I had the privilege to attend a memorial service for my late cousin Jan who worked for Geelong Regional Library For only a short time, because of the onset of cancer, worked at the newly opened Dome The memorial service was a celebration of her amazing life and her brothers, sisters, children, friends and colleagues shared in music and song about the influence she had had one their lives.
The event was held on level five of the Dome Wurdi Youang (You Yangs – Big hill in the middle of the plains) Major events and balcony A magnificent space that has a balcony with an amazing view over Geelong.
Level 5 roof line
One of her work colleague from Collections spoke as part of the service. Later in the afternoon during after service refreshments when people were starting to dissipating I approached her to ask if it might be possible to arrange for someone to give me a tour. She was more than happy to do so and even showed me my cousin’s workspace and amazing view from level 4 over the open plan office when the Collection Branch is for the whole library service and Administration, Kim barne murrk (Here is the head) Headquarters of GRLC
On level three The vault, Kim barne thaliyu The vault, Kim barne thaliyu (Here yesterday)
Heritage, reading room, regional archives, local and family history and history reference collection Whilst touring on this level we bumped into a cousin from my father’s side who is a librarian at this library. She was taking a tour so it was only a brief encounter.
On level two Inspiration space, Nyaal (Open your eyes) Large print and audiobooks, magazines, multimedia, non-fiction, meeting and discussion rooms I was really impressed with the funky chairs to sit in, a discussion room or small meeting room for events, and the very green heating, cooling, and water recycling system was pointed out.
On level one Reading nest, Ngawarring ngiyt and Cave, Kanyul karrung Dedicated Children & youth floor
with great beanbag type sitting area, innovative kid friendly keyboards, a resource area for children’s activities and multiple playstation/ computer interactivity screens for kids to play on with a large dance floor. Most areas had a polished concrete floor but here there was a matting for sitting on the floor.
Ground Floor and Mezzanine Gathering place, Ki-kirri-ngitj [we talk together] Main entrance, news lounge, technology, exhibitions and cafe
it was pointed out that there is not a huge fiction collection as that is mainly housed at the branches. With inter branch requests all requirements can be met within a few days. It was wonderful and a privilege to get such a thorough tour
The big thing at my place of work that has been occupying much of my time is the recent opening of our library’s Research Commons.
The concept is based on some international libraries such as Duke University, Washington State University, North Carolina State University, University of California Los Angeles, and StellenBosch University
Ultimately the space allows for interaction between researchers and graduate degree students as well as supporting services within the purpose built space. With the creative studio and Vis Lab development of research and interaction using data visualization. On campus there are currently two VisLabs This new one being in the central library space and having current state of the art technology will hopefully allow for more collaborative research opportunities and industry engagement. With the available breakout space and rooms it is also hoped to utilize the research commons for seminars and conferences as the Lab has video conferencing facilities.
During these early days we are working out process and procedure and coming to terms with the possibilities for use of the space. There has also been the ability to familiarize ourselves with the Visualisation Wall and work out how to use the basics to train others. The creative studio is not completed and over the first few weeks of opening there have been various technical and building issues to iron out and fix. All being well we are aiming for a soft launch in July, tours during open day in August and a more formal launch later in the year.
On reflection I tired to pre-empt what were my top highlights to share with people.
I think the most awesome take my breath away moments were;
Standing under the dome in St. Paul’s cathedral in London and looking up.
Entering into the second level of the Old Bodleian Library on the tour.
Going into Okehampton for the first time.
Seeing and then going up the Eiffel tower.
Reconnecting with our daughter having not seen her for nine months.
The low lights.
Thinking we had lost our son at one point in London and realizing we had no form of communication to contact him.
Getting totally disoriented while driving the car in Oxford.
Having an incident with a local in High Wycombe who thought I had taken their photo when I was just taking a photo of a church.
The incident in Paris over getting the tickets for the Louvre that I outlined on this blog post
The question asked by many, even when we were traveling, was have you got the travel bug and what is the next trip. Being the trip of a lifetime and taking us 50 years to afford and organize ourselves to undertake such a trip the initial response given was maybe in five years time to come back and do Scotland. Maybe an organized guided tour. Maybe more of a slower paced stop and experience the area for longer type of tour. We will see.
The contrast with this holiday and many we have done in the past was the pace. Generally with holidays we stay in one place and explore for a number of days. With this holiday there was a high adrenaline rush and a feeling that this might be our only chance to be here so an extra drive to try and see as much as possible in a short time. So a future trip will definitely be at a slower pace with more time to explore!
The flight home was uneventful. Following the same passage as the flight to London with Royal Brunei we stopped over at Dubai and again experienced a higher level of security and longer time in getting back on our flight than at Brunei. Watched a number of movies and had little snoozes but didn’t feel like any real sleeps. In fact for much of the holiday my sleep patterns were all over the place. Running on adrenaline and excitement I had broken sleep for much of the holiday waking up at odd hours and turning to social media and internet for ideas and bookings for the following days, looking at options for what to see, loading pictures and events onto facebook, or interacting via messenger or email to people back home or elsewhere.
After the long 25 hours of flight we landed in Melbourne in the early morning. Once through customs and retrieving our bags phoned the cattery to come and collect us in our car. This worked out quite efficiently compared to our departure and the chap who picked us up I think was more the owner of the establishment so much more professional. To our absolute surprise we found the two cats are been in a large but together pen. Quite surprising given their hate for one another. Given the trauma of this their first ever “resort” away from home maybe they bonded together. In fact for a month or so once home they actually seemed to be reasonably compatible. But then they went back to normal.
Once home I pushed myself to stay awake and carry out the coming home domestics of unpacking washing going to supermarket and restocking fridge collecting mail from neighbors and getting into the swing of time zone. My wife and son crashed and slept. I still had another week before returning to work so took some time in loading my excess photos (around 4000) onto Flickr and a website associated with my camera PlayMemories Online to divide my private and public display photos.
It was the final day. Our flight didn’t leave till late afternoon so in effect we still had a full day. Post brekkie I went out to a bank to get rid of as much coin as possible. Over my time in the UK I hadn’t come to grips with what coin was what so had mostly used notes and accumulated much coinage. After packing there was the opportunity with a late checkout to dash up with my son and checkout the Science Museum. With more time we could have had a more thorough look. In one section full sized planes reminded me of the Canberra War memorial.
Back to the hotel and we checkout leaving our bags to head up to Kensington Gardens again. My wife was happy just to sit in a café and read while my son and I hired bikes and rode around the gardens. We checked out the Italian gardens and Lady Diana memorial. At one point we were politely told off by an English lady that we were actually riding in a non-permitted riding area and advised that there was a hefty fine if we continued and caught by an officer. As with much of our holiday if only we had more time we could have explored so much more.
Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
We made our way back checked our bikes back in. Met back with my wife. Got some lovely baguettes and snacks to eat in transit. Went back to hotel and got our bags and made our way to Heathrow with plenty of time to spare. While riding around Kensington Gardens there had been a slight mist of showers. As we traveled by train to the airport it became very wet. Checking in bags was straightforward. Exchanging Oyster card so easy.. why can’t Myki be this easy (!) A relaxing coffee and afternoon tea while awaiting boarding and a reflection on what a wonderful holiday we had had.
The next day we set out for Madame Tussauds. Just around the corner at 221b Baker Street was the Sherlock Holmes museum which my son was enthusiastic to see. My wife found a coffee shop to sit and read in while we lined up. Because it was quite a small and narrow house a small number were only allowed in at a time. I didn’t like it much but I am not so into Sherlock Holmes.
Over the road for lunch was a cheap Indian restaurant that happened to have a group of young Australian in it that were living and working in London.
Madame Tussauds was better than expected. It had sections of movie starts, sports starts, music stars, and royalty. It also had a 4D super heros video experience and a kind of roller coaster ride through a brief history of England.
In the evening I went back to HTB church for another great worship experience. Just before closing time, as it was near HTB church I tried to have a quick look at the Victoria and Albert museum. Really need to go back to experience this in depth another time.
Our son was enthusiastic to check out the Borough market so we took the underground down a couple of stations to save some walking to then walked over the actual London Bridge to get to the Borough market. It was full of enthusiasm with lots of food choices. One colleague on return said it was one place in London to get a decent coffee. From our time on holiday think the best coffee experienced was actually at Camden market. Didn’t actually try one at Borough.
We bought some food and snacks and then made our way to the London Eye.
I had not paid the premium price for pre purchase tickets so there was still a line up to get on even being late afternoon. But the line was English orderly and with our snacks to eat time passed and we were on board. The views and surrounds were quite amazing.
After such a big and amazing day we were all pretty tired and grumpy and had KFC for tea back in Earls Court.