Monday, July 31, 2006

Addison Rd Markets

Yesterday was Sunday. Richard and I had the most delightful walk up to the Addison Rd Markets at the Community Centre and back. It was a very still and sunny morning, most welcome after about a fortnight of rain. Somehow Marrickville felt country-townish; the sky seemed larger & farther away than usual and the streets were quiet and empty. We walked along Illawarra Rd, from Cary St to Addison Rd, and admired some fine fedeterranea on the way.

At the markets, which are canopied by a few huge gum trees, we shared an organic beetroot and dark chocolate muffin that was rich and fudgey. Then we spotted the Chinese dumpling stall so we got a serve of the prawn & a serve of the mushroom - they were beautiful & translucent, as steaming & fresh as you get at a faboo yum cha restaurant.

We bought three loaves from the Brasserie Bread stall - a sourdough, a garlic loaf and a ciabatta. I thought about buying an Emanuel Ungaro jacket from one of the second hand clothing stalls, but didn't. I should've though, as I have fond memories of a pair of his pants that I bought in a sale on Rodeo Drive, LA, seven years ago. Oh well, maybe it'll still be there next week...

Marrickville Organic Food & Farmers Market
The Addison Rd Community Centre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville
Every Sunday between 9am & 2pm

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Shop of the Week - From Lebanon to Marrickville

Marrickville shopkeepers must be the most devoted of all their kind. Albert Mardini, proprietor of a Lebanese delicatessen on Illawarra Road, gets up at four in the morning to drive out to Granville where he sources the best quality flat bread in Sydney. Then he puts in a 15 hour day. "I enjoy every second of my day, I enjoy every second of my life too!" he tells me. Mardini's shop has recently been renovated by his nephew Elvis, an award-winning builder. At the time of writing, 29 year old Elvis and his family were trying to return to Australia from a trip to Lebanon, where they'd been caught up in the Israeli attacks. His uncle seems to be taking it in his stride: "He rang and said to me 'Uncle Albert, what a beautiful country.' Then the trouble started." Elvis and his family had to travel by taxi through Syria and are now in Jordan trying to get on a flight home. Fingers crossed for a safe trip back to Marrickville for them.

The renovation is bright, with a huge new picture window enhancing the shop's high white pressed metal ceiling. Mardini's stock is small and select, and very good quality. Glorious ox heart tomatoes (from a friend's farm), perfect oranges and zucchini, almonds, henna products, pickled turnips, charcoal for smoking pipes, halva, loofahs, and exotic tinned goods like quinces and carob. He's planning a big new dairy showcase. The shop used to be called "The Nut Shop" but that name seems out of date now. Mardini is thinking of just calling it "Albert's" but is waiting for Elvis to get back before deciding. Albert has already run this shop for 26 years - I wish him at least another two and a half decades in which to enjoy his lovely renovation.

Albert Mardini
391 Illawarra Rd

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Fedeterranean Tiling

Most Fedeterranean homes feature some form of paving, concreting or tiling. Although citrus and olive trees abound, bare dirt is often unwelcome in the gardens which may incorporate instead round concrete tree-rings or pebbles. Tiles are kept immaculately clean in the land of Fedeterranea. Sydney's ongoing water restrictions (which prohibit the hosing of hard surfaces) are the cause of much angst, not to mention the occasional angry neighbour who just doesn't understand the necessity of a gleaming and pristine entrance.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Dogs of Marrickville - Sailor

Sailor's full name is "Sailor the Wonderdog". She is a puppyish seven year old and quite blonde for a pug. Sailor's first couple of years were filled with surgical procedures to fix her breathing (she had her soft palate shortened and her nostrils enlarged) and also to mend a front-leg problem (she had fat taken from her butt & inserted in her wrists so she wouldn't end up bandy-legged & arthritic). To this day she hates the vet but otherwise enjoys life immensely. Despite the operation to improve breathing she is still a loud snorer even while awake. Some people find Sailor very attractive, others are grossed out by her goldfish-style eyes. Extremely food-focused, Sailor has an ongoing weight problem that is nowadays managed with a strict diet of two raw chicken wings a day. She is always on the lookout for crumbs and quickly hones in on unknowing visitors who are taken in by her woeful starved expressions. A veteran of the Cooks River circuit from Illawarra Rd to Tempe Station, Sailor meets-n-sniffs many Marrickville moggies who will be featured here in future. She is already famous because of a photo her friend Daniel took.

Baths are a terrible torture.

But rediscovering a smelly old bone makes it all better.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Shop of the Week - Relief Shoes

Do you have shoes, much loved and worn, that are getting too old and tattered to wear any longer? Frank Zervas says he can reproduce them exactly. People bring him pairs, sometimes inherited from parents or grandparents, and Zervas rejuvenates or copies them. "People are very happy to see the shoe alive again" he says. This master shoemaker came from Greece in 1974 and worked at first in Cleveland St, Surry Hills, handmaking shoes for actors and dancers. He has been running Relief Shoes in Marrickville for eight years now (and painted the murals on the walls himself) specialising in tiny and huge sizes as well as shoes for people with flat feet, deformities or bunions. He tells me how a ninety year old man, almost crippled with bunions, recently had a pair of walking shoes made. Zervas crafted the soft leather to perfectly cradle the knobbs and lumps and the shoes felt "like velvet". The old man cried with joy when he put them on! If you're in the market for personalised shoes then Zervas will measure your feet exactly and create wooden lasts just for you. You can then choose from a huge variety of styles (many surprisingly 'now' and fashionable) and a rainbow of leathers including snake, kangaroo, deer and lizard skins. Of course he does standard repairs and re-soling (of very high standard in my experience) too. I've been coveting a $250 pair of Camper shoes in a soft mulberry lately... I'm thinking about seeing if Zervas can make me a similar pair instead, and wondering whether they'll be better quality and more comfortable. I'll keep you posted.

Relief Shoes, Specialising in Orthopaedic and Fashion Shoes
16 Station St Marrickville
phone 9559 6550