I had Friday off. I needed a break (plus, I have way too much annual leave, which I need to take before the end of the year...one day here and there doesn't really make much of a dent but it's better than nothing).
I took Truffles for a walk to the supermarket in the morning. I was surprised to see so many people walking their dogs (Don't these people have to be at work?). I bumped into one of my neighbours who was out with her pugs, one of whom (the older one) is slightly belligerent and always growls at Truffles. Near the supermarket, Truffs made friends with two schnauzers and I had a nice chat with the very good looking owner.
Later in the morning, I caught up with a gallerist friend of mine who recently retired. I hadn't seen her for most of the year. First, I was away, then we were both away. We are such busy international travellers nowadays. It has only been a month or so when we have both physically been in the same city.
We met at Richmond Station and went to a couple of nearby art galleries in Richmond (I bought an owl sculpture) before making our way to Victoria Street for vietnamese. My friend is soon going to Vietnam and Cambodia for a holiday and has started getting ready for the trip by immersing herself in vietnamese cuisine. She told me she had pho twice this week already.
We went to my favourite restaurant on Victoria Street. It is called Co Do. They specialise in the other vietnamese noodle soup, bun bo hue. I love the taste of the bun bo hue soup but less keen on the congealed pig's blood they normally throw in it. So... I usually end up mixing my phos and my buns (and order a special beef pho with bun bo hue stock). It is a total corruption of two dishes that are perfectly delicious in their own right – but the waiters always oblige. My friend had a stir fried fish and vegetable (she was pho–ed out).
After a very long lunch, my friend and I parted ways. I took the 109 back towards the city and went on a quest to find an oil burner in Collingwood. For the last two weeks, I have been going around Melbourne in search of an oil burner that, let's face it, I could probably have made myself by stealing stuff from my own laboratory (it would certainly be so much cheaper). This burner must have been featured recently on some design blog or tv show or something. It seems to be sold out everywhere. I was only 'partly' successful at Collingwood because I managed to buy only half the contraption and will have to wait a week for the most important component to arrive, the round bottom flask (i.e. the bit that you actually put the fragrant oils into...hmm, I might just pilfer a temporary flask from work in the meantime).
I decided to go up to Gertrude Street to catch the tram back to the Docklands. I got off the tram at the upper end of Southern Cross and was shocked to see that they have created a giant 'anti-terror' advert using the stair case. It reminded me of the 'be alert, but not afraid' adverts following the September 11 attacks. Such a sorry state, the world we now live in.
As I was walking home, I bumped into pug neighbour again. She was with her dogs. "I hope you haven't been walking your dogs all this time," I said. She laughed.
I made roast duck for dinner and was delighted to learn later that Malala was co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.