Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Surrounded by Books in an open terrain

A stack of ten or so decorate my table. This is 'follow your nose' research where i puddle about the backwaters of "Google Scholar" looking for books vaguely related to my topic that are... interesting. God, I do love the first few months of a PhD, where there is ample time to drift in a field of literature and really think about what interests me now. Here are some of the titles on my desk:

  • Large Parks
  • Recovering Landscape
  • The Landscape Urbanism reader
  • Framing places
  • Non-Places
  • City of Quartz
  • Global Metropolitan

It feels to me that I am becoming less and less interested in architecture, and more concerned with the quality of landscape. That is to say, I am reconsidering what it is that the discipline of landscape might include; built fabric, infrastructure, gardens, parks, roads and wilderness are all part of the terrain of this expanding discipline. For me its not possible to consider one without the other as they are all part of an ecology that designers must be concerned with. The intereconnectedness of all these constructions spaces and places, while not the topic of my thesis, will hopefully be a part of the latent understanding of the terrain.

Friday, October 16, 2009


 I have woken up this morning with a spring in my step, and find my plse is racing a bit. I have a lovely glow of optimism that is, well, kinda unusual for 7.30am on a school morning.
And i was wondering what it was that was generating these feelings. Ahhh.....some quiet moments over a coffee and I spy my disgorged backpack in the corner of the room and I know its this! Its the promise of walking again. Getting out there. UP THERE, in the alpine highlands.
M y walking pal, described it as this: Alpinophilia. I gather its some kind of obsession with the high country.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Blog shy: thinking a little too much about the unseen public in the blogosphere

Ive been a little wary of blogging lately: of projecting too much if myself into the electronic ether. Blog-shy. It might be good to get this out in the open a bit and blow a little air through some of the things Ive been worrying about.  
Its the idea that anyone can offer comment on your life: that whatever is disclosed in a blogpost is open to interpretation, and often misinterpretation. You see reflected in the comments people make about your world (or what you choose to write of it anyway) at best another way of looking things, but at worst, well, I guess there is the chance that someone can be abusive. Thakfully this hasnt happened to me! So I suppose that the thing that has started to freak me a bit is that idea that when I post something, there is the chance that in another person's comments, I get to see my own life bounced back at me  through the words of another, coloured by their politics, world view and prejudices. And this is fine and dandy when the person commenting has a set of values that are close to your own...but when this isnt the case, I suppose you just have to roll with it and accept the on-line community for what it is: a multifarious and  unpredictable wilderness of folk that you might never meet and may well never want to. 
 The other issue I worry about is the fact that the minutiae of one's everyday life is up here (on here? there? ) for others to read indefinitely. Just last week I had breakfast with a colleague  who happened to find my blog via my facebook page and she acknowledged she had read a bit of it, which is totally fine. Hey, I know that if you write stuff, well, peeple read it. thats the whole idea. Its just that the things I had been writing about and dealing with months ago had only just been read by her, so you have the whole gamut of thoughts from times past resurfaced as if they just happened yesterday. So it was this re-surfacing of an old post that was a little unsettling, aswell as I guess its the first time I have had to chat face-to-face with a 'reader', who wasnt necessarily a friend I had invited into my blog-world. Not necessarily confronting in any way: just a momentary weirding. If that isnt a word, it should be.
So, from this point I can either choose to disclose less. Or keep on writing, and accept the idea of this new (to me) unseen public the blogosphere presents. I'll let you know how I get on with this choice.
Post script: just re-reading this I realise that this post expresses a moment in time, and possibly  a degree of paranoia. lol!  There are so many lovely people out there too that read and comment on blogs, and Im lucky enough to have some kind and thoughtful people that have chosen to follow my writing, and for this I thank you!

Friday, September 25, 2009


by Don Paterson

I love all films that start with rain:
rain, braiding a windowpane
or darkening a hung-out dress
or streaming down her upturned face;

one long thundering downpour
right through the empty script and score
before the act, before the blame,
before the lens pulls through the frame

to where the woman sits alone
beside a silent telephone
or the dress lies ruined on the grass
or the girl walks off the overpass,

and all things flow out from that source
along their fatal watercourse.
However bad or overlong
such a film can do no wrong,

so when his native twang shows through
or when the boom dips into view
or when her speech starts to betray
its adaptation from the play,

I think to when we opened cold
on a rain-dark gutter, running gold
with the neon of a drugstore sign,
and I’d read into its blazing line:

forget the ink, the milk, the blood—
all was washed clean with the flood
we rose up from the falling waters
the fallen rain’s own sons and daughters

and none of this, none of this matters.

Not a Haiku, but a great poem for today as it seems to be raining buckets, at least where I am. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday morning walking

Havent felt like blogging this last week. I have been in a bit of a shitty ol' mood. Its a combination of things: crap weather, my back being a bit up-and-down, and well, crap weather. In fact the lack of reliable sunshine is getting me down. It honestly feels like we have had 10 weekends of torrential rain, with maybe one sunny Saturday that I can recall. I know that its taboo to complain about rain when Tassie is just out of a drought, and significant parts of Oz are still firmly in the grip of drought conditions, but here it is- I cant stand (quite so much) rain as this!

So... over this last weekend, rather than wallow in my funk and stare bleakly out the window at more grey skies and heavy clouds, I went walking with a new buddy. In fact, I started my own walking group! I emailed the people i know in Launceston with a vague or burning passion for walking, setting out an inventory of walks over the next 6 weeks culminating in a 6-7 night hike from Lake St Clair to Cradle Mountain.  As it panned out only one person of the 5 or so invited could make the inaugural hike, so I dragged my family along too to keep us company. It rained (needless to say) but it WAS wonderful. The new walking buddy is a well read, chatty bloke with bright green credentials, and a happy disposition. On the drive to Liffey he pointed out Bob Brown's cottage hide-away. Its an unassuming little abode with a pretty porch facing the river and surrounded by a crowd of daffodils. We paid homage to the political dedication and charisma of this wonderful man and shared stories of our contact with the Green's leader.

Ahh, but the walk: yes, I should get to the important bit! Yesterday's walk was an easy one of just 3 hours return, so absolutely fine for the relauctant bloke (thats my bloke, not the new walking buddy) and kidlets whose enthusiasm wanes after an hour of so. The walk is a bit touristy and more populated than I would like (we met 4 or 5 groups on the trail), yet Liffey Falls are spectacular. My, how they FELL! The water gushed audibly over the precipices looking entirely wedding-cakey. Nice to witness the flow-on affects of good rainfall.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Phoenix Seeds

Some semi decent weather over the weekend inspired me to get back into the garden. Unfortunately my garden still looks like Shrek's bog, as we have had soooo much rain here. The area fenced off from potaroos is a mud-bath with nasty looking green slime patches and remnant neglected veggies from the end of the Autumn crop.  Suffice it to say, I didnt really feel at all inspired to dig around in it!

So Im back to pots. And wheelbarrows, as it happens. I was thinking that I needed to raise my seeds in something broad and shallow, that could be moved about the garden easily. And voila!, this old barrow proved the perfect thing. It even had a few strategically placed holes in the bottom, which will help with draining the seed raising mix.A clear sheet of plastic over the top, and Im set to wheel it into a sunny spot, or inside the shed if its likely to be stormy or frosty.

The seeds are from a Tasmanian organic, biodynamic and heritage seed producer that my Mum has used for years. He operates from a PO Box just out of a little town rather cutely named Snug, just 20 km or so South of Hobart. The good thing is he produces seeds that are nicely adapted for our chilly nights and frosty mornings, so Ive had success with getting his tomato seeds to survive the September freezing soils.
I think my Mum had a bit of a fascination (professional only...shes a horticulturist) for the guy as he is kind of elusive, but dedicated to his work. I remember her having rather lengthy chats with him on the phone (or perhaps she told me this). Anyway, anyway, anyway...  as I was down Hobart way recently I thought I would go and pay homage and check out the operations. I found a vague address on-line, and as its not a big town thought id zoom about the Channel Highway and find him. I asked at the corner store, the petrol station and knocked on some poor persons front door, but no-one knew where he operated from.

The man is a mystery, but his seeds are rather fabulous.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Distractions: friday haiku

my grandmother's day
must have been so slow, so calm,
fewer distractions