Warrnambool or bust

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.

 
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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.
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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.

We stayed in a little cottage not far from the Lake Pertobe precinct which we found through AirBnB, which suited us perfectly.
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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.
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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.
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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 🙂

 
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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.
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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 ☺

Keep calm and carry yarn #blogjune

In my defence Your Honour, it was a really cold day, and I needed a new scarf…

As I promised Miss BG, I went to Lincraft and purchased a knitting Nancy for her to celebrate her completing George’s Marvellous Medicine (she is on to the next book The BFG).

Lincraft is a crack den for yarn/craft addicts, and it is not the easiest place to enter without getting something else. When I saw the yarn, I was instantly reminded of a pattern I had for a cowl that had suddenly reappeared on my desk after being trapped under a sheaf of other papers. Clearly, your Honour, it was fate. The yarn was calling to me, its seductive green tones and silky strands beckoning to me. It was also 40% off :).
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With any luck it will be off my needles and around my neck this long weekend!

 

Snowed under

Snow! Winter in Ballarat is long, but snow definitely makes it worthwhile.

It was a magical hour between 11am and 12pm today when my workplace turned white. The rain turned to sleet, then snow started falling thickly.

I couldn’t feel my toes as I went outside with other hardy souls to take photos, have snowball fights or simply stand outside, excited like little kids.

I shared photos with my workmates across the other campuses in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne- all of whom were enjoying warmer weather conditions, but they were still excited to see it.

Then I returned back to my real work, wading through usage statistics and updating procedures…

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Pyjama Day

A couple of weeks ago, the little BGs had a pyjama day at daycare, where they had popcorn, and for Master BG, had a movie day.

To commemorate the last day of the school holidays, the BG family are having a pyjama day. We’ve had pancakes for breakfast, and soon I’ll be popping popcorn for watching The Fantastic Mr Fox.

It’s also an excuse to wear new pyjamas I bought from Sussan on Friday

new pyjamasThey’re a rich red flannel bottom, with a black knit top, and incredibly comfortable. They clash with my Hello Kitty fluffy slippers, but as it’s a pyjama day, noone is really going to see me are they?

I have a date now with some popping corn and a couch…

Wake up it’s a beautiful morning!

My morning moments

  • cursing the alarm at 5am
  • porridge with banana, cinnamon and a splash of milk
  • no ice to scrape off the car, meaning no frozen fingers
  • enjoying the iPod on shuffle on the train to Melbourne
  • grabbing a latte at Mr Tulk on my way to work
  • getting a smile from a handsome stranger when I nearly collided with him going round a corner
  • loving my walk down Little Lon, Punch Lane and Crossley Streets
  • a busker playing an Irish jig on a banjo at Parliament Station
  • Green and Black chocolate in my desk drawer 🙂

Apart from the early start, my day has been wonderful!

Brrr!

Snow in Sussex Street

Snow in Sussex Street

Ballarat has a (justified) reputation for being cold, yet people still live here and have even moved here from the relative warmer climes of Melbourne voluntarily. Yep, I’m one of them…
Here is a quick guide to those wishing to keep warm in this wonderful city.

1. Dress in layers. A coat becomes your second skin when going outside, and when going inside, quickly exhanged for a cardigan (yes, I have a wide selection and fully embrace the librarian image!).  long sleeved tshirt, usually with a short tee on top. I will also confess to wearing a singlet- it sounds daggy, but I’m trying to lead by example with the kids, who wear theirs. And who said singlets had to be white cotton anyway?
2. Accessories- hat, scarf, gloves occasionally. My hat is my best friend as it covers my unbrushed hair when making the kinder dash in the morning, and shelters my ears from the wind. I love my scarves, and my favouriteis a red woollen one my mother-in-law knitted for me for my birthday. Gloves are slightly problematic with kid-wrangling- I really, really need a nice pair of leather gloves. From Florence :).

3. Heating- one of the prerequisites for me moving to Ballarat was central heating. None of this ‘heating in a central location’ spiel from the real estate agents for me- I wanted to see vents! I grew up in an old house which had fireplaces and pot belly stoves as heating. They’re lovely to look at, but then you have to go to bed in an icebox of a room, and I didn’t want to do that.

4. Hot food- soups, casseroles and crumbles become part of the menu. I made a yummy Thai pumpkin soup, using up half a pumpkin my sisiter in law gave us on last weekend’s trip to South Gippsland. A visit to the farmer’s market this morning resulted in a bunch of leeks which will end up in leek and potato soup this afternoon. Which will be matched with an apple and rhubarb crumble!

5. Hot Drinks- tea, loose-leaf or lemon and ginger- bliss!

6. Dash of insanity. I’ll be honest, you have to be slightly mad to live here in winter. You definitely have to be mad to live here in winter and do bootcamp in winter, in mud, ice, drizzle and subzero temperatures. At least I wear gloves for that, as pushups on gravel is murder on the hands…

Four seasons in one day

A busy and fruitful day at work. A proposal I had been working on for using and instant messaging client for reference was discussed and approved for a trial. So the fun begins of selling the proposal to library staff, trialling it and training library staff in how to use it. Not too sure if it can be done in the two days a week I’m here, but my Facebook and Twitter status may be permanently set to busy! busy! busy!

And as usual, these type of things come to fruition when you have had a miniscule amount of sleep- about 3 hours last night. Master and Miss Bookgrrl woke up within an hour of each other and I spent the rest of the night tossing and turning, with stuff from the day before churning through my head.

A farewell to a work colleague and friend today, who leaves for warmer climes (Darwin) and full-time study, though not necessarily in that order. I wish her all the very best!

And now, for the weather. People in Melbourne have two obsessions- sport and weather. One of our favourite sites is the Bureau of Metereology radar at work, which is great to see approaching storms. A beautiful start to the day; it was lovely to see the sun touch the Old Treasury building and make the sandstone glow as I was comng in to work. While ruing the fact I left my umbrella at home (not enough room owing to my book- well duh!),  I enjoyed seeing the rain arrive, in torrents, in the afternoon. Am also glad I was wearing my knee-high boots and not shoes, which allowed me to dash across the street to the station :).