Friday, May 16, 2014

Oh, for the Fizz...

I'd been to my physiotherapist, to get my back strong and straightened. It began when I was at school, my bad back, when I lent over my desk at nights studying hard for too long, over subjects I sometimes liked and sometimes hated. I knew it was going to be a lifelong struggle.
So I feel for things that don't quite come up to scratch. This monumental, circular bed has only ivy growing in it when so much more could have been achieved with it. Yet it's comfortable the way it is, not needing a 'makeover'.
It's meant to be autumn here, but it's increasingly feeling that autumn is the new spring. I'm sitting here in a light dressing-gown, the window open, the 20 degree temperature about the same as it has been throughout the day, though it's nearly 7pm. Having just read that Australia is likely to suffer another el Nino year - when increased warmth from up out of the Pacific Ocean circulates then an oscillating heat wave that eliminates rain - I am feeling the fizz evaporate.
These photos, as I wandered away from my physiotherapy, were taken on my mobile, but the blurring may well be germane. We're meant to be upside down here, in the southern hemisphere, but our upside down-ness is itself flipping upside down. Things are, in the streetscape, in the gardens, looking remarkably well, after a savage summer, but will we be able to anchor ourselves in an environment that seems as if it's being eliminated?
The exercises my physiotherapist has given me are doing something fine...I am feeling somehow more vertical. I know I can stand up to whatever it is I must. Can the gardens of Melbourne do the same? 
This isn't pleaching, is it, when older branches have been bent into a form to hold the effusion of new growth? Dunno. I'm just hoping that bits of garden history like this live indefinitely here or we'll be getting gardens made out of concrete slabs with bits of green plastic tossed over hem, to look as if they were a real garden. 
God knows I need my physiotherapist. There will no doubt be an even more awful summer than the one we just had, but I will not be able to lug wheelbarrow-load after wheelbarrow-load of mulch over the outline of my garden unless there's some sort of body filling out the outline. Like, I don't do things without a reason.
My mother's nickname for me as a boy was Knuckleduster. Can you believe it? As if I'm meant to stand up to all this dessication without blinking! You need some sort of results sometimes, out of this life, or else it gets to be a bit of a play within a play. Declaration: Gardener Needs Help.  
( PS I got some help today in the form of a new job in a bookshop ).

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Parliament, the Princess and the Pedestrian

You can live in a city all your life, as I've done in Melbourne, and be familiar only with parts of it. Parts such as the eastern, Parliamentary end of the CBD, to which I frequently gravitate.
Having traversed and photographed this area often I didn't know I'd be able to find anything new today. Above and below are views from out of the inside of Parliament Station.
Above, the Stanford Fountain in Gordon Square, created by William Stanford 1867-1870 while in prison for horse theft and escaping custody. Perhaps he was tired of walking. Perhaps he just wanted to run. He did, though, earn his freedom, I feel.
I wasn't prepared to risk arrest by entering this untended gate into Parliament House and be horse-whipped or brought before a jury. The gardens are open only one day a year and today wasn't the day.
The Station itself is all underground, and a show-piece when it was built. Its gardens are looking a bit down and out,  greying, like the day...
...but retaining some suitable splendour.
There was a Princess here somewhere, wasn't there? This is her, or at least the side of her, the Princess Theatre, where this pedestrian for a time in his younger days ushered in the crowds and even got to see Lauren Bacall on stage. 
But today I was ushering myself down Little Bourke Street to lunch, glimpsing the past as I went, relieved to see some green amid the prison-grey.