It’s Sunday and I am taking it easy today recovering from a late night out last night. At my age, I can’t spring back the next day if I don’t have my full 8 hours of sleep every night and every time we stay out past our bed time, it just takes that little bit longer to function fully the next day.
We were invited out to dinner, drinking, dancing to a live band play 70s and 80s music (the music we grew up with and know off by heart) at a nearby Hampton RSL.
It was a great night of laughter and dancing and so refreshing to see that no one was on their mobile phones! Groups of people my age – and older, dressed up in their flares and sequinned suits laughing and dancing along to Billy Idol, The Angels, The Knack, INXS and so much more.
It was a great night!
I’m going to go out and say it, people our age know how to party and just have plan old fashioned fun.
Well anyway, the RSL. That’s short for Returned Services League club. These community clubs are all dotted around Australia and serve the community by supporting veterans.
Personally, I love going to these places because you can be guaranteed a good feed, the clientele is usually weighted to the retirees, there’s always some Defence memorabilia on the walls and in glass cabinets that you can read and learn something while you’re waiting for your hubby to “see a man about a dog”; and the staff are always quite chatty. You can be guaranteed to have a chat with a local. However, many of them have poker machines so the moment you enter them, after signing in, you can always hear the ding on the machines. As I’m not a gambler, these machines are a blight in our society and it seems to be the one way these places make their money and survive unfortunately.
Our friends told us that this particular RSL club doesn’t have pokies and it was a lovely surprise. It’s something you don’t see often anymore – anywhere actually. The pubs and clubs are usually now, almost always, pokie machine venues.
However, this RSL is different. It ensures a variety of different clubs in the community can be catered for by providing a venue, space, meals and drinks options. You can find all sorts of clubs such as bridge, lawn bowls, angling and more. Just no pokies.
I love these community clubs because they serve a function in our neighbourhood. Not only do they support the veterans and their families but they provide a place where you can meet up with friends and family, a “Third Place”.
So this morning for my daily walk, I decided to do the short drive out to Hampton again and see it in the daylight. I had never visited the Hampton Street shopping strip and decided to check out the surrounds and I’m glad I did.
First thing that struck me about the place was that there were signs that signified where Australians had served in the Great War. Rouen, Imbros, Villeroy Streets were some that I saw on my walk.
Thanks to @aktoman who was also sharing some information to me from the other side of the world in Scotland about what I was seeing, it struck me how fascinating places in our local area are by way of their history. Exploring further as to WHY the street signs are that way, I looked into the history of Castlefield which I was seeing everywhere and it turns out that Castlefield was a home built in 1852 (now part of Haileybury Campus which is nearby). John Matthew Smith was one of the settlers in the area and over time had purchased massive blocks of land in the area however, it was during the Great War that the estate around the reserves was developed by the War Services Home Commission to provide housing to ex-servicemen. The streets in the area were named after the towns and battlefields associated with the war.
You can do a walk around the historical sights by following this map from the Bayside Council. (Although I didn’t do this walk as I really didn’t know about any of this until I had gone there to see the various historical markers which then sent me on a rabbit warren exploring its history).
While hubby hauled himself to an early golf game this morning, I decided to do this walk and check out the Hampton Street shops and came across some delightful surprises.
There’s some really fantastic little markets and one of which had a fromagerie! Facing cheese first thing in the morning (without having my first cup of coffee) was a bit much but I made a mental note to come back here. Soon.
However, I also found a couple of craft places which I got quite excited about. One was a ceramics cafe (I used to do ceramics for a couple of years and basically hand made all my platters at home with my own designs). This particular place has a couple of things that I’d like to do. For one, you can “drop in” anytime you like if the creative urge overcomes you to do a bit of painting (yes please) however, they also have a Paint By Candlelight once a month where you can bring your own bottle of wine and nibblies and they put candlelight all around the place and you can enjoy painting ceramics to your heart’s content.
So guess what I’ll be organising my hubby and I to do. That’ll stretch his creativity that’s for sure. He may like it?
However, they also have a sewing space where you can learn how to sew! How timely is that? Yesterday I wrote about how I’m learning this new skill from my mum who is teaching me the basics of customising clothes, recycling clothes, hand and machine sewing. (Yesterday lesson 1 was hemming jeans and trousers).
And today, what do I see on the Hampton street?
In some way, it’s amusing to see the various serendipitous coincidences that occur in my life nowadays.
Going out and about exploring my local areas makes me see what is around me and how our community is changing.
In some way, I’m going to say that COVID breathed life back into our communities as people go out, frequent, meet up and enjoy learning new skills or trialling out wine bars and restaurants in the area. Or, like me, learning more about the history of their own local places.
I’m seeing our local area with refreshed perspectives and appreciation of its history, community and character. Each suburb has it’s own unique feel and you never know what you’ll find when you dig deep into its history. It makes you appreciate where you live and beckons you to get more involved with people and events closer to home. Over the coming years, I see myself taking a more active role in the community although I’m unsure what it looks like right now but I’m sure that with time, this will be slowly revealed to me.