Choosing solitude

No more for me the sounds of shopping trolleys. Gone the grass parrot’s songs of joy, their upside down feeding in the branches outside a dance that woke hope in my eyes. Left behind, too, the beatitudes of Bronte pool, its oceanic liquids that silenced chattering voices.   If Banjo Patterson’s Clancy of the Overflow went a drovin’ to take the stock to feed and water where he could find it for them, If what was left was still there after Clancy’d gone, What then... Read More

Luminous Chippendale

Luminous Chippendale   Here’s a note to me by a designer and gardener, Chantelle Matthews, about the road art and gardening she’s doing in Chippendale. ‘Strengthening the identity and liveability of Chippendale using a lucent groundcover Luminous Chippendale is a street garden project which aims to develop latent luminosity into a recognizable characteristic of this often shaded inner city neighbourhood of Sydney. The impact of both light level and sense... Read More

Denial denied

“You don’t have to deny yourself to find yourself’, my friend L said. We’d got to this earth-shattering point after some time at a table of nourishments provided by the local, the Duck Hotel. Outside the night was cool, the rain giving a background dusting off to the night air – you know, one of those Sydney nights when you can live forever. (Got to love this city.) Inside all was hubbub, laughter and pleasure in good food, play and such. The point... Read More

What is joy?

Joy is swimming in the early dark, Looking up at the winter stars as I turn my head to breathe in, Feeling the simple animal pleasure of my body growing stronger as I flow through the water, That moment deliciously alone, a sentient thing, Then, after, going home, the cool air on my cheeks, the grass as I walk on it watery, too, and endless in the early mists as forever, That’s joy.  Read More

Being human is messy

Bowl, Lombok Villa Talking to my friend, Lesley, tonight at the bar at the end of a blank, empty lane where the door, when opened, beckons one inside to Freda’s, a bar on Regent Street with music, old timbers, raw old bricks and freshly opened oysters, and beans that’ve been kind of curdled, and much more, she said, “Being human is messy”. I agreed. Lesley meant ‘messy’, I think, as in ‘ungovernable’ or ‘uncontrollable’... Read More

What a difference a photographer makes

There’s something about a shovel Double click on each photo and you’ll see it at high resolution . . . Bloke, shovel and a hole-in-the-making Jay, esky and a dream Literacy in the street – a dream worth sharing, yes? From the Guttenberg Press to a roadside library in Chippendale Eat your heart out, Ozymandias Photographer’s friend and hole digger, shovel and pick       Now.   Compare these photos of today’s new road garden library... Read More

Live in my sustainable house

lounge and dining room Would you like to live in Sydney’s Sustainable House? Get your water and energy from the sun and the rain? Well, you can. Would you like to rent my room for six months while I’m overseas? It’s the main bedroom, sunlit, two french doors, furnished. Pay no water or electricity bills.  Gas bills do need to be paid; about $70 a quarter.  Rent is $250 a week, payable fortnightly.  My 21 year old son is here and a friend, Karlie, rents the... Read More

How to laugh and garden at the same time

We’ve had so much good feedback on the lovely vid that Ash Berd did that I’m posting it here for those who may have missed it.…   Now tell me if you think I’m seeing things – don’t we look like we’re having fun? Join us gardening, walking the labyrinth, and in our next enterprise: making public libraries in our streets . . . . what’s that? Ahhh, wait and see . . . more life coming to our streets soon... Read More

Jess gives her first tour of Sydney’s Sustainable House

Two tour people + moi + glasses of rainwater Lamp, history wall – twice is not enough         Last Saturday 7 July Jess Miller gave her first tour of Sydney’s Sustainable House.  We had a lot of fun, shared some useful stories and, as usual, the energy and laughter were high on the agenda. Larger copies of the photos are on the website of the photographer, Peter Pakulski, here:… Peter and cat on tour                   Lounge... Read More

We built and walked our labyrinth this morning

  Emily Simpson in the labyrinth In early June Emily Simpson, someone I’d never met, said, ”Can I come and talk to you about putting a labyrinth in Chippendale?”. We met the next day. After five minutes of Emily showing me photos of the labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral and different cultures around Earth I was persuaded.  I rang Jane Hooper at the nearby Pine Street Creative Arts Centre and she, too, loved it. Unlike a maze which is intended to confuse,... Read More

  • Michael Mobbs

    Michael is a former Environmental Lawyer who is uniquely placed to consult in four main areas:

    • Sustainability Coach and Speaker,
    • Sustainable Urban Farm Design greening, watering and cooling the cityscape, roads, parks, suburbs,
    • Major Projects Consultant Commercial and Industrial,
    • Residential Sustainability Consultant.
    For permission to re-print any articles or to book Michael for a speaking engagement go to Contacts. Please ensure all quotes from Michael's blog include a reference to