Dayna's Blog

Holidays, walks and who knows what


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Thank you for riding with me

If you rode a bicycle today, then I wish to Thank You for riding with me.

It gets busy on #Canning Street - #Melbourne #bikepath #ridetowork #cycling #bicycling #commuting #lovemyride

Whether it was because a bicycle is your only mode of transport, or because you made a conscious decision to ride, or it just worked out that way, or for one of any number of reasons – your decision to cycle matters. Or, more precisely, your choice to not use a motorised vehicle (if that was an option for you) is what really matters.

When you’re ‘known’ to commute by bicycle, it’s not long before someone will feel impelled to tell you that your efforts in ‘saving the planet’ are worthless (whether or not that’s the main reason behind your decision to ride in the first place). “What difference will one person riding a bike make? It’s not going to change anything in our lifetimes anyway,” they’ll say.

Well, they’re wrong.

Consider this: one bee produces only 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey over its lifetime (or to say it a different way, 12 worker bees will make 1 teaspoon of honey before they die). Yet there are jars and jars and jars of honey on the shelves in the supermarket.

Why? Because there are billions of bees across millions of hives working to produce that honey.

Although each individual bees’ contribution is so very small, would anyone suggest that a bee is worthless?!

bee-at-work-image-from-pixabay

In the same way that bees achieve more as a hive, so too does your choice of transport really matter. Because it’s not just about you. It’s about us, collectively.

You may only be contributing the equivalent of 1/12 tsp of honey to the global rescue jar, but when our ‘hive’ (i.e. the world) faces a major and increasing threat to life as we know it, everyone needs to chip in.

So… Thank You if you rode your bicycle with me today. And Thank You in advance if you’ll ride with me again tomorrow.

#Brompton on #PrincesBridge #Melbourne #ridetowork #commuting #cityscape #myBrompton #gamebag

: )

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Brompton World Championship Final – London, 2016

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Hello,
You may have noticed that I have not been very active on this site for a while. It’s not that I’ve given up blogging; I’ve just found I can’t manage to keep up with posting blogs on more than one site! I would really love to post more here, but I am not holding my breath for that happening – and neither should you.
Brompton folding bicycles have become a very large part of my life over the last year and a half. If you are interested in what they are, and what I am now getting up to, please read the following post I have shared from Melbourne Brompton Club – this group is where the majority of my time and interest is now devoted.
Happy reading, writing, riding, walking, and travels everyone!
: )
Dayna

MELBOURNE BROMPTON CLUB

“We’re going all the way to London, for less than an hour.”

“Yep.”

Two Bromptons are still smaller than a regular bicycle! See you at the other end! Two Bromptons are still smaller than a regular bicycle! See you at the other end!

It was true; the whole reason for our holiday to London – halfway around the world – was for a bicycle race that would be done and dusted in under an hour. Well under an hour, as it turned out. But as I’ve previously blogged, having won the chance to race in the 2016 Brompton World Championship Final – right outside the front of Buckingham Palace! – I wasn’t going to miss out!

I'd be racing down here in just over a week. (No, Stephen's not trying to hail a taxi) I’d be racing down here, straight at Buckingham Palace, the following Saturday. (No, Stephen’s not trying to hail a taxi)

Given the effort required to get there we decided to make it into a proper holiday. Arriving about a week before the race, we had time to get over jet…

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This gallery contains 13 photos


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Open Day on ‘THE NEW’ Spirit of Tasmania

“The idea was to create something like a top-notch hotel feel,” quotes The Mercury of Richard Nilsson, the Swedish designer behind the new look of the twin Spirit of Tasmania ferries which travel between Port Melbourne (Victoria) and Devonport (Tasmania).

I won’t bore you with how many return trips we’ve taken aboard one or other of the ferries (strangely, it’s been more often number II), but since the refurbishments were completed in August we have been keen to see for ourselves what has changed. (If you haven’t been before, or if it’s been a while, check out my photos of before the refurbishments here.)

Having received permission to come aboard (you had to apply in the week or two before the Open Day) we decided to catch a tram (well, two trams) across town to Port Melbourne. The route 109 tram stops about 100m from Station Pier. Given we live pretty close to a tram stop, and the high likelihood of experiencing lots of bother trying to find a park had we taken the car, tramming it was definitely the way to go.

Cool! Stilt walkers, balloons, and mini SoT's! Getting excited now!

Cool! Stilt walkers, balloons, and mini SoT’s! Getting excited now!

There weren’t queues, but enough people were wandering in the right direction so it was unlikely anyone was going to get lost – even if there hadn’t been plenty of red-shirted, boat-hatted people greeting people and making sure we didn’t get lost.

Up in the check-in lounge there were a dozen or so Tasmanian tourist stands, to whet the appetite of prospective travellers.

There were about a dozen information stalls to help you plan your next holiday

There were about a dozen information stalls to help you plan your next holiday

A bit of Tassie for everyone in the Check-in Lounge

A bit of Tassie for everyone in the Check-in Lounge

Passing by all the photos in the hall I started to feel the usual excitement I get when we board the big red boat. Pity we weren’t sailing off to Tassie today!

Lots of fabulous photos - many places we've been, some still to discover

Lots of fabulous photos – many places we’ve been, some still to discover

I guess 'The Revamped' would have been a bit long...

I guess ‘The Revamped’ would have been a bit long…

Ooooh! How exciting! Everything is about to be revealed!

Boarding!

Boarding!

Hmmm, this bit feels like Crown Casino… (I haven’t boarded this way before so I don’t know if this has changed or not.)

Oooh, I almost feel like I'm in Crown Casino!

Oooh, I almost feel like I’m in Crown Casino!

First change – no tourism shop. Now there’s a Tourism Hub. There is a desk to the left where (hopefully) a staff member will be there to answer any questions passengers have.

Walking up the port (left) side of the ship there is now a BYO Library (officially named the Reading Room) where there used to be The Leatherwood Restaurant. Clearly this area is for quiet activities – if you want to make noise, there is plenty of space on upper decks.

Leatherwood Restaurant has become a BYO library

Leatherwood Restaurant has become a BYO library

The light shade in the 'library' was very nice - scrolls of huon pine - Deck 7

The light shade in the ‘library’ was very nice – scrolls of huon pine – Deck 7

Next to the library is the new reception area. I wouldn’t have chosen red, and continuing red along the corridor seemed a little over the top, but hey – that’s just my opinion, and it’s just a small area of Deck 7.

Not sure if it feels more like a school corridor or fire department, but it is very red around this small section of Deck 7 now

Not sure if it feels more like a school corridor or fire department, but it is very red around this small section of Deck 7 now

Turning the corner was the next surprise – the new shop! The Pantry will almost certainly meet your (or the kids’) sugar/salt/caffeine requirements, but the most notable difference is the lack of souveniers now. (I hope you stocked up on your last trip as we did!)

The Pantry replaces Tasmania Onboard (shop)

Tasmania Onboard has become The Pantry

The Pantry has also kicked out the pokies! And I can’t say I’m sorry to see them go. It was the only inclusion I really disliked about the previous layout of the ships.

Ahead was more lounge area, with a touch of blue, and lovely Tasmanian scenery instead of TV screens.

The old reception area is now also lounge, as is where the shop (Tasmania Onboard) used to be.

Reception used to be straight ahead, and the shop to the right

Reception used to be straight ahead, and the shop to the right

I’m not certain if anything has changed in the cinemas, but this is how they are now. Red on the left, and blue on the right. (I don’t think you have to read too much into that.)

Onto the cabins.

Not much has changed. ‘Soft furnishings’ simply means the blinds, possibly the upholstery on the chairs, and I’m fairly sure the carpet in the rooms has been replaced. The bunks and bathrooms appear to be the same as usual. The Deluxe suites feel noticeably smaller, but they’re still a lot roomier than any of the other cabins. (Note: the 4 bed porthole cabin photo was from Deck 8)

A brief spell outdoors (still on Deck 7)…

…past the place we used to hang out, read a paper and have a drink whilst waiting until it was time for dinner – the lavender of Bridestowe has been replaced by the Aurora Australis…

…before finally getting a look at the new dining area. Goodbye Captains Table. Hello TMK (The Market Kitchen)! No more table service and white table cloths, I’m afraid. Now we’re all taking a tray and loading our own plates, I think. The menu looks familiar, but I wonder how long it’ll last. As for the condiments rack? Hmmm, classy.

Well, that’s Deck 7 covered. Sleeping, eating, and a bit of lounging.

Unless you’re sleeping on Deck 8, there won’t be much there to see for you – unless you’re here on an open day! So, check it out!

The Recliners have all been replaced. I had a brief sit in one. It felt pretty good, but I’m not in a hurry to give up booking a cabin in favour of the ‘cheap seats’ – especially as I like having a shower at least once every 24 hours. But if you’re not so fussy, and if you’re not taking a whole pile of luggage with you (or planning to bring a lot of souvenirs back), then these might be the best option for you.

The Recliners on Deck 8 have all been replaced so they should be better than ever

The Recliners on Deck 8 have all been replaced so they should be better than ever

Native Tasmanian woods are much admired. It was nice to see them used onboard

Native Tasmanian woods are much admired. It was nice to see them used onboard

Moving up to Deck 9 now – brace yourselves!

Rear of Deck 9 is where things started to get realy funky

Rear of Deck 9 is where things started to get realy funky

Well, they said it would be different. It’s all to encourage more day sailing passengers.

Deck 9 always felt more weather tight than Deck 10, so having lounge areas here wasn’t too surprising. But would there be more of the same upstairs?

Well, no. It was More.

I’m sure they’ve thought about things sliding around in heavy seas. Of course they have. Because not every sail is a pleasant day like this one was.

Now how do you get everyone up on Deck 10 to come down again? Send up the band!

They were very good, and I’ll wager that most of the people upstairs followed them to see where they went, not knowing that we were being surreptitiously being escorted out.

Playing and walking down the stairs was quite a trick. I’m not sure where the trio exited, but we had to walk down to Deck G3; this is usually a cargo/freight deck. Cars are usually parked on Decks 5 & 6, sometimes Deck 4 if it’s really busy.

And that was it! We disembarked at ground level and were treated to a fantastic sight of the Spirit of Tasmania – you may recognise it from their ads. I find it fascinating the way the sides at the front also come away from the ship.

Disembarked

Disembarked

So, overall impression?

Bass Strait is not the Mediterranean; the weather ranges from windy to blowing a gale, so the ‘bringing the outdoors in’  idea with the use of the fake grass and garden furniture struck a chord that didn’t resonate true with my memories of previous crossings.

I didn’t test the furniture to see if it was bolted to the floor, but there is a lot on Deck 9 & 10 that looked like it wasn’t secured. If bad weather is forecasted, there may be a lot for the staff to put away for passenger’s safety. It’ll be interesting to see how long this lasts.

Ditto with the bars on those levels. I was advised that the Bars on Decks 9 & 10 would be open for day sailings (as you’d expect) and winter sailings (for at least a few hours. Something to watch with interest. I certainly hope that Deck 10 is a little more air-tight now, as it used to get a bit chilly up there during winter.

We are both very sorry that The Leatherwood restaurant has been scrapped. Having only one sitting a night did not improve profitability, but the demand was certainly there to do two sittings – even in winter. Now, instead of racing to get a restaurant reservation, I wonder if we’ll be hurrying to get a small table for dinner – despite the expanded dining area.

It’ll be interesting to compare our next voyage to our previous experiences.

You can check out the official time lapse videos and information about the refurbishments on the Spirit of Tasmania website.

🙂


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Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Series 3 Costume Exhibition at Rippon Lea Estate

It’s the post (some of) you have been waiting for! (Please don’t get freaked out by the word count; it’s largely from the photo captions.)

This one’s for all the people who like looking at my photos from my previous Miss Fisher’s costume exhibition post. (And for any lady looking for gorgeous, fashionable, and sassy costume ideas for a 1920’s party and who doesn’t just want to go as a flapper.)

For the rest of my patient followers, I’m sorry if this one bores you to tears. I hope you’re Miss Fisher fans, too?

I bought our tickets prior to the exhibition opening in May, and have only just gotten around to going! Shame on me. Luckily it turned out to be a lovely day to visit. The driveway up to the Rippon Lea mansion was bursting with colour and looked more attractive than ever!

I love the driveway at Rippon Lea Estate

I love the driveway at Rippon Lea Estate

Good thing we had prepaid tickets – even though there wasn’t (at this point) a queue out the door, the staff were telling other visitor arriving behind us that they had to wait before being admitted if they hadn’t purchased their tickets online. But there was a cafe set up in the old stables around the corner, so I guess waiting there was nicer than standing around out the front.

The ticket booth was out the front of the mansion this year, if you hadn't prepaid

The ticket booth was out the front of the mansion this year, if you hadn’t prepaid

After we heard the usual “Don’t touch the costumes. No flash photography.” speech, we were let loose to wander and sigh over Marion Boyce’s creations to our hearts content. And there was a lot of ooh-ing and aah-ing going on.

I started in the conservatory, where the tennis outfits from Episode 7 “Game, Set & Murder” were displayed.

Phryne's tennis outfits

Phryne’s tennis outfits

Your blogger, hard at work in the conservatory, trying to photograph every detail - photo by @s_powell

Your blogger, hard at work in the conservatory, trying to photograph every detail – photo by @s_powell

Phryne’s Tennis Coat & Tennis Outfit, Episode 7 “Game, Set & Murder”

Detective Inspector Jack Robinson’s Tennis Outfit, also from Episode 7 “Game, Set & Murder”

The American tennis player, Angela’s, St Tropez inspired outfit from Episode 7 “Game, Set & Murder”

Angela’s Tennis Soiree Dress from Episode 7 “Game, Set & Murder”

Blue Sequin Teal Sheer Dress, worn by ‘Pearl’ (aka the victim) in episode 1 “Death Defying Feats”

Dr Elizabeth MacMillan’s Tuxedo, worn in Episode 8 “Death do us Part”

Phryne’s “Smokey” Dress worn in Episode 4 “Blood and Money”

Phryne’s dress “The Italian” worn in Episode 3 “Murder & Mozzarella”

Phryne’s Liquid Flame Dress from Episode 7, “Game, Set & Murder”

Pharynx’s Gold Beaded Dress worn in Episode 8 “Death do us Part”

Aunt Prudence’s Grand Hotel Dress, worn in Episode 6 “Death at the Grand”

Cec ‘n’ Bert and spoils of war (i.e. props)

Bert’s Outfit

Cec’s Outfit

Jack’s Suit

Phryne’s Detective Outfit

There were Dot, Phryne and Aunt P’s costumes in the next room, which was set up to look like Phryne’s living room…

Dot’s Peach Theatre Dress, worn in Episode 1 “Death Defying Feats”

Phryne’s Italian Blouse, worn in Episode 3 “Murder & Mozzarella”

Phryne’s Pebble Coat, worn in Episode 6 “Death at the Grand”

Phryne’s Coral Dream Coat, worn in Episode 2 “Murder & the Maiden”

Phryne’s Maroon Spot Fill Coat, worn in Episode 5 “Death & Hysteria”

Phyrne’s Chinoise Coat, worn in Episode 2 “Murder & the Maiden”

Aunt Prudence’s Floral Dress, worn in Episode 5 “Death & Hysteria”

The next room was devoted to Phryne’s costumes worn in Episode 1 “Death Defying Feats”

Phryne’s Imperial Blue Embroidered Kimono, worn in Episode 1 “Death Defying Feats”

Phryne’s Mermaid Coat, worn in Episode 1 “Death Defying Feats”

Phryne’s Mermaid Costume, worn in Episode 1 “Death Defying Feats”

Phryne’s Black and Gold Lace Dress, worn in Episode 1 “Death Defying Feats”

Phryne’s Lace Tabard, worn in Episode 1 “Death Defying Feats”

Leaving Episode 1 and moving upstairs…

Phryne’s Twilight Ruffle Dress (one of my favourite ensembles!), worn in Episode 5, “Death & Hysteria”

Phryne’s Antique Olive Dinner Frock, worn in Episode 6 “Death at the Grand”

It wasn’t just room after room of costumes… In one of the back corner rooms upstairs, visitors were invited to draw their own costume designs for Phryne…

A chance to design your own costume for Miss Phryne Fisher

A chance to design your own costume for Miss Phryne Fisher

…and in the next room we discovered a mock-up of the sewing/designing workroom, and some of the stories behind what goes into making these fabulous creations.

Phryne’s Chinoise Coat, worn in Episode 1 “Death Defying Feats”

Pharynx’s House Coat, worn in Episode 7 “Game, Set & Murder”

Phryne’s Mint Tabard Dress, worn in Episode 1 “Death Defying Feats”

Phryne’s Lace Bolero (Not yet worn in series!)

Phryne's Lace Bolero - Turquoise silk needle lace with vintage silk ribbon (not worn yet)

Phryne’s Lace Bolero – Turquoise silk needle lace with vintage silk ribbon (not worn yet)

Phryne’s Funeral Coat, worn in Episode 3 “Murder & Mozzarella”

Phryne’s Morning “Muppet” Set, worn in Episode 7 “Game, Set & Murder” and dressing table

Phryne’s Silk Kimono, worn in Episode 7, “Game, Set & Murder” and bathroom items

Medicinal supplies from the 1920’s, on display in the hallway

Medicinal supplies of the 1920's - #MFMM Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries Series 3 Costume Exhibition

Phryne’s Day Ensemble, worn in Episode 8 “Death do us Part”

Constable Hugh Collins Police Uniform, courtesy of the Victorian Police Museum

And there, in the final room for the day, was a display of a selection of Phryne’s accessories, from the private collection of Marion Boyce.

Items in the first display case:

Items in the second display case:

Somewhat mind-blowing to think this was just a selection of Phryne’s accessories. Imagine how much more there is!

If you are a fan of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (#MFMM) and have a chance to see the costume exhibition – hopefully they take it on tour, like last time – I think it’s well worth it, and our tickets were not expensive at $20 each. If it doesn’t tour to your part of the world, I hope my post has brought you some satisfaction.

If you haven’t seen my other posts on the previous MFMM costume exhibition or Rippon Lea Estate, why not take a moment to check them out now? I’ve also posted about the (rather smaller) Doctor Blake costume exhibition that was on display in Ballarat last June (2014).

: )


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Crunching the trails at Lake Mountain, Victoria – 2 August, 2015

Playing in the snow is fun; spending time waiting in queues is not.

How are the two related? If you live in Melbourne (as we do) and wish to visit the snow, this usually involves entering an alpine resort. The alpine area closest to Melbourne is Lake Mountain (named after Surveyor-General George Lake; there isn’t a lake there) in the Yarra Ranges, just outside of Marysville. But a visit to any alpine resort will generally mean queueing to:

– hire snow gear (chains, skis, poles, sleds, snowshoes, clothing, etc)
– enter the park/resort and pay entrance fees
– put chains on and, later when you’re exiting, take them off again
– be directed where to park
– resort facilities
– ski/toboggan runs

In the queue to enter Lake Mountain Resort

In the queue to enter Lake Mountain Resort

So it’s no wonder we are looking for ways to reduce the number of queues we need to join on our snow day. The answer was to buy all our own gear.

For us this didn’t mean shelling out a fortune because we’re not planning to go skiing. Having grown up in Queensland I have no skills in that area, and while Stephen’s background was almost the complete opposite, we’ve decided that snowshoeing is an activity that we can both enjoy in the snow with minimal practice. After having now shelled out only a small fortune for chains (for the car), snowshoes and poles, we’re set and ready to go. We didn’t have to buy a lot of extra specialised clothing since most of our hiking gear is adaptable to snowshoeing.

This was our first walk with our own snowshoes and poles. We’ve just bought MSR Revo Explore Snowshoes from Bogong in Melbourne’s CBD. We were very lucky to snag the last two pairs they had this season! While MSR aren’t the cheapest brand, and Revo aren’t the cheapest option in their range, I wasn’t settling for anything less. (See my previous post Snowshoeing at Mt Baw Baw for a comparison of snowshoes that we’re hired at various resorts in Victoria.)

Now fully equipped, we planned to go snowshoeing the very next day – a Sunday. We did our best to get our the door early. There are always more tourists of a Sunday, so we didn’t want to be at the end of the line. On the other hand, because the Mini is so neat and zippy we’ll always catch up to a convoy of cars eventually. Eh!

The least enjoyable part of a snow day is getting out of the car once you’ve arrived, and getting kitted up to walk. The cold is biting! And it’s doubly – triply! – cold if it’s windy, but we don’t wear our boots in the car – or all of our layers – so by the time we’re finally ready to lock the car and head I’m generally shivering (or nearly) despite wearing all my layers.

The sounds around the carpark remind me of a crèche or kindergarten. Lots of young children, most of whom are excited and impatient to get going, some of whom are content to play with the first snow they see, and then there are those who have changed their minds and don’t want to get out of the car. Voices – excited, petulant, upset, coaxing, calm, or quickly getting frustrated – hang in the air on every side. For someone unused to children, it provides extra impetus to get going quickly.

Up at the main buildings it’s like the shopping mall at lunch time during school holidays – people everywhere. Here is where we stop to strap on our own snowshoes instead of heading over to the building on the right to queue up to hire snowshoes and poles. Leaving the tobogganists and snowman-makers and snowball-fighters and other wanderers to their own devices we headed up main trail out of the village with a big sigh of relief!

Ski fields are very colourful places - just remember to mind your step!

Ski fields are very colourful places – just remember to mind your step!

Setting off at last

Setting off at last

Lake Mountain is popular because it’s close to Melbourne, and because it’s pretty family friendly. There are toboggan runs to keep kids amused for hours. If, like us, you’re looking to enjoy nature with half of Melbourne in your pocket, you can do that too. Once on the trail we quickly left the noise of the resort behind, and then the novice cross-country skiers. It was nice to go off (groomed) track when we found the snowshoe trail and walk on fresh, soft snow instead of compact trails.

Pretty good use for old skis - Snowshoe trail marker at Lake Mountain Resort

Pretty good use for old skis – Snowshoe trail marker at Lake Mountain Resort

This style of snowshoe makes for easy walking - MSR Revo Explore

This style of snowshoe makes for easy walking – MSR Revo Explore

Walking on fresh, uncompacted snow is not only more pleasant but sooo much quieter! All snowshoes create noise on ice when the mental teeth crunch through the icy crust or compact snow on the trail. Being made of a hard plastic, ours also flap noisily when walking on compact surfaces – on soft surfaces it’s almost more of a shuffle.

Stand aside, they're grooming the trail

Stand aside, they’re grooming the trail

'Cordoroy' - easier to walk on, but much noisier and less fun

‘Cordoroy’ – easier to walk on, but much noisier and less fun

From Snow Gauge (trail junction) we chose Echo Flat Trail to continue up to Helicopter Flat. Despite some cold fronts coming through recently, the amount of snow did seem to be a bit low this weekend. Lake Mountain is only 800m above sea level, so as long as there’s something on the trails I guess we should be thankful.

Lake Mountain Trail Map

Lake Mountain Trail Map

Arriving at Helicopter Flat we were surprised at the number of people gathered – and the tent that was set up (sorry about the dud photo – didn’t notice until I got home). Turns out there was a cross-country race on that we’d stumbled into the middle of.

We waited for a break in the skiers – I think we’d come in towards the end anyway – and continued on along Echo Flat Trail to The Camp (junction).