Here is my childhood home

We lived in a number of places when I was growing up, but this block of flats at 62 Hotham Street, East St Kilda, was where we were the longest — seven years, for me from the age of about 4 to 11, covering most of primary school.

62 Hotham Street

The place doesn’t seem to have changed much at all since we lived there, except that it has shrunk — the various kids of the block (and surrounds) used to have football matches in the front garden. On hot days in summer we’d set a sprinkler up on the grass and run through it, and marvel at how hot the pavement (then made of tarmac) was.

At the side is a laneway, which goes up to the next street, where our friends Stuart, Lisa and Tracey lived. We walked to school with them. Across the lane was another block of flats, where the neighbourhood kids used to play hide and seek.

At the back of the block is the carpark, still with the ancient garages, with wooden doors that now seem to be rotting. Under the fire escape is a little alcove, which us kids wanted to use as headquarters for our club… whatever that was. The alcove is still there, boarded up.

62 Hotham Street, back stairs62 Hotham Street

A painted wicket no longer features on the carpark wall. Woe betide anyone who hit a tennis ball over the garages; the neighbour at the back was rumoured to be pretty grumpy.

Some of the first floor residents would try to convince the kids to move from the front to the back and vice-versa, depending on where their nightshift-working relatives were trying to sleep.

I’m struck now by the architecture, which looks to be thirties art-deco, and much more appealing than the other, 70s-style blocks that litter the area. It almost has the air of colonial outpost about it, as if it should be somewhere in the tropics, surrounded by palm trees. Either that or a kind of melting pot for local artists, a creative St Kilda hideaway — like The Secret Life Of Us, but more bohemian.

It was a fun few years, living there as a kid. Lots of happy memories.

Here are my shoes

Here are my shoes (well, most of them)…

My shoes

I hate buying shoes. There are few activities I hate more. It might be because I’ve had a very hit-and-miss history when buying. Roughly in order of purchase:

MISS — ancient brown semi-casual shoes [1]. Subject to endless gags from lovely girlfriend (aka fashion consultant) and just about everybody else. Comfortable, if nothing else.

HIT — the Birkenstocks [2]. Nuff said.

MISS — very shiny Florsheim work shoes [3]. Look okay, but give me pains in my right foot every time I wear them. They say that everybody has one foot that’s bigger than the other, and for me it’s evidently my right. Despite the shop assistant convincing me they seemed to be the right size, they’re clearly too small, and even the ingenious plan of pottering around in them with a wet sock to stretch the leather inside provided only temporary relief. They’re size 9 ½, and I’m obviously a 10. They’re going in the charity bin shortly.

HIT — a pair of Vans brand sneakers [4] bought several years ago. Have lasted a while, though starting to look a bit ratty now. I still like ’em. Kind of light grey coloured, with red laces.

MISS — Rockport shoes I bought in near-desperation the night before flying to Canberra. Casual black shoes? What was I thinking? General derision from my local fashion consultant (girlfriend) when I showed them to her, and on reflection, she was right. Alleged casual shoes shouldn’t look like that. Returned them to the shop the next day on the way to the airport.

HIT — Ecco sneakers [5]. Cool. Comfortable. By appointment to the Danish royal family apparently, though I haven’t spotted Princess Mary wearing any.

TBA — black Hush Puppies work shoes [6]. Bought last week to replace the shiny Florsheim shoes. Very comfortable on Saturday at the wedding. Noticeably less comfortable the other day at work, leaving nasty looking sores on the back of my ankles, but maybe I’m now at the stage of properly wearing them in. Perhaps I was wearing thicker socks on Saturday? Or perhaps the alcohol on the night caused me not to notice?

Hopefully my luck is improving.

Do you have some favourite or hated shoes? Leave a comment or link to a picture.

Here is my wine collection

Here is my wine cellar collection. It sits up in the cupboard. My wine purchasing strategy is as follows:

  • Buy the ones with the interesting looking labels (‘cos I know stuff-all about wine)
  • Because I don’t consume them at a rate of knots, I buy bottles of moderately cheapish wine, keep it for a few years, then drink it (this accounts for the many bottles of Hardy’s Regional Reserve…)
  • Wait until the collection’s looking a little depleted, then buy 6 or 12 at once for a discount
  • Buy a handful of the more expensive ones… ummm.. just… ‘cos

Wine collection

Move your mouse around over the picture to see descriptions. Post a picture of your wine collection — Link in the Trackbacks or comments.

For a rather more reasoned strategy to budget wine purchases, see Josh’s slightly dated wine guide.

Here are my newest and oldest clothes

Here are my oldest and newest items of clothing. (Well, if you don’t count the socks I bought last week.)

Old red jumpernew coat

The red jumper is an Exacto brand windcheater which dates from probably about 1989 or 1990. It still gets an outing on cold evenings at home, and when painting (note the paint stain, a fairly recent addition).

The coat I bought a couple of weeks ago, and I like it so much that I’m wearing it at every opportunity.