Saturday, March 31, 2007

Fading Fedeterranea

There is a classic Fedeterranean home for sale in Marrickville at the moment (I've taken these photos from the real estate website - I don't think they'll mind the free publicity). This is a modest, low-key version of Fedeterranea - no statues, no columns - and I think it has a lot of charm. What do you call that clean minty shade of blue? It's warmer than ice-blue, cooler than aqua.

Somehow I just know that a happy family was raised here. The chairs look so comfy and everything is so well maintained. This home has been treasured and loved and I imagine the children were similarly valued. I love the look of framed pictures on wallpaper. I reckon one of the kids went on a trip to Thailand and brought back those black elephant cushions. The crystal cabinet is full of treasures & memories.

I bet there have been some beautiful meals served at this table, although it was probably reserved for special occasions.

The strangely contradictory mix of freshly swept concrete and abundant vegetables in tubs is very Fedeterranean.

But this is by far my favourite photo. This is where this family would have spent a lot of time - at the kitchen table, sun shining in, kids & grandkids running in and out. I can almost see them there now. Looks like everyone had a favourite cushion for their chair.

Fedeterranea is slowly fading out. This is inevitable of course, as tastes change. Many of the people who created the style are now in their seventies and are moving off to nursing homes or retirement villages. Their grown-up children most likely prefer interior decorating that's more "today". I doubt you can even buy carpet or tiles like that anymore. This home will probably be given a gut-n-smeg by its new owners, unless it's bought by friends of mine who will treasure some of its Fedeterranean features as precious retro while they quickly get rid of others. Either way its loveliness will change, so I'm glad I can put the photos up here.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Election Day

We wandered down to Ferncourt Primary School to exercise our democratic rights this morning. I love election days. Everyone is so polite, there's that good feeling that change is in the air, and you never know who you might bump into at the polling booth. Today I saw my favourite bus driver and a dear friend's girlfriend.

The liberals didn't even bother with any signs at our polling booth... which is safe ALP and usually has the biggest Greens vote of anywhere.

I was impressed by the Greens' multilingual signs - Greek and Vietnamese at Ferncourt School,

and later in the day I spotted Arabic outside St Francis' in Illawarra Rd. None of the other parties seemed to have bothered with anything other than English.

The parents and citizens association at the primary school was selling flowers.

And they had a sausage sizzle, which I really love the smell of although I'm vegetarian.

Pop Art

Marilyn, Jackie O, now me. Photography & manipulation by Maher Berro.

Monday, March 19, 2007

What do you think?

It's been languishing on my desktop for a few weeks, but I've finally posted my piece about roadside memorials over at Sarsaparilla. It's quite speculative - I'd love to know what other people think about these sites.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Worlds Overhead

Driving home late last week, with Sailor, I stopped at this little park in the Marrickville suburb of Sydenham to give her a poo-run. It was a humid, still night. The cicadas trilled, a couple of other people wandered about while their dogs went all doggy, and it was rather peaceful in the twilight. Then the sky was filled, just filled, with an aeroplane. Its wing span touched the horizons, its landing gear nearly bumped my head, its roar was just unbelievable. Its lights lit up the park & it smelled strongly of fuel.

But it passed quickly, and then there we all were again, as we had been, sniffing & strolling. It was a bit like having seen a pterodactyl, a leviathan and alien creature, and I loved it. I thought of all the people in that little overhead world. No doubt I'd be less enthusiastic if I lived right under the flight path.

I went back in the daytime to try to get some photos, but in the hour I was there no plane flew over. The park's furniture is fascinating though, witty and on-topic. The main area is set out like a giant loungeroom:

Here are Richard and Sailor on the sofa, to give you an idea of perspective:

There are mosaics done by local primary children, featuring planes and homes, with Italian, English and Vietnamese writing:

There's a humongous teapot:

And my favourite, the giant mantelpiece (the "fireplace" is a kiosk) complete with doily, Deco mirror and ornaments.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Just some dandy-lions

There are so many lions in Marrickville, you'd think it was the African Savanna.

They guard grand homes

and not-so-grand homes, without prejudice.

Some appear stern,

others thoughtful...

They bask in the Summer sun

and enjoy shady gardens.

Some even frolic with the frogs and the fairies.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

One of these things is not like the others

A copy of Marrickville Backyards to the first person to spot what's wrong with this bit of Fedeterranea.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Fedeterranea and Global Warming

It's struck me lately that fedeterranean homes are very sensible when it comes to global warming. Their Mediterranean elements add a number of features that help to keep them cool, like pale paint colours and internal glazed tiling. The characteristics they retain from their Federation roots have some good anti-heat features too: verandahs, double-brick walls and high ceilings.

Lots of Marrickville people who live in fedeterranean homes cook in their yards, on barbeques and in small wood fired ovens. On my evening walks with Sailor I smell lamb marinated in oregano and garlic, being cooked over coals, and sometimes smoky wafts of fresh fish being grilled in one of these. We do have dining rooms in Marrickville, but they're rarely used, remaining preserved as pristine altars to crystal cabinets and polished wood veneer. People like to eat on their decks, in their yards, and often in their garages, roller doors open to the back lanes.

Fedeterranean gardens are often very water-wise, with dry loving trees like citrus, olives and figs.

My friend George Morgan has generously sent me a box of Marrickville Backyards. These are really lovely books, very close to Marrickvillia's heart. I intend on giving them away to anyone who pleases me, and taking a pile next time I go to Hackney. If you want one, let me know.

This very old lemon tree has its trunk painted bright white-blue every year.

A tree heavy with olives.

A fig tree, draped like a new bride to keep the birds away from the ripening fruit.