Just Do It – So I Did!


How often do you travel on an impulse? Can you do that or, like me, are you usually a planner?

I tend to plan well ahead. European holidays can be a couple of years in the making, usually because I need to save plenty of money. My trip next May to Nepal was booked eleven months before the event, but it’s given me time to get my body and mind into trekking mode and get the necessary gear together.

As I say, I don’t generally do things impulsively – until a couple of weeks ago that is.

My daughter’s birthday is in mid December and I decided to turn up in Melbourne unannounced and surprise her. Not only that but I decided to take my eighty five year old dad with me. Sometimes you just have to do these things.

For the last five years since she moved to the other side of Australia with her daughter, Nikki has flown back to Perth for Christmas and every year she tells her grandfather that he should go visit them in Melbourne. Up till now he hadn’t.

I wondered if I was being a bit silly, to fly to Melbourne in the middle of December knowing that they would be in Perth for Christmas only a week after we returned, so I phoned dad and ran it by him. I’d barely got the idea out of my mouth before he was saying a very emphatic yes I’ll come.

So, with Melbourne weather doing what it does best – being contrary (35 degrees one day, raining and 22 degrees the next day), we spent a lovely few days in the city in Christmas mode.

Needless to say, daughter and granddaughter were suitably surprised and we had a brilliant weekend with them.

To start the day:

A remarkably festive looking breakfast yoghurt!

A remarkably festive looking breakfast yoghurt!

Wonderful interior of the Rendezvous Hotel

Wonderful interior of the Rendezvous Hotel

Then a walk around the city to take in the Christmas decorations. The arcades all looked wonderfully festive.



You can’t go past the street art in the laneways of Melbourne.


And I did mention rain, didn’t I?


A Christmas Poinsettia.


And to finish the day 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd just because I can, I’m including this favourite photo of dad from the trip.


Scones in Sassafras

As you all know I’m not a food blogger. I don’t review restaurants and cafes or breakfasts and dinners, because I don’t do it well and there are people out there who really know what they’re talking about when it comes to food. But sometimes a place is so memorable that I just have to say something.

As regular followers will know I recently spent a few days in Melbourne. Now I’m not that bright when it comes to choosing my time to travel to Melbourne, the weather is generally less than ideal and so it was this time (could have something to do with me going in winter I guess). The Dandenong Ranges though, with misty rain and the temperature a lot lower than I am currently used to, provided a wonderful atmosphere, evocative of many happy Sundays spent exploring the villages in the English countryside.

Sorry, I am getting back to the point of this post. On the Sunday we took a drive up into the ranges and enjoyed a lovely lunch at the Snooty Fox in Olinda but, after browsing through some quaint antique shops and pretty gift shops in Olinda and Sassafras we felt the need for a cream tea. Scones, jam and cream seemed like a perfect way to end the afternoon. The cafes were busy and, after popping our heads into a few, we settled on The Black Kettle, mainly I must admit because they actually had a table for us. As I said this was a memorable experience, but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.

We placed our order and settled comfortably near the warm fire for what turned out to be an interesting episode. Ok, it was busy when we sat down but really, a nearly thirty minute wait for two cups of tea, two scones and a piece of chocolate mud cake? After what seemed like an inordinately long time this is what happened:


  • One pot of tea arrived, with one cup and one saucer – we pointed out that we had ordered two. Off went the young man (a pleasant young man I must admit).
  • The second pot of tea arrived a few minutes later but with a cup half the size of the first one (more like an espresso cup).
  • The cake and scones arrived. The two scones were on a very nice rectangular plate with little pots of jam and cream.
  • Sounds good but – no individual plates. We asked for some.
  • Plates arrived, except – they were saucers.
  • Could we have cutlery maybe? Please? Knives to spread the jam?
  • A knife arrived. ONE knife. Could we have two please, oh, and maybe a fork for the mud cake?
  • Once we had the required crockery and cutlery we set to the pleasant task of consuming what turned out to be very nice scones.
  • We never did get napkins but we didn’t feel like we should push our luck any further at that point.

The strange thing is that no other table seemed to be experiencing the same issues that we were having. They even got napkins. It had obviously been a long day in café land and luckily we were in the mood to see the funny side of the situation. Hopefully this was an isolated instance but seriously guys – not good for business.

Crystal Goes East

The inner child in me emerged recently, encouraged by the incorrigible inner child of my daughter. There is this child within all of us that we tend to keep well hidden but, just occasionally, it pops out and surprises us. So it was when my granddaughter’s teddy bear Crystal needed restorative surgery. Now, to say that the said granddaughter is extremely fond of Crystal would be an understatement. Dramatic as it may sound, life for this just turned nine year old has no meaning without her. Three years ago Crystal was a present from her aunty and cousin who live in Melbourne, Crystal had a recorded message implanted in her and when her paw is squeezed, as it is on regular occasions, she miraculously talks to E in B’s voice. She is E’s constant companion and sleep is elusive if Crystal is not there in bed with her. So, we had a problem, tears were shed and life became devoid of meaning. Would Crystal never talk again?

Ready for take off

My daughter had a fiddle (it’s a bear remember) with Crystal, tried changing the batteries – no luck, she remained silent. Perth did not have the facilities necessary to restore this bear to her former health so, she would need to go back to Melbourne for a message transplant. And so it was that my daughter dressed Crystal in her finest and solemnly handed her over to my safe keeping for the plane trip to Melbourne. At least Crystal’s timing was spot on, I was going to Melbourne anyway so the expense of a special mercy dash across the country was avoided.

Unfortunately for Crystal, Virgin Airlines do not provide suitable seating for small purple bears. The staff, however, were very accommodating and, after Crystal had tried out my seat, they did not object to her making herself comfortable in the magazine holder. It meant that she was flying backwards but it didn’t seem to worry her and, in fact, I believe she managed to sleep most of the way (well, it was an early flight and we’d both been up since 4.00am).

Now, I would like to say that she was whisked straight from the aircraft to the bear shop for immediate surgery. But, I can’t tell fibs and I must admit there was a slight delay of a couple of days while I saw a few of the sights and did a bit of shopping, but I don’t think Crystal was adversely affected. The creation and insertion of a new message was accomplished without the need for anaesthetic and Crystal came through it all with a minimum of fuss. As a reward for her bravery she was even treated to a new winter outfit. An enjoyable few days were then spent lounging around in B’s bedroom making herself familiar with her surroundings. All too soon it was time to leave but Crystal was looking forward to her return to E with all trace of her malfunction erased.


Enjoying a treat at the airport

As we know purple bears are tough little things and not much fazes them. Crystal was in high spirits on the return leg of our journey and none the worse for her bout of laryngitis and subsequent implant.

Tonight Crystal and E will be reunited and I know of one nine year old and her mum who will have smiles all over their faces.

Will I really need the little black dress?

Does anyone else over think when it comes to packing? I’m flying from Perth to Melbourne for five days and it takes me twice that time to decide what to pack!! And if you think that’s bad, imagine what happened when I went to Europe for four weeks.

I’m not one of those people who can throw a few things into a bag at the last minute and take off for a long weekend. Lots of planning has to go into it. I need to make sure I’ve got the right clothes whatever may come up. I’m the type that would take a sexy, black, cocktail dress and high heels on a hiking holiday in South America, because ….. you never know, I might just need them.

Those little pink pigs might be seen silhouetted against that elusive Blue Moon and, as all of us single women well know, this could just possibly herald the appearance of that eligible guy hell bent on inviting us out to dinner. Either that or I could decide to take myself out to a swish restaurant and have dinner for one.

Now, just as I’m a list person, I’m also a pile person when it comes to packing. So – I have a pile of trousers, a pile of tops (long sleeved and short sleeved, just in case), a pile of underwear, dresses, assorted accessories, shoes and so on, all laid out on the spare bed. And I’m umming and aaghing (if that’s how you spell it), I’m not convinced I’ve got all that I’ll need. What if …..

Maybe I should try a different type of piling system. Maybe by outfit. I’d probably have to do this using a list though because the same top may be required in several outfits. Too hard – stick to the piles I’ve got.

Packing is simply the worst part of travelling, and why, oh why, do we insist on taking that one article of clothing that we haven’t worn for twelve months but are convinced that we are going to need while we’re away?

Wish me luck and just hope that I’ve got everything I’ll need because, well, let’s face it, if I haven’t I’ll just have to go shopping in Melbourne.