Tuesday, 24 November 2015

House names

Naming houses is a tradition which a long history, from Roman villas, to the castles and manor houses of the nobility. In the days before street numbers were common, many more humble abodes received names.

I have been walking my local area collecting names. Thee's such a great variety, ranging from the humorous, to flora and fauna, lots of place names from afar (mainly, but not exclusively from the UK), to deeply personal ones.

One thing I've noticed is the vast majority of named houses are from the Victorian or Federation [Edwardian] periods - around 1900 to 1920 - but not always - some are later, some are clearly whimsical. Sometimes you can see where a name plate once adorned the front wall, but is now gone.

Do houses get named where you are?

Names I have collected: 

Abingdon, Agrinion, Allambe, Alpine, Antikythera, Arcadia, Assety, Attercliffe
Bayview Cottage, Betonville, Boheme, Bonnie Jean, Bowood, Braeside, Bredbo, Brightampton Caloola, Capricorn, Carinya Lodge, Casa Albanese, Casa Nostra, Cerisy, Chateau "D" Oex, Cpburra, Coorawong, Cruden
Dallas, Dappeto, Dawn, Delhi, Dew Drop Inn, Dunnview
Edelweiss, Elouera, Elysium, Fairfield, Fairview, Florida, Franenstein, Freestone, Frenvilla
G & N Paladino, Gables, Gladstone, Glenara, Glenview, Grosvenor
Hadley, Hickman, High Per Area, Hornby, Humming Bird Cottage
Jacaranda, Joyful
Kia Ora, Kyeema
Lidsdale, Lilyvale, Linden, Lipari, Loganview, Lorna Doone
Maroomba, Maurig View, Maxgate, Menton, Milfordhaven, Mill Cove, Millthorpe, Mimosa, Missabotti, Moloha, Montrose
Often Inn, Oldenburg, Orana, Orwell, Our Happy Home
Raynor, Ravon Cottage, Restalrig, Ridgeway, Rita & Nev's Cottage, Rivendell, Rose Cottage, Rose-Lyn, Rose Villa, Rossmoyne, Rossneath
Sarcherie, Stafford, St Kilda, Strathmore, Sydney Athens
Thame Cottage, The Rest, Travancore, Tullamore
Valpre, Vasanta
Waemel, Waya, Weamba, Wentworth, Wolumla

Monday, 23 November 2015

Frangipani season

Late November sees the October/Nov flush of jacaranda-purple replaced by my favourite flower of all (I think!) - the frangipani (plumeria). It's native to Mexico and central America.

I'll probably post more as the season progresses. These blooms, spilling out from a garden, caught my attention as I walked by.

Here's the last time I posted about frangipanis, in 2009. They made up my mother's wedding bouquet.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Mickey Mouse ears trees

Sydney has most of its power lines and cables above ground.

Power companies, local councils .... someone... is responsible for trimming the street trees so that they don't interfere with the cables.

This can result in some weirdly shaped shrubs and trees, as they trim for convenience, not for aesthetics. Very often the middle is cut out like these callistemons (bottlebrushes) in Slade Road, Bardwell Park.

I had to stop for a photo as I drove along, cos a play of light made this tree look like an old-fashioned Mickey Mouse ears hat! I didn't quite capture the same light with the iPhone camera....so better use some imagination!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Public swimming - my vantage point

The past two days I have posted from Roselands Aquatic Centre in Sydney. To finish this mini-series, here's a pic from my favourite spot.

Friends from overseas have commented in the past that our public pools are like "resorts", and I guess we are blessed to have them. I have sought-out public pools in many of my travels and enjoyed them in England, Barcelona, the US (Scotsdale, Arizona, and New York, and looked in Los Angeles) , France (Paris and Avignon), Monte Carlo, Budapest. 

None have come close to the facilities we enjoy - free barbecues, picnic tables, clean and tidy change areas etc. In lots of places entry is either expensive, or time-limited - eg a 2 or 3 hour session. Roselands charges $6 for an adult, $4.50 child/pensioner/concession, $2 non-swimming parent; $20 family (max 5). I pay $100 for a 20-visit pass. And for that you can stay from opening to closing - 6am to 8pm Mon-Fri; 7:30am-5pm Sat/Sun/Public Holidays.

Many public pools were built in the 1960s and 70s (in the wake of the Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956), and now need re-investment. There's always a battle to protect them as they age and councils need to find the funds. The reason I am swimming at Roselands is because my local pool is being re-built...after a long-fought battle with the local Council, which we won! 

I much prefer these outdoor 50 metre pools, which increasingly are heated to enable year round swimming. Many centres, such as Roselands, also have 25 m indoor pools - great for swimming lessons throughout the year, and for those preferring the slightly warmer indoor pool (30 deg C....outdoor is 25 deg C) .

Friday, 20 November 2015

Swimming lessons

Yesterday I showed the calm before the lessons storm began.  10 mins later and it's all go! 

Since 1954, NSW public primary school students in Years 2 to 6 can attend free swimming lessons every year. They are eligible if they are unable to swim 25m in deep water, unaided, with confidence and style. 

Lessons of 45 minutes duration are held over 10 consecutive school days.  

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Calm before the storm

Every child in Australia should learn how to swim, given our relationship with water. Most do.
November is swimming lesson season for school kids all over the country. It's towards the end of the school year, and the weather is warm to hot.

Here at the public pool where I swim laps, Roselands, the onslaught is gathering .... a few calm  moments between morning and afternoon lessons.

(taken on iPhone)

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Sandstone restoration, Hyde Park

Sydney City Council is restoring and repairing the sandstone perimeter wall and features of Hyde Park, including stairs, pavements, plinths, and the wall. 

I came across these workers installing caps along the wall. 

Meanwhile, the NSW state government is planning to privatise public works heritage services. These skilled craftspeople have been responsible for much of the restoration of Sydney's unique sandstone buildings and features over recent years, including the Queen Victoria Building, Hyde Park Barracks, Central Station. 

Where will the skilled tradespeople come from in future? They won't be home grown, if the state government has the final say. 

Monday, 15 September 2014


From time to time there is discussion about the inappropriateness of the 'four seasons' model in much of Australia. It's certainly not appropriate in Sydney. Spring started in my garden at least a month ago.

Aboriginal people around the country had different seasonal models (see link below).

Dr Tim Entwistle of Sydney's Botanic Gardens proposes a five season model:

Summer: December, January, February, March
Autumn: April, May
Winter: June, July
Sprinter: August, September
Sprummer: October, November

Read more here.