A Trip Down Memory Lane - Richmond (Day 156)
A trip down memory lane to Richmond, where I stayed for three months 28 years ago, yet those 90 odd days seem significant to me.
Back in 1990 I was travelling with my friend Pauline (and who has never returned to live in the UK since). We arrived by train from Adelaide and got to St Kilda. It seemed far too “backpacky” for us, I suppose we were a bit older than the average backpackers then, I had just turned 29. We somehow got to Richmond and on the way to the hostel, we popped into a café for a coffee and overheard that the owners were looking for a new cook. I blagged my way in and ended up work for Tracy and Dom in their Veggie Café for 3 months and becoming very good friends. In fact Tracy turned up in London a week before Tim and I got married and came to the wedding with a new boyfriend. Ah memories!
So this morning after Tim took Murphy for his morning walk and after we popped into a Charity shop – No – not to buy anything (remember – no extra things for the rucksack), but to offer our time there next week, we caught a train to Richmond so I could have a trip down memory lane.
I knew it will have changed in all those years and it has, however not as much as I thought. The majority of the shop buildings in Swan Street where I worked were the same; luckily no demolitions and high-rise blocks here thank goodness. The area has got a different feel though. It used to seem like genteel suburbia, and now it’s much busier and trendier. I remember that the café was next to a greengrocers run by an Italian couple, no sign of that now. We walked up to Church Street where I used to live, turned the corner and there was the library. One of the local customers worked in the library and I used to volunteer and go round with him after work and deliver books to the elderly. I used to have such a laugh, quite a few of them were British and used to love hearing my familiar accent.
Opposite the library were some stairs between some shops. Immediately I recalled climbing those stairs to my weekly calligraphy lessons. The lovely lady who ran these, I can’t remember her name, was into British motorbikes with her boyfriend and I went on a weekend camping trip with them and some of their biker mates on the back of some guy’s Triumph. What a weekend! We stayed with big grizzly bearlike men. They may have looked a bit scary yet they were great big softies. I had a fantastic time.
We walked further up the hill and I was looking for the building that used to be the YWCA where Pauline and I stayed. I knew the YWCA was no longer there, I’d researched. And then we came across No. 353 and straight away I knew it was the building. It is now Richmond Hill Hotel. I went in and asked the receptionist if this did used to be the YWCA and before he answered, I knew it was. There under the stairs was the cubbyhole where the payphone used to be and I would have my coins all stacked up to talk to my Mum and Dad. Ah memories!
It was amazing how much I packed in for those 3 months. I used to go swimming at 6am each day (Yes – me!) and managed to swim a mile in one go. As well as working each day, volunteering, calligraphy classes I also used to go to yoga classes, and went to see Debbie Harry and Phil Collins as well as watching an Aussie football match. I went camping with Pauline’s city mates as well (I so remember the girls shaving their armpits in the river and Pauline and I hiding our bushy armpits with embarrassment! Haha) Ah memories!
It was lunchtime. We had passed a café called @myohmyexpresso a couple of times which had an opening so people could quickly buy coffees from the pavement - what a good idea. The guy said hello to us each time we walked by, so in the end I suggested we ate there. We are so glad we did. What a delicious lunch. I had the My Oh My Smashed Avocado on Sour Dough bread with Feta and Egg – lots of pepper and sesame seeds, and Tim had pulled pork balls with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce on a bagel. Sadly we forgot to take photos before we started eating - #MissedPhotoOpportunity! We chatted to Denise and Adam who run the place. It has only been open for 4 months, they have all what it takes to make it a great success and we hope they do. Fab place.
Next stop was the Art shop to get some water colour paper, 4b pencils and brown sketch paper – watch this space! We started to walk towards the station and decided to carry on to Gosch’s Paddock, which is used by Melbourne Football Club for their training sessions and available to the general public during other times. A female team were training as we walked passed. We stopped to watch but they didn’t seem best pleased, so we didn’t stay for long. What a shame.
To the right of us was the impressive AAMI Park building which, we think, looks like a grand version of the Eden Project with its geodesic dome roof giving unobstructed views for sports spectators. Over the bridge, we came to Melbourne’s Royal Botanic’s Garden. Tick – another one for our list! As we walked in, we could hear some bells being chimed. Was it bells? Mmm…no. It sounded more like sonar pings. We realised that it was, in fact, the calling of Bellbirds. It was incessant and became rather annoying. The novelty quickly wore off. We didn’t stay long, not because of the birds, we had to get back for Murphy, however we did have time to have a nice stroll and for Tim to have a quick tree hug.
When we got back, Tim took Murphy out for a walk whilst I was writing. Upon his return he realised that he was missing his glasses. That will teach him running down the beach with his glasses hooked over his jumper neckline! Oh dear – torch in hand, he popped back down to the beach, retracing his steps – did some beachcombing scanning along the shoreline in the dark with torch in hand a few times. He has just returned “Found them!” Phew!