Almanac Travel: Fifteen (happy) notes from our Melbourne weekend

1- Our party is the beneficiary of an unsolicited upgrade to business class on the pre-dawn flight from Adelaide to Melbourne with Rex. The spinach and chorizo are particularly attractive at 28,000 feet and Trev says, “Simon, Tahiti looks nice.”


2- Arriving midmorning at our CBD apartment we’re gifted an early check-in and prepare for the day’s goings-on by changing the TV from channel 7’s Morning Show (a dismal Larry Emdur vehicle) to Double J radio. We hear My Bloody Valentine.


3- There’s splendid autumnal weather for the amble to the North Fitzroy Arms, and en route we note Percy Street, its verges carpeted by brown and yellow leaves. Making our way past the terrace houses we speak of men’s mental health and this weekend as an important strategy in this and it’s an affirming chat.


4- All at our table agree that the NFA is Australia’s best soup pub with the spicy pumpkin offering remarkably good.


5- The lunch is hosted by Tony Wilson and the guest, journalist Ashley Browne, is insightful and generous in speaking with us after. He writes a sympathetic dedication in his book (2020: A Season Like No Other) which Chris buys from him. Like all good lunches here it’s dark when we push out onto Rae Street.


6- Saturday’s breakfast at The Quarter in Degraves Street is also a treat and sets an expectant tone.


7- It would’ve been churlish for me to not take our party to make their debut at the Napier in Fitzroy, so I do. We admire the lead-light windows and the bar’s dark atmospherics. Father of the Bride by Vampire Weekend is playing as we sip our Hargreaves Hill ESB.


8- Late afternoon we’re at the WT Peterson Oval for Fitzroy’s first-ever home twilight fixture. Dramatically situated with the city twinkling in the middle distance we witness an exquisite finish as the locals get up with a (beyond fifty) goal after the siren.


9- Tracking across to Lygon Street the AFL app tells us the Crows have snuck home against Melbourne by a point.


10- Sunday and an old school friend (and 1984 Kapunda Footy Club Senior Colts premiership alumnus along with Trev and Chris, but not me as I was too old to play by two weeks and a premature birth: not that I’m still hostile and embittered) joins us at the All Nations Hotel for a quick beer and highlights tour of his last thirty years. He’s done well and is an early signing for a 2022 Footy Almanac lunch.


11- My fellow travellers enjoy their fish (John Dory) and chips while I am taken by the potato sibling (mash) accompanied by pork and fennel bangers, peas and onion gravy. We talk of the song “Anthony McDonald- Tipungwuti” by the Picket Palance.


12- We again enjoy the year’s best (complimentary) bus ride from the pub to the MCG with Richmond a handsome canvas as we make our jaunty way through.


13- As neutrals we love the Collingwood and Power fixture (Olympic Stand, Bay M53) but in a rare Adelaide-teams-getting-up-by-a-single-point-double Port fall in, unconvincingly like Hawkey over Keating in the initial 1991 spill.


14- Catching a SBS replay of Eurovision the UK again suffers nul points, although given the contemporary geopolitics it’s likely the Beatles wouldn’t break the duck either.


15- Due to a happy technicality we’re again upgraded to business class for our return to Adelaide. The in-flight lamb and rosemary pie is hearty fare but it’s great to get home.





For more from Mickey, click HERE.





The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in 2021. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order HERE



To return to our Footy Almanac home page click HERE.


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?

And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help things keep ticking over please consider making your own contribution.


Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE.

One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE.

Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE.



About Mickey Randall

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption Favourite song: Khe Sahn Favourite holiday destination: Gold Coast Favourite food: steak Favourite beer: VB Best player seen: Dogga Worst player seen: Frogga Last score on beep test: 3.14159 Favourite minor character in Joyce’s Ulysses: Punch Costello


  1. John Butler says

    Mickey, I would have loved to join you at the NFA, but circumstances didn’t permit.

    Sounds like you found your way around just fine. :)


  2. Splendid. The Crows getting up by a point over the ladder leaders! Did you suspect the DT’s and pink elephants would shortly appear?
    Trust you weren’t in the Covid seats. Victorians might want to return the favour to Croweaters. Typhoid Mickey?

  3. Text book Randall Melbourne weekend.

  4. Hello JB- we contemplated the Carlton and Hawthorn game too until other entertainments beckoned! I was astonished at Sunday’s crowd of about 23,000. Could’ve played it at Alberton.

    PB- that would now seem to be a developing story. Just had a test and awaiting the result.

    Thanks JTH. Still unsure about the Gough/Perce photo moving from the dining room to the front bar. Think I prefer making the pub interior pilgrimage. The large montage out the back from the Carlton match at the Oval in the 1970’s is instructive.

  5. Good to hear you enjoyed it Mickey. Sensational weather accompanied you. It was so delightful I went for a surf on Sunday morning and had a warm sun at my back.

  6. Thanks Dips. We’ve walked out to the NFA about six times now and on each occasion it’s been a glorious, windless morning. Hoping for a Winx-like streak!

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Melbourne, the gift that keeps on giving. Was it worth the upcoming nasal swabbing?

  8. Certainly worth it Swish. Nasal swabbing endured yesterday with another to follow Sunday morning (I prefer bacon and eggs but there you go) and then the third on Monday week.

  9. Well played Mickey and crew.
    Sorry to have missed you this time.

  10. Smokie- Let’s lock it in for 2022 (surely to be declared International Year of Richie Benaud)!

  11. Luke Reynolds says

    Great to catch up with you Mickey, as well as Trev and Chris.

    The soup was first class, as always.

  12. Daryl Schramm says

    I contemplated a trip to Melbourne for the lunch but settled on Tumby Bay instead. Wise move in hindsight. Got a trip to Tassie on Thursday for 10 days driving around. I just have that feeling more covid shit is in store. Thanks for the reading entertainment once again Mickey.

  13. Excellent to see you too Luke. Well done again on those national awards for Prickly Moses too!

    I’d love to get to Tassie again soon Daryl and spend more time in MONA. It’s among the more spectacular architectural wonders I’ve seen.


Leave a Comment