Grand Final Long Weekend at San Remo

Some years ago, Daniel Andrews, the Premier of the State of Victoria, made the AFL Grand Final eve a public holiday. Traditionally, a parade of the competing teams through the streets of Melbourne CBD on the eve of the Grand Final, is quite an event. The idea is to let more Victorians be part of that parade so Dan Andrews made that decision.

The Queen’s recent passing also lead the PM to declare 22 September a day of mourning and a national public holiday. That day happened to be the day before the AFL Grand FInal Parade day, so most Victorians conveniently found themselves a 4-day long weekend.

We had planned to go away to San Remo for a couple of nights. That became a 3-night away event, so on Thursday arvo, after Tress and I did some work to clean up the gardens, we headed there with both the elderly LBJ and the youthful Padawan. There was a really bad traffic snarling crawl as we approached Phillip Island. That last 10km was a “first gear” type of congestion. We had the radio on and there were callers who relayed their experiences of large crowds, horrendous traffic and stupendous waiting times. The tulip festival at Silvan and the Melbourne Royal Show at Flemington were the worst spots, with hours of wait time and food and beverages running out.

Eventually, we made it to San Remo and checked into our accommodation at nearly 4pm. The views of that lodging however, made us forget that long crawl. They were magnificent, looking out across a paddock and into the Bass Coast, with the brilliant blue Bass Strait.

We had dinner on the first night at the San Remo hotel. It was pub food but what pub food! I had a porterhouse steak and Tress had some salt and pepper calamari. Both dishes came with a large amount of very well done chips so we doggy bagged most of it. The next day, we drove into Phillip Island and walked around Cowes, joining thousands of other folks who were also taking advantage of the special occasion. We had the younger one with us. It was his first trip away from home and he soaked up the new experience. It then started to rain and we headed back to San Remo. I had brought my weber GA with me so we did a home cooked barbeque for dinner later that night.

The next day we took a walk into town, went to the jetty to see the well-known pelicans, bought some fresh seafood from the co-op, had coffee in town and then went back to get ready to watch the game. We were tossing between going back to the San Remo hotel to watch it, or just watch it at the lodging. The lodging had a pretty decent large screen HD TV and we had all the grub and drinks ready and we couldn’t book a table on late notice anyway so we watched the game “at home”.

The Cats took off at the first bounce and very soon, goals rained. Isaac Smith, an ex-Hawks champion, was on fire and kicked 3 in that blistering start of the first quarter. At the end of that quarter, it became apparent it would be uphill all the way for the Swans. At half time, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Cats would win the 2022 premiership. I even started to read the book I had brought along and had been reading. Gerard Henderson’s accounts of “media pile-on” of the George Pell trials were very compelling and it was easy to read it and sort of follow the game at the same time.

Well the Cats won it easily in the end, and Isaac Smith won the Norm Smith too. I said to Tress those Geelong players are decent folks, and I’m kind of happy for them. I risk being stoned by other Hawks supporters but in a week where Hawks have been accused of terrible racism, it felt right to accord some humanity across the bow. That night, we cooked up the rest of the seafood we had picked up, for dinner. We had earlier in the arvo, pan friend the scallops we bought and they were delicious.

We came back late Sunday morning and after unpacking, we headed out for lunch as one of our usual joints before returning for some grocery shopping. I then got the car washed and later, we walked the little one at the oval.

The days are longer now and it made so much difference. Maybe the getaway also recharged my batteries but I felt somewhat refreshed. Thanks to Dan Andrews and the PM, the 4-day long weekend has been really good. It was a much needed break for me and I am truly grateful.


2 weddings and a (royal) funeral

Kiddo and Micaiah came down to Melbourne on Friday night. We picked them up from the airport and we spent Saturday together, with a lunch at a nursery cafe at Warrandyte. It was a lovely spot, albeit with some very ordinary weather. I got treated to an early birthday meal – Kiddo and Mic bought the food and Tress got the coffees and some cakes.

We also had dinner at a local Chinese place just down the street, but then had to retire early as Kiddo had to be at the Chews’ residence from 5.30am the next morning. Samantha, Jason and Mel’s “little” girl, was going to be married on Sunday, 18 Sept.

I woke up early on Sunday just as Kiddo did, and I dropped her off at the Chews’ as planned. The house looked busy even at that hour and I as reversed out of their driveway, others were also making their way there. I got home, tried to get back to sleep and later that morning we dropped the little fellow at Heather’s and then pottered around the house before getting ready for the wedding, which was to be have a 12.30pm start. Tress, Mic and I made our way there soon after 11.30pm, and the weather threatened all day, with dark clouds hovering over us, heavy rain expected.

The wedding went well, although I said to Tress that Mel looked tired and stressed. During the wedding, we heard heavy rains on the roof and the rains continued into the night. We had planned to drop Mic at the Langham in the city, where the reception was going to be held, and where many will stay for the night. Kiddo and Mic had also booked to stay a night. The Hippos kindly offered to give Mic a lift as they too were heading into the city. So Tress and I drove home, changed out of our wedding attire and then went to get coffee at the local food court. We had a couple of hours to chill out before heading into the city for the reception so that was really nice, as I had started to feel how long the day was going to be.

The reception was a formal/black tie affair so guests (most anyway) were decked out really well. Brendon, the groom, is a Vietnamese Chinese guy and I don’t know Vietnamese culture too well so I assumed the full-on lion dance in the guts of the Langham must have been a Chinese influence. It was spectacular and made the occasion rather special.

We got back late, and I decided I wasn’t well enough for work so I took the day off today. We’ll give Kiddo and Mic a ride to the airport later this evening. What a month it has been – 2 weddings and later tonight, a (royal) funeral. Queen Elizabeth II died some 10 days ago and her funeral will be on tonight, going into tomorrow morning. We’ll watch the proceedings on tv, at least the early bits. The occasion would be too historic to miss entirely.

Ray’s Wedding, and tax season again…

Tress and I took Friday arvo off, and headed to the Yarra Valley. Ray, Auntie Hooi and Uncle Marloney’s eldest, was getting married to Lesley. We dropped the little padawan at Heather’s, and then got home, got dressed and drove towards the wine country for the occasion.

The wedding was a simple but beautiful event. Lesley was fashionably late, arriving some 40 minutes after the scheduled time of 3.30pm. She looked really happy, as did Ray.

The reception that followed, at the same location (Rochford Wine vineyard), was also very lovely. The Ng family was raucous, but good naturedly so, and was certainly the loudest group of the night. Many of them would stay the night in Yarra Valley but Tress and I drove home. We got home a bit after 11pm, and after checking to ensure LBJ, who had been alone at home, was ok, we went to bed.

The next day was wet so we didn’t go out. We were going to keep an appointment with our tax agents to prepare and submit our tax returns so it wasn’t going to be fun morning anyway. I was again aghast at the amount of tax we were paying – Australia is almost certainly one of the highest taxed country on earth. Kerry Packer’s comment that anyone who paid more tax than he has to should have his head examined, never rang truer. I recall a leader of our local church once said she didn’t mind paying more tax if that meant more people could access support and aid. I would certainly rather we paid less tax and use the saving to directly contribute to more charities.

With the tax meeting over, we picked up the Padawan, spoiled him a bit, and then headed out for lunch and some grocery shopping. I had also wanted to see if I could pick up a new suit for another wedding that is coming up next weekend. Jason and Mel’s Sammi will be getting married next Sunday and theirs was going to be a formal black tie thing. I thing I can get away with using one of my existing suits but thought I’d check out the more formal stuff. Buying suits is such a pain so after browsing around in a couple of outlets (Peter Jackson and David Jones), I gave up.

We got home, I did some vacuuming, then walked the dogs. At the oval, an acquaintance became visibly upset and complained to me that other at the oval often mistreated her and said mean things about her. She was bawling her eyes out and was practically yelling at me when I told her I didn’t think others were saying anything bad about her. She said she was suicidal and that disturbed me greatly. I rang the “R U Ok” line to check out what I should do but then others at the oval told me she has been seeing someone to get therapy so I left it at that.

We got home and I cooked some fish and veg on the Weber GA. After dinner, Tress and I settled down to watch the footy and I prepped the next day’s cook for our lunches this week.

At St Alf’s the talks on Genesis 1 & 2 continued and we chatted with a Melbourne fan and commiserated with her. The demons were knocked out in “straight sets” (2 consecutive matches) so were out of the finals. Collingwood prevailed against Freo so will play Sydney at the prelim final next week, at the SCG. Brisbane, who beat the demons, would play the cats at the G. Winners of both matches will square up for the big dance on Saturday week. Tress and I have planned to go away that long weekend so we’re kind of really looking forward to that.