Alas, my four-day long weekend is drawing to a close. It's been great.
On Saturday I had brunch (though it was actually lunchtime - gotta love all day brekkie) with a friend from my uni days whom I haven't seen at all this year. We had a really good natter over eggs and toast and hot chocolate, which made us both realise how much we've missed catching up with each other. We have vowed to try harder to see each other more often. (She has two small children and does freelance work at home, but I have no excuse for my poor efforts at keeping in touch.)
Saturday night I went to the movies with another friend from uni. We saw the comedy I Love You, Man which I probably wouldn't have seen had she not suggested it, but I chuckled my head off. Very amusing.
Sunday I had a big sleep in and then went to the gym. I was feeling a little bit excited all day for that night I was going to see Wagons (yes, them again) launch their new album at the Corner Hotel. I couldn't wait.
It was a sold out show - packed to the mirror balls - and Wagons rocked their hometown crowd. There was a lot of mutual love in the room. Frontman Henry Wagons entertained us with his dry humour as always. My crush on him grows unabated. It's really quite embarrassing.
On Monday I had another big sleep in and then went into the city to squeeze in a bit more of my Walking Melbourne tour. It was 2.00 pm by the time I got there, so I only traversed a few blocks from the corner of Collins and Exhibition Streets, down to the centre of the CBD, including the Bourke Street Mall. I incorporated a pitstop at The Chokolait Hub for a very tangy lemon cheesecake and a Belgian hot chocolate. Yum.
The tour included one of my favourite buildings in the CBD, the one on the corner of Elizabeth and Little Collins Streets which looks like it's out of a spooky old movie. I love the description of it in the Walking Melbourne guide too: "this wild confection displays the taste for the picturesque in commercial buildings in 'Marvellous' Melbourne". Hehe. Wild confection.
It was built in the late 1880s to house the City of Melbourne Building Society and it bore the name of the society on the facade. But if you have a look at it today, the facade says only City of Melbourne. That's because the Society went bust in the crash of the 1890s and the word 'Society' was removed!
My tour also took in the Athenaeum Club on Collins Street - another snooty men's club - but this one has a swimming pool in the basement. How cool is that? Not that I will ever get to see it, but I like just knowing that its there.
I also like knowing that inside the fairly unremarkable exterior of Capitol House on Swanston Street lies the gloriously ornate Capitol Theatre, which my guide describes as "extraordinary...truly one of Australia's internationally significant places". If you haven't been inside, go.
Capitol Theatre is another one of Melbourne's treasures which had a close brush with demolition in the 1960s. Can you believe it? It's astounding. I don't know what were they thinking.
The impending dark and chilly air forced me to head for home, with a brief stop at Federation Square where the annual Light in Winter festival is illuminating the chilly winter days and nights. The most eyecatching of the 13 art installations that form part of the festival is Volume, a series of light columns that respond to human movement, set to a instrumental soundtrack. It's quite fetching on a frigid winter's eve.
Today I stayed inside for most of the day, enjoying the rain outside, and then headed into the city in the late afternoon. The rain and clouds had cleared before I left home and the river was silvery in the sun and everything else looked green and glowy. I took plenty of photos. I'm finding it hard to dislike winter - I love the sight of bare branches against cloudy skies and reflections on wet ground.
I went to my pilates class - I'm the only person in the class, which is a bit weird but also good because it's all about meeeeeeeeee! Me and my sore back, sore shoulder and dodgy hip, to be precise. We balanced on Swiss balls which was great fun (even the falling off bit) and a good ab workout. On top of an hour of pilates, today I walked about 11 kms and did an hour of light cardio at the gym. I feel pleasantly worn out.
I walked home from the gym in the dark and, as I neared home I enjoyed the ghostly and cool sight of bare trees silhouetted against the clouds, lit from behind by a full moon. Ooooooh, spoooooky!
And now to bed. It's just started raining again. Aaaah.