Sunday, November 11, 2018


What I've Been Reading
{not much, I have lost my reading mojo}

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge - interesting take on how race and talking about race tires people of colour. Integral reading for everyone.

On doubt by Leigh Sales  - a mini book about questioning things around you.

Art Matters: because your imagination can change the world by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell - this is a gorgeous little book based on the essay by Gaiman of the same name but with delightful illustrations by Riddell.

The greatest love story ever told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman - basically a conversation between this funny couple about life, love and everything in between. They are indeed the gold standard and this is an easy and fun read.

What I've Been Watching

Kidding - this is the new Jim Carrey comedy and it is absolutely brilliant and one of the best things I have seen. About a beloved children's show host and a very good and kind man, but things are falling apart. One of his twin son's died in a car accident a year earlier, and he is flailing big time. But the company around him are invested in him being him, not falling apart. The supporting cast are also superb, there, are moments of laugh out loud comedy, but it is also very dramatic and melancholy. Carrey is outstanding and it is one of the best things I have seen. 

Fleabag S1 - this was absolutely brilliant, a stand out show. Based on the stand up of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, it is about her, and her love life, and her family, and friends, and it is real and hilarious, and sexy and wonderful. I cannot recommend this enough

The Americans S1  - finally started this, why did I leave it so long. It is everything you have heard and more. Keri Russell is downright cold, and I love it. Nothing like a little 80s cold war drama!!

Insecure S3 - one of my favourite series, about Issa, a young woman and her  struggles at work and in love. Will this be the season Issa gets it all together? Funny and edgy, I love this so much.

The Durrells S3 - this continues to delight, great cast, stories, and scenery. I defy anyone not to love this beautiful show based on the stories of Gerard Durrell.

Rake final season - this was great although not as great as it could have been. Rake in Canberra made me laugh a lot, and supposedly no more. What a ride it has been.

A Place to Call Home final season - this has been such a great show, set in 50s country Australia, fabulous character and great storytelling, and those costumes, houses and cars!!! Oh my!! This season felt a little forced, but tied up strings nicely. I will miss the sweetness and comfort of watching this show, ok and swooning over Brett Climo!!

Doctor Who - the new series with the lady Doctor Who is superb. I had really gone off the series in recent years, while I loved the actors playing the Doctor, the stories left me cold. This just gets the mix right, great characters (all of them), funny, dramatic, good scary but sometimes silly badies and monsters, solid stories. I can't wait to see this each week!

The Walking Dead- cannot even remember what season we are up to, but my interest is wanning. WIth the main character set to go, I am unsure and think my time watching this show may be up.

A Very English Scandal - a great mini series based on a real life story from the 70s when the British Liberal Party leader - brilliantly played by Hugh Grant - is taken to trial by his ex lover, Ben Whishaw. Quite a remarkable story and so very well put together and acted.

The Good Place S1 - This is soo good, I know everyone knows this. It is lovely and sweet, and funny and had Ted Danson, who I love with all my might!

Younger S1/2 - this is a bit of fluff but I love it, set in the publishing world and more a soap opera  but still great and occasionally cool writers get cameos!

The Tunnel S3 - urgh, I loved the first season of this and the second wasn't too bad, they were stretching it here, and the spoilers, but it was too much.

Modern family S8/9 - I still love this show, it is basic and simple and sometimes we need that. It never fails to make me laugh and I adore Phil Dunphy, his mix of cute and physical comedy will always amuse me to no end!

Detectorists S3 - possibly the best season of this quiet little comedy, will they ever find their treasure. If you haven't watched this lovely melancholy British comedy, you simply must! (plus the Simon and Garfunkal jokes amuse me)

Faces Places - a French doco about art and the great French New Wave film director, Agnes Varda. It is about her collaboration with French Photographer, JR. JR is a bit of a French Banksy putting up large pieces of photography like graffiti on old buildings etc. He teams up with Agnes, 90, he's about 20/30. And they pick her pics, she's also an amazing photographer, and they cross the country installing them. It's a great friendship and collaboration. They don't always get on. And wait for the most glorious scene in The Louvre with them reenacting a scene from A Band Apart. Absolute perfection

Rodin – French biopic about the sculptor, was ok.

Escape to the Chateau/DIY - love this show so very much. Fabulous English couple, Dick and Angel have bought a French Chateau and are doing it up. They are brilliant and cool, I am totally addicted. And now the DIY Series, where they visit other people doing similar things. So many chateaus going cheap in France...I wish!!

Rolling Stone: stories from the edge, 50 years of defining culture - doco series about the great magazine, with great interviews and footage and of course music!

Come Inside My Mind - devastating and yet humourous documentary about Robin Williams. Really well done with a lot of unseen footage, and loads of interviews from those that knew him.

Andre the Giant doco - another sad documentary about the big man. Gentle and constantly in pain due to his physicality. This was quite unusual and fascinating.

Legends of the Canyon - a documentary about the music in California in the late 60s and early 70s, it  mostly concentrated on Crosby, Stills and Nash and their variations. There was only a few bits about The Mamas and The Papas, Joni Mitchell and a few others. Whilst it was interesting, it was unbalanced.

Manolo: the boy who made shoes for lizards - fascinating doco about Manolo Blahnik, and the shoes he makes.

Gurrumul - beautiful doco about the man, his life and his music. Incredibly uplifting and moving and integral for everyone to watch in terms of indigenous culture.e

Libeskind: the making of an architect - fascinating doco about the architect behind the World Trade Centre Tower and many other amazing pieces of beautiful architecture. 

Call Me By Your Name - oh my goodness, this is everything and more. It should have won more Oscars, Beautifully shot in Italy, every shot a postcard, and a lovely love story between two beautiful boys. It moved me so, and made me smile. Just stunning.

Lucky - This is Harry Dean Stanton's last film and it is absolutely glorious. About a man in a country town at the end of his life, his thoughts, ideals and his interaction with friends, played by David Lynch, Ed Begley, Tom Skerritt, etc. Not much actually happens, and this is a great thing, it reminds me in parts of Paris, Texas, and Stanton is in his absolute element. And yes, he sings in it!

The Mountain Between Us - this was an unexpected film, how Kate Winslet and Idris Elba survive a small plan crash in winter mountains. Not what you'd expect either actors to be in, or me to watch, but it worked. Very classy and really suspenseful!!!

The Square - this is a complex plot but about an art dealer who is marketing a new piece of art and is getting bad media coverage, it impacts on his entire life. Edgy and cool, I quite liked this.

All the Money in the World - the movie about the kidnapping of the Getty Heir, also famous for sacking Kevin Spacey and replacing him with Christopher Plummer who is fabulous in it.

Murder on the Orient Express - this looked great and had an amazing cast, and is a classic story, but it lacked over substance maybe!?

Goodbye Christopher Robin - this was a little too manipulative for my liking, about the child who Christopher Robin was based on and how he handled it...he didn't.

Killing a Sacred Deer - as crazy as you have heard, Nicole Kidman doing her classic cold and Colin Farrell continuing to be amazing. A complex plot in a complex drama and everything goes terribly badly...

The greatest showman - I had heard mixed reviews about this, but I really enjoyed it. It was good old fashioned entertainment, a great musical with catchy music and Hugh's either for you or not, lol. It was for me!!

Paddington 2 - this was excellent, a great story and romp, great for children and adults alike and the most fabulous villain in Hugh Grant, he must have had sooo much fun making this. Don't dismiss this as a kid's movie, you will enjoy this!

Jumanji 2 - again, another great kid's film, I really enjoyed this, probably more than the original. Jack Black and The Rock were great. I won't spoil the premise, as I had no idea and was pleasantly surprised and couldn't stop laughing! Another must see!

Downsizing – I always like Matt Damon, but lately he has been taking on very odd roles and they just don’t work. This silly film is one of them

A Wrinkle in Time – I only recently read this book, and whilst a classic I didn’t love it. The movie of it made me feel much the same. The effects were great, but ultimately it left me cold.

Home Again – this was a cute little rom com with Reese Witherspoon, about a separated Mum who meets a trio of much younger boys on a night up and they end up living in her guest house. 

Final Portrait – Arnie Hammer sits for a portrait for a famous painter (Geoffrey Rush) and finds the experience much more challenging and lengthy than he thought. Clemence Poesy plays his muse, she also played Picasso's muse in Picasso.

Finding your Feet - a sweet film about a bunch of British oldies finding love and life through dance. Funny and touching, I was sucked in by this!

Thor Ragnarok – this is everything you have heard, funny, engaging, and loads of action.

Justice League – ponderous and boring,and we will leave it there. It lacked story and sense of humour.

Battle of the Sexes - with Emma Stone and Steve Carrel, two of my faves.
Based of the true story of Billie Jean King. And her fight for equality on the tennis circuit. What an amazing woman and athlete! It was a really engaging and fun film. How far we've come, how far we still have to go!

Swinging Safari - this lacked something, I am not sure what, a look back at the kitsch 70s Australia with an amazing cast, but it just didn't work. The kids storylines were the better, the adult stuff left me cold

Happy End - french film about a large family with many issues, including issues with their construction company and immigrants. Slow paced, but interesting.

Just to be sure - French farce about a man who finds out he is adopted and commences to find his birth father, and this causes great havoc within the family.

Madame - An American couple (Toni Collette and Harvey Keitel) put on a dinner party in their French Mansion and when someone is unable to attend, their maid is asked to fill in as a guest. But quelle horreur, one of their guests falls in love with her. The maid is played by the divine Rossy de Palma, and she is utterly beguiling.
Blade Runner 2049 - ahhh the long awaited sequel, I really loved this and am very mad I missed this on the big screen. No spoilers, just go and watch this!

What I've Been Listening To

God's favorite Customer by Father John Misty - this has gotten great reviews and you can see why. Good quality popular music with a pop/country/folk sound. He almost sounds like a younger Elton John at times. Yes, some of the songs are religious based, but not in a way that feels forces. The songs simply are very listenable.

Roxy: tonight’s the night live By Neil Young – live album from 2013, Young is in fine form

Campfire by Kasey Chambers and the Fireside Disciples  - not bad country album

Last man Standing by Willie Nelson – Excellent new album

Golden by Kylie Minogue – happy, upbeat and dancey, everything you’d expect from Kylie, except she doesn’t really sound like Kylie to me!!!

Revamp: reimagining the songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin – this wasn’t too bad. You cannot really go wrong with anything by these guys. Standouts were I Guess That’s Why They Call it The Blues by Alessia Cara. I do not know Cara but she had a lovely fresh voice that brought this to a new height. Florence and the Machine tackled Tiny Dancer and were fabulous. Lady Gaga did a great version of Your Song. And The Killers sounded hauntingly like Elton on Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters (a personal favourite)

In Your Own Sweet Time by The Fratellis – I really loved this upbeat poppy album. I have listened to these guys before but must dig out more.

Lo la Run by The Rubens – great urban groove

You’re driving me crazy by Van Morrison and Joey Defrancesco – fab jazz album with reworkings of Van's own titles and some standards.

Out of the Blues by Boz Scaggs Pretty good new jazzy album from good ole Boz

Good thing by Leon Bridges – Leon has a lovely smooth blues voice, this album is a great showcase of this.

In the blue light by Paul Simon – reworkings of older obscure songs, not bad.

Linda Ronstadt - always loved Linda, but been listening to her a lot. Singing with her a lot. I think she is a forgotten star
of music and very much underrated.

Here's The Thing - catching up on Alec Baldwin's podcast

Saturday, November 10, 2018

FOR THE LOVE OF QUEEN: Bohemian Rhapsody

So I finally saw Bohemian Rhapsody, a film I - and from chatting to people, the rest of the world - have been waiting for, seemingly forever.

There's so much riding on this film. Freddie is a beloved character, taken way too soon from this world at 45. I am older now than Freddie was when he passed. Imagine if he was around today, I think about that a lot.

And that voice, men's voices get better and better with age, imagine listening to him as he grew older, there would have been a LOT more opera I bet...what a loss.

Also a band, simply loved by all; the sensitive, odd, bohemian souls (of which I and most people I know are, and of which Freddie would love) to regular dudes and rednecks. Their music touched the entire world.

For me, as a young girl who spent way too much time in her bedroom singing along to records, I love those songs more than I can begin to say. They helped define my range vocally (true) and let me belt out a tune - most certainly out of tune back then, but boy I tried! Each and every one of their big songs are a gift to a singer and indeed to choral work.

I dreamed of performing in large choirs singing these songs and had sequences and movements and costumes and solos worked out in my head. I performed them over and over in my bedroom, me singing, and the rest taking place in the stadium of my mind. I was a strange kid, but it was all formative.

And yet, I would never have called myself a fan of Queen, no real reason, I just fangirled over other bands and singers. Although, really despite my absolute abandon to music all my life, I am not really a fangirl in the true sense of the word, I love music too much to limit myself to that.

Music was played liberally in our house, mostly by my Dad, who was quite the music guru back in the day, though I do not recall him playing Queen. But music shows were also allowed, and that is where I would have discovered them. Now I would have been 4 when Bohemian Rhapsody was released and I am sure I had no idea of it, but given Countdown was played weekly and it was number 1 forever and that clip is so very distinctive and I feel I have known it all my life (I know, that's a lot of ands!), I guess I must have discovered it then!?!

Who knows, memory is such a strange and distorted thing.

For me, their touchstone song was Somebody To Love, truly the soundtrack of my own life, the one song I really really relate to, it kills me!

The despair and the joy, both within and sometimes together.

I have sung the guts out of that song my entire life. Good, bad, or otherwise!!

About 18 months ago, I joined a choir, finally after years of searching, and behold last month we sung Somebody to Love at Town Hall in Newcastle, and it was glorious and I cried pretty much all the way through it. Because it was joyous and because, whilst it wasn't exactly what I played out in my head as a kid, it came really freaking close!!

So dreams can come true!!!!

And so back to the movie, you can see for me, someone who is not even a fan, I expected a lot.

Sheeze, anyone who really knows me, knows I do not please easily, lol!

So this film could have been a disaster, but I am pleased to say it was not.

{From now on Spoilers, so be aware if you have not seen the film}

I went by myself and was ready to be entertained and that I was. I had read and seen a fair bit prior and had been pretty much blown away.

I was also aware there was a lot of 'story' left out.

And here's the thing, with a story as grand as Freddie Mercury AND Queen, you cannot deliver it all in a film running time, stuff has to get cut. And is it a film about Freddie or a film about Queen. But of course any film about Queen, is about Freddie. Oh boy, such a dilemma.

So I think in terms of what they gave us, they got it right. It was about Queen, their formation, how they put some of their music together, their dynamics with Freddie. Which, of course, has to figure some of Freddie because...well, Freddie.

However, there were MANY inconsistencies, bleedingly obvious ones to the most casual observer and then many many more. I found this really annoying, sloppy, and doing a disservice to anyone coming to see this.

Everyone knows Radio Ga Ga was released a few months before Live Aid and they had been playing sold out gigs leading up to the Live Aid. Bob Geldof only had a few lesser bands on board when he read out his famous list of those participating, hoping to shame those that had not yet said yes to actually do so.  And the biggie, quite manipulative, and I hate hate hate being manipulated, the whole Freddie had Aids before Live Aid, when that wasn't the case.

And there was much more than that.

These things were obvious to me watching and they certainly annoyed me but they didn't ruin the experience, thankfully!

A list of Queen songs within the film was pretty limited also, which is a shame.

And I just cannot help feeling cheated out of seeing David Bowie and Queen working on Under Pressure...but hey, that's just me.

The acting was really great, the three guys playing Brian, Roger, and John were uncanny, especially in the mid 80s scene, i had to blink to be sure it wasn't the actual guys!

The supporting cast of lesser players, were also great.

Rami Malek was really excellent as Freddie, he got his stance and walk down pat, performance style, on and off stage. Not a mimic but almost inhabiting him.

The Live Aid piece at the end was quite remarkable. I read that they asked the general public to record themselves singing various parts of the songs and to send them in and they used them all - thousands of separate voices - as an overdub, much like how they recorded Bohemian Rhapsody, the song. There were parts of this were you looked at Rami and only saw Freddie - that is not the case with the entire movie. He does so very well, but you know only Freddie can be Freddie.

I loved all the scenes were they were working on tunes and riffs etc, I hope they are close to the truth, cause I so want them to be. It reminded me of the Brian Wilson movie and the Pet Sounds experimentations.

I had completely forgotten how integral Kenny Everett was in their initial success. I was a huge fan of Everett as a kid, imagine listening to Kenny and Freddie chatter on the radio, blow your mind stuff indeed!!??

And I will admit this silly little thing, I just got the "They call me Mr Fahrenheit" link in Don't Stop Me Now...d'uh!!!

So overall, I loved this film, but was a little let down by the inconsistencies and things omitted. I'd still recommend it to anyone to go and see, and I know I will have that soundtrack in my head for some time...probably the rest of my life!!!

And for your absolute pleasure, here is the entire Queen at Live Aid performance. Voted (and concurred absofuckinglutely by me) as THE best ever live performance of ALL TIME.

Friday, September 7, 2018


August was insane, which was not really what I needed while I was still not quite myself, but I have realised that this year is some kind of perverse ride that I have absolutely no control of, which for a control freak is well, rather frightening, I guess that is the reason!?

At the beginning of the month I was 2 weeks back at work, still tired and my heart not quite 100% in it, so I decided to go back to choir. Get a little soul and life back into me. It was great but entirely exhausting, I think I went back too soon. As a Soprano singer, you put you everything into song, and it is a physical thing, which I love, but if you are not on top it is shattering, well for me anyway. So i had to put that on hold again.

Work also got very crazy, with huge change in me being seconded to a Research Project position for a year. It was what I need, something to chew on, something different, less responsibility and stress but same money, a bit more flexibility and closer to home, which will help my recovery. It is also in the middle of a huge restructure and it looks highly likely my position at Swansea will not be there for me to return to. This is very stressful, but I have to have faith in those above me and the new structure and hopefully there will be something appropriate for me to slot into.

So the skills and things I got out of being sick earlier this year continue to assist me to get through life day to day, week to week. Be in the moment, be present, give my all, don't overthink, have faith things will work out. Weirdly, getting through cancer feels easier than this, I guess I just need to try harder!

And so on the 17 August I had my last day at Swansea, it was bittersweet. I was excited for my new challenge and sad to leave my friends, colleagues, community after 12 years of extremely hard and rewarding work. There are no words to do it justice.

In that last week I assisted with a new exhibition opening, Dead and Buried, an exhibit on the history of interment and burials at Lake Macquarie. I was a guest at Blacksmiths school, one of my favourites, talking about the library and reading to the kids and chatting to the community. And I packed up 12 years of work and memories.

I finished at lunch, and went for a walk at Greenpoint and sat under my favourite tree and had a little cry. I am sentimental and silly like that.

After a Saturday morning at Maitland Region Art Gallery, I met Jenny at Morpeth pub for lunch and then watched Lachlan play soccer.

The following week I had 4 days in my new job, a huge learning curve, but exciting and much to do. 

I also got to see Bob Dylan again, you can read about it here. Prior I had a lovely dinner at Limoo, a Persian Cafe in Hamilton with Alastair and Alexandra. Highly recommend a meal there.

And then I had two weeks holidays, the first week I spent in Melbourne seeing my sister and catching up with friends and the usual exhibits. 

I ended the month, spending the afternoon with my other sister and niece, and quietly unpacked from a lovely week away.

As always, here are my reviews, and some pics:


It has been 2 years since I was last in Melbourne, way too long.

I had planned to head down to see the Alice in Wonderland and MoMA exhibits before they ended. Then my youngest sister moved down there for work and her birthday was coming up so the timing was perfect.


I headed down on the Friday before her birthday. I love that familiar feeling of getting off the plane in Melbourne, the surroundings of the airport and waiting for my pickup into the city.

This time I was taking a St Kilda pickup which dropped me near the pier at the beach. I trodded along the cobbled sidewalks of Acland Street to Fitzroy Street and topped up my Myki card, then headed along the mainstreet opposite the water to my sisters, it was about a 20 minutes walk which would have been pleasant had I not been dragging my suitcase behind me. The sunset was divine though and I was there before I knew it.

My sister has a lovely apartment on the second floor with views out to the water, and we settled in for a night of catching up and Uber eats!


The next day we headed for a cafe my sister likes on Acland and had a yummy brunch and a little shop before heading to the South Melbourne markets. I had visited them on my last visit and was suitably impressed with their wares and their fresh food.  We had a fun afternoon wandering and shopping and picking up fresh food for the next few days.

An afternoon nap and then out for dinner at a fancy restaurant on the banks of the Yarra was a lovely way to end the day.


Sunday we headed into Fed Square for Melbourne Writers Festival. The Arts Centre put on lovely markets of a Sunday so we had a wander first before heading to a cafe for something light. I then lined up for the first session, which I was doing solo.

Melbourne Writers Festival - Sacred Texts: the book that made me a feminist
This was a large panel with a lot of women I admire, Neko Case, Emily Nussbaum, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Michelle Law and also a poet called Hollie McNish. I loved their answers to what made them feminists. Mostly they realised when looking back they all were young feminists without really realising it.

Neko spoke about studying Art at University, and the very expensive art book she had to buy and realised there was only 5 female artists within it. She constantly queried her professors about this.

Emily remembers a book on record by Marlo Thomas and Alan Alda called Free to be me and you. About equality generally, I recall this book, unsure how or why, but I do.

Maxine said The Babysitters Club and Judy Blume. Michelle Amy Sedaris and Margo Lanagan book, Tender Morsels.

The panel were witty and smart and fascinating, my only negative was one hour was just not long enough for five people to get their thoughts across.

But I was thrilled to be listening to their brilliant minds and thoughts.

Melbourne Writers Festival - Leigh Sale's Dream Dinner Party
The next session Amanda joined me, the panel led by the lovely Leigh Sales, included Tony Martin, Lachy Hulme, Jan Sardi, and Samantha Winston. The panel was about writing for television and film. 

Tony Martin was brilliant and funny as you can imagine. Jan Sardi (wrote Shine) was more restrained but had much to say. Sam Winston has written for Wentworth and Rush and much more and was more practical in her chatter. Lachy had worked with all of them as an actor and spoke about writing and what he looks for as an actor.

For those that know and love Lachy in Offspring, he gave wonderful and hilarious anecdotes on how he developed the character of Dr Clegg. Tony Martin sung lyrical about his love for Singin' in the Rain, and what a great timeless story it is. I so agree, as if I could not love him anymore! Jan spoke about listening to Rachmaninoff the entire time he wrote the script for Shine. All these insights were fascinating to me and made the session great.

We had lunch at Degreaves, a little shop and headed home for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

I had a little sleep in and then headed into the city. The tram ride from my sisters to the city is a sheer delight. I wandered down to my sneaky little French Creperie, Roule Galette. It is a teeny little cafe hidden in one of the lesser laneways, and authentic with a quirky French guy running the show. And the food is divine.



From there I headed to NGV, my favourite place possibly in the entire world, but at least Australia. Whenever I walk towards that building, I feel my heart skip a beat in the anticipation of what I will see, the pieces I know like the back of my hand and the new exhibitions. Oh boy, the joy and peacefulness of being in that building. It is perfection. This time I was there to see the MoMA exhibit. I have been to MoMA so have actually seen most of the pieces before, but not one to shy away from a blockbuster art exhibition I had to go. 

It was a wonderful afternoon of amazing art. I realised as I moved through the exhibit I had seen a lot of these pieces in other exhibitions over many years of observing art. It was still great, and the shopping in the Art shop (one of my other favourite things) was superb, I went a little nuts. Thank goodness for reciprocal art gallery card. A tip for art lovers, I am a patron for Newcastle Art Gallery, for all of $70 (I think) I get two years worth of membership, which gives me a whole lot of stuff for Newcastle but also gets me into most other Australian art galleries at a cheaper rate and at NGV $15 off shopping!!! I make my money back easily between Sydney and Melbourne let alone Newcastle each year! And I get to assist my local art gallery!

After the exhibit I took a quick little tour through the modern section of the galleries permanent collection to visit a few of my faves.

Australian Music Vault
After NGV I popped into the Arts Centre and had a look at the Australian Music Vault Exhibition. Over the years I have discovered a lot of great exhibits there. It is a smallish space to the right of the building and always free. This was full of memorabilia from Australian Music, posters, costumes, instruments, videos, interactive bits and pieces etc etc. Totally worth a good hour or so of your time if you are there. This will be a long running exhibit from what I can make out and they will exchange some of the display for newer pieces over time. So def one to keep your eye on.

I then headed home taking in the amazing architecture of the city as I love to do.

Tuesday was my people day. I had a lovely long sleep in and headed into the city to meet Julie for lunch. Julie is a Tweep I have been friendly with for years but have never met. We met at the 1932 Cafe, a lovely deco cafe in the Manchester Unity Building that does a great all day breakfast menu. Julie, of course - like most Tweeps I have met - was delightful and we had a great time.
Next I headed out to Brunswick to catch up with my dear friend Michael (another fabulous Tweep and fellow Librarian, we have been friends for years thanks to our mutual friend Anita), who was convalescing in hospital after a Scooter accident. We spent a splendid afternoon in the hospital cafe chatting and catching up.

I next went back to the city and killed some time at the State Library of VIC before meeting Marnie at Chinatown for dinner. Marnie is another tweep from Newcastle who happened to be in Melbs, so was a good opportunity for us to catch up. We had a delicious feast and some wine.

I realised I didn't take a single photo this day!

I had started to feel tired so took this day as a slow and rest day. Long, long sleep in, then headed up to Acland Street, did some shopping, and settled into Abbey Road for lunch and a read of my book. Abbey Road is a huge cafe in the middle of Acland, like a diner with loads of memorabilia and I guess a bit cheesy, but they do great burgers, the music is fab, and you can sit there and chill. Which is just what I did. I then had a little walk and picked up some cakes for later and went home for a nap!

Thursday was a chilly day with rain expected so I headed into the city for a shop and to see the Alice exhibition.

Alice in Wonderland
This exhibit at the ACMI was fabulous. I love this book and collect various editions and memorabilia of it. I had heard about crowds and so forth but was lucky to visit on a cold and quiet day. It was a great exhibition. The earlier stuff was a little freaky, there was a lot of footage of earlier films that were almost horror films, creepy looking rabbits and so forth. Loads of interactive things, and many doors to walk through. Great things for children too. It works through Alice and her history in book and film through the years right up until the Burton film. There was an interesting tea party sans Mad Hatter unfortunately and some great crafting, which I couldn't help but join in on.

The shop was low key which was probably a good thing. Most of the books to buy I already owned, so I didn't have to go overboard. 

I then had a shop in the Ian Potter Gallery Shop, and picked up the most stunning Margaret Olley Calendar for next year.

I then met Anita for lunch, she was there for a MWF event with local schools and we had a wonderful lunch at the ACMI cafe taking time to catch up on our lives since we last saw each other on her last book tour in Newcastle.

By the time we finished lunch the rain had hit, so we dashed off in separate directions, I did a little shop and then headed home for a nap.

That night I met Amanda for dinner at the closest restaurant to her place, we had looked at it and it looked good. A pub feel with a bar and a good classic, reasonably priced menu. We ended up having a three course meal and it was delicious. I think this will easily become her local.

Was a lovely way to spend my last night there.

We said our goodbyes and I finished packing and walked a few blocks to the tram on Fitzroy that would take me to the shuttle collection point. This was only a few stops away but it was cold and looked like rain and I was dragging my suitcase. I got to the shuttle stop easily and took a few pics and just as I got on the shuttle the rain hit. The trip to the airport went smoothly and once my bags were checked I could do what I love to do, airport people watching. It is fun to watch people and wonder what they are up to and make up stories.

It was sad to leave after such a great week, and also sad to leave my sister, but I felt happy she was happy and settled into her new life and with her there now I can visit far more regularly.