15 July 2016

Melbourne trip - pt 2

Parliament House of Victoria, Spring St, Melbourne.
Day 3 - Wednesday - got a tram along the street to Prahran, then took a tram to the left, which ended up Spring St. So we dropped in on Parliament.

Free hugs always.
A short walk on, went to Melbourne Museum with the dinosaurs. This is from the film Jurassic Park. Full scale animated dinosaurs make the noises, and moved around - pretty amazing.

Animated dinosaur staring me down. Pretty realistic!

Day 4 - Thursday, Phillip Island fairy penguins. It was a bit freezing in the rain, sitting on the wooden benches waiting for them to come out. A wave rolled in, then a black bunch tumbled around, then stood up. The wave receded, and voila, there around 10 of them standing together. They swam back, swam in, swam out, then eventually waddled up the sand to the nesting spots.

From the walkway, you could see these penguins quite close up. It's been done well so as not to interfere with them. I hope all these humans aren't having an impact on them. Very cute and amazing.
Melbourne looks very old world European.

Day 5, Friday - We got a tram along Chapel Street, walked around Prahran, had lunch at the markets - a shed like the one in Cagnes sur Mer. Another tram trip, a walk along Botanic Gardens, a skate park stop, Southbank then saw a movie!

Sometimes we were a bit slow getting out of the house.

At the skate park near the city centre, Friday.

Lib, Cam, Marie, Hugh, Angus, Ollie, Ben, Charlie, Rowie, Louis

On Saturday we packed up and left, heading up to Yackandandah. We stopped at a winery where the boys ran around, and we tasted wines, and got a couple of cases. Got to Lib and Hughs where they have a huge swing, a cubby house very high up and a mini hockey field. Cam, Row, Ben, Angus and Mollie the dog kept the boys entertained.

Sunday we played hockey, packed up, and drove drove all the way home, stopping at Vonnie's for dinner, and to meet up with Charlie's family once more.

Can't wait to do it all again!

Melbourne trip - pt 1

During the school holidays we popped down to Melbourne.

Chillin in Chiltern VIC.
It was a long trip so we stopped overnight in Tarcutta in a poxy motel.

The following day, stopped at very historic and well preserved Chiltern. Lunch was in Avenel at a pub - always a good place to wander around, have a bit, and play some pool (see the pic).

Serious sh-t in Avenel VIC.
Melbourne is great. Trams are huge fun, it seems like King Street Newtown for kilometres.

Our home in St Kilda. Just brilliant.

We did a house swap - some strangers stayed in our home, and we stayed in theirs. The home was pretty spectacular, an old townhouse in St Kilda. It had a renovated back end, with floor to ceiling glass two storeys high, and a projector hooked up to an X-box. The boys were in heaven playing Minecraft.

Brighton beach

Day 1 - we went to Brighton beach. Nice views of Port Philip bay.



On the way back from Brighton on the train

We got to Brighton on an old style modern train - single decker, no interior doors.

I popped out for a quick ride in the arvo - St Kilda.


Old Melbourne Gaol

Day 2 - it rained a bit, so we went to old Melbourne gaol, got locked up, sat in on a trial of Ned Kelly then had an ice cream.

Jumping around the gaol walls.

14 July 2016

Souvenirs of our time away, a car, elections

Margaux and Marie -the "before" shot.
I took this photo thinking of Jean Louis and Sylvie, our old neighbours in France. We often popped over for an apero. I sent this photo to tell him that we're waiting for you! And that the shelves were now well stocked for visitors. He sent a photo back with Sylvie holding the olives, saying they'd provide the snacks.

By the way, this is our current nanny, Margaux from France. It must be hard playing games and chatting with the kids every day, but she is a champion, does it well, and the kids really like her.

The new beast with a 2.4m wardrobe in it. Gullllppp!!
The new car is a hybrid that seats 7 people. Marie is relieved to finally have one. I don't really care much one way or the other and would have been happy enough to stay on the car share scheme. It is very handy for spur of the moment trips, and odd evening trips. Marie used to get lifts home from her sister and others, so it's nice to be able to return the favour.

A cheating trip - probably downhill and short. 
We've put about 3000 clicks on it already, but 2 thousand were getting to Melbourne. Our usual consumption is 4 or 5 litres per 100kms, which is really good for the moment. By the time you read this, electric cars, public transport and bikes (please pretty please!!) will be common, and it's probably not impressive to burn this amount of petroleum. Apologies future kids; I did run as a candidate in the Australian Cyclists Party, which would have had cycle networks in our capitals, which would cut a percentage of oil consumption. Anyway...

A Dr. Ruff volunteer smiles. My bike provides our advertising.
So Saturday 2nd July, our PM Malcolm Turnbull, sick of the "feral" senate blocking his dastardly bills, called a double dissolution. I was candidate for the senate in Queensland. We got 10 thousand votes in Qld and NSW, very good, but not enough for a seat anywhere. you need more like 200K or something.

Meredith and Pat at the poll booths for the ACP
Amazing there are so many who see the need for a network of cycleways.  It could transport a decent percentage of people, reduce the load on the health budget, cut air pollution, get kids healthy and active again. Health is one of the biggest spends and rising. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardio vascular disease, all number one causes of death and loading the health budget. All easily resolvable to a large extent with a minimum amount of physical activity.

Action at the polling station, my bike on the right.

The number plate fished out of the River Var.
The final photo here at the bottom is a French number plate that I spotted on the way to work in France. It was on an entire font bumper bar that had either floated down the river, or been thrown in. The bumper looked newish, so I can't explain it. Anyway, about a week or so later, I pulled over on the bike, jumped onto the river bed of stones, and it popped off very easily as the bumper was plastic. And now it's a very unique souvenir of our stay over there.

Important stuff

Louis tests out the plastic koala.
We got a car, so we headed up to the reptile park to clock up some kilometres on it, as we needed to get the service done before heading down to Melbourne. The old beast tends to scream like it's struggling on the uphills, but in general, it rolls like a dream.

Once again the kids had a great time. I realised I'd left my phone somewhere, so called it, and it was sitting in reception 5m away, as it'd been handed in already, bless them. The workers threatend to feed the kids to the snakes etc as per always, and the lazy croc got out of his pond to snap his lunch down. Still can't work out why they have a atuomated spider rapping out a tune at the spider display. A good place to visit!

Always snap happy

When we go to school, if we make it out the door early enough, we meet up with some of Ollie and Louis's buddies, Tom and Emily, their mum Alex, and her dad Wal. Usually we'll walk all 4 of them to school. It's a nice way to get there.

Looking back in the calenday, 19th of June we had Barka's birthday. I remember that. We popped over to King Tomislav's club in St John's Park, just near her retirement home. I should note, the home is excellent. There are loads of people she knows, all meals are cooked for them, and they have outings, plus some religious service every day. It is run by the Croatian Catholics. The community church is on site.

Holly and Charlie give Marie some puzzle support.

Emily and Wal at brekky in the morning.

Since I'm in the shot, Louis must be taking it.

Barka's 80th birthday at St Tomislav's.

Bike rides

We don't bike ride super often. I'd love to a lot more. Here we are on the Cooks River Path and secondly just me and the boys at Olympic Park. That was when Marie was away with her boss Sandy on Hamilton Island in some super fancy resort room with its own pool outside. Not bad. She was away for a whole week. I worked from home, while the tilers did our courtyard again, demanding coffee and tea when it took their fancy. One day I worked from 7am, dropped kids off, finished the afternoon, cooked dinner, cleaned up, hung out some washing, and finished at about 10.15pm. Was nice to have some help again when Marie got back.

Cooks River

The one shot of Olympic Park from Strathfield station.

Louis's birthday!

No need for a big backyard! 3.5m jumping castle.
A very happy birthday to our gorgeous pumpkin, Louis! We put on a jumping castle. I think everyone had a go on that. Louis wanted a "health" party. So there was some activity with the castle. Healthy snacks like veg plus dips. For lunch we all walked down the street (activity is good) and had sushi. It all went pretty good!!

Healthy snacks

Blowing out the candles!

The morning cafe run from school. Justin.
On any evening at home.

Not every Saturday

Here's some pretty pics, and a gushing description, for what it's worth. Classic Terrace in Premier Locale - Occupying a blue ribbon position in one of the finest streets; this grand wide-fronted terrace takes pride of place in a row of 4, exuding (man if it doesn't exude then don't proceed dude) an abundance of character, warmth and classic sophistication.

Boasting a flowing floor plan with spacious interiors and immersed in natural light complemented by high ceilings and period features (bla bla bla) throughout. A fine example of high Victorian craftsmanship and an integral part of historic streetscape, this elegant home is only moments from Norton Street, Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre and many great cafes and eateries. Large rear garden planted and paved to great effect with entertainers pergola and rear pedestrian access. This four bedroom classic home bears all the hallmarks of a distinguished family address with DA approval for future improvement or a prime investment opportunity.

Additional Features
- Wide 5.2m frontage with grand formal rooms
- Four large bedrooms, main with custom built-ins, air conditioning and balcony with leafy outlook.
- Open plan kitchen with gas cooking and adjoining casual living/dining room
- Large rear garden planted and paved to great effect with entertainer's pergola
- Polished timber floors, Ornate Fireplaces, Air Conditioning & Attic Storage
- Classic Period bathroom with separate laundry with extra W.C