January is perhaps my favourite month. The silly season over, the cogs have begun to crunch once again. And while Sydney city hots up (quite literally) Miranda, the boys and I hunker down at our holiday house in Tilba, right on the coast. For years now, we’ve enjoyed leisurely seaside walks, exploring secret little beach coves, and as the boys get older the chook-feeding and cow-milking and lamb-spotting only get more and more frenetic. And as the boys grow, so the community around Tilba gets more and more interesting, also. I spend a lot of time hanging out atMagpie Music, in Bega, a pleasure in itself but an even greater pleasure, to leave the irreal world of iTunes. At Wapego, Harry’s Oysters sends out some of the best, organic oysters; of a silkiness you’ve tasted nowhere before. And over at Bermagui, the Gelato Clinic is go-to destination on a hot day, or even a chilly one. (Miranda loves the hazelnut, me the coconut. Samson can’t go past the blood orange and Griffin, a man of simple tastes, enjoys the vanilla.) Mister Jones’ Coffee is the best cup south of Potts Point, and at Il Passagio my windsurfing buddy Tim Northam sends out some excellent and innovative Northern Italian dishes. Nine kilometeres south of Bermagui, Barraga Bay is the site of the biannual Four Winds Music Festival which presents a truly inspiring program of classical, indigenous and world music in what is effectively 30-acre open air ampitheatre, dubbed festival directors ‘nature’s concert hall’. The soon-to-be-completed performance space designed by Clinton Murray, constructed of massive pylons hewn from local trees, is impressively rugged yet almost humbly fades into its bush setting. Ticketsfor this April’s program are on sale now – I’d love to see you down there!
The other great thing about January, is that I get to jet between the South Coast and Sydney, working three days in town, and two down by the coast. It’s a great pace, one that inspires creativity, but also one that allows me to get a critical distance on my own practice, allows a greater view onto the big issues, unclouded. From where I sit, the year is looking good. Already, in the lead up to Christmas, I could sense the rumble of the machine beginning to turn, of the architectural sector shaking itself out of its doldrums. We scored some big clients towards the close of last year, and now it’s about setting things up to service them in a spirit of generosity and excellence. To use a surf analogy, I feel as if, when the surf went out those who remained alert, focused, poised for that next wave –whenever it chose to break – those guys would be in good shape. Hey, all I can say is, Surf’s up!