Summery Long Weekend


The familiar combination of long summer days and the tennis grand slam event that takes over the city this time every year, makes for a lazy, holiday like feeling. The long weekend (Australia Day), which is just a day after the Lunar New Year, made the occasion even better.

We were with Jason and Mel at their home on Friday night, for a Lunar New Year eve dinner. They put on a hot pot (“steamboat”) and we brought some stuff along (some pre-cut pork belly slices and fish ball/fish cakes, and some kimchi) including a couple of bottles of wine. It was nice spending the evening with their family.

Unfortunately for some reason or another, a photograph of Tress and I that Jason took that night in his home, ended up with Ruth and Jonathan, my cousins from an opposite end of Melbourne. This haphazard sharing of photos through social media like WhatsApp for no cogent reason, is thoroughly annoying, so I decided to exit a number of these chat groups – a risk reduction measure, I guess. Now, I’m only on chat groups with immediate family members.

On Saturday, we slept in and then drove to the beautiful Yarra Valley. Every time we make our way to this part of Melbourne, I wonder why we don’t do it more. It’s only a bit over half an hour away and we’re in beautiful vineyard country. I had made a reservation at the Mandala vineyard restaurant (“DiVino”) and we had a beautiful lunch there.

After lunch, we drove around, and dropped into the chocolatier and ice-creamery place, which was jam packed. The summer holiday feeling was heightened and by the time we got home late arvo, I felt rested and had loads of fun. Even when I had to wash the cars later that arvo, those feelings didn’t abate.

Melbourne/Victoria has undergone some pretty trying weather conditions. The fires had created a smoky and dusty atmosphere and a few days earlier, a thick brown fog of dust descended on the whole city and left orange/brown dust all over. The cars were covered with the stuff, as were our deck and driveway.

So on the way back from Yarra Valley, before I took the cars out to wash, we dropped by Bunnings and we picked up a high pressure cleaner. On Sunday arvo, after St Alf’s and lunch at a usual spot, I gave it a red hot go to clean the driveway and deck and while they are now much cleaner than before, it’d probably need another round of efforts.

St Alf’s on Sunday was special as it was a farewell service of sorts for Jordan Hitchcock, a minister who had responsibility mainly for the young adults and families. He had been there for 7 years and they are prepping him for a more senior role, probably in a leadership capacity in some other parish. I have always enjoyed his sermons, which I thought were always very well crafted. His core points were always solidly grounded on sound theological footing and delivered in great style. He is very good with his preaching ministry.

Monday (yesterday) was a public holiday and we drove down to the beach at Chelsea. Auntie Hooi and Uncle Marloney had bought a beach apartment a few months back and furnished it over Christmas. They invited us to come around and so Jason and Mel and us drove down there separately, and met up at the apartment. Tress and I arrived some half an hour earlier, and walked on the beach. I couldn’t believe that was the first time I had been to the beach this summer. It felt very nice. Later on, all six of us walked to a nearby café and got some lunch, before heading back to the apartment for drinks and nibbles and chats. We left a few hours later, and arrived home to walk the little fellow.

Later that night, there was the little event of the Australian Open tennis highlight match of the world’s number one player taking on what is hopefully Australia’s ex-brat. Nadal and Kyrgios hadn’t seen eye to eye but Kyrgios appear to be more serious at giving his tennis better effort. I guess he’s growing up now and while he lost to Nadal overnight, I think more Aussies would be prepared to back him now.

I saw an advertisement by the Salvos this morning. It was for a legal role and it’s based in Blackburn. That appears to be a no-brainer so I responded. Let’s see if anything comes out of t hat.