Thursday 4th September

it was quite a bright morning first thing but quite cool as we headed off to the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground)  to meet with Helen and George. The boys were going for a tour of the ground (it is vast and holds 100,000 spectators!) and the sports museum while Helen and I did a tour of the young Australian designers fashion shops.  We left them very excited in the safe hands of a volunteer called Malcolm, decked out in a vey posh striped jacket, who was to be their guide and we scampered off towards the Fitzroy area.

We had a real girly amble along the designer shops. Mostly the shops were filled with everything in all shades of black and grey. We got very excited when we found someone with some colour in their collection.  It was a rarity. There were some marvellous designs – all made for the woman of 7 ft 6ins and above!  We visited a wonderful jewellery designer – as Keith says, we save a fortune because my ears aren’t pierced!  The other shop that really impressed me was the hat shop. Inside was an extremely dapper chap, beautifully turned out wearing a splendid hat.  We chatted hats with him and found that they made some of the hats at the rear of the shop. Apparently you just can’t get tricorn hats any more?!  I can only guess there is not so much call for them as there are fewer pirates about……  Always good to know where to get them wen you want them though, isn’t it?

On from here we headed back towards the city where I was chuffed to realise I recognised a few places!  We stopped for Helen to have a coffee and later I paid a lovely Irish man to clean my boots. He made a wonderful job of them – I felt quite ashamed of their dusty state before!

By then it was time to meet up with the chaps again.  We had agreed to meet at Movida as we had enjoyed such a great meal there earlier in the week.  Again we had lovely food there.  Unfortunately H has a very bad cold and I don’t think she got the best out of it.  I think George enjoyed it though and we certainly did. We felt rather abashed that they paid, but it was lovely of them

It was then time to say goodbye to Helen.  We will see George again as he has kindly offered to take us to pick up the car on Friday which is a real boon.  Helen and George are determined to return to Europe, but sadly at this stage they cannot leave her elderly mother, so it could be a few years until we see them again.

As it was still fairly early in the afternoon, after a quick visit to the information centre to get a map for the next phase of our travels,  Keith and I decided to go to the Ian Potter gallery to see an exhibition of Indigenous Art and were pleased we did. It was excellent.  There have been no sightings of any aboriginal people Melbourne.

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The first picture is made of barbed wire and rusting bits of metal – and obviously a tribute to the aboriginal struggle  the second is a war mask –  a thing of beauty but no defence against the white man’s gun.

We we then set off for our last walk along the river to Richmond and it was home to get the dreaded bags and bags in order so that we can be as consolidated as possible for collection on the morrow.

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