Today we are catching up with our cousin Annie. Annie is sweet, kind, caring, down to earth and absolutely hilarious. One of Uncle Ron’s nieces, Annie has been one of Aunty Joy’s carers over the last few years and she and Mum are very close. She shares with us all a love of shopping so that’s what we are heading out to do today. Annie picks us up from Camberwell train station and we head off to Chadstone.
Chadstone Shopping Centre is located in the inner south-eastern suburb of Malvern East. Opened in 1960, “Chaddy” was the first self-contained regional shopping centre in Melbourne and is the biggest shopping centre in Australia featuring 129,925m2 of shop floor space, about 530 stores and more than 9,300 free car parking spaces. In fact, it is claimed to be the biggest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere. It attracts as many as 68,000 visitors on its busiest trading days and about 400,000 tourists a year from interstate and 200,000 from overseas.
We spend a few really lovely hours with Annie just wandering, chatting, laughing and browsing. It strikes us that Annie is quite like Uncle Ron in a lot of ways, and we realise that sometimes the things you think are gone, can and often do, linger on in others.
It’s finally time to part, with hugs and tears, and I guess partly a fear of how long it may be before we meet again. I hope it’s sooner rather than later.
We wanted to have dinner as a family again tonight, but Leigh and I thought that perhaps something a little out of the ordinary should be called for. Flicking through the hotel magazine, we find the perfect place and with that it’s decided – we will drag Mum and Dad along to Draculas. Draculas is a theatre cabaret restaurant that has been running in Melbourne since 1980 and we’ve never been.
None of us is sure what to expect and as we wait in the VIP queue outside the restaurant, while the staff come out to check us off the list (and check us out), in full makeup and costume, sensing they are picking victims for the show, we start to panic just a little.
For just over $100 (for weeknights), you get canapes and a glass of champagne, a ride on the ghost train, a three course meal, the show and a VIP bag (hope you like candy nipple tassles….ahem, anyway….). We are seated and introduced to our waiter for the night – Static. He has a talent for saying ‘hi’ and ‘my name’s static’ and we do start to wonder whether we will ever get our drinks. But the meal starts rolling quickly.
For the entrée there is two types of tart, which we halve and share, and are very yummy. Next up is our mains, selected out of a list of about seven dishes, and then followed by dessert, which is a chocolate coffin, filled with custard and served with berries.
The waiters are all different. There’s one who’s really cranky and throws meals down in front of his patrons shouting ‘here’ and ‘don’t look at me’.
The show starts and its amazing. We laugh in agreement when the host says ‘all of you from Perth, look at this – it’s after 5pm and you’re out doing something!’. How true. Show was great thanks to the very talented cast. I’m not going to tell you much else, because that would ruin it, but we really enjoyed the show and it was good to have a laugh and remind ourselves that while Melbourne may never be the same again, it will be different, and that’s not a bad thing.