An unseasonably warm and sunny winter's day was perfect for a catch up lunch with friends and an afternoon meander around the fabulous gardens in Cranbourne. I quite possibly took my jacket off at some point, but some of the kids were wearing shorts and playing in the water features - and that's just Madness! Actually, you know what the first sign of Madness is? Suggs walking up your driveway!! Boom boom!
What is the deal with these newer cars that have friggin military grade 50000 lumen searchlights for headlights? Are the drivers bloody blind? I’m all for lighting up the road but it’s really not necessary to light up the next suburb as well. One of them sat behind me as I recently journeyed down the M1 towards the southern coast of Victoria, hell bent on sending me into complete visual impairment, from Point Cook to Little River. That’s 20 odd kilometres of me changing lanes so the car wasn’t directly behind me, only to have it follow me into the same lane. The first time was annoying. The second time was a bit spooky. The third time had me resolve to go to the Geelong cop shop but the plonker turned off at Little River so we were both spared the disruption.
Lucky. I had a place to be.
Oh yeah, actually we did go to a mine. But not down one. We just hung out on the surface, which is a pretty good museum piece on its own. There are original buildings and gear that was essential to the mine's operation, including various pieces of equipment and machinery from the other Deborah mines (aha! You didn't know there were others, did you!?!? Me neither. I should get out more).
Suitably tattooed and bandaged against dirt and infection (honestly, you'd think we were going down a mine or something ), we wandered off to the lovely Yi Yuan Gardens for a quick dose of culture.
It's a serene little place made up of Chinese architecture, sculpture, colourful murals and a lotus/fish pond based on some gardens in the Beijing Imperial Palace. You might think "that's very nice but what's it got to do with tattoos and/or Bendigo". And the answer is: tattoos? Nothing. Bendigo? Lots.
Bendigo has had a large Chinese population going back as far as the 1850's when lots of Chinese came to Australia to try their luck on the gold fields. Many came to central Victoria and have stayed through the generations, contributing to the city, country and way of life.
Sure, it all looks like smiles and sunshine now, but one of us did not sleep well during the night when it was colder than a very cold thing!
Flashie and I have blow up single mattresses for camping for two reasons: 1) we like to be somewhat comfortable and 2) we're princesses. There seems to be two schools of thought for the blow up mattress: those in favour and those against, including the naysayers who claim their mattresses get "full of cold air from the ground, so I'm just sleeping on cold air" to which I say "You're not doing it right, you nufty".
Who decides to go camping when it’s predicted to be 1°C overnight? Three idiots, that’s who. Me, Balders and Flashie finally co-ordinated a long weekend to go camping together and it turned out to be the coldest Autumn weekend in living history (well, ours). The Anzac Day long weekend (it wasn’t one, but we made it one by taking the Friday off work) saw us pack a tonne of stuff into two cars and fang off to Mount Alexander Regional Park near Castlemaine.
We're pretty bad at going straight home. This time, we were no different. We made an unscheduled stop in Ovens to admire the sunflowers and take a break from the traffic jam that we found ourselves in.
The following day found us wandering along The Diggings Walk in the old gold mining town of Wandiligong. It was here I discovered that I might have a bit of a bridge fetish.
Flashie and I went camping for four days and this time we had a lovely big tent to live in!
We had initially planned to go to East Gippsland and stay in the Snowy River National Park, where we’d be close enough for day trips to Buchan Caves and the Bullant Brewery, but also laze away an afternoon or two next to the river should we feel that way inclined. And if there was beer. What am I talking about? Of course, there would be beer!
So, how the hell did we end up in Smoko???
Sometimes a picture needs a little helping hand.
This housing project was still in construction mode when I photographed it, so it was partially fenced off. There were bright orange fence feet and bollards everywhere, and the curbing and nature strip were yet to be repaired. The burny bastard was high in the sky too, so it was all a bit glary and horrible.
So, how did it get to this?
Well, here’s a thing. When I was young, I loved summer but I wasn’t into hanging around the beach baking in the sun because that way madness (and melanoma) lies. Did you know that melanoma kills a lot of Aussies? The sun out-does venomous spiders, snakes and bugs in the killing department. Basically, it’s an extermination machine disguised as a necessity to life. Water’s the same. A little is good for you; too much and it can kill you.
But some of it is mighty purty!
I’ve been pretty busy lately and I totally forgot to tell you about the time I decided to climb this:
Sure it doesn't look THAT tall, but the sun was out and it was quite warm so you know...it seemed much taller than it actually was. But never fear - your faithful scribe didn't pass out mid-climb so now I'm here to tell the tale. Let's go back a bit, shall we?
Gosh, this being busy thing is becoming a habit isn’t it? A month since my last post?? It’s almost like I HAVE been able to shut up! That’s rarer than an Australian Prime Minister putting in a full term so make the most of it – it probably won’t last.
Actually, it definitely won’t last because I’m here now.
Forgive me dear reader for I have sinned. It’s been over a month since my last confession. I’ve been a bit busy this past month and after fulfilling the time quotas I have for being annoying to my better half, taking naps, inhaling popcorn and generally being lazy, there’s often no time for writing.
But here I am, back to tell you about the time I went to Metcalfe and discovered The Cascades. I say “discovered”, but I don’t mean in the sense that a great explorer might have discovered an uninhabited island. Oh no....it was very clear someone had been here before me. Picnic tables!
If you've been living under a rock, you might not know that Cranbourne East, a residential suburb about 50kms south east of Melbourne, is the fastest growing suburb in terms of people, in Australia. The flood of residents has given rise to an influx of bogans (normal in any housing estate), an upswing of crime (new houses are often full of shiny things) and endless cries for public transport infrastructure to cope with the area's growth (trains, anyone??).
But it also has something very different. A mere stone's throw across the South Gippy Highway is the very excellent 'Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria at Cranbourne' where one can easily spend the best part of a day exploring the different gardens, structures and waterways and generally forgetting the rest of the world exists.
I thought it was about time I stopped lurking about on Twitter and actually used my brain for a bit, so here it is. A blog post containing some pictures featuring impossibly blue skies that may or may not cheer you up if your Seasonal Pissed Off Disorder (SPOD) is in full swing, and some fantastic artworks that have brought a different aspect of life to rural Victoria. I had to do actual research about these works, so you better start appreciating. I don't do this for the good of my health you know!
Right...so....six grain silo sites in the Mallee/Wimmera region of Victoria now have massive portraits painted on them, and it’s a thing and the thing is called the Silo Art Trail and if you can, you should go look at them because they’re really super.
Let’s cast our collective minds back a few months when the weather was decidedly warmer and butterflies still flapped about like idiots. When the sun wasn’t just for show and actually had some warmth in it. You remember....back when it was a burny bastard and its purpose was to cook us the minute we nipped out for milk? Well, before the temperature plummeted to somewhere between Artic and Baltic, Flashie and I went off to Lake Tyrrell in Northern Victoria for a bit of a look, and we ended up at Lake Mungo.
Yes alright, I’ll tell you how that happened...
Hidden away on a gravel road a bit past Warburton in the Yarra Ranges is a plantation of California Redwoods that seems so isolated that it supports my theory that nature can either soothe your soul or give you the heebie jeebies. Of course, these things can depend on your state of mind and whether you’re alone or not.
And now for something completely different: some old looking photos that aren't really old at all but are the product of a misguided afternoon spent messing about with software in pursuit of creativity.
I'm playing with a few things lately: my camera remote which had been acting up and which Him On The Couch fixed because he is really quite clever; some camera filters that I purchased a filter bag for, making them easy to access but not scratch); the Nik Collection software and its fancy pants Analog Efex Pro editing presets; and this website and its new ability to resize singular pictures like that one up there, and this one down here:
What's next I hear you ask? Well....it's Victoria Fossil Cave at Naracoorte in SA! Yaaaayyyy!!! [And the crowd are going wild!] Yes, it appears that many moons ago, in the time before The Internet, people actually socialised with each other, and went outdoors and explored stuff. And some guys explored so much that they eventually found a cave with loads of fossils in it, and they got all excited and shouted “Victoria!” instead of “Eureka!” and that’s how the Victoria Fossil Cave was named. Possibly.
No girlie road trip is complete without being a Terry Tourist, so after a quick lunch at Warrnambool, where this groovy painting was on this otherwise non-descript building, we meandered on to the Princess Margaret Rose Cave in Mumbannar near the Victoria/South Australia border.
Oh my gawd, you are going to be so over pictures of the sea by the time this blog is finished! And guess what? There’ll probably be more!
Backtracking a little, yesterday we also visited Loch Ard Gorge, so named for the ship that beached itself on an island close by in the 1870s, tipping out two survivors who found themselves washed up on the beach in the gorge.
What would you do if there was a band you wanted to see, but the gig was interstate? You’d turn it into a week-long girlie road trip, wouldn’t you? Course you would, you’re only human. Unless you’re a bloke, in which case it would be a bloke-y road trip probably involving less loo stops (because, you know...trees). Anyway, so it was that me and Flashie decided we’d have a crack at camping our way to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road.
The other week I took myself out of the People’s Republic of Moreland and ventured to The Coast. Being the pale skinned, sun allergic tragic that I am, this isn’t something that happens often. Or at all. But I was bored of watching hipsters drink coffee and eat watermelon, and some members of my family had stupidly put themselves within driving distance, so I set off to annoy them for a couple of days.
Kennett River is about two and a half hours drive from my place. Unless someone decides they want to pull up a sizeable chunk of the Great Ocean Road in the guise of ‘roadworks’, in which case it takes about a week. Fortunately, I had brought pumpkin seeds and crisps, so I wouldn’t starve. It turned out that I wasn’t the only one who likes crisps.
There’s something very magical about the dawn before a scorching hot day. It’s the time of the day when you can move without dehydrating in 2.3 nano seconds, the colours in the sky are pretty special, and there’s no-one about. Well, apart from the axe wielding homicidal maniacs that usually just live in my mind but might actually be lurking on the dark streets, probably near bins. No wait...that’s polar bears.
I was a bit stir crazy from spending most of my time indoors and my general apathy towards anything other than sitting on the couch eating popcorn was threatening to take over. So I defied orders: ditched the moon boot, scarpered out at 4am and ran away to the sea!