We were going to the birthday party of Mr H on the other side of town. M decided that it would be best to make a Grand Day Out of it and we headed into the city on our way. We took Small Z to the NGV – where I wish we had taken her last week for their 150 year birthday celebrations.

The water wall!
The water wall at the NGV

The children’s bit of the NGV is lame. And I may sound a bit like a wanker here, but still – compared to CMoM – or even the Melbourne Museum, the children’s area is just lacking in basic interactive fun stuff to do. Couldn’t they have just modelled their new kid’s area on somewhere fantastic? It just seems to be such an after thought…

Luckily there was the water window and a great rope-made climbing frame…

Small Z up the top

And the stained glass ceiling…

Stained glass roof of the NGV

I also really loved the shop at the gallery (we didn’t actually see any art this time – we just went to check out the kids section and show Small Z the roof and the waterwall) – it had amazing stuff in it. Some was uber-expensive, but all of it was very cool. I wandered about in there for a little while, drooling (particularly over the Tivoli radios) and then met back up with the other three out the front…

M and Small Z near the fountain

We wandered through Federation Square. My dad worked for many years on the 14th(?) floor of the old Gas & Fuel Corporation buildings that were knocked down to make room for Fed Square. I always think of them as I wander through. There is no trace of them at all…

[slight tangent] I used to visit my dad at work, particularly when I started going into the city on my own. It was a real old-school workplace – tea ladies would bring around trolleys of tea and coffee and snacks for elevenses and there was a company canteen, where people lunched. There was also a tunnel from Flinders Street Station, under Swanston Street, that popped out underneath the buildings. There were a few little shops in there – the seamstress who altered my Year 10 formal dress and did my dad’s suits… Here’s a pic of the buildings I just dug up from here:
Gas and Fuel Towers

While I like the open space that Federation Square has created (and there was nothing lovely about those old buildings, by the way, they were utterly ugly) I really can’t bear the wind tunnel effect that often makes sitting around there intolerable.

Anyway, I digress. We had a snack, Small Z had a play, and then we strolled back down St Kilda Road – past Weary Dunlop, past the flower clock, past the police memorial, to our car. And then stupidly let the TomTom navigation thingo guide us a particuarly useless route to West Preston – where we were revived by excellent party food, good company and CHAMPAGNE!! Happy Birthday, Mr H. Can’t believe I didn’t take any photos of THAT!

M and Small D in Federation Square