Strewth this Sheila’s fair dinkum!

For those of you who have no clue about the title, it translates as “Oh my, what a surprise, this lady’s honest”. Time has flown by since my last post, it’ll be Christmas before I know it. I believe that most of August and September has been spent integrating into Melbourne culture and adopting their customs but that doesn’t mean it comes easily. Here’s a few things that didn’t go so well with me and some further below that really did:

1) 50p: Australia why is your 50 pence coin so huge, you’ve got the same shape as the Brit one but why did you have to go super size it and make my hand look even smaller in comparison! It’s so chunky that you don’t need a knuckle duster next time you’re in trouble, put one of these between your fingers. (Disclaimer: I do not promote violence in any way or form)

2) Myki cards: These are Melbourne’s version of the Oyster cards used in London except there’s one massive glitch, the Myki card takes longer to scan at a terminal than an X-ray! I have lost precious minutes of my life waiting for it to let me pass, let alone getting hand cramp having to stick it to the screen the whole time that I need to top up, pay and collect my receipt. Come on guys, I don’t expect retinal scanning or fingerprint recognition, I am embracing the Myki but the world is my Oyster…card 😉

3) Babychino: So this is more of a misconception, are these chinos for babies? No, they’re cups of frothy posh milk for the lil ones, so much so that they’re on the kids’ menus (= snack menus), they start them young here!

4) Coffee: From Babychino to Adultchino or Coffee as they call it here.  Melbourne has some of the best coffee houses in the world, so much so that they fiercely resisted the spread of the corporate coffee germ Starbucks which only has a handful of branches here. This is great but one small problem, I don’t drink coffee, yes I know, what a shocker, it’s because I will be bouncing off the walls if I drink even half a cup. And also because I used to drink Starbucks’ white chocolate mochas with caramel syrup and if I order that here, they will spit on me. I have now resigned myself to appreciate coffee  simply by sniffing it.

5) Trams: And here’s me thinking this was only unique to Croydon in the Sauff of London, they are in fact a beloved treasure of Melbourne. I have been on a tram twice since coming to Melb, once to St Kilda beach and the other on the “colonial tram car” experience. Think of the Orient express train but a tram version for tourists with some yummy food and unlimited amount of alcohol, no you don’t get it with your Myki card! Both tram rides have been pleasant but you can guess which one I enjoyed more.

6) Footie: Now by footie I don’t mean soccer as they call it here, boo, hiss, soccer is not a real word, I’m talking about AFL footie! This is a vicious, fast paced but fun game combining proper football and rugby to create some crazy Australian sport. The players are as muscly as rugger buggers but have legs like football players and the height of basketball players. Imagine that! To prove that I’m all about integrating into the local community, I pledged my allegiance to the Richmond Tigers Footie team (no link to Tamil Tigers), got myself a beanie, guernsey and scarf and signed up for membership for 2014. The Tigers came very close this year so I’m sticking with them and Trent Cotchin, the Tigers’ poster boy and my new David Beckham, sorry David, I couldn’t handle the long distance anymore. The AFL grand final was last Saturday and the whole state tuned in to watch the Hawthorn “Hawks” win. Footie also has WAGs, I’ll leave it at that.

7) Wine: Massive perk about being in Melbourne is that they make and love their wine! We had some lovely friends over from London so we thought what better to do than go on a Yarra Valley Wine Tour and it was winetastic (cheesy I know but it goes well with wine ;-)) As long as you don’t get so drunk that you accidentally drink from the spit bucket, then you’re fine to learn about some posh tips about wine and champers like storing wine away from the cooker, stove, using a vinaerator which I am now a proud owner of.  Fun fact, did you know that there’s a person called a Riddler who’s job is to turn champagne bottles all day to evenly distribute the yeast and get the fizz, you need to complete a 3 year apprenticeship to even do it! We also stocked up on various wines as if the world was going to end or something!

8) Fitness: From wine to fitness, how appropriate…Melbourne is obsessed with fitness. People here run at lunchtimes, last time I checked lunchtime was time for lunch! No no, not here it isn’t, everyone goes for a walk, runs or does some form of exercise. This has rubbed off on me as I am currently doing pilates (posh stretches) on a Monday and Boot camp on Thursday and some swimming in between. Hell yeah that’s right baby, bring on the marathon, or maybe not.
9) Great Ocean drive: We had a chance with our lovely friends from London to go on the Great Ocean drive which basically means you drive along the coast and over some dodgy cliffs, oops I meant close to, and check out some awesome views. I can’t recommend this enough but not when you’ve been to a wine tour the day before and are prone to car sickness especially round some crazy bends. I just about survived and we didn’t get as far as the Twelve apostles (some impressive rocks from what I have heard) but if you ever visit, give yourself enough time to do the whole drive. We did however try Lamingtons, no they’re not masurpials, they’re just bleeding yummy Aussie cakes 🙂
10) Mornington Peninsula: Another beautiful area by the coast, we visited Sorrento (no not the one in Spain but close) and it was just blissful. Last weekend we visited Mornington itself and went out for a few drinks with cousins. Let’s just say that Morning folk can give the Essex lads and gals a run for their money and no I didn’t feel at home but it was a good laugh, shame I didn’t dress skimpy enough to fit in more, next time. 😉
That’s me folks, in between we did go to some fancy places like Nobu, yes they have Nobu here and I’m glad to say that at least it wasn’t as pretentious as Nobu in Mayfair, London. We didn’t get as ripped off either, well, maybe a little bit but it was a special occasion so who cares if we had too many cocktails?! Here’s some pics to get you salivating of that and some other things…remember people keep sharing the laav!
photo 12 photo 11 photo 10 photo 9photo 4photo 1photo 2photo 3All Nobu delicacies.
photo 8Champers at Domain Chandon where we learnt that Moët should actually be pronounced Moette because the guy’s Dutch whereas his partner Chandon was French. Note there is no champagne in this glass, it disappeared somehow.
photo 7 photo 6 These are some wine boffs talking about posh drinking where we also tried Sparkling Shiraz for the first time. Who knew you can have red wine as bubbly? Learn something new everyday…
photo 5 These my friends are baked eggs, yes they’re baked in the oven with some exotic tomato sauce, spices, dukkah, herbs and onions. This is exclusive to Melbourne as they’re the Kings and Queens of Brunches.
    photo 13 This last pic is a homemade white chocolate cheesecake with strawberry and blueberry compote and an almond and gingersnap base courtesy of our lovely friend from London… needless to say we do miss them 😦