Monday, July 30, 2012

Melbourne Surprise

Australia's divided into states, each with its own capital city. I've been to some of them, but a glaring gap, and one I was keen to fill, was Melbourne. It's an old city, founded in the earliest days of British colonisation. These days it competes with Sydney to be the funkiest, most cosmopolitan in Australia. (Sorry Brisbane, you're not there yet).

To jump on a plane and zoom off to another city, you need an excuse. Mine was Cat Stevens' musical 'Moonshadow'. Cat (aka Yusuf Islam) doesn't perform in it but he wrote the story, and the music spans his career. I don't remember hearing his music when I was growing up, but every tune was familiar and many are on my iPod. The show was brilliant, and the songs could have been written for their scenes. I loved it.

Another reason was to meet fellow GT6 owner Craig Trimble, who helps run the Sideways Forum. Craig's had his Damson Mk3 for over fifteen years, and it's slowly being modified to suit his idea of the perfect Triumph. We spend all Saturday in the garage talking Triumphs, BBQing sausages and gradually putting parts into his car. The plan was to get it running in and blast back into town in time for for Moonshadow. We (mostly Craig) modified his transmission cover and refitted it, bolted in the seats, filled the coolant system, modified the heater tap, bolted up the exhaust and relocated the battery to the behind the passenger's seat. This was done by a little after 7pm - the concert started at 8 - so all that remained was to drop the old girl onto her wheels, fire her up and scream into town. 

Triumphs being Triumphs though, she refused to start. A few coughs, plenty of spark and fuel, but no fire. We gave up when the cranking speed started dropping, and I was treated to a just-in-time run into town in a Supercharged Monaro. Thanks Craig, I sat down just as the curtains rose!

The third part of the mystery weekend was catching up with a fellow refugee from Mackay, who lives in Melbourne. We were trapped in Mackay airport by bad weather for two days with nothing but complementary food and wine to sustain us, and she kindly offered to show me some of the sights, sounds and tastes that Melbourne is famous for. A brilliant day of restaurant, bar and cafe-hopping meant that I got very little sleep that night.

Pellegrinis, one of Melbourne's oldest cafes. Great coffee, served with full cream attitude!

Melbourne from the 88th floor of the Eureka tower

And so the verdict? When my GT6 is finished, a perfect test drive would be a run down the East Coast, through Sydney, Melbourne and along the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide. But Melbourne turned out to be more fun than I'd thought possible - I'll be back much sooner than that :-)


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