Melbourne – Part 3

My first view of Ethiad Stadium
My first view of Ethiad Stadium

Edinburgh Military Tattoo Melbourne

Day three of our trip and today is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. I think everyone was up and ready bright and early. The Tattoo was at 1pm but we had no idea where the Ethiad Stadium was, what the area was like and what kind of parking to expect. We  talked about this and made the decision to call a taxi, deciding that this was, by far, the easiest choice – probably expensive – but easier and less stressful. At about 12 we headed off to the Stadium. On the way there we passed what we were told was the largest Shopping Mall in the Southern Hemisphere – Chadstone Shopping Center. I decided that had to be a must if possible. We decided to hit the merchandise  area and this is where we had a major disappointment. As part of my birthday gift, Andrew and John had purchased a Tattoo Merchandise Voucher. We heard nothing from anyone so we assumed that this would be in the form of a kind of Tattoo Show bag

At the stadium concourse
At the stadium concourse

and I presented the Voucher at the Merchandise Area only to be told that this had nothing to do with them and that the Tattoo Administration should have contacted me and sent the goods to me directly. This never happened. (More on this) Also Andrew wanted a Tattoo Teddy Bear for  Trish, but they had run out of them.  I just bought the usual – a golf shirt, T shirt and a Baseball Cap. Our seats were  not too bad, but the best Andrew could get at such short notice. They didn’t know about it and it was something they dreamed up for my Birthday at almost the last

Aboriginal Fire Ceremony Welcome to country.
Aboriginal Fire Ceremony Welcome to country.

moment, but I have to say the seats were not bad at all and we had a fairly good view of things.  For anyone who has been to Edinburgh or seen the Tattoo on Television, the format is fairly standard and flows swiftly from one section to the next. I think over the years most people ( or perhaps just me) have   decided on their favourite.  I liked all things from the Governor’s Guard of Honour, Australian Defense Force Band,  Pacific Islanders, The New Zealand Maori the King of Norway’s Guard, the Scottish Country dancers, the South Australia Police Band, Massed Pipes and Drums, but my favourite over the years is the Top Secret Drum Corps from Switzerland. They fascinate me.

The performances by all the cast ( 1200) was outstanding up to and very much including the closing performance and the Lone Piper. If I were to make one complaint it is that due to the roof being closed over the smoke from fires and guns took a long time to clear so a lot of the photographs have a smokey look about them,not as sharp as they should be – if that makes sense.. Would we go again – most certainly – I would even give up Celtic Thunder to go back to Melbourne.

Pipes and Drums
Pipes and Drums

At the end of the Tattoo we managed – after a while – to grab a taxi and make our way to  Chadstone Shopping Center  – and yes, it is a massive place but it was late in the afternoon so we really didn’t have much of an opportunity for a full exploration of the centre – perhaps next time – although I did need to get to Optus and have some adjustment made to my phone. Since the distance between Chadstone and Oakleigh wasn’t too far, we walked back to the hotel. We had  something to eat and drink in Chadstone, so no one really felt like dinner, so the boys read whilst I did some work on the computer – I carry a portable modem with me. An early night was in order for the drive home in the morning. – Confession – I went out to  the nearest KFC ( about five/six minutes walk away) and had a Cheeseburger.

Top Secret Drum Corps
Top Secret Drum Corps

The sands of time are sinking.

The town from The Hill
The town from The Hill

One of the things I am happy about it that I don’t have to be responsible for the minutes of anything now. I have the luxury  of being able to  do things because I want to, not because I have to. I’m not running about the place as I was last year – well last month was exceptional.   I have started reading again now that I can sit down for a bit. I also have a new camera, which I  have difficulty using, so I have decided to join the local photography club. I like taking photographs and I am reasonable when it comes to editing, but  would like to get better. I went there for the first time and had to do a “show and tell”and put a couple of my photographs on the big screen. On a scale on 1 – 10 with 10 being the highest,  I scored 5.6, which I suppose for a rank armature, is not three bad

I have no idea what to do in the garden, short of hiring a flame thrower to get rid of the weeds. With all this rain

No - not part of a river - our new wetlands
No – not part of a river – our new wetlands

they have taken off something fierce and weed killer is about as effective as using a water pistol to put out a house fire. When things settle down and the weather is a bit less inclement , I might get a backhoe to take off the surface. Once I get that done I will lay down weed matting and decide what to do after that.  Probably turn it into an gravel garden with a round house in the center (Hexagonal Gazebo)

Over 70 firefighters from Australia and New Zealand flew out to the USA to help  with fighting the fires in the  Western States,  particularly California I believe. I think it is brilliant that  countries with  forest fire problems  work together to assist each other when the need arises – such as now in the USA. A few years ago there were firefighters from the USA, Canada and New Zealand came to help in Australia.

I spent a good hour at the wetlands taking photographs. The wetlands looks a bit rough at the moment but new paths  have been put in, a new parking area with the possibility of a tea-room shortly,  restrooms, including a disabled restroom, ramps for wheelchair access and a barbecue area.  New fencing installed, a bike track round the entire area, new trees and shrubs planted, so, when everything grows and starts to get a bit of greenery around the place it should be really nice. An excellent area for a picnic. When I was down there, there were walkers  and mums with babies in prams getting ready to go for a stroll. Never really looked at the rules so I’m not sure if dogs are allowed – even on a leash.  The total area is 24.6 hectares with over 8 hectares of artificial lakes. One of the  better projects of a Council that is out of favour with a lot of residents.

Five months – that’s what I have left on my current site, then I have to renew with WordPress. If it were now – this week – I  think  I would be doing a MASH = Goodbye, Farewell and Amen. However, as it is I have from now until January to decide – renewal is in February.

A lot has happened since Christmas. I look out of the window and get depressed looking at the sea of weeds and I definitely think hiring a backhoe and driver is the answer. With regards to weeds, I am no orphan around the town in that regard – many people have been complaining about the massive growth of weeds. Then the weather people tell us that we have had our average rainfall for the year. What they don’t say is that we had a long dry

Weeds - I hates them precious!!
Weeds – I hates ’em precious!!

spell then the average for the year over a few months, hence the  huge amount of water in the wetlands (storm water runoff)  and the  massive spurt of weeds. Even in the church grounds it’s a fight to keep them under control at the moment.