Tag: something i saw

It permeated the air

We were on the highway, driving back from regional Victoria to Melbourne. The landscape passing by was fields with the occasional five-building town.

‘Why does it smell like chips?’ I said suddenly.

Simone and Rob sniffed the air. ‘Hmm, it does, doesn’t it? Strange.’

Two minutes later, we saw the McCain’s factory on the horizon.

‘Ah, McCain!’

More dead things

This is getting to be a bit of a theme, after my line up of dead things in September last year.

Why am I doing this? They look like they’re sleeping. It’s a Sleeping Beauty kind of surrealism. The duck is particularly striking. It’s still plump.

Duck on a footpath on Spring Street, Melbourne
Duck on a footpath on Spring Street, Melbourne
Mouse on the road in Southbank, Melbourne
Mouse on the road in Southbank, Melbourne

World’s biggest flower, Titan Arum

‘Okay, Joan, we’re coming over to the city to see the flower!’

My mum was on the phone. Last night, I had excitedly called her to say that the world’s biggest flower had started blooming in the Botanic Gardens. It was the first time in the seven years that the Gardens had been looking after it.

The flower is the Amorphophallus titanum. Wikipedia describes how the  shorter and more widely used name, Titan Arum, was coined.

The popular name “titan arum” was invented by the broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough for his BBC series The Private Life of Plants, in which the flowering and pollination of the plant were filmed for the first time. Attenborough felt that constantly referring to the plant as Amorphophallus on a popular TV documentary would be inappropriate.

It is also called the ‘corpse flower’ because it smells like rotting flesh. That makes it attractive to beetles and flies, which help it to pollinate.

Such is the difficulty of getting Titan Arum to bloom that Wikipedia has a list of publicised titan arum blooms in cultivation. When I looked at Wikipedia on Boxing Day, the Melbourne bloom wasn’t listed yet. It’s now there and I feel proud that I knew about it before Wikipedia and the news media.

See? You don’t need to be constantly on Twitter to get the scoop. You just need to live next door to the news action and stumble across it by accident on a public holiday.

The queue to see Melbourne's Titan Arum
The queue to see Melbourne’s Titan Arum.

We arrived at 10:30 and waited around 25 minutes to get in. Our family and friends who came later in the day and the following day had a one hour wait.

Titan Arum bloom in Melbourne

Inside the Tropical Glasshouse.

Here is the bloom. You see the green stalk-and-leaf plant to the left of it? That’s another Titan Arum plant. I understand that each plant can take one of two forms: the stalk or the flower (inflorescence). We’re lucky that one of them decided to be a flower.

The Sunrise camera crew films the flower

The Sunrise camera crew films the flower

Sunrise and Channel 10 were in the glasshouse the whole time we were there. The Age went one better and put together a time lapse video of the flower opening up overnight.

On the job learning

‘Hello, what would you like today?’ asked the teenage girl behind the counter.

‘The roast chicken with potato salad,’ said the man before me in the cafe queue.

The girl took out the plate, spooned on a pile of potato salad, then hovered a pair of tongs above the tray of chicken.

‘Um, is there a particular piece you want?’ she asked.

‘I’d like a thigh piece,’ the man replied.

The girl lowered her tongs, uncertain. She turned around to her manager and asked  ‘Which one is the thigh?’

‘The triangle one.’

‘Oh, okay.’

Follow the trail

This is a trail I followed at QV today.

Sign at QV
Normally there is a very large bathroom in the basement of QV.
Sign at QV
It looks like I'll need to venture up to levels that I don't normally get to.
Directions at QV
They seem anxious that people don't get lost.
Temporary facilities at QV
Hmm, is this it?
Temporary facilities at QV
I feel like I'm at a music festival or the start line at the Mother's Day Classic fun run.

Can I take a photo of your carrot?

I was walking to work when I saw this.

Man carrying green fernery
Man carrying green fernery

‘What’s that?’ I thought. ‘A pot plant? In an orange pot? Oh… oh, is it carrot? I bet it’s a carrot!’

I ran in front of him and sure enough it was a carrot.

‘Excuse me! Can I take a photo of your carrot?’

He nodded calmly.

Man with carrot
Man with carrot

I got to work, super excited by this very strange, very Melbourne carrot incident.

‘Oh, the carrot man,’ Emma said dismissively. ‘I’ve seen it in the news.’


Sure enough, there have been sightings of the Carrot Man all over Melbourne for at least a year.

Carrot man sightings: mystery bugs city, MX Melbourne
A man with a carrot, Fitzroyalty
What’s with the giant carrot?, Herald Sun
Who is Carrot man in Melbourne, 3AW

Another day, another protest

It’s been a good week for civic participation. As well as the teachers’ strike, there were anti-fur protests at City Square for Melbourne Spring Fashion Week.

The big civic disruption, though, was the battle between Grocon and the construction union, CFMEU at the iconic Myer site on Lonsdale Street. It led the 7am radio news bulletin almost every day.

The police were very busy this week.

Police line 7am Thursday at the Myer construction site