Cornwall summertime

Castle Cary wildness

It surprises me when the dirt jumps out in an unexpected place. A red gash on the green face of the hillside. Red dirt like the wild Australian outback hiding underneath the serene English landscape.

A llama sits beside a horse eating grass. I wonder if they notice they are not the same animal.

I marvel at the untameable. Where I have always struggled to get a bloom in a small garden, here the wildflowers are just that: wild, voracious blossoms exploding their pinks and yellows over stone walls and winding train tracks.


Coffee, Paris and the blues

Parisian Sunday markets

Parisian Sunday markets

With the collar of my grey wool coat popped up against the cool fingers of autumn, I wander around the stalls displaying their purple carrots, beautifully dirty beetroots and shouting Parisians selling their wares.

Despite my shoestring budget hanging on by the thinnest of threads I purchase an espresso in a paper cup and a juicy orange that the stallkeeper lobs at me with a cheeky grin, knowing I can’t understand a word he says.

Standing on the sandstone brick edge of a garden, a foot above everyone else, I spy a lone man with a felt hat and a surly face playing the blues. He is soon joined by a double bass player and I stand listening, enjoying the weak sunlight and the caffeine buzz.

My fiver drops into the guitar case during a cigarette break, and I say bonjour.

‘We’re playing tonight’ they say and write down the address and the metro stop of a bar way out on the outskirts of the city.

At 9pm I find myself on a deserted street, a pre-Christmas market packing up, and gypsies quietly watching me trying not to look lost. A policewoman gives me directions. The warmth and music, trickling out, explodes into the wild blues as I open the door.

Spontaneous blues on a homemade banjo

Spontaneous blues on a homemade banjo

They remember me, and wave from stage as I walk in. I feel like a local, in a big city, far from home. A girl in a flower dress who has moved from Oregon with a homemade banjo and not much else, shares the back wall with me. I think she is the coolest thing. She has been busking at the Sacre Coeur and when they ask her if she wants to play a tune with them, she does.

The next night we meet again in a wine shop that has been turned in to a bar by night. And they jam together by candlelight. While I drink red wine and think about old lovers and chance meetings and the future unknown.

11 things to do in Sydney under $11


The creepy stare-face at Luna Park

1. Grab an ice-cream (it will probably be about $11 knowing Sydney tourist prices!) and stroll through Botanic Gardens and around the Opera House. Or for those with a penchant for a drink with a view, walk the botanic gardens, ending at the opera Bar for a beer or wine under the Opera House sails with a front row view of the Harbour Bridge. Best on a sunny day – not too much cover in the Gardens if it rains!

2. Best swimming holes. Either for fitness buffs or to absorb some rays there are some great options. Andrew Boy Charlton pool $6. Swim at North Sydney Olympic pool with view of Harbour Bridge $6.90. Wylie’s Baths Tidal Pool at Coogee – $4.50

3. Enter the creepy stare-face mouth of Luna Park. Entry is free. One ride is $10

4. Stroll – or power walk with your dog and your ipod like the locals – from Bondi to Bronte. It won’t cost you a dime and the view is a million bucks. Tuck a fiver in your pocket for a coffee at Tamarama Beach cafe on the way. Stick to the left to avoid the ire of the joggers.

5. Walk around old World War 2 gun emplacements at Fort Banks, La Perouse. Underground bunkers and tunnels amongst beach scrub. It’s tricky to find, you definitely won’t suffer from crowds. Take your own water and a snack.

6. Enjoy a chuckle, (or an awkward silence) at Stand up Comedy at Friend in Hand in Glebe on Thursdays. $10 suggested donation. Cowper St, Glebe.

7. Get your art on with some naked breasts at life drawing at the Arthouse Hotel. 6-8.30pm on Monday nights. The $5 entry fee leaves you change for a wine that will help you to draw! Pitt St, Sydney

8. Embrace your inner bookworm at Ampersand Cafe on Oxford St, Paddington, and now also on Crown St, Surry Hills. Have a coffee and lunch while sitting amongst the book shelves and reading what you want. New and used books. They also have events like book clubs and live music. Check out their blog.

9.  Make like Alice in Wonderland and have a date with the White Rabbit. The White Rabbit Gallery that is. Contemporary Chinese art with an emphasis on Contemporary. Completely rehung every six months, it presents sculptures, paintings, drawings, installations, video, animations, embroidery and mechanical works. Stop at the tearoom downstairs for some refreshments. Admission is FREE!

Thu-Sun 10am-6pm. 30 Balfour St  Chippendale NSW

10. Stick with the Chinese theme and get thee to Chinatown for some cheap Ramen. Huge helpings, and some food court style places are licenced! So you can enjoy a beer with your soup.

Haymarket, Chinatown

11. It may be a Friday but don’t let that stop your brain from ticking over at the Powerhouse Museum. Check out FastBREAK – a monthly food with thought event. Each month, on the last Friday, five young entrepreneurs from various industries tackle big questions with five-minute responses. Then, over breakfast, participants are invited to share ideas and experiences in conversations with the five speakers. $10 covers coffee, tea and pastries.

DIY Rainbow Crossing

Loving the passion of this weekend's DIY Rainbow-fest

Loving the passion of this weekend’s DIY Rainbow-fest

When the NSW State Government ordered the official rainbow crossing on Oxford street to be ripped up sneakily and suddenly one night, despite a petition from thousands, Sydney-siders decided that rather than get angry, they would get chalking.

Over the past two days, chalk rainbows have been emerging from behind the dark clouds of bureaucracy all over the city. Even all over the country.

I came across this one just off Victoria Street in Darlinghurst.

A $2 bucket of rainbow chalk has never been so inspiring! I love that the weather has come to the party too, turning on a magical sunshiney day perfect for chalking. I’ve just bought a bucket, so I’m off to paint the town rainbow!

8000 “likes” on fb page DIY Rainbow Crossing in 2 days – this is one petition that has legs!

Digging up the rainbow

A quick nude

A sharp pencil demands to be used!

A sharp pencil demands to be used!

A friend called for a coffee and I was dressing in my appropriate coffee-date attire. I noticed a pencil I had lost months ago lying under my chest of drawers.

It was so sharp and fresh and fat and begging to be used.

I could not walk out the door while it looked up at me and called my name. I had to sit for a minute or two and scratch out a picture before I could leave.

Is this crazy? I just could not leave the beauty of the sharp lead laying idle for one more second!

My friend responded with an eye roll.

Bigger is not always better

Straight from the garden

Straight from the garden

I’m always reminded of how far removed I am from the growing of real food whenever I go back to visit my parents in the country. My supermarket vegetables are huge and shiny. Their garden capsicums are tiny, their oranges sometimes look like lemons and their apricots have usually always been thoughtfully sampled by birds first.

But they all taste bloody delicious. They taste like what they are supposed to taste like. Tomatoes taste like more than water. Strawberries taste like, well, strawberries!

Shop at local farmers markets for in season produce and embrace the quirky-looking taste sensations!

I love Carriageworks in Sydney, every Saturday. My fave.

… and Newcastle. Most Sundays.

Melbourne looks pretty good too.

Spontaneous Road Trip!

Being made redundant … Con – No income. Pro – Driving off into this wide brown land at a moments notice! There is nothing like traversing hundreds of kilometres, hour after hour to make one feel small. Not that there is anything wrong with small.

Small while lunching with the Apostles.

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Small while running on beautiful deserted beaches with only your footprints that last no more than a minute before being wiped away.Image








Small while speeding down a straight line for hours, passing no one.