Yesterday I hopped on a tram...by myself....and went to Port Melbourne. I'd never been to Port Melbourne before but any area with the word Port in its name must be rough, tough and ready to molesterise a naive mid-thirties Kiwi boy in blue and yellow track pants, black and white blazer and a yellow and brown striped beany. I even had my yellow sneakers on that have been a staple of every childrens show at the Bruce Mason since they began in 1967.
God knows what Aussie Rules team I was supporting with those colours. I think black and white means I support the Pies, yellow and brown the Hawks and blue and yellow the Sad Cowards of Wooloongadoomadingo. The reason for my brave odyssey was to visit the manly mecca of Bunnings Warehouse to buy a hose attachment for a washing machine!
I was installing a washing machine! I was buying a hose! I was a man!
On the walk from the tram stop to Bunnings I passed a field with lots of big men playing footie. They were all wearing lots of bright colours so I fitted right in. I stood at the side and shrieked whenever I thought anyone did anything good and they all looked at me like they wanted me to join in so they could gently introduce me to their wonderful game of marks, speccys and hand passing. Alas, I couldn't stay as I had a hose to buy.
Bunnings was the size of Asburton. After 15 minutes of wandering around fingering tools to make it look as though I belonged there I found the plumbing department which was the size of Rolleston, town of the future. 15 minutes into my future I still couldn't find the hose I wanted amongst the 20,000 other hoses so I pulled out my tired, broken and flaccid hose and asked a nice man for a new one, just like this one but not busted and leaky.
He was delightful. He even delayed going off to help another man find a smoke detector to save the life of his family because he saw me looking forlorn and teary with my saggy hose in my hand. I love Bunnings Warehouse! I hope that other man found his smoke detector. I'd hate to think he and all his family perished in a blaze in Digeridolongwoolmarumba just to enable me to wash my delicates in the privacy of my own home.
Here is a photo of the installed NEC NWTL656.
I even had to switch the drainage hose over from one side to the other. When I first fired it up I knew there was a leak cause water spurted out into my eye from the cold tap. I swapped hoses and then water spurted into my eye from the hot tap. That's when I realised I needed a new hose. This site was very useful.
A big thank you to Kerry and Kerry's friend Dervla for selling us her washing machine at mates rates even though we only met her for the first time. A big thank you to Matt and Theo for bringing the washing machine into the city. A big thank you to Monique for having us over to her lovely place for a lovely party so we could make all the connections to secure the washing machine. A big big thank you to Cal and Chris for letting us stay at their house, lending us half the contents of their house and bringing half the contents of their house into the city. You know who your real friends are when they lend you whitewear.
Right, because you have waited so long for a post I'm going to throw in a bonus, 25% extra bit of bloggage for free. I wrote this bit about my first Aussie Rules game, (which Cal and Chris generously provided wee radios for to listen to the commentary), and emailed it to Christchurch's most popular daily newspaper The Press in the hope they might take me on as an amusing weekly Melbourne columnist. Sort of like the bastard love child of Jim Hopkins and Joe Bennett. They haven't replied to me so you will now reap the benefit. To think of all the crosswords I photocopied from The Press at The Court Theatre and they haven't even replied. It could be because it's a bit shit, I'll leave it up to you.
Aussie Rules for Dummies
When I move to a new place I like to crouch in the bushes like David Attenborough and observe the locals doing local things. I moved to London in the summer once and observed the locals swarming onto Clapham Common to shed their clothes and devour an avalanche of lager and KFC before staggering back underground like a trail of sozzled red ants singing ‘God Save the Queen’. It was a terrifying spectacle.
Last week I moved to Melbourne and observed the locals doing the most local thing a local Melbournian can do in a stadium named after the national airline of Abu Dhabi. I went to my first Aussie Rules game at Etihad Stadium.
I’ve always believed that if the sport or game has a country in its name then you need to be a native of that country to have any hope of understanding the rules. American Football, Gaelic Football, French cricket and Hungary Hungary Hippos to name a few. I still can’t say I understand Aussie Rules or ‘footie’ however after watching a game surrounded by 30,000 rabid Victorians I can certainly appreciate it.
The first thing you need to know is that Aussie Rules was invented as a way to keep cricketers fit in the off-season. The game is still often played on modified cricket grounds. Cricketers are obsessed with ‘fine legs’, ‘long legs’ and ‘square legs’ which is the reason why footie players wear obscenely short shorts. Often during the game one player will jump up on the back of another player to catch the ball in the air. This is called a ‘screamer or ‘hanger’ because all the other players will gaze upwards and scream with excitement if they see something hanging from the short shorts of their aerial teammate.
The leaping player is always named Mark. If he successfully catches the ball he is known as ‘Spectacular Mark’. The umpire is also called Mark and whenever a player catches a ball they will scream ‘Mark!’ to get his attention. Mark is a biblical name and Australian Rules is a very biblical game. The final score of the game I saw between Saint Kilda, (even more religious overtones) and Melbourne was 15.10 (100) to 9.11 (65). The numbers in brackets are the scores however what are truly enlightening are the bible references prior. John 15:10 is a congratulatory message from the coach, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love” and Psalms 9:11 asks the team to “Sing praises to the Lord”, for a better result next week.
The very best thing about Aussie Rules though is singing the song of the winning team at the end of the game. St. Kilda’s song is to the tune of ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ and cleverly changes the line, “Oh how I want to be in that number” to, “Oh how I want to be with St. Kilda”. Brilliant! I’ve decided to support Hawthorn because it sounds like a Hogwarts house. The first line of their song, sung to the tune of ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’, is “We’re a happy team at Hawthorn!” This is my sort of team.