May Day

Today started off sweetly, visiting the Prahan Market which was featuring a Wicked Chocolate festival. Yum. when we think of chocolate, we think of South America and tropical climes. When I was in Cuba last year saw the cocoa pods growing and learnt a bit of the process of making chocolate. Now, there are some cocoa trees growing in Australia as well and there is a very small chocolate industry.  The produce is very tasty and also very expensive.  It’s in the realm of a special treat. Of course, this is the price that should be paid for chocolate anyway, with the people who work in harvesting the cocoa being adequately paid.

Catching the tram back to town, I found myself at the head of the May Day march. Traditionally, May Day celebrations are held on 1  May but presumably, it was moved to a Sunday for practical reasons.  It was the Pipe Band that first drew my attention (love a man in a kilt) and I stopped to watch the marchers go past.

There were a range of community sectors that were taking advantage of the opportunity to express their views.  In general, May Day represents the interests of workers and draws attention to less than favourable conditions or wages. There were representatives of various countries who were drawing attention to conditions overseas, and of course interest groups from here.One of the groups was representing the interests of the homeless.

One of the groups was representing the interests of the homeless.  I have already talked about the impact of seeing so many homeless in the streets of Melbourne. Some people go to a bit of effort in making their little alcove on the street just a bit more homely. I have seen street squats with pot plants, cartons turned side on to make cupboards and shelves and bedding spread on a base of milk crates to protect from the cold of the pavement.

This person made his own private room in this alcove on Bourke St, complete with bedside rug and broom. Whenever I went past, the alcove would be very tidy, bed neatly made, blankets folded and belongings stacked away tidily. He was gone today though so perhaps someone moved him on.

PS — I went past the alcove a little while ago and it had a new occupant.  Good spots don’t last long in these streets.

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Finding my feet

I have been in Melbourne for two months now and am gradually getting to know my new environment. It has not been without challenges – the apartment for one. My landlady still hasn’t cleared out all her possessions from the bedrooms and so I am still sleeping in the living room. I have graduated from the floor to a proper bed though and have also bought a chest of drawers in which to accommodate some clothes. It is rather cramped but I liken it to living in a caravan.

The upside is that I have a small balcony and have acquired a table and two chairs, plus lots of garden pots and troughs. I have planted a few vegetables, herbs and flowers and that area is my little sanctuary for maintaining sanity. It is also my vantage point for checking out the world.

When I awake, (which is early courtesy of the Melbourne trams) I poke my head out of the balcony door to inspect the weather, and see what surprises the view might present me with. One morning, there was a passenger balloon in the sky and another morning the huge red lights that mark the entrance to Little Bourke St and Chinatown were a  flaming contrast to the dim morning light.

img_0622Ballo0n on the horizon

My garden is doing brilliantly – I love the fact that there are no slugs, snails or green caterpillars to contend with. The cumquat tree that I mentioned in my last post now is covered in flowers so I am hopeful that it might actually bear fruit. I learnt that a few years ago, a pigeon made a nest two years in a row in the base of a large pot plant. Sadly, the resident cat ate the babies that hatched but I am hoping that a pigeon might come back again and for the record, I do not have a cat living with me.

Some of the street art in the alley ways is interesting.  I try to remember to take my camera with me. It’s a journey of exploration.

Street  art in Liverpool St

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I’ll post more street art as I find it.