Friday, 24 May 2013

Chatswood's Hidden Nirvana

Before I start, I must once again preface this blog as being in retrospect with photos having been taken on my (then fairly new) iphone.  Whilst not perfect, it is what it is, and I assure you the experience was exactly that.....perfect!

Also, as it has been a few years since my encounter, there will be additions to this little pocket of glory (note to self: must get back post haste!)

It was a fairly cold winter's day and for once the 2095'er had absolutely no trouble with finding her way to the 2067.  Even better, she knew exactly where the car should be parked AND where to find "the tunnel" (well as we all know it's actually an bridge but hey, i like the word tunnel and it's my blog, so tunnel it is!)

Successfully crossed, it became time find these markets, which shouldn't have been particularly difficult given the HUGE sign attached to the school's perimeter. 

But my navigation prowess was soon put to the test .  For seeing the sign was one thing, actually finding the entry was entirely different circumstance. 

What can I say....been quite a while since the 2095'er set foot on the asphalt.

Enough of the rhetoric!  

Upon finally sourcing and then actually entering the school grounds, I found what can only be termed an organic nirvana in an otherwise frantic traffic intersection.  

Far from the madding crowd, with the gentle sound of birds twittering and the breeze through the camphor laurel trees (who, it must be noted, were toasty warm) I discovered, what I would define, Chatswood's best kept Saturday Secret!

Naturally, first order of the day was to order and then scoff (in no particular order) coffee and one of those bacon & egg rolls (using free range eggs of course!) whose aroma was mouth-wateringly enticing.

Duly sated and sitting at a table placed to embrace the winter sun, I observed quite a few folk using the school as a short-cut. Many of whom appeared to have a somewhat expression of surprise, and were heard to utter "Oh!  I had NO idea this was here".  

Not wanting to sound smug and superior having only just discovered it myself, I set about engaging my companion in a discussion with a tone just loud enough to be heard: "what a fantastic place to buy fresh fruit & veg!" 

Another delightful scene (and apologies for the lack of photographic skills) was spotting Greenpeace setting up "shop".  A most worthy cause and in an organic market?  Marriage made in heaven by my standards.

With that, it became time to meander home with my bag full to the brim of organic goodies.

A toute a l'heur Chatswood Markets and I promise to return soon!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Hornsby Adventures

As with my Gladesville's Pocket, I must preface "Hornsby Adventures" is a retrospective and given I have time on my hands, I might as well make use of it, pound the keyboards and share my story!

Hornsby.  A much maligned yet interesting public transport interchange.

As a Boarder, more importantly as SENIOR Boarder, we were allowed shopping afternoons where the objective would be to select the furthest boundary, "shop" (or in our case perhaps sneak a cigarette or two), wait until the last possible moment to jump back on the train, get off at our station and race madly to the dining room with the inevitable facetious apology to the Head Table and slink in to our seats and prepare for a meal of mush.

Having not been back to Hornsby since those days and with my infamous lack of direction a conundrum was thus presented and therefore needed to be tackled.  To public transport or not to public transport.

Now for those of you who aren't familiar with the 2095 post code, whilst it is indeed (in my humble opinion) heaven on earth, it's not the most user-friendly area for public transport to anywhere other than the much loved Manly Ferry ride to Circular Quay.

After much discussion a decision was made.  Drive in the hope that for once the "I know where I'm going" statement would be proven to be correct and against the odds it actually did!  Hooraaaay!

Navigating the Westfield carpark was another story entirely.

iPhone in hand, off we headed, with the first visual being the singularly most impressive fountain this Chick had seen in quite a while, beautifully surrounded by an incredible range of stalls ranging from Gozleme (to which the 2095'er must confess had never heard about let alone eaten...didn't take long to put that to rest and from first bite a total convert!) and a treasure trove of organic produce, old fashioned chutneys, home remedies and more.

Colleen the Chutney Queen

Mosswood Organics


creative angle

Who knew the love affair with their meat would begin but a short time later

Organic herbs to grow and enjoy

Beautiful product

Now the 2095'er knows there many changes and fantastic additions to this market since her original visit back in 2010 and there's a SERIOUSLY cool Hornsby Directory that contains some great photos!

I would also thoroughly recommend That Hornsby Blog & checking out Hornsby Markets on Facebook.

In the meantime this 2095'er really must diarise another visit to this organic haven

Monday, 20 May 2013

Gladesville's Pocket

Before I start, I have to let you know that the photos and descriptive words contained in this particular blog were from a time way back in 2010 which when the 2095 visited the 2111 post code area on cool winter's day.  And as such, there will be new additions I have not yet been able to capture on digi-film so please forgive OR why not get there and discover for yourselves! (hint hint)

Having not been in this particular region for well over 15 years, coupled with my famous lack of geographical direction, I managed to get lost not once, not twice but three times during which time quite a few expletives had been uttered not just by myself but by my companion!  Had I bothered to see if there was a ferry to this pocket of paradise I would have saved myself quite a bit of trouble and ear-ache.

But it's me and I didn't and as the Italians apparently say "what ya gonna do"

Upon arrival my immediate reaction was "oh! what a funny little place" with an immediate afterthought being "i never even knew about this school".  For, you see, I pride myself in thinking I know everything about every location and every school in every part of Sydney.

While not a complete fool (thought some may beg to differ and yes, there are times when I proudly wear the hat of stoopid), I must admit that on this particular occasion I conceded defeat, took it on the chin like a (wo)man and set exploring this "brave new world".

Opposite the school is a playing field and, & just like Gladys Kravitz I couldn't help myself.  I simply had to have a peek to see which schools were playing their Saturday sport.  And boy wasn't I elated to see my old school colours out there loud and proud....and playing rugby!  I knew that we (as in my school) were and always have been in to world domination in all areas of sport, but RUGBY?!

Don't get me wrong.  I have been a rugger-bugger for eternity but watching those girls running around and doing scrummages & line-outs, was almost too much for the 2095'er to handle.

Tradition states, it should be the girls standing on the side-lines, in whatever looks fantastic (no matter how cold a day it may be), cheering for a game about which they most likely have very little interest, and just waiting/hoping/praying for a glance or acknowledgement from one the boys all muddied and rugby-d up.

With that, I promptly turned around and continued to my original point of destination.  Couldn't quite work out what was going on initially I must confess.  But then it hit me:

Take a breath
Don't be in such a hurry
Just let yourself be part of the moment

once done, so began probably one of the most enjoyable days the 2095 chick had had in a long long while.

The Chick is well overdue for another jaunt to this little pocket of paradise and in all honesty looking at these photos, it really should be sooner rather than later

ps: what's really cool is that these photos were taken on an iphone and having graduated to an EOS1100D, these little babies are not half bad!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Saturdays at Kings Cross

When I first left home and decided to extend my independence my immediate choice was to live in an area that completely defined "cool", hip and total rebellion: the iconic Kings Cross.  Well let's get real.  In the first instance it was Elizabeth Bay, but that was before it became the lush posh plush area it is now.

Little did I know that for the next 10 years or so I would end up living in and around this area and loving every minute of it.  2011 is SUCH an accommodating post code.

Way back in those day, Fitzroy Gardens (which at the time, being completely oblivious to anything other than my social scene, little did I realise that it even had a name!) was merely a short-cut to and from home.

It was  place that if you were lucky and some cool band was in town and staying at The Sebel, you might get a quick glance from them if you happened to accidentally on purpose walk directly in their path on the way to wherever.  But I digress.

Sure, there was the occasional Food & Wine Festival, which naturally I attended and thoroughly enjoyed to be gauged by the level of hang-over the following day (or days in some instances) but that was about it.

It was a dirty, smelly short cut and honestly nothing to get too excited about.

I had stopped going to Paddo markets, basically because it lost what was its genous. It's laid back, whatever happens happens type scene and suddenly gone incredibly up-market to the point that at times you felt that you simply didn't fit in if you weren't a size 0, weren't wearing pearls and didn't have your Prada on.

Being the proud square-peg I had absolutely NO intention of fitting in simply to be accepted, so I went on my merry way and found other means to amuse myself on a Saturday afternoon.

Fast-forward 10 years and a post-code later, I felt it was time to revisit my old home-ground and what I stumbled across was the singularly most earth-moving Oh-my-God moment of that day.

Markets?  Since when were there markets here?  Where on earth had that stinky old short-cut park gone?'s still here, but it's not a stinky old garden it's an amazing piece of paradise, which evoked such memory recall of me loving to roam the back streets of Darlo and Paddo just to see the architecture and hearing all the jazz emitting from various homes, I simply found myself instantly drawn in to its being.

I LOVE being a tourist in my own city!

So with a little bit of trepidation I took the first step in to what has now become one of my favourite Saturday destinations.  A little bit of street food, a little bit of home baking, a lotta flowers sold by Pat (now if you haven't met Pat before, she is an institution.  A diamond in the rough.  You either love her or hate her.  Took me a while (dang where did that young carefree confidence disappear to!) but gotta love her.  She says it how it is and it's not often you see that these days with everyone determined to be sheep and being so overly PC.

I have over time made some firm friends, one of whom recently relocated back to his home town in Adelaide and there is not a Saturday that goes by that I don't miss our chats, where we would scurry off, find a spot, share a million stories and have a running commentary on the fashion being worn on any given day.  Kings Cross Fashion Police we were!

She never fails to impress

My Mandatory start to the Market Day


Stunning Gerbera (from Pat of course!)

Two of the nicest guys on the planet and if you're lucky you may get a serenade!

The Wayside's Mascot

And a little fairy doing her weekly shopping

Now you tell me: What's not to love?

Frenchs Forest Sunday

Now while it might seem I am writing these all in a row, I have in fact been to each market and figured well....if you've got the urge and time to write then go for it!

Frenchs Forest nestled on the Northern Beaches and close to the 2095 chick's home would have to be one of the singularly most popular (and if I am correct the original site for the OFM crew's organic market starter) destination for a Sunday.

What is a car park in a hotel/motel during the week, magically transforms in to an ENORMOUS market on Sundays.  If you get there early enough the visual is quite extraordinary.  A seemingly endless stream of car headlights making their way in to set up stall or shoppers getting their park early and then waiting patiently for ding-ding-ding....time to shop!

Now if you see a group of people "hanging" around the front entry doors don't think they are desperate for a bit of plonk so early in the morning (mind you in years gone by it may have been the hair of the dog for me on a few occasions I  must admit), there is also an indoor section called The Look.

Each week there seems to be something new and if you haven't heard or seen it, you really should take a Look!  One man I am absolutely head over heals for is Terry who is a Mayfair (that's London darling)  trained hair-stylist who LISTENS to what you want.  Yes ladies, he actually listens and doesn't give you what he thinks you want but will give you what you ask for!  Even better he does children's hair and I know for parents it's a god-send as many won't cause apparently kids wriggle around too much (which is what I thought was their right to do!).

They have other amazing things going on in this place.  Stunning candles from Nat, spiritual healing from The Power of the Soul, eco-friendly and hard to find ioniser-thingies from Norman and Barbara with her Butterfly collection (and honestly I believe she is probably an originator of THE butterfly effect cause when she's there magic tends to happen and it's busy busy busy)

And outside is no different.  From plants to Argentine street-food.  From Persian gourmet to singing bowls.  Amazing free range goodness and fair trade goodies.  This market has it all.  As the saying goes a picture says a thousand words so it's time for them to speak

(addicted to love hearts)

the only way to travel!

Japancakes ROCK

My favourite man in the universe.....Vince

nb: sadly since this was written my beautiful friend Vince passed and is now an angel who will be forever loved by anyone who had the pleasure of getting to know him. god speed my friend.  i will always miss you

Thursdays @ Double Bay

Every Thursday it's a double ferry ride that's in store for 2095 girl to get to the 2028 postcode.  Therefore a double enjoyment of Sydney Harbour to enter the realms of what once was my stomping ground when fresh out of school, otherwise known as Double Bay.

In it's prime Double Bay was simply THE place to be.  Knox Street humming to the wee hours at the Cosmopolitan Centre, watching the Mr & Mrs Beautifuls do whatever it is that they do, seeing boarders stumbling from one pub to the next (specially after GPS Regatta!), wannabe's trying to be cool and not quite making it, underworld legends sharing a cigar and brandy and us fresh out of schoolers thinking we were incredibly hip happening and knowing it all!

Times changed and the Bay changed.  As a kids we would get all dressed up (patent leather shoes shining smartly, Sunday best clothes adorned) and go visit family friends who owned a house with it's own private jetty, meeting incredibly glamourous people (for one was an international model whose boyfriend at the time was The Electric Lounge Lizard or King of Cool) and generally running amok.

Sadly the cool factor slowly disappeared and in it's place remained what could only be deemed a sad shadow of its former self.  No more "Double Bay, Double Pay"

But as we know we live in world which is cyclical and thankfully, albeit slowly, the Bay is being boosted back to it's former glory with one of the prominent additions being Double Bay Organic Market.

And it's been an absolute delight to watch this market grow and develop and have stalls that fit in with it's surrounds.

First stop always is a coffee with the king of caffeine Ali

to be accompanied by a freshly baked French Torte

perhaps needing healthy kick (and remover of guilt) with some Common Ground Green Drink

before getting the surprise of my life seeing Ian taking his daughter on a ride around the streets

then coming back to hang out with some Vintage nuttiness with Linda

which is conveniently not far from Milne's white balsamic

just in time for lunch (low carb of course)

ending with a final flourish and purchasing some amazing grass feed beef from Jim

basket almost full and ready to replenish next week

Not sure where to go?

Guilfoyle Park, Bay Street Double Bay
Thursdays 8:30am - 2pm rain hail or shine!