchased back home under the more prosaic name of dried cranberries.

I was very pleased with the free sample and decided to check out more recipes on the craisin people's website. I found a rather appealing recipe for aubergine crostini with cranberry pesto. Among the ingredients of this recipe is '1 large banquette, sliced thinly'. I imagine it's quite difficult to slice up a banquette, but even if it were possible I doubt if it would go with the craisins.

Monday, June 6, 2011

On the couch

I would like to say I'm watching On the couch while sitting on the couch, but it wouldn't be true. Instead I'm sitting in an armchair with an interesting provenance (if indeed an armchair can be said to have an interesting provenance).

My armchairs first came into my world in 1970-something when a friend offloaded them because she found them too old fashioned. I loved them, but when I moved to a tiny house in Port Melbourne there was sadly no room for them, so they were offloaded to another friend.

Time went by and the chairs were in turn offloaded to a friend of my other friend. And then that friend of my friend decided they were no longer required. Meanwhile I had moved to another small house which luckily had grown enough to accommodate the armchairs. Back they came, in a somewhat sorry state, but with a spot of loving care from an upholstery service, they resumed service.

View from my armchair: the other armchair

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Kardinia Park: the early years

My early experience of Kardinia Park was as a toddler. I faintly remember sitting in my pusher and being totally bored because I couldn't see anything except people's legs. When just a little older, but still not very interested in the games I couldn't see, I used to wander off and climb the pine trees at the river end of the ground, near where the Doug Wade stand is now.

As time moved on and I developed an interest in the game, my sisters and I would get to the ground early so we could sit on the seats around the boundary line. Those were the days of Polly Farmer, Billy Goggin, Paul Vinar (my favourite, for some reason), the wonderful Lord twins, Terry Callan and John Sharrock.

Sadly we moved to Melbourne and the trips to Geelong gradually became less frequent as family commitments took over. We saw Geelong through the dark days of the 70s and 80s mostly at Waverley and the MCG. On one memorable occasion in the 1970s we spent a weekend in Geelong and rejoiced in an unexpected victory over Collingwood at a packed Kardinia Park. We had to hitchhike home because of a train strike, but it hardly seemed to matter.

The later 1980s and early 1990s were the Gary Ablett years. What excitement Gary and Malcolm Blight brought to Geelong! We have rarely missed a game at Kardinia Park ever since.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The pleasure of the table

Tonight I decided to make a dish based on a recipe from one of my favourite Australian cookbooks, The pleasure of the table: the cooking artistry of Wivine de Stoop. This book was published in 1981 and tells the story of a wonderful Belgian lady who gave classical French cooking classes at her home in Blackburn during the 1960s. The book includes photographs of Wivine's lovely home, complete with Aga stove. It also has delightful sketches by Donald Green and a foreword by Penny Smith.

The book is still sometimes to be found in op shops and second hand shops and I encourage you to buy it if you see it.

The recipe I adapted is 'Gratin Maison' which in the original includes hard boiled eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and broccoli baked with a mornay sauce. The eggs are stuffed with a herby breadcrumb mixture. It's a lovely simple, comforting dish and I recommend it to you.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Trams and trains

Today I have travelled on five trams and two trains. Is this excessive, or perfectly ordinary?

1. Riversdale to Richmond
2. Richmond to Flinders Street
3. Swanston Street to William Street
4. Queen Street to Spring Street
5. Wellington Pde to Burnley Street
6. Burnley Street to Camberwell Junction
7. Camberwell Junction to Riversdale

In between all these trips I managed to spend a day in the office, go down to the end of the town to meet #1 son at Mrs Parma's, walk through the gardens to Jolimont, stop off at Dan's for supplies, and be back in time for tea!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Winter in Melbourne

Having spent last weekend at the Gold Coast, I'm way behind with the washing, shopping and other chores. While hanging out yet another load of washing tonight I couldn't help but notice the sound of lilly pilly berries being crunched by hungry fruit bats overhead. I just hope the washing is not covered in purple splotches when I bring it in tomorrow! Gold Coast

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Morgan Bach in Australia

After months of work the latest Ancora Press publication is ready for binding. This is an ambitious production for the team of dedicated hand printers who meet at Monash Caulfield campus most Wednesday nights. The Ancora Press is shared with the Fine Arts department whose students use the facilities to produce artists' books.

Morgan Bach in Australia is a Welsh poem about a mother who grieves for her son when he decides to emigrate to Australia in colonial times. Both the original Welsh text and the English translation have been painstakingly set by hand and embellished with charming decorations.

The book will be available for sale in either a leather- or cloth-bound version. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, April 8, 2011


It must be nearly a year since I got my iPad, and now I wouldn't leave home without it. At the Libraries after the iPad and Top technology trends seminar at the State Library of Victoria yesterday I discovered that now the iPad2 is here, there is a scheme for donating your iPad1 to the poor people. Well sorry poor people, but I'm not ready to give it away just yet.

I find it so useful for work that I've given up taking pen and paper to meetings. Just throw any necessary documents into dropbox, take notes in Simplenote and everything's there on the web to refer to from anywhere.

I've dowmloaded some free e-books, purchased a few from Amazon and iTunes and tried out various different readers. The main worry is working out which book is where, and remembering what I've got - I obviously need to get a cataloguing system! I've also borrowed a few e-books from Melbourne Library Service via Overdrive. This was terribly convoluted to start with, but the Overdrive iPad app makes all the difference. Once it's set up it's a breeze. The main problem is that the content is fairly limited, but I'm sure that will change over time.