Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Tinkering away

Now we actually know what is holding us up (you'll have to check out David's blog for that) things have settled a little.  We still don't have a date, but we'll just keep on keeping on.

I've been revving up the work side of things, trying to get a handle on a photographic biography, which is slowing coming - I'd say together, but I think just plain old coming is more accurate.

I've hit Curves with Liz and started a 10 days for $10.  It's a little odd using resistance machines, but I'm getting there, although the leg press resistance machine really doesn't manage to work my legs anywhere near like pumping 180kgs.  I am certainly building up a good sweat.  You only get out of it what you put into it and my system needs a bit of a shake up. The main problem is that it is mostly on your feet and my knee is hating it. I've added in some ab work in between resistance machines by throwing myself on the floor and going for it.  Noone has tried to stop me so I think it's alright, but it hasn't really help the old knee. I think I may have over done it on the ride last week and then aggravated it at Curves.  I've done three days in a row and I think tomorrow might be a rest day, perhaps with some yoga or pilates.  Braden is planning on bringing his boxing glove and pads home from Craig's tomorrow, so we might have a little nephew on aunty fun.

Today we went on an adventure into the State Library of Victoria.  David has pretty much been leaving me to my work and being a tourist, but he decided I needed to see the library.  He was right.  The loveliest surprise was the dome.  They've uncovered it and let the sunshine in.  It looks spectacular, full of light and beauty.  I know it's based on the Library of Congress.  Up until now I thought the LoC was more impressive.  With the sun streaming in the State Library wins hands down.

The dome with its new acrylic windows.
Now, no bits of ceiling will fall on unsuspecting researchers.

And the sun fills the room
How fantastic is that?!

 The library has a couple of fabulous exhibitions on at the moment.  The history of Victoria has Ned Kelly's armour, but I couldn't go past the books.
Ironic photo of the day.
The Torah and The Koran side by side in the same case.
The bible was in the next case.

Durer's proportions

From the library we hit Hoyts (what! two visits to the cinema?) to see One for the Money.  If you've read Janet Evanovich, won't be disappointed.  It's never going to win an oscar, but for a fun way to spend 11/2 hours, you can't go wrong.

One of the biggest shocks of the day was Museum station- Central station as it's now called.  Now, you must bear in mind that I haven't got off a train at this station for around about 35 (yes 35) years.  It's changed a bit...more than a bit...okay, alot.  If you'd drugged me and dropped me there I would have had absolutely no clue where I was.  No clue at all.  Somewhere in the USA I would have thought.  I didn't even remember there was a shot tower anywhere near there.  I mean, good grief, arrggghhh!  It used to be grungy and dirty and all the way up Swanston St!  I knew the Queen Vic hospital had been pulled down, but there was nothing there last time I rambled through.

One shot tower, which I'm presuming used to be outside
this particular dome

Where's David????  He's there, you just have to find him

So having suddenly discovered that time doesn't actually stand still when you leave a city - it was only 22 years, really -  I am wonderng what will happen once we've left a whole country behind.

Friday, 17 February 2012

As ties are untied

I am now homeless, jobless and car-less - luckily I cook well, have a long suffering sister and hungry nephews.

It is rather a relief to have sent the car on its way.  Mind you,  it was amazing how many calls we had after the car was sold - at least a couple a day - if only they'd all called when we first advertised it.

We've been practising on trains since we arrive, but yesterday was our biggest adventure yet.  In fact, it might have been my biggest adventure ever on Melbourne trains; which isn't saying much since I hardly ever used the trains apart from going from Ringwood to Box Hill or Seaford to Melbourne.  I decided that it was time to get an actual project that I could do in front of the TV in the evening or when my brain was completely on hold. I had  come to Melbourne with hardly any clothes and I was getting just a touch sick of them.  They're old, crappy and/or inappropriate for  the middle east.  The plan was to buy clothes there. I have been looking around the local shops, but everything has no sleeves, is too fitted or made of rayon.  Rayon makes me smell.  I know it breathes well, but whenever I wear rayon, it develops a distinct case of halitosis.  It was time to make a stand.

Yesterday I decided to pop down to Camberwell and have a look for fabric.  There used to be a fabric shop in Camberwell, I used to go past it regularly when I did my shopping.  That wasn't very long ago...really... truly... okay, it was before I was even pregnant with James - 30 years ago at least.  We walked and walked to no avail until a very familiar voice said "Hello."  Hooray!  A chance encounter with Dawn!  Excellent.  Shopping was abandoned and a simply scrumptious lunch was had, with lashings of nattering.  Not to mention confirmation that there indeed was no fabric shop in the vicinity and splendid suggestions for nipping off to purchase fabric.

We said our adieu's as Dawn dashed back to work and pottered off to the station.  We hadn't really decided where we were going, just that we were hopping back on a train, so I paused to check where things were while David popped into an antique shop.  Aha!  I found the simplest way to get to a fabric store I'd never been to, cunningly avoiding going all the way into Melbourne and having face Cleggs (very expensive) or Lincraft (OMG!).  Darn Cheap fabrics in Glenhuntly, it only involve a couple of trains really.  When I went into the antique shop David had vanished.  It is a lovely multi-level antique shop full of trinkets and sparkly bobs and bibs, but nothing really took my eye.  Eventually there was a voice from the heavens and David hoaved into view gesticulating towards the back of the store insisting that I go up the stairs (stairs, I'm a little over stairs) and look in some back case or other.

Always one to keep the husband happy I rambled in and had a look.  Oh goodness me!  There, lying resplendent in its glass case, was a renaissance recorder of the tenor variety, with fontanelle at an outrageously low price.  What a gorgeous sight.  Here, in front of my eyes, was the real reason that we were still in Melbourne.  To save this poor, unloved soul from its tomb of glass.

and here it is...lovely.

How could the day get better?  Well, a few train changes later I was snug in Darn Cheap Fabrics, Glenhuntly. Oh goodness me.  Lucky for our bank balance I had already splurged, so I was feeling restrained.  I selected three fabrics for three tops, two cottons and a silk/cotton blend and went to find a pattern.  I was almost thwarted when they didn't have pattern I wanted.  "Take a photo" the lovely , knowledgeable (take note Lincraft) attendant said,  "Maybe you'll be able to find it somewhere else.  I think you'll need about three metres of fabric."  Then I had one of those "You know you're in the SCA when..." moments.

A Burda pattern with part of the number cut off

I look a little closer "Oh, I don't need a pattern for that!" quoth I, "It's just made of rectangles. It will be perfect for hand sewing in the evening"  
"Goodness, really?  Good on you" said the lovely girl and we returned to my fabric to cut each three metre length.  One of the rolls had a break a metre,  so  she disregarded that and rolled off three more metres.  When I got home I discovered that I actually had 5 metres and this afternoon, when I cut out the tunic, I only used the free piece. Lord knows how Burda wanted you to cut it!  

So, this evening will be spent quietly hand sewing while my sister is out at a Rod Stewart concert, the AFL is on at the other end of the house and David and I are sipping wine watching some blood and guts.  What a life!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A lovely ride in the Melbourne sun

A lovely ride into the Melbourne Botanic Gardens has left me a little more relaxed and David...well David is still stressed to the max, even after a 20km round trip, and is about to take Jack for a walk.  It was great to get everything moving again.  I've been doing the odd bit of yoga, but that's about it.  The ride follows Gardiner's Creek and then the Yarra River.  It's a gentle ride with some very beautiful views.

Like this one looking back up the river

I have to say, riding underneath the South Eastern Freeway was an interesting experience after driving down it for so many years, I wasn't quite sure if the temporary path was going to tumble down.  Too much imagination I suppose.

We slothed around the Gardens for a while, drinking coffee, watching the ducks, that sort of thing, before wandering off around the verdant pastures.  What a beautiful day!  The sky was very blue in that gorgeous summer way, the trees were magnificently green and stood against the sky in defiance of the adage "blue and green should never be seen," even though they certainly weren't Irish Queens.  It was simply impossible to capture the colours with an iphone, so I'm afraid all I have is the light playing under a palm tree (it might have been a date palm, I couldn't, tell I was lying under it at the time).  You will notice that David, although lying down, is not his normal, laid back self.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Yet another weekend passes by.....

It's Monday again.  We were going to go for a ride into the Botanic Gardens, but stayed in bed all morning instead.  Now, that's something I haven't done in years and years.  David felt guilty enough to take Jack on a huge walk and I felt stiff enough to do an hour of yoga.  I must search out some way of doing some weights.

We had a slow Saturday that included watching Fraser play basketball while Braden coached.  A good time was had by all, especially since they won.  Hooray!

The coach exhorting his players.  They are an under 13 team, some little, some big.  

And up goes Fraser!


That was followed by a lovely meal in Camberwell with Liz and Steve.  Oh the steak................

Yesterday we got out of the city and took a drive up the Hume to Euroa.  Now, we used to drive through Euroa everytime we came to Melbourne, until it was bypassed by the new Hume Freeway.  We didn't stop there often generally doing that at Albury.  The most memorable stop I had there was when BJ was only six weeks old.  The boys and I were popping down to Melbourne to introduce BJ around.  We'd taken off early in the morning (straight after his morning feed) and he'd slept all the way to Wodonga - four hours.  After a relaxing stop on the Murray River for a feed for BJ and a run for the the brothers we took off again. This trip was going well.  Two hours later BJ was awake again - screaming.  Thank the lord for Euroa and a lovely park on the Seven Creeks River - it hasn't changed at all in the intervening twenty years.

Sitting on the bank watching the ducks and the old Hume Highway

A picture perfect Little Corella. There were trees full of them.

BJ settled, we took off for Melbourne.  We were heading to Wantirna so we hung a left at Seymour and headed through the back.  An hour later we were in Yea with a screaming BJ. Oh dear, oh dear, the pattern was not looking good 4 hours, 2 hours, 1 hour...oh dear.  No amount of mother or brother was going to cheer him up so we took off through the Yarra Valley - Spagetti Bolognese (Peter Coombe was the 1990's precursor to The Wiggles) blaring through the stereo and Michael, James and I singing at at the top of our voices.  It was loud, very loud, very, very loud.  We were all a little shell shocked by the time we got to Wantirna and we missed the glorious views along the way.

This weekend we were driving alongside a large storm-front.
There was lightening and rainbows - an excellent metaphor for life.
I'm sure the driver in front of us with the the uncovered antique
three piece lounge in the trailer was pleased to be alongside the storm.

The Yarra Valley is famous got!

Some weather ahead down the valley

Regrowth from last years massive fires

More regrowth.  Notice how there are very few branches.
That's because they got burned off.
I love the regenerative powers of the Australian bush

The weekend finished with tomato soup and chicken sandwiches made from a beautiful sour dough rye bread from the award winning Yea bakery.  They have won heaps of awards for their pies, but only in the even years.  Perhaps the bakery at Berrima won during the odd years.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Learning patience

What a splendid week!  We are, of course, still in Melbourne and having a loverly time.

I did indeedy hit the T thing and managed to mostly pull my brain out from wherever it was hiding.  Now I'm sort of back where I was before recitals hit.  I guess that's not too bad.......

Wally and Maree have come to our rescue and decided to buy our car.  Wally thinks he's going to get it after Maree's been driving it for two years - I don't think so.  So with a bit of a weight off our mind we wended our way up Rathdowne St Carlton to the lovely Claire Castle Hotel in search of some fish.  If you are ever in Melbourne and wondering where to get a beautiful meal, the Claire is the place to go.  I can highly recommend the fish of the day and the kipfler potato side dish is full of crunchy, salty goodness.  Top that off with a scrummy Victorian wine and an ever-so-slightly naughty dessert and you're set.  Actually David's dessert was more than a little naughty and only the second time a chocolate dessert has sent shivers up and down his spine (the first was in Brussels).  The company is pretty good too, and the owners (hello Nihil family!)

The highlight of the week was seeing my nephew inducted as Senior House Prefect at Wesley College, with his very proud mother being the one to hand over his badge and tie.  For those who don't know her, Liz is the IB coordinator and senior maths teacher at Wesley college.

Reading the first address

Proud Mum

Proud Grandparents

Proud Aunty and Uncle (short Aunty and Uncle)

You may notice that my nephew is huge.  Yes, yes he is.  Only two of the Addicoat sister's sons are under six foot at the moment, and neither of them have hit their mid teens growth spurt yet.  Gracious family reunions are going to be shady.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Laying Low

What a splendid weekend of dinners with friends who we don't usually dine with, lunches with sisters, watching a nephew get broiled during Gridiron try-outs and helping another nephew re-write the three billy goats gruff.  It's lucky that Frazer had it all under control, the grown ups may have been a touch on the silly side.

The weekend started on the slightly restful side (see below) and culminated with meeting Braden's lovely girlfriend Emily (what is it about Emilys?  I seem to have had a lot of them in my life recently and they're all particularly gorgeous) and eating spagetti and meat balls .  What more do you need?

Fraser, Murphy and Braden - it's a tough life
I have finally knuckled under and pulled out the pilates DVD.  Murphy thought it was great, but was a trifle put out each time I took up her end of the mat.  So this morning involve two walks to the shops, knee exercises (I rather sensibly asked Steve his thoughts on my stupid left knee and he suggested one legged squat - which are already making a big difference) and half an hour of pilates.  I'm feeling very self satisfied.  Now to hit the T-thing.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Yet another reason for still being in Melbourne

I thought that I'd share a short quote from a book we are both reading at the moment.  It helps in understanding  the delays we are experiencing.

"Oman society is a relationship-based one...with people coming before time.  What Omanis lack in timekeeping is made up for in sincerity...It is important to be patient and understanding of the Omani attitude toward time." from Simone Nowell's  "Oman - Culture Smart!" 2009

Makes it all come clear doesn't it :-)

Today we pottered in to the HUGE shopping centre that is Chadstone.  We lived just around the corner in Poath Road before we married and I thought the extensions that were happening then were large - hoo boy it's big.  If James had have disappeared on me in this version of Chadstone I might still have been looking for him. As it was he was found in the downstairs toy shop at the other end of the complex from where I had taken my eyes off him.  In one of those "interesting" coincidences I knew exactly what he was wearing because I'd needed to buy him new clothes after he fell into a fountain.  Never a dull moment with James at any age.

Anyway, we were rambling through the labyrinth trying to work out where we were.  Unusually, David was reading a map and I was just roaming when he stopped and pointed into Games Workshop.  Now I'm pretty familiar with Games Workshop - the merchandise, the aroma - so I couldn't imaging what had caught his eye.  Then I saw Gwynfor (aka Furious Ennui or Peter Ryan) being pushed around by Lillian.  For those of you who don't know him, Gwynfor has been battling some of the most extreme health issues over the last 16 months; from lung cancer to brain tumours, even including several deaths (the image of someone with his heart in his hand is enough to make even me feel a bit faint around the edges).  Here in front of us was another reason why we're still here.  Last time we saw Gwynfor was in Adelaide when he was feeling "poorly" a week before the first diagnosis.  The woods are thinning a bit now, and the future is looking a whole lot more rosy.  Gwynfor looks younger and healthier than I have ever seen him and it was wonderful to be able to see it with my own eyes.

I may not be learning patience, but I am beginning to appreciate the wait.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Marking time

Still here! The fates have definitely organised it this way so we can catch up with people we haven't seen in a long time.  Usually we're too speedy when we are travelling and have tended not to catch up with non-SCA friends.

Last night was an exception.  We had a fabulous night with Steve and Robyna Davies, Hugh and Leonie Duncan and Richard Excell, part of the old choral society/gaming/everything group.  We were reminiscing about the evenings we had spent, some of the things we got up to and our children.  How on earth did that 25 years zoom past?  We all look the same of course, just a little greyer (or whiter in some cases) and saggier.  Is it really possible that we all have children in their twenties?  Surely not.  The biggest shock for me came when Hugh reminded us that he was now sixty.  Sixty!! What? How? When?  It's particularly weird because I was one of the youngest members of that particular peer group and, for the last 20 years, I've been one of the oldest.  Whoa!  I'm not entirely sure I'm ready for this.  Perhaps I should leave the country and ignore the inexorable march of time.

We visited another old friend today.  The Melbourne Zoo.  We used to hop on a train in Seaford and spend the day at the Zoo with James and Michael; when Michael was in the pusher and James was a little golden haired angel. David is still a huge zooaphile (if that's even a word) so off we went.

The weather was beautiful.  Mid 20s sunshine and a light breeze - just perfect.

I lurv giraffes!!!

Let sleeping lions..........

How can something so big be so invisible?