Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter, footy's back, summer's gone

 We didn't do it! Let us out!

The extra-long Easter weekend has arrived. Four days of no work. Woo! Luke and I are going for a drive to Bendigo tomorrow to visit my friend and her two boys. We're going to make a (probably very long) day of it by travelling via Trentham, Daylesford and Castlemaine. I'm a little bit in love with central Victoria after our recent visits to Maldon and Clunes, and my day trip to Castlemaine a couple of years ago. I discovered from Trentham's website that it has Victoria's longest single drop waterfall - imaginatively named Trentham Falls - so we'll be stopping off there. 

Apart from that, we haven't planned anything, which I quite like. 

The football season (AFL, that is) started tonight. I'm not a huge footy fan, but there's something comforting about coming home on a nippy autumnal evening, plopping onto the couch and watching the football on TV. Well, Luke watched it (and yelled at the TV) while I messed about on my laptop.

Speaking of autumn, it looks like the hot weather has finally nicked off so we can now properly appreciate the loveliness of autumn. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cool, coincidental sign find, cheezlova

Ghost city 

After a record-breaking number of days over 30 degrees and uncomfortably warm nights, this weekend has been cool. Cool enough to snuggle under the doona at night and cool enough to wear tights and boots (not to bed). And it rained again. It was fabulous.

This afternoon

Hardy hydrangea survived the heatwave

I spotted a ghost sign on Malvern Road in Hawksburn yesterday which has been revealed by the demolition of the neighbouring building. I climbed up on a retaining wall to try to  get a photo of the full sign, but no luck. 

Perdriau Master Cord Tyres

Coincidentally, it's just across the road from Beaurepairs, where we were headed when I saw it. 

We went for a wander while the tyres were being seen to. We hesitated in front of My Bookshop because we each have a pile of unread books, but we couldn't resist. I bought another word book with a very wordy title: Let's Bring Back...The Lost Language Edition: A collection of forgotten-yet-delightful words, phrases, praises, insults, idioms, and literary flourishes from eras past.   While flicking through it in the store, I found a funny word for canoodling (funnier even than 'canoodling'), but now I can't find it. I'll be sure to bring it to your attention when I locate it again.  

It's a cute little book with a hard, embossed cover and a ribbon to keep your place. I do like a book with a ribbon bookmark.

We went to The Astor last night to see Hitchcock's North by Northwest with Cary Grant, which I hadn't seen before. I enjoyed it, especially the meldodramatic music. It's always nice to visit the old art deco cinema, and fitting to take in an old flick. I had a choctop and Luke had a beer.

I invented a dessert today. I call it cheezlova - meringue nests with vanilla cheesecake filling, served with fresh raspberries. I made the filling, but not the nests. It was tasty, but not really an improvement on pavlova or cheesecake. At least I won't die wondering...


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My recent ghost sign finds

I went to the Ghost Sign Hunters seminar this afternoon, which I really enjoyed. I'm not going to write about that tonight though, partly because my brain's tired and partly because there's a bunch of things I want to follow up on before I blog about it.

Instead, here are my recent ghost sign finds:

 Chinatown, Little Bourke Street

Hong Company, also in Chinatown

This is at the top of Little Bourke Street. It's too ghostly to read

It looks like the sign predated the windows, which seems odd. 

Monopole Magnum Cigars, Swan Street, Richmond

Chapel Street, Prahran. I think there's three old signs here -
 the two obvious ones, and another underneath the 
Amcal Chemist sign. I can only make out the words
 'store' and 'wear' on the right

Little Collins Street, on the tall garden wall of the Melbourne Club.
 Alex was probably destined to work with feet...

I've seen this sign on the corner of Punt Road and Rowena Parade 
in Richmond  a dozen times while driving past, and finally took 
a photo last week on the way home. I didn't know exactly what it said
 until today, when the small sign on the bottom right in the 
photo below caught my eye at the ghost sign seminar. 

My photo (of Stefan Schutt's photo) isn't very good, but thanks 
to Stefan I now know it's a sign for Orlando Wines. These 
signs are in Surrey Hills and were revealed by the demolition 
of the neighbouring building

Taken through the car window while stopped briefly at 
traffic lights on Bridge Road in Richmond. It's a bit far 
gone too. What's that thing on the left? A pear? 

This was my sole find on Bourke Road in Camberwell. 
The bottom line says 'estate agents'

Mostly hidden from view on Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn

Another partial view on Burwood Road, Hawthorn

Yet another tea sign...

...and its neighbouring instant coffee sign.

I spotted this from the footpath on Glenferrie Road, near
 the train station.  I thought I'd get a better view from the train 
platform which is elevated above road level, but it was still 
obscured. I did get a quick glimpse as I went past on the train - 
it says 'building'. 

One of my favourites from Sunday's sign hunt
 on Glenferrie Road. 'Saratay's Blue Stores. Frocks 
Coats Costumes Value Quality Satisfaction'

And I've saved the best til last. I can't make out the top bit,
 but I'm fairly sure the bottom reads 'Beenie's Horse Rugs 
Verandah Blinds a Specialty'!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ghost sign hunting, decluttering, muddling and sipping

There was a story in The Age yesterday about the Ghost Sign Hunters seminar I'm going to tomorrow. I've never really thought too much about why I'm a ghost sign fanatic, but Stefan Schutt's comments in the story resonated with me, particularly the bit about it being a response to rapid urban renewal.  

As you probably know, I love the aesthetics of urban decay. I get excited about rusting roofs, weathered wood, crumbling houses, peeling paint and old brickwork. They have so much more character than modern gleaming glass towers and boxy buildings. My obsession with ghost signs sprang from that, but I also like that old signs are a link to the past. They're survivors!  It's almost a minor miracle so many old signs are still around.  

And of course there's the thrill of the discovery, which is probably akin to a collector finding a fantastic new addition to their collection while poking about in a second hand shop - only you can't take old signs home with you.  

On the hunt

I went to the Camberwell Market yesterday, but it was too hot and too crowded so I spent the rest of the day wandering about hunting for ghost signs.  Burke Road in Camberwell was quite a disappointment, but I found a few gems along Glenferrie Road in Hawthorn. I also spotted this one: 

This isn't a great example of an old sign - the building isn't a health food shop anymore, but the sign isn't that old and it's still in pretty good nick. I'm only mentioning it because the Staff of Life was owned by Julie Stafford, who was my art teacher in my first years of primary school. She also published a book of the same name. I think she was one of the pioneers of the health food movement in Australia. (Stay tuned for my next post with photos of all my recent sign finds.)

Look! Up in the sky! 

I saw another circumhorizontal arc (rainbow clouds) on Saturday, only a few hundred metres from where I first saw one two years ago. I was sitting outside at my friend Lauren's engagement party at a Docklands bar when I looked up and saw it. "Oh, look! A circumhorizontal arc!" What a nerd.


I spent this afternoon cleaning out my wardrobes. Yep, I know how to make the most of a public holiday. I do love a good declutter though. It's not that long since I last did it, but there were lots of clothes I hadn't worn since my last declutter (or the one before that or the one before that etc), so I decided it was time to get brutal. In the end I wasn't quite brutal - I couldn't bear to part with a couple of things - but I was certainly harsh. My underwear and socks/hosiery drawers are so neat and organised! I'm particularly pleased with my efforts at categorising my socks, tights and stock--- yeah, I should probably stop there. Moving right along...


We're in the midst of a heatwave (Autumn? What autumn?). I've been coping by sipping on tonic with fresh muddled* lime juice and mint leaves, picked fresh from our little herb garden. Deliciously refreshing.  * smooshed with the pestle from my mortar and pestle.  

I made yummy pizzas for dinner topped with tomato, bocconcini and basil also from our garden. Apart from the coriander, our herbs are thriving. 

We had raspberries, strawberries and whipped cream for dessert. Nothing homegrown in that, but also delicious.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Another long weekend, kinda fun, home grown

Look how leggy I am! 
And how tiny my head is!

I have another four-day weekend coming up. I was going to arrange to leave early next Tuesday for the Ghost Sign Hunter event, but then I realised Monday is a public holiday for Labour Day so I'm taking the whole day off. A four-day weekend and a three-day week. Wooh. 

I started a new program at the gym tonight. It wasn't quite as hard as I expected and it's even sort of fun. There's one exercise where I throw a ball at a wall and another one that's like climbing a rope, only I'm sitting down and the rope's on a loop.  I climbed 100 metres. 

I used some basil from our herb garden in my lunchtime salad today. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Warrandyte adventure

We went on an adventure to the outer suburb of Warrandyte today.  It's more like a small town in the bush than a 'normal' suburb. It's the place where gold was first found in Victoria (in 1851), setting off the  gold rush. I didn't know that, but I did know that it was a nice spot to visit - I'd been twice before, but ages ago.

An old house-cum-shop on the main street

The Yarra, the river I walk along on my way to work, also runs through Warrandyte, but it looks a lot different. It's bushy, there's no paved paths and you can easily get to the water's edge. It was a warm day and a few kids were having a paddle. There's also gentle rapids in places.


We had lunch and meandered about a few shops and a gallery before taking a stroll along the river. We saw a lone duck zoom past, riding the rapids. I imagine it was thinking, "Wheeeeee!" as it went down river. It was very funny, but too fast to catch on camera. 

After leaving Warrandyte we headed towards Kangaroo Ground - we didn't really have a plan, we just got in the car and drove. We stopped to take in the view from the memorial tower. 

The city in the hazy distance

17 miles away

Then we visited Sugarloaf Reservoir, which is one of the dams that supplies water to Melbourne. 

I was surprised we could actually walk down to the water's edge in some places. Uh, sorry, Melbourne water drinkers, but I dipped my toe in it. The banks are quite rocky. 

I found a stone shaped like a stone-age dagger. I bought it home as a souvenir.

There's some nice little golden elms at the reserve. I love the way it looks when the sun shines through elm leaves.

On the way back we stopped again in Kangaroo Ground to take some photos of a rural vista of rolling hills, dams, a few sheep and cows and rusty old buildings. 

It would be really pretty when the grass is green. (Related: it's officially autumn! Yay!)

Old buildings

Lucky I didn't take this shot a few seconds later 
(cow pat alert)