It’s Friday the 13th of July and I’m off to a Red Bubble Melbourne Meet Up at the Marquis of Lorne; a pub in the back streets of Fitzroy. Its cold, drizzling and dark outside and I have to get from Ascot Vale in the inner North West to Fitzroy on the Northern outskirts of the Melbourne city centre.I could drive my old Nissan 25 minutes across town but I’m worried I won’t find a parking spot nearby. So I trudge off to the local train station to head into the city. I am wearing so many layers of clothing I feel like the Michelin Man, but oh so toasty. I want to wear something red for the ‘blind date’ but it has to be an outer layer. I remember I have a reversible shiny red jacket with polar fleece on the other side, so I wear that under my other jacket.The walk to the station takes 7 minutes but the train is late so I jump up and down and do all sorts of stupid movements to keep warm while I wait. The train arrives and I’m so happy to get out of the cold. I grab a discarded MX newspaper so I can avoid the blank stare so familiar on Melbourne’s public transport. I skim through it for a stop or two but decide I’ll continue a drawing in my sketchbook.I want to connect to a tram that will take me near the Marquis of Lorne so I decide to go through the loop to Parliament Station. I don’t know if it’s the cold or my nerves but I can’t remember which tram stop I should be at and walk to the wrong one. I walk back to the right one but in the meantime I miss the ‘every 20 minutes’ tram to Fitzroy. Being the philosophical chap that I am I decide it’s a good excuse for a walk to warm me up. So I head off toward Fitzroy at a brisk pace.I walk quickly for a couple of minutes. But what’s that up ahead?! The tram to Fitzroy! I bolt across the street and make it just before it pulls away. “Nice night for a walk” indeed!
The tram is fairly full as its only a quarter to eight but I get a seat and plonk myself down with satisfaction. Now I can sit back and relax as the tram takes a right down Gertrude St and a left into Smith St. The Marquis of Lorne is just a block in from Smith St so it’s a sweet ride.
I decide to take a photo of the original meeting place: “Montie’s”, where the instigator of the Meet Up; Jo, has put up a red balloon and a little sign redirecting any uninformed Red Bubblers.
Then its ‘round the corner to the pub. But before I head inside I take a photo for posterity. I wonder how many people will turn up? In I go.