The friendliest city

I am nothing if not parochial about Melbourne – the city I was born and bred in and the city in which I’ve lived all my life. While one of my few regrets has been not living and working overseas during my career – I’m not yet pulling that one off my list and my ANZSOG colleagues have joked that we have a presence in Aotearoa New Zealand – as much as it’s been larger cities in the world that I’ve aspired to living in and I’m loving watching Tokyo Vice on SBS – Japan is number one on my travel list.

That being said, I love Melbourne and I’m proud that we’ve been named the friendliest city in the world (beating Paris and Vienna) as well as Australia’s most liveable city (and 10th overall in the world). I also recognise we’re not immune from big city problems such as increased costs of living, climate change and homelessness – the latter of which is now becoming an issue in regional towns.

Innovation like build to rent developments will solve part of the homeless issue as well as increased social housing but given shelter is one of life’s essentials – it’s a situation that has made me feel sad for others in the lead up to Christmas. Home is important to me and as someone who grew up in a single parent family with a peripatetic childhood changing schools and houses – I place a greater significance than most on having a secure place to live and don’t take my current living situation for granted. Christmas can be a hard time for people in dysfunctional relationships or family dynamics, people on their own and those experiencing poverty or illness.

But Melbourne looked spectacular last night with my boss sending me these pics (above) of the MCG all lit up at the sold out Billy Joel concert, and the annual NGV Gala was also on in the city. Speaking of lights, there hasn’t been much publicity but the Boulevard Lights in Ivanhoe are on this year in a reduced time period from 20-24th December so get in quick! I’ve also been reading about new-wave panettone and if you’re interested, Dougharty’s has just emailed their customers regarding special Christmas orders for their sourdough panettone.

I’ve been keep on keeping on at work including doing a refresher St John First Aid course last Thursday but I always seem to reach the ‘are we there yet?’ stage at this time of year. Like most of us, I’ve worked harder in the past three years than I think I ever have although things have also felt harder in this recovery year – many of us feel very burnt out in different industry sectors.

Yoga has continued to be my saviour this year (thank you Pamela and Nik) and I’ve been running this weekend at the Yarra Flats to try to burn off the calories from my annual Kris Kringle celebration with my besties and a family birthday celebration for Mr Rosanna. However I did come to a complete stop at one point when I encountered Jake – a snake (I suspect it was a tiger snake) which crossed the path in front of me heading down to the river with a brave Magpie swooping at it. Think I’d prefer to see a kangaroo anytime! Have a good week – the end of the year is in sight.


Blood moon

It was spectacular for those who saw it on Tuesday night and a reminder of how diminutive we are in the face of Mother nature and Father time. Time itself, suddenly seems to be passing very quickly although I thought it was a bit premature for Christmas decorations to be displayed (they’re all out if you’re travelling down Upper Heidelberg Road in Ivanhoe).

Image credit: Mirella Di Lorio (South Melbourne)

Speaking of the moon, Mr Moon at Melbourne’s Luna Park has had a makeover after being neglected over the pandemic and with lighter days and warmer nights upon us – the Night Noodle Markets have started again in the city and the Alphington Twilight Market (below) will be held from 4 pm on Thursday 8 December next month.

If you’re a fan of Asian food, you might like this article on Rosheen Kaul’s guide to wear to eat in Box Hill including the local food court! Cheap and cheerful is definitely the way to go with so many of us on a budget. I also had a great meal on Friday night at hidden surprise Akamaru Japanese near Darebin station – a cut above above your normal suburban fare. Three of us shared the spicy edamame, kingfish ceviche, soft shell crab and mixed Japanese vegetables with a couple of drinks all for less than $100 in total. It is small (6 tables) but a great experience if you’re a local and I will be back. My ex-La Trobe colleagues and I then had a quick drink at nearby card-only bar (and former Mario’s cafe) The Post Inn although had to compete with the young lads singing karaoke-style to the late 80s music playlist. Good on them….

Speaking of new venues, I’ve not visited but vintage bowling alley, beer garden, bar and bistro The Keys in Preston has opened in a refurbished 110 year old warehouse just in time for Christmas.

Lastly on food, I thought you might like a pic of our sourdough loaf from Dougharty Baker (above) delivered last Thursday as it was delicious goodness (and eaten in less than a day)!

COVID has risen its head again and doing the rounds so wishing you a speedy recovery if this is you. It’s been an interesting end to the year with floods, cost of living issues, cybersecurity attacks and a state election now all playing out in the media. I’ve been running around the Rosanna Parklands in recent weeks and have never seen the grass so high – the mozzies and snakes are out so be careful if you’re venturing anywhere near the Yarra river.

Some Velvet Morning

Mr Rosanna is one of those clever and creative people who experienced a purple patch over Melbourne’s COVID19 lockdown tour 20/21 managing to record a whole album’s worth of songs now in production. After singing and playing in bands as a teenager and uni student into the 1990s, his musical career got hijacked with his professional job, overseas travel, relationships and ultimately buying his first house and settling down with me and having a family.

His time is now and he will be playing in his first gig in quite a while at Some Velvet Morning in Clifton Hill and there will be an entourage comprised of his favourite people cheering him on from the sidelines. You can check him out on Instagram at #adamfranklin_music.

One of my cousins came to visit me last weekend and her foodie partner kindly brought some Portugese tarts (above) from Casa Nata in Thornbury, which were delicious and highly recommended if you get a chance to try them. Somewhat coincidentally, Mr R and I then found ourselves in High Street on Melbourne Cup Day with some time to kill in the drizzling rain

We got our thrift on at Vinnie’s Thornbury (viewed from Nasty’s bar above) with the whole store almost completely to ourselves. After spying the ‘Ice cream and hot chips’ sign (genius!) for Kenny Lover (below) and driving past Wolf and Swill bar, which have both moved to the other side of the street, we ended up having a quick drink at Nasty’s bar (further below), which was good way to while away a lazy hour on a cold day.

While I’m not a drinker, I’ve been reading about Alphington craft brewery La Sirene which now has Bar La Sirene and I love the name which reminds me of the siren songs of the mermaids. Speaking of loaves and fishes, Mr R has ordered some sourdough bread from Dougharty Baker in West Heidelberg and I’m looking forward to trying their cardamon buns and cinnamon buns in future.

With Melbourne Cup week now over, the countdown to Christmas starts…