Monday, January 25, 2016

Murder at the Moulin Rouge

Calamity Sue has had a hard week, organising the Murder at the Moulin Rouge party. And yet still she looks fabulous, even when wearing a 'fur' scarf around her head (no, Im not sure why, either).

The Party itself was great as we were all drip-fed clues about who had done what and why. I was the murderer (and I murdered Calamity Sue!), but I didn't know that until half-way through the evening. Other people guessed my misdeeds, however - so I guess I must have been convincing!
Calamity Sue
The Wealthy Patrons
Friends of the Moulin Rouge
Best actress; murderess; murder victim

Monday, January 18, 2016

Cooking and Brewing

For reasons which are far too complex to explain (she's insane), Calamity Sue has found herself catering a French themed event for 45 people. She's actually very good at this sort of stuff, even with my 'help'. 
Beef Bourguignon
Calamity Sue stirring the pot in her active wear
Chopping the onions in fetching eyewear
Warding off vampires
Lemon chicken casserole
Meanwhile Him Outdoors, not to be outdone, is brewing in the garage; milling grains on his home-constructed device, on his morning off work.

Him Outdoors milling grains for Manuka Smoked Porter
Chester had lost his name-tag, so he has received a new one - in Liverpool red of course. He looks mighty handsome, of course.
Lord Chester

Monday, January 11, 2016

A tale of two cities

I had a day in town with the wonderful Calamity Sue. We ate; we drank; we shopped; we laughed; we watched (a film); we cried; we talked - we know how to have a good time.

This sculpture, made from stainless steel and stone, is apparently a visual metaphor crammed full of experience. Elemental materials and abstract geometry are used to explore spiritual and cosmic concepts in sculptures that are supple and organic.

Life Cycle (2010) by David Jensz
Calamity Sue wanted to try Korean food, so we went to Chez Kimchi for a new experience. This is a totally acceptable variety of KFC (Korean Fried Chicken), and there are 14 types on offer. We tried the snow cheese and the spring onion, both of which were delicious, but the snow cheese chicken was my favourite; dusted with slightly sweet powdered cheese, it is crisp and crunchy on the outside without any oiliness, and steaming hot, juicy and tender. 

Apparently it's all about the condiments, and we are served an array of sauce, pickles, and cubes of sweet potato to go with our chicken. I also had an iced green tea, which was very refreshing and cleansing without any of the substantial sugar found in commercial varieties.

Spring onion chicken
Snow cheese chicken
Calamity Sue with tricky chopsticks
As it was Twelfth Night, we had to take down the decorations. So we played Giant Jenga with the book tree. Not that it matters, or anything, but I won. 

Him Outdoors attempts the engineering approach with the Giant Jenga Christmas book tree
Or Tower of Babel, as it might more appropriately be termed.
And so to Sydney for a long weekend. Our first (and main) port of call was Olympic Park to see the Liverpool FC Legends play against the Socceroo Legends at the ANZ Stadium. 

Olympic Park used to be an abattoir (1910-1988), and some of these signs still remain.

Mainly it's a home to athleticism, however, as you would expect. This sculpture called Discobolus links Sydney Olympic Park to the Olympic Games in Ancient Greece and celebrates the Greek origins of many Australian citizens. 

Dicobolus by Robert Owen
The disc represents a discus as though thrown by a competitor from previous Olympics. With links to Castor (twin son of Zeus, father of the Greek Gods), who was purportedly a great discus-thrower, the sculpture nods to Classical mythology. Fragments of columns and stones reference ancient archaeological sites, and the cobblestones used were salvaged from the State Abattoirs. Meanwhile the trees are living links with history: olives for the victors' wreaths; cypress as a symbol of sacrifice and immortality; eucalyptus as custodians of the land and indigenous Australia.

Peace Monument by Michael Kitching
This monumental public sculpture was commissioned by the NSW Government in 1986 to commemorate the International Year of Peace. It is based upon the trajectories of the planets in the Solar System, and supposedly reminds us of our fragile existence on our rotating sphere. It reminds me of the Martian tripods in The War of the Worlds. 

There are three bells within the sculpture which are meant to ring to celebrate peace; one for The Earth, one for The Moon and one for Space. However, during construction of  the monument, none of the ongoing military conflicts were resolved and three new wars broke out. The bells are currently fitted with stops and cannot be rung. The artist has suggested they will ring when there is peace throughout the world. Obviously they remain resolutely silent. I find this very sad.

Also within the park are the Badu Mangroves; surviving river wetlands that are home to many waterbirds, and the largest mangrove forest on the Parramatta River.

They are also home to the little mud crabs with their brightly-coloured pincers.

But enough of this nonsense; the real reason we were here was to see the Liverpool FC Legends team, captained by Steven Gerrard. There were 40,000 people in the stadium and the number of Gerrard shirts far outstripped those of any other player.

Inside the ANZ Stadium
Standing for the national anthem
You'll Never Walk Alone
Robbie Scouser, older and slower, but still got the skills
Interview with Captain Fantastic
Applauding the crowds 
When he gets the ball, he scores a goal...
On the train on the way home - tired but happy!
Another day; another set of activities, including the Grayson Perry International Art Exhibition, bubbles at a roof-top bar, a ferry ride, and Geoffrey Rush in the Sydney Theatre Production of King Lear. Starting with a hearty breakfast, of course.

I love coffee
I built my own omelette, so of course it had salmon in it!
Cruise ship dwarfing the harbour
It would have been an arty shot if his sunglasses weren't so munted!
Obligatory shot of the Opera House
Sailing under the Harbour Bridge

I have no idea what this is in The Rocks, but it appears to be a sort of framework of a house; an archaeological dig or a ruin furnished with plain chairs, tables, bookshelves, dressing tables, a grandfather clock and a tin bath. It's really very curious.


Pizza for breakfast? I don't mind if I do!

The post-prandial perambulation along the Bondi to Coogee Walk took us past beaches, cliffs, cafes and a graveyard. The views were glorious, but it was scorchingly hot, so when we arrived at Coogee we rewarded ourselves with a refreshing dip in Giles Baths, a tidal rock-pool.

Bondi Beach Rock Pool
Waverley Cemetery - one of the most scenic burial spots in the land
I promise I have not altered these colours

At Coogee Headland is a bronze memorial to the victims of the 2002 Bali bombing in which 88 Australians were killed (20 of whom came from Sydney's eastern suburbs). It is also a tribute to the Australian spirit of courage and endurance. 

The three linked figures of the sculpture signify family, friends and community; bowed in sorrow and remembrance, they comfort, support and protect each other. Individually each figure could be toppled, but joined together they form a strong bond symbolising life, growth, hope and strength in unity.
Bali Memorial Statue designed by Sasha Reid
Coogee Beach
We walked through the Eastern suburbs to some microbreweries, and spotted some cool graffiti on the way.

This is the last breakfast photo, I promise (for this weekend, anyway) - but it's chargrilled sardines, which were simply delicious, although Him Outdoors whinged about the fishy smell.

And then a walk through Hyde Park and a visit to the Hyde Park Barracks Museum.

The ANZAC Memorial designed by C Bruce Dellitt
Sacrifice by George Rayner Hoff
The sculpture of Sacrifice is based on the story of the Spartan warrior from ancient Greece. Spartan men were raised as warriors from boyhood and, when marching to war, were told to come home with their shield or on it. In this image the dead young soldier is supported by his mother, sister and wife with child. 

The sculpture is located in the Hall of Silence so that all who enter the Hall of Memory are drawn to it to reflect upon the physical and mental spirit it evokes. Every day at 11am, the last post is sounded and a moment's silence is observed where all present face the Sacrifice and reflect. 

"With great dramatic power it portrays the recumbent form of an Anzac whose soul has passed to the Great Beyond, and whose body, borne aloft upon a shield by his best loved is laid there as a symbol of that spirit which inspired him in life, the spirit of Courage, Endurance and Sacrifice. There is no pomp, no vain glory, no glamour in this group; rather is there stark tragedy, grim reality and bitter truth. But it is the truth which tells not only of the brutality of war and of the suffering it engenders, but of the noblest of all human qualities - self sacrifice for duty." - Book of the Anzac Memorial (1934)

I see a beautiful broken young man. I see empty words. And I see incredible waste of human life. 

Yininmadyemi; Thou Didst Fall by Tony Albert
This piece of public artwork is located on the historic site of a ritual contest ground on Gadigal land. It honours the bravery and sacrifice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have served their country. Inspired by the story of the artist's grandfather, the sculpture comprises four standing bullets to represent those who survived, and three fallen shells to remember those who 'made the ultimate sacrifice'.

Governor Lachlan Macquarie by Terrance Plowright
Hyde Park Barracks
St James Church (through the square windows)

An Gorta Mor by Hossein and Angela Valamanesh
This sculpture is a monument to the Great Irish Famine (1845-1852). It was inspired by the arrival in Australia of over 4,000 single young women (most of them teenagers) under a special emigration scheme designed to resettle destitute girls from the workhouses of Ireland.

The rotated sandstone wall represents disruption and dislocation. On one end of the table sits an empty bowl with a void base; at the other a simple institutional table setting with bronze utensils refers to the hunger and starvation of the orphans. The fading names on the glass walls represent the large numbers of women and the faint quality of the text indicates the frail and inconstant nature of memory.

Hyde Park is also currently home to the Meriton Festival Village. It features pop-up bars, food stalls, theatre and musical events. The food is generally hugely overpriced, but as it was our last day, I got an ice-cream, and promptly dropped it where my berry cheesecake and raspberry sorbet melted into a pastel swirl of sugar and ants. Naturally this was devastating but I didn't even cry. Much.
Gelato Messina Pop-Up Dessert Bar