Miscellany: Canada, not just a country, a suburb too

Having lived in Toronto, Canada for five years my ears prick up anytime I hear the “C” word back here in Melbourne. I refer to the terms  Canadian or Canada. For my blog I will post all things Canadian I come across here during my time in Australia – history, people, sports, buildings etc.  If you are reading this and know of some Canadian content here in Melbourne, please email me. I’d like to find out more: justinrobertson79@gmail.com.


I like being surprised when I head out on a road trip. Heading to the Grampians last weekend via Ballarat my wife and I decided to spend some time at Sovereign Hill. Trying to do the math in my head while making the turn off to Ballarat’s city centre, I had come to the conclusion It had been more than 20 years since I had been there. My wife, a Canadian, had never been nor heard of it before this weekend. After a quick stop at the information centre, we piled up all the maps on the back seat and headed toward  goldrush country.

We had one more turn to make when I stopped the car in disbelief.

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Sport: Pakistan cricket caught in Taliban web

Something has gone awry with the state of cricket in Pakistan. The national cricket team has not played a home game since 2007, and touring teams refuse to play there. The gentleman’s game of cricket is being hacked.

Why? Terrorists.

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Community: It’s birds in the palm trees, not bats.

The retched screeching starts around knock-off time. Coming off the concrete station platform at Mordialloc,  around dusk every night, you’ll hear it.In fact, It’s hard not to hear it.  At first it seems like a few bats, flapping and screaming in the palm trees on Main St. But as you move closer you’ll notice they aren’t bats.These creatures have feathers.  Every now and then something flies out from the palm but it’s too quick and small to see exactly what the object is. In the right kind of luminous light you can see a green and sometimes red chest. Also, the closer you get to any one of the palm trees, the decibels increase. It’s a maddening sound. You can’t see what is hidden in the palm trees and all that exists is the ear-piercing and gregarious fowl sounds carried out by millions.

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Miscellany: The Macedonian Gardener

Mum has always been a devout gardener.

Last week my mother made three new additions to her yard – an apricot tree, a plum-tree and rose flowers.In an already crammed garden, these freshman plants will sit beside staple backyard figures that have been part of the Robertson fabric for years. The lemon tree. The cherry tree. The mint and parsley patch. The apple tree. Fig, peas and tomato plants. They all have their place in prodded soil that surrounds the fence line.

There’s always been space for a garden at our place.

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Urban Affairs: Sketch me a map, anytime.

Last month I was invited over to a friend’s house for dinner. He and his wife had just moved into their three-bedroom property and it had been a while since we had caught up. I was eager to see their new pad. My friend had phoned me earlier that day to give me his address and directions. I scribbled down the information on the back of a receipt and continued to listen. Going to a suburb I’ve never  been to before, I try to take in the good advice from my friend. “Take this road, turn at that corner, it’s quicker if you head in this direction,” he said. But, it’s all German to me. The directions did not sink in. He was telling me what he visualized, but I had no visuals. I had never been there before. But I nod politely at the other end of the phone  and gave him the satisfaction of letting him direct me. I knew the moment I got off the phone I would Google his address and create my own path there.

It just seemed easier that way.

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