Ahh the new year. Like many of you, there is no other time that I am so tempted to think back over the recent past, picking out highlights and lowlights, assessing and re-assessing all in the name of moving forward. I’m not the type to make specific resolutions though. The last time I made one (about 8 years ago) I picked “drink more wine”, which I went on to achieve all too thoroughly. I’ll be happy in 2015 if I can achieve a bit more travel and I don’t want to jinx it by saying more.
While 2014 was characterised by a sense of permanence that wasn’t entirely welcome, blogging-wise it was a good year. Most of the components that are central to this blog – food, photography, creating home and writing – were well represented, although it was a bit light on travel. The culinary high was learning how to make homemade ricotta cheese and olive oil crackers. Photographically, I was most satisfied with the questions raised in The Camera Never Lies (food bloggers do). This post seemed to hit a nerve with readers too. Being in Brisbane was an opportunity to reflect on the charms and contradictions of this city that has become my home, and it was also the first time I combined literary references (David Malouf’s Johnno) into a post. In terms of writing, my favourite is Nana’s Kisses, a deeply personal tribute to my grandmother on her 88th birthday. And finally in travel I would have to pick The Air Up Here, although the post is actually about the experience of flying rather than a destination.
My year in review posts always follow the convention of selecting one photograph per month, using a photograph taken in that month. It’s not always a great photo – it was slim pickings at times – but collectively they sum up my year that was.
In January we did our best to stay cool in the Brisbane summer. The air conditioning at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art is always set to near freezing so it’s an excellent way to cool down. We saw Cai Guo-Qiang’s incredible exhibition Falling Back to Earth. The piece in this photo, Heritage, features life-sized reproductions of 99 animals gathering together to drink from a lake.
In February we celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary with a day in the Sunshine Coast hinterlands. This photo was taken at the Eumundi Markets during a wonderfully random conversation with the owner of this stall about Belgium, tattoos, nude modelling, and how the markets had changed over the past twenty years.
In March I attended a fantastic morning photography workshop run by Froggy Studios. I picked up a few more tips and techniques but the major advantage was that it inspired me to try out a macro lens for the first time. This is a photo from my very first snaps using the lens. Now I don’t use anything else for food photos.
In April my family came to visit. Five extra people camped in our two bedroom apartment for four days, then three stayed on for another week or so. It was wonderful showing them around the city, taking them to our favourite places and seeing them use public transport like natives. It went quickly, of course, and all of a sudden we were saying goodbye. This is a photo of Dad at Custom’s House.
In May we had an unplanned trip back to NZ to say goodbye to Barry. It was sad, bittersweet, intense and wonderful all rolled into one. This photo was taken out of the plane window as we flew out of Auckland over the mouth of the Manukau Harbour.
In June we celebrated our joint birthdays in green, gold and frosty Toowoomba, enjoying roaring fires, red wine and antique shopping. We were only away for one night, but you don’t have to go far from home, or for very long, to change your perspective.
July featured another GOMA exhibition, this time Harvest, the “celebration of food in art” – perfect subject matter for me. A highlight was attending a talk by Dr Courtney Pederson on the role of women in domestic labour, exploring classic works like Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen and contemporary works like Mika Rottenberg’s Mary’s Cherries. The piece in the photo is by Simryn Gill.
A glance at my calendar for August shows it was an especially social month with dinners, lunches and drinks with friends filling the weekends. I also enjoyed a few wanderings with my camera, snapping pictures of details in my near surroundings, like this fish pond, just downstairs.
In September we were busy renovating our little rental apartment after the tenants moved out. We had a busy few weeks coordinating trades-people, cleaning and shopping, but we were done by the time that the Riverfire fireworks exhibition rolled around. This year we watched the display from the windows of the rental, which has a fantastic view of the city.
What did I do in October? I made soup, the ingredients seen above, but overall it was an intensely busy month at work which clearly didn’t leave time for much else. Apart from work, my calendar gives no clues. I’ve lost a whole month! All I have are photos of this soup.
November was equally busy at work and I also had two trips to Perth, once for a work conference and the second for a family wedding. We also had Colin’s brother to stay for a week. I took a day off and went with him to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (where I took this photo of a cassowary). We travelled up the river by boat and had the best day. This tour, run by Mirimar, is now my top tourist tip for Brisbane.
December was the countdown to Christmas and holidays and sleeping in! I made an extra effort to be Christmassy this year, with new Christmas lights, a Christmas CD and a marathon baking session. We holidayed in a wine region and toasted out 2014 well and truly. Best wishes to all of you for a joyful 2015!