We haven’t travelled anywhere for a few months but we have still been doing plenty of fun things around Melbourne.
March is the first month of Autumn. I love the balmy days at this time of year – mild temperatures and calm sunny days with little wind. However, it seems that we had a much warmer start to Autumn this year. I don’t remember as many days of over 30 degrees C occurring at this time of year in the past.
We had rather late summer. Most of us who grow tomatoes in our vegetable garden found that it took a long time before they ripened over summer. Then we had warmer days into March. It’s as though summer was a month late. Easter always seems to be the transition point of when the weather starts to get colder and its coming soon. so I guess things will call down. Then we’ll be complaining about how cold and wet it is.
There was a wonderful exhibition at the National Gallery early in March with a display of David Hockney’s works. He is currently Britain’s most famous painter and his portraits are first class. In one hall, there were about seventy of them – all of subjects sitting on same yellow chair in his studio. At 80 years of age, he uses an iPad for most of his incredibly detailed works. Anyone at that age who uses modern technology gets my respect. Some exhibits showed the way that he painted with the image evolving as he added colour and brush strokes to the screen.
In the first week of March, I attended the International Air Show which is held here bi-annually. It’s apparently the fifth biggest airshow in the world – probably by attendance numbers rather than range of aircraft. The air show runs for five days. During the weekdays it operates as a trade fair and on the weekend days, the public (me) come to watch the flying displays. The aircraft range from vintage aircraft, such as the Lockheed Super Constellation airliner, through to the latest military aircraft including the new F35 fighter. These fighter aircraft are so loud that they hurt your ears. There was some impressive formation flying that made for good photography.
I am lucky to have a couple of friends who occassionally invite me to lunch at the Melbourne Cricket Club. Every four months, the club holds a war veterans lunch with a speaker ands some good camaraderie. I know a good number of people and it is always good to see them again at this esteemed establishment. In March, the speaker was a Special Air Service Sergeant who spoke on our military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had some very impressive stories about some some very active soldiering! At this time of the year, the cricket season is over and the stadium at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) tuns itself over to football. It looked in splendid condition. It always reminds me of a modern version of the Coloseum with the players acting as the gladiators. This stadium is enormous, holding crowds of over 90,000 people.
March is also the month in which we celebrate our MOOMBA festival. It’s held on the public holiday in which we celebrate Labour Day (the 1800’s decision to limit the working day to eight hours). It has a long street parade, the famous bird-man event on the Yarra River and other festivities. I haven’t been since the kids were little as it became a a less significant event for some years when it was on at the same time as the Melbourne Grand Prix Now that they have operated these events by a couple off weeks, perhaps it will regain some of its pizzaz. It’s become a very multi-cultural event.
Instead of MOOMBA, Jill and I spent the day at my brother’s house in the country, flying my drone and taking some aerial photos.
I have been organising monthly outings for my Probus Club for the last few years. I’m stepping down from the committee this year and the last day out that I organised, late in March, was a ferry trip to Portarlington on the Bellarine Peninsula, directly south of Melbourne. The high speed ferry takes about 90 minutes each way and we had lunch at the famous old Grand Hotel.
This impressive old building was built in 1888 to capitalise on the flourishing tourist trade of the 1880’s. In the old days, a regular steamer service brought visitors to the pier, just below the hotel. Sea Baths, beautiful beaches and beach activities were welcomed by these holiday makers who could enjoy the grand facilities of this beautiful hotel. The building remains essentially intact, however the elegant cast iron verandahs on the top three floors are no longer there.