Bell’s Beach Victoria

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We went for a drive down to Bell’s Beach a few days after a news story broke about a surfer who was knocked off his board by a shark at the same beach on the Great Ocean Road.*

I don’t know how many surfers are usually there on a Saturday morning in early spring, but there were around fifty people in the water when I counted, and none of them seemed to be watching out for sharks.

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*Just read that sentence back, and realised it sounds as if we went to the beach in the hopes of seeing a shark eat someone. Not true. We read the story in the paper after we went to the beach.

 

 

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The Doggies Won!

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Miss G’s Western Bulldogs have won the AFL Grand Final, after 62 years!

As Miss G lives in a place where Doggies supporters are in the minority, I stepped out of my front door and took a few photos around the neighbourhood to show her how her fellow Doggies fans in my area are celebrating the first win since 1954.

Go Doggies!

 

Play Dough

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Honey-Bunny and my favourite son-in-law were baby-sitting two-year old Mini recently, and knowing how much I enjoy messing around with play dough, brought Mini over to share the fun.

1 Cup Plain flour

1 Cup water

1/2 Cup salt

1 teaspoon oil

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

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Place all ingredients in a saucepan, heat, then turn out onto the bench and knead well.

My favourite son-in-law made the rose in the photo below for me and cemented his place as my favourite.

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Chocolate for Breakfast

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I was laying in bed this morning (Saturday 30 July 2016) reading the news on MSN, when I came across a story advising that the end of the world is due sometime today.*

I’m a bit confused about the cause of the end of the world, it was something to do with the north and south poles swapping ends, magnetic something, something else, not sure what, but I think they said geo-something, then birds and fish get confused… Obviously I did not do well in science at school, because I’m confused too.

Anyway, just in case the world does end today, I decided to have chocolate for breakfast, in bed. If the world doesn’t end later today, I’ll blame the headache I have now (the middle of Saturday afternoon) from too much chocolate on the doomsday mob who made me think I should live today as if it is my last day. So far, on this last day on earth, I’ve let Miss S do my make-up; with surprisingly good results, phoned Honey-Bunny for a chat, done a week’s worth of housework just in case life goes on, and watched a car show on tv with He Who Eats All of our Leftovers, since it makes him happy to have someone share his interests.

Now I’m blogging. When I’ve finished, I’ll go for a walk, then fold up the washing, potter around for bit before tea, then go to bed early and read for a while. The perfect day.

*I’ve scheduled this to be posted Monday 2 August 2016, so if you’re reading this, the world didn’t end. Surprise.

Melbourne Star

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He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers and I recently did a ‘flight’ on the Melbourne Star. I don’t know why this gets called a flight, because the Melbourne Star is actually a giant ferris wheel. My word for the trip would be a ‘ride.’

Also, people in Melbourne call the Melbourne Star, ‘the Wheel.’

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The Wheel seemed to take ages to be built initially, and was only in use for about a month when it closed because of structural defects. I think the wrong kind of steel for Australian conditions was used, so the Wheel was pulled down and re-built.

The view below is looking out to Port Phillip Bay, with the Bolte Bridge crossing the Yarra River in the foreground.

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While the Wheel was being built, most people agreed that it was being built in the wrong place. St Kilda (on the bay itself) would probably have been a better spot, probably because tourists actually go to St Kilda.

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If you want a great view of the city, the bay and Melbourne’s suburbs in all directions, the view from the Eureka Tower is much better, however the view from the Wheel was interesting, if a bit industrial.

Sea Works Williamstown

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We recently went to Bumpers by the Bay at Sea Works at Williamstown. This was a car show put on by the FX FJ Club, but if you weren’t interested in chrome bumpers, there was a lot more to look at than just cars.

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In the picture below, the ship at the end of the pier is the Sea Shepherd’s ‘Steve Irwin’. The Melbourne skyline is in the background.

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Fishing boats.

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For those who like cars, this was the view from the pier looking back at Sea Works and the surrounding businesses.

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J Ward at Ararat, Victoria

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We recently visited J Ward at Ararat, a former jail and mental asylum which now operates as a museum.

Ararat is a small town in western Victoria, which was founded in a gold rush in the 1850’s. Soon after the gold rush began, a prison was required, so the original blue stone facility was erected and opened in 1861. The jail only operated for about twenty years, because the gold in the area ran out. In that time, three prisoners were hung at the gaol.

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The facility became a prison for the criminally insane  as part of the Ararat Lunatic Asylum. It became known as J Ward.

Not all of the occupants were criminals, although they all had good reason to be there. Some of the stories of the occupants and their crimes are harrowing.

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The picture above shows an example of graffiti on the bluestone walls which was done by an unknown artist.

The photos above show the stairs and the old kitchen. Ghost tours and overnight stays are also held at J Ward, with some people sensing a presence on the stairs. I didn’t.

Ken, who guided our tour, was knowledgeable and told some great stories. J Ward closed in 1991, so some of the occupants had ‘made the news’ in fairly recent history. The issues of mental health were treated by Ken, as a Friend of J Ward, with a great deal of respect.

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Dresses from The Dressmaker

There is an exhibition of dresses from the Australian movie, The Dressmaker, showing at Barwon Park in Winchelsea, Victoria at the moment.

Barwon Park is a bluestone mansion and stables owned by the National Trust. It was built in 1871 for the Austin family, who were pastoralists. Mr Austin died six months after the house was built, so the gardens were never completed.

Parts of the movie was filmed in the countryside near Barwon Park and the mansion itself was the perfect setting for the displays.

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All of the women I know who saw The Dressmaker loved it, and agree that although everyone in the movie was great, that Judy Davis stole the show.

The story was good, Kate Winslet was lovely and her role was fantastic, Liam Hemsworth is gorgeous, Hugo Weaving and the rest of the cast were terrific, but the dresses? They were spectacular.

The hats were extraordinary. They were in the first room off the mansion’s foyer and took everyone by surprise.

There weren’t many men at the exhibition, but the women were ooh-ing and aah-ing.

Kate Winslet wore the red dress below to a local football match in the movie. Very distracting for the footballers.

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The movie tells the story of Tilly (played by Kate Winslet) who returns to her mother’s home in an Australian country town after being banished in disgrace as a child. Tilly has returned to look after her mother, who has mental health problems, and to learn why she was banished.

The story is satisfying and I love seeing the Australian countryside which is so familiar to me featured in the movie, but most of all, I enjoyed the power of the dresses and costumes in The Dressmaker.

 

 

Kustom Nationals at Phillip Island

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The Kustom Nationals and Rockabilly festival is held annually at Phillip Island, Melbourne in early January. It is a car event for modified vehicles, pre 1966. The day events are held at the Grand Prix track, with entered cars able to cruise the track.

Bands play down the street in the evening, and with the area closed off to traffic there is a party atmosphere with locals, holiday makers and entrants alike checking out the cars, listening to the music and dancing.

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The Otway Fly

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He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers, Miss S, a friend of Miss S’s and I recently went on an adventure, to the Otway Fly in the Otway Ranges of Victoria, where we walked The Treetop Walk through the rainforest. We had a gorgeously sunny day for our visit.

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The walk started off as a gentle ramble down a path, with warnings here and there to watch out for snakes. We didn’t see any snakes, but that was fine. We were more than happy to see rosellas and moss and fungus and unfurling fern fronds, (try saying that five times quickly).

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After travelling downhill for about a kilometre, we came to the start of the 600 metre steel elevated walkways, which lead to the spiral tower.

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The tower is quite high and moves a little. While we were up the tower several other visitors became uncomfortable with the height and movement and had to return to lower ground, but for those who enjoy a bird’s eye view, the outlook over the trees is spectacular. The part of the walk which cantilevers out from the tower over a creek is especially beautiful. As an aside, an information plate told us that the cantilever section can hold the weight of 14 elephants, although none of us could figure out how we could have got an elephant there to test the claim.

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The walk eventually led down to the creek, and the rainforest floor was a completely different environment to the canopy, and probably fifteen degrees cooler than up in the tree tops.

We ate at the Black Snail Café when we returned from our walk and were happily surprised by the cost and quality of our meal.

The drive through the Otways was beautiful too, although to go on to the coast was a more difficult drive, another hour of almost single lane roadway with a great many hairpin bends. Luckily for us we didn’t come across any logging trucks on this part of the road.