## Matting photos…

Saturday began with a round of housework: cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, refilling the damp absorbers in the wardrobes, cleaning up the kitchen, etc, etc. Then I got stuck into matting photos for my market stall. It’s astonishing how much work is going in to preparing for this. With a few well-earned breaks, by the end of the day I’d matted 40 prints. Only 60 to go…

This evening was a family dinner, for my mother-in-law’s birthday. We went to my wife’s and my favourite pizza place, and had a good time. The owner came out to chat with us for a bit – it’s that sort of place. We noticed his wife wasn’t working tonight, and he said that she’d been laid up with a sore ankle. Hopefully she’ll be better soon.

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## Craft day: greeting card display

I mentioned yesterday that I bought some cardboard to make greeting card displays for my market stall. Today I got crafty and made the displays.

First I had to design what they would look like and how to assemble them.

Don’t let anyone try to convince you that you won’t use trigonometry after leaving school. I also had to do coordinate geometry and solve a pair of simultaneous equations, as you can see. My design consists of a rectangular sheet of cardboard, scored and bent into a step-like shape, with extending tabs to slot into triangular side supports on either side. The whole staircase is angled at an angle of θ = arctan(1/4), to provide gently angled steps where the cards can sit and lean back without falling over. The whole stand has four tiers, wide enough to display two landscape format cards side by side.

The step section was the easiest, although I discovered that I needed to score the card a lot deeper than I first thought to get it to fold comfortably.

The triangular parts were trickier. I had to cut a triangle and then cut slots for the tabs at the angle θ. Fortunately the new cutting mat I bought yesterday made this easy, because I could place the triangle on it at the right angle, and then rule lines using the grid as a guide.

And here’s the completed stand, with some of my cards:

It worked really well! And it holds together without any tape or glue, which means I can disassemble it for easy transport as flat pieces. Making one of these took me all morning, and I took a break to go get some lunch up the street at a local fried chicken place.

After lunch… I made a second stand! And that was essentially an eight-hour work day, right there. I did have a bit of time at the end to start matting 30×20 cm prints of some of my photos.

You can’t see it in these photos, but these are really high quality prints on super fine museum quality art paper (Canson Rag Photographique, for those who know their art papers). And the matting really makes the photos look amazing (if I do say so myself). I’ve matted only ten or so prints – I have 90 or so to go. That’ll probably be another half day of work there.

It was a busy and exhausting day! I’ve put a lot of time, effort, and investment into getting ready for this market stall, and gearing up to launch my photography sales. Now I have to see first if I can recoup my investment, and hopefully make some sort of profit.

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## New Ethics year

This morning was my first Ethics class for the new year. I got to the school and collected the roll, which had the names of 21 new Year 6 students for me to meet and teach this year. I wrote out name stickers for them all to help me with learning all their names.

When the kids arrived in the classroom and I started getting them to tell me their names, I ended up with three students who weren’t on my roll! There was some mix-up, and a few minutes in the ethics coordinator for the school came and removed those kids to a different class where they were supposed to be.

Being the first lesson, it was introductory, and mostly – from my point of view – about establishing rules and boundaries, so the kids know what sort of behaviour I won’t tolerate. We discussed the introductory question: Can good people do bad things? I got several good responses from different kids, including a few who thought there was no such thing as a “good person”, saying that everyone does some good and some bad things.

After the lesson I walked home via a longer route, to pass by the kitchen supply shop. I wanted to get a black tablecloth for my market stall, but it turned out they barely had any tablecloths in stock. So I’ll go get one somewhere else tomorrow.

At home, I planned to mount all of the photo prints I’ve had made into matting boards, to make them look nice for sale and be ready to frame. I opened the parcel of matting boards I’d mail ordered… and discovered that it was only the matts with the holes cut out – there were no backing boards! I double checked my order – I definitely indicated I wanted backing boards included. So I contacted the company and told them about the error – they’ll ship the backing boards ASAP. I just hope they arrive in time for me to mount all the photos before market day on 1 March.

Instead I did some ISO standards work, since we have a meeting coming up next week. It was planned to be in Yokohama, but I was going to dial in remotely. However, the meeting has been converted to a fully virtual dial-in only meeting, with the original Yokohama venue cancelled, due to concerns about coronavirus. In a sense it’s fortunate that I didn’t have to cancel flights and hotel just a week out from the meeting.

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## A day at Coogee

Today was mostly a family day. My wife suggested we go to a market to check it out and to see if there was anything that I might realise I need for my own market stall coming up in a couple of weeks. I checked online and found that there was a handicrafts market on today at Coogee, a beach suburb south on the side of Sydney. It was on from midday to 5pm, so we headed out about 11.

We got there before 12 and decided to get some early lunch. I found a fish & chip shop operated by on ex-pat Irish family. Besides the usual Australian fish & chips fare, it also had a very solid line in Irish and British items. They offered large battered sausages, battered black pudding and white pudding, battered haggis, and actual cod, imported from the North Sea, as well as mushy peas on the side, and Irn-Bru in the drinks fridge. The cod and chips came in at an exorbitant \$19.90, so I settled for the local fish & chips, for \$10. It was pretty good, and I appreciated the fact that they actually added vinegar to the chips – something I grew up with, but which seems to be dying out in modern Aussie fish & chips places.

After eating, we sought out the market. And I say “sought”, because we got to the address and it wasn’t at all obvious where the market was. We asked a couple of people, and they said that sometimes there was a market over on the nearby grass, flanking the beach, but clearly there was no market there today. One man said that because of the storms and nasty things washing up on the beach in the past week or two, a lot of events on the beach have been cancelled, but he didn’t see any reason why a market on the grass should be cancelled.

After looking around a bit more, fruitlessly, we decided that indeed if there was a market scheduled for today, it must have been cancelled. And so we headed home again. Still, it was a pleasant fraction of the day to spend out and about, and we had a good lunch.

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## Writing and bagging

Saturday, so there was a bit of housework today. And then I got stuck into packaging the greeting cards I’ve had printed, ready for selling at the market stall in March.

This was the first batch of cards I had printed. The company I used had a website upload form for the images. It said it accepted image files and PDF files, and recommended PDF for anything with text. I used JPEGs for the front photos, and I made a PDF file for the back of the cards, showing my name and website info. But for some reason the back didn’t get printed! So I spent time today hand writing the photo subject, my name, and URL on the back of each card before bagging them with envelopes in sealable cellophane bags. It took a few hours, and I could tell I haven’t done that much handwriting in a long time by the way my wrist hurt by the end of it…

The other notable thing about today was the weather. We had a forecast of 150-200 mm of rain… but the morning was fine, and the sun even came out. The rain didn’t start until just a few minutes before midday. There were some heavy spurts, but generally it seems to have been less than expected – we’ve only had 26 mm so far (up to 9 pm). It may be heavy in the next few hours. Tomorrow we’re forecast to have another 150-200 mm. Wollongong, 100 km south of Sydney is forecast to have 200-300 mm of rain tomorrow.

I took Scully out for a walk mid-afternoon during a dry spell. The clouds were pretty dramatic.

We went down to Manns Point, which is a short drive from home. There’s a boat ramp here, and a guy was fishing nearby. Then there’s a short walk along the shore to Greenwich Baths. We managed to get a bit of a walk and play in before the rain returned.

Unfortunately it returned sooner than I expected, and a lot heavier. We had to race back to the car and climb in, dripping wet, before heading home.

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## Christmas market

This morning I did a bunch of house cleaning. This afternoon, my wife wanted to go check out the Sustainable Christmas Artisans’ Market, a new twilight market held at the Coal Loader, a historical industrial site near my place, now converted into a public facility.

We walked over about 4pm – according to my walk tracking app the return walk totalled just over 5 kilometres. Fortunately today was overcast and not too hot, although it was pretty humid. As we approached the market, there were streams of people walking form the nearest railway station, as well as cars choking the streets, seeking elusive parking spots. We realised it was going to be busy.

Although there were a lot of people there, the market was spread out in a large area, so it wasn’t too crowded. They had some food vans and a bar set up, with some seating in the middle for people to eat and drink, with the stalls set up around the perimeter of the space. Several people had brought their dogs, so Scully got to say hello to a few, including Norman, another black poodle who we’ve met a few times in a park near our place.

It was the sort of market that has stalls selling giant pepper grinders, hand-turned from native Australian woods:

The Coal Loader is in a nice location, on the side of a cliff overlooking the inner harbour:

Well, the water is behind the row of stalls! We bought a Christmas present for Scully – a new lead, with a cool Pac-Man design (although I suspect she’s too young to know Pac-Man). There was also a stall selling syrups and marmalades made from native fruits – I got a couple of bottles of cocktail mixer syrup: native lime, and riberry.

The walk back home was pleasant, in the cooler evening air, although uphill a lot of the way.

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## Le Marché Français

Today was a family Sunday! My wife heard about a French market day being held at a school ground in a suburb not far from us, so we drove over with Scully to check it out. It was way busier than we’d expected!

We were lucky to get a parking spot within two blocks in the normally quiet back streets, which were absolutely chocka with cars. Fortuitously we spotted my wife’s sister and mother arriving as well – we’d planned to meet up here at the market, but it would have been tricky with the crowd, so it was fortunate that we happened to run into one another right after finding parking spots. There were dozens of stalls selling all manner of things with a French theme, and also dozens of food tents and trucks selling crepes, raclettes, pomme frites, gateaux, cheeses, baguettes, pastries, sausages, and all sorts of other French food. And there were also several portable amusement park rides for the kids, including slides, merry-go-rounds, and even a dodgem-car pavilion. All this was set up on the school’s playing fields.

Scully had a good time exploring and sniffing everything.

And I found these amazing eclairs (L-R: Salted caramel and peanut; mango, lemon, and raspberry; guava and banana custard; and pistachio and blueberry):

They were as delicious as they look!

After spending a good chunk of the day at the market, I spent some of the afternoon cleaning the bathroom again. Not a regular weekly clean, but I finally got around to scraping the excess plaster and paint off the wall tiles. It’s been there for decades, and slowly getting discoloured and more noticeable, so I took a knife to the walls and spent an hour or so scraping them clean. It looks so much better now.

And I went grocery shopping. Mostly for supplies for tomorrow’s Science Club experiment at the school. But I’ll describe that tomorrow after we’ve done it!

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## Arts & Crafts Market

Sunday was cool and a bit rainy in the morning, but fined up during the day. My wife wanted to go check out a new market that we hadn’t been to before, dedicated to arts and crafts, at Gymea, a suburb in the south of Sydney. A friend of mine who used to live in the area told me that the venue used to be an old heritage estate, with a house and large grounds, but fenced off and inaccessible, with a bit of a spooky reputation. But in the 90s they opened it up to the public and turned the house into an arts centre. It has a gallery and studios where they hold classes in painting, pottery, and so on.

The market had stalls both inside the gallery and spilling out all over the lawn, with maybe a hundred or so different stalls. There was also a stage with a band playing live music, and a small cluster of food stalls. Several other people had brought small dogs, so Scully got to meet some of them.

After browsing around all the stalls, we sought some lunch, heading a block over to Gymea’s shopping strip, where we found a place called The Portuguese Bakery. Figuring this was… wait for it… a Portuguese bakery, we grabbed a table and got some savoury pastries for lunch. Of course they had the well known Portuguese egg custard tarts, so I had to try one.

But wait, there’s more! When we’d visited Portugal earlier this year, naturally we tried tarts in many places. All the bakeries there make them. But they make them all in the very traditional way – flaky pastry base, filled with custard. They were great, but quite similar to one another. But the great thing about a traditional baker emigrating to Australia is that they start to incorporate the local tastes into their products. They had not only traditional tarts, but also passionfruit, orange, raspberry, and fig custard tarts!

You would never see such sacrilege in Portugal, but here it makes sense. Passionfruit in particular is used a lot in baking and desserts, and marrying it with a custard tart turned out to be a genius level inspiration. Because I had one, and it had a layer of fresh passionfruit pulp under the custard, which added a pleasing fruity tang to complement the sweetness of the custard. The Portuguese may deny it, but I think this creation is even better than the traditional version. It was that good.

We got home in the mid afternoon and relaxed a bit, before taking Scully out for a run around the local park and chasing some tennis balls. And that about filled out the day!

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