Sunday, March 20, 2011

A glee-packed weekend

I am in bed, weary but happy after a weekend of gleeful fun and sunshine.

* I met a friend in the city on Saturday afternoon and we walked to Johnston Street, Fitzroy for bagels at Bean and Bagel (we loves the bagels, we do). While sitting in the window munching my sesame bagel with cream cheese, I looked up and spotted a faded sign on a building on Brunswick Street. Moran & Cato, it said. But then I walked off and forgot to take a photo. Dang.

* We walked down Johnston Street to Smith Street and poked about in a couple of second hand stores (where we tried on dorky glasses and top hats, and sat in old vinyl chairs discussing sex you do).  He found an ashtray with his Dad's name on it (apparently his namesake is a whisky distiller). We also looked in the vegan shoe store, where I mostly sat and patted the resident cat while my friend looked at the shoes.

* We then headed back to my place, stopping for a few minutes in the Fitzroy Gardens to admire the city bathed in hazy late afternoon sunshine.

* I spotted several other old signs as we wandered about.

* Just before we got to my place, we made a detour into the Botanic Gardens to see if we could see the eels in the Ornamental Lake. We've been several times in the past few weeks so that my friend could see the eels for the first time, but we've been out of luck. I even emailed the Botanic Gardens administration asking if the eels are still there and I got a quick response saying the eels are mysterious creatures - they suspect most have left the lake to make their way to their spawning grounds. What the?  Left the lake?

Turns out the eels (which are Short-finned Eels) LEAVE THE WATER AND TRAVEL OVERLAND! ON THE GROUND! LIKE SNAKES! THEY'RE FISH! FISH!!!!!!! They can breathe through their skin (as well as gills) and they have mucous-coated bodies which help them slither over the ground. They slither to the nearest river, the Yarra in this case, which means crossing a fairly busy road.

If that's not amazing enough, the eels travel downstream to the ocean and then swim 4000 km north to the spawning grounds in the South Coral Sea (off the coast of Queensland). AND THEY SWIM ALL THAT WAY WITHOUT EATING!  They survive on their fat stores.

Between one and three years old, the baby eels (elvers) float southward on ocean currents and eventually make their way upstream in rivers in Victoria. Isn't that bizarre and amazing? I have a newfound respect for the eels now. I still think they're creepy, but at least they're interesting.

I also learnt from the Botanic Gardens website that the gardens are home to a frog called the Easten Common Froglet (hee), small bats called microbats (as well as 'megabats' like the commonly seen Grey-headed Flying Foxes) and (non-flying) foxes. Foxes! I now want to see an eel slithering across the ground and a fox going abouts its foxy business. Just when I think I can't love the gardens any more than I already do...

Anyway, did we see an eel this time? Yes, we did! Yay! Just the one, but that was enough. My friend now knows I wasn't making them up and photoshopping pictures of them, so we're both happy. While in the gardens, I rescued a European wasp from the lake using a bird feather (then watched it rubbing its proboscis with its front legs as I lined it up for a macro shot), and then I scared a fairly large spider by twanging its web. It ran off like a big sookie pants. Pffft.

* I finished my New York jigsaw  puzzle! Wooo! I did most of it, but my friend helped me finish off the hardest part, which I left til last. He let me put the last piece in place. It was very satisfying.

* After that we went up the street for dinner and admired the supermoon, shining big and bright over Richmond. On the way back we lay on the grass in Gosch's Paddock, full of noodles, looking up at the supermoon. It reminded me of lying on the front lawn on hot nights as a kid with my parents and brother, stargazing and looking for satellites and shooting stars, with a stinky mozzie repelling coil glowing and disintegrating slowly nearby.

* I got an unexpected invitation to attend Barry Morgan's World of Organs at the Spiegeltent tonight with a friend I haven't seen in many months. I can't say I was busting to see the show, but it was such a lovely warm night, and I really like seeing shows at the Spiegeltent, so I eagerly accepted. It was silly, but lots of fun. The man gets a lot of mileage out a few double entendres and goofy expressions.

We had dinner afterwards and a good catch up. And now I'm home in bed, ready for sleep. Goodnight.

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