I went to my first AFL game

This has been on my Melbourne bucket list for as long as I have known I was moving to Melbourne. Even in Brisbane many people told me it is a must when I am down in Victoria, visiting the 100,000 seater Melbourne Cricket Ground for an Aussie Rules Football game.

The MCG, Australia’s Wembley for my British readers. Australia’s Madison Square Garden, I think? I don’t know, you will have to tell me what your biggest or most beloved stadiums are in your home country so I have a place to watch some great sports if I make it to your corner of the world. Don’t be biased though. Sports fans never are anyway… ūüėČ

This was a very quick ride from where I was in the city, we all met in a bar called Stomping Ground,¬†appropriately named as we bought a can for the road and discreetly yet very elegantly drank them on route to Australia’s biggest and most famous stadium.

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The bar was in Collingwood, as this was the team we were watching play against Melbourne. Interestingly enough for those not too familiar with the sport, the majority of the AFL teams are based in Melbourne. Ten of the 18 are in the state of Victoria, and nine in Melbourne’s metropolitan area.

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Apparently this says 11… which ones are no longer?

As you can see above, Collingwood sport black and white colours. For me this was an easy team to cheer on.

Or so I thought. Black and white stripes with the nickname ‘the magpies’? Just like Newcastle, the city I lived in back in England. Easy choice!!

However it seems people that aren’t Collingwood fans, well, like to tell me not to be a Collingwood fan. Apparently it is a bogan/chav/redneck team, as are their fans. I mean in the stadium everyone including my Melbourne friend seemed to be pretty nice people, is this a myth? I guess I will let the locals decide…

 

The Big Freeze at the ‘G’

Melbourne vs Collingwood is an annual game held on the Queens Birthday. On this day an event called the ‘The Big Freeze’ takes place before the game. This is a fun charity event with the aim of raising awareness for Motor Neurone Disease, a condition former Melbourne coach Neale Daniher suffers from and now aims to raise funds fighting for a cure.

On the charity website, fightmnd.org.au it states about the event that:

‘Each year, a group of ‚ÄėA-List‚Äô celebrities take the icy plunge sliding into the Big Freeze pool all in the name of raising critical funds to help fine a treatment and cure for MND.’

As you can see below, the celebrities ride down a slide on a sled and into the ice water, often in fancy dress. I noticed people started to clap the intro to ‘We Will Rock You’, and with that out came Freddie Mercury himself. Freddie was always at home in a stadium.

 

And the plunge…

It was a glorious day for football. Well, I say glorious, it didn’t rain. And the Melbourne skyline looked fantastic from here with the Eureka Tower dominating as always.

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Now for the game itself. It is a sport that always looked rather funny to me, as does Gaelic football, with the variety of things going on whilst the players run. Sometimes bouncing it, something punching it, sometimes kicking it. Sometimes kicking each other. Once I understood the rules a little better it was much more fun to follow and appreciate.

I was under the impression that this game evolved from Gaelic Football, but after some quick research it turns out this may be a myth. Historians consider that the game Marn Grook that was played by Aboriginals in Australia possibly has more of a connection. One reason is due to one of the founders of AFL- Tom Wills- having watched the game being played.

Here is a picture of Tom Wills, believed to have been taken on a very early Nokia.

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The basic rules are this. Six points are awarded if the ball is kicked in the middle goal. one point if it is kicked between the outer posts. The games lasts four 20-minute quarters and starts with a ruck. In the event of a crocodile, any player is considered ‘fair game’ and the team suffering the loss can substitute another player on without penalty. This is when you see the referee do this.

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The ball up is an interesting start to the game. As the umpire throws the ball off the ground, the players then try to take possession as it is bounced into the air. A bit like a basketball tip off really, but with what resembles a mild kids temper tantrum. The throw-ins are equally unique too. As the ball goes out the opposition team does not get to throw it back in, instead one of the umpires throws it over his head, wedding bouquet style. The difference is the guys actually run to grab it first.

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The ball is passed between players via a¬†handball,¬†in which the ball is punched with a clenched fist from the other hand. This is the only hand pass allowed. Players can also kick the ball to opponents, and can ‘mark’ the ball by catching a pass that has been kicked over 15 meters without being touched or bouncing (I think). A mark gives the receiving player a free kick without the threat of a tackle. Players running with the ball have to bounce it every 15 meters. This and the kicking rule got me thinking how umpires (or anyone really) can tell what exactly 15 meters is on the field in such a fast game. I mean, does anyone really have the ability without computers to determine what was a 14, 15 or 16 meter pass or sprint? It seems pretty hard to do. I asked my friend and he replied with ‘they don’t’. Fair enough.

But knowing these rules made the game more fun to watch. Like any sport actually investing a few minutes to getting to know the rules means we can relate to the cheers and geers from the fans, and can actually join in. It was a great atmosphere and I would certainly do it again.

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I would recommend to anyone reading to go to a local sports game, even if you aren’t a sports fan. It is a great way to embrace the local culture, meet some of the cities most passionate people and try some of the local junk food, which is more than often delicious with a beer. It might not make sense at first, but think of it like trying new foods. You don’t know what it is or what to expect, but regardless of the outcome it is another memory to look back on. And I am certainly glad I had this one.

 


 

Pssst, if you want to see the pro-shot of the glorious ‘Freddie’ slide, here it is…

 

fightmnd.org.au/

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

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Cheers!

Sam

 

Advice on how to live without wifi

Now I have heard they (the web browser gods) have done this before, however it wasn’t until yesterday that I got to experience this brief bit of magic for myself for the first time.


The dinosaur image that displays when there is no internet became an animated game to play to pass the time. I mean I had wifi the whole time (I often come to Melbourne Central to get out the house as the wifi is very consistent here) however it was fun to play once before logging on.

I don’t really have any advice on how to live without wifi, I know I would struggle badly. I fear the day will one day come and I am greatly unprepared.

Just a quick post for you bloggers out there that enjoy an easter egg every now and then.

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

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Cheers!

Sam

I spoke too soon…

The weather has been perfect today in Melbourne. Warm enough to not need a jacket (by my standards) however as you can see from the trees winter is certainly here.


Melbourne looks great in the winter. The streets of colourful art and busy laneways keep me merry and the Nutella crepe stalls warm me up just by looking at them. It’s a great city to live whatever the season, and that season seemingly changes daily. The locals tell you that if you don’t like the weather here, wait a minute. And I’m making the most of these sixty seconds.

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

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Cheers!

Sam

I think these days are over…

A few readers from Melbourne will know that today was a fairly decent day in the sense it didn’t pour down. It’s still cold enough for a thick jacket but being dry made today actually pleasant enough to walk outside. However the days of gazing up and seeing the blazing sun surrounded by a blue sky are seemingly long gone.

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I cannot actually remember the last time I saw such a blue sky. Probably not too long after I took this shot,¬†riding along the coast in South Melbourne shortly after arriving in March. It doesn’t seem like I will be able to take my typical bright and colourful photos as much as I have been which is a damn shame, however it just means I will have to find other ways to keep my blog bright and upbeat.

More street art perhaps? I haven’t uploaded many of these posts recently. I guess more pictures from the inside of buildings too as I am usually looking from the outside. My phone has enough water damage already and the rain has been forcing me indoors more than I would like. Goddammit.

Or simply more posts without pictures, or without my own pictures. I enjoy using Unsplash¬†for some of my posts as there are some amazing photographers out there and this site allows you to use their images. You don’t have to credit the photographer, but I like to. They help me out so I want to return the favour. Some of the posts I thought wouldn’t be particularly popular without my own photographs are the most popular, which is a pleasant surprise. It shows it isn’t always about the images, although they can certainly help. A post can survive without photos, but a blog can’t really survive if there isn’t anything worth reading.

Maybe winter will help me to improve my writing skills with this in mind. I have always tried to see the benefits in any bad situation and if winter can help me improve on certain skills, then I have no complaints.

That, and I can try more hot chocolate variations. Have you tried hazelnut hot chocolate? A taste sensation.


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

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Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

Sam

Winter is coming.

I am probably in the minority here, but I love a rainy day. It sounds contradictory as I curse to myself all too often during that awful moment when I take my wet shoes and socks off, I should look at the soaked pavements underneath the sea of umbrellas with dread when venturing out. But I don’t. I just feel calm and relaxed and go about my day.

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I think this mindset comes from childhood. I remember in my more lazy teenage years a rainy day would give me a guilt free pass to stay indoors and play video games. I loved being outdoors as a kid as much as I do now, staying indoors on a nice day is very difficult. I can’t do it. On a rainy day I feel like I am allowed to and that sense of urgency washes away with the sound of the rain. I get a great sense of nostalgia.

It sounds crazy flying from the UK to Australia and being happy with the rain. But I have had my fair share of summer days down under. Sunshine that I made the most of on the incredible beaches down the east coast…

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And sunshine I avoided as much as possible whilst picking watermelons for ten hours a day.

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The sun can be a blessing or a curse depending on what we are doing. And being from northern England, the northern Queensland heat can be intense. I only recently moved from Brisbane and the weather there was still very humid for me even in March… I had to buy a jacket and scarf and actually wear jeans immediately after moving to Melbourne. But I didn’t mind the relief from the constant humidity, how long I will remain happy will have to be seen.

I’m not sure if ‘I like the rain’ is worthy of it’s own post, but one of the reasons I got onto my blog so soon after work is that I needed to get indoors fast. It is a blessing for my productivity on the blog.

And with that I ask, are you a fan? I have met Aussies that are jealous of the mild temperatures I get back home, and Brits that have moved here for the sun and never went back. And of course the exact opposite. I know some of you need the rain right now and will through the summer, and it reminds me to be grateful if anything.

What’s your verdict?

 

Featured Photo by Kieren Andrews on Unsplash

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

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Happy blogging,

Sam

We went for drinks and ended up at a divorce party…

I didn’t even know this was a thing. But it is and it seems to be a very fun thing. The silver lining I guess to what is no doubt a stressful time in anyone’s lives, and who doesn’t want a drink after stress?

I met up with two friends from my farming days that are currently in Melbourne. This is what I loved about the farmwork portion of my Australian experience, I made so many friends working in the fields and in the working hostel up in northern Queensland and have kept in contact with many. In fact, I have bumped into these fellow backpackers in pretty much every destination I have been too since, whether it was planned or unexpectedly walking down the street. I have said Australia is a very small country in this sense. With 25 million people stuck around the edges of the country it isn’t a surprise we constantly bump into each other from time to time.

Three of us went to a bar called Fathers Office, a nice rooftop bar in the city centre with a good happy hour. Naturally with happy hours we struggled to find a table, although one section that looked like a private event had an empty high table and we went for it. A girl and guy came over to us and I thought they were going to ask us to leave, instead they gave us each a toy soldier…

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Mine was the one on the left, the more aggressive one. I later found out that I would much rather have had the one on the right as when the guy giving us the figures shouted ‘atteeeeeeeeennnnntion!!!‘ throughout the evening, we had to pose like our figures. The loser had to take a drink, or finish the drink if it was almost done. It could have been a lot messier but they seemed to be a sensible bunch, or already drunk enough.

What we were told was that the man and woman with ‘Just Divorced’ banners around them were just that. Freshly divorced, but they were not divorced from each other. In fact they had recently divorced with their exes and were soon to be marry each other. It was a pretty beautiful story really, and we joined in celebrating.

I really couldn’t allow you to see the very first challenge without having my blog suspended or something…

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And here they are, the couple this post is all about. It is funny how these things just happen, not the party I am sure there was some planning involved. I just mean turning up for a couple of chilled drinks, turning right instead of left and down the stairs to the outdoor section and a whole different kind of night takes place. It is the butterfly effect really, one small decision can put us on a completely different path and sometimes, on a one full of laughs and good people. I wish all paths seemed to take this route.

Anyways, I am pleased these guys found each other and I wish them all the best moving forward. Thanks for the hangover and introducing me to a party I didn’t know I needed in my life.

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

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Happy blogging,

Sam

Always have a plan B…

Well I’m not getting anywhere fast…

You don’t expect such a disruption when walking, sometimes in traffic yes but rarely is even the footpath of a busy street in the CBD off limits. It was all good though, I went back down one block and the next street along was still open.

This happened on Friday, and wasn’t sure what it was about. I didn’t have time, this made me a little late however if people are willing to lie down in the middle of the crossroad my problems are small in comparison.

I was told by someone next to me that one of the signs had the word ‘bastards’ on it, so they certainly weren’t happy about something.

That something I have found out is climate change. Or a lack of action I guess. After a quick Google this article from The Age mentions a protest on this street, at the same time I took the photo. It was around noon and apparently protesters played dead in the street to stage a mock extinction. I am not sure if people caught a better view of it from the other side however all I could see was a line of police and horses.

Thankfully this protest wasn’t moving, so I didn’t really need a plan B other than run back and around another block. But sometimes we need plan B’s even in times when we can’t think of a reason why we would even need one. And it is funny how helpless we are when we are so used to a routine and one thing changes. Like a police line blocking the way. If this protest was bigger and blocking the whole of Bourke Street that I was about to cross, I would have been like ‘what the hell do I do?’… like a goldfish in a bowl with nowhere to go. I only ever give myself a few minutes to spare when heading to work everyday as I live so close, and moments like this remind me why that can be silly.

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

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Happy blogging,

Sam

 

I’ve never noticed this before…

I regularly walk through Melbourne Central when in the CBD, usually going to or coming back from work. I always thought the clock above was impressive but today there was a bunch of people taking photos at the same time.


It seems that on the hour the clock moves to reveal a hidden section of birds and children playing flutes. Gentle music plays and goes along with this. It was something I’ve never noticed before walking through, despite doing so countless times now.


I thought it was pretty cool and reminds me that I still have a lot to see in Melbourne, even on my most regular walks.

Just thought I’d share this little discovery with you all!

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

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Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

The nature of happiness

I watched a movie recently, for the first time in a long time. Whilst I have been travelling I haven’t watched much TV at all, I have preferred to get out and about and when indoors, have used the free time to blog about the travels. This photo was taken probably a month and a half ago in St Kilda, south of Melbourne’s CBD. The nature of the photo reminded me of the film I am talking about.

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The movie was Hector and the Search for Happiness. I will add a spoiler alert here, so if you are wanting to watch it maybe do so before reading further. It is about Hector (played by Simon Pegg), bored of his current existence and career, questioning if he is really happy in life. He then goes on a quest for happiness, one destination at a time whilst his girlfriend stays at home reluctantly waiting for him. It is a feel good movie and made me think about what I would consider happiness to be.

So, the spoiler. I have warned you!

The movie concludes that happiness isn’t just one emotion, it is all of our emotions. This may sound a little confusing, however the wheel above helps me to make sense of this and give my insight as to what I take from this message.

The stormy skies and beams of light breaking through gives this image- for me at least- a sense of hope and optimism. Which is why it made me think of the movie. Imagine life is this wheel, instead of a long road. Also, imagine the wheel with a clock face.

Let’s say 12 is happiness. Bliss, joy, euphoria, whatever happiness is to you. 3 o’clock can be mental pain, a loss, a breakup, a fight with a loved one. 6 o’clock is physical pain, surgery, a work injury, illness. Lastly 9 o’clock can be personal development, maybe improving ourselves by going to the gym or quitting a bad habit. Something not easy, but very rewarding in the long term. Between these numbers is every other emotion and experience linking these together, as each and every experience varies in size and duration. There isn’t a universal standard of emotional experience for any of us.

We are all born on this wheel. And with that, we will always reach the heights of happiness. Every single one of us. But none of us will stay there. Like anything in life, these experiences will come and go and are never permanent. As unpleasant as this may seem to think about, it can be very liberating to acknowledge.

To get back to happiness, we have to experience everything else life throws at us. Whether this is a unsuccessful job application or sickness, knowing this is only a temporary feeling should help us to keep going and get through the hard times. If anything, the lower we feel means the chances are our next step is going to be a brighter one. Time heals everything. And although time seems to stand still during dark moments, these moments are as temporary as any other. The night can be daunting, or with a closer look can be magical. It can provide an view we would never see with the light of day, and prevent us from fearing that sun going down once more.

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No one is exempt from this either. Just because someone else is experiencing happiness doesn’t mean they won’t hit every other number on the clock. We all get on this wheel at different times, and with this experience different emotions depending on where we are in life. Someone feeling the bliss at the top will have to feel the lows at the bottom. It doesn’t always seem this way as when we feel low, the joys of everyone else seem so apparent. But the joys we feel when it is our time feel too good to compare to the lives of others and often we are too busy enjoying life to want to compare with others. This is a good thing. However it does give the illusion that others feel happiness more than us when it is their turn. But that is just that. An¬†illusion.¬†And if it isn’t, like so many successful people in life, the prolonged time away from happiness can only be a motivator to strive for success. Sometimes the distance from comfort and joy motivates us to get there quicker than we ever would have. And experience it much more than we would have.

So this is my take on life. We all share turns at the top, and to get back there have to experience than sinking feeling once in a while. But knowing we will have to experience this ride and feel it all over again, instead of picturing life as a path with the hope of not experiencing the low spells, is more liberating to me. And preparing instead of evading helps me to get through when the time comes.

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Night Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary or follow me @samest89 on Instagram

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

What have you done this week?

How has your week been? I feel I don’t ask you beautiful people enough and as my week has been fairly uneventful I thought it would be a good time to ask you all about yours and hope that it has trumped mine. Speaking of Trump, I did find this hole in a mini golf course not far from me…

Probably the highlight of my week was getting a few holes up and getting to sit on the Simpsons couch. It’s more wooden than I thought.

But back to you. What have you done? Was there a highlight in the week for you? There definitely would have been something cool no matter how big or small, and sometimes reminding ourselves of the highlights is a great way to keep us in good spirits. I almost forgot about my mini golf session until this post, maybe because I lost this particular round.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend, mine is almost over but I look forward to hearing what you have been up to.

Keep livin’

Sam

 

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

Sam