Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Melbourne - Our Home by the Bay

Sue took a walk
to the pier
at Mordialloc.
It's a 10 minute drive from home.
I said, "take a picture with your iPhone"
It was just a perfect winter's day
on the bay.

Wednesday - Where?

Wednesdays I usually post a picture of past travels.
It could be France or Italy.
This one is neither
but reminds me of a French scene.
Is it the names of the proprietors on the wall
of a very defunct building
that made me think this way?

I'm glad that I carry my iPhone with me - its my camera as well as my music collection.

But no! It's not France.
More will be revealed in a day or two.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Melbourne Weekend with Friends

How fortunate is to have friends? Life is richer for it.
We celebrated a birthday with a friend at a Japanese restaurant on Saturday night. I did work at a Japanese Company back in the 70s. Nippondenso made automotive airconditioners, radiators and spark plugs. Being Japanese, we would entertain our customers at Japanese restaurants. Teppanyaki was always the choice - for food and entertainment.

Teppanyaki at Fujiyama with friends.

Our friend whose birthday it was is a close friend from our cycling circles. Ellen and I trained together on the Velodrome during several years in preparation for the World Masters Track Championships in Sydney.
I remember her first experience on the steep bankings of the indoor velodrome but somehow it excited her to  focus on a goal - that's Ellen. Once she gets something in her mind, there's nothing that gets in her way.

Coffee and port is a nice way to finish off a meal.
Surprisingly I did arise early Sunday morning for some cycling exercise (that's what I do) and then back to some finishing touches to the bathroom renovation (SAGA). I had two challenges for the day.
Hang the bathroom mirror and add some items to the wall. I actually did these on the Saturday BUT!!!
Problems arose - the toilet roll holder which for some weird reason I thought Sue said was the towel holder. I thought it looked strange to hang a towel on. Unless you had very long arms, it may have been very difficult to reach the bum paper.
The other disaster was that after carefully measuring the mounting points for the mirror with tape measure and spirit level. I discovered that the mounting points on the mirror were uneven - not my fault........

The mirror is straight (now) - my photo is not.
So Sunday another good friend arrived to help out. It seems that our 80+ year old home started to rest a little in the middle of its foundations. That is that a few (or more) stumps need replacing. So Darren who knows these things insisted on helping diagnose which stumps may need to be replaced. Hes probably 10 or more years younger than me and with more agility coaxed me under the house. Cobwebs and all sorts of nasties were down there but nevertheless there we were. Yes - stumps need to be replaced and that's just another future job on the list for the future.
It's good to have great friends, isn't it?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Melbourne - 17 Levels Up

During the week I had an appointment with Victoria Police - NO! It wasn't for any misdemeanor on my part. The organisation is a customer of mine. When I arrive I use the multi-level car park and on this occasion I had to go up to the 17th level to find a spot. When I parked and went to to front of the car I discovered I had a great view of the western CBD and across to the newest development of Melbourne called Docklands.

Melbourne now extends to the old wharf and railway areas where we have a huge sporting arena and both commercial and apartment development. It not my cup of tea but interesting to view from 17 levels up.

Looking down from 17 levels of car park.

The old railway sheds have been renovated and used for public use these days as has the old wharf warehouses.area.
A view of the area in the 1880s (Wikipedia)
Trams add to the streetscape of Melbourne's CBD. The network extends to the Melbourne's suburbs.
The docklands area in the 1920s looking from the west to the city (Wikipedia)
Time to go to work now so have a great weekend and we'll see what we can come up with for Monday morning.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Week in Toscano 2006

From Rome it was off to our one week stay
in Monticchiello.
Barbara was waiting at the hilltop village gates.
The village sits looking towards Pienza,
between Montepulciano and Montalcino.

Next year we hope to return in October.
Siena, San Gimignano and Florence.
Hello again.

The only way in to Monticchiello

Teatro Povero di Monticchiello
For more than twenty years the company of the Teatro Povero of Monticchiello; a village perched on one of the hills surrounding Pienza, stages a particularly interesing experience of life and culture.
The local inhabitants, in fact, from the last week in July for almost all of August give their daily performances in the main square. The drama enacted is written directed and staged by them alone, who also create the music and scenery.
During the past few years the performances "recited" in the typical Val d'Orcia dialect; have been divided in two parts, the first enacting experiences of peasant life during the first half of the 20th century, the second dramatising themes of current events.
The theatrical experience of the people of Monticchiello though having had a popular or folk origin has become a significant example of "making" theatre in Italy enjoying public acclaim and critical approval. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Pondering on the Future

Searching for a place to call home

If you read "Melbourne - Our Home by the Bay" then you've probably noticed that we've been doing a bit of work on the house and also been taking some long weekend trips. What's behind all of this?

Well! We are looking at alternative lifestyles for our future years of retirement. Reading other people's blogs, we see many moving from their homeland to other corners of the planet. We are not that adventurous and besides, we live in a great country. Sue seems to be constantly looking at real estate on the Web and there's some interesting opportunities. Melbourne now has a population of 3 million and even though we live on the Bay which is like a great green belt but blue, the area is becoming more densely populated.
Many apartments are going up and that means more people and more cars. We've been here for over 30 years and the changes are both good and bad in our eyes. With the apartments comes a more transient population. Mentone has lost that village feel it once had. The friendly hellos are not so frequent.

That village feel is something we have discovered in our long weekends away. You may remember we spent a week in Launceston, Tasmania and although it had a population of 100,000, people took the time to chat.
It has a good range of homes, both modern and historic within our budget.

$435,000 in Trevallyn, Launceston
Launceston sits on the banks of the Tamar River
We also took a day trip down the road from Melbourne to Warragul to look at a house Sue saw on the Net. I have cycling friends in Warragul, and they have a small cycling culture that would help us blend with the locals. Warragul is a farming district with the Baw Baw mountain range to one side and rolling hills to the coast on the other. It does have a smaller population of around 13,000 and is about an hour and a half from Melbourne so its not too far to visit friends for the day.

$515,000 at Warragul and there's lots of new homes going up. The town is probably no more than a 90 minute drive to Melbourne these days.
Like Launceston, Warragul also has a great cycling culture and there are several members of the local club that I'm friends with.
More recently we enjoyed a long weekend at Warrnambool where we took in a bit of whale watching, looked at the local cafe and restaurant scene - very nice too. It's probably a bit less than a 4 hour drive from Melbourne. With the great southern ocean at your doorstep, the views are fantastic.
$365,000 in Warrnambool - seems like a bargain.
Warrnambool is by the sea which is a big plus for Sue and has a population of  35,000 so it's not too small and  has the amenities of a larger regional town.

Although not Sue's cup of tea, both Ballarat and Bendigo are great regional cities, Bendigo has always been a favorite of mine for years. We've spent long weekends in both and probably Bendigo has more to offer with the amenities. Build on gold, its architecture dates from the 1850s, Bendigo hosts many fine exhibitions and theatre. Again it has a great cycling culture and some of the best track cycling meetings draw crowds in the thousands with International riders competing in the Bendigo Madison each year.

Bendigo in the 1890s 
This very modern house in Bendigo is listed at $525,000.
However this one did catch my eye at $1,9M but I don't think the budget would stretch that far.

Regardless, we still have a couple of years up our sleeve - besides, there's much more sprucing up of our 1929 Californian Bungalow to be done before we have to decide on another place to call home.
Interesting times ahead.

We just heard from our son Mitchy and he's just posted on his blog on the first few days in India. You can find it on the side bar.
It's titled "BEST and WORST"

Thursday, July 18, 2013

We had rain today in Melbourne

We live in the area that is between Moorabbin and Carrum on the bay. I was at work when it came in but Sue said that the dark colours parted as it reached our home - I'll call her Moses from now on!

Anyway from our last post we mentioned that Mitchy our son had left for India. He has a blog - yes I know, I'm a bad influence.
So if you want to travel with Mitchy to India and South America - become a follower.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Boy has Flown the Coop

Yes, our youngest is off again to explore the world
I wonder where he inherited this wonderlust for travel.
India and South America for the next four months.

Mitchy - that's him to the right
with Tom his mate to the left
left, right - right, left.
Mates since primary school.

Met Tom's Mum and Dad in Paris a few years back.
Knew them much earlier but it seemed like a good idea
to catch up in Paris a few years back.
Relationships and travel make for a good life.

Sorry but we are feeling a little melancholy.
Big house - just the two of us,
and the port bottle is empty...

Keep safe young fellas

Sunday, July 14, 2013

We've Been Doing Stuff

We've Been Doing Stuff so the bathroom renovation was going slowly or should I call it the bathroom saga. What has been slowing me down you may well ask....
Well, Sue keeps taking me away on weekends to watch whales, look at retirement towns and of course there's the Tour de France which starts at 10.00 pm and finishes at 2.00 am. It leaves very little time for the bathroom saga.

The blind you see has always been there and always will be. It was made by a dear friend  who is no longer with us.
Its part of her memory in our home.
My photos don't do the finished result justice if I do say myself - I actually feel quite proud although some of the  minor defects do annoy me but somehow go unnoticed by others.
I still need to install the glass panel shower screen but I have a glazier do that job.
The other outstanding job to complete is to hang the art deco mirror on the tiles behind the vanity.
There's also the new light fitting and towel rails - oh, yes - and the toilet roll holder.
BUT, this weekend we see the light at the end of the tunnel. Those final finishing touches happened this weekend. The last of the painting was finished and the only things to be done now are fitting the mirror and the shower glass to the bath. We are on the home straight.

More importantly is that we take our 25 year old son Mitchy to the airport on Tuesday for his flight to India and then off to South America. We'll be very sad to see him off but at least the bathroom will stay tidy until he returns. In fact both our sons return home in November. Andrew has been studying in England but spending time in Germany returns home at the same time so I guess we'll have a real family Christmas this year.

Ooops, it's 10.00 pm and Le Tour coverage is about to start - talk next Wednesday with another glimpse of Italy.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Circus Maximus - Wednesdays in Italy

My son Andrew decided on a jog around Rome - it was 2006, he met us there.
The jog took us along the Tiber and through the relics of the Forum.
Turning back towards our apartment in the Campo de Fiori,
we passed by a park that once was,
Where chariots raced - I sat in awe of what once was,
on the very same spot where the people of Rome
watched chariots race over 2300 years ago.

My photo from 2006
A replica showing Rome of the era.
A photo from Wikipedia 1978

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Red Berets, Yellow Balloons and a Polka Dot Tandem.

Red Berets, yellow balloons, French songs from a live musician and a polka dot tandem made for a very enjoyable night with good friends.

Saturday night was to meet with friends and welcome Le Tour to the first mountain stage in the Pyrenees. Our local restaurant/cafe "Malt" was the venue and our host, Andrew put on a great meal and the organisers of the night ensured that everyone had a great time. The big screen was tuned in to direct coverage however Sue and I decided that as it would not finish until after 1.00 am, home would be the best place to fall asleep.

Our live music, big screen, polka dot tandem and yellow balloons.
Red berets seem to be the most popular choice for the night.
French wine and the tri-colors.
This was my little addition to the table - Renaults, cyclists and the red, white and blue Effiel  Towers.
A chocolate Effiel Tower with tri-colour Macarons for desert.
Are you watching the Tour de France and if you are there beside the road in France, wave. I may still be awake in front of the tellie.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Wednesdays in Italy

Ionic - Doric - Corinthian
A Classical Order

Sue and Leon in Italy 2006 looking out from the Pantheon