Part CLXVIII – What I do at weekends

This one is a legacy post from quite a few weeks ago. I confess I can’t recall when save that I took the photos sometime in June.

It’s been a fair winter so far. There’s been rain, and it’s certainly been cold. On the other hand, the dams have filled back up and often the days are clear.

When I’m up there I always give the dog a couple of good long walks. He enjoys it and, in honesty, he’s a good listener. I’ve talked through a lot of odds and ends with him. Of course, he gets distracted a lot. There are things to sniff, and water to swim in (even on the coldest mornings). Sometimes there are rabbits to chase.

There’s also the farm work, which is a source of exercise for me. Each weekend I fill up the stores of firewood near the house. Naturally, anything that requires heavy lifting is mine too. Well, me or a machine.

The days of farm work at the weekend won’t last forever, I know. I’m happy to have them while they last.

Part CLXVII – What I’ve been doing

Quick post in between two other activities. I’ve applied for a couple of jobs today and I’ll nip out to get some coffee shortly before the withdrawal headaches kick in. I also need to look at some emails before a semi-work meeting tonight.

Anyway, it’s been an OK week for keeping active. I squeezed in a run on Monday night before SES training. The pace was a bit average but at least it got done. We’re still settling into the new SES LHQ so I was able to add to my walking miles that night.

Thursday was cold and showery and so I forewent my lunchtime run in favour of a longish walk to the op shop. As is usual for me, exposure to second hand books almost always sees me buy one. Or two. Or three. This was no exception. I picked up Tom Sharpe’s Riotous Assembly because I feel I owe him a second literary chance. I read Vintage Stuff in high school and another book that I can’t recall the name of (possibly one of the Wilt series). Neither made much of an impression on me at the time, but one’s tastes change with time.

I was listed to go to the blood bank that evening. My donation was changed to whole blood rather than plasma (that being what was needed). I walked home via Sydney Road; all up I think I put up about 12kms that day.

Wednesday saw a return to normal with a lunchtime run. I got caught in a rain shower and so by the end I was rocking the “drowned rat” look. The odd thing was that it wasn’t particularly cold.

That evening saw another trip to the gym and and a total of 17kms or so put up on the elliptical and the bike. I’m steadily ahead of schedule on my virtual run up the Pacific Crest Trail. I’ll probably fit in a quick trip to the gym pre-meeting tonight. If I don’t pick up some extra work I’ll need to start cutting unnecessaries; one of the first to go will be the gym membership. Hopefully it doesn’t get to that.

Part CLXVI – Calmly ending weekend

I’m typing this on Monday afternoon. I imagine it will go live on Friday if I have my scheduling right. I’ve spent the morning looking for jobs and applying for some of them. I’ll probably talk about this in a bit more detail over on the other blog (where the subject is more apposite. In shortest terms, while I’m keen to pick up work for the two days a week spare I have, I’m not looking to take on another “so desperate I’ll take anything” job until I have to. I did that with the signmakers and (while I learned a lot from the experience) it wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs.

Anyway, I spent the weekend up at the farm. The weather was clear and sunny and (if not exactly warm) at least not bitterly cold during the day. Plenty of walking miles were racked up with the dog and while patching up a length of fence. At this moment I’m wondering if I can fit in a run before Screen Sounds (unlikely). Regardless, the miles are still going up even if I do seem to be putting on weight.

The tribe are doing well and the cattle are healthy. Hopefully that lasts, given that there’s been an outbreak of foot-and-mouth-disease in Bali which could easily make the hop to Australia.

The photos below are from Sunday evening, when the air was dead calm and the dam as calm as a pane of glass. It had been a good day. The Ex and I had had a good solid chat about our girls and I’d been able to do some of the heavier farm work for the old boy. The dog and I were getting in one last walk before I needed to start packing. The world seemed calm for a change.

Not much more to report about the weekend. Or maybe there is. I tend not to get too deeply personal here but I must confess I’m tempted. I’ll think it over and may post further as we go.

Part CLXV – Another late night

This is a legacy post (meaning I started it and didn’t go back to it) from two Tuesdays ago, when I was still at the job I no longer have. I recall that it wasn’t a bad run up the St George’s Road trail, although I’d probably have gone up the less-populous Merri Creek Trail if I’d realised how truly blotchy and crap I looked…

Blotchy AF

That evening I went into the blood bank for the usual plasma donation and found my blood pressure was well up, which surprised me. From there, I went to the PR&Co office to get some handover work done. Against my intentions I wound up getting the last tram home again! The only perk of this was to see Lygon Street nearly deserted.

I have definitely reached the stage where working until stupid o’clock has lost its appeal.

Part CLXIV – Never in Doubt

The scheduling for this post may or may not fully work…

Readers of my legal blog may have seen a post or two pop up about a recent trip up to Sydney for work. If you’re interested, I’ve blogged about it here, here and here. I mentioned in the second of those posts that, of course, I got out for a run. Really – that was never in doubt for me!

The thing was going for a run in the dark in a city I don’t much know was a dubious decision: as I’ve recounted a few times here, I have no known sense of direction. I wasn’t going to get another chance to run in Sydney for a while, however, so I certainly wasn’t letting it go!

I plugged my headphones in and set off with my GPS giving me directions as I went. This is always a hit and miss proposition: the GPS assumes you’re using the screen as well as verbal cues. When all you’ve got is an admonition to “bear left” it can be difficult to tell whether you’re bearing left to go around a roundabout or making an actual left turn. In short order the GPS gets as confused as it’s owner.. I was rather waiting for mine to say “you know what? The Hell with you. If you won’t take advice you’ll have to manage without me. I’m switching myself off!” The upshot of this was that the 7.5kms from Chatswood to the Bridge became 10kms (I was OK with this).

Running really is a good way to explore a city: you discover that it’s hilly (yep), and you see shops and streets you’d otherwise never see (one of the benefits of getting lost easily).

I was pretty sure a dear friend of mine had lived in the Milson’s Point area in about 2000 and it felt kind of special to see what had been a part of her world. I must catch up with her (Jane, if you had a wordpress site I’d be able to tag you here… just saying…)

I’d seen the Bridge and the Opera House from the other side of the bay back in about 2011, but in daylight. The Bridge was actually a lot smaller than I’d remembered it being. It was, however, utterly iconic.

Winter doesn’t seem to be a thing in the Harbour City and the evening was actually kind of warm. Certainly I was very comfortable in shorts and a shirt. I stumbled onto an ice cream parlour and thoroughly enjoyed a good milkshake. I explored the area for a bit and discovered that a path leads right across the Bridge. If only I’d known! Next time…

I had no luck getting a cab so I got a one-way rail ticketĀ from Milson’s Point back to Chatswood and walked back to the accommodation. I have to come back and try this run in daylight.

Part CLXIII – Running with a Goal

A quick post tonight (as I need to pack up and get on the road). I just wanted to share about last weekend’s run.

I was in town last Saturday (after being let go from one of my jobs the previous day). I wasn’t that broken up about the job ending although I do miss my coworkers. Anyway, as always, I scheduled the day’s run for the afternoon and built the day around it. I headed off up the St George’s Road trail until I eventually ran out of trail and moved into the suburban streets. The sun was halfway warm until about 1645 when the clouds closed in (no rain though). I dawdled through Coburg until eventually I hit Sydney Road. I followed the Upfield Bike Path home

The pace was a bit sub-par but not as bad as I’d feared. It was too late to make it to vigil Mass and so instead I headed up to the East Brunswick Hotel for a few beers and some chips, and a book.

Saturday went well.

Part CLXII – Running with Ann and Sam

In my post of the other day I forgot a detail I meant to mention. When I set out on that run, I accidentally switched on my “purchased music” playlist, and not my running playlist. I only discovered this when the music abruptly lurched from 1990s rock to Rhapsody in Blue. Some people would have stopped and changed it to the right playlist. I decided to let it roll, and so the rest of my run was a blend of the usual hard rock and power-pop, spiced with Ralph Vaughn Williams (he of The Lark Ascending fame), Ann Chaplin, Debussy and Bizet. Usually by the time I finish a run I’m a bit fired up. This time I finished up blissed out. Highly recommended!

Since then I’ve had the usual healthful thing. I went ot the blood bank last night for the usual plasma donation (i.e. I get to swap out some blood plasma for saline fluid and get sausage rolls and cookies – I feel I’m getting the best of the deal). I had a bit of work to do at the office afterwards so I schlepped up there and worked until I caught the last tram back to my digs.

I slept OK, although today I had an hour-long team meeting for the writing job by zoom. The meeting was genuinely interesting because the business is doing some great work and promises to do a great deal more. Despite this, I was yawning and struggling to keep focused during it. This morning’s coffee from 7-Eleven was, I’m afraid, not cutting through.

I spent the morning trying to condense a fairly complex subject (the defence of necessity in tort claims) down to a few sentences. This is a challenge, as the case law is heavily influenced by criminal law (including a famous case of cannibalism). By midday I needed a recharge and so I decided to brave the cold with a run.

I did better with the run than I was expecting. I felt stiff and slow but the pace was pretty good. It would have been even better if I’d not been stopped at the traffic lights on the main road on my way back.

Not much more to add. I’ll head down to the gym tonight. If you’re wondering, in my virtual run I’m now up to Yosemite National Park. Will spend some time chillin’ with Sam I guess…

Part CLXI – Coffee and a Ramble

Sunday’s plans were adjusted early on. Usually on Sundays I facetime Grace and Rachel. However, they were at a funeral and so that plan fell through. That left me with a gap of about three hours in my plan for the day. I rearranged the plan around Mass at 1330 at St Francis’ Church. The first item of business was coffee from the Starbucks on Exhibition Street. Since I was having it there I went with a mug rather than a paper cup (which I’d not done before). I settled in to read more of The Kon-Tiki Expedition while I had it. I’m enjoying the book and will no doubt review it here in due course.

Coffee and reading hurray!

I still had a bit of time to kill so I walked in the general direction of St Francis’ through Chinatown. I really must spend more time there sampling the food. I think next time I’m in town of a weekend I’ll head down there and have dinner perhaps on Saturday night. Another blogger has noted a statue there of Sun Yat-Sen, although I confess I didn’t see it. I did, however, see Mao Tse-Tung pressed into service advertising the restaurant “Mao Please“. I can’t help but wonder what ol’ Mao would have made of this.

I still had a little time to kill so I walked around to the Bourke Street Mall. I wandered into Royal Arcade to get a photo of Gog and Magog to send to the girls (close-ups of the giants are here).

Apparently the Arcade is also haunted.

Mass at St Francis’ was well attended (it was the Pentecost service). It’s easy to forget how revolutionary the message of the Gospel remains.

Religious devotions performed, I found an Anytime Fitness in Docklands and headed to it. Every gym is different and (Docklands being a fairly upmarket area) I figured this would be a good one. I was right: the gear was mostly new and there was a good view from the exercise bike. I do love a gym with a window!

Anytime Fitness, Docklands, Melbourne

Final adventure for the day was a tram back up to the Brandon Hotel for beer and nuts and (because this is me) reading. I can particularly recommend the Moon Dog Pale Ale. On a cold day the bar there is always warm.

Tomorrow sees me trying to chase down a couple of clients who’ve gone AWOL but whose instructions I need. Hopefully the weather is a little less bitter so that I can get back to running at lunch.

Part CLX – A run to chips

After Saturday’s adventures-in-clothes-shopping I went on with the rest of the day. I’d already racked up a good number of steps walking about that morning. The weather was unpredictable. Every so often there’s be a patch of sunlight but much more often there were clouds and wind.

I hadn’t been able to run for some while and so I was determined to get a run in unless the weather turned completely diabolical. I settled on a run of 1 hour 20 minutes, which would take the form of two laps of Princes Park plus a bit of a run towards Melbourne Zoo. As it happened I picked the sunniest part of the afternoon. Which was not especially sunny but better than anything else I was likely to get. I was surprised to find I actually began to make good time. Lots of other runners were out there as well. In the end I racked up 13 kilometres which I was happy with.

I hadn’t eaten all day (not uncommon for me of a weekend). The combination of walking and running meant I could easily be a bit more relaxed about food for the rest of the day. I wandered up to the East Brunswick Hotel for beer and chips. I settled on a couple of pints of “Last Tram to Brunswick” from a local microbrewery. I can recommend it: cloudy and complex fruit flavours. Combining that with chips and a copy of Spectator was heavenly.

The evening ended with a meatlover’s pizza from the place down the road and some Youtube videos. I think I got every ounce of value out of the day!

Part CLIX – Clothes shopping sucks

Today’s adventure saw me out and about in Sydney Road. What took me to Sydney Road? Later this month I have to go up to actual Sydney (i.e. the place with the bridge and the Opera House) for work. I’m unsure what the dress code will be. I’ve recently bought a new suit anyway, but something “business casual” may also be required. It struck me that the Barkly Square Shopping Centre, or Sydney Road, or Lygon Street, would be the place to find something suitable.

Photo by Patrick McLachlan on

I find clothes shopping difficult. There’s no difficulty when I’m getting things that are (so to speak) pre-set. That is, a suit is a suit. Activewear is activewear. Work clothes are jeans (or shorts), t-shirts and pullovers. Simples. Anything outside these boundaries is difficult. Because I don’t really socialise, there’s no need for me to dress to impress: it doesn’t matter a bean what you wear when you’ve having a quiet drink by yourself in the Empress Hotel, for example. As a result, I have sod-all idea what looks good and what doesn’t.

Sydney Road, Brunswick

I discovered there’s really nothing in the way of men’s fashion in Barkly Square. I did poke my head in at K-Mart but decided this was a bad idea. My impression of my coworkers is that they’re people who genuinely can tell cheap when they see it. I picked up a t-shirt and called it a day.

I went looking along a few blocks of Sydney Road and Lygon Street but came up empty. I even tried a few op shops (admittedly more for books than clothing) but decided this was probably a dead end. There’s fashion, and there’s cheap, and there’s dressing-out-of-a-literal-Brotherhood-bin (my inability to distinguish these was one of the many things that drove The Ex mental).

In the end I decided it’d be simplest just to go to the same place I get my suits (which is also conveniently close to work) and tell the manager what I need. It strikes me that whatever comes from that process will at least fit and look half decent.