In the middle of the gardens stood an elephant.
Of course, it wasn't a live elephant. This one was on a concrete podium, it was about five foot high and made of fibreglass or concrete. It was also brightly painted.
I looked over the elephant, thought nothing more of it and walked on.
Then to my surprise, on walking for another few minutes, I stumbled over another elephant, again, about five foot high, on a low podium, brightly painted and standing there like it owned the Fitzroy Gardens.
What was going on?
Having to get to Elks in a hurry, I thought no more of the rogue statues sitting in the middle of the gardens. Somebody was playing funny buggers. That had to be it. Why else would there be small elephants sitting in the middle of the gardens? This is Australia. We don't have elephants. Kangaroos and koalas and vogelbekdiers (oops, platypuses), but not elephants - or lellyphunts as I call them.
Anyway, hard, tiring weeks at work have started to take their toll. I thought I was dreaming.
After a month in my new job, which I am loving, adoring the challenges, enjoying the people and thriving in the role - I've come back exhausted. I need my weekends. I need to time out and I certainly need to get away from sitting in front of a computer screen. I've gone back to walking to work as often as possible as it means I get a bit more exercise in and a clear head.
So Tuesday morning, I made my way through Fitzroy Gardens, passing across the top of the Treasury Gardens and what should I find, not even remembering the encounter from the week before.
Another sodding lellyphunt. This one appears to have been touched by King Midas. Sprayed in gold, the irony of it being sat outside the treasury buildings was not lost.
Okay, this had to be investigated.
At once, I went from Pandora Behr, sometime blogger and writer of training courses to my new persona.
Pandora - Elephant Hunter Extraordinaire (EHE).
A few minutes down the road I ran into this.
But I still didn't have answers. Why were these lellyphunts here? What were they doing? Why were they sitting in odd places around the city? What were they in aid of?
The following morning I walked into work again, this time taking a slightly different route.
You guessed it. On reaching the city, what should I trip over?
A smurf lellyphunt in a lotus t-shirt. Looks like it's spent a bit too much time in Phuket or on an ashram in India. Hmm. This was an overcast Wednesday morning in Winter. You'd think it would at least shove on a jumper.
I continued my walk to work. I get to the Town Hall - and what should I find?
But not only did I find this one, but next to it, the jewel in the crown.
My tenacious hunting genes had been piqued. From this time I was ready to go and hunt out all of these lellyphunts - especially if they were going to be sneaky and try and hide - those red toenails were a dead give away.
See, I've always been a fan of elephants - or lellyphunts as I call them. When friends go overseas to exotic places like India and Asia, I ask them to bring me back an elephant. I have a small collection of them sitting behind me on the bookshelf. They have to have their trunks up - that's good luck - but I really love my lellyphunts. The more the better.
Regardless, I tried to forget these , I went for my lunchtime constitutional walk, a necessity for a stressful job, the normal walk up to the Bourke Street mall. Once again, it happened. There in the middle of the mall, what should I stumble across...
A pretty, decorative lellyphunt that reminded me of a tea tray my grandmother brought back from her travels in the early seventies.
These random beasties were getting the best of me. Why were they there? What were they doing doing on the streets of Melbourne and why were they all dressed funny?
Walking home that evening - more of the buggers.
A pink one with white hand prints. I asked myself would I find a white elephant with pink hand prints on it around the corner.
But no, a few foot away there was another lellyphunt with a few issues. On one side it was showing its spots.
I made my way back down Collins Street, popping into the Spring Street food court to find some sushi for dinner. And what did I find - yep, another one...
Escaping the garish creature, I headed back to the Treasury Gardens to the place that I first found these outlandish beasts.
Sure enough, the first lellyphunt was still standing in the middle of the gardens like it owned the place.
Ten lellyphunts in the city of Melbourne.
This was all too much.
Pandora Behr, Elephant Hunter Extraordinaire would have to be on her guard - for who knew what the following days would bring.
To be continued.....