Friday, July 31, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
A brief stop in the grounds of St Patrick's Cathedral
Wow. I'd forgotten how stupendous the interior of the Exhibition Building is. I spent as much time looking up as I did sampling organic food (mostly chocolate, but also tea, cordial, vegetable chips, relish, nuts and goji berries) and skincare.
A close up of the ceiling
I also patted a calf in the mini farmyard set up to entertain the youngsters (not that I've never touched a calf before - I've seen them being born). The kids with their tiny little horns were really cute (the goat kind, not the human kind.)
I loved the Bert's Bees beeswax products and bought myself a lip gloss and a pack of miniature hand, nail and footcare products in tiny little pots and tins.
I was also really impressed with a product called Onya Weigh, which is a little pouch containing 5 reuseable nylon drawstring tulle bags to use instead of plastic bags when buying fruit and vegies. I bought one of those.
I had planned to go to the Pompeii exhibition, but I was too weighed down with goodies, so I just popped into the gift shop for a quick look. I bought myself a copy of Melbourne: Then and Now, a book of photos of how Melbourne buildings and landmarks used to look and how they look now.
Then I headed for Brunetti's for a hot chocolate pit stop.
I dropped into Readings bookshop for a browse. And who should I see there, but Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. I knew he was in the area because I'd heard someone point out his car parked beside the shop. I was looking at some books and then I looked up and he was standing right beside me. As I was taken by surprise, I just said, "Oh, hello. I didn't realise I was standing right next to you." Yep, inane. He just smiled. (After I got home I realised I had smudges of hot chocolate on either side of my mouth. Inane and grubby! How embarrassing!)
The PM's visit was very low key. A few people approached him and he chatted with them briefly. He posed for a photo. He bought a pile of books and then left. Half the customers in the shop probably had no idea he was even in there. Still, he's not Barack Obama.
It was getting dark - the sky was a deep blue and a smiley moon was hanging over the city. A gleeful end to a gleeful day.
The new soccer and rugby stadium is looking good
Friday, July 24, 2009
Maybe I should set an alarm anyway.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
When I left work, I had a hankering for Lindt's Lindor Balls, so I went in search of them. Then on Collins Street, near Tiffany's, I discovered an entire shop stuffed with Lindt chocolate goodies. I'd never seen it before. It was still open. Mmmmmmm...Lindor Balls.
*imagines Johnny Depp at my front door* ............................Dang.
I love this guy...
The video is crappy (what's a studder?) - just listen.
Useless trivia: I saw Demetri Martin in a coffee shop near my work a couple of years ago during the Comedy Festival.
Monday, July 20, 2009
If you look just to the left of the clockface of the Town Hall in the picture below, that's where the outdoor roof top area is.
We then made our way up to the State Library to see Queens Hall, which has some unusual but impressive chandeliers and beautiful pale green and gold leaf ceiling roses (below). It's a little shabby around the edges, but it's apparently going to be renovated and reopened to the public. Yay.
After a quick squiz at the La Trobe Reading Room (no trip to the State Library is complete without it), we jumped on the City Circle tram through the Docklands to our next stop, the Mission to Seafarers. It smelt enticingly of the meat pies and sausage rolls they were selling to the Open House crowds, but we resisted the baked goods. I didn't resist the urge to give the old ship's bell (from the Moreton Bay) in the Celia Little room a tentative "dong". Not quite the same as ringing a bell at St Paul's...
The Mission building is still in relatively original condition and features a lovely little chapel with maritime themed stained glass windows and a pulpit carved to look like the side of a ship, a courtyard (with fish pond! Oooh fish!), a private garden and a large, round, domed room that used to be a gymnasium, but which is currently hosting an exhibition of maritime themed photos (below).
Next stop was Donkey Wheel House, a narrow building on Bourke Street I'd never noticed before. The building is now owned by the Donkey Wheel Foundation, a philanthropic organisation. It's very much in original - and rather shabby - condition and is mostly empty. It's crying out to be converted into an art gallery or something like that. There are already some art installations in the basement of the building.
After that we made another impromptu stop at the St Augustines Catholic Church which is one of the oldest churches in Melbourne (I have never paid so much attention to churches as I have these past two weekends!).
Then we had a quick look at the very modern Denmark House where the thing that most interested me was this newspaper headline:
Is there not a Danish word for sex? I'm assuming sex is not a Danish word for something else!
Niagara Lane, just because
After that we stopped at the Collins Street Baptist Church, which was also a bit of a 'wow' moment - I had no idea there was such a large church behind that facade. It's quite unlike any other church I've been in - a very open space, quite light and airy and with greeny-blue carpet throughout.
Finally, after deciding not to wait 45 minutes to see the kitchen at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant, we popped into the T&G Building (aka KPMG House). We were captivated by the glass ceiling feature, which changed colour (below).
The modern office tower bit of the T&G Building
And then we were done. I decided not to wait in line to see Capitol Theatre. Instead I treated myself to a Belgian hot chocolate and lemon cheesecake at the Chokolait Hub (becoming a habit...).
Then I caught the tram home. I'd walked just over 12 kms by the time I got home and I was worn out. I had a long soak in the bath and was in my pjs before 7pm! Just like when I was 10, only there was no soup and toasties in front of the Wonderful World of Disney on the telly.
See my other blog for a few more pictures.
Friday, July 17, 2009
But, Melbourne being the hive of events and culture and awesomeness that it is, there's always something to look forward to and I'm feeling inflated with gleeful anticipation once again. For serious, my cheeks are even puffed out.
This weekend, I'm having a sticky beak at a bunch of old city buildings during the second annual Melbourne Open House (MOH) on Sunday. It's part of the State of Design Festival and boasts an impressively expanded line up of 32 buildings this year. Some are old and some are new; all are architecturally or otherwise significant. Most of the buildings are not routinely open to the public, if it all.
You may recall that I'm excited about seeing Queens Hall at the State Library. That's where I'm going to start and I plan to get there early so I don't miss out. Last year a massive crowd descended on the CBD for MOH, which meant I missed out on getting my foot in the door of a few of the buildings on my list...but I did get to ring a great big bell at St Paul's Cathedral (above)! Bing bonnnnggggg!
I also want to see:
The bizarrely named Donkey Wheel House (formerly the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company Building), which was built in 1891 and hasn't been renovated so "its character is beautifully exposed", according to the MOH program.
The Mission to Seafarers building in the Docklands. Built in 1916-17, it is the Melbourne home of the Anglican Church-run Mission to Seafarers, which "cares for the practical and spiritual welfare of seafarers of all nationalities and faiths". Its interior, featuring Tasmanian hardwood panelling, is also largely intact.
Capitol Theatre. I visited it last year, but I want to see it again because it's spectacular.
Manchester Unity Building (below). I missed out on getting inside this Melbourne landmark last year, so I'm going to have another crack at it. The tour includes the 12th floor rooftop entertainment area and the "magnificent" Boardroom.
Some stuff I have highlighted:
Outside-in Cinema. Free movies at the State Library! Every second Wednesday there's a movie (mostly docos) on the big screen. The State Library could host an evening of sandpapering your own eyeballs and I would think it was an awesome idea.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Gee, I love that feeling when I discover that a favourite author has a new book out. It's nice to have the anticipation leading up to the release of a new book and then finally getting your hands on it, but it's also ace when you had no clue one was even in the works and then you find out it's on the shelves Right Now and suddenly, it's yours! Wham, bam, new book!
That's what happened to me yesterday. I found out in a fairly random way (via Twitter) that Aussie writer Nick Earls has released a new novel, The True Story of Butterfish. Oh, yay! Not only that, but I had a gift card in my wallet for the book shop near my work. No prizes for guessing where I went on my lunch break yesterday.
I love, love, LOVE Nick Earls' stuff - his books are so smart and real and laugh-out-loud funny, and his characters so appealing, quite often in a rather nerdy and inept way. I have read all of his books, including the young adult ones. I've read many of them more than once and some more than twice, including Zigzag Street, the first one I read. I clearly remember the day, in Dymocks at Collins Place in the city on my lunch break, when I picked up Zigzag Street and was amused to see the F word in the first line of the back cover blurb.
Love at first sight
I'm Sunday Chutney... and I'm a bit unusual
You see, because of my dad's job I've lived all over the world.
Which is great. Trouble is, I'm always starting at new schools.
So I'm always the new kid.
And everyone thinks the new kid is a bit weird.
But guess what?
I don't care.
(accompanied by a pirouetting, laughing Sunday in red stripey tights)
Sold to the girl with the Nick Earls book under her arm!
I finished reading it back at my desk and fell completely in love with it by the end. It's cool and cute and funny and quirky and I love the message - it's OK to be a little bit different (at least that's what it says to me).
And um...is it really strange for a 37-year-old to relate to a character in a book for very small children? I also have glasses, I've been the new kid in school, I enjoy my own company, I care about worthy cause and I love crumpets too.
It's written and beautifully illustrated by former Aussie actor Aaron Blabey. I even love the "About the author" bit inside the back cover:
The author of this book really likes:
lovely sharp pencils,
the way trees look when their leaves fall off,
his unfashionable record collection,
and looking scuffy.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The screechy correllas out the back of our cabinDay two of my Wagons West Birthday Extravaganza Road Trip Down Memory Lane ensues...
Dunkeld to Warrnambool
We stopped off at the tiny town of Hawkesdale, where I completed my final three years of high school (that school looked pretty much as I remembered) and then continued on to the charming town of Koroit where we hoped we might find a cafe serving breakfast, but we were out of luck. Maybe we were too early, or perhaps breakfasting outside the home hasn't really caught on in small towns yet.
I had also hoped that the signage on the outskirts of town would still read: "Koroit - a green and pleasant land" as it did when I was a kid and which I always read with an Irish accent (the area has a strong Irish heritage), but alas, it was gone. I was quite taken with the old red phone box in front of the bluestone post office though (below). Koroit's main street has a nice old world feel to it, with old buildings and footpaths shaded by old shop verandahs.
Anthony and I were both feeling pretty hungry by the time we arrived so we were pleased to find a few places serving breakfast in Warrnambool. I had a big cooked breakfast. Yum.
Loch Ard Gorge is a nice little cove with a narrow mouth (at the right of the picture above). It was named after the Loch Ard which was shipwrecked nearby in 1878 on a voyage from England. There were two survivors, who came ashore at the gorge. When I was in Grade 6 I won a story writing competition in which we had to imagine we were one of the survivors. My story was published in the local paper, The Standard, and I got a book voucher for my efforts.
The most recognisable of the formations is the Twelve Apostles (although there's only 8 left now). The view was complimented by more fabulous clouds. There was ace cloudage all day, in fact. I was pleased. It was the cherry on top.
Apollo Bay foreshore
We hit the road again and didn't stop until Anthony dropped me off at my place, tired but happy.
Split Point Lighthouse near Lorne (taken from the moving car)
So...that's it! The weekend lived up to - no, exceeded - my expectations. The gig was great and it was wonderful - in a bittersweet way - to revisit places from my childhood. It still feels a little bit like home. I feel a new sense of fondness for it.
South-west Victoria is lovely in the cooler months when everything is lush and green. It always makes me think of the closing lines of the poem Binsey Poplars by Gerard Manly Hopkins:
A ginormous thank you to Anthony for helping me to make my whim a reality. I couldn't be more grateful if I tried.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Boat shed and jetty
Ballarat to Lake Bolac
The brown bit in the foreground used to be lake
At quarter time in the game, which was around lunch time, we decided to grab a bite to eat at the canteen. Anthony got a pie and a sausage roll and I got a pastie (which was superb) and we sat in the clubrooms to eat. No one paid any attention to the blow ins.
Lake Bolac to Chatsworth
Chatsworth to Caramut
We passed the houses of kids I went to school with - I could even remember their names - on the way to Caramut, where I attended primary school. Fortunately, I knew that the school had closed a few years ago due to lack of pupils, so I wasn't too dismayed when I saw the drift of leaves piled against the front gate, the sandpit overgrown with grass and a sheet of tin peeling from the roof of the entrance. Sigh again.
We then went down the main street (past the lubritorium!) and then looped back past the house my family lived in. It was also mostly devoid of the garden my mum planted and the nice little tree in the front yard. (What's wrong with people these days? Don't they like flowers and trees?)
I took some photos of Penshurst's lovely little bluestone church (sensing a theme?) and then we set out for Mount Rouse, the large hill on the fringe of the town which is a dormant volcano. Easten Australia is home to many dormant volcanoes - I'm sure I read somewhere it's the most volcanic part of the world, though it's been more than 7000 years since any of them erupted.
We spotted several black wallabies as the road wound towards the top of the hill. I don't remember seeing any when I lived there.
I think I see my old house from here
Penshurt to Dunkeld
The bar had started to fill with people and I was relieved. And you know what? I wasn't the only Melbourne fan who made the trip to see Wagons play in Hamilton. For serious! There were a few other people with ties to the area who had also come along. I was relieved.
PS I apologise if this is poorly edited. My bottom is numb, it's late and I must sleeeeeep.