Jade vine

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I’m sure it’s from outer space. It’s too surreal to be real, yet here it is, this weird turquoise flowering vine. When I saw these amazing flower clusters, surprisingly camouflaged in the way that crazy vivid colours can sometimes be, it took a while for my brain to compute. This is a colour usually found in flowers made of silk or paper, not real ones hanging from a growing plant. I eventually identified it—it’s a strongylodon macrobotrys, commonly known as the jade vine.

Civil defense

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I know. Most visitors to Hawaii would take photographs of coconut trees and beaches, but I find the beauty of tropical scenery difficult to capture. I was not on the lookout for typography and graffiti but seem to have arrived home with quite a bit of it. This civil defense warning device box caught my attention because its defacement struck me as so polite: none of the important information was obscured, and each of the stickers has allowed the others some breathing room. I also thought the typography of the red CD in the yellow triangle and blue circle was quite a clever piece of design.

Frozen brushes

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My friend emailed me because she thought I would be interested in the frozen brushes at the supermarket. Indeed I was, and went to see for myself! Everyone seems to be feeling the cold this week. This is Australia, so it isn’t cold cold, but everything’s relative, and even if the temperature doesn’t drop to single digits, when you’re sitting at your desk and your feet feel like iceblocks, then your feet feel like iceblocks. This supermarket is always freezing, even during summer, but obviously even the brushes are feeling the onset of winter.

Staples

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This may well be just a telegraph pole cluttered with old staples and nails, but what a work of art! This accidental sculpture in upcountry Maui—the splintery wood, those rusty staples and bent nails, and the yellow reflector that has seen better days—would, I’m sure, have a story to tell in the notices, no longer attached, of community meetings, lost dogs, items for sale, local events and who’s been playing at the bar up the road.

Pegs

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Using handwritten pegs is such a simple and obvious method of labelling plants, but I don’t think I’ve seen it done like this before. More common is the use of paddlepop sticks that are stuck into the soil, but these pegs are so easy to read, and I like the complete effect, more small-scale sculptural installation than functional device. I found myself wanting to delve deeper into this forest of brahmi, gotu kola, thyme and evening primrose, and wondered if they were grown along Fairy Mountain Road, which I had driven past earlier in the day.

Large upstairs room

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The sign on this door is just too fabulous! In fact, I’m a little stumped as to what to say about it, other than to wonder why it was deemed necessary to label a room in a building that is hardly large enough to get lost in. Maybe I’m being too harsh: this is a community centre, and we all like to be given clear directions for when we turn up for something in a place we’ve never been. And I didn’t get lost—that would have been impossible—but I was certainly diverted.

Tick tock

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I relate to this picture today. Time hanging mid-air, wires every which way, like something will short circuit any moment and the dangling clock will fall. But while I would prefer my day to be more linear in nature, and less like a criss-cross of live wires, I also love the aesthetics of this scene: cables leading to who knows where, the mess of transformers and connections, the yellow border on the clock and the decorative numbers on the clock face. The 2 and 4 are particularly pleasing.

Tulips

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The best bookbinding paste I have found comes from a small bookbinding shop in the NSW Southern Highlands. My recent visit to replenish supplies coincided with the annual tulip festival. While the tourist hordes were flocking to the gardens to admire the showy displays, the bookbinder remained unimpressed. ‘We’re Dutch,’ he said, ‘we’ve seen enough tulips!’

Yes beer!

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Less than a week after the spring equinox and we are getting a taste of summer: it’s 32 degrees today, 10 degrees hotter than Sydney’s September average. No doubt it will make the news tonight, in the way that weather inevitably does—the first freaky hot day, the crazy rain, the bush as dry as a tinderbox. There might be no smoking and no standing, but on a day like today it’s good to know that beer is allowed!

Baker

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There are some reassuring certainties in life, one of them being that every small Australian town has a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker. In modern times the candlestick maker might come in another guise, but there is always something to fit the bill. Admittedly, I haven’t been to every small Australian town, but I have most assuredly observed this rub-a-dub-dub trio theme. This baker exuded that irresistible smell of freshly baked bread, made an excellent cup of coffee, and displayed a decent bit of lettering to boot.