Get shit done; April 2016

We visited the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) for the first time in around 2 years and were struck by this bicycle structure in the main hall. You could walk through and under it.

I began running on a regular basis. I became a person that enjoys going outside in the morning to run. I’d catch sights like these hot air balloons and the misty potential murder scene below that. I even got some new runners to celebrate my transition from somebody who DOES NOT RUN to someone who doesn’t mind it.

Some wild mushrooms suddenly popped up all over our garden. No sooner were they there, they were melting…

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival came to town for the third time since we’ve lived here, so I finally went to a show with these ladies. The show was funny, not too funny, but oddly in a tiny room. I guess there are so many acts that you get to see people in small spaces for a few dollars. I’ll definitely make a point to go again next year.

I took an after work wander around the city one night whilst listening to a few podcasts. I found a few streets near the university I’d never seen before. Pretty high on my list of favourite things is discovering streets I’ve never seen in the place I live. Melbourne is much bigger than Manchester but Melbourne’s city proper isn’t huge and because of the grid layout it’s difficult to find yourself lost down a street you don’t recognise. In Manchester I could walk for twenty minutes and have trouble figuring out where I am, less so here. That makes these detours even more special.

I had an afternoon tea for a friend’s birthday. I used to enjoy these a lot in Manchester, with Katie and Jill, there were so many places with casual afternoon tea menus. I’ve seen far less here so this was special. The cakes were delicious but I think the English make a better finger sandwich. The most mundane thing I’ve ever uttered?

Wintery, weekend breakfasts crept in and this was most delicious. Smoked kippers, fried, and eaten on buttered toast. This tastes like seasons and England and made me think of my Granddad’s breakfasts. I always remember him for the delicious, hearty meals he would make first thing. My favourite was the huge bowl filled with a variety of cereals (think a shredded wheat biscuit, cornflakes and bran flakes sharing the space, looking like a pie chart) and topped with milk and then double cream and sugar. Nobody reacts favourably to this anecdote. I’ve since recreated the cream and sugar on top of my Shredded Wheat and it is something special. I think he’d be a fan of this too…

Me and my favourite person went for a long Sunday walk along the Western coast of Port Phillip Bay. The day was crisp but the sun was warm and the water was so clear. We walked about 10km or so from Altona to Williamsburg. I love a long weekend walk and I think he joins me just to make me happy.

Get shit done; February 2016

This tiny platform of the Rooftop Bar on Swanston Street might offer one of the best Melbourne views I’ve seen. So perfectly framed, interesting building on top of interesting building, light and shadows. I’ve become really fond of the Melbourne city skyline; contrary to a year ago when I told Toby it was kind of ugly. I like its diversity mostly; the contrast of old and new and typical and atypical whichever way you look. It makes for lovely pictures.

Visiting the Rooftop bar wasn’t on the get shit done list, but documenting views like this are. We came here before we saw Beach House play in the city, a surprise ticketed treat from Oliver; very pretty pictures below.

The band was so good. They’re long time favourites of ours and they sounded fantastic, the lighting was beautiful.


We saw Beach House for the second time in a week at Laneway Festival, along with Diiv and Churches and some others. This was also a surprise ticketed treat, but I knew about this one for a while. It was a beautiful sunny day, we bumped into friends and enjoyed sitting on the grass all evening like the 28 and 30 year olds we are.

This may also be on the list of best views. It ticks major boxes… city skyline, train lines. 

On our to do list for a while was a trip to the Mornington Peninsula. This reminds me of a post from a year ago (or so) which listed things I wanted to do in Melbourne. I’ll seek it out and update it… I have a feeling I may not have crossed much off that list but hopefully it’s evolved into something more crossable.

We rented a car and drove down to the Peninsula, passing Mount Martha, Rye, Blairgowrie, Sorrento and Portsea, maybe not in that order. We stopped and had a dip in Rye, we had a walk to a paradise looking beach in the National Park and we visited some very beautiful rock pools at the back of Blairgowrie. Oliver had pulled a muscle in his back, so he was a trooper for even getting out of bed, let alone driving us all that way and walking around with me. He couldn’t swim in the rock pools, so I guess that’s a reason for another visit.
     

There were some very brave souls jumping from rocks into the pools. Not I. I took a leisurely dip from ground level.

Oliver’s third tickets surprise of the month was Sufjan Stevens. Another great show. I’ll freely admit my favourite album is his Christmas Album, but I knew far more of the music than I expected to. There was an awesome light show that felt like meditation, or something. And Hamer Hall is such a treat to be in again. We saw Amy Schumer here the first time, and it was really nice to watch a band here too. It’s a clear distinction of age; sitting watching a band in Hamer Hall, drinking a glass of wine. Woah. Times have changed.


These may be the worst pictures you’ve seen of a gig. Apologies.

I took a mini trip with Maree to the State Library. It was just a way to pass the time before a movie, but it was such a treat. It’s a beautiful old building that made me nostalgic for the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester and days when I would write essays in the Manchester Metropolitan University library till late. Made me wish I had a 3000 word essay and a stack of books to pore over. If only my 22 year old self could imagine that.


Get shit done; January 2016

Our trip home to the UK came at an awkward time for my workplace; lots of change and uncertainty. So I didn’t exactly ring in the New Year with a clear view of what I’d do in 2016, more an idea of how I’d like to approach the year. My approach involves doing things I’m afraid of (plenty of those) and travelling as much as possible. I’d like to learn to drive too, stability permitting though.

In that spirit, here’s some stuff we did in January…

 Bucket List kind of stuff in Dubai on the way home from the UK. More of this in another post.
 Got to the MCG for the end of the Big Bash League season. We saw the Melbourne Stars lose, but I still enjoyed myself.

  Wandered along Port Melbourne, a place we’d never really explored. Beach volleyball and fit people working out outdoors.
Summer wander through the Botanical Gardens and their humid as hell tropical greenhouse.

The view from the pier in Port Melbourne.
  Negotiating THIS. What is this? This is Melbourne weather. Hot and windy hairdryer kind of weather. This is what Buenos Aires felt like when we visited two years ago. I nearly lost my shit when we were there. As long as it’s a day here and there in Australia I can cope. 

A very familiar Yarra view of the city. I must have taken this same picture about a dozen times in the last year.
  We went to the Australian Open! This was definitely a treat for Oliver, I didn’t expect to enjoy it too much, but I loved it. We went on Day 1 and saw a great women’s singles match. I think Wosniacki… she’s Danish?

A very drunken, greasy picture of a nice rendezvous with drunken, greasy friends.

Australia Day 2016, celebrated like a true Melburnian; using a communal bbq on the Yarra River. Too much beer and too much sun. A lovely national holiday! Unfortunately I missed my favourite part of Australia Day; the citizenship ceremony in Canberra presided over by the Prime Minister. It makes me well up.

Last week…

These are a few pictures from Saturday 19th to Thursday 24th September! It’s truly Spring now in Melbourne, with bright warm weekends and slightly longer days. Getting up at 6am means it’s light outside now and when we return from work we can still spend 30 minutes in the garden.   

Oliver and Toby spent last Saturday afternoon building the bbq we bought from Bunnings. It’s by far our favourite garden feature! We plan to eat by bbq all summer!
  

Last Sunday we spent our first day in the park this Spring. The trees are still bare, so it doesn’t look like the seasons are changing but in Melbourne there are golden leaves on the ground for about 9 months of the year. You never know what the day will look like till it happens.  
  

This monster is living on the side of the house. It could be harmless, it could be a killer. Any ideas?  

We finally visited Pelligrini’s on Bourke Street last week. It’s a lovely, cosy old school style Italian serving home cooked comfort food and big servings of familiar desserts. It’s the perfect late night spot after a chaotic evening. 
  Lasagne!

 Oliver picked the blueberry pie, but I couldn’t resist the chocolate plum tart. I wish I did because the blueberry pie was so fantastic! I’ve recommended it to every North American I know, since they’re always hankering for cherry pies and blueberry pies.
  

This was a steak night that unexpectedly included so many lovely people like Pierce and Shamah! And loads of wine. And tequila. On a Wednesday.  
  

And then I finally granted my mother’s wish by letting a professional colour my hair. Forgive my sullen expression; I’m not really the selfie taker.  
    Woah! Cringe! Returned to my ginger roots, but still, selfies are not my natural state. Aside from these I want to remember that this week was sunny and Spring like, I finally got paid and I let go of routine a little to drink too much and have a lovely time.

Joining the rest of the world…

I bought an iPhone. It’s pretty much the best thing I ever did (okay, bought) and I can already feel my ability to resist technology slipping away. I can take pictures whenever I like without lugging my big camera around and check my online banking, read gossip, measure my sleep and my steps each day. Catching up with the rest of the world is pretty nice.

Here are some pictures from this week so far. 

From my early morning journey to the gym… 

   

   
From a nerdy evening of Dungeons and Dragons (I’m just an observer in Oliver’s social gathering, I swear)…

  

From the always satisfying $14 steak night at the Rainbow Hotel in Fitzroy…

  
Pictures of pictures in our bedroom…

   
 
  

Weekend Walk

We just returned from a really nice walk in Yarra Bend Park, actually a national park, along the banks of the Yarra River. We walked for about 3 or so hours and took in 11km. We’ve signed up to do a crazy 35km walk in September, from the Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne to Brighton Beach, called the Bloody Long Walk. We’ll need to get in some practice before then so I’d like to make it a regular occurrence.

We grabbed a coffee on the way and stopped for a little bite at Lentil As Anything, which is a not for profit, veggie food place. You pay what you can for your food, with no set prices. It’s a really nice idea. We visited the St Kilda branch last year in May, when we were staying in a hostel and had very little money. The St Kilda branch wasn’t too impressive, but the Abbotsford Convent branch was delicious and very busy. No pictures, but a map of our route..

walk 28.6

    First few weeks in our new house…

 We’ve really settled in to our new house, and feeling comfortable and happy in this space. We’ve become very good at making meatballs as a team; Oliver makes the meatballs, I make the sauce and together we figure out the spaghetti and wine…. It usually ends quite well.  

This is our lovely cosy room. It was icy cold for a few weeks, we could see breath hanging in the air, but a heater and an electric blanket later we feel older and more British than ever. But spectacularly comfortable.  

Our friends came over for dinner and Settlers of Catan and a lack of seating. Very understanding they are.   

Actually, we didn’t even get around to Catan that night, but Oliver, Toby and I have made time.  

     

Keeping in touch with Alan, the only way we know how, with silly pictures…  

Just like in Manchester I have favourite mugs. We got them in a charity shot and they symbolise Saturdays and coffee and this new house.  

A really good dinner, thanks Toby. Spicy chicken wings and blue cheese sauce. This was the shameful result, along with that familiar feeling of “what I am doing with myself?”