Don’t worry, I will keep it short this time.
I went in search of a new fuel pump, pretty easy really, all the hiking shops are on the same street, the trouble is that wandering around such shops always hurts the wallet more than intended. I had a look around for a new shirt to cycle in. There is nothing wrong with my Anaconda shirt, other than the fact that I prefer to tour in a casual shirt, I don’t like the tight waist and sleeves of the cycling jerseys. The shirts I liked were all really expensive, and what I wanted was very particular, short sleeves, zip, no collar. I entered one shop having seen countless shirts at around $100 and told them my requirements, “Yes, we have those, what colour do you want”. Sure enough they had what I was after “One problem” I said, “I need it to be ridiculously cheap”, “We can do that” he replied and knocked 50% off the already cheap price, so at just $25 I couldn’t say no, so I had bought a shirt for the first time since I left home. I wandered around town before heading out to Burnley for an evening of bell ringing, typically I went over there without the name of the church or the address, still, I found it easily enough. Ringing was interesting, the bells were light and just above you head, so close in fact that the sallies went onto the wheel, very difficult to ring.
More odd jobs were in store for the following day, then come evening I rode over to see Mike , Will arrived soon after. Mike, being another cyclist did us proud, I hadn’t seen so much protein on one plate in a long time. It turned into a great social evening, I returned late at night to the smell of smoke across the city from the recent bush fires, some of which were still burning. The moon was an amazing orange colour due to the same reason.
Saturday I managed a little sightseeing. I checked out the Victoria National Gallery International section and saw probably one of the worst paintings I have seen in a gallery, at least I assume it was an exhibit. Christine was arriving on a flight from Hobart, we arranged to meet at the hostel, but when I came out of the gallery I got a call from her and in a little distressed voice she said “They have left me at Southern Cross railway station and I don’t know how to get to the hostel”. Luckily I was nearby so went to meet her and we cycled back together….feminist huh!! Another social evening was in store, this time I at last caught up with Annie, a friend of Lorna’s. We had a drink in a nearby pub, and then took a walk along the beach with her and Paul her partner. In the next neighbourhood I had no trouble in polishing off a pizza which turned out to be much bigger than expected.
Sunday started with a bit more bell ringing, a trip into the centre to ring at St Patrick’s Cathedral. I have to say that all the bells in Sydney were fantastic, here in Melbourne they were sadly lacking. I once again met up with Christine and visited another gallery, Aussie and Aboriginal art, tremendous stuff. We rode across to Victoria Market and managed to demolish an alarming pile of fruit. An in depth discussion followed, before we realised the place was shut down and we were there alone, another day had slipped by all too quickly. The evening saw me meet up with Brian Thacker. Brian is a couch surfer and travel writer and had agreed to meet of for chat. We arranged to meet at the Barkly Hotel just across from where I was staying. Whilst I waited for his arrival I could hardly believe the people heading into the karaoke, I can’t remember when I last saw so many beautiful women in such a short space of time. Brian arrived and we sat outside at a table next to a big guy with tattoos on his arms and a stud through his bottom lip, a big guy, larger than life, larger than a lot of things really. We started chatting, Brian has had 6 books published, so I was after any tips or advice that was on offer. Studman was obviously listening in and intrigued “I recognise you from somewhere don’t I?” he asked, “No, no, I don’t think so”. We carried on talking, we managed about 30 seconds before studman chipped in again “I know where I know you from, you in a band”, “No, not me, I am from the UK, I don’t think you have seen me before”. 30 seconds later he was back with “I have got it, you look just like the guy in Pink Floyd. Do you like Pink Floyd”, “Yeah, I like Pink Floyd”, but he was becoming a bit annoying now. I gave him too much attention, before long I was getting the story of his family. I am just guessing here, but I don’t think he got on well with his family “My father is an arsehole, a lovely guy, but an arsehole”. He added “I have no money, all I have is the clothes I am wearing, but I would give anybody my last 20 cents”, though I think he gave his last 20 cents to the barman as he came back with another beer. Brian told me how he is an expert at ignoring people, it was time for me to start practicing, but it was more difficult for me as he was facing me, but it worked in the end. But there were other distractions. As I talked Brian’s eye glazed over “J-e-s-u-s C-h-r-i-s-t”, he too was noticing the all the gorgeous women. Everybody that went into the karaoke were beautiful looking people, it was time for us to go in and have a look…..they didn’t let us in! I didn’t think Brian was THAT bad looking!
Monday morning we were back on the road, taking the long way around the bay to avoid the Freeway down to Geelong. Before heading out Christine needed a new gas canister “Don’t worry” I said, “Get one later, you can use my stove tonight if you don’t find one”, she replied with “I can’t do that, I am a feminist”. After Frankston we stopped for a bite, the sea looked picture perfect, so we had a dip in the sea, bliss, a lovely sandy shallow slope into the water, even I could manage that. We continued around the bay where there were beach huts. We sat behind one just for the shade. I had to explain it’s purpose to Christine who then didn’t believe me, she just couldn’t grasp the concept. We struggled to find somewhere to camp, the coast was built up the whole way down, so we headed in land a little and soon found somewhere that would have to do, the only reason Christine was happy is because there were blackberries beside us. Once set up I cooked up the kangaroo steaks we had been wanting to try for so long. Strangely, Christine’s stove and it’s new canister was conspicuous by their absence. She is no feminist, she is a “wannabe feminist”, a feminist when it is convenient.
We carried on around the bay to Sorrento, the got the ferry around to Queenscliffe and rode into Geelong passing the National Wool Museum. “Is there really such a thing“ I asked. “Of course there is“ came the reply “There is bound to be in a country where the men are still men and the sheep are nervous“. We had a hiking friend of Christine’s to visit for the night, it was my job to follow the written directions that she had been supplied with by Ben, they were spot on, we found the place easily. Ben was great entertainment with a lovely view of his own country and his people and painted an even better picture of the Americans. They had met when they passed on the Appalachian Trail, so needless to say it was the main topic on conversation. Christine had made it all sound so difficult, Ben view was very different. Is that the feminist in her I wonder? She had asked me to let her know when she pronounced anything wrong. When she pronounce ‘gaol’ as ‘goal’ I pointed out her error, she wouldn’t believe me and kept on using the wrong pronunciation, though believed Ben straight away. The journey to Adelaide is going to be hard work!