Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Melbourne HQ

MB dropped into her head office this morning to put some faces to voices on the other end of the 'phone. It's located in a tower in Collins St, what a jaw dropper, the ground level foyer is all marble columns, vaulted ceilings, marble floors and walls, huge sculptures and water features. "Roman Senate" springs to mind when entering this space, truly amazing.
Weather forecast today is a sunny 20c and, not bad for winter. A great day for the gardens.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Melbourne Monday

MB's shopping expedition was cut short with a visit to the irrepressible Halina, who has transformed an apartment on the Eastern edge of the CBD into her own very individual and spectacular grand style. The apartment has picture windows overlooking the exhibition gardens and double glazing, a true haven. After some compulsory computer tweaking, Halina took MB to the Mekong for a truly sublime Vietnamese lunch.

Monday night was dinner at Aunt Monica's with Aunt Norah & Uncle Barry in Monica's new villa. Monica cooked up a storm as usual, Crumbed lamb cutlets with pancetta & cheese, nicola potatoes gratin, gorgonzola & bella donna cheese platter, finished off with a gorgeous quince tart and Caroline's light as air chocolate cupcakes. MDR did some architectural drawing for Monica's patio while we all caught up with the latest family events, latest grandson is Nate, born on 17 August. Twelve of the Breen clan are off to the USA on 11 Sept for a month's holiday, America will never be the same again!

Tuesday morning saw Mr & Mrs MB head into town for more retail therapy and hopefully a visit to the Potter Art Museum at Melbourne Uni. It reputedly has a fine collection of antiquities. Halina's review of the Picasso exhibition was not so wonderful, so still debating whether or not to go.

MDR whipped off his croc skin belt this morning at the handbag repair shop where MB is getting her precious Fendi bag repaired. Another customer was there trying to buy a croc skin belt and couldn't find what he wanted, until he saw MDR's belt. Turns out he'd just returned from a trip to Cairns and forgot to buy one which he'd promised. MB got his email address and will send him some contacts when she gets home. What good Samaritans hey?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Zoo Sunday

A trip to Melbourne doesn't seem complete without a trip to the Zoo. Mr & Mrs MB carefully planned a tram trip to the zoo, using the directions from the Melbourne Zoo brochure. This entailed a walk over the Yarra River footbridge to Flinders St station, then cutting through the underground tunnel to Elizabeth St. At the tram stop there was a sign from 2005 directing zoo visitors to the No. 55 tram in Market St. This is the tram line one block from the timeshare apartment, so much for forward planning.

The animals at the zoo were all a bit slow, must be the chill. The Meerkats were the stars of the zoo, very cute, all standing up on their hind legs, facing the sun. Being Sunday the zoo was overrun with strollers, families and pregnant women, that baby bonus sure is working.

Sunday dinner was a great find, MDR suggested a visit to the Golden House Chinese restaurant just around the corner from the timeshare. MB was a bit indifferent to this suggestion as it was very unchartered territory. The restaurant was filled with Chinese patrons (always a good sign) and specialises in hotpot meals with Peking Duct (looked and tasted like Duck). MDR ordered the combo hotpot, a pot split in two with a mild soup in one side and a super spicy soup in the other loaded with chilies. A plate of very interesting vegies, fungus and some unrecognisable stuff appeared, along with platters of fresh seafood, lamb, beef etc with bowls of sesame dipping sauce. This was the perfect dinner for a cold winter's night in Melbourne, great value too, only $25 per head.

The casino is very close by but still no game of blackjack yet. MDR & MB did a walk through, there must be thousands of people in there at one time. It's a complete assault on the senses, all MB could feel was the faint aura desperation and disconnectedness of the gamblers, they seemed to be in a trance like state. MDR spotted 3 huge screens telecasting horse racing, AFL and NRL side by side. Luckily there was an eatery nearby so it was lunch there while MDR watched the Cowboys thrash the rabbitohs.

Monday will see MB escaping the couple thing to sack the city shops.

Where's the Rugby?

MDR peering into the window of the Maori Chief Hotel in South Melbourne, looking for that elusive televised Rugby Game.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Wagamama No More

Mr & Mrs MB are very happily ensconced in their palatial 2 bedroom timeshare apartment in Melbourne's Southbank, compliments of PB.

The apartment is the only timeshare apartment in this mainly residential building and on arrival the snooty concierge sent the MB's scuttling across the road to some shortstay rental office. After some time studying his computer the receptionist then sent them back across the road. The concierge then asked "Are you the the Americans?" A rather strange question for a couple who are unmistakably Aussie. The concierge warmed up after the "timeshare" expression was mentioned and the apartment keys were made available.

After working out how to turn on the central heating and thawing out MDR was keen for some Wagamama. He'd enjoyed an earlier visit to the Wagamama in St Kilda in April. MB worked out the tram route and the pair set out into the cold winter night to the tram stop 2 blocks from the apartment tower. The tram ended at Fitzroy St in St Kilda but not next to the Wagamama as MB had planned, it was a a further 2 blocks up Fitzroy St. Imagine their disappointment when they arrived to find the Wagamama was closed down and completely empty, even the signage was gone. Plenty of restaurants in the vicinity so MDR & MB settled on a little Italian Cafe and had a some winter warming pasta and risotto respectively. MDR also indulged in a very nice Sticky Date pudding, he declared it to be one of the best he's ever had.

Saturday morning's itinerary was exploring nearby Clarendon St, South Melbourne. This is a great street with lots of interesting shops and restaurants, loads of wine shops, everyone here must drink like fish, MB has caught the bug and picked up a Pinot Rose cleanskin, eat your heart out PB. No hairdryer in the timeshare, MB called the manager asked for one but was told "no hair dryers, they always get nicked". MB found a cheapie in a Clarendon St secondhand, along with a promising Evelyn Waugh book she hasn't read.

South Melbourne market is nearby and is next on the intinerary. Lunch is planned at the Crown complex, MB is even interested in trying her hand at blackjack or "21" as MDR insists on calling it. Could be dangerous....

Friday, August 25, 2006


Arrived in Melbourne 01:00am this morning, first night at the Hotel Ibis near the Victoria Markets. Excellent flight down, exit row seats and a flight that wasn't full (a rarity these days). After a very hot bath this morning, in our upgraded suite - lucked out again - ventured out into the cold for a food fix at the markets. Of course had to have a fresh, hot jam doughnut....

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Golden Fleece

Mr & Mrs MB hobnobbed it with the arty set last week at the Cairns Regional Gallery for the opening of the annual Cairns Art Show. The local arts fraternity is alive and well, judging by the quality and quantity of work on display at this event, as well as the crowd, it was standing room only. Pictured is the "Unpackers Prize Winner", a real crowd pleaser.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Howling Pest

Living in the suburbs has its high and low points. The MB family has been subjected to a real howler of a dog for quite some time. This ruddy dog hates being left on it's own so when it's owners depart it finds a nice big verandah or car port with lots of hard surfaces to ensure it's howling is magnified and amplified to maximum effect into our bedrooms, day and night, for as long as it's owners are absent.

Mr MB mentioned there is an electronic dog collar available which works by emitting some sort of electronic/audio shock each time they bark. This prompted MB to try some trawling on the net and found this pearler at "Barking Problems - Docteur Meder Behavior Chronicle's Barking problems what can we do?" Excessive vocalizing in dogs constitutes auditory contamination for which there exists no costumbrism, but rather a decrease in auditory capacity, nervousness.....

MB is the none the wiser on what can be done about this pest, apart from sending Mr MB over to menace the howler's owners.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pleas no Stieling - PLeas be Onest Thank you

Stopped at this wonderfully charming and unique roadside produce stall in Julatten today.

Monday, August 07, 2006

O M G the Eggplant Exploded

Had an overload of home grown eggplant (not from the writer's garden alas) so MB decided to roast them tonight while dinner was cooking and make a baba ghanoush tomorrow. Egyptian best friend has the world's best baba recipe. As the MB family were savouring son's lime & rosemary pork loin chops with fresh tablelands' potato mash there was a loud explosion from the direction of the kitchen, MB ran out to investigate and found epgplant "shrapnel" all through the oven, it actually looked like huge, dripping globules of snot! Truly revolting. Son of MB took a photo but MB doesn't even want to go there.
Luckily two eggplants were still complete, so the baba will still be on tomorrow, albiet a smaller quantity.