Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Four Seasons

In one day, that is. We had a full day in Melbourne yesterday, leaving on the 9:00 a.m. train from Upper Ferntree Gully, heading into the City centre for the Pompeii exhibit at the Melbourne Museum. The kids and I visited this Museum on day 2 of our time in Australia, experiencing 43 C heat and gale force winds. Made a date to return in "winter" for the Pompeii exhibit. It was so packed you could barely shuffle through the small space that housed quite a splendid set of objects from Pompeii, Italy.

I saw the actual site in 1983, when we visited Europe. Got there the day after Christmas, as I recall, a grey, still day, following some gorgeous sunny warmth in Rome for Christmas Eve. Christmas Day was foggy, and I remember having a wonderful coffee somewhere near St. Peter's Square, standing at a little restaurant bar. The day after took us to Pompeii. So the opportunity to see the wonders again was an opportunity to remember another time of my life. And it's so technologically enhanced -- a slide show of the area around Pompeii; a 3D movie illustrating the eruption of Vesuvius; another film discussing vulcanology, all in gorgeous Italian accents. Of course some of the iconic casts made of people and animals were also on display.

It's too bad the Museum is happy to make a big pile of money, selling many more tickets than the space can accommodate. I bought tix on line, hoping we wouldn't have to deal with line-ups, but all we avoided was the ticket buying line. Tom was off to a plaster casting workshop at 2 p.m., so he had to sidestep people and read over shoulders. The kids and I had time, but were mentally drained when we got out of there 3 hours later. Museum brain, I call it. We did wander around the dinosaur exhibit, but by then we needed to be outside. Ran and played in the wind (near gale force). It was warm and gorgeous outside, not at all like a winter day. Again, I am being lured by the possibility of spring.

Found Lygon Street after Tom's workshop ended, and sat outside (it's winter, remember!) at a restaurant enjoying Italian food. Took the train home, and had to take the bus after a certain point as they are still working on the tracks out to Belgrave. That took longer, but we were entertained by a very drunk group of teenagers celebrating someone's birthday. The bus driver was reasonably indulgent, asking them not to "crack" the slab (case) on the bus. I think he was disregarded, which is too bad, as he was thoughtful and waited for some of them to use the toilet before we left our stop. And true to form, one of the guys phoned his mate to get him to hurry up in the toilet.....

This morning there were trees down in the back yard. For the 3rd time this year. The wind was blasting all night; even the possums were relatively quiet. We went to the school for a working bee, Tom hauling loads of dirt up the path to the Grade 5/6 area to create a new garden area; Gabe, Kai, Nicole cleaned up old bricks and helped plant; I cut out more fabric in the library. The power had been out at night, and was out for 3 hours this morning. A "fry up" followed, by which time it was pouring rain in huge deluges. Trees were bending in the wind. We hear trees are down on 3 of the roads in the area, so one of the parents had a 45 minute drive to get to school (normally a 10 minute drive), trying 3 of the roads before she got there. Now the wind is settling down, and the rain has stopped. Power is back on (cross our fingers). Tom is napping. Kids are watching Twilight for that vampire experience. And the sun is now poking through the racing clouds. (The movie version of Twilight, by the way, is an improvement on the book (that doesn't often happen)... we have an enraptured audience, who now want to read the books.)

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