This week

By Vita Forest

Autumn and Winter from our collaborative artwork on the Four Seasons

This week I have been

READING Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

FINISHING our fantastic Four Season display in the classroom

MEETING the parents of the children in my new class

HOLDING another dance audition… (I think everyone has had their chance now)

SLEEPING in on the weekend after a huge week

SWIMMING at Balmoral and Cremorne Point

A busy afternoon at MacCallum Pool, Cremorne

CELEBRATING Briony’s birthday where we were

EATING sponge cake with caramel icing (a combination from our childhood)

Walking around Cremorne Point towards Neutral Bay

Advertisements

This week

By Vita Forest

IMG_4023[1]

A glimpse of the harbour pool at Cremorne Point

This week I have been

READING Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (but not very much just yet)

WRITING Lapping (my last Kiama past from the last trip)

LISTENING to the wonderful ACO at the Tognetti, Tchailovsky, Brahms concert at the City Recital Hall and letting the music just wash over me!

SWIMMING and SKETCHING at Cremorne Point

CATCHING up with Gemma and Vastra and Saskia (how lovely!)

MAKING a fantastic collaborative artwork with my class – photos next week?

CELEBRATING my niece Pippi’s 8th Birthday

IMG_4051[1]

Fish and chips with a view before seeing the ACO

 

This week

By Vita Forest

Sydney ferries at Circular Quay

This week I have been

RETURNING to school!

COVERING books

MEETING my new kids and seeing my old ones too.

READING Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

WRITING Creatures of Kiama Part 2

WATCHING The Hunt for the Wilder People with my kids – we all loved it!

WALKING over the Sydney Harbour Bridge with Lucy, Max and Briony.

 

This week

By Vita Forest

This week I have been

Jurassic Plastic, Sydney Town Hall

READING Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta

WRITING Creatures of Kiama Part 1

VISITING

Jurassic Plastic

  • Hiroshi Fuji’s Jurassic Plastic, part of the Sydney Festival 2018.
  • school for a planning day… trying to stay calm and keep the holiday feeling
  • The Australian Maritime Museum for some sketching

Mokuy by Nawurapu Wununmurra, part of the the Gapu-Monuk Saltwater Jouney to the Sea Country exhibition

SWIMMING at Balmoral Beach

CRAMMING in lots of last minute holiday jobs

ADDING watercolour to some Kiama sketches

TRYING to stay cool

 

 

This week (or so)

By Vita Forest

This week I have been

WRITING Holiday at home

READING

  • Quiet by Susan Cain
  • The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

SWIMMING in the waters of Balmoral Beach

SKETCHING at the Art Gallery of NSW on day too wet to sit outside

WATCHING many, many episodes of The Bureau (C’est formidable!)

MAKING Jules Clancy’s chocolate and pecan tart (spectacular)

MEETING Sui-Sui and Alessandro  for a long lunch full of good company, good food, good chatting and cat-patting!

PERCOLATING lots of ideas for writing, teaching and general creative endeavours in the year to come.

This week

By Vita Forest


This week I have been

WRITING Thinking about Balmoral

READING

  • Spinster by Kate Bolick
  • The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

BINGE WATCHING

  • Game of Thrones season 7 (wow!)
  • The Bureau (also wow!)

SWIMMING at Balmoral Beach

SNORKELLING at Shelly Beach Manly – saw a blue grouper and four stingrays and a whole lotta fish

SKETCHING at the Royal Botanical Gardens and enjoying the wildflower meadow along with the butterflies and bees

CELEBRATING the new year – Happy 2018 everyone!

Thinking about Balmoral

By Vita Forest

It’s the summer holidays and that means lots of time spent swimming in salt water.  One of my favourite haunts is Balmoral Beach, a place with so many layers of memory washing over it.

There’s the lemon scent I catch as I walk down the street where I usually park the car, from who knows what plant – it’s not a lemon tree.  This street with the sign at the entrance to the driveway of a block of apartments “Don’t even think about parking here” which causes equal parts outrage and laughter.  The flats, with the garage that at one time had its door raised to reveal a private gym, and another time, another year, a stall of random items for sale including a couple of Margaret Atwood books.  One day I bought The Blind Assassin.  The next day I bought Alias Grace.  A street I walk along and wonder, which house would I live in?  If I could?  Or would I choose that low-maintenance apartment with its shady verandah looking out over the beach?

There’s The Baths.  Years ago, we used to have our initial swimming carnival for high school there (before moving onto to the more serious North Sydney Olympic pool for the finals).  It was a fun day out, with those who wanted to participating in the races, diving off the floating blocks into the often choppy water, while those who didn’t, sunbaking on the slatted wooden jetty or splashing about in the shallows near the sand.  In recent years, Max and Lucy have floated there on giant doughnuts or blow up boats or snorkelled under the jetty looking for fish and crabs and the rumours of seahorses living in the waving kelp.  In recent years I have returned here to swim, simplifying my routine by swimming without goggles or a cap.  Perhaps that is why I don’t do Freestyle anymore – too much water gets in my ears.  Instead I keep my head out – all the better to see where I am going and to pause every now and then to look up at the bush on the headland or the clouds floating in the blue sky.

Further south, there are large fig trees that grow on the grass behind the sand.  Some of them are like pavilions with branches extending over the beach itself.  It was under one of these that I used to sit with Lucy as a baby, her body lying between my legs, her feet kicking into the air as she gazed up at the twinkling brightness of the sun through the fig leaves.  It was here that her feet were first dipped into salt water, tiny toes flaring up at its coldness.  It was here I rocked the pram covered with a muslin cloth, groggy with lack of sleep, and watched Max play on the pirate ship in the playground.

Heading north, there’s the island attached to the promenade by an arched concrete bridge.  It was here we drank cheap champagne on one of our last days of high school.  It was here I have stopped with innumerable friends on innumerable walks up and down the beach in summer and winter, sunshine and rain.  It was here a month or so ago, I sat on a rock and drew a fig tree growing out of a crevasse between two boulders of sandstone, its roots clutching and wrapping around the rocks.  It was on that occasion that I saw the young bride and groom, she in a backless white gown that showed off the tattoos on her tanned shoulders.

It’s to this place I have come in summer, either early or late, to avoid the harshness of the midday sun.  And so I never see Freya, who I work with, who only goes there at the hottest time of the day.  She is young and invincible and lies in the sun to get a tan, something I never do.  Me in my long-sleeved rashie seeing if I can still swim a kilometre.

I can.