Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Catching up

I haven't spent all my time since the last post playing Scramble, no no nee no.

Busyt busy busty. Gawd, I don't think I'll correct that particular typo, because it's eerily true. My left boob has been large and hot (in the non-sexy sense) for at least a week. But you don't want to know things like that! You want book sexiness and cooking loveliness or some such thing. OK!


sorrel omelette

Let's start with Sunday breakfast. This incredibly dodgy photo (my hands are definitely going -- my typing is crap and my photography is shaky) is a gorgeous sorrel and potato omelette with rocket on the side. It's become Best Beloved's latest scrummy Sunday breakfast offering. He cooks potato chunks in the microwave, then sautes them with mushrooms, butter and fresh sorrel leaves and puts the mixture inside a thin omelette. Ohh, the lemony tang of the sorrel is delightful!

We've been buying our vegetables more often, rather than just once a week at the Growers' Market, because there's a new local shop that sells local produce for local people (hello, hello, there'll be no trouble here). It also stocks produce from further afield, but the proprietors always mark the food miles on the labels. Some is organic, some is not, all is fresh, and the prices are very reasonable.

It has a fancy name, and someone may be able to translate its obviously relevant, caring and beautiful meaning to me: Choku Bai Jo. Unfortunately the only way I can make myself remember it is by thinking 'Chokos by Joe', as if it were a weird rural fashion label.

They stock lots of lovely Asian vegetables and herbs like fresh sorrel, but we're so hooked on sorrel that we've planted at least three batches in our wild back yard, having been told that once it's there we'll never get rid of it. Well, anything that can survive extreme neglect apart from two avid weeks of gardening at the beginning of spring is alright by us.

If you're interested, Choku Bai Jo is at the NORTH Lyneham shops (not the Lyneham shops), and they are open during decent hours for workers: 3-8pm weekdays, 7am - 12noon on Saturdays.


I don't know about you, but a new Helen Garner book (let alone a novel!) is on par with a new Harry Potter book for me. I finally managed to get to my COOP bookshop this afternoon and buy a copy, and I'm already 40 pages in. I hope you realise how much reading time I'm missing out on by writing this post! Most excitement.


The other fun thing that's been happening is the institution of a formal chance for me to allow people to release their inner book... the studio I maintain at the Art Skool is tucked in a quiet corner, and no-one except my once-weekly book design students and the printmaking students know it's there. At a recent staff meeting I heard that someone suggested the studio be used as the 'sick-room', since it's being under-utilised!! Someone who has obviously not been up there since the old regime of being out-of-bounds to undergrads (three years ago!).

So I decided to be pro-active and slightly cheeky, and announced a weekly drop-in Book Clinic for Honours and Postgraduate students from all workshops. For a few hours of two days a week, people can drop in and get ideas, tips & tricks, help, a cuppa, and help to keep the space relevant to the entire school.

Yesterday I had four people dropping in, and it was great fun. It's amazing how many people love the idea of making books, no matter what art they practice. Each person came in tentatively, with a vague idea of what they'd like to do, and left completely keen and enthusiastic. I'm keeping a log of visitors, so that I can throw the statistics around next time they're needed...


I'm finally at a stage where I can promote my Nan McDonald book, and I've printed 300 letterpress brochures to put about a bit. I'm compiling a couple of lists for my press, one virtual, one snail mail. If you'd like to get emails from me about my publications etc, please email me on ampersandduck[at] My snail mail list is for serious buyers and supporters, and if you want to be one of those, email me with your mail address and I'll put you on the list.

Meanwhile, here's a bit of brochure:

Transmigration brochure

I will make it into a PDF and send it to the Australian Artbooks email list. If you want to be part of Artbooks, go here. It's the best way to know about artistic booky activity around our country.


Mr Padge is healing nicely after blowing out my credit card. His head looks scarred but presentable, and his tail is, well, curly. It doesn't seem to bother him much, but he's always been a pretty laid-back cat. Mr Pooter is on my lap as I type, an when he sleeps his little top fangs creep out over his bottom lip like a buck-toothed vampire. Uber-cute.

Have to go. Just itching to go back into Helen's world, fall asleep to the tone of her voice. Love that woman's writing, no matter how crabby she gets.


Mummy/Crit said...

The North Lyneham dudes are good value. I haven't made it to their shop yet, but I've heard it's incredibly cheap. Good of them to open somewhere like that at sensible times. Not sure what the name translates to, but i'm sure I can find out.

Helen Garner is fantastic. I'm glad you're enjoying The Spare Room. I haven't got a copy yet, but I'll get to it soon. My mum assures me that her daughter Alice's book is worth a look too. (I went to a dinner at which she spoke, not long before Joe Cinques Consolation was published - half the night was spent talking about other things, and half the night on the book. Fascinating in general)

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

Helen Garner was Richard Fidler's guest on his 2BL programme this morning (Weds) so you might want to see if there's a podcast. didn't get to hear all of it but I recognised her voice immediately.

I don't know how serious a supporter I can be as far as $$$ but do consider me one, for what it's worth :-)

Ampersand Duck said...

But of course, Speedy :)

Another Outspoken Female said...

Glad to hear some positive comment on Helen Garner's long awaited new novel. She's created a lot of enemies but Monkey Grip struck such a chord with me (and the only novel I've read repeatedly) that I don't care how autobiographical her work is, as long as it is a good read.

genevieve said...

Jealous - I want the pancakes, and the book. I could get the book for Ma's Day, but I think I will luck out on those incredibly yummy looking morsels.
Maybe if he was mine, I would be prepared to negotiate about that light you were talking about over at Pav's just now...

Anonymous said...

hehe - I tell people about 'Chokos by Joe' too.

I'm on the fence about Helen G though. I wonder if anyone outside of Canberra thought Joe Cinque's consolation was a very good book. I mean being a local story it was intersting, but I'm not sure it was well formed as a book.

but I think that's just me.


worldpeace and a speedboat said...

btw, I hope you're going to see to that hot boob of yours!