Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Australia Diaries Part 8 - Bright lights, big city...

Whilst it was hard to say goodbye to friends in country Victoria the blow was lessened by a few days acclimatising myself to city living once again with my friends Jan and Geoff who really make me feel like Melbourne is my second home.

I was also lucky enough to meet up with my friend Jacqueline who I met some years ago through the Knitters Review Forum and have been trying but failing to meet up with on my trips ever since. I was sad not to be able to catch up with my friend Rose but that just means that I have to come back soon!.

Jacqueline and I met up at what I am led to believe is a traditional meeting point for Melburnians, under the clocks at Flinders Street Station.

While I was waiting I was reminded by these wonderful shop fronts that I was not in London and that even in the big city, the bush is close to the heart, at least in the imagination of many Australians.

Akubra hats are an Australian icon, traditionally made from rabbit fur felt, something that, thanks to European settlement they have in abundance here.

One of the wonderful things about having friends in unfamiliar cities is that they can show you treasures that you would be very hard pressed to find on your own. On leaving Flinders Street, Jacqueline whisked me away into the unprepossessing entrance of the Nicholas Building on Swanson Street, an elderly but characterful building which turned out to be an absolute treasure house.
First we visited Buttonmania where the very helpful assistant with old fashioned grace pulled out drawer after drawer to find the perfect small brown button for a project that Jacqueline is working on.
Next we visited Kimono House where when running my hands over all the beautiful textiles I regretted my limited sewing skills.
Finally, we found, quite by chance, L'uccello , a newly opened shop selling vintage haberdashery and craft kits where Jacqueline found some gorgeously subtle vintage ribbon for edging a skirt to wear with every girl's winter wardrobe essential - red boots!
Of course, all this retail excitement meant that we were soon ready for lunch so we headed for Federation Square.

The architecture of Federation Square which was finished around five years ago has both its admirers and detractors as it is very contemporary and distinctive. I have to say that I really like it and revisiting it now after seeing it first just after it had been finished it is good to see how people have taken it to their hearts and are using it as a focal point for city life as it was intended to be.
We headed to the Chocolate Buddha for lunch and spent the best part of the afternoon putting the world to rights from the importance of knitting a tension square to the peculiarities of the male of the species.
My last day in Melbourne was full of friendship and relaxed conversation and one of the many reasons that it will always be part of my life.
But, life goes on and I have been home for several weeks now and of course have been knitting tirelessly to help acclimatise to real life. Next time I will share with you some of the things I have been doing and also some of the surely misguided plans I have for the year. Here are a couple of tasters to keep you going.

Socks! No surprises there then....

1 comment:

Karen said...

Great pictures, Jane. Love seeing all the new places. Also, great socks!