What kind of crazy person would put asbestos in a bin? For health and safety reasons indeed.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.’
This is a trail I followed at QV today.
A year ago, I found a dead bat next to the footpath. As a reminder, here it is again.
Yesterday, I found this bird.
Here is another dead thing I found on the street that same day.
I was walking to work when I saw this.
‘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.
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.
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.