This week

By Vita Forest

While I waited… outside The Australian Museum


This week I have been

READING

  • The Art of Frugal Hedonism by Adam Grubb and Annie Raser Rowland
  • The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

LAUGHING when some Year 4 boys went and knelt in the mud on the way to Assembly because they know how I like to sit in Assembly and admire their muddy knees…

MEETING up with some very old friends from my childhood and my sisters for a dinner at Briony’s.

FAREWELLING my children as they headed off overseas with their Dad.

WRITING Because I am early  about being early to

SKETCHING at The Australian Museum and

FOCUSING on Papua New Guinean masks


PRETENDING I was at a retreat and doing yoga twice in one day…

 

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Because I am early…

By Vita Forest


Arriving early I walk through Hyde Park, hear the busker singing loudly of love, admire the arrangement of winter plantings, ringing the fountain with tight purple and green ornamental cabbages.  See a backpacker taking an entire park bench for his pleasure, reclining on top of a sleeping bag, resplendent in his happiness as he luxuriates in the winter sunshine, backpack at his feet.  I look at the statues in the fountain and think of Greek Gods and how we will be into them next term.  I think of Alexander on his Outing getting stuck down a hole in this general vicinity and being raised up again with water from that very fountain.   I see the cathedral with its circles and triangles and gothic spires and think, I should really try and draw that someday.

I walk through the tunnel of fig trees and turn back to see the Archibald Fountain shining, being the light at the end of the tunnel, sun hitting the sparkling water and remember how I had drawn that tunnel of trees long ago, at high school, the branches arching up to meet above the paving stones drawn into the distance with excellent perspective.  Remembering how at night the trees were filled with fairy lights and then reading the sign that warns the unwary stroller of the possibility of “tree failure” if there be storms.  Just imagine.


I walk behind a shrieking girl clinging onto her Dad as he stomps along, daughter’s hands clasped around his waist, yelling “Where is she?  Where is she?”  Daughter hysterical with delight as yet again he turns to find she isn’t there.

Because I am early, I cross the road and take the boardwalk over the water on top of the indoor pool.  Remember how once water lilies grew in this pool, reeds, bulrushes.  What happened to them?  I wonder, and how long ago was that?  But still, the boardwalk is there, reminding the walker of jetties, piers, ferry wharves, the sea.  The museum floats upside in the water as I walk toward it on the boardwalk that I choose to take, up high above the footpath, above the pool, above the street.  I take these adventures where I can find them.

I am still too early so I sit in the sun and watch a toddler marvelling at the world – A stick!  Another one!  I can scrape them in the dirt!  Wow!  His Dad crouching down beside him, seeing the world through his son’s eyes.  And later they mount the boardwalk, enjoying the slight ringing of their feet on the wood and the boy is almost stunned when the fountain shoots sudden water out from under his feet arching out from the wood and into the pool.

Can the world get any more amazing?


 

 

This week

By Vita Forest

Queensland Bottle Tree, Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney


This week I have been

READING 

  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (finished at last).
  • The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (highly recommended by Sui-Sui, I have just started).
  • The Art of Frugal Hedonism by Annie Raser-Rolland and Adam Grubb (now I know what to call myself!)

SKETCHING a Queensland Bottle tree at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Succulents at the Royal Botanical Gardens


VISITING The Powerhouse Museum with my class (great fun!! My little group just loved revisiting their early childhood in The Wiggles exhibition). 

MAKING an astronaut/aviatrix costume (my sewing machine and table are covered in silver glitter – looks like Tinkerbell has been for a visit).


EATING Belgian Chocolate gelato in Chatswood with my kids – sensational!

WALKING with my kids on a gelato expedition and later in the brisk winter air with Vastra and Saskia.

FINDING that our dance performance group is “all coming together”.

DIRECTING a little play with my class and watching them shine!

This week

By Vita Forest

Fig tree on the way to Bush Bank Steam Mill, Kiama


This week I have been

READING

  • reports!
  • and Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (nearly finished)

WRITING

VISITING

  • Vivid in Sydney
  • Gerroa with Sui-Sui and Alessandro and

REVISITING

Bombo headland

  • Bombo Headland
  • Kiama

Dry stone walls, Kiama

  • Gerringong (for a mighty fine burger – thanks Betty and Bob for the tip!)
  • Minnamurra Rainforest and

Suspension bridge at Minnamurra Rainforest

    DISCOVERING a new place in Kiama (my children were most surprised such a place exists)  – the ruin of the Bush Bank Steam Mill

    Bush Bank Steam Mill ruin

    SEEING lots of wildlife including

    • two lots of whales off the coast!  (From Gerringong and Bombo)
    • Fairy wrens at Bombo

    Jenny wren at Bombo Beach

    • Lyrebirds at Minnamurra Rainforest
    • Cows at Kiama (maybe not so wild)

    Cows with a view, Kiama

    • Wattlebirds, lorrikeets, king parrots, rosellas and more

    EATING lots of delicious cooking at the holiday home in Gerroa

    RELAXING after some very busy times at school

    Drowned World

    By Vita Forest

    In our own worlds

    Looking at the hidden worlds in the water 

    In the pools left by the sea.

    Balancing, bending, picking, choosing, rubbing rocks through finger tips

    Standing in a field of shells

    Speckling sand

    Shards of glass rubbed smooth by the sea

    The helmet of a crab 

    The tail of a lobster

    Beads of seaweed 

    Chunks of golden sponge

    Hefted lightly in my hand.

    Pockets percussive with clattering collections

    Watching monumental molluscs move

    Millimetre by millimetre

    Twisting paths over black boulders 

    Water winking in the indents of rocks

    Reflecting the sky, the clouds, the light, the face peering down to the flash of opalescence deep down amongst the dark 


    A row of molluscs huddled in a crevice

    Warrigal greens sprawling over black stones 

    Balls of raindrops rolling on the leaves of nasturtiums 

    Looking back at the rearing hill with its indents of cow hoofs and the chatter of hidden birds


    Through eyes, through camera lenses, through words shouted into the wind and the muttered impressions in my mind

    Saving them, holding them til I reach pen and paper, like a handful of sea-smooth stones.

    New and Old

    By Vita Forest

     

    The old ones arrive

    dragging feet and

    bags full of books and

    clothes and shoes and

    heavy hearts and

    guilt for the heaviness

    which makes them lean

    even further

    into themselves.

     

    Up the new stairs

    to the new room

    the worst room

    the room left over when

    the other ones were taken

    by the new ones

    new and shiny

    and pretty

    and docile

    and compliant.

    Everything the old are not.

     

    You will do this, he says

    hands them a broom, a brush, a spade

    always some job to fill in the time

    while he lies back in his chair in the sun

    scratching the dog

    under her chin.

     

    The new, the pretty watch

    offer to help

    No, he thunders

    Do you know how much I pay?

    How much they cost?

    They will work.

    The new stare

    while the old slog away

    and wish away the time

    and wish they were not wishing it away.

    This week

    By Vita Forest

    Winter banksia flowers near The Coal Loader


    This week I have been

    READING school reports!

    WRITING school reports!

    WATCHING 

    •  War on Waste on ABC
    • Mary Poppins with young Lucy singing and dancing
    • Wicked at Chatswood Concourse

    MAKING 

    • Winter soup
    • Silver space silhouettes for a dance costume 

    SKETCHING at The Coal Loader at Waverton with my good ol sketch pals

      CELEBRATING some good news for Saskia

      DANCING around the living room with Lucy choosing songs to use in my  class play

      FEELING rather exhausted 

      Near The Coal Loader