Sunday. Late afternoon walk under grey skies heavy with the threat of more rain. It had rained all the previous night, a welcome soft hissing sound with a background slash and groan of the midnight traffic.
Merri Creek was in spate, flooding the bicycle pathway that runs beside the northbound path on its left bank at several points. I followed it past its junction with Merlynston Creek, detoured at Bakers Road, crossed the baseball park to Mathieson Street and back onto the pathway. Blocked again, I backtracked to Queens Parade, and rejoined the creek where it turns east. Here, it was running as wide as a river. I hit water again and climbed the hill to the Fawkner plain where the creek turns north again and drops into a valley. It was running brown and fast and flattened reeds on either side showed its high point, reached earlier in the day. There is a new bridge here that crosses to Reservoir, but I turned west with the creek, followed it around, and eventually came out at Sydney Road and walked south and home. Yes, it was a long walk.
The State held it breath as election counting went on; or didn't go on, I'm not sure, during Sunday. Having seen or heard no coverage I had turned on the radio at 10.30 on Saturday night at a point when Mr Brumby was in the middle of a victory speech. So that's it, I thought. No, it wasn't. The victory speech was a we haven't lost until the last vote is in and counted twice just to make sure speech.
Arrogance was evident months ago. A local candidate was handing out material from a generic electioneering tent in Sydney Road one Saturday morning. The material was contained in fabric bags marked Go Green. So you're the Green party candidate, then? I asked the candidate. Ah, no, came the reply. Labor, actually. Where's the Labor sign, I wondered. You're already guaranteed Green preferences, I offered. Why try and steal their primary vote as well? The candidate muttered something out of the politician's book of pat phrases about everyone doing his bit to save the environment, and one of those party room hacks got up from a chair at the back of the tent and glowered across to me and mumbled something in a way that would have been more aggressive than merely sullen had it not been an electioneering tent.
The hell with them. And no-one in the media had a clue. Mr Brumby's fate was to never be elected. He was catapulted into the role after the last poll when both previous premier and vice-premier walked away complacently after being elected last time round. Arrogance. They built a pipeline to siphon water away from the northern rivers and run away to the sea, and then they built a desalination plant to clean the water and pipe it back in again. Let's hope the new government hasn't a minister as pedestrian as the previous planning minister, who was unable to name the height of the new Windsor development.