Australia Part 2 - Melbourne

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March 28th 2010
Published: June 17th 2010
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Home comforts with a dash of Pie shop, 500g of Coon cheese, a pinch of guitar hero and sprinkles of Ramsey Street.

This was the first time we had really seen any of suburban Australia, I mean wildlife and greenery and normal peoples houses (the sort of thing you see on neighbours all the time). It was great, although we’d been in the city for a while, it felt like we had finally arrived in OZ. We’d been looking forward to some home comforts and every time we had mentioned to someone we were heading to Fern tree Gully they commented on how nice (and expensive) it was there.

Amanda’s poor little car struggled into the driveway and we could see immediately why they didn’t want to go back to the UK, why would you want the cold and rain of Aylesbury (UK) when you can have a stunning bungalow in sunny Melbourne! Great house, beautiful wooden floors all the way through, 4 reception rooms at least that many bedrooms, a huge double garage and a backyard with built in BBQ. What a great idea to design each house with its own BBQ, we should do the same back in the UK if only the weather was a little better. Amanda had mentioned before via facebook that they had had a few incidences with spiders, the big ugly Huntsman and the deadly red back. So I was a little nervous, but Amanda explained they have things called bug bombs where they blitz a room, leave it a while and then wait for everything to crawl out and die, a bit like flea treatments I guess. She had done the house and the spare room where we would be staying a few weeks ago so I shouldn’t have anything to worry about. It didn’t stop me checking my shoes, closing the doors and zipping my bag up every time I went to it, but in fairness I didn’t see anything bar a tiny little one on the wall. (phew)

The spare room we were staying in was lush, wooden floors, our own bathroom (with a torch to see at night as the bulb didn’t work), and French doors leading out to the patio - wow. We met her boys Andrew and Jason who were busy playing some guitar hero thing with drum kit as well. (They clearly

You called it what??
spent a lot of time on this as they were really good). Come dinner time they stopped immediately and laid the table and were so polite, we were really impressed. We had our dinner out on the patio in the setting sun to the sounds of the local birds, it was great. We had however briefly forgotten about mozzies and proceeded to get bitten a live (well Amanda and I did - must have great blood as women) so we soon moved indoors.

Nath and I then tried our hands at the drumming game, which Nath did terribly on, but I kicked ass- think the boys were most impressed and a little embarrassed by Nath’s poor attempt (I think its old age!). In a bid to recover some respect Nath then went on to play ping pong with the boys in the garage, which I didn’t see but he said he also did poorly on - oh well hon, I wont tell anyone heheheheheheh. Whilst playing ping pong the boys had noticed how abnormally long Nath’s arms are which they commented on to all our amusement except Nath’s of course (Really not Nath’s night! hehehehe)

Our first

putting "swiss" under it dosent help!
night in a proper bed was lovely, the mattress was new and the sounds of the garden were really soothing. I was however kept awake by two things, firstly the constant thought that a spider might climb onto the bed and secondly, by what I thought was a possum climbing outside the window. I should explain - the windows all round the bedroom had blinds on and there was outside lighting which created shadows. I however in my half dozing state saw a shadow I thought was possum hanging upside down on the window. I watched for a few moments as he didn’t move but I figured I’d just caught him as he had stopped. However he didn’t move at all ever and when I checked in the morning, it would seem what I thought I saw was actually the shadow of the outside lamp on the wall. When I pointed this out to Nath and Amanda they both nearly fell of their chairs!!

The next morning Amanda took us on a local tour, firstly via the shopping centre where I managed to get my very first hair cut in 9 months (by some women who you would have

and a meat "knob"..... food shopping has never been so funny
pictured featuring in Murials wedding!!) It was quick and shoddy but cheap and in the end actually did the job, I don’t think I’ll ever pay a huge amount of money to have my hair cut and styled again as once I wash it I can never reproduce the just styled look again. Anyway a little peeved by my cheap haircut I then progressed to taking it out on a doctor’s receptionist. Nath and I still need a vaccination for China which we didn’t manage to get done in time before we left the UK. So you would think it was easy enough to sort out here with our reciprocal agreement between UK and Oz. No not easy at all, after going via a company called Medicare who would pay back part of your costs for doctor appointments etc but not vacs, we went to a local doctors to be told to go to a pharmacy and ask them they looked at me like I had asked them to kill someone so I tried one more Dr’s who were meant to know about travel issues and I was told again by the receptionist I would need to go to the

She bangs, she bangs,
pharmacist. I was a little annoyed by now and said I had already done this, to which the receptionist told me that we needed to buy the vaccination from the pharmacy first and then we could have a doctors appointment to administer it if we wanted - if we wanted!!!! What, now it was my turn to look at her as thought she had said something disgusting. I asked if she realised this was an injection I was talking about and she replied that if that was a problem the doctor can give it. Feeling like Alice at the mad hatter’s tea party I left the room swearing under my breath, well perhaps not under my breath so much as out loud!! Turns out thanks to an explanation form Amanda that you do buy the vaccinations from the pharmacist and then take them to a doctor to administer - I know madness!!!

After m verbal “encounter” with the doctors receptionist we decided that we needed some cake and of course without much persuasion we all decided that a big coffee and cake each was worth the extra expense (even though we’d only just eaten our curry a few hours

All together now..... Neighbours, everybody needs good Neighbours......
ago). After this we went into Coles supermarket to get some supplies but spent more time seeing what stupid and inappropriate names we could find on food. You can play this game with friends quite easily in Australian super markets, as they seem to have no concept of the term PC. This was great as Nath and I enjoyed rolling in the isles and taking photos of ourselves holding up the offending items, the best being Coon cheese!!!! The locals must have thought we were mad.

From the shopping centre we went back to the house and spent time burning DVD’s and doing yet more research. I had not only the whole of Oz to sort out but more importantly our impending tour to Tasmania. Every option for our two week stay was looking expensive and I just kept hitting dead ends. I won’t go into it, but I only meant to spend a few hours sorting it, but ended spending all night and getting myself quite stressed. So the next morning to keep us sane Amanda took us to Ramsey Street, well Pin Oak street to be exact, as this was just down the road form Amanda’s. I haven’t watched neighbours in ages and not a fan but it was still exciting and surreal to be in the street looking at Harold’s house and the Daniels place (can you see how long ago it was that I used to watch it!!). there was no one there except one of the 24 hour security guards, so we had the time to look round as much as we wanted. They do tours to here from Melbourne at a huge price so I was glad Amanda showed us instead. With all the excitement of Ramsey Street over, we then headed to our next highlight the pie shed! A shop that sold pies of with all sorts of great fillings and it even had a drive through section on the side so you didn’t even have to get out of your car!! These ozzies have some mad but great ideas!! Nath enjoyed a Kangaroo pie, something I couldn’t face. Eating meat again has been easier than I thought it would be, but I still cannot bring myself to eat something outside of my norm so to speak. Nath also ordered something called a spider. For one second knowing how mad the ozzies

good old Mrs Mangle, they were the days.
can be I honestly thought it would be some kind of batter encased spider, but it was a drink made with lemonade and ice-cream.

Completely stuffed we headed to our last stop on the Amanda tour, a viewing area on the Dandenong mountain range above Melbourne where you could see out across Melbourne as far as the bay on a clear day. It was one of Amanda’s favourite places and you could see why, it was a beautiful, lovely gardens and far reaching views which unfortunately were a little misty the day we went but you could see the potential. It was another boiling day so we stopped for and ice cream before heading back to Amanda’s house and chilaxed for the rest of the evening. Whist I did yet more research Nath helped Amanda with our first Ozzies BBQ. It was a great night apart from the huge spider that came running out from the BBQ shouting ouch ouch it’s hot ouch!!! Half way through dinner this very weird and large bug appeared by the door. I can’t even describe what it looked like it was like something from another world, and a giants world at that, it was huge!!

On our last day at Amanda’s we needed a day out sight seeing and away form the dam computer which was beginning to take over our time in Melbourne. So on Amanda’s suggestion we went to ride Puffing Billy and old steam train that went from near their house into the mountains to a couple of different picnic stops. It was a cute steam train where you could stick your legs out of the carriage as it drove along. I wasn’t convinced though as I was worried bout spiders dropping on me from brushing past the trees, so I stayed inside. We stopped at lakeside (Emerald Lake) to have some lunch and just have a walk about in the sun. There happened to be a huge model railway there which we of course went round, Nath loving it, the big kid!! I must admit it was pretty big and impressive but I was more interested in finding some lunch. We had some expensive fish an chips and then went for a walk around the site. It had a huge lake which we started to walk around until we passed through part of a spider’s web across the path. At this point we stopped and waited for some children to pass through the web first so we didn’t have to get covered in it - I know we’re all heart aren’t we. We then found a huge Kookaburra just sat in a low branch waiting to be photographed. He was very brave and let us get really close, but didn’t laugh once. With a lilted time before we had to catch the train back we found some strange, children’s outdoor gym which we each had a go at.

Waiting for the train to leave I sat in the shade trying to ignore the bites on my legs from the previous night. It wasn’t long before I lost Nath only to find him sat with the drivers cap on inside the engine of the train. Chatting away with the driver about the engine and all the finer details. On seeing me walk past the guy suggested I come up and have a look too, it was boiling hot and I didn’t really understand what he was telling me but I listened politely non the less. He was a really friendly guy suggesting some good places to stop off and some good local beers - top bloke. On leaving the station it was only a short time before I realised I’d left my sun glasses on the station bench. Its not that they were expensive or even good quality but they had gone all around the world with me and I didn’t really want to leave them behind. So when we got to the main station I had to ask the station master to send someone back for them, which they did, and to call me with a time to collect them the next day - madness when I think back. That evening, Amanda’s husband Graham was home, as he worked in Brisbane during the week. Which meant Nath had a good evening of chatting with Graham and finding stupid things on the internet to laugh at whilst Amanda and I watched some girly TV. We would have loved to have stayed longer with Amanda as it was so nice being there but we didn’t want to out stay our welcome and thought as Graham had been away all week it wasn’t fair to take up their week end together as well. Besides Graham was car shopping at the

eerrr dont you mean Ramsay Street?
week end as his car had been written off by a hail storm a few weeks earlier, yes a hail storm wrote the car off!!! Hail stones the size of golf balls had dented every panel of his car bar 1 (go to and search for “Melbourne hail storm 2010” - now that’s a hail storm!).

So after another amazing night sleep in a comfy bed we were back on the train heading into Melbourne but not before heading out of Melbourne to the end of the line to collect my sun glasses from the puffing Billy station (Special!!). We went back to the good old Miami hotel but again couldn’t check in till 2, so decided to go to see the Melbourne Flower Show that was on its last day in the near by park. It was a bit expensive and very similar to going to the Kent County Show back home so there was something nice and familiar about it all. We wandered for quite a while as there was loads to see but spent most of our time inside the Royal Exhibition building looking at all the flower designed into art work. Some people really

The drive through Pie Shed
need to get laid more!!!! They were impressive as was the building they were in, but before long our feet were hurting and we wanted to get back to our room and try and enjoy a relaxing evening before our next adventures started.

Additional photos below
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aaawwww Nath almost looks cute

18th June 2010

Great blog guys, really glad you enjoyed your stay cause we loved having you...our first UK visitors. I can't buy Coon cheese now without smiling and remembering your faces :-)

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