Yes, that's the way they spell it - it's a play on the classic bike race, the Paris Roubaix over the cobble stones of northern France. I know I can be boring about bikes but this Sunday was sooo much fun.
Here in Melbourne, our classic is run over the bluestone cobbles of the back lanes of Melbourne's suburbs and finishing at the old Brunswick concrete velodrome. The above pic is the promotional poster for this annual event - the third so far. It attracts a weird and wonderful group of cycling enthusiasts.
The real classic had been won by the Belgium rider Roger DeVlamnick several times under the sponsorship of his team Brooklyn Chewing Gum. My cycling buddy Dazza and I both have reproduction Brooklyn jerseys and we thought it would be fitting that we ride these in our cobblestone classic.
We even thought of entering under the name of "the Rogers"as a tribute.
Peter (Nancy Boy) and Lawrence were vying for the most interesting couple - I personally thought they would be winners. Kiwi was in charge of directions.
As it happened, Dazza was suffering from a HUGE hangover and forgot his Brooklyn jersey.
The boys, Kiwi (here's from NZ) and Al look over this year's instructions over a pick me up coffee.
It wasn't long before Daggy Dazza lost interest and took in a few ZZZZZZZs
No Aussie event is complete unless there is a beer bar available and this one was a mobile bar.
The cobblestones in the laneways of Melbourne.
And that's me in my Roger jersey.
The finish, just like the Paris Roubaix finishes on the velodrome.
Here we are at the finish with a few friends in the background. from the left - Kiwi, Leaping Leon, Big Al and Daggy Dazza. The old velodrome holds some very special moments for me in my past racing history but being so humble, I can't document them all here................
This couple won the prize for, well the Best Couple. I spoke to them at the velodrome and asked if "in those short sleeve JERSEYS were they FRESIAN in this cold weather?" And that's enough of my COW jokes.
My mate Phil was the "Hat check out chick" looking after our bikes as we enjoyed a few beers.
What a great Sunday we had on the cobbles of MELBURN.
Yes, it's still Friday here (8.00pm) and I discovered this really funky singer and I can't get enough. Sadly she's no longer with us. Don't know why I hadn't heard her in the 60s/70s, but I didn't. Recently I was watching Elvis Costello and Elton John talking how this singer/song writer influenced them.
Her name you ask.
I watched a few you tubes of her and thought, I have to have some of her CDs. Well Amazon did the trick for me and before I knew it, three of her CDs were in the mailbox and in my car six stacker. I'm hooked.
Our old computer is ancient, a dinosaur - sooooo slow that it stutters. It was time to bite the bullet and upgrade. Sure, we had our laptops but there's something about a big screen desktop.
I wanted to look at a Mac or a touch screen. Why, can't tell you, it just seemed like a good idea, different, new technology. Nope, I was out voted, by the family - as always.
This is Gem checking out some new things in the house - she doesn't like to see changes in her environment. It makes her nervous and uncomfortable. She certainly will when I turn up the sound on this computer.
Check this out - it has big sound, it's really fast and it has a glass of wine as well. The Woofer and tower are hidden below the desk.
We had our old desktop for 4 years, maybe more. My memory is a bit like the old computer, full of trivia. It was sooooo slow that I gave up on it and used my laptop and the note book that we use for travelling.
We needed something that would store all our photographs and music. Oh yes and a sound system that would do the music collection justice.
Technology is a great thing - we have phones that play music, give travel directions, receive email, AND we can actually make and receive phone calls - how cool is that?
We had guests arriving Sunday night for dinner and it was for a very special occasion, but more about that later. Sue can explain the menu for the meal. Made some hummus to start with sumac dusted pita crisps for nibbles with our drinks.
Sue prepares the ice cream mix
We started with the same old garlic, chilli,ginger,lime prawns quickly char grilled with lime and sweet chilli sauce. Boring, but I love them and they look good on the slate plates.
Next I cooked a big leg of lamb for 4 hours on a low temp, nestled in a bed of diced potatoes and garlic, till it all went sticky and fell off the bone. I served that on a bed of rocket with an aioli sauce. Had some roasted cherry tomatoes on the top for a bit of extra flavour and color. The veges you see went on a separate platter, as did some french beans with a bit of lemon garlic oil on them. Garlic is a recurring theme in this house!
Dessert was a caramel, nut tart (walnuts and almonds) served with salted butter caramel icecream. A flavour I love from France, and have been able to make here thanks to David Lebovitz. A little bit of cream, and just in case it wasn't rich enough, a sprinkle of praline over the top!
Our friends brought some lovely chocolates to go with coffee, and I cleverly forgot to serve them. I found them in the kitchen in the morning. AND, although I felt bad about it, the son and husband have been pretty pleased during the week!
One of our friends is not a big meat eater so we made sure that plenty of veggies were on offer.
The leg of lamb was sooooo yummy.
And looked so great on the table - not much left over for my lunch the next day.
The wine was flowing with an aperitif of Kir Royale. Progressing to the dinner table, the red was a Coonawarra Cabernet. To match the desert, we had a Monbazillac sticky which was introduced to us on our recent Paris trip by friends.
The door bell rang - our guests arrived for a Sunday night meal and also a celebration dinner. Al and Tracey are to be married soon in Thailand. We can't make the trip due to having our time in Paris last month so we thought that we would offer our good wishes with dinner. The other couple, Denise and Darren joined us as well.
Tracey and Alistair open their wedding present - take note of Al's plate, I think he licked it clean.
Dazza and Al will be sailing in the Australian Championships after Tracey and Al return from their honeymoon.
Alistair proposed to Tracey with a Van Morrison song. We are both rabid Morrison fans, that is until we saw him live. We both were at the same concert many years previous before we knew each other.
Al asked if I had many Van Morrison CDs, silly question!!!!!!!!!!!
For our second full day in Paris Sue wrote, “We slept well and rose early, left by 7.30 am – just before the dawn broke. Leon didn’t go for a run, poor boy has sore thighs. We had breakfast in a café at Place de Saint Michel, excellent and friendly. Went to the tourist office and booked a tour of Versailles for tomorrow.”
The Hop on Hop off bus is something you should do on your very first visit to Paris.
Discover the usual Tourist attractions and then go on foot for your own personal discoveries.
We decided that on our first trip to Paris, the hop-on – hop-off bus might be the best way to discover an overall quickie view of the city’s main attractions. It wasn’t to later visits to Paris that we discovered that the best attractions were the hidden, not so well known ones.
As a student, I was always interested in art and studied the great masters and also had a preference for the impressionists. We had our own impressionists in Australia but more about that at another time. Two of the Museums on my list were Rodin’s and of course the Musee d’Orsay.
After the bus took us by Place de Concorde, up the Champs Alysse and past the Eiffel Tower, we jumped off at Musee Rodin. Walking through the gates and into the garden, we knew we would be in for a treat. Rodin’s “The Thinker” was hit by the sunshine of midday and in the background stood beautifully manicured trees and further in the distance the gold dome of Invalides rose above the wall of Rodin’s garden.
This building where Rodin lived holds a most amazing collection of his own works combined with his personal collection of fellow artists and scupturers.
The Kiss and the Thinker - I'd seen pictures in books but to see the real thing required me to spend some time absorbing Rodin's great works.
The collection held not only the many Rodin masterpieces, but also item’s from his own collection gathered over the years. I’m not sure you can do justice to the collection in a short time but we had it mind to move on to Musee d’Orsay where I wanted to see the many artists that I had studied in my teenage years.
The Musee d'Orsay gold clock
In later visits to France I became interested in the history of Joan of Arc. Athough this statue is rather magestic, there is a most amazing sculpture of her in full flight on horseback in Chinon.
Just a few of the Art Nouveau settings at the Musee d'Orsay
They were all there, my very favorite, Toulouse Lautrec, Matisse, Monet and Manet. It also held the most superb collection of Art Nouveau furniture and accessories. Words can’t do the exhibition justice and only photographs come close – you need to be there.
And in fact, I can call this my first visit as I returned in 2009 and was even more impressed.
It had been a long day, so we caught a taxi outside back to our hotel and the ever friendly concierge Vincent.
At the end of the day Sue wrote in the diary, “The language is interesting. I don’t understand the words but I seem to get the meaning somehow. I love the music of French. Leon on the other hand doesn’t cope if people speak to him. He looks like a rabbit caught in headlights and I need to ride to the rescue. HOWEVER – he seems to know which way to go and we get there AND he carries the bag – what a team.”
Yes, that's Sue wondering which way to get back to our hotel.
And a word on the Parisians from Sue’s jottings for the day, “I am astonished by the charm, helpfulness and good humor of the Parisians. Definitely NOT what I expected. So far they have been uniformly delightful (except for the sullen boy with attitude at the internet café, but I think he’s just like that – poor soul).”
Next week – Versailles, the Pantheon, Luxembourg Gardens and Dinner.