“Anything that makes a noise is satisfactory to a crowd.”

~Charles Dickens – The Old Curiosity Shop~

We reside in a rural town; we look down over the valley below our house and see no lights apart from an occasional gleam from a distant farm house.  We see stars glowing brightly above us. We hear cows mooing.

Tonight we are in Melbourne. There are lights so bright you can hardly see the stars – although my husband with his superior astronomy knowledge did manage to glimpse the Southern Cross despite the urban glow.

The cars on the concrete far below us look as small as ants from the eleventh floor of our apartment. If we leave the door to the balcony open we can hear the constant cacophony of the vehicles below. The tallest building in our home town is the hospital where we both work – it is four stories tall and stands out like a high rise from the surrounding single story buildings. Tonight we are surrounded by buildings that make it look insignificant.

I have yet to hear or see the new breed of Formula One cars. They remain hidden from the public view for one last day.  Tomorrow at half past 12 they will suddenly emerge – though they are more likely to do one solitary lap and then disappear for a significant period of time to analyse their data in the hope of evidence that their cars will be able to successfully achieve multiple laps with few mechanical difficulties.

We did have the privilege today of hearing a blast from the past- a RB7 being driven by David Coulthard. I was standing near the end of the main straight when, from far away beyond our sight, came the sound of the loudest engine we had heard that day.  We could make out the sound of rapidly increasing revs all the way down the main straight until suddenly it appeared – flashed past and was gone.

Even though it was now out of sight – we could follow its progress around the track from the sound of its engine echoing across the lake. At least I will now have a chance to compare one solitary V8 to a mass of turbo V6’s!

Earlier in the day I had been amazed by the V8 Supercars! We had arrived at the track shortly before their last practice session. As the first cars braked hard for Turn 3 then accelerated hard into Turn 4, their engines backfired, which caused me to jump because it sounded like a gun going off. After a few of these occurrences I started to anticipate it!

The initial cars were all hitting the inside curb perfectly as they went through Turn 3 – when suddenly a car went wide. I was about to comment that he had missed the turn, when suddenly he was in the gravel in front of us!

He HAD missed the turn; properly missed it – not just braked a bit late and had to go a bit wide. He did manage to get out of the gravel but for the first time I truly appreciated the challenge of this corner. I had also gone into the gravel on so many occasions during my recent practice in F1 2012.

The V8’s in their gorgeous livery flashed past. I sat in bemused amazement – in wonder that the F1 cars would manage to be even faster and look more spectacular.  You could smell the rubber of their tyres as they locked up going into the corner. Their engines screeched as they put on their power on going into Turn 4. The smoke rose from their rear wheels, flames burst from their exhaust, and they disappeared…

Now I just have to wait (impatiently) for the spectacle that will occur tomorrow!