Mother is always one for a Sunday drive. I used to quite like them. We participated in the early days of my and R's relationship. Life became too busy and we could no longer go on Mother's Sunday drives. Fortunately, late Stepfather was quite happy to take Mother on Sunday drives and often matched them to his desire to gold detect.
Mother is missing her Sunday drives big time. If we gave her a choice, she would have had us to Woodend or lost the Strzleckie Ranges. The ever wise R has always suggested lunch at a pub for many years. I used to baulk at the cost, because we always had to pay for all.
But after the last disastrous Sunday outing to the overcrowded Lysterfield Lake, I decided we will control the situation so that it not only works for Mother, but us too.
For various reasons, Mother had a very lonely week with no one visiting or taking her out for appointments. Only ABI brother called in daily to do her shopping. Sister is remaining in the country for getting on for two weeks. Given it was going to be six months and the time is nearly over, she has done well with Mother. Poor Little Jo almost died last night with illness, but miraculously survived to attend a morning brunch and later a live Wiggles performance which had been booked a long time ago.
I am a bit caught up on things, so I offered to take Mother out for lunch today. Now we could go to nearby hotel for lunch, but lunch doesn't take too long. Can we go further afield? I must keep in mind that R hates long trips. I will put me foot down with a firm hand and decide.
R, we will take Mother to a hotel in Drouin for lunch. Ok? Yes, was the reply.
Mother, Drouin Hotel for lunch.
ABI Brother, we are taking Mother for lunch to a Drouin hotel. Which one he asked. I told him and he said it was ok and where he had been to footy club meetings. This is getting better.
It was working for me too, of course. I haven't been that way since my step brother's funeral. I like Gippsland.
I drove the back roads from Mother's abode to Drouin. It was a lovely trip. So green was the grass. I remembered a few bits of Drouin, the town we went through so many times when we were young and lived in Gippsland. Drouin is a big town now, and the entry is very long. There are new bits. As per picture, there was something on at the chosen hotel, so Mother suggested the Darnum Hotel, except it none of us could recall where Darnum was exactly. A quick check of the maps and it was where I thought, the far side of Warragul. Fourteen kilometres as I looked up at R? He said fine. So we went on.
The roast pork was ok, Mother et a huge schnitzel but it was a pretty dull and dingy hotel, family owned and barely making a profit I think.
The Darnum Hotel has a proud history, but none of that was evident. It was a sad hotel in a sad town, bypassed by a freeway noisily forcing its presence.
Drove the back roads to Warragul and had a drive around the town. I remembered some parts from my childhood, especially the park near the railway station where we used to eat ham and mustard sandwiches. The very cheap but great food cafe is long gone, the dumb waiter along with it. How fascinating was a rope and pulley dumb waiter to me? Muchly.
From home, we can see the Alfred Hospital boiler chimneys. I knew Warragul Hospital had high chimneys too. It took a while but eventually I saw them from a vantage point. (Jayne, what happened to you chimney fetish?)
Enough Mother time, back home via the freeway, but wait I stopped, I remember this from when I was a kid. See the photos for an explanation.
Mother did mention her friend who has antique shop in Banana Goon, as I called it when when I was very young. Correctly named as Nar Nar Goon. I again checked with R if he was ok to turn off and look at Nar Nar Goon. Fine, he said. Glad he did, because there is a couple of pics for you to look at from Nar Nar Goon, the mural town. We couldn't find Mother's friend's antique shop, but found a really big one to rumage through. If you are hunting for old stuffs, you will find it in Nar Nar Goon.
Back to Mother's, do odd jobs for her and then bolt home and missed the start of the six pm tv news by only two minutes.
Getting on for six months after StepFather died, Mother is becoming quite chipper, a bit like her old self, that is boring the pants off everyone with her medical complaints, but bright and interested in the outside world. She is now watching tv and listening to the radio, Macca no less this morning.
So it was a pleasant Sunday afternoon drive. The only annoyance being the amount of traffic in small country towns. The noise of the traffic really annoyed me like it never does in the city.
This is one serious motorbike. There was a meeting of what looked like older bikies and their partners at the Drouin hotel.
The Darnum Hotel. A good plain feed at a hotel that needs some good patronage. Behind me, on the other side of a wire fence, cars and trucks roared past at 110 kph.
For years we passed by the memorial, never knowing what it was. We stopped and took a look see.
Can you read the plaque? Not sure if you will be able to. It says, Erected in grateful recognition by services rendered by W(M?) Calder, first chairman of the Country Roads Board by the people of Gippsland, 1930. I would guess the Calder Highway/Freeway is named after him too.
The Milk Train, a mural at Nar Nar Goon.
Nar Nar Goon street mural.