Memory Monday

Kermit Saved My Life

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My first car looked just like this one. The same make, model and colour. Although I had leather seats and not those cool tartan ones.

A welch plug blew after about 4 weeks, which meant an expensive repair job for a 20c part. The passenger side door frame leaked so that when it rained you would get soaked (we kept a towel in the car for this reason). About 200m away from my house in the morning the car would try to stall, but some tricky clutch work would stop it from happening. After a while this became second nature.

I learnt a lot about cars from little Kermit. One of my big tips was that when it’s over 35C outside and you know you’ve got a full tank of petrol but she’s behaving like she’s run out… that’s a sticking carburettor seat. Pull over, let her cool down a bit, unstick the stupid flappy bit on the carby and you can be on your way. I helped two other stranded motorists with that particular trick – they must have thought I was some kind of car genius.

Stalling was this little car’s big trick. She would stop at lights regularly, I remember pushing her through the drive thru at McDonald’s in pouring rain. I got so adept at manoeuvring her from outside that I once parallel parked her while pushing her!

Generally, however, once she got going she would go quite well with the occasional stall at lights.

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So, one night I was headed out down to Banksia Street. I took Bell Street which most Melbournians will know is rather steep as it joins and becomes Banksia Street near the Mercy Hospital. This was my view – the yellow arrows are pointing to a “prepare to Stop” sign and the actual traffic lights that the sign refers to. You can see that it’s quite a way away. That slope is steep!

I apply the brakes and gear down and just as I pass into the intersection the engine cuts out! I’m stopped, quite bizarrely in the middle of a crossroads late at night and in petulant denial of all those pesky laws of physics and principles of momentum and such stuff.

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This is where I was, same spot as the car with the green arrow – only imagine it deserted and dark.

As I turn the key, all the while muttering obscenities under my breath a clapped out old ute with no lights on suddenly whizzed past from right to left, going the wrong way across me. Once it had passed, Kermit started as though nothing had happened and we were on our way.

If she had not stalled just at that moment I would have been hit by that speeding and probably drunk/stolen ute. As the realisation hit I found myself pulled over and shaking.

Has an inanimate object ever behaved mysteriously for you? Have you had a near miss? What was your first car?

My Lifestream, My Week in Pictures, Parenthood, Shopping

To Market, To Market…

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Friday morning Elisa and I headed into town to check out the new market that will be held at Waverly Station. It’s great to see an undercover market in Edinburgh – it’s something that is sorely missing. There was roughly 20 stalls selling handcarfts, vintage goods, and artisan food/drink. The only ready to eat foods were breads and cupcakes. And no fresh veggies.

God how I miss the Queen Vic with it’s 7 hectares of undercover goods. The noise, the crowds, the smells and the colours. It’s one of the top Melbourne things that I honestly wish I could just transport over to every city I live in.

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After the market I popped into Next and had a look at the kids clothes. I was struck by the shoe wall. The boys side included quite a few pairs of rugged, sturdy, stay-on shoes with decent treads – perfect for running in hot weather. The girls side was full of thin-soled things with flowers or butterflies and lots of thongs (flip-flops for the non-Aussies). Nothing suitable for running at all.

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I had a realisation that if this is what is available in the affordable market then what message does that send? Boys get to choose function over form, girls get to choose pretty over practical. Do the stereotypes start before a child is even aware of gender? Is this where the glass ceiling really begins, with the boys running and the girls sitting on the sidelines watching? I know that I can find good shoes that are also pretty, but I shouldn’t have to spend 4 times as much and go out of my way to seek them out – not everyone is in a posiion to do that.

Craft, Katja, My Week in Pictures, Shopping, Travel

Week 13.17 – Puffing Billy

Week 17 from April 22nd to 28th. This week we were in Melbourne enjoying the sunshine and a trip on Puffing Billy.

MissK is sleeping like a baby after yesterday's terrifying swimming pool ordeal
20130422 – MissK is sleeping like a baby after yesterday’s terrifying swimming pool ordeal. Poor thing cried the entire time we were there and clung to me like never before. The only plus side is that she’s slept so well since.

The Hopetoun Tea Rooms in #Melbourne
20130423 – The Hopetoun Tea Rooms in #Melbourne would have to be one of my favourite cafes. I never knew of the links to Edinburgh until last year’s trip to Hopetoun House, a place all Melbournians visiting Edinburgh should get to.

Apparently failure to proofread is not considered a shortcut in the painting business
20130423 – Apparently failure to proofread is not considered a shortcut in the painting business. Brilliant fail!

$2.80 for leather shoes - let me think about tha.. YES!!!
20130423 – $2.80 for leather shoes – let me think about tha.. YES!!! #shoppingwin

Today we visited the lolly shop! #theyarnbarn
20130423 – Today we visited the lolly shop! #theyarnbarn

Female Superb Lyrebird
20130427 – Female Superb Lyrebird. I’ve only ever seen one in the wild once before. Couldn’t get a good shot of the guy who was wooing her.

Puffing Billy, view from carriage
20130427 – Puffing Billy, view from carriage. So glad that you can still hang out the windows, an awesome day.

My Week in Pictures, Travel

Week 13.16 – Adelaide and Melbourne

Week 16 from April 15th to 21st and finds us in sunny Adelaide and Melbourne.

Trying to choose one!
20130415 – Trying to choose one! In the end I chose a purple leather purse at a market for much less than these cost.

Small version for a young lady #tatting
20130415 – Small version for a young lady #tatting. It’s always nice to make something special for a special little girl.

3D printer looks quite funky
20130416 – 3D printer looks quite funky. Isn’t it amazing what technology can do, imagine what life will be like in ten years’ time!

Dead Zoo Melbourne - fabulous display
20130420 – Dead Zoo Melbourne – fabulous display. The screens showed the animals around you, you tapped on an animal to find out more. Seemed to make it so much more interactive than I remember it being.

Vasette
20130420 – Vasette in Fitzroy, one of my favourite florists and just as gorgeous as I remember it.

My Week in Pictures, Travel

Week 13.15.1 Australia!

Week 15 from April 8th to 14th but this post only covers the days in Melbourne before we headed of to Adelaide.

VW crab
20130408 – a VW Crab, I’ll never look at that logo the same way again

Movie time #melbourne
20130408 – Movie time at Federation Square in Melbourne

Lemon... Sour...
20130408 – Katja’s first taste of lemon… sour… but she went back for more!

Melbourne trams
20130408 – Melbourne Trams – they join up and they’ve been running all my life!

Katja and Gus playing together #cousins
20130409 – Katja and Gus playing together #cousins

Silly face time with Natalia and Mark
20130409 – Silly face time with Natalia and Mark

My Week in Pictures

Week 13.14 – Off to Australia!

Week 14 from April 1st to 7th saw us jetting off to Australia where Katja got to meet her cousin, aunts and uncles for the first time and catch up with Grandma and Grandpa.

Snow! #aus13
130401 – Snow! As we leave Edinburgh we see snow on the ground.

Katja and Granddad
130403 – And we’ve arrived! Katja and her Grandad. <3

Gus shows Katja his trampoline
130403 – Gus was keen to show Katja his trampoline. Katja needed no encouragement!

Sunshine feels fabulous!
130404 – Sunshine feels fabulous!

Flora
130404 – Fabulous Aussie flora – Eucalyptus trees smell awesome.

Not impressed with her first haircut!
130405 – Not impressed with her first haircut!

Dessert sorted!
130405 – Dessert is sorted!

Love this tunnel entrance #melbourne
130406 – Love this tunnel entrance #Melbourne

New sensations - sunshine and grass
130406 – New sensations – sunshine and grass

Day at the beach
130407 – Day at the beach

Happy girl
130407 – Happy girl

Greengrocer #abundance #fresh
130407 – Greengrocer. Really miss this sight! #abundance #fresh

Memory Monday

Memory Monday – Moomba

The second Monday in March was always Moomba when I was growing up. It was also Labour Day, the celebration of the 8 hour working day but really it was the Moomba Parade which was the true highlight. The parade has been going since 1955 and consists of colourful floats and displays from various groups. It generally culminated with the Moomba Dragon – a gorgeous Chinese Dragon manned by 150 boys and girls which thinking back was a wonderful example of the diversity of cultures represented. Also featured on the day was the Bird Man Rally – lots of silly people attempting to fly in their home-made costumes and landing in the Yarra.

The name Moomba is interesting – I grew up thinking that it translated to “let’s get together and have fun”. However, in 1981, linguist Barry Blake mentioned the origins in his book “Australian Aboriginal Languages”:

…undoubtedly the most unfortunate choice of a proper name from Aboriginal sources was made in Melbourne when the city fathers chose to name the city’s annual festival ‘Moomba’. The name is supposed to mean ‘Let’s get together and have fun’, though one wonders how anyone could be naive enough to believe that all this can be expressed in two syllables. In fact ‘moom’ (mum) means ‘buttocks’ or ‘anus’ in various Victorian languages and ‘-ba’ is a suffix that can mean ‘at’, ‘in’ or ‘on’. Presumably someone has tried to render the phrase ‘up your bum’ in the vernacular.

image found online, photographer unknown, showing float going past what is now Federation Square in 1973