Warburton

Queen’s Birthday Monday was a good day to leave the city limits. The diluted winter sun tried its best to warm a still, cold morning.

Pictures first for those short of time/attention span. Story below.

 

 

I completed the public transport trifecta getting to Warburton, first leg, a tram to Box hill – and a lap around the awesome and exotically dated food court and market (the ‘vegetable puff’ highly recommended for time constrained consumers), then a train to Lilydale. The Warbutron buses are only once an hour, so had a bit of time to kill. Crows circled and prowled the bus bays, foraging through bins and emitting their curdling calls from the roofs of bus shelters.
I strolled up the highway, past the string of fish n chips shops and the stately Olinda Creek Hotel. I turned into the parklands and showgrounds. Corrugated pavilions standing long empty, waiting for their one time to shine in November at the annual show.
The swimming pool was closed, the water greying and neglected, a family of ducks had moved in. There was not much to see at the museum, the footy oval sits beside the station, and has a lovely line of towering trees along one flank, low slung grandstands are dotted around one end. There was a man in active wear sitting on one of the interchange benches and a huge black mass of circling crows above. The crows noisily passed and were replaced by the shrill screech of cockatoos.
I walked back to the bus stop where a scruffy haired lady of indeterminable vintage was intently pacing back and forward. She asked me the time, and hearing my response muttered about the bus being late. She strode past again lamenting the cold, and inquired as to whether a half-finished can of Cola Cola ™ on the other end of the seat from me was mine. I replied that it wasn’t and somehow on the next lap past she knocked it over.
She made a big fuss of picking it up and taking it to the bin, and skulled it in one big gulp before disposing of it. You can’t blame her, have you seen how expensive Coke is these days? I saw a 600ml bottle being sold for $5.75 the other day, and it wasn’t even at the footy, but at the super market!
Anyway, the bus arrived after about 26 more passes by my freshly caffeinated fellow commuter, and the driver was instantly enlightened by a particularly long story with the end result being my new friend needed to be told where the stop was for the caravan park. Something the driver was only too happy to do. In fact there wasn’t a single thing that the driver wasn’t too happy to do, and he knew pretty much everybody by name that got on and had a nice yarn or message for everyone too. It was really nice. He even gallantly lifted one commuters trolley full of fresh produce both on and off the bus and even had a cheeky salutation for one local who was getting the bus home without her fella “When the cat’s away, the mice will play, aye!”
The scenery too, was pretty damn decent. A few clicks out of Lilydale as if on cue as we rolled into ‘the country’ there was a kangaroo and its little joey standing there in a paddock, just standing around looking at some horses, who themselves were just standing around looking at some grass. It was very rural.
We passed the historic Sam Knott Hotel which dates back to 1860, and if you were wondering, like I just was, who Sam Knott is, then you’ll be amazed to discover that he is that beardy bloke in the old Carlton Ale posters with the catch phrase ‘I allus have wan at eleven’. Read more of this great story here
There was some more rustic scenery around the next bend, a timber farmhouse was slowly fading back into nature behind a front yard filled with clapped out vintage cars with chickens pecking around the wheels.

Millgrove is particularly well named, it’s got a saw mill, and great damp piles of lengths of timber that had at some point in the distant past, been through the mill more tree shaped, and less rectangular. There was an eccentric looking shop called Mt. Little Joe’s Music and Nursery with its hand drawn and painted signs promoting wares including guitar strings, drums, blues harps and musical accessories that I definitely would have stopped into had I been in a car instead of the 683 bus.
One potential attraction of the area was the Blue Lotus Water Garden – which quite unluckily was closed, as lotus season only runs from December to April! It sounds pretty great though, with a GIANT Amazon Lily, and 14 acres of loti to look at. All just made by a feller who got sick of fishing, and cabbages.
Other places I would have also stopped if I was driving included Glady’s Bakehouse, The Upper Yarra Museum, the great looking old Cunninghams Hotel, an Irish pub with a faded ancient Guinness sign out front, and some colourful characters within apparently and the German Clocks Cafe.
The Yarra loomed on the left and the township of Warburton soon followed. It was bustling – people, cars and colour everywhere. And history, I lobbed off the bus and landed in the Lace And Things shop, which was a passion project by local lady Valda Street. She had the old Boot Shop at Walhalla – a former gold mine town, now turned ghost town/tourist attraction – relocated to Warburton’s main street and it was now a museum of not only boots, but thimbles, and needle things, and buttons, lots and lots of buttons. As well as the shelves and shelves of 1800s ephemera, there was a recreated kitchen and a special display of Valda’s own working life as private secretary to decorated surgeon and second world war hero ‘Weary’ Dunlop. It was so good I gave $2 in the gold coin donation box.
There was an Old Tea Shop, lots of ‘rusticly quaint’ cafes, an old timey lolly and confectionary shop, rural gift and homewares, one of those mumsy clothes shops, new age stuff, an antiques and collectible store, which had a strangely strong amount of KISS merchandise in among the old tea towels, bakelite, dusty books and trinkets.
The Arts Centre looks like it’s a vital social and creative hub of the area, with posters for all manner of excellent things filling the front window and notice board. But nothing on today. I went over to the ‘high’ side of the highway, which had a visitors centre – from which I grabbed a few maps and pamphlets – which are probably still scrunched up in the bottom of my bag now. They also had a ‘habitat centre’ which had lots of taxidermed Australian critters and laminated signs with snippets of information all about the walls. They also had a gold coin donation box to use the bathrooms, I didn’t go. There were also some excellent ‘community art’ pieces decorating the steps of the bright colours, shapes and random phrases variety.
The old siding of the no longer present Warburton railway station was now sections of murals, there was also a bunch of carved wooden totem poles and a pretty terrific view from where the platform used to be over the town and across to the mountains.
Lots of lycra-clad people were undertaking the 38km Warburton to Lilydale rail trail ride on their bicycles. Not me, I was headed to the river. Back on December 31st, I as ever, over-optimistically gave myself a New Years challenge. As well as some actually achievable things, I vowed to attempt to walk the length of the Yarra River in 2016. Which is 241km – most of which is inaccessible or restricted areas due to being water catchment areas. Anyway, I made it as far as Heidelberg, and now am just visiting towns along the way where I can actually get beside the banks.
Even better I had to go past the bakery on the way, where there were pies and bikies in abundance. The Yarra is actually clear here! You can see the bottom! Amazing. The first section of the Yarra Walk takes you to a near right-angled bend and some rocky rapids. There are large strangely geometrically straight-shaped rocks poking above the rushing water, and dead trees and branches fading back into the banks. You go behind a superbly scenic footy oval, and through a strange fenced-off vacant lot that has an old rusting and graffiti tagged ‘thing’ of some unknown (to me anyway) formerly industrial type use.
Then there’s another of many ace bridges, a timber-made swing bridge that gives a nice gentle sway as you make your way across. There was a seemingly often overlooked ‘Nature Walk’ to the right on the other side, I had ventured not more than 50 of its 500 metres when I came across a particularly striking King Parrot sitting about minding its own business. Good stuff.
Back to the Yarra and the sun was streaming down over rambling gardens and towering trees. Age old sediment has created numerous islands in the stream and the water swirls and rushes through the narrows, or reflectively shimmers like frosted glass in the deeper, stiller water. It almost feels like a rain forest at some points, ferns and fungi in among the vast grey gums.

There were some parents taking their hesitant kid along the walk and getting her to pose for photos standing daftly on all manner of rocks. A family had a sprawling array of foods filling the BBQ area table, the adults sat and sank beers on camping chairs whilst the kids ran amok all around them.

The best of all the bridges is revealed after a long sweeping bend of the river. You first see a splash of orange leaves, then the white framework pokes out and reveals itself as a simple, but grand river crossing, connecting the picnic area and the tennis courts, but at a height safe enough from flooding. I continued on to the next, and last bridge, and crossed over and connected up to the rail trail. It was some nice flat walking, all paved path and cuttings. There were some alpacas, and generally excellent scenery. I walked a long while, and eventually came close to the road again, and saw a bus was soon arriving, and a minute later was headed back to Lilydale. This driver didn’t know anyone’s name though, and even told some kids to ‘get the next one’ as there wasn’t enough room in the lockers underneath for their razor scooters.
It was kind of disappointing to be driving back towards civilization after seeing such nice, natural things. But the hydroponic strawberry farm was the last gasp of rural Melbourne, before hitting the outer suburbs, then the huge crater of earth that is a lime mine and later a solitary brick chimney standing stoically in a huge vacant lot, the last remnants of a brick pit kind of curtailed the idyllic scenes of the day. And by the time the tram was clanging through the Victoria Street traffic on the city fringe I was back in my own little world checking my phone and ignoring everyone else’s presence like all the other urbanites. Had to see if the Dees beat the Pies after all. Was good while it lasted though. Happy birthday Liz.

Imprisoned – Escape from Pentridge

It was worse than being sentenced to solitary confinement.  Having to line up and be exposed to the blandest of electro-chart-pop while the hum of food truck generators sound-tracked puffer jacket patents queuing up for coffee.

It was billed as Pentridge Open day, which sounded appealing,  as the place is an imposing pile of bluestone horror that subjected a hundred and forty years worth of dire and draconian incarceration to Victoria’s worst criminals. Now it’s the property developers inflicting the crimes.  Half the buildings have been torn down, the rest being absorbed into bland apartments. There was a local action group handing out flyers at the gate, and a display suite, so you could see your potential new mix tap sink , water efficient toilet and marble benchtops in amidst the slightly sinister, but historical surrounds of an old prison laundry.

There was inexplicably a petting zoo next to B Division; lots of excitable toddlers fenced in doing time with the goats and rabbits.

In amidst the local families,  there were a few hard looking blokes curious for a gander. One guy with a creased, chiselled face and a stare of steel poised and glared hard at the line and moved on. I saw him walk past twenty minutes later with a loop of razor wire he’d obtained from somewhere.  I don’t think anyone was going to stop him.

The tour itself, after an hour or so of lining up subject to the blaring music tastes of the bearded bakers,  was brief – this wing is the original bit, the other wings were added later, there’s a chapel upstairs and underground cells are on the left. Then self guided. Which was fine by me! There were three levels of barred barbarity to explore, mums were taking photos of their kids in the cells making hollow threats of this is where they’d end up if they don’t behave!  Ha. Well it was a bit funnier when one of the helpers warned don’t close the doors some of them we can’t open again.

Some of the scrawled graffiti and notes on the wall were pretty potent and made you realise there was an actual living person in these crumbling dark concrete cells, and as recently as 1997.

 

History interlude:

HMS Pentridge was first built in December 1850, crime was up in Melbourne due to the gold rush and the gaol in town was getting full. Prisoners labours were utilised breaking up bluestone rocks to pave Sydney Road. The prison was expanded from crude huts to large structures based on the infamous Pentoville Prison in England, with new theories on prisoner isolation seeing large wings with large separate individual cells. The remains of the panopticon designed exercise yard were unearthed during site clearing for the proposed development. Some famous an infamous tenants of the goal include Ronald Ryan (no relation) the last person hung in Australia, early gangster Squizzy Taylor, Mark ‘Chopper’ Read – the ghost of whom is apparently still haunting his old cell – yelling to a law week ghost tour in 2014 – “Get the F-ck Out!”. The grave of Ned Kelly is also within the grounds of the prison. How’s this for one a story of how it was discovered:

“However, Ned Kelly’s grave along with 33 others was located on the left hand side of D division. This grave was found after a construction worker on the site was killed on the exact same spot as the mass grave. Heavy machinery which fell on top of the deceased worker was dug out and the remains were found. Ironically, the surname of the deceased worker was Kelly. There is now an apartment block being built over the grave site. F Division is being renovated into office blocks and in the basement of F Division remains of a 10 year old boy were located in a cell, forgotten for over a 100 years. Also bags of human bones were located in F division. No-one knows the identity of these remains and when or how they perished.” If you thought YouTube comments section could get out of hand, check out the too and fro from a couple of ex-inmates on here

 

 

 

Auburn

 

Auburn is pretty low slung. It used to be called Red Gum Flat. Out the train window it’s row after row of all single story terraces with twin brick chimneys poking up. As you pull in the station, the skyline is dominated by the three-storey imposing pub that used to be called The Geebung Polo Club, which harks back to bygone days of early Melbourne and was so old Banjo Patterson wrote a poem about it, the club, not the pub that is.

But now Geebung just exists as a domain name only, and it’s called the Auburn Hotel again, as it was when it first opened in 1888. And there’s a ‘wine room’ in there and classy dining. This used to be a bit of a knockabout pub owned and staffed by famous footballers such as John Coleman and Jack Dwyer according to one of those small Times New Roman fonted, textured jpeg background websites of the 90s. I protested by not going in and having a beer, even though it would have been an excellent thing to do.

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Instead I headed down a semi-arterial road and was impressed by a string of super neat federation bungalows, mostly adorned with fetching lead light windows either side of their front doors.
I turned off into a sort of garden street/alleyway which was a shared pedestrian and car zone with a 10kph limit. The houses were nothing short of exceptional,  you’d go so far as call them residences as opposed to houses,  if you were a real estate novelist (who never had time for a wife). There is also the pretty much undisputed yellow jersey holder for the best garden in Melbourne with some masterful pom pom hedges.

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The spell of wandering through this quite exquisite enclave was kind of ruined when some actual residents spilled out of one of the ornate houses just as I was slack-jawedly gawking at it. It was two ladies and they were talking about something involving their kids and telescopes; and they didn’t even acknowledge my existence as they strode purposefully past towards their luxury 4WD.
The bright lights of the footy oval cast a magnesium glow atop the next street. It was a real nice one too, towering trees all around the boundary, a quaint pavilion stand and club rooms, a rickety old scoreboard. Training had just started as the players were still in that kicking arsey grubber goals from the pocket stage, but it looked like it was going to be a long evening around the selection table as a BBQ was being fired up and two blokes arrived carrying about seven cartons of MB between them.


I headed back towards the station, on Station Street funnily enough, there was a string of great little cottages all with layered step brickwork roofs that made the whole street look serrated from certain angles.
Back out on the main drag there was a dress shop called the One Night Stand Boutique so I made sure to (*written for comedy purposes only*) memorize the faces of all the girls shopping there in case I saw them on Tinder!
Actually most of the shops weren’t nearly as interesting as the buildings that contained them. There was a window display in the chemist of old glass plate photos of street life in ye olde Auburn world, and the street frontages were pretty much identical now to the late 1800s just with no cars and top hatted men gamboling about as corsetted women promenaded in their finery instead of the puffer vest and puppy ladies that featured today.

There are a number of imposing churches, proper god fearing ones with stain glass in abundance and great towered steeples that loom large over the whole suburb and take up whole blocks.
I called in at a large sub-continent supermarket called Indian Shopper, drawn in by the hand-textad signs in the window that the Swami Army would be proud of. I got a samaosa and some in the pouch dinner winners and some spicy masala chip things which have been quite okay. I had a bit of a peek around the Swinburne campus, they have a flight simulator!
I had good intentions of having some sort of Mexican food (or fighting a French person), as it was Cinco de Mayo. I did pause quite longingly at the typically kawaii Japanese restaurant, it had cute anime drawings of the staff and a proverb chalked next to the specials board “the best beer in the world is the open one in your hand”.
But I ended up around the corner at Pelican fish n chips, mostly because pelicans are my favourite animal, and I love chips, me. I flicked through a Woman’s Day from February and didn’t recognise any of the celebrities who were causing scandals by wearing bikinis whilst swimming in WATER! Or being affectionate to their long term platonic partners! Scandalicious.
There was pretty much only single blokes in the shop. They knew their market well by having a wide array of ‘combo’ packs that cost a modest amount of money. I got the one with fish, a dim sim, a potato cake, chips and a can! I got Solo, I was feeling rugged. I took my potato laden parcel to the very delightful Central gardens, or as I was reliably informed, ‘Rocket Park’ as it’s known to the local kids. It was pretty delightful, I sat at an ornate metal garden table setting under the spiky shade of a palm tree and managed about 1/4 of my meal as lots of students walked past eyeing me both enviously and curiously. Then some jogging twat in lycra and some long sleeved compresso-vest with a bloody bright headlamp on sweated past and simultaneously seared my retinas.
There was a charming little brick building, a delightfully tiled roof and its sides overgrowing with multi-coloured leaved vines and surrounded by blossoming garden beds that wouldn’t be out of place on the cover of Floriade’s visitors guide. It was the public toilet! Auburn, one fancy place I tells ya!
I strolled around under the glorious canopies of some oak and liquid ambar trees and was yet again just enjoying the pleasantries of the path and gardens when the illuminated jogging prick ran past again.

I strode a few more streets, it was a really nice place and I was quite taken with it. Then, it got a bit boring and family home near good school, and I started a mental tally of Sydney Vs Melbourne suburbs of the same name, because my critical facilities have been reduced to lists thanks to social media and the internet. The scoreboard is below:
Sydney            Melbourne
Auburn (L)             Auburn (W)
Epping (W)            Epping (L)
Canterbury (L)        Canterbury (W)
Surry Hills (W)        Surrey Hills (L)
Kensington (W, just cause of Souths Juniors) Kensington (L)

Bonus story – how Auburn got its name.
Auburn was a town on the Yorkshire coast of England, but is now four metres under water! What was once prime ocean-front land was lost at a rate of more than two metres a year due to coastal erosion. Reverend Henry Liddiard (no relation to Gareth, I don’t think) settled in the Red Gum Flat area in 1854 and built a grand residence which he named Auburn Lodge after his former, once standing town. There is also Auburn House built soon after, which is now a palatial home of wealthy people.

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The last house in Auburn, Yorkshire, before it too fell off the cliff into the ocean.

 

and P.S. yes, I know some of the pictures came up sideways. It just does that, you’ll just have to twist your neck, sorry.

End of the Line – South Morang

I didn’t really want to go to South Morang to tell you the truth. It was Good Friday in what had been a bit of a bad news week. My first intended destination was Scoresby, which had a lake, and a roller skating rink and a Carribean Market and sounded like a whole day full of fun. But alas, all the fun things were closed.

With not much time or inclination to think of a back up plan, I figured on just getting on the nearest train and heading to the end of the line. ‘So I went down to Rushall Station’ which wasn’t as interesting as the album of the same name, but then again, not many things are.

There’s a really fabulously painted muscle car just after Northcote station #suburbanautos, but mostly Northcote and Thornbury look much more glamorous by tram I must say. Their back skirting is all busted fences, graffitied walls and general discarded disarray.

The suburbs spread out a bit past Preston. Big roads and strip shops with everything shut. I almost disembarked at Epping, which shares a name with the suburb next to the one I grew up in, but figured I may walk back to there instead.

So you’re spared a whole day of contrasting Sydney V Melbourne namesakes. Though the Tuffy Muffler hard-arse koala logo sign would fit right in the Melbourne one.

South Morang is well and truly the end of the line. You get out of the station and look up and theres just seemingly endless powerlines stretching far into the distance.

There’s a Westfields which is refreshingly empty. A murder of crows is pecking at something on the ground. As I get nearer I see it was a recently full packet of Smiths Crisps, BBQ flavour. About seven crows scatter and retreat to the roof in a flurry of sleek back feathers and guttural squawking. Claws scrape on metal guttering as they land above a fading Coles sign. The two biggest birds stay to polish off the chips. I veer past into the vacant parking lot being stared at by intense black eyes. To be fair, I was kind of feeling like chips.

The exterior of the rather sizable mall had nothing but bin-strewn loading docks and abandoned alfresco dining areas. I was the only one about save for a few dejected drivers, quickly leaving once they realised there was nothing open.

I finally got out past the masses of car spaces and across a scrubby nature strip and into suburbia. There was a ‘Crust’ Pizza shop open, a fire truck parked across the road as the firefighters attended to their lunch inside.

I was scuttling through pleasantly non-descript streets of well kept nature strips and hedges. Two fellas walked past me headed into a house with steaming wrapped parcels of Fish N Chips I smelt before I saw, one offered a cheery “hello there, how are you going? have a great Easter won’t you”. I inquired as to where the shop was they got their food from, he replied with about five steps of directions and about three too many streets far away for someone with no car.

I was wondering though, about what would be open, particularly as nothing except identical house-filled street greeted my every turn. I eventually came across an old time corner store/milk bar in both style and stock. Some of the best before dates ended in 14, and most things were coated in a fine dust. Strangely however, you could rent a segway here if you so desired. I unadventurously got a killer python and walked out on my own feet.

I found myself at a big park which had a whopping great lake in it. It was excellent; ducks, majestic black swans, elegant white geese and some cranky water hens scooting about, an ornithologists dream. There was also a very informative sign detailing the history of the area, which was the impressive pastoral holdings, hunting grounds, dairy, stables, shearing sheds and horse racing and training facility for Henry ‘Money’ Miller. It wasn’t a half-arsed nickname either – Henry was a founding director of the Bank of Victoria, and was the founder of the Victorian Fire & Marine Insurance Co, the Victorian Life & General Assurance Co and seven Building societies.

His two sons Setpimus and Albert Miller, not only had terrific moustaches, but were pretty handy horse trainers. Their most prodigious galloper was Redleap, which won the Grand National Hurdles twice and the Grand National Steeplechase, and now has a street and an oval named after it.

Septimus, Albert and ‘Moneybags ‘ Miller

After the excitement of a lap of the lake, even better was the fact there was a shmick footy ground right beside it. I popped through a few goals from the pockets with a mini footy (which along with a rabbitohs scarf was the only thing I bought along, not anything useful say like a hat, book, water, or snacks of any sort!) as a heavily tattooed man sat disinterestedly on the interchange bench, glaring out behind dark ‘speed dealer sunnies’.

The former horse stables have now been transformed into the ‘Stables’ shopping centre, which had about six Fish n Chips shops, two charcoal chicken joints, a bakery and a Thai restaurant all vying for the plentiful Good Friday custom. I made a particularly baffling culinary choice of potato bake, as the first bit of the stables I encountered had but two shops open, and it wasn’t until I walked through and around the other side, I got to see the plethora of options listed above.

One of the places open was the Plough Inn, I briefly noted it mentally as at least being open and a place to potentially watch the game, but it wasn’t until I walked out of the centre and saw all the anti pokies signs (The Plough Inn takes $60,000 a week out of our community) taped to fences that I paid it proper attention. Sadly, pokies are just a way of life in Sydney, it’s just another income stream for places. They used to at least only be confined to clubs, which at least had a requirement to return part of that income back to the community, and people looked out for each other a bit more. Then they were allowed in pubs, then came the Casino and out went lots of live music. But pokie places are seemingly utterly detested in Melbourne – the reopening of the Croxton Park Hotel as a music venue was most often greeted with a scournful ‘that pokie place?’

I wandered past the delightful looking Plenty Valley FM then came back into main road/powerline territory. I cut across the baseball diamond (past the leisure centre, left at the lights) to the Mill Park Reserve, it’s showpiece attractions – namely the native woodland and remnant vegetation sections were all burnt out. I wondered if it was daft backburning or arson, a scorched Fanta can laying among the blackened grass was the only clue.

I went on the swing in the unburnt playground. It was fun for perhaps the first seven seconds, then it was just going too high and fast – I never remember from childhood how you are meant to slow a swing down, just the extend and curl bit for your legs to make it go faster. So I scraped my hells on the downswing a bit then launched a stilted attempt at dismount. That was enough excitement for one day. Just as well as I next headed to Epping where there was no excitement at all.

An overgrown buffalo grass lined path skirted the railway line/creek. The places nearby sounded nice – Peppercorn Park separated from Sunbird Garden Park by Greenbrook Drive, but it was a bit grim really. Overgrown litter strewn reeds, a wild-growing huge clump of cacti, and a shopping trolley and two BMX bikes semi-submerged in a canal under a graf-covered concrete bridge were just some of the attractions along the way.

Epping itself was all just big intersections and crossroads. The Epping Hotel was seemingly open, it’s Sydney namesake was a regular haunt, as sponsor of the Macquarie Uni Kookaburras, and venue for many a post game Saturday evening as well as dicey nightclub/music venue Tracks.

But this one was rather unmagical. The main bar itself, plus the ‘sports bar’ and all the dining options inside were all closed and only the pokie section was open, and sadly for Good Friday, pretty well populated. My inquiry as to if any of the TV’s could be put on the NRL were met with no sorry love, we’re contractually committed to show Keno and the Races on them. Gambling does ruin lives!

On I trudged past the tyre retailers, industrial units, distribution depots and homemaker centres to the only other option in the area – the Epping Plaza Hotel, which as the name suggests was a pub in the carpark of a shopping mall. The game was on, but didn’t have any volume, unlike the nearby screens for the races at Singapore, that pretend races thing called Trackside, Keno and the pokie jackpots board that were all noisily buzzing away. The game was terrible and one-sided, some bloke struck up a chat asking if he reckoned Souths would score again when it got out to 30-something nil to the Bulldogs. But as I found out later as the bunnies manged a couple of late consolation tries, he wasn’t asking out of compassion, he’d backed the Bulldogs to win he second half, so went off muttering while trying to find some winners in the sixth at Singapore.

DSC_4161 Epping – close to nowhere.

There wasn’t a whole lot else to do, so once the game was over I just headed home. The near half an hour wait at a mostly abandoned station made all the more adventurous when a friend replied to news of the fact I was out at Epping with “Don’t die out there”.

Both the Tramway and Monty’s were open that evening at least, so it was a pretty good Friday eventually.