Despite my best efforts, a sunhat and several applications of suncream, it’s obvious that I caught the sun on my neck yesterday. So I will be even more careful today.

We went to bed a second time around midnight … Tim then slept, but I only dozed. In the end I got up again for a while, ate something, wrote something, and went back to bed to try again. I woke up again at 6:45am, just as the sun was rising … perhaps it was the light that woke me. I watched the sun rise in a gap between high rise apartment blocks; the sky changing colour in only a few minutes … and immediately I felt the heat. The forecast was for a warmer day, but we noticed the daily forecast for the next few days is now for rather higher temperatures than the previous forecast we’d taken note of.

img_0675

Our plan was to get out early before it was too hot … but I took the time to Skype DD2 before breakfast – I love the internet. I’m choosing to read only selected emails, while Tim is avoiding them altogether. It’s been a joy to be able to text a few friends in the UK, though I still can’t use my phone for Australian numbers – goodness knows why.

We left just after 9am, walking up Chapel Street to the river, and so into the city. It felt warm, but not uncomfortable … it’s dry heat.

We stopped at the Hamer Hall arts centre, home of the Melbourne Symphony orchestra, to pick up some tourist information … Tim was delighted to discover a piano and found the courage to play. The staff were so friendly… surprised we’d walked in from South Yarra (‘Good on you!’), and one was particularly moved by the piece Tim played (The Moonlight Sonata) which had special memories for her. It was a good moment.

img_1045

We found our way to the tourist tram, route 35, and stayed on the line for the full circuit … it was a little too warm inside, but gave us a sense of scale for the city, and how to find our way around, though we struggled to hear the running commentary. Afterwards, we found our way into Coles supermarket and bought some lunch, then walked back to the river to find some shade and ate.

img_0705

It was getting warmer, and the thought of aircon was increasingly attractive … so we found our way to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). By this time my feet were sore, so I took off my shoes – which apparently is not allowed in the galleries … it’s a shame as the wood floor was very tactile! We enjoyed the early art (mid 1800s is early in the history of the modern nation), which although strongly influenced by European tastes had a particularly Australian feel to it, but we didn’t really appreciate the stages of development through cubism and impressionism into ‘modern’ art.

img_0731

img_0730

Who’s Afraid of Art is the NGV collection of works by indigenous women … I loved some of the colours and patterns of the works, especially those created on ‘stringy bark’ or Eucalyptus, and the basket work. But I was conscious that while there were few if any religious works in the main collection, these were full of story and myth. Every item – many of them created for everyday use – has significance and meaning, and while those stories are meaningless to me, perhaps even antithetical to the Christian faith, I was impressed that faith was part of their creation and their use a constant reminder of that faith. I had assumed that their stories were ignorant, yet there were hints of a ‘natural’ faith that reminded me of Romans 1:20-21, especially in the image of God as fire.

img_0754

img_0761

img_0748

Having had a (rather strange) cup of tea in the café … and a very indulgent raspberry cheesecake (Tim had a mushroom quiche) … we wandered around the shop to buy a couple of gifts before leaving the sanctuary of the aircon … it was only then we felt the full effect of the heat, now 36C … still a dry heat but totally energy sapping. By now my feet were suffering, so we decided to take the tram home … quite a short ride, and much cooler than the tourist tram. Part of the route passes through Park Street, with houses in an ornate ‘old-colonnial’ style, very striking. I should like to go back, camera in hand, to see them again.

We spent a short while in the apartment, cooling down and changing footware, before venturing out again to Woolworths, where we bought supplies; not only food but also laundry liquid and dishwasher powder. And teabags … decaff tea … I haven’t seen it anywhere until now, though I still had no choice – there was only one brand (Twinnings) – though I was pleased to see they had Redbush too – known locally as ‘African Tea’. I have missed drinking ‘real’ tea! 😉

We spent some time looking round the store, comparing prices out of interest. We had glanced around the greengrocers too, so had an idea of local prices (eg $3.50 per cauliflower, sterling equivalent around £2.30 … I pay £1 at home) … $5 in Woolworths! They were expensive for most fresh foods, in fact everything apart from some meats, especially beef, which costs rather less than in the UK. Pork, however, is more than twice the price than at home.

So tea tonight was something of an adventure … Kanga Bangers … aka kangaroo sausages. Easy to cook, low fat and tasty. And not too costly at $5 a pack.

We’ve been exploring our options on television; the local freeview channels are far more limited than in the UK, though I can find various familiar programmes from the UK, and also a few US exports such as Hawaii 5-0 and NCIS. And sport … and news … though we have to hunt out most of what we want to know on the internet.

I’m trying to stay awake a little longer tonight, though Tim has already retired to bed. We have an early start in the morning.

Advertisements