Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fedeterranea on Wikipedia

I've just had a lot of fun writing my very first wikipedia entry (the "Housing" section). I think I got the encyclopaedic tone just about right. I wonder how long it will stay there?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Who are you?

I've got one of those counters for visits to this blog... 61 visits in a week! Who are you lurking silent ones? Reveal yourselves - don't be shy - I'd love to meet you.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Signs of Marrickville

I went for a long walk last week, from my place up Illawarra Rd to the Addison Rd Markets, & took lots of photos of signs. I like ordering things, putting them in sets & making patterns. My friend Zoe would say that it's because of my Virgoan sensibilities. Here are some of my favourites - there are more on my flickr account.

The neon sign of the Vietnamese cafe opposite the Hellenic Bakery.

An old houseplate.

The hepC graffiti on the railway bridge.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Reasons to be Cheerful

On the way home from work I stopped at the Coopers Arms on King St and had a brandy & soda. In Marrickville I bought avocadoes and red capsicums from my friend the greengrocer, and other bits & pieces from shops along Illawarra Rd. I made a big dish of nachos, some guacomale, a salad. We were all stuffed silly. It's a humid evening and the overhead fan is on. The kids are doing their things, playing on msn, talking on the phone - "so is everyone bringing their own case? Alcoholic not!" - "There are these two losers from my year" - "No wait, losers from your year?" - "No no, seriously..." and getting ready to go to a battle of the bands. And the best thing - once the kiddies are off Richard and I are going to watch the first episode of the fourth series of Six Feet Under. I can't wait to find out how Lisa died, and even if, indeed, she is dead at all. And I have new sandals, and in the morning I'm off to see me dears in Melbourne.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Day of the Triffids

I've just read a lovely review in the London Review of Books of Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker and Apprentice to a Butcher in Tuscany, written by Bill Buford. The reviewer is Steven Shapin and he offers a great little history of our relationship with food as well as a critique of how we eat and cook now. I'm going to buy the book - I love the quotes from it, the interchanges between Buford and his pasta mistress best:

"...just when he thought he'd cracked the secret of working the dough with the matterello, she announced her disapproval with a blow on his shoulder: 'You look like an old woman... You will never learn if you roll it out like an old woman.' "

Buford, former fiction editor of the New Yorker, went to Tuscany to "learn meat".

" the time he returned to Manhattan, he was able to schlep a whole still-bleeding pig (only recently bereft of life) from the farmers' market back to his apartment, taking it up in the lift - together with an unamused Wall Street banker - and butchering it in the traditional Tuscan way: a tub of pork confit, chains of salsicce, a rosticiana, an arista (the aristocrat of roast, herbed rolled pork), vast quantities of ragu, brawn: 450 servings of food from one animal, skilfully dismembered."

This getting in touch with the sources of food is utterly admirable, but not for the faint-hearted, or those like me who don't eat pork for ethical reasons. The pig may have been lovingly carved up, but its life was still most likely absolutely misery, especially if it was female. I'll do my bit for the slow food movement by continuing to tend my vegie patch.

Remember when I put it in, not even two months ago? (see before shots)

We have lettuce galore - butter and frilly, which is more bitter. They're a great combination in a salad.

I never knew brussels sprouts grew like this, along the stem like parasites... I picked these and ate them on Sunday, lightly boiled then tossed in butter and a little white wine vinegar.

The broccoli head, still only about 4cm in diameter, is protected by this huge fan of bluish leaves. I wonder if the leaves are edible? It seems such a waste if they're not.

And... I looked for a pic of a triffid but only found out that John Wyndham's full name was John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Shop of the Week - Mick Mazza Cycles

I went up to Mick Mazza's this morning to get a new basket and chain for my bike. He sold me a rather stylish black basket and a good long chain that'll go around both wheels and the frame, and he gave me a block of chocolate. I'm going to start riding in to UTS, partly to get fitter, and partly because I'm sick of the 423 bus and the train (last week on the 423 I witnessed someone having a really good pick at a scab on the back of her neck...)

Inside the 423 bus, 8.45am on a Thursday

Mazza has been running cycle shops in Marrickville for more than 30 years. I'll never forget when I went into his shop about 6 years ago, when Sailor was a pup. She pooped on the floor and I was mortified, looking around desperately for something to clean it up with. Mick just picked it up with some paper towel & said "What can I do for you love?"

He was a champion amateur cyclist for many years and turned professional in the early 1970s before returning to amateur status because "I had me shop to look after, you know." Mazza wears big thick glasses and still has a champion's muscled legs. There's no question he can't answer, no bike he can't fix. His shop is filled with cheap bikes (rejuventated as well as new) and piles of parts.

Mazza's businesses have been in Illawarra Rd and Marrickville Rd, and he's lived in Calvert St for 55 years. He is one of Marrickville's best known citizens and often donates bikes to charity. I asked him how business had changed over the years:

"It's got harder and harder with department stores. KMart, BigW, ToysRUs. They've killed the bike shops, love. The wholesalers are selling bikes to the big retailers at half the price. They're doing the dirty on the bike shops."

Still, it took me nearly half an hour to get this much information out of him as we were constantly interrupted by customers and phone calls. The shop seemed to be doing great business. This morning the customers included a bunch of local toughs, a couple of Maori women, numerous teenaged boys, and a little blonde girl.

Mazza is friends with the boxer Jeff Fenech, aka "The Marrickville Mauler". He helped raise the money for Fenech to attend the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles by raffling bikes at local pubs. A wall of fame in the shop is covered in framed certificates and photos, and one of Fenech's boxing gloves.

Mick Mazza's Cycles
255 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville
9564 5468

See more photos from this series on my flickr account.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Since I "upgraded" to beta blogger, not realising that "beta" means I'm a kind of guinea pig, people are having trouble commenting here. Is the problem that only beta people can communicate with other betas? Will the world be divided forever into betas and non-betas? Why can't I go back to being a non-beta? Oh oh oh. If you want to make a comment but can't, email me on & I'll post it for you.

Here's Sailor's take on the situation:

The most lovely Fedeterranean Home in Marrickville?

I can't believe I've been walking past this house for years and never noticed how lovely it is. Perhaps it's because Spring has arrived that it caught my eye - the garden is delightful. Part of me loves the order and prettiness apparent here although I know I could never achieve these heights myself. See more photos in this set on my flickr account.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Second Breakfastses

Lately in Marrickville we have eaten:

seafood paella done on the barbie - thanks Pete & Stella;

an "Olympics Sponge" to commemorate our friend Geoff's 50th birthday;

a proper tea party with cucumber sandwiches (thanks Laura) and scones (thanks Richard and the Country Women's Association), to celebrate some of my milestones.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Wind out audibly the whispers...

This modest lavender and rosemary filled reserve in Harnett St is dedicated to the memory of Louisa Lawson - writer, publisher & feminist (1848-1920). She lived in Renwick St Marrickville - some of the sandstone from her (now demolished) house was used to build one of the walls in this park. There's a mural by Cynthia Turner laid out on the ground in the middle of the reserve that celebrates Lawson's journal 'The Dawn'. The publication was intended to be a 'phonograph to wind out audibly the whispers, pleadings and demands of the sisterhood'.

Half of Australian women's lives are unhappy, but there are paths out of most labyrinths and we will set up finger posts ... we shall welcome contributions and correspondence from women ... it is not a new thing to say there is no power in the world like that of women.
Louisa Lawson, The Dawn, Issue 1

See my flickr account for more in this set of photos.
See Wilson's Almanac for more on Lawson and 'The Dawn'.

Please don't leave a comment telling me she was Henry Lawson's mother.