Tag Archives: melbourne

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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):

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

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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!

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Canon SX110IS and great kids make for a happy New Year

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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!

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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…

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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