Melbourne Footy Trip

I Love football. I love blogging. Why not start a footy blog?
I'm about to take a group of kids from country WA to Melbourne for a feast of footy fun, this is the place for news , stories and pictures of our adventures.

About Me

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Addicted to blogging. Married. Father of 4. Sport Nut. Geelong mad. Chaplain. Painter. I'm an Ideas Man. Hard to beat at Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Scenes from the Footy Trip

A copy of the photo we framed and gave to Box Forest SC as a thank you gift for allowing us to stay at the school.
The gas flame show on the south bank near Crown Casino, a nightly attraction on the hour in Melbourne.
Henley Beach jetty at Adelaide
Trying out my new kite at Henley, it's a beauty but requires pretty strong winds to fly successfully.
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Scenes from the Footy Trip

Believe it or not, I snagged the goal with this shot on the run in the pocket at Punt Rd! With my left foot!
Enjoying the Best Muffin I've ever eaten, bought at V Lounge cafe near the MCG. I'll be back!
Captain Cook's cottage in Fitzroy Gardens, transported to Australia and rebuilt as a gift to the state of Victoria in 1834 to mark the state's centenary.
Haydn having his portrait drawn at the Queen Viv Markets.
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Scenes from the Footy Trip

Scavenging after the Bulldogs v Hawthorn game
Back to the past.
The home of football, and sport, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, from Eureka Skydeck
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Scenes From the Footy Trip

Sophie playing with her new camera
Eureka Tower/Skydeck
Full moon over Ballarat
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Scenes from the footy trip

Outside Flinders St Station
In the park at Fitzroy Gardens
Kicking the footy at Hanging Rock
Horse and buggy ride on Swanston St
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


We're home. Safe and sound after our 11 day adventure to the eastern states.
Serious attention to packing brought all of us in under the 15kg weight limit on check in; high-5s all round.
Our last act as a group was an impromptu affirmation exercise in the airport lounge at gate 18. It was a little rushed, and interruipted a number of times by boarding calls on the PA but we managed to squeeze it in. It was an opportunity to give and to hear some positive feedback about the things they've appreciated about one another on the trip and was taken in good spirit for something that was clearly unfamiliar to the kids.

We boarded the plane and took off for Perth at 10.15 SA time. Unfortunately the conditions on the plane were cramped and uncomfortable. I could barely fit my legs into the space provided and the girl in front of me tried in vain to lay her seat back but my knees prevented it from moving anywhere. It was also hot on board, despite the captain informing us it was -48 outside at our cruising altitude of 10,000m!
Eventually I couldn't stand it any more and fearing Deep Vein Thrombosis asked if I could move into a vacant exit row seat. After that I was way more comfortable and even managed to get some "plane sleep"* for about an hour.

Upon arrival at Perth the kids were picked up quite quickly by the designated parents and headed for home, all thanking me for taking them on the trip before departing.

Haydn came with Sophie and I as we took a taxi to Belmont to pick up my car and my youngest son Paul who had been staying with friends for a few days. Once we were all loaded we set off on the last leg of the journey, the three hour drive home to Busselton. Despite being woken up at 1 in the morning Paulie was very chirpy, prompting Haydn to comment during one of the many toilet stops, "He's a talker isn't he!"
I drove as far as Bunbury before handing over to Sophie who piloted us safely the rest of the way home and then delivered Haydn home to Dunsborough.

Carolyn woke up when we got home at 4.00 which wasn't ideal as she had to work at 8.00 but she was in good spirits considering.

I slept till 12.30 before getting up today.

It's good to be home.

*Not real sleep, just that vague state of uncomfortable unconsciousness achieved when sitting upright in a confined space.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Sis

My sister Vicki and my Mum have arrived for a visit. Vicki turned 50 on Saturday; I wasn't able to get to her party as she lives at Wudinna, about 6 hours out of Adelaide.
So she and Mum drove down to see us, and to drop our nieces off at the airport.

We're pretty well packed up and ready for tonight's departure.
Just heading out for lunch now and a bit of a look around Adelaide before we head for home.
Five hours later. Mum, Vicki, Sophie and I had a great lunch, catching up on all the stories from the birthday party, lots of laughter and a few tears. Vicki has had serious health problems over the last few years and has had some intensive treatment this year which has seen her health improve significantly.
The kids spent the afternoon shopping and eating Hungry Jacks in Adelaide, followed by more shopping, and more eating Hungry Jacks! I think they were building up their reserves in preparation for tonight's flight and then the drive home to Busselton.
Hopefully their latest purchases won't push them over the weight limit! We're planning to wear a few extra layers of clothes to the airport!
Last night we took a bus to Glenelg to have a look around although the weather was wet and cold. We took shelter in the lounge of a hotel and watched the second half of the football from Subiaco. I booked a table for dinner at The Watermark, a buffet restaurant in Glenelg and we spent a couple of hours eating, talking, laughing and reflecting on the trip, the highs and lows and the funny moments.
I'm confident that the kids have had a good time on the trip. Sophie and I have certainly enjoyed it and the kids haven't given us any trouble at all. Of course, even though we've all had a great time, we're also looking forward to getting home.
A debriefing technique I often use with groups is "The Good The Bad and The Funny".
Here are the kid's respective reflections on the trip.
Good- The MCG tour
Bad- The blow up mattresses not working
Funny- Haydn tripping over a bench in the middle of Adelaide
Good- The horse and buggy ride through Melbourne
Bad- The trek from Adelaide airport, fully laden with all our luggage, to find a bus
Funny- When the kid stuck his lollypop on my arm and said "sticky" at Sovereign Hill
Good- The experience of going to all the footy games
Bad- Watching Freo get thumped
Funny- Haydn dancing at the Queen Vic Markets
Good- Ballarat/Sovereign Hill
Bad- Geelong losing to StKilda
Funny- Sam singing "Miss polly had a dolly" on the train
Good- The atmosphere at all the stadiums we went to
Bad- Nothing was really bad aside from your (Marcus') snoring!
Funny- Haydn eating his ice cream, then dropping it in the street, then being recognised by a bloke at the MCG as "the kid with the ice cream"
Good- The experience of seeing all the cities
Bad- Tiger airlines
Funny- Sam ripping his pants on the train home from Melbourne
Good- Eating Hungry Jacks
Bad- The museums and the art gallery "That was like torture"
Funny- When it all goes quiet and someone lets one rip!!
Good- MCG Friday night game, all the people, (even though Essendon got pumped)
Bad- Being sick (for a couple of days)
Funny- Joel falling in the mud kicking the footy at Hanging Rock
Good- The whole trip working out really well, the kids being great. Tracking down Mani and returning her lost phone.
Bad- The very small amount of conflict between the kids over the last couple of days
Funny- Joel and others repeatedly sticking their train tickets in the wrong way
Most Memorable Moments:
Joel walking in front of the car at Glenelg
Haydn falling over the chair
The Geelong-StKilda game
The Bulldogs-Collingwood game
The guy who threatened to stab us in Collingwood
The strange guy on the bus who asked Sam where we were staying
The Italian waiter in Lygon St who put his hand on Haydn's bum when they were having their photo taken
Haydn stocking up on biscuits at the buffet restaurant
Joel slipping over in the mud kicking the footy
The repeated inability of various kids to insert their tickets correctly on trains and buses
Haydn's dance at the markets
Sophie losing her wallet at Ballarat
Our taxis will be here in just under an hour. We're checking in early after the dramas we had with Tiger at Melbourne. Hopefully it will be a smoother process tonight.
Next stop Perth.
Then Busselton.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day Ten

Ouch! The Dockers got smashed last night. Creamed. Obliterated. Shellacked. Embarrassed.
And we had nearly front row seats to witness the massacre. Right behind the goal with the Fremantle Cheer squad who were reduced to cheering points so pitiful were Fremantle.
When Murphy kicked their only goal half way through the 3rd quarter the Freo fans responded as if they'd won the game! The Freo fans in the group had to resort to teasing me about Brisbane beating Geelong for amusement. I pointed out that they had scored one goal for the entire game and my team has won 55 of its last 59 games! They didn't have much response!

It was a bit of a reunion at the footy. First with Lorea and Andrew Bell, friends and colleagues of mine from Carine HS and diehard Docker fans who were sitting a few seats up from us, and then later a lady asked the kids if I'd been the chaplain at Carine? Turns out her three kids went to Carine and had been on camps with me while I worked there. In fact her husband had coached my son Zach at T-ball when he was about 10!

Getting to Adelaide had been something of a challenge.
We got up early at Box Forest and started the big pack up and clean up and were ready on time when the taxi arrived at 10.00am. George and Donna saw us off from Glenroy and said we were welcome back any time.
Checking in at Tiger airlines was a new and awkward experience. Apart from the long delays the real issue was their strict adherence to the 15kg baggage limit, 5kg less than Virgin who we flew over with! And of course we have acquired plenty of stuff between us since we arrived, adding to the weight we were carrying. There was a lot of rearranging and redistributing into carry on luggage before we finally arrived at a combined excess of 4kg, and had to pay an excess of $15 per kilo!! It had been 11kg to start with so I was reasonably happy with the outcome!
There will need to be some efficient and creative packing before we fly home on Monday!

Upon arrival in Adelaide we looked for a bus to take us to Henley Beach but ended up having to walk a long way before finding a bus stop on Henley Beach Rd. But, nearby roadworks meant that stop was out of service! More walking with all our excessively weighted bags in tow before we finally got to the right stop and a bus came. The look on the driver's face as he pulled up was grim, he didn't seem all that thrilled to see us! Undeterred we climbed aboard and set off for Henley High School where we were met by the caretaker Klaus who gave us the keys to the gym and showed us where to find everything.

We walked down to Henley Square to get some lunch then got ourselves ready to go to the footy. We caught the Footy Express from Henley Square and I had a good chat with John and Anne a couple of Crows fans on their way to the game. We all had Hungry Jacks for tea before going into the game.
After that it was all downhill as the Dockers put on the most inept performance in their history, and that is saying something!!!!

The kids seem to finally be all footballed out and have decided not to go to a SANFL game this afternoon. We may find somewhere to watch the Eagles v StKilda game a bit later. We're about to head off to Glenelg and then find somewhere to go out for dinner as a way to wind up the trip.

Day Nine

I was just too tired to blog last night, I tried but kept nodding off before I could post!
I wasn't the only one.
We have just "woken up" and it is 12.30pm! Skip breakfast, go straight to lunch!!
The rush and exertion of the last couple of days has finally taken its toll and we all slept like logs for over 12 hours! The kids are heading down to the bakery to get some food while I catch up on the blog.

So, let's recap the last couple of days.

Friday was our last full day in Melbourne so we were up early to make the most of it. First task, find Glenroy post office and collect Sophie's wallet which she left in a shop in Ballarat on Wednesday. The shop express posted it to her at Glenroy, all good.

Next stop DFO (Direct Factory Outlet) at Essendon airport where I gave the kids a strict 45 minute deadline to be back on the bus. They made it, with the obligatory bags of goods.

We drove to Coburg station and took the train into town, then onto Richmond. We were hoping to see the Tigers train at Punt Rd but they were finished by the time we got there so no Cousins or Richo. We hung around for a while and the kids had a game of footy on the oval. A few fans were hanging around for pictures and autographs but the only person to come out was Damian Monkhorst, the former Collingwood ruckman and no-one wanted their picture taken with him! I saw swimmer Michael Klim as I was walking around to the merchandise store where I bought a very nice hard cover book on the centenary of Richmond FC which will make a good present for my brother Bruce if I get him in the Christmas draw.

From Richmond we walked to Fitzroy Gardens, stopping on the way to get some lunch at a great little cafe. The focacia I had was great but the triple choc muffin that followed was "the best muffin I've ever had in my life". My glowing review prompted Joel to get one and he agreed. Alex and Sam decided to try a muffin too on the strength of our recommendations.

At Fitzroy Gardens we tried kicking the footy through the forks of trees and wondered why so many of the trees had large sheets of metal wrapped around them like bracelets. I speculated it was to prevent animals climbing them and a passer-by confirmed it is indeed to keep possums out of the trees. Why they want to keep possums out of the trees remains a mystery.

Our objective was to find Captain Cook's cottage. It was dismantled in his hometown in England transported to Australia and presented to the state of Victoria as a gift on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the state. The cottage was rebuilt in the gardens and is now a tourist attraction. We didn't go in but I did give a brief lesson on the history of white exploration and settlement compared with the occupation of indigenous people. I noted with interest on part of the display at the cottage that Cook was described as the "discoverer of eastern Australia" which is different (and more accurate) than what we were taught at school.

We walked on up to Parliament station and caught a city loop train then made our way to the Queen Vic markets so that I could get Sophie's portrait done by one of the artists there. Haydn got his done as well and described it on the phone to his mum as "hell good". I bought a couple of hoodies for $15 and some more socks. Joel bought a bracelet and Zak bought a carved wooden West Coast eagles "thing". Unfortunately I couldn't find the stall selling "snuggles" so I was unable to buy one for Carolyn.

The markets closed at three and we headed back into town. I had to forgo the visit to the museum to see Phar Lap in favour of getting a picture printed to give to Box Forest as a thank you gift for allowing us to stay at the school. We took the picture in a shop full of AFL gear and got it printed at a place on Elizabeth St while the kids went to Rebel Sport so Tekira could buy a Sherrin footy. He hasn't bough much since he's been here but Aex and Haydn's footies finally tempted him to get one too. I found a frame at a discount store and our thank you gift was complete.

We all met back at the bottom of the Bourke St mall where a South American band was busking. There was a group of kids from Kingsley Football club there too, watching not busking!

Our final destination was Docklands for the big Friday night game and the Bulldogs and Magpies didn't let us down, it was another corker of a game. Collingwood jumped out of the blocks and the Bulldogs had to play catch up, twice trailing by 41 points. They stormed home in the last quarter when Josh Fraser was off the ground injured and got within a point. Daisy Thomas kicked a goal that looked to have sealed it for the Pies but Griffen kicked a goal with 20 seconds to go on the clock! The last 17 seconds was like a furnace but Collingwood prevailed by 1 point and the crowd went through the roof! It was a brilliant game and unbelievable atmosphere and a fitting way to complete our footy program in Melbourne. The kids were all pretty pumped and the Collingwood fans on the train home were in fine voice!

It seems pretty apparent that Geelong StKilda Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs are the stand-out teams in the competition and one of them should be premiers this year.
We had a bit of frenetic confusion at Southern Cross station on the way home, Some trains were delayed and I suggested that Sophie take the kids home to Glenroy on the Craigieburn train while I catch the train to Coburg, on the Upfield line, and pick up the bus. The confusion came when I misheard a Connex announcement and thought I should take the same train as the others and change at Flinders St. I had to jump back off the train as the doors were closing, just managing to drag my backpack through before it pulled out!

They got home first after a change at Flagstaff and I didn't have to wait long for the Coburg train and arrived back at the school not too long after the kids.

It was nearly 12.30 and I sent them to bed as we had a very early, and busy, start to the day next morning.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

We've Arrived

We've arrived in Adelaide and are settled into our accommodation at Henley High School. As you can see it is quite spacious! There was a fair bit of drama in getting here but I'll have to leave the story of that till we get home.We're about to set off for AAMI Stadium to see the Dockers play the Crows.Go Freo!
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Day Eight

It's been a huge day and a long night so no time to blog in detail now, I'll catch up tomorrow hopefully.

We went to another classic game of footy tonight at Docklands where Collingwood survived a last quarter onslaught to beat the Bulldogs by 1 point. The crowd was going crazy at the end and we were all on the edge of our seats. Shame the Magpies won but they probably deserved to.

Our flight to Adelaide is at 12.15pm. The taxi will be here at 10.00 in the morning to take us to the airport so it's going to be very hectic around here when we get up.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day Seven

We actually managed to get up and get away early this morning and set off for Southern Cross in order to catch a train to Geelong. Unfortunately there was a setback to our plans when I discovered that the Cats weren't training today and that tomorrow they're having a closed session with the gates locked!
So, the kids did not get to go to the home of good football, Kardinia Park.

I rang StKilda and the Western Bulldogs but neither club was training today, the best we could come up with was to go to Richmond training tomorrow morning at 11.
Plan B swung into action and we set off for Collingwood to go shopping at Smith Street. The kids headed toward the Nike factory outlet but apparently it was unimpressive. I bought a very cool pair of Converse shoes for $30 though at the Converse outlet!
Smith St has a plethora of interesting shops and Sophie and I went happily hunting through op shops, antique shops, collectible and memorabilia shops, little galleries, cafes and a range of other cool and intriguing places for a couple of hours. I spent a lot of time at one particular memorabilia store that was crammed full of great stuff. Sadly all the footy badges were too expensive; I refuse to spend $45 for a Collingwood or Carlton badge! I got a full set of Olympic Games cards for 75c each instead.
Sophie bought an old camera, her second since she's been here, the start of her collection, and a very cool present for her brother Zach.
The kids didn't buy much other than food. It's funny how things that are built up beforehand can be disappointing in reality, the mythical status of Smith St Collingwood has tantalised them all week but in the end was not that inspiring or enticing.
They did have one moment of excitement when a strange bloke started yelling at them and threatening to stab them! They sensibly beat a hasty retreat and we crossed to the other side of the road to maintain our safety!
From Collingwood we took a tram into the city. A Jay Jays store was more to their liking! Yes, the same Jay Jays as they could find in Perth!
Then we played tourist and all climbed aboard a horse and buggy and took a ride down Swanston St, across Princes Bridge and past the Art Gallery before being dropped off opposite Flinders St station.

It was time for a bit of culture! We went to the Ian Potter Gallery at Federation Square, containing one of the best collections of Australian art in the country. I was surprised at the range of artists and famous paintings on display there, Nolan, McCubbin, Roberts, Whitely, Olley, and others that I can't remember. "The Pioneer" by McCubbin a three panel painting that I am certain you will recognise is on display there along with many other well known landscapes. It is a veritable treasure trove of Australian art and history.
Now, it may surprise you that the kids were not quite so fascinated with this journey through the history of Australian art as I was and after about 20 minutes they'd seen enough and were ready to move on!
Sophie sent me a text to tell me they had assembled in the foyer and were getting restless. I stalled them as long as I could but in the end I had to give in to their combined restlessness and boredom and abandon my visit prematurely before the security guards who were circling around them warily in the foyer moved in for the kill! The highlght of their visit was an encounter with actor John Wood who they managed to get a picture taken with, and doesn't he look happy about it?

Once they'd escaped the gallery we headed for the Eureka Skydeck and took the lift 90 stories up at 9.8m/sec in Australia's tallest building. The view from the top is pretty awesome as you can imagine.
A few of the kids went for the extra thrill of "The Edge", a glass floored cube extending out from the side of the tower, for an extra charge of course! They seemed pretty happy with it and bought the memento pictures to complete the experience. We watched the sun go down and the lights come up all over Melbourne and were then able to see the lights of Geelong in the far distance across Port Philip Bay.
It warmed the cockles of my heart to see my old home town, even at a distance of 70km!

We raced for the 6.30 Craigieburn train and managed to keep the doors from closing before we all scrambled aboard and headed back to Glenroy.
The customary stop at Coles to get some food for dinner then home to Box Forest.
Sophie cooked stir-fry and noodles which everyone enjoyed.

After dinner and the dishes were done I got the kids together and told them a bit of my story and my journey of faith. They listened with a reasonable degree of interest and respect which I appreciated.
It was a bit late for questions by then but I've left the forum open for anything they may want to ask.

I've just turned the lights out, we've got a fairly busy day planned but best of all, we've got another footy game to go to, the Bulldogs v Collingwood which shapes as a blockbuster at Docklands.

I'll finish with something a little different tonight, a transcript of a couple of text messages exchanged by Sophie and her brother Jordan today.

Sophie to Jordan: I bought you something super cool in Melbourne.

Jordy's response: Is this the casual gifting of travels, or is it (in honour of) the day upon which I exited mother's uterus?
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day Six

The main street of Ballarat, a very pretty city of 85,000 people.
Outside the Gold Museum which was our first port of call this morning. I could have stayed longer but the kids were keen to move on and have a look around Ballarat. This is code for go shopping. Henry Bolte was Victorian Premier when I lived there as a kid.

Haydn gives the impression that he could live on a diet consisting entirely of Hungry Jacks! We are trying to broaden his culinary horizons but he is resisting.

We're back in Melbourne now and the kids are in bed earlier than normal. We are heading down to Geelong tomorrow on the train and need to get up and going early. Unlike this morning, where I was the first one up, at 9.30!! Trust me when I say, I am never the first one out of bed, anywhere, ever!They were obviously comfortable, and warm. Apparently it was minus 3 degrees in Ballarat last night!

Paul the Principal came to see how we'd fared this morning and wished us good luck for the rest of the trip, and not to get lost at Hanging Rock!

We drove to Woodend via Daylesford and it was there that Sophie realised she'd left her wallet behind at a shop in Ballarat. We rang them and they had the wallet but rather than drive all the way back they offered to mail it back to her in Melbourne.There was a strong sense of reaping what you sow in this incident. Earlier in the day when she went to an ATM, Sophie had found $500 in notes sticking out of the machine. She tracked down the man the money belonged to and gave it back to him. you can imagine how grateful he felt for her honesty. Thus, she was confident she'd get her wallet back, and she did.

Unfortunately we arrived at Hanging Rock just as they were closing the park and the ranger made it abundantly clear we weren't welcome in light of the time.We satisfied ourselves with a kick of Alex's much loved new footy, and fell about laughing when Joel and then others slipped on the wet grass and landed on their bums as they tried to kick. Being the fashion conscious young men they are they were most anxious to know if there is a washing machine at Box Forest so they wash the mud off their jeans. There is and they have!

Ironically I got lost as we arrived back in Melbourne and it took about an extra half an hour to find our way back to Box Forest. A quick stop at Coles for some food then Sophie cooked us coconut curry risotto for dinner which some of the kids found a little too spicy for their taste. Ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert soothed their mouths! We had a bit of a debrief of the trip so far after dinner and heard a recap of all the funny incidents and stories that have happened as well as the good and bad things. We discussed our plans for tomorrow and the next few days then I sent them off to bed.
Tomorrow night after tea I told them I'd like to share some of my story and my faith with them and we'll have a bit of a question and answer forum. They all seemed cool with that and they've got a day to think about any questions they may like to ask about God, Life and the Universe. I can't guarantee I'll be able to answer but I'll give it a shot.
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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day Five

Update: I reloaded the photos, hopefully they'll work this time. I can't rotate the one that's on its side, sorry about that.
Also, for the uninitiated, you can leave comments on the blog by clicking comments below each post.
Cheers Marcus

We spent the afternoon at Sovereign Hill, a re-created gold mining town, in Ballarat, Victoria's third largest city. It's a great place and the kids all had a good time. The highlight was definitely the train ride into pitch black darkness as we descended into a mine shaft. Laughter and sceams and a few surreptitious whacks to the heads of unsuspecting passengers, sorry Alex!
We didn't find any gold but I did buy a little bottle with some gold in it just so we didn't come away empty handed.

Tonight we finally managed to wean the kids off junk food! Hungry Jacks last night and roadhouse food today convinced them they needed a healthy home cooked meal. Spaghetti Bolognese coming right up. Sophie cooked a great meal and all the kids appreciated it.

Perhaps not quite as much as Haydn appreciated his cone from Hungry Jacks last night. Nothing like a bit of soft serve lip balm!

Tonight we're staying at Ballarat Secondary College, in very comfortable conditions, for one thing we have a heater! And carpet on the floor. The kids have just had lights out but as I exited every one of them had their mobile phone in their hands!


Tekira is feeling a bit better today.
Joel and Alex haven't lost anything today.
Haydn has said a lot of weird funny stuff today.
Joel has played with his new mobile phone all day today.
Zak and Kiara have hung out together all day today, and yesterday, and the day before! They really do have a great relationship.
It's VERY cold in Ballarat but Sam has worn shorts and a T-shirt all day today!
Sophie loved Sovereign Hill and said she'd love to work there or live there today.
Alex and Sam bought huge bags of chocolate today.
Joel finally got credit today.
Zak and Kiara called home today and couldn't understand why strangers answered the phone, until they learnt about STD codes today.
Sophie declared that turkeys are ugly today.
Joel said "It feels like we've been here for six years" today.
And I rejoiced to find the school's vending machine sells Vanilla Diet Coke today!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day Four

We've used a lot of public transport to get around! This was how Sophie got to the game yesterday, and back to the bus afterwards!

Tekira hasn't been feeling very well since last night and spent a fair bit of today sitting and resting and conserving his strength. By tonight he said he was feeling a bit better but if he's not well tomorrow we'll take him to a doctor. The boy's asked the inevitable question, "Has he got swine flu?" but I seriously don't think so, his symptons are pretty mild, just unpleasant to put up with. Headache and nausea.

The old lead pipe and shot factory at Melbourne Central, imposing and impressive.
The kids got the chance to shop in town this arvo, shoes, footy gear and phones were the order of the day. Joel finally found the phone he was looking for at a reasonable price. Haydn bought a Richmond jumper then left it behind at Hungry Jacks, got it back, then left it behind at the movies! Or so he thought; turned out that Zak had it in his bag and Haydn's heart rate settled back to normal.
Joel and Zak both had trouble negotiating the Connex ticket machines at Flinders St, a process the rest of the group seem to have no trouble with.

In the press box at the MCG with our tour guide Barrie who did an excellent job, informative and well paced, no chance of the kids getting bored, heaps to see and hear about, a great tour, highly recommended.

Sam, our sole Hawthorn rep, facing the scrutiny of the media after the Hawk's dismal showing against the Bulldogs on Saturday night in the MCG studio.

Moon over Docklands after last night's game.

Bounce down in the top of the table showdown, the Cats and the Saints. Pretty impressive flexibility from the umpire. Sophie has bought herself a new camera and is enjoying experimenting with it. This shot is one of a burst sequence at the start of the game.

Barrie pointing something out on the MCG tour. He wasn't as fierce as he looks here and I wasn't as worried as I look here. Just reminds me I need to smile more.
I could have spent another 2-3 hours at the National Museum of Sport and AFL Hall of Fame today but the kids had had enough after an hour so we headed into town so they could go shopping. After that we visited the Victorian State Library and its No.1 attraction, Ned Kelly's armour. It is an iconic piece of Australian history, replete with dents caused by police gunfire. I did my best to enlighten the kids about the Kelly story, hard to know if they took any of it in but Joel did say it was wicked.
The kids passed up the opportunity of a home cooked meal tonight: Hungry Jacks beckoned!
I found a great little Japanese takeaway place called DonDon's near Melbourne Central and got a lovely Teryaki Chicken and rice for just $6.20, what a bargain.
The kids decided they wanted to go to the movies to see Transformers 2. Sophie and I were less keen so while they went to see the Bots in action we went to see The Proposal, a funny and enjoyable film.
That wrapped up our day in Melbourne, just the train ride home to Glenroy to finish it off.
Tomorrow we're heading up to Ballarat.