Blogs from Essendon, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Oceania


Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne » Essendon September 4th 2021

Today we finally make the long trip home... well that’s assuming our beloved Qantas doesn’t cancel on us at the last minute …again. We decide it would probably be a good idea to make the most of our last few hours of freedom given what awaits us in Melbourne - locked down except to get food, or to exercise for no more than two hours a day, all within five kilometres of home, and a curfew. I’m not too sure what time the curfew kicks in. Our flight gets in quite late - I hope they don’t make us sleep at the airport. We head down to Elizabeth Quay which is on the banks of the Swan River next to the CBD. It was only opened in 2016 and looks to be an entertainment type precinct ... read more
Bell Tower, Elizabeth Quay, Perth
Love tokens at the base of Bell Tower, Elizabeth Quay, Perth
Bell Tower, Elizabeth Quay, Perth

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne » Essendon May 20th 2021

Today we head home. First stop this morning is the Murtoa Stick Shed. We read that until the outbreak of World War 2 Australia typically exported around sixty percent of its wheat to Great Britain and Western Europe. The War thus caused a glut, and the Stick Shed was thrown up in only four months in late 1941 and early 1942 to store some of the excess. We watch a short video presentation before entering the structure. It’s jaw-droppingly massive - 265 metres long, 60 metres wide, and nearly twenty metres high at its highest point. The roof is supported entirely by 560 slender mountain ash poles, which are thought to have been salvaged from Victoria's infamous 1939 bushfires. According to the ever reliable Wikipedia it’s often claimed to be the largest “rustically built” structure on ... read more
Murtoa Stick Shed
Rupanyup silos
Murtoa Stick Shed

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne » Essendon September 11th 2019

We’re up at 4.30am for a long day of travelling home. I accidentally push the alarm button on the hire car, so we suspect that the rest of the guests at our previously quiet Kauai hotel are now also awake. We drive away quickly before we manage to wreak any further havoc. We get to the airport as the sun is coming up, and if we needed any more reminding that the whole island seems to be overrun with wild chickens it comes in the form of multiple roosters crowing very loudly to greet the new day. It is 11 September and we pause for half a minute’s silence at Honolulu airport at 8.45am, which was apparently the exact time that the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Centre back in 2001. ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne » Essendon June 19th 2019

We set off on our next great adventure - a lap of the globe. Issy is forever coming up with new ways of making our suitcases stand out while they whiz around the airport carousels with everyone else’s very similar looking baggage. She bought some floral covers for one of our trips but they all got torn. Next were purple lanyards, but they had locks on them and we lost the keys. So for this trip she did what any talented, self respecting artist would do, and painted them, with flowers. Very pretty too. I wonder why no one else has thought to do that. Maybe she’ll start a trend. We are surrounded on our overnight flight to Dubai by members of the Haileybury College Pipes and Drums Band, who are off to Scotland to compete. ... read more
Issy painted our bags to make them easy to recognise

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne » Essendon August 20th 2018

We spend our last morning here on the beach soaking up the sun and taking the occasional dip, knowing that by this time tomorrow we'll be back to cold reality. We make the long journey home via Fiji. Not long after we land in Melbourne the crew announces that there's a sick passenger on board, and that an officer from the quarantine service will need to board the plane to assess her. We are all asked to remain seated. We are also told to make sure that none of our bags are blocking the aisles, presumably so that the quarantine officer can make a hasty retreat without tripping over if they think that the passenger might have Ebola. We begin to wonder what will happen if the quarantine officer decides that the sick passenger is a ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne » Essendon August 4th 2018

Winter in Melbourne is excruciating. The football season is the only upside, but when you follow a team which has managed to win only twice in its past twenty five outings, that’s not much of an upside. We must escape. We decide to take a two week break in the sun in apparently beautiful Samoa. We’re not quite sure why based on previous experience. We went there in 1993 with Scott when he was only eighteen months old. It was the middle of the dry season, but it bucketed with rain for the entire time. Prior to that I went there by myself for four days in the early 1980’s before I met Issy. On that very memorable trip I ate some dodgy fish at an upmarket hotel on the night I arrived, and spent the ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne » Essendon June 2nd 2018

We arrive home, and we know it. Firstly, it's four degrees. Secondly, Coco has wrapped himself around Issy's neck, and is showing no signs of letting go anytime soon. It seems that he is leaving no stone unturned in his efforts to make sure that she doesn't leave him again. She tries to disentangle him so that she can go to the bathroom, but he is having none of it; he starts howling, so she takes him to the bathroom with her. Thirdly, as usual, our manic neighbour is using his insanely noisy leaf blower. I lean over the fence and politely enquire whether he thinks it's normal behaviour to use a leaf blower two or three times a day every day, including at 7am on Sunday mornings, and during hurricanes. The conversation doesn't end well. ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne » Essendon October 10th 2017

We get on our flight home. The elderly Indian man sitting across the aisle from us seems to be a bit deaf. The flight attendants keep telling him that he needs to put his seatbelt on. He seems to hear the word ‘belt’ alright, because he keeps pointing to the belt that is holding up his pants. He assures everyone that it is done up securely. His wife eventually intervenes and we are able to take off. There are signs at Melbourne Airport saying that Border Security is being filmed, and if we don’t want to appear in an episode we need to tell someone. I wonder why the people who get caught importing chicken feet and live snakes don’t tell someone that they don’t want to appear in an episode. Then again I think that ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne » Essendon July 31st 2017

Issy decides that it will be too emotional to have our offspring drop us at the airport, so we book a cab online. Ten minutes before it's supposed to show up the booking app tells us it will arrive in 38 minutes. A minute later this has reduced to two minutes and our goodbyes suddenly get a whole lot more hurried. We read that a couple of days ago four men were arrested in Sydney for plotting to blow up planes with meat mincers. I thought the worst a meat mincer could do was chew your hand off, but the intensity of the security at the airport suggests otherwise. Issy bought a fancy new camera about a month ago, and I'm keen to get the GST back via the Tourist Refund Scheme. The man at the ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne » Essendon September 17th 2016

We land in Melbourne. Issy bought some souvenirs in Hong Kong which have some small pieces of wood attached to them, so we declare them to the quarantine officers. They ask us whether we've got any seeds or dirt, but they don't even want to look at our bits of wood. I wonder why they ask you to declare "wooden articles" if they're not even interested in looking at them. How do they know they're not infested with some exotic wood worm that's itching to crawl out and kill all our trees. We arrive home. We must have been away for a long time; Coco's first reaction when he sees me is to bark angrily. Our great adventure is over.... read more

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