About a month ago I was lucky enough to be part of something really fantastic. Before I tell you what it was, I have to give you a bit of background or it won’t really make sense. I play in the Melbourne Ukulele Kollective’s Ukulele Big Band. Daggy, I know, but fantastic fun and life is far too serious not to have fun when you can.
About six weeks earlier we had been contacted by a young man who wanted to book us for a gig. That gig took place on a Wednesday night – rehearsal night – and involved the band playing while he proposed to his girlfriend.
With twenty or so ukes playing “From little things, big things grow”, this young man got down on one knee and asked his girlfriend if she would marry him. Do you have any idea how hard it is to play and sing when you can’t stop your eyes from leaking? I know I’m a softy, but it was seriously one of the sweetest things I’d ever seen.
Long live romance! (I was too busy to take a pic on the night, but the next day I saw these tulips and they seemed like a fitting tribute.)
The corollary to this story is, I believe, that they won a holiday to Hawaii in a radio station competition, because of the fantastic proposal! And what better place than Hawaii for a honeymoon when the proposal was accompanied by ukuleles?!
It has been raining on and off over the last 24 hours, for what seems like the first time in weeks, and last night Meg and I couldn’t resist getting out in it and going for a walk. Here she is with her new umbrella – bought weeks ago but only getting its first use.
The drought has meant that even Winter was very dry, although it started out with promise. Now at the start of Spring, Melbourne’s water catchments are still only just over 39% full and stage 3a water restrictions have just been confirmed for the remainder of the year.
Bucketing water out from the shower and the washing machine will ensure that everything remains alive, but comes at the cost of ‘bucket back’ and splashed floors. I’m not complaining – three minute showers have become long enough (any longer seems like a terrible indulgence) – just noting the changes from the way we used to do things. As long as I can keep the garden alive it is worth the extra effort, particularly as the vegie garden really gets going with the summer crops.
While I’ve been preparing the garden for the new season, it has been fun to watch our dogs play. One of them – Cher – has only been with us for eighteen months, and although she is six and a half, had never been allowed to roam around in a garden before coming to us. Her first home saw her kept as a trophy – only allowed out of her trolley to eat or go to the toilet – and harrassed by her owner’s son and his dog. Her second home was back in the breeder’s kennel and although she was well looked-after, she was kept in a pen and not as a pet.
With us, she spends hours exploring the garden and chasing the doves away, and thinks that vegie patches are great places to investigate – especially once blood and bone is added to the mix! At the end of the day, she even gets to sleep on the bed. What more could a dog ask for?
Today I’ve had time to think about just how lucky we are in Australia.
While I was shopping at Cardamone’s – one of Melbourne’s best delicatessens – and luxuriating in the choice of fantastic produce they have on offer, I heard the news that the protests in Burma have turned violent. With up to five people having been killed and bloggers breaking the law and risking years in jail by using their mobile phones to capture video and still images of the protests, the right to disagree with our government seems more like a responsibility, and one we shouldn’t take for granted.
I don’t want Blogday to be a political commentary, but the point of this project is to document a year using a mobile phone camera. Let’s hope that we are never subjected to something that is so life-threatening or so heavily regulated that clandestine images taken with our phones become the only means of letting the world know what is happening here. In the meantime, spare a thought for those in Burma.
Today the city was full of people. A protest march against the Work Choices legislation saw as many as 25,000 people walking through the CBD and bringing city traffic to a standstill, and a concert celebrating Saturday’s AFL grand final meant that Fed Square was packed like a tin of sardines (mostly by young Australian Idol groupies). Fortunately, we had caught the train in, rather than driving, as parking would have been impossible to find.
Our mission (Meg’s and mine) – to get the the City Library for their book sale – was almost thwarted by the crowd. Sweeping us along in their wake, it was almost impossible to break free at Flinder’s Lane.
The book sale was worth braving the crowds – 28 books (at $1 each) found their way home with us. Maybe it’s trivial of me to be thinking about a book sale when thousands of people are fighting for our rights at work, but I’ve never been a ‘joiner’. I’ll vote with my feet at the election – when they eventually tell us when it is going to be!
Lunch was steamed beef dumplings and red bean-paste buns at Camy Shanghai Dumpling and Noodle restaurant, in Tattersall’s Lane, just off Little Bourke Street. If you don’t know Camy yet, and are ever in the Melbourne CBD near Chinatown, you should really give it a try. And don’t be fooled by the prices into ordering extra – their dishes are generous as well as really tasty, and you will end up with more food than you can eat!
Filed under food, melbourne
It’s Show time again, and Michael, Meg and I spent about 5 hours wandering around on Sunday morning, looking at the crafts and animals, including a firm favourite – the alpacas.
At least, they had been our favourites, with their liquid-chocolate eyes and lashes long enough to put a drag-queen to shame, until today.
Today we totally fell in love with the goats.
I know it sounds silly, but alpacas can be very stand-offish – almost haughty – and although we’ve been inclined to forgive them in the past because they look so beautiful, today they were swept from their pedestal by the very warm and affectionate Boer goats. These goats were actively seeking attention from show visitors, and won our hearts by revelling in having their ears scratched. Apart from the sideways-cat eyes, they reminded me so much of dogs that it was almost comical.
Every year I come away from the show wishing that I had enough land to get chooks and ducks and a ruminant or two to keep the grass down and the neighbourhood kids entertained, and this year was no exception. There are miniature goats – I wonder how they would get along with poodles…
I always know when Spring is really here, because I can’t stay out of the garden. Pruning, weeding, turning out the compost bins – all of these happened on Sunday, and the garden looks so much better for it that it is really satisfying.
While doing all of this, I was sad to note only one worm in two compost bins! Usually at this time of the year there would be hundreds of them in each bin. I don’t know why it is, but I will try to find out before introducing any more to the bins, in case the compost is too acidic for them.
Next on the agenda is getting all of the vegie seeds planted. I’ve decided to dedicate a lot more space to growing vegetables this year. Not only because they taste so much better than cool-stored ones, or because I can grow them organically, but also because I think we need to go back to eating what is in season and homegrown or available locally. Living in the city, it is hard to source directly from growers, so if I grow what I can myself, it will mean that there is less for me to have to find. I’m going to look at bartering with a couple of friends who are doing the same thing, to add variety.
By the look of the fruit trees, and the number of bees visiting them, we should at least have a bumper stone-fruit crop this year, if we don’t get any hail early in the next couple of months, that is.
I saw this beauty last night and fell in love, but it was too dark to take a photo. This morning it was back in the same parking spot, and I couldn’t resist. It looks like a 1955 model Mercury (no, I’m no car boffin, but the internet can be a great help) and was a bright spot on an otherwise overcast morning.
The weather improved, and the day was spent wrestling with getting this blog online as a stand-alone. No luck yet. I’ve decided to write and post images here on WordPress.com in the meantime, in the hope that someone may like to share my photographic diary with me. I feel a bit technologically challenged at the moment, but hopefully I’ll get it sorted soon.
Here is my first post, at last! After planning this project for months, Blogday is finally off and running. This first image was taken on the CityLink toll road, just to the west of the Melbourne CBD. My daughter has always described this sculpture as a giant potato chip, and the red ones that follow as the tomato sauce that goes with them. The storm clouds made it look surreal. The phone on which this was taken is practically an antique by today’s standards, with only a VGA camera, but the images can still be quite fun because of the exceptionally wide angle the lens provides. Two days ago I upgraded to a phone with a 2mp camera and have started to take some photos, so the image quality should get dramatically better once I’ve mastered it. I hope you’ll bear with me in the meantime.