Run Runaway


I have mentioned Parkrun in previous blogs from last time we were in Australia in 2018.   Altona Beach is close by so again we decided that a Parkrun would be a good start to our Saturday mornings.  They start at 8am in Australia which is great for us and means that it does not eat too much into the morning.  We were lucky enough to participate in the 200th Altona Beach Parkrun this week, having done the 199th last week.  What a difference in weather.  Last Saturday, the sun was shining, there was a cool breeze and conditions were ideal.  Start easy and finish faster was always my running mantra and so it was here, a Park Run personal best!

Top row:  Scenes from Altona Beach Parkrun 199; Bottom row: Scenes from Altona Beach Parkrun 200. 

The following Saturday, what a difference.  It was much, much warmer, about 15C hotter, the strong wind was also warm which was no help.  The pre-run briefing covered the usual stuff, welcoming guests and course briefing etc,  but also a warning about snakes in the area! I have never participated in a run anywhere, where the Run Director has issued a warning about snakes.  However the warning was justified because the resident snake in this park was the Tiger Snake, timid yes, like most snakes, but if one bites you, you have about 45 minutes to receive treatment otherwise your chances of survival are slim!  On that note the Run Director set us off with the snake warning ringing in our ears.    I had seen one slithering down the grass at the side of the track on my warm up, only because the runner in front of me had jumped out of the way of it! And before you ask, no I did not lean over it, or in front of it and take its picture.  We both gently backed away, turned around and legged it!  The run itself was slower than the previous week but conditions were much hotter and we were looking out for snakes too!

In the first Melbourne blog I mentioned Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, close to the Botanical Gardens.  Whilst Lyn was visiting the State Library to catch up with her writing, I took the opportunity to visit the Shrine again and explore what it had to offer.  From the outside it is a huge, imposing structure, and inside is equally as impressive. A walk up the steps and through the entrance brings you to the Shrine, a simple stone square set in the ground with an inset stone representing a book cover.  The inscription on the top of the shrine is simple, “Greater Love has No Man” (John 15:13).  Simple, but thought provoking.  As I was leaving, a small group from the Royal Australian Navy were entering, preparing for their own act of remembrance.  Radiating out from the centre of the shrine are four corridors, each displaying a flag.  A walk round the outer connecting corridor revealed stairs down to the galleries and Crypt.  As the crypt was full of children on a visit I walked around the galleries.

Top Left:  Memorial and the Perpetual Flame; Centre: Commemoration and Dedication Inscription for Perpetual Flame; Right: Looking up to the front entrance to the Shrine; Bottom Left:  Overlooking the Legacy Garden; Centre: Looking towards the CBD; Right: The side of the Shrine

Top:  Views of inside the Shrine of  Remembrance

These galleries form the Visitors Centre, and the exhibits covered Australian involvement in conflicts from the Boer War, through to Iraq and Afghanistan.  The galleries were dark and exhibits were individually lit, which made for a sombre, quiet atmosphere.  Each conflict had its own area and told the story of Australian and allied involvement.  I was particularly interested in the display about Gallipoli, having once witnessed ANZAC Day celebrations (25 Apr) whilst on deployed Ops with ANZAC personnel in the Balkans.

Just three of the many exhibits in the Galleries: Left: Relief Map showing the site of the Gallipoli Landings; Centre: The Devanha, a rowing boat used in the Gallipoli landings in 1515; Right: Inscription describing the involvement of the Devanha  

In front of the crypt is a “Hall of Columns” and an Australian artist Craig Barrett has hung sone long canvas paintings of images conjured up by the poems of famous WW1 war poets like Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.

Bottom:  Paintings by Craig Barrett based on poets work from the First World War.  The poem pictured is by Wilfred Owen. 

My last stop was The Crypt, which was directly underneath the shrine and now clear of school children.  The centrepiece was a statue depicting a Father and son who both fought in the 2nd World War, the father also having served in WW1.  On the walls surrounding were the standards of many of the regiments and squadrons who have served Australia in conflict.

Scenes From The Crypt

Back outside and a walk around the perimeter path revealed a recent addition to the Shrine of Remembrance, The Remembrance Garden.  Lying under one side of the Shrine, it is a small area dedicated to those who served in the Australian Defence Forces post WW2.

Four views of the Garden of Remembrance

The Shrine and Visitors Centre were a worthy tribute to the Australian men and women who have served their country. I could have spent much longer viewing the exhibits and reading the stories and facts behind them. Unfortunately I had run short of time so headed back into the centre of Melbourne to met Lyn.

On our first trip to Melbourne in 2017 one of the highlights was the road trip along the Great Ocean Road.  The start point for this trip was Torquay, about 20 minutes from Geelong.  We only stopped for coffee then and decided that it warranted a closer look when or if we were next able to.

At the time of this visit Victoria was enduring a late summer heatwave with temperatures approaching 40C.  We headed off to Torquay on one of the hottest days.  We stopped at the Salty Dog Cafe on the sea front.  It was a lovely, dog friendly cafe so we were able to make friends with a few of our four legged friends and their owners.  From here we wandered into town for a look round.  What a disappointment.  We were led to believe it would be old world and quaint.  That had disappeared, to be replaced by a large supermarket and other glossy shops.  There was the odd gem by the way of an art gallery but all in all, a waste of time!

Salty Dog Cafe and some of its four legged guests

Collage of Images from Torquay

We headed back to a picnic table on the esplanade for lunch trying to stay out of the hot sun as much as possible.  The intense heat of the summer had turned the grass a dusty parched pale brown colour and despite the clear skies, there were few people on the beach, most preferring to sit in the shade provided by the mature trees close by.  We stayed a short while before the heat got the better of us and we headed back to the car and home.  Incidentally the indicated temperature as we set of was 41C so definitely a heatwave!

The hot weather was forecast to continue into our final weekend on this trip which coincided with the Avalon Air Show, billed by the organisers as the biggest Airshow in the Southern Hemisphere with flying contributions from military and civilian organisations.  It was also Oscar’s birthday treat so it was a real pleasure to be able to accompany an aeroplane mad 6 year old to his first air show.

Clockwise from top left: Grumman Ag Cat plus Wing Walkers; The Ag Cat Displays; Oscar and his Dad enjoy the show; RAAF Pilatus PC9 “The Roulettes”

Because of the heat the whole programme had been brought forward by one hour so the flying was due to start at 9am.  We arrived in time and parked on what used to be grass about ten minutes walk from the entrance. There was also a strong wind blowing which created a huge low lying cloud of light brown dust around the car park It was already hot, around 33C and would only get even warmer during the day.  Also, being an airfield, naturally there was no shade!

Clockwise from top left:  RAAF EF-18 Growler; Two EF-18 in company with (front) F35 Lightning and F-22 Raptor (rear); Me and Craig take a break; Lyn enjoys the show. 

Avalon is an active civilian airport, so room still had to be made in the display programme for passenger jets departing and arriving.  This was done well and provided natural breaks in the flying programme to recharge water bottles or take a walk round the large static park. The flying display featured civilian contributions as well as military, mainly from Australia and the USA.  The highlight as usual was the USAF F22 Raptor, which performed with its usual panache and gravity defying  way.  Following this display the RAAF were participating in a co-ordinated all arms Role Demonstration via a mock battle, but the heat was getting too much for us so we decided to head for home early. We also had in mind the first time we came here two years ago, when it took around two hours to get out of the gate after the show.  With around 90 minutes of the flying display left many others had obviously had the same idea and a steady stream of people were heading for the exit gates, which must have been a massive disappointment to the organisers.

Clockwise from top left:  Lockheed Martin F22 Raptor; Pilatus PC-21 Trainer; Pilatus PC-9 Roulettes; RNZAF C130

Collage of images of us enjoying the show

The Airshow was our last big day out as we started our long journey home two days later.  By the time this goes out we will have been home for a few days.  The trip home was uneventful, except for a five hour delay at Singapore due to a technical fault with the aircraft.  The jet lag has almost gone and we are adapting to freezing cold weather once again.




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