Sanity Fifteen Minutes Away

I live in an apartment in Southbank, very close to South Melbourne. It has huge advantages –  I can walk to work, and pretty much stroll to any convenience under the sun. Our apartment is reasonable in size, on the twenty-third floor, and offers an incredible view of Southbank’s skyline, the "Gee" and Rod Laver Stadium, Albert Park, and a breathtaking view of the coastline – Port Melbourne, St Kilda, Brighton etc.

When you have a nasty flu, and a bout of angioedema, it is like being in a small birdcage, and a cooped-up four year old girl doesn’t help – no siree. So I can praise my wife for suggesting, despite our battle scars with health, that I struggle out and go to the beach at Port Melbourne. Great idea – and it was.

We were only there around two hours, but it made a world of a difference. It was sanity. Recuperative. And best of all, fifteen minutes drive down the road. Another advantage of where I live.

As it turned out, this was the first day since last summer, that a hot day magically appeared – admittedly a little too warm on the beach, but hey, for a four year old to paddle in the Bay’s water, fantastic. Now for those of you who don’t know Melbourne, because we are on a Bay the beaches are simply not like Sydney’s – no competition, and probably most of the coastline. Australia generally has vast numbers of perfect, fine, white sand and wonderful waves – not so the Bay. But, the little one didn’t care at all (water – that is all it has to be), and frankly, the return of Sanity was all I was focused on. Hallelujah!

Our beach shelter at Port Melbourne’s ‘beach’                         Erin having the time of her life

Erin enjoying a paddle in the Bay                                        Our shelter on the beach, dodging the dead jellyfish

A Welcome Time Out

Boy oh boy have I had a nasty 10 months, in terms of work, and I needed to recharge my batteries, even if it is only partially. Jen needed a break too (having to cope with me being crabby some of the time), and so a few weeks back we booked for two nights what appeared to be a nice cottage in Lorne, Victoria (on the Great Ocean Road – facing the prodigious and windswept Southern Ocean).

We left on Friday morning and came back Sunday afternoon – two nights and essentially two days, and despite the short nature of it, and pretty horrible weather, it was absolutely wonderful. Nothing refreshes me more than the smell of salty air, and the sounds of waves breaking on rocks and on the beaches. I will one day live on the coast, I swear it!

Erin loves water of any kind, and particularly beaches, so she was in her element – perhaps too much so! Our first visit to the beach was without any appropriate clothing as it was windy, rainy and cold, but yes, she insisted on paddling her feet in the shallows, and yes, she fell over backwards and got soaked and sandy! Fun nevertheless.

Lorne is a pretty nice place, but expensive – as it is close enough to Melbourne (2hrs) to have a steady stream of clientele (such as my family) and far enough away to ask for premium prices for everything. Having said this, they had great fish and chip shops, bakeries and restaurants, which really do go well with the type of break we wanted. By coincidence, Lorne was having what Bondi has been famous for – a large sculpture exhibition running along a long stretch of the beach front, as well as among the beach-facing shops. Fifty of them, and some were massive! Not all the artwork was stupendous, but there were enough that were pleasing to the eye or thought-provoking enough, to add value to our trip.

I promised myself that I wanted to spend more time with my family and do ‘family things’ than writing, and I kept it. In fact, I spent no more than about three hours writing, and I finished a particularly difficult chapter in my YA novel, so it was concentrated goodness. No regrets – my family is more important than anything in my life.

So here’s a few photos for your perusal. Hope you get a sense of our enjoyment in that narrow window of opportunity.

Erin on the beach, playing in the sand

One of the sculptures.

Another sculpture.