Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Signs of Life

Some members of Marrickville council want to make English language signage on our shops compulsory. Dean blogged about a similar thing in Campsie earlier this year. Apparently, "at the end of the day, we live in Australia". Um, yes. And we live here with all sorts of people. Some of them - shock - don't speak or read English. As readers of this blog know, I LOVE the signs along Illawarra & Marrickville Roads. I don't feel in the least alienated by them, even though all I really understand is a bit of the Greek. And that's not because I'm of Greek heritage, but because I grew up in Melbourne's Northcote, which in the 1970s was full of first generation Greeks and Italians. Macellerias, Orthodox churches, Bombonieres & Greek signage were all part of my landscape and part of my cultural education... along with getting drunk at my friend Angela's 13th birthday party on her dad's home grown wine, and learning to keep away from boys who called girls "putta" or "poutana".

I popped down to have a look at the Chinese video store singled out by the Mayor, Morris Hanna. On the way I passed a Tongan/Vietnamese Church, a Vietnamese Grocer, a Vietnamese Chemist, a Greek butcher, a Fijian mini-mart, a Greek Patisserie, a Chinese herbalist and two Lebanese delis. I noted that all of them already had English signs alongside alongside their native language signs (in the case of the Chinese herbalist who can treat "anal fissure" I'd probably have preferred not to have the translation). It was very clear what each shop was.

Approaching the video store I saw that a new sign had been hastily manufactured out of pasted-on sheets of A4 paper saying, surprise, "Chinese Video Rental". How Mayor Hanna couldn't tell what this shop was before is a mystery to me. There was a crew from Chinese PayTV there, interviewing the owner, Ms Li. The journalist happily translated my questions. I asked Ms Li why she'd put up the new English sign. She replied that she knew her shop had been in the paper and is scared of getting into trouble with the council.

I've also noticed in the past few weeks that street posters all over Marrickville are being whited-out. Is there a council conspiracy to make our streets as bland as possible?

Doggy Update

The German Shepherd we found wandering the streets of South Marrickville on the weekend is still alive, being cared for at the RSPCA. I've been ringing them each day and this morning spoke to a vet. She told me he's been prescribed antibiotics and pain relief and is doing well. Apparently his only serious health complaint is arthritis. He's not happy though - she said he's been agressive and "resenting handling". Although he wasn't microchipped they did find a tattoo on his ear indicating his breeder. So they've written to the breeder to find out who he was sold to - they might be able to locate his owner that way. I spoke to the vet about the possibility of adopting him if an owner can't be found. She said that I'd have to understand he will need ongoing medication for his arthritis, which will cost a bit (this in addition to the $220 adoption fee), but that I'd also have to be certain he wouldn't be a danger to the teenagers or Sailor. The RSPCA would also have to be satisfied that he wasn't too agressive before allowing him to be adopted - there's still a chance they will make a decision to euthanise him. They're giving it until 6 November to locate the owner.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Shop of the Week - Saray Turkish Pizza

This post is dedicated to my colleague & friend Matty - a pizza lover with a big appetite. He recently gave me a camera (Sony 3.3mp) after seeing my little Nokia held together with rubber bands.

The Saray Turkish Pizza shop sells comfort food - you get cravings for it on blustery coldish afternoons in Winter and late on hot Summer nights. The pizzas - the Turkish filled kind - are probably the best in Sydney, along with Manolya's in Sydenham. They also produce the fluffiest Turkish bread and a famously staining beetroot dip (don't wear white). The place is an institution & has been there at least as long as I've been in Sydney (17 years). I wasn't able to get details from the owner because by the time we'd finished our pizza he was engaged in a serious-sounding argument in Turkish with a rather good-looking young man with sculpted sideburns. The decor is charming and the service very friendly but if you prefer to get take-away I recommend you eat it picnic-style at the nearby Camperdown Cemetary, and ponder the life of poor Eliza Emily.

Saray Turkish Pizza (BYO)
18 Enmore Rd, Enmore
Phone (02) 9557 5310

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dero Dog

I set off yesterday to the Tempe Tip, otherwise known as the huge Salvation Army op-shop off the Princes Highway, planning to do a "Shop of the Week". But the daughter called as I arrived saying that she'd found a sick-looking stray dog on Illawarra Rd., so this is the blog you're getting instead.

The dog was a medium sized German Shepherd, very grizzled, thin, wolfish. He didn't look vicious but we kept our distance just in case, following him from the Liquorland down Warren Rd for a few blocks. A nice woman from Dulwich Hill & her young daughter came with us. Ruby then enticed him with a hastily purchased muffin & I slipped a lead over his neck. I thought it might be hard to get him in the car, but as soon as the back door opened he heaved himself in enthusiastically, then curled up and went to sleep!

His ears were all encrusted, his mouth raw with ulcers, his haunches covered in sores.

We drove to the RSPCA in Yagoona, only about a 20 minute trip, and signed him in. He was pretty reluctant to leave the car, poor old fella. He wasn't microchipped and the people at the desk said he looked like he'd been "out on his own" for quite a while. I rang this morning & he's still being assessed... it's likely he'll be put down, especially if he has some degenerative thing that Shepherds get where their back half slowly becomes paralysed. If he isn't euthanised, am I thinking of bringing him home to sleep out his old age? Yes. Is this sensible, financially or practically? No.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Barbies and Kens

Once a month or so there's a market outside the RPA hospital in Camperdown. Yesterday I spotted these baskets of Barbies and Kens ($1.00 each). I liked how the vendor had separated them along gender lines. I also like how most of them don't have any clothes left.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Political Poo Art

Our Glorious Leader... I walked through some back streets of Newtown yesterday afternoon and came across this under a gum tree in Station Street. The flag is about the size of a matchbox. I've never seen one before but would love to know more about this political/arty action. So clever!

Monday, October 16, 2006

We went to Liverpool...

Where there isn't no trees, no scented breeze
no fields of waving corn.

Richard was looking for a mookudulu (or tawa) - one of those round flat iron things for cooking Indian breads - so yesterday we headed out to Sydney's Liverpool. The trip on the M5 and then the Hume didn't take long from Marrickville, about 25 minutes I think (I did fall asleep on the way back). After two scorching days in Sydney for Spring - mid 30s - it was relatively cool and we enjoyed the cloud cover. Liverpool was packed, with queues filling up some shops. Most people were Indian, the women all in saris. We had forgotten it is Festival of Light time so I suppose the crowds were much like our Christmas. I took lots of photos and was asked in one big grocery store by an Indian with a very distinguished set of moustaches what I was doing. I then felt like an inner-city dickhead for the rest of our outing.

On the M5

Yes, a Bollywood Chinese Restaurant.

Beautiful Gods - this statuette was thick plastic, about the size of my hand.

There were boxes of plastic fruit & veg (notice the potatoes?) and gorgeous real eggplants.

And piggies, hippos and elephants - some of my favourite creatures.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Aerial Peace

Have a look at this eerie little film set in a Marrickville backyard.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bad behaviour

Read this excellent post to find out what happens when bloggers meet.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Shop of the Week - Paesanella

Umberto Somma started making cheese in Marrickville in 1962 and his sons Joseph and Max now carry on the tradition. They specialise in fresh Italian-style cheeses like mozzarella, ricotta and mascarpone. Their spotless factory and shop, Paesanella, is at the end of Gerald St in a converted double-fronted federation house. There are stainless steel pipes running all over the place and massive vats in what was once the backyard. The service is extremely friendly and knowledgeable, as often in Italian as it is in English. Highlights for me are their "Paesanella caciotta", a semi-soft mild cheese with rocket and chilli and their baby or "cherry" bocconcini, which are always super-fresh & full of flavour. Lots of delis and supermarkets in Sydney stock Paesanella products and they have their own shop in Haberfield at 88 Ramsay Street. But I really recommend visiting the Marrickville factory shop for absolute freshness and a nice experience. Some weekends Richard uses their ricotta to make us pancakes using a Bills recipe.

Paesanella Cheese Manufacturers
27 Gerald Street Marrickville