Tuesday, 31 January 2017

New Years' Evie

This is Mark on the maiden voyage of the camping gear that he got for Christmas. We spent an evening up in Seymour on the night of the 30th Dec so we could get to the New Years Evie festival early doors. 

The view from the tent 

Look at the colour of that sky!!!!

This was the gates that welcomed us to New Years Evie - yes that's really what it's called. 

The hulk hand stubby holder. I think this will feature in lots of future posts. 

The damn at the farm. This makes it look like it was slightly less hot. It was sorchio. 

It was good fun. We met up with a friend, Natalie, and met her mates too. Went to bed early doors though - my bad. #toryfail


Christmas Past

Well after the event and a long time since our last post!!!!

This Christmas was always going to be a bit different as we found ourselves so far away from the UK but we teamed up with our lovely Dutch neighbours, Paul and Inez, to celebrate our Orphan's Christmas down on the Mornington Peninsula (about an hour and a half away from Melbourne). 

We took a strange little Air B'n'B whose main saving grace was the hot tub. There we shared an epic Christmas meal that started at about 6pm and finished at 3am with the final, side-splitting cheese course. In between there was handmade pumpkin and feta ravioli (cooked by Paul), steak with a lovely cauliflower salad (made by Mark), a palate-cleansing sorbet followed by panna cotta (that Inez lovingly made).  

I am not sure why we chose to pose inside this vine but here we are.

Mark sporting Christmas glasses from my parents. 

Paul on a mission to find a fabled rock pool for us to cool off in. It was about 1 million degrees and there was no shade! 

Looking down onto the Blairgowrie rock pool. This was a great find, it was a large, deep rock pool that (braver) people jump into from the above rocks.

This is a picture of Mark, Paul and Inez taking the easy way into the rock pool. I think that If the three of them made an album, maybe this would be the cover shot. For the record, Mark wasn't naked.

On our return we opened presents from the family. Here's a little video of Mark opening the tent from the Roberts family. Cue lots next post about camping! 

The Garforth-Bles State Visit

Just a few photos from my Mum and Dad's visit to Melbourne 10-28th Nov. 

Although they had been to Australia some 30 years ago this was their first visit to Victoria so it was great to be able to spend time with them showing them why we're here now and all of the great little spots we have been discovering. 

The first photos are taken on the first weekend of their stay. Here from the Puffy Billy railway. 

Last stop Menzies Creek. 

The following day we (casually) took a helicopter from Melbourne down to the Great Ocean Rd and back to mark my parents' 40th wedding anniversary earlier in the year. 

Dad in the front seat of the helicopter. 

And us in the back. 

It does seem like a bit of a tradition that when we visit The Twelve Apostles it's raining. Here's us  being very British just before having a picnic. 

The view from the helicopter. 

We took the following week off travelling down with them by car (to the tunes of Bruce Springsteen) to the Great Ocean Road. Here's Mum and Dad at first stop Urquhart's Bluff  (also my birthday). 

 A Rosela babysitting Dad at the first house.  

 Teddy's Lookout looking down onto the Great Ocean Road. The weather was (finally) phenomenal. 

Below, post-ice cream at Apollo Bay. 

Apollo Bay 

A really bizarre photo of us ducking under the waves fully clothed. 

Mum and Dad at the G. We went to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (or the MCG, or just 'The G') to watch cricket - we were very confused, even though Dad knew all of the rules!

It was a great visit with hi-lights for me, a day in the helicopter, several key Australian wildlife spots (roos, koalas, dolphins),  introducing them to our friends and swimming in the sea with Dad and them being there for my birthday. Thank you for coming all the way to see us. x

Friday, 24 June 2016

Mornington Peninsula

It was our third wedding anniversary (leather - for those who are interested) on the 15th June, so we decided to do something special to celebrate And we decided to visit Mornington Peninsula last weekend, which is here:

This is largely famous for being a local wine region and if you have been paying careful attention to our previous posts (10 points for those that have), you will see that we were there for a jazz afternoon the weekend before.

At risk of repeating ourselves, we ventured down this path again but this time to near the most southern tip of the peninsula and en route, we bumped into a restaurant where we stopped for lunch and they had a gallery exhibition out the back which included this guilty looking kangaroo:

Other than the hotel, our final destination was the geothermal baths.  A short history of this place is that in the 1970's the Charles brothers had heard that there were hot springs under the ground and decided to buy some land and drill down a kilometer to release these onto their land, where they have since made a mint by building a spa with a number of outdoor pools and charging for access.

Unfortunately, due to the demand for access to the pools (even in the middle of Winter) and our late planning, we could only get a sitting at 5pm and as it has recently been the Winter solstice, things get dark here early and the columns of warm mist ascending from the water obscure everything; so our pictures aren't great and only one is probably worth posting:
Tory in the mist
So, here is a stock photo which should give you a better idea of what it's like:

As you can see, it is a beautiful spot and the pools are idyllic but let me tell you that nothing surpasses the feeling of first dipping your toes and then feet into these pools which stay at a constant 50C.  

Imagine, if you will, the feeling of getting into a bath at home that is just a bit too hot, where you have to slowly ease yourself in inch-by-inch and as you finally fully submerge, you can't help but melt and relax.  This is exactly what it is like but the water never cools.  Consequently, after 15 minutes you start to overheat a little, so it's time to get out and migrate 10 meters to the next pool, where you repeat as above.  It's glorious and we can't wait to do it again.

Mornington Peninsula itself is a beautiful place to be, so the following day we decided to go exploring along the coast and here's just a little taster of what we saw:

Looks surprisingly like Cornwall doesn't it?

Anyhoo, that it's for this week but tonight we go to a burlesque evening hosted by Dita Von Teese.  Stay tuned next week - there will be pictures (you perverts)...

Thursday, 9 June 2016


It's been a couple of weeks since we got back, but we spent a weekend in Lorne and forgot to add it to the blog, so here we go.

To get there, you have to go through Melbourne's scuzzy cousin Geelong, and we were told not to slow down as we went through, in case the natives saw a vulnerability and attacked.

Lorne is on the Great Ocean Road, which is a road built by returned soldiers after WWII, as there was high unemployment and they needed a road, so being ever practical the Aussies employed all these guys to build it.  It's quite spectacular to drive through, as it is literally a few meters from the drivers seat to the ocean and it's quite good fun to watch the sea whilst winding around this fast moving road and trying not drive into a sheer cliff face on the other side.

One of the first stops along the Great Ocean Road is Aireys Inlet, which is famous for having a lighthouse which was in an Aussie childhood show called Round the Twist.

Round the Twist
The following piccies are just a bit of of a view of Lorne itself.  It's a pretty place.

Swing bridge to the local brekkie cafe.  Breakfast almost worth the flight to Australia alone

Strangely geometric rocks on the beach
If you do a Tripadvisor search on Lorne to find out what to do in the area, you will find that Erskine Falls repeatedly shows up, so as it was a local tourist point and we were local tourists, we thought we'd have a look.

Warnings at Erskine Falls - it's a miracle that we survived the trip

Erskine Falls - thankfully no snakes or falling trees

Our intrepid adventurers!
After our near death experience at Erskine Falls, narrowly avoiding falling trees, snakes and slippery surfaces (think Indiana Jones), we aimed directly for tourist spot number two in the area, which is Kennet River and is famous specifically for these guys.

There are a number of koalas in the Kennet River area, but they are shy and only move around once every two weeks and sleep 28 hours a day (or something stupid like that), so most of the time you just get to see their furry behind in the canopy.
Koala Bum

After we'd done our tourist bit, the only thing left to do was eat and drink everything that could be consumed in the local area and then leave.  The most notable moment being when I (Mark) pronounced a 'Cretan Salad' as a 'Kretin Salad' to the waitress, rather remarkably she was very sweet about it and didn't roll around on the floor in uncontrollable spasms of laughter.  Thankfully I didn't get a leafy bowl of kretins either.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Trending in Melbourne: A Brief Overview

I have always loved Melbourne because it is ahead of the curve in terms of trends. But as internet usage homogenises 'cool' into a global phenomenon things have flattened out a bit and wearing deep black clothes here is as cool as it is back in the UK.

That said there are micro-trends. Melbourne is famous for its food (and coffee but we don't drink coffee). And here's just one.  Full fat puddings

This is probably a picture of brioche gelato, with a peanut butter fudge injection and a donut-crumb ... or something.  I am not joking. It is gluttony plus. Either way you'd better invest in stents and/or Statins.  Basically, this is the antidote to all things gluten-free, green-juice based and healthy. This my friends is  actual death by chocolate and it's on its' way to a town near you. 

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Graffiti Special

Far from the amateurish, deliquent hands of my youth, where I idly tagged the wall of Carpenders Park train station whilst waiting for school to finish so that I could go home; here is some professional graffiti in Melbourne which some very talented people have spent some real time and effort on.