Category Archives: Melbourne

Australia, Melbourne – the bits of life I am not so keen on at the moment and my friend Misery Bear

I have been fairly optimistic so far in my posts about all the things that are ok about the current situation – and generally I do feel pretty ok and entertained but of course there are a few things that I find particularly irritating (but not the end of the world for sure:).

CLEANING AN APARTMENT – I am renting one while in Melbourne and to be honest I haven’t done much in the way of cleaning my own place for decades – if I was down to my last dollar I would find a way to pay for someone else to do it for me. Of course not possible these days and my German mother taught me well so I have not forgotten how to use a mop or a vacuum cleaner but in the intervening years things have moved on.

Here is the mop and bucket – now with a nifty pedal to push down on to spin the mop dry before you use it – very clever.

Dripping wet before and then after the pedal is pushed and the spinner spins – totally dry – who knew?

Even vacuum cleaners are not what I remember – now they are slim and cordless (for up to 40 minutes although who in their right mind would vacuum for that long anyway?)

New (at least to me) style vacuum cleaner.

My ignorance may shock some but I have to confess that driving a rental car a couple of years ago in New Zealand after not driving for about 15 years was the first time I noticed that cars didn’t need keys to start them any more!

Will I ever get any joy out of housework? – absolutely not. I do not have a domestic bone in my body BUT like Maslow suggested – we all have our own hierarchy of needs and my need for a clean and tidy environment just marginally exceeds my intense dislike of cleaning. Although, I have to add that cleaning, while dull and time consuming, is not that difficult and I have concluded that even a man could do it!

CANCELLING OR HAVING STUFF CANCELLED – seems particularly onerous when you are permanently on the road and lots of things – flights, accommodation, cruises, theatre, exhibitions etc have been booked in advance. Some refunds are easier to obtain than others and at the moment whether it is a refund or a voucher it takes ages so having to set up a bookkeeping business to keep track of ensuring that eventually everything works out. Clearly when I can travel again my destinations will be based on what flight vouchers I have to use up by the end of 2021.

LACK OF PERSONAL SERVICES – this is really first world stuff – no nail bars (why are my toes so much further away from me than they used to be?); no brow or lash bars, no beauticians BUT thankfully hair salons are considered essential services here so I have not had to embrace grey (as if that is ever going to happen while I am still breathing).

Colour restored and I feel GOOD! (Thanks to Del on Commercial Road)

FAMOUT AND NOT SO FAMOUS CELEBRITIES TRYING TO “CHEER US UP” – please just stop. The disappointment of hearing people who I usually love to watch live with a band and other enhancements just singing to us in their pyjamas and beanie hats or in their post bath towels – is not working for me. Mostly I feel I could do just as well as them singing in my shower – which I will definitely not be broadcasting to all and sundry. I’ll just listen to the versions that sound really good on Spotify thanks.


PEOPLE MOANING ABOUT HOW AWFUL ISOLATION IS – Get a Grip! No bombs falling out of the sky; no hunger (or even toilet paper rationing); many parts of the world where you can still go for one walk a day; so much available entertainment and education at home; alcohol still considered essential; people who are lucky enough to have jobs can work from home and keep them.

The really tough time will be after we can all go out again and it will last a lot longer. But that’s just my view…..

Videos, GIFS and Memes – some funny others not so much but given sense of humour differs so much this is the one (thanks to Jane and John) that creases me up every time I watch it and is my favourite – especially for my solo friends and travellers.

Now I am going to stop complaining about things that aren’t really worth complaining about and head out on my daily stroll so that I can listen to the wonderful Oliver Kitteridge Again on Audible., Yesterday I saw these and from now on optimism will be back on my agenda:)

Australia, Melbourne – Nomadic life of the solo traveller now VERY challenged – but here’s what I am gaining from lockdown (part 1B) – What I’m learning about, what I’m watching, how I’m staying connected and how I’m keeping things a “bit normal”.

While I am still enjoying my daily walks in South Yarra (and thankfully we are having a very mild Autumn so far) mostly on my own but sometimes with the allowed “one other person at a distance”, I am also quite enjoying the time indoors as well thanks to modern technology. I really feel for some of my friends in countries where exercise outdoors is prohibited – hang on in there….

WHAT I’M LEARNING – Thanks to my friend Felicity for introducing me to free online learning – especially Edx and Khan Academy. So far I have taken three History of Art courses – and I really like the make up of written text and video and the fact that everything is in short sharp bites of info. I am now working through 20th century World History – WW1 covered and now onto WW2 (not the most cheerful of topics but especially of interest to me having spent a few months in Eastern Europe last year). Here’s an extract of a Khan Academy course page -how fantastic to be able to learn more about things that interest me for FREE! I think they are really great.

Extract of sub courses on 20th century history from Khan Academy

While my friend Marjory was over we became avid watchers of The Chase – twice a day – the UK version at 3pm and the Aussie version at 5pm. I love a quiz and although it was more fun shouting out the answers with someone else in the room I am getting used to talking to myself anyway so I shout them out to an empty room. I love knowing a little about a lot of things and it appeals to my competitive nature!

My favourite Chaser is Paul the Sinnerman

WHAT I’M WATCHING – And then there is Netflix. Whenever I travel I like to pick a genre of tv series to watch – for this Covid19 I am mostly focussing on non English speaking TV series (with subtitles – never dubbing which I hate!). My faves over the past few weeks are Money Heist (Spain), Fauda (Israel), The Break (France), Unorthodox (Yiddish and German), Giri/Haji (Japanese/English), The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch (Yiddish/German), Bonus Family (Swedish). And on my forthcoming list are The Valhalla Murders and Babylon Berlin. I generally prefer the quality of writing for TV series over movies – especially if watching at home.

Love this series

ACHIEVING SOME THINGS EVERY DAY -I have decided that while I am living comfortably in leggings, t shirts and sweatshirts – I will shower, dress and even put on my usual make up every day (that’s just my thing, I am not preaching). I also try to plan each day with a bit of an itinerary to give shape to my day and to help satisfy my achievement oriented personality! Even though I don’t work anymore I do like to organise my time and have some sense of achievement at the end of the day. So my current daily agenda might be something like: Get up, shower, get dressed and made up; watch news for no more than 30 minutes (everything is repeated after that); take my daily 10,000 step walk; buy groceries as needed; take an online class; read for an hour; do an online jigsaw; watch the Chase; do laundry; watch an episode or two of something; enjoy first drink of the day (have been strict about only drinking from 6pm onwards); make dinner; home manicure, enjoy 2nd drink of the day, sleep zzz. Maybe not the most exciting but I find I can easily fill time and do some different things every day.

The bottle isn’t always empty but the glass usually is!

And then there is also the regular chances to catch up with friends all over the world via whatsapp or zoom. I can honestly say I have probably spent more time just casually chatting with mates online since this all started than I ever have before. It’s nice:)

A modern day “Brady Bunch”moment – for those old enough to remember the credits!

As I am still loving my walks and noticing what’s around me – here are some new photos of things I have seen along the way in lovely Melbourne

Flowers still keep blooming in Autumn over here
Visions of Melbourne (from a distance)

Next update – the things I don’t find much fun about lockdown.

Australia, Melbourne – nomadic life a bit challenged!

Well it all started to well – arriving back in Melbourne 14 months since my last visit with Marjory and renting an apartment in South Yarra. There were restaurants, there was gin, there was city, there was countryside, there was theatre and of course there were old friends and new friends.

12th Night in the Botanical Gardens
Food glorious Food at Chin Chin
Cocktails with Marjory
Having fun with mates
Great times in the countryside and the city
More gin and plants for Marjory to paint

So I managed to eat at Cumulus, Chin Chin, Supernormal, Cuccineta, Maha, Botanical, Misschu, Sake, France Soir and at friends’ houses. We saw Twelfth Night, Billy Elliott, Harry Potter and a play at the MTC.

And then the cancellation notices started coming in – no Robbie Williams (still recovering from that one), no Food and Wine Festival Events, No movies, no more theatre, No NGV. Closely followed by notifications that visiting Sri Lanka (my next port of Call was no longer possible) and toilet paper wars and instructions from just about everywhere to “go home” and stay home. “Social distancing” has become the new buzz phrase.

So Marjory will cut short her visit in a couple of days to head back to Canada – that was meant to be my next stop after Sri Lanka but looks like I will no longer be allowed in there!

So my plans have had to be changed on the hoof. Road trip to NSW and Queensland cancelled, Sri Lanka cancelled – and given I don’t have a home, I will stay in Melbourne for at least another month and “wait and see”. There are certainly worse places to be “stuck” that’s for sure.

I won’t run out of things to do – books, Netflix and online courses (I’ve just enrolled in one about the pyramids of Giza (mights as well dream of travel if I can’t actually do it! And thanks Felicity for introducing me to all those free programs online).

Australia, Returning to Melbourne – friends, food, art, theatre and one of the loveliest cities around

As Melbourne feels like home to me have decided to just do one large blog on this three week visit., Will be back to more frequent blogs once I am in new places again later in March.

MELBOURNE – the place.

Still one of the loveliest cities. Never tire of wandering the lanes and cafes and always find new ones just when I think I have tried them all. Only downside at the moment is that a lot of central Melbourne seems to be under construction as they are building an extended subway system. Lots of very large holes in the ground.

Nice to finally see the scaffolding off Flinders Street Station though


Always one of my favourite reasons to be in Melbourne – and that includes drinks too of course. It is the city of cool bars – many are hidden speakeasys or rooftop sites. Here is the kind of thing you can expect here including some home cooking if you have nice friends who entertain you (thanks Mike and Maria)


As usual I had to visit the NGV – not just once but twice. I loved this exhibit of dogs as fashion models.

And some examples of the more modern permanent collection,

but the best thing was the Escher X Nendo exhibit. M C Escher is a Dutch graphic artist who makes most of his drawings using woodcuts and lithographs – quite amazing the detail and colourations he can create through this medium. My woodcuts at school never looked like this! Then to make it even more interesting the exhibit is displayed in an environment created by Japanese Design studio – Nendo – just brilliant. And watch how Escher plays with perspective and you mind with some of his works. Where does one bit start and another begin? And how do this birds turn into fish?

A visit to the Melbourne museum included a look at the Mandela – my life exhibit just before it closes. It was done very well and it remains shocking to read and watch videos about how people were treated under apartheid so recently.

Then a trip to Heide to see the Mirka Mora exhibit of dolls – drawings and stuffed ones. I am a huge fan of Heide and always like what they show – Mora was a prolific artist who spent a lot of time at Heide as an exile from Paris. She died last year. I like her naive style.


I saw some wonderful shows in Melbourne this trip – Miriam Margolyes in Woman in the Van; MSO doing the Beatles at Hamer Hall; Eddie Izzzard at The Arts Centre; Macbeth in the Botanical Gardens; Evita with Tina Arena and my favourite – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It must be the magic……


Always the best bit of coming back to a place after some time away. Catching up with my pals has been amazing – many of my friends I made during the time I worked at ANZ here for 10 years and it is fantastic that we are still buddies. Some I’ve even known since my HSBC days and it was also really special to have a few drinks with my former HR team from ANZ – so exciting to see them all and already looking forward to doing the same thing next year.

And BIG HUGE THANKS to the lovely Tania and Shane for opening their home to me and putting up with my comings and goings. They are the GREATEST xxxooo

Susie Babani is leaving home. Farewell Melbourne.😥😱🚃✈️🍸🥑☀️☔️

Hard to believe this is the last time I will be in Melbourne International airport for at least a year (and just when all the new fancy shops have opened too).

Next adventure is more travel but with no fixed abode to visit in between trips that means living out of two suitcases for the foreseeable future. It was harder to pack them than it was to pack up my whole apartment.

The blog will continue with more whatsusiebdidnext stories.

Goodbye Melbourne- after ten fab years I’m gonna miss ya and all my mates too.

Australia, Melbourne

How lucky am I to live in Melbourne. Visited the NGV triennial for the second time yesterday and saw a few things I missed the first time. It’s all free so I’m sure I’ll be back again. But in the meantime here are some of my favourite exhibits from the artists from all round the world who have contributed. Don’t miss it – you”ll have to wait another three years for the next one.

Australia, Melbourne- NGV triumphs again with its new Triennial – who needs Venice?

So lucky to get a sneak peak at the brand new NGV Triennial . It is superb. All the fashion designs of Guo Pei are breathtaking – and it is the first time she has shown all her work in one place.

And I loved the interactive Yayoi Kusama- the dot artist that some of you will know I’m somewhat obsessed with. The display is a complete apartment with flower stickers that each visitor can stick wherever they like (mine’s on the kettle as I couldn’t find a champagne bottle!). By the end of the exhibit in a few months’ time,it will be covered in flowers so everyone will have completed their own Kusama experience. Brilliant idea.

Then there is the room of human giant skulls – confronting when you come across it unexpectedly upstairs.

Can’t wait to go back and see it again — and it’s free!