Braving The Cold To Meet Red Bubbles In Melbourne

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.

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