Postcards from Sydney #4

This is my last night at the quirky and frankly brilliant Collectionist Hotel, so it’s fitting I begin by showing you some of the things that make this place so nice.

I’ve just left “happy hour” — a three hour evening ritual, where the staff put on complimentary drinks and nibbles for guests. I’m normally too introverted for anything like this, but I as arrived home, the lovely young man who has organised my late check-out offered me a drink, and it would have been rude to refuse. It’s a very nice beer (above) for anyone who’s interested.

In general I’m not a fan of Nespresso machines — or of any device that relies on single-use consumables. But, I have to admit, having one in my room has been brilliant. The coffee is really very good. And the little cup — which looks like a disposable — is ceramic.

Even better though is the presence of a jar of loose tea and a pot to make it in!! So much nicer than teabags.

My day has involved lots of art, lots of walking, and too much food (including some breakfast banana bread also provided by the hotel).

I’ve been to the Modern Art Museum and to the NSW Art Gallery. As with any gallery, there is much to love and a lot that I just don’t connect with.

I’ve realised from my photos on this trip, that I am more and more interested in three-dimensional art that works with the human form. My Bondi photos show this, and it was reinforced at the NSW Art Gallery tonight.

Walking, Wei Wang: seen at Sculpture by the Sea, Bipondi.

Shifting Horizons, April Pine. Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi.

The English Channel, Michael Parakowhai. NSW Art Gallery

Veiled Female Bust, Agathon Leonard, NSW Art Gallery

I like Sydney. It is in a beautiful location. There are so many places to eat. Public transport is frequent, reliable and seems affordable. People are really friendly, and everywhere you go there are directional signs with destinations and distances — for pedestrians and cyclists.

But: it is a city that seems to be “under construction.” Everywhere I look there are building sites and cranes and people in hard-hats. That means it is also very, very noisy. More than the traffic and the planes overhead, the sounds of construction are relentless.

Snapshot of development: the view from Pyrmont Bridge.

I have totally loved my time here, but I am looking forward to going home tomorrow.

Postcards from Sydney #3

Damien Hirst Looking for Sharks, Cool Shit.

Short postcard today. I was up early, and walking the Bondi sculpture trail before 8am to avoid the heat and crowds.

Definitely the way to go– but my knee is paying for all the stairs and steep streets between Tamarama Beach and Bondi Road.

Walking, Wei Wang. Bronze sculpture, visitor and resting bird.

Sea Scene, Rebecca Rose (a New Zealand artist).

These were some of my favourite shots.

The other nice thing about getting to Bondi early, is that it left lots of time to do other things too. so I’ve been “playing tourist” wandering along Circular Quay and past the Opera House.

While I admire the exterior architecture, I’m not a great fan of the interior and couldn’t face the stairs up to the entrance.

Instead, I went to the NSW State Library.

Like the Victoria State Library in Melbourne, this is housed in a beautiful neo-classical building (oops, forgot to photograph the exterior I was so keen to see inside).

The main reading room is lovely

… and I was very taken with this ‘Curate your own Exhibition’ activity on the lower floor. There were two boxes of prints that people could put into the frames. A lovely way to engage visitors.

I’ll leave you with the sunset view from my balcony — sans wine tonight. I’m just too tired.

Postcards from Sydney #2

I am definitely feeling my age — or perhaps just my arthritic knee.

I visited Sculpture by the Sea today, and found that by the time I got to the trail end at Tamarama Beach, my knee was aching and I was feeling quite tired.

I suspect this may partly have been due to how busy the exhibition was. Trying to enjoy art with so many people intent on taking selfies is exhausting.

With 107 sculptures being exhibited, there is so much to see, and I will go back — probably quite early in the morning to avoid the worst of the crowds.

In the meantime, here are a few images from my day.

Another glimpse of my home away from home. The balcony is proving to be a lovely place to enjoy breakfast and dinner — and a glass of wine as the sun goes down.

There seems to be quite a lot of sculptures featuring human forms at this year’s exhibition. Here are a few of them:

Detail, “Niemand”: Victor Fresno, 2015 (with friend). Full sculpture below.

Bank”: Mu Boyan, 2017. One of the most popular sculptures, judging by the crowds surrounding it.

Thoughts of Pinocchio”: Kim Bongsoo — and detail below.

Look inside my mind”: Studioex@UNSW

I’ll leave you with a shot I took outside a bookshop in Newtown. I like the Karen Walker quote (she’s a Kiwi fashion designer for those who don’t know), but I absolutely love the blind-date book idea. What should I choose?

Postcards from Sydney #1

I’m indulging my love of art — sculpture in particular — with a visit to Sydney to see Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi.

This involved a five am start to catch my flight, which was surprisingly not full and I had a whole row of seats to stretch out in.

I’m staying in a new hotel, in a part of town I’ve never been to before. So far, so awesome.

One of the cool things about The Collectionist is that all the rooms are designed by local artists — and they are all different. The other cool thing is that you get to choose your room. I had a choice of three and picked The Santa Rosa Suite. I’ll give you a peep inside tomorrow.

I’m not sure if it’s a legacy of my recent cold, or a sign that I’m getting old, but the last time I came to Sculpture by the Sea three years ago, I headed straight from checking in to Bondi Beach and walked the sculpture trail to the end at Tamarama Beach (and then walked back).

Today, I felt too tired to face the 12km bus trip to Bondi, let alone a 3km (return) walk around the exhibition, so I’m saving my energy for tomorrow.

Instead I’ve been exploring the neighbourhood and back towards the CBD, where I found dinner at Fishbowl.

A note to all The Changing Seasons contributors.

I will update the blogroll with links to your posts whenever I am able to, but I may be a little slower than usual.

The Changing Seasons: October 2018


I really should stop organising to travel at the end of a month; it plays havoc with The Changing Seasons scheduling.

I’m off to Sydney on Sunday to visit Sculpture by the Sea, a fantastic exhibition that is installed annually along the coastal path from Bondi to Tamarama Beach. With luck I’ll have lots of photos to share — but not until November.

Which leaves me wondering what I’ve done with this month.

Part of it certainly has been spent woolly-headed and lethargic from the absolute worst cold I can ever remember having. But that only accounts for about 10 days, and my photo folder for October is the smallest it’s been in ages. So however I have occupied my time, much of it obviously hasn’t seemed worth recording.

I’ve done a lot of sewing — mainly cushion covers to freshen up our living room.


I’ve baked bread, including a couple of variations on sourdough.

First came some impromptu flatbreads from dough that was intended for crackers …


… then Rewena Paraoa, or Maori bread.

Maori bread is something I have been aware of for a long time, but knew nothing about. I found an old recipe, and was surprised to find it’s basically a sourdough, using boiled mashed potato mixed with flour and water to create the starter.

Neither wheat nor potatoes are native to New Zealand, and arrived with European settlers. Prior to that, kumara (sweet potato), yams, taro and ti pore (Pacific Cabbage Tree) were probably the principal sources of carbohydrates. Both were brought from East Polynesia by the country’s original migrants, probably around in the 13th century. As far as I know, pre-European Maori did not make bread.

Potatoes are easier to grow than kumara, and were widely adopted into the Maori diet. The use of potatoes in sourdough cultures is not unique to Maori, and was once widespread, but interestingly I had found no reference to it prior to finding this recipe. It certainly produced a starter culture much more quickly than the flour and water version that the Big T and I made a couple of years ago. My potato starter (which I actually made with kumara out of curiosity), was ready to use after two days, while our original starter took around two weeks.

The finished loaf was ok; a bit dense, and I forgot to salt the dough properly, but it was edible, and I’d certainly attempt it again.

Eroded sea-shell. Image: Su Leslie 2018 Exposing the inner workings. Eroded sea-shell. Image: Su Leslie 2018

One of those little philosophical moments …

I found this tiny, eroded shell in a little bag of rocks and other stuff tucked inside one of my son’s shoes. He had obviously planned to take the bag (and the shoes) home after a visit to us, but somehow they got left behind.

It reminded me of a time –long past — when we went to the beach together, bringing home assorted treasures destined to be forgotten.

From the outside, the shell is relatively smooth and uniform. It is only when the interior is exposed that we can see the complexity of growth and change. The passage of time does that.

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.


Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Deb at The Widow Badass

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Babsje at Great Blue Herons, who joins us for the first time. Please take a look at this great blog, including a second Changing Seasons post.

Lee at Ladyleemanila

Little pieces of me

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Sarah at Art Expedition

Ju Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

In love with the lustre

obi-sash cushion lustre

Another up-cycled kimono sash cushion cover. Image: Su Leslie 2018

(Still) feeling too lethargic and woolly-headed from my cold to get out and do much, I am amusing myself with simple projects — like up-cycling kimono sashes (obi).

The latest cushion was made entirely from the silk in the sash itself and required very little sewing.

I love these fabrics; the beautiful colours and designs, and the wonderful lustre of the silk fibres.

Posted to Ragtag Daily Prompt | lustre.