27. Letters to Strangers

I decided upon this one, as I thought about all the experiences brought into my life by people I don’t even know personally. I thought it would be good to find a way to acknowledge them. I selected cards and formed my very poor handwriting into notes of appreciation and sent them off.


photo taken at Powerhouse Museum

The first was more of a one off to Molly who was our guide for the behind the scenes tour of the Opera House. As the first of my 50 new things for the year it seemed a good one to mark.

Of the rest, three were in appreciation of our public radio (ABC).  I sent one to presenter James Valentine for his amiable humour and and exchanges with callers which invariably veer off in hilarious tangents. Another went to Richard Fidler whose Conversations for me, represent some of the finest interviewing around, and the third to the Radio National arm of the national broadcaster with its extraordinary diversity of programming and skilled presenters. For me, it is such a treasure trove of ideas, art, design, music and books. Sometimes the topics I chance upon veer into the weird and wonderful. At other times they are disturbing and confronting, funny and touching. They are always entertaining. They always make me think and feel.


Kindergarten of the Air provided by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Closer to home two local businesses came to mind that had not only brought me many great experiences but had survived and it seemed gone from strength to strength in changing and challenging environments. It’s easy to take such things for granted.


Annie and Allan of the Turning Page bookshop in Springwood are independent booksellers. They are knowledgable and passionate about books, have created a warm and friendly space in which to buy them and are committed to many things local.

IMG_9847Glenbrook Cinema is also a business which has survived independently amidst the morass of the multiplex. Its proprietor Ron Curran seems boundlessly energetic and enthusiastic about film and has created a wonderful resource for the local community. I thought of all the films I’d seen there over the years, many with friends. I thought of what a charming place it is combining the intimacy and personal touch of cuppas in crockery, tissues and knee rugs with smart use of new technology.

The common ground I think is that they have both embraced what modern technology has to offer but kept a strong sense of their own values in providing an experience to people. Ron and his staff don costume and decorate the foyer to celebrate the theme of some movies. At the same time you can reserve your own seat on line, aren’t charged anything more to do so and still pay less for a ticket than anywhere else I know of.  At the Turning Page they have a rewards system but you don’t have to squeeze another card into your wallet. They do it all for you and send your voucher to you in the post.

They have handled the complexity of change with grace and with respect for people. As well as running a successful business they bring value to their community. And they do it all while dealing with the rich tapestry that is ‘we the public’!

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