Sunset from Hill House, Mount Helen. February 2024

Monday, April 30, 2018

What a week

Well now.  That was an interesting week.

It all started on Monday, as working weeks so often do.  Although I don't actually work on Mondays it still feels like a working day rather than the last day of the weekend.  I think that's probably because we move up to Hill House at some point on Monday and clean up our place ready for visitors before we leave.  Not that we are expecting visitors, but the unit is still on the market and we do get phone calls from the estate agent asking if potential buyers can come through. Best to leave it ready, I think.

Anyway. Last Monday evening I misjudged the location of my dining chair and went flying.  All would have been well except that my forehead collided with the side of the kitchen bench.  I picked myself up and dusted myself down. It didn't seem that there was much damage, except that the wing had come off my glasses and I had a lump on my head and a graze by my eye.

On Tuesday morning I drove to work after sunrise, wearing my sunglasses - it is a condition of my driving licence that I wear my glasses and my sunnies are prescription glasses.  I often wear them anyway at that time of the morning. You are driving into the sun if heading from Ballarat towards Melbourne.  The lump on my head had grown overnight and the graze was more pronounced.

This all caused considerable comment when I got to the surgery!

As the day progressed a black eye began to develop round my right eye.

Wednesday was a public holiday and Jim and I went  for lunch at Mount Martha.  Jim had to drive. By now the black eye had spread right around my right eye, over my nose and down into the left eye. I looked as though I had done ten rounds with the heavyweight boxing champion of the world.  (I wonder who is the heavyweight boxing champion ...)

We had a good time at Mount Martha.  Stella had got in some steak and we had that for roasties and veg for lunch.  I had taken some old photos with me for them to look at.  When my uncle Jack died my cousins sorted out some photos for me.  Then when my aunt Joan moved in to her nursing home her daughter sorted out some more photos and they had all come over with us when our things were freighted across.  It was interesting looking at them with my parents - they didn't know who all the people were in some the photos but they could identify a number of the people who I didn't know.

Back to work on Friday and my eyes were in full blackness of eye.  Fortunately the swelling had gone down and I was able to drive.

Friday was also Rupert's first birthday.  You may remember that he was one of eleven puppies born to a dog who had been rescued by the Great Dane Rescue people - who didn't realise she was pregnant when they rescued her.  The arrival of 11 puppies came as something of a surprise to them!  Rupert is now a tall, lanky boy full of mischief and exuberance.  He is also a very loving dog and has a lovely nature.  I took him and Hugo some birthday treats when I headed back after work.

Saturday was a beautiful day and we went with Lindsey out to buy more doggie birthday treats. While we were out we went to the Lakeside market which was considerably more bustling than it was last month when it was cold, windy and very wet.  We had lunch at their place and then Jim and I walked down the hill to our place.  It is just over 2 km on foot and took a little over half an hour. It's a lovely walk, down through the University grounds.  We went back up in the evening to help them eat the piece of beef that Lindsey had bought at the market.

Sunday morning, fortunately another beautiful morning, found Jim and me driving to the Beaconsfield Pistol Club.  Not something I ever thought I would write!!!  We were off to a birthday party.  For the 11 puppies :-D  9 of the puppies came, including one from NSW and one from Tasmania.  They brought with them their humans and their doggie companions.  So Lindsey, Ian, Jim, Hugo and I accompanied Rupert.  The actual shooting range is an enclosed area so pretty much all the dogs were off lead and had a fabulous time tearing around and playing.

Photo by Lindsey.  Rupert is the dog with the bandage on his foot

There were tasty treats for the dogs, lots of food for the humans (I worried for the small boy who ate nothing but cakes, biscuits, slices and lollies. More accurately I worried for his parents or grandparents who might have to deal with the aftermath of the sugar fest in the night :-D  )  There was a lucky dip of birthday presents for the puppies. Hugo also got a present. Lindsey had taken one to make sure he didn't get left out.  It was a great afternoon.

Lindsey, Ian and Rupert

Jim and Hugo

Then Lindsey and Ian went to Melbourne in our car and I drove Lindsey's car back to Mount Helen, taking with me Jim and both the dogs.  Rupert slept all the way home.  Hugo also slept but not all the way.  He doesn't like getting in the car but loves it once he is in.  He sat up quite a lot of the way and watched out the window.  They both spent the evening sleeping on the couch with determination!

Sunday evening sunset
And my face is slowly settling back to normal.  I now have a bruised lump on my head and the remains of two black eyes but the worst of the bruising has faded.

Right.  I must get a wriggle on.  I have an online Japanese lesson in 15 minutes and I need to find a pen.

Monday, April 23, 2018

I didn't manage to get back to work last week.  Lindsey said that the systems were up and functional but not actually better and I might be better to stay inBallarat, play with the dogs and come back this week.  By which time, you might hope, the system will be up and running properly.

So that is what I did.

It was quite nice having a few days off.  We pottered around, checked in on Tani no uchi every now and then, kept the dogs fed and watered.  But it did serve to remind me that I do quite like going to work for two or three days a week.  Adds a level of interest to the week, plus a semblance of structure.

Lindsey and Ian were away for the weekend, using some of their Adventure and Experience vouchers that they got for their respective 60th birthdays last May.  Vouchers usually have a shelf life of 12 months, so they needed to get a wriggle on if they were going to use them all before they expired.  It was unfortunate that they were away THIS weekend, though.  Jim and I had plans to visit Mount Martha on Saturday, although that was easily moved to this coming Wednesday, which is a public holiday.  We were not keen to try and rearrange our Sunday plans, however.  It had taken WEEKS and WEEKS and much negotiation to get Sunday organised and there was no realistic chance of  rescheduling it.

Fortunately, Ross rode to the rescue, offering to cover Sunday and Sunday night.  So at around 9, Jim took me down to our place where I set to organising tomato soup, roast chicken with veggies then fruit and chocolate.  Ross turned up at Hill House at about 11 so Jim came back down to our place.  And then turned up Irene and Gillie, then Chris and John, ready for a catch up, some food, some wine for those not driving, and a good chatter.  It was good to see them. They were our first  guests who were not family!  The sun shone and showed off our light, bright new abode beautifully.  We organised our next luncheon gathering before everyone left to go home.  It was a good way of doing it. It's easier to pin people down when they are all physically present.  Next time at Gillie's place in Daylesford.

If there is one thing I would say to my 25 or 30 year old self, if I could,  it would be that she should tell her then husband to pull his head in when it came to the subject of dishwashers.  He hated them (he still does). He wouldn't let us have one.  When we were given one he banished it to the laundry and wouldn't let me use it.  Eventually the donors took it away and gave it to someone else who did use it.  So I have never had a dishwasher.  I have run across them in holiday houses sometimes. My present husband doesn't have a hatred for them. He has indeed had and used dishwashers in other places. But we couldn't have one in Tupton. The only place to put one would be where the washing machine was and if I had to choose which to wash by hand, it wouldn't be the laundry!!!  Lindsey and Ian have one at their place, which I have used with enthusiasm.  And Tani no uchi has one.  It made doing the dishes after a three course Sunday lunch a doddle. Of course not everything could go in. But it takes no time to wash just a small number of dishes, while the machine trundles quietly along sorting out the bulk of them. By morning tea time you wouldn't have know there had  been a luncheon party at our place - apart from the new stock pot sitting on the stove simmering away making chicken stock and the surprising number of left overs.

I wonder how the systems are at work this week ...

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The weather was still a bit grim on Sunday.  Not as grim as it had been on Saturday, but still not particularly pleasant.

Jim went up to Hill House to help Lindsey put a new, electronic lock on the front door. I stayed at Tani no uchi and pottered around and made preparations for Sunday lunch.

Jim rang.  Please could I come and get him (I had the car) and take him to Bunnings.  I remonstrated a bit.  I was in the middle of preparing Sunday lunch.  Then I remembered that the people who were coming for Sunday lunch were, in fact, Jim and Lindsey. They were unlikely to complain if lunch was late.  We couldn't have it anyway until they both arrived.

We went to Bunnings.

Coming back we drove past a Mitre Ten, much closer to Mount Helen and which would almost certainly have had what Jim wanted. We drove past it on our way TO Bunnings and didn't give it a thought. Next time we'll try there first!

Lindsey and Jim eventually turned up for lunch, and very delicious it was too. I do very much enjoy a good Sunday roast. When Lindsey arrived she had with her half a dozen bottles of white wine which she said were surplus to requirements at her place.  I have never before heard of such a thing. How can white wine be surplus to requirements?  But I was more than happy to give the bottles cupboard space!

Booze cupboard satisfactorily full.
And still plenty of beer for Jim

We moved up to Hill House on Monday.  Lindsey had to leave for work very early and no one will be back until at least Sunday.  I left for work yesterday morning and got there to find a fair degree of chaos.  The Surgery computer systems were down!  I hung around until lunchtime in the hope that they would come back up and I could get on with the scanning and the various other things I had waiting to be done.  At lunchtime I gave up and came back to Ballarat.  There is very little that I can do without the computer system.  There didn't seem to be any point going down today.  I don't want to be driving up and down the Western Freeway everyday.  I'll go in again on Friday. Assuming the systems are up and running again.

The dogs were happy that we were here.  It was on the chilly side first thing this morning - about 5d when I got up.  They appreciated the nice, warm, cosy bed!

A Great Dane jigsaw!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Booze and Weather

I went into Liquorland earlier in the week and noticed that they were selling one of our preferred wine casks at 3 for $37.  Usually they are $19 each. This was something of a saving so, although I had only gone in for one, I thought I should take advantage of this kind offer.

I went to pay.  "That'll be $57, please" said the nice young man at the till.  I obviously looked puzzled because he looked at me and said that he would check the price.  He went to the shelves, took all the special offer labels off and came back.  The offer had finished the previous day 😓

I was just about to say that I would take just the one cask, when he said that they would honour the shelf price of 3 for $37.50.  😀 I wasn't going to argue!!

On Thursday, Jim and I went to the IGA in Mount Clear.  Stella had asked me to get some beer for Jim for his birthday and I had thought I would get a couple of the Red Duck gift packs (or Quack Packs, as they call them). I had bought him one at Christmas and he had enjoyed the beer.  It's brewed somewhere in Ballarat and I think it's only a small venture.  I haven't seen their beers outside of Ballarat yet.

Birthday beer for Jim
So we picked up a couple of boxes, then noticed that they still had the Upside Down Tractor offer of 5 for $50 plus a bonus rosé.  We like Upside Down Tractor so decided to take advantage of this offer too.  Got to the till and the computer wanted to charge zillions of dollars.  I protested.  The woman at the till went and looked.  Odd, she said.  You'd think the computer would know.  It turned out back at the till that the offer had expired on Tuesday but no one had taken the sign down.  It's down now.  And I got my six bottle of wine for $50

No danger of us running out of wine in the next few days.  Or beer, come to that!

Winter is showing signs of waking up.  We had arranged to meet Lindsey at the lake this morning to have a wander around the little market.  It was 9d, grey and drizzly when I got up.  When we left it was drizzling with a bit more enthusiasm.  By the time we got to the lake it was raining, cold and WINDY.  There weren't many stalls there.  Nor were there many customers.  We didn't stay long but we did buy a few things.

Lindsey went back to her place.  Jim and I called in to Harris Scarfe, a place I had never been into or even really noticed until my friend Chris said it might be a good place to look for a stock pot.  She was right.  It has an excellent array of kitchen stuff.  We bought a stock pot and two morning tea mugs.

The BoM had been forecasting strong winds and heavy rain for here at around midday.  The weather dogs came out to play about 15 minutes early.  Boy did it rain

Video looking from our front door across the court

Video of our backyard

We went up to Hill House to have lunch with Lindsey and to try and sort out Rupert's bandage (which involved Jim more or less sitting on him while Lindsey tackled the bandage and I distracted Hugo with Scooby Snacks).  This is what we found when we got there:

Fortunately the tree missed Lindsey's car

It's quite a big tree. We might have to leave it there for the time being 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

We had a pleasant, relatively quiet weekend.

We went with Lindsey and Ian to the Bridge Mall market on Saturday morning, then to Bunnings and to a couple of other shops.

We went with Lindsey to Elaine to the Farmgate shop on Saturday afternoon to look at their meat selection.

We pottered around at our place, planted a few herbs to start our Home garden, as opposed to the allotment at Lindsey and Ian's place.

We sorted out a few things in the unit.

We had Sunday dinner at Lindsey and Ian's place, in celebration of Jim's birthday which Ian won't be able to celebrate with us.

Monday was Jim's birthday and he had a proper fried Sunday breakfast on a Monday.  He spent most of the day up at Hill House digging potatoes and I finally got around to sorting out the study, the desk and the wardrobes so that things have places and we know more or less where things are.  I'll do it again when we have got some more chests of drawers and some shelves but it will do for now.  Eventually I'll reorganise the kitchen cupboards but, again, they'll do for now.

In the evening Jim, Lindsey, Emily and I went to the Tokyo Grill in Ballarat for a celebratory birthday dinner.  Lindsey, Jim and I arrived and were seated at a long table - it was more or less an oblong with a teppanyaki grill in the middle for the chef to cook for us.  Along two of the other sides was a group of cheerful young women obviously celebrating someone's birthday.  When Emily arrived they greeted her with surprise and joyfulness.  Turns out she used to work with them when she was physio-ing at the Base hospital.  So we had a double birthday celebration.  It was also Tokyo Grill's birthday and they had a 9 course birthday set menu which the four of us had.  So did many of the young women.  It was splendid.  Except that I ate so much yummy protein that by the time the veg and rice came out I was too full to do it justice!

I have been looking for a knife block, without knives, for sometime.  They are surprisingly difficult to find.  Shops sell all sorts of knife blocks, but they all come with knives and I don't need knives.  While we were at the market on Saturday, we ambled into the craft market where I found someone who had been making chopping boards with wood off cuts.  I hadn't been particularly looking for a wooden cutting board, although I had been musing that my plastic ones weren't very sturdy.  But when I saw a lovely piece of jarrah for $20 I had to have it.

It is, I hope you will agree, beautifully sturdy.
And beautiful 

And as we were walking past the sausage sizzle on our way back to the carpark (we didn't need sausages - we had had egg and bacon rolls for breakfast from the pork people) I noticed empty wooden knife blocks for $5 each!!! I should have bought two :-D

Very colourful :-D
I already had the dinosaur ladles but now
my colourful knives can join them

Monday, April 02, 2018


Wednesday evening found Jim and me at Hill House with Rupert and Hugo.  Ian was, I think, in Nhill.  Lindsey stayed in East Melbourne.

Jim and I took the Honda to the Honda place on Thursday to get the bloke to look at the front wing.  You may remember back in December that Ian detected a funny noise when he was driving the Honda (and me) back from Melbourne. It turned out that the two front wings had broken away from the casing and from the wheel flaps. Ian had made a temporary repair at Bunnings in Melton and then a more robust repair over the weekend.  Some weeks ago I had accidentally caught the front left wing on a kerb and more or less pulled it off.  Ian and Jim had sort of fixed it back on but it was clear that Something Needed to Be Done.  The bloke looked at it and said that he could fix it properly but it would cost $700 or $800 to do it.  Or we could have these here washers, screws and plastic ties, put holes here and here, do this and that and that should fix it too.  Not a new part but a repair.  Much like Ian had done the first time around.  He gave us the washers, screws and ties and sent us on our way.  Having cost us nothing!  Ian says that I wasn't as impressed when he fixed it with washers, screws and ties, but I was. I was very impressed.  But he wasn't in a position to charge us up to $800 for it and chose not to.

While all this was happening, Lindsey and Emily went to Mount Martha and brought Stella and Tony back for the Easter weekend.  Ian made his way back from Nhill on a coach.  I took Emily back to her place once they had got back from their expedition, and collected Ian from the station on my way back.

Good Friday is a Very Solemn Holiday in Australia.  All the shops are shut. It is very quiet. Some of the restaurants and cafes are open but nothing much else.  Fortunately, the Pig and Goose in Buninyong was open so Stella, Tony, Lindsey, Ian, Jim and I could go for lunch. They came down to our place first so Tony and Stella could admire our new pad, and then we all trundled in to Buninyong for lunch.  I must say, if I was running an eating place I would have been open.  The places that were were doing a thriving trade.  So many places were shut, though, and I don't suppose that most of them were run by devout observers of Good Friday.  Anyway, we enjoyed our lunch at the Pig and Goose. We enjoyed our dinner at Hill House later, where Ian cooked up a storm.

On Saturday all the shops opened again.  Or at least most of them did. Lindsey, Stella, Tony and I went clothes shopping and for a potter around some of Ballarat's shops. Ian and Jim went shopping for irrigation materials. Later Lindsey and I went food shopping for Sunday.  And back at our place was a piece of lamb in my slow cooker, waiting to be served for Saturday dinner, which Stella, Tony, Ian and Lindsey joined us for.

Yesterday, of course, was Easter Sunday. Several of the family met at Hill House for Sunday lunch.  We were thirteen in number (who should we ascribe the role of Judas to ? :D )  We had a magnificent feast.  Many of the leftovers came back to our place. I can see stews and casseroles and soups appearing. It was a good day, marred only by one of the visitors trapping her finger in a door and by Rupert taking offence to the unannounced arrival of three dogs.   Fortunately Rupert got over the horror of these dogs invading his home (he obviously doesn't remember them coming last Christmas) so no drastic action had to be taken.  I'm not sure how the finger fared.  At one point they wondered if it might be broken and I don't know what the outcome was.

I had suggested to Jim that we should ask someone to come down and pick us up in the morning and then we could walk back down after the lunchtime festivities.  However, he volunteered to drive and had to restrict himself to a glass of wine with lunch.  We could have walked. It's all downhill and it was a pleasant afternoon.

Today has also been a holiday in Australia.  Lindsey took Stella and Tony home. Jim and I went to Bunnings and to the supermarket early this morning then he went up to join Ian in the continuing adventure of the irrigation system.  I stayed here and swept the porch, tried with enthusiasm to remove many of the outside cobwebs, made pea and ham soup, started on turning the leftovers into stews and casseroles - and had a Japanese lesson.  It's very hard to explain Easter customs to someone in Japan, especially when the customs vary depending on where you are.  I didn't even attempt it in Japanese. I was the only student so we wandered away from the lesson plan quite a bit :-)

Back to work tomorrow.  I'd better start getting organised for the new week