Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Xmas really only arrived for me once Jane was home, and she set up our tree. A real Xmas tree, from the Oxfam drive, it has made our house smell lovely, and feel suddenly like Xmas. All without hearing Last Christmas by Wham!

Post work Xmas party hangover, I caught a lift home to Ballarat with Jessie and Noodles. Katie had drinking games awaiting us, and we were soon in for a large night, with the customary night out in Ballarat around this time of year being like a school reunion everytime!

We went to JDs Sportsbar (as classy as it sounds!), for continuation of the drinking spirit. Loads of familiar faces out and about to say hi to, and catch up with. We finished up at the always disappointing Regent, before chips and gravy and a taxi got us all home.

On Xmas eve, I went to give presents to the babies, and hang out with Andrea and Dean for a bit. Cooper and Charli were not all that excited about the whole present unwrapping exercise, although they can be forgiven, considering that their new activity – crawling – can lead to so much more fun and trouble! I can’t believe how much these two are growing.

Xmas day had the usual exchange of gifts at home, and a yummy breakfast. Lunch was with Mum, Katie and Jessie, before we eventually popped in to the Murphy’s for a family catch up. Dinner, although noone had any room for it, was at home, with Melissa and Clinton joining us for our new tradition of seafood, drinks, and games.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Work Xmas Party

After a crazy, crazy, hard working week, beer o’clock finally reached us at 11.30am on Friday, for the beginning of our much anticipated work Xmas party. A quick meeting, with beer buffer, before we were loaded into taxis, with travelers, and taken to our lunch destination in South Melbourne.

Lunch was at ArchiBar, and was very nice. The drinks were flowing, hair was being let loose, and the salmon was lovely! Catching up with people who I work with, away from our desks, and pods, and phone, was quite fun! Also got to touch base with the guys from the Ballarat office, which was good too.

As lunch was winding up, and we had started to drink the bar dry, the group decided to brave the torrential rain, and make a run for the tram into Fed Square. A tucked away bar was found, and a credit card was offered, and thus the drinks and chatter flowed.

The group eventually made it across the road to Misty bar, where things started to get very messy. Was a great night though! I assisted a certain colleague into a taxi at the end of the night, she knows who she is! A large end to a very big and hard working year.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Michelle’s 30th

Last night I walked down to the Fitzroy Victoria Lawn Bowls Club, to mark Michelle’s 30th birthday. Dinner first, and a catch up with many of Michelle’s circle that I haven’t seen for some time, including family, and her returned sisters.

We then joined into teams, and tried to follow a lesson in the art and skill of lawn bowls….just grown up boche to me! Needless to say, our team didn’t pay all that much attention to the lesson, and preferred the old trial and error approach to our game of skill and giggle! Quite a bit of fun, and quite the popular activity on a summers evening!

Cupcakes from Sugadeaux, which were all sweet goodness, for the birthday cake, it was a lovely mellow evening to wish Michelle a happy birthday for the coming week.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Joss Stone

This weekend Miss Evie has been in town, on her annual trip home from Cambodia, and we got to catch up over many drinks. I also took her along to Polly in Brunswick Street as my date for Emy’s birthday drinks.

On Sunday, I caught up with the Melbourne BookCrossing gang for our Xmas brunch, before heading into town to meet Jenny for dinner. We had a bottle of wine and little yummy bits at Arintji Café in Fed Square, before making our way across the road to The Forum.

Joss Stone was in town, and she was fabulous! So full of soul, for someone so young, so sang, she chattered, she danced. Playing old and her new stuff, she was very cute.

Taking requests at one point, and persevering for Dirty Man, which she had actually forgotten the words to, she was fully into the gig, despite this being her last till she goes home. Full of energy, and grooving all the way through.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tim and Red Wine (Again)

On Saturday night, Melissa and Clinton, Jessie and Noodles and I met in the city for a few pre-show glasses of red, before heading to Manchester Lane. A little venue, we were placed in the top level seats with a good view due mainly to some thong wearing in our party! Oops!

After a massive week in politics, Tim actually made no mention of the change of government, which was surprising. Playing solo, just Tim and his piano, and the keyboard, there was plenty of banter, tale telling, and interaction.

The night was quite a warm one, and it got progressively warmer in the venue – to the point of effecting the tuning of the piano. Our music guru Clinton was commenting on how much out of tune it was getting as the set was going.

Many of the same songs played this night as at the Rocks Markets last month, Tim also pulled out Melbourne for the locals. Telling us that The Bear had died, it was cute that he seems to still be in touch with his girl from the rainy city!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Last night, after a few rounds of trivia at the Drunken Poet, Jessie and I jumped on a train to The Corner Hotel. Muscles had his album launch!

Getting carded as I walked in was a shock, and even more surprising given that once inside it was clear that I was certainly, and Jessie would have too, been older than most of the crowd. A bit schoolies feel to the young crowd, with talk around us as we grabbed a few beers and a spot in the crowd, of finished exams and holiday plans.

Muscles opened with Sweaty, just like the album - and it certainly was given the heat of the day, and the packed atmosphere inside.

His big songs got the crowd singing along, to his delight and surprise, with Hey Muscles I Love You, Chocolate Rasberry Lemon and Lime, and of course, Icecream. Any songwriter that has young, big and tough 18 year old lads jumping around belting out
Is gonna save the day

at the top of their lungs is brilliant in my opinion!!

Ending with My Friend Richard, with the lasting lines of ‘what a way to end a night’, the show was such fun! How cool to have seen this young lad from Shepp start out, and now have an album!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Home For A Year

Today marks a whole year since I returned from the UK, touching down in Brisbane for a massive summer. Can’t help but take stock today, looking back and thinking – is this, what I am doing now, what I meant when I decided to come back?

In that year, I watched a whole lot of cricket, and then footy, as the seasons changed. I have been homeless for much of that time, and unemployed for a chunk of time too!

Feeling that I have come back to a world where people don’t usually play on a school night, and it seems so much harder to get people to join you for one and every thing you want to do. And I am so far away from anywhere I haven’t been before, for travel! Much harder to just jump country for a week, or a weekend!

But that said, I am getting into a groove with work, and starting to enjoy it. Has it’s ups and downs, quite severe at times, I admit, which has me totally questioning it all. But recently there was an opportunity to return to the UK….and the promise of summer was too alluring. Still working away at getting that Psychologist registration process started – and procrastinating at the long term commitment – but getting closer and closer to just taking the leap and getting on with it.

Seriously chipping away at that debt monster, too, which is just a small dog size now!

Loving my house, and working hard on the social life. Melbourne is such a great city, with it’s vast array of music, sports, and things to do. It’s all good.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hobart Test

Taking a much overdue day off work on Friday, I had a very early morning flight to catch, down to Hobart. Dropping off my bag at the Central Backpackers, and grabbing breakfast, I then found the shuttle out to Bellreive Oval for the 2nd Test between Australia and Sri Lanka.

This test marked the final first class venue in Australia that I had left to experience, and given the trip around for the Ashes a year ago, the timing of this test meant that I have been to a Test at all seven venues within a year. That’s pretty hardcore!

Belinda joined me on the hill once her flight from Sydney got her into Hobart, and we soaked up Australia’s answer to Newlands, with Mt Wellington hovering over the ground. At lunch we made our way around the ground to join the Waving The Flag gang in the Player’s Guest Stand. Catching up with Bumbles, and Gluv, and the rest of the gang, and also meeting a few familiar names from the group, we settled in for the rest of the days play.

That night, after beers in the dorm, we wandered down to the harbourside for fish and chips, before finding a spot at (pub) for concentrated drinking, talk about cricket, footy, and all things important. Staying in a dorm room with 13 of my established and new Flagger mates, who would have thought!

Day 2 was one of the coldest days of cricket I have sat through, and one which rated a close second to the experienced tour Flaggers around us in the stand. We huddled, and chattered, and shivered our way through till lunch. Belinda disappeared at this stage, and I had assumed that she had decided enough was enough and gone back to the dorm to warm up and sleep off our collective hangover – but no! She rejoined us with pairs of green and gold footy socks, and saved us from the cold!! Top moment of the day!! Hee hee!

That night a group of us went out for Thai, before making our way to Wisden and Bomber’s apartment for a Chardy Party. Many, many refilled glasses of white wine, more chatter about all things sport, with a recurring theme related to a tour of the West Indies next year….feeding a seed that was planted some time ago!! Shane, Meggys and I ended the evening by walking back into the city, stopping for a beer in each pub on the way.

Entertained by Percy in the Player’s Guest stand, who Charles, Ash and I had seen in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and then later soaking in the sun on the hill, the cricket…. After play on Day 3 the group headed to (pub) for drinks, and later dinner, and then later drinks. I had such a ball with the group!

Hershelle and I, being on the same flight, Belinda and James got a very early morning taxi out to the airport before parting ways. A treat for me, to fly Qantas and actually get a feed, Hersh and I parted ways in Melbourne, and it was back to working for me! Watching the cricket score tick over for the rest of the test had me wishing that I had gone for the whole five days…but not to be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


On Sunday morning, for the second time in a week, I went to a church service, this time for the christening of Cooper Gregory and Charli Belle. The service was held at St Johns Parish in Ballarat, and I joined the back of the family group as the Father made his way to the front of the church.

Nothing like a good telling off in church, and that’s certainly what it felt like as the Father told us about the importance of baptism, and that it shouldn’t be entered into for any other reason than for the children to be raised under God, and then he proceeded to tell the christening guests the process of the Mass, and the parts that were to do with the baptism. Felt just like all those dreaded school masses we were forced to sit through!

The babies were such treasures through it all, and complying with the wetting of the head, and then being passed around for a kiss from each and every member of the congregation. A very old and small gathering, it makes you wonder what will happen to the little church groups like these in years to come.

Following the formalities at the church, the group headed back to Andrea and Dean’s for coffee, cakes, and beers (in that order!), and a chance to catch up and also marvel at how much these two little bubs have grown!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Sculpture By The Sea

On Sunday, Belinda and I headed to Bondi to take in the brilliant sunshine, and for a yummy brunch. We walked the length of the beach, swarming with locals and tourists alike, soaking in the iconic white sand and blue ocean, with cresting waves and surfers.

We found the Bondi Sunday Market, and wandered through, buying bits of jewelry and clothing, before heading to the south side of the bench for a few beers at the Bondi Icebergs Club, with big bad Barry! (Always a celebrity spotting when I am in Syders, it seems!)

We then headed along the trial from Bondi to Tamarama, for the Sculpture By The Sea. A big oversized twisted spoon, a ring of fairy stuffs, a Mercedes dismantled by some ants made of it’s parts, a river of flowers, a lighthouse, faces among tresses made to hold up the cliff face, and a whole bunch of other weird and wonderful creations, dotted the coast.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Leilah and Vincent’s Wedding

With a dash of red and formal attire, as per our invite, I joined a crew of family in a cab into the city and St Mary’s Cathedral for Leilah and Vincent’s wedding on Saturday afternoon.

Held under the main chapel in the Crypt, the bride arrived attended by her sister Alizah and little cousin Aimee, and walked down the aisle by a very proud Dad. The service, a full mass, was lovely, as we witnessed the joining of Miss Leilah and tall and sweet Dutch Vincent.

At Last! was the final church song, before a group photo outside, and the move to the foot of the bridge to The Waterfront for champagne and canapés, to await the arrival of the bridal party.

Dinner was delish, with tandoori lamb cutlets and then barramundi for my seat. Wine, and chatter, before speeches, with Vincent impressing us all with his humour, and his thanks to Herma, his mum, for making the trip from Holland for the day.

The bride and groom managed to mingle through the crowd for the night, with the large windows of the Waterfront showing the harbour, the bridge and the Opera House, via large sheets of lightening.

An acoustic version of Grease’s You’re The One That I Want was the bridal dance, so cute! Congrats Leils and Vincey!

Bollywood Hen’s and Tim

Taking a long overdue long weekend, I flew to Sydney on Thursday afternoon, to join Leilah for the Hen’s Night at the Bollywood Restaurant in Double Bay. Champagne and a bindi upon arrival, I caught up with Nicole and Hayley, from our London meetings, before the bride to be arrived.

Indian be-coined skirts for all, the group was lead through their paced in Bollywood style dancing, only proving to me how uncoordinated I am! Hip shaking and arms swaying away, before our three course meal, and drinks, to see off one of Leilah’s last nights before marriage.

My much anticipated sleep-in the next day interrupted by deafening thunder and rain, I wandered along the bench and took it easy during the day, before boarding a bus into town to meet Belinda.

After some two hours on the bus, I found Belinda at the Quay, ready for a beer and a gig at The Rocks. Having not fully knowing who was playing at the Markets for the night, upon my arrival and to my delight, Belinda informed me that this night was to be Tim Freedman! So exciting.

A beer out of the rain, before we headed down to The Rocks, and another beer before Mr Tim graced the stage. Such an unexpected treat!

No Aphrodisiac, She’s Moving In, Kate Kelly, God Drinks At The Sandro and Blow Up The Pokies. Fall For You, Gough, Ease Of The Midnight Visit, and the double of White Horses and Keep The Light On for crowd voting for a Labor gig he has coming up.

Thank You and The Curse Stops Here, upon crowd requests. And then Duffy’s Song was the encore song, one of my personal anthems! He was great, as always!

We carried on for the night, through the market, with pub and schooner stops every few stops, with our last being the pub at the top of The Rocks at the foot at the bridge, with the view of the coathanger and bay.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cox Plate Birthday

On Saturday I turned 30! Surrounded by family and friends, I had a brilliant day to see the end of my fabulous and full Twenties, and to see in the next decade of my life in style. Being the day of Melbourne’s Cox Plate seemed perfect!

Starting with breakfast at our Carlton North terrace, hosted by Jane (thank you!), Melissa, Clinton and Katie arrived, soon followed by Jessie and Heath, all dressed up for the day of races. Mum, and then Brad and Fiona joined us, as the weather warmed up, and the champagne flowed freely!

The house was further filled with Narelle, Miss Emy, Nancy, and Andrea and Dean, for a great spread and preparations for the day. Patrice arriving signaled the beginning of the trek for the racegoers to Moonee Valley, all piled into a maxitaxi, with the rendition of Happy Birthday along the way.

Arriving at the race track, we managed to get our fully stocked hampers in for the day, and found our posse beside the track, after finding Mariead amongst the punters. Again the champagne flowed, snacks were passed about, and we even saw the races!

A flutter or two in vain, and being right next to the stage, we all joined in to the crowd backing of Darryl Braithwaite’s As The Days Go By, and in the second set, the all appropriate Horses. Very funny.

Met up with Mary and her posse of lads, we watched the main race, after a few more uneducated bets, before continuing to devour our food and drink stashes. Eventually left as the last group on the grass amid the sea of racegoer debris, we were herded out of the Valley, and onto an overcrowded tram into the city. I remember getting a tram filled version of Happy Birthday here, amongst other songs, with the Katie and Jessie led attempt at getting Hold Music going much too ambitious!!

Discovering the early hour by having a drink at the Purple Emerald with just ourselves, we had a few more drink stops, including Three Below. My iPod tells me I got home safely just before midnight, tired feet and aching legs all feeling their 30 years!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Angus and Julia

On Thursday night Jessie, Health and I headed to The Corner, for the must anticipated gig of Angus and Julia Stone. We had been looking forward to this, their album launch since it was announced, and having got the album and loving it, we were all a buzz over dinner, and red wine.

Opening with Wasted, Julia’s voice had the crowd hush in an instant. So cute, and such a storyteller. A hairy scary, and yet so cute and sweet, Angus on guitar, the two of them had us mesmerized. Julia played piano, guitar, trumpet and harmonica throughout the night - such a talented pair!

Songs like Mango Tree, Paper Aeroplane and Private Lawns, from their EPs were hits with the crowd, however hearing a song as yet untitled that Julia wrote at a wedding they recently went to was awesome and so lovely!

Angus’ Just A Boy is so cute, so sweet!! And I love his The Beast. Hollywood, and Soldier by Julia, also favourites of mine. They even played their version of Tubthumping, originally done for Triple J’s Like a Version show, which was awesome.

The story behind Another Day, and the chatting between songs once these two shy kids warmed up was so sweet. A group to melt your heart, and bring an involuntary smile to your face……love them!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Australian BookCrossing Convention 2007

This weekend, after months of planning and lots of work, was the 4th Australian BookCrossing Convention, in Melbourne. Being part of the committee that put this event together, much time was put into ensuring that the interstate and international guests had a good time, and experienced the weekend of expectations, to mingle with fellow BookCrossers.

Friday night we had pizza, and an author talk. Shane Maloney, creator of the Murray Whelan series of political satire and crime, spoke to us about character development, transformation into living personas, the effects of his characters on fans, and the occasions where going along with the notion that he is Murray has been to his advantage. He had also completed some research into the BookCrossing of his books, and related BookCrossing as an authors’ way of keeping his eye on his books, like a parenting role. Funny and charming, Shane was a hit!

Saturday morning had us walking around in groups around the city, releasing books and taking in some of the sights. Meeting at Reader’s Feast, who had sponsored us very generously, we listened to Mary tell of setting up a bookstore, developing relationships with bookbuyers and authors that would come in, and also of changing people’s lives through books. After this, the walk I led walked up to the State Library, before making our way to Carlton Gardens, one of my favourite spots in the city thanks to my daily walks to work through here, and then we trammed around to Federation Square to meet up with the other walks. We hastily put together a flash mob idea for a bulk, eye catching release in the city, and filed to Southbank, to leave a cluster of books along the ledge near the food court.

Many of us then had lunch in Southbank, with a group of us heading to the Blue rain café. Here at lunch I met a couple of the Melbourne BookCrossers I had been sending and receiving books from for quite sometime!

The evening was the traditional trivia night, with groups of BookCrossers going head to head, for knowledge and wit. The tables were randomized, and thus I sat with Queenslanders, New Zealanders, Western Australians, and Melbournians. And we had a ball! Our tables, named Wombles due to our mascot from Brisbane, we actually managed to come last! Thought we were so smart too! But had a great time meeting a new group, all of whom BookCrossing names have been familiar for years.

The Convention was based at Mary Kehoe Community Centre, in Albert Park, and getting here in Sunday morning to meet the caterers for brunch proved to be a challenge due to the Melbourne Marathon. Bronwyn and I made it eventually, and set up for the final event of the weekend. The Table of Temptation, set up from the beginning of the Convention was still well stocked, albeit with some doubtful quality.

An exhausting weekend for committee, and attendees alike, it was great celebration of a group of people into reading, passing on good books and recommendations, and leaving books out in the wild to serendipity.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Art After Dark

Jessie, Noodles and I attended the Guggenheim Collection in Melbourne last night, in it’s final days. We walked down through the city from work, across the Yarra to the National Gallery of Victoria.

The Collection was pieces from the Guggenheims around the world, but mostly from New York, and Venice, moving from the 1940s to modern.

The puzzling art, like a ‘blue curve’ being a shape of canvas painted blue, to a suspended wooden room, to a series of large orange blocks….all drew many funny comments from the people walking through.

The pop art I enjoyed the most, with a sculpture depiction of Michael Jackson and his monkey in a compromising position, use of recent advertising, the colour and piss take of much of our everyday images.

Walking through the rooms, there was one space used as an interpretation of an artist’s basement stair, the series of photos of miniature people, and then horizon landscapes, before the audio visual display. In here I sat and watch two screens at once, and then also kept my eye on the faces of people watching the screens opposite. Erotic and interpretive, these films were disturbing, and quite funny.

The last room featured a table of teeth from a range of people and animals, a hanging dummy, blood and gore, and lastly a pile of black licorice rods – of which you got to take a sample!

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Waifs

Last night, Jessie, Noodles, Trent and I went along to The Forum, after dinner, to see The Waifs. Having never been to The Forum before, walking into the foyer was like walking into an outdoor ornate theatre in Europe somewhere, with a rich blue sky overhead.

The theatre itself also featured the sky-like ceiling, making you feel like you were outside. Having not seen The Waifs live before, and after hearing good things about their live performances, I was very much looking forward to it.

Opening with Pony, the first song of their new album Sun Dirt Water, their set featured new and old, and older songs, with Vikki on the harmonica much of the time. The two sisters and Josh were amazing, despite Donna having the flu!

Finishing with Gillian, which is such a lovely song. They are such great story tellers, with Bride Train retelling the story of young Australian women being sent over to be brides for American troops during the war.

Favourites like Highway One and Lighthouse were great, and the all time homesickness song, London Still was awesome - I still remember the first time I heard it, sung by Dom at the open mic night at Peace Café in Phnom Penh!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jenny’s 30!

Miss Jenny turned 30 on Friday, and I joined her for lunch in Hardware Lane to mark the occasion, with Mary and Jules. Preparations were in full swing for the evening ahead.

After work, I managed to find something to wear on the way home. A quick change and then a taxi out to Ascot Vale, and to Dreux Bar for Jenny’s 30th. A funky little bar, perfect for a gathering of family and friends for drinks.

Of course, being in the middle of footy finals, and having a work mate there, who’s wife is a friend of Jenny’s (small world!), I had a buddy to duck across the road to the dodgy Ascot Vale Hotel for the last quarter and a beer, before heading back to the bar for a jager bomb with the birthday girl.

Many more drinks, and some crazy and silly dancing, the night got away from us before we knew it…..and it’s all a little hazy in the memory bank now!

After walking down to another bar and inspecting the queue, the group hailed taxis and we found ourselves back at Jenny’s for vodka and silliness. No idea how long this went on for, but I know I eventually crashed at Jenny’s. Recounting the night the next morning, like we were 17 again was all very funny.

Happy Birthday, Jenny. Hope you had a great one!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Across The Great Divide

Last night, Melissa and I went along to Rod Laver Arena for the Across The Great Divide gig, and tour of both Silverchair and Powderfinger, all around Australia. Having bagged out gigs at the tennis centre for the lack of view and poor sound up in the seats, I demanded floor tickets if I was to go, and that’s what Lissy got – and they were great!

Making our way down to the floor after a drink, we found a posse where we could most avoid tall people, and got ready for the much anticipated show.

Silverchair up first, and a ripped Daniel Johns and his band gave it their all on stage. Sadly, while Johns’ musical performance was brilliant, he just struggled to engage the crowd, with no chatter for at least the first four songs. Clearly hadn’t learnt too much from that performance down at Pyramid, at one point working hard at gaining crowd participation he reach a chorus and called out “hopefully you don’t need help with this one”, hoping for a crowd singalong….which was met with a sold out stadium that simply did not know the words! Very bewildering, really, considering how long this great Aussie band has been around.

Johns pulled out all the tricks, except his ability to engage with his audience, he played his guitar with his teeth at one point….. Pulling out the huge numbers at the end of their set, Silverchair finally got the crowd reaction much desired, with Straight Lines and Freak, to finish.

A short interval, before the boys from Brisbane come on stage, with Bernard sporting a new haircut. Opening with the first track of Dream Days At The Hotel Existence, they rocked from go to whoa! Massive numbers like My Happiness, On My Mind, Lost and Running, These Days received a stadium chorus, and so did many of their other unreleased tunes. A haunting Black Tears solo by Bernard was amazing, showing the range of his voice, showed us where this tour’s message lay.

Beaches by the three acoustic guitars of the band started the encore for Powderfinger, again showing off their talents, before coming back out with Silverchair for a combined rendition of The Who’s Substitute.

Such a great gig!

The tour’s message is about reconciliation, and left us with a clip of people talking about their views on the need to say sorry, and the plight of the aboriginal people. Take a Chair, Lift a Finger, was that lasting note of the evening.

Monday, September 17, 2007

An End to the Finals Run

Another nervous wait till match time this weekend, although with more confidence that I had going into last week’s match, the Hawks met the Kangaroos at the MCG for the Semi Final. A night match, the gang gathered at Transport for a beer before walking along the Yarra to the match.

Taking our seats in the Southern Stand in the Hawthorn member’s section, we completed the anthem ritual, before the bounce.

This week, however, no matter what the lads did, nothing seemed to work for them, and the match slipped away all too soon. Glimmers of hope with a Buddy goal at the beginning of the final quarter, these were soon dashed with the rush of the blue and white, who were too good on the night.

After such a great year, it was so disappointing to end like this, especially after last week’s high hopes and emotions. Commiseratory drinks at Young and Jackson afterwards, the mood was somber as we re-lived the skills errors, the umpire decisions, the misses at goals, and the never ending courage of one Campbell Brown.

In the end, getting to the Semis is a massive feat, and if anyone told me that that’s where my beloved Hawks would reach at the start of this year, I would have been very pleased. Proud and passionate, I am, as always. But shattered that the 2007 dream is over!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Buddy Awesome

Arriving at my first footy finals match since the 2001 series, I was too nervous to eat, let along sit still! I joined Mum, Melissa and Jessie, Clinton and Noodles while they were having lunch, but all I could manage was a beer!! This was a big day! This was one of the reasons I had come home, and it was happening. And yet, the Hawks were not expected to do any good against the Crows in this Elimination Final.

Another beer inside the Telstra Dome, with the others joining me (even Mum was on the vodka), in attempt to quell the nerves as we took our seats on the top level, and prepared for the match. Standing for the anthem, with the massive cheer at the end, it was game on.

Looking shaky for the first half, the Hawks were hanging in there for the match. Working hard, taking risks, making mistakes, and pulling off the near impossible. Beers at every break for a nervous spectator experience in the outer.

The last half was more stressful than any day at work, or any near miss for a flight, with the usually soulless Telstra Dome seeming to come alive with a big crowd, of clustered supporters for both clubs. Amusing banter as I haven’t heard from others for sometime, coming from behind us, the match on the grass was electric.

Seven goals to the lad Buddy Franklin, with the final kick happening in the last minute of the match to put the Hawks in front. The collective jump to our feet, arms raised, voices at full stretch was experienced around the ground for the brown and yellow, as the Hawks advanced to the next round of the finals!!! The moment the siren went was another highly emotional moment, with screams and hugs all round.

Lagered up from the tension during the match, and in full hyper mode, our gang made our way to the bar one level down, to watch the last minutes of the last quarter again on the screen, and enjoy some celebratory beers. Joined by Jenny, we re-lived so many moments, and were loving it!

Moved along from that bar, and the Dome, we walked up Bourke Street to the Royal Melbourne for the next phase of celebratory beers, and jager bombs, the entire bar erupting into the Hawthorn Team Song at random intervals.

More drinks later at the Turf Bar, and my memory starts to grow hazy. I know we were watching the other match, and still drinking, and recounting specific plays, goals, Changa and Brown heroic moments…..but I know that I eventually ended up on a tram home.

Buddy great game, Buddy sensational finish, and Buddy exciting to be through to play on in the finals! Woke up to watch the footy show, finding that my voice had diminished to a whisper…so worth it! On top of the Buddy world!!! Hee, hee.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sydney for the footy

This weekend was quite huge, with a second trip to Sydney in the month for me – this time for the footy. Flight up again after work on Friday night, and again I found myself catching up with the lovely Miss Leilah over a bottle of wine, upon getting up to the warmer and busier city.

Saturday I was left to my own devices while Miss Leilah had bridezilla duties to complete, and I decided to wander around the city doing some shopping. What a confusing city! I spent most of the afternoon totally lost, wandering around the labyrinth that is the shopping precinct – I think I found David Jones five times when I didn’t want to! Found a couple of things to buy to add to my tight work wardrobe rotation, but nothing I couldn’t have found at home!! When it was time to head back to Leilah’s I headed down to the Quay for a bit of scenery, and got to see the hideous fence being put in place for the APEC conference happing next weekend.

After a quick regroup, I headed back into town to meet up with Belinda, Bumbles, and Reggie, along with Melissa and Clinton, Jessie and Noodles, Mum, and Steve and Shoo Ling for sangria and tapas at Encasa. Dinner and drinks were great, and catching up with the Flag girls was lots of fun. After dinner we headed to a few pubs around the area, and ended up having quite a large night!

An interstate trip for the footy just wouldn’t feel right without the trip to the ground feeling the brunt of a hangover for me, and Sunday was no exception! Leilah and I were driven to the match, Hawthorn v Sydney for the last round of the official season, arriving to the under-construction SCG, just in time to see Buddy kick the first goal. All seemed good. We made our way to our restricted viewing seats with the rest of the Reid girls…to find a massive pylon in the middle of our view of the ground. Hmmm. The Swans kicked on, and run away with the match early, while we debated about what to do about our view. Eventually moving to the section immediately behind the Hawk cheer squad, our enjoyment of the view was then hampered by the poor display of football from our team.

A beer and a pie with Leilah provided some distraction to the hangover and footy disappointment pain, a little. Shattered at how bad the game was, I made my way to the airport and joined the line to check in. Soon to discover that our flight had been cancelled due to mechanical issues, the rest of the family had already checked in, and I was told “being dealt with down at the gate”. I was checked in for the following flight, and caught up with the gang, to discover that they were being flown much later in the night, and to a different Melbourne airport. Good ol’ Jetstar!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Accidently Canning Street

Today Jane and I commenced moving in to our new house, after much stress and searching, bidding and hoping, in the house hunt for somewhere to match our now mature tastes and budgets!

After seeing off my boxes and minuscule amount of furniture in Ballarat, I arrived at our new street to await the removalist van. The street has a strip of grass all the way down it, is a designated bike route, and has palm trees all the way down the centre. Waiting as the sun was hitting the terraces across the street, with the city in view, was lovely!

All very Copenhagen, too, with the bike traffic heading to work!

A two bedroom pretty white terrace is now home for Jane and I, who haven't lived together before. Floorboards throughout, and heating, we have a backyard, and even a picket fence!! Great location, with everything within walking distance, even work!

I think we are going to love it here!


Needing to take a day in Ballarat to arrange the packing up of my things and the pick of these things by removalists, I took the opportunity to visit Andrea and the babies, and saw how much they have grown!

Katie and I went around in a "break" from me "working" from home, which soon ate up the rest of the afternoon. Catch up with the goings on of Andrea, her return to work, her ongoing interrupted sleep patterns, her attendance at mother's group.... And we also got to feed the babies!

Little Cooper and Charli are 6 months old now, and have quite distinct personalities, and are just so cute! Still spewing and noise machines, but very adorable ones!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Red Sydney

On Friday night after work I felt like I was on a trip out to Luton for a cheap cheap fare - Melbourne's version is Avalon! Was reminiscing all the way out on the bus! And then my flight was delayed...very London!!

I finally arrived in Sydney for a weekend of catching up with mates. The lovely Miss Leilah and her Vincent came to pick me up from the airport, and proceeded to lead a wine fueled catch up at their apartment.

Saturday morning, while my hosts were in wedding planning phase, I was picked up by Belinda, who was given the mission of making sure I could watch the footy in Sydney! She came up with the goods too, as we settled into beers and the Hawthorn v Brisbane match at the Doncaster in Randwick. Was good to catch up with her, and especially to see the Hawks win!

Then it was onto the primary reason for traveling up for the weekend - Jess' 30th birthday party. 'Paint the town red' was the theme, and it was at a venue in a suburb of Sydney I will never be able to pronounce (I needed to direct the taxi driver from his own Sydways!). Was good to see the Wilson's in the short trip home, and to celebrate her getting old!!!

Sunday saw sunshine and a 25C day. Leilah, her dad and I headed out to the Mudgee Food and Wine Festival in Balmoral, for gorgeous views in the hills, red wine tastings, and a healthly dose of vitamin D!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Kaiser Chiefs

On Monday, Katie and Mum came down to Melbourne to mark Mum's birthday with dinner...before Katie and I ducked off to Festival Hall. Probably not ranking us highly in the favourite daughter stakes, but the Kaiser Chiefs were playing!

Arrived at the hall, having our bags searched, and finding our spot on the floor after a quick stop at the bar, we readied ourselves for a long stint of standing.

When Kaiser came on, they opened with Everyday I Love You Less And Less, and seemed to build in energy from there. Ruby was huge, as of course my favourite Oh My God. For I Predict A Riot, there was much crowd participation, and even some lead singer crowd surfing - I bet he was sore the next day!

Any band with the lyrics
We are the Angry Mob
We read the papers everyday day
We like who like
We hate who we hate
But we're also easily swayed

and then a reference to "Get a shopping basket wrapped round your head" is going to attract a certain fan was a very laddish crowd. Big tough lads chanting out the chorus of many of the songs like an anthem.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Seeing Sheedy off in Hawk fashion

One of my mates at work was devastated the day Sheedy was sacked/retired (whatever!)...and unashamedly I had nothing to give in the way of sympathy! Sheedy has been a nemesis of everyone who doesn't barrack for Essendon for the longest time, in fact for longer than I can remember!

This weekend it was the second Hawthorn v Essendon clash of the season, and of course the usual big Reid family and extended people organisation of getting to the ground and where to sit started early!

The crew eventually settled on seats in the Olympic Stand at the 'G, and readied ourselves for a big game. Thankfully we were undercover, because despite it being all sunshine and light as we were walking to the crowd, a fierce and floaty rain decended during the first quarter, mixing it up a bit!

Our brown and gold stress turned to joy fairly early, with some big names back in the side, and the running, fast paced strings of play back on the players to do lists! They were awesome!

A 63 point drubbing! A happy team at Hawthorn indeed. And thanks to Freo doing us a massive favour by winning, Hawks moved back to third on the ladder. Sweet.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Last night Jenny and I met up with Scott and a couple of his mates for the screening of Sicko for the Melbourne International Film Festival. Showing at the gorgeous Regent Theater, this movie was showing pre-release at the fest, and Jen had hooked us up!

I don't actually think I have seen a Michael Moore film before, but of course, like everyone, know what he's on about. This film is a look at the American health care system, and it's unfair and inequitable ways in regards to their insurance loopholes for getting the treatment one may need.

Funny in parts, and downright shocking, with his anecdotes on people's stories and difficulties, including a batch of volunteer rescue workers from Ground Zero September 11, and their ongoing battles to get access to health care.

Moore looks around the world to the way other countries care for their sick, paid for through taxation - systems in the UK and France got rave reviews by doctors, patients and taxpayers alike. Of course, no mention of the waiting time for the NHS...

After trotting around the world, Moore declared that there was one part of US soil where people got free and accessible health care - Guantanamo Bay. Interesting! he these went on to show how easy it was to access decent medical advice in Cuba.

Harsh, in your face, and a push for the American public fed up with their system to have a think about it all, and actually vote! Preaching to the converted, surely, but quite well done nonetheless.

Drinks and much film and life dissection took place in a bar around the corner, Three Below, before Jenny and I headed back on the train to Essendon.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wedding of Charmaine and Pascal

Thsi weekend just gone, Jane and I flew to the Gold Coast for the wedding of Charmaine and Pascal. On Friday night we left work and got out to the airport, ready for our flight to Coolangatta. We located our hire car, feeling very Amazing Race, and started working our way through my dodgy directions to find the Lamington National Park.

Driving in the dark up the mointains, with steep drops to the side of the road, hairpin bends at every turn, and strange signs about falling rocks, I am glad I passed on drinks on the plane! We amazingly made it up to Birra Burra Mountain Lodge in one piece, ready for a big weekend.

Saturday morning we headed to the dining room for the promised 'hearty breakfast' and were not disappointed, as we caught up with the bride to be, groom, and their friends and family.

Jane and I filled our gap in the middle of the day with a drive, before joining the bride in her room for preparations, and then getting ready ourselves.

Surrounded by family and friends, and to the beautiful backdrop of the mountain ranges, Charmas and Pascal exchanged vows, while a friend of Charmaine's, Melissa, sang and played guitar, and Pascal's mother played the pipe organ, at different moments. A lovely ceremony, which finished with Pascal lifting Charmas up for the kiss - cute!

Champas and canapes in the blazing sun followed as pictures were taking and guest mingled. Eventually the very organised MC rounded up the guests and provided instructions for seating - find your photo on your place card....hmmmm!

Wine and champagne, surrounded by an amazing selection of menu. A quiz as a room ice breaker, and teary and moving speeches, including a slide show from Swiss father of the groom...hee hee! Always gets a laugh!

The weekend was gorgeous as we witnessed Charmaine and Pascal formalising their relationship - sunshine, fresh air, breathtaking scenery, good food and wine, and a great bunch of people (from 14 countries all around the world - wow!!).

Although the hangover coming down that mountain wasn't so pretty! Oops!

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Today in an attempt to spice up my worklife, and because the boss asked me to, I traveled up to the Albury office. I'm really going places with this job! I'll be in Dandenong tomorrow!!

So I leave my current homelessness solution in the morning, before I am usually out of bed, and arrive at Melbourne airport to find my flight not listed on the screens. Strange, but thinking that I am flying by light and tiny plane, I just thought that maybe it was too small time to be announced!

I go through security, with the usual your-surname-is-the-same-as-the-shoe-bombers "random" checks of bags, shoes and person, I approach the Rex desk...and find that my flight to Albury is delayed by an hour and a half. Good start.

I churn out a report in the airport like a diligent worker in my idle time, before eventually boarding the plane - which was like a crop duster, with propellers and all!

Was served complimentary coffee and a biscuit though, which kicks arse on all other flights these days!!

Anyway, two hours late to Albury my first appointment has been waiting around the office for me for an hour, but we do what we have to do, and it's all good.

I wander around cold Albury looking for an ATM and then something edible for lunch, before returning to the office to await my second appointment....and waited, and waited. Yep! No show!

What a fun day on the road! I guess I can't complain that it's uneventful! And I did get a coffee and pretzels on the way back!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Katie's B'day

With the footy being more interesting, Katie allowed us all to attend the Hawthorn/St Kilda match on Saturday night before driving up to Ballarat to met up with her for a night on the town for her birthday. We really shouldn't have bothered with the footy!

But Heath and Jessie and I loaded into the car, a six pack at the ready to guzzle up the kilometers to get home in time to join the birthday girl for jelly shots, pizza slices and more beers, before bracing ourselves for the trip out in the cold in the neverending quest to find somewhere decent to drink in Ballarat.

Our first stop was Side By Side (which was Cincotta's back in my day!). One dodgy side, one pub with beer side was the consensus, although we only stayed long enough for a pot before the birthday girl decided we would check out somewhere else.

In the actual 0C, we walked the all too familiar downhill slope to Camp Street and Haida Bar (was Extremity back in my day!!). Another beer here in the too cool atmosphere of leather couches and try hard lighting - I do think they still had the old crusty wine barrels and pool tables towards the back - before it was time to hit the line for the Regent (was Victory, if I am really showing my age, but has been Regent in my time too).

Brrrr, lining up and laughing that I wouldn't be asked for ID - no surprise there. Free to get in, so I guess it's the dregs of the nightlife action in the 'Rat these days, we drank, and downed jager bombs, and drank beer some more, before drunkenly pretending that we thought we could dance.....

Leaving the Regent and then thinking of having a toilet stop at the George on the way to the trusty taxi rank outside Myer, I was reminded that the curfew was still in place!! No way! I thought that was an experiment!! They wouldn't even let me in when I said that my (imaginary) husband was inside with the hosue key! I have heard that work before, but the curfew is serious, apparently!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hawk Wine Night

Somehow the Hawthorn Football Club has 'drinker' next to my name in the membership list, and so I was invited to a Wine Night on Tuesday night to taste! Wow!

Not to feel like I have leaped back 12 years in time and renewed my groupie status, I got Jenny, Justin and Jo to come along, and we all trekked from the city to Toorak after work in the cold and wet.

We arrived at Zanuba Restaurant, and tucked into the tasting, personally opting for the red options. We started with the advertised draw card, the Hudson Estate shiraz....and worked our way up!! The liquid gold taster at the end required a repeat!

A couple of players were in attendance to allow for some eye candy, although the four of us focused on enjoying our money's worth before having dinner in the restaurant. Daddy Hudson talked up the absent Paul's new wine endeavours, Croad was looking very good, and the risotto was ok!

Monday, July 16, 2007


Last month the group at our BookCrossing Meet Up laughed at me when I said I was working on my dowry, but it's not funny! I am approaching 30, and it's time to get my life in order. Right?

I have set myself the task of paying off my the time my 20s leaves me. Not long now! The old 'buy now, pay later' scheme has suddenley caught up with me, and it's 'later' now. Boo! Anyway, making good progress, and the debt free status (not including my over prised education, of course...never going to pay that off!!) should kick in for my next decade. Will let me focus on other travel, I mean stability!! Hee hee!

And I have also been making myself learn how to cook. Well, not learn really, I mean, I did go to a girl's school, where Home Ec was a compulsary subject so that we would all learn how to be housewives...but at least making myself actually do it, and enjoy doing it, and actually liking to consume the end product. Recipes, shopping lists, and spending time in the kitchen! It's a new world!

I was also thinking on working on getting rid of my pot belly....but I think I should just focus on things that are achievable!! No setting myself up to fail! I mean, how can you find sustained motivation for that!!??

Will all this lead to the end of my single status? Doubtful! But at least I am taking care of myself!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Crowded House

On Monday night I went along to the Corner Hotel with Nicole, to see Crowded House! How massive is that! Their return as a band, at a little pub gigs, for the hard core fans - wow! Felt like such a treat!

And they were awesome! I have never seen them live - and they did not disappoint! In fact, impressed...a band that already impresses!

Nicole got down to the Corner the moment she finished work, and joined the line - as a true "Crowdie" should! I joined her a little later, and we managed to get three rows from the front....good start!

Liam Finn was support, Neil's son, with EJ Barnes (one of the Tin Lids!!! All grown up, and amazing!) on backing vocals.... This set the bar high, cos they were really great.

The band opened with Recurring Dream, and played a collection of their new album and of course a selection of their back catalog...Mean To Me, When You Come, Fall At Your Feet, Distant Sun, Four Seasons In One Day as a Melbourne tribute for the late Paul Hester. Their new song, Don't Stop Now....

They were awesome! I was blown away by the treat of seeing them in such an intimate show....and Neil is still so good! Can't rave about it enough!! Hee hee.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Queen Bingo

On Wednesday I was invited along to "Drag Queen Bingo" by Melissa, which sounded like a bit of fun. I met Melissa and Clinton and we had dinner at the old faithful Bing Minh in Victoria Street, before Melissa and I went along to the Terminus in Richmond for bingo.

When we got there, it was apparent that the drag aspect was not right, but the queen bit certainly was! We met Danielle, Kumi, Campbell, and Nat there and readied ourselves with drinks and bingo cards and textas!

And then the games began. Two very funny, very crude, and very gay lads ran the evening, with the calling of the numbers, the initiation of crowd participation, and the presentation of prizes.

Laughing through the whole three rounds, picking up the pace with playing 2 cards and the three, concentration on the numbers called was only part of it. Many numbers had an action, or a phase to be called out when it was announced, and the regulars knew all the calls. Things like tram numbers in Melbourne, an unhealthy obsession with Collingwood players, tributes to various Olympic games. Number 68 got a barrage of accalades, such as the year of the Moscow games, the year the Big Mac was invented, and most importantly (and chanted very loudly) the year Kylie Minogue was born! Number 39 saw a tribute to Anna Nicole, with a parady about being here for a good time not a long time, and then a pub full rendition of her "love my body" wacked out display at the MTV awards. Hilarious! I certainly had the scull at a multiple of 10 down pat fairly quickly!

I even won a round! Calling out bingo, and being interviewed up the front, I spun the wheel and won....a set of three vegetable peelers!! Wow!!! Hee hee!

Was such a fun and funny night! I definately recommend!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Homelessness, Dossing, and Housesitting

Since getting home, some six months ago, I have been "between" places to live. And am still technically homeless. Scary!

I stayed at home with Mum and Katie in Ballarat during my two months of being a bum. And then upon employment, I dossed with Jessica and Kelly. Thanks to those two kids, I got to start work and start earning an income again, and start looking around for places to live.

Now the rental market has changed somewhat since I was last living in Melbourne - and so I set about looking at the little shoeboxes called "studios" or "one bedroom" places in my price range and desired location. Dishearted, it came to be that Jane was going to Mozambique for 10 weeks for work - and need someone to babysit her place! Bonus.

Some dramas later, I crashed with Jenny in Essendon (can you believe that I allowed that suburb as my address!!??) for two weeks, and now I am settled in as Housesitter in Clifton Hill/Fitzroy North. It's a great little one bedroom place all on my own - and I am glad I got to try living on my own again before signing a lease. I think the sharehouses of London have me liking having people around! Who would have thought!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Marcus and Othello

On Monday night, at the end of the rainy long weekend, Michelle and I met at The Arts Centre under the spire for Othello.

The allure of Marcus Graham, and some good reviews had attracted us, and in the ongoing quest to seek a lifestyle as event filled as mine in London, ducking across the bridge from Flinders Street Station in the rain to the theatre felt very like my London experiences!

The lead, Wayne Blair, was brilliant, as was Marcus, and our seats were awesome - close enough to see the actor's spit fly! Five seats from the stage, the show captivated and held the crowd.

Blair's indigenous background made some of the commentary of black and white all the more poignant, and his performance was amazing.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Visited Countries

For the last couple of years around this time, I have filled in the Visited Countries form and displayed the countries I have visited. Not so may additions since the last installment of this exercise, but still, some!

create your own visited countries map

I have added just four more countries in this last 12 months (now 27). Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. However during this time I did pop in on several countries I had already been to, like Ireland and Sweden, and then to parts of Australia that I had yet to see.

But it's harder to travel to other countries from Australia - you need the big trip. Plus now that I have a real job, and since passing my three month probation, I will need to accumulate leave! The turmoil of a grounded travel bug!

The challenge is set!

How many have you been to?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hawks Flying High

On a crazy whim, Jenny and I made a decision and a booking for flights to Adelaide for the Hawthorn/Port Adelaide game some weeks ago. However, with the Hawks having a dream couple of weeks, setting off for this weekend wasn't as silly as it had first sounded!

We each took off from work at the first available moment on Friday night, and met at the SkyBus terminal at Southern Cross Station for the trip out to the airport. The quick flight to Adelaide from Melbourne was over before we knew it, and then we made our way to our "Secret 4 star hotel" booked on Last Minute. The Chiffley on South Terrance was all good, we arrived, dumped our bags and was then picked up by Jenny's extended family for dinner. Indian and banter from the extended family, wine added of course, was a crazy way to start the weekend.

Breakfast on Saturday morning with Jenny's cousin at Urban was one of the best brunches I have had....ever! The food was awesome!

After this, I wandered around Rundle Mall area and relieved myself of some hard earned cash! Found some boots though, so way very happy!

We met up with Jenny's friend Michelle at Lemongrass, for dinner and drinks, before hitting the list of recommended places for the evening. Much of Friday night's dinner conversation was consumed by Adelaide recommendations of where three girls on a night out on the town should go in Adelaide - and our list did not disappoint!

After dinner and a bottle of wine, we headed to the Hotel Richmond for cocktails upstairs, before making our way to The Union (where I had had a drink during the cricket stay this year!) for Jager Bombs! Of course! More drinks later we eventually taxied over to the XO Supper Club for final cocktails before making our way back to the hotel in the arctic temperatures.

Of course, the reason we were really interstate for the weekend was the footy, which was an early match on Sunday. Michelle picked us up from the hotel, and provided us with AFL Members passes. Sweet! This also meant we were sitting just above both team's benches, and in the middle of a sea of teal supporters! Always fun in AAMI Stadium!

After the little Power Kids did their non-coordinated dancing as the pre-match entertainment, and the big, grotesque Power arm was driven around the ground, the game finally started.

After a shakey first quarter, the young Hawks got into full speed, and kicked some butt! Was loving it! We managed to win by 34 points! Much to the crowd around us' disgust! Drinks to solidify the win saw the trip home a delight! Waht a great weekend! Have been pumped ever since!

Looks like there was another reason I am home this year!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hola in Melbourne

Last night after work, Jenny (my current housing provider) and I headed out to South Yarra for a film as part of the Spanish Film Festival.

We headed out and secured our (free) tickets at the Como Theatre, before backtracking back toward the train station for dinner and sangria at Fiesta, dinner destination of the tennis stars during the Open. Jenny chose the Hewitt Burrito, and I took the Agassi - apparently developed with the respective tennis star's input, but I really don't think there was any different between the two! The sangria was great though - a dinner very reminiscent of dinners in London with Jenny.

Our film for the evening, 53 Winter Nights, selected based on it's synopsis and screening time, was a look at three people's lives after a chance and incedental intersection one night at a bus stop. Interesting look at circumstances and consequences.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Anxiety Tunnel

Roughly once a week I need to drive out to our Dandenong "satellite" office to see clients, which means driving out through the CityLink roads, and through the tunnels.

Now, in the week I started work, the fatal accident in the Burnley Tunnel happened, and looking back I think I had only ever traveled in one of the Melbourne tunnels once, late at night where there was no other traffic.

So now, I am driving out there, through the scary tunnels with all the trucks and merging, and changing traffic conditions. Now, when I am not driving very much at all, with no car, totally reliant on public transport, and have driven maybe a handful of days over the last two and a half years. Needless to say, not as good and as confident as I used to be!

It's bad enough that the air quality down there is deathly. But does the CityLink control dude need to interrupt radio transmission to announce current conditions, current speed limits, and current lane closures - out of the blue mind you, scared me to swerve the first time!!??

The intimidating trucks, the speed in such a closed environment, and the general darkness down there brings to mind rollarcoaster type experiences, in terms of the anxiety symptoms felt. You are just in for the ride once you have entered, not sure you'll make it through to the end, but you have pretty much committed, so there is no turning back now. You just have to go with it, and hang on tight, heart racing, sweating, and scared, till the light at the end of the tunnel finally arrives, and you are blinded by re-entering the sunshine at the other end.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Architecture and Muscles

On Sunday night, after a trip to Ballarat for the weekend and Mother's Day duties, Jessie and Noodle, Katie, Kelly and I went to the Prince Ballroom to see Architecture in Helsinki. Just like last year...weird!

We arrived for the support act before AIH, Muscles. He was hilarious, and had us in stitches - although I don't know if that was his intention. A young lad standing in front of a set of keyboards turning out his techno beat and eclectic tunes. His Icecream song was a winner. He dropped the top keyboard in the middle of one of his tracks, which only emphasised the feeling that we were witnessing his usual bedroom at home practices! His final song Hey Muscles, I Love You was just too funny, with the chorus line of 'Hey Muscles, I love you, I want to have your babies' very catchy! Hee hee.

The Melbourne group soon joined the stage, and launched into their fun and funky songs. A collection of new and old, they did not disappoint. Full of energy, and quite sweaty at times, the band played their unusual collection of instruments, belting out their hits in the happy go lucky way that you can't help feeling fun and silly for. Whirlwind will always be one of my favourites, The Cemetery was also very good, but It'5 was a massive hit for the home crowd!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Bookcrossing and Book Launch

On Tuesaday I attended my first offical Melbourne Meet Up for BookCrossing, since being away.

We met at The Brandon, in Carlton, for dinner and red wine, and the usual book swapping. It was great to catch up with Megan and Andrew, who I haven't seen since I have been home.

Last night, Michelle, Bronwyn and I went along to Shane Maloney's new book launch for Sucked In. Following Shane Maloney at the moment because he is the scheduled speaker for our Australian BookCrossing Convention this year, in Melbourne in October, we thought we could pop along and show some support, and start to learn about the books he writes.

We needn't have worried about the support aspect, as the Trade's Hall Paddy's Bar was packed with people for this event! We rubbed shoulders with media personalities, and politicians alike, soaking up the free drinks, and awaiting the launch.

Having not read his previous books, we were amused by the opening and official launch by in character (for the novels) Mick Malloy, before hearing a politicised and controversial, but very funny, introduction by the man himself. Surrounded by flags and slogans from Unionists, the atmosphere was jovial and much admired of this author.

Looking forward to hearing him speak for us in October, but I certainly need to read a volume or two of his work!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Footy overload

On Friday during the day at work, some football tickets were going begging, so I nabbed them! The Friday night game at the Telstra Dome was St Kilda verses Carlton, and the spare, free work tickets were for the Medallion Club...all good.

Jessie, Noodles, and Saint Rhys came along, and we even enjoyed the car park allocated with the seats. Up to Level 2, a rare treat for Hawthorn members who usually get minimal privileges at the Dome, and into the bar for beers in a glass before the match.

It was quite nice being impartial at a match, and not feeling the stress of being emotionally involved. It ended up being quite a good game, and with a run to the bar for a round at every change, it was a great way to spend an idle Friday night!

Saturday rolled around for the all important grudge match between Hawthorn and Essendon. From the past few years, this clash always promises to be fiery and with a bit of biff to liven up the passion between these too clubs.

Nicole and Michelle joined the Reid clan, and with threats of rain for the day we sat under cover in the Great Southern Stand at the MCG.

The Hawks, with young kid Buddy Franklin kicking nine sensational goals, romped it in in the end, much to our delight!

Drinks to savour the win, and to rue what could have been for Nicole and Michelle on the wrong end of the scoreboard, was had at Time Out, in Federation Square as the rainless sky melted into dusk and darkness.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Comedy Rock

Last night Nicole, Belinda and I headed to a show for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. After Friday night drinks with my new work colleagues at The Apartment (I am working somewhere that places a credit card on the bar for these type of get togethers - I have arrived!!), I hot-footed it down to the RMIT Capitol Theatre to see Tim Minchin.

Much raved about by sisters' and friends alike, and after seeing him on Spicks And Specks, I was quite looking forward to it. And after a couple of beers, I was very much looking forward to laughing out loud for a bit! Hee hee!

Mr Minchin wandered onto stage barefoot, and opened with a mime musical set, playing drums, bass, and then the electric guitar. Done so convincingly, with a band playing somewhere behind the scenes for him. His opening song was a piss take on sad upper class people struggling to find good material - very funny. The show was titled So F**king Rock, with a catching, hilarious musical comedy song to go with it.

He also played Canvas Bags, among others, which I had heard about before going to the show - musical comedy with a message - Gold!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Anzac Dawn Service

Very early morning on Wednesday, Kelly, Jessie and I got up before the sun, and made our way to the Anzac Dawn Service at the Shrine of Remembrance.

Rugged up against the early morning cold, we drove over to the Lygon Street tram line, and joined the hoards of people crammed onto the first tram of the day. We were surprised, as everyone seems to be each year Anzac Day is marked, by the number of people, and especially the number of people our age (range, as Kelly points out!!) going along to the service, giving up their sleep on a public holiday, and the general camaraderie feeling about the journey in.

Our tram got us to the Shrine end of St Kilda Road just as the preliminary stuff was wrapping up over the load speaker, and just in time for the start of the service. This year there were passages read from high school students, along with the haunting and meaningful Last Post, and the beautiful words said at every service...

They shall not grow old
as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
and in the evening
we will remember them

I cannot believe it has been two years now since we were at the 90th anniversary service at Gallipoli. The Melbourne service was quite reminiscent of that time two years ago, with the temperature and the range of people within the crowd. The solemn reverence of the service was the same. I think this is something I will aim to do at least every couple of years. Such an important and patriotic part of being an Australian.

After a yummy and much needed warm breakfast at The Corner Store, we headed home for a nap, before joining Melissa and Clinton, Dianna, and Watty for a BBQ in the backyard with the footy on the tv. Such a true blue Aussie day!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

John Mayer

Last night Katie came down to Melbourne, and we went to see John Mayer in concert.

Jessie, Katie and I had pizza and red wine at a unnamed, but very cool bar in Nicholson Street, before making our way to the Vodafone Arena.

Ben Kweller was the support act, and was very good. He had most of the crowd's attention, which is rare for support acts that I have seen. The Arena had filled up to listen to him. We enjoyed the chance to celebrity spot during his set, after several sightings of footballers and the like at previous concerts. We thought we had picked out a group of lads...

Coming out on stage with jeans, jacket and guitar on, John Mayer started his set, with a mixture of tracks from his most recent album, and those from his previous. He commented on No Such Thing as 'not the best song in the world, but it's alright!' He played Why Georgia, Waiting For The World To Change, and Bigger Than Body, among others.

Jacket off and playing in just the white t-shirt and jeans, from where we were it was hard to see what he actually looks like. I never recognise him when he is plastered over magazine pages. He turned into a preppy American lad, who can sing, and can play!

He played 3 x 5 first on the encore, after a request from fans up the front with a banner, and ended with Gravity, which he introduced as the best song he has written.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

John Butler in the Square

On Thursday night, after a much anticipated countdown to the long Easter weekend, I walking down from work to Federation Square. I met Noodles there, and we were joined by Kelly, just in time for the beginning of the John Butler Trio's free set.

A free concert to promote his new album, John Butler packed out the open section of Fed Square, from people who had been there for hours to get a spot, to the after work crowd popping in before heading off elsewhere.

Starting with Zebra, and then launching into the new album, he was funky and chatty with the audience in between songs. Vika and Linda Bull were on stage for a few songs, with their backing vocals contributing to the new ablbum also. Many songs from the set were recogisable, and he certainly pleased the crowd.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Last night Katie, Jessie, Kelly and I headed to the East Brunswick Club to see Angus and Julia Stone.

After a pub meal in the front of the pub ($10 parma, can’t go wrong!!), we headed into the band room where the support act was playing. The lad playing first was such a contrast to the main act – very interesting choice. Heavier and louder than the Stones.

Angus and Julia come onto the stage, and started their set. And were so cute, and so good. A brother and sister combination, they each sing their own songs, with the other providing backing vocals. She is so cute, has such a delicate and strong voice all at the same time, and plays the piano, trumpet, and guitar.

Both seemed shy and nervous at the beginning, but eventually Julia got chatty with the crowd. Very cute, her personality bubbled over the microphone, and gave introductions to her songs.

Their set, with encore, was very cute, and they sounded as great as their EP suggests. Raw and strong. Most of the crowd knew several of their songs, which is always a good sign. An upcoming Aussie talent, who did not disappoint live.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Footy and BookCrossing

Last night in the hunt to find somewhere to watch the opening Hawthorn match of the season, Jenny and I headed into the city. Only on Foxtel this week, the quest to find somewhere to view the game was harder than it sounded.

Eventually finding the match on screens at the Turf Bar in the city, we settled in at the bar for dinner, a bottle of wine a piece (one per half between us, I mean!), and an eventual loss to open the season. Not surprising, and it's early days! Catching up and chatting about all that is going on in our worlds was all good. We eventually made our way to Carlton and coffee and cake at Brunetti's, before calling it a night.

Today I have rejoined the ranks of the regulars for our Melbourne BookCrossing meet ups. A brunch meet up today, at Kaleidoscope Cafe, was a chance to have breakfast, catch up with the old gang, and swap some books.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Charlotte in Melbourne

On Sunday I went to the station to pick Miss Charlotte up. She flew in from New Zealand to spend a few days with me here in Melbourne, before making her way back to the UK.

We wandered around the sights of the city that day, taking in Fedration Square, and all the crowds for the Food and Wine Festival (and to same some ice cream - some things never change!!). I also took her along the river, and in through the shops and sights of Southbank, before heading down to sunny St Kilda.

Leilah and Vincent were also down for the weekend, and thus, the four of us had lunch and drinks at The Vineyard with all the cool people. A little London, and HCML reunion, we got to catch up on all the gossip, and the time between now and when we were all there together.

Four months at home, Charlotte's Noo Zeeland accent is back and strong! Ever the point of fun for me, being called "Teesh" again, and hearing her vowel exchange in many words...cute!

Monday night we met for drinks at Transport, and then yesterday Miss Charlotte came to meet me at lunchtime, and we wandered along to trendy Degraves Street, and had a fast lunch at Cafe Andiamo.

Last night Heath, Jessie and I took Miss Charlotte out to the airport, to catch her flight back to London, to start all over again! We enjoyed a typical Aussie meal of fish and chips (fush and chups!) at P.J. O'Brien's out at the terminal, before she disappeared through those silver doors, and on to the other side of the world! Have fun, Miss Charlotte!
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