So at the godforsaken time of 3:30 this morning, I hopped in a taxi and started my next big adventure. It has been a fairly tough week on the work front and I had actually fallen comfortably asleep around 7, but packing wasn’t done, so I managed to really mess with my circadian rhythms by forcing myself out of bed and finishing what I should have done days ago. Or probably have left it for the morning. Maybe not. Continue reading “Bali. Day 1.”→
Very quick. Before the road work at eleven thirty at night drives me insane. I wish they’d inform those living in the area that they’d be working all night before they actually do.
There’s a new job on the horizon. I’m so very excited. Actually. Excited doesn’t even begin to cover it. I’ll let you know more when pen has been put to paper. It’s all still verbal and electronic. But I have a start date, and that’s got to mean something.
There’s also a new place to live. It’s quiet, and airy. And I’m looking forward to it. There’s also a flatmate – it’s going to be interesting, but there is method to my madness. You see, that grand adventure I’ve been teasing? Well, it’s going to be this. I even have a partner in crime for said adventure, which is both unexpected and really awesome. If we can rap the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song down Cuba street, we can sing the Samurai Pizza Cats theme song down the walkways of Northern Spain. ‘Nuff said.
Even before that, there’s an opera I need to see. In July. So really, flatting is the sensible option.
I’ve also been looking at the logistics of a few planned projects with a certain deadline looming. And seriously, once my glorious Wolle’s Cotton turns up, I’ve got some serious knitting to get done. (Also have some glorious Malabrigo to knit for commissions… so I can’t wait to bring my wool winder out).
In reading news, I sat down and re-read Fahrenheit 451 again yesterday. First time not as a student analysing it. Such a good piece of work. I’ve got Hume’s On Suicide and Forster’s Where Angels Fear to Tread up next.
Also have seen The Debt (excellent), Sherlock Holmes 2 (meh), and Melancholia (brilliant – I must watch it again to see what I missed) so far this year. My to-see list is growing, I’m looking at quality this year…
That’s all for now. I’m moving this weekend, and prepping things for handover at work, and knitting some almost-secret squirrel stuff, and test knitting a rather awesome looking pattern (once I’ve stopped fighting the cast on, but that’s just me – not the pattern).
So I’m still alive, and plotting. Time to see how easy it is to sleep with headphones on…
2011 is nearly over – and in many cases, thank heavens for that. It’s been a very trying year for me, my friends and my family for many, many reasons. But for me, it has been a bit of a sea change as well.
In my first year out of academia (almost to the day now), I have learnt a significant amount of what life is like outside of the ivory tower. And despite academia being my security blanket, I have made a promise to not go back and start something new. And to be honest: holidays, weekends, a stable and above the poverty line salary… wow. It’s amazing. I’ve also started to tick things off my bucket list and set out to do things I couldn’t do as a student. But more on that when I hit my end-of-year review post.
This is more of a summary post of what’s happened and some early thoughts on 2012.
So, since my last post, I have been busy. In the week before my escape to Auckland, I went to Fly My Pretties IV, which was a complete and utter waste of time and money. A friend who suffered through it with me summed it up beautifully, but it’s not a quote to repeat in polite company, nonetheless I still chuckle over it. Slightly more redeeming for NZ Music was my first Flip Grater concert (and the first time I’ve been to Mighty Mighty – good cheese toasties), and then Lisa Crawley, supported by my most favourite duo, Rosy Tin Teacaddy, who didn’t play nearly long enough, at the San Francisco Bath House (first time I’ve been there too). Lisa Crawley has a lovely voice in studio, but her live performances (and her wooden band) need a little more practice in front of people – it was quite painful in places. But music aside (next year I will see more RTT, and hopefully Hera decides to stop avoiding Wellington, and Tiny Ruins comes back. But more on those plans later).
Still, I managed to get a respectable amount of music in before winging it north and giving Auckland some time to try win me over. It hasn’t yet, but I don’t loathe it any more. I’m open to persuasion, as long as the argument is good. And the argument here wasn’t too bad.
In all honesty, Auckland was great. It was a weekend away I needed, and there was a good deal of exploring done. Saturday saw a trip to the La Cigale French Market in Parnell for my weekly shopping (yes, I bought my groceries in Auckland and flew them to Wellington. Your point?) and the Night Market in Pakuranga with good food and millions of people. It also held a trip to the top of One Tree Hill (where I nearly blew away), and Mishi Yarns (where I didn’t buy anything).
Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day (and if gmaps is correct, I did about 15km of walking in the sun in jandals): I walked about the Symonds Street Cemetery, and the Auckland Domain (and Museum).
On a whim (the Santa Parade was on), I caught the ferry across the harbour and took lunch while walking North Head in Devonport (I fell in love with a stunning 2 bedroom unit in a period house right on the water, but I’d need to win lotto to buy it), and got slightly burnt (to go with the tired vocal chords from 2 hours of karaoke the night before).
All in all, I had a fantastic time with one of my favourite people (who gave me Dune as a birthday present = stoked), and a good escape to a city that reminded me almost too much of Sydney in some aspects.
What has followed in the three weeks following has been a flurry of Christmas knitting, time at the gym, time in the pool, and plotting a return to the library fold for 2012. Things are in motion, and I can only hope that it all falls into place.
On the note of falling into place, I’ve decided to set some rough goals for next year, not ironclad plans. I have a delightful pile of fascinating books which I need to read/revisit and haven’t done nearly enough indulging of the ink and paper kind this year, and the knitting may take a bit of a back seat to the books next year too. Yes, I know, it’s inconceivable, but I don’t do audiobooks, and you can’t concentrate on reading and knitting at the same time. Yes, I’ll have a play with the Southern Summer of Socks (again), but I need to finish some of the bigger projects I have started and knit smarter next year. The yarn diet will help this. There will also be more music, more theatre, and hopefully some travel involved. As soon as I renew my passport. There are several bits and bobs I want to complete on my bucket list next year and I have every intention of crossing off at least 5. That’s my mission.
For now though, I have an apartment to continue to pack into boxes in anticipation of quieter pastures next year, seeing as I’ll have little time to really deal with it in January. There’s a few more days of the flurry of chaos before I escape to the Bay, with it’s sun, my puppy, and relative silence. I can’t wait.
What a chaotic week. Between being exhausted and having wonderful friends help me fend off the Black Dog, it’s great to be able to put my feet up, savour some lovely roasted veggies, knit and read. (Short stories this time, something I haven’t done in years and the last lot of short stories I read – I believe – were by Angela Carter…)
So where was I last post? Oh yes… Wollongong. I was taken to the famous and delightful Diggies for brunch, and the weather could not have been more perfect. The surf was tantalising, but not doing much for those optimistically hanging behind the breakers on their boards. But bikinis in the middle of winter was something I found amusing. I must be in Australia!
When I think of the weather and where I was last weekend, and the very wintry day we’ve had in Wellington today, I have to chuckle. The wonders of international travel.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Because the weather was just so perfect, Kylie drove me up to Flagstaff Hill so I could see Port Kembla, the WIN Stadium (home to St George Illawarra), the steel works, Five Islands, and various Aboriginal settlements. One of which, is believed to be tens of thousands of years old, when the ‘Gong was about 20km inland. We watched the container ships cross the horizon, yachts go out, and fishing boats come back in…
Then, we went up to the Mt Keira lookout to survey the Illawarra and escarpment. It was spectacular. Not too big, and not too small…
By this time Kylie was really starting to sound poorly after the freezing night at the rugby and the hectic week she’d had. So we returned to play with dogs, introduce me to Downton Abbey and this season of Masterchef Australia. Downton Abbey was surprisingly good. But I don’t miss owning a tv. Not at all.
But all good things must come to an end, and on the Monday we ambled back up to Sydney to see where Donnaworks and the famed wall of Rowan yarn, before dropping me at the airport to fly home. (They stock Liberty fabric as well, which is pretty, but I’m all about the yarn.) And what a beautiful wall of Rowan it was. See?
Miraculously, no Rowan found its way home with me, but 3 skeins of Colinette Jitterbug (in Aegean, Fire and Vatican Pie), and some Debbie Bliss Andes (Alpacky and Silk in sage) did. As well as my 2 skeins of gorgeous Knitabulous SWS in a midnight blue. I may not have bought clothes this trip, but I think I did very well in the stash enhancement department. Just in time for the TdFKAL too…
All in all, I was ridiculously lucky. I had no issues flying with the ash cloud, and the weather was beautiful. I missed the torrential rain they’d had before and the cold snap that happened after I left. Not to mention the chaos the ash cloud created around me. It has, however, taken me until this weekend to catch up on my sleep, and I still have 3 repeats of my Hemlock to go before the endless casting off begins.
But to important things. Next weekend sees the beginning of that glorious Grandest of Tours, Le Tour de France, and with it, the 5th annual TdF Knit Along. For the fourth consecutive year, I’ve entered the King of the Mountains category, with 4 very impressive mountains (Works in Progress) to finish: My Old Port and Nimue (which I probably won’t get done, but this’ll get them very close to FO), and my second Kells and Temperance socks. They’re all cable knits too! I’ve only just realised this. Haha! This appears to be the year of cables and slip stitches for me. Love it. I am eagerly looking forward to the 3 and a half weeks of sleep deprivation and long nights watching the live stream. And Alpe D’Huez returns for the last stage of real racing (bar the time trial and parade into Paris). So awesome.
So I bid you all a good evening, and in the spirit of yarn and cycling, I leave you with a picture of the Calico and Ivy bicycle…
I have to rethink my stance on Sydney. After years of preferring Melbourne, I think this city has finally grown on me. Or, at least the northern suburbs and the ‘Gong anyway…
I’ll be brief. And write more when I get my thoughts in order.
So, I went to Sydney. DrK did a fantastic job of summing up the adventure here, along with some lovely photos.
Not only was it World Wide Knit in Public day on the Saturday, but it was also Donna’s surprise 39 years and 12 months yum cha birthday party – recorded by Kris for posterity here:
It looked like it was a fantastic lunch. I guess my days of even sneaking a pork bun any more are officially over. But the weather was stunning, and we ended up out on the balcony of Customs House, drinking tea, soaking up the sun, and knitting.
The Sydney WWKIP was well-organised, and well attended, but that won’t stop me (now that I’m safely on this side of the ditch) from saying that I failed to see how knitting in an upstairs hall in a library could be considered public. There were 2 signs on the ground floor to direct people, and that was it. It was a beautiful day, and some of us did manage to get some actual knitting in public done afterwards. As a Stitch’n’Bitch, it was a rollicking success – as a public knit-meet… I’m not entirely sure.
Still, Kylie and I then ambled on over to Homebush to watch the most pedestrian thumping of the Brumbies by the Tahs in the history of the Super 15 (yes, I know what I did there, and it was intentional. Did you spot it?). And then we, freezing, packed into a car and tootled off to Wollongong, where I finally got to meet a rather boisterous puppy, and his two more dignified siblings. I played with Possum and Rico for quite a while – and despite their being exhausted – they were going to play until I gave up…
But I had places to go and things to see…
… and will post more tomorrow.
*My hand luggage was confiscated (briefly) at Sydney Airport while passing through customs, as my 7mm laminated wood needles were considered “too pointy”, and the lady was just plain mean – telling me in great detail the injuries I could do to somebody with them (despite a 75% finished hemlock blanket on the needles). Her supervisor corrected her, and she returned my things, telling me I was lucky “they were just knitting needles…” as if I’d have disguised stakes to kill airborne vampires with time-consuming lace. I’m still incredibly pissed off about the tone and the treatment I got there. But, in all that, Sydney airport kept its unhelpful reputation. That hasn’t changed.
So they let me out of the North Island and back into Middle-earth for a few days. I had to give up sports (except when discussing things with the bus driver and any Aussie boys in the vicinity. Never mind. Aussies. They’re everywhere in the South Island. You can’t walk anywhere without them being underfoot. I am told it’s a similar situation with Kiwis on the Gold Coast. Huh).
I went on an adventure that involved Ninja Sheep (and no, there was no alcohol involved in that discussion), a Ram they call Jayne (never you mind), a teddy bear called Prof, horses named Sam (he’s a movie star) and Biscuit (who wants to be a movie star), lots of snow, even more Mexican food, the endless quest for the perfect hot lemon ginger and honey (Thank Heavens for the Dunedin Farmer’s Market), old friends, talking smack, ducks, hens, goats, train rides, an almost suspiciously Cthol Mishrak-like Christchurch (brownie points for whomever gets that reference), and attempts to enable at every turn, ridiculously early mornings, a Lord of the Rings movie pilgrimage and yarn. Oh, and Davie Bowie runs the best non-soundtrack to *any* muted movie. In saying that however, I will never be able to watch Star Trek in the same light again. Nor will I ever be able to watch Bones or see a pastrami sandwich without cracking up even more than usual (Thank you David Boreanaz).
But even better, I managed to meet another yarn celebrity in the form of Needlefood’s Michelle and stash dive through her yarn (In an amazing display of self-control, I only walked away with 4 skeins). I got to see a few previews and even named two colours. Whether they stick is another story, but I’m a proud owner of “Tardis Blue” sock yarn, and that makes me happy. Michelle is brilliantly fantastic, and your upcoming colours are quite amazing. As is the merino-silk yarn she’s got. Mmmmmmm.
Anyway, you probably deserve some photos. Not too many, I don’t want to bore you, but these are some of the better ones, I think…
There was also knitting. I’ll post soon on that. Yeah, yeah, I know, I’ve promised before, but I really need to. There’s also a cobblestone to talk about that has been severely neglected. Apathy aside, its good to be back. I really did need a holiday. 😉
Oh, and no, despite several unconfirmed sightings, we did not see Strider, Legolas, Gimli or Faramir. The reason why they insisted on running all over snowy mountains still escapes me. They should have really taken the bus. It was far more comfortable…
Perth does not feel like Australia. It practically isn’t. I see know why it is a South African refuge of sorts. I had lunch at a Dome next to a Uniting Church that offers Afrikaans Services on the last Sunday of each month. That took me back somewhat. But along the river – it is stunning. King’s Park – wow. UWA… double wow.
I landed in Perth at 13.10 local time (my body clock was set to 15.10), and caught a bus to the city. We saw “He’s just not that into you” on the plane (does no justice to the book). Nice hotel room. Have spent the equivalent of an hour in my day waiting for transport to and from airports. Not cool. But cheap.
The CBD reminds me a lot of Sea Point. And maybe a little of The Strand/Somerset West. I would have easily been in Cape Town. The weather was beautiful: 26 degrees (in May?!) I caught the 4pm ferry to Fremantle just to see the coast and how things looked along the Swann River. Stunning. If I’d had time the yesterday, I’d have tried to do the ferry up the river too. No luck. As for the ferry trip. it was wonderful. I couldn’t believe the number of jellyfish in the river though. I tried to take a few photos, but none of them came out. Same with the dolphins. There were three schools of dolphins on the way down river. So lovely. And, I watched the sun set on the way back. Perfect timing. It really was gorgeous.
The workshop, we’ll not dwell on that. Let’s just say I now know what the dynamic of a workshop will be when librarians are stuck in a room with their respective managers. It was painful. And very frustrating for me. I was completely destroyed by the time I finished, and crashed very soon afterwards. Had a pretty decent sleep though.
Checked out at 8 this morning, and wow, the city is beautiful when its empty. I’m not familiar with the public transport here, so I headed in the general direction of Crawley (where the university is), up over King’s Park/the Botanic Gardens. I did the Law Walk along the side of the hill – visiting the Bali memorial, as well as WWI & II centographs, and the treetop bridge. I also went through the part destroyed by the fire lit in January – when the Magpie was in Perth for a conference and actually had to evacuate. Seeing how close the fire got – I’m not surprised.
And UWA… wow. It was such a joy to walk around a campus that felt like a campus. And the Arts building, not only boasts an outdoor stage, but its own resident peacock. It really is a stunning campus. Pity about the English department’s propensity to default to Freudian scholarship on most matters. (I’m sure this is a gross generalisation, but this unique trait has shown itself in every graduate I’ve met that’s passed through their archway). But that’s besides the point. Their Tolkien collection is quite impressive, and the amount of books I’ve inter-loaned from the Reid comes second only the the amount from the Matheson. Anyway, its a beautiful campus. I’m glad to have seen it.
And now, now I’m sitting in the boarding lounge, waiting for my plane home. The hours couldn’t come fast enough, to be honest. It’s been a long week. One more seminar next week, on Tolkien and Mythology, and then I can finally get back to the Pensky File. I have missed it.
I made notes to blog while I was flying around, but, as I have a seminar to prepare for on Thursday, I’ve decided to break things up. Here’s my photos and entry on Adelaide. More on Perth later…
Canberra to Adelaide – 5 May.
To miss rush hour, I was at the airport and checked in two hours before my flight. (it took the Magpie an hour to make a 15 minute journey to campus after dropping me off). Not too worry, I enjoy watching people and planes at the departure lounge. And it is a beautiful misty morning – the hills are shades of slate and lavender, the sky is pale and the clouds are puffy. I feel like I’m looking at something between a John Howe watercolour and an Andrew Wyeth landscape. It reminds me – almost of the Blouberg Hills in light and hue. The photo’s I have don’t do it justice – the glass is too dirty, and the detail on my camera not nearly good enough. 20 minutes to boarding – I’m watching them load the baggage into the plane. There goes mine. Good. I wonder what they will feed us – I’m on the schedule between breakfast and lunch, flying Qantas. They’ve pulled up their socks, its actually quite pleasant.
[it was tea, coke, and two cookies – one triple choc, and one apple crumble]
Adelaide – evening 1.
Ah, Adelaide. The most un-Australian city so far – it could be somewhere in the UK but for the sweltering 45 degree summers. I had a good walk around Northern Adelaide, but didn’t venture past the Gallery and University, much to my disappointment, but it was getting dark, and I don’t know this city well enough to take liberties with my exploring just yet.
I walked back up Rundle Mall, found a Borders and managed to grab myself a copy of The legend of Sigurd and Gudrún (no, it wasn’t selling like hotcakes, but this is a very important book to my thesis). Not only is it an examination of two key source texts of my thesis by Tolkien himself, but it holds his own translations and lectures notes on the topic – written around the time he was tackling the Fënorian saga… weeeeeee! Sometimes karma pays you back threefold in ways you can never imagine. Awesome.
I hope to wander down to the southern side of the city after the workshop tomorrow. I’ll see how I go.
They’re expanding the cricket ground, but still, if the MCG is the Mackdaddy of Australian cricket grounds, then Adelaide is the beauty queen. The setting is gorgeous – the Torrens is a lovely river, the greenery, the sculptures, the trees, the cathedral spires (and bells). Sir Donald was there, his cover drive frozen in bronze, as well as a lovely angel keeping an eye on things.
The cathedral was very High Anglican. It has many of the same elements around the high alter as the Southwark Cathedral, and a beautiful little Lady Chapel. Apparently the design and details were based on and created at Exeter Cathedral. I haven’t been there yet, but it would be interesting to find out. A lovely, peaceful building, that belies its age by a few centuries – it wasn’t the type of serenity I expected from a “new” (relatively speaking, the current building is less than 100 years old) colonial cathedral… Anyway.
Rundle Mall has the pig-equivalent to your sheep here in Canberra (no photo, sorry). It is one giant consumerist paradise where all the students go after school/lectures. There are a number of uni residences on the Mall too – so it is chaos.
Spent the even eating an average margarita pizza, watching NCIS and The Bill. Will start ball 3 of my clappy tomorrow. It’s late. And I need to sleep. If only I could…
Adelaide airport, 7 May.
I didn’t get to do any exploring yesterday. I had the best bunch of workshop attendees, and they wore me out. It was freezing yesterday, and I just went back to the room, watched House and crashed. A real shame, I do like Adelaide and would love to explore a bit more. Waiting to board for Perth. A 3 hour flight, and I’ll be on the other coast. The first time I’ve seen or been near the Indian Ocean in 11 years. An odd fact, yes, but the last time I was on this particular ocean, I was 15 and saying good bye to my Grandmother, who had Alzheimers, and was slowly forgetting who we all were. I have a photo of me on the rocks, looking out at the ocean in my office at uni. And now, to be on a different coast, on the other side of the ocean. Well, it has significance for me. I look forward to it. Anyway, time to board…
Whew, last stretch of travels, and then I have a whole 3 weeks before I have to (possibly) do any more. Looking forward to being home and writing. (And explaining my lack of writing to various peoples… possibly not looking forward to that, but anyway).
Melbourne put on a glorious afternoon for me last Thursday, this time my hotel room looked out onto the Intercontinental at the Rialto on Collins (its a beautiful building). I spent my afternoon window shopping for perfume (mom’s learning about perfumes, and I’ve got the nose for the scents she’s wanting to know about – its good fun, actually). Found some real gems that I wouldn’t have looked twice at otherwise. It’s amazing just how much more helpful the Meyer and David Jones staff are in Melbourne than they are here. I spent 15 minutes trying to get service at the Canberra DJ’s today, and was pointedly ignored by several staff. I went and got my stuff at StrawberryNET instead, and it was significantly cheaper. Yay for perfume (Agent Provocateur and Stella by Stella McCartney for me! – for less than the price of one at DJ’s)
Anyway, after my poor olfactory system begged mercy, I went on a yarn expedition. Cleg’s is looking uninspiring, Lincraft was to be avoided at all costs, and so I went for a hunt to see where the new Morris & Sons will be – upstairs from the Dymocks on Collins. Very exciting. I peeked in where I could, and its going to be lovely, light and airy – a real shift from their Sydney store.
What made me even happier was the store next door – Treats from Home that had British Dr Pepper (completely different to the US version, as the UK have banned a few additives that appear in the US), and Tunnock’s Tea Cakes! (unfortunately no Sainsbury’s Creme Caramel’s but I can survive). I left feeling quite happy, and with a 250g bag of Brother Buba’s Mr Miles for the Magpie, I can count myself foodie-stashed. (And we still have 3 tea cakes left).
And it’s off to Adelaide tomorrow. There are a few cathedrals I want to check out, a Mall of some repute and, if I can find some, yarn stores. Then, it’s on to Perth, where I will possibly die of heat after all this glorious cold. Not quite sure what I will do in Perth – maybe a river cruise, a trip to see UWA (apparently it’s lovely), and there’s one of the world’s best wood-fired pizza places in Subiaco, so there is stuff to see, I guess. My Noro clappy is coming with me for mindless knitting (when I’m too tired to read, or write my thesis seminar). So there you have it. Madness and mayhem for another week.
Mom’s Knitted Hug has been finished and sent – I will talk about it once it has arrived at its destination. Also, I finally saw sense with my Stolen Moment’s Wrap, and cast off to use it as a blanket. The yarn requires 10mm needles, the pattern calls for 12mm needles, and I was using the largest I had – 8mm. It’s a beautiful little lap rug – blocking to 88cm x 44cm and the pattern is gorgeous. I’ll do it again, with 8ply on 8mm needles to get the required drape. I still have 2 and a half balls left of Big Softie – which washed beautifully – I wonder what I’m going to do with the rest…
Anyway – its an early night tonight for me. I’ll try make notes of my road trip for your entertainment as I go. Until next week…