Posted by: Debra Kolkka | December 4, 2016

Summer Pop Up

Summer has arrived in Brisbane. The days are hot and steamy. I have been busy making cool cotton and linen clothes, perfect for this time of the year.

My summer Pop Up will begin on Friday 9th December and be open until Saturday 17th December.

The shop will be open at Sarva , 239 Boundary St (corner Corbett St) West End, from 10.00am until 3.00pm every day.

img_4938

Drop in to say hello.

Sarva West End

Sarva

239 Boundary St,

West End.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 29, 2016

Beach shacks

I grew up at the beach at Main Beach, near Surfers Paradise in Queensland. When we moved there in the 1950s the houses reallly were shacks made of fibro or timber.

Highrise buildings eventually made their way to Main Beach. A few were built on the beach side of the street, but at one point the local government decreed that nothing over 3 levels could be built, a good idea.

Recently the wife of a millionaire retail business man decided to build an 8 storey building on beside the beach. Local residents, including us, put up money to fight the request.

Needless to say, we lost and madam got to build her building. It is the big one on the right. The little white one is possibly one of the original shacks with a makeover.

Main Beach

I think it looks like an 8 storey toilet block.

Main Beach

Very few of the original buildings are left. This one is opposite where we used to live. It is a rejig of the one that was there then.

Main Beach

My father built the one below in 1968 for his friend George. My little brother used to go to work with Dad occasionally and mostly got into mischief. He was only 2.

George's house

I remember the timber house that was George’s old house. We had barbecues there every Sunday afternoon when Dad, George and their mates would return from fishing with a boatload of snapper and other local fish.

I also remember the cyclones in the 1960s when huge seas took away several metres of George’s backyard. As kids we thought it was great fun to watch a wave come in and crack a big chunk of land. The next few waves would carry it away.

That all seems to be forgotten now, even though big seas still threaten the coastline regularly.

This morning this was the front page of the local paper.

Gold Coast Bulletin

I can’t believe the council would be so stupid as to allow a 50 storey building to be built so close to the beach. It appears a precedent has been set by our retail millionaire. I won’t be stepping into one of their shops any time soon.

The 2 houses the 50 storey building may replace are old and tired and clearly need to be updated,  but not by a monster that will cast a shadow over the beach by early afternoon.

Old houses Main Beach

At least the council can’t stuff up the beach…or can they? There are plans to develop the spit, which would be criminal. This is the last bit of relatively building free land on the coast…leave it alone.

The spit Main Beach

We don’t want it all to look like this.

Surfers Paradise

Fortunately some things stay the same. I ran into Col the wormer this morning. He has been collecting worms for bait for about 50 years. He must have been scouring the shore when I used to swim there as a 12 year old, but I don’t recall seeing him.

I see him  regularly now and he has many tales to tell. I wonder if there will be a wormer to take his place when he finally gives up. (See more about Col here)

Col the wormer

I hope the council sees sense and stops this ridiculous building from going up. What do you think?

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 24, 2016

Rubbish

Florence has an excellent new rubbish bin system. There is a row of bins in the street where I catch the bus to Lucca.

The above ground part of the bin is compact and neat.

rubbish in Florence

While I was waiting for the bus one day I saw the truck come along to empty the bins.

rubbish in Florence

rubbish in Florence

This system is much better than the small bins that were there previously. They were often full and overflowing onto the street. This seems to be working very well.

I wonder if it is in other Italian cities.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 20, 2016

Over the Arno

Whenever I go to Florence I cross at least one of the bridges across the Arno. The most famous, of course, is the Ponte Vecchio. It is popular with tourists…and the local pigeons.

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

Here are a couple of the other bridges.

Bridges in Florence

Bridges of Florence

Whatever the weather, blue skies or grey, Florence is a delight.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 15, 2016

The beautiful people

On a visit to Florence I came upon a film set. I have no idea what it was about, possibly an advertisement for something.

There were dozens of people milling about with cameras, makeup, clipboards (you are really important if you have a clipboard) and nothing much at all.

Film set Florence

Film set Florence

Film set Florence

Here are the beautiful people being filmed.

Film set Florence

It is a gorgeous corner of Florence. I can see why it was chosen for the backdrop.

Florence

I would like the little terrace

 

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 11, 2016

Cute church on Ischia

In spring this year we spent a couple of days on gorgeous Ischia, one of the islands in the spectacular Bay of Naples. Our lovely friends Stephanie and Paul took us on a tour of the island on a rickety bus which hurtled around the narrow road at breakneck speed.

One of the highlights along the way was the pretty little church, Santa Maria del Soccorso, which sits on a promontory jutting into the sea, Punta del Soccorso.

Ischia

image

The facade is a mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. The church has had many transformations since it was rescued from an old Augustinian monastery founded in the 14th century.

Ischia

The entrance is via a semicircular staircase decorated with polychrome majolica tiles.

Ischia

The tiles are repeated in the wall around the church and on the cross at the side.

Ischia

Ischia

Ischia

Ischia

Ischia

The interior is a cool respite from the heat of the day.

Ischia

Ischia

The site offers great views back into the island. Storm clouds seemed to be brewing,  but they came to nothing.

Ischia

Ischia is a place we want to return to. The island needs much more than a 2 day visit to see everything it has to offer.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 8, 2016

Home in Brisbane

I am back in Brisbane for a while. As difficult as it is to leave Italy, I enjoy coming home.

Brisbane is looking great. The jacaranda trees still have some of their gorgeous lilac blossoms.

jacaranda

Jacaranda

The poinciana trees have started to flower.

Poinciana

Poinciana

We had a spectacular late spring storm in the afternoon.

Brisbane storm

…and best of all, my favourite fruit is in season. I love mangoes and papaya.

mango papaya

I can’t wait for these delicious black cherries to appear. There are definite benefits to being home for summer.

I have lots of posts about my time in Italy coming up as well as things I find of interest in my home town.

 

 

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 3, 2016

A snowy Helsinki stopover

I arrived in Heksinki to snow and 0 degrees…and a freezing winter wind. This didn’t stop me heading out for a late afternoon walk.

Helsinki

Helsinki

This morning saw blue sky, but the wind persisted and it was cold. Snow makes a pretty addition to rooftops and monuments.

A large pile of snow in front of the cathedral proved to be a great playground.

Helsinki

Helsinki

I didn’t think there would be any takers for the new outdoor pool in the harbour…

Helsinki

…but I was wrong. I saw some enthusiastic swimmers bobbing along in the water.

Helsinki

I enjoyed some hearty blueberry porridge for breakfast at El Fant and delicious salmon for dinner at Kappeli.

Helsinki

Helsinki

I saw some interesting shop windows.

Farewell Heksinki until next time. That will be February when I’m sure there will be even more snow.

Helsinki

Helsinki

And no leaves on the trees.

Helsinki

 

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 1, 2016

Goodbye Italy

It is time to go back to Australia for a while. I will miss Bagni di Lucca for obvious reasons.

Ponte a Serraglio

I wonder if my purple flowers will survive the winter on my balcony.

My balcony Ponte a Serraglio

I will miss the mountains in the mist and the gorgeous autumn colour.

Prato Fiorito

Prato Fiorito

…and I will miss Casa Debbio.

Here is the view from the house on my last morning.

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Today I begin the long haul home. I will stay in Rome tonight, fly to Helsinki for a couple of days and arrive in Brisbane on Saturday.

I will be back in February to get back into the garden for the next stage of planting…and some new adventures.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | October 30, 2016

Pruning the lavender

I have been busy this week pruning the lavender and other plants at Casa Debbio.

Despite the hot, dry summer our lavender plants thrived, thanks to the loving care of Filippo who takes care of our garden when we go home to Australia.

Here is how our garden looked in early spring.

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

As the weather warmed up it began to grow quickly.

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Casa Debbio

Just before we left in June flowers began to turn purple…I always miss seeing it in full bloom.

Casa Debbio

When I returned in September the flowers had lost their colour.

Casa Debbio

I felt terrible cutting the flowers off. So much effort went in to growing them, but if I don’t prune the bushes they grow too big and get a bit straggly.

This is what I cut from 2 plants. The house is now full of lavender.

Casa Debbio

Here is the wall half way through the trimming. There are rosemary plants between the lavender. They need to be trimmed too.

Casa Debbio

…and here is the finished result.

Casa Debbio

We have almost 200 lavender plants over 2 terraces. Next year we will plant them along the driveway as well…roll on spring 2017.

 

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