Hanging Rock

Hanging Rock was absolutely amazing.
I took so many photos – this is only a small selection.
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It was cold and threatening to rain so we headed up the hill in our jackets. They didn’t stay on for too long though.
I so enjoyed getting out and working up a sweat.

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THE Hanging Rock
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The Summit

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On our way down Shanni and I met up with Granny who had come up slowly behind us.

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Found two love birds in the rocks!

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Granny was rather puzzled by this sign.
She had not heard of rapelling!
You must admit it does look interesting to say the least

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Jesika was eying up the rocks sadly as the signs said no climbing. When I explained to Jesika that No rapelling meant rock climbing with spikes and ropes and not bouldering she was up the side of the rocks in a flash.
I must admit I was rather censoring of her desire to get to the top – you cannot see in this photo what was below her!!@!

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On the way back we drove through Macedon this lovely avenue of trees.
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We had to fuel up and then head back to the city before rush hour
We were playing cat and mouse with this biker!
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And then it was the corner of Canterbury and Springvale roads and the Clarion – very identifiable land mark after a week here – nearly home.
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I then took Shanni shopping for some warmer pants and then we went up to the Stolks for a final visit.
She and Maddy were not wanting to part – it was very sad
Looks like Shanni now has a new pen friend – and thank goodness we have cheap calling to Australia from home
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We are now all packed and ready to head off to Ballarat tomorrow morning.
Just have to take Granny to the medical centre to get the last of her stitches out.
Hopefully they will be ready to come out as she is getting sick of them.

Not too sure when I will next be able to update – depends on computer availability – been very spoilt here.

For those of you who have not heard of Hanging Rock you need to read the book or watch the movie which put this place into the international spotlight.

Mount Macedon

This morning was rather chilly – threatening to rain but not quite managing it.
We left after breakfast and drove up Mount Macedon.
It was a beautiful drive.
At the top is a huge cross built as a War Memorial.

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with wonderful views all around
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The autumn colours were beautiful.

We were totally freezing so we hoped back into the car and headed down the mountain and over to Hanging Rock.

I did learn though that Major Mitchell was the first white man to climb to the top of the mountain in 1836.
He named it after Phillip of Macedon – Alexander the Great’s father – as he was thinking of the name Phillip at the time – expecting to see Port Phillip Bay fromt he top. Which he did.

Sunday in Melbourne

We had breakfast at the Clarion Sunday morning.
Alex was chef on duty so Jesika and I had an Alex special omelette.
Shanni ordered everything!!

Then we headed into the city.
We had plans to go for a river cruise.
However every route Jesika wanted to take was blocked for some reason or other.
It was horrendous trying to get across the central city.
The main street was blocked off for some Run for Kids thing and so the traffic on the other streets was backed up something shocking.
I decided that I hate cities right then!!

We did a change of plans and went to Docklands instead.
That was cool – in all ways!
There was a MG concourse on.
There must have been about 200 MG cars of all ages there.
It was great.
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Then Shanni spotted this bungy jumper and wanted to have a go.
I told her it was expensive and she had to really make the most of it.
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She told me afterwards that it was worth every cent of the $10!!

We then found somewhere to have lunch.
We wished afterwards that we had chosen differently.
Slow wasn’t the word for the service.
We were getting rather worried because we were due at our cousins at 2pm.
It took 20mins for a waitress to NOT get our menus to us – I went and got them myself.
Then she came along and without batting an eyelid took our order.
I did say we were on a time frame and how long would it be.
She came back and said the chef said around 15mins.
Okay,so we will have some drinks while we wait.
Well, they took long enough to be delivered.
Then it must have been about half an hour before the meals arrived and then the chips and wedges were only luke warm.
We had to eat and run as it was 2pm before we got finished.
Certainly no tips left there and no recommendations to anyone.
In fact I came across a family wondering whether to go in and I suggested they might try somewhere else.
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Only thing going for it was the back drop scenery

We then managed to find our way to Ascot Vale in excellent time to have afternoon tea with Tim’s cousin Andrew, Annette and wee Imogene.
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She is such a poppet.
She has a baby brother arriving in a couple of months.
We so enjoyed our time with them all and were very glad we had made the effort to get there.

We then headed off into the sunset towards Macedon.
It was lovely to arrive at Alex’s mother and step father’s place and find the log fire going.
It was lovely and snug there.
Alex had already gotten there on his motorbike and was preparing dinner.

We enjoyed a very yummy roast beef dinner, then chatted and lazed around in front of the fire before heading off to bed for a good nights sleep.

Paperific etc

Today was the first day we could sleep in a bit later.
I was woken by a text at 5:15am and then again at 6:15am by Mahalia.
She knows the number off by heart now – all 13 digits – but unfortunately she doesn’t understand the time differences between home and here.
I was totally thrilled as you can imagine!!

We had breakfast down at the hotel.
Alex was the only chef on so he cooked us breakfast.
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Jesika gave us a guided tour of the place.
Then we drove across the city to the Caulfield Raceway where Paperific was being held.

Jesika opted to sleep in the car so Granny, Shanni and & went in for a few hours.
It was fun.
Shanni enjoyed doing a make and take and watching the demos.
She is going home all inspired
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I met up with my friend Narelle which was great.
Haven’t seen her in 4 years.
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We drove on to Brighton and went to visit Bernie – where Jesika stayed when she first arrived in Melbourne.
It was lovely to meet Bernie and see where Jesika was based for all those months.
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Shanni had to explore the upper room – a child’s delight!

She was also fascinated by the very old glass window – we had been studying windows etc in our unit and she remembered what we had read and talked about re the old glass being interesting to look through due to its irregularities.
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We went down to the beach – it was threatening to rain again so we were all bundled up.
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Jesika’s bedroom was the windows just above her head – Bernie’s apartment is the upstairs one just behind Jesika – the house was built in 1849 as a 13 room mansion.

The Beach boxes were what we wanted to see – they are so fun
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Quite a contrast to see the mansions behind – funny thing it that the beach boxes command a similar price because of their rarity and location.

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Shanni had fun on the beach
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I had a doze in the lounge while dinner was being prepared – my early morning wake up calls had caught up with me and I could barely stay awake.

The sunset was glorious – we could watch it from the window as we ate
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We are back home now – had a good day and are ready for a good nights sleep.

A day at Healesville Sanctuary

We were up bright and early and left the house soon after 8am.
Bill dropped Maddy & Kira off so they could spend the day with Shanni.

We had a good drive out to Healesville Sanctuary. Took just over an hour from here.
It was quite cool when we got there but not raining so we put on our shoes and sox and jackets and ventured forth.
This was what greeted us at the gate.
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then around the corner…
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We had a great day meeting all the Australian native animals.
Some I had never heard of before!

The girls enjoyed the kangaroos
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We had an hour or two up our sleeve to visit before the sessions we wanted to see began. So we went to the Animal Hospital.
It is very state of the art stuff in there.
Most impressive.
Outside Shanni & Maddy tried a spot of rock climbing!
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The display we really wanted to see was the ‘Birds of Prey’ show – so we made sure we were there in plenty of time.
It was great.
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We were then entertained/taught about the didgerido and throwing the boomerang by Murrindindi, a local Wurrundjeri interpreter and storyteller. He was really good.

After that we went for a walk to find food and comfort stops then it was back to the arena for the ‘Parrots in Flight’ show.
That was also great.
Shanni loves birds so was in her element here.
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We found all sorts of fun things during the many times we walked around the sanctuary trails.
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A wallaby was very patient and lapped up the girls affection
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We finally left around 4:30pm – the car was very quiet on the way back – I think the girls were plain tuckered out!

Jesika was only just home when we returned – she had ended up working all day.
We wandered down the the mall and had dinner at ‘The Pancake Parlour’ for a treat.
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The girls found a funny mirror which occupied them for ages.
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Then it was back home and final farewells before Jesika and I drove Maddy & Kira back home and Shanni toddled off to bed.
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All in all it was a great day.
Rather wearying for me – pushing Mum’s wheel chair along the undulating trails was a mission at times – I haven’t managed to get to the gym since I got here but I think today made up for it!!!
It was good for Mum though – she would not have managed the amount of walking we did without the chair.

We have a few busy days coming up so I am off to bed now.
Love to all at home

Thursday – Mount Dandenong drive

When Jesika left for work at 6am it was still raining quite heavily but at 7am when Mahalia called me from home it had eased up to almost nothing.
We were all still asleep when she very cheerfully phoned .
I asked her who had put the call through for her – she said she had done it herself cuz she knew the number – oh dear!!
She doesn’t understand the time differences so I was imagining calls coming through at 4am
I told her to call back in an hour – she did. And this time when I answered the phone she was crying her wee heart out telling me how much she was missing me – I went and got Shanni to come and talk to her.
Shanni got on the phone and I heard her saying very matter of factly ‘What’s wrong with you???’

We got ourselves moving and out the door at 9am.
I managed to drive us down to Box Hill and found the Stolks without too much difficulty.
We dropped Shanni there and went on to find the hospital.
Mum had a lump taken out of her arm 2 weeks ago and the stitches were not ready to come out before we left so we had to get them checked. Found the hospital, eventually found ourselves at Emergency. Filled out all the forms and answered ALL the pertinent questions. Then Mum was sent on to the next counter and I asked about the park I had left the car in. I didn’t understand the Australian parking signs and wanted it clarified.
I apparently was in a 1/4hour parking area and the nurse proceeded to tell me where all the 2hour plus parks could be found. To which I asked just how long was Mum expected to wait? She said a minimum of 2 hours. Well, I nearly had a melt down on the spot. Called Mum back and said we are not waiting here and wasting our day. The nurse told me of a medical centre that could help us so we left.

I couldn’t make head nor tail of the directions so drove back to have a cuppa with Marion and see how Shanni was getting on. She was having a ball.
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Here she is with all the children, and when Marion began to cut up a loaf for morning tea she was right in there with the kids – no flies on my girl
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The have a cockatiel called Kuku who is very friendly – she just flies free around the house and is not at all worried by the children’s bedlam or strangers.
She sat on Marion’s shoulder and snuggled her.
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She then flew over to Granny and proceeded to nibble her ear and kiss her on the cheek.
Mum was quite ok about that – it was the 40kg of Golden Labrador that she was more worried about. So was I actually – they could’ve sent Mum flying but thankfully there were kiddy gates all through the house and the two dogs were shut behind one and sat looking at us mournfully while we chatted.

Jesika called to say she had finished work so we headed back to get her.
Shanni decided she would prefer to stay with the children so we left her there for the day.

After a snack Jesika drove us to the medical centre.
We didn’t have an appointment and were prepared to wait for the 30mins they thought it would take. However we were in with a Dr within 15mins. He was a lovely guy – Vietnamese I think.
He had to take ALL of Mums medical details down again.
Then when he went to remove the stitches he found that they really were still not ready to come out.
He took out 15 and re-dressed her arm and told her to come back on Monday and hopefully the rest will be ready to remove then.

After all of this we took off to Mount Dandenong.
It was a beautiful drive. The gum trees were stunning and we were amazed to find NZ natives growing there amongst them – pongas and other ferns
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We stopped at a wee place called Sassafras and had a wander. It was very chilly.
I am very glad I brought my down jacket with me.
We had been recommended the Miss Marple’s Tea Room so we went there and had Devonshire Tea.
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It was a gorgeous place, the decor and food all revolved around the Miss Marples of Agatha Christie fame. It was packed when we arrived and I asked if it was always this busy and the waitress told us that it wasn’t a busy day – that often folk are queuing for an hour or 2 to get in. The food was amazing.
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We also found a cute store called Geppetto’s Workshop It was a fabulous place for big and small children alike

We drove on up to Olinda and just caught the famous Pie in the Sky shop before it closed and had the rest of our lunch.
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Jesika and I ate our pies under the huge gum tree out the back. Despite the sun it was a cold atmosphere.

We soon hopped back into the car and took off up to the top of the mountain.
SkyHigh Mount Dandenong is a wonderful place. It is just over 600m above sea level – high for this area but actually not that much higher than the highest point on our farm!!

The views over Melbourne were stunning despite the misty clouds and afternoon sun.
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What do you think of my new car??

The gardens were beautiful. A lot of care and attention and the art works scattered about made it an idyllic and intriguing place to wander.
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The Wishing tree

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This globe fountain was really cool – it spins on it’s axis in the water

At the entrance is this amazing totem sculpture
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We finally headed back down the mountain taking a different route. Jesika and I both deciding that we have to come back up and stay in one of the secluded wee cottages up the top. It would be so cool especially during the snow.

We called in to a humungous dvd store and then went back to collect Shanni. She was sitting with the children eating dinner – she really slotted right in there – the only difference was the blonde head amongst the dark ones.

Jesika dropped me off at the mall so I could go get the security button removed from my new shorts. Apparently the one that was left on my shorts doesn’t make a buzzer sound if you leave the store with it – it is the sort that sprays ink all over the clothes if you try and remove it yourself so I am glad I didn’t try. Next time though I will double check my purchases so I don’t have to go back to the shop.

I got a frappacino and wandered back to the house in the darkness. It was actually really nice just to have half an hour to myself. Shanni was tucked up in bed when I returned so Jesika and I made plans for tomorrow and as she has Monday off work we can plan to go further afield.

Great! It will be good to get right out of the city again. I really enjoyed this afternoon. I was finding things a bit stressful this morning. Doing battle with traffic, streets I didn’t know and couldn’t find and a stupid medical system that could’ve been so much more simple!

Wednesday

Last night I was physically tired but not really ready to sleep so I watched a movie.
‘Man of the Year’ starring Robin Williams.
Handy that my bed is on the floor in front of Jesika’s computer
It was really good but didn’t finish till around 1am.
Sot this morning when Alex text me at 7:45am to say he would be at the restaurant in 15mins – I must admit I was a bit slow in my responses.

Shanni and I got showered and dressed and were about ready to head out the door when Gran got up and decided she would come too.
So we waited for her.
She was as quick as she could be.
I told her to head on out the door with Shanni and start walking and I would catch up as soon as I had locked the doors.
I knew breakfast would be finished serving at 9ish so didn’t want to be late.

I was struggling with the locks.
Couldn’t get the key to work in either of the front door locks – I was getting rather frustrated and contemplating what else I could do when Mum came walking back calling to me.
I didn’t know what she wanted but when she finally got back to me she walked in and said she had forgotten her teeth
I knew we had hurried her but really!!!

Then I discovered I was trying to lock Jesika’s front door with Granny’s door key – no wonder the stupid thing wouldn’t work – duh!
Got all that sorted and we walked down to the Clarion.
Alex and his friend Scott were waiting for us at the breakfast atrium.
Jesika was working.
It was the 2nd busiest morning for the year – so we really didn’t pick the right day did we?
Poor Jesika was getting rather tired by the time we showed up.
Mum then realised she had left her glasses behind – and after her not hearing us at all well – I asked he if she had also forgotten her hearing aid

We had a delicious breakfast with great service
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Then as we were the last to finish Shanni helped Jesika to clear up and clean tables etc. She really enjoyed doing that.
We took her down to the hotel pool for a swim – the weather had cooled a heap so I wasn’t tempted at all to join her despite all her cajoling.
I did however roll up my pants legs and dangle my legs in the spa and give my feet a massage.

We then headed back home.
Left Gran and Shanni to chill for an hour while we power walked (well, I was power walking – Jesika was slowing for me!!) up to the rental car place.
We picked up our Toyota Camry and then came and got the others and went up to Glen Waverley to get groceries etc at the mall there. It was raining and cold so being inside a mall was actually not a bad choice.

We got back just in time to catch a phone call from home.
Shanni had a good catch up with everyone.
Then Alex and Jesika cooked dinner.
Our cousin Carlamia came for dinner.
It was so lovely to met her.
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Shanni was being her normal entertaining self.
She and I really enjoyed the fresh fruit fondue that Jesika made.

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Jesika and Alex were rather weary so crashed out on the couch and Shanni spent a while taking photos of strange things and being somewhat annoying until I suggested she go read her book.
She has a thick book and some new Lego to play with so she is happy.

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Here are the 2 cousins – we were debating as to whether they are technically 2nd or 3rd cousins – in the ultimate scheme of things who really cares!!

It is still raining and cold.
I am going to venture out in the rental car in the morning – should be interesting – at least they drive on the same side of the road as we do at home – so that won’t be too scary!