Fabric Shop, sewing rooms, gardens, markets and swimming with suckerfish

We have visited a wonderful quilt shop in the Top End – Dragonfly Fabrics.  If you collect Australiana, Aboriginal, Jinny Beyer, dragonfly, landscape, frog or Kaffe Fassett fabrics (plus a LOT more) this is the place for you! I even found one with snow skiers on it (and we’re a LONG way from snow here!)  It’s owned by Judith, who has run it for a few years, after Frangipani Fabrics moved to Hobart Tasmania.  I’m delighted with this shop, the only one in town, and wish it had been open when I lived here. 

Judy at Dragonfly Fabrics

The rain continues.

We have been visiting quilters here, and getting tours of their sewing rooms (and stashes).  Alison has a huge collection of Aboriginal-designed fabrics, including some of the really beautiful Tiwi Island Collective fabrics.  Her quilts are very Top End, and beautiful, and I got a bit of show and tell when we arrived. 

Alison's Show and Tell

She will be doing an exhibit with her friend Mary Noble and a mutual artist friend in October at the Craft Council and they are both working very hard to produce the pieces for this show. 

Mary and her stash

Mary had us over for brunch yesterday and showed us around her magnificent garden.  A very strange looking mushroom, called a “phallous fungus” – as you can see, it is well named.

Phallus fungus, aka "stinkhorn"

She is also growing pineapples, passionfruit, pumpkins and paw paws (papayas).

Papaya (paw paw) tree full of fruit

Mary shows me the side shoots of her pineapple.

Her garden has benefitted from the nearly 3 metres of rain they’ve received this Wet season.

It’s been a whirlwind of social engagements here.  We have very close friends in Darwin and have seen almost all of them, through our various get-togethers.  We’ve also been sampling some of the joys of the city. 

Darwin has a number of regular open-air markets that are very well attended.  Mindil Beach Market only runs in the Dry season (which it will be soon), but on weekends in the Wet, you can go to Parap Village Market Saturdays or Nightcliff on Sundays. Yesterday we visited the Nightcliff Market.

Nightcliff Markets

There are always interesting things to buy:  “pot plants” (not the illegal variety, but plants in pots), clothing, palm reading, leather goods, and even some crocodile skulls at one.

You should always save yourself for lunch here, because you can sample foods from all over the Asia-Pacific: Vietnamese, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese and Chinese.  

Our gig last night at the Railway Club in Parap went very well.  We did a bit of show and tell, and sang two sets for everyone.  Some of the audience had heard the songs from the first CD as I was writing them, and I’m sure they noticed quite a few changes in them over the years.  They did some great singing along, too.  We finished the show with a song I wrote about the demise of the Hotel Darwin in 2000, called “Grand Old Duchess”.  It’s still quite emotional for people to hear this song here.

John took this picture of me introducing "Sweaters for Penguins"

Only an adventure could get me out of bed at 7am on the morning after a gig!  This morning we went swimming down by the new Wharf precinct with Alison and Mary.  When we were last here, there were plans to turn the mud flats by the government wharf into condos and a water park.  It’s all completed now, and what a difference! There are lots of blocks of units, restaurants, shaded green space, a box jellyfish-free swimming zone, and even a wave pool!

Darwin Convention Centre, by the Wharf, our swimming hole

We are still prohibited from swimming in the open bay until the end of May, because box jellyfish can be lethal, especially to children, so this area is closed off and supposedly “jellyfish-free”.

There was a story on April 1st in the NT News (my favourite rag) about someone swimming in this area and getting “attacked” by a “suckerfish”, whatever that is.  Haw haw!  Must be an April Fool’s joke, we thought, along with the rest of the dubious stories.  (also see: http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2010/08/12/171421_ntnews.html) So four of us headed out into the murky waters to swim.  As we got to the far end, I was the first to be “nudged”.  (There’s something spooky about having a fish rub up against you in murky waters – perhaps I have spent too much time watching “Jaws”!) We all got “suckered” by the fish.  We all think he was just lonely – there is no outlet to the bay from this area, so perhaps he just thought we were potential mates.  That’s a bit creepy too….

We survived the sucker fish, and lived to tell about it!

We’re starting to see some sun, and it didn’t rain last night, so perhaps the Dry is coming!

3 Responses to “Fabric Shop, sewing rooms, gardens, markets and swimming with suckerfish”

  1. maria wilson Says:

    Thank you for the trip around Darwin. There are some VERY interesting things there.
    I think I will stick to South Beach for my swim.
    Oh could you please ask Mary “How long does it take for a pinapple to ripen” Thanks.

  2. Mary Ann Noble Says:

    Hi Marla. We really enjoyed seeing Cathy and John again. Their concert was great and her show and tell at our quilt meeting was a real hit. In answer to your question about pineapples, from the time the flower appears in the middle of the plant to ripening is about 3 months if you leave the fruit on the plant until it turns yellow. Then you will have a very sweet pineappple. The side shoots or pups will take about 9 to 11 months to produce a fruit once you put them in the soil. Before you plants them, peel off five or six of the small bracts at the bottom to reveal the embryonic roots. They will grown faster if you do.
    Cheers, Mary

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