Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Queen Victoria Market - Ultimate Foodie Tour

After doing the Prahran Market Tour a few weeks ago, thought it was about time we did a tour of the Queen Victoria Market. Off we went last Saturday for their 11am Ultimate Foodie Tour.  Not having had breakfast, we did arrive at the meeting spot eating (the usual hotdog from the bratwurst shop for Emi and borek for me), much to the surprise of our guide who assured us there would be plenty of tastings.  Emi was sceptical and lets face it there was no way he was going to pay a visit to the QVM and NOT eat a hotdog.  Some things are sacred.

Gorgeous QVM 
The French Shop sells French stuff
Right, so breakfast out of the way and shopping bag in hand, we were on our way.  The tour provides a bit of history on the market and lasts for just under 90-minutes.  We wandered around the various heritage listed market food halls and yep, there were plenty of tastings thrown in. 

Started with a slippery freshly shucked oyster, moved onto Tribal Tastes for some dried bits (didn't do anything for me), then several stops to sample cheeses, cured meats, antipasto and pasta.  Highlights for me was the pasta from the Traditional Pasta Shop and the goodies from The French Shop.  Obviously the marketing teams for these shops (and the Polish Shop next door), stuck to the KISS principal when coming up with a name.  Which is good.  Less confusion and you (sort of) know what you're getting.

And this place sells assorted goodies
The other must have at the QVM is of course a hot jam doughnut from the American Doughnut Kitchen van.   They've been operating here since 1950, and they serve 1000's of people every week with a recipe that has remained unchanged since they started.  I love these sugary little beauties and probably being limited to just 1 was a good thing.  Or not.  Anyway, the line was long and we got a shortcut to the window - woo hoo. 
And the Polish Deli sells Polish stuff

Final stop was for some mulled wine and a fruit platter at ReWine. A very civilised was to end the tour.  

The tours are $69 each and depart at 9am and 11am on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  You get a shopping bag (not as nice as the Prahran Market ones) and a $5 voucher.  Worth it?  It was interesting enough, but I would have like a bit more info on the history of the market, so probably not. Ever on the lookout for a bargain, I got our vouchers through a deal that Red Balloon had that was only $49 for 2 people - so for that price, definitely a bargain for all the goodies we got to taste.

I have since found out that they do a free 10 minute welcome tour for newbies.

We love the QVM.  Spent many days here - especially when we first arrived in Melbourne.  One of my fave stories is of Emi going off shopping with our not-so-trusty purple wire shopping trolley.  Didn't have a car in the early days so the number 8 tram was his chosen mode of transport on the day.  Shopping complete, he arrived at our stop on Toorak Road, and hopped off, carefully carrying the trolley filled with goodies down the step placing it down on the road only to have it burst apart.  Sorry I missed the sight of him trying to chase after escaping oranges and stopping cars so they wouldn't squash his chorizo (a Spaniard would go a long way to stop his chorizo from getting damaged). After retrieving all the renegade items, he had to push the thing home holding it all together.  Several bruised tomatoes, no missing sausages, 1 trolley for repair.  It did last several years after that incident, but has since gone to trolley heaven.

I loved that purple trolley.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Lola and the mystery of the black truffle

That's me - on Bella the Bus
Lola here.  After my last guest post (which was pretty pawfect if you ask me), I've been given another go - with talk of a regular spot!  So today was the day of our Gourmet Pawprints Truffle Hunt.  No idea what a truffle is (the fruiting body of a subterranean Ascomycete fungus),  but hey, it sounds tasty - I'm in.

Up early for a Sunday and off to Port Melbourne - B met us there.  Had a bit of a sniff and greet on the beach, some good butt action going on, and then we got on a great big bus!  I had my own seat and blanket and even a seatbelt.  So once we'd stored our overhead luggage and settled in for some liver cookies, we were off.  This bus thing is OK, I got a huge window to look out of.

After a bit, we stopped and had a bit of stretch of paws and some wees.  We were in Ballan and it was chilly and a bit wet. Had morning tea back on the bus - mum wouldn't give me any of her hedgehog, but the liver treats were tasty.

Next stop, Black Cat Truffles!  Boy oh boy, I love cats of all colours, specially when they run away and I can chase them.  But it was a trick, I could smell other doggy's who lived there, I could smell  chickens that taste great roasted and I could smell this funky pungent, earthy smell that was really strong, but no cats anywhere.   Sniffed around a bit, just to make sure I hadn't missed any black cats that may have been hiding and then we went into this big room where that earthy smell was super strong.  Even stronger than the delicious odour of wet pooch - OMG we smell great wet don't we?
Tricked - no real black (or white) cats anywhere!
The two legs chatted and drank bubbles and then - they left us!  Yep, off they went with a lab named Narla and we had to stay behind.  Wasn't so bad I guess, we sniffed around and me and a couple of my new BFFs thought about hatching a plan to get the delightful, ripe smelling cheese left on the counter.  But we were caught out.

What a smell when the two legs all came back!  Don't know where they had been, but by the looks of them they'd been rolling around in the mud and digging!  So not fair that we didn't get to go.  They even had roo poo on the bottom of their shoes and that smelled super tasty.  More of that wine tasting (give me water anytime) and then we went outside and played a fun game called find the food.  Off we went - it was actually pretty easy (our noses are so superior to yours - no wonder you don't stick them in other peoples crotches when you meet them) and we each got this delicious thing filled with treats and even some truffle!  So that's what they taste like - delicious.  I want some sprinkled on roast chicken, serviced with a side of cheese and liver.

Little red riding hood holding what looks like a poo
Fresh truffles - yep they look like poo
Back on the bus and time for a massage (ooh that felt good - this cold weather plays havoc with my old bones) and a snooze whilst the two legs went to the Farmers Arms in Creswick for a truffle themed lunch.  Mum and B had been drinking bubbles (again) - I could smell it on them.  They made my mouth water talking about the delicious bread (steady on, bread is not delicious) with truffle butter, roasted garlic and charcuteria (more like it), beef short ribs with truffle mash (now we're talking), truffle pasta and dessert.  I kind of lost interest - because what did they bring me?  Nothing, nada, not even a bone to chew on.

A final wee before we snoozed on the way back to Port Melbourne.  Said goodbye to all our new friends, especially the lovely Sharon and Kerry and B of course.  Then we did some walking near the beach until dad came to pick us up.

I'm pooped.  These little legs aren't as young as they used to be.  Was a fun day though, I wanna go again. 

Love and Licks Lola xxx
Us ready to go find food
This is Caesar - he looked funny
Me with my "find"
Mum and me in the Truffiere
Gourmet Pawprints do a fantastic job arranging the day

Friday, 4 August 2017

Warrnambool Whale Weekend - a washout

So why is that we often get sick on holidays?  Now that just sucks.  Last weekend wasn't really a "holiday", but rather a "mini-break." 4 days down in Warrnambool to go whale watching for our 13th anniversary.  Because that's our thing and as flying anywhere was off the agenda this year, local it was to be.  

It had been a busy week, but felt well enough.  Interesting that we're at our most productive the day before we are due to go on holidays.  Set off just before 9am - yay road trip!

Didn't expect to pull over in Colac with Emi clutching his side after a particularly violent coughing fit and certainly didn't expect for that coughing fit to lead us to the Colac Medical Centre.  Pain jab, x-ray, what to do?  We continued onwards to Warrnambool - surely an early night was all that was needed?  Would appear not as the pain returned with a vengeance and we paid a visit to the local hospital.  Lovely place - as far as hospitals go.  Nice doctors, friendly nurses and staff, they got him in quick, poked , prodded, tested and jabbed.  At least the nasties were ruled out.  Not kidney stones, gall bladder or broken ribs.

Loaded up on pain meds and home to bed.  But first came the fever.  One of those bone chilling colds that you just can't get warm from.  That was Emi and bed is where he more or less stayed the whole next day and night as well.  Except for the regular trips to the loo - you see this particular bug gave you the runs as well.  Nasty - diarrhoea and a cough do not go. 

By Saturday afternoon, I'd developed the cough. By Sunday lunchtime, we decided to pack up and head home a day early.  The highlight - we did drop by the whale nursery at Logan Beach and there they were.  The majestic Southern Right whales. Almost every year between June and September, females return to these waters to calve. There were at least 3 small groups and some well within a hundred metres of the shore. So glad we stopped - they are so beautiful and so close.

Made it home and the chills had got to me as well.  Freezing, but with a fever and yep, by Monday, the runs had come along.  Nice.  Going to sit on the loo when you feel a coughing fit coming on - priceless. 

Not quite the way we had envisaged spending our anniversary - giving each other the shits. 

No hard facts, but it seems that it's common for people to fall ill at the beginning of a break.  Apparently high levels of the stress hormone cortisol can be the culprit. Stress leads to higher cortisol levels in the body, reducing the strength of your immune system and leading to illness.

Or maybe we get so busy in the days leading up to holidays that we run ourselves down and don't notice we're a bit off colour?  Then you relax and wham!  Same theory behind Friday Night-is.  You know, you end up doing nothing and going to bed earlier on a Friday night than during the week.

Solution = permanent holiday.  And keep your stress levels down.  Now I'm off to bed to sleep the last lingering remnants of this bug off. 

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A visit to the Manchester Unity Building

My quest to find things to do/see/taste/explore and add to the list, saw B (the Year of Yes going strong) and I being local tourists enjoying brunch and a tour of the Manchester Unity Building (unity, not united and nothing to do with football) on Sunday 23rd July. Yes, that beautiful gothic looking building on the corner of Collins and Swanston Street.

Yep, dessert for brunch and it was delish
Having arrived early, I wandered down Collins Street, which at 9.30am is very quiet on a winters Sunday morning and looked around.  I mean really looked.  So many amazing buildings - maybe not on the grand scale of some European capitals, but really stunning.  And the best thing? Unlike in Europe, you can actually look up and around without too much danger of stepping in dog poo.  All right here on our door step. How lucky are we?

The tour starts in a very civilised manner - with bubbles and brunch at the 1932 Café & Restaurant. The brunch even included dessert - because is it never not OK to finish a meal with dessert? Food was pretty good and the bubbles, well they went down so well, we had to order another round. 

On to the tour. The MUB was built in 1932 and it was the new headquarters of the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), a non-profit friendly society whose noble motto was ‘Friendship, Love and Truth’. Melbourne architect Marcus Barlow was entrusted with the design  and had drawn his inspiration from the 1927 Chicago Tribune Building in the United States.
Those Oddfellows were just that - odd
The most amazing thing is that this building only took 8 months to complete.  After the sub-basement, basement and ground floor were ready, the remaining eleven floors and the rooftop were constructed at the rate of one floor per week.  That's a record that to this date still stands - try getting that past the unions today!

This Gothic style building, was Melbourne’s tallest when completed ( 64 metres, including the tower). The Melbourne Age described it as a ‘Wonder Building’, with ‘every modern convenience for tenants and their clients’. It was built at a total cost of almost £600,000 for land and buildings.
1st floor teeth pulling

The first escalators in Melbourne were installed in the MUB, with 60,000 people riding the magical stairway on opening day.  The beautiful lifts were also a thing of wonder with people asking the lift attendants to slow them down as they were getting dizzy being whizzed up into the sky.
Sadly, although it was a popular and important building it was neglected and in 1996 the building was strata-titled allowing individuals and small businesses to buy spaces.  So it's re-birth commenced.

In 2002 a small dental practice moved in .  Smile Solutions (SS) MD Dr Kia Pajouhesh fell in love with the building and became chairman of the Owners Corporation committee and has had a lot to do with the restoration, refurbishments and upgrades of the buildings common areas and exterior. SS now own 5 levels, the tower, plus 2 of the arcade shops.  No wonder visiting the dentist is so expensive - but at least they have poured money into this beauty.
The Tower and the open rooftop area

Our tour guide was the lovely Chloe who gave us plenty of info as we walked around ooing and aahing at the details.  The rooftop terrace used to be a café and would have been amazing.  Still has great views and has the door to the magical tower.  Thinking of getting some dental work done just so I can actually go in.

They even tracked down and restored the original chairs

Level 11 contains SS office areas, all restored.  But nice to see a few pics of peoples kids and dogs around the desks. The boardroom table measuring almost 6m x by 1.8m at its widest and weighs some 330kg.  The glass top was produced overseas and delivered  through the ceiling as it was too big to fit through any doorways or windows. It has survived all of the building’s refurbishments - too big to move.  Loved the boots that were found in the wall that now occupy a corner of the boardroom.  Apparently it was a common custom on completion to bury workers boots and this pair were found during renovation in the wall.

All up, a fabulous and fascinating tour and we can thoroughly recommend it.  Tours run every 2nd Sunday and you can book in for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea tours.  TICK.
These boots were made for working

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Four Seasons in one day at the NGV

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder (beer holder?). Same must be said for art.  Some people visit art galleries and spend hours in front of a painting or a piece of art, deep in thought, chin in hand.  I'm not sure what they're contemplating (did I turn off the iron, do these jeans make my bum look big), I'm not one of those people.  I mean, I don't contemplate art, my bum in jeans is another story.

That's not to say I don't like art and I have visited my fair share of galleries around the world.  Some because they are famous and I love the building, others are small local galleries and some because you just need to get out rain/sun.   I've seen some amazing pieces and I've seen plenty of crap that just makes you say WTF?  But someone must like it right, so who am I to judge? Art knowledge, minimal. 

The NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) is one of those must sees and over the years we've visited a few times and seen various exhibitions.  It's certainly worth a few hours, just looking at the permanent exhibits.  Today we went to see Van Gogh (the Dutch pronunciation is ‘fun gokh’ but apparently ‘Vahn Goff’ is okay) and the SeasonsApt, as Melbourne is known to have four seasons in one day.  I can't say I knew too much about the artist other than he was Dutch, painted 'The Starry Night' and yellow sunflowers, cut off his ear and shot himself.    

Today was officially the last day, although it has been extended to the end of the week.  So it was BUSY.  Opened at 8am and although we had pre-purchased our tickets, we had timed entry at 10am.  Note to self, go to these sorts of things early on and preferably during the week. 

So what did I learn? He wasn't crazy or a poor, starving artist and although he spent sometime in an asylum, he admitted himself. He painted 850 painting and 1200 drawings - not bad for a ten year career. Apparently he cut off his left ear after a confrontation with his flatmate at the time, the artist Paul Gauguin. I can see it now, "fuck Vincent, I've told you a 1000 times don't leave your dirty brushes in the bathroom sink, you lazy SOB".  And then it just got out of hand and out came the razor. These artistic types are very temperamental.

A depressed, Van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a revolver at age 37 and died from his injuries two days later on 29 July 1890.

As for the art, thoroughly enjoyed it - even if it was only a minute or two at each piece.  Surprisingly I recognised a fair few.   Also surprisingly you could take pictures.  Sign of the times when a sign stated that selfie sticks not permitted.  Also interesting that many people seemed to just take a photo and keep walking.  Art through a mobile phone. 

Following our morning of culture, we had a walk along the Art Centre Sunday market and lunch at Emporium.  Sat right next to Charlie & Co. Burgers and DID NOT EAT ONE.  Even though they are on the list.  Was I sick? Nope, had burgers last night (new burger place in Hampton - Top Burger), so thought two in a row might be a bit much.  Noodles I had were good, but should have had the burger. 

An enjoyable winter Sunday.

Monday, 3 July 2017

A day out with Jordan and Jason

Kids these days have heaps of toys, so what to "buy" Jordan and Jason for their 6th birthday? With buy less stuff firmly in mind, we decided to give them a day out.  A day out for them and a day off for their parents - win win. The big question was, would we survive? 

Precision planning was required.  We would collect them at 9.30am.  OK, let's make it 9.25am to have time for a quick coffee with Jing and Jose.  When we arrived, they were already running around (Jordan and Jason, not Jose and Jing) like, well like 2 energetic, normal 6 year olds, with Yoyo (lab) bounding around between them. Just another Sunday morning in the 4 J's household.

Right, quick car swap (no child seats in the ute), strap in and we were off.  LEGOLAND Discovery Centre here we come!  As we pulled away, there was the distinct shout of "yippee we're free" coming from the house.  Must have been the radio.

Lots of singing and shouting in the car - and that was just me.  Hang on a minute, we were going in the wrong direction.  With all the excitement, Emilio was heading towards Southland instead of Chaddie.  Woops, OK, no problem, we had plenty of time.  All good.

Pre-booking was a good idea.  Only 10.15am and the place was already busy.  But with tickets already clutched in our hands, we were through! When I say "we" I mean Jordan, Jason and I.  Emilio had spotted the Samsung shop and decided I should have the honour of going in with them (we only had 1 adult ticket).  BTW, this place has a no child, no entry rule - which I guess is a good idea and stops childless weirdos.  Feel a bit sorry for all the adult Lego weirdos out there - and it must have been and issue, because they have adult Lego nights.  I wander if they serve bubbles?

First stop is a 'space station" where you make Lego men and stuff.  With the kids at the consoles, I took the time to arrange, discarded jackets, scarves, water bottles, bits given to us on entry, leashes, poo bags, no sorry, these were kids, not dogs (although there were some kids there that could have done with being on a leash)  Not used to all this additional baggage.  OK short line up to climb aboard a little car thing where you go along and shoot the baddies (sorry Orks, geez) to save the princess.  This was fun and OK the competitive nature in me came out and although I told them that it was a draw, I whipped their butts at shooting baddies Orcs! 

The model display of Melbourne with lights showing for day and night and lots of moving parts, is pretty amazing.  4D movie time - I love 4D movies, complete with water so yay! Into the main Lego workshop.  You know that nightmare when you get up in the middle of the night to go for a wee and step on a Lego piece in bare feet?  Well multiply that by 1,000.  Prepared for battle, I had worn my trusty Doc Martens, so feet were protected. 

First couple of stations were a couple of ramps where you built "cars" or simply joined wheels and had a race with your fellow Lego heads.  Jordan and Jason got to work.  Kids being kids, they all soon had their little gangs and posse's formed.  New BFF's bonding over Lego.  After 10 minutes, I suggested moving stations.  No movement.  After 20 minutes, I went over and checked out the "workshops". Did they want to join one? Nope all good.  40 minutes, maybe a play on the slides and bouncy things or a go on the Lego Ride? There was no dragging them away.  How on earth was I going to go and get to play on the other stuff? 

The competitors look says it all
This bit goes here

Resigned to my fate at station 1, I watched as contraptions were hurled down the ramp.  I attempted to build a Batmobile. Obviously failed Lego 101 as a kid - my flatmobile lost a wheel on it's first run.  Snotty 4 year old showed me the piece I was supposed to have holding the wheels together.  Hate smart alecs. Threw it back into the piece pile in a huff and went and sat by myself.

At 1.00pm, hunger won out.  Not before the obligatory walk through the shop to exit.  Why do places do that?  Of course we all know why, but to their credit J&J were pretty good.  A last play with the large Lego blocks outside and to the food hall.  If I thought LEGOLAND was busy, the food hall was chaos.  We spotted a free table, we saw 2 little old ladies making a beeline towards it, we sprinted, leapt over 2 occupied tables and beat them to it. Avoided filthy looks from little old ladies - it's a dog eat dog world out there, sometimes the needs of two 6 year olds, wins out over manners. Success we had a table! Lunch and ice cream, Check. BTW, Gammi chicken that we had a few weeks ago, much nicer than Nene chicken.

Off to Target to buy 2 Lego Batman tops with capes.  Bugger, they didn't have any in my size.  Came out with 1 said Lego Batman shirt and 1 Spiderman one, sans cape. OK, so there was a small pressie to remember their day.

By the time we went home, it was freezing outside and too cold to take them fishing, which had been the plan.  Plan B.  Put on cartoons and cuddled up under the blanket with a hot chocolate.

Yes, we survived. No injuries, no visits to the lost kids department, no vomits, no tantrums.  Emi did really well.  As for the kids, good as gold and we all had a fun day which is what it was all about. As for Jose and Jing, well they had a great day too.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Prahran Market Hidden Gems Market Tour - FREE!

We spent nearly 7 years in living in South Yarra/Prahran, including living at the back of Prahran Market, about a 3 minute walk away.  We nibbled our way around on a fair few Saturday's, but pretty much took it for granted.  Since leaving the area (wow it's been nearly 6 years), we've probably only visited a few times. So when I heard 2 of my favourite words "free and tour", I thought, gotta do that - and of course added it to the list!  Speaking of which I have no idea what's happened to my lists - they've gone wonky (too many bubbles maybe, my new addiction).  And as I am absolutely hopeless when it comes to all things technical, might just have to start again. But that's for another day.

So I booked myself into one of the free Prahran Market tours and on this freezing cold, but beautifully sunny winter's day headed off.  Our group of around 10 met our lovely guide Giovanna and after a quick rundown on the history of the market.

First established back in 1864, makes it Melbourne’s oldest Market.  Back then it was smaller and actually in Prahran before moving to its current location on Commercial Road in South Yarra in 1891.  Yep, that's right, Prahran Market is actually not in Prahran!  Over the years it's been extended and renovated and the fruit and veggie section was gutted by fire on Boxing Day in 1950.
The ‘60s migrant explosion meant plenty of new produce being available at the market. Since then it has become a mecca for foodies looking for hard-to-find ingredients and today it remains a community of highly skilled traders and specialty stores. 

Look at that jamon!
Large (free) shopping bags in hand we set off to smell, taste and chat to a few of the stall owners.  Hot gozleme straight off the grill, cheeses, dips, mussels and baklava. On through the seafood and meat hall (plenty of free samples along the way being cooked up on the BBQ's) and a quick tea stop before heading into fruit and veg.  There really is an amazing assortment of things, some that I have never heard of before.

Tea tastings for all - they even do tea ceremonies
Highlight was meeting and chatting to Damian Pike the Mushroom Man (loved his apron, it declared him a "Fun Gi"). Tempted by the Chanterelles, imported from France, but at $150 kg, maybe next time.  Apparently they are delicious cooked with butter, butter, butter, pepper and just a bit more butter.  And we all know that lots of butter makes everything taste pretty delicious.

AKA as Fingered Citron, one of the oldest citrus fruits

With that our tour came to an end (around an hour and fifteen minutes) and it was time to head over to Casa Delicatess that I'd spotted when I went in and tried some of their fabulous chorizo, jamon and queso.  Lots of yummy Spanish and South American goodies, so I did an Emilio and spent $100.   Just made up some hot chocolate with a Mexican chocolate "tablet' and OMG it is good.

All up, fabulous.  Had forgotten how much fun the Prahran Market was and what an amazing  range of produce they have. So as Molly would say, do yourselves a favour and book in to do this tour.

Tickets: FREE Book here.
When: First Saturday of every month, at 12 noon.
Duration: 1 hour'ish
Includes: A guided tour, a Prahran Market Shopping Bag and some exclusive tastings

Very tempted to pop back next Sunday 9 July for their Truffle & Charcuterie Celebration.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Dialogue in the Dark

A different idea for lunchtime today (and not on this years list, so a bonus).  Elizabeth and I headed off to Harbour Town (Docklands) and gave Dialogue in the Dark a go. The concept was developed in Germany back in 1988 and has since grown to being "shown" in 42 countries with Melbourne starting up this month.

So what is it?  Well it's a unique experience that aims to raise awareness for those living with blindness and also creates employment opportunities. Arrived knowing that we would be walking around in the dark, but with no real idea of what to expect.  For a start, it's all indoors and safe - no real danger of running into a door and breaking your nose (unless you were really clumsy, but then that could happen in the light as well).

We were each (there were 4 of us in our group) given a white cane, warned to not wave it around too vigorously (shin whacks to be avoided) and led into the dark where we were introduced to our lovely guide Beth.   And off we went, visiting a "park" and various other Melbourne iconic spots (won't give it away).  At first you just want to hang on to the handrail, and your eyes are straining to see (it really is pitch black) but after a few minutes, it becomes easy enough to let go and feel your way around. 

The surprising thing is that you do start to listen to background noises and quickly work out voices and where people are.  If you're claustrophobic or don't like bumping into strangers (no groping now), then it might not be your thing, but I found it interesting.  By feel we were able to pick out all sorts including fruit and veggies as well as ordinary things found around Melbourne.  No nasty surprises. 

Beth took us back to her "apartment" and I could swear there was the smell of baking, but apparently no it's just the senses playing suggestive tricks on us!  We then just sat and chatted and she was happy to answer our questions about her blindness (she actually has a small amount vision) and what it's like living with vision impairment. 

It's a humbling experience and certainly makes you appreciate sight and that we sometimes take our senses for granted.  Is it worth doing? Absolutely, it helps to break down barriers in a fun and friendly way. 

Oh yes, one thing I wanted to know, should you offer help?  Would it offend a vision impaired person? Beth advised that sure, there is nothing wrong with going up to anyone and asking if they need help.  She did say, please don't grab them by the arm (or any body part for that matter) though, without speaking first! She got a shock when someone grabbed her suddenly as she was boarding a tram to help her off, that she slipped and broke her ankle.   The guy's response, "you wouldn't have slipped if you'd asked for help!"

Sunday, 18 June 2017

A Dog's Purpose - part 2

Never did find out how or why the free tickets to go and see "A Dog's Purpose" arrived a few days after losing my bubba Lucas.  Finally went and saw it today.  Didn't get great reviews, but we really enjoyed it and yes, we balled our eyes out.  OK, so Bailey is a sweet golden retriever, but he still reminded us of Lucas and the special bond that we have with our beloved fur-babies. 

Did Lucas have a purpose?  He sure did.  He brought us joy, happiness, love, laughter and tears.  Dogs remind us to live for today, to live in the moment, to run and play and lick the ones you love.  Because life is short and one day, they're gone. 

As the films flyer says "Every dog happens for a purpose" although our free tickets card had the words "Some pets stay with you forever". Another mystery that can stay that way.

So this afternoon, with the sun shining we decided that the housework could most definitely wait and that taking Lola to the beach to watch the sunset was far more important. 

And it was.

Have burgers had their day in the sun?  Fried chicken has always been around, but seems to be trying to muscle in on the action as the next big thing.  Gami chicken has been around for a while, but one has just opened in Southland and I've been wanting to try it for a while.  Delish, but there will always be room for a good burger!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The ANZ Gothic Bank

A sunny Friday lunchtime in June.  Nothing much on and fancied a walk so took a look at the list for a bit of inspiration and headed out to visit the ANZ Banking Museum.  Now I've walked past this building on the corner of Queen Street and Collins Street many times and thought to myself it's a beautiful old building, but haven't given it much thought and had never been inside. Time to remedy that.
The ANZ Gothic Bank as it's called (yes really) is made up of two buildings. The former English, Scottish and Australian (ES&A) Bank on the corner and the former Melbourne Stock Exchange.  In 1923 the two buildings were renovated and combined, and became known as the 'Gothic Bank.' Love it. They've since been restored as ANZ World Headquarters. 
So, down the stairs to the slightly tacky ANZ Banking Museum (free).  Old money boxes, a few old adding machines and a bit of money history.  Not that exciting, but the lovely attendant down there (who was looking rather thrilled to have someone visiting) came over for a chat. 
Good thing, because I hadn't thought to actually go into the buildings themselves.
Does your bank branch have ceilings like these
The ground floor is open to the public as it is a functioning branch of the ANZ .  Gorgeous iron columns, wooden benches and beautifully painted ceilings. Really rather special. 

Then into the Cathedral Room in the former Stock Exchange building and wow!  It was originally the main trading room of the Stock Exchange, with six granite columns, carved arched ceilings a  beautiful stained glass window and gorgeous floor tiles.  Not sure if it is used for anything these days as it's empty, but if you've never stuck your
The stunning Cathedral Room
head in for a look - it is well worth it.  
A pleasant way to spend a lunchtime, beats sitting at your desk and a tick off the list!   Happy Days.