Sunset from Hill House, Mount Helen. February 2024

Monday, February 05, 2024


The Family gathered on Saturday afternoon to celebrate Stella's Birthday Achievement.

Lindsey and I had ordered various platters from the Mushroom Farm a couple of weeks ago. Wendy and I went out to collect them on Saturday morning. We called at the bakery for party pies and rainbow* bread (for the fairy bread). We collected Stella and took her to Hill House.

Pretty much everyone in the family who is in Australia came for a celebratory afternoon tea.

There was also a Surprise Guest. By a complete coincidence, one of Stella's regular carers, from when she lived in Mount Martha, rang Wendy mid-morning on Saturday. She was in Ballarat with a friend for the weekend. Did Wendy think it appropriate for them to go and visit Stella? Wendy and I managed to persuade her that not only was it appropriate but that Stella would be absolutely delighted - only she would need to come to Hill House, which is where Stella would be. She took a bit of convincing that it would be acceptable to "gatecrash" the party with her friend, but we finally managed to persuade her. And Stella was indeed delighted. And surprised (we hadn't said anything). And very pleased.

It was a good afternoon. And better than a full on family Christmas, in many ways. We had mostly finger food and people spread themselves all over the (rather large) house and into the garden, unlike at Christmas when everyone is  noisily gathered around a couple of dining tables in the one room. It was much easier to talk to people, not to mention being able to get at the tasty tidbits that you fancied!

Tony was there, with his glass of wine

A platter of donuts, cakes, pastries
- and lots and lots of lollies

Birthday girl with her cake

I'm sure I can get at that abandoned piece of cheese
if I just try hard enough

Fruit platters, party pies, sandwiches, cheese 
and charcuterie

A bundle of boys

and a gathering of girls

The plan had been that Stella would stay overnight at Hill House and join whoever was there for brunch/lunch on Sunday. However, she decided that she was absolutely exhausted and would prefer to go home to her own bed. So Lindsey took her back, where she repaired straight to bed. I also pretty much went straight to bed when I got back to my place.

Those of us who were still standing on Sunday went out to the Wallace Hotel for lunch. Stella was going to come with us but decided that she was too tired and stayed back at her place. I suppose, once you get to your 90s, three days of partying might be pushing it a bit. Mind you, Lindsey reports that Rupert and Hugo had barely moved from the bed and the couches after everyone had gone home on Saturday evening. They were still on the couches when everyone headed out to lunch on Sunday.

It was an excellent birthday weekend. The weather was glorious. It was pleasantly hot. Everyone had a good time. 

The weather has changed today. After a weekend of sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-30s, today is cloudy, damp and misty with a forecast high of 20. I might even have to put a cardigan on!

*Our bakery makes rainbow bread which has red and blue colouring stirred through a white bread dough. It's perfect for fairy bread, which is thinly sliced bread, crusts removed, buttered and spread with hundreds and thousands

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