Sunset from Hill House, Mount Helen. February 2024

Monday, November 27, 2017


It was the surgery's Christmas do on Saturday evening.  I appreciate that it is still only November and thus a bit early for Christmas parties, but some of the people who work at RMG also work in other places which also want to have Christmas events.  Plus, of course, people have family things to do in the run up to Christmas.  So the last Saturday in November it was.

Lindsey, Ian, Jim and I relocated from Mount Helen to the flat in East Melbourne on Saturday afternoon and then made our way to Southern Cross Station.  For our Christmas do was to be on a heritage train, heading to a mystery destination.  Turned out we were going to Kyneton.  It was a long train with a beer and dance carriage, a disco carriage, a wine bar and several carriages with those old fashioned compartments with a corridor running up the side of the train.  Jim, Lindsey, Ian and I, together with the other Partner and his wife colonised one of those carriages.  Finger food was brought to us.  There was plenty of wine. People came to visit us. We went to visit them - but never leaving our compartment unattended in case other people decided to take it over!!

We had about 20 minutes in Kyneton for people to stretch their legs, have a smoke, and so on.  Then we headed back to the city, arriving back at about 11:30.  It was a good night. The only mishap was when someone passing by jiggled someone who was leaning agains the door chatting to us.  She fell against Jim who was peacefully sitting in his seat drinking beer.  The beer decided to leave its glass and deposit itself all over Jim.  He did look rather as though he had had an embarrassing accident!!  And he definitely couldn't wear those trousers again without washing them.  He smelled somewhat like a brewery, even after he had dried out.

We were not minded to wash trousers when we got back to the flat at just after 01:00. Jim had to wear his jeans on Sunday!

The weather turned on Sunday morning.  This was to be expected. We were meeting UK visitors and taking them to Mount Martha. The weather was bound to be inclement!

Michael was, for a time, married to one of our cousins. He is still, of course, father to their two children.  His second wife, Lynne, also has two children.  All of these children are now adults and there are now grandchildren. I have run across Michael and Lynne from time to time over the years. They had a house in Sheffield not far from where my flat was and I would occasionally see Michael on the bus or in town. I have also met Lynne's sons. From time to time. Over the years. We have all been at the occasional wedding or other function.  One of Lynne's sons now lives in Fremantle, not far from Perth (WA, not Scotland).

So when Facebook alerted me to the fact the Michael and Lynne were visiting Fremantle I asked if they were coming to Melbourne.  They were. Briefly. So we arranged to meet them and take them to see Stella and Tony, whom Lynne had never met and Michael hadn't seen since the late 1980s when they lived at Yarrambat and Michael was giving a series of lectures in Australia. Lindsey sent out a general invitation to the rest of the family and a small family gathering evolved.

Lindsey and I picked Michael and Lynne up and drove to the Mornington Peninsula. We tried to do some of the scenic stuff but the rain decided not to play ball.  In fact, it rained harder! So we went to Stella and Tony's place, where everyone gathered for pre-dinner drinks and nibbles. Then we went to the Dava for lunch. The rain had got bored while we were having lunch and had gone away. So Lindsey and Ian made another attempt at scenic stuff with Michael and Lynne while Jim and I took Ant back to Flemington en route back to Mount Helen.

And in Mount Helen Jim and I are on a sunny Monday.  We've had a much needed quiet day, although we did head out to the shops earlier. I have a Japanese lesson shortly (online, not a class that I need to go out for). Then we have a nice quiet evening in prospect.  And so a new week begins.

I'm not sure who took this photo of Stella, Tony, Michael and Lynne
but Michael supplied it

This was taken by an obliging young person at the next table in the Dava

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Lindsey and Ian had visitors coming for dinner on Saturday evening. A childhood friend of Ian's and his wife, not seen for many years.  So Saturday was mostly spent cleaning and tidying the house and preparing a fine feast for the guests.

The guests arrived.  I realised that I had actually met them before, but in the very dim, distant past.

Ian suggested that perhaps we might eat outside, it being a pleasant evening.  Then he looked at the clouds massing on the horizon and decided not too. Just as well. About terminates later we were treated to a massive storm.  Torrential rain.Wind. Thunder.  It was quite impressive.  Although Sam did not think so!

It was a good evening.  Convivial and with lots of delicious food.

Sunday morning saw Jim, Lindsey and me heading to Bacchus Marsh to investigate the BM Makers' Festival.  I don't think we would have known about it except that Jess's dad was exhibiting in the artists' hall and Lindsey noticed it on Facebook.  We went to be supportive and to say hello.  I have to say it was worth the trip.  The main street had been blocked off and there were loads of craft stalls.  It was also the BM cherry and strawberry fair so there were also stalls selling strawberries, cherries and raspberries. We found Jess's dad and her mum. Jim and I have met her dad before a couple of times, but not her mum.  It was good to meet her at last.  We had lunch in an "Irish" pub and came home with lots of small Christmas presents and boxes of cherries and raspberries.

Monday found Jim and Ian preparing for the horses to be moved later in the week. There's a new fence going up between Lindsey and Ian's paddock and the neighbour's, so the boundary will be unfenced for a while. Nobody wants the horses wandering off. There is another paddock some of them can go in but it needed a reliable water supply. The horses' owner is coming to sort them out an take some of them away today. I think the new paddock is ready now.  Lindsey and Ian were in Melbourne overnight, leaving Jim, me and the dogs in Mount Helen.

I left for work reasonably early yesterday morning and had an appointment with the hand therapist in the afternoon. I was supposed to see her last week but was, of course, in Mount Martha. She is quite pleased with my hand. She dipped it in several layers of warm wax and put it in a plastic bag and stretched it and squished it and bent it.  It was all very exciting.  She refitted my night splint and I now have new exercises to do.  It is making progress.  Slowly :-)

I had better get ready to face the day. I'm off to work this morning and back to Mount Helen this evening.

Lunch in Bacchus Marsh:

Morning visitors:

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Mount Martha

On the whole it was a good week at Mount Martha.

The GP was quite pleased with Stella's progress, although he was worried about the ongoing pain in her back and organised for her to have an X-ray.

Stella, Tony and I had lunch in one of the cafes in Mount Martha on the way back.

Stella had a bit of a go on her new scooter.  We intended to have another go but whenever it was convenient - it rained!!!

Stella's X-ray showed that she has a crack in one of her upper vertebrae, which explains the ongoing back pain.

A woman came from the home help people to set up ongoing home help for them, including an hourly visit three mornings a week to help with showering, dressing and useful things, 90 minutes once a week to help with house cleaning, someone to come weekly to put the bins out and bring them in and a financial contribution towards pre-prepared meals.

Tony went to choir practice.

I went to work on Wednesday and was reunited with my car keys so could actually use the car :-)

And yesterday I went to work and then made my way back to Mount Helen. Rupert and Sam seemed quite pleased to see me.  I think Jim might have been a bit pleased too. He spent most of the week sorting out the flower and shrub beds and keeping the vegetable garden ticking over.

Stella is noticeably improving but, of course, she wants to be absolutely better rightnowthisveryminute. And it's going to take longer than that.

Across the road, chatting to Jenny and Shirley

Monday, November 13, 2017


Stella and Tony came up for their week of recuperative holiday. I think they enjoyed it, even if both of them were rather tired at the end of each day.  Having said that, Stella looked a bit better and managed to do more as each day went by.

We went out to the Stocklands shopping centre up in Wendouree for a potter around in the shops and a spot of lunch.

We went for coffee in the Old Bluestone Cafe in Buninyong that none of us had ever been in before. It's very cute and our iced chocolates, hot chocolate and carrot muffin were delicious.

Lindsey, Jim and I went out for supplies, a bed pole and a few other bits and pieces and came back with all of that - and a small scooter for Stella.  I think she was a bit surprised :-)

We had to wait in all day for someone to come and do a blood test for Stella on Friday.  They didn't come, which was frustrating. It was a lovely day and we could have gone out somewhere. Turns out they went to Mount Martha instead. Which was even more frustrating because they had been told she would be with us all week and had successfully managed to come on Wednesday to do it.  I think there must have been some muddle in the communications department!

On Saturday we took Stella and Tony to the fortnightly little farmers' market by the lake.  It was an absolutely glorious morning and the lakeside was busy and bustling.  I think they very much enjoyed the market and the lake.

On Sunday Lindsey drove Stella and Tony back to Mount Martha. Jim and I went too but in a different car. We all met up at the Dava for lunch, then took Stella and Tony back to their place. Lindsey and Jim went back to Mount Helen, leaving me in situ for the week.  Some hours later Lindsey rang me.  "Where are your car keys?"  Well, I assume they're in my backpack, where they should be.  But no.  They were in Jim's pocket in Mount Helen, leaving a completely redundant car at Mount Martha!  I have arranged to borrow Stella and Tony's car on Wednesday to go to work, where Lindsey will deliver my car keys, Stella's walking stick which unaccountably got left behind and various other bits and pieces.

Today we have been to see the GP (who is very pleased with Stella's progress). We have also organised visits from the blood test people (to the right address this time :-D ), a home care package person and made an appointment for a back X-ray.  Oh, and we also managed to stop for some lunch and sort out the pharmaceuticals. Not a bad day's work

Stella on her new scooter, Mount Helen
Photo by Lindsey

Sunday, November 05, 2017


So. The plan was to go to Melbourne in the car on Tuesday and go to work, staying in East Melbourne, leaving Jim, Sam and Rupert in charge at Mount Helen.


Wednesday: Go to work, back to the flat.


So far so good.

Thursday:  Go to St Vincent's for my 9:00 Plastics Out Patient clinic, see the hand therapist, go to work, go back to Mount Helen late in the afternoon.

Uh oh!

There was some kind of problem in the Out Patient clinic.  I waited and waited and waited and waited to see the doctor (who was quite pleased with my hand).  Then I waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited to see the hand therapist.  My usual therapist was away on Thursday so I saw a final year physio student and then a qualified therapist who checked over what the student had done.  I have more exercises to do, on top of the original ones.

I didn't get back to the flat until 1pm.  It hardly seemed worth going to the surgery so late in the day so I rang in my apologies and came back to Mount Helen earlier than expected.

On Friday I had to take the Honda in to have its brakes repaired.  The Honda place is in the centre of Ballarat. I had intended to take the bus back to Mount Helen, expecting that the car would be ready later in the afternoon.  When he said it would be ready at about 12:30 I decided to stay in town. If I had taken the bus i would only have been at home for half an hour or so before I would have had to head back into town.  Hardly seemed worth it. So I wandered into Central Square, pottered around in the shops, went for a walk around town and finally went to the library. Figured I might as well sit it out in there. I had my iPad with me and the library has free wifi.  All good.

Get a message.  Car won't be ready until 1:00.  Waited until about that and meandered back to the car place.  The car was on a hoist.  Clearly not ready yet.  In fact it was another half hour before it was ready to be driven away.  Still - at least the brakes work properly now.

Not a lot of waiting yesterday.  It was a strangely busy day for a Saturday. Lindsey, Jim and I went to the Bridge Mall market in the morning.  Then Lindsey and Ian went off, taking Rupert with them, to meet Emily for a lakeside walk and a spot of lunch.  Jim, Sam and I stayed behind and began planting seeds, sorting out veg beds and generally being useful in the garden.  When Lindsey and Ian returned, she, Jim and I went to Blackwood to raid the shop at the Garden of St Erth, calling in at another little garden centre on the way back.

And now we are waiting again.  This time for Lindsey to return from Mount Martha bringing Stella and Tony with her.  Stella escaped from the hospital this morning and they are coming here for a week for further recuperation.  Lindsey left at the crack of dawn this morning and they are due here at any minute.  In the meantime, Jim, Ian and I have tidied the house, prepared their bedroom and done some food shopping.

So an extra long long weekend for me.  No work on Thursday, none on Friday.  Tuesday is a public holiday in Melbourne and I'm not working tomorrow.  You never know.  I might even get some more seeds planted.