Michael Lean has turned 40. Well done sir. Who would have guessed as we giggled through Algebra and Geometry in 1985 that today, you would have two children and your own aeroplane, and STILL the most beautiful hair in the business. As for your prostate... well, we'll see won't we?
I attended Michael's shindig in Melbourne on Friday night. A bit of an extravagance, but well worth it I think. He booked a suite at the Sofitel and did it all properly. I dashed to the airport after work. Its quite convenient that you can check yourself in over the www now - as long as you are traveling light of course. Had quite the worst landing I can remember in Melbourne - actually hurt my neck. Hostie followed this up on the PA with "It is 7.55 local time, and the temperature outside is... is...I don't know what the temperature outside is". Virgin Blue - its all comedy.
The hotel was next to Southern Cross Station, where the Skybus pulls up. Its quite grand, and in fact calls itself Grand Hotel Melbourne - I mooned about for a while looking for the word "Sofitel" somewhere on it, but thanks to mobile phones I could call the birthday boy and he talked me in.
The gang was all there - lots of fly-ins from Tasmania like myself, and many more with Tasmanian roots who have resided in the Garden State for 15 years or more. The food was delish, and I was famished, so I wolfed down about a pint of sashimi. Among folks I have not seen for years were; Clifford Plumpton (recent successful Millionaire contestant), Chris Lynch (bald, living in Burnie & working with disengaged kids), Michael's wife Roz, and Yolande Love (mother of three and looking about 25), and David Jones, who I met once 20 years ago, he now does solar cell research and plays the stock market. John and Carmen were there, Alex turned up in usual tardy fashion, I had a good chat to Stu who I remember from Burnie in the eighties - it was that kind of night.
I was staying with Alex - we said our goodbyes at about 2am. Taxi were thin on the ground - we found one somehow. The next day it dawned on me we were roaming around King St, in the tiny hours of Saturday - not a smart place to be really. Come to think of it some of the girls standing by the kerb wearing micro skirts and thigh boots might not have actually been after taxis.
The next day Alex and Suparna took me down the street (past Deb Conway's house, and then Deb Conway walking her dog) for coffee at the Windsor Deli - a nice little place with one (1) table. They dropped me in Carlton on their way to a picnic with Alex's parents in the Yarra Valley. I strolled over to Vincent and Andy's house to see them and their newish twins.
Everyone there was looking frighteningly healthy, especially Alistair and Isabelle, who must be about 5 months old now. I held Isabelle and she regarded me levelly - she may never have seen such a ludicrous moustache before. It was terrific to see the kids looking so well. They were about 6 weeks premature, and I remember that even Marcus who was 3 weeks premature took a good while to start to fill out properly.
I had neglected to plan how to get from Carlton back to Southern Cross. Vincent stepped in and got me there about 30 seconds before a bus departed for Tullamarine. I walked into the airport as my flight started boarding. I found a "check yourself" terminal and checked myself. People were still dribbling out of the boarding gate when I got there, so I had time to repack my hefty bag. Flight was uneventful. Elf and the boys met me and I got back into the swing of things rapidly by dropping Elf at home and taking the boys to the pool.
That was my third flit to Melbourne this year. I'll be staying put for a good while now.