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For years I have been searching high and low at home and at sea for a theme for my home. I like the sparse look but am way too messy for it. I enjoy old and new and I have struggled to squeeze our home into the modern view of beautiful.

So I have thrown up my hands in surrender and embraced the true nature of my home and my family’s personality. We live near the beach (lucky duckies) in a smallish beach shack. I slap my hand to my forehead as I realise that our home’s theme has been staring me in the face for the past thirteen years. It must be retro beach shack style. (Think 1960s/70s hawaii)

My hubby laughs because we have thrown out many ‘beachy’ and ‘retro’ pieces over the last few years. And now, I have opened my mind and once again embraced such things as matchstick blinds, rattan rugs, kombi vans and old light fittings. Come back to me my babies!!! Mumma is sorry for rejecting you.

I find that when I walk into someone’s home it tells me a lot about the inhabitants. If it’s sparkling clean and tidy, then they are usually organised kinda people. If the house is messy and disorganised then they are generally quite relaxed and possibly creative. I’m a bit of a mix. I’d like my house to look pristine but it’s a case of the spirit being willing but the flesh oh so weak.

I love unusual houses. There’s so many homes around our area that look the same: spacious and beige and orderly. But it’s the quirky ones I feel right at home in. For example a friend of mine lives in a 80’s style house. Think red rectangle tiles in the bathroom with red around the sink. It’s a solid brick house, very comfortable and not as perfect as others. Hooray!!! I always feel like my kids are welcome to make a bit of a mess and feel at home. It takes me back to those rosy childhood days when colours were bright and life was light!

Our homes reflect our personalities, whether we like it or not. So, for our house, I’m gonna choose a fun, light and nostalgic beachy theme with a touch, only a touch, of style. I want it to be a place where people put their feet up on our lounge, hang their arms over the side and feel free to be who they be, warts and all!

It is rare for me to have the time to look at faces in a cafe. Today I did just that! Usually, I’d be trying to make bonding conversation with my kiddies or breaking up hot chips for them to cool. But today, while hubby was on the phone, I took the opportunity to stare at strangers.

I live in a trendy kinda place. A town full of ‘yummy mummies’, film professionals, millionaires and tradies. It’s such an interesting mix of people. Today at the cafe, I saw the wealthy, trendy mummies sans kids, sitting, laughing loudly with their funky little wicker hats on and their UV welcoming sunnies over their eyes. They sat in the sun on a hot day, laughing and tanning as if they did this every day! I felt a little dowdy and sensible with my polaroid, sun repellent sunnies and target brand clothing. I just don’t know how to do the yummy mummy thing. I’m a simple kinda gal, I am very comfortable in a singlet and mid-length skirt combo rather than the floaty oversized shirt, tights and designer shoes outfits that hang on the Y.Ms.

I wonder if these Yummies are born to it or if they learn it slowly over time from other Y.Ms. I must say a lot of my mummy friends are like me… Phew! We wear the Kmart style footwear and simple clothing with the knowledge that any moment a pair of sticky hands will be thrust our way! We understand that clothes don’t last forever so why pay $50 for a t-shirt when it’s only going to be stretched and stained by those tiny fingers covered with sugar or vegemite.

Today’s cafe face number 2 was the freelance, striped shirt, boat shoed, wealthy man. This type of patron usually sits on his own, coffee steaming while he reads the paper with a deeply interested and serious look on his face. He is often happy to be on his own in a cafe. This important man has important business to attend to: keeping up with financial markets, housing markets and boating conditions. He doesn’t do the eye contact thing very well. His conversation with cafe staff is limited as he marks his territory with his relative silence. This leaves everyone wondering whether he is a famous director, multi-millionaire or internet genius.

The final stereotype represented at the cafe this morning was the sporting mums. They wear loose to tight fitting gym clothes, red faces and, most commonly, a smile. They travel in groups of 5 or more, over-talking each other as the adrenaline from the morning’s workout takes over. They are a friendly group, happy to make small talk with the waitress. Conversation topics may include Jimmy’s latest test scores or Yolanda’s cheating husband. It’s a fast-paced conversation usually finished with a swift, “Is that the time, must get going before pick-up!”

It is lovely to feel a part of such a dynamic community. This is a place where the la-de-da’s mix fairly happily with the common man. Everyone just seems happy to live here and there is always someone to connect with, usually at the local cafe.

 

image by Mike Spasoff

They’ve GONE! Done like a dog’s dinner. There is an odd echoing around the northern Northern Beaches. It’s oh so quiet, too quiet. Where have they gone? Have they travelled across Pittwater to the hippy houses on the various islands and coves? Have they gone south for the summertime or north to bask in even more sunshine? Where have our Christmas Carols gone?

In years past, Avalon has had a jolly party in the park, smack bang in the middle of town. Now, it only holds screaming children, pooing dogs and exercising fifty year olds. The old Avalon carols had Elvis (random!!!) and Santa (that’s better) and candles and carols and community spirit. But this year and last… NOTHING.

True locals tell of times past when there were lights and decorations down the main street and shop windows had that festive fake snow Christmassy decoration look to them. Now, we’re becoming more like the Eastern suburbs with the ‘cool’ crowd. Oh no the cool crowd don’t go for the daggy fake snow and tacky Christmas decorations. It has to be more la-de-da than that!

We have a few banners down main street and a few shops have baubles and even a Christmas tree, but nothing else and NO CAROLS. Last year Palm Beach hosted a Carols by Candlelight but there have been no banners on the bends, no notices in the Manly Daily, where is the love? It is not like there is a lack of demand in the local community. Everyone has the same vacant, blank look on their faces as they desperately seek out the community event of the year. But alas, it is no more!!

image by MichaelEray

Saturday will play host to the first ever (?) ‘Amazing Avalon Day’. This is a celebration of all things Avalon! Buskers are¬†welcome! Perhaps a bit of old town hippy Avalon will be reborn? It got me thinking… buskers, carols, buskers, carols… Do you think they would, they could? Spontaneous Christmas Carols! Word will spread, buskers will join in with other buskers, children will sigh deep sighs or relief and the parents will reach for their dusty old candles they haven’t been able to use for many moons.

It will be talked about for years to come. The day the Carols were revived and Avalon was reborn with a heart, with a soul! Good ole Christmas spirit!!!!

I feel like my life is stalking me. It seems every few days, I run into someone I haven’t seen in years. Strangely, they have been popping back into my life recently.

Gotcha!

Yesterday, it was two people. One, who is my friend’s best friend, is in the same swimming class as my daughter and the other is a friend of a friend who I haven’t seen for ten years.

Then, there is the lady who I went to school with in Newcastle, twenty odd years ago. She now lives around the corner from me. She has one child in kindergarten with my little man and the other, a daughter called Halle, same as me.

And then there is the guy who I grew up with twenty-five years ago in Lismore. He has moved to my town with his family. He lives up the hill from me and for a time, our boys were friends. Our parents also grew up together.

I feel the net closing in as my life flashes before my eyes. There’s a Wollongong connection, Lismore, Newcastle, Sydney-siders floating by. The old and the new are mixing and becoming a new present. I’m standing confused, like a scene in a movie where everyone else is moving and the protagonist is standing stock still. The camera does a ‘rotate and enhance’, my eyes stare straight ahead. It is mesmerizing.

I feel like there should be a divine meaning in all of this. But, really, I just think, who wouldn’t want to live here? Paradise, some might say. Life is a fascinating ride. It truly is “the circle of life”.

Hakuna Matata

Rooms that go to the roofI keep having a dream about an old two-storey house. It’s white and has lots of rooms. Last dream, it had four baths!!! And they were all long and deep, just how I like them.

I walk through this house and it feels a little strange but right, you know? New things take time to become homey. The rooms feel heavy with stories, from the past and the future. It seems like a strong house that will hold all the dramas of life and not fall down.

The maze of rooms has me fascinated. Like I MUST find out where they go and how the house is set up. I never have a complete floor plan in my mind. The second time I dreamed about this house, a friend of mine was selling it for $700,000 at Collaroy, so I had to choose whether I wanted to stay in Av in a small house or move to Collaroy and live in this old, big, historical, four bath house with white shutters.

One of the four

It is one of those dreams or series of dreams that haunts me. I want to know what I chose in the dream. I want to know what it means, if anything. It was a beautiful old house. And where on planet earth, would I find $700 000?

Curiouser and curiouser!

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