Monday, August 29, 2011

Weekend Walkabout

As our friends and family on the East Coast were recovering from an earthquake and battening down for Hurricane Irene, Drew and I were experiencing an almost-spring weekend in Canberra.  After tracking Irene's progress and making sure that Ocracoke, our favorite North Carolina island, had survived, we were ready to enjoy the warm weather.

First up was drinks at Tilley's Devine Cafe on Friday evening with some of Drew's co-workers.  Tilley's is a Canberra hotspot and by the time we got there at 5:45pm, the place was hopping.  It brought to mind a jazz club, with it's wooden decor, plush red carpets and blaring blues music.  Another cute touch were the pink heart-shaped Post-it notes at each reserved table.  I later found out that the pub is named after Matilda "Tilley" Devine, a notorious brothel owner and gangster from early 1900s Sydney.  Matilda also ran several "sly-grogs," the Aussie equivalent of a speakeasy.  However, my favorite factoid about Tilley's Devine Cafe is that when it opened in the 1980s, it quickly became famous for the fact that the proprietor would not allow men in unless they had a woman in their party. "I just didn't want a roomful of blokes," said owner Paulie Higgisson with the presumption that having a woman around would "modify their behaviour."

The entrance to Tilley's Devine Cafe. Love the Art Deco design on the window!
(photo from Tilley's website.)

On Saturday, we went chair shopping.  One of Drew's work mates gave us an old dining room table awhile back and we've been on the lookout for chairs to go with it.  Our local Salvation Army store had 4 wooden chairs for sale that were well within our budget.  I actually bargained for them, which if you know me, you'll understand is quite a feat.  Originally, they were asking for $80 for the chairs and I managed to knock it down to $50.  The 4 chairs are in bad need of refinishing/painting so I didn't feel bad about bargaining the price down. After we lugged our furniture home (only 3 blocks), we felt that we deserved a treat so we headed to a local bakery.  Most of the neighborhood shops in Canberra have at least one bakery and we've fallen in love with this token of European culture.  The bakeries all contain a delightful mix of savory and sweet treats, all very affordably priced. Drew particularly loves the meat pies.

Bake case at a Kingston bakery.  Yumm. (Click on photo for larger image and prepare to drool.)

Sunday found us up bright and early.  A friend had recommended that we visit "Trash & Treasure," a weekly community yard sale about 2 miles from our apartment that runs on Sundays from 6am-1pm.  After a 40 minute walk, during which we argued over the merits of getting up early, we arrived at the event.

And, well, hmm.

I can only say that I lost the argument because we found a rather lot of trash and not much treasure.  Most booths had a disturbing mix of merchandise that either looked as it fell off of a Walmart truck or was unearthed from someone's basement.  We did see some entertaining booths though, such as the gentleman selling autographed photos of 80's movie stars and the lady selling chickens.  There were also a few local farmers selling produce, honey, and olive oil.  There were an awful lot of people milling about, so I assume that we saw it on an "off" weekend and that there is usually more treasure to be found.  If nothing else, we found a great place to buy produce!

Saw this sign on our way back from the community yard sale

By Sunday afternoon, we were tuckered out and ready to curl up with our books and tea.  We spent the remainder of the evening checking on friends and family that were in the path of Hurricane Irene.  A quick look at Facebook told us that our college campus, Willliam & Mary, hadn't sustained much damage.  Far less than when Hurricane Isabel swept through when we were in college and felled enough trees to cancel classes for two weeks.  That brings back fond memories of hurrication during which Andrew went on a climbing trip with our friend Ian (neither of whom I had met yet) and I spent some quality time with my roomies and died my hair an unfortunate shade of orange.  But that's a story for another day...

Hope you had a fabulous weekend, too!


  1. Was doing my morning blog-surfing and was happy to see a new post! I love hearing about Australia and all that you guys are up to - and I am now officially drooling from the bakery picture...

  2. Thanks for the comment, Casey! These bakeries are unreal. It's so easy to get sucked in... :)

  3. Thanks for your comment :) Glad you are enjoying yourself here. Have you been watching the new season of Underbelly? It actually revolves around the true story of Tilley Devine. Quite violent, but I do love the history side of it.

  4. LOVE the bakery! I'm so jealous--we need a good bakery here. And I'm so glad that Ocracoke is okay, too!

  5. Looks like you guys had an eventful weekend! It was super boring in NYC due to Irene, because everything shut down (the entire transit system! and basically every store) for 2 days! I'm so glad to be able to go outdoors again haha. Love the pic. of the bakery & the chickens haha! Love you guys -Annette

  6. Ugg- I just wrote you a book and then blogger destroyed it. Anyway- I am glad you got our chairs at a reduced price- are you going to fix them up?

    And I love the pictures of your T & T- looks and sounds like the swappers meet at my cabin. Lots of junk- but there are hidden treasures if you look hard. Plus, it is great for people watching and getting local produce.


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