Friday, November 30, 2012


It was so warm last night - the hottest November night in 111 years, in fact - that we slept without even a sheet over us and with the blind up so as not to impede the little puffs of cool breeze blowing through the window. But when the blind's up and I'm lying on my right side (my preferred side) the light illuminating the billboard on the Nylex clock silo shines in my face, which annoys me. 

To solve this problem, I moved my pillow to the foot of the bed and slept up that end instead. But I'm not sure this was a conscious decision, or if it was just the latest odd act in the bizarre nocturnal theatre of my life. I also woke up to find my bedside lamp sitting on the floor beside the bed, which does suggest sleeping up the wrong end was an unconscious decision... Either way, it was an effective solution. 

Here are some photos from my walk home from work.

 Vesper 1, Little Bourke Street

 Vesper 2 - Degraves Street
(Vesper + Clementine = vespertine)

 Clementine's is next door to the Little
 Bookroom I posted a photo of yesterday

 The footbridge over the Yarra has its Christmas clothing on 

 Jacaranda in Queen Victoria Gardens
 (for Piggywhistles)

 The trees are outgrowing their bark
 (also for Piggywhistles)

Luke and I meandered up to Bridge Road this evening for a burger and...yeah, Fritz Gelato again. I'm a gelati junkie. 

We walked along back streets on the west side of Church Street. We saw some beautiful old houses, some grand but most more modest and nicely restored. There were also quite a few that looked as if a stiff breeze would blow them down. But you might already know I'm partial to urban decay. At least dilapidated houses have more character than the modern concrete boxes dotting the backstreets of Richmond.

For those times when you can't control yourself...

We decided to walk home again after our gelati. It was a lovely balmy evening to be out and about. The streets were lined with people enjoying their dinner and drinks al fresco and the cicadas were buzzing. There was a gentle breeze. 

We walked along The Vaucluse, Richmond's hoity-toity enclave, which was pretty even in the fading light. Closer to home, the bubble dome was lit up and twinkling. We could hear the crowd roar as we passed by. A group of girls paddling canoes passed under Morell Bridge as we crossed over it.  

There was lightning in the distance as we neared home. Not long after we installed ourselves on the couch, scarier lightning lit up the sky and thunder rumbled. It rained a little too.   A nice way to end the day. 

Speaking of endings, I finished reading The Horologicon at last. It was an engaging and chuckle-inducing read, although not quite as captivating as The Etymologicon, which had me riveted from start to finish. Even so, I'm looking forward to Mark Forsyth's next book. 

NaBloPoMo also comes to an end today. I've made it through 30 days and 30 posts. *pats self on back*   Thank you for reading. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Droopy, icy treats, little reader

Even the daisies were droopy

It was stinking hot today. It hit 40 degrees C (104 F) in the city. My boss left the office in the afternoon saying he'd be back in a little while. When he came back he had icy treats for everyone - Icypoles and Frosty Fruits. What a champion. It really hit the spot (not that it was hot in the office).  

I took a break from exercise today because of the heat...but I still walked to and from work. I was a puddle of sweat when I got home, but thankfully my flat was still relatively cool. I stood in front of the fan in my undies for about 10 minutes to cool down. 

I walked through Degraves Street on the way home and spotted this little fella in front of The Little Bookroom. 

Several people stopped to let me take the photo so they wouldn't photobomb it. It's nice when that happens. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's a miracle!

Miraculously, I wasn't crippled when I woke up this morning after my run last night. I wasn't even that sore. I was surprised - stunned -  that I only felt a little worse than the morning after my usual gym workout. I did stiffen up as the day wore on (especially my hip flexors),  but I was in good enough shape to go to the gym and do my usual workout this evening. Maybe the epsom salts bath I had last night had something to do with it? I'd better have another one tonight then, because the second day is usually the worst...

I've done more than two hours of cardio exercise today, including walking to work and home from the gym. Only a few weeks ago I was struggling to find the energy to walk home from work. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Run, run, run, Ollie the Octopus and the monkeh

I ran most of the way around the Botanic Gardens after I got home from work. That was after a brisk walk home, which took about 35 minutes and left me feeling quite weary, especially after my hard workout at the gym last night. I decided I'd compromise and just walk around The Tan tonight, maybe jog a little if I could. And then I jogged more than half way in a little under 30 mins. Not a remarkable time by any means, but I'm happy with it. Running on a treadmill is one thing; running on the ground where you have to propel yourself is another, harder, thing. I was surprised and pleased that it wasn't as hard as I  expected. I won't be surprised, however, when I wake up tomorrow unable to walk.  

Just as I got home from my run, the Graveyard Train song Run Billy Run came on my iPod. It goes, "Run, run...Billy keep on running". More lyrical coincidence...

I forgot to show you my octopus! I bought him at the toy shop in Maldon. I have named him Ollie, because I like alliteration. He's keeping my (as yet unread) octopus book company. 

While I'm in show and tell mode, here's the 'monkeh' from the PG Tips TV ad I mentioned a few months ago. 

The reindeer on his jumper looks non-plussed. I guess you would if someone sewed a row of stitching across your face. 

I also forgot to mention I bought two books at a new bookshop at Melbourne Central that was having a buy-one-get-one-half-price sale. I bought Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, which I haven't actually read, and also Cheryl Strayed's best-selling account of her 1,100 mile trek along the west coast of America after the death of her mother. Cheryl, as you might recall from one of my recent posts, is the advice columnist known for The Rumpus, where she goes by the name of Sugar. 

That's my holiday reading sorted then. I still haven't finished The Horologicon. I'm getting close to the end, but I've been too tired to read before bed lately.  

Now I'm off to have a soak in an epsom-salts-infused bath in the hope of alleviating some post-run soreness. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Maldon sign spree

 Rego the ruling brand...Rego self-raising flour

 We sell Rego products for goodness sake...Buy your Rego
 products here

 Produce stores 

Victoria Bitter, on the wall of the Kangaroo Hotel 
(apparently the only pub in Australia of that name) 

 A two-in-one. I think the top line says R. Mathias and the 
bottom line is Merchant

 Another produce store 

Luke saw this one hiding on the side of a building on 
Main Street, mostly obscured by greenery. 

 Pennant something 

The first of many old Lanchoo and Bushells tea signs. 
Lanchoo takes less in your teapot!

Left - Bushells delicious coffee. What? Coffee?
  Right - More cups, finer flavour

Lanchoo again

Bushells again. This sign appears to have been
 restored to its former glory, but I'm still counting 
it as an old sign

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A grand day out (in full)

Luke and I headed north for a day trip to the central Victorian town of Maldon yesterday. Neither of us had been before, but I'd heard it still retained many original buildings from its glory days during the gold rush of the mid-1800s. Since we liked Clunes and I was quite taken with Castlemaine, chances were good that we'd like Maldon too.

And we did. Very much so. Like Clunes and Castlemaine, Maldon is a picture of rustic charm. It sounds like a real estate agent cliche, but that really does describe it perfectly. There's old buildings, flaking paint, rusting iron roofs, lovely old verandahs, and many beautifully restored old cottages and grander homes.  The National Trust has described Maldon as having "the most intact historic streetscape in Victoria". (Incidentally, Maldon is almost exactly the centre of the state of Victoria.)  

Main Street with old Studebaker. I think there was a vintage
 car show on because we saw a lot of cool old cars about town

Also Main Street

 Main Street again

 A closer view of the Phoenix Buildings facade 

 Templeton Street. Maldon is old sign heaven. Everywhere
 I looked...Ooh! Old sign! Ooh, another old sign! 

I'm going to do a separate post with the old signs because there's too many to squeeze into this post (and it's nearly 11.00pm and I'm tired)

This was the first one I saw, on an old produce store. 
The sign just above the red door says 'corn crushing'

Scotch Pie House! We had lunch at the nearby bakery which 
has a Scottish wood-fired oven. There must be a connection

This is the back of the croquet clubhouse

Stupid cars. If I had to choose a superpower, it would be to 
render vehicles, powerlines and rubbish bins invisible

Flying saucer clouds!

We visited the town's small, but quite impressive museum, where we were attended to by an older gentleman who was endearingly passionate about the history of his town.  The book above - Mrs Beeton's Cookery Book and Household Guide - caught my eye for two reasons: one, because I find these old housekeeping books hilariously archaic; and two, because it was published by the eccentric E W Cole, of Cole's Book Arcade fame.   Unfortunately, it was locked in a glass cabinet so I couldn't leaf through it. 


This pine tree in Maldon's compact, but enticingly shady, public garden was propagated from a seed from the Lone Pine at Gallipoli. It was presented to the Maldon RSL in 1983 in memory of Major Alexander Steele, who served in World War 1, so I think the seed was taken from Lone Pine well after WWI.  

Maldon has one of the most - if not the most - impressive
 public schools I have ever seen 

Before heading home we drove to the top of nearby Mt Tarrengower and climbed the poppet-head lookout. Yes, that's what it's called. Poppet-head! Here's what it looks like. 

It was sunny and quite hot when we got to Maldon, but the clouds moved in while we were there, which made the view more picturesque. 

 Overlooking Maldon

You can just see Cairn Curran Reservoir in the middle,
and the Grampians on the horizon

We saw this dilapidated cottage and sheds on the way in to Maldon and stopped to take photos on the way home. I was half-expecting someone to come out and tell us to go away, especially as the faded sign near the front gate said Private property. Keep out, but no one did.  Phew.

Give me an old shed among the gumtrees...

With lots of rusty things... 
After we got back to Melbourne, we headed off to my friend Bertie's place for a scrumptious roast dinner and a glass or two of bubbly. Bertie has a new job and Lauren, another friend from my old work, recently got engaged, so champagne was definitely in order. It was a fun night to end a long day. Luke and I were very happy to crawl into bed when we got home.

Speaking of sleep, it's nearly midnight now so I'd better post this and go to bed. Apologies for typos and poor formatting. I'll fix that later.  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A grand day out

I'm writing this in the car on the way home from dinner at a friend's house so l don't have to turn my laptop on when l get home. I've had a wonderful day out and l want to get straight into bed.

I'll tell you all about my day tomorrow. Good night.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thank you, das monsterschnitzel, laugh-snort

A reader posted a very lovely anonymous comment on my other blog today. I read it while I was on the tram home and got a little teary. It means a lot to me when people say my blog has lifted their spirits. I started Gleeful to make myself happier, so it's immensely gratifying to hear I've helped make others even a tinier bit happier, too.  I think I know who left the comment, but in case I'm wrong, thank you, lovely anonymous person. 

Luke and I went to The Hungarian on Bridge Road, Richmond for dinner tonight. We'd never been before. I think we both decided to eat there after seeing this dish on the menu displayed in the window: 

Das monsterschnitzel! Neither of us ordered a monster schnitzel though. I had lamb goulash with nokedli and Luke had roast pork knuckle. Pork knuckle! It had crackling on it and it was very crackly. We also had a couple of pickled side salads. I love pickled things. Luke had a Hungarian beer and I had a fruity cocktail.  As well as das monsterschnitzel, the menu contains many other humourous touches. 

The reason we went to Bridge Road is because I wanted Fritz Gelato for dessert. Again. There was a group of older people ordering when we arrived. They were quite a jolly bunch and someone did a laugh-snort, which made Luke and me laugh too. 

I had the blood orange again - I LOVE the blood orange - and raspberry rumble. Yum. 

More old signs! 

I've taken photos of this old building on Bridge road before, but I didn't look close enough to see the faint ghosts of old signs on one of the shopfronts.  I can't make out what any of them say. This is one shopfront in a row of about six. 

I saw a fishbone in the sky on my way home from work. Or an arrow. Or...does anyone else think it's a little phallic or is that just me?