We hopped on a plane between Christmas and New Year for a quick trip to Melbourne to see the Melbourne Theatre Company production of The Importance of Being Earnest. The impetus behind this piece of extravagance was that Geoffrey Rush was playing the role of Lady Bracknell and that just seemed way too fabulous to miss.
And it was, most fabulous, and fun. My only regret was that I’d only got tickets for Adam and myself, I really should have got ones for the kids as well, especially as Caitlin has been doing Earnest with the Drama Ensemble at school.
We brought the kids with us on the trip, and dragged my dad along as well to do kid-wrangling while we were at the play, so it turned into a mini family holiday. We flew down in the morning of the 28th, checked into the hotel, walked to the cinemas where we left Dad and the kids, grabbed a quick lunch and hopped in a taxi to the play where we met up with Ariane, Crash, Toni and Andrew. By this time it was clear that my “bit of a cold” was in fact a “hideous horrible lurgi” and I was doomed to be enjoying the rest of the trip through a haze of headach-y, snotty, cough-ridden blerghness. I sucked cough lollies all the way through the play desperate not to be that person in the audience who ruined it for everyone. I succeeded in suppressing the cough, but at the cost of a very queasy tummy.
After the play we went back to our respective hotels for a bit of a rest before meeting up again for dinner, Dad and the kids having returned there some time earlier. It’s not all that restful with 6 people in one small room though (we weren’t all sharing for sleeping purposes, but Adam’s and my room defaulted to the general meeting place).
Dinner that night was at Nobu and it really was rather amazing, both Tom and David joined the adults in the degustation menu, which our waiter devised for us, and tried all sorts of things I would never have bothered offering them usually, Caitlin ate her own body weight in edamame, teriyaki chicken and rice, and we all ate and drank to the point of asploding, barely managing to tuck the last little bits of dessert away before staggering out the door at the end of the meal. Unfortunately the whole thing was incredibly slow, we sat down at 6:30pm and didn’t leave till after 10:30pm which meant we had very tired children the next day – not to mention the rest of us!
The next day began with breakfast at a cafe then a walk over the river and into the city for a spot of shopping. On the way we discovered the Giant Theremin.
In Minotaur Caitlin bumped into her music teacher – clearly the man has good taste in shopping destinations. We bought a nice swag of comics including a whole heap of Scott Pilgrim and the first volume of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman – Preludes and Nocturnes.
I had been exchanging texts with Ariane and Toni all morning and it became clear that we were not going to manage to coordinate with them until evening so we went in search of lunch and some not too taxing activity to fill the afternoon with.
Lunch was achieved on the banks of the Yarra, I had a rather delicious spaghetti with scampi, mussels, prawns, calamari and chili in a cream sauce and the not too taxing activity turned out to be a ferry ride down the river and back complete with commentary that varied between quite interesting and slightly scathing about the large sums of money involved in some of the scenery.
While on the boat I came across an announcement from Amanda Palmer that she and Neil Gaiman would be doing one of Amanda’s infamous ninja gigs (impromptu, short notice, free performance) at Melbourne City Library at 4:30pm. Neil would be doing some reading, she would be singing, and it was less than 10 minutes walk away from where we were staying. At first I thought I would just take Caitlin with me and leave the boys to their own devices, but in the end we all went leaving only my dad behind to rest, Ariane also joined us and we met up with Leish, Immy and Jules at the library. Both Neil and Amanda were brilliant and I was able to get my brand new Sandman book signed by Neil.
By now it was dinner time and time to meet up with Crash, Toni and Andrew again so off we went (Leish, Immy and Jules as well) to Little Bourke Street and the Peking Duck restaurant, where, it may astonish you to know, we had Peking Duck, lots of it. Once tummies were full I left the rest of the mob to it and took the kids back to the hotel – taxi this time, none of us being in a fit state to walk anywhere else. Twitter and Facebook tracked the others to the Gin Palace where they seemed to be having quite a lot of fun, but I was too exhausted and sick to care that I was missing out. I have been promised a next time, I intend to hold them to that!
Our last day saw us having a very rushed breakfast on the banks of the Yarra before piling back on to a ferry for a trip to Scienceworks, the science and technology museum, the kids had fun playing around with all the interactive exhibits and I was gratified to discover that I remembered all the flame test colours from my high school chemistry days during the Fire and Light show in the Lightning Room (Victoria University High Voltage Theatre).
From there we took a taxi to the Little Creatures Dining Hall, meeting up with Darren, Sue and Immy for a late and lingering lunch. Yet more food was eaten, beer and cider was drunk and good company enjoyed.
Then we came home.
PS Many thanks to the wonderful Hazel who house sat for us both for this trip and the one before Christmas, it was lovely knowing the menagerie was in good hands and so much easier than having to farm them all out to various boarding places!