At eight o’clock we were up and ready to try out the free hostel breakfast which turned out to be not bad at all. A bowl of cereal and a glass of OJ was followed by cups of tea and slices of toast galore, leaving us replenished enough to clean up after ourselves as per the umpteen notices on display.

Back at the room however, things took a turn for the worse as Mary started to go downhill fast, coughing and spluttering her way back to bed by eleven. We had both brought slight coughs from Barcelona, but while mine appeared to be treading water if not receding, Mary’s was definitely deteriorating and turning into a nuisance. It soon became obvious that a day in bed for her was required. I resolved to spend the day alone with Scott so as not to waste a day and also to give Mary a chance to recover from her combination of a cold and jet-lag.

I busied myself with Internet stuff until Scott came round at about one-thirty. Having looked in on his Mum, he took me over to the Botanic Gardens situated not 200 metres from the hostel, after we’d picked up a sandwich for lunch. The gardens were indeed very impressive and exceptionally well-laid out with good information at every turn on the trees, plants and wildlife (or flora and fauna to you scientific boffins!).

Cygna Negra

Cygna Negra

The far end of the gardens took us out onto the main road running alongside the Yarra River where Scott drew my attention to the numerous rowers being put through their paces by an on-board cox and a cyclist trainer with a megaphone. How very ‘varsity it all appeared! Over the bridge I was led by my youngest into the sports area of the city, a vast complex of facilities ranging from public grassed pitches to the imposing Rod Laver Arena where Scott had seen the Murray v Federer match. We nipped inside here for a quick look but, despite skipping past a security barrier, we couldn’t find a way into the arena itself which also doubles as a rock concert venue.

Rod the south-paw

Rod the south-paw

After a brief stop to watch 2 guys beating the hell out of each other via a fiercely competitive tennis game on an outer court, we took a magnificent pedestrian walkway over the railway to the MCC, the Melbourne Cricket Club. This is the equivalent of Lords in the world of English cricket and looked like a rather plush Hampden Park to me with huge bronze statues of the greats of Australian cricket outside each entrance gate. I recognized Don Bradman the famous batsman and Dennis Lillee, one of the most-feared bowlers of all time and one third of the infamous Colemanball “Lillee, caught Willey, bowled Dilley!” Google it if you don’t understand. It’s also on YouTube.

This man had bails!

This man had bails!

Next we crossed over to the stadium (ex-Olympic) of the local Soccer team, Melbourne Victory, still within a few hundred yards of the other stadia. Adjacent to that was a public area which we strolled around wishing we’d brought a football with us. In the end we just pretended we had one as you will see from the photo. On our way back, we stopped at a bar and had a couple of drinks at a pavement table as the sun became more predominant and the clouds less threatening. The wine was quite excellent and I may be going back there at Happy Hour!

Spot the Ball

Spot the Ball

On our return it was obvious that Mary had been sleeping the whole day and wasn’t yet up to going out for dinner as planned by our guide Scott. So we went and got her a sandwich and Pot Noodle then Scott took me to a Sports Bar where we had a great dinner, pizza for him and T-bone steak for me. Gggrrr! Carnivore!

Although Lady Burton had had a less-than-perfect day today, I had had the opportunity to bond a bit with the wee man and he had had the chance to let me know what was going on in his own head. It was all very interesting but that stuff’s private of course. Scott popped in to say “bye-bye” to his Mum and while they were chatting I fell asleep almost standing up as the jet-lag kicked in.

After Scott had left to get the tram home, I went to bed and was asleep before head hit pillow. If I remember correctly, it was nine-thirty in the evening!

 

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