All work and no play makes Andrew a dull boy ...........
Slightly paraphrased, but you get the drift. This is why we decided to come away, to get out of the comfort zone a little bit. Well, for the last couple of days we have been in the comfort zone taking life at a somewhat leisurely pace.
It was a rather chilly day in Melbourne today - probably about 60 degrees at most. As we sit in the Royal Botanic Gardens having a coffee, I thought this would be a good time to update the blog.
Our thoughts on Melbourne? Not changed really. We still like it. It is even more anglicised than Perth with a more temperate climate. We have walked all of the main city now. Our apartment is right the heart of it all, ultra modern, although you can't really "swing a cat" in it and it is only on the second floor, which means we don't have a view.
The main disappointment for me so far in Australia is that no one has called me a "big galar" or a "dag" and I haven't met Alf Roberts yet. But there's still time ....
It was so hot on Thursday - about 93 degrees that a cross and some holy water would have finished me off, never mind a stake through the heart. Luckily, there is plenty of shade here for me to skulk in. The temperature variation is unbelievable - 93 to 55 degrees in one day.
We were woken up yesterday morning with a siren blaring. Anna said to me "what's that?". I was still half asleep and just thought it was a garbage truck at the back reversing. But after being slow on the uptake, we eventually realised the building may be on fire. I shot out of bed, new Sesame Street pyjamas still on and we raced downstairs to find the fire brigade there. Turned out to be a false alarm. Some "tool" had set the sprinkler system off.
We have found a few cool, shabby-chic bars over the past few days. Anna's radar has been on form. One bar, called Rooftop, funnily enough was on a warehouse roof which had an "edge" to it which I liked. The warehouse itself had five floors, with bars and restaurants and a mini cinema and another bar on top. Very cool.
Yesterday, we got the tram to St Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne. Not much there to be honest, it promotes itself as a kind of funky, edgy, independent place but after a couple of hours we had done it. It is like a British seaside resort down to the restored pier and fairground. Yes, it has a certain degree of charm, and was clearly a "high roller" place 50 years ago, but it doesn't have a "wow" factor now. The main road had a good selection of independent coffee and cake shops which is cool - I do like the way they don't let Starbucks or other corporate brands dominate here.
Found a decent shop called "cotton on" to purchase a couple of items that are no doubt too small and too "young" for me.
On the tram on the way back, we bumped into Annabel Croft, John Inverdale and the rest of the BBC tennis team. Always been a fan of Inverdale, with his uber-professional, insightful commentaries, but resisted approaching him for fear it may turn into another "Calzaghe" fiasco and I make an absolute tit of myself.
Back to the city and a quick peek at Queen Victoria Market which is a bit like "greaty". Found a gift for Sammy (the rest of you can w*** off) and went on a hunt for new Y fronts, sorry, I mean boxer shorts. Quick session at the gym for Anna to get rid of her "bingo wings" and then back off out.
As mentioned, we have found a number of cool, bars in Melbourne tucked away in backstreets. We can add another to that - the Randy Dragon is well worth a look, with £2 glasses of champagne and also the Toff on the town, which reminded me off the Shipping Forecast.
After a meal at a pasta restaurant yesterday (small portions, big prices) which scored a BJ rating of 2, we headed off to watch a the Murray vs Fed-ex tennis semi at Federation Square. Most of the Aussies seemed to be cheering for Fed-ex, so we headed elsewhere to watch Murray dominate and blast the Swiss poser away. Not normally a tennis fan, but you do get caught up with it in the city.
Back to today, it is Australia Day, which we've never heard off. The problem is that the Aussies don't have much human history (they obviously have a lot more natural history). They seem embarrassed to "celebrate" the fact that the foundations of the country were built by penal colonies and as a result, are reluctant in some quarters to acknowledge their British roots. They should just get on with it and celebrate how far they have come. There have been a few parades, a flyby by some planes, some BBQs and entertainment in the city. There were fireworks tonight which were good, but its been a bit of an anti climax. Was hoping someone would wish me a "happy Australia Day" so I could give them a blank look.
After changing attire earlier, I was dripping in All Saints gear and ready to party. Anna didn't look too bad either. Had a nice Thai meal at Cookies (good shout by Vanessa) and a BJ rating of 4 and now we're in a bar overlooking the river, just chilling matey, just chilling.
Off to Port Melbourne and Bayside over the next few days. Until next time ....