Friday, February 28, 2014

Vale Lucy

I had already moved to live in England when Lucy joined Harry and Zac at Mount Helen. But she noticed that when I went to visit, Harry was always delighted to see me. Even Zac, who was never a waggy dog, would twitch the end of his tail, in a dignified manner, when he saw me. Clearly I was family, and Lucy accepted me as such:

Zac and Harry in their baskets.  Lucy, on me!

She was fonder of women visitors than she was of men (excepting family) but she took to The Builder when she first met him. Clearly, she thought of him as family too:



She was a good dog. She bounced and wagged and played and barked. She had her moments, though. She ate the butter when I was making eighty cupcakes for Tony's 80th birthday and Lindsey had to go out on an emergency mission to get more. She didn't approve of Lindsey and Ian's poultry. She strongly believed that any food left on a plate that she could reach was hers (you can see her point on that one!). She wasn't entirely convinced, as she got older, by the need of the youngsters to play with and bounce on her



Great Danes are not a long lived breed of dog and Lucy was 11. I knew when we left for Cairns earlier in the month that, realistically, this would be the last time we said goodbye to Lucy. But she was fit and healthy and cheery, so it seemed possible that she might still be there when next we passed by. I certainly wasn't expecting an RIP message any time soon.

It came on Wednesday. She had gone to bed on Tuesday evening and Ross, who had stayed in the house overnight while Lindsey and Ian were in Melbourne, found her "sleeping" when he got up in the morning.   Not a bad way to go for an elderly Great Dane.


Lucy, with Bethan and Lindsey, on her last Sunday evening, eyeing off the cassoulet - which was on a plate and within reach :-D

Fare well, Lucy. Good dog!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In spring, a young man's fancy ...

We've had to separate the ducks from the chooks!

We got back from Australia and Japan and all seemed well.  The weather was mild, it wasn't raining, the wind, although gusty, was not hurricane strength.  The two (male) ducks and the two remaining (female) chickens seemed happy enough.

We let them all out to have a nice explore in the garden, and noticed quite quickly that one of the ducks was harassing poor Curry.  It's hard to tell which one - they are impossible to tell apart.  It became quite clear that he was wanting to claim his conjugal rights.  Alas - he is a duck and Curry is a chicken and she was having none of it! But he was chasing her and trying to bite her comb and generally being a proper nuisance.  So we have put up a temporary fence across the orchard with the ducks on one side and the chooks on the other.

Neither the ducks nor the chooks seem to be entirely delighted by this!!!  They have, after all, grown up with each other and have thus far been all but inseparable.  But we can't have Curry being assaulted in this way all the time.

The plan is to get some more chickens and some more ducks when the spring is properly sprung - and hope that some of the ducks are actually girls this time.

The weather has been very spring-like since we got back. It's too early to do any serious gardening yet, but we have started weeding the flower beds and planning the spring planting.  We are going to try putting in some early potatoes in March this year. Over-optimistic, probably. We're bound to have frosts during April and May, but we thought if it was a small crop we could cover the potatoes if necessary. And I'm going to start some early tomato and other warm climate seeds in the next couple of weeks, and keep them inside for as long as possible and see what happens.

We got back to find that the purple Brussells sprouts and the purple and white sprouting broccoli had been doing quite well while we were away. The sprouts in particular are very tasty.  Should keep us going for a few weeks

Monday, February 24, 2014

Salisbury

It's been quite wet in Salisbury. The meadows have been fulfilling their purpose as meadows and have been underwater. The town path to Harnham was largely impassable at times in January.

It's not so bad now. The path is passable, but the meadows are still flooded.  The Old Mill had water lapping right up to the very top of the retaining wall - but fortunately it didn't go any further than that, and the levels have dropped a bit now. Here are photos from The Old Mill on Sunday morning:












We had a lovely stay at The Old Mill. We were meeting Jeanette, Matthew, Rebecca and Evie for lunch on Sunday, together with Gwen. I had fondly assumed that there wouldn't be a problem getting a table at the Old Mill for a Sunday lunch, relatively early on a Sunday in February.  I was mistaken!  The Old Mill has introduced a Sunday spit roast since we were last there which has proved to be extremely popular.  Three different people tried hard to arrange things so that we could have a table in the restaurant. All three gave up.  No worries, said I.  Maybe we could eat in the bar.  No problem with that at all.  And when we returned at around 12:00 to nab a table - we discovered that they had pushed two tables together, set them for lunch, and put a reserved sign on for us.  You can't complain about that.  You can't complain about the food either. It was lovely!

It was, in fact, an excellent end to my five weeks' holiday. All that eating, drinking and merry-making in several different time zones, finally completed with outstanding eating, drinking and merry-making back in the original time zone.

It wasn't so much a shock to the system having to get up nice and early this morning.  We've pretty much been awake at that time, whichever time zone we've been in over the past few weeks.  What was more of a struggle was the whole getting up and being purposeful.  We managed it, but it required concentration!!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jet Lag

The general thinking is that jet lag is worse if you travel East rather than West. Something to do with the body clock having to advance itself, I believe.  I have found that it doesn't much matter which direction you go in - jet lag is worse when you are going home. When you travel through the time zones for business or leisure, when you get to your destination there are things to do, people to see, activities galore and lots of meetings around food and sometimes drink.  When you get home there isn't much that is particularly exciting to do, and you fall into bad habits.  So after Tabitha, Gareth and Cally went home, we too fell into bad habits, such as dozing off in our chairs in front of the tv. Except that we were sleeping rather than dozing. And then when we went to bed, we were awake again in the middle of the night, because we had more or less had enough sleep.

There are a few advantages to waking up at 2.30 or 3.30 inthe morning.  I tend to get bored lying in bed not sleeping and with  nothing to do. So I get up at around 4 and get loads of things done. Washing; ironing; tidying; clearing; cleaning. So much accomplished. The disadvantage is that I am ready for a glass of wine and a spot of lunch by around 10.30. Which would be fine - if we were in Athens, where it is lunchtime when it is 10.30 in Tupton. But we are in Tupton, not Athens and it's way too early.

And then the sorry saga carries on, because by 8 o'clock or so in the evening your body is convinced it is bedtime.

So it was quite a pleasure this morning, after something of a disturbed night, not to wake up until 6am, which is still early for some, but is a tad late for us!  We're  at the Old Mill in Salisbury and couldn't nod off to sleep in the evening because we were dining on some lovely food in the restaurant.   Thus we went to bed at our usual time. The night was disturbed because it was a bit hot in our room, and because The Builder had some nasty leg cramps overnight. These do beset him from time to time but haven't done recently. I fear the people in the room below us may also have had a disturbed night.  It was the ancient floorboards creaking as he walked around trying to shift the cramps which woke me up!

I have to get onto local time tomorrow. I'm back at work after five weeks off. This is likely to be something of a shock to the system!!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Flying home

I have a feeling that Air France takes Singapore very much more seriously than it does Osaka.  The flight to Singapore was on a modern plane with USB and power sockets. The food was lovely. The cabin crew were charming. The flight was a pleasure. Flying from Osaka, the cabin crew were charming.  But the plane was an older model. The food was alright, but nothing to write home about. There were no USB or power sockets. The iPads and my iPhone, already a bit hungry after there being no power sockets in the Osaka airport, ran out of battery well before we arrived in Paris.  Not sure quite why the poor Osakans get a less delightful experience for their money than the Singaporeans.

There are power sockets in the airport in Paris, but my European adaptor didn't want to talk to them.  So no charging of the devices in Paris either.

Fortunately, the USB charger in the car was still in the car, so I could recharge the iPad on the way home.  And, of course, there are chargers at home.  So all is good.

So now we are home.  Tabitha, Gareth and Cally met us at the airport in Manchester and ran us home.  They stayed overnight, so yesterday we went to The Nettle for lunch.  It seems that they have never been there before.  This seems unlikely to me, but they both said it was their first time and I guess they would know.  I was even more impressed than usual with The Nettle.  We aced for whitebait and chips for Cally, saying that we would tell her they were fish fingers. "You don't have to do that", said Marcus.  "We can dip some small pieces of fish in batter and give her proper fish fingers. And a few chips".  And they did.

We seem to have brought the sunshine back with us.  It's very windy, but the sun is shining and it's about 12d.  I'd better do something about getting us organised. I go back to work on Monday and there's washing and ironing and tidying and stuff to do.  Plus, we're in Salisbury overnight n Saturday so there isn't as much time available as you might think.

Click on Tatsuki, in his super cool supermarket buggy, to get to the Japan album


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mostly Gifu, some Nagoya, a bit of Mizohu-shi

What to do in Gifu if you have already done the castle?  Go to Nagoya!

We met Austin at Gifu station, Kaori and Tatsuki having decided that they would prefer to have a quiet day at home. The train was DELAYED!!! This is unusual in Japan but there were very strong winds and the trains were all running to a restricted speed. And our express train was reduced to a stopping train.

No matter. We got there and embarked on what was effectively a shopping trip. We did the electronic stores. We did the department stores. We had curry for lunch. We went to Noritake Gardens to admire the china and pretty things. We went to the pub for iridescent cocktails. And then we went back to Austin and Kaori's place en route to the pizza place for tea

Austin, Kaori and Tatsuki stayed at the hotel in Gifu overnight on Sunday. I think Tatsuki was very excited by this, by the plethora of iPads and iPhones, by the games of chasey and all the other fun things to do and to play with. Austin reports that he (Tatsuki) didn't finally go to sleep until after midnight. Lindsey, The Builder and I had no such trouble and were happily snoozing by then.

Lindsey and I went for a pleasant walk along the river on Monday morning before we all met for breakfast. Then we all made our way back to Mizuho-shi for a potter about and a spot of lunch. Then The Builder and I made our way, alone together for the first time since we had arrived in Melbourne, for the trains back to Osaka Airport. It seemed quite odd to be by ourselves. We had got used to having travel companions and people to play with!

We got to the (right) airport and stayed overnight in the (right) airport hotel. This time we had a view out over the water. And now we are airside, waiting for our flight back to the final (and original) time zone. Yet another whoosh of time has passed by extremely quickly.

Osaka airport has a huge, huge shopping area. Zillions of shops, squillions of restaurants and caf├ęs. Until you get airside where there is almost nothing!!! So if you are passing through Osaka, eat and shop before you come airside, unless you specifically want duty free. And make sure your electronic devices are charged up. There are no power points airside. Most unusual in a modern airport. There is free wifi, but it is painfully, painfully slow.

There is an online album for Japan but there is no chance of linking to it here.  I'll put a link up when we get home.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Nihon

It was surprisingly easy to get from the airport in Osaka to Gifu, near Nagoya. You walk past the JR station on your way to the airport terminal from the hotel. The friendly station staff speak English and sold us tickets from the airport to Nagoya via the Airport Express to Shin-Osaka and then the Shinkansen to Nagoya. We followed Austin's instructions to get to the train to Gifu, and then - here we were. No drama, no trouble, no worries.

We had burgers and chips in the Mouse Burger, erm, I mean Mos Burger shop at the station and then took a taxi to our hotel, which overlooks the river and the hill with the castle on top



We  got to the hotel at about 2 and Austin, Kaori and Tatsuki joined us shortly after. Lindsey and Tatsuki re-bonded over her iPad. We played chasey in the room with him, and hide and seek, baby style. He seems to think we are all quite good fun. Austin, Lindsey and I went to the Aeon Mall for supplies, while The Builder and Tatsuki stayed in the hotel. Shopping isn't really Tatsuki's thing! Then we all took taxis to the city centre and met Kaori's parents in an izakaya restaurant for a delicious dinner. We had loads of little dishes, like edamame beans and fried chicken pieces and tempura crab and loads of delicious things. It was a good evening!




Saturday, February 15, 2014

Nearly a catastrophe

We left Cairns yesterday lunchtime, flying with Jetstar.  Both Lindsey and I get emails from Jetstar offering Friday Frenzy deals. I think Lindsey probably finds these a tiny bit more useful than I normally do. On this occasion it was very useful indeed because you could upgrade to business class for half a Vegemite sandwich and a bottle of beer. So we did. Jetstar is a budget airline so you don't get the seats that turn into beds, but you do get veRy comfortable seats with lots of leg room, lovely food, plenty of wine and attentive staff. I must remember to keep and eye on the Friday Frenzy emails the next time I want to potter about in Jetstar's domain. (It is surprisingly difficult to type Jetstar!!)

Anyway. We got here. Lindsey had organised a three bed room at the airport hotel. Which very conveniently is across the road from the airport, a two minute walk under a covered walkway. Where in most airports you would find the short stay car park. The only hotel actually at the airport, said Lindsey.

Odd, thought I. We are booked I to a different hotel when we come back on Monday. It too says it is a five minute walk from the airport. Later in the evening I double checked my booking. Yup. Definitely says a five minute walk. I checked to see how we got there. Cross the road, walk under the bridge. I looked on Google maps. That said it would take an hour and a half by car :-S. I checked again. A five minute walk. It was all very peculiar. I looked at it all again. I looked out the window. I can see the airport. But I can't see a bridge or a fly over. It turns out that what I fondly thought was the Osaka international airport when I was making the booking is, in fact, a small-ish domestic airport serving relatively local cities, about an hour and a half from the actual international airport by car. So no use to me at all!!!

It was fortunate that I thought to check last night, though. I could cancel that booking with no penalty last night. So I did. And now we are booked  in here on Monday evening. Very much more convenient for our lunchtime flight on Tuesday from *Kansai* international airport Manchester.


Kansai airport from our hotel window
Took me ages to work out why my iphone wouldn't connect to a network when we got here. Both Lindsey's phones connected - eventually. But not mine. Couldn't even see a network to connect to. Then I remembered that I had turned 3G off when I left the UK to conserve battery power. Japan's mobile phone network is entirely 3G.   No 3G, no phone service. I've turned it back on.

Onigiri for breakfast then off to Gifu.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Daintree Rainforest

Neither The Builder nor I had ever been to the Daintree.  We had a free day, so Lindsey booked us all on to a day trip to go exploring.

Darryl, our guide, picked us up from the motel at 7 in the morning and we joined a small and select band of him, we three, Jenna from Canada and James from Ireland and set off adventuring.

We boardwalked in the Mossman gorge.

We strolled along pristine beaches along the Coral Sea.

We had lunch in a rainforest.  Barramundi for me and The Builder, Kangaroo for Lindsey.

We took a boat along the Daintree River to admire crocodiles (and a beautiful Nankeen Night Heron).

We admired the beach at Cape Tribulation (poor Captain Cook didn't have a good time at Cape Tribulation!).

We had ice cream made with exotic fruits, including wattle seed which tasted faintly chocolatey and soursop which tasted faintly lemony.

We made a stop to admire the mouth of the Daintree from on high.

We called briefly into Port Douglas so Jenna could say she had been.

We got back at 6 pm after an excellent day adventuring.

It was a great day and Darryl was a superb guide.

Click here to reach the Far North Queensland album



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Kuranda

As far as I can see, the only reasons that Kuranda exists are so that people can go to the arts and crafts markets, so that they can go to the tourist and souvenir shops, and so that people have somewhere to go in the Atherton Tablelands close to Cairns.  It's a nice little place but that is pretty much all there is to do there.

It is possible to get there by car but unless your sole aim is to go for lunch that seems to be quite a boring way of getting there.

A much more interesting way would be to go by steam train. I have not done this but I know people who have. It takes about an hour and a half, I believe.

Or - you can go by Skyrail. Which is what we did. And very magnificent it is too. The cable cars soar high above the rain forest, sometimes even above the clouds, and sometimes very close to the tree tops. There are a couple of places where you can get off and wander around, admiring waterfalls and magnificent views. It takes a little over half and hour in each direction if you don't get off. If you have no fear of heights, for a little extra you can take a glass bottomed gondola. We didn't bother. The view is spectacular just through the windows











You could not say that the kitchenette in our room is particularly well appointed but it is certainly adequately appointed. There isn't an oven but there are hot plates and a microwave and there is a barbecue outside. So we grabbed the makings of a salad on our way home from the Skyrail and we bought some snapper fillets. And despite the rain, we sat outside under the canopy by the barbecue and we "grilled" the fish and we ate the salad and we had rather tasty bread rolls, washed down with some chilled white wine.  Lindsey and I had a swim before dinner, when it wasn't raining. It was all rather pleasant.  

While I was prepping the salad, I heard the sound of a ship's hooter. Then I hear it again. And again. We knew there was a cruise ship in town because several times in the course of the day people had asked me if I was on the ship. We assume because I wear my camera on a lanyard and passengers ashore often do have ship's lanyards on. So we hot footed it to the bay to see if we could see it (abandoning the salad only half made)



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Meanwhile, back in the tropics ...

Stella and Tony drove us into Frankston after lunch on Monday and we took the train back into Melbourne, ready for our final Steak Night.  Well, for this trip anyway!  Present on this occasion, in addition to Lindsey, Ian, The Builder and me were Simon, Bethan, Noodle and Christian, who had come to make sure that we were really leaving :-)

Sunset on our final evening in East Melbourne
Then on Tuesday, well before dawn had cracked, we all piled into the car and poor Ian - who had to be up early as well and didn't even have a nice holiday to look forward to - took us to the airport.  And now we are in Cairns, in Far North Queensland.

We arrived at around 8 in the morning, hours and hours and hours before we could check in to Reef Palms (which is a budget motel close to the airport, made up of studio apartments; ours would comfortably sleep 5). Lindsey has hired a car, so we headed north to Palm Cove for a stroll and a small spot of breakfast:


Then we pootled on up to Port Douglas for another stroll before returning to Cairns for lunch.  And then it was *finally* time for us to check in to our room!!  It was a very early start, it must be said (I am not normally up and rushing about at 4 in the morning, and in Queensland it was only 3!) but it did give us a full day to play when we got here.

I don't think that there was a pub night in Melbourne this week.  But there was in Cairns.  A pub night combined with (yet another) steak night.  Last time we were here we ate in a nearby, not very exciting "English" pub.  Leafing through the Visitor Information in the apartment, I discovered that there is another pub even more nearby, and it does really quite nice food.  Lindsey and I had steak.  The Builder had a fish platter so substantial that it defeated him. I would be worried, but he had had three quite large meals in the space of 9 or 10 hours!

Lunchtime view



Monday, February 10, 2014

Let the eating continue

We went down to Mount Martha from Melbourne on Friday. By train!  I have never gone to Frankston on the train before. It takes about an hour, and the trains run roughly every ten minutes, which surprised me a little. They are also quite remarkably cheap. I was expecting to have to top up the Myki (Oyster) card to pay for the tram fare from Reservoir and the train fare to Frankston but in fact there is still plenty of money left on the cards.

Anyway.  We got to Frankston, where Tony had come to pick us up. We got to Mount Martha, where Stella was waiting for us. We had a light lunch - and then in the evening we went to the Dava and didn't have a light dinner. Stella, The Builder and I had plates of fritto misto. Tony had a "senior's" plate of calamari. His allegedly small plate of calamari had almost as much on it as our mixed seafood fry ups!! All I can say is that it is a good job The Builder is partial to calamari. He didn't get any of mine but he got a good bit of Stella and Tony's :-D

On Saturday we headed into Frankston for a little bit of light shopping. And no meals out, but mighty fine meals at home. Pretty much an auxiliary steak night :-). The Builder and I also wandered up the road to visit Pete and Liz who we have known almost for ever and who live in the same complex as
Stella and Tony. A nice quiet day, enlivened by a visit from Simon, Bethan, Noodle and Noodle's friend Molly (a lovely golden retriever) who called in on their way home from the dog-friendly beach nearby. It was quite a hot afternoon and I think the humans and canines alike enjoyed playing in the sea

On Sunday Tony and I went to the local Anglican Church, where Tony plays the flute in the choir. And then we all headed off to Flinders for Sunday lunch in the restaurant at the Flinders Pub. And very swish it was too. Proper silver service. And proper food. Absolutely delicious king prawns for

my starter and a main course that Tabitha would have thought was heaven on a plate. Lamb three ways - a tiny fillet, a tiny piece of shoulder and a small rack, all beautifully cooked and accompanied by heritage carrots and tiny roasted beetroots.  Very yum!

Sunday was enlivened by the news via Facebook that Belinda, Sage and William had been evacuated from their place in the Gippsland countryside to their nearest town for fear of bush fires. Matt had stayed behind to "Watch and Act". Fortunately a change of wind direction meant that their house didn't get burnt down, and Matt and the two dogs were not barbecued. But there have been some quite challenging fires around Victoria this weekend. Not on the Mornington Peninsula, though.

And now it is Monday. The temperature has dropped noticeably - it's a very pleasant mid-20s today. And we are heading back to Melbourne after lunch for our final night in Victoria before heading to
Far North Queensland at some unGodly hour tomorrow morning.

Farley and Farley meet for the first time







Friday, February 07, 2014

Mostly eating

We didn't have a proper lunch on Monday - unless you count a large fried dim sim as a proper lunch. Instead we went shopping with Lindsey in the morning, then we three drive to Melton to rescue Emily's now fully repaired, serviced and kitted out with new brakes and things car. I had the pleasure of driving it back to Clifton Hill. It wasn't too bad driving it, once I got used to the lack of power steering! Then we went shopping again, just in case there was anything left in Melbourne to buy. There was lots of food on Monday evening, though. Steak and potatoes and salad  and stuff

Tuesday saw The Builder and me heading off to Carlton for lunch in Papa Gino's with our friends Glenys and Geoff who were just back from a trip to Vietnam. They came to stay with us a couple of years ago in Tupton. Was good to catch up with them. Then on Tuesday evening, Lindsey, Ian, Simon, Wendy, Christian, Cassie, The Builder and I all met in the Fox for dinner. An excellent prawn pie with a Moreton Bay Bug on top for me.

Outside the museum, on our way into Carlton
Wednesday found The Builder and me heading back to Carlton for another pizza lunch, this time with our friends Peter and Daniel and another friend Jan. Two ministers, a minister's partner and a one time minister's wife - and one poor builder who may have been a bit puzzled by the churchy turn the conversation occasionally took. Then in the evening, Lindsey, Ian, The Builder and I took ourselves to the Prince Patrick for dinner before Lindsey, The Builder  and I headed up to Ballarat for the night


The Exhibition Buildings
More food on Thursday. This time The Builder and I met Pat in Seymour's (another pub) in Ballarat
 for lunch and in the evening Judy and Theo came to Lindsey and Ian's place for dinner. It was a beautiful evening so we had our chicken schnitzels and salad outside. We had our fruit tart and Lindsey's home made ice cream outside as well. We came in only when the mozzies started to bite.

There will be more food today. We're in Mount Martha for the weekend and I think we're going to

another pub for tea this evening.

I lost my iPad on Monday ;-(. We got back to the flat prior to preparing the steak - and it wasn't with me ;-(. We looked everywhere. And there it wasn't. So I tried the FindMyIpad app on my phone. It said my iPad was offline ;-(. This was a worry because if it was at the flat, or at Simons place, where we had started the day, it would have been online ;-(. So we rang Simon's place, where Bethan answered and said that she had found it and out it on the kitchen bench.  When I next encountered my iPad - for some reason it had turned off the FindMyIpad facility. That is really not very helpful! I've turned it back on and have been keeping a very close eye on the iPad's whereabouts ever since!!

The very beautiful rug that my father made
We always seem to spend our time eating when we are in Melbourne. Maybe next time we should find an alternative activity!!

Monday, February 03, 2014

80th Birthday Celebrations #2

You find us in Simon's house this morning. It's quite early, Monday. Simon, Bethan and Jacob are getting ready to go to work and school. The Builder is loitering in Yvette's bed (but panic not -Yvette isn't here; he shared it last night with me and, from time to time, Noodle the Groodle). We are here because Stella and Tony are in the spare room in the flat. And they are in town because yesterday was Stella's actual 80th birthday and they, their children and any spare passing partners all met at GGs for a celebratory lunch.

Click on Stella and Tony to reach the photo album


I topped and tailed the day with nice walks.  Around the city in the cool of the morning with Lindsey and Ian, then around the Merri Creek and the Yarra River with Simon, The Builder and Noodle in the heat of the late afternoon. Noodle enjoyed a swim in the Yarra. But swimming in the Yarra is not a recommended activity for humans (dangers of underwater hazards drowning you and/or snakes biting you) so we cooled down on our return to the house with beer and wine.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Ladies (and Gentlemen) who lunch

I woke up because I was too hot.  Then I woke up because I was too cold.  :-(

I woke up because I needed to go for a wee. Then I woke up because I was thirsty :-s

I woke up because my ankle was aching ;-(

Then, I woke up in a cold sweat because we had all slept in and Lindsey was either about to leave or had left and we we're still in bed and in the absence of Emily's car (which is still in hospital) it was going to be very hard to get to where we were going for lunch :-S

It was only ten to four!!!

It had been so much easier the day before when we were going to our friend Pat's place.  She lives on the outskirts of Ballarat. Lindsey was off for lunch with some friends of hers and dropped us a couple of kilometers down the road late morning and we strolled up the main road in Pat's direction.  No need for rushing about. No need for panic, first thing in the morning.  And Pat plied us with wine and fed us duck pancakes and lemon tart, and we had a leisurely chatter and a bit of a catch up and a lovely afternoon. There will be an opportunity for a further lunch with Pat in August, when she cruises past our place. Lindsey came and picked us up later in the afternoon, so no need for rushing about then either.

And no need for panic yesterday, either.  We were all ready in good time to head down to Melbourne so Lindsey could go to work. There is a very convenient tram stop outside her surgery so we hopped on a tram headed for the main station in town. (Phone call from Lindsey while we were on the tram.  Her receptionist had asked where we were going. On being told, asked why we were going on the tram and train and not in Lindsey's car, which she didn't need in the course of the day.  Because none of us had thought about it is the simple explanation! Did we want to go back and collect the car? No - we were all set up for tramming and training now).

I've never taken the train from Melbourne to Macedon before, and it's a charming trip.  You have to take the stopping train to Bendigo and it chuffs and putters and potters it's way through Sunbury and Gisbourne and all stops between. Cute!

Chris and John have moved into a not-quite-complete "granny flat" in Megan and Mark's paddock. It's not quite complete in that the carpets aren't down and a few bits and pieces need doing.  Oh - and the kitchen isn't in yet.  So we had salad and bread for lunch. And barbecued lamb. Barbecues are a very useful thing when you don't have an oven :- D

There won't be an exciting lunch today. The Builder is planning to finish the fly doors he's been making for the Ballarat kitchen, which are hung but need handles and fasteners and things. Then he wants to fix the shelves in the Ballarat kitchen before they go the way of the East Melbourne shelves. Lindsey intends to acquire chook food and dog food and possibly some plates for the flat. I have no plans :-)

Chris and friends in the temporary kitchen facility of their granny flat

The Builder and John discussing plans for the new place

This is where the new kitchen will be, possibly as soon as the coming week

Lounge room, only needing carpet
It's far and away the mightiest granny flat I have ever seen!
(Sorry, Pat.  No photos of your equally lovely new abode. I forgot to bring my camera when we came to you.  I'll remember it next time.)