Sunset from Hill House, Mount Helen. February 2024

Monday, July 30, 2018

A New Market - sort of

I'm not sure whether to call it a relocated market, replacing, as it does, the second Lakeside market of the month. Many of the Lakeside stalls have moved to the new location. Or, perhaps, to call it a new market given that it is in a new location and that there are extra stalls and that part of it is inside a hall.

Whatever you call it, the Brown Hill market had its first outing on Saturday.  It was a lovely morning so Jim and I hopped in the car and went out to inspect it.

It has been very well advertised in Brown Hill and on Facebook.  It had attracted a lot of attention. There were a LOT of people there. So many that it was unpleasantly crowded in the hall, where most of the craft stalls were. So unpleasantly crowded that Jim and I didn't stay in for long so didn't really see what was on offer.  Instead we headed outside and strolled around the fruit and vegetable stalls. We came home with apples, mandarins, lemons; cauliflower, romanesco cauliflower, sprouts, carrots, beetroot. We are going to eat well this week, I think. We have so much fruit that it won't fit in the fruit bowl and I've had to press a baking dish into fruity service. I might have to take some mandarins to work with me.

I assume that interest may drop as people get used to it being there. I hope it may become just a little less crowded as time goes by.  I wouldn't mind being able to potter around in a slightly less manic manner and see what is being sold inside the hall.

 It was just as well the market was on Saturday and not Sunday. The weather was HORRIBLE yesterday.  Very, very windy. Heavy rain showers. Cold, wet and miserable.  We wouldn't have gone inspecting a new market in that sort of weather.  We were up at Hill House dog sitting and Rupert and Hugo flatly refused to go outside unless the need was exceptional. Can't say that I blame them. I didn't want to go outside either.

Jim and I headed back down to our place late in the afternoon.  Lindsey came down and joined us for dinner. Her arrival was enlivened by her car making a very peculiar noise, which started shortly after she had set off from her place.  She called the RACV breakdown service which said they would have someone at our place inside the hour. In fact, they arrived not very long after, just as we were picking up our knives and forks to eat our steak, mushrooms, Yorkies, roasties and cauliflower cheese.  He had the stone which was lodged in the wheel out in seconds and went away. Hardly interrupted dinner at all!

Lindsey and Ian had been out for dinner on Saturday evening in Melbourne. They got back to the flat to find that all the lifts in their building were out of service. I suppose they could have decided to walk up all eleven flights of stairs to get back to their flat, except that you can't get onto the floors from the stairwell. It's a fire escape so you can get onto it from each level but you can't get out from the stairwell itself. I did not know this. Fortunately someone came and repaired a lift so they could get back up to their flat. I had gone to pick up Ian's car on Friday morning (he had gone Up Country by train then come back directly to Ballarat leaving his car in East Melbourne). I was on the Plaza level.  The car was in its parking spot down, down below.  The car key was up in the flat.  One lift was out of service.  One was stuck on Level 7. The remaining lift was very very grumpy about having to take everybody up and down and up and down. I thought about going up the stairs but decided that I would very bravely trust the lift.  I'm pleased I did. I would not have been at all happy if I had struggled up eleven flights of stairs only to discover that I couldn't get out of the stairwell.

Mind you, this little discovery explains the number of people who take the lift up to level 1 or 2.  I had assumed they were just being lazy!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Bang Crash Clatter

You may remember that we are not supposed to put picture hooks or other holes in the walls at this, our rented place. We did get permission to put up 4 hooks to hang our actual art works on; we were deeply reluctant to hang them on sticky hooks. So far every sticky hook we've put up has fallen off the walls, with the sole exception of the one holding a calendar.

Where possible, I have sat things on window sills. In the case of the kitchen clock, it's sitting on the broadband modem which is fixed to the kitchen wall.  In the bathroom I had put onto the window sill the bathroom clock, some sailing boats and a ceramic plate bearing the image of a lighthouse which Ian had brought back from Florence for me when we first moved into the house in Tupton.

For reasons best known to itself, the ceramic plate, which has been sitting peacefully in its place since we moved in in March, decided to fling itself off the window sill and to crash to its demise in the bath below.  On the way it somehow managed to take the ceramic soap dish with it. This had been sitting on the side of the bathroom sink.

It didn't half make a racket!

So now I am minus a lighthouse and a soap dish.  The soap dish in the kitchen, which I knew had a crack in it, is quietly disintegrating as the crack widens and gets longer.

So in my travels around markets, craft stalls, junk shops and other places I am now looking for two soap dishes, one lighthouse, and a dedicated bowl for the used tea bags. We are off to a new market this morning which I believe will have craft stalls.  I must remember to keep my eyes peeled.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A slight disappointment

It was quite a nice day on Sunday.

We got up early and had tea and toast.  I  did some ironing. We sorted ourselves out, got dressed and hopped in the car to drive to Maryborough for the monthly Farmers' Market.

Before we left I checked the address online, checked that we had the right week of the month - and noted that there is a market on the first Sunday of the month which includes craft things and other stuff.  I thought it odd that there were two markets so close together, but then there are lots of markets in Ballarat.  So off we went.

It was a lovely day for a country drive.  It is a lovely drive to Maryborough.  We enjoyed it.  Alas - when we got there we could see no sign of a Farmers' Market.  We drove around the town, admired the old Post Office and the glorious old Railway Station, but completely failed to find a market of any sort. This was slightly disappointing.

So we drove back to Clunes and had barramundi and chips for lunch in the Bread and Circus Provedore, where we have eaten before, and where I went onto the Maryborough Market's Facebook page to discover that it had Ceased To Be at the May market.  It seems to have been replaced by the relatively new, I think, market on the first Sunday of the month. What was slightly annoying was that the page pointed us to the Avoca market, which actually was on and which wouldn't have been far to get to from Maryborough.

You might suggest that I should have checked the Facebook page before we set off. In fact, I thought I had but it turns out it wasn't the official page that I had lighted upon and so obviously wasn't being updated by the market people.

So the lack of a market was disappointing, but the lunch in Clunes was not. It was very delicious. I like Bread and Circus Provedore. There's a market in Clunes too. We should go and look at it - and have another lunch!

Lindsey and Ian came to our place for dinner and we had roast pork from the Elaine Farm Shop, with the usual Sunday roast accompaniments.  That was rather delicious too

This experience led me to investigate the Sunday (and Saturday) markets further.  I now have a list that should keep us going for quite some time!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

A change in the routine

Most weeks I go to work on Tuesday and Wednesday, staying over in Lindsey and Ian's flat in East Melbourne on Tuesday night. Then I go to work on Friday and mostly go down and back on the day, usually with Lindsey.

This week just gone I went down to work on Monday with Lindsey and stayed over on Monday night.  I had intended to head back to Mount Helen by public transport after work on Tuesday, however Ian said that he would be coming back on Wednesday morning in time for a mid-morning meeting, if I wanted a lift. So I stayed over on Tuesday night as well.

The re-scheduling was because there was a talk at the Ballarat library at lunchtime on Wednesday about growing vegetables in Ballarat and Jim and I thought that we might go. It was quite an interesting talk, although I don't suppose Jim or I really learnt much that we didn't already know.  He did confirm that Ballarat is about 6 weeks behind Melbourne when it comes to planting seeds. He said over and over again that you shouldn't go by the calendar but by soil temperature. But we knew that. He said that he covers his carrot seed with shade cloth. We covered our carrot boxes in Tupton with perspex or glass sheets but the carrot tub here is too big for that so we hadn't really put anything over it apart from netting to stop the birds. I hadn't thought about shade cloth. I have now :-D He gave advice how to prevent blackbirds eating your seedlings. We don't have a problem with blackbirds. Our problem is rabbits.  He didn't address rabbits.  Even so, rabbits notwithstanding, it was an interesting talk. Pity that the TV screen wasn't higher, though.  We couldn't see it at all from where we were sitting.

We had Wednesday and Thursday nights at home. We went up to Hill House on Thursday afternoon to play with Rupert and Hugo, then I went to work on Friday with Lindsey as usual.

And now it is the weekend. The weather is set reasonably fair, if a bit windy.  I am going to go and do useful things this morning before a Japanese class at lunchtime. Then we might go out play this afternoon and tomorrow

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Rupert and Hugo's Adventurous Day

Rupert and Hugo had a very adventurous day on Sunday.

After breakfast they got in the car and set off on a long, long drive.

The car stopped in Rockbank and they got very excited, thinking we had arrived at our destination.  But no.  We had stopped for toasted sandwiches.  They were happy to be fed a second breakfast.  We were happy to have our first :-D

The car stopped again in Mornington and they were very excited again.  But we still hadn't got to where we were going.  And there were no toasted sandwiches this time.  Lindsey and I had gone into Tully's for supplies.

Finally we got to Mount Martha.  Hooray! This time we had arrived.  We had gone to Grandma Stella and Grandpa Tony's place for lunch. Rupert and Hugo were very well behaved.  They didn't knock anyone over. They didn't eat the lunch while it was being prepared. They didn't eat Grandma Stella's teddies. They did have a nice run around in the courtyard and a play with their own teddies and they did snuggle Stella. I think they had a good time.

Then we got back in the car and Rupert and Hugo settled in for the long drive back. They were much surprised when the car stopped just three or four minutes later.  They were even more surprised to look out the window and see that we were at a park.  And there were LOTS of Great Danes in the park. It was another Great Dane meet.  We all got out of the car and went into the park.  It was a gated off-lead park for dogs!  This was very exciting. They ran and ran and ran and ran and ran.  Some of the dogs had been at Lake Wendouree a fortnight ago.  Others were new friends.  There were about 12 Great Danes, a deerhound, a mastiff of some sort and two Great Dane puppies. Confusingly, there was another Dane called Hugo and he was also a blue dane!!  Fortunately Lindsey had brought bandanas for her dogs so we could tell them apart from all the other blue and black dogs.

Great Danes gathering

Hugo and Rupert RUNNING



They slept well in the car on the way home!

Jim and I had quite an exciting weekend too.  Not only did we accompany Rupert, Hugo and Lindsey on their adventure on Sunday but on Saturday we had been unexpectedly summoned up to Hill House for dinner.  Ian wanted to use the rotisserie on his barbecue. So we packed up and went up for the night, to feast on rotisseried tandoori chicken. Much more exciting than the sesame salmon that I had been thinking of

I have been looking at the photos I have taken this year with a view to putting some into folders for the calendars I make at Christmas.  I seem to have lots of photos of dogs, lots of photos of sunsets and sunrises and not very much else.  They are not going to be very exciting calendars at this rate :-D

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Fairly Quiet

It's been a quiet few days.

The Weather Dogs have brought rain, wind and cool temperatures to Ballarat, although they did take their clouds and rain away when Jim, Lindsey and I went to the monthly Bridge Mall market.  I particularly wanted to go for the mushrooms and the eggs, plus the bacon if the pork people were there.  Both the mushroom seller and the egg seller have bags and trays of seconds mushrooms and eggs at bargain prices. I do not mind mis-shapen produce, nor do I mind if my eggs and mushrooms are not of uniform sizes.  If you want to sell me bags of mushrooms and trays of eggs at half price, then I am happy to buy them and eat them. The bacon people were there. I bought bacon supplies and pork chops.  Lindsey bought us all egg and bacon rolls for breakfast.

Back at home I had a Japanese lesson that was more complicated than I expected it to be. I was the only student and the sensei decided (rightly) that I already knew the grammar point that the lesson was covering and turned it into a conversation lesson.  Stretched my vocal and grammar, that did!

We went out the Elaine farm shop in the afternoon and are now set up with provisions for the next little while. We'll need milk, bread and fresh veg but for the rest I think we're good.  I bought apples, oranges and mandarins at the market, which should keep for a while.  And, of course, we might eat them! So the fruit bowl is full, the veg bowl almost so. The freezers are satisfactorily stocked. We are not likely to starve :-D

We had a very quiet Sunday and then moved up to Lindsey and Ian's place on Monday afternoon. It was almost a catastrophe.  We had been there for an hour or so when I realised that we had left our wine supplies at Tani no uchi!!!!!!!  Fortunately, our place is only a five minutes drive from Lindsey and Ian's place. I went down and retrieved some.

Aside from that, not much has happened.  The weather remains cold, wet and windy in Ballarat.  Less so in Melbourne but you wouldn't exactly call it warm and sunny. And now I am off to work, then back to Ballarat this evening. Another week progressing without incident. (So far, at least)

Monday, July 02, 2018

Weekend Report

We have had a lovely weekend.

On Friday Jim came down to Melbourne with me. He took the tram from Reservoir to the flat in East Melbourne and spent the day there while I was at work. I met him there later in the afternoon and we took the tram to Queen's College in Parkville.

We had gone to a party to celebrate Robert and Susan's 50th wedding anniversary.  50 years.  That's quite some achievement.  I first met them when Robert came to be chaplain at Ormond College, where I was living at the time.  Both Queen's and Ormond are residential colleges attached to the University of Melbourne.  I was pregnant with Tabitha at the time which means I have been friends with them for 41 years.  This comes as something of a shock to me!

It was a nice and gentle party. It was good to catch up with bygone friends, to catch up with not so bygone friends and to meet new people. It was also good that we had gone on the tram. There was nice wine to be drunk and some delicious finger food.  But not too much of either.  We were supposed to be going out for dinner!

Back to East Melbourne, and into the Prince Patrick pub for dinner with Lindsey.  You may remember that Jim and I went to the PP earlier in June and had a very pleasant pub food meal. We had another very pleasant pub food meal this time. And they are quite obliging.  I asked if it was possible to have chips rather than bread with the steak sandwich and they said "But of course - steak and chips; a classic combination".  Lindsey had the pie of the day. It was HUGE!

We had a leisurely start Saturday. I fetched toasted ham, cheese and tomato sandwiches and hot drinks from the cafe under the flat for breakfast. We went to Ikea with Lindsey and bought a chest of drawers for our bedroom.  Then Lindsey headed off to Mount Martha, and Jim and I made our way home - where Jim spent the rest of the day assembling the Ikea flat pack drawers.  He only swore a few times, largely when he misunderstood the picture instructions for assembly.

On Sunday there was a meet and greet for a facebook group that Lindsey is a member of.  It's a Great Dane lovers' group which I believe meets quite regularly but not usually in Ballarat.  They met at this time last year by Lake Wendouree and had decided to do it again this year.  And this year Lindsey and Ian, Jim and I and Rupert and Hugo went too.  We were spectacularly lucky with the weather. It was a glorious winter's day.  Hugo and Rupert were delighted to meet a whole group of great danes. We met in one of the pavilions by the lake, had a walk around the botanical gardens, a barbecue lunch, some of the dogs had a massage and we went on a tram ride.  The tram had to slow down or even stop from time time so people could take photos of the tram with loads of great danes hanging out the windows :-D  Generally, the dogs attracted quite a lot of attention with people wanting to pat them and talk to them.  It was a good day and Rupert and Hugo seemed to enjoy it, although they weren't so keen on the massage. Lindsey is keeping an eye out for other meetings that we can take them to.

Lake Wendouree on a sunny winter Sunday morning

Hugo: What are they? Swans? Can I chase them?

Great Danes in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens
(across the road from the lake)

Lindsey and Rupert (and another swan)

Rupert on the tram

Hugo on the tram
And now it is Monday and we are poised for another week.  I am off to Melbourne tomorrow morning, leaving Jim, Rupert and Hugo at Hill House.  I *think* that this should be a "normal" week, with people following the usual routine. Might well be wrong though :-D