All hands on Wray!

The Wray Avenue verges were beginning to look a bit untidy with weed growth on the verges after Spring and the late rains and a little bit of litter so Dianne and Molly organised another clean up day.

It was a beautiful morning for it, with the sun shining and people happily greeting us as they walked into town. It was also great to see local, community-minded business owners helping out too – John Douglas from Brown Cow Design and Therese Pitman from Gourmet on Wray. Both of these guys are ever-present at these events and really supportive.

Molly, Diane and June have been doing regular litter pickups recently and it really shows – there was far less mess than usual. But we also felt that this vigilance had led to litter dumping, as the avenue looks tidier and people are more likely to respect it.

For me, I’m really excited that we’re taking ownership of this sliver of public space we have, caring for it and actively connecting with each other through it.

Massive respect to Dianne and Molly for their efforts on this!

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Kwobidaarn Noongar Cultural Workshops

Freeing up my Wednesday evenings has meant that I’ve been able to attend Noel Nannup’s Noongar Cultural Workshops for the past four weeks – they’re really good, that’s what Kwobidaarn means (I hope!!)

Noel interweaves his own personal story of growing up in Western Australia with the narrative of a Noongar following a traditional upbringing in the Fremantle area prior to European colonisation. Both stories begin with birth into family and Country, with strong links to land, values and culture. You can see a great video about Noel and his take on land, culture and spirituality here.

Through the four weeks, Noel shares stories about culture, how the land was used, the way seasons were perceived and how families functioned – all presented in an enlightening way by the campfire. Sat amongst the grass trees, you could almost forget that you were on Wray Avenue were it not for the occasional juxtaposition of buses and loud pedestrians passing by.

My personal highlight was Noel’s recollection of his uncle, whom I saw taking on the mythical mentor figure found in so many stories. Thomas Nannup returned from a kind of exile to teach a young Noel in depth about his Noongar culture and inspire him with stories such as the beautiful ‘Carers of Everything’. It was a such a powerful story.

Emma and I were lucky enough to spend a weekend out on Country a couple of months back, travelling between Fremantle and Wave Rock, following songlines like that of the koodjal dwert – two dogs dreaming – and the Carers of Everything story itself to several sacred sites.

The four week Noongar Cultural Workshops are another incredible thing happening on Wray Avenue courtesy of Bruce Abbott at Replants which I totally recommend. Thanks to Noel, Bruce and Joanie for making it happen.

The next 4-week storytelling series starts on . Check out the Replants website here for more details.

Replants meetup

We got together last night at Replants to discuss our verge planting.

It was great to see neighbours out by the Bruce’s fire, showing support for the idea  It was also nice to meet a few new people later on when we went for a walk to plan the sites.

I learnt a bit more about grass trees from Bruce. I new they took a long time to grow, but the one’s you can see in his yard are hundreds of years old, predating European settlement. There’s probably some in the metropolitan area that predate any European arrival, including that of The Duyfken or Dirk Hartog!

That makes the stands of them that Bruce is rescuing them from old growth forest. Across the metropolitan area, there are still

The Replants mission statement

swathes of them being bulldozed for residential and industrial developments without any real public concern or understanding.

Anyway, it’s wonderful that we can rescue even a few of them and beautify our street in the process. Some wonderful people have agreed to sponsor the trees, other champions have put their hands up for our foster carer program and we have volunteers for the great plant out.

We’ve selected the sites, about 8 in total.

The verge plant out is scheduled for Saturday 8 September. We’re starting with a breakfast at Replants and, once we’ve finished with all the hard labour, a barbecue by the fire.

I can’t wait!

Freo Loves Stinky Cheese

10am Saturday morn and tills were unusually quiet in Galati’s. Instead the masses were milling around chatting over lively music. Watermelon juice dripping down fingers and crispy fresh arancini balls crunching whilst munched. Galati & Sons hospitality makes their annual cutting of the giant auricchio provolone quite the event. This stinky sharp cheese has been fattening up for months now, towering as it hangs in house from ceiling to solid ground.

With the aid of a Melbourne based cheese craftsman, the auricchio was gradually sawn down to size, block by heavy block. Along with the aid of sweat, wire, muscle, knives and a couple of ladders. No flowery speeches of grand words here. Just a bit of bell ringing with each ceremonial slice; a cheer from the crowd; and cheese – plenty of it. The snap happy mob celebrated a bit of ceremony and tradition with the extended Galati fam.

Registers were soon ringing again as bags marched out the door for $29.99 a kilo. Olive oil tastings and a musical duo offering further lingerings to the 150+ crowd passing through. Quote of the day came from a woman sampling the lorded cheese, who exclaimed, sarcasm free, “That’s awesome cheese! Tastes like stinky feet”.

First cab off the rank - a $26.83 hunk. Heavy stuff...

Galati & Sons on Wray Ave are a fruit n veg fave amongst locals. Love Freo reposted some recipes if you’re looking for inspiration.

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Yoga Wrayurveda!

Last night I did one of the things that’s been on my to-do list for so long it has been gathering cobwebs: I went to a yoga class.

The end of year stress has been tightening my shoulders and traps so much that I’ve been in a real slump. I’ve always known yoga would be beneficial for this kind of thing and a whole lot more besides, including helping some general back problems that I have.

The Yogaveda Wellness Centre has been a yoga studio next to the Brown Cow Designs office beside Moondyne Joe’s for a while. When I went past the other day I picked up a timetable and made up my mind to go early Tuesday morning before work. That didn’t work out so I planned to make the afternoon session instead. That also didn’t work out but I new I had to preservere with my plan or yoga would go back to gathering dust and spider webs on my list.

I made the difficult decision to skip the South City Precinct meeting (where a couple of Wray Avenue matters we on the agenda) and take care of myself. I wasn’t disappointed.

I went to a beginner’s session run by Mimi (the usual instructor is Nikki Leaf but she was away in India). Mimi was very welcoming and extremely considerate of my lack of experience. She helped explain and model each of the positions from the session and guided me through achieving the correct form or modifying it to suit my embarrassing lack of flexibility.

The centre itself looks simple but clean and inviting. I’m not sure whether the aesthetic – polished floorboards and exposed brick – would appeal to hardcore yoga practitioners but I felt at ease and comfortable in the space.

The session cost $17 but you can reduce it to $15 if you pay up front for 10 sessions. All equipment is provided, including mats, rugs, cushions, blocks and straps.

As far as my back was concerned, I probably got a better outcome from this session than acupuncture or massage which costs considerably more. I’m really looking forward to my next session and, when I’m back from my summer holiday, will be purchasing a 10 session ticket!

Wop-bop-a Doo Wop a-wop-bam-boom!

Siobhan’s Doo Wop hair salon has been a real success story on Wray Avenue. She started it up a few years ago and it’s built up a strong and loyal customer base. It’s the only place I’ll go to get my hair cut.

I went there this week to get my hair cut for a job interview and I’ve never seen it so busy.

You pay a premium price but the service is excellent, I really appreciate the complimentary coffee or drink, it has a super-cool vibe and the haircuts are the best I’ve ever paid for. For me, Siobhan’s taste in music is a real plus too. I also really like the effort she has made in the decor and styling of the place. The retro character really adds something unique to the street.

Siobhan told me something that really annoyed me though; one of the neighbours has been keying some of her clients’ and employees’ cars. He seems to be really annoyed by the increased parking on the street. She wasn’t entirely sure who he was but I’d like to find out. This sort of behaviour is really unnecessary.

A wine bar by any other name would smell as…

Who’s Your Mumma opened up last weekend.

The workers who finished it off need congratulating for the speed with which it was done. Really, even though the finish is minimalist (such as exposed concrete flooring), it was done pretty quickly for a fit out in Perth.

I haven’t had a chance to go there yet and am not entirely sure I want to.

I have championed a wine bar on this street (and for Fremantle) for a long time and argued against other locals who have opposed it.

This particular wine bar just isn’t what I was hoping for. I wasn’t exactly wishing for something with the class of a Must Wine Bar but, well, I’ve made my position clear in a previous post.

At the end of the day the aesthetic isn’t really me and frankly I don’t think it is really Wray Avenue either. Not that I claim to have specific authority over what is and isn’t “Wray” but I think I know the avenue pretty well. At the very least I have deliberately chosen to live here with a sense of what I was moving in to.

In my previous post, I wrote of the connotation the terribly named wine bar had with Ed Hardy clothing and couldn’t imagine how sooth I was being until I saw their sign and logo affixed to the building.

I wouldn’t be surprised is Ed Hardy sued for copyright infringement.