Abu Dhabi: art + architecture

A few weeks ago I gave a presentation to the local creative community, talking about ‘Abu Dhabi: art + architecture’. It was an opportunity to introduce Australians to the concept of the art + culture renaissance starting to bloom in the Middle East, and it took people’s breaths away.

And rightly so, the vision is utterly breathtaking.


Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (Dubai is an hour down the road) and the largest emirate of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, is leading the way with plans to diversify its fossil-fuelled economy based on tourism, renewable energy and art + culture.

Yes folks, the people in the world with access to the most oil and gas and cash are diversifying their economy in rapid earnest….

Saadiyat Cultural District

Saadiyat Cultural District

The grand vision of Abu Dhabi is to establish a global cultural hub, the Saadiyat Cultural District, on the pristine and stunning natural Saadiyat Island (“the island of happiness”). This will be home to five world-class museums, an art gallery precinct, art exhibitions and festival spaces, as well as five-star beachfront hotels, a golf course, residential and business complexes and restaurants galore. It will be a destination within a destination.

Louvre Abu Dhabi-1

Louvre Abu Dhabi, architect: Jean Nouvel.

First cab off the rank in this vision, is the French ‘starchitect’ Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is due to open at the end of 2015. Yes, that’s right – they are opening the first ever Louvre outside of France in Abu Dhabi. This will be a ‘universal museum’ in the Arab world, presenting major objects from the fields of archeology, fine arts and decorative arts. It will represent all regions and art periods, including contemporary art and the narrative of art history – reflecting the region’s role as a crossroads for civilisations.

Abu Dhabi was traditionally an economy based on trade and pearl-diving, with caravans from Oman carrying valuable Frankincense passing through on the ancient Silk Route on their way to Turkey, and ultimately Europe. So the vision is a return to the days of Abu Dhabi’s role as a crossroads for the exchange of culture and dialogue.

Zayed National Museum - architects: Foster + Partners

Zayed National Museum – architects: Foster + Partners

Next to open in the Saadiyat Cultural District is the Zayed National Musuem in 2016. Designed by UK architects, Foster + Partners, the building has been inspired by the dynamic flight and feathers of a falcon. This museum will tell the story of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, considered the Father of the Nation of the UAE. He is credited with unifying the previously separate seven emirates that now make up the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain) in 1971. The museum will also showcase the proud Emirati cultural heritage, including Sheikh Zayed’s love of the traditional art of falconry.

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum - architect: Frank Gehry

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum – architect: Frank Gehry

And then, in 2017 the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will throw its doors open to the world.  Designed by internationally-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the museum will house its own major modern and contemporary art collection and present special exhibitions including works from the Guggenheim Foundation‘s extensive collection.

This will be the largest Guggenheim in the world (naturally…) and is aimed at creating an unprecedented vibrant cultural destination for visitors from across the globe.

Following the opening of these three museums, will be a Performing Arts Centre and a Maritime Museum.


So what’s there to see now? In the lead up to the opening of the Saadiyat Cultural District, Abu Dhabi has initiated a program of exhibitions and art festivals to encourage and foster a culture of appreciation for the arts.

Manarat Al Saadiyat

Manarat Al Saadiyat

The Manarat Al Saadiyat (“the place of enlightenment”) is an exhibition and gallery space featuring events all year round. Together with the UAE Pavilion, this is home to the annual Abu Dhabi Art contemporary art fair in November each year.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

On Saadiyat Island itself it’s possible to stay at the five-star  beachfront resorts of St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort and Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas. There’s an exclusive beach club with a plethora of restaurants at Monte Carlo Beach Club and the Gary Player-designed Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.

Impressive huh? Abu Dhabi’s close to my heart, and Saadiyat Island is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. I can’t wait to get back there and see how it’s transformed over the few years with the opening of the Saadiyat Cultural District.

Kelly

 

 

PechaKucha – winter arts networking in #OrangeNSW

To celebrate presenting at the very first #PechaKucha winter arts networking night held by ArtsOutWest in #OrangeNSW,  and also celebrating being able to access my blog after locking myself out for two weeks (set up websites using WordPress for clients and forgot my own log in details – doh!).

PechaKucha Overview

When I signed up to give this presentation, lots of friends were asking me what PechaKucha actually was. Basically, you’ve got 20 images and 20 seconds per image to give a talk about something in the design or arts+culture world that you think is worth sharing. A friend who came along on the night described it as ‘very fast Tedtalks for creatives’. PechaKucha nights were all the rage in Dubai when I lived in the UAE, and mostly frequented by graphic and fashion designers. The presentation format was actually started in Tokyo in 2003 by two architects, and it seems that each PechaKucha absorbs some of the flavour of where it’s held.

The first PechaKucha #OrangeNSW

ArtsOutWest is the regional arts organisation for the Central West region of NSW, and somehow they came up with the idea of not just holding one PechaKucha event for the region – but an event for every town in the region. That’s a lot of creatives coming out of the woodwork! Their Winter Arts Networking Nights took in Cowra, Bathurst, Lithgow, Orange, Wellington, Forbes, Grenfell, Oberon and Canowindra. Five people from each town nominated themselves to get up and present, and in Orange we had a wonderfully eclectic mix of two local artists, photographer, author/explorer (that’s me!), milliner and woodworker.

Joy Engelman, Artist

Joy features in every post I write about arts in the Central West, she’s one of the most recognised local artists we have here and her paintings of Australia’s outback landscapes are stunning. And award-winning – Joy’s triptych of panels depicting the western deserts of NSW, ‘This Sacred Place’, received an award at the Florence Biennale in 2007.

She presented on the Arkaroola Art Workshops she runs twice a year in the Outback, taking small groups of artists out to the Strezliecki Desert to get inspired by the wild beautiful Australian natural desert environment. The photos are absolutely stunning, I’ve already signed up for the next one. Watch Joy’s presentation here.

Luke Wong, Photographer

Not only is Luke our local ABC Open radio producer, he’s also an incredibly talented photographer. Luke has his first exhibition ‘Things I’ve Seen’ currently running at the Orange Regional Art Gallery, and gave us an overview on the night – with a wonderful backstory on how he came to pick up a camera at a very young age as a means of exploring identity and place. Take a look at his intriguing and thoughtful photos here, Luke really catches the eccentricities of what it means to be human.

Fiona Schofield, Milliner

We’re pretty lucky to have a creative of Fiona’s calibre living in the region – she’s trained and worked with some of Australia’s best in the industry. I’m fairly confident all the local polo and racing ladies would agree. Fiona creates individual pieces as artworks, and loves to collaborate with clients to create something unique. Watch her talk about her design journey and journey to the Central West here.

Kelly-Anne Smith, Author/Explorer

I was pretty thrilled at this description of myself from ArtsOutWest, explorer yes/mebbe but the only thing I’ve published is a short story from doing a workshop with Luke. However I like the sound of author/explorer, so I’ll pay that. I presented on ‘Abu Dhabi: art + architecture’ to give the local creatives an inside look into how Abu Dhabi is establishing itself as a global arts hub. This is all in the lead up to the opening of some fairly significant museums in a specially-created museum district on Saadiyat Island. The starring photo for this post is the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opens in 2015. You can watch my rather enthusiastic presentation here.

Geoff Tonkin, Woodworker

A master woodworker, musician and teacher, Geoff shared his journey of music and craftsmanship. He runs courses on how to carve a Windsor chair out of a single block of wood, and how to carve your own musical instruments. He’s also a member of the renowned Aussie bush band, November Shorn. I’m lucky enough to have been invited to visit him on his property near Molong to check out the woolshed that hosts all the workshops. Take a look at his presentation here.

Jane Tonks, Artist

She’s one of the ‘Wild Women of Arkaroola’ and one of the region’s finest artists – Jane shared with us her personal photographic journey of beating the socks out of cancer, and the wonderful process of printmaking. Have a look at her galleries here and her presentation here.


 

So all in all, a fascinating night held at Union Bank Wine Bar with a great bunch of people. Fantastic way to meet the creative locals and yet another reason for enjoying living here in the countryside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

deserting the desert

For the first time in a very long time, I’ve actually got some time to be creative. Maybe it’s the fresh country air that’s inspiring me. Here’s a short story written in a workshop for the ABC Open Endings Project that was first published here.


 

And half way through, he asked me if I ever wondered if this was real. What, I asked, what are you asking is real? He said, sometimes I wonder if any of this is real, sometimes I have to pinch myself, sometimes I think I’m going to wake up any minute and realise it was all just a dreaming.

I looked at him for a while, thinking about where we were, where we’d come from, where we were hopefully going. Then we both looked out the window, out through the double-glazed glass of the serviced hotel apartment, down onto the fluorescent green manicured lawns in the middle of the creamy and undulating desert.

We watched a gaggle of women in head-to-toe black watching their half-naked children splash hedonistically in the chlorinated pool, with a row of multinational mercenary contract workers sitting limply nearby at the outdoor bar on their only day off.

As we watched, the hot dust in the air started to gently swirl into eddies, heralding the birth of a sandstorm that would soon choke the green lawn and blue sky for days – a sign that a long, hot summer was about to break over the dunes and blow into the city. For two days the city would be shrouded in skyscraper-high sand, and it would fall eerily silent as the last small brown birds that braved this place hurriedly departed.

Let’s get out of here, he said and I agreed. And just like a mouse must feel if it’s lucky enough to squirm itself out of the steel jaw of a trap, ignoring the cheese that initially enticed it there, we haphazardly packed our few suitcases and fled.

On the other side of the world it was raining – a constant grey deluge of humidity, rain and mould. This isn’t what I expected, he said. Me neither, I replied. Should we really have come here, we wondered.

The sound of this place was rain on rooftops and doors being slammed in our faces. Looking out over the smug little city – its rat-infested corners, spiders hanging from ceilings, cockroach infested cupboards, its glistening white sails and murky waters, the inane chatter of its streets – we kind of breathed and sighed, sighed and breathed.

We developed simultaneous addictions to gelato and walking in the rain. Attended festivals and protests, standing under a shared umbrella, waiting for the next episode to start the next chapter. I can’t take this place seriously, I said, it just doesn’t seem real. He just nodded.

Then suddenly it was as if the cage doors opened and we were finally swept out with the rain. We’d never unpacked, so we were ready to evacuate from the city that was perched precariously on the edge of the world, on the edge of reality. We ran over the eucalyptus-drenched mountains, carrying nothing with us but a little flicker of hope, some dreams, a couple of suitcases and each other.

We have nothing and everything, he said. If nothing else is real, at least we are. Surrounded by big sky and soaked in oxygen, we breathed in the freedom. And after the rain, came the green.

climate change is crap. nah, not really – just communicating it is

So I’ve spent my Easter break researching the issue of climate change, as one does. More specifically, as someone who was living overseas for seven years I’ve been fascinated watching how Australia’s climate change discourse has gone from PM Kevin Rudd’s “climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our generation” in 2007 to PM Tony Abbott’s “climate change is crap” in 2013.

So in the lead up to putting together a research proposal for my Communications Masters degree and fuelled on chocolate, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and found some interesting things from some of the world’s best thinkers. And despite a vast majority of environmental scientists gravitating towards ‘yes’ on the question “is Earth f*cked?”, climate change could very well actually be a major tipping point for the next evolutionary stage of global economic, political and social structures – bring it on!

Disappearing down the rabbit hole of research started with this paper from global communications consultant, Bob Pickard (2013): ‘The Climate Change Disaster’, in which he wonders why global communication professionals have to date been unable to communicate climate change effectively. He says:

Global warming is by far the biggest long-term challenge that our world faces. This problem can only be addressed if it is thought to be important enough – and urgent enough – for people (both elites and mass society) to think and act differently about climate change than they have before, and to do so in concert with each other

Bob points out that global climate change public discussion and coverage in the media peaked around 2007, coinciding with Al Gore’s documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and the release of the fourth assessment report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which spelled out that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal“. However, since then public interest in the climate change issue worldwide has been in steep decline. Why?

Reading through more than 40 academic papers (while everyone else is on camping holidays and The Italian is bringing in the harvest, chopping down trees and serving up venison pie at Cargo Road Wines), the problem with communicating climate change seems to be its complexity – it’s just too big a problem to comprehend.

When faced with contemplating the combined disasters of melting ice caps, rising oceans, increased floods, more bushfires, colder winters, hotter summers, islands sinking, forced international migration (try telling people “go back to where you came from” when their country has just sunk) and food scarcity, they are discovering that most people react with complete and utter apathy. It’s a bit too hard to figure out what to do about all of this when you’re trying to figure out how to cover the mortgage and pay for school fees and keep up with the Joneses. And also, this stuff is in the post in the next 50-100 years, so it’s not really like its affecting anyone right now is it?

Professor Wendy Bacon from the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism has spent the last couple of years doing intensive research on how the topic of climate change is presented in ten of Australia’s top newspapers. In the two-part ‘A Sceptical Climate’ analysis conducted in 2011 and 2012, key findings showed that media coverage of climate change in Australia was “mostly framed within a vociferous political debate”, was decreasing year-on-year, and that there was “a marked difference in the quantity and quality of coverage about climate science being received in different Australian regions and by different audiences”. In his award-winning essay ‘Climate Change and equity: whose language is it anyway?‘ Sydney GP, Tim Senior, has argued that the way climate change is being communicated in Australia just isn’t ‘speaking the language’ of the people who are actually going to be affected by it first.

Australia also has one of the highest levels of scepticism towards climate change recorded in the world, a political stance mainly shared with the Australian public through mainstream media channels, with the International Business Times recently naming Australia “one of the biggest climate change deniers in the world“. Heck, what would the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank know anyway? This is a personal favourite from Australia’s Attorney-General, George Brandis.

So is anyone doing anything about it? Hell yeah, this is a great time to be doing a Masters degree.

Don Aitkin, previously Vice-Chancellor of University of Canberra, believes “The principal institution in humanity’s race to save itself, if we set aside enlightened governments, is the modern university” (1997). In fact, futurist Richard Slaughter thinks universities should “drop everything else they’re doing…in order to re-focus on the increasingly problematic human prospect” (see ‘Beyond the threshold – using climate change literature to support climate change response’, Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 2009).

My journey down the rabbit hole of communications research led me to some excellent Australian thinkers. In fact, nearly half of the academic papers I sourced were authored by Australians, and most of their papers were published since 2013. The most encouraging thing about this, is all the information is coming from different disciplines – not only environmental scientists and communication scholars, but business experts, political scientists, sociologists, psychologists and futurists. People like Professor Mark Beeson of WA’s Murdoch University, Dr Matt McDonald of The University of Queensland, Dr Simon Niemeyer of Canberra’s Australian National University, University of Melbourne’s Associate Professor Peter Christoff and Professor Robyn Eckersley, the University of Tasmania’s Professor Bruce TranterDr Lyn McGaurr and Professor Libby Lester, Newcastle University’s Professor Mark Balnaves, as well as Dr Chris Riedy and Jennifer Kent from the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, were the ones I most wanted to hug while doing my research.

These guys are all out there talking about new forms of public engagement with the climate change debate – through deliberative and participative democracy approaches, by taking grassroots action, and through new models and methods of communication. They should all get in a room together and come up with a great big plan. I’ll make the coffees.

A major clue on how to start communicating climate change more effectively, is coming from the IPCC itself. In its fifth assessment report ‘Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Assessments and Vulnerability” released in March this year, the messages being used throughout the paper have moved from 2007’s alarmism, fear and uncertainty (there’s a great probability that we’re all about to sink) towards messages of  ‘adaptation’ and hope. Report author, Dr Chris Field, has called for more positivity about the exciting opportunities adapting the world for the impacts of climate change could bring.

Better government policies, increased citizen engagement in politics, new evolved political, economic and social structures, greater consciousness and more innovative, creative, entrepreneurial approaches….as I said before, bring it on. And pass the chocolate.

Kelly

revving up for a regional PopArt renaissance

1

There’s nothing like relocating to the countryside and having art happenings find you. The warehouse launch of Orange’s new PopArt Collective blew our minds, and simultaneously reassured us our migration from Abu Dhabi to the vineyards was one of the smartest moves we’ve made.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a building facade uplighted in Orange before, so even before we stepped into the warehouse we were amazed. And let’s backtrack here – warehouse party in Orange? hell yeah! Stepping into Sam’s Automotive (an old flour mill repurposed as a pop-up art gallery/ wine bar/ live performance space for the weekend) was like stepping straight into any of the art events I’ve been to in Surry Hills, Dublin or Abu Dhabi – but with local artists, local art, local wine (this is a huge bonus, believe me), local food and zero pretension. The crowd was awesome.

Milling around at the entrance, enveloped by the DJ soundscape and the warehouse vibe feast for the senses, we were given a card to hang on a wishing tree for the opportunity to win a piece of fresh PopArt at the end of the evening. Oh the joy: I’m quite partial to the wishing tree concept after spending a few days wandering around Kyoto temples once upon a time.

Then it was straight to the bar. Run by the superb crew of the Union Bank Wine Bar, this was an event bar like no other – serving up some of the best the region has to offer with Printhie wines & sparkling (I’m already a fan) and handcrafted pale ale from Badlands Brewery.

Invigorating art from the ten current artists of the PopArt Collective lit up the warehouse walls and caverns, our favourite part of all this was how workbenches and tools had just been pushed against walls and absorbed into the installation. I kind of lingered at the corner where Amy Hick’s exquisite Porcelain wall pieces were on display, if I described them as amazingly delicate white porcelain doilies formed as eccentric coral I’d have to admit I have no idea what I’m talking about. On the night, I drank a glass of Printhie Swift Cuvée while looking at them and then went and bought one.

The pure highlight of the evening was a live performance by a cellist and violinist from The Noise. Could I describe it as classical slash reverb jazz spontaneous improvisation? Really not quite sure what it was, apart from totally heavenly. I was on my third glass of sparkling by this stage, so once the performance finished I went and bought the CD. You should too.

This party ended like all good warehouse parties should, with everyone smoking and drinking on the footpath outside. I was with new-to-town artist Curtis Peasley who waxed lyrical for several minutes about the local renaissance (thank you Badlands, I think), and we both agreed it was kind of fortunate to have returned to the region in time to catch the first wave.

The PopArt Collective is aiming to hold local pop-up gallery regional events at least twice a year, they’ll surprise us with the art and the venues each time. Where to next we wonder? Sky’s the limit. Keep a track of them on their Facebook page or follow them on twitter.

Kelly

 

treechange #OrangeNSW

Here’s the promised Part II of Sydney: we came, we renovated, we left, where I outlined in detail the almost impossibility of returning to Australia’s ‘global business city’ and finding employment.

The Italian was pretty shocked. His entire life he’d dreamt of moving to Australia as the promised land. “It’s more expensive than Italy,” he muttered after the first week, but at least he agreed the coffee was on par (if not better) than Rome. And here’s news for you Sydney – behind the glitter of the harbour and the sails of the Opera House, you’re actually quite a grubby little city. And not particularly liveable.

So after six months of futile job searching while simultaneously renovating a decrepit Surry Hills terrace house, we actually sighed with relief when we finished the reno, paid back a karmic debt, and realised that it was just not possible to stay and survive in the city.

Three months later into our treechange and we couldn’t be happier. Life is nicer this side of the Blue Mountains. The people are nicer. Who knew there was a massive cafe coffee culture brewing here?! It’s like Surry Hills got transported to idyllic countryside and everyone had personality reboots.

Let’s be straight up about it, there’s also heaps more to do here in the Central West region of NSW. It’s pioneering country, it’s full of gorgeous goldrush-era villages all waiting to be rediscovered. Explore BorenoreByngMillthorpe and Carcoar just for starters.

And then there are the vineyards… There are over 40 of them just in the Orange district alone – and the future of Australia’s wine industry could well be Orange. There is no other more civilised way to purchase wine than visit the cellar doors, try before you buy, get gloriously tipsy + have a good yarn with the owners – you can totally forget boring city bottleshops. Visits to Mudgee and Cowra are next on our explore list, this’ll add at least another 40 or so vineyards to the tally.

wondering to myself offline here whether it would be physically possible to visit all the vineyards in a year’s worth of weekends…might set a personal challenge

With spectacular gourmet options like three Good Food Chef Hat restaurants (Racine, Lolli Redini and Tonic) and a 2 Schooner Status pub added to the regional mix, life could hardly get better until you realise there are lots of #localsecret dining options like this and this and this. Actually, there’s heaps more than this…I can feel Part III coming up…

Festivals, there are lots of festivals. Here’s a list I prepared earlier. Eat, drink and be merry.

And while all this has been going on, Orange has just been ranked as Australia’s number one regional location. Yep, we already know thanks, but we’re happy to share. The median price of a 3 bedroom house in Orange is $333,500. What’s more, there are incentives being offered to move here. If you’re looking to escape from the Big Smoke, check out the Evocities website which outlines grants for renters & buyers relocating as well as new grants for people leaving the city to set up their own business here. Seriously, this place is heaven.

Kelly

 

Sydney: we came, we renovated, we left.

1

We attempted to live in Sydney, truly we did. But it was a lost cause from the start.

Maybe it was because of the non-stop rain the first fifteen days we arrived. Maybe it was due to the amount of dead and decomposing wildlife we found in the abandoned terrace house we had come to help renovate – spiders, mice, cockroaches and a magpie. At least one very large rat was still alive (well, at least it was until it made the mistake of standing next to The Italian when he was holding a shovel).

With the rain came the rising damp, and the mould, and the humidity. There was fog inside the lounge room each morning and we spent an entire week cleaning mould an inch-thick off the kitchen walls before we even got started. The Italian’s first learnt Australian word on Australian soil was “yuck”.

And then four months of pain commenced, trying to assimilate into a city that tenaciously clings to its own hype, while simultaneously renovating a beast of a terrace house to pay off a karmic debt and trying to find a job.

Australia is at risk of squandering expat expertise as brain drain hits reverse…Ten years ago a Senate inquiry concluded that expats were an under-utilised resource. The inquiry recommended a series of measures to encourage the most mobile sector of the nation’s workforce, but it seems little has changed. ABC News, 13 July 2013

Nope, nothing’s changed. In fact, returning as an expat with international experience is viewed as a negative in the Sydney job market. The Committee for Sydney have acknowledged that the city struggles with the concept of attracting and being open to global talent.

And then there’s this.

Leading chief executives have conceded that many Australian companies have a problem with women in senior roles. Sydney Morning Herald, 25 October 2013

Usually the first thing people ask me when they hear that I’ve worked in the Middle East, is what was it like being a woman there. It was bloody awesome. Total respect. At work, if you were asked your opinion or thoughts in a meeting, you were listened to. In fact, you were actually asked your opinion. Whenever I’ve experienced any harassment, bullying or patriarchal patronising it’s all been in Australia. And what’s with the eye-rolling here guys? 

There’s also this increasing global trend – the concept of women as the primary breadwinners doesn’t register here, even remotely. Which is funny, as I’d say about 70% of the Australian couples I met while working in the United Arab Emirates were there because of the woman’s job. And the guy stayed at home to mind the kids. A little more about that here.

Oh, and there were tonnes of single Australian chicks in their mid-to-late 30s and 40s seriously rocking their careers over there, whereas in Australia once you hit 35 you’re done for. Blokes get until 45, but Australia has a major ageist issue it needs to get over at some stage.

And so yeah, no permanent job materialised. But I did get some freelance work paying me less than I earnt in my first entry-level job. It kept us in groceries at least, while our life savings went up in smoke on international student fees and subsidising renovations.

Here’s where I should probably add in a list of things we actually did like about Sydney. Umm…the Opera House is pretty. It’s fun driving over the Harbour Bridge. The ferry to Manly is awesome. We lived virtually next door to Porteno. The Night Noodle Markets in Hyde Park were a highlight. And after laughing at the hipster queues at Gelato Messina for 3 months we spent our last four weeks in Sydney at the top of the line every day. And umm…yep. 

So the renovations got finished. The house went on the (overinflated/outofcontrol) market and sold. The baby boomer was chuffed and we were homeless. And jobless. And broke. Yippee, welcome to Australia.

There was nothing else for it, we packed our suitcases, threw everything into storage, and did a reverse running away from home and headed over the Blue Mountains for the vineyards. If nothing else changed, we could at least console ourselves with damn good cold-climate wine.

And we did, and we are, and the tree change has been glorious. Some more on that later….

Thanks for listening, Kelly