On The Soul Side

It is always a pleasure to discover a new gem in the Blue Mountains and today delivered.

On the Soul Side is a fledgling café and espresso bar located in one of Katoomba’s most iconic hotel buildings, The Gearin.

As I stepped in the door, Dave, the café owner offered a cheery welcome and in between making coffee and serving customers he chatted generously to me about his unique vision for the new venture.

The café inhabits the old pub space and features an array of swoon-worthy vintage collectibles. The first item to catch my eye was a sensational red Chevron typewriter. What a beauty! Other pieces include a mini locomotive, a retired telephone box and handcrafted models of boats, ships, submarines and planes.

The history of the hotel is palpable and while efforts are being made to restore some of its tiles and fireplaces, there is a wonderful cosiness and charm about its ageing beauty.

The other soul component of this café is good music. Dave has the best tunes playing through the week and also a space set up for local musicians to jam on Friday nights.

On the Soul Side certainly has a whole lot of soul. As I was leaving I stopped to chat to a local artist drawing in chalk just outside the café door. There is a sense of community and creativity here that resonates with me.

I am looking forward to my next visit and watching the chapters of this café story unfold.

Find On the Soul Side on Goldsmith Place in Katoomba, just next to the train station. And on instagram: https://instagram.com/on_the_soul_side?igshid=16vp2og1zjayp

The Scrabble Dream

So I have a little Scrabble habit: Not only do I love to play but I also must work out the combined score of all the players after each game. I reckon anything over 500 is worth celebrating!

I come from a long line of Scrabble enthusiasts. It is such an entertaining game of word knowledge but also skill, strategy and luck. Every holidays we play, sometimes three generations represented around the board, and our Scrabble dictionary is pretty shabby from so much use!

In the photo above you can see one of my favourite op shop finds: a vintage Scrabble set. It makes me so happy. It has wooden tiles and trays and is in top notch condition though it was missing an ‘i’ when I bought it. Copyright on the box says 1953 by Selchow & Righter Co. Bay Shore, New York.

Recently I watched a wonderfully quirky film called Sometimes, Always, Never. It features a particularly hilarious Scrabble playing scene. In fact Scrabble is delightfully woven all the way through the film. Here is the trailer:

Scrabble was born in New York in 1938. The inventor of the game was Alfred Mosher Butts, an unemployed architect and amateur artist. He tried without much luck to market the game and finally in 1948 he sold the rights to entrepreneur James Brunot who came up with the name ‘Scrabble’. Brunot also set up a Scrabble factory in Connecticut. The game didn’t fully take off until 1952 when an executive from Macy’s, the famous department store, played the game while on holidays. He loved it so much, he decided to stock it in his store. There was such a demand for it that Macy’s turned production over to Selchow and Righter, a company that had previously rejected the game. https://www.nytimes.com/1993/04/07/obituaries/alfred-m-butts-93-is-dead-inventor-of-scrabble.html

Scrabble is now popular all around the world and over 150 million Scrabble sets have been sold. There are Scrabble clubs, associations and tournaments. There are variations of the game: Travel Scrabble, Scrabble Cards, Deluxe Scrabble, online Scrabble and Large Print Scrabble. There are Scrabble dictionaries. There are Scrabble tea towels!

If you think a Scrabble tea towel might enhance your dish wiping experience or make a great gift for a special Scrabble friend, The Turning Page Bookshop in Springwood have them: http://www.indies.com.au/TheTurningPageBookshop

I bet the ongoing success of Scrabble was beyond Alfred’s wildest dreams when he first invented the game in 1938. It reminds me that we should never underestimate the potential of our ideas, dreams and creativity.

Glenbrook Rotary Markets

It was a gorgeous sunny day for the Handmade and General Market in Glenbrook last weekend. What a huge variety of stalls there were. I have taken a few snaps of the highlights:

I was so glad to see Pretty Frocking Vintage there because I have been admiring their lovely range of vintage clothing and accessories on instagram for a while. Fun to see for real their gorgeous frocks, coats, scarves, hats and even brollies! Check out the cool hat in the pic! More on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/prettyfrockingvintage/ and also an etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/PrettyFrockVintage

I love Blackbird Soy Candles‘ rustic sign! All their beautiful candles are locally handcrafted and smell divine! More on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blackbird_soy_candles/?hl=en

This busking duo, Jerrah and Friends were really rocking the market! Great tunes and rhythms! I think they are regulars so if you get to the next market, make sure you check them out.

I get so excited when I see upcycled vintage cutlery! Gitane Jewellery are locals and their stunning jewellery is expertly handcrafted. They also make super cute markers for the garden. More on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/GitaneJewellery/ and etsy: https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/GitaneJewellery

I adore flowers (you may have guessed?) and had to stop and admire Lily of the Valley’s sweet blooms. Aren’t they so pretty? More on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lilyofthevalleyfloristry/

Next stop was Yvonne’s Handmade Pottery. I love pottery and seeing Yvonne’s work was wonderful. We had such an interesting chat about the unique patterns and designs she has developed in her pieces. Yvonne is a regular to Glenbrook Markets so look out for her there but also on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yvonneshandmadepottery/?hl=en

Final stop was Modimade, a fairtrade venture that partners with women in Cambodia to handcraft a range of beautiful products. Soft toys, clothing and colourful mobiles but also nifty nappy changing kits designed by Modimade’s inspiring founder, Anna. Look out for more on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/modimade/

Handmade and General Market is on the 3rd Saturday each month at 10 Ross Street, Glenbrook. There is also a Grow, Bake and Make Market at the same venue on the 1st Saturday of the month. Stay updated via instagram: https://www.instagram.com/glenbrookrotarymarkets/

Blue Mountains Design Market

A few weeks ago I discovered this delightful vintage/antique/retro shop in Blaxland. I was on the look out for a hat stand and I had tried a few different places but couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. When I dropped in to Blue Mountains Design Market, the perfect hat stand was waiting for me! Actually it was for my mother and she is thrilled with it.

What I love about this gorgeous shop is the range of quality yet well priced pieces. The owner of Blue Mountains Design Market is warm and welcoming and very knowledgeable about her stock. I told her she has a good eye because every object in her showroom is so unique and beautiful! Since I bought my mother’s hat stand I have been back a few times for another browse. This weekend I took some snaps to share with you.

Blue Mountains Design Market is open Friday-Sunday from 10am-5pm and is easy to find at 24 Great Western Highway, Blaxland opposite the Lapstone Hotel. Park on the road at the front of the shop.

Public Typewriter

For my last birthday I was gifted a delightful book called Notes From a Public Typewriter edited by Michael Gustafson and Oliver Uberti, published by Scribe Publications in 2018. I read it from cover to cover in one sitting and loved it. Now it sits on my coffee table and I often dip back into it and savour it some more.

Michigan bookshop owner Michael Gustafson decided to leave a typewriter outside his shop and anyone could sit down and type whatever they wanted. It was a community-building exercise. The result was a collection of heartfelt, wise, funny and thought-provoking messages. Michael picked his favourites and published them.

This wonderful little book ticks so many boxes for me! Community. Creativity. Simple Living. All my favourite things rolled into one neat package.

You can imagine how excited I was a couple of weeks ago to see that Springwood Library had set up a community typewriter for the month of May. I felt a bit awestruck when I saw it. I loved seeing and touching a typewriter again. I tentatively typed ‘peregrineblue’ and then lost my nerve! It was loud! I didn’t want to disturb the other people in the library. I took a quick photo and left but I kept thinking about it all week.

This week I went back to check on the typewriter to see if anyone else had been braver than me and done some more typing. There was! A young boy was typing when I arrived. He was much bolder than me and wasn’t worried about making too much noise.

I feel sad that May is almost over and that the vintage Remington Ten Forty typewriter will be returned to a vault under the library. Maybe we could petition the librarians to bring it out again soon. I was just working up the courage to type some more.

Thank you to the staff at Springwood Library https://library.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/ for being creative and community minded and for encouraging us to appreciate the simple things.

A quote from the book:

Maybe one day we will write enough books and read enough words to understand each other.

I hope.

Magpie Markets

We love markets in the Blue Mountains! Last weekend I was at Lawson’s Magpie Markets. What a great vibe and a beautiful range of fresh produce, plants, pantry yummies, vintage items and handmade clothing.

I made a list of my favourite markets in the Blue Mountains. There are many more! If you think there is another one I should try send me a message: http://contact@peregrineblue.com

1st Saturday:

  • Glenbrook Rotary ‘Grow, Bake and Make’ Market – 10 Ross Street, Glenbrook – 8am-12noon

1st Sunday:

  • Blackheath Community Market – Blackheath Public School (Leichardt Street, Blackheath) – 9am-1pm

2nd Sunday:

  • Blackheath Growers Market – Blackheath Community Centre (Cnr Gardiner St & Great Western Highway) – 8am-12 noon

3rd Saturday:

  • Glenbrook Rotary Markets – ‘Handmade and General’ Market, 10 Ross Street, Glenbrook 8am-1pm

3rd Sunday:

  • Lawson – Magpie Market – Lawson Public School (Adelaide Street, Lawson) – 9am-2pm

4th Sunday:

  • Springwood Growers Market – Blue Mountains Theatre and Community Hub (106-108 Macquarie Road, Springwood) – 8.30am-12.30pm