#1316 The Briars Market

Today we finally got a chance to go to the Briars market.

I have been hearing about the Briars for some time now. Funnily enough, it is only a short 5 or so minute drive down the road from us, and we kind of, accidentally stumbled upon it on mine and Hubbie’s last day off on Wednesday when we were looking for nurseries, in search of plants for our front yard.

The Briars is a historic property steeped in history. Its settlement dates back to 1840, by retired army officer Captain James Reid. It was one of the first houses built in Mornington Peninsula by Europeans, and the Historic Homestead remains as this link back in time.

The beautiful and hilly grounds are comprised of 230 hectares of trees and gardens, wide, rolling hills, and contain a nursery (which we came across the other day), a Wildlife Sanctuary, the Historic Homestead, even an Astronomy Centre amongst many other points of interest.

Due to its wide and expansive location, it also makes sense that it can hold a market or two. Enter the Briars market. Held once a month in the sunnier parts of the year, stall holders and local produce people converge in stalls to bring the locals and those who travel from far, something to see and do with the family on a Sunday.

Well it was our time to see it today. While we didn’t stay for long and didn’t buy anything, it was a pleasure to walk its grounds and breathe in the crisp Spring air… and going by the historic nature of the grounds, it’s a place I would love to re-visit and explore, to plant my roots as it were, into this most humble and cherished of Peninsula grounds.

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#1097 Going Ga Ga for Live Aid

Ok fine.

I get it.

I have a thing about gay men…

They are some of my favourite-st performers, after all.

Like Freddie Mercury. It has been a very Queen-heavy week for me.

I’ve been coming home to an empty house after school drop-off and filling it with ROCK ROCK ROCK.

Today I put on a random playlist of the group via youtube as I set about in cleaning the house.

My Oh My.

I’ve listened to these performances individually many a time, but never in a whole, to realise the full context and width and breadth of their set at the 1985 Live Aid concert in Wembley Stadium.

Here I was, a little toddler, pushing 2 years old… and these guys were creating the greatest rock performance of all-time.

Have a watch of the exhilarating, fist-pumping 21 minutes. Tell me what you think.

At 2:45 begins my most favourite bit of the set. The intro to Radio Ga Ga, my current obsession.

But, for some of that context I mentioned earlier… over 70,000 people clapping in unison people.

70,000.

Just in in the UK. Because Live Aid was a joint concert effort to raise money for people starving to death in Ethiopia, and was back off the “Do They Know It’s Christmas” single effort.

While the UK performances began at Wembley at approximately 12pm, they continued at the John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia in the U.S, for a crowd of 100,000 just before 2pm UK time, with the concert amounting to about 16 hours of live performances.

It inspired concerts in other countries around the world on the same day, and the scale of this Live Aid event, the largest television broadcast of the time, was that about 40% of the world’s population watched it.

Most likely your parents… and most likely mine.

So when you take the above performance with all this info, knowing Queen were performing to approximately 1.9 billion people around the world…

WOAH.

Just let that sink in.

And his a capella section at the end of Radio Ga Ga, showcasing his vocal range and ability to stir a crowd, became known as “the note heard round the world.”

What a legacy.

“Alright!”

 

 

 

 

#1096 The rainbow Valentine

During the length of a relationship, Valentine’s Day goes through a whole rollercoaster course of changes.

I mean really, Valentine’s Day was born for young love. Sweet, innocent love. It is the day for Hope, or Heartache… Hope to find your love requited… and Heartache if your love goes elsewhere.

For the rest of us committed, long-term couple types?

Meh.

It starts to become a bit ‘meh.’

I had this discussion with Hubbie last night.

“Valentine’s Day is bullshit! Why should I buy you flowers because a commercial day is telling me to? I want to get you flowers when I want to.”

Even being a woman and all… I actually agreed with him.

The story of this romantic day is based on a patron-saint… who we can only guess at, as there were a few Valentine/Valentinus’, all who were martyred – that is, murdered over their beliefs. The general story, which is oddly identical between Valentine’s, is that this saint performed secret weddings against the authorities, saved a girl from an affliction like blindness somewhere in between, and in his final moments was tortured and killed.

There is no definite closure to the story’s origins, and the more romantic part of the holiday perhaps is due to the old Roman holiday which used to be held in February, a sexy holiday as it were, where women would write their names on clay tablets and they would be drawn by men to form random couplings (Gasp!)

The day has grown into the commercial entity that it is today. You buy a card, flowers, chocolate and candy. You make grand plans for the day.

But it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I know I know. I’m sounding like an unromantic old hag. Trust me I’m not. I wanted Valentine’s Day to work for me, sooo bad, for YEARS.

But each year, it was a bitter disappointment.

Hubbie and I would argue.

We’d go out to dinner, and the food would be mediocre.

One of us were working that day.

And on and on and on it would go.

Only when I let go of the idea of the perfect romantic holiday, did I start to have fun.

Sure, there was that one year after we married where Hubbie surprised me with a city tram restaurant ride… and in recent years we’ve introduced our good ol’ mate Moet onto the scene, and he makes Valentine’s Day very entertaining.

But none of that is even the point. Because going back to what Hubbie said…

If he is only going to buy me flowers because a calendar reminded him to, well that is shit if you ask me.

I’d rather he get me flowers because he wants to. Because he wants to cheer me up. Something has reminded him of me that day and he thought to surprise me.

I will not lie. I am a woman after all. I will accept all the flowers and cards.

ALL DAY EVERY DAY.

But, at this stage of life?

Even I am getting a bit ‘meh.’

What is the point, if HIS thought, isn’t in it?

So today. (You are wondering aren’t you…)

We got each other cards. I am a writing kinda gal, so if I don’t give a card and he doesn’t give me one, that means we don’t have hands or something. That has to happen. It’s nice. It’s sweet.

And then…

DA DA DA!

He did get me A flower. Which was more than enough. There was something else however, that touched me more, meant more to me than any rose he could have picked for me…

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He got a flower for baby girl too.

And that my friends, is the best Valentine’s Day present to me, EVER.

Do you know why? Because the expectation was for him to get something for me… and he went further, and got something special, for HER.

♥♥♥

 

#922 Port Arthur Love and Loss

I never thought I would love Port Arthur.

It always seemed like such a sad place, a haunting place, and a tragic place, based on its old history of convict settlement, brutal punishments and then another horrible tragedy, the massacre of 1996.

I had heard about it, read about it, been told about it in school. I can even remember the day of the Port Arthur massacre – I was in year 7, and our teacher was telling us about it in class.

I however, never thought I would be as captivated as I was today when I visited the historical site, in person.

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Because how can a place with such a savage past, be so beautiful?

It is hard to imagine what it was like then – the whippings – men’s backs seeping with blood from punishment; convicts trying to escape and then freezing to death in the expansive grounds on unforgiving freezing Spring mornings; supposed ‘surgeons’ operating on sick offenders, with no real study or practice behind them – with only time and repeated surgeries making their brutal amputations more precise.

The sun was shining. It was a perfect Winter’s day, something I never thought was possible. We took a boat tour…

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We wandered the grounds…

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And we just took it all in.

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I cannot recommend this place highly enough. It is a World Heritage site for a reason, and I am beyond grateful that I was able to visit its historic sadness and natural splendour. I urge anyone reading this, to do the same.

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#825 A Royal Party

We had a few things to celebrate tonight.

It was my Dad’s birthday this week.

So too was it my parents wedding anniversary.

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And then there was the little matter of… crowns.

My family and I gathered excitedly around the TV in my parents’ lounge room as the royal proceedings commenced after dinner.

Or should I say, I gathered excitedly. I wasn’t the only one surprised by my sudden outburst at seeing Megan’s ex-workmates from Suits donning their finest scrubs as they rocked up to the wedding of the future Duchess of Sussex.

My family, more so Hubbie, was quite baffled at my sudden revert back to my 16 year-old self as I yelled excitedly “it’s Harvey! Harvey’s here! And Mike! And that one who was in Angel too!”

You know how when you watch a show for a while and grow to love its characters, you start to feel like you know them? Even more, they are like your friends?

Well Rachel Megan and her Suits pals were my buddies… and then she met Prince Harry.

Awww. ♥♥♥

Needless to say I have loved this story and their budding romance EVER SINCE.

And yet still, when I went teenage hormonal tonight like I was at a rock concert, I even surprised myself.

‘Huh. So I am excited then aren’t I?!’

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Let’s face it, when are we going to see another Royal wedding like this? Maybe in 20 years time, when William and Kate’s kids walk down the aisle… so put that into perspective. These things don’t come around often, and it’s pretty cool that we were able to watch it tonight.

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Ahh, princesses. Princes. Weddings. Dashing lads and beautiful brides. And watching someone you admire from afar, get married… it was almost as good as a Suits eps.

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And our family affair of celebrations was ramped up a notch with some opportune headwear…

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And cake too 😉

 

 

#712 Family Fun on Jan 26th

Today is a day that divides many people from the land down under.

January 26th – Australia Day. A national holiday to celebrate our achievements as Australians, to recognise how far we’ve come, and to reflect on our culture.

The local park down by the beach ran a huge Australia Day event, and naturally, we all headed on down.

It was a very pro-Australia Day experience. Flags abounded, Union Jacks on clothing, and green and gold was the norm. Massive theme park rides were spaced on the perimeter of the park, food trucks on one end, and a stage for live music on the other.

These people came here to celebrate Australia day – or as was in our case, to take advantage of the free entertainment.

But there is a movement, a wave of people that has been increasing exponentially, that believes we should not celebrate Australia Day on January 26th.

And I agree.

BUT that does NOT mean I am not proud to be an Australian.

January 26th is not the day the First Fleet landed in this country, as many people are led to believe. In fact it is believed to have occurred in 1788, somewhere between Jan 18-20, and the 26th is the day the Union Jack was raised in Sydney Cove, to declare British Sovereignty.

Australia Day was celebrated in Sydney on January 26th in those early days, before other states took on the holiday too, but they did this on different days, like Tasmania’s ‘Regatta Day,’ or South Australia’s ‘Proclamation Day.’ This was the case for 200 years, and only in 1935 did it become nationally recognised and celebrated, even then only being declared as a holiday in 1994.

In that way, Australia Day as we know it today, is fairly new.

The day January 26th, is known as ‘Invasion Day’ or ‘Survival Day’ to these Anti-Aus Day Jan 26-ers. Because it signalled the end of 50,000 years of Indigenous occupation on this land, which then led to brutal colonisation. Massacres of the Aboriginal people took place, land was taken, and children removed from their parents. The stolen generation was born, and many Indigenous descendants grew up not knowing where they came from.

The pain, suffering and loss the Indigenous community experienced is more than profound. And that doesn’t include the repercussions echoing out to this current day. To think of what they have had to endure, not just over years, but decades and centuries, with oppression and hate and discrimination, when all they were doing were living on their land… a sorry will just not do.

But it was done. In 2008 the Australian Prime Minister formally apologised to the Aboriginal community – for the successive laws and policies of previous governments that inflicted severe pain and grief onto their families and communities.

January 26th, the day the Union Jack was raised in Sydney in 1788, is then a representation of all that preceded, and all that was lost to the Indigenous community when the First Fleet arrived. The slavery, the violence, the oppression. It is a day of mourning for many. Rightly so.

My ancestors were NOT from that First Fleet. In fact, in 1788, my ancestors were probably farming cattle in a remote and poverty-stricken land somewhere in the Balkan region of Europe. My parents came to Australia in 1970, for a better life. It is the story of so many European immigrants, and continues to be so to this day. They came from nothing, from having to work so hard just to be able to obtain, I don’t know, a bike… over the span of a YEAR… and the opportunity to come to a “land of plenty,” where stories of filling up a trolley with fruit and vegetables with only $2, and realising after their first pay check working in the factory, that they could achieve so much more here in months, than they could achieve over there in years… that is the history I grew up with.

I grew up hearing, how Australia saved my parents. In doing so, they saved my sister and I. I grew up hearing of the comparisons between my parents’ beloved native country, and the ‘lucky country.’ They have such respect for where they came from, and when you ask them their nationality – they are Australian. Proudly so.

I have seen more of my family come from overseas. They didn’t come here to brutalise and oppress any minority or otherwise group, just as my parents didn’t. No, they came here for a better life, for a chance at something greater, even to escape WAR. They came here because they heard things were good, and they wanted to see things for themselves.

They have all stayed. We ALL have.

The Australia I have lived with, and which has been represented to me, is a good one, a noble one. I know things are not perfect, and there is always something the government must do better. But here, there is democracy. Freedom of speech. There is strong multiculturalism. People are kind. People are friendly. People love to connect.

However, bad things were done, many, many years ago, and despite the fact that we can’t go back, we can try to make things work as a unified community.

A country, united as one.

Both black and white, coming together.

But it has to be a conscious and integrated effort from both parties. There are white people I know that complain of the country we live in, or talk about how shit Australia is, or how that ‘other’ country is soooo much better.

Well move then. Go on, piss off (as a true blue Aussie would say). Don’t hang around here gaining benefits and working and earning Australian coin, when you know of so much better.

You are ungrateful. We don’t want you.

Likewise I have heard some other pretty horrible things today. I have heard of Indigenous people at Invasion Day rallies, saying “F*&k Australia, hope it burns to the ground.”

This makes me terribly sad. Sad for the mourning this person would have experienced to want the country they live in, the country we ALL live in, to burn to pieces.

Like I said, both parties need to want to move forward, peacefully. Slandering will not make things better. And it unfortunately won’t change the past.

Whether like me, my ancestors were not part of that First Fleet, or like other Australians, perhaps they were… the power to want to change the future is out there. People want to make amends for the past, whether they are white or black… but a person living in Melbourne today, should not be blamed for what their Father did in February 1st 1985 for example… just as today’s First Fleet descendants that want to change for the better, should not be blamed for what their ancestors were part of from 1788 onwards.

The idea is out there, that Australia Day needs to be moved to another date, or it is abolished all together and another day that celebrates both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities coming together, is created.

I believe this is the only way forward. I think respect needs to be shown to the original people of this land, and January 26th and Australia Day, are synonymous no more.

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Soooo…..

I went to the park today. I was happy to be amidst our community of proud Australians – Australians that love the country they live in, the people in it, and the culture that lives on.

Was I celebrating Australia Day? Hmm, not quite. I was celebrating the life I live…

But that I do every day. Because I am grateful for the place that I reside in the world.

I am grateful for MY history. I am grateful for the choices my parents made. And I am grateful that change is coming to respect the life and culture of those who inhabited this land 200 years before any white people were on it.

I had my own family fun day, and I enjoyed the fact of some extra time together, with them.

I hope wherever you were in the world, your day of January 26 was great too…

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#423 Playing alongside plaques

Today was a gorgeous day. After visiting Hubbie at work for lunch, I promised baby girl a park visit. She made sure I stayed on track, that I didn’t detour anywhere else, and that our path led straight to one of our favourite parks in Mornington, aptly named Mornington Park.

The park is vast, there is a huge pirate ship contraption which ideally looks out at the sea beyond it, true to its theme; there are rides and playground activities aplenty; a huge field to play sport and kick ball on; public toilets; many barbeque facilities; and just as many places to feast and relax upon. It is a truly playful, yet serene place to be.

And as we got onto the grounds, walking in the brilliant Autumn sunshine, baby girl happened across a circular brick setting holding a kind of flagpole, and in true toddler style just had to jump up onto it. Placed around the circular bricks were various plaques showcasing some of the town’s prominent people, dates and events, and as baby girl ran around the flagpole, mucking about, I read.

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I just love the fact of being in such an idyllic and historic town where so much has happened before us, so many momentous occasions and historic events, and now we, were also going to be part of its long-standing history.

I also hope, in an idyllic and wonderfully momentous and historic way.

And then, playing on the grounds we went…

 

#336 Moorooduc to Mornington steam train

With the school holidays still around for a few days more, the silly season has meant the addition of some extra events and festivities to keep the littlies amused… and one of them is the January Moorooduc to Mornington steam train.

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I’m led to believe that the steam train runs the first 3 Sundays of each month, however with the school holiday season upon us, a few sessions were introduced each Wednesday in January, with the final day being today.

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When I heard about the idea I knew it would be absolutely perfect for baby girl. She is a girly girl in some respects: she carries a bag around, likes to wear dresses, and will let me put bows in her hair; but on the other hand, she will throw and catch a mean ball, run you up and down until you are exhausted, and will play the hell out of her lego blocks and trains.

She LOVES trains.

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We headed over to Moorooduc station for the departure at 11:45am today, with the approximately 15 minute train ride taking us to Mornington station, and then back again to Moorooduc, once the engine had come around and joined onto the other end of the train carriages.

We had as much fun as baby girl. Where she gained an immense amount of happiness and pure joy from the tooting of the train, the steam sound being released, and the side to side, back and forth rocking motion in the carriages, we gained a deep appreciation of the vehicle that had been used to transport people in the carriages, so, so many years ago. To think that people generations ago had been in the carriage we had sat in, and travelled to various places, had been doing various things, and had been living a totally different life to what we live now, is almost mind-boggling. We were in a train that was built in 1941! That in itself is incredible. It is humbling. At one point I turned to Hubbie and said “I feel like I’m in Back to the Future… part 3.”

:):):)

My favourite moment of the trip came when I had my head out the window here:

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It gave me such a sense of relaxation, freedom, and a whimsical remembrance of childhood and all the frivolity and fun it embodied, that I was brought to tears, in thinking of how lucky we were to be living and experiencing a beautiful part of our state, and appreciating life in a whole new way now.

The drive home afterwards was slightly unnerving, and as much as I love my car, being in a vehicle lacking all character, doing 100 on a highway, felt alien. I had felt alive on the steam train, connected with life and nature and being, and I wanted to go back to that moment. I thought of all the things I wanted to do on the Peninsula, and which I had already done but wanted to revisit  – Arthur’s Seat chairlift; wineries; coastal walks; beach days – and realised this was something my soul was yearning. I had to connect to the world, to nature, to life, to a general sense of honesty, and my trip in the steam train this morning had certainly woken me up to that.

We had a truly terrific day today, even following our steam train ride, and although much of the later part was spent doing groceries and house jobs, I felt so happy and invigorated, that really, I believe our steam train ride put us in the right frame of mind this morning.

It set us on track. Pun intended.

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