Variation on an eclair

Our regular lunchtime haunt on weekends is the Pig and Pastry café, Petersham. After enjoying savoury dishes we normally crave a chocolate treat. 

Last Sunday we were not disappointed; a variation on an eclair. None of the traditional choux pastry and cream was to be seen. Instead, alternating blobs of milk and white chocolate cream sandwiched between Genoese fingers topped with chocolate icing. Delicious!

One Central Park

Slowly capturing views of this growing tower, this is the east face. I like the contrast of the neighbouring sun kissed terracotta buildings against living greenery. The north and west faces can. E seen in Vertical Garden and Poetry of people and place
Built on the site of a brewery that was hidden from view by a high concertinaed brick wall, One Central Park rises above eateries, design studios and fashion stores located in the podium. 
The Old Clare Hotel, seen in the middle of the picture is one of the heritage buildings that have been retained as part of the 5.8 hectare site in Chippendale, Sydney. 

Experimental walk

Rear lane, Newtown

I was at my physical fittest when I walked for forty minutes to work and the same amount home again every day. Increasing living costs and a change of employer has led to living further out from the city and a reliance on public transport. I try to incorporate some exercise into my journey by catching the bus from a stop further from home, walking for longer than is necessary between buses and getting off early on the return trip. 

As the start of a new academic year looms my thoughts are taken up with how to avoid the morning frustration of having to wait for ten to twenty minutes for the express bus from Central Railway Station. The queue stretches around a quarter of Belmore Park to facilitate the transportation of ten plus thousand students each morning. 
There are a few options available to me, including a ten minute walk down the road to catch the 370. The route is picturesque, zigzagging from Leichhardt, through Annandale and Glebe to Newtown. As the total journey time can take over one hour on one bus I opt for a split journey that includes joining the 370 later along its meandering path. 
This morning leaving the house at 8:15, I catch the bus from the stop nearest home on the Parramatta Road. Alighting at around 8:30, I walk a few steps along Mallet Street to be greeted by the familiar sound of song birds that reside in the area. Also, the electric buzz of cicadas in the trees of Camperdown Park; it’s going to be a hot day! 
Being on a schedule I refrain from stopping to take pictures every few steps as I rediscover the quiet backstreets of Newtown. Row upon row of simple Victorian terraced houses squeezed into every available space and pockets of vegetation jostling for a spot to burst forth. 
When I reach King Street I am confronted by the thunder of cars, buses and trucks speeding towards the city. This is an aspect of the suburb I don’t miss. 
Taking my place in the shade of the awning I forget to look around to check if it’s safe to stop. The look on the face of a young skateboarder barely missing me lets me know that it was not. 
The journey from Newtown to work usually takes twenty minutes. Queuing for the traffic lights as we approach Botany Road in Alexandria has quickly eaten into this overly ambitious target. I reach work at 9:50, an hour after boarding the bus. Even though I managed to take a rather lovely twenty minute walk the outcome of my experiment was disappointing. Maybe I can improve on the overall time by setting out earlier from home. 
 

White knight

Knight in white shining armour

I humbly offer thanks for

Rescuing me from storm’s grip. 

Although wind did whirl and whip,

With torrential rain pouring. 

Chill of sodden clothes gnawing;

Welcome sight to see your face. 

Now dry in warmth of your embrace. 

Mutually beneficial 

There are people in my life who push my buttons, causing me to question my words and actions. Yesterday for example, the first email of the day was from a work colleague asking for  a meeting to discuss myself and my team moving out of our offices. Some of their people would be moving in next week. They appeared in my office, shortly after receiving news that I knew nothing about the relocation. We exchanged points of view in a jovial manner. I offered one of the desks in the area for one of their team members, as a stop gap measure.

A small time later I received another email from them, letting me know that they had no intention of kicking us out. I know that they are not the catalyst, there are more senior powers at work. The communication ended with the following “Sorry for the stressful start to your morning.” What had I done to elicit this statement? I had been reasonable, calm, and accommodating in my discussion with them; in no way stressed.

An article from fastcompany.com What Happened When I Stopped Saying “Sorry” at Work For a Week explains the positive impact on the apologiser of replacing “sorry” with “thank you”. If my colleague had thanked me rather than apologising, I would also have been spared my own negative feelings of self doubt.

Renaissance woman on a bus

This butterfly reminds me of a morning journey in Spring when I experienced living art. 

I look up to see an attractive woman in her early forties glide down the aisle with the grace of a ballet dancer.  

I notice she wears silver sneakers without laces and black stockings beneath a soft black, calf length, bias cut skirt. The combination provides contrast to a loose fitting, burnt orange, wide necked, bat wing sleeve jumper. 

An oversized black leather shoulder bag guides my attention to the glimpse of a tattoo of ancient script on her right forearm and tasteful antique gold rings, four on each hand. 

Dark brown hair is scraped back into a small tidy bun. Gold dropper earrings with pale yellow stones, maybe citrine hang from sensual lobes. A clear Mediterranean complexion provides the backdrop for thin high arched brows above dark accepting eyes, a slight shadow of tiredness below. A slim refined aquiline nose carries my gaze to unsmiling dark blue-purple lips. 

I realise this person is an ideal subject for a modern variation of a renaissance portrait. 

Two towers

George Street entrance of Anglican, Christ Church St Laurence in the foreground, completed in 1841. Signifying a transition from Old Colonial Gothic to the Free Victorian Gothic style. 

Faced with this view along Valentine Street, you could be forgiven for thinking that the 1921, Free Classical style clock tower of Central Station is part of the same building. Pitt Street running parallel to George separates the two sandstone buildings. 

The time is nearing 4:00 pm in Sydney, the temperature is a scorching 39oC. 

Dreaming


Dreaming last night, I walked through a door into a white painted room. I noticed an ABBA Studios sign on the left hand wall. Turning to look at the sign I realised band members, Björn, Benny, Frida and Agnetha were sitting casually underneath on separate pieces of furniture. While retrieving a mobile phone from my right hip pocket, so that I could take a picture, the artists moved away. 
In my mind I could hear the haunting sound of a flute playing the track, Eagle. This song has been with me for almost 40 years, being one of my favourites on ABBA: The Album, released in the UK in 1978. Listening to Eagle always gives flight to the endless possibilities available to me, through my thoughts. The story of my connection with this album is described in Thank you for the music

Artwork information from Wikipedia 

Polar’s official cover featured an entirely white background, and is the basis for current CD versions. However, Epic Records’ original UK release of the LP featured a blue background on the front cover, fading to white at the bottom. It also featured a gatefold sleeve. The back cover was altered, incorporating a similar photo of ABBA to that used elsewhere in the world for the inner sleeve, and referencing tracks included in ABBA: The Movie. The inner gatefold was designed to look like an air mail envelope, similar to the style later used for Gracias Por La Música and even had a photo of ABBA incorporated into a stamp in the corner.

Coppiced or pollarded?


The pruning of the lower branches of this tree has resulted in vertical growth. There are many examples of them in Petersham Park, Sydney, Australia. What a journey we have been on this morning, to find out the definition of this form of pruning! Is it coppicing or pollarding? The Ultimate Practical Guide To Pruning and Training by Richard Bird and multiple Google searches confirm the following:

  • Coppicing is the cutting back almost to ground level of all the main shoots of a multi-stemmed tree. 
  • Pollarding is exactly the same except the cutting takes place at some height above the ground. 

Why do it? 

This traditional technique enables the growth of larger trees in a small space as well as producing good foliage. The variety of tree and frequency of pruning determines the thickness and most appropriate use for the timber. Thinner frequently pruned Willow branches can be used for basket weaving while thicker Oak branches produced by longer period between prunes can be used for construction.