The Food is Free Laneway and community garden project is in hibernation with COVID-19 restrictions, but will open soon.
Faces are older, some a little fuller. Menus are best seen at a distance, with much joking about needing glasses. There is talk of peri-menopause, of children on the spectrum, and treatment for cancer. Absent friends are remembered and either mercilessly mocked for not attending, or speculated about their life and where they are.
You end up speaking to people with whom you never really spoke to much at school- cliques ruled back then and there were only a few people who slid easily from one group to another. Though when the time comes for photos, the girls converge into their old groups- old habits die hard.
Some conversations flow with people that you haven’t seen for over 10 years, and with some it’s almost as if you are picking up a conversation you just left a couple of minutes ago. Other people fail to get your drift and you realise that the only thing you had in common was that you are a similar age and by circumstance you shared a classroom in a school you haven’t visited since mullets and perms were in fashion. Oh, and you both had a perm.
And there are some whom I would be happy never to see again as they are just as bitchy as they were when they were at school. Some people never change.
I take commando shopping very seriously- the ability to shop in a seriously restricted period of time has been something I have honed over years of kids with limited attention spans and a husband who hates crowds.
Heading away to Warrnambool was a chance to see some new shops. I had scoped a couple of op shops online before we arrived, and I knew there were a few vintage shops in Warrnambool as well to take a quick browse in. With only 3 days and an already full itinerary it would be hard to squeeze in quality browsing time. With a fully packed car with bikes and luggage it would also be a challenge to get anything home. Items bought would have to be small and compact.
The first shop was Colac Vinnies– the best thing about this place is its location, across the road from a park with a playground. It’s a perfect chance to drop in for 5-10 minutes while the kids are playing or heading to the toilets. They had books half price and I scored a couple of titles to keep me occupied in the evenings. Total cost $2.50 for two books.
I also managed to slip out for 45 minutes in the afternoon one day while the kids were winding down after a big day out. I made a quick detour to the atm then visited 3 op shops and a vintage shop in quick succession. Three of the shops were all in the same street which made it easy to visit. I managed to score the dress above for $5.00 at the Salvos. The Vinnies and RSPCA did not yield anything, and there were some lovely coats to be had at the Long Gone Antiques and Collectibles, but I wasn’t in need of any.
We spent the final morning at the Fletcher Jones Market. The market is similar to the Mill Markets in Daylesford, Geelong and Ballarat with heaps of stalls of antiques, collectibles and bric a brac.
It’s situated on the site of the old Fletcher Jones factory which closed in The market itself is located within the part where womenswear was manufactured, and you can still see vestiges of the factory.
The upper level looks like offices and allows for little stalls- I found one room with linen, fabric and yarn.
I stepped away from the yarn as quietly and as quickly as possible- yarn has an innate tendency to want to come home with me and I have enough of a stash without bringing more home :). I got myself a little cup and saucer and platter and MrBG managed to score a nice tweed Christian Dior jacket. By this stage the kids were clamouring to head off and hit the road.
My mother in law Margaret was a marvellous maker of slices. She would whip them up for catering for functions at church, and would pack Mr BG back to Melbourne with a slice container after he visited her down in Leongatha. They would’ve ever present with a cup of tea for morning and afternoon tea.
I have a couple of handwritten recipes that came my way when she passed away. One was for a Sherried Sultana cake and the other was for an apricot date bar. The cake recipe is definitely in Margaret’s hand, but the other is unknown. Speculation from my sister in law Kerry was that it was likely a recipe from a friend and was done as a swap (quite possibly for her chocolate apricot slice :mrgreen:). I love the annotation at the end, “take care not to overcook”.
The thing is with these recipes is that the copyright remains in perpetuity with the author and doesn’t expire 70 years after the death of the author, which is what is held for other creative works. Cooking for copyright is a way to highlight the need for reform to our copyright laws, instigated by the Freedom of Access to Information and Resources, and librarians, who worry a lot about copyright, access to information and sharing lots of stuff- including recipes!
The resulting apricot date bars were nice, a bit like shortbread with date and apricot. I did take care not to overcook them as well. They’ll go into the kids lunch boxes and be nice with a cup of tea, in a nice china cup- another heirloom from Margaret :).
When the winter school holidays come to Ballarat, you have the choice to embrace the cold or to escape. We did a bit of both, doing the obligatory Sovereign Hill trek to see the winter night lights and to sample mulled wine. It was busier than last year, with lots of day trippers and weekending visitors from out of town.
Friends and neighbours took the escape option and headed up north to Port Douglas, Rome and Paris (they are lovely people, and totally deserved their holidays- I lived vicariously through their Instagram pics #jealousnotjealous). Our escape took us south west to…Warrnambool.
Okay, not the most tropical option, but we had sun, the sea, sand, ice cream, no rain and the temperatures were in DOUBLE FIGURES. For mere mortals accustomed to days with the top temperature of 8 or 9 degrees, it felt positively balmy.
Warrnambool has a kids festival in the first week of the winter holidays which we missed out on visiting- but we didn’t have any problems filling in our time.
Tower Hill just outside of Koroit was a great place to stretch the legs, check out the views of the surrounding countryside and meet some local wildlife.
We met a few emus and wallabies, and even spotted a koala up a tree!
Nearby was the little town of Korout whereI had holidayed with my family there over 30 years ago. It hadn’t really changed much since then.
The countryside around Koroit and Warrnambool feels so familiar, and its not just from holidays or school excursions. It’s very reminiscent of Ireland and I can understand why so many Irish settled and stayed in the area. Names like Noonan and Bourke abound in Koroit, and several of Mr BGs ancestors the Murnanes hailed from Warrnambool way.
Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum, which was the maritime equivalent of Sovereign Hill. It was a great way to explore the history of the shiwreck coast, and even nicer when the sun came out. The kids were given a checklist of things to look for which they loved to do. There were also school holiday activities which involved them making vanilla slices to take home 🙂
We visited Logan’s Beach a few times in an effort to catch a site of whales in the bay. The second time we visited we were lucky to catch a glimpse of some black dots in the ocean which weren’t surfers :). There is a Facebook page for people to check if there are any whales in the nursery.
The highlight for me was the flying fox at the adventure playground. It was something I wanted to introduce the kids to, having been on it years ago. They loved zooming down the line, hooting as they sped along, though pulling it back up wasn’t so fun. I managed to have a go on the last day we were there and loved the sensation of flying through the air, carefree and without a worry in the world.
I think we’ll be back ☺
What do get when you combine one of the best songs of the 90’s with one of the best tv shows of all time?
I was feeling somewhat forlorn on the weekend. The ABC have been screening Dr Who repeats nightly in anticipation of the new season and they have just finished the David Tennant era.
I have seen this clip before, but it is always worth a visit again, especially to see how many people are involved in creating a TV show! It doesn’t hurt seeing David Tennant again either…
I know people would beg to differ on the whole Proclaimers issue- I am sure my sister Fiona would as I played it sooo many times when it first came out- but I still have a soft spot for it :).