Sunday, 29 June 2014

My Sunday Photo - 29th June

It has been a wet & stormy winter weekend in Melbourne.
Football continues rain, shine or hail (as we had today!)
Hard for the players, even harder for spectators...
Why didn't I think of bringing a tent to keep dry?!

Watching soccer in Melbourne

Hope you have a great week!


Crazy (and drenched) Soccer Mum.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Melbourne's horse and carriages

What do you think?
Tourist horse and carriage rides have been plodding through the 
streets of our city for around thirty years.
Together with our trams 
they are iconic Melbourne transport.

For $100 AUD you can take a half hour ride 
from Melbourne Flinders Street station 
to the Shrine of Remembrance.

It is not cheap,
but I'm sure it would be lovely,
unless that is, 
you start worrying about the condition the animals are kept in...

Melbourne's iconic horse and carriages
There is a bit of a rumpus going on at the moment
between those concerned about animal welfare,
who are a large and ever growing group,
and the rest of Melbourne. 

Melbourne's horse and carriages
The pro horse and carriage Melbournians
like seeing the horses on the streets,
believe they are well cared for,
and consider them a wonderful tourist attraction to be preserved.

The Melbourne Against Horse Drawn Carriages
are concerned that the horses work long hours, 
in all weathers, including searing summer heat,
and are subjected to all the fumes and pollution of the CBD,
amongst other things...

Horses and carriages Melbourne
In 2011 our Melbourne City Council introduced a code of practice 
for the operation of horse drawn carriages,
 in response to growing questions about the industry.

Today we found a long line of horse and carriages, 
It has been a wet and wild week here in Melbourne,
so maybe not the most popular day for an open carriage ride? 
Even with the nice woolly blankets which are on offer!

For hire on Swanston Street, Melbourne

The horses don't look too miserable, or poorly cared for,
But they do look extremely bored!

This horse decides to add to the wet conditions under foot 
and flood Swanston Street!
They are obviously being well watered...!

Melbourne horses and carriages
We are not alone having a horse furore!
On our recent visit to New York city
we found there is a similar debate.
As there is in other cities worldwide
Such as Vienna, Rome and Montreal.

Where ever you are in the world
if you see a horse and carriage 
it is likely that you might take a picture.
How many of us have similar snaps?

Horse and carriages New York City 
There is something very photogenic 
about the traditional horse and carriages.

You want to believe that these horses, 
the livelihoods of their human owners,
are well cared for...

Horse and carriage Central Park, New York
Of course the same applies to whatever animal is in question.
Here in Rajesthan, India, we spotted a camel and carriage.

Camel and carriage, Jaisalmer, India
   I saw a petition that
Horse & Carriage Rides in the City of Melbourne should be BANNED and replaced with human-powered cycle rickshaws

Human power is used the world over,
you only have to think of India's rickshaw drivers 
or the pedal bike carriages as seen in New York's Central Park.

Human-powered cycle rickshaws -New York

It will be really interesting to see how much longer 
the horses stay in Melbourne.
I would be happy to see the horses remain, 
as long as they are being properly looked after.

Do you have horse and carriage rides in your country?

Linking with Saturday's Critters thanks to Eileen

Camera Critters

Thursday, 26 June 2014


Do have those suburbs in your city, 
on the wrong side of the tracks?
You know, the ones that nice girls don't go to?

Nice girls don't go to Footscray ... 
oh, and maybe Frankston

You know the place that is the butt of all jokes...
What do you call a 30 year old Footscray or Frankston girl? 
Answer: Granny

The sort of place that might have been nice once, 
and might be nice again,
but it's industrial heritage dominates?
It's hard not to think of chemical plants in Footscray...

So imagine telling your friends that you now work in Footscray?
And imagine telling your friends that you really love the place 
'Yes Footscray' you say, as they imagine they've misheard.

The Footscray they think of as a horrible part of town, 
full of junkies and muggings!

It would be fun to buy a house there, you say
but you already know you've missed the moment.
Footscray is becoming trendy!
Property prices have soared.

Footscray is really multicultural;
Italian, former Yugoslavian, Vietnamese and increasingly East African migrants 
have over the years all set up home in Footscray in large numbers.
This diverse culture is what makes Footscray special.

It is within 5 km of Melbourne's CBD
with good public transport links, 
has some kick ass local restaurants 
and one of the cheapest markets in Melbourne.

Footscray's reputation as violent and 
unfriendly is slowly changing.
This area is a major location for the settlement of migrants and refugees
 it has a vibrancy that excites...
Some say it is even gentrifying...

I love my Fridays in Footscray
Every week I discover something new.
It's a cheap place to eat and shop...

I am learning how to do battle in Footscray
but it's only with the other women with their shopping trollies
at the Footscray market!

We walk along the Maribyrnong river trail
which the city skyline in the distance.
This area once the industrial corridor has been renewed.

We find the Newells Paddock wetlands reserve
and wish we'd remembered some bread for the ducks.

There is a lot of money going into Footscray
these bike and walking paths and 
the new upgraded train station are impressive!

Footscray Park is a wonderful Edwardian park
that you could take ages exploring.

I am lucky to be back in Footscray soon,
living on the wild side!

Linking with Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday
F is for Footscray!

Linking with Friday My Town Shoot Out 
Thanks to Mersad and the wonderful volunteers

Linking with Blue Monday - thank you Sally

Smiling Sally

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Bolin Bolin Billabong

is my favourite Melbourne Walk.
Start and finish at Bulleen Park: 
175 Bulleen Road, Bulleen, VIC, Australia

Bolin Bolin Billabong
It is practically a city walk, 
and is one of the few remaining billabongs in an urban setting.
Apart from the hum of traffic, from the nearby Eastern freeway,
once you are walking alongside our mighty Yarra river 
you could be way more remote.

This combination of wetland and woodland walks
just screams Australian beauty to me.

Yarra river, Bulleen
The Yarra river is to Melbourne
What the Thames is to London,
and the Seine is to Paris.
She is an icon.

Yarra river Bulleen
When the river reaches our city centre, 
she is the undisputed heart of one of the world's most liveable cities.
Southbank is our city's bustling waterfront hub,
with many restaurants, hotels and apartments,
 all competing for a look-see over the water.

Whilst in downtown Melbourne, 
all eyes are on our Yarra River,
here in Bulleen she runs free, natural and untamed.

Gum trees in Bulleen Park
A billabong is a Wurundjeri word 
and is formed when an isolated pond is left behind 
after the river changes course. 
In this case around 1100AD.

Bolin Bolin is generally accepted to come from the aboriginal words 
Buln Buln meaning lyrebird.

Manna Gum Bulleen Park by Simon Horburgh
There are many animals within the parklands,
but I don't generally get to see them with the Crazy Poodle.
This is a great dog walk as the whole area is one massive offlead adventure.

Gum trees overlooking the archery fields
Giant red river gums flank the river
this is one of the most intact Red Gum wetland areas around. 
The many varieties of eucalyptus trees are amongst the stunning,
indigenous trees and plants found here,  
nestled alongside the exotic plantings of the European influence.
This area would be a painters dream!

I love that this area is a sacred and special place 
for indigenous people.
As you walk in the footsteps of the Wurundjeri people 
you will sense the history.

Information boards give you more information
and highlight some of the wildlife and 
flora and fauna that you will encounter.

Bolin Bolin was one of the biggest billabongs in the area. 
It was a significant ritual meeting place for Kulin nation gatherings 
Each April/May for many thousands of years.
up to 1000 people would gather here 
 enjoying the seasonal abundance of food in the area
with plentiful supplies of kangaroo, wallabies and eels. 

The Yarra River flats now are home to many sporting clubs.
On any one weekend this area is again a meeting place for locals
whether you are shooting a bow and arrow, 
flying a model aircraft, 
or playing Australian Rules football, soccer or cricket 
at one of the many sporting ovals.

As far as I know none of these sports clubs 
offer anything more exotic than a sausage to eat,
 eel on the menu has long gone!

I hope you have enjoyed a walk with me in my local Aussie park
Given the storms and atrocious winter weather today
these photos are from a previous visit!

Linking with Our World Tuesday
Thank you to all the hosts

Linking with Outdoor Wednesday thank you Susan!

Linking with Mosaic Monday
Thank you Mary!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Blue Monday June

It's going to be wet and miserable all week here in Melbourne!
We're all going to have wet paws and a grubby tummy...

Of course Daughter No 2 
just back from six months in New York
says she will never, ever, ever complain 
about an Aussie winter again
But I will!!

At least we have got our central heating fixed and are toasty warm, inside.
But even that is not without issue.
Our new ducted heating unit fires into action with such ferocity, 
blasting out hot air and debris through the floor ducts.
 It wakes the whole household at 5.30am everyday.
By 5.45am we're throwing off the doona cover with gay abandon
feeling like we'd be cooler in a sauna...
I like my new heating!

We're not used to such heat inside,
then we go outside and wham, bam, it's freezin'
Well Melbourne cold, not actually cold, cold.
Not cold enough for ice you know.
This is Melbourne, one of the World's most liveable cities!

Today was stormy, it was blustery and windy,
and we battened down the hatches...
Not like we used to in Hong Kong 
when a typhoon 8 warning came through,
but in an Aussie Melbourne way,
whereby you don't park the car under any trees
and you tut profusely when your brolly blows inside out.

Of course it's worse being in winter here, 
with the rest of the world gearing up for their summer hols.
Now with Wimbledon on the telly,
it's really in your face that we are missing out on the European summer...
Although I guess it won't be that long before
rain stops play at the tennis!

So here we are wet, cold and with a grubby, smelly dog!
For some reason we always choose the wrong week to get the dog washed
he will be black by Tuesday, chasing possums in the garden in this weather!

Mutt gets washed and trimmed every eight weeks.
He hates it.
When the blue dog van appears at the gate, 
the Crazy Poodle dissolves into panic and shakes from top to tail!

Not to worry, as you can see the headphones go on
to block out Mutts indignant wails and he is washed, trimmed and returned
looking thinner and smelling sweeter
after a quick spritz of doggy cologne

Can't stop long.
We're all getting up at 2am to watch Australia's
last football match v's Spain in the World Cup!

The whole of the Australian football community is getting 
rather sleep deprived at the moment, 
as most of the matches we seem to want to watch 
are on in the middle of the night for us!

Hope you have a great week!

Linking with Blue Monday
Thank you to Smiling Sally

Saturday, 21 June 2014

The Eagle has landed!

After six months studying in the United States of America 
daughter No 2 
has returned to the nest this morning.

She has had an amazing time living in New York
and travelling through California
where she really learned to fly.

This Little Mother Wren 
has a nervous flapping of wings 
and a scratching of her head
when she sees the video of her young Wrenlet 
jumping out of a plane!

Wrenlet 2 arrives home to find her 
Mother Hen has spent the entire week running around like a headless chook,
dusting and cleaning her room
and generally preparing for her return.
Well I might as well enjoy one week 
with one immaculate & tidy kids bedroom!

Plus I'm getting to the pointy end of my June minimalist challenge
where by each day I throw out the same number of items as the date
 I'm hoping she has been away so long, she won't remember half the items
I've jettisoned from her room this week!

I have even moved her desk and bed around in her bedroom,
Well we don't want her to think that nothing has changed 
since she has been away!

It's been a week of birds.
We had Problem in the Park earlier
with our noisy sulphur crested cockatoos.

These cute parrot photos were taken in January 
at Healesville Sanctuary
by Irina Falconi and Shelby Rogers
who were visiting from the US 
whilst playing at the Australian Open.

This week we have been cheering them on from afar
at the Wimbledon qualifying tournament.

Which reminded me of our lovely day at Healesville Sanctuary.
There is no better place to take International guests
for a taste of Australian wildlife in a natural setting.

Healesville looked after our professional tennis players exceedingly well.
Here is one of their photos from their Close Encounter with a koala
You can read more about Benny the Kool Koala here

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend
I'm off to start the weekend's chuck out
I need to find 43 things to throw out
I will soon have my nest back in order!
Linking with Saturday Critters
Thanks to Eileen