Tag Archives: leisure

Cup Fever

I have just entered my first Melbourne Cup sweepstakes at work. Ten dollars on lucky number 7 and unlucky 13. Heartbreak City – rather appropriate in my case – and Who Shot the Barman. Also appropriate as I rarely drink. I think the barman might have shot himself in despair. Will I win? I’m told I’ll find out at noon.

This is not my first Melbourne Cup though. I am very aware of the fashions of the day, although you find me at work minus my fascinator. Then again, my computer screen would be hardly impressed if I turned up with a feathery concoction on my head. Like the one worn by my son’s carer at the day-care centre. He wasn’t impressed by the bird impression either.


That said, I must say that the Melbourne Cup headgear can be quite, well, fascinating. A co-worker walks past in a homemade giant panda-like newspaper hat. Her nod to the spirit of the morning. A colleague pops in, feather-headed, although she is really quite a sensible person (really, I’m sure she is), looking for a sweepstakes contribution. I’m still waiting for my shorts-clad male co-workers to don their top hats. Come on, guys.

As for the Cup itself? Seven years on, I still haven’t found the time to watch the races. I imagine its something out of My Fair Lady and Audrey Hepburn’s Eliza Doolittle cheering madly. I expect there will be bubbly flowing and much feting of the jockeys and trainers. A garland for the creature that does all the hard work and a good rub down later. As for me? I’ll still be here. Plotting the next post in my blog while plugging away at piles of marking.


The Op-Shop Around the Corner

That’s me – the blue Huggies box, slightly dented. Or, more accurately, that’s my contribution. Inside are old baby clothes, a few toys, unwanted gifts, a pair of velvet tights (no longer tight enough), and some scraps from a relationship best forgotten. All destined for the shelves of St. Martin’s Op Shop in Kensington.

Then there’s you. Perhaps you are the person who stops to admire the hand-painted kangaroo paw adorning the doorway. Or are you the person who glances at the display window – some quirky crockery, some fine pieces of bone china – as you trot past on your morning jog? The shop is open between 9am and 2pm, so you can always come back, takeaway coffee in hand, for a browse. Fossicking, my friend Alana calls it. She’d have a field day with bargain buys here. Yes, this shop demands a mixing of metaphors.

You could be like me – the contributor of the Huggies box. I come, toddler in hand, on a quest for for cheap toys and old books at the bookshop next door. The shopkeeper is a Phyllida Law look-alike, complete with bun atop her head. The day is cold, but her breezy welcome is warm. Some books are not quite so old and some are not quite so easy to find at Dymocks. It’s a real thrill to discover old Enid Blyton editions and the latest Philippa Gregory. Oh no, wait that came out of last month’s Huggies box. No wonder it looks so familiar!

Then again, you could be like my son – keenly appreciative of the ancient ceiling fan that sweeps its blades across the ceiling. Delighted to see an activity cube sitting next to the dolls house. Ecstatic on finding Maisy Mouse in the shelves. I believe we’ve made our choice for this week.

We’ll come again, of course, when the next box is full. It’s not so hard to find St. Martin’s – just off Canning Highway, just behind the church. Just the op-shop around the corner of Vista St and Brandon, offering a cheery welcome, some grandmotherly wisdom, and often a far better bargain than any Good Sammy’s or Salvo’s I’ve been to. Come and have a look. You may even find me there of a Saturday – toddler in hand and Huggies box tucked under my arm.


A Town Like Kambalda

There’s nothing sleepier than a mining town on a Sunday morning. Kambalda’s empty streets have less to do with full church pews and more to do, I suspect, with folks heading down to Esperance to test the beaches in preparation for summer. What could be a better time for a look around?

A former service station has become the final resting place for a few relics from the Silver Lake nickel mine. It’s a whole new world to me. Those giant wheels that remind me of wagons and Western movies are really a section of a headframe. The orange monster that belongs in a Transformers movie is really a jumbo formerly of the Western Mining Corporation.

Jumbo-sized: A relic from the Western Mining Corporation welcomes visitors to Kambalda, the nickel and gold mining town south of Kalgoorlie

Jumbo-sized: A relic from the Western Mining Corporation welcomes visitors to Kambalda, the nickel and gold mining town south of Kalgoorlie

I clamber on board the jumbo to strike up (to my mind, at least) an incredibly artistic and glamorous pose. My deplorably lanky legs dangle on the steps and I’m cringing at the sight of cobwebs. What can I say about the beer bottle that occupies pride of place by the driver’s seat? Words fail me.

Golden Wheels: The headframe from the Silver Lake shaft

Golden Wheels: The headframe from the Silver Lake shaft

A local artist ambles out to meet us. His name is John and the service station is to become the town’s art centre, he tells us. A town like Kambalda is a good place to bring up your kids. There’s windsurfing on the weekends and the nearby reserve is home to some of the regions oldest trees. Have we driven down the main street yet? Yes, there’s even a Woolworths and did we know that the town could be sitting on a very large nickel deposit. Had we driven up the Serpentine road yet and seen the view of Lake Lefroy?

Clearly, there was a lot more to be learnt about Kambalda. Is this the sort of town that inspires books such as Nevil Shute’s A Town Like Alice? However, the further mysteries of Kambalda we left for another day and turned onto the road towards Coolgardie. Another mining town and a story for another day.