R and myself to Prahran in the car for shopping and me a haircut in the morning. K&J out in the afternoon to town. Dinner at Tran Tran in Victoria Street, Richmond.
Saturday 16th To Walhalla for a couple of days. Ex Sis in Law lives nearby so she organised our accommodation. Walhalla is an old gold mining town in the Gippsland region of Victoria, kind of north central Gippsland, about two hours drive from Melbourne. I have been there, but not since I was a teenager. Back then it had the feeling of an abandoned town and had never been connected to the electricity supply, with only generators for power. The power arrived in the 1980s, I think.
While in its heyday there was a population of thousands, now, depending on who you speak to, there are 13 or 16 residents. My informant said 13, of which nine are gay men, two are gay woman, one is straight and no-one can work out the thirteenth.
We stayed in what is called Mill House, just a little above the shops in the centre of town. It is owned by two gay guys who have three different accommodation places in the township. We did not know what it would cost in advance, aside from what was indicated on websites, and it wasn't cheap, but for the four of us, not too bad.
We set off early enough, like ten thirty, and had intended calling in to Mother's for a cup of coffee, but she had called earlier in the morning and done her dying swan, woe is me routine and asked if we could take her out for lunch to cheer her up. We obliged and spent far too long there.
Next stop was ex Sis in Law's shop/bakery near Walhalla. K&J had not met her new husband but exSiL had met K&J on their first visit to Australia seven years ago and they had put exSiL up in their abode in England when she and Non Dreaded Nephew visited them from Glasgow.
We had coffee and exSiL's husband gave us a dozen freshly baked hot cross buns to take with us and we made the final part of the journey, climbing up the foot of the mountains on a winding but well maintained road. By the time we reached Walhalla, I had started to regain my rusty country driving skills, although hardly like a local, and even they come to grief often through overconfidence, as you can read about when Daniel recently visited the same town.
Walhalla is strung out along Stringers Creek (how good was that!) with steep valley walls on either side. You enter from the south, the Latrobe Valley, and to the north are miles and miles of rugged mountains, part of the Great Dividing Range.
Our cute and cosy cottage with a church above.
A view of the township from the western side.
We were greeted by this solitary male King Parrot but alas we had not thought to bring seed.
The main bedroom, which we allowed K&J to have.
The two bunks just seen here were for R and myself. Unfortunately the room had a doorway to the bedroom at one end, another to the kitchen at the other end and the main house door right in the middle. Not ideal, but we coped.
The kitchen, very functional with all you needed.
Bathroom, nice enough, with new Wunderlich style pressed tin walls.
Shower and wc.
It was fine and sunny when we arrived but along came the badly needed rain. I was so happy, not just for the rain, but that it was spoiling the Australian Grand Prix. We chose this weekend to go away to get away from the noise and traffic disruption. It is hard to believe, but the walls of this valley were once denuded of vegetation. There is native regrowth mixed in with exotics.
We felled a tree, chainsawed it into pieces, chopped some kindling, then fired up the electric fire.
Ex Sis in Law and her husband, who I will give the name of Lozza, arrived and after drinks we all headed to the pub with them for an evening meal. It was a somewhat raucous night at the Wally Pup, but great fun. After a night cap back at the house, we retired to bed, listening to the rain on the roof. I rather inelegantly climbed up to the top bunk and slept like a log.
Next morning, we woke to sunshine and we could hear the creek bubbling away with the extra water flow.