Monday, 2 April 2007

Colander Girls

Hotel "where's my circumflex?" Harlot (Boutique Accommodation for the Well-Tempered Sydneyite) has just had the honour of hosting a Delegation from the Leichhardt Ladies' Hostel. The Delegation returned to her native metropolis today, but while she was here, she (the Delegation) and I (your trusty hotelier) had a super time.

The Delegation.

F'rinstance, yesterday, in between fancy hot chocolate on Lygon Street and fancy pacifist shenanigans on Collins Street, we betook ourselves to the Camberwell Markets. The Camberwell Markets comprise three acres of trestle tables, laden with ceramic giraffes, 1950s hats, decapitated Barbie dolls, and second-hand vinyl underwear. I approached this al fresco Temple of recycled Mammon girt in resolution, holding aloft the shield of I-Shall-Not-Buy-Questionable-Nick-Nacks, and clutching the sword of Tempt-Me-Not-Ye-Bric-a-Brac-of-Yore. Indeed, I had informed the Delegation that I would only offer up my hard-earned silver if I saw: (a) a colander, (b) a cheese grater, (c) a first edition of the
Origin of Species, or (d) diaphanous turquoise curtain fabric. But most of all a colander. The pasta's been unspectacular for a good month now. This official list was a very sensible strategy, retention-of-pennies-wise, but led to many a wistful sigh as I spurned a succession of 1950s hats.

No colanders were forthcoming, and, strangely, first editions of the
Origin of Species were thin on the ground, so, excepting a $5 lapse in the direction of an entirely unnecessary skirt, I left the Camberwell Markets unbesmirched by commerce.

Unbesmirched, but disappointingly devoid of colanders. 'Course, a resourceful spaghetti-artist will find a way to drain her pasta regardless, but everyone loves a colander. Nothing like a colander to beguile one's Thornbury evenings. Always fun to take to Amsterdam, a Hollander colander.

When I arrived home today, I found that the Delegation had contrived to buy me possibly the world's most beautiful colander. A pale blue ceramic job, shapely and shiny and altogether full of holes. How did she know?, I asked myself. Such are the mysteries of friendship.

Three cheers for the Delegation! Never again will Hotel Harlot offer up soggy fettucini. They're jolly nice gals, those Leichhardt lasses.

15 comments:

Karen said...

What a nice, thoughtful delegation!

It may interest you to know that the State Library of NSW recently bought a first edition of The Origin of the Species which was once owned by Darwin's great-grandson for $191 000, so that's a lot of colanders. I'm privy to this factoid because when they barcoded me for the simple privilege of looking at a book they kindly noticed that I am under 30 and therefore may need to be reminded from time to time that there are these crazy things called books.

alexis said...

It does indeed interest me to know, esp. since, if I remember correctly, Fisher Library has an 1871 Descent of Man in unsupervised circulation. Someone really should go through the books in that tower and sort the $191 000 ones from the 50-centers.

The delegation is a true comrade.

Karen said...

I know. I'm stunned by what you can get out of that stack. But I was also stunned that the State Library once let me handle a two volume set of something worth $40 000 a volume without handcuffing me to the desk!

State Library is boasting that this is the only first edition in its original binding in Australia.

It is very nice to have comrades.

Friend said...

Fisher Library also purports to host a copy of 'Charles Darwin on the routes of male humble bees'. Origin of the species indeed! Noice of Comrade Leichhardt to be bestowing collanders, and of the State Library to be reminding youngsters about books.

Karen said...

'Charles Darwin on the routes of male humble bees'.

Oh, now that really is something!

So enthused is the SL with its new-found mission of bringing books to the youngsters that it has formed a special club for the under 35s. The name is a combination of letters and the number 35, so it sounds like a drug. The electronic missive advising me of this development featured a photograph of what I assume were the group leaders. They all seemed far too fashionable to be my new best friends, so I suppose, in the unlikely event that I did attend, I would have to content myself with aspiring to be them instead.*

Books. Everyone is doing them.

Didn't the SL of Victoria have a singles night where you were supposed to bring your favourite book? I wonder what you would do if your Mill on the Floss turned out to be a Catcher in the Rye?

Digressing woefully, I know, but I'm procrastinating, you see.

*I could insert a disclaimer here stating that I'm not usually this bitter and horrible, but that would be a complete lie.

alexis said...

Real library groupies are way hip. And Karen, there's no question about you making the grade.

Oh, I do like the sound of the Desperate & Book-ridden event. The possibilities for catastrophe - and/or trans-genre love - are delicious.

Thanks for the Darwin tip-off, dear Friend. He was a humble bee himself, nice old fellow.

TimT said...

I think they have it every month - it's a literary speed dating thingy.

Here's a post about the event, only mildly fictional.

boynton said...

There's a coincidence.

On one of my trips to the Camberwell Market years ago, I ended up with a colander without really looking for it.
A housemate haggled on my behalf and quickly found himself engaged in a very loud arguement with the suddenly belligerent stallholder.
Whose arguemnt had holes in it?

Karen said...

I am by no means hip, not even in the bookish sense, as you know too well, but I do flatter myself that I've got bedraggled down pat and bedraggled goes so well with vellum.

I rather think it would be a source of greater anxiety- having to find the book that encapsulates the way you want to present yourself! And I could never choose a favourite book, so I'd probably take something that was important in my formative years- probably Orlando, I think.

alexis said...

A belligerent stallholder? Surely not!

I am now well and truly out of the colander market, which is a nice place to be.

alexis said...

Literary speed dating? Rather than coming _with_ books, the folk should come _as_ books, complete with readers' reviews pinned to their dust jackets: "Un-put-down-able!", "A veritable tour de force in a world of mediocre paramours", "What John lacks in coherent plot he makes up for in back scratches".

Karen, when I say you're hip, I mean hip in my peculiarly idiosyncratic sense of hip, i.e., I think you're hip. Me, I've just got hips.

Speaking of hips, have I mentioned yet the seniors' nightclub I'm hoping to open, Hip Joint?

Karen said...

I once dressed up as The Wind in the Willows, but I was very young at the time. I certainly find your idea preferable and wonder that no one has ever thought of it (although I shudder to think of my "reviews"!).

I have a very idiosyncratic notion of hip too and you, being choir, most certainly do qualify. I, on the other hand, had orange juice and yoghurt thrown at me every single day at one point when I was 14 (and that was just my friends!), so hip has always been out of reach.

I don't know who is the wittier punster- you or Tim. I like the sound of "Hip Joint" as it would no doubt play my sort of music (which is generally sneered at by uber-hip DJs).

alexis said...

Orange juice and yoghourt! I'm sorry. People can be horrid sometimes.

Karen said...

Oh, I survived relatively unscathed, but thanks for the sympathy. Girls' schools (esp. selective ones, which are double whammy girls' schools) are a fascinating subject in retrospect- all the myriad and subtle ways (as well as not so subtle ways) young women have of being fiendishly cruel to each other. I will write something about that one day, I think.

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