Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Around the bay by bike Part 2

We were going to take Little Jo to the Queenscliff Primary School Enviro Expo. We were taking Sister's car because it has the child seat, but the battery was flat and we had to change the car seat into R's car. It was bit of a hairy drive while sharing the road with hundreds of cyclists. Look out, here comes a police car and I am straddling a double white line. Policeman moved over to the road's edge to allow me to pass. We decided on brunch first, in spite of cereal and fruit toast earlier. The Expo did not open until 11, so we had time to kill. Why has Little Jo been saying panache all morning. Ah, that is where she wants to go for brunch, Panache. Food is good, but service always perfunctory and not too welcoming.

I was contentedly reading the cafe's A3 sized booklet about maritime disasters off Queenscliff, mostly copied newspaper cuttings, when Little Jo changed seats and knocked the booklet which in turn knocked my coffee and so I spent the rest of the day with a nasty stain on my front.

Little Jo was not enthused about going to see the 11 o'clock ferry departing. Suffer ye child. It is about me for a change. We
climbed up the many stairscaught the lift up to the top of the tower which has wonderful views. The car/passenger ferry to Sorrento is closing its hatch and is about depart.

Port Phillip Bay to your right and Swan Bay to your left. Further along Swan Bay is open to Port Phillip Bay after Swan Island. Swan Island has a golf course and some prohibited Commonwealth land, which is used by one of the armed forces.

This channel to access the marina runs through to Swan Bay and at tidal changes, the force of water coming or going is immense. A Port of Melbourne pilot boat is entering the channel.

The marina was busy enough with quite a few dollars worth of boats moored.

A supplementary passenger and bike only ferry running for the cyclists arrived as we were about to leave the tower. The cyclists just poured off.

Down below a farmer's market was underway, but circumstances prevented us from perusing the, no doubt very pricey, foods.

There is often a Sunday market at the park in the distance, but today it was awash with tired cyclists taking a break and some nourishment.

Down below, we were back mixing it with cyclists.

This is the tower we climbed. There are some fine dining places at 'The Harbour', as it seems to be called.
Scarily, I was briefly alone with Little Jo. We went into a shop. A cheap fridge magnet did not appeal to her, nor did much else but books, as if she does not have enough. Ok, you can have a $10 book, but not a $15 book. R reappeared and a $15 book was bought.

On to Point Lonsdale Primary School for their Enviro Day, centred on Swan bay, but including other areas and ecological issues. PLPS sits right on the edge of Swan Bay in a beautiful location. The exhibitions were very impressive. Clearly a lot of work had gone into the day, and all for the price of a gold coin donation.

Little Jo was well known there as she attends the kindergarten next door a couple of days a week. She had fun on the jumping castle and participated in the treasure hunt and received a tee shirt for her efforts. There was lecture and slideshow by a parent who is a biochemist who travelled on the Aurora Australis to Antarctica over summer. She was very interesting, but after ten minutes Little Jo became bored. The sausage sizzle was up and running by then, so we partook. I did not take photos because of all the kids around. Sad it is, but two older men, one with a camera and knowing no-one there to vouch for us, may not have looked good. I wouldn't care about so much for myself, but I did not want to embarrass R. I did sneak a couple of scenic shots though.

The school is a very fine place, with friendly and committed parents, staff and students. It has excellent facilities too, somewhat different to many other government schools. I mused about how privileged these children are. Many of the parents could probably afford a private school, but instead they put the effort into making their government school a first class institution. Perhaps they are wealthy enough to have the time to commit.

We headed for home and after texting Sister about where the dog leash was kept, we headed off with Little Jo on her scooter and Fuzzy in tow. Big rain drops just as we left meant no beach, but just a play in the local park where there was shelter.

Sister and Bone Doctor arrived home at about three, having completed the ride to the Alexandra Gardens, something over one hundred kilometres and then the one hour and twenty minute drive home. They were sore but very self satisfied, with participation medals strung around their necks.

R and I did not hang around long, but we had to see the beach again, so on the way we stopped off at the beach and sat on the rocks while watching the crashing waves.

I've just written a whole post without a whinge. That won't do at all. The traffic! Congestion both ways on the West Gate Bridge and then again at the Kingsway off ramp. Millions of cars everywhere. Stop start traffic. A Saturday or Sunday afternoon trip used to be a delight. Now it is a miserable experience. There are just too many people in Melbourne.


  1. What a lovely day you've had!
    I like the overhead photo views very much.
    I'm applauding the Parents who put extra time and money into their local school environment. If I could have, I would have. in future times, if I can, I will even though I no longer have kids at school. First I need that Lotto win...
    Big raindrops means no beach? That's a shame, I love being on the beach when big fat raindrops are plopping down on water and sand.

    1. River, I think parental involvement is what makes the difference between a good school and an average one. But often poorer parents don't have the spare time to put in.

  2. A great read, Andrew. Pity about the coffee stain, but a small price to pay for good company.
    As for the $15 book R is a very loveable softie... Suggest you superimpose your mother's face onto a picture of Little Jo, and place a copy where R can see it. [No, only half-serious.]

    1. FC, the stain came out. Funnily, Little Jo is a dead ringer for Mother when she was the same age.

  3. what they said above. you two softies make life pretty good for your family. they have no idea.
    I do love the ferry, ogling the rich nests along Portsea, and especially if there is the bonus of a ship coming through The Rip.
    I hope you have a weekend to yourselves soon. x x

    1. Em Stacks, I haven't been on the ferry for some time. I would like to see the dolphins.

  4. I'm thinking of going in said bike event myself next year, if I remember, which I probably won't!

    1. Don't worry Fen. I will remind you.

  5. Wait -- you drove down to Queenscliff on the same day as Around The Bay In A Day, with all its lane and road closures, and you're complaining about the traffic??

    1. Daniel, we went down the day before and came back on the Sunday late afternoon. Two lanes closed on the bridge and not a bicycle to be seen, although that wasn't too bad. The bank up from Kingsway went back about a kilometre, and there were no obvious cyclists in cars or with bikes on the backs. Just another normal Sunday on the off ramp, I suspect.