Summer, where did you go?

Oh dear, I hope that three months between posts is not the new normal. But it has been a full three months as expected back in my January post.

A frantic pace was maintained by Roo, Giulia (la cugina) and I with performances and events galore during the March Madness season in Adelaide.

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I Cugini, Giulia and Lou

Giulia’s two month visit has come and gone in a flash. We managed to get to Melbourne together for four days and to meet up in Sydney after Giulia’s Outback Tour.

Giulia and I volunteered as marshals for the Adelaide Fringe Opening Night Parade and that was a blast to get a front row view of the homegrown colour and spectacle that we have all come to expect from the parade.

Roo, bestie Kat and I saw Neil Young with Crazy Horse and were blown away by the musicianship and Neil’s strong clear voice. A truly heartfelt performance.

At the Adelaide Festival of the Arts, Giulia and I saw a few performances but the standout for me was one I had not planned to go to but am glad I did – the wonderfully skilled dancer Sylvie Guillem.

The summer was very hot this year so our garden was not as generous as in previous years. We did manage some decent tomatoes though. And I once again made the recipe called Tomato Party from Plenty, a cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi.

Tomato Party!
Tomato Party!

Before Giulia left we got in a few more day trips, to wineries in McLaren Vale and as we usually do, we popped over to Port Willunga for a little beach walk.

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Port Willunga Beach cliffs

Since G wasn’t flying back to Rome until the evening we decided to have a good day of bike riding to tire her out for the journey. We rode to Henley Beach then home again and had a beautiful day for it.

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Bike ride along coast – West Beach, Adelaide

Daylight savings has now ended and my bike ride home will be in the dark. The view from the bikeway over South Road at Glandore makes for a lovely end to a work day.

We now have a beautiful Indian Summer in progress but it’s just a matter of weeks before the real chill settles over Adelaide. It’s all good!

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Almost home when I get here…

Back to normal?

So, the last 6+ weeks have been all about our trip to India and Malaysia. The planning, doing and the posting of photos and memories. But I’ve been back at work a week now and it’s time to take stock and think about the year ahead.

At a glance it’s like most years: It all starts with summer, Roo’s Birthday, Australia Day, Anniversary, The Tour Down Under and Big Day Out.  That’s just January.  But wait, there’s more.

February brings cousin Giulia from La Bella Italia! The Adelaide Fringe opens (yay), and the Turner exhibition commences at the Art Gallery of SA. Alongside the Fringe is always the Garden of Unearthly Delights. The Fringe and the Garden span into the first half of March.

March brings the Adelaide Festival of the Arts, which features some ‘out there’ stuff this year.  Looking forward to seeing some of the free stuff as well as paid performances. Free includes opening night with Paul Kelly and Neil Finn and on my to see list of paid things is Laurie Anderson with Kronos Quartet!  And the late night club at the Festival, Barrio must be visited this year. Oh, and did I mention Womadelaide?  Clearly Adelaide’s March Madness is in no danger of going away. Refer my past post on this subject.

So maybe the first quarter of the year is not a good example of ‘normal’.  But it’s the best time to be in Adelaide.  I’m sure glad to be home for a spell.

March Madness, Adelaide Style

It’s almost over for me, the March madness. And it’s both a relief and a cause of sadness.  Relief because I need my beauty rest and sadness because the end of the festival season means the long summer evenings are soon to be gone. The Adelaide Fringe and Womadelaide are events I participate in each year. The Fringe finishes today. I attended a nice mix of comedy, music, visual arts and avant-garde performances.  Justin Townes Earl at The Governor Hindmarsh Hotel (The Gov) was a highlight of Adelaide Fringe 2011 for me, oh and getting commandeered into pulling a percussion float at the Fringe Parade…

Yesterday I went to Womadelaide.  I used to go for the whole weekend but it’s expensive and I have become more strategic in my selection of must-see acts.  This year I really wanted to see Martha Wainwright and Asa.  Fortunately they were doing main-stage shows on the same day.  And every year there is at least one act that is new for me and that just blows me away.  This year that act was 17 Hippies, direct from a cold and wet Berlin to one of Adelaide’s brilliant late summer days.

Here are some photos from Womadelaide on this perfect Saturday.

Womadelaide 2011 - 17 Hippies
Womadelaide 2011 - 17 Hippies
Womadelaide 2011 - Asa in a quieter moment
Womadelaide 2011 - Martha Wainwright
A perfect Saturday evening at Womadelaide 2011

See my Flickr site for more photos from Womadelaide and Adelaide Fringe 2011.

Adelaide Fringe parade cancelled due to rain

Who would have thought there would be enough rain in Adelaide in February to cancel a parade? Well no one! But rain it did, pretty much all day.

The amazing king and queen were left hanging from the crane for a few hours and we grabbed this snap as we were leaving the muster area.

The decision to cancel would not have been taken lightly as the event has been in the planning for some months.  I really feel for the artists, designers, crew and participants who worked so hard and long.  But in the interest of safety there was really no other option.  The rain was relentless in the hours when we were to be helping the participants prepare.

Fellow volunteer and niece, Emily, and I made our way up Rundle Street through the gathered throng of Fringe merry makers and consumed possibly the world’s worst burrito at a wannabe Mexican place called Zambrero.  I mean, who makes green salsa out of jalapeños rather than tomatillas? Who uses pickled jalapeños? Who uses sticky Basmati rice in Mexican? And where the heck was the cumin? I don’t usually bother giving a place a bad rap.  I usually just don’t go back.  But don’t proclaim on your website that you’re “the Best Fresh Mexican Grill in the free world”! Hell, an Old El Paso Burrito Kit would have had better flavours!

Lucky that Roo and I started our Fringe experience last night with a visit to the Bosco Theatre in the Garden of Unearthly Delights to see Sam Simmons’ very special brand of funny.  And a few drinkie-poos under the stars after.

Ah well, the weather is bound to get better for the rest of the Fringe and we’ll be out there.

Geez 2011 – you have some catching up to do

Other than a photo on my bike ride home, I haven’t posted a blog since the first of the year. Oh dear, what’s going on? Last year I was quite prolific, at least for me…

It’s not that nothing is happening this year; maybe I am just adjusting to being back in Australia and back at work after my fabulous 12 weeks off, with 10 of those weeks spent in Italy (view Italy blog here).

Whatever it is, I seem to not be finding time. And now the Adelaide Fringe volunteer work I do in the lead-up to the Fringe Opening Night Parade, is upon me. Of course there’s always the day job at  ‘the documentation factory’ to keep me truly busy.

Been making ready a room for Emily, my niece who is arriving in less than 24 hours now. and it is looking pretty tidy! We are sure to have some blog-worthy adventures over the coming months…And well, maybe now that I have admitted I have a problem, I can start to work on it!  Here’s to my blog stats for 2011.

Central market Adelaide

Fringe fever – Adelaide is buzzing

Adelaide in February; that can signify many things. Hot weather, tomato harvesting, dining outdoors, visits to the beach, ice cream and most of all, the Adelaide Fringe.

As mentioned in a earlier post, Adelaide’s Fringe is second in the world only to Edinburgh, Scotland, and is the largest fringe festival in the southern hemisphere. We are proud of that.  Adelaide gets ‘dissed’ by our Eastern States friends as a place for newly weds and nearly-deads.  Well, we put up with it because we know that living well is the best revenge!

I have seen some amazingly creative floats and parade props being built at the Fringe Factory Workshop.  The creative team is leading community groups to help each group’s message come alive. And there are some funky floats and performances tying the Space theme together. The public is in for a real treat. So get out there  and enjoy the opening night parade and party on 19 Feb.

Read more here:

Adelaide Fringe Opening Night

See you there!

Beauty is everywhere

Life is full of beautiful moments and sights. Sometimes you just need to look in your own back yard.

The Adelaide summer has brought out the best in this Bougainvillea plant in our garden.  It starts out slightly coppery and then goes  hot pink.  I am overwhelmed by its capacity to bloom about 9 months out of the year. No matter how hard Andrew trims it back each autumn, it come back hardy as ever.

Only a few houses away on the corner are 4 specimens in different colours.  Perhaps it’s time to take some cuttings and share the riot of colours around the neighbourhood!

Another beautiful thing is our cat Speedy.  He is very small for a 2.5 year old and he is as cheeky as they come.  He has two speeds, fast and sound asleep.  Here is a beautiful sleeping moment.

speedy and the austria poster

At 2.5 years old, our two cat brothers, Speedy and Jose Gonzalez, are inclined to fight a bit.  But every now and then they just hang out together.  Andrew captured them last week resting on the sun lounge in the garden. Amigos.

lounge cats

The tyranny of the day job

In itself, my job at the documentation factory is not that bad.  I am currently redesigning forms for a credit union using Adobe LiveCycle Designer.  “Designing forms, how boring” I hear you say.  But, believe me, if you like technology and getting to play with new software, and feel good about process improvements and that sort of thing, it’s actually a great job.  In the main, the people I work with are funny and interesting and have interesting skills and knowledge to bring to the team.

The problem is that I spend five days a week at work and there are so many other things I want to pursue.  I am not getting any younger and the days are not getting any longer than the standard 24 hours. Most days go by so quickly. I have not written in this blog since the new year’s long weekend ended and I went back to work. Perhaps I am just not disciplined enough.

On a more positive note, I began my stint for 2010 as a volunteer with the Adelaide Fringe working in the workshop where the opening night parade floats are built. Adelaide’s Fringe is second in the world only to Edinburgh, Scotland. And it’s the largest fringe festival in the southern hemisphere.

Some familiar faces at the workshop: Tsubi and Katherine who I met on the 2006 Fringe.  Both women are parade designers and both are talented, easy-going and fun.  I look forward to working with them again. Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons. The parade is on the evening of 19 February in the streets of Adelaide. Be there or be incredibly square.

Call yourself a blogger?

Well, I have not typed a word here for many months, so what is going on?  Well, I think work is getting in the way of life.  Common problem I know…

However, recently I have had the opportunity to go away and spend some time away from the ‘documentation factory’.  Because I spend 8+ hours a day, 5 days a week at the keyboard and monitor, I do not race home to do more keyboarding and monitoring.  The up side of this is that I have read a few more books in 2008.  In a typical year I manage 3 or 4. In 2008 I did closer to about 12.  “Still not a huge amount”, I hear you say.  True, but I do read all day at work.

This year I have read books loaded or recommended by friends.  Some highlights were:

  • The Book Thief
  • The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
  • The Rip
  • The Last Chinese Chef

All for different reasons.

Currently working on Cloud Atlas and 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel.

Having a break from Society of Editors duties until end of January.  So I will see how much ‘a bloggin’ I will achieve until it all kicks in again.

Catherine from our China trip is coming to town soon, so there is a very strong chance that we will be having Peking Duck at Ming’s Palace, the place for duck in Adelaide.

Entertainment horizon ~ Neil Young at the Big Day Out in Adelaide (woo hoo), Leonard Cohen at Leconfield Winery’s Day on the Green with Paul Kelly (mmm, a Canadian theme with Young and Cohen) , then the Fringe, whatever that brings…now I must hang out the laundry.

What’s going on with this blog?

Blog has suffered greatly this summer. Kittens have been acquired, Conference committee meetings have resumed, yoga is back on for the year, work is busy. Excuses for not blogging? Naw, just been busy. Kittens to play with, and rescue from rooftops and trees; Adelaide Fringe is on, acts to see; Adelaide Festival on, Writer’s week things to attend; summer still in swing, outdoor activities calling…