Sunset from Hill House, Mount Helen. February 2024

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

More Lunching. And Another Birthday

Thursday found us at our friend Pat's place for lunch.  It's ages since we last saw her.  We only live a ten minute drive away for each other but we are hopeless at keeping up with lunches, coffees, general meetings.  mind yo, I work on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and Pat plays croquet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays so that only leaves Thursdays and Sundays - and neither of us is sitting around waiting for the other to rock up. So it can be difficult to find suitable lunching times.

But last Thursday was free for Pat and me, and Jim can be very flexible about when he goes out. So lunch it was.

We met at Pat's place and she provided us with a delicious shepherds' pie style lunch with fruit, cream and meringue for afters.  It was a delicious lunch and a good catch up.

On Saturday I went to my very first ever house auction.  It was a fascinating experience. There were around 30 or 40 people there but only 5 registered bidders.  Lindsey was one of them!  It was all very exciting. You might have wished that the auctioneer had been a bit less chatty, a bit less theatrical.  But then I suppose they're supposed to be.  Anyway, the upshot was that Lindsey didn't get the house. She had set herself a strict upper limit to what she was prepared to pay for it and more or less stuck to it.  By the end there were only her and a bloke bidding and it was clear that he wanted it. You don't want to spend silly money, and I don't think Lindsey wanted it quite as much as he did.  So she pulled out and Jim, Lindsey and I  (Ian was at a meeting in Melbourne and couldn't come) went for a commiseratory brunch at the Olive Grove.  Eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomato and toast all round.

Then Jim and I went to Mount Martha for the rest of the weekend.

Sunday saw a combination of Lunching and Birthday Celebrations.  It was Tony's 87th birthday on Monday and much of the family gathered for lunch at their place on Sunday. Stella prepared a fillet of beef.  I slow cooked a piece of pork. Lindsey brought barbecued chickens. We had falafel for the vegetarians and vegan. We had roast potatoes and lots of veg. Belinda brought a fruit crumble. Stella had a fruit platter. And I had gone to the shops and got a chocolate mud cake for a birthday cake. You can't say we weren't well fed!

Tony seemed to enjoy his birthday celebration. There were people, dogs, food, wine, and a new iPad for his birthday present from us all.  What more could anyone want?  😁🎁

Hugo, enjoying the company of Sage and William

Rupert has been exhausted!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Lunching. And a birthday

Lindsey, Jim and I went to look at a house on Saturday. It had an open day around lunchtime. So after we had inspected it (it's a very lovely house; I think Lindsey and Ian are quite interested in it) we went to the Olive Grove for lunch.  I like the Olive Grove.  I like their open souvlaki.  I aways have that when I go there.  I should possibly try something else one day.  Lindsey had a chicken caesar salad which also looked lovely. Jim had beef lasagne.  I wouldn't have fancied the lasagne; it is true that I do like it but not on warm, summery lunchtimes.  More a winter dish in my opinion. A vegetable lasagne, on the other hand ...

Yesterday we went to visit Judi in her beautiful house in Clonbinane. Judi is the daughter of two of my parents' oldest friends.  I have known her since childhood but we don't see each other very often. It's about a two hour drive from here to her place and on the way out we went across country, through Daylesford, GlenLyon, Lancefield, Kilmore.  It was a very picturesque drive.  Judi says she goes through Daylesford and then Trentham and Woodend on the way to Kilmore.  If we are invited back, we'll go that we next time.

Judi moved into her house about a year ago. She has dogs, a cat and horses and teaches riding. She also has apple trees, chooks and a productive vegetable garden.  We ate mostly  things from her garden for lunch, and very delicious it was too. We declined her invitation to bring zucchinis back with us (our zucchini plants are being very productive at the moment) but we gladly accepted a bag of apples and some eggs.  It was good to catch up with her. We haven't seen each other for a couple of years.  We should do it more often.

Bonsai watchdog and a guard pony

We came back along the freeways. The sat nav said it would be 20 or so minutes quicker.  But by the time you factor in roadworks, traffic delays and other hold ups I think it took about the same time.  We'll not bother with the freeways next time we are heading out towards Kilmore.

It was Hugo's birthday on Sunday.  He was one year old.  So Lindsey bought him (and Rupert) birthday presents and I made him as dog-friendly birthday cake with a mix that Lindsey founding the pet shop.  Rupert and Hugo were very, very taken with the birthday cake

Hugo, chewing on his birthday rawhide bone

We had to get one for Rupert as well!

Birthday cake.
Rupert tried to eat it before the birthday tea and took some of the icing off :-(
It looked a bit like Grommit before that

Hugo and a sliver of cake
Lindsey found some online recipes for dog birthday cakes. I think I'll try the meat based one for Rupert's birthday at the end of April.

I told Lindsey over the weekend that I had sorted out the seeds for autumn and winter plantings, mostly of cabbages, cauliflowers and kale.  I then said that it was a touch early to start sowing them. It's only February and the weather wasn't autumnal yet.  I woke up yesterday morning and it was definitely autumnal. Cold and misty in the morning clearing to a warm and sunny day.  Much like today really.  Perhaps autumn is beginning to show its face.  I might try a late sowing of the romanesco and an early sowing of caulis and cabbages at the weekend.

I suppose I ought to stir myself and head off to work. Normally on a Tuesday I would be nearly there by now!!

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Jim and I went into town earlier today to pick up some biscuits and chooky treats for the dogs.

I tend to go up and down Lindsey and Ian's drive quite slowly, mostly because of some rather large potholes. One or two of them might try to swallow the Honda, which would be inconvenient, especially if we were in it.

It was just as well we were going slowly today. As we reached the top there were half a dozen kangaroos pottering about in the drive. It would be seriously inconvenient to hit a kangaroo or three!  I stopped until they got out of the way.

As we got out of the car, there was a wedge tailed eagle hovering overhead, obviously on the lookout for lunch.  We are too big to be an eagle's lunch so stood and admired it until it plunged down into the grass in the paddock.  I think it was after a rabbit. The magpies were being very quiet and still on the other side of the house.  When Rupert first arrived I worried that a passing eagle might fancy him for lunch.  He and Hugo are now much too large to form part of an eagle's menu.

I had an online Japanese lesson at lunchtime.  Half way through it someone asked how to say "pie" in Japanese.  It was at that point that I remembered that I had put some apple tarts in to cook which would have been ready just before the lesson started.  I didn't feel that I could just get up and vanish for a couple of minutes while I got them out of the oven so sent Jim a text message asking him to rescue them.  They are a little over-baked but still edible.  They definitely don't have soggy bottoms. Even so, I might not take them as an offering to the surgery staff tomorrow.  Jim and I will have to make the sacrifice and eat them ourselves.

It's been a gentle sort of a day today.  Gentle days are nice.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

I should have listened to the dog!

I got up nice and early, yesterday morning, ready to drive to Reservoir for my shift on the reception desk at the surgery.  I was ready to leave in good time. Went in to say goodbye to everyone - and Rupert came in from the garden and gave me a goodbye kiss, putting great big muddy nose prints all over the brand new pair of trousers I was wearing for the very first time.

Sigh.  Obviously I can't go to work wearing trousers covered in muddy nose prints. Not even if I am expecting to spend the day in my cupboard. Certainly not if on the reception desk.  I change into a clean, not new pair of trousers.

I am now running five minutes later than planned, but it's still quite early so all should be well.

And all was well. Until I reached the Calder Freeway when the traffic came to a complete standstill. It took about 30 minutes to do a distance that usually takes around 10.

Sigh.  But it's ok.  I should still be at the surgery on time.  I factored in time for delay.

Then I come off the ring road onto Plenty Road.  Drive through a green light, turning right, only to see that the traffic ahead of me is blocking the intersection.  If I keep going I will block the tramlines.  Blocking the tramlines is never a Good Plan.  So I stop, stranded in the middle of the intersection.  Fortunately, not in a lane where through traffic is going to go, but definitely in the lane where traffic turning onto the freeway will want to go.  I wait there until their green light comes on.  Fortunately, the lead drivers have seen me and let me get out of the way.

I am now late for work  and more than slightly stressed ;-(

I settle down at the desk.  Patients come and go. One of the doctors is also stranded in traffic so their patients are moved around to see other doctors so the late running one doesn't have an almighty queue when he eventually turns up.

The phone rings.  Someone claiming to be  an air ambulance bloke wanting to speak to one of our part time people, who won't be in until later in the week.  It's very urgent, apparently. Can I give the (alleged) air ambulance bod his mobile phone number.  Aside from the fact that I don't know the mobile phone number, I wouldn't give it anyway.  The caller might not actually be from the air ambulance!  Pass the call through to The Nurse who sorts it all out.

More patients come.  One elderly lady doesn't understand why her appointment has been shifted to another doctor.  She is Very Elderly Indeed and quite deaf. But she likes the alternative doctor so is happy to see him after the initial confusion.

The phone rings.  It's the emergency number wanting to speak to The Nurse. I find The Nurse and put the call through.

Immediately the phone rings again.  It's someone who wants a document faxed through to his solicitor, rightnowthisveryminute.  The Nurse wanders past so I give the request to her.  After all, we can't just go around randomly faxing things without written permission.  The person on the phone could be anyone.

I think The Nurse is beginning to wish I would stop answering the phone :-D

I get a nice run of simple phone calls. People wanting appointments, people cancelling appointments. I can deal with those. No need to trouble The Nurse.

Lunchtime.  And then I go into my cupboard to catch up with some scanning.  The Nurse expresses relief that I will no longer be answering the phone. One of the doctors ambles in.  Have I seen a document he wanted for one of his patients.  It hasn't been scanned yet.  Well no; it was only put in the box in the morning and I have three days worth of scanning to do. I  riffle through the scanning pile and finally find it just as the patient arrives.

Called back out onto the desk.  Answer the phone.  A lengthy phone call with someone I can't quite hear and don't really understand. The Nurse has temporarily left the building so isn't available for me to pass it to.  Eventually get the call sorted out.  I think!

Hop in the car later than I had meant and hit the after school traffic. The traffic on the ring road is horrible.  Finally get home to find Rupert, Hugo and Jim all happy, relaxed and pottering about.

I really should have listened to the dog.  Instead of putting clean trousers on first thing, I should have put my pyjamas on again and gone back to bed!!!

Thursday, February 08, 2018


We've had a busy few days.

There was the Bridge Mall market on Saturday morning.

Lindsey and Ian are still house hunting.

Lindsey, Jim and I went to Castlemaine on Sunday morning to check out the farmers' market and the artists' market. Jim had never been to Castlemaine and it's years and years since either Lindsey or I had been.  It's a pretty drive and it was a nice day for it.

We enjoyed both the markets. The farmers' market had lots of interesting things to eat and ingredients to buy, and the artists' market had lots of lovely things to look at. And buy! We left with Lindsey's trolley pretty much full.

On the way back we called into the Sunday Trash and Treasure market in Daylesford. It's much bigger than we anticipated but we had a good wander around.  I bought myself a bowl to use as a fruit bowl when I have a kitchen of my own. We don't need a new fruit bowl in Lindsey and Ian's kitchen. They have several!

Cost me the princely sum of $2
We were diverted, as we approached Lindsey and Ian's driveway, by the sight of their neighbour heading towards us, flagging us down.  She had a blue tongue lizard stuck in a wire mesh fence and was looking for extra pairs hands to help rescue it.  Off up her driveway we went and she and Lindsey spent several minutes cutting around the lizard trying to release it without (i) getting bitten by it or (ii) cutting into it with the wire or the wire cutters.  It must be said that it was well and truly stuck.

The lizard is free
and ran away before it could be put in a box and taken to the vet for a check up
This week is proceeding in a fairly orderly manner. I left Mount Helen early on Tuesday morning for a reception shift at the surgery, abandoning Jim and the dogs to look after things for themselves. Now I am at Mount Martha. Tony has an appointment at the oncologist in Heidelberg at lunchtime and I am the taxi driver.

I have had a nice couple of walks this week.  I had a lovely potter in the Fitzroy gardens on Tuesday evening, where, rather to my surprise,  I encountered a dragon.  This morning I went for a walk down to the beach road and had a trundle along there .  I am determined that this year I will get to my target of a minimum of 700 km :-)

An unexpected dragon in the park