Alfresco dining

There’s something about eating outside that adds to the dining experience.
For some it’s the chance to indulge in the increasingly marginalised habit of smoking but for most people dining alfresco is a chance to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air, and perhaps even the view.
Restaurants and cafés also love alfresco dining.
It adds to the charm and profitability of their business and increases to the vibrancy of a retail strip.
But getting the design right can be tricky when the dining area in question is on a public footpath.
Different councils have different policies but in the main authorities have to take into account issues of convenience, safety and public access.
There are examples across the Hills where alfresco areas work well and there are examples where they do not.
Some places make pedestrians feel like they are walking into a front bar or cause them to question whether they are allowed to walk through at all.
The alfresco area being upgraded at The Locavore at Stirling does neither of those things but it has prompted a complaint from the Stirling District Residents Association.
The restaurant believes it is creating a level, safer and more sheltered area for diners and staff – that still gives open access to pedestrians.
The association is concerned that the “permanency” of the low walls, the steel frame and roof set a precedent that will destroy the green and leafy appearance of the streetscape as other businesses follow suit.
The Adelaide Hills Council says the design meets its plan for Stirling’s main street and all future alfresco designs will be considered on a case by case basis.
The question is, who arbitrates on something as variable as matters of taste when it comes to appearances?

Mushroom danger

The call from health authorities alerting people to the risks of gathering and eating wild mushrooms seems to be a warning delivered each autumn.
And with good reason. Two people in Canberra were killed last year after eating mushrooms they thought were harmless.
Some landholders have enjoyed eating wild mushrooms for generations without any problems.
But the dangers of gathering the fungi to the uninitiated are too great.
Much better to go for a bracing walk in the autumn chill of the Hills … and buy some on the way home. They’re not that expensive.