Thursday, October 27, 2011

11 things in life

1. It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return. But what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let that person know how you feel.

2. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was never meant to be and you just have to let go.

3. The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.

4. It's true that we don't know what we've got until we lose it, but it's also true that we don't know what we've been missing until it arrives.

5. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, and hour to like someone, and a day to love someone - but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

6. Don't go for looks; they can deceive. Don't go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.

7. Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you want to be, because you only have one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

8. Always put yourself in the others shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the person too.

9. A careless word may kindle strife; a cruel world may wreck a life; a timely word may level stress; a loving word may heal and bless.

10. The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything, they just make the most of everything that comes their way.

11. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you're the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The countdown is on ...... COLLINGWO8D!

Create yours at!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Roy cartoon

Monday, January 07, 2008

Vale Clinton Grybas

Clinton Grybas
09/02/75 - 05/01/08

Clinton Grybas died on Saturday. The cause of death has not yet been determined. He was only 32, 33 next month. Why do I write about this person? I didn't know Clinton but I sort of did if that makes sense.

Clinton was a sportsbroadcaster here in Melbourne covering a range of sports on radio and television which includes boxing, basketball, cycling, tennis, Formula One and is best known for calling aussie rules. Most Australians knew him from his days on Fox Footy and in particular as host of White Line Fever. He was a very, very good commentator and presenter who imparted his knowledge and wisdom with aplomb and set a standard many in the footballing fraternity could learn from.

I was absolutely shocked when I walked into a 7-11 yesterday only to look at the day's paper and to see a huge headline that he had died. It was like I had lost someone I knew. It was all very odd. I shouldn't have emotions or an attachment for someone that I only saw on television or heard on radio. It appears my reaction has been replicated not only across Australia but regions of the world.

On the 3AW website [3AW being the radio station Grybas worked for, along with Fox Sports Television] there is at least seven pages of tributes and countless more in the Herald Sun website's readers' comments section. There is a whole section dedicated to Grybas on the 3AW site. This is extraordinary to say the least. He was thoroughly respected and universally liked in the industry and by the public.

So many people who did not know Grybas were compelled to share their thoughts. What does this say about us? Does it say more about how technology has brought us even closer to those we don't know, will never know. Do we need to mourn to purge ourselves of the stresses and conflicts that life delivers us? As we grow older do we become more aware, more vulnerable to the frailties of life? Of our own mortality? What could have been? I don't know.

Grybas would have gone down as one of sport's greatest broadcasters should his life not have been cut short, for what he achieved in his short time surely cemented his place amongst the best.

Here's my own tribute:

I was stunned when I saw the front page of the Sunday Herald-Sun. I thought how could it be so, he was so young. My deepest sympathies to Clinton's family, friends and work colleagues.

When I was living in New Zealand I always looked forward to logging in to listen to Clinton, Rex and the AW team especially when they broadcast Collingwood games. For all the hilarity and antics in the commentary box you always knew Gyrbas would add some sanity.

Having returned to Melbourne I was looking forward to tuning into AW when at the games this year. Footy broadcasts will not be the same. He was one of the best. RIP Clinton Grybas.

Floreat pica.

NB: Floreat pica loosely translates as 'may the magpie prosper' and is a reference, motto for the Collingwood Football Club. Grybas was a Collingwood supporter.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

In search for truth, understanding and wisdom

I came across something I wrote quite a few years ago.

- August 1994 -


The Serenity Prayer

From the moment we commence our existence- life’s journey- we live towards its cessation. Ostensibly, it matters little, in the scheme of things, of who or what we are during this journey since we all end at the same destination eventually. Of more importance is the extent of ‘success’ achieved and; conversely, the perception of having lived a ‘good life.'

For many, mostly of the western genre, a good life is measured in materialistic terms; monetary and materialistic possessional wealth, all too often, symbolise the perception of success. Yet when we look at the Eastern cultures and all their values, we see much poverty, helplessness, and many other facets that we snub our noses at. We perceive them as lesser beings because a vast majority is unlikely to have what we are able to. Sure, much of what these Eastern cultures experience, and are subjected to, may not tickle our fancies yet most can live with the hardships and adverse struggles. Acceptance of this is usually not a choice for them. Many live in perpetual hope for a better life but all they have, the little it may be, is really all they need.

How often do we see and hear of those who have everything they could wish for but are still miserable? Why? What more do they need? Could part of the answer lie in the lack of happiness in their lives? Again, we question why? Could it be that for all the money they possess they cannot buy them the one thing they truly seek- love? More so, their riches cannot buy them the time to seek love. But, if money cannot buy love, and we cannot physically grasp this abstract concept, how then is it attainable? Where do we find love? Who will give us the answers? Nowhere and in no other entity will the answer be. It is not a crime to ask or seek assistance from others, or the various sources available but they must be used for guiding references since there will be no concrete answers found there. Ultimately, the answers lie within you; your mind, your heart, your soul.

Before we can truly understand the external world and all before us, we need to fully understand what is inside us- our spirit. Unfortunately, we in the Western world so often see spirituality as something to fill in a spare Sunday afternoon whilst the Eastern worlds find it as a way of life, inadvertent or not.

We are to busy living life for other's sake and not for ourselves; we are too busy bettering ourselves in order that we can be perceived a better person than someone else. We should live life for ourselves- not selfishly though, whilst also considering those around us. We should be able to live interdependent of each other with our own personal reality existing within reality as a whole- separate yet together.

A good life, to which we are always aspiring, involves a delicate balance of the aforementioned; a balancing of reason and compromise; finding the middle ground where we can exist at peace, and contentedly. For many, life is just so black and white. Grey does not feature prominently at all. It is within this grey area, a balance and blend - or connection of the two halves, where most do not see or accept as being possible. We, ourselves are a connection of the halves; we are being yet simultaneously nothing.... For a single positive plus single negative produce this.

Life is full of positives and negatives, of which the negatives are too often perceived and emphasised. Are not we born a positive energy filled being only to be conditioned by the infinite negatives of this world? Too cynical? Perhaps. In striving forward we should eventually transcend all things abstract and physical to return to our original state- that of nothingness. In traversing life we, too easily and too often, see and accept the negativity that encompasses us; that which holds us back from going forward. Individually we can apply this notion to ourselves.

All to easily we accept ourselves for what we are and not what we could or should be. We tend to behold a negative perception of ourselves and others. Very few individuals can truly claim they are at peace within the heart and mind. For those that aren’t, there are probably thousands of personal questions not likely to be asked for fear of being perceived as inadequate or unstable.

We are always striving to be someone or something, pedastalling our heroes, and trying to live up to the expectation of others. What is so wrong with being what you really are- yourself? No one else can be you so why not take advantage of this unique quality? No one else has it. They have their own uniqueness and how they deal with it, well, that is their business.

“I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadows;
If I fail, if I succeed,
At least I’ll live as I believe
And whatever it is they take from me,
At least I’ll have my dignity”
- The Greatest Love of All, Whitney Houston

How, you may ask, can someone be himself or herself? Simple- through loving themselves: being able to acknowledge and accept all the positives and negatives of themselves. Keep that which you like about yourself, change that which you don’t but first and foremost, change to satisfy your desires. Though, while doing so, do consider the desires of others but change because you want to and not solely because others want you to. The need for change is mistaken by many as the need to change only for others. Effecting a change to keep others happy will probably find you still miserable. Change must occur for the right reasons and not for change’s sake otherwise it could be a waste of time and energy. Why do that? It makes little sense. Then again, life is nonsensical!

We cannot love ourselves properly until we can understand what ‘love’ means. It means many things to many people. We can be told what it is like, how it feels yet until it is experienced we will never truly know. What then is it? It is not only the love for someone or something but also that which surrounds us. Every physical structure on this planet, inanimate or otherwise, has been created and filled with love. Love is a positive energy; it is never-ending; it is perfect. Like the circle, it has no end or a beginning. It is just there, our knowledge of it innate. We, as individuals, are the product of two people who ‘made love’: the sum of two halves.

If we can accept this as well as appreciate our mere mortal existence, however long, we should be well on the way to a ‘good life.' Though, this begs the question: “Yes, I can see that but how do I change all which I don’t like about myself?” In reply, remember that very little will occur instantly or even overnight. Changes will be subtle yet only occur when a person is ready. Like love, this cannot be forced. It will happen when the time is right, which is the crux of a happy existence. Change is a huge learning curve but........ “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.....”

As simple as all this may sound, a great many cannot see or understand this for looking. Are they scared of what they might find? Do they really want to find out? No one can justifiably say there is ever a moment when they fully know who they are- what would the point of life be? We are forever changing and learning about, and from, these changes. When we do stop learning, we should be dead. But what should be three of the greatest things we could learn of ourselves: we are our own heroes, own best friend yet our own worst enemy! If everyone and everything were taken from us, who or what do we turn to now? Who will guide us, comfort us or even argue with us?

“There’s a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don’t have to be afraid
Of what you are
There’s an answer
If you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you know
Will melt away...”
- Hero, Mariah Carey

If ‘love’ is a positive, what is its negative? Fear. It is easy to emphasize the negatives within a thing yet our own fears and phobias are rarely exposed or acknowledged. Do we really know what fear is? How is it experienced? Think for a moment..... Isn’t fear equivalent to pain that, in turn, is real? If it is real, it must be permanent, and thus a truth. Our phobias are truths we don’t wish to seek. Ever heard of the saying ‘the truth hurts!’ In experiencing a permanent state we are not changing or progressing, and in doing so, are we not contradicting another essence of life- change? We need to, and must, acknowledge our fears- accept the need for change- and then conquer them. How many of us enjoy pain?

Like our fears, we need to let go much of our past. Whilst we may remember many moments we have experienced, there is an equal number we’d rather forget. Why not cherish the good experiences yet learn from the bad ones? We cannot progress fully if we are still clinging to the past. We don’t live for the past; we cannot and will not live in the future; live in the present for we don’t know what the future does behold. No one does.

Manifestly, it seems our greatest fear is that of entering the unknown. Death appropriately symbolizes, and is the subject, of this. Why should we fear death? How can we pass judgment upon something we are yet to experience? The closest experience relative to death is that of sleeping or being knocked unconscious, initial pain excluded. How can anyone dislike either of these similar states? Death may well be an even more joyous experience than life itself, but who can say?

By understanding our fears we can adventure into the unknown with the security of realizing there is nothing to lose and so much more to gain. Consequent of this knowledge, we should then be able to give altruistically and still be able to accept what is given to us. We do and give so much more when we are happy.... when our morale is high.

‘What goes around comes around’ or conversely, ‘give a little bit of love and you’ll get it back’. The only place love derives itself is from the heart. The heart can only feel, sense. It is positive. Our negativity, ostensibly, stems from the mind; our perceptions, our ego. It is from our ego forever boosting itself where problems and troubles arise. The heart cannot think. It possesses an intuition or gut feeling that is right more often than not. When the heart is wrong, well, you can only learn from experience.

It is our ego, which creates our self-esteem, self-belief and self-confidence. It conveys an attitude all too necessary for us to survive. Our goal is to be the best at what we do- to be number one, to keep surviving; yet our ego is our greatest enemy. The human’s self-destructive tendencies are well documented and only natural since we are ‘striving’ toward death. Apart from sadomasochistic acts upon others, and ourselves, drugs are another avenue towards destruction. Manifestly, we do not truly love others and ourselves if we have a need for drugs. Whilst ‘reality’ or ‘mainstream society’ isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, what are we really escaping from?

“If you love something, set it free; if it doesn’t return, it was never for you in the first place.”

Cannot the same be said of our mind (through drugs or other) and emotions of the heart? Particularly for the masculine gender, society previous has perceived an outward display of emotions as unmanly, as abnormal. Who made the ‘rules’? What defines ‘normal’? To be comfortable we need to be freely able to express our thoughts and emotions without other’s perceptions subjecting us to ridicule, as is often the case. Man and woman alike, aesthetics aside, are born equal; as unique individuals. They each possess a heart as well as the innate knowledge of its emotions and attributes. If we are all individuals yet of the same brotherhood, why is society like it is? That I dare not answer!

Because of society’s do’s and don'ts we tend to privatize our thoughts and feelings by bottling them inside thus creating an emotional reactor ready to explode. Too many believe they are ‘the only one’ experiencing a particular predicament. Weight of numbers suggests this is not the case. However alone or lonely one may feel, doesn’t one have themselves for a friend? If one cannot find a friend in oneself you are in trouble. If you don’t love yourself, no one else will.

You cannot love yourself, let alone others, if you hide behind various masks and lies. That is not being honest or true to yourself- self-respect is paramount. You are not being honest to others. Beauty cannot be found in something not true. ‘Truth is beauty and beauty is truth’ ... which is something we all have. It may not be apparent to all but by seeing this beauty and/or truth in us, this will become so much clearer to see in others. Don’t we love someone, in every sense, for the good qualities they bring out of us, which makes them happy, and, in turn, us happy? ‘I love you because (essentially) I love myself!”

Too many cannot see for looking the love inside and around them. Many will never find it unless they are directed to it. They will never appreciate what love is until it becomes a personal experience. It should be at this point when their heart and mind can coexist comfortably and contentedly. Everyone travels at their own pace and some will reach this moment before others, irrespective of their chronological age. This should and will happen only when they are ready for it. They can determine this yet fate will ultimately decide for them... just like death.

Unfortunately, it would be naive to think life could be so idyllic when we could achieve a balance between the forces that be ‘us’ and the forces that be ‘reality’. A state of utopia may very well be a guise for death... But then again, who knows?

All we need is a little faith and belief in ourselves because... “... Just believe in me and I will love you endlessly.” It matters not the origin of these concepts, be they internal or external, so long as we know we are not alone and we can freely be ourselves. Be different- dare to be different. Be positive; do not eschew what you are.

Q: Is the glass half full or half empty?
A: Half full, I would suggest.

From learning what others and we are, we gain a knowledge and understanding that will assist in accepting life for what it really is... a miracle. Wisdom is a result of this and is interdependent of our relative intelligence. Wisdom is knowing when to live and let live; to change that which is possible. Intelligence is knowing how to effect change but wisdom will determine its necessity. Wisdom is being able to influence change by sowing a seed of thought, not preaching. Those with wisdom will let change occur by itself when it is not their place to change what they dislike. Wisdom manifests from the heart while intelligence is of the mind. Wisdom is also a combination of the heart and mind; a balance of positive and negative.

A ‘good life’ was experienced when we were children. Back then we were innocent, naive, foolish, sheltered- free of responsibility; idealistic. It WAS a good life then and still is now...

“Why can’t we be ourselves like we were yesterday?”

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I Love a Sunburnt Country

Quintessentially Australia, here is one of the great poems in our hstory. Note that most people will be familiar with the second verse only.

Acknowledgments to Dorothea MacKellar who wrote this poem in 1906.

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded Lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens,
Is running in your veins;
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains,
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me.

The tragic ring-barked forests
Stark white beneath the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
An orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the crimson soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart around us
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold;
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown Country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A lifetime ago

Well, it's been a while since I last added something. There are so many things happening that I could vent my spleen to but will leave that for another day.

I am now in Melbourne and have been since the middle of October.

It shouldn't surprise me that all is not what it seems. Melbourne, a marvellous city, a great city, was my childhood home. It's been nearly 10 years since I last lived here and before that another four years.

I knew a very different place back then, back in the 70s and 80s; a place where the inner suburbs were affordable for up and comers, for those who worked hard and scratched and scraped to afford a respectable postcode.

I remember a place that, through innocent eyes, could do no wrong. A place where you could kick a footy in your street (save for the cars that would occasionally get in the way), somewhere you could play cricket and smash the odd neighbourhood window. Only metres away there was a church, a milk bar and just around the corner there was a small park. This was a place where you would say hello to anybody, you would make friends with other kids who lived nearby. You could even buy cigarettes from the milk bar on credit and they'd only cost $2.40 for a pack of 20. Coca Cola came in a one litre bottle, you could buy ice cream by the scoop and 50 cents of mixed lollies was a gold mine for you but a nightmare for the milk bar owner.

I was fortunate that I went to school locally and had a number of friends who were only a short bike ride away. You could drop by unannounced and just hang out for hours. Some of my more affluent friends had pools and tennis courts, even a PC, so we whiled away the hours swimming or hitting a ball or playing old school VGA games. As long as you were home before dark all was well.

Many of my friends have moved away yet just as many have remained. I hope to reconnect with those I have not seen in 10, 15 even 20 years. There are those I did manage to keep in contact with on a regular basis and I hope they can continue to be a part of my life, my Melbourne, our Melbourne.

My Melbourne (it will always be that to me) had old trams and trains with character. It had houses and city buildings with grand architecture, with history. It had Fords and Holdens and the odd Japanese import. Mercedes, BMWs and Range Rovers were status symbols. Volvos were in abundance. Melbourne was a part of you just like the footy team you happened to support. Just like your family who provided for you and gave what it could.

My Melbourne has changed just a little. I have not been back long enough to determine whether it is for the better or not. On regular visits I thought it had. It's what you don't see when you are no longer a resident that will leave your mouth agape. As a tourist Melbourne is one of the most fantastic places to visit in Australia. I haven't met one person who says they don't like the place. How could they when they have at their disposal a multitude of world class sport and sporting venues, fabulous restaurants and entertainment galore by way of art galleries, museums and other exhibitions?

Melbourne as per the vision of 10-15 years ago has slowly shifted west towards the old Docklands area. There is still a lot of work to be done but to date it is fairly impressive yet somewhat clinically sterile. While there are some quite large apartment buildings the area still lacks for solid infrastructure though that is coming. Tram routes have been extended to the region, a supermarket is a year away and one of the top 4 banks, ANZ, is moving its headquarters there in the next two years. It is expected this will stimulate growth.

The changing face of Melbourne. Who remembers the old Allen's Sweets factory where Southbank now stands? There's that monolith of a money sucking venture in Crown Casino just along the way. The train lines to St Kilda and Port Melbourne have been dormant and converted to light rail. Heck, Melbourne even has an Aquarium now and the overbridge that would have run adjacent to it on Flinders Street is no more. Spencer Street station is no more, replaced by a more modern, buzzing structure known as Southern Cross.

What about the hideous, brown Gas & Fuel Corporation and SEC buildings that stood along Flinders Street up near Russell Street? Once upon a time the No 70 tram stopped just adjacent to where Transport Bar is. The Epping and Hurstbridge lines terminated at platforms where Federation Square lies. Jolimont railyards were rationalised so that about 44 tracks were condensed into 12.

What does one make of the trams and trains? Long gone are the W class trams only to be seen on very 'special' routes. Taken over by people movers that have no character let alone sufficient seating. The old 'red rattlers' and blue Harris trains have been put out to pasture. One could only imagine the compensation claims and law suits if they were still operational. The odd Hitachi trains [the silver ones] still trundle on and even the Comeng version are over 20 years old. Nowadays they (except the Comeng) have been replaced by lifeless, grey looking beasts. The state government no longer operates the transport system having sold it off along with the power companies. Still the trains do not run on time. Nothing has changed there.

Flinders Street, once the domain of many a subculture of wannabe graffiti artists, rockers, rude boys, punks and skin heads, has been transformed. In their place are myriad vendors and 'improved' facilities. I could tell you a few stories of the late eighties, early nineties. Of the characters, the less desirable elements of society and their struggles for an identity, a belonging and togetherness. There were the National Front and Neo Nazi skinheads, rockabillies, psychobillies, rude boys in all shapes and sizes and of course the punks and punkettes. 3174 and DMA were notable graffiti gangs of the times. One such former 'artist' has a brother who used to play footy for Collingwood but that is by the by.

All had exteriors that had you believe they were tough buggers but there was a vulnerable side to all of them. This was not often exposed but underneath the tough veneer there was a decent human being trying to get out. I befriended and was acquaintances with many of these people. Some had endured many hardships and others were from good backgrounds but looking to find themselves and break out of the stereotypical private school mould. I wonder what these people made of themselves. Have they found success, did they travel the path many expected them to? I sometimes wonder whether some are still alive. Sadly during that period I came to see about half a dozen of these young people pass away from overdoses, suicide and nonsensical accidents. Whatever fate was dealt them I have always hoped they went to a better place.

This was, and is, a side to Melbourne that so many inhabitants do not or choose not to see. People, as is their wont, can live in ignorant bliss of the underbelly of society, the rogue elements, the less savoury aspects that make up this great town. We only have to remember the gangland murders, the William Street shooting, Queens Street, and the murder of two police officers in Walsh Street, South Yarra. I don't raise this to make a link because I can't legitimately make one but to highlight that there is so much more to this city than meets the eye.

It does bring me to raise a concern around the disposition of many locals. Generally know as friendly and laid back, a simmering tension is more and more evident these days. People - discourteous, selfish, time deficient - are seemingly getting angry more often. There seems to be more crime, more physical and sexual assaults. I read with alarm that one person was assaulted because they inadvertantly looked in the direction of their attacker, nothing more nothing less. Multicultural Melbourne seems a less tolerant society. Racial tension is still alive and well.

In spite of this, to many Melbourne is about shopping, galleries, good coffee, markets and Australian Rules football or the AFL. It is the latter that sweeps up the city and engulfs it for at least six months of the year, if not more. It defines a Melbourne winter, consumes it. Seven days a week for nigh on 40 weeks of the year. Not much else exists. Try telling someone there is a Rugby World Cup on or the Storm are on the verge of a premiership. It is parochial, it is fanaticism, it is Melbourne.

If you don't follow or support a team you are looked upon as an outcast. You are obliged to take part in the office tipping competition and be a resident expert for your team. You might not have played the game to any great level but you know more than the coach, the selection committee and of course the players. It is always going to be 'our year'. The new dawn, so often the false dawn.

You always come across someone who has an 'in' at a club, a 'reliable source'. There are those who go to watch their team when time and circumstance permits, others who prefer to follow their team in the comfort of their own lounge room. And of course, there are those who are the 'tragics', the ones who go to every game, sign up as members. They yearn for yesteryear, forever holding a romanticism and desire to return to the glory days of this or that.

I support Collingwood. It has been a lifelong love. It has brought much joy and equal amounts of heartache. Collingwood, for the uninitiated, are loved and loathed. They purportedly have millions of fans around the world and a Magpie Army the envy of most AFL clubs. Their fans are said to have toothless smiles and are uneducated. People would be surprised at the number of well healed business men and the like who have Collingwood as their club. Though, it should be remembered their fans and the club are born of the working class, born of the Britannia club, formed in 1892.

I was introduced to Collingwood by my grandfather, my dad's father. It could have been Carlton or Richmond but thankfully not. My first games in the late seventies were at the MCG. It was not until the eighties that I was introduced to Victoria Park - Collingwood's home ground - and the terraces in the outer. My love for Collingwood deserves its own piece and I will duly oblige in the near future.

Melbourne is football in winter but it is also a smorgasboard of sport throughout the year. It is the sporting capital of Australia, if not the world. It hosts the Australian Formula One Grand Prix, the Australian Tennis Open, top class golf and of course the Boxing Day cricket test.

I was fortunate to be able to attend this year's test. To each his own but test cricket at the MCG to me is the pinnacle of sports watching. I had not been to one since 1997 so took every opportunity to soak up the atmosphere and continued to marvel at the beauty that is the old lady, the MCG. The new stands are simply fantastic and the new MCC Members' section is now befitting such an esteemed and famous club. I remember frequenting the Members' area when it was run down, had the worst seating and viewing was somewhat suspect. Not any more. The history and tradition lives on in a new superstructure.

With everything that Melbourne has to offer it was once voted the world's most livable city. You can see why. Sure she might not have a world renown harbour, bridge or opera house like Sydney but she doesn't need it.

Irrespective of what is on offer she will always be My Melbourne. I just hope that the day doesn't come when I no longer belong, that change hasn't been so irrevocable and stark that I can no longer recognise it as the familiar place I know. My decision to return was partly based on being in a position to enjoy all that is available. It was partly based on going to the footy [some people will understand that, others will just scratch their heads]. It was about coming back to what I know as home. Home IS where the heart is and that has always been Melbourne.

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