Melbourne – Highlights

Botanic Gardens

I decided I wanted to visit the botanic gardens. Every city on this trip seems to have one and they all seem to be very different so you don’t get bored.

These gardens were designed by Director William Guilfoyle in 1873 with the premise of providing sweeping lawns, curving pathways, lakes and hidden vistas. The area is beautiful and centres around a volcano which influenced him during a visit to New Hebrides in 1868. The volcano is depicted with ‘lava’ flowing down (with circular paths), exotic plant beds, coloured pathways flowing from the crater and volcanic basalt rocks scattered throughout the site.

The ‘crater’ is quite surreal because it serves as a large pond area but, get this, the shrubs slowly move in the water. It was quite weird looking at the shrubs and then realising they are actually moving. All very clever.

Victoria Food Market

One of the highlights of Melbourne was the Wednesday evening food market. It is brilliant and just across the road from our flat.

When we first arrived we feared it was going to be empty and soulless. How wrong we turned out to be. It was packed full of food stalls from around the world, craft stalls and phenomenal music sets.

The standard of music whether in pubs or busking is superb in Melbourne. We’ve seen many musicians throughout our walks, pub and café visits.

During the evening, I enjoyed a pork dish from Nepal and it was delicious. Also, had a cookie, ice cream sandwich which was incredible. Sat and looked at this amazing vista of Melbourne and sculpture, as I was devouring it.

National Gallery of Victoria

Yes, of course we had to do the arty bit on the Southbank. Always a good gig especially when some of the art is focusing on surrealism and pop art.

This particular exhibition concentrates on the reasons why Surrealism, and precursors Dadaists, transpired. After the First World War, the movement flourished during the 1920s rebelling against authoritarian control whilst exploring varied art forms.

Influenced by Sigmund Freud’s controversial theories of dream analysis, they invoked irrational logic through their art whilst disparaging society’s values through perverse films, paintings and views. The idea is to liberate the unconscious through an interpretation of imagery.

Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel produced the ground-breaking film Un Chien Andalusia in 1929. Man Ray experimented with photography to project ghostly images and Max Ernst experimented with grattage art, by rubbing pigmented paper or canvas thus producing new artistic techniques.

These exhibitions included Andy Warhol Self-portrait no. 9 who is supposed to be one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century. His influence was profound and included television and music and he may have been the inventor of celebrity culture? The weird and strange portrait was produced just before his death in February 1987.

The iconic Pop Art is thought to be the antithesis of industrial and commercial culture as mass production took shape. The work exemplifies significant change in society and depicts a world of mechanised aesthetics connected with advertising and marketing including labels, magazines and posters.

An interesting mix of furniture and clothing design elements also are displayed in the Designing Women exhibition which includes product design, fashion, digital and architecture innovation and show cases works from significant diverse and creative fields.

Well worth visiting the gallery and it is worth noting that Julian Opie is exhibiting if you enjoy his simplistic work.

Elegant Enclave walk

This is another walk suggested by a friendly man in the tourist office. It is fundamentally a nose around the posh part of Melbourne looking at East Melbourne’s architectural suberbs and encompasses elaborate iron work, classic columns and lofty verandas from the Victorian era. Great fun and you enjoy a walk through the lovely Fitzroy Gardens too. In fact, that was the best bits because it includes Cook’s Cottage, the Fairies’ Tree by sculptor Ola Cohn and the sweetest Model Tudor Village. The Model Village was presented to the City of Melbourne by the citizens of Lambeth, England in appreciation of gifts of food. How lovely.

Also, of course you can wander around the pretty gardens and fountains too. All very enjoyable.

Final thoughts…

Melbourne is many people’s favourite Australian city and I must say I can see why. It is FUN, musical, creative and vibrant. The tram system is ingenious if a little perplexing for the tourist. Can’t really understand why you need to drive in this city and the traffic is pretty horrendous. Unfortunately, I find the mix of old and new a little annoying because I like modern and historical architecture but it is all mingled together and this is a shame. Most cities have old and new areas which, for me, is preferable.

However, I have enjoyed visiting Melbourne and loved the creative vibe of the city, the friendly people and amazing landscape.

 

Cornwall – Trip to Truro, shouty lady and music in pubs?

Truro

On Thursday, I decided to go to Truro by boat and strolled into Falmouth town and was promptly told the boats are not running due to the weather. Didn’t think about the weather when I decided to walk into town.  Without my car, a train into Truro was the best option even if it did mean another 20 minute walk!

The train journey was quick and efficient and I managed a quick doze. Upon arrival the clouds opened and it poured with rain so stopped for a quick coffee.

As I was slurping my delicious coffee, a woman came bustling into the cafe, obviously to have a rant about another woman, to the long suffering owner/server and I sat there rather hoping the shouty woman wasn’t going to sit near me. She did. The poor lady did seem anxious and continued shouting her woes to the embarrassed and busy server. As the server gave her the ‘relaxing’ (poncy) tea, she cleverly soothed her by being efficient, sympathetic and telling her it will all be fine.

Not sure if a public cafe is the time or the place for airing your dirty laundry, do you? However, think the customer found it liberating as her complaint was obviously on her mind and sometimes having a rant releases the turmoil. Don’t think she was being narcissistic just a little over dramatic. Felt sorry for her, as it sounded like she was being bullied which is a dreadful thing.

After the drama, I braved the incessant rain and wandered around Truro purchasing a new jacket (for hubby) and admiring the architecture. When it did stop raining, I enjoyed a meaty pasty in the fresh air. Also, enjoyed an obligatory ice cream too. Dieting will definitely be back on the agenda next week.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed my amble around Truro and eventually found the cathedral, which is impressive and surprisingly, not particularly old. It was built in the Victorian era and has three iconic spires. The cathedral is situated in the heart of Truro and has over 200,000 visitors per year! It was designed by John Loughborough Pearson, and has the most exquisite stained glass windows. After the cathedral, I stopped at the cafe for a quick cuppa then headed back to the railway station.

The ‘Front Pub

During the evening, I found a tapas restaurant with dishes from around the world and then went to the pub and enjoyed some music and beer. The pub is called The ‘Front and I think you are supposed to guess what goes in front of the ‘Front. How very arty and very Cornish.

It is a lively establishment serving a full range of real ales, ciders and spirits. A folk group was playing on this particular day and the place seems constantly busy. It has been awarded best pub in Cornwall by CAMRA, which is well deserved. If you sit outside you enjoy a superb view of Falmouth Harbour too (top black and white photo).

What are your views about music in pubs? Personally, I think it is not only a good thing, but almost necessary. It makes the atmosphere lively and more interesting. Anyway, it is a great place as you can see from the photos.

St. Mawes

Well, as I had such a splendid evening in The ‘Front pub, I was in no rush to leave my Airbnb during Friday morning. By the way, the flat was ok, reasonably priced and meant that I could still enjoy the occasional meal cooked by myself. Sometimes, get a bit bored with eating out.

Upon filling myself with breakfast, I decided to catch a ferry over to St. Mawes. So glad I did manage to make the effort, because it is a lovely place to saunter around. Great for photography too.

It is a town opposite Falmouth, on the Roseland Peninsula. Apparently, the harbour is one of the largest harbours in the world and beautiful in the sunlight. Really enjoyed the ferry across from Falmouth even if a little chilly. The ferry runs all year round and costs about £10 return.

The town’s name derives from the Celtic saint Sain Maudez (Mawe) and is a fishing village with a gorgeous winding road and plenty of shops, cafes, pubs, etc to peruse. Can recommend for a day out.

Back home now watching the rain come down. Thanks for reading and any comments are welcome.

Bye for now.

Tenterden Folk Festival (Sat)

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We drove to Tenterden for some more music and the procession.

Another glorious drive but today it was pouring with rain interspersed with a little sunshine peeping through the grey clouds.  Typical autumnal English weather.  After purchasing sandwiches and crisps we stopped at Sissinghurst to eat the picnic in the car and drove on through the beautiful fields and villages with the rain continuing its relentless progress.

Upon arriving we found a parking spot along a side road and wandered to the folk tent and watched the amazing and talented Delta Ladies.  Great fun and the group played many different instruments and seemed jolly ’em ladies with a clear penchant towards Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.  I listened to the lyrics and noticed such matters.  Vicky, the lead, joked that they were singing in the middle of The Chelsea Flower Show because of the flower arrangements that surrounded them.  Unusual idea but a good one because the flowers looked great.  The blues/rock/folk music was diverse and well produced.  We were impressed.

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During this show we watched an extraordinary procession of traditional folk dancers and weird and wacky selection of Morris dancers.  Followed by a dancing display of lively, expressive Slovakian dancers throwing themselves around pretending to drink wine.  Great fun and quite funny.

We finished the day with a quick drink and people watching and decided it had been a fantastic weekend of dancing and music and can’t wait until next year.  Or maybe we will return tomorrow (Sun)!

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Tenterden Folk Festival

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Yesterday, caught a bus to Tenterden to visit the above festival.  We enjoyed a ride through the Kent countryside which was truly glorious and helped by the late summer sunshine.  Yes, now it is the 1st October, I have come to terms with the fact that it is now autumn.

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Upon arriving, we walked to the pub, William Caxton pub and listened to a folk sing around with intermittent participation of groups singing and playing various instruments.

The enthusiasm of the participants was truly inspiring and some of the voices were beautiful with little or no accompaniment.

After this session we wandered around the town and I managed to buy some posh, high quality chocolate for hubby’s birthday.  The festival is on all weekend and we may return.

 

Canterbury Food and Drink Festival

 

Yesterday, I visited the above in the Dane John Gardens, Canterbury, which is showcasing an incredible selection of food and drink. As a CAMRA member, I do enjoy a pint of ale or two and thoroughly enjoyed the day out. We travelled by train to Canterbury West and strolled through the busy town towards the Gardens.  The Festival was the place to be, as it was the official launch of Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight (Friday 23rd Sept).

 

I went to the festival with my husband and other CAMRA folk and we managed to arrive early and quickly settled with our pints, by the bandstand, and spent a fulfilling day listening to all types of music (folk/rock), eating, drinking and chatting.

 

Also, much of the time was enjoyed wandering around the stalls looking at crafts, beers, ciders, pies, breads, cheeses, cured meats, kebabs, curries, burgers, fish, etc. The quality was of a very high standard with lots of tasty salads and veggies too.  Some obscure ingredients were added to some of the traditional foods such as the chilli and chocolate pork sausages and the friendly cheese lady who sold us some chilli cheese and English brie.  The unusual variety of food is what made this festival particularly fascinating, plus, of course, there was a great selection of dishes for tasting with plenty of beer, wine and cider to sup too.

 

The weather was superb as it was sunny all day but not too hot.  A relaxing and interesting day which I will probably repeat next year.