Scott was up and away to work long before we surfaced today so Mike kept us entertained over breakfast. We had no intention of launching into another full day of foot slogging around a busy city but had decided to have a slow walk up to 2 buildings recommended for a visit. When we eventually decided to go out, we were delighted to discover that Melbourne had cooled down a lot and the temperature was now in the mid-20’s and not the mid-30’s. This was to prove perfect for wandering about. Our first stop was for a spot of lunch which we bought as take-away and ate in the sunshine in a small park at the very top of Lonsdale Street where Scott lives.

Melbourne Aboriginal Dignitaries

Melbourne Aboriginal Dignitaries

Right opposite the park we noticed St. Patrick’s Cathedral so added that to our list of possible visits for the day. But firstly we crossed the road to the Victoria State Parliament where Scott had told us there were daily free guided tours. Up the stairs we climbed, only to be told that we had just missed a tour and that we would have to wait an hour for the next one. Plan B was called for!

Plan B did not exist, so we returned to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where we found a hive of activity inside as preparations were made for next Sunday’s Feast of St. Patrick, March 17. Now that’s often quite a bit of fun, especially abroad where no-one dares ask you if you are “Scots or Irish?”! I well remember, as recorded in Chapter 3 of my first book, the difficulties we all had getting to school on St. Patrick’s day and how you had to get that question right or expect a good kicking (from lads who were your mates the rest of the year!)

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Anyway, the cathedral kept our attention for half an hour and outside we got in conversation with a teacher from a Girls’ Catholic Private School who explained the basics of secondary education in Australia to us. We took some photos and then strolled around the gardens for a bit before returning to the Parliament building. This time we were welcomed in and sat waiting with people of several nationalities for the tour to begin.

A guy called Martin conducted the tour with knowledge and wit in equal proportion, entertaining and informing us about the Federal Parliament of Victoria State and its 2 Houses based strictly on the British Parliamentary System. We really enjoyed this visit and Scott scored more Brownie points for giving us good advice. Well done, Scott!

"Point of Order, Mr. Speaker!"

“Point of Order, Mr. Speaker!”

Next stop was the shops to buy the tea and a wee present for Rory and Lana’s new baby Geneviève. We’ll be seeing them on Friday when the family meets up in Melbourne. Then it was back to the flat to make a sweet and sour chicken meal for our poor, wee, hard-working son when he would drag his weary feet up to the door and inside. The dish actually turned out pretty brilliant and I clearly still haven’t lost the ability to make a decent meal out of simple ingredients as years of poverty gave me the necessary practice.

Knowing that we had to get up at 6 a.m. tomorrow for our trip along the Great Ocean Road which we had booked earlier before leaving the flat, all parties retired at a reasonable hour to get some decent shut-eye. Bliss!

At 2 a.m. we awakened to a high-pitched whining whistle accompanied by a deep, male, Aussie voice repeating “This is an Emergency! Evacuate the building immediately!” About the fifth time we heard it, the penny dropped and, remembering that we were on the fourteenth floor, we rushed for the door and trotted down the 28 flights of stairs to the bottom floor and then outside. We were amazed to witness crowds of Orientals do likewise, except they chose to use the lift! One man was in his y-fronts but was carrying a huge Dulux dog in his arms!

The Fire Brigade came, stayed 20 seconds and left, allowing us all to troop back to bed, maybe to watch a video like “The Towering Inferno!” I’m really glad that emergency evacuation happened in the middle of the night leaving us on Lonsdale Street in our smalls, because life was getting a bit boring, don’t you think!?

2 a.m. with Fireman Sam!

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