Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Paul Dempsey's Shotgun Karaoke

During the last Something For Kate tour, Paul Dempsey uploaded a song that he performed in the backstage area, or the bathroom, or somewhere pre-gig as a vocal warm up each night of the tour. These covers, and clips became a feature of his Facebook page, and he ended up taking requests....and turning these covers into a tour and a 10 track release.

Carl and I went along last Friday to here the sold-out and last show of this tour, at the Hi Fi Bar, after many after work, pre-gig drinks. We caught the last few songs of Olympia as support, although she didn't really hold our attention.

Paul Dempsey opened with an Archers Of Loaf cover, Web In Front, before treating us to one of his tracks from his solo album, in Fast Friends. Mixing his selection of covers with SFK songs as well as his solo songs, plus a song that was still a work in progress without a title, the 90 minute set was a treat for fans.

Having so many cover tracks to chose from, from the cluster he did backstage on tour, but also the range he has collected over the years as B-sides and final album bonus tracks, and has sprinkled into set-lists, the songs on the night were always going to surprise, charm, disappoint, and delight.

He created mass sing-a-longs with Queen's I Want To Break Free, and INXS' Never Tear Us Apart. He had the room mesmerised with Mockingbirds, a Grant Lee Buffalo song. His version of Concrete Blonde's Caroline stayed with me for days.

Hearing Ramona Was A Waitress, and the odd explanation about the song, plus other solo album gems like Have You Fallen Out Of Love? and Take Us To Your Leader was pretty special, given these tracks don't get much of a live run.

PD's encore consisted of The Boss' Atlantic City (rather than Born To Run - which would have been my request!), then the song he described as needing no introduction, Berlin Chair. Theme From Nice Guy was in there. Then he introduced his final song as one he hadn't done on the tour because it was so hard on his voice, but given that it was the final night, he left us with the ripping vocals of Sheryl Crow's If It Makes You Happy.

Such an strange choice, and we were left wondering about the setlist choices, and ruing the many songs we wish he had of played on the night. Too many to chose from!

(photo credit)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Project 52: Saturday Afternoon

It's been a month now, since that incredible One Day in September. This Saturday afternoon I was standing in our bay at the MCG, singing the national anthem just before the AFL Grand Final. And what a day it was!

Topped off such a great year. 2013 goes down as a good one, because the Hawks won the premiership!

This post is part of Project 52 with Jess from FuShMuSh.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Be Free In Melbourne

It's fair to say I have been a little taken by that little girl with the striped tights and umbrella of late, with quite a few new pieces popping up around town. The one above is the first I spotted in the last week, by chance, sitting above the old East Brunswick Club, enduring that purple rain.

This next one you can enjoy no more - because it was been painted over. Or at least, the paste up has been scrubbed off. Following Be Free on Facebook, I had seen the stencil for this one develop, and then read that she was put up over night, just next to the Northcote Social Club.

A few days later, after I had popped over to take a look, I read someone's post that it had been painted over, by the owner of the business on the other side of the wall. What a GRINCH! To be honest, I have walked along this street to the pub hundreds of times, and never paid attention to what the business was here, until I took notice as our girl was there. But now that I know they had her scrubbed away.....

Street art is meant to evolve over time, with other pieces added around or over, or they weather it out and fade. But I am stunned that anyone would try and rid the world of our girl on an otherwise unutilised white wall.

These two, above and below, are new commissioned pieces in Richmond, at the Saigon end of Lennox Street to try and bring life to the strip again. Among the bamboo, Be Free and another artist have collaborated to bring this brick wall and tin fence to life.

Lastly, again after seeing the phases of development on Facebook, I walked through Degraves Street especially yesterday to see the city's new Be Free addition.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cricket At Feroz Shah Kotla

Heading to the fourth and final test of our tour around India earlier this year, we could have been forgiven for wishing for the mercy rule. This was not a good tour for the Aussies, and for the Waving The Flag crew, the toll of traveling around India for as long as we had began to be felt. Irritations at our hotel as we checked in had not set the tone right, and the treatment of security at the cricket did nothing to dissipate any of that.

The match was played at Dehli's Feroz Shah Kotla, and the Aussie's lasted just three days before India claimed victory and a clean sweep of the series.

Day 1 had the Aussies batting, and whilst very slow run-making, we seemed to be showing signs of possibility. Ahhh, who am I kidding! Ending the day with a total of 231 with 8 wickets down, all our hopes were pinned on fast bowler Peter Siddle overnight.

We donned our Indian style Chick Pink for Day 2, and watched as the Aussies were bowled out, and then India made our 1st Innings total and then some by the close of the days play. One of the highlights of the day was watching the Little Master bat, and whilst making just 32 (and 1 in the 2nd innings), seeing Tendulkar play in front of his home crowd at our last opportunity was one of those priceless things on tour.

The distinctive stance, the grit and manner, and the fans adoration, was like nothing else. Rumours were all around during the test of when he would announce his retirement, and when it came last week, that he would play his last matches next month in India, it was no surprise. I feel so, so honoured to have seen him play at home in India, in front of his screaming fans! Such an experience.

The crowd did not really impress for this last test of the series, and Day 3 saw the match all wrapped up.

India made swift work of the Aussie's 2nd Innings, in and then all out halfway through the middle session. India set to the task for their 2nd Innings, they had the match won by 6 wickets by the end of the day.

A pretty sad and sorry tour for the Aussies, but nonetheless, the backbone of my 5 weeks of travelling around India. I met so many great people, who joined and became part of the Flag family on tour, and of course, got to tour with some of my favourite people from past tours.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Project 52: Saturday Lunchtime

At the beginning of last month this particular Saturday saw Nicole and I dressing up for Mary's 30th birthday party - to the theme of "M". I dressed as a Mummy - although in a kid's costume, the skirt was necessary! Mary was her beloved Micheal Jackson, of course, and Nicole was a Mod.

The best costume of the day, however, was a Mona Lisa, with the artwork frame and long flowing wig to make it amazing. Good one Natalie!

This post is part of Project 52 with Jess from FuShMuSh.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Scarf At Jorg

A blogger made contact with me, to tell me about some more social enterprise efforts around Melbourne, and through this I discovered Scarf.

The premise of Scarf is to "borrow" restaurants usually closed on a Monday night as Industry night, and put on a two course set menu with trainee staff who have come across challenges finding employment. This training and mentoring program to marginalised youth fosters skills and confidence, and a network from their experience, to help them find employment.

The trainees are young people who are new migrants, who are refugees or asylum seekers, the long-term unemployed, and people with disabilities. They receive a wage, and tutoring to find the role within a top class Melbourne restaurant that suits them best.

Upon reading about it, I made a booking in one of the timed slots on a Monday that suited us, and Carly and Camille met me at Jorg, which was the restaurant being used for the last month or so.

Jorg is a stunning venue, and was filling up at our time slot. The table was adorned with knitted pieces on theme, and then the menu with choices for each course arrived. Such decisions!

I had the Beetroot Carpaccio for entree, which was light and fresh, with gorgonzola dollops. Candied Walnuts, and Witlof to finish it off. Very good.

For mains we all chose the Wet Roasted Lamb Shoulder, with a Parmesean Crust, Dill Potatoes and Bitter Greens. The melted at the touch of the folk, and was incredible!

It did not take much to convince us to have dessert, and I had the Raspberry Tart with Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream. Yum! That and the wine selection made for the perfect, feel-good dinner out!

Our waiter was very attentive, and careful with his clearing and order taking. He told us he has been completing a 10 week program there at Jorg – what an opportunity and leg-up into employment within the hospitality industry.

The next group of Monday night dinners starts next week, at Markov in Carlton, with Kerala Foods producing Indian inspired dishes. Sounds amazing! We are locking in a booking!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hopes And Dreams For Children Around The World - Blog Action Day

Every time I come across a little face that captures my heart on my travels, I would love to take them in, feed them, give them access to the schooling we have had access to. Not that I have any of the answers or provisions such a child might need. But I could share my resources, and offer care and a safe place! What I really wish for them, however, is the freedom and right to be a child. To enjoy their childhood. To have one, as we adults in more fortunate communities have had.

I wish for them to have access to the freedom to play. To explore, and grow their own ideas. To ask questions, and be told the truth and taught what matters. To be given boundaries by their parents or the people caring for them (whatever that relationship is defined as), and explained why. To have an example of how to love. To be shown what it is to work for something they want, and achieve their dreams.

A safe home life. To be free from things that hurt – like abuse. Like illness, and accident. Safe, clean drinking water. To have enough food to eat. Enough love to hope, and feel worthy.

To never be sold into the sex trade, sold into marriage, forced into slavery, or made to traffic goods. Not to have to work long hours, before they are at a working age. Never to fall into the circumstances that sees them carry a gun, and hurt people for some gang or militant gain.

To be able to board a bus to get to school, without fear. To reach school, and to have the opportunity to gain all that they dream of from access to education. To not have to bribe their teacher everyday to access their learning materials, or to mark their tests, and provide them with the process needed to grown their knowledge and skills. To learn the basics, and become passionate about something within their schooling that they can take into their adult world, and make a living from.

The UN Declaration of Human Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, sets out to protect and provide all of these things. But there are so many children who are not afforded such protection. Such basic access to their human rights.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dark Travels - Stories From Tony Wheeler

One of the other sessions of the Melbourne Writers Festival was both travel, and book related, and fed my travel bug big time!

The stand out session for me was a free one at the Wheeler Centre, to listen to Tony Wheeler talk about his travels to "Dark Lands" and his new book about the same. Tony Wheeler is the name behind the Wheeler Centre, but also, of course, the co-founder of Lonely Planet.

You can just imagine the travel stories he has collected over the years! And he shared so many of them, sitting on stage sipping red wine, telling story after story. Amazing!

He talked about the concept of “Dark Travel”, being  ‘misery travel’, which is in fact getting a bit of travel blogger focus and attention of late. Places like visiting Hiroshima and Dachau count within one angle of this idea, but what Tony is talking about is places like Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, the Congo and Colombia. He travelled to a bunch of these places for this new book, to have more current stories for it. And then revisited them again, also within the process.

Tony stated that ‘places with problems are always more interesting’. He talked about the opportunity to ‘marvel at the mess we make of things’, like Chernobyl, and how people and communities get through to the other side.

Tony claimed that the Congo was the darkest – and yet the biggest and most fascinating country to travel around. He talked about how it’s been a disaster area from the start, to today, and yet a ‘wonderful country to travel around’. Plus, so many great books have come out of it, from the Heart of Darkness to (one of my favourite reads) The Poisonwood Bible. He also added that he was told that a trip to the police station there was as much a part of the travel experience in the Congo, as speaking bad French in France is!

Tony claimed that North Korea, followed by Saudi Arabia were the “maddest” places to travel to. Colombia, he said, was the place that has most turned itself around between these visits for this book.

He told the full room that he in fact spent his first 5 years of life in Pakistan, and two of his siblings were born there. 'Great to have on your passport' he quipped! Tony says that Pakistan has all of the things that people travel to India for. Made me think of standing at the gates between India and Pakistan at the border, hoping that one day we could travel around there to watch an Australian cricket tour.....and experience this land I know so little about. One day.

Tony told stories about figuring out the process to get his visa to go to Somaliland, and claimed that such crazy and bizarre processes is 'what makes travel to these places so much more fun'! He also told of the usual markings of travelling to a Dark Lands is surely the fact that your flight arrives at the 'arid time of 3am'. Ahhh, there are a few of those places around the world, indeed!

He touched on the idea of female travellers to these places, in response to an audience question. Tony reminded the room that Western women in many of the places he had talked about find themselves in the unique position of being between the elevated status with men, just for being from the West, but then also being able to connect with the women of such a place. He said that this status can lead to such great experiences and insights!

An audience member asked about the selling of Lonely Planet, and he graciously explained some of the pitfalls of the initial sale, and the status now - and the fact that whilst they had a passion for guidebooks, they 'don't have the stomach for the internet', which is where such travel books are now.

Another question from the floor dealt with the notion that Lonely Planet has changed many places, by publishing recommendations. Like Bali. Tony agrees that they 'were one of the many influences that changed places like Bali', but also spoke of the need to work with the changes, and be happy for the people and communities when things have gone well for them, or have changed for the better. He also talked about an interest in going to such places to see what went wrong in the tourism boom, and whether there are ways for a community to work through such lessons for the better.

Stories and anecdote after another, it was such an enchanting session! Tony spoke of Iran as a place people should visit - where 'poets are revered' and where 'people sit around drinking tea and quoting poetry'. He also urged the Australian audience to visit places closer to home, like East Timor, which is 'a place that needs more tourists, to help their economy'.

What an inspiring man, writer, and traveller! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Delhi, Old And New

Getting back to the Indian capital after being up North was a full assault on all senses. The noise, the throngs of people and traffic, the noise, the hassles, the smells, the cramped spaces. This is the India everyone knows.

To get our tourist on in this crazy busy city, we set off on a day tour, in a dreaded tourist bus, but it meant we got to hit up the big things in our day before the cricket started again.

First was the massive and stunning Jama Masjid. The largest and best known mosque in India, it seems to sit right in the heart of Old Delhi. The girls among the group needed to wear a total cover over our bodies, regardless of what we were wearing, and be accompanied by a male at all times.

Regardless of it's gender bias - I need to learn more about this treatment - the working mosque was busy, and so beautiful. We had just a window of time we were allowed in to have a look, before we needed to be out for prayer time.

Dealing with the hot slate ground in the baking sun with our shoes off, we made our way first to the far wall and the chance to catch the views of Delhi from the very top of the far minaret. This gave us a great overview of Old and New Delhi, and of the goings on in the mosque square below us.

The mosque is made of the characteristic red sandstone, and white marble, of the monuments in Agra - built by the same man, Shah Jahan.

Once back out into the street, we were shown to a group of waiting cycling rickshaws, and we were ridden around the tiny laneways of the crazy busy Chandhi Chowk. This was a bustling market with all manner of wares for sale.

The things that caught my eye as we circled around the labyrinth streets were the sari colours, and the jewellery. The colours of the prayer garlands, the fruit, and then the laneways upon laneways of fabric.

Next was Humayun's Tomb, a hidden wonder you will find after walking through broken-down sections of it's wall. Through the impressive archway gate, you will find the temple of Mughal architecture that is said to be the "practice run" before the Taj Mahal in Agra. But also the first instance of Persian style in India.

This tomb was built by a woman, the senior wife of the second Mughal emperor Humayun. Having been to Agra first, the design layout was very similar to the later built Taj, with the water features, the symmetry, and the formal gardens all around.

The tombs of the complex were far more accessible than at the Taj - which is a puzzle, because this monument of love and grief is very impressive also. I for one had never heard of this temple, and yet would have really missed out if we did not get to visit it.

In total contrast, our next stop was the modern and unusual Lotus Temple, or the Bahai House of Worship. A temple of "universal peace and the elimination of prejudice" (according to the Lonely Planet), it reminded me of the gold temple outside of Pondicherry in it's philosophy.

We were informed that visitors are not permitted to make a sound inside, and upon seeing the streams of people going in, we as a group decided we were content with seeing the petal-structure from the road, before keeping on our way for the day.
On our tour around we passed the India Gate several times, however to get a better look a few of us ventured back on our last days in India. The National Monument of India, it houses an eternal flame under it's arches for the Unknown Soldier of War.

The structure is impressive, and sits at the centre of many roads, and rare space in Delhi. But the touts here are relentless.

We did visit the Red Fort, one of the most lauded sights of Delhi, again at the end of our days in India - although after seeing the forts of Agra, and Jaipur, and seeing it's state of run-down, we were actually pretty underwhelmed. Maybe a symptom of our tiredness of India at that point at the end of our trip, but the others that we visited were stunning, well maintained and restored.

Delhi has it all - the hub of activity. The modernity of shops and fast food. The traditional religious sites, and market areas of everyday Indian life. It takes a lot of patience, and you will get lost and ripped off. But it's a place not to be missed!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Run For Refugees

I took part in the Melbourne Marathon today! Ha! That's something I have always wanted to say! And I did....I had signed up to do the 5.7km Run/Walk. Although due to the weather it was reduced to a 3km walk just before we all took off.

I signed up for two reasons:

The first was to join Camille, who had set herself the goal of doing this walk at her 8 month anniversary of her double lung transplant this year. What a journey! So, I wanted to walk it with her.

The other was because the fundraising effort was for Run For Refugees, so all funds goes to the amazing Asylum Seeker Resource Centre here in Melbourne. A cause that I care about a lot. A service that receives no government funds to provide the assistance they do, and they help so many people here in Melbourne get settled into Australian life.

Our carload filled and we got into the city, watching the weather overhead, and the forecast. We could see many of the full Marathon and Half Marathon runners completing their final stages, as we made our way to the starting point just near Rod Laver Arena.

We joined up with many others with the pink Run For Refugees t-shirts - with some 420 people signing up for it, across all events on the day. It was raining as our group got closer to our starting time.

The starters announced that our 5.7kms was to be cut down to 3kms, due to flooding on one of the bridges across the Yarra River, and concerns for safety.

Nevertheless, the spirit of the event was not dampened, as we set off over William Barak Bridge towards the city, and then back across again to Birrarung Marr and then over the final bridge towards the MCG.

The final stages of our walk had us in a lane next to the Marathon competitors - they looked sore and weary, but what an amazing feat!

Cam did incredibly well, even with the inclines - and considering she is at 47% lung capacity! It was pretty awesome to be with her as she crossed the finish line after our lap of the MCG.

The current tally of funds for the ASRC is at $186,000 at the end of the event, with the hope to get to a record $200,000. You can support Camille's page by donating here. My page is here.

The Marathon is full of amazing and inspiring stories. I am honoured to have been part of one today!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Project 52: Saturday Morning

This Saturday morning I was housesitting in a place that I seriously did not want to leave - with a kitchen that made me want to stay home and cook! Imagine! Everything is where you need to find it, it's laid out perfectly, it has everything. I kept saying this is the kind of house I would like when I grow up. Ha!

Since doing the Below The Line food challenge, I have craved the Eggs In Tomato from the menu plan I used, and have made it several times since. Yum!

This post is part of Project 52 with Jess from FuShMuSh.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

The 2013 Peter Crimmins Medal

On Saturday night the girls and I, and Shane, dressed up for Hawthorn’s “night of nights” as a wonderful way to cap of a brilliant AFL footy season. The Peter Crimmins Medal is the award for the Best and Fairest for the club across the year, and always a much envied night to not go to. A drunken celebratory discussion on the Sunday after the Grand Final win had us booking a table, and going along.

On the night I met up with Jenny, and Annie and Josie at a bar along Southbank, before we made our way to the Crown complex, and up the escalator to the Palladium Room. I have never been up here before, but it's here that the Brownlow Medal is also held.

We were served champagne as we waited to go in, found Amy and Shane, and when it was time we entered the main room and found our table.

Once seated it wasn't long before things got started. The Premiership win was clearly the toast of the night. The players on the list who were not part of the GF team were each introduced to the room, before the 2013 Premiership team was introduced, one by one.

Captain Hodge, with a voice as shaky as mine still is, spoke to the room, and talked about the process of reviewing the great game, and the win. We then got a screening of many of the amazing highlights across the screens in the room, and we got to cheer and enjoy the highlights again. Then the room erupted into the team song.

The President, and then our coach, Clarkson spoke, as entree was delivered to the table. Clarko was, as always, humble and life-affirming in his speech to the room, reminding us that life and those we love should always come first. The footy is important to the team, but that there are more important things.

Clarko then paid tribute to the great Lance Franklin, who's intention to move to another club had been made clear during the week. A highlights package of his incredible 9 years as a Hawk was played, to Green Day's Time Of Your Lives. Moments like that late kick in the 2007 Elimination Final against Adelaide. His 100 goals in 2008, those goals against Essendon in 2012, his hurdle goal against Collingwood this many special moments we have all enjoyed, and loved having his part of it. A Buddy fitting goodbye.

There was the full year in review as mains were served, and the vote count commenced. Then the three retirees, two who announced on the night, were given tributes and then spoke to the room. An emotional Hodge talked about Brent Guerra's career spanning three clubs and 251 games, and his two Premierships with the Hawks. Mitchell talked about the amazing journey of Bailey, and those three knee reconstructions and rehab processes, before Bailey spoke to the room. Sewell paid tribute to our hard man in Osbourne, before Ozzie also said farewell to the room and the Hawthorn faithful.

The count got interesting as several players were polling well toward the end, before Gibson powered on with such an impressive year. Roughead a worthy second, with Mitchell a consistent performance with third.

Gibbo's speech was worth going along to the dinner alone. Such a much loved Hawk!

Once the formalities were over, the band kicked in and the dance floor filled.

Such a great night, and an amazing way to top off a great footy year. We talked around our table about doing this event annually, and frankly I am surprised we haven't done it sooner!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Alex Gow and The Basics

Grand Final week would be a little lost without a random gig thrown into the mix, and this year was no exception!

I spied a random announcement from Oh Mercy's Alex Gow that he was home for the week, and would do an impromptu and intimate gig at Red Hummingbird. Coming back into the city from the GF Training, I met Nicole and Mary there, to check it out.

Just like sitting in his lounge room, a small gathering sat pretty close in this small space, and listened as Alex played a set of stripped back songs, with a couple of new ones - to justify his four months away thus far.

We got to hear Rebel Beats, Drums and My Man, as well as Keith Street, before he ended with a cover of The Waterboy's Fisherman's Blues and then Deep Heat.

After a huge day in the city the next day, taking in the GF Parade and a lunch and many drinks at the pub, I trekked up to the Northcote Social Club just in time to catch Hoy playing, with Tim Heath on bass, and join Nicole and Mary. Claire joined us towards the front for The Basics.

I spotted Wally on the stairs before the show, and took the opportunity to grab a photo with him then, as I had to make a dash after the gig to get some sleep for the big day the next day! My quest of a photo with all 3 Basics will need to wait for another time - although every other person at these The Basics gigs seemed to have gotten one!

After seeing our favourite Melbourne trio in a couple of warm-up gigs we had had a taster about what to expect, but this gig was meant to be the main event. And I think it's been one of my most loved shows of theirs for a very long time!

Starting with a punchy Hard For You, and then giving us our much loved The No 1 Cause Of Death Amongst Youth Today, we could tell it was going to be a great show! Many favourites were rolled out, with She's Gonna B Late, and Just Hold On. Rattle My Chain, and Have Love, Will Travel was in there. Kris gave us a couple of news songs, which were pretty awesome and exciting to hear tested out to the full house at NSC. Hey Rain was stunning, and the more obscure Feels Like Love was in there too.

A handful of covers filled the encore, including Proud Mary, before the night ended with Call It Rhythm and Blues.

A ridiculously large week, full of footy glory and favourite bands! New songs, and much loved tracks played live. Nothing beats Melbourne during Grand Final week!

Monday, October 07, 2013

The Theatre Of The Closing Of The India-Pakistan Border

Watching the pomp and ceremony of the closing of the border gates between India and Pakistan at Wagah, 30kms west of the town of Amristar, is easily one of the most bizarre and surreal experiences on my travels I have witnessed. So much carry on between two nations who have much troubles between them - and yet this harmony of process happens every day at sunset to lower the flags, and shut the gate between them.

We arrived and rushed through the security posts showing our passports for access, before being shown to the Foreigner section of the crowd, and settled in to enjoy the show. We had just made it in time for the action to begin!

Because show is surely the only adequate description - the stadium-style seating on the Indian side was filled with people by the time we got to our spots, and the noise of cheers and singing, was electric.

As far as I could gather, the run down of the half-hour ceremony started with dancing from the crowd, at least on the India side, all cajoled by a very encouraging and flamboyant MC, miked up and full of energy. Once this had reached fever pitch, the Border Security Force started their marching towards the gate. In pairs, with flair and pomp!

The girls in the top picture were first, all stern and assertive, before the blokes got involved, two by two. The final group of five come out in formation, with stomping, high kicks, and an unbelievable military-style...well, dance off, really!

This final five managed to perform their final maneouvers right in front of us, before matching straight for the gates of the border.

I imagine the same was going on on the Pakistani side, although there was less of a crowd, and therefore less noise punctuating each pair of marchers.

Once all officers were gathered in place around the gates, there were exchanges including a hand shake, before both country's flags are lowered in unison at the formal gates behind the crowds, and then a further pair above the gates themselves.

Next, after more stomping and marching, the gates of the border are ceremoniously closed, thereby officially closing the crossing between these two countries for the evening.

The crowd could then spill onto the road where all this marching had happened, our foreign section first, to have a look through the gates, and get a little closer to the officers in uniform. You can see some more of my photos here, and Luke's snaps here on the Waving The Flag Facebook page.

What an incredible, surreal, and frankly unbelievable experience! We were all buzzing once we got back to our bus for the journey back to Chandigarh, almost unsure of what exactly we had just witnessed.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Red, Yellow, Blue, Green and White: Capture The Colour 2013

I'll take just about any excuse to flick through my travel photos from earlier this year, so being nominated by Karin and Keiran on K and K Adventures to submit a post for this year's TravelSupermarket Capture The Colour competition was all the encouragement I needed! For last year's entry, I sifted through my whole collection of photos to pick one for each of the nominated colours - but this year I have featured snaps from India, Burma and Nepal from my trip in February and March.

This little guy in his red apprentice monk robes captured my attention in Old Bagan, in Burma.

The stunning Golden Temple at Amritsar in India is hard to pass up for yellow - I love this photo!

The bluest sky over Kathmandu in Nepal made the prayer flags of the Boudhanath Temple really pop on my morning visit there.

This little one, dressed in green, is almost fully camouflaged by the growth under the U Bein Bridge in Outer Mandalay in Burma.

It's impossible not to include one of the whiter than white shots of the Taj Mahal in India. The marble gives many hues across the day, and at this time, when the sun is high in the late morning, it is at it's more brilliant.

The TravelSupermarket Capture The Colour competition encourages you to nominate 5 more bloggers to put together an entry, so I would like to see a post from Bianca over on Day Jaunts, one from Chrystal on Chrystal Clear, another from Megan from Mapping Megan, one from Karis on Karis Abroad, and Emily on Innocent Nomad.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Project 52: Friday Evening

This was the Friday night of the First Qualifying Final, between Hawthorn and Sydney, at the MCG. The nerves were very high at this point, the moment when both teams line up for the National Anthem. Go Hawks!

We won this game by a whopping 52 points....needn't have been nervous at all! Ha!

(And I cannot believe the matching photo is the TV in Sydney. What AFL Footy Finals!?!?)

This post is part of Project 52 with Jess from FuShMuSh.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The 2013 AFL Grand Final Premiership Win

A day to remember forever on Saturday, as Hawthorn became the 2013 AFL Premiers. What a day!

Our day started just as it did the year before, and also in the winning 2008 year, with a breakfast gathering at The Mess Hall in the city. Jenny and I joined Mum, Melissa, Jessica and Heath, and Jordon, before Flash and Cass, Gluv, and Axe filled the table. Those of us with standing room ate fairly quickly, before making the dash across Fitzroy Gardens to the gates of the MCG.

Joining the forming queue, we had learnt from the last couple of times, and had a strategy. The moment they let us in, at 11am, we made a run for our allocated section, and were rewarded with the front row of our standing bay.

The sprint happened on the ground, and then Birds Of Tokyo played as the pre-match band (not that we could really hear them in our bay under the stand), and then Mike Brady let a stadium-sing-a-long for his iconic footy songs of Up There Cazaly and One Day In September.

After both teams come out onto the ground for their final warm up, the Great Southern Stand displayed the names of both teams, Hawthorn and Fremantle, which was pretty impressive!

All too quickly, the teams both ran out properly through their banners, and the roar and colour of each team become apparent. A sea of yellow and purple!

The nerves and excitement heightened as the teams lined up for the National Anthem, and that all mighty roar of the crowd at the end of it - and then it was game on!

I feel like the first half went by in a blur - a complete arm wrestle, very low scoring, and the Hawks managed to stay on top, and maintain serious pressure. We were up by 4 goals at the big break. Hunters + Collectors played at halftime, and whilst we again couldn't really hear them well, there was a huge crowd sing for Holy Grail. Such an unofficial footy anthem!

The third quarter was what all the nerves were for, as the Dockers piled on goals, and behinds, to come within 3 points of the Hawks at one stage. Fierce stuff! Heroic four goals from Gunston for the match and a brilliant defensive game from the eventual Norm Smith medalist Lake, and the Hawks sealed the win and the premiership at the final siren by 15 points.

Midway through the last quarter the attendance figure was flashed onto the screens, at 100,007 people. Wow! There was a collective noise of awe at that. The bay sitting in front of our section were Freo fans who had travelled across from Perth and had told us that this was their first time at the 'G were stunned.

The song was sung, over and over. The four of us together hugged, and soaked it in, before working our way to the boundary fence. We watched as the medal presentation happened, cheering each and every player. And then the cup was raised, in victory!

A great spot for the players' victory lap, we high-5ed and hugged and cheered with them as they came past and shared it with the fans that were there. They were very happy, and excited boys!

After the lap, and the players singing the song together in the rooms broadcast across the stadium, all the Hawks we knew gathered at a spot to enjoy the Premiership Party, with Birds Of Tokyo and then Hunters + Collectors playing. But really, we were waiting the presentation of the Premiership team again.

Once all this was done, many of us wandered up to Richmond for drinks and the replay at the London Tavern. Later on in the evening, you may have seen us dancing up a storm in a little bar on Church Street. Good times.

Made even more special this time with the three of us sisters together for it, after Jessie being on the other side of the world for 2008. It was also one I could fully celebrate too, given the sober experience of 2008! All is right in the world again!

We're a very happy team at Hawthorn!
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