Tag Archives: melbourne

Drizzle; Precipitation; Rain. Whatever you call it, boy is it welcome!

rain drops hang from the windchimes

It is finally raining !

After having had something in the order of 0.2mm of rain for the year to date (compared to our usual 77mm), and after the record temperatures and devastating fires of early February, today Melbourne is wet and cold.

It is delicious – cold enough to make you want to put on your favourite hoodie (I have), and run to the shop for a new umbrella (will do this later), and to feel happy sitting inside, drinking hot cups of tea.

img_0333-web

The rain is refreshing everything –  giving the garden a welcome drink as well as washing the petals clean of the soot and dust of the past month. I heard a whisper, too, that the fire-services are hopeful that this cool, wet weather spells the end of the fire season for this year. We can only hope…

Our hearts go out to them, and to everyone who has been touched by the fires.

img_0331-web

This brave little avocado tree –  a Christmas present to my husband that we planted on B0xing Day – is making a valiant effort to recover, having lost nearly all of its leaves during the heatwave, and having had to be protected by a portable beach shelter for the last three weeks.

You have to wonder, with the way that the drought is going, if it will ever really end. I heard someone from the Bureau of Meteorology speaking on the radio last week, and was depressed to hear him ask the same question. As he said, we are in un-charted territory: the drought has gone on twice as long as ever before; we’ve had the highest temperatures ever recorded and the lowest rainfall for this period since records began being kept. We can only wait and see, I guess…

Sorry about that; I didn’t mean to get depressing. To lighten the mood,  I have another couple of unrelated pictures to share with you.

These were taken at the Melbourne two weeks ago when we went to the zoo for a wander. By sheer luck, we were in time for a ‘keeper’s talk’ at the giraffe enclosure.

img_0318web

This giraffe (above), with the very long tongue and a taste for carrots, was born at Perth zoo, and was made famous by the photograph below (he was the little one):

 giraffe

Now he lives at Melbourne Zoo and has fathered a number of babies of his own.

img_0311web

This meerkat isn’t famous, as far as I know, but it was very cute as it stood sentry.

Stay safe and well – and if you are in Melbourne, enjoy the rain!

Leave a comment

Filed under animals, melbourne

Canon SX110IS and great kids make for a happy New Year

img_0055-web

Where ever you are – Happy New Year to you (albeit a little late).

I hope you had a good (and safe) time, and that 2009 brings you much happiness and satisfaction.

We (M & I) spent New Year’s Eve on the grassy bank bordering Birrarung Marr, watching the fireworks with Meg and five of her friends.

We thought we were brave taking six fourteen and fifteen year-old girls into town, where the crowd numbered in the hundreds of thousands, but they were a real delight – all skipping along arm-in-arm and having a lovely time. The worst problem we had was keeping up with them as they practically ran through the crowd!

img_0066-web

These (obviously hand-held) photos were taken with my Christmas present – a Canon SX110IS compact. I’m in the process of putting it through it’s paces, and must say that I am impressed so far. A (largish) pocket-sized camera with the equivalent of a 36 – 360mm lens and everything from fully auto to fully manual control is hard to beat, and Canon’s menus are consistently easy to navigate, making it easy to take advantage of its many features. I think it performed really well under difficult circumstances – I mean, who would try to take photos of fireworks without a tripod?!

Just wait til you see the photos of the hippos at Werribee Open Range zoo…

Leave a comment

Filed under melbourne

The Audreys at the Dream Festival

The audience watching The Audreys perform

One of the things I did while I was absent from the blog, was attend the Dream Festival held in Birrarung Marr in early October.

river-sculptures-2

river-sculptures-1

It was a beautiful day and The Audreys – one of my favourite bands – were playing. I’d never seen them live before, and they did not disappoint: they were every bit as good live as they are on their albums. Combined with the atmosphere you get from seeing a band on stage, their performance was a real treat.

The Audreys on stage, with Taasha playing the melodica

Taasha’s vocals were at their delicate best, and I got to see her playing both the melodica and the ukulele as they performed a mixture of songs from both albums. (If you’ve read Blogday before, you’ll know how much I love the ukulele and will understand why I was so excited about her playing one.) For me the highlight of the show was Banjo & Violin . The first verse applies to me so well, with my foray into country music over the last couple of years, that it makes me laugh.

Taasha Coates from The Audreys, stands at a microphone singing

For me, they sum up what I love in music at the moment – they’re local (as in Australian); their music sits across a number of styles that I love (folk, country, rock and pop), and they play a great range of instruments: ukulele, banjo, double bass, violin. Aaah – heaven!

Looking down the Yarra River towards Princes Bridge

As an added bonus, I caught up with someone I hadn’t seen in 22 years – one of my best friends from my university days. She was there listening to music and taking photos as well. I smiled at her as she walked towards me through the crowd, recognising that she was a kindred spirit (with the camera and everything), only to then recognise who it was that I was smiling at! The most bizarre thing of all is that we both have daughters named Megan!

Leave a comment

Filed under melbourne, music

Bill Bailey at Hamer Hall

 

Last Saturday night, when we were in town to see Bill Bailey at the Arts Centre, Grand Final fever was in full swing. There were people EVERYWHERE, in different stages of euphoria or despair. I didn’t consider the fact that it would be Grand Final day when I booked the tickets, but it wouldn’t really have mattered, because nothing would have stopped me in any case.

And it was SO worth braving the crowds – he was amazing (unlike my photographs, but this is the ongoing disappointment of trying to take pictures of gigs without the proper equipment, so we won’t dwell on it here). Needless to say, I’m looking at investing in a compact camera with a good zoom on a fast lens – maybe a Panasonic Lumix, because of their Leica lenses – for just this situation. Until I’m well known enough around the venues to be able to get away with taking my DSLR, that is… Oh well, I can dream, can’t I?

With his last show on in Melbourne tonight , I’m not going to give anything away other than to say that he includes local content that will have you in the aisles (can you say bogan?); plays a Theremin incredibly well (though you probably knew that already), and through the show swapped between it, an electric piano, a synthesizer, acoustic and electric guitars, a mandolin and a didgeridoo.

His story-telling is reminiscent of Billy Connelly’s meandering style, although with a more political bent, and his musical ability is staggering. The show was two hours long, not counting a twenty minute intermission, and during his time on stage he took us on a world tour through political commentary and his natural curiosity. Power companies, political leaders and tv shows all copped it, as did the Geelong Football club…

Speaking of which, I’m never going to be able to watch Friends again without thinking of Bill Bailey, though I can’t look at him without thinking of Manny in a shepherdess’s costume in the “Big and Beardy” magazine , so it only seems fair!

Leave a comment

Filed under melbourne, music, photography

The lovely Shirley Davis

In the centre of Melbourne, on the 15th floor of an ordinary office building, lies a hidden treasure – the Blue Diamond Club.

The views from the club are extraordinary, as you can see…

 

The sights and sounds inside the club on a Sunday night are pretty amazing, too, when you get a band like Grand Wazoo performing. In the intimate space formed by the glass-walled penthouse club, the effect can be like having the band play just for you.

I was excited to hear them perform – enjoyed dancing to them more than a little – and was blown away by the vocals of Shirley Davis, shown centre stage at the microphone, in these (poor and grainy) pictures.

2 Comments

Filed under melbourne, music

Random things

The ceiling near the cinemas

Here are a few random images I’ve taken over the last week or so. This first image is of the ceiling at Northland Shopping centre, in the open space at the foot of the escalators that lead up to the cinemas: an unexpectedly creative ceiling and one that is easy to miss. I mean, how often do you stand around at the shopping centre, gazing at the ceiling?!

This second image has appeared recently on the wall of an old garage in Fairfield, at the northern end of the shopping strip. I like the fact that whoever painted it, used a rectangular hole in the wall (made by a missing brick,  perhaps?) as the mouth.

Another fun bit of graffiti - this time in Fairfield.

This morning when I walked past, someone had put a stick in it, so that it looked like it was eating.

My next image is another one of the shot tower at Melbourne Central.

In black and white you can really concentrate on the strong lines and contrasts. This was taken coming up the escalator from the station.

 

Finally, a detail shot of the carved paving at Federation Square. When the light hits it at an angle you can see all the carving in great detail, providing yet another focal point to consider. The more time I spend there, the more I discover and the more I like.

Leave a comment

Filed under cool things, fairfield, melbourne, photography

Birthday treats

Mecca Bah, Docklands

With Michael’s birthday last Tuesday, and him busy at an evening class (learning Blues Harmonica), we decided to celebrate yesterday (Good Friday) by going to Docklands for lunch.

It’s hard to imagine how – after the heatwave that has just finished – we could want to be inside to be warm and out of the wind, but it was so chilly and gusty down by the water, that that was exactly what we wanted. Fortunately, Mecca Bah – the restaurant of choice – was open and able to accommodate us. They seated us by the window overlooking the harbour, and proceeded to woo us with their Middle Eastern inspired menu and decor.

The food was very good, with the Spicy Lamb and Pinenut Boureks a favourite, but the real highlight of the day was our waiter. His memory was phenomenal and his attention to detail, exemplary, making the meal a real treat. It is nice to see that really good service is still around; I’m only sorry I didn’t ask his name so that I could give him a better plug, here.

Mecca Bah #2

The other reason for choosing Docklands for the celebration, was to look at some of the sculptures that have been installed along the waterfront as part of the Contempora Sculpture Award & Festival of Public Arts.

As with any art, the appeal of sculpture is subjective. I only saw a couple of pieces that I liked, one of which is shown below, but regardless of whether they were to my personal taste or not, they did add a bit of interest to the boardwalk that is NewQuay Promenade.

Sculpture #1      #2

Docklands itself was a let-down. It is a while since I’ve been down there, and there has been massive development in that time, but it seems a soulless place overall. The proliferation of high-rise apartment buildings and the dearth of greenery made it seem cold and sterile, and definitely not somewhere I would like to spend a lot of time. Still – restaurants like the Mecca Bah, and the service they provide, will ensure that we pop past occasionally.

2 Comments

Filed under family, food, melbourne

Opportunistic

Hare Krishna devotees

 A trip to town on Tuesday for a dental consultation, saw me minus one molar and with my bank account $450 lighter, but still needing to do some shopping for Meg’s Birthday.

I took advantage of the fact that I was in the city but moving slowly, and took a couple of shots that I’ve been meaning to take for a while – the ubiquitous ‘Giant Pocketwatch’ and ‘Shot Tower’ images.  A troupe of dancing Hare Krisha devotees (above), that was passing as I came down the escalator from one of the arcades off the Bourke St Mall, provided a colourful bonus.

Actually, the Hare Krishnas were particularly interesting to look at this time because of the piano accordian (I’ve never seen one of those being used by them before), and the belt amp and head-set being used by the (apparent) leader – shown back left, in the pale saffron-coloured robe and hood.

The angle of the shot shows the movement exactly as it was – I pulled my phone from my pocket, turned on the camera and snapped the picture as I came down the escalator. I didn’t want to take a chance on missing the shot, or be too obvious about it, so I ‘shot from the hip’, so to speak. I quite like the result, even though it is not a perfect image by any means.

 The Shot TowerAs for the Shot Tower image – it was remarkably simple to capture, especially considering how tricky exposure can be when shooting up towards the sky. Rather than having to take multiple images, or mess around with it in Photoshop, I found that the first shot was exactly what I wanted. Sometimes simple cameras can give the most surprising results.

  The Giant Pocketwatch

3 Comments

Filed under melbourne

Art, not vandalism

More union lane graffiti

When family members from Adelaide visit us here in Melbourne, they often comment on the amount of graffiti around the city. Apparently Adelaide doesn’t have much, though I must say, I’ve never noticed its absence.

Their comments have caused me to look more carefully when I’m out and about, and I’ve got to say that there is graffiti, and then there is graffiti art.

Union Lane, which I’ve spoken about before, has some fabulous artworks, in as many styles as there were artists. I’ve put an example above, and another here:

 Union lane #2I must distinguish here between tagging and more intricate graffiti.  I’m not a big fan of tagging – it seems pointless and destructive – but tags are a far cry from the glorious, multicoloured creations seen all over Melbourne.  To me, lumping these works in with tags, under the heading of graffiti, is wrong on many levels.

As with any art, what appeals to the viewer of a piece of graffiti art is subjective, and very much reflects personal tastes. Regardless of whether or not a piece appeals to me, though, the skills displayed  by these artists, astound me. I am absolutely amazed by the intricacy of the designs that graffiti artists can produce with spray cans.

The photo below is of a building in Collingwood, around the corner from where I used to work. I don’t remember when this particular artwork first appeared, but I do know that I find it very hard to drive or walk past without stopping to look.

 31012008001-copy.jpgThis type of art isn’t to everyone’s taste, but all I can say is that I would take Melbourne’s ‘graffiti’ over another city’s pristine sterility, any day.

3 Comments

Filed under cool things, graffiti, melbourne

Discerning diners.

Sophisticated diners

Last week, walking down Swanston Street, I saw a couple finish their meal and leave their street-side table. As soon as they left, a flock of pigeons descended to finish off the odd bits of rice and vegetable that were still in the bottom of the bowls.

The way the birds (pictured) descended on the abandoned bowls, it looked for all the world like they were going to use the chopsticks. They didn’t, of course, but there were about four birds in the bowl at one stage, and they managed to eat around the chopsticks without even moving them. One bird didn’t bother with the table, but waited hopefully underneath for something to be dropped. Alas, it waited in vain…

1 Comment

Filed under animals, melbourne