Melbourne one year on

Today marks the first anniversary of our move to Melbourne. So much has happened in that year. We settled into our new home which is ideal for us. We have joined some social and educational groups. We go out most days and have covered kilometres on foot in our exploration of this wonderful city so full of historical buildings and the sort of Nineteenth Century architecture which I admire so much.

Unlike Sydney and Brisbane there is a concerted effort here not to overdo the modernisation bit. Yes, there are some places that have high-rise anonymous forests of glass and plastic Lego-shaped towers but they are mainly confined to an area called Docklands. We looked at that area when we first arrived in Melbourne and shook our heads at its alienating effect. It wasn’t for us.

So where we are is where we want to be.

Not so long ago I raved on about the wonderful change of seasons in Melbourne. The weather was bracing, I said. A recent bronchial infection and pneumonia soon made me moderate my enthusiasm for the Wayward Wind that yearns to wander.

The seasons are still amazing, but the bracing wind has lost some of its magic. I even find myself smiling when the sun shines for that brief second. I cosset myself in scarves and mittens and wonder whatever happened to that muff that I loved so much in Siberia when I was a child. Funny that I should be thinking about that muff now.

That ode that I quoted about Autumn in a previous post has now been replaced. I’m now into Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind” and that line “If Winter comes can Spring be far behind?”

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Not a problem

At first I was understandably reluctant to ask the waitress for a glass of water with our cappuccino, but then I took the plunge and made the request.

She took it very well, I thought and when she assured me it was “not a problem” I wiped my fevered brow with relief. After all, the last thing in the world that I would like to do is to cause her a problem. I was tempted to ask her if it was really not a problem or was she just being self-sacrificing by pouring the glass of water and placing it in front of me.

On reflection, however, I thought it was best not to ask her what problem she had envisaged in the first place regarding the request. I concluded that perhaps it would be a problem for some people but that, in fact, being the accomplished waitress that she was, her talents would not be stretched too far if I were to request a glass of water.

She had already reassured us that it was not a problem to bring us the menu. Not a problem to take our order. Not a problem to bring us a knife and fork wrapped up in a paper serviette and not a problem when we asked for the menu again before ordering coffee.

Indeed, I have never seen a person who insisted on sharing her feelings about the lack of problems as much as this lovely young girl did. It made me feel so happy to observe how she managed to get through the entire ordeal without a solitary problem.

When we left the restaurant, we expressed our gratitude and that’s when she changed her response to “No worries.” Now I’m really perplexed. What worries did she have that are gone or is she simply informing us that she hasn’t a care in the world? What was left for me to say but “I’m glad to hear it.”

It’s better than the usual grunt, I suppose, but I definitely could do with less sharing of feelings in the service industry. After all, all I asked for was some food and drink, not a cure for global warming…

Not a problem. Just pick her up a bit. She’ll be right, mate.

I found the following news item in “The Australian” intriguing.

Hundreds of Chinese homeowners protested outside government offices in Shanghai demanding refunds after a 13-storey apartment building in a complex under construction toppled over. A worker was killed in the June 27 incident in which the building fell over but otherwise remained almost entirely intact.

What I want to know is what brand of superglue were they using to keep the 13 storeys together.

I imagine that there will be a name change in the offing. Something along the lines of “Toppling Towers” perhaps. Leaning Tower of Pisa, eat your heart out! This is true horizontal living.

How naive are female sailors?

Women sailors in the Australian navy have complained that there have been bets placed on their sexual availability. Apparently, there’s a record called “the Ledger” which the sailors have been keeping. These women have been embarrassed to discover that the sailors have been keeping score and that’s why they are complaining. Now it looks as if there’s going to be a lot of fuss about it all. Continue reading

Too much choice. Too much confusion

When I visit the U.S I love going to the drug stores because they have so many choices on offer. Not that I buy a lot because, quite frankly, I can’t make up my mind which is the better product for me. I remember needing a headache tablet once and being confronted by so many kinds that I decided that my headache was getting worse just from reading all the labels. In the end, I walked out of the drug store without making a purchase. Continue reading