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Saturday, 14 January 2012

The Langham

Friday 6th January and Mollie and I are hugging, crying and waving goodbye to my friend Janet and her family. I actually didn't want to leave Mypolonga. There isn't very much going on but life seems to be very simple or maybe it's as complicated as we make it. I don't know but Janet and Hans work hard, they have two fabulous girls and with the exception of wanting the house finished, which as the 40 degree days increase the time span for the house will also increase. Anyway, they are very happy and I'm somewhat envious of what they have but so grateful that we had the opportunity to live it.

I had booked a flight with Virgin Australia this time from Adelaide to Melbourne. I had had enough of JetStars antics and 20kg strict weight limit. So Virgin has a new customer. I was checked in on time, no stress; lots of lovely ladies at the desk, bags were fine, I was even asked if I wanted Mollies back pack / car seat checked in (no cost!!) The flight actually left early and arrived early at Melbourne yippee! As a result my cousin hadn't quite made it to meet us (I'm not one for big greetings in airports anyway!!) Anyway, Virgin flight was fab!

Mollie and I stayed with my cousin for the night in St Kilda, Melbourne. Mollie loves Greig and Karen his girlfriend. She thought this was ace and to be honest it gave me a bit of respite. Greig did offer if I wanted to go for a run round Albert Park (F1 circuit) in the morning then I could. Sadly towards the end of my stay at Janets I pulled some muscles in my back again so a run is out of the question but it's still on my to do list.

Saturday was Greigs last day off and as we were only there for the night we headed away as a group for the day. There is a lovely area in Victoria called Mornington Peninsula. Many Brits settle there. It has beaches, all amenities you could ask for, it's very green with lots of open spaces and it's also a short journey to Melbourne CBD if you want to head in for anything. So we headed there for a drive out. It was lovely and would have been even better had the sun shone. We sat at a picnic table, shivering trying to eat a picnic with around 20 seagulls watching our every move!! Its the only downfall with Melbourne, the weather. It can change so rapidly and can get very hot but also very cold. It must have one of the most varied temperatures of any major city!! A wander and a chat and then back to St Kilda.

For the next three nights I had booked Mollie and I into a hotel on melbournes South Bank. I booked it for personal reasons but the more people I speak to the more of an attitude I get from others about the place!! Four years ago when Graham and I first visited Australia and did our own mini tour with Mollie a mere 8months old, Graham booked The Langham as a surprise for me because that's what he did. Surprises. Back then I remember just being gobsmacked at the place but also the look on Grahams face when we stopped there. We had such a fab time in the two nights we were there. We had lots of walks along the river, we watched the street entertainers with great delight and we had a lovely meal out together as the hotel has a baby sitting service. When I walked in to the hotel again it was like literally yesterday that we were there. Except it wasn't and so much has changed. It hurt as soon as I walked in the door. I did think that maybe this wasn't such a good idea. nevertheless, I checked in to discover that yet again - guess what? A free room upgrade. A grand river view room. Our room had a view of the pool area below, the Yarra river and the Melbourne skyline which I have many pictures of.

Mollie had been very excited about reaching the hotel. Not because Justin Beiber was here last month or because the Indian cricket team stayed during their latest test. Nope, it was because it had a pool!! My memories of the pool area were somewhat different to how I found it. I thought the pool was on the rooftop overlooking Melbourne but in fact it was on the 9th floor with sliding doors which open up and allow you to look out over the Melbourne CBD. There is a large outdoor seating area where you can sunbathe or just sit out and read. Far from peaceful with Flinders Street station in the background but again you can watch the world go by You can imagine where our first stop was anyway. So a quick dip and then changed to head out or a bite to eat. I had arranged with my cousins girlfriend, Karen and her sister Claire to meet up which we did. I completely failed to notice the time and we were actually heading out at 8pm. This wouldn't be a problem normally but with a four year old some of the resteraunts can get quite aggitated about having a child after 9pm. However we managed to find a place that we were in before called Leftbank. It had big comfy seats in a lounge area through the back of the main bar. It was lovely. So there we sat and chatted and ate and laughed until........11.15. Hmm maybe it was a bit later. I nursed a large glass of wine and a cocktail for three and a half hours. It wasn't a night for drinking, it was a night for laughing and talking and although I didn't realise it I actually needed it after arriving at The Langham. Mollie was still up and in good form at that time although funnily enough when I put her in bed and said I would be through to tuck her in in 5 she was already asleep. I headed to bed thinking surely social services would be tracking us down in the morning. Thankfully they weren't.

I was recently asked by someone quite close why I'm visiting places that hurt me so much and I don't know. I don't know if I'm looking for good memories or for Graham or even if it's just my way of saying goodbye. But it's nice to chat to Mollie about these places where her daddy was and how he fed her chocolate for breakfast on Easter Sunday at the Langham much to mums disapproval all those years ago. Or how I sat in the very same bar area after she woke up one night with a sore tummy. So, yes a very nice hotel but the memories from the place are worth way more.

Breakfast is a feast in itself at this place. They have every concievale item for breakfast - except porridge!! I made a comment about porridge or the lack of it to a young Portugese chef( I quite like porridge when I'm away) anyway he muttered something about not knowingvwhat it was and then 10 minutes later returned with a HUGE bowl of it. I had just eaten muesli and toast!!! The young waitress at the table started to laugh as she saw my dilemma. Refuse the bowl and hurt the guys feelings or eat it after already having eaten way more than I normally would for brekkie. So I ate it but didn't finish it. The next morning the waiter spotted us arriving and promptly arrived at my table with a bowl of porridge. Smaller than the previous days I hasten to add. Mollie spotted the chocolate fountain the first morning. There were bowls of strawberries, kiwi, marshmallow and other bits at the bottom. You could have anything cooked as well as Chinese or Japanese selection of noodles, rice, soup etc don't leave hungry from this breakfast that's for sure.

This part of the trip wasn't meant to be action packed. I just wanted to linger and take in where we were so we spent the days walking up the river, a bit of shopping, coffees out, swimming in the hotel pool and watching the street entertainers which Mollie loved. I saw a couple of good singers which I hope get a break at some point. There was the incredible irish escape artist with terrible jokes and the man on the unicycle who also had terrible jokes and that's how they earn their money?!!

So nothing exciting. Mollie did want to do the horse carriage round Melbourne so on the day we went to find them they weren't there so I have promised her a ride in the next few days. She still has gifts from people back home which will more than cover the trip.

My only wish for this part is to see Andy Murray at the Australian Open so watch this space. I'm on the case.

We are back in Cheltenham, Melbourne which is funnily enough where we first started our trip. We have seen and done loads since we were last here and also changed alot. I remember when I first arrived and hanging out the clothes looking at every cobweb and spider thinking 'are you poisonous?' but today it wasn't a thought at all.

He weather here for the last week since we arrived has been cool to say the least but tomorrow that hopefully changes. It's due to get to around 28 tomorrow. I gave had trousers on for the last few days. Looking forward to getting some shorts or a dress on tomorrow. This house has a pool so I know what Mollie will be doing.

I have had a few comments from people about reading this blog and I'm surprised with how many of you are following us. Thank you 

I hope the mild weather continues with you guys and that there isn't even the hint of the 's' word.


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