Somebody asked us what we were doing this week and seemed to want an explanation of what our long term plan was. Well unfortunately we had to disappoint them as we only have plans of the short term kind presently. If we had a motto or a mantra or an anthem, which would be amazing, then it would be that we are hoping to be as open as possible to new experiences and adventures. May have to start working on an anthem now.
Tarwin to Frankston
Leaving Tarwin Lower was quite sad as we loved the rural feeling of Marlene’s amazing house and felt that we could have stayed a few days longer. An emotional goodbye followed by some dubious driving got us up to the lovely little town of Torrabin. A coffee stop at the delightful Old Jetty Cafe and Tearooms and a slow meander around the harbour set us up ready to push on to Frankston to return the car. Our new host, Carolyn, had kindly offered to collect us from the rental shop so I needed to give her a quick call. The Thrifty Girl, (can I call her that?) kindly let me use the phone and the call was made. However, as I said thanks and turned to leave she called me back in. The conversation went like this:
Thrifty Girl: Did you know that lady that you just asked for a lift?
Jonno: No, I’ve never met her.
Thrifty Girl: But you just asked her to come and pick you up?
Jonno: Yes that’s right, I did. She’ll be here in 5 minutes.
Thrifty Girl: And you don’t know her?
Jonno: No, not yet.
Thrifty Girl: Where is she taking you?
Jonno: Um …..back to her house.
Thrifty Girl: Her House?
Jonno: Yes, we’re staying in her house.
Thrifty Girl: But you’ve never met?
Thrifty Girl: And you’re both going to stay in her own house?
Jonno: I hope so.
Thrifty Girl: Does she know yet?
And on we went for the next 5 minutes as I tried to explain to Miss Thrifty that we weren’t forcing her to let us stay and we weren’t organised international squatters either. I think she got it by the time Carolyn turned up, but she was watching us as we loaded our bags and headed off. She looked confused.
Carolyn gave us a quick tour of the area and kindly took us to Woolworths (that’s right) for some food shopping before taking us to our new home. They have a fabulous house near Kananook Creek where we had the whole of the upstairs to ourselves. Such a lovely place with so much room to relax and even a bath for Mrs JWalking to relax in. Luxury.
We had decided to have a lazy couple of days so the weekend was spent walking to Frankston and Seaford and exploring the Creek and the nearby beach. A fabulous relaxing time just walking and talking and recharging after our busy week down in Tarwin. The most exciting and earth-shattering news though was that I bought a new pair of trainers. Doesn’t sound that amazing? Ask my boys and girls, they’ll tell you that this never happens ever.
Time for Melbourne
A trip into the city was planned for Monday. Melbourne, or Batmania as it was first named in 1837 by John Batman of the Port Phillip Association, is a huge city of around 4.5 million people. Its Australias second largest and was recently voted the most liveable city in the world. Bet it wouldn’t have been voted first if it had still been called Batmania! It sits at the northern end of the enormous Port Phillip Bay which stretches all the way down to the Tasman Sea. We got the train from Kananook station and then had a surreal journey through Seaford, Chelsea, Cheltenham, Malvern and Richmond before arriving in the city. Map that route out if you can!
Unknowingly we had decided to go to Melbourne on the day of the Melbourne Cup Parade and the city was full of visitors with roads closed and stewards everywhere waiting for the event to start. The Melbourne Cup, being held the following day, is the biggest horse racing event in Australia and they’ve even made it a public holiday. It’s a huge event and the city just goes wild for it. Horses and jockeys and marching bands and everything.
If you’re interested, the winner of the Melbourne Cup turned out to be Prince of Penzance, but the big news was that it was ridden by Michelle Payne the first ever woman to ride the winner. The weather was starting to break so we headed across Federation Square into the Victoria National Gallery where we stumbled on the incredible Hannah Shin playing a piano concert. She was incredible and we stood and watched her play perfectly for ages. Breathtakingly brilliant. As usual I was almost moved to tears.
From there we JWalked the city as usual before entering the impressive State Library of Victoria. Opened in 1856 the library holds two million books, some of Captain Cooks maps, Ned Kellys suit of armour, and the journal of my favourite Australian John Batman (the Bat Diary maybe?). The La Trobe reading room under the Dome was simply amazing and the really great thing about it is that there were hundreds of people actually using the room to work and read in as it had originally been designed.
It’s a Small World after all
Now I probably keep banging on about how meeting people and getting to know our hosts is as important as where we are, but it really is the truth. Our hosts in Seaford are the lovely Carolyn and David and we spent a terrific day out with them this week. We headed off to the nearby Dandenong Ranges and drove up to the quaint town of Sassafras. It may just have become my favourite town name. You can say it with such attitude, Sassafras! Anyway, great coffee, cake and chatting there before moving onto Olinda where Carolyn embarked on some rusty shopping. Sounds crazy but she actually bought an incredibly nice piece of metallic art that came from Bali. Looks great in their back garden. Then came the ‘Small World’ moment.
Can I set the scene? I’m going to whatever you say. There we were, all four of us the Kalorama lookout at the top of the Dandenong Ranges. Looking at the view and taking a few photos. I decided that we needed a group shot and as we hate selfies with a passion I spotted a chap who looked like he might be open to taking the photo for us. As we posed and smiled he recorded the moment for us.
As he handed the phone back he mentioned we didn’t sound like we were from these here parts. Turns out he was from England originally and after a crazy ‘you’re not from Wokingham’ conversation it turned out that Carolyn and the Camera Chaps wife had actually been in the same secondary school class and had the same form teacher! What a small world!
After all the screaming and hugging and ‘all our yesterdays’ chat we set off for a great lunch in South Yarra. No idea what the bar was called but Jo and I shared a fabulous pulled pork pizza. Definitely in our Top Five Pizzas of All Time list now. Immense. Then a bit of an afternoon rest before dinner out together at the local Seaford RSL (Returned and Services League). Fabulous meal where we were joined by our next door neighbour Lexi. Now Lexi had a real twinkle in her eye and I think had a few stories up her sleeve and we spent the rest of the evening chatting and laughing in wonderful Australian company. A real evening to remember.
More Cricket at the MCG
Since our visit to the WACA stadium in Perth Jo has had the cricket bug, thank goodness, so we just had to fit in a visit to the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). Absolutely fantastic is all I can say, so much to see and learn about in a great tour of an iconic stadium followed by a wander round the National Sports Museum which was equally brilliant.
All of these daft stories and little adventures owe so much more to the people that we’ve met than to the actual places we’ve visited. They are the ones that have made it all so fabulous so far.
Cooking with Jonno
Whoa, nearly forgot. The biggest event of the week was undoubtedly my latest culinary creation. After the unqualified successes of my European gastronomic feasts I have been working night and day to create some equally jaw-dropping Oceanic offerings. This weeks triumph was a combination of some meat and some other stuff all lovingly lobbed together and fried, or boiled, or something in a pan (or a bowl or whatever). This incredible fusion of mind body and grub is known as a ‘Frankston Jazz‘. Unbeatable. Indescribable. Cant-get-enough-able. Another triumph………………………………… and I’m working on that anthem.
30.10 – 4.11.2015