This is an amazing city, that on an ordinary Friday I can stroll down Southbank for a quiet coffee and ‘me’ time, then attend a morning concert (Different Perspective)
and immediately thereafter go to the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria), recognised as a world class gallery filled with stunning works. To say nothing about the wonderful water wall which is an attraction in itself
On this occasion Jackie and I went to browse the Triennial exhibition.
Which was an adventure into a fantasy land that had us lost and amused and bemused for several hours
until the lure of a late lunch (very late) was too strong to resist.
So we ambled down to the river and sat and munched and marvelled at our
Crazy, Bizarre, Appealing, Enchanting:
Yayoi Kusama – not sure why, but we had fun
Dutch are collective, We Make Carpets
was AMAZING, pool noodles, washing sponges, felt strips
Random, crazy, quirky,
Hahan (I think) Javanese
We loved this giant carpet,
with mirrored ceiling
and people enjoying ‘the countryside’
Alexandra Kehayoglou (Argentina based)
Someone buys them,
Works of art in their own way
Guo Pei (Chinese Born)
Intriguing – Ron Mueck
And one of the best parts:
Everywhere people engaged, absorbed, participating.
I had decided a long time ago that I would never pay to hear/see any of Wagner’s works. I apologise to the aficionados who ‘get him’; I mean no offence. But 15 hours for one work; too long; too loud; too many high notes; too much for me.
So it was with some chagrin and surprise that I found myself at a concert on a Friday morning (yes I have joined the ranks of the ‘seniors’), having bought a ticket to hear my beloved Beethoven, only to discover that before him, I would be listening to Wagner.
You would not have guessed it from the advertisements
So, several firsts for me today:
Real live Wagner performance
Payed for that Wagner performance
Seated alongside the orchestra instead of in front.
And after an amusing introduction by Sir Andrew Davis outlining the opera (which takes some doing!!!) we sort of understood that we would be hearing part of Gotterdammerung: Act 1 – Dawn Music and Siegried’s Rhine Journey – see even the names are long and ‘loud’ and
So it began.
And I was totally mesmerised
By the pattern
By the flow
By the enormity
By the complexity
By the sound of Wagner.
and all too soon it ended.
Admittedly there were no voices, only the large orchestra and I was so close I could read the music of the harpists below me – so it was visually fascinating too.
Just maybe, I will give Wagner another ‘go’ one day.
In the meantime I shall continue to delight in the familiar accessible glorious majestic tones of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto which was the finale.
And NEVER disappoints.
Yes, that’s what I said, saddles. They go onto the backs of horses.
Ever thought about them? Well of course not, nor had I until last week.
Like chicken breasts from the supermarket, saddles, just ‘were’. How many of us think about the size of the chickens that offer us these juicy large breasts – when I did, I baulked at the thought that they may be the size of dogs!!!!!
So why would we think about a saddle? No reason of course since we don’t eat them, and most people don’t go near them in day to day life.
Except I am not not on of the ‘most people’ having decided well into my 60’s that I shall learn to ride. Which means sitting in most instances on (in?) a saddle. Still I gave it (the saddle, not the horse) little thought – it just Was.
Some saddles rubbed me in uncomfortable places, some buckles chaffed and left reminders long after the ride was over, but mostly they just came with the territory.
Until I changed my territory and went on a fabulous trail to the High Country (blog to follow: HiddenTrails,Globetrotting.com.au) where I met a Saddle Maker. Not just ‘a saddle maker’ but Peter Horobin and his daughter Marlee who make saddles which are sent all over the world; these are ‘bespoke’ saddles – think Kate Middleton Duchess of Cambridge and her bespoke dresses and you get the idea.
Peter was amazing, teaching us about the muscles and bones around the shoulder of the horse, how saddles impinge or don’t on their movement, how poor mounting (climbing into the saddle for my non riding friends the wrong way) can bend the tree.
Yup, its okay I also didn’t know what he was talking about and heard the voice of a rather dumb naive blonde (that would be me) ask what on earth he meant. Turns out a tree isn’t what we were seeing all around us, but rather part of the saddle, a foundational part in fact.
And of course there was a next step – a visit to his shop/workshop/sanctuary/creative studio which I did today after my third only riding lesson put on the Mornington Peninsula.
And what a wonderland of energy, passion, skill and hospitality. The saddles – there are SO many different types, every one hand made, so many colours, so many uses, so many textures, it was like entering Aladdin’s cave, an abundance of smell, touch, leather, style and confidence.
I wished I had a horse so I could indulge myself with a saddle.
Instead I got to polish the saddle being shipped to Western Australia to Carla – a special new friend, with whom we rode in the High Country.
Envious I am of those that ordered saddles – they are getting works of art
Polishing Carla’s Saddle
And I had NO idea that a saddle could be such a special, wonderful creation – I thought only quilts fell into that category – another lesson learnt.
I have recently become a ‘footie tragic’. It all began with watching my friends (quite a few of them it as it happens) who over the years have donned their yellow and black and madly cheered and cursed their beloved Richmond Tigers. I did not ‘get it’ thinking them slightly odd ; and then this year I did (get it)
And for the moment, I too am caught up in the excitement that is Melbourne in Grand Final Week. Even to wearing a scarf. You bet it is yellow and black. And I mean Wearing it, all day, every day, to Park Run (I was not alone) to the shops, (I was not alone), to the grand parade, walking Coco; watching TV. And everywhere complete strangers become friends as the yellow and black unites us.
Founded in 1885 Richmond is a very ‘old’ club with its own railway station (well almost) The club has not won a premiership since 1980 – which in football terms is a very long time. Every time I read up on Richmond there is a different reason put forward for the remarkable passion the Richmond followers have for their team; from the age of the club to the club song (which is very catchy); to the colours to this to that 😂 so it would appear, no one is quite sure why. But there it is, Richmond fans are loyal and fanatical.
Whatever the reason, when the state declares a public holiday and Richmond is now in the finals, one just HAs to go to the grand parade in the city. Apparently 150 000 other supporters also HAD to go.
We travelled in by train – together with families of all shapes and sizes, single tragic supporters, couples, – the train was packed; standing room only. And so the fun began.
Melbourne put on its best face, the sun shone, but not too strongly, the wind blew, but not too briskly, the crowd moved, but not too quickly and we just smiled and allowed the throng to take us with it. A stop for a coffee gave us time to watch the world go by and then on to the parade.
We could see nothing of The March – we just weren’t tall enough with the crowd so deep. It didn’t matter.
The people, families, couples, singles, everyone willing their team to win, everyone soaking up the weather, the city, the energy, the glorious atmosphere that is Melbourne.
Our stomachs were calling us to fuel them, and we looked for a table – there were hundreds, all taken. Resourceful Jackie found us a corner and amongst scores of yellow and black clad diners, we shared a lovey paella, talked about everything football and non football; and wandered home, weary but so grateful to be in Melbourne at Grand Final time.
Home made supporters – so special
All that remains is to survive the actual match, families meeting in so many different places and ways. Some 120 000 lucky enough to be at the MCG, some at home, in hotels, in pubs, the city is Pumping with energy as we wait for our team to….. well that’s the question – win or lose? Time will tell.
While on a visit to London earlier in the year I found The Globe theatre closed.
Surprise surprise – it turned up in Melbourne.
Using meticulous research including sketches like this (Czech artist Hollar -1630) one of London, together with archeological reports on the dig of the first Globe these innovative (and brave) New Zealanders created this replica.
Their dream was to see Shakespeare’s work performed in its original space, to build the worlds first full scale temporary working replica of his theatre; fill it with a festival of his masterworks and share it with as many people as possible.
And so it was that Claire and I went to see what the fuss was all about. Aside from the fact that a walk through Melbourne’s stunning gardens to reach the theatre is a treat in itself, the Pop Up Globe is enchanting; the actors quite amazing, the energy exhausting and the desire to see another production strong.
Melbourne still sparkles ❤️❤️
ps. No fruit was thrown, but rain fell – all adding to the atmosphere – almost like being in England!!!!
I had heard about park runs for quite a while. Friends of mine all loved it and ‘did’ it and talked about it. But these friends were sociable beings, always doing things in groups, super fit, good runners, supremely confident. Me? Don’t be crazy, I’m old, unslim (such a word? – there is now)and not all that good in ‘group activities’ so I stayed away.
Until I didn’t… reluctantly and nervously I succumbed and joined J at Jells Park at 8am.
I had no idea what to expect, what to bring, what to do, take my car keys, bring water, leave my jacket where?
This is a volunteer run community group showing people working together at its best. The welcome so genuine, the smiles so easy, leave your jacket here, its perfectly safe. A short chat to congratulate milestones (50 runs etc), brief chat for the newcomers and then we were all off.
A bell is rung and the front runners who had already run who knows how far before joining our run. This was a very serious time trial for them as they took off like the proverbial bats. They are remarkable as without fail I notice each week, they arrive at the finish line as I begin my second lap. There are mums with new borns in prams; family groups; a grandpa and his young granddaughter – who hold hands the entire route. I am not sure who is supporting whom, but this will be one of those remarkable memories for her that will bind them forever. There are young children and old ladies – me amongst them, and old men. Everyone out and doing the best they can, and no one cares whether it is fast, slow, sprinting, jogging or walking. It is the spirit of being out.
And Jells never disappoints – whatever the weather, it is a special place.
After the first run – followed by yummy coffee with new friends, I was hooked. And so is my special four legged friend who has run it with me every week since then.
I thank my fit, supremely confident, group movers for persuading me to join you. I thank the park runners and volunteers ( everyone puts their hand up to volunteer at some time or other)
And I shall now look for Parkruns wherever I travel. They have appeared all over the world, Swellendam in the Cape, the Drakensburg, Ireland, UK. and the rest As if I needed an excuse to wander the planet……