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Feathering The Nest

July 17, 2015
Gwendolyn Burkin & Richard Nylon

Gwendolyn Burkin & Richard Nylon

Richard Nylon meets William Johnston

Part of the Johnston Collection House of Ideas Series


From the moment I walked into this riveting exhibition I felt I was walking into a moment of Tardis time travel. Standing on a superb marquetry table was a rhythmically ticking metronome. A moment of whimsy was provided by the ostrich feathers attached to the metronome as its pendulum swung back and forth tick, tick, tick, tick.

The Tardis Time Travel Room

The Tardis Time Travel Room

Hanging on the walls were numerous antique clocks dating from the 17th century, marking a technological shift in the recording of time. From this period of time, time itself was no longer simply marked by the ringing of church bells. Perhaps our grandchildren living in a digital age will never relate to the comforting sounds of a ticking clock. And there amongst these relics of another age was the ever so present Richard in the form of a tiny figurine. This was indeed a house of ideas.

Hat ‘Oseau chapeau’, by Iranian Fatemeh V

Richard had imprinted his own sense of theatre on the engaging boudoir with a resplendent golden sun bedhead, which signified that we had now returned to the Court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. On the bed itself there were many tiny ceramic English Setters happily attending their master in bed. Who would have known that Louis XIV adored dogs? He fed them biscuits baked by the Royal pastry chef and they slept in beds made from walnut and ebony marquetry lined with crimson velvet in the chamber des chiens next door to his own bedchamber.

My favourite room however was the philosopher’s room with a round table displaying a splendid collection of small busts of revered philosophers from the past each adorned by Richard with glamorous evening hats. I liked Socrates glamorous chapeau– were the gold leaves the leaves of hemlock that led to Socrates death?

As Socrates so famously said “ An unexamined life is not worth living – Richard seems to concur with this statement in maintaining that to examine ones life is the only life worth living.

There were lots of conundrums, witty statements, and extravagances as only a rich imaginative, fertile mind like Richards could conceive. This is an exhibition not to be missed. To view phone The Johnston Collection 9416 2515.

A Bewitching Private Recital June 2015

Soprano Antoinette Halloran, Tenor James Egglestone and Bass Baritone Shane Lowrencev

Tory West, Me & Lesleigh Jermanus

Tory West, Me & Lesleigh Jermanus

A bewitching concert displaying the storms, passion and joys of popular opera arias, in an elegant, private setting, with magnificent flowers, fabulous food and fascinating guests – a tribute to the talent and charm of our host Di Bresciani founder of YMFA.

YMFA is an organisation established to foster music and support of young musicians.

How To Be Alone

August 1, 2014


Sara Maitland “How To Be Alone” [Macmillan; Main Market Ed. edition January 2, 2014]
“Learn how to enjoy solitude and find happiness without others. Our fast-paced society does not approve of solitude; being alone is literally anti-social and some even find it sinister. Why is this so when autonomy, personal freedom and individualism are more highly prized than ever before? Sara Maitland answers this question by exploring changing attitudes throughout history. Offering experiments and strategies for overturning our fear of solitude, she to helps us to practise it without anxiety and encourages us to see the benefits of spending time by ourselves, By indulging in the experience of being alone, we can be inspired to find our own rewards and ultimately lead more enriched, fuller lives.”
solitude 2
“From the outside, solitude and loneliness look a lot alike. Both are characterized by solitariness. But all resemblance ends at the surface. Loneliness…

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Sojourn in Brisbane in July 2014

July 30, 2014

Sojourn in Brisbane in July 2014

Friendship isn’t a big thing – its a million little things – unknown author.

I love escaping Melbourne’s winter for the warmth of Brisbane and renewing an old friendship of 26 years in a delightful old vintage Queenslander house.

Anna's Home-made Bread
You wake to the delightful sounds of the morning calls of the magpies floating in the light airy space.

Joanna's Salad
Despite a cold desert wind most of my days were full of sunshine, good food, good conversation, good books, good music and long walks.

C.G. Jung – Falling in Love At First Sight

July 25, 2014
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“When animus and anima meet, the animus draws his sword of power and the anima ejects her poison of illusion and seduction. The outcome need not always be negative, since the two are equally likely to fall in love (a special instance of love at first sight).” ― C.G. Jung

C.G. Jung explaining love at first sight in an interview

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F. Scott Fitzgerald to his 11-year-old daughter, Scottie, who was away at camp

July 25, 2014
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La Paix, Rodgers’ Forge
Towson, Maryland

August 8, 1933

Dear Pie:

I feel very strongly about you doing duty. Would you give me a little more documentation about your reading in French? I am glad you are happy — but I never believe much in happiness. I never believe in misery either. Those are things you see on the stage or the screen or the printed pages, they never really happen to you in life.

All I believe in in life is the rewards for virtue (according to your talents) and the punishments for not fulfilling your duties, which are doubly costly. If there is such a volume in the camp library, will you ask Mrs. Tyson to let you look up a sonnet of Shakespeare’s in which the line occurs “Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”

Have had no thoughts today, life seems composed of…

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Love, desire and riches

July 21, 2014

Love, desire and riches

Love, desire and riches

Penfolds Luxury Collection Dinner at Intercontinental Melbourne The Rialto

April 30, 2012

Alison wearing Jean Paul Gaultier skirt, Antonio Marras one shouldered silk knit with Shane Douglas

Last Thursday I was delighted to find that I was amongst the chosen few assembled at Intercontinental the Rialto, Penfolds Luxury Collection Dinner in the Bluestone Wine Lounge.

The Bluestone Wine LoungeAs we arrived we were greeted by the gregarious General Manager Joerg Boeckeler, the gracious Director of Sales and Marketing Shane Douglas and consultant Special Events Coordinator the very elegant and exotic Elena O’brien, styled a la Grace Kelly.

We sipped Penfolds Reserve Bin 10A Chardonnay 2010, one of the rare Penfolds wines that is 100% South Australian sourced from super premium sites in the Adelaide Hills. This was accompanied by delicious cold hors d’oeuvres

Laughing Kookaburra

After an enjoyable half hour of chit chat with various people including the engaging publisher of the Luxury Travel and Style Magazine James Air and Sotheby’s stylish publicist Sarah Easson we were seated at a grand and very long timber banquet table, beautifully presented with autumn leaves and fine silver ware. Our host Jorg added a wonderfully eccentric element to the table decoration with the inclusion of a bespectacled stuffed laughing kookaburra!

Stephanie Dutton Penfold wine maker and wonderful ambassadress for the Penfolds Brand was a vivacious raconteur who displayed her great depth of knowledge with her introduction to each course and accompanying wine. Michael Lindell, the architect seated next to me, did very incisive quick sketches of some of the assembled guests including the Laughing Kookaburra.

Mt Laura slow cooked lamb loinAhh! – the wines. Of the reds I loved the St Henri Shiraz accompanied by Mt Laura slow cooked lamb loin with celeriac and asparagus. I think of the whites my absolute favourite was the Cellar Reserve Viogner 2011 that accompanied the splendid Berry Clafoutis desert.

As I took in the wine, the food and the ambiance I had a Proustian moment and was transported back in time to an earlier European masked ball – a totally delicious experience.

French Masked Ball


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