Date: 10 November
Location: Hard Pressed cafe, East Melbourne. Totally cheating on Mr Barista. (Frothed milk. Long black. Coffee bean. Oh the flirty dirty coffee metaphors just want to write themselves.)
Friday's was a very Melbourne evening. It begun with sunny late-afternoon lagers at Beer Deluxe with a miscellaneous crew of Jim, The Twin (plus her actual twin) and some colleagues. This was — unnecessarily, for the lagers had already done some damage — followed up by moonlight Chardonnays on the Madame Brussels rooftop with some others. No dinner in sight. By the time I slunk home, far after midnight, even the possums in the Treasury Gardens were starting to look tasty. With all the dignity I could muster I bought English muffins from the friendly Pakistani at the corner 7-Eleven and then proceeded to make myself a very early breakfast of egg muffins.
In contrast, in a very un-Melbourne move, I passed on the Spring Racing Carnival this year and suffered miraculously only mild FOMO as Facebook fattened with images of glowing friends sipping champagne — and holding down their windswept dresses — against the green of The Nursery or the shameless shiny banners of The Birdcage. I didn't miss the expense of it all, the mercurial Melbourne weather or the ordeal that is making ones way to Flemington. I did miss daytime champagne drinking, a fresh batch of profile pictures and getting all dressed up. One of the particularly nice parts is that the strict dress code enforced by the Victorian Racing Club in its members' areas means that the races are a bared-midriff, playsuit and microskirt-free zone. (Though, I admit personal partiality to the occasional 'formal' jumpsuit).
Looking at all of the glittering scenes from the races has made me look forward all the more to the Portsea Polo, Spring Racing Week's more casual, hotter, less high-maintenance little sister. And I've turned my mind to finding a dress. Or, heaven forbid, a jumpsuit.
Newly lush with funds (all of which I should be saving for pre-London travel and relication costs, much of which I spent this week at The Emporium and the like) I've been bitten pretty hard by the toothy shopping bug. There was that jewellery spree at J.Crew online that the Lulu a Frost collaboration line and the '30% off sale' made me do. There was the update of Country Road basics: mandatory skinny black coated jeans, summer sandals. Then there was the wonderous discovery of my simplified shopping nirvana — Everlane — and the sensible purchases that ensued: softest grey cashmere sweater, cream chunky knit to replace my existing one (which has started to look less homely chic and more just plain homeless), a set of tees. Yep, I got bit.
Meanwhile, it seems that everyone else has been bitten by the befanged travel bug. Bunky is in Vietnam with her lover, Powerjam. I can only imagine with ravenous envy the number of plump rice paper rolls and the volume of Tiger beer they're consuming (or Diet Coke, as Bunky is beer-free, the weirdo). Memories of the swampy humidity of Southern India have begun to fade and so I'm even envious of the steamy warm weather through which they're travelling. The Planeteer has secured funding to travel as a youth ambassador to Peru for some Save The Whales summer conference. Ok, maybe not Save The Whales precisely but something along those noble, environmentally-friendly lines. Jim and Dawn are about to embark on a snowy and schnapps-sodden Euro trip (are we thinking engagement news soon to follow?). Wolfgang is off to further improve his language skills at some frigid German university and then to celebrate Hogmanay in Scotland.
Yeah, my friends are all super cool, adventurous, talented and whatever. But they're making planning my Christmas Kris Kringle & Mingle party really freaking tricky.