Lazy Luddite Log


Melburnian Seasons

I'm all for taking interest in things just around the corner or even at home. However the seemingly endless swathes of suburbia can get samey at times. For someone living in the south-eastern suburbs there are three major destinations one can choose from for an outing. I try to get to each of these every year and they are...

The City: Have lunch in a trendy laneway. Visit the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Museum or the State Library. Browse a fancy shopping arcade. All these together will make for a full and fun day. And the City offers huge variety with which to mix-and-match this basic format.

The Dandenong Ranges: Journey into the dappled sunlight or clinging mists of the Dandenongs (as distinct from Dandenong). Go for a walk on a well-maintained forest path. Have some Devonshire Tea. There are plenty of villages hosting assorted tourist attractions in these hills to make this an interesting area to visit many times. Consider the Mount Dandenong Lookout, William Rickett's Sanctuary or Emerald Lake.

The Mornington Peninsula: Travel to one of the many beachside towns on this peninsula flanked by both bay and ocean. Wander along a beach. Have some fish and chips. In the past I have stayed here for holidays but it works just as well for a day visit. Inland sites to consider include Peninsula Hot Springs, Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm or the Ashcombe Maze.

These destinations have been playgrounds for Melburnians for all my life and much longer. The City can be accessed easily by public transport but the others may warrant driving. This in turn may necessitate car-pooling and that brings me to the topic of company. As I grow older I am getting a better sense that many things can be fun as solitary activities. However the right friends are also wonderful to share these experiences with.

Expense is another consideration. A lot of the cost however can be adjusted to fit a budget. Bring your own food to share if you cannot afford a fancy lunch. Choose the free access attractions if you cannot afford ones with a cover charge. Fun is an attitude as much as anything.

Some time ago I ran monthly events under the banner of One Fun Thing A Month (OFTAM). Since then I have done a kind of OFTOQ or OFTOS by holding a largish invite-list event each quarter or season. However, that invitation list changes from event to event. I now feel fully free to consider who will enjoy what, who will get along with whom, and who will enhance an event. And my pool of potential invitees has shrunk over time. I think it worth giving friends a chance to come to things but it also feels like nagging to invite someone over-and-over to things they never attend. Sometimes we have to take the hint. But back to the events themselves...

In Winter I try to do something for my birthday. I enjoy hosting house parties but some share households are better suited than others to such events and so more recently I have defaulted to things like suburban restaurant lunches.

In Summer I organize something water-oriented like a visit to the Brighton Baths which combines the experience of both beach and swimming pool.

Deciding what to allocate to both Autumn and Spring involves a bit more thinking. These 'shoulder seasons' are very similar. I feel that one is for 'a night on the town' playing 8-ball or seeing a live band. The other is for a picnic or barbeque in parkland. But which is best for which?

With age it seems that group events become more difficult to make happen and so I find I do more things one-on-one with individual friends. And as I do so I find that such combinations of me and one other person (sometimes a few) can become friendships that specialize in particular past-times. Some friends are more likely than others to accompany me to public lectures, others to movies, and yet others to exhibitions for retro collectors (this last activity is something I've come to surprisingly late for someone so into old toys).

I like to get out-and-about regularly. These deliberate patterns of expectation (whether based on geography or season) help me to do that and also to maintain friendships over the course of changing life circumstances.



  • I saw something last week that resonates with this post. Fiona Patten of the Reason Party (formerly the Sex Party) proposed the need for a government department to look into the problem of loneliness and isolation in modern mass society. This is a worthy proposal but I was in the mood to keep my post apolitical for a change. I can mention it in a comment however. :)

    By Blogger Daniel, At 28 October, 2018  

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