Encounter at the Shot Tower

It was noisy. People were rushing to and fro.

The trains were arriving at the underground station and were disgorging people who were searching for relief from the oppressive heat of the train carriages. They could surely find air-conditioned comfort in the shopping paradise that is Melbourne Central.

In the main hall, topped by a glass dome, is an old brick building adorned with a tower; it was Coop’s Shot Tower.

Mick was in Melbourne for the first time and was surprised that there wasn’t any clock in the tower.  He was not aware of the historical purpose of the tower and looked up the tower again and again as if by a miracle a clock would have appeared. He felt it would have added some old fashioned atmosphere to the place.

Instead, some enterprising soul had the idea to install an oversized pocket watch on the wall opposite the tower.

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Every hour a section was lowered out of the clock with cockatoos on it dancing to the tune of Waltzing Matilda, played by a boy figurine.

Melbournians took no notice but children and tourists were delighted when the clock struck the full hour. Mick took a seat in one of the cafés.  He expected to meet a woman he had befriended on a chat site on the internet.  After a few weeks chatting they decided it was time to meet. They agreed that the giant pocket watch at Melbourne Central, of which they had heard about, would be a suitable, neutral place to meet.

At 12 o’clock the birds were dancing and the sound of the song about the jolly jumbuck and the thief had filled the hall. Some Japanese girls were giggling and taking pictures of the great event. But there had been no sign of Pam, the lady from the net. Mick checked the time unconsciously on his watch and ordered a second cup of coffee. After a while, there was a sudden voice coming from behind him.

‘You must be Mick?’ Surprised, Mick jumped up, turned and offered Pam his hand.

‘Pleased to meet you,’ he said truthfully as he was pleasantly surprised that Pam looked more attractive in the flesh than on the pictures of the single site.

‘Sorry, I’m late,’ Pam said with a shrug, ‘I forgot that the trains  are not running in reverse through the City Loop yet.’

‘What a lame excuse,’ Mick thought as he was unaware of one of Melbourne’s biggest sacrosanct anomalies. But, he did not dare say so aloud. It would poison the new relationship.

‘It is a lively place,’  Pam said, looking around. ‘Being not so familiar with Melbourne, I haven’t been here before. And look at this big pocket watch above us?’

‘It plays Waltzing Matilda on the hour. Sorry, you missed that.’

‘I don’t believe you,’ she thought incredulous, but she did not say anything either as she wanted to go on with what they had started. They ordered coffee. It was Micks’s third cup this morning and he felt his heart racing already.

Pam started to rummage in her bag and finally pulled out a book and showed it to him.

‘This Rumi guy, we were chatting about him, is very interesting. I think we are all on the path to the truth. In fact, in the end, the truth is awaiting us.’

‘Indeed! Isn’t that the truth?’ Mick said with a faint smile.

They decided to have lunch together and Mike was happy that he had finally met Pam.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend

Last evening this message from my daughter Caroline came up on my FB site:

Work for the day and the week done. Social media for the day done. Time for some dinner and a glass of red to start a rejuvenating weekend. Have a good one everyone”

What did the message say? That she was happy with her achievements of the week? It almost sounded like the Bible and that the Lord was happy when he “saw it  was good” and now it was time for the Sabbath. She hoped to rejuvenate when she would  face the tasks in  the next week.

That is how it should be; work and rest in the right proportions.

As an aged pensioner, I do a lot of rejuvenating already and I can tell you,  it is not easy. I’m using a lot of energy just doing the rejuvenating. But actually, I’m not rejuvenating att all. I’m aging whatever I do.

When I was a youngster and just starting out with my working life I too looked forward to the weekends. It was time to meet up with friends and chasing girls. On Sundays, we dressed up in our finest.

A trench coat was compulsory on a rainy day. Three friends at a local festival (I'm the one on the right)

A trench coat was compulsory on a rainy day. Three friends at a local festival (I’m the one on the right)

Cinema was the big thing and they just invented CinemaScope. The big picture really hit us when the curtain opened. The first film of this type I saw was “The Robe” with Victor Mature. In those days, I loved historical films. Even if they were not entirely true depictions of the events, they nevertheless fired our imagination.

Now, Sundays are like any other day  we try to rejuvenate. There is one exception, I refuse to go shopping on a Sunday! Still, we have to adjust some of our activities to the work life of others.

In two weeks time, we will take the (slow) train to Melbourne. There is no fast train as our governments don’t like working for the future  and the joke is, that they call the train, “Interstate Express”.

Next Saturday we will go to the theatre in Sydney. We will see “The Bleeding Tree” by Angus Cirini. I will write a blog about it, but here is one sentence Angus Cirini says, The primary role of government is not to manage the economy it is to allow for a healthy society to flourish.”  Well, I think governments have forgotten this lesson or they just ignore it.

Here is what the Griffin Theatre writes about the play:

In a dirt-dry town in rural Australia, a shot shatters the still night. A mother and her daughters have just welcomed home the man of the house – with a crack in the shins and a bullet in the neck. The only issue now is disposing of the body.

Triggered into thrilling motion by an act of revenge, The Bleeding Tree is rude, rhythmical and irreverently funny. Imagine a murder ballad blown up for the stage, set against a deceptively deadly Aussie backdrop, with three fierce females fighting back.”

We have our next two weekends  covered and they are “footy-free”.

In and out of Dreams

Ghost House

Ghost House

 

Last night I had several nightmares. After I shook off one,  another one  started. In the last one, I tried to escape from a high building and the only way out was climbing down a ladder outside. This ladder was attached to the long end of a  beam on which the ladder could slide towards a door. But first I had to reach the ladder. Once on it, there was nothing underneath. I thought I was in a Buster Keaton movie and “knew” I would fall off the ladder. I was at a great height and decided to wake up.

After that,  I drifted off to a quieter dream in which I found myself in an old  carriage, with wooden benches, on a train in Melbourne. In deep thoughts about my whereabouts, I lifted my feet up and placed them on the seat. Before the next stop, a man got up and walked to the door. When he stopped beside me he indicated, with a nod of his head, that he wanted me to take my feet off  the seat.

I apologised and told him, that I normally would not do such a thing.  We got talking, in an amicable way, about the ignorance of people. When the train stopped and he got off the train I had a thought and shouted after him that it was not easy for knowledgeable people and they  often were  mistaken for shy people.

A woke up and grabbed a notebook, I have  on my bedside table, to complete the thought I had started in my dream:

“In a sea of ignorance, the knowing person is quietly swimming to a distant shore. His silence is often mistaken as shyness by other swimmers around him, who noisily splash about, covering for their fear of the unknown.”

Interlude

Paul entered the living room. He was angry and embarrassed. There was this woman in the other room who seemed obsessed with him. He had to escape from her. He liked her, there was no doubt about it. But he did not expect a friendly interlude to blossom into something more permanent.

She probably did not understand his strange behaviour. They had a good time together in this strange, the twentieth century dominating city. They were two people thrown by fate into a new environment and they explored the city together after a chance encounter on the Underground. Now that he had stormed out of the room she considered her options.

She decided – and followed him.

Paul had no time to think. When the woman, he could not  remember having ever  even heard her name reached him he said to her on impulse,

“I can’t stay in this city and have to return home. I live in a far away country.” He knew it must have sounded silly.

“Let me guess, you are from Vietnam?”, the woman asked – smiling. Her head, framed by a mass of blond curls, was slightly shaking. She was unsure why he would try to make excuses. Her sparkling blues eyes were fixed on him and she smiled, expecting something. Paul was afraid he could not deny this woman anything. He raked his brain for a way to escape.

There was a way. Paul woke up! The dream, forgotten in a flash, went back into the ocean of subconsciousness, where it had come from.

The sun was up already throwing a pattern, through a gap in the curtain, on the wall. He looked at the alarm clock and decided that it was time to get up too. He got ready quickly and went for breakfast. The reason for him being in Melbourne was an appointment with his solicitor to finalise his divorce. The appointment was early so he could get back to Sydney in the early evening. No use staying in the city that brought him so much unhappiness. He actually liked Melbourne more than Sydney but felt spurned by the Victorian city.

His appointment went smoothly and he was soon on the street again.

As he had some time to kill, before he would take the shuttle bus to the airport, he decided to go to Young & Jackson to say ‘Hello” to Chloe and to have a cool beer. He liked the traditional pub in the heart of the city. He took a seat beside a window to observe the activities on the steps to Flinders Street Station.

Chloe, as usual, in her naked and graceful pose looked out onto an Arcadian landscape probably wondering what life had in store for her. Not much, as it turned out for the model who posed for the painting.

An ambulance had arrived in front of the famous steps to the station and the medics were attending to a homeless person who had collapsed. Some people had gathered observing of what was being done to the luckless man. Others hurried on. They had seen it all before.

By the time Paul had finished his beer and walked across the road past the steps of the station all had taken on an air of normality. People who were there now were unaware of the human drama that went on only minutes before. Police officers were checking the identities of some young men. A new scene in the never ending kaleidoscope of the city.

Paul kept walking over the bridge across the Yarra where he saw the MCG to his left, another Melbourne landmark. He soon reached the steps down to the South Gate precinct. Paul liked it here as he could observe the hype the people created by just being themselves. River cruise boats were plying the river. The cityscape on the other side just looked spectacular.

At a Swiss café he ordered an espresso and sat down. Besides the café an escalator took people to the next level. Before his coffee had arrived he saw a woman getting on the escalator. Somehow she looked familiar and then he was struck by her likeness to the woman in his dream of last night, which he now remembered.. Not only that, he thought it was this woman!

He jumped up. His espresso was forgotten instantly. He rushed onto the escalator and with a few steps he reached the top. The women turned a corner into one of the side corridors purposeful striding to her destination.

For a moment Paul was wondering about what he was doing. A middle aged man, probably going through a mid-life crisis, was chasing after a strange, mysterious woman like a teenager on the prowl. Hasn’t he enough women trouble already?

When he reached the corridor she had disappeared behind one of the many doors. It seemed to him he was having another bad dream. He lifted his arms and slapped his sides in resignation. Slowly he returned to the café and found his espresso waiting for him on the table.

Later, on the plane, he was still thinking of this strange incidents. Wasn’t life a series of unlikely incidents that often made no sense at all. Very much like a dream.

Melbourne by Night

We were in Melbourne last week and one evening we met up with two of our Granddaughters. Melbourne is a very metropolitan city and usually makes it every year into the top of the list of the most liveable cities in the world.

In the night-time it looks like this.

View across the Yarra towards the platforms at Flinders Street Station.

View across the Yarra towards the platforms at Flinders Street Station.

A spectacular view.

A spectacular view.

People are out and about even at this time of the evening. It was already getting cold, A pleasure boat rested after a day’s work.

Tied up at the South Bank

Tied up at the South Bank

Walking around we found this intriguing tunnel under a bridge.

A good place for "Jack the Ripper" to hide aND WAIT.

A good place for “Jack the Ripper” to hide and wait.

But we were “saved” by a staircase.

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When I reached the top, I found my two beautiful Granddaughters waiting for me.

Lauren and Justine

Lauren and Justine

The pulsating city had us back and plenty of people were heading somewhere in the city.

The famous pub Young & Jackson

The famous pub Young & Jackson

It looked like this earlier in the evening .

Young & Jackson

Young & Jackson

Colourful trams were chasing each other along busy St. Kilda Road

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But we took the train home to Essendon where our son Martin would pick us up from the station.

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