A relaxing, though frantic, weekend

I’ve had some relaxation this weekend: the kids are away, staying with their mum for the long weekend. Not that I don’t like my kids of course, but it’s good to be given me a chance to get out and about and see some friends. Not to mention to be able to sleep in.

On Friday night I met a couple of mates for a dinner by the casino. We sat by the river watching those big flame column things going up every hour, and pondering what the gas bill must be like. Then we headed for a pub up on Swanston Street for a quiet drink. The odd thing was that a bloke in there recognised me – apparently we spoke on Richmond Station about eight years ago after I noticed he was wearing a Who t-shirt. I hope it wasn’t the time I was throwing up. He showed me his jacket, which looked like a costume out of Quadrophenia.

On Saturday morning I went down to Bentleigh for a coffee* and chat with a friend, which ended up as a mammoth chat for more than three hours. Then I headed back to home to meet up with Merlin, who is visiting Australia from London for a few weeks, and was staying that night in the spare room. He zoomed up, the image of cool, on a very very sexy motorbike.

*Not literally in my case, since I don’t drink coffee. I stick to tea or hot chocolate – the latter in this case. 

Then we caught a tram over to St Kilda to see Catherine, Josh and Cathy. After clarifying for Merlin who precisely was Cathy (Josh’s girlfriend) and who was Catherine (Josh’s flatmate), we debated what we were all going to do. Bowling? Pool? A restaurant or some other kind of food serving place where we could give them money and they could serve us food that we could eat? We decided to head up to Fitzroy Street.

We piled into Catherine’s tiny car for the short drive, somehow found a parking space without too much trouble, and went for a pint in the Elephant And Wheelbarrow. Nobody recognised me there, but Josh told me a story about someone he met being impressed that Josh knew me. Apparently the guy had been at Monash when I was there, in another course, and declared, "he was a LEGEND!" – which just goes to show, all you have to do is e-mail crap out to people every week, and you can be a legend.

In the discussion that followed, we agreed that that kind of fame only amounted to being a small "l" legend. In fact, a very small font, no bold, no italics, legend. In light grey. A kind of watermark, in fact, a barely noticeable legend.

The other notable discussion, as the beer took over, concerned Australia Post delivery times, and why they were slipping. Josh began to describe the Dandenong Sorting centre, and with some certainty I declared that the problem was that they now have just a bloody great big room, where they throw all the letters. A little postie comes along, picks up a letter and looks at it.

"Hmmm.. Okay, yes, I’ll just go and deliver this."

Two hours later he comes back and picks up the next letter.

"Hmmm.. Now where’s this going… Hey wait a minute… it’s for the same person!"

We carried on down Fitzroy Street to a restaurant the name of which escapes me for the moment, and chomped down some dinner, with Catherine having to wait an extra few minutes due to an unexpected delay on the Lasagne, and Josh enjoying the steamed vegies he had told the waiter he didn’t want.

Then a little further down we stopped for coffee at a bizarre combination bottle shop/deli/coffee place. The service was pretty bizarre too. Merlin was first to order his Cappuccino, and before anybody could add their drinks to the order, the woman rushed off for three minutes to make his. Catherine was smart, next ordering two cappuccinos for her and Cathy, which at least saved some time. Josh and I decided it really wasn’t worth all the bother.

From there we went to the Prince Of Wales for more drinks. Then to the Espy. We tried to be sneaky and "innocently" walk in the back entrance to avoid the cover charge, but the bouncer (not a huge tough Maori bloke as Josh predicted – he was on the front door instead) said we should go around to the front.

Well rather than pay $7 each for the privilege of coming in for a drink, we went to the Espy public bar instead, which was a bit quieter anyway, and over yet another beer we got to have a good laugh about the names of the bands advertised on the walls, and note how many of the posters had URLs on them. An example? www.Loingroin.com.

By that point most of us were a bit out of it. At least, I know I must have been – I wouldn’t normally talk about something like the cunt.co.nz
domain in front of someone as quiet and reserved as Cathy. So we all headed back to our respective homes and/or places of rest for the night and had a snooze.

We walked back up Fitzroy Street to Catherine’s car. Merlin and I said kept going to St Kilda Junction, remembering with some nostalgia the cool huge Coke sign that used to be there, and caught the tram home.

On Sunday Merlin and I met up with some of his mates from Canberra and went to the footy: Hawthorn versus St Kilda at the ‘G. Merlin and I both grew up in St Kilda, so we decided to support them today. It was something of a massacre – Hawthorn pounded St Kilda into the ground in a major way, and I was glad to be only supporting them for today!

Then tonight I made myself truly the most awesome bolognaise sauce ever. Okay, so maybe I think it was better than it really was because the previous meal had been an MCG hotdog, but I don’t think so. No, it was still good. Mince, tomato, Paul Newman’s sauce, and mushroom, and I let it simmer for… oooh.. about an hour and a half or so, maybe longer. Damn it was good! I hope the leftovers in the freezer taste half as good.

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