melbourne

Team spirit

cakes

There is something about the charisma of the crowd. Something in the roar of a thousand people, a hundred people, even 10 people, if they are like-minded, that is so wonderfully seductive. In dark moments, this is known as “mob mentality,” and it can cause people to do and say terrible things that they might…

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Playing hooky

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I found a forest! Well, not really, it was more like a tiny clump of trees. Jane Austen would probably have called it a copse, or something. But in any case it was green and gloomy in the best of ways, and the pine-needles that softened my every foot-fall were made maculate by patches of sun blossoming over the…

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The climb

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“Let’s climb!” shouted Ralph. And so we climbed, free of foreboding. In the shadow of those great rocks was no ominous hum, no sudden chill, no tingling premonition of hidden watchers’ eyes. Instead, there was sunlight trickling through old bracken and ferns. Filtered water splashing out of rocks. A tiny boulder in the shape of a love-heart, wedged…

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Long weekends

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Long weekends are for slowing down. For simple pleasures. Feeding Cornflakes to friendly ducks and soft, black moor-hens. Learning how to row a skiff. The splash of oar in water, a silent oasis, a bubble of river and bush inside the big city. Long weekends are for equally-long walks in sunshine. For getting lost somewhere…

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Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

coffee

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run – John Keats Earlier this week there were two whole days that felt, at last, like autumn. Cold mornings, a touch of wind. On our path…

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Back to food trucks

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Today I’m dipping back into an old, semi-regular kind of post I used to do: a celebration of food trucks. If you’re interested, here are all the food trucks I visited back then. For me it all started when we moved here from Interstate four years ago. It was late summer, I was about two-thirds…

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Aaaargh! Heathcliff!

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This is actually happening! In Melbourne! And I can’t even begin to tell you how happy it makes me. What is “this,” you ask? Why, only a gigantic, public group-dance to Kate Bush’s classic Wuthering Heights, that’s what. There is so much silly joy right here, it’s palpable. These screen-shots are from the first dance, in…

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Strange magic

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It was just a simple, one-block walk to get coffee. But today, with the sun searing the back of my neck and the light a strange kind of summer thickness, and me the only person in the whole street, it felt eerie. Hot, still, silent, and eerie. That first summer at the beginning of The Virgin…

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The royal family

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Not so long ago, Scout’s career aspiration was to become Father Christmas, and then a doctor… and then a duck. These days she wants to be a queen. Not a princess, my daughter will have none of that: she is going straight to the top. “I LOVE queens,” she tells me. For Christmas, she asked…

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How to stay alive this summer (and all the other summers)

summer

There’s no getting away from it that the sun in Australia is mighty powerful, and mighty dangerous. For Australians, the sun is like some kind of god from ancient times: equally worshipped and feared (and equally benevolent and destructive). Have you seen the new TV ad by the Cancer Council of Victoria? The whole message is that…

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Public transport scenes

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Yesterday while walking to the tram stop during peak hour I saw traffic banked up four or five cars deep around a roundabout, at every entry point. Nobody was going anywhere, but nobody was honking their horns, either. When I came closer, I could see that a mother duck and her nine ducklings were waddling across…

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Middle aged?

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Please add two more items to my list of Things My Parents Did That I Thought Were Really Boring But Now I Like Doing Too: 1. Looking at other people’s houses, and 2. Going to garage sales. I remember traipsing around Berowra Heights with my mother while she delivered pamphlets for a part-time job in…

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