I know that I have returned home and back to feeling cold again, but I thought it would cheer me up, and make sense to finish off the blog for this trip, so here is the last instalment.
Wednesday 22nd February
Today was Briony’s birthday and as we were meeting the family for a meal in the evening, I decided to stay quite local. I took the train a couple of stations up the line for a bit of exploring, again mainly to see some murals, I certainly have visited many places in the Melbourne area this trip. On my return to Mordialloc, I happened to bump into Graeme and Briony, who had popped out for lunch at Main Street, so we all had lunch together. I then went for some shopping and a coffee before returning home.
In the evening, we went to Beaumaris, where we went to Oshima, a local Japanese restaurant, where we were joined by Sean, Moni, and the boys for a lovely buffet meal, when we got back to Pat & Kay’s we all had fun looking at photographs of the many cakes Kay had made for her children over the years using instructions from a Good Housekeeping book of children’s cakes. Graeme surprised us when we returned home by producing his production of another cake from the book for Briony, spectacular and tasty it was too.
Thursday 23rd February
Today I went into the city to do some shopping and to get my phone contract sorted out, I visited Queen Victoria Market, which was a busy vibrant place displaying none of the shortages I had been reading about in the UK papers, lunch at the market was a really good Turkish lamb sandwich and a coffee sitting outside watching the world go by. I then went to an Optus phone shop and sorted out my phone setup before wandering down to visit the Stella Maris, the Seafarers Centre on Little Collins Street, there I had a nice chat with Lee-Anne, the manager who kindly gave me a tour of the centre, which is very impressive. Lee-Anne expressed a keenness to open links with our Glasgow branch of the Merchant Navy Association, saying that she would be happy to keep in touch with us and pass on our details to some of the regular visitors to the centre.
Shopping and phone sorted, it was time to head for home, stopping off in Mates in Mordialloc, to wait for Graeme before we both hit the trail back home.
Friday 24th February
It was a scorcher today, much too warm to do much, it was even too warm to be outdoors, so it was a chance to sit with my book in the lounge with the AC turned on. However, boredom got the better of me and I got the lawn mower out and cut the grass and tidied away some weeds, then it was back indoors to cool off. I eventually went into the shed and designed and made a coaster for Briony’s brother Andrew, he is a bit of a petrolhead with a liking for Holden Commodores, which was his first car, both Graeme and I are sure he will like the finished result. The high temperatures continued into the evening so we all gathered around the AC with some cold beers to keep us happy.
Saturday 25th February
Today we went into Melbourne’s CBD to go on a Chocoholics tour, we met up with P&K at St Paul’s Cathedral, where we met with Tonya, our tour guide, and the rest of the group. Off we went initially to Degraves street to visit Clementine’s to sample the first of the day’s chocolates from Chocamama, from there we went to the fabulous Block Arcade to sample the wares from Coal River Farm, a Tasmanian Chocolate and cheese producer.
The Royal arcade was our next stop and we dropped into the original Koko Black shop to choose our sample selection, we were all spoiled for choice here. (Check out the video tour when you scroll down on the linked page) After a stroll through the city, we arrived at Guildford Lane and the Scoopy Milk bar, where were treated to a serving of Bingsu, a bowl full of snowy shaved chocolate ice, condensed milk, raspberry boba, and fresh salted fruit to tempt our taste buds. This was a great way to spend a couple of hours, getting a chance to visit some different spots of the city.
As Briony had to return home Graeme and I stayed in the city for a beer in the Duke, (a favourite of Jim & mine while in Melbourne last year), before we got a train back to Mordialloc, where we walked to the Braeside Brewery for a couple of pints and a nice pizza, I had a rather spectacular Chicken Parma one which topped of yet another great day.
Sunday 26th February
Today we drove down to Mount Eliza to visit Andrew and Sheree and the children Isla and Leo, after a stop at their home, we all went to the Ranelagh Club, their local tennis club for lunch, it was a good place to sit in the sunshine, enjoying the food and the company.
On our return home, we all had an afternoon siesta before watching that night’s episode of Australian Survivor, which has become a little bit addictive, I will need to find a way to keep updated when I get home.
Monday 27th February
Today, for part of my birthday, Graeme and Briony got me, Pat & Kay tickets to see an exhibition called Time, by the artist Rone, in a long-neglected part of Flinders Street Station. Rone, an international street artist from Geelong, whose works can be seen in and around Melbourne has created a unique space that takes you back to a part of the world where time has stood still for 70 years or so. Each of the 11 rooms tells its own story of a world that used to be – from deserted switchboards to the ghostly library, lined with hundreds of fictitious novels marked with the exhibition and its artist on their spines, the room with the sewing machines almost looked like the staff had just walked out after a day’s work and the room left neglected for 70 years.
Watching over every room is a portrait of Rone’s long-time muse, Teresa Oman, and the scene is made more memorable with the clever use of lighting and an original score by local songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, Nick Batterham. A YouTube video tour of the exhibition can be seen here:
We all thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition, especially P&K, who were enthralled by the 1950’s newspapers covering the windows, they certainly brought back memories to them.
After the exhibition, we walked to the National Gallery of Victoria where we went to the member’s room for a coffee before making our way home. I met Graeme in Mordialloc and we got home to find Sean, Moni, and the boys had called round to say goodbye and we all enjoyed the Afghan meal that Moni brought over, it was so nice of them, as they all made me feel so welcomed and a part of the whole family.